Quick Start Guide: Dota 2

by Phirex

Dota 2 is an extremely popular MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) game by Valve. As one of the longest serving, and highest paying eSports, it has held a mantle among the top games on Twitch for years.

How do I play?

Each of the 10 players controls a single hero, which is picked at the start of the game. There are 119 heroes to choose from, each with strengths and weaknesses, so learning to play the majority of them is a good idea. 

Every hero has at least four abilities, which by default are bound to Q, W, E and R, and you move your hero by clicking where you want them to go on the map. Right-clicking on an enemy or neutral will perform your default attack. 

Where does it take place?

The Dota 2 map features three lanes, top, mid and bottom, that stretch from the Radiant base in the south-west side of the map to the Dire base in the northeast side of the map. A river that runs through the middle of the map separates the two sides. 

Each lane features a tier one, tier two and tier three-tower, and a melee and ranged barracks (rax). Inside the base, there are also two-tier four towers and the Ancient. 

Creeps from both sides will run down each lane every 30 seconds and by default meet in the middle of the lane. 

Between the lanes is the jungle area that is filled with neutral camps that house creatures that will only attack when they are attacked. 

The Roshan pit can also be found in the river to the north of the mid lane. It houses a powerful neutral monster called Roshan who when killed will drop the Aegis of the Immortal, an item that grants a second life. 

Battle in the mid lane

How Do I win?

To win a game of Dota you and your team will need to destroy all three towers in at least one lane, then take down the tier four towers in the base and destroy the ancient. Once the ancient falls the game is over. 

Gold and Items 

To become strong enough to destroy the base you will need to collect gold and spend it on items. 

Killing creeps, neutrals, buildings and enemies will grant you gold, and you also passively gain it as time goes by, providing your courier is alive. You also gain XP for killing these things, which is used to level up your hero. 

You can spend your gold on items that increase your power, and choosing the right item for the current situation is a key skill to learn.

Dota 2 hero Wraith King – Credit: Valve

What heroes should I play?

As all heroes are totally free to play in Dota 2 it is a good idea to at least learn how they all work and try to play as many of them as you can. 

But when you are starting out some heroes will be easier to learn than others. If you want to play a carry then the likes of Wraith King and Phantom Assassin are good starting points.

If you want to play in mid then perhaps try Sniper or Viper. Offlaners might want to try Tidehunter or Bristleback, while supports should look to the likes of Crystal Maiden and Witch Doctor. 

How do I get better at Dota 2? 

Dota 2 doesn’t have a great experience for new players wanting to learn the game, instead throwing you in at the deep end and expecting you to figure it out. 

Turbo mode can help you get up to speed a little quicker, as matches typically are a lot shorter, meaning you can try more things in less time. But it can also make the transition to full length games harder to manage.

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