The initial inspiration for Demigod was heavily based on the Warcraft 3 mod, Defense of the Ancients. If you've never played it, Defense of the Ancients is an incredibly clever game concept in which players team up on on a single map choosing between many different heroes. How one customizes their hero makes all the difference.
Demigod works similarly in that you choose amongst several different heroes (your Demigods). Some heroes are called Generals whose strengths come from their ability to manipulate their minions and engage in larger scale strategy. Other heroes are called Assassins who are immensely powerful individuals whose strengths focus on just being massive butt kickers.
Defense of the Ancients could almost be described as a game where two rivers are flowing against each other. Each player is trying to get their river to make headway against their opponent's river until the flow enters their base. My analogy may not make sense unless you've played DotA. But if you have, you probably get my meaning. Demigod does not play quite like that.
In Demigod you have a lot of strategic choices you have to make. Arenas have other elements that give one side or the other significant advantages. This means players have to choose often to give up some ground in order to gain longer term advantages. That is, there are certain parts of the Arena that you can control that give your side significant advantages. Hence, there are multiple strategic objectives.
The Demigod gains strength through experience, as they level up, the player can choose to strengthen different abilities or add new powers. Players can also use money to purchase items that give their side or their Demigod additional advantages. This is basically the same as was found in DotA.
So it's definitely fair to say that DotA served as inspiration for Demigod. But Demigod will ultimately be somewhat different in play style. Right now, myself, Chris Taylor, and Mike Marr are putting our combined design experiences together in trying to create a unique, innovative, and compelling strategy game experience.
More to come on this soon.