Along with League Of Legends, Dota 2 is the world’s most popular MOBA game. The rise in popularity was achieved much due to the extremely competitive gameplay this game offers. The opportunity to constantly compete online and possibly reach the level of playing live Dota 2 tournaments against other professional teams has brought many players into the Dota 2 world.
However, reaching a level where you can comfortably compete online is not easy. Dota 2 is a complex game and while it may seem simple at first sight, simply jumping into the online games will get you nowhere. You will end up dying time and time again and costing your entire team a bitter defeat as you lose the valuable gold and transfer it over to the opposing side.
This is why it is very important to understand some basic concepts of Dota 2 before you go in and start playing online matches. Fortunately, Valve have helped with this by providing players with free to play tutorial matches against computer controlled bots. This short guide is meant to help you process some basic concepts before jumping into any matches including tutorials and have you readier when the game does begin.
Basic Dota 2 Concepts
Before you can understand anything else, it is important to understand the basics of the game, such as the goal of the game and how to control your hero. At the start of every Dota 2 match, much like in other MOBAs, every player is allowed to pick one hero from a vast roster of heroes. This is not a simple or trivial choice by any means, as every hero has their own very unique set of skills and abilities. It will be up to you to pick what hero type you wish to master and keep practicing with the hero type until you are truly playing great with them. Many players only limit themselves to playing a handful of heroes throughout their career so as to become true masters of those.
Once all the heroes are selected, the match will commence. Each side consists of five heroes who start at the bases in the two corners of the map. The ultimate goal of the game is to destroy the opposing side’s Ancient, the main building in the center of their camp. In order to do this, the heroes must travel the three lanes which connect the two camps through the middle and along the sides of the map and reach the opponent’s camp first.
The lanes are riddled with obstacles. The towers that deal substantial damage are placed along them and the enemy camp’s barracks produce creeps who assist the heroes in attacking you. For the most of the match, you will be trying to destroy the towers, while not dying. Your creeps will attack enemy heroes, creeps and towers and you will need to assist them in intelligent ways while avoiding death and gaining gold and experience.
Hero Progress In Dota 2
At the start of each Dota 2 match, each hero starts at Level 1, with no special abilities and fairly weak attributes. As such, the hero will need to advance before they are ready to take on enemy towers and eventually advance into the enemy camp.
There are two basic ways to advance your character and these are experience points and gold. The experience points are gained by killing enemy creeps, heroes and buildings or simply being nearby while your teammates do so. The gold is gained gradually throughout the match, but also by landing killing blows on enemy creeps or killing enemy heroes. By killing a hero, you will gain substantial gold and what is more, they will lose gold, which is doubly useful.
The experience points allow your hero to level up and gain more attributes as well as special abilities and spells you can use against your enemies. At level 6, your hero gains the Ultimate ability, a skill with a long cooldown but massive power.
The gold on the other hand allows you to purchase various items from the store which increase your hero’s various attributes or even give them special skills and spells they can use. Other items such as potions can be used to heal your hero or help them recover their mana. The more gold you gain, the more powerful items you can purchase for your hero, making them more powerful and a bigger threat to the opposition.
Killing Blows, Denies and Hero Kills
As you play a game of Dota 2, there will be many things to keep an eye on. Landing killing blows on enemy creeps is extremely important. You will gain a substantial amount of gold for each creep you end up killing yourself. While the creep’s health points are quite low, timing the last hit just right to make it the killing blow is where skill comes in. If your creeps end up killing a creep, you don’t get the extra gold.
The same way you are trying to kill enemy creeps, the enemy will be trying to kill yours. Once a friendly creep’s health is low, you will get the option to attack them yourself. While killing a friendly creep will not get you extra gold, it will deny the enemy from gaining it and this can be very important as it disables the opponents from advancing their heroes.
The most important way of gaining gold in Dota 2 is by killing enemy heroes. As the game progresses heroes get harder and harder to kill. Some heroes however are not that difficult to kill and will usually stay away from direct confrontations. It will be your goal to land the killing blows on enemy heroes, gaining huge amounts of gold and taking it directly from their gold purses, for double the gain.
Final thing when it comes to gaining gold will be not dying too much. Every death you endure puts you out of action for some time and what is more it takes gold straight from your purse. The less you die, the more gold you have and the more items you can buy. It is also recommended to spend your gold often, but this can be problematic when you are collecting gold to purchase an expensive item. At such times, make sure you are very careful not to get yourself killed.
While Dota 2 may seem like just another video game to many players, and many novice players simply go ahead and try to storm the enemy camp, this is not really how Dota 2 works and you will fail miserably as you do it. Instead, there are very specific ways in which you should play in each of the game stages and while these stages are not set by the game, you should be very aware of them.
The first stage of the game is called Laning and it last from the start of the match and up to some 15-20 minutes into the match. During this stage the heroes are weak and the goal is to get them as powerful as you can without dying and gaining as much gold as possible. Advanced players use strategies such as Zoning, Ganking and other methods to maximize their gold and experience intake while reducing their opponents’. Players should do their best to land many killing blows, deny the enemy as many kills as possible and if they make crucial mistakes, punish them by killing their heroes and gaining large amounts of gold.
The Mid-Game stage start when heroes gain their Ultimates at level 6 and by this time your team will hopefully have gained a solid gold and exp advantage. If you can have your heroes be a level higher than your opponents, this is fantastic and a great advantage. During Mid-Game is when you start pushing enemy towers and trying to get those killing blows on tier one towers, for even more gold and tactical advantage.
The Late-Game is where things really happen. During this phase, the big pushes will begin and you will want to try and destroy your enemy’s barracks. The destruction of barracks gives huge advantage to your team as your creeps become more powerful and do more damage and give less gold. The late game is where novice players may get confused and do things wrong, but as you advance you will surely learn how to work together better in attacking enemy camp and helping your comrades defend your Ancient.
Progressing To Advanced Strategies
All of the things listed here are only just the beginning. Learning all your hero’s advantages and weaknesses, what items to purchase for each hero and how to combat numerous heroes on the other side are all required to play competitively online. Additional learning of advanced strategies and team play is what makes the professional teams so great and so much better than the rest of us but for the time being it is all about learning the basics and getting some games in. Use the advice from this guide, play a few hundred matches and come back for some advanced strategy!