Released in 2013, DOTA 2 has become an instant hit in the MOBA genre with millions of players enjoying the game every month on Steam. The game has since seen a drop in player count over the years due to its stiff learning curve for new players but overall, DOTA 2 relies on its millions of faithful fans around the world to remain at the top spot.
It’s clear that DOTA 2 is no longer as popular as it used to be but Valve has been making progress in attracting new players to the fold. There are already many other modes that players can enjoy apart from the main game mode. There’s also an in-game wizard that can walk newbies through the game as they transition from fighting bots to real human players. The overall approach of Valve is to retain the lore of the classic DOTA 2 while at the same time ensuring that the game does not appear as overwhelming to newcomers.
DOTA 2 Review: What is DOTA 2?
Defense of the Ancients 2, better known as DOTA 2, is a popular free-to-play-game developed and published by Valve. It is a Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) game played by hundreds of thousands of people everyday around the world. DOTA 2 is a battle between two teams with each team having 5 players each. Each player has its own unique hero to use and these heroes gradually become powerful over the course of the match. The ultimate goal of the game is to destroy the opponent’s Ancient that’s located in the team’s home base.
The first team to destroy the enemy’s Ancient wins the game but DOTA 2 is also about managing heroes and balancing important aspects such as economic, strategic, and psychological rhythm of the game. In order to attain a team win, every player in the team must work together as one to decide what’s the best way to outplay the enemy team by making sure that they don’t snowball and become too powerful.
Every match is unique as each player encounters different scenarios as they try to play optimally for their team. Since no team can ever play optimally every time in every match, DOTA is about minimizing your team’s mistakes and punishing the enemy team for their own mistakes.
DOTA 2 Review: DOTA 2 History
The original Defense of the Ancients game, which was a derivative from Role-Playing Game World of Warcraft, was developed by Icefrog in the 2000s. The Defense of the Ancients mod is notorious for being an easy game to learn but overly difficult to master. Nevertheless, Valve decided to further enhance the game, thereby giving us the DOTA 2.
The current version of the game, DOTA 2, became available in 2013 although Valve released a beta version 2 years before that. Since then, Valve has been forever refining DOTA 2 with regular patches, updates, and additional heroes.
DOTA 2 Review: DOTA 2 Map
The basic layout of the DOTA 2 map has not changed ever since the original version of the game was released. It has two sides: Radiant and Dire. The Radiant part of the map is a picturesque paradise while the Dire part is where the bugs and other stuff resides.
The two teams will initially open the game battling in the top, middle, and bottom lanes. The part of the map in-between these lanes are called jungles and each lane has a set of towers that belong to both teams. These towers can attack enemy creeps as well as enemy heroes that come within its range. Towers closest to the river in the middle of the map are called Tier 1 towers and the next ones are called Tier 2 and Tier 3 respectively. The Ancient in the base are guarded by two more Tier 4 towers.
The initial goal of the team is to push their respective lanes by destroying enemy towers.
Valve has been making minor changes to the map of DOTA 2 over the years like the placement of the neutral creeps camp and Roshan Pit. The location of the jungle on its side of the river had also received minor tweaks but the overall design of the map remains the same as that of the original DOTA.
The DOTA 2 map also has other stuff like the spawning place for bounty and water runes and outposts. Each major update version can see changes to the location of these runes so there’s no definite way to say that the current locations will remain the same over the coming years.
Aside from rune locations and outposts, players can also access the two Base Shops to purchase certain items. You can either move closer to a Base Shop to buy an item, or let your courier do it for you.
Heroes in DOTA 2 can use a TP scroll or Town Portal scroll to teleport to a tower, Outpost, or Fountain. TPs can be purchased from the Fountain and needs channeling for a few moments to work. When teleporting, you want to ensure that there are no nearby enemy heroes that can stun you as that would cancel the channeling.
Overall, the personality intricate map offers countless opportunities for play creativity as well as strategy options for any team that can unite and communicate on the fly.
DOTA 2 as a free-to-play game
DOTA 2 is one of the greatest free-to-play-games ever created as it requires huge time investment to learn, but also offers other modes apart from the original mode for those who want to play casually. The game is incredibly exciting once you get the hang of it and the personality Intricate map is full of strategic possibilities for the battling teams to take advantage of.
DOTA 2 is not a pay-to-win game. Although the DOTA Store offers tons of fancy gear to buy, all of them are eye candy and can never boost the performance of any of the five heroes in a team. All heroes (and their unique abilities) are available for all other players to pick before the start of the game regardless whether they’re paying or non-paying players. Even if you’ve paid hundreds of dollars for cosmetic items for your hero, that would not affect the strategy and gameplay of your hero.
This is, in fact, one of the reasons why this particular free-to-play game remains on top of the MOBA genre long after it’s been released. Other MOBAs like World Of Warships are purely pay-to-win and may require financial investment in order to unlock higher levels, items, and other stuff.
DOTA 2 Review: Gameplay
Like any multiplayer game today, DOTA 2 offers a wild and exciting variety of play although the game is totally free. DOTA 2 is not just a game as it can become very competitive and excruciatingly long to master.
According to Steam, I’ve already played over 5000 hours of DOTA 2 and if you think that that’s enough to make me an exceptional player, you’re mistaken. I’m still terribly bad and I’m still one of the below average players based on MMR.
In its simplest level, every player wants to get as many gold and experiences as possible, depending on the role you play while at the same time dishing out as much damage to the enemy team as possible without risking too much. In the laning phase, you want to ensure that you’re ahead in both gold and experience so you can help the team more effectively later on.
On a grander scale, everything that you do as an individual player is supposed to help your team win. Just like in most games, the easiest way to secure a kill is to outnumber an enemy by going together as a team in fights. This works in both offense and defense. Sometimes, disengaging together as a team is a way of keeping the lead, especially if the terrain favors that of the opponents. At times, goading an enemy hero to attack a low-health teammate that’s fainting a retreat while the rest of the team circles behind the enemy is not uncommon.
DOTA 2’s gameplay is almost always unique for everyone in every match and no two games are exactly the same, even if you’re using the same hero. The importance of timing and positioning is just as important as hoarding gold and experiencing. Even a losing team in terms of gold and experience can surprise the entire enemy team, wipe out all heroes, and eventually reduce the enemy Ancient to smithereens in under a minute.
DOTA 2 Review: The three lanes in DOTA 2: Offlane, Safelane, Midlane
During the initial part of the game called laning phase, all heroes are expected to clash at their respective lanes. There are three lanes in DOTA 2 — top, middle, and bottom. The top lane on the map is the Radiant Offlane and Dire Safelane. The bottom lane is the Radiant Safelane and the Dire Offlane. Such an arrangement happens because the DOTA 2 map is asymmetrical.
The Safelane is called such because your team’s tier one tower is closer to where the creeps meet, hence, safer for your team Carry. The opposite is true for the Offlane — the creeps meet closer to the enemy tier 1 tower.
DOTA 2 Review: Heroes
When DOTA 2 was initially released in 2013, the game featured about 77 heroes. This number steadily increased over the years as Valve released new heroes. At the time of this writing, there are already 123 heroes in the DOTA 2 roster. This long list of player heroes for each and every game presents a unique challenge not just for new players but even for seasoned veterans with thousands of playing hours like me. While i’m familiar with most heroes at this time, i still can only play a handful of them with a certain level of confidence every time.
DOTA 2 heroes can either be ranged or melee type. They can also be categorized as Strength, Agility, or Intelligence heroes based on their primary attributes.
Strength heroes such as Spirit Breaker have “Strength” as their major characteristic, and each strength point gives health, health regeneration, and damage. As a result, these heroes are likely to take a lot of damage for their team as they have high survivability. They are intended to initiate fights and as they can lock down their opponents’ heroes while the rest of the team can focus their damage on another target.
The major attribute of Agility heroes is “Agility.” Each agility point grants additional agility heroes attack speed, armor, and damage. Agility heroes can fire off massive amounts of damage in a short period of time.These type heroes are initially weaker and require help from the team as they gradually become powerful.
Intelligence heroes have “Intelligence” as their major attribute. Each intelligence point provides additional mana, mana regeneration, and damage. Intelligence heroes do a lot of damage with their abilities and talents at the start of the game. They often serve as supports for agility heroes in farming the map and clearing space for them.
DOTA 2 Roles
Just like other team games, everyone in a DOTA 2 team has to play a role. There are 5 roles to play here: Carry (also known as Position one), Mid (also known as Position two), Offlaner (also known as Position three), Support (also known as Position four), and Hard Support (also known as Position five). The role you choose determines the lane you play initially, the items to buy, and the tasks that you must do throughout the game.
For example, if you chose Position one, you will have to play in the bottom lane (if you’re from Radiant team) or at the top lane (if you’re from the Dire team). A Carry hero is expected to farm high-damage items and has the first choice of the prime farming locations throughout the map.
If you’re a mid hero, you are expected to level up ahead of your team because of high experience so you must ensure that you help your team by exerting pressure on other lanes early on.
An Offlane hero usually picks a Strength hero type, or a hero with eary escape skill. An offlaner is expected to initiate fights and to take damage so its item build is usually focused on getting high HP regeneration and high survivability items.
A Position four hero or Support must know how to team up with an offlaner to pressure the enemy carry in the lane, as well as do other things across the map such as stack neutral camps, secure runes, roam and help teammates in need, or help the team on teamfights.
The last role or Position five must know how to keep the team carry safe in the lane. The Hard Support is usually the last one to earn gold among the team and must ensure that there’s good visibility across the map by purchasing wards.
Is DOTA 2 worth playing in 2022?
DOTA 2 has an intimidating reputation as having a very stiff learning curve but it remains to be one of the most popular games around the world almost a decade after it’s been officially launched. DOTA 2 player ranks has a vast majority oasts of highly experienced players as a fan base it has trouble attracting new players because of its difficulty to master. Despite this, the game has remained consistent as the number two most played online game on Steam behind Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Most players can quickly join matches around the world in all regions although there’s a downward trend in trend of new players joining the game since the past few years.
While DOTA 2 can be tough for new players, it can also become very rewarding once you start getting the hang of it. This has always been how DOTA 2 was and will always be in the future.
How to fix common DOTA 2 issues?
DOTA 2’s rise in popularity among millions of faithful fans is a testament to how well-built the game is. For most people, DOTA 2 is stable and works the majority of the time. However, just like any other game, it’s not perfect and from time to time, certain issues may surface that affects a significant number of people. Below are the known common issues that we’ve compiled for years and the solutions on how to fix each one.
DOTA 2 crashing when pressing the Start Game button
If the game suddenly crashes when you click on the Start button, you’ll need to change the Launch Options in the Steam client to fix it. Here’s what you need to do:
- Close the DOTA 2 game.
- Go to the Steam client.
- Select Library.
- Right click on DOTA 2.
- Select Properties.
- Under the General tab, go to Launch Options and type in -nod3d9ex.
- Launch DOTA 2 and check for the problem.
DOTA 2 crashing while waiting for a match in the matchmaking queue
Some people may experience DOTA 2 crashing issue while waiting for a match to start. Fortunately, this issue can be fixed quite easily by changing the screen aspect ratio under the in-game graphics settings. Here’s what you need to do about it:
- Open DOTA 2.
- Click on the Settings icon at the upper left.
- Select the Video tab.
- Under the Resolution section, select Use advanced settings.
- Change the Aspect ratio and check which of the three options work for you.
DOTA 2 connection issues
These are the common connection issues in DOTA 2:
- Lag or frame drops due to internet connection problems,
- random disconnection when game is underway,
- being unable to connect to the DOTA 2 network at launch, or repeated DOTA 2 game coordinator error.
If you’re experiencing any or all of the difficulties listed above, there might be a server problem, the game files are damaged, or your DOTA 2 connection is disconnecting or failing to connect to the servers due to a problem with your home internet.
These are the solutions that you can do to fix any DOTA 2 connection problem:
- Restart DOTA 2 and Steam client.
- Verify the DOTA 2 server status.
- Troubleshoot your network equipment.
- Check for interference from other programs.
- Improve your internet connection by using a direct Ethernet connection to the router.
- Improve the download and upload speed of your home internet.
- Get help from your Internet Service Provider.
DOTA 2 ‘Incomplete Installation’ error
The ‘Incomplete Installation’ error usually shows up when trying to open DOTA 2 after installing it. There can be several causes for this problem including but not limited to the following:
- Steam server outage or maintenance.
- Home internet connection not working
- Slow internet connection
- Firewall issues
- Third party app interference
- Virus or malware
If the error keeps showing up when launching DOTA 2, check out this article on how to fix it.
DOTA 2 won’t install via Steam
Like other games, DOTA 2 may sometimes fail to download the installation files for some reason. If you can’t seem to install DOTA 2 at this time, here are the potential solutions that you can try:
- Disconnect Proxy or VPN.
- Ensure that your PC has the correct Date and Time.
- Use another Download region in the Steam client.
- Find and delete the corrupted localconfig.vdf file in the C:Program Files/userdata/your accountID/config folder.
DOTA 2 won’t launch
If DOTA 2 is not starting up when you hit the PLAY button on Steam client, these are the solutions that you can try:
- Ensure that DOTA 2 is updated.
- Check if Dota 2 is already running.
- Repair the game cache or game file.
- Update the graphics driver.
- Change the Steam launch option for Dota 2.
- Close other apps.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Is DOTA 2 dying?
At the time of this writing, DOTA 2 is still very popular although it has recently slid down to the third spot behind Lost Ark and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive in the Steam’s list of most played online games.
While the number of those playing DOTA 2 have shrunk slightly compared to the years past, the game has continued to retain its faithful following of millions of players and its most popular tournament, The International, has been quite successful over the years.
- Is DOTA 2 hard to play?
DOTA 2 is an easy game to play but mastering is a totally different topic altogether. If you want to play casually with friends without aspiring to attain a certain level of competency or MMR, then DOTA 2 can really be fun. However, if you really want to get good at this game, you need to put in thousands of hours of studying and playing the art of DOTA 2.
- How many items are there in DOTA 2?
As of May 2022, there are already 123 heroes and over 228 items in DOTA 2. These items include the stuff that you can buy in the Fountain, Secret Shop, Roshan Drops, Upgrades, and Neutral Drops.
The number of both the heroes and items can still potentially grow in the future so there’s no definite number that we can accurately provide. Keep in mind that some items may also be removed from the current list.
- What is the hardest hero in DOTA 2?
One of the interesting aspects of DOTA 2 is its huge pool of heroes. There’s only a handful of other game that has more or more or less the same number in the MOBA genre.
By far, there’s an almost unanimous consensus among new and seasoned DOTA 2 players that the hardest hero to master is Invoker, with its awesome collection of 10 skills.
For some people though, playing Meepo requires more skill and mechanical prowess than Invoker. Meepo can have up to 5 units that you must manage almost at the same time to be effective. If you’re slow in keeping track of each of these units, you’ll likely end up “feeding” the enemy team more often.
- Who is the strongest DOTA 2 hero?
There’s a long list of strong and popular heroes in DOTA 2. In this quick FAQ, we’ll say that Magnus excels in both strength and popularity. As an initiator, Magnus is a perfect pick with its Reverse Polarity skill. Only a good enough team can consistently kill an initiating Magnus but on top of that, this hero is also an excellent lane pusher with his Cleave skill.