Dota 2 will bring back all of the WarCraft 3 mod's hundred-plus heroes, and bring some new social features in as well. A writeup over at Game Informer says that Valve is updating its Steamworks system specifically for the game, and in addition to including in-game features like the ability to point out and recommend certain strategies and items for beginning players, veterans will get rewarded for helping outside of the game as well, by writing and editing strategy guides and tips. There will also be an in-game coaching system available with voice chat and screen sharing, all designed to help a wider audience adapt to the hardcore world of "action RTS" gameplay.
As for gameplay, there will be still only one map to play on, though there will be different match types available, some added after launch. "Denying" is in -- DoTA remake League of Legends decided not to include the controversial mechanic in its gameplay, but Valve's version will let you kill your own creeps to prevent the enemy from getting XP. And AI bots will be available, but not for a full singleplayer experience, just to fill in when human players drop out or aren't around.
Graphics will of course be updated -- GI says Valve has "a sizable art team" working on the game, and there are other design tweaks as well, like the environments getting the saturation tuned down so players can focus on the gameplay. Characters will have all new voicework, too, and not just toss out one-liners in certain situations, but sometimes even interact when they have a past with one of their teammates or opponents (we already know who one of those voices will be). And Valve promises the game will get the same community support as its other titles like Team Fortress 2, including possibly more hat-related shenanigans.
It all sounds quite fun. Too bad we have to wait until 2011 to actually sit in