Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness
The first proper PC game I ever owned was WarCraft 2: Tides of Darkness. I first played it from a demo disk and seeing as the Real Time Strategy (RTS) genre was a rarity on the Mega Drive (which was my main entertainment device at the time) I thoroughly enjoyed the new experience and wanted more. I looked up the requirements and if I remember correctly it required 18.2 Megabytes of space which would be an absolute struggle to install on the family computer which had a hard drive size of about 200 MB. Twenty years later hard drives (or even these new ‘Solid State Drives’) are about ×2000 that size so I had to make sure it would fit. I went to the extent of deleting the Windows 3.11 help videos which were 7 MB alone (why I remember this I don’t know).
Also to consider was the processor requirement, we were running a Intel 486 with a 66 Mhz CPU which wasn’t overly fast but I had friends with slower and faster.
Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos
Through Secondary School (High School) my friends and I guessed at what would be in the third installation, one particular idea was it would be ‘3D’ since that seemed to be the latest thing for games like Tomb Raider. Things like controlling aircraft and tunnelling machines were mentioned, sadly it wasn’t until University when the world was gifted with a third; WarCraft 3: Reign of Chaos.
Warcraft III: Frozen Throne
After playing through all of WarCraft 3 campaign matches I started on the custom maps and also played with others across the Halls of Residence Network. So still interested in the game (and not so much Halo) I started looking for some other custom maps made and listed on the internet. Two of the most memorable I found concentrated on your just your ‘Hero’ and gathering power-ups before taking on the other side. One was a wide landscape with an Uber Boss in the middle and the other a square map with three lanes between each sides encampment. Outwards from each camp units would spawn and run down the lanes fighting each other and defensive towers. This second map also had a unique item system you could forge items together to make even better ones which was interesting.
The thing I enjoyed most about the map was from when assisting or leading in the lanes, you could turn-the-tide and start the push (back) against the enemy. Despite so many essentially automated troops you made a distinct difference in the battles. And this is what I thought was nifty.
The name of the map?
Defence of the Ancients
Jump to maybe 7/8 years later and Defence of the Ancients has spawned a giant Community, fierce Gamer Competitions and 2 spin-off games, one which many are probably familiar with called ‘League of Legends‘ which is currently available and a stand alone sequel called DotA2 by Valve coming soon (in Valve Time).
Which brings us to how I rediscovered the map, I was curious to see what games Valve Corporation were working on now seeing as I enjoyed both Portal and Portal 2 immensely, in the trickle down of links I saw the familiar map.