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DoTA 2 - A Beginner's Guide

Updated on June 4, 2013

Playing DoTA 2 as a new Player

For a player who is new to MOBA games (Multiplayer online battle arena) DoTA 2 can at first glance look very complex and confusing. The core of the game is however very easy to learn and it doesn't take long before most players will wipe away that first confusion. With that being said, DoTA2 is not at all a easy game to master, the top players for this game play in a whole other leauge. You could say that DoTA 2 is easy to learn and hard to master. DoTA 2 is a complexed game and all players no matter skill level have something to learn and that's what makes DoTA 2 such a amazing game.

Dota 2 Gamescom Trailer


DoTA 2 - A game overview

In essence the game is all about your team destroying the opposing team's main building located at the back of their base. It's 5 players vs 5 players. Like all MOBA games, there are two sides, one for each team, The Radiant and The Dire starting on either side of the map. , there is no attacking and defending teams but both sides can both attack and defend. There are three pathways (known as lanes) which are available from each base. Two of the lanes meet in the northwest corner and the southeastern corner. The third lane: meets in the middle of the map. Each team has computer-controlled units that are spawning all the time at each teams base and which travels down each lane to the other base base. Both teams also have several towers in each lane that do massive damage to both the units and to players, these can be destroyed, but be careful they will hurt you a lot, so make sure the tower is attacking the computer-controlled units before you go near the enemies towers.


The game modes

There are various game modes in DoTA 2. In public games the most common one are:

All Pick (all players get to choose among all the heroes),

Single Draft (all players can choose between three heroes - one with strength as a main attribute, one with agility and one with intelligence)

Random Draft (all 10 players may in turn choose among 20 heroes).

There's also Mid Only, Least Played, Diretide and Greeviling. But these game modes isn't as common as the game modes above, but they're still great fun and I suggest that you try them all.

Competitive games (Tournaments, Leauges & Clan matches)

In competitive games the mode Captains Mode is used. Both teams have a captain who makes all the hero picks and bans for their own team. The match starts with that one team bans three heroes. (if a team bans a hero for the other team, they can't choose that hero) After that, the team that has been awarded with "first pick" will choose their hero. When they done so then will team B choose two heroes followed by Team A's second hero followed by Team B's third hero. When both teams have chosen three heroes each it's time for another ban, each team gets two bans. When you have eliminated these four heroes from being selected you will enter the last phase before the actual game starts, the last four picks which also are selected one by one.
It may sound like a complicated arrangement for the new player, but you see a actual game, it's not very hard to understand. What may be more difficult is to understand the tactic that the teams are using and why they are banning some heroes and picking others. Some teams like to play with heroes who are good at pushing and taking down towers so they get extra gold that they can buy items for. Others like to be mobile across the map and Gank (kill) enemy heroes as often as they possibly can in order to gain more experience (and gold) and gain an advantage that way. A fairly common tactic is to focus on the so-called "late-game"

There's a few heroes to choose from. Around 100 heroes.
There's a few heroes to choose from. Around 100 heroes.

DoTA 2 - The different heroes

Late-game is the period beyond the forty minutes mark in a DoTA 2 game, it's at that time of the match that intelligence heroes and their magic attacks become weaker while the agility heroes and their physical attacks are the stronger. That's why agility heroes are called "carrys" Carrys are heroes who shall carry the team when the rest of the heroes are not as effective anymore.
Intelligence heroes on the other hand is usually at its strongest in the early-and mid-game, that is until about 40 minutes into the game. Intelligence heroes doesn't have that much health but have strong magic attacks.
Strength heroes tend to be useful throughout the entire game length, some can even be used as carrys. The most common use of strength heroes is however to have them as so-called "initiators",they go in first in every fight and try to create as much clutter as possible while teammates do damage and use attacks and spells. These heroes often have very little mana and a lot of health.

As previously mentioned, all the clans and all teams have their own game style and tactic, but the most common setup is as follows:

One support player to help their fellow players (mainly the carry hero) to farm undisturbed. Always gets items that will benefit the team and not himself. Also has the tedious and often boring role to buy Observer Wards (providing vision within a certain radius of where they are deployed) and Sentry Wards (provides virtually no vision but discovers, however invisible heroes and placed wards from the opposing team).
One hard-carry and or semi-carry which role is to win the game in the late-game if the team do not manage to finish the game at an earlier stage.
One or two Gankers / utility heroes
One semi-support-hero

DoTA 2 Beginner's Guide - Last Advice

My advice to you as a beginner is to watch as much games and professional streams as you possibly can to provide you with a good idea of ​​how different heroes can / should be played in an optimal way. Watch how they move and analyze their choices they make during the game, there's a lot to learn there.

Championship Finals - Dota 2 International


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    • Stickypony profile image

      Jonas 4 years ago from Sweden

      So a overview can't be a guide? Eh? It's overview/guide for new players. It's a quick overview, feel free to explain all the heroes in detail yourself, but that's not what this hub is about.

    • Michael Poon profile image

      Michael 4 years ago from Australia

      The hero list is from HoN, not Dota 2.

      Not all agi heroes are carries, not all int heroes are weak in late game.

      This isn't really a guide, more of an overview.