Hello, humans! Dota 2 is semi-officially released! While that's exciting for a lot of us already-dota-players, it also means that there are going to be more of you League players taking a peek over to Dota 2 to see what all the fuss is about. This thread's whole purpose in life is for anyone with relevant information on the subject of how LoL players can ease their way into playing DotA! Hopefully we can keep it civil and sane, and while not all information will be transplanted directly into this OP (I -do- believe there's such a thing as too much information!) no information that would be welcome on TL anyways is unwelcome here.
Other Helpful Guides:
- None yet! (?)
Relevant (past) discussions:
Fair warning : Don't accidentally necropost! Feel free to link to the discussions if you want to talk about them!
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Feel free to message me if there's a thread you'd like to see up here.
--REPEAT WARNING-- This is a buffet of information. Please do not eat it all at once. You WILL get a stomach ache.
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My League / DotA street cred
- League ~1300 games at ~55% winrate, did not play ranked, but unranked elo was ~1400 when you could look it up manually
- DotA ~550 games at ~50% winrate.
So I'm bad, but a happy average level of bad.
- League ~1300 games at ~55% winrate, did not play ranked, but unranked elo was ~1400 when you could look it up manually
- DotA ~550 games at ~50% winrate.
So I'm bad, but a happy average level of bad.
Table of Contents:
II. The Similarities
II.a, The Heroes
II.b, The Map
II.c, The Resources
II.d, The Matchmaking
II.e, The Goal
III. The Differences
III a, The Courier
III b, The Teleport Scroll
III c, The Lane Control
III d, The Items
III e, The Roles
III f, The Mechanics
III g, The Things You Don't Know Kill You
IV. DotA is exciting.
V. COOL AWESOME LET'S LAUNCH INTO A PUB!
V a, Glhf!
V b, The value of bot games
VI. Bot games are fun! We crushed their solo Jakiro ^_________________^
VI a, Introduction.
VI b, History of League lanes
VI c, Lane Control
VI d, Timings.
VII. 14/2/18 EARTHSHAKER FUCK YEAH
VII a, Congrats!
VII b, Helpful resources to keep building.
If you're hoping to launch into a game, pick a ranged AD carry, go bottom, and succeed... you might be in for a bit of a surprise. While there are a TON of similar elements in Dota and League, the way the two different games play out are comparable, but not at all the same. As a sort of introduction to Dota, we're going to take a look at what some of these differences are, using what we understand of League to come to understand some of Dota.
II. The Similarities
II a, The Heroes
In Dota, Champions are Heroes. I'm going to call them Heroes, because that's what they've always been called in Dota. On a basic level, they're not so different than League's Champions. They've got health, mana, attack damage, attack speeds... they've (usually) got QWER spells that do various things, they level up, (usually) get their ultimate abilities at 6, 11, and 16 and generally try kill each other, or massacre creeps, as much as possible. Which is awesome.
The way Heroes are understood in Dota is a bit different than they'd be categorized in League. I'll talk more about roles later, but what's important here is to understand the three different stat groups, and what exactly an “int” hero is, as compared to an “agi” one.
Int is a stat. For every point in int, ANY hero gains 13 mana and 0.04 mana regen per second. For a hero designated an “int” hero, it gives that, plus one point in attack damage. It doesn't mean you're an AP carry, it doesn't mean you're a support. It means you're an int hero, and you get +1 damage for your intel points.
Str is a stat. For every point in str, ANY hero gains 19 health and 0.03 health regen per second. For a hero designated a “str” hero, it gives that, plus one point in attack damage. It doesn't mean you're a tank, it doesn't mean you're a bruiser. It means you're a str hero, and you get +1 damage for your str points.
Agi is a stat. For every point in agi, ANY hero gains 1 attack speed, and 7 points gets you one more armour. For a hero designated “agi”, it gives that, plus one point in attack damage. This means you're a carry, because you'll note you're getting TWO damage stats per point in agi, and that's IMBA IMBA IMBA IMBA IMBA. + Show Spoiler +
Not really. Nyx assassin is a hero I go into detail with later on, and he's an agi hero and clearly not a carry.
My point here, sufficiently overexpressed, is that if you're looking to categorize heroes into “this is a support. This is a carry. This is a tank.”, you're going to confuse yourself a lot more than you are going to help yourself, early on. While it is true that there are heroes that only really work in a specific role, I find that most heroes are like Tristana. You know how Tristana does a hilarious amount of magic damage early game (I mean, explosive shot does 110 + reduced regen damage at rank 1!) and starts transitioning into a full AD carry role somewhere in the midgame? (or just goes AP CARRY TRIST GOGOGOGO) Dota heroes are often like that. They start out as something, but have options in the midgame and can choose whether they want to farm / gank / roam / pressure / push based on what else they've got on their team, and what the team needs. So maybe Tristana isn't the best example, because she's still regarded as a carry no matter what... but the point is to not think of heroes as roles, but keep thinking of the heroes as the heroes.
One important ending note for this segment that I can't sneak in here smoothly is that mana is actually a resource. League of Legends is ridiculously spammy as compared to Dota. Certain heroes in Dota literally have to itemize so that they can cast their spell at level 1 twice in a row, and even then they'll probably be regenerating mana at a rate somewhere near 1.0 mana per second (with costs of ~110 mana) means that they're oom for an age. In Dota, spells and mana use generally needs to be carefully considered. Haphazard use is a waste of resources that is more evident than it is in LoL, and takes longer to itemize against.
Oh, and magic damage doesn't usually scale. There is no AP; if a spell does an amount of damage, it does that amount of damage. Barring items such as Aghanim's Scepter or a Veil of Discord, most magic damage spells will scale solely by level. To balance this, there is no direct "Magic Resistance". Every hero has a base "magic resist" of at least 25%, but certain heroes have either skills to increase this or just start with a higher base value. There are also items that can increase this percentage value, but they are small in number and quite situational in use.
AND you lose gold on death. But not all your gold, and not some set number of gold, but "just" your unreliable gold. What this means to your average player (Like ME!) is that you should buy things before you die (and you can buy most things from anywhere on the map... they'll go to your stash and you can grab them later!) so that when you die you lose less, if any, gold. If you care to look up the difference between reliable and unreliable gold, head on over to our friend www.dota2wiki.com and give it a search :D
One last thing. Heroes can buy back. It's effectively a purchasable revive summoner, complete with 6 minute cooldown, and with a cost that scales upwards both on hero level and game time. The option to buyback can be seen on the right side of your HP bar when you're dead, complete with a displayed gold cost that changes colour based on whether or not you can afford it. Buying back is sweeeet.
II.b, The Map
League's map, as it was presumably based off of WC3 Dota's map, is very similar, but slightly different in a lot of important ways. While the basic layout is the same in that it has three lanes populated with three towers per lane, capped off with ranged and melee barracks (the Dota equivalent to inhibitors, except barracks don't respawn), and also a woods / jungle populated with neutral camps, the values and positioning of these resources aren't the same as they are in League, and the differences amount to fairly significant gameplay changes.
To start, top and bottom are not created equal. In League, the primary difference between top and bottom lane is their proximity to their respective jungle buffs, and dragon. In DotA, the Dire (Northeast) side's top lane has the creep wave meet very close to the friendly tower, and the creep (minion) wave passes right by some netural jungle camps. This is the Dire's easy lane, as the lane can be controlled through stacking and pulling jungle camps (more on this later), and the gank paths in a well-controlled lane are easily warded and watched. Often, what this means is that you'll be wanting to put a hero that needs farm and requires some support to get it in this lane, and the support will help control the lane, while protecting the farmer.
The opposite lane, logically, is the hard lane. It is hard for the same reasons the easy lane is easy... because the enemy will be trying to control the lane, pulling their neutral camps into the creep wave and controlling the flow of the lane to deny as much experience to their jungle (and subsequently get the neutral creeps' experience for themselves) as they can... meaning that heroes on a hard lane that was controlled well by their opponents will get little in the ways of experience or gold... unless they take action against this. Again, more on stacking and pulling later
As for the jungle itself, both Dire and Radiant sides of the map have the same creep camps (two medium camps, two large camps, one small camp and one ancient camp), but the layout for the opposing sides is not mirrored, and is different because of it. The differences that result from this are, for the most part, minor... but it is worth noting that there are a few differences.
Shops are also in different locations, and not every item can be bought from a single shop. There are three types of shops in a Dota map. One is the fountain shop (Hey, when I played Dota 1 vs bots waay back in the day it used to be like 6 different shops in the fountain. Goddamn was that confusing), and you can generally buy pretty much everything from the fountain shop from anywhere on the map, including -almost- everything you'd find in the side shops and any recipe in the game. The second is the “secret” shop, and there is one of these in the woods next to the ancient camp on both dire and radiant side. Between the secret shop and the fountain shop, you can buy any item in the game... but there's a third shop, the side shop, that is there to keep lanes active and reserve most courier use for the midlane. The side shops have a wealth of small items that are typically most effective while laning, and can be purchased there for convenience (provided you can get in and out of the side shop safely)
Lastly, “random” runes are a map resource, kinda like League's red & blue jungle buffs. These runes spawn in the river inbetween top and middle, or bottom and middle lanes. They spawn every two minutes, starting at 0:00 game time, randomly at top or bottom lane, with the only restrictions being that they will not spawn the same rune twice in a row, and it will not spawn a new rune if the last rune was not yet taken. The runes that can spawn are haste, double damage, regeneration, invisibility, illusion, and if you wanna know exactly what they do, I suggest looking it up :D
P.S. Roshan is an anagram for Nashor (Roshan is older ) and he drops an Aegis on his first death, which is an item a hero can pick up that functions exactly like a Guardian Angel, except gives them full health and mana on revival. On his third and every death thereafter, he also drops a cheese, which is an item that heals 2500 health and mana upon use. He also gives the team global gold on death. He's a pretty good guy to kill.
II c, The Resources
League of legends is like Starcraft 2 and Dota in that it is, essentially, a game of resources. In League, resources can be listed as Gold, Experience, Map control, Neutral Buffs, and Inventory Space. In Dota, the resources are (more or less) exactly the same, but the range of heroes available in Dota lends itself to a more concise focus of these resources.
That sounds really convoluted, but is actually quite simple. Twisted Fate is an example of a hero with an ultimate that is extremely reliant on map control. If you were to remove the prescient sight of Destiny, and leave TF free to teleport wherever he chooses but uncertain where the enemy heroes were, he would quite probably be teleporting into a countergank half the time he used his ult. Without the map control that allows TF to use Destiny safely, his ultimate could actually be considered a liability to him to use offensively, and thereby not very good.
In Dota, there are a lot of heroes that need specific resources to perform their job well. Luna, for example, is a hero that scales very well with experience up until a point, and the sooner she can hit key levels, the more effective she can be in certain situations. However, she is also a hero with an attack damage steroid, and as such is very well suited to proceeding into the lategame looking like she just robbed a bank, then went to a knife store and bought the -everything-
Night Stalker, however, is a hero that is an annoyingly powerful ganker at night, and benefits immensely from any map vision his team can provide of his soon-to-be victims. Spirit Breaker is another ganker that can charge at hilarious speeds toward any enemy unit he has vision of, and again benefits from map vision so he can pick his ganks safely. Both of these heroes are using experience and map control to deprive the enemy team of gold and experience, either through outright killing them, or just keeping them honest.
On the subject of map vision – There's one resource I forgot to mention in Dota... and that's shop items with timers. Observer wards are bought in stacks of 2 for 150 gold, and take 6 minutes for the shop to restock. You can't just buy as many wards as you want and place them wherever... you'll run out of stock if you place too many wards too fast! Gem of True Sight (League – Oracle's Elixir)and Smoke (Makes allied units in a large area invisible) are the two other items that have restock timers.
II d, The Matchmaking
There is a matchmaking system in Dota 2. Like League's matchmaking system, it is 100% the reason you'll ever lose any game, and this is purely because Valve / Riot / Blizzard / EA is a stupid company full of stupid feeders. + Show Spoiler +
seriously, what I mean by this is that you'll be matched against people of your skill level, just like League would. If you're -600 elo, you'll get matched with people around your skill level, and you can complain so hard that you bring elo hell over with you to Dota :D
II e, The Goal
Kill the fuckin' Nexus (Dota - Ancient). Nuff said.
There! That's one section! Like I said, there's a whole lot of obvious similarities between League and Dota, but it is -very- important to note the subtle differences even in these similarities, because they're a huuuuuge part of what will slow you down in trying to understand Dota from a League perspective. And while I know it sounds backwards, the similarities between the game will probably be the harder parts to understand. The differences are far more dramatic and obvious, and while they're brand new... that's kind of a blessing, because there's only understanding them for what they are, and not trying to make them something they aren't.
Let's take a look at them.
III. The Differences
III a, The Courier
The courier is AWESOME. Seriously. While I'm not one to pick apart the negative aspects of a game, one of my LEAST favorite things about League is how much time you spend inactive during the laning phase. Way ahead? Skunking your opponent in CS, sitting on a fat pile of gold and ready to go back to base to pick up items to ASSERT YOUR FUCKING MANLINESS ALL OVER THIS LANE?
Cool, good. Press b. Wait 8 seconds.
Great, now you're in base. Navigate through the shop, buy your items. Got 'em? Sweet, only took 6 seconds. Not bad.
Now walk. Walk your sorry, shameful ass out to your lane. Don't worry! You only missed like a creep wave and a half and left your support in an awkward position where he has to play super cautious because he's all alone! But it was worth it, because you spent ~40 seconds doing nothing so you could spend the gold you farmed so well.
Now, let's compare to the Dota equivalent.
Way ahead? Csing like a king and on track for a battlefury timing that'd make even Burning shit his pants?
BUY THAT SHIT. (You can buy items from the fountain shop at any time in Dota. It then sits safely in your stash in base where noone can take it from you. If it can't be bought from the fountain shop, it can likely be bought from the side shop. If it can't be bought from the side shop, you can send the courier to the secret shop, and then get the courier to buy it for you)
BOOM, BOUGHT. TOOK 0.5 SECONDS. How? In Dota, you can load items from the shop into a “quick buy” window that is always on the main screen, and even assign a hotkey to “quick buy” so you don't even have to click things. As always, they'll go into your stash in the fountain.
ITEMS IN STASH. DRAGONITE, I CHOOSE YOU to be my courier because goddamn I need those items but I'll be damned if I slow down my battlefury timing to teleport my sorry ass to base to pick them up. The courier comes in two forms. The first form is the land courier, which is a really slow, really fragile walking courier. It has 6 item slots and costs 150 gold. For 220 gold, it can be upgraded to a flying courier, which also has 6 item slots, but moves a lot faster, can fly over trees and cliffs, has more health, and has an active speedboost ability that makes it go even faster still. Also, you can buy cosmetic items that change the look of your courier (outside of the game, in the steam shop!), which potentially increases either cuteness or badassitude stats by a few hundred percent.
GOT ITEMS, NAILED IT. Only took 20 seconds, and I didn't have to leave lane for a moment. Courier? High five.
III b, The Teleport Scroll
A teleport scroll is the single best item in the game. It buys you precious time in lane, allows you to surprise buttsex countergank on a towerdive, respond to enemy pushes or counterpushes, gtfo safely from the ultimate danger, and is the number one dropped item for people about to pick up an Aegis. The importance of a teleport scroll shouldn't be hard to understand. It is exactly as significant as it would be in League if every hero could purchase a charge of the summoner spell “teleport” for 135 gold. Except you can only teleport to / near friendly buildings with a teleport scroll, and not to friendly units (that's Boots of Travel, which are another story entirely)
Teleport scrolls are -huge-, and they make the game what it is. Without it, a great many things would be imba imba imba.
III c, Lane Control
Lane control in Dota isn't at all the same as lane control in League. While the idea of controlling the lane is the same, the methods of doing so are quite a lot different, hence its inclusion in the “differences” section of this guide.
To start, let's talk about the well-known one. Denying. When an allied creep is below 50% health, you can hit it with your attacks. If you successfully last hit one of your own creeps (deny!), the enemy will receive reduced experience in addition to not getting the gold bounty the lasthit would otherwise give. Because you can attack your own creeps if they're below 50% health, you can impact the rate at which your wave receives damage, and thereby control the speed at which it pushes or doesn't push. This sounds super imba, but most games at an average level won't have much more than 50 denies across the whole game from all ten heroes combined. It is much easier to last-hit your own creeps than it is to deny your opponents', so while it is a powerful tool it won't make you win or lose games outright, unless you're way better or worse than your opponent.
Creep blocking, on the other hand, is the act of running back and forth or stopping in front of your creeps in an effort to slow their progress. This can be done to pull the point that the waves meet into the range of your tower (causing their creeps to die faster and yours to push) or to hold back the melee creeps in an effort to have the ranged one lead the pack... which will have it targeted by the enemy creeps first, and as it does the most damage, will mean the enemy wave will deal more damage to, and push against your lane.
Stacking and pulling go hand-in-hand, and are again methods of controlling how the lane pushes. It's only possible on the “easy lanes” of either side, and the principles are simple. Waves of creeps spawn every 30 seconds, and if at X:16 or X:46 you aggro the neutral camp and drag them into your creep wave, your creeps will chase the neutral camp back to their spawn, and do ferocious battle with them.
Stacking is manipulating the system so that multiple spawns of creeps exist in the same spawn. In League, this would look like having 6 wolves in the wolf camp, or 6 wraiths in the wraith camp... Of course, it doesn't work like that in League, but in Dota neutral camps spawn every minute on the minute PROVIDED THERE IS NOTHING IN THE SPAWN AREA. The goal, then, is to piss the neutral creeps off at about the 53rd second of a given minute, and run away from the spawn. This will cause a second spawning of creeps in the camp, which... is good, apparently. Here's why!
If you pull a single camp of neutrals into your creep wave, it will do glorious battle, and despite the valiant efforts of the neutral monsters, the creep wave -will- win, and will celebrate their victory by returning to the lane and marching towards the enemy tower. What this usually means is that the enemy creep wave, while yours was fighting neutral camps, was walking up and trying to tickle your tower to death as it rained glowing arcane balls of massacre all over their stupid hats. So they died, and your creep wave did not, and now it is joining the next creep wave and pushing towards the enemy tower. This is called SINGLE PULLING, and SINGLE PULLING PUSHES THE LANE.
If you pull a double camp (or through pull, where you pull a completely different (but nearby) neutral camp into your already-pulled creep wave. This is much harder than stacking.), the double camp will win the fight, leaving no survivors and effectively resetting the lane to where the creep waves will meet nice and close to your tower. Which is nice, if your lanemate was hoping to farm safely. It also has the added bonus of killing your allied lane creeps presumably out of experience range of your enemies, denying them experience as well as gold. Double-pulling is good and prevents your lane from pushing, but it can take some gamesense to do it safely.
The counter to pulling is wards (“wardblocking”... and not the fucking cool drop-a-ward-in-front-of-a-skillshot you used to be able to do in League). Because a creep camp will not spawn if there is an object inside the spawn area, an enemy hero can stand inside the spawn area on the minute to prevent a stack, or they can buy and place a ward inside the spawn area, preventing any creeps from spawning, and thereby preventing pulls.
The counter, of course, to wardblocking is counterwarding, but I'm terrible and haven't yet figured out how to counterward neutral camps efficiently, so I just resort to whining that the enemy wardblocked, and mope about the lane poking at allied creeps below 50% health. I know you CAN counterward, I'm just really really bad at guessing where the ward is, and most of the time end up accidentally wardblocking myself, which puts me in the frustrating situation where I can see the ward that's blocking the camp, but can't actually attack it because it is my own.
III d, The Items
Zhonya's hourglass is a good League item with a good active. It lets you render yourself invulnerable (albiet immobile and unable to act) for a period of time, which is situationally a very good thing. It costs 3200 gold or somesuch and is generally regarded as a lategame luxury item (I think?). Eul's Scepter of Divinity is a comparable item. What it does is lets you throw either yourself or an enemy target into the air for 2.5 seconds from range, rendering the target invulnerable and immobile for the duration. This is an impressive spell to add to your arsenal, and Eul's is largely considered a midgame support's item. So in League, an expensive lategame AP carry item has an active that could easily be considered inferior to a fairly normal midgame item in Dota. This is not intended as a comparison to make League look bad, but as a comparison to set the tone for what to expect from Dota items, and how dramatic the active abilities on Dota items can be.
And, I mean, I haven't even mentioned the friggin' laser-stick you can buy, or the item that lets you turn people into a sheep that moves really really slowly and can't cast or attack, or the mana-burning equivalent to Hextech Gunblade that also has an active that slows the enemy down to 100 movespeed for a bit.
Nevermind the Refresher Orb, which lets you use your ultimate or any other spell again (which, on heroes such as Tidehunter, who has an AoE ult that even puts Amumu's to shame, is a hilariously big deal)
Dota items are often abilities. They're things that you reach towards that can be as impactful as when your hero first hit level 6. They become an enormous part of the power of your hero, and not just because they provide you with stats, but because they provide you with the ability to go invisible, or give you a slow when you didn't have one, or increase the potency of all your spells, or make your ultimate even more ultimate. They demand a response. They are impactful and significant and dramatically alter what your hero is capable of. A hero without items is powerful. A hero with items is a god.
Know that, understand that, and start on your journey of learning what the items in Dota can do, and why it's awesome that you get to use them to stomp the enemy nerds in the squishy parts.
III e, The Roles
League has 5 distinct roles that can be seen in virtually every game. There's the Carry, Support, Jungle, AP carry, and Top. While it isn't -exactly- fair to say that these are actually their roles (A jungler does jungle, but he also performs other services for his team, such as ganking, warding, initiating etc based on what he.. champion is jungling) for the most part this is how every League player understands the game of League. In fact, these five roles are listed in exactly those names on a popular LoL stat website.
Dota does NOT have a similar system. They have a system, yes, but it is nowhere near as concise or consistent as League's for a number of reasons. One reason is that heroes tend to be a lot more volatile and versatile in Dota than they are in League, and this is accented further by items in Dota being more volatile and versatile than they are in League. So while you might have a hero that thrives in a “position 1 (League - carry)” role in one game, they might also be successful in a “position 3 (League – jungler that makes things happen midgame)” role, if given a different lane or different circumstances.
So there is no bible of Dota hero roles, but you can get an idea of what your team wants to do as a team, and the system Dota players will use is one of farm priority.
The system is simple. A “position 1” hero has the highest farm priority. They're a hero that typically isn't impactful until they've got an arsenal of weapons, and will typically need a lot of space made in order to get the farm they need to matter lategame. The penultimate example of a “position 1” hero is Anti-Mage, as he is a hero with several skills that keep him very safe and extremely hard to pin down (like... old shaco style impossible to catch), combined with absurd farming ability in the midgame, provided he was given enough space in the early game to build the momentum he'd need to keep the farm train rollin'. If you have a position 1 hero or intend to play a hero as a position 1 in your lineup, there quite usually isn't much space for another one.
A position 2 hero is one that farms towards timings, and then exploits those timings. They usually need a lot of farm and benefit from resources provided to them by the lower positions (usually map control, smokes, rune control etc), and while a position 1 will happily farm until he's 6 slotted, a position 2 is more likely to build items of immediate impact (items that carry CC effects or that help them gank) and seek to use those items to slow down the enemy's resource incomes. A fine example of a hero in a position 2 role is the Queen of Pain.
A position 3 hero is largely a utility hero. They need some farm, but tend towards supportive items, like the Dota equivalent to league's Shurelya's Reverie or Aegis of the Legion. Often, these items also come with timings, but a position 3 hero's role is generally to do things that allow the higher priority farmers to perform their roles more effectively (This doesn't exclusively mean babysitting. Often this means pushing other lanes, pressuring elsewhere on the map, forcing 5 man fights etc). Dark seer is a hero that fits well into a position 3 role, as he has the tools to farm early and get the supportive item he needs, and has a skillset that lends itself well to midgame ganks, teamfights and skirmishes, which will help his team through the midgame or leave space for his position 1 to keep farming safely.
A position 4 hero is a position 3 hero that would have had to take farm from a higher priority farmer in order to get much for gold, and will likely not get much for farm unless they gank and gank successfully. Often the position 4 role is one of a suicide initiator, who will “rush” a blink dagger (Note – because this is a timing, and quite often a potent one, it -is- possible to have a hero play as a higher priority farming role until they get a blink dagger, as it drastically improves their effectiveness. After they hit their timing, they will drop to a lower farm priority and instead use their timing to impact the resource gain of the enemy team). A position 4 hero is also partially on “ward bitch” duty, and can participate in warding / dewarding / upgrading courier in situations where the position 5 can't. Tidehunter is a fine example of a position 4. He “requires” a blink dagger eventually, but he's got a fine skillset for early game mayhem and is naturally beefy, so he doesn't need much for items to matter to his team.
A position 5 hero is the ward bitch. I usually play the ward bitch. They're quite similar to League's supports in that they're usually not taking CS from lane and are celebrated for any item they do manage to build, because it means they're making something out of nothing... which is something the higher positions can't understand. They're really dumb, and don't know how to do the actual important things in the game like ward and stack/pull camps, control the lanes, make space for allies to farm, point out ganks, help control the runes, disrupt and deny the enemy, and everything else useful. Position 5, despite being the ward bitch, is -FUN-. The first 15 minutes of the game are YOURS, and you have such an impact in those first 15 minutes that it almost makes the fact that you spend most of the rest of the game trying not to be food worth it. Crystal Maiden is my favorite position 5. You can go the entire game with brown boots, filling up the other slots with a wand, dust, both types of wards, and a tp scroll and... well, be totally screwed if anyone looks at you sideways, but position carefully enough that someone coming for you is a huge risk on their part.
So those are the five understood positions in Dota. They're a loose guide at best for two reasons. One is that farming priority can change based on timings (That Tidehunter getting his blink is reason enough to put him in position 3 until he gets it), and that you don't need one of each position in your games to do well. You CAN run two position 1 heroes, or have two position 4s, two position 2s and a position 1 in a lineup, or no position 1 at all if you've got a lineup that intends to push like a demon early and carry that momentum to victory. You can also run Queen of Pain as a position 3, or Tidehunter as a position 2, or Nyx assassin as a position 5... it's all variable, and it all depends on what you want to do. For most of us, this means trying and being wrong a couple times so we can learn that Outworld Devourer makes a shitty position 5, or that running a lineup entirely of position 3-4s is horribly inefficient in terms of resource gain, unless your enemies don't clue in to the incoming gank train after the first fourteen times.
III f, The Mechanics
Dota is mechanically a LOT different than League, to the point where even if you ignored every single ability of every hero, each hero would still feel completely different than the next. Don't believe me? Go into Dota 2 right now. Fire up a game with noone else in it. Pick Lina. Try to last-hit.
WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT? Let's go to the Lina Inverse school of chuckin' fireballs.
Step one : Dance. This takes 0.75 seconds, and is what she'll do every time as her ritual of preparation for chuckin' a fireball. At the end of this 0.75 seconds is when the fireball actually leaves her fingertips, and this segment of dance, in Dota terms, is called the “attack point”. Every hero has one of these, and it's the time for the animation to play and reach the point where the projectile (N/A in the case of melee attacks! In their case, it's the point of contact) leaves the hero and becomes its own entity.
Step two : Dance 2 : The winddown. This celebration of being a fireball chucker takes ever so slightly longer than the dance that chucked the fireball. It takes 0.78 seconds, and boasts the feat of being WHOLLY AND COMPLETELY UNNECESSARY. And you can cancel it by performing any other action, such as walking somewhere. But if you don't cancel it, Lina will happily spend her time winding down from her dance and not repositioning, or doing something else useful. In Dota terms, this is called the “attack backswing”.
Step three: Watch the fireball fly. Lina's projectile flies at a speed of 900 units per second, which is a little faster than double your average movespeed. She has an attack range of 635, so using a little math we can figure out that, at max range, the time between actually right clicking the target and the projectile hitting it is
(sec emailing NASA)
like one and a half seconds. To compare, Caitlyn of League's attack point isn't even noted (she has one, but they're typically so short and consistent in LoL that they aren't even mentioned) and the whole process feels like it takes less than half a second. This is one of the BIGGEST REASONS it can be WAY HARDER TO LAST HIT in DOTA than it is in League... despite damage values actually being fairly close.
Two notes to close out attack animations : One, thankfully the attack point and attack backswing animations scale by increased attack speed, so if your attack speed says you can chuck one fireball a second, your attack points and attack backswings scale so that will actually happen and you don't have to micro your balls off cancelling your backswings to actually hit your optimal attack speed.
Second, the values for various heroes are a large part of the heroes themselves, and not all heroes are doomed to lina-levels of impossible last hits. For example, Sniper is a hero with an attack point of only 0.17, and a missile speed of 3000... so he's only got a tiny fraction of a second between right clicking and actually hitting the target, meaning he doesn't need a degree in physics to collect CS.
...Do you still have Dota running? Still got Lina active? Sweet, I've got more things to show you.
Stick a point into “Dragon Slave”, her Q. Cast that spell somewhere far away from you. There are two things I want you to notice. One is that, like autoattacks, there is a “cast point” animation that plays before she actually casts the spell, and second, the spell travelled muuuch further than where you clicked on the ground. This happens a lot in DotA, and is definitely worthy of note: The cast range of a spell is not necessarily the distance the spell can travel. In Lina's case, Dragon Slave has a cast range of 800, but the wave of fire it releases travels 1225 units... so if a unit is running away from you and is more than 800 units away from you, Lina once again pulls her physics degree off the shelf, pops open a calculator, and figures out that if dragon slave moves at 1000 units per second and her target is 835 units away, moving tangentially to the angle of her cast direction at a speed of 375 units per second, then the right choice was to press the hotkey that lets you talk over the microphone, shout “YOLO”, and cast Dragon Slave on the ground something less than 800 units in front of you, because math is hard and NASA are jerks that don't answer important emails.
That almost wraps up our section on mechanics, but there's one more important thing to mention. Go back to your lina. Right click the minimap straight north of you, and as soon as you're moving, press S (to stop). You'll be facing directly north... or more probably not, but what's important is that I want you to cast a spell directly opposite the direction your hero is facing, and see what happens. It'll be quick, but you should notice that your hero will first turn to face the direction you intend to cast the spell, and only when they're actually facing that direction will they begin their cast point animation. Dota heroes have turning speeds, and this is yet another variable that adds small pieces of time for your hero to do what you want it to do in Dota 2. (So the time between lina right-clicking an enemy unit 635 units away from and 180 degrees behind her and the projectile actually hitting the target is somewhere around 1.6 seconds. Ow.)
III g, The Things You Don't Know Kill You.
One of my biggest criticisms of Dota in the times that I didn't play it is that very often what you don't know kills you. Bloodseeker is my prime example of this, and his ultimate is an infamous example of Riot's “burden of knowledge”. It's an ult that you cast on a hero, makes a scary noise and is immediately followed by bloodseeker running at you with clear intent to kill. What do you do? Run the fuck away! Except you're bleeding profusely, and are taking damage for every unit you move, so running isn't really an option. But now you're hurt already, half dead, and can't manfight the angry bloodseeker because he'll just effing kill you... so you're going to die because you didn't know what his ult did and even if you figured it out halfway, you're still dead because you weren't prepared.
But now you can be prepared, and you now carry a teleport scroll with you and when he comes out and ruptures you HUEHUEHUE and teleport away. Then you ask “Worth it?” In all chat, because otherwise people won't know you're a badass.
But you died the first time because you didn't know, and in DotA, that can happen a LOT. It can be frustrating, but don't get frustrated, because there's a flaw in Riot's theory and I think time has proven it to be a flaw. Being on the other side of that coin, and killing people because they don't know is friggin' FUN.
You've played chess before, yeah? Ever been playing a game of chess and your opponent is looking all smug and is like “I'M ONE MOVE FROM A CHECKMATE” and then you're like “LOL NOPE” and you do that weird fucking thing where your rook backflips over your king, doe-si-does around a pawn and they somehow end up reversing positions, provided there was no knight in the way or some strange-ass other restriction? THAT FEELS GOOD. It's an odd rule, it's completely inconsistent with the rest of the game, but it is a part of the game, it is legit, and if you know how and when you can do it, it feels -good- to do it.
So there are a tontontonton of things in DotA right now that you just don't know. A whole plethora of gimmicks and tricks and silly things that you are only powerless against the first time you see them, but after that first time you see them they are added to YOUR arsenal of tricks, and you can counterplay against them or use them to your own advantage. Fool you once, shame on you. Fool you twice? Not gonna happen! You now know that a Pudge (League – Blitzcrank... sort of) can hook you out of a eul's scepter (League – Zhonya's) for absolutely no apparent reason, so you position against it this game, then play pudge next game and tell one of your supports to grab a euls scepter to set you up some free kills!
Don't get frustrated, laugh them off, learn from them, and use them for yourself some other game. Trust me, they're awesome.
IV. Dota is exciting.
I played League for a long time. I played long enough ago to have played AD carry mid when it was standard (gogo LoL hipster status!), but also played AP carry mid, ADC bot, Jungle while Olaf was king of the jungle, and support because I knew what a good support looked like. I got to a point, though, that a lot of League players get to. Half my games were exactly twenty minutes long, some of those depressing onesided stomps where my 0/8 mid heimerdinger is constructing a population sign in our fountain, or others pentakill cockblocks where I'm 50cs and 3 kills ahead, but deprived the rest of my game because my opponents are allowed to opt out of their punishment for poor play. Sometimes, we'd flirt with 25 minute games, where it wasn't -really- solidified until we lost that last teamfight and a tower in the process. About one in ten games was actually a nailbitingly close game where I could try predict the outcome after 15 minutes of play, but do so with no confidence whatsoever. Those games were awesome.
Dota has its shit games too. The difference here is... well, we just finished talking about the differences. There is no surrender (we didn't talk about that), and the potentially extreme power of Dota heroes means that there is quite possibly a single hero on your team that you originally didn't expect to win you the game, but now four members of your team are nailbitinly huddled at your tier 3 towers to defend against their incoming push while your hero Furion with a shadowblade safely pushes their top lane. Or when your top barracks are down, but your position 5 is stacking the ancient camp while the other three heroes act as mobile wards for your position 1 ultracarry medusa farms bottom lane and jungle in an effort to collect a Divine Rapier to add to her Linkin's sphere, Satanic, and Manta style so you can win one final teamfight and go base 'em.
It's exciting, and what makes it exciting is that as long as your allies can communicate and are willing to cooperate, NO game is lost. You don't get the feeling you will in League where you're playing support and you discover that your ADC actually has the lasthitting skills of a sack of dead rodents... you know, that sinking feeling where you hang your head in shame and type “Surrender at 20” in all chat, because you -know- that there's no accounting for incompetence on the part of your carry?
In Dota, if that happens, you just start fucking taking farm, announce to your team that your Antimage is actually the worst at farming, tell him to play cautiously, farm the jungle and do not build farming items because the game will NOT last the 2 hours it would take him to get 6 slotted. Basically, you promote yourself from a position 5 to a position 3, demote him from a position 1 to a position 3, and carry on with life. OBVIOUSLY be VERY VERY SURE you know what the fuck you're talking about, because demoting an antimage to position 3 is kinda like telling your ADC to build warmogs in League... except slightly more viable. That said, I've literally had a game where I, as the position 5 Crystal Maiden only pulling and stacking at appropriate times and otherwise babysitting an AntiMage, accidentally outfarmed the AntiMage 61 CS to 58 in a 32 minute game. That's -brutal-.
So there's always something you can be doing in Dota, and if you lose, it is because there were things you could have been doing, but did not do, EVEN in cases where your mid feeds 3 kills inside 12 minutes. Dota is fascinating, and a game isn't lost until your buildings are dead.
V. COOL AWESOME LET'S LAUNCH INTO A PUB!
Go for it! I won't stop you! I'll be here when you get back.
Have fun? If so, awesome! Did you spend the whole entire game confused, unsure what to do, staring at the shop and dying because of it? Trying to figure out how to operate the courier, and instead sending it to do one-on-one combat with Roshan? When I first played DotA, it was WC3 DotA, I was still a teenager, and I played bot games like I was going to win something for it. If you pubbed right away and it felt bad, I strongly recommend you start with bot games.
Grab some of your friends (or find new ones in the appropriate TL threads!) and play a small handful of games versus bots. Become familiar with item names / shop layout / courier use / last hitting, and start to develop an understanding of the hero pool. While it is a certain level of badass to just vault straight into matchmaking games, it is as unrealistic to do that and expect to succeed in Dota as it is in League. There's simply too much you don't know, and you don't do yourself any favours trying to learn stuff about the shop, items, heroes, lanes, jungle, and everything while you also have the pressure from your random allies to perform well. Bots are tough guys, there's no shame in losing to them.
VI. Bot games are fun! We crushed their solo Jakiro ^_________________^
VI a, Glhf!
Good! Awesome! Keep playing 'em... but when you get the hunger for a greater challenge, here's some things you should think about.
VI b, A History of League Lanes.
Over the years, I got to participate in the development and evolution of the lanes of League of Legends. When I started playing, putting a ranged AD carry mid was the thing to do. Ranged AD was recognized as a very powerful and impactful role, so putting it in the middle lane (with the shortest distance to the tower) meant that it was relatively safe, but also a place where the AD carry could collect both gold and experience... two resources that it could use to great effect to swing the game in their team's favour. This made sense and was good... until the advent of jungling, where there was potential for a constant element of pressure on mid lane. Suddenly, it wasn't safe anymore to put heroes like ashe or sivir on the mid lane, because while they were kind of safe with the short distances, they were shrouded on both sides by darkness, and couldn't afford to return to the base to grab themselves wards frequently, and weren't equipped well enough to evade ganks consistently. Eventually, they became somewhat of a liability in the mid lane, unable to protect themselves adequately without sacrificing some of the resources they were put there to get in the first place.
So people started figuring out that if you gave the AD carry a dedicated support and sent the both of them bottom, the AD carry could get the farm it -really- needed, while still getting enough experience... and the support they were with usually scaled well enough with experience to not need gold, and could provide wards and other support to save the AD carry time and money. The role of AD carry became one that put value of gold over experience in favour of an overarching game strategy that has them farming for as long as possible, and collecting enough items to carry in the late game. Supports became the tool to help them get there, and were successful enough without items to maintain relevance in the late game, despite getting no farm. Bottom lane, then, became a lane about an optimization of resources.
But this left mid lane open for the taking, and if the AD carry wasn't going to do it, then what? People quickly came to realize that AP-based heroes often had skillsets that were a bit more defensive than that of an ADC, and they actually needed -experience- more than they needed gold. These things, plus a bit of experimentation, meant that certain AP heroes could step into the mid lane and farm safely, using the experience gain and roaming advantage of a solo mid lane to impact the midgame, hopefully pressuring bottom lane or the enemy jungle to deny or contest the enemy's resources. Mid lane, too, became about an optimization of resources, and also, like jungling, an experiment in using pressure to deny the opponent their resources.
The jungle, while already established, went through some turmoil. For a while, I'd see strange heroes trying to jungle (Karthus comes to mind, as does Morgana) and presumably take advantage of the gold, experience and jungle buffs available, but they never seemed to work out, and at the time I couldn't understand why. Eventually, though, the metagame settled on what now is obviously the role of the jungle; as much as it is their role to get the neutral resources, it is their job to control the neutral buffs (which are resources!) and use them as they determine best to pressure the enemy team... be that giving blue buff to the friendly mid to advantage them in lane, or grabbing red and pressuring bottom, forcing them to b (or killing them) to deny experience and gold. In the end, jungler became a role that was about an optimization of resources.
I never played top so uff that shiz. But its probably an optimization of resources too. Ufck top.
ANYWAYS Dota is the same. Actually, not at all the same, but the core concept is the same. In a game of Dota, you want to work towards getting as much experience and gold and runes and what have you for your team as humanly possible, while denying / pressuring / contesting as many resources of the enemy as humanly possible. So just like in League, putting two heroes that both want to farm in a lane is an inefficient expenditure of resources (slow and late item timings are bad item timings!), as is putting a single hero in a lane they are unsafe in, and putting two heroes that don't need gold in a lane where they're not just killing the shit out of the enemy hero in that lane that presumably does need gold. What heroes can go where is something you'll learn with time (I'm 500 games in and still haven't figured it out completely!), and while I wouldn't expect anyone to worry about it too much, it is what you need to be thinking about whenever you have a hero, and intend to head to a lane.
P.S. Kill lanes (You remember kill lanes, don't you? Blitz Taric? Blitz Leona? J4 and Zilean?) are soooooooooooooo fun in Dota, and probably just win you the game sometimes.
VI c, Timings.
In League, you have “we can do Dragon now” timings, and “our carry just finished a big item, let's push” timings. While there are similar timings in DotA, often the timings are just as often on the play of the individual rather than the play of the team. In League, your goal in laning is generally to farm as much as you can until your whole team has a timing or anti-timing where you need to push / defend a tower or lane, or contest dragon, or something else team-related. Because of the broad range of “roles” in DotA, and the huge list of items and their effects (and this is where Riot's philosophy against “Burden of Knowledge” comes from) there are a great many timings that you need to be aware of. I'll provide just one example.
Nyx Assassin is a melee caster + Show Spoiler +
hero, with a skillset that lends himself to assassinations. His Q (Impale) is a nuke that does decent damage and stuns units in a line in front of him. His W (Mana Burn) drains mana, effectively removing a percentage (sort of) of the hero's mana pool and dealing damage equivalent to that burned (so, in burden of knowledge terms, if you don't avoid building intel-heavy items when a Nyx is on the field, his W will hit you harder). His E (Spiked Carapace) negates and returns 100% of the damage of the next attack (from every source), and stuns the target, and his R (Vendetta) provides him with 20 seconds of invisibility, bonus movement speed, and hefty bonus damage applied to any melee strike he uses from invis (attacking, using items or casting spells breaks invis).
ganker manadrain burst nuke stun invis agility snowballing early-to- midgame anti-intel
Q → Nuke and AoE stun
W → Stat-scaling nuke and mana burn
E → Defensive skill, multi-target stun
R → Invis, Nuke
If that's the first DotA hero you've ever read the skills of, and you're coming from League, you're probably going “oh good god, this hero is broken as hell!”... well, that's partly true. Nyx Assassin has been a top pick/ban in competitive play, and is one of the stronger heroes in the game right now. That said, his spells are relatively in line with what other heroes can provide (For example, Shadow Shaman can provide 8.25 seconds of constant disable to a single target) and what's important is that though his skillset is strong, DotA is balanced through counterplay, and you are not helpless against a Nyx Assassin as long as you understand his TIMINGS.
Nyx' first significant timing is level 6. He gets Vendetta, raises his potential burst by 250 and allows him to go invisible and get right next to an unsuspecting target, where he might blow his load all over them so hard that they die. Making a mental note of Nyx' level 6 timing is important, as he'll be looking to gank at this time, so playing defensively until you know it is safe or you know he can't do his combo (It costs 375 mana for Nyx to Vendetta, rank 2 impale and rank 2 mana burn at level 6. If he doesn't have 375 mana and can't get 375 mana (via bottle or lucky regen rune etc) then you're safe.). If you deny him easy kills, he won't be able to snowball, will hit his item timings slower (as a melee hero without much for ways to clear a creep wave, he cant' farm that well and will fall behind if he can't kill heroes) and... well, not fade to obscurity, but not get to the point where no individual hero feels safe alone.
If you forgot to hide under a tower, next to an ally, or have adequate warding, Nyx might hit an item timing. He can go one of several roads, but there are two common item timings on Nyx that I'll touch on.
One is a Dagon. Dagon 1 is an item that provides some stats, and an active nuke that does 400 magic damage. What this means is if you were once durable enough to survive his burst and just walk away from the bug to clean off the load he just blew on you, you probably aren't durable enough anymore. As Nyx is countered by people not dying, him adding another nuke to his arsenal broadens the timing where he is a threat to any individual hero on the map, and pulls some naturally beefy heroes into the range of heroes he can 100-0.
Another is a Blink Dagger. Blink Dagger is an item that provides no stats, costs 2150 gold (League equivalent value might be a BF sword or somesuch) but lets you blink 1200 units (read – like the whole screen. Double the range of pre-season 1 flash and keep the projectile breaking, and you're about there.) instantly in any direction on a 12 second cooldown. This is the item a Nyx would get if he's still doing well, but the enemy team has been trying to run around as 5 heroes to protect themselves from the Nyx (Like buffalo! Stupid buffalo) and the Nyx wants to initiate teamfights anyways for his team (which presumably is capable of or good at teamfighting), so he'll blink in to your team, hit as many people as he possibly can with impale, mana burn a priority intel target, then activate spiked carapace and trololo as any of the now-unstunned targets that decide to hit the bug get stunned -again- and cry tears of great sadness.
He might also vendetta after carapace runs out so that he's invisible, and can chase down any fleeing target with the bonus movespeed and deathspike them down before they get away.
But I digress (...and want to go play a game as Nyx, now...)! Those are just some examples of timings, either exp – related or gold – related, that are very worth paying attention to and help develop the mindset you need to start learning DotA. Pay attention to what certain heroes buy and what you can do to prevent that from being an effective choice (sometimes this means delaying the hero from hitting their timing, rather than taking action after they hit their timing!) and you can start building your knowledge database and using your understanding of the enemy's heroes against them!
VII. 14/2/18 EARTHSHAKER FUCK YEAH
Congrats! You're now the hero of Dota, and echo SLAMmed on the enemy so hard that they actually complained in all chat that this game doesn't have a forfeit option. Feels good, doesn't it?
I just wanna end by saying thanks for two things. One, thanks for giving Dota a try. Seriously. I don't think there's a compelling argument on either side for League or Dota being a better game, but I do know that Dota absolutely FASCINATES me, and the thought that I got to help introduce someone new to the game almost brings me to the point of squee-ing like an anime schoolgirl (manliness note – I don't watch anime, and also do not know how to squee). The other is thanks for reading this, because it is WHAT THE FUCK categories of long, and took me quite some time to put together.
Lastly, you're going to have questions about dota and will need information on what the fuck just happened. If you're looking for info, I can strongly recommend http://www.dota2wiki.com as a very helpful resource, or failing that, head on over to http://www.teamliquid.net/forum/viewmessage.php?topic_id=255901 and drop your question in there.
Or hit up http://www.teamliquid.net/forum/viewmessage.php?topic_id=422947 if you're looking for some more hands-on guidance and practice!
P.S. If you have any questions / comments / feedback / things that need to be added to the guide, please feel free to PM me. I'm more than happy to make this guide a community effort.
Speaking of which, thanks to firebolt145 for the feedback