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DOTA 2 |OT14| We Don't Actually Play Dota

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Jan 19, 2010

Dota 2
Developer: Valve
Platform: PC (Steam)
Price: Free
Engine: Source 2
Genre: Action Real Time Strategy
Number of players: 10 (possibly more or less for custom games)

System Requirements

OS: Windows 7
Processor: Dual core from Intel or AMD at 2.8 GHz
Memory: 4 GB RAM
Graphics: nVidia GeForce 8600/9600GT, ATI/AMD Radeon HD2600/3600
DirectX: Version 9.0c
Network: Broadband Internet connection
Storage: 8 GB available space
Sound Card: DirectX Compatible

Mac OS X

OS: OS X Mavericks 10.9
Processor: Dual core from Intel
Memory: 4 GB RAM
Graphics: nVidia 320M or higher, or Radeon HD 2400 or higher, or Intel HD 3000 or higher
Network: Broadband Internet connection
Storage: 8 GB available space


OS: Ubuntu 12.04
Processor: Dual core from Intel or AMD at 2.8 GHz
Memory: 4 GB RAM
Graphics: nVidia Geforce 8600/9600GT (Driver v331), AMD HD 2xxx-4xxx (Driver mesa 10.5.9), AMD HD 5xxx+ (Driver mesa 10.5.9 or Catalyst 15.7), Intel HD 3000 (Driver mesa 10.6)
Network: Broadband Internet connection
Storage: 8 GB available space
Sound Card: OpenAL Compatible Sound Card

What is Dota 2?

Dota started as “Defense of the Ancients”, a custom map for Warcraft III. The game evolved ever since then. It’s latest developer, IceFrog, was hired by Valve to create a sequel to DotA. Another older developer of DotA, Eul, was also hired by Valve. IceFrog and Eul would work along with the rest of Valve’s staff to essentially create a remake of Dota in the Source engine, titled Dota 2. Since then, the game has actually been ported to Valve’s new Source 2 engine.

Dota 2 was the same as Warcraft III Dota when it began, and now is the definitive version of Dota out there. Warcraft III Dota was updated for a few years, but has been mostly phased out in favor of Dota 2, as very few people play it anymore.

Dota is a game about using your five heroes to push down lanes of enemy creeps, alongside your own, to destroy the other team’s ancient building. Whichever team destroys the other’s ancient first is the winner. In theory this sounds simple, but in practice there is a ton more to it. At the Valve-organized International tournament in 2015, Valve put together a series of videos that introduced Dota to people that are unfamiliar with it.

This is Dota - A brief video that explains what Dota is, and the objective of the game, as well as a few details of working toward that objective.

Resources and Places to Start

Dota is, by nature, a very complex game. Many figures in the community have written guides to help new players get into the game. Here are some of those resources:

Welcome to Dota, You Suck - The famous starter guide that has been around for a very long time written by Kevin “Purge” Godec. It has been updated in 2015, so it should all be applicable in today’s Dota. If you don’t read anything else in this OT, I highly recommend starting here.
Dota 2 Hero Explorer - This is from Valve’s official site for Dota 2, and has every single hero with details of their abilities, along with short video clips of each individual ability in action.
Dota 2 Item Explorer - Lists every item in the game, what they do, how much they cost, and where you can find them in the shop. These may seem overwhelming at first, but learning them will come with time.
Dota 2 Wiki - The Dota 2 Wiki hosted by Curses, written and contributed to by the community. This contains a lot of similar information to the Hero and Item explorers linked above, however it does have more detailed information, and special caveats of heroes and items you might not have known. It also has every hero’s voice lines if you would like to listen to them.

Patch Cycle

Dota 2’s balancing is done by one man who goes by the moniker of IceFrog. IceFrog works for Valve and has a long history with Dota’s development ever since the Warcraft III days. He likely takes input from some other people, especially Eul, one of the original developers of Dota who is also at Valve, but for the most part does the balancing himself. Balance patches typically come out every 3-5 months. Usually IceFrog waits until after a big tournament is over to put out a patch. These balance patches usually come out in the form of patch notes on the official Dota 2 website, which detail every single change made to the game.

These changes can be anything from adjusting numbers, to reworked abilities, or even just completely reworking a hero altogether. New items are also a possibility, and even new heroes are potentially on the table.

New heroes are less likely to come with balance patches unless they are the missing heroes from Warcraft III Dota. In Warcraft III Dota, creating heroes was a much simpler process as it generally involved picking a unit that was not used from Warcraft III, designing a set of abilities and making it balanced.

The patches also contain the possibility of adding or removing heroes from Captains Mode. Captains Mode is the game mode where both teams have captains who take turn banning and picking heroes, until they have five picks and five bans. Captains Mode is the way all competitive Dota matches are played. Heroes not in Captains Mode are usually not in either because they are new and IceFrog is not satisfied with how well they are balanced yet, or they got a potentially overpowered rework to an ability and are temporarily removed for field testing purposes. The heroes not available in Captains Mode are pickable in any other mode in the game.


In Dota 2, there are three attributes to every hero (also referred to as “stats”). These are:

Strength (Red) - Gives HP and HP Regeneration
Agility (Green) - Gives Armor and Attack Speed
Intelligence (Blue) - Gives Mana and Mana Regeneration

All of the heroes in Dota 2 are divided into one of three categories based on these attributes. On the pick screen, the heroes are divided up into these three attributes, as well as being Radiant or Dire side. Being Radiant or Dire side only matters for lore reasons, and has on effect on gameplay. Whichever attribute they fall under is that hero’s primary attribute.

Hero Roles

Dota 2 has over one hundred heroes, all with different abilities and stats. These heroes are generally put into one or more of five roles in the game. Keep in mind that people may refer to these roles as different terms, or consider some roles more nebulous than others. These roles are as follows, with accompanying video, produced by Valve and Purge, of each to explain them.

Position 1/Carry - Heroes that usually have either a skill or some aspect with their stats that scales particularly well into the late game. They start out weaker early to mid game, and truly come online late game. They spend a lot of the early game farming (last hitting creeps to make money), and consistently keep farming to get more items, and excel in the mid to late game. Generally they will be putting out the most damage.

Position 2/Mid Laner - Like the name implies, the mid laner will play a hero that can solo the mid lane against another solo mid hero. Heroes eligible for this role usually have a spell or two that can clear the creep wave fairly quickly on a cheap mana cost. Clearing the wave is important to the mid because going through one creep wave will get to the enemy tower. The middle lane is the shortest lane between the two tier 1 towers. Pushing the lane allows you to go for the runes, ganks, or something else without missing out on much experience and farm. The midlaner usually is a hero that scales well like a carry, but also can be one that has more initiation-oriented spells and has more ganking ability.

Position 3/Off laner - In Dota, the side lanes are actually uneven in distance from the tier 1 tower to the corner of the map. In the top lane, Radiant’s tier 1 tower is a longer distance from the corner, where the creeps usually meet. The inverse applies for the bottom lane. This makes Radiant top lane and Dire bottom lane the offlane, or long lane. You have to extend out much further than the other team does in that lane to get experience and gold. Generally the offlaner’s job is to survive and get experience. Some offlaners may be able to take control of the lane by themselves. An offlane hero usually has good survivability in the early game, and has a lot to gain from reaching level 6 quickly.

Position 4/Farming Support - The farming support will need to take some farm, maybe to get one or two core items up. An example of this is a hero like Earthshaker, who is reliant on getting a blink dagger to use his spells, but in the early game can support lanes, gank, and can pitch in a bit to buy things like wards and couriers. They are very effective in the early game, and really shine in the mid game with the core item they need.

Position 5/Hard Support - The hard support will not be getting much farm, and generally gets items that allow them to stay alive and use their spells. Their spells are extremely useful in the early game, and the disables still stay relevant just for the disable. They usually are the ones responsible for buying wards, dust, courier, and things of that nature.

Common Terms

Dota 2 has a ton of jargon that may not be understood immediately by new players. A full glossary of those terms can be found here.

Cosmetic Items

Dota 2 is monetized by the sales of cosmetic items for heroes, the in-game UI, announcer packs, tournament tickets, and more. These items can be obtained through direct purchase, trade, random drops in your matches, bonuses from another in-game purchase, or even as pre-order bonuses for other games. These items are tradeable and marketable on Steam Community Market, with the exception of items that have temporary market restrictions.

The most important thing to note about these items though is that none of them affect the gameplay at all. This means if two players on the same skill level were on opposite teams, and one had all super rare cosmetics on and the other had none, they would still be evenly matched.

You can also participate in which cosmetics make it into the game by voting for them on the Steam Workshop. A few workshoppers frequently post here on GAF.

Steam Community Market - Buy and sell your items
Dota 2 Store - New items and chests are available here for purchase every time there is an update to the game.
Steam Workshop
Anuxinamoon’s Steam Workshop page
bounchfx’s Steam Workshop page

Competitive Dota

Dota 2 is player as an eSport, or electronic sport. There are many tournaments year round that large well known teams will enter. These tournaments are usually watched on Twitch, with VODs of the games later available on Twitch or YouTube. However there are a few tournaments that are really the big ones: The Majors and the International.

The International is a tournament held every year, hosted by Valve. The first International was part of Gamescom in 2011, and was the first time the world got to see Dota 2 in action. Every year after that, the tournament has been held in Seattle, Washington. The International is known for having mutli-million dollar prize pools. The International 2015 prize pool was a total of $18,429,613, with first place taking home $6,634,661. Since the International 2013, these prize pools have been crowdfunded by the Compendium purchases. Valve puts forth an initial $1.6 million, and the rest is 25% of the Compendium sales.

The Majors are a new series of tournaments that are hosted by large organizations, but still associated with Valve. There are three Majors per year, all leading up to that year’s International. The Majors have a large prize pool, and performing well in them is a good way to get a higher chance at a direct invite to the International from Valve. The first two Majors are hosted in Frankfurt, Germany and Shanghai, China. It is unknown at this time where the third Major will be held.

Free to Play
- Documentary produced by Valve following three players among teams in the first International tournament. Highly recommended if you want to learn more about some of the players.

The Community

Dota 2 has a common reputation for having a very toxic community. This is partially true to some degree, however there are a few things to keep in mind when dealing with toxic players.

The mute button is your friend. To mute a player, bring up the scoreboard, and just left click the little megaphone icon on the player you wish to mute.
If you’re new at the game, you are likely getting matched with players at about your skill level. If they are yelling at you for doing something they think is stupid, it’s extremely likely they are doing something just as bad if not worse. Unless these people are actually giving you constructive criticism, mute them or let what they say go in one ear and out the other.

Constructive criticism: “Hey, you should really get a BKB instead of a Daedalus, you will definitely need it against their team full of disables.”

Not constructive criticism: “Report this fucking noob for buying Daedalus, fucking trash.”

3. Language barriers can be frustrating, but Dota 2 has plenty of ways around it. You can Alt+Click abilities or items to tell your teammates that it’s ready or on cooldown, and how much time is left. You can also do this with other things like the clock at the top, usually useful for marking the time when Roshan was last killed. You can also ping by holding Alt and clicking anywhere in the game or on the minimap. This is useful for pointing out things for teammates. You can also change your ping from an exclamation point to an X by holding Ctrl+Alt and clicking. This also makes a different sound. There is also a chat wheel, which comes loaded with a bunch of useful phrases to communicate to your teammates with. By default, you access this by holding Y and moving your mouse to the phrase you want. You can change these phrases, or set them to other keys. Many of these phrases are context sensitive, for instance if you use the “Missing” one, you will say it for whatever lane you are in, and your hero’s voice will say it. The best thing about this chat wheel, Alt+Clicking, and these other methods is that these are all translated to whatever language the player that is seeing them is playing the game in. This means that while you can’t get incredibly specific with teammates that don’t understand you, you can use these phrases to communicate and it usually gets the job done.
4. It ain’t over til the ancient falls. A lot of pub games, especially pub games in lower skill levels can be very unpredictable. A group of five people that have never met before are unlikely to be completely on the same wavelength, and can easily let the game slip out of their hands if they have a lead. If one of your teammates is already calling “gg” after your team gives up First Blood, do not listen to them as they are definitely wrong. Instead, encourage your teammates, and mute the early gg callers if you have to.
5. Reports are your friend too. Players can be reported in three categories: Chat abuse, Intentional Feeding, or Intentional Ability Abuse. Chat abuse is when a player is toxic over voice chat or text chat. Intentional Feeding is when a player keeps intentionally running into the other team and letting him kill them to put them further and further ahead. They might also do this by buying a bunch of couriers and running them into the other team. Intentional Ability Abuse is a bit of a weird one if you have never seen it before, but basically it involves players that intentionally use abilities or items to mess up their teammates. An example of this is an Earthshaker that keeps blocking off his teammates to their death with Fissure, or a player that keeps using Force Staff to get his teammates stuck in a place where they cannot walk down. There are tons of abilities that can be used like this, and if you know one of your teammates is doing it, report it. However keep in mind that there is a difference between the player making a mistake versus the player abusing abilities. Usually it is very easy to tell which one it is. The best thing about the report system though, is that it works! It is a mostly automated system, but works incredibly well. If a player you reported has action taken against them, then you will receive a message saying this, and you will get extra reports. Most of the time when I report players, I get the message within 10 minutes after the match that it happened in. The system is also great at preventing false positives as well. Just because one of your teammates is telling everyone on both teams to report you, even though you shouldn’t be reported, does not mean that you will be punished for nothing. The system actually has measures to prevent that exact tactic from working, and I have never seen it work.

Final Advice to New Players

You might feel a bit overwhelmed, but don’t worry, you will learn about the game in time. Every single player, whether they started playing yesterday, or 8 years ago during the Warcraft III Dota days was where you are at some point. You will be able to learn the game and improve. There is a lot to learn, but you don’t have to learn all of it at once, and even after years of playing you may find things you still did not know about. Keep playing, and you’ll start to get a better understanding of the game. Ask around for help, the people in your games might not always be willing to help, but there’s a chance they will. Of course the surefire way to get help is ask around in this thread.

Good luck and have fun!

Wall of Shame AKA RIP Shugs



sputum-flecked apoplexy
Oct 25, 2011
okay but why is hylianseven highlighted on your wall of shame? hmm interesting........


Jan 7, 2005
update when i get home unless moodyshuffle / some scum threader snipes
update when i get home unless moodyshuffle / some scum threader snipes
update when i get home unless moodyshuffle / some scum threader snipes
update when i get home unless moodyshuffle / some scum threader snipes
update when i get home unless moodyshuffle / some scum threader snipes
update when i get home unless moodyshuffle / some scum threader snipes



I proudly and openly admit to wishing death upon the mothers of people I don't like
Sep 25, 2006
$270 USD for the Superfluous Statue edition, eh?
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