So, you want to play dota 2!
Hello all! In this guide, I'm going to attempt to set you up with some skills you need to shave off about the first 8 hours of learning in Dota 2. This is a pretty big goal, but by learning some basics and playing a couple of games, you can have an understanding of what is going on without being insulted in many languages. The basic idea in this game is to fight your way to the other side of the map, and destroy the enemy's base, as they attempt to do the same. Helping you accomplish this are Creep, which you'll learn about in the tutorial.
If you just want to know what this game is about, try reading one of the most popular guides to the game.
Getting the Game
Of course, to play you need access to the game. It's officially released now, so you don't need an invite. If it's on your steam list, just hop in!
Firing up the Game
You've downloaded and installed the game. If you're reading this, I'd assume you're new to the game! You'll be dropped into a map-like interface. This is actually the tutorial screen, and it will guide you through some basics you need, like "last hitting" and using abilities. And then in later parts you will ramp up to some bot games. This guide assumes you completed this tutorial, so do that first!
I'd suggest playing a game or two against passive bots just so you can get your bearings on controlling a hero, and how to use items and abilities, or doing 100% of the tutorial first. Really, it's a solid intoduction.
Starting your First Game, the Picking Phase
This part needs some work, as I lost my original copy. I tried to sum up my belief on picking, but this could be made more specific. Pretty much, there are 100+ heroes in this game. Interaction between them is the key part of the design of Dota 2. I always suggest looking at the heroes in the game, and reading about what looks coolest to you.
You should really check out this page, which is a good go to source for "what should I pick?"
As you become more comfortable with what heroes do what kind of damage you should start to think about what your team needs more than what you need. Using this approach, you'll have played almost all the heroes at least once.
As you play more games you'll run across combinations that work really well, and ones that don't. Use this knowledge to form your opinion of who to pick! That, or go into one of the other game modes than "All Pick."
Also, don't pick this guy unless you fully read his abilities.
The Laning Phase
Dota 2 is really about phases of action. After everyone has settled in and picked their heroes, it's time to start getting some experience and leveling up (you did complete the tutorial, right?). To better equip yourself for battle, you're going to need items. Items boost the stats your hero has, making it hit stronger, faster, or increasing the mana pool you have. To the left of the shop interface, there are some recommended items that you can buy. These are usually okay, but not always perfect.
What you should do when starting out is load up an in-game guide, by clicking the book icon in the top left; then clicking the arrow to expand all choices. These guides are improving each day, and are written by community members. It replaces the suggested items on the left side and usually offers explanations of when to use the items you are buying. This is really handy!
So you've picked up your starting items, and you are ready for the next step. Your teammates are likely standing in a lane, waiting for you to pick one. The lanes look roughly like this, with the arrows reversed if you are on the Dire side. Top, middle, and bottom are the common names for these lanes, and the typical balance is 2 people go top, 2 people go bottom, and one person goes middle.
Try to keep this balance. Otherwise, the general idea is to have heroes with abilities that compliment each other. For example, a Lane Support and a Carry work well together; as the lane support can help carry the carry to victory! These descriptors can be found when you are picking heroes, or on the
Dota 2 website.
Now that you're in your lane, you're ready to go! You're fighting for those last hits, getting into fights with the enemy, racking up that gold... and you've got a good amount of gold. It's time to start looking into some items! There are three primary shop locations on the map outside of the fountain, located here. The red ones are called the "side shop" and can sell you many of the items you need while laning. The blue ones are the secret shops... not much of a secret... that typically house more expensive items needed to complete a set.
One important thing that many overlook is that most items are comprised of multiple parts. For example, Power Treads, an item recommended for some heroes is comprised of three items. This means that you can buy the item in parts, which will then combine to a whole. The idea behind buying in parts is you can get the stat benefit of the items now, and combine later. The way I do this is to utilize the Quick-Buy system, and shift click an item to create a list of items to buy in the bottom right. When I have enough gold, they change to a gold color and a sound effect plays. Right click them then, and your gold is safe.
Of course, you don't actually have that item just yet, unless you were standing in a shop. You'll need to use the courier to pick up your items and deliver it to your lane. If your team owns a courier, you should be able to click the icon to the left of the shield in the bottom right to have it pick up the items and deliver them to you in lane. Now that you're getting your items and levels, it's time to start getting kills, destroying towers, and winning the game!
This all looks great on paper, but there's MUCH more to this game than what is listed here. This is just some of the basics of using gold and working with teammates, but there are many other details that make this game interesting. There are some other guides out there on the internet that talk about these finer points, but I believe in a little bit of exploration. Play some games, and make some mistakes against bots. They won't get mad! Then look up why something happened. See some kind of cool particle effect that killed you? Click the enemy after you are dead and note the name of the hero; then look up what happened when you're done. And with more time and practice, you'll possibly enjoy the depth Dota 2 has to offer, or find out what "noob" is in many different languages.