So you want to play DOTA 2 hey? Great. You have taken the first step. But what next?
You open up the game and there is more than 100 heroes to choose from.
How do you know which one to choose? Or what they all do?
Next minute you’re in a game, playing a hero called Sniper, cause you thought ‘Hey I like shooting things’. But how do you know where to go, what to do and what are all these items? (Do I buy 2 boots or just 1?)
In essence, what you need to know is, how do I learn to git gud?
Well let me tell you, it’s not necessarily a quick or easy journey, but it sure is fun.
DOTA 2 is a complex and nuanced game – however if we boil it down to its essence, to the core of what the game is it can be described as such: a 5 v 5 game where you work together with the other 4 player controlled heroes on your team and a never-ending march of creeps to kill the enemy heroes, their buildings and finally their ‘ancient’ (the big building in the centre of their base).
But how do you that, without constantly dying to the enemy towers, creeps or heroes? How do you master this seemingly simple game? Well that’s when things get complex. That’s when you need to start to learn some of the more complex mechanics.
Because DOTA 2 is such a complex game when you try to master it, you need resources to help you on journey to ‘git gud’. Below is a list of resources, videos and tips that have helped me through the years:
Check out some how to play Guides or Dota 2 videos on Youtube
Watching others explain the game with video examples was a great way for me to learn a lot of the basics and get a solid grip on the game. Here are some of the best DOTA 2 Youtube content creators:
Purge is a DOTA 2 content creator that has been around forever. In his video series, ‘Learn DOTA 2 Basics’ he teaches you the basic information to get you started with the game. He also has a fantastic written guide, ‘Welcome to DOTA 2: You Suck’ which is a great read for any new players if you prefer the written format. Additionally, he has a series of videos where he teaches Day9 how to play DOTA which is although quite long, are well-structured and covers all aspects of the game, from basics to advanced skills.
Another great resource for learning is video by D2bowie. He has a huge back-catalogue of videos that outlines the play of pro players on different heroes and he takes the time to explain their actions and break down why they make certain decisions.
Try to play each hero at least once
One of the biggest hurdles for me to overcome was understanding what all these different heroes did. With over 100 heroes it may seem daunting to try and play them all. But trust me nothing will help you understand what is going on during the game than knowing what all those spells flying around actually do. Some fun ways to do this already exist within the game including the All Hero Challenge, which requires you to go through and win 1 game on every hero. Once you have played each hero once or twice, check out Dotabuff to see statistics from all your games. You can look up your own statistics, or view things like the most common items picked up for different heroes to get some cool ideas. For me one of the biggest benefits was that I could use Dotabuff to track my learning progress. Seeing my stats slowly start to improve over time was a big incentive to keep on learning and practicing those new heroes.
Peach’s Pro Tip:
Playing a new hero? Use the Tortedelini in game guide to the hero.
This guide shows you recommended items and skills to choose for that hero.
Try and identify your own mistakes
This one helped me grow a lot. The DOTA 2 client has a great replay system that lets you watch a replay back seeing only your own vision, or only the enemy vision or the whole map. This may help you see why you died in certain circumstances or didn’t get a kill you thought you would; maybe they saw you with a ward or perhaps they sidestepped you in the trees. Perhaps you missed a critical ability in a teamfight, or got killed by someone right when your team was about to fight. Whatever it may be, understanding your mistakes will help you learn not to make those same mistakes again.
Watch Twitch streams of High Skilled Players
This one is good for learning good habits and understanding more advanced strategic/technical gameplay aspects. Watch their gameplay and think about why they made certain actions over other. Some are even interactive and if you ask the why they made a decision they may just give you an answer. Some pros who stream actually discuss their reasons for their choices as they play.
Some of the better examples of this are:
KheZu – High skilled pro player who used to play for Team Secret – https://www.twitch.tv/khezu
syndereN – High Skilled pro (lul) player and analyst – https://www.twitch.tv/synderen
Gorgc – High skilled pub(public) player – https://www.twitch.tv/gorgc
Finally, play play play!
The last tip I have is to play the game. Nothing is better than getting in there and just trying out things. Want to learn a new hero? Pick that hero and play it every game for 10 games till you get comfortable then move onto another one. Never played mid lane? Try playing a mid hero and go mid every game till you start to get better. In essence, take all the things you have watched or read and try them out.
My last tip for you is this. If you are new to the game and people start telling you that you suck or tell you to get better, just open up the team list, click the mute button and continue playing. You will have a much more enjoyable game and you can focus more on your play.
So what are you waiting for. Go git gud!
DOTA 2 is a complex and nuanced game, but there are a couple of principles that you can align yourself with to get better at anything. They are: learn from others; and review what you do. There are others of course, but these two will help you improve your skills immediately. It’s definitely not easy and you will also need to relax your ego for a while to let it all sink in, but with these principles in mind, below are some resources that I found useful for learning about of DOTA.
Learn from others:
D2bowie is a Youtuber who has an innate ability to breakdown the how pros play and also why they make the decisions they make. He’s created a large amount of videos and he covers a wide range of subjects.
Purge is a Youtuber and writer who has been around from the start and knows how to break the game down into sizeable chucks for you to understand. He will run through patch changes in great detail and provide context for the changes. He, like D2Bowie, covers a large range of subjects.
Erik Wright has a series which is called “The only way to play (hero). The videos are done is such a way that you will understand why his build is good and it’s also has a funny twist to it. Even if you don’t agree, you’ll still learn from him.
Read the DOTA 2 sub-reddit:
There’s always interesting articles and different points of view you can learn from, or just get a laugh from.
Watch other pro players but not with entertainment in mind:
Watch their gameplay and try and break down why they decided to do what they did at the time. I follow channels that post up different pro players games, for example ProDOTATV.
Review what you do:
Watch your replays and notice your own mistakes. Doing this helped me grow a lot as there were some hard truths I had to confront about my own gameplay and skills. Objectivity is your friend no matter how painful it is. Also look for good plays and how it worked, to see if you can replicate it again.
Dotabuff and gosu.ai or another site that collects stats are invaluable. I thought I was good at Bounty Hunter until I saw I had a 45% win rate with him. I only play him if it’s the best pick for the game now. Read through others guides on how to play and look for drafting strategies. Your draft will win games.
Most important of all, be friendly to your team and make the other team tilt. But don’t be nasty. Remember all games are recorded for the world to see.
Written by Adam “Bruce L33t” Lamotte and Michael “Peach” Peach