Saturday, November 1, 2014

The Clueless Girlfriend's Guide on How to Play Dota 2

Disclaimer: You know what, I don't even know why I'm making this. Please do note that this list isn't exactly an official kind of list, but rather, a "based on experience" kind. I also cannot guarantee that this will work on everyone, but I do believe that it's worth a shot. 

They say that there's nothing like a girl who knows how to play a boy's game. 

Earlier last Saturday, I had a date with Vincent. I've argued with him the past week because I was on my period. (Please don't judge me. We argued about a lot of deep things.) Our ideas of dates have changed as years went by, and a few of the most recently-added ideas were eating Korean food and playing Dota 2 together. 

When did I even get involved into playing such a barbaric and gruesome kind of game? What happened to me? Well, it all started one afternoon at school... Nyanners, Regina and I were at our favorite hide-out, the little computer shop near our school. We decided to play Dota (Frozen Throne) as a joke, but what seemed like an innocent joke for all of us led to an irrevocable addiction, especially for me, since I've even gone so far as playing Dota 2.

My experience with playing with my boyfriend and the rest of our jolly troop led me to make this list-guide thing. It's not just for me, but also for the young ladies out there who want to take a dip into their beloved's hobby / way of life. So for starters, what exactly is Dota 2? 

(First off, you better get rid of that misconception that Dota is your rival for your dearest's affection. If you can't get rid of that, then you may as well quit this list right now.) 

According to Wikipedia, Dota 2 is a 2013 multiplayer online battle arena video game and the stand-alone sequel to the Defense of the Ancients (DotA) Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos and Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne mod and was developed by Valve Corporation. (Yes, the guys who made Counter Strike and the Left 4 Dead series.)

It's a free-to-play game, meaning that you don't have to pay for it, although there are some mechanics and items in the game that come with prices (and most of them are aesthetics, but I'm not gonna dwell on that). BUT I am telling you right now that YOU DON'T NEED money in this game. (Unless, of course, you can afford to bring out some cash.) And perhaps the only things you'll need are a stable computer and stable Internet connection.

Defense of the Ancients, as the name itself states, is a game where you, along with your four other teammates, have to defend your home base's "Ancient" from the opposing team. Likewise, they are also defending their own "Ancient", and to get to each base, you will have to break or destroy the layers of towers which are riddled on the map.

So with all of that said, let's get down to business!
  1. If you've played Frozen Throne, then consider yourself educated - Dota 2 doesn't stem far from Frozen Throne's gameplay, (and expect it to be a super-duper awesome upgrade of the game) and if you have a little know-how on Frozen Throne, you can map your way and carry yourself much better than those who haven't had their hand at it. Ah, but what if I haven't played Frozen Throne and he asked me to play Dota 2? Ah, well I'd consider reading up a little about the game, since that's exactly what I did for starters. And for starters, you're gonna have to make a Steam account, which is pretty much like Facebook but less face and more game.
  2. Study a little terminology - I was very curious when I first played Dota 2. My church mates Jet and Jeriel coached me on my very first try and they uttered words that made no sense to me, but was like song lyrics to them. When you start playing, you're bound to hear words like carry, jungle, support, strength, agility, intelligence, mana, push, hp, gg, lol, hihihi, etc. Look them up! For example, my understanding of what a carry is that they're the hero who leads the team to victory, mainly because of how they utilize their power. You don't have to take those words to heart, and I don't think it's a bad idea to know a little game terminology, unless you want to be the last one who knows what gg is. (One thing though, don't ever offer to be a carry, unless you want to be laughed at by your teammates... but if you think you're skilled enough to hold them off, then why're you even reading this in the first place?)
  3. Know your hero class!...ification? (Hero Attributes) - When you choose a hero, it's best to know what class they are. And yes, it is perfectly fine to choose a female hero. Yes, go ahead and choose Crystal Maiden because you think she's pretty, but you should know what kind of hero she is and what she's capable of! Whenever I play Dota, whether Frozen Throne or Dota 2, I always choose Doom. (Yes, I can see you. You're giving me this face. ಠ_ಠ) Again, if you've played Frozen Throne, and you have your favorite hero, it's not a bad idea to use them when you play Dota 2. Doom is a Strength hero, meaning that he has more health and damage compared to others. Aside from that, he's also a melee hero, meaning that he deals damage to opponents using his mighty sword. Take note that there are more than a hundred heroes to choose from, and there's one out there that will stick to you like glue! Now here's a little rundown:

  4. Know your items! - Unfortunately, shopping for items in Dota 2 is not as fun as shopping for cute clothes. Shopping for items in Dota 2 requires a lot of careful thinking, as you need to see if the item you buy is well-fitting for your chosen hero. In Dota 2, there is a very helpful menu that suggests what items to buy for your chosen hero. Other Dota 2 players publish their "hero / item builds", which is basically a list of suggested and recommended items for a specific hero.
    • For example, my church mate Jet said that he published builds for Crystal Maiden and Meepo. Like always, I would highly recommend taking a look at the suggested items so that you won't waste your money, also considering that you have only 600 something-something starting money. (Though I have to admit that item builds is a weakness of mine, since I want to rush headlong into the first minutes of battle with a Vladimir's Offering. That's a big no-no since I got scolded for doing that once.) When in doubt, you can always ask your boyfriend or teammates for advice on what items to buy. They'll always suggest buying hp and mana regenerating items first.
    • Dota 2 is a co-op game, so there should be no room for selfishness. When buying items, also consider the effect it will give to your teammates. Whenever Vincent and I team up, I often complain about losing mana all the time, so he always tells me to buy Arcane Boots. Not only does it help me in battle, but it also aids my teammates who are in the same lane as I am. Don't worry, I'm sure that they won't suggest anything harmful, especially if you're on the same team and if you're aiming for victory!

      Let me gaaaaaank, let me dooooommmm
  5. Know your position! - Dota 2 has a massive range of heroes, each with their own unique strengths and weaknesses. Your role will depend on which hero you choose. For example, Doom is a strength hero, so he can either be a carry or a gank. (Though in my case, Doom is still pretty much a headless chicken, but in the hands of a skilled player, he's an excellent carry-ganker.) I suggest reading up on the basic hero roles while I give my own understanding of each: carries are powerhouse heroes and are often the leaders of the team. Supports are swift, all-around good guys who help the others in battle by being their healers, spell-casters and item buyers.
    Imma gank you, and you and you and you and you
  6. Study a little geography - Again, if you've played Frozen Throne, then the map will be a slight pinch for you. Dota 2's map has the same layout as the one in her predecessor, with the Dire "base" (or Scourge, whichever you're comfortable with) on the upper right corner of the map, and the Radiant "base" (or Sentinel) on the lower left corner of the map. Basically, the map is divided into three parts: the top lane, or top, the middle lane, or mid, and the bottom lane, or bottom. Each lane has three towers THAT WILL ATTACK YOU IF YOU GET TOO CLOSE. You'll need to break those towers to get to the opposite team's home base so that you can ransack and pillage their home base... Or you can just, you know, start breaking their "Ancient", since that's what you came for, right?

  7. Creeps are your best friends! - Dota creeps, that is. Creeps are the little people who walk with you when you charge into the battlefield. Though they're dispensable, there's no doubt that they're very helpful in battle, especially during the first crucial minutes of the game. They will help you attack opposing heroes and towers, often receiving the blows that are meant for you. As for me, whenever I play as Doom, I consider the opposite team's creeps as delicious, and, as Doom says, succulent little meals.
  8. On the other hand, Neutral Creeps are NOT your best friends - And why should they be, you little criminal? You attack them in their sleep and steal their money... Which isn't a bad idea if you want to level up and earn a little gold. On the minimap, they're seen as the little green triangles littered all over the place. They are harmless when you pass by them, but do note that THEY WILL ATTACK YOU WHEN YOU PROVOKE THEM.
Oh, it looks like you're battle-ready! But wait! Here are a few more reminders before you leave our base: 
  1. Don't argue with your teammates, or members of the opposite team! - I think this goes for everyone, actually. First off, remember that you don't know much about the game, and when you dive in for a matched game, take note that you'll be pitted against someone from the opposite side of the world. Just be polite, even if they're a massive douchebag.

  2. When in doubt, don't be afraid to ask for help - Though it may seem like you're pestering your boyfriend or your teammates, it is always a good idea to ask them for help if you don't know what to do. Vincent is kind enough to teach me what items are good for Doom. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, you know, but it's a sign of willingness to improve. Just be sure to take note of whatever your boyfriend or your teammates teach you so that you'll be of better help to them in the battlefield in the future.
  3. When they tell you to run, don't look back, JUST RUN! - Your teammates will look out for you when they can, and when they tell you to fall back, they mean it. It could be that you're still too brittle to battle the incoming hero, or you're too valuable for them to lose. Believe me, they will know what's best for everyone.

  4. Familiarize yourself with the hot keys - I got scolded one time by my church mates for not using the keyboard commands. Though it may take some time to master your hero key commands, what I can assure you is that it will be of great help to you in the long run, especially if you want to make playing games a regular activity.
  5. When playing in an Internet cafe, always make sure to log out all of your accounts! - ALWAYS.  If you're like Vincent and I, who have no good laptops to play Dota 2 on, we settle with playing in an Internet cafe... And while I'm at it, allow me to make a commercial...
For those in the Antipolo area, I highly recommend playing at Stadium RX. This Internet cafe just opened recently, and Vincent and I have been there twice now. The place is very classy, clean and cool. Yes, literally cool, because the place isn't cramped up like other net cafes and everyone has just the right leg room and space from each other. (One problem I do have with that place is their comfort room, which has no door knob. Things would be totally chill for me if, you know, I had a dick.) Other than that, I highly recommend the place, that is, if you're willing to shell out an extra P5.00 because they price their services at P20.00 per hour (because the average Internet cafe would charge only P15.00), which isn't bad, considering how cozy and comfy the atmosphere is. 

And there you go! Go make history, young lady! I salute you for trying something new! And believe it or not, your dearest will very much appreciate your efforts of trying to learn something that he loves. Don't worry about not being good enough on your first games. You'll gradually improve, and I'm sure that your boyfriend will be proud to have you in his team! 

(As for the experienced players, feel free to correct me if I said anything misleading. I wrote this piece very honestly and truthfully and of course I did my share of research. I really think that it can help young ladies like me who want to take part in their beloved's favorite game / hobby / way of life.) 

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