Dota 2 A-Z   Leave a comment

Abaddon to Zeus. This is totally still a thing!

I’ve been playing quite a bit of DOTA 2 over the last few months – in fact, it recently overtook AI War’s 91 hours to become my most played game on Steam. It’s a multiplayer game with two teams of five players each (exactly my sort of thing, right?) with a notorious lurning curve (I’m still quite a newbie after sixty-odd games and loads of botmatches, never mind all the YouTube I’ve watched about it) and an infamously hostile community (which is, happily, amazingly, innacurate! Mostly people in DOTA are quiet. Or Russian. But most of the rest are pleasant, and only a few are dicks).

One of the reasons for its learning curve is that each player picks a different hero from the pool of one hundred and seven. Each hero has different statistics, and a different set of (at least) four abilities. So that’s a lot to learn, even ignoring the 116 items of wildly different types that you might buy to put in your hero’s six inventory slots. If you like variety, DOTA’s your game.

Fortunately, the game has an extensive set of tutorials, and on top of that there are loads of guides in Steam and on YouTube. My favourites are Purge‘s “You Suck” guide and videos; “Purge Plays…” is great for finding out about a specific hero, and “Purge Casts a Pub” is both funny and lets you learn from others’ mistakes.

Anyway, prompted by the Crate & Crowbar forum, I thought an A-Z – going through all the heroes alphabetically, not progressing until you win with that hero – would be a good way to learn. Alas, they seem to have lost interest (and were going through them too quickly for me as I have to learn almost all the heroes from scratch, so rushing means I’m terrible and just relying on my team to win. Which is pretty miserable), so I’ll keep track of it here.

Hopefully I’ll get through one or two per week, and I’ll update this post when I do with a link to the victorious game on DOTABuff and an entirely personal and subjective rating of how much I enjoyed the hero.

Abaddon – Rating :/
When I played Abaddon I’d got 20 or so games under my belt, and I don’t think I had the game knowledge to use him well. Still, at least he’s hard to kill.

Alchemist – Rating :)
I went into this game expecting to play support, and wound up soloing the hard lane then going on a bit of a rampage. Recommended, would feed potions to ogres again.

Ancient Apparition – Rating :/
AA didn’t click, sadly. I didn’t feel I had the co-ordination or teamwork to use him effectively. Maybe when I’m a bit better.

Anti-Mage – Rating :(
Maybe it’s ‘cos I’m bad at farming, but A-M felt very underpowered. I even lost a one-on-one with an injured Witchdoctor.

Axe – Rating :/
I might have had more fun if I’d remembered to use his ultimate even once. Oops.

Bane – Rating :/
I’m sure I should like Bane, but I just couldn’t get his skills to be useful. Anyone I tried to kill just wandered off. Even with his ultimate, which ought to just make people dead. Oh well.

Batrider – Rating >:(
Ugh, my least favourite hero so far. This game I pretty much just got killed while my team won the match, and they probably would’ve done better had I abandoned at the start. Batrider has to get close to do anything useful, but dies very quickly. Pretty miserable.

Beastmaster – Rating :/
Didn’t get on terribly well with Beastmaster. Worked kinda OK as a support build, I guess, but doesn’t seem to have much to recommend him.

Bloodseeker – Rating :D
Bloodseeker runs around murdering everyone. He’s insanely fast, and his ultimate pretty much guarantees a kill because it hurts the target if they move. Lots of fun.

Bounty Hunter – Rating :)
Invisisble invisisble invisible ganky ganky gank ooh look money! For some reason I kept hitting T to track instead of R. T doesn’t do anything at all. I don’t know why I’d press it.

Brewmaster – Rating :(
Brewmaster’s the first hero to take me four attempts to beat, breaking an eleven-match winning streak. Oh well. He’s supposed to be hard to kill, but my scoresheets suggest otherwise. Not a fan.

Bristleback – Rating :)
Bristleback’s fun because he’s really hard to kill when he’s running away – and even fires spines at people shooting him in the back. As long as you get a bit of farm to start, it should be fine.
If you don’t, well, it might not be. (Lina in that game was being played by a friend, who’s very new. I was trying to help keep her alive, and didn’t do a good job of it.)

Broodmother – Rating :D
Broodmother’s my favourite hero. I suspect it’s because she doesn’t require much teamwork, almost turning DOTA into a solo game; you farm a bit, then find an empty lane and knock down their towers. Repeat until victory, run away if you face any resistance (and Brood’s very good at running away). As long as your allies are keeping the enemies busy, it’s all good.
I was a bit worried about her getting nerfed in the latest patch, but she’s still got it. 12/2/6, and a win in 24 minutes.

Centaur Warrunner – Rating :D
For some reason Centaur has hardly any guides, so I had to figure him out a bit by myself. Fortunately, he clicked quite nicely – he’s tanky, has an AoE stun, and can dish out a lot of damage and farm quickly with Double Edge. What’s not to like?

Chaos Knight – Rating :/
Considering how similar he seems to Centaur, it’s odd that I didn’t get on with Chaos Knight very well. Probably didn’t help that I was using a slightly odd guide for a while. Ah well.

Chen – Rating tentative :)
Chen is hard work. I can just about support, or jungle, or cope with minions, but with Chen you must do all of those things. And unlike Broodmother’s spiderlings, your controlled creeps have active abilites that are absolutely essential if you want to make best use of the hero, being your only source of AoE damage or disables. Oh, and you have to keep an eye on everyone else in your team so you know when to fire your ultimate. It’s quite stressful, even without teammates shouting at you because they don’t understand that you need to convert more creeps and that’s why you’re in the jungle and not where they think you should be.
But despite all that, I did enjoy him. Needs more than two games’ practice, though.

Clinkz – Rating :/
Clinkz would probably be a lot of fun if I could farm an Orchid in 15 minutes. Unfortunately I get there in more like half an hour (I am best at farming), which is exactly the problem I had when I tried to buy one on Broodmother. Note to self: come back when I am less rubbish. Fortunately, most players I’m matched against aren’t much less rubbish.

Clockwerk – Rating :)
Clockwerk’s fun because he jumps right into the thick of it, but – unlike many other initiators (it seems to me) – is quite hard to kill. If you get it wrong you can make a proper nuisance of yourself, though, and even help teammates get killed (sorry, Bounty). Careless cogging costs lives!

We apologise for the break. Between Dark Souls, having my kitchen rebuilt, and gubbins surrounding The International 4, I’ve played a fair bit of DOTA, a little of my A-Z, but not written it up at all. Normal service should resume…

Crystal Maiden – Rating :)
I like CM – a nice, solid support with a couple of good disables. And an ultimate that either gets me killed or gets cancelled because I forget it’s channeled. Only died four times here, though, so I probably didn’t press ‘R’ very often.

Dark Seer – Rating :)
Dark Seer’s cool because he can run around like a mad thing, and cause plenty of damage with Ion Shell whilst keeping well out of the way. I think I played this game with friends, but can’t remember it at all.

Dazzle – Rating :D
Dazzle’s a support, and therefore excellent. He’s a very supporty support, too – won’t get many kills, but will buff, debuff, heal and outright stop people from dying. Which makes him very popular. Which is cool, because as soon as I’d played him for this, my International Compendium demanded I win a game with him for the 10 Hero Challenge, too. Which was a lot better than having to play more Chaos Knight (especially as my eventual CK victory didn’t count for some reason, so I had to do it all again. Tempted to re-rate Chaos Knight as :(.).

Death Prophet – Rating :/
Death Prophet was a convenient 10 Hero Challenge entry, and this was a game won, somehow, very much despite our best efforts. I was expecting to like Death Prophet – pushing towers with her ultimate whenever nobody else is around seems right up my street – but really I just died and was pretty useless until the very late game. Fortunately, I was playing with friends so they didn’t insult my incompetence. Pretty much the same thing happened when I tried her again for the Daily Challenge, too. I am not one of life’s carries, I guess.

Disruptor – Rating probably :) with some practice
Disruptor has a couple of spells that take some practice and skill to use. I’ve played him once. It didn’t help that I seemed to be doing my best to get killed (it was a really laggy game for some reason /excuse), too. But I was a support, some of my deaths meant that a more important enemy got killed as well, and we won in the end (probably because Templar Assassin died four times then abandoned). So that was OK. He’ll go on the “Play More” list.

Doom – Rating :(
I didn’t get on with Doom. I felt pretty useless even in this match, where we utterly trounced our enemies. But at least I didn’t feed so that was a marked improvement over the previous two attempts.

Dragon Knight – Rating :)
I thought this game was going to go terribly at the beginning because I was laning with Keeper of the Light and he went on a spampage with his spells and autoattacks, so we were constantly under their tower and I got hardly any last hits. But it did scare Drow and Void away so they got even fewer (and probably not much XP either) and he kept my mana topped up. Then Ursa turned into Murderbear, I turned into a dragon and knocked down buildings, and we won in 25 minutes with a better than 2:1 gold advantage. I’m not sure it was a representative experience, but I do like turning into a dragon and knocking down buildings.

Drow Ranger – Rating :)
This was a fun game. Largely because Lich did an excellent job of supporting (wards everywhere, important with Riki and Clinkz knocking around). I think Lina joined in with that, and she was bossy enough to keep us organised, not so bossy as to be annoying, and did quite a lot of wizard-murder. Zeus helped with that too – in fact, everyone on the team did a good job. Even I managed pretty well despite going mid versus Viper, which is a hard time for anyone, but I think I came off best there. Drow starts off slowly, but once you hit level 6 starts becoming really powerful (unless somebody’s standing next to you) and last-hitting’s suddenly a doddle. Good times.

Earth Spirit – Rating :/
Imagine playing pool. Except instead of using a cue to hit the balls, you’re using somebody else’s belly. Or their telekenesis. And the coloured balls are trying to murder you. That’s a bit like playing Earth Spirit.
Which probably explains why he’s the lowest winrate hero in Dota.
At my (lack of) skill level Earth Spirit’s really not a good idea; plenty of other heroes can do some or most of what he can far, far more reliably, and often better. But his versatility and crazy skill ceiling make him peculiarly appealing despite all that.
Oh, I thought this game was going to be a complete steamroll, but somehow we dragged it out and turned it into a 70-minute comeback victory. By “somehow” I mean that Techies abandoned, which hurt their team more than my twenty deaths hurt ours.

Earthshaker – Rating :/
This was a game played with friends, who are better than I, against a team which was quite bad. So Noob murdered everyone as Phantom Assassin, and I supported and fed because Earthshaker is a melee strength hero and I’m really bad at those. But not bad enough! Thank goodness Earthshaker’s a support.

Elder Titan – Rating :/
This game was quite the unexpected win. I didn’t really figure out what Elder Titan’s supposed to do, so just fed (melee strength hero!), chased people around with his astral spirit, and bought a couple of wards. Oh, and I sniped a fleeing hero with ET’s skillshot ultimate once, that was fun.

Ember Spirit – Rating :)
I played this game with friends, and thought I’d done a good job of farming (I’d been constantly murdering creeps and had the most last hits!), until I realised I was way behind everyone else and that my Battlefury was going to turn up at about 35 minutes. I’m best at farming. But still, I like Ember Spirit, didn’t feed, and possibly felt more useful than I actually was. Didn’t hurt that Terrorblade abandoned, but I’ll take it.

Enchantress – Rating :)
This game went really well (13/6/9 woo!) despite the fact that I’m not very good at Enchantress – the micro ties me up in knots. But supporting and being able to throw a lot of healing at a good team (and killsteal with her ultimate, sorry guys) while not feeding made me feel pretty handy. Also, while the enemy team were mostly really good, their Antimage did not have a fun time and fed horribly. Felt kinda bad for him; we’ve all been there; but not bad enough to avoid murdering him at any opportunity. Fun hero, will sproing again.

Enigma – Rating :/
Two games in a row! And this was one of those “we’ve all been there” games. Well, my scoreline could have been worse, and I bought mekanism and wards and upgraded the courier and things, so I helped! Not sure how I only got 500 hero healing, but there we go. Fortunately the enemy team were good at ganking – but ours was good at actually winning the game. So I missed black holes and watched Enigma’s respawn counter while they did that.

Faceless Void – Rating :) kinda
I kinda like Void, but I’m also kinda terrible at farming and not getting killed, which is not ideal for a carry. This was my second attempt as him (after an epic “hey the entire enemy team is dead and only our Void is dead, let’s go push mid where we’re all standing! No, really, let’s hang around doing nothing much, maybe farm a bit” throw. Void and Witchdoctor (played by a friend in both games) are a fun combination – their ultimates synchronise and synergise (shudder) nicely.

Gyrocopter – Rating :/
This one was hard work. Gyrocopter is usually played as a carry, so that’s what I tried first, and it did not go well. So I changed tack: he’s occasionally used as a support, so I thought I’d give that a go – I carry wards, not games – and after a tough game with terrible network stutter meaning I was getting about one game update per second, I decided to push bottom by myself. And the enemy team ignored me until after I’d destroyed two towers and both barracks. It was the play that won us the game. And then the stats weren’t even tracked, so I couldn’t prove it’d happened. Two further games later (turns out support Death Prophet, support Enchantress and support Gyrocopter aren’t a good combination) another victory was snatched, with some relief (and slight frustration that our otherwise-excellent Invoker missed a heap of kills by not using Sunstrike – I’m turning into a backseat driver). After a rough start I almost began to like Gyro.

Huskar – Rating :D
Huskar leaps into the enemy with very little sense of self-preservation, and presses attacks that any sane person would flee, because he attacks faster and resists magic better the less health he has. We got on perfectly. He’s also one of the only heroes I’ve beaten hard bots with, and on the first attempt to boot. This game started really well; I was mid against Lion, who dies pretty easily; then flagged in the midgame because Bane (huge long disables), Phantom Assassin (evasion) and Axe (insta-kill on low health) can give poor old Huskar a bit of a nightmare. Literally in Bane’s case. But BKB helped me recover, and the MKB would have been really useful if we hadn’t already won at that point.

Next: Invoker. Sorry this hasn’t been updated for ages – I would’ve sworn I’d already written up Faceless. And the next update might be a while; Invoker is a bit like playing Magicka at the same time as Dota, so I’m going to need a bit of practice (and straight-up learning) before I can give him a go.

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Posted 2 March 2014 by Colthor in Games

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