Dota 2 is one of those games that's hard to put into words. Even among MOBAs, which is a genre composed of notoriously difficult titles, Dota 2 stands as one of the most challenging games to learn how to play, especially for complete beginners.
This high learning curve is often blamed for Dota 2's lack of general appeal and popularity. At least, when compared to mobile MOBAs, as well as its main competitor, League of Legends.
With that said, Dota 2 isn't exactly impossible to learn.
Case in point, beginners can start with so-called "beginner heroes" that don't make use of too many complicated mechanics, and that will allow them to focus less on the little things and more about understanding how to play Dota 2.
Of course, it also helps a lot if you have someone to help you out, even if it's just a couple of tips.
Dota 2 Tips for Beginners
With Dota 2 expected to receive an influx of new and returning players when DOTA: Dragon's Blood premieres on March 25, we've decided to round up 7 important Dota 2 tips for beginners that are especially relevant this 2021.
Be mindful of the “delays” in Dota 2
Technically, these aren't delays. Rather, these are simply animation times, and are carried over from the Defense of the Ancients mod for Warcraft 3. Instead of transitioning immediately to either walking or turning around, in Dota 2, there's a slight delay that's unique to every hero.
In Dota 2, spells that have no "cast points" are very rare. A good example of this is Rubick, whose ultimate skill "Spell Steal" lets him use an enemy hero's skill but with the added benefit of having no cast points.
On that note, post-cast time and animations in Dota 2 are mostly fluff and you can order your character to move after you've finished casting the spell. This way, you don't have to complete the entire animation anymore.
It'll take a while for you to get used to these intentional delays, so be mindful of them.
Don’t tilt, don’t flame, and don’t give up
If there's one trend among MOBAs that Dota 2 tends to buck, it's that every game in Dota 2 is winnable.
Unlike in other MOBAs where, when a team all but secures absolute victory by gaining the upper hand, there's no such thing in Dota 2.
There've been numerous times, even in games among professional Dota 2 teams, wherein the win probability of a team was less than 5% and they still ended up winning the game.
Prioritize securing objectives over kills
Always remember that a game of Dota 2 ends when you've destroyed the enemy Ancient - not when you've killed the entire team.
For this very reason, you must put priority over securing objectives in Dota 2. This can come in many forms. The most common of which is Towers and other Structures. However, other more subtle objectives are Runes, Outposts, Roshan, Ancient-type neutral camps, and so much more.
However, of all these objectives, the one thing that stands out the most are still the Towers.
You see, whenever you take out a Tower of an enemy team, they lose control over that part of the map.
Case in point, if an enemy player in that part of the map gets ganked, their allies will have to teleport from a far-away tower, drastically affecting how much time they'll have to respond. As a result, the fewer Towers a team has, the safer they'll have to play.
Always pay attention to the time and the map
There's never a dull moment in Dota 2. It doesn't matter what position it is that you are playing, you're always going to have something to do.
For example, if you are playing as a Support, you'll have to keep an eye out on Neutral camps, which respawn every 60 seconds. You can use the timer to keep an eye on when you'll need to stack Neutral camps so that your allied Carry heroes can farm faster and more efficiently.
Speaking of playing as a support, there are techniques in Dota 2 like pulling Creeps that work best if you know when to time it right.
Other important timings to keep an eye out on in Dota 2 include the Day & Night cycle (the map gets darker when it's night), Roshan (spawns every 8 to 11 minutes after dying), Bounties and Catapults (spawns every 5 minutes) and so forth.
There are even proper timings for when a particular hero should be able to reach a specific level or buy an item.
It's quite easy to get lost when there's so much going on in Dota 2. However, it also means that there's always something to do at any given moment.
Don’t stick to playing a certain hero in Dota 2
Another MOBA trend that Dota 2 has bucked over the years is the idea of "mains".
Usually, most players have a main character that they play most if not all the time in a MOBA. However, in Dota 2, mains very rarely exist. The only notable exceptions are when we're talking about some of the most complicated heroes in the game like Earth Spirit, Invoker, Arc Warden, and Meepo, which some players are exceptionally good at.
Because of this, we recommend that you try to learn to play as many heroes in Dota 2 as possible.
Of course, you're free to favor one hero or a handful of them. However, if you find yourself having difficulty playing against a particular hero, then why not try your hands at playing that hero instead?
Having a wide repertoire of playable heroes will allow you to learn more about how a certain hero works, why one hero is weak against another, as well as expose you to ways that you can counter certain heroes once you do play against them.
Communicate effectively and as needed
Communication is key if you want to win more often than you lose in Dota 2.
Luckily, Dota 2 makes coordinating with other players easier via its "Ping" system. This system allows players to let other players know everything from whether an enemy was spotted in a particular area, or if an enemy is missing from the map, and so forth, just from a single click of a button.
Just make sure that you don't overdo it with your communication. Otherwise, you'll end up being more annoying than helpful.
Watch pro games and play with better players
The best way to improve in Dota 2 is to study it. You can do this by watching footage from professional players, especially in a professional setting. Also, playing with other players that are better than you is a sure-fire way to expose you to just how much of a skill gap exists between players at your level and those in higher rankings.
If possible, take advantage of the "Coaching" system in Dota 2 and have someone jump into your games to help point out where you're going wrong, your most common mistakes, and how to fix your shortcomings.
Don’t forget to enjoy the game
The competitive nature of Dota 2 can make it tempting to vent out all of your anger towards your teammates and be toxic.
Don't do that.
Toxicity and being overly competitive can put unnecessary pressure on you and your teammates.
Although a little bit of passion and positive thinking never hurt anybody, it's best to focus on enjoying the game instead of when playing Dota 2 and try to understand that, just like in life, things will improve in time.