Are there DOTA2 apprenticeships available?

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#1 Posted by rempresent (152 posts) -

Like most people that are very casual players of video games, I have friends with the same mindset. Since my schedule isn't regular (ie. work, wife, other social gatherings) I can't devote a lot of time to researching a lot of the heroes and items. Like most people, I need to be familiar with the game to get anything out of it. The only matches that I am winning are ones where the other team disconnects half-way through and we clean up the rest of the map. I haven't played that much just because the game experience is confusing, fast paced and hard to navigate. I would say that I am getting better, but what do I know.

Are there people out there willing to take in a lazy apprenticeship with like minded individuals or do high level players just like to stick to their difficult and challenging games leaving the beginners to boring matches? Is Valve preparing for those high level players to step up and encourage the community to get involved with the beginners?

When I click on "Learn" on the main game screen, I don't really get a lot out of the heroes. It helps with the items, but it doesn't seem like I am really learning. I would prefer videos with player tactics, what your role is in the game, etc. I know that this could be well documented on other sites but some people don't have the time to learn that way.

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#2 Posted by McShank (1685 posts) -

You can always try to go back to the WC3 Dota and learn there as it seems to have died down alot due to dota being launched on steam. Also youtube can be a very very good companion. Most of the people I see / know who play and are *high* level players dont really teach or show and rather just kill and move to the next match.

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#3 Posted by Eviternal (199 posts) -

@rempresent: As I understand it, Valve will be implementing a mentoring system after launch of the game proper. They have about 15 heroes to add, and then balance changes after that, so it could be some time yet. I heard a rumour that they're aiming to launch this year though.

In the meantime, YouTube is a great resource, there are playlists that cover the whole gamut from roles to laning to item builds etc. I have found Purge's videos to be helpful and less patronising than many others, so I'd recommend you take a look there. Additionally, here is a beginner's playlist - I have watched only a few of the videos listed, but it should be helpful.

I'd recommend you learn what distinguishes the various roles such as carry, support, pusher etc. as it will help you to understand what players are trying to do and when, when you're watching a game/video. I can go into a bit more detail about these if you want, but a) I'm far from great at the game myself and b) I don't know what you already know about the game. (Just @ me if you want a reply, as I don't usually monitor the forums)

One thing to be aware of is that Valve's role categories (eg. carry, disabler etc.) are not perfect. For instance Anti-Mage, Faceless Void and Morphling are "hard carries", and come into their own very late in the game, yet no distinction is made in-game about them; you just have to discover it for yourself.

Hope some of that helps!

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#4 Posted by TobbRobb (6083 posts) -

@rempresent: Well, I'm not sure if I would call it an apprenticeship as that implies that I would be a master, which is just plain untrue. But if you want someone to play with and explain the mindset needed to truly understand these kinds of games, I do have a large amount of experience and good understanding of the game.

If you aren't interested in learning by playing with someone more experienced, for time or other reasons. You can really only try and do some independent research, watch some casted streams and youtube videos. But honestly, learning that way is likely harder to pick up and will take as much if not more time than just playing the game and picking things up as you go.

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#5 Posted by EXTomar (5047 posts) -

I wish Dota 2 had some sort of "bot mode". The more Youtube videos I watch the more the game scares me.

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#6 Edited by indiefinch (252 posts) -

@EXTomar said:

I wish Dota 2 had some sort of "bot mode". The more Youtube videos I watch the more the game scares me.

The Bots in Dota 2 are really good. Quite smart and good for learning a hero. You can even to a team of 5 people vs 5 bots to start so you can learn the basics. Give Valve time and they will get a proper tutorial out before the game exits beta.

@rempresent: Feel free to hit me up, I am always playing / teaching new players. Join the DotaInsight chat channel within Dota 2 and look for me there (Dota Insiight is a podcast I do). The community is pretty friendly to teaching / playing with new players. The next best resource is Purge. Watch his videos and read his guides and that will put you a mile ahead of anyone else. His website is and the link to the guide is this -

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#7 Posted by rempresent (152 posts) -

Thanks for all of the insight, there is a lot to digest here. When I get free time, I will probably watch Purge's videos and do some more reading. I think what I wanted to ask, without all the fluff of my OP, was "I'm interested, I'm excited, where do I go now to learn on my own time?" Luckily, there is a lot here to check up on, and for most of you, expect some PMs sometime soon because I think just going in without any communication to my teammates is a bad experience.

A follow up question. Is it a good idea to learn a hero from each class (carry, nuke, Disabler, etc.)?

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#8 Posted by CheapPoison (1031 posts) -

@rempresent said:

Is it a good idea to learn a hero from each class (carry, nuke, Disabler, etc.)?

I would say that is a good idea, but i would shoot to learn all of em or a lot. Cause sure a disabler is handy or a carry is handy but against certain teams you just don't want to pick a certain carry but you might need one.

Purge his channel is a good resource so checking that is probably never bad.

And i would say play a bunch of diretide now that is available, it won't teach you the basic flow of the game but you will have the opportunity to quickly play a bunch of heroes and see what they can do. I am sure some people also rage on there but it generally is a lower impact game mod more pointed towards fun(cause there are some problems with it i suppose).

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#9 Posted by TheDudeOfGaming (6117 posts) -

@EXTomar: You can create a lobby to start a practice match.

The best decision you can make when playing dota, and wanting to learn how to play it, is finding 4 friends who know how to play well. If you don't have friends who play it, and they don't want to pick it up I suggest playing with every hero against bots. Apart from learning the basics of every hero, there are some general things you can learn that are useful for every game regardless of the hero you choose. Map awareness, warding, attack animation, rune-whoring, jungling, last hitting and a lot more stuff. About the categories of heroes, I'd suggest learning to play a support first. They can be disablers, nukers and generally are intelligence heroes, but not always. They're more difficult and more interesting to play as opposed to a carry that simply farms all match, and if you mess up your team won't necessarily loose. I've played Dota for half a year and Dota 2 for a month and I'd consider myself an average player.

Finally, no matter how good you become, it won't matter if you get 4 players in your team who just don't care about teamwork or don't know how to play. So unless you have a team, dota 2 will be more of a luck based than a skill based game.

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#10 Edited by Anomareh (107 posts) -

DotA is a game about knowledge. You really just have to play DotA to the point where everything is just second nature.

Here are a bunch of things every new DotA player should be told before playing their first game.

  1. Some people are just assholes. There are a lot of them in DotA. Be prepared for it.
  2. Ask questions! Talk to your teammates!
  3. CHECK YOUR MINIMAP CONSTANTLY. Map awareness is one of the most important things in DotA. Get into a habit of checking your minimap EVERY FEW SECONDS. Pay attention to where people are and the direction they're heading.
  4. ALWAYS CARRY A TELEPORT SCROLL. Teleport to help defend towers (though please don't teleport solo to a tower that 5 enemies are attacking). If you are getting ganked and they don't have a disable, don't hesitate to TP if you think you'll make it! A lot of the time you can juke into some trees and make it out alive.
  5. Don't go anywhere by yourself besides back to base.
  6. Work on last hitting/denying. If you are playing a carry, last hit, if you are playing a support, deny. Last hitting if a very import skill to master in DotA.

As far as you question goes regarding roles, honestly just be aware of each role and just play whichever one you find is the most fun.

The suggestion of playing diretide as a means of learning is a horrible one in my opinion. It's the equivalent of telling someone to play EM to learn WC3 DotA. It is paced nothing like an actual game and you employ entirely different strategies. It will instill more bad habits than do any good. Bot games are a much better means of learning the game.

Feel free to PM me or add me on Steam.

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#11 Posted by Sweep (10172 posts) -

@Eviternal said:

after launch of the game proper.

2046, confirmed.

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#12 Posted by Blommer4 (286 posts) -

If you learn a couple of heroes, the rest should follow quite easily. With the exception of Invoker, Visage and heroes like that, you will eventually learn to just pick up any given hero and play him at least decent if not better.

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#13 Posted by XantaKlawz (20 posts) -

I'm wondering if there is any interesting in a GiantBomb DOTA 2 meet up. Something like every Wed for a friendly practice game. It give us noobies a chance to learn characters and learn the larger strategy of how the classes fit together. Ideally we'd have enough to do a 5x5 intra-bombers match or do 5 Bombers vs The World. Any interest?

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#14 Posted by indiefinch (252 posts) -

@rempresent said:

T A follow up question. Is it a good idea to learn a hero from each class (carry, nuke, Disabler, etc.)?

Start with heros who do not require farm. Try a few initiation heros (such as Tidehunter, Sand King, and Earthshaker), try a few hard supports (Crystal Maiden, Lich) ,try a few semi supports (Venomancer, Windrunner, Vengeful Spirit and build them supporty by buying wards / courier / mekanism) Then see what you enjoy most and focus on that until you get a good feel of the game. I would suggest not playing a carry until you are able to sink 100-200+ hours into the game. A good bench mark to see if you are capable of playing a carry is going into a bot game and get a CS (creep score or last hits) of 100+ at the 20:00 min mark. If you can do that pretty easily with multiple heros with varying attack speeds / base damage...then you are ready to play a carry. I have know a huge amount of people who jump in and want to play Spectre, Anti Mage, Faceless Void...etc all because they want to be the cool guy on the team and rack up kills. They play a game, their CS is about 25 at the 20:00 min mark, they can't get any items and are useless all game...after about a week they quit playing Dota because it is not fun.

If you play someone like Lich or Tidehunter, you can be 0/5 with 17 last hits at the 20:00 min mark and all it takes is your ultimate being well timed and you can turn a battle in your favor. You are always relevant for your team and can make a difference without items. You will have more fun, gain a better understanding of the game, and will grasp concepts about the game quicker (such as lane balance, team composition, meta strats, item builds...etc). All because you are not stressing about last hits and getting yelled at by your team for being a Faceless Void with a Mask of Madness only at the 30 min mark.

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#15 Posted by rempresent (152 posts) -

@IndieFinch: I am not close to the 100-200 hour mark for DOTA and checking out my CS. I am going to get the most out of Diretide, since a lot of that is dealing with ganking and not really worrying about lane management and knocking out towers. Plus, it feels like there are also like minded individuals doing the same thing, trying out new heroes and seeing what they can do. I will mess around with that until that take it out. When I get comfortable with a character, should I make up a bot game and try to work on my CS or just keep playing public matches and learning from real time experience?

Thanks for all the suggestions for beginning classes. I will mess around with those and keep playing the game.

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#16 Posted by indiefinch (252 posts) -

@rempresent: I would say to just dive right in with people. No bots can prepare for you human reactions throughout a game. When I first started I would do maybe 1 or 2 bot games with a hero just to get a feel of what the abilities looked like and when to use them. After that, just dive right in. Even after you get over that initial hump, you will begin to recognize heros and their abilities where you don't really need to go into a bot game to learn them (unless its a harder hero such as Invoker or Meepo). You will begin to feel comfortable soon enough, then thats when the game truly becomes fun!

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#17 Posted by Midjet (161 posts) -

If any GB'ers need a hand getting familiar with the game shoot me a message and I'll see if I can help you out.

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#18 Posted by rempresent (152 posts) -

Quick update now that I am about 40 hours into DOTA2.

Diretide was a real eye opener and removed a lot of pressure from myself playing the game super competitively. Since people are focusing on getting candy, avoiding Roshan and planning nukes with the entire team, it helps someone learning to play support the team without being two lanes away from the action. I understand that the Diretide game mode might make some of the heroes obsolete, but it let you experiment with other heroes. Not to mention, while you are focusing on balance and item management in regular matches, Diretide could accommodate a lot of different heroes abilities and not make a team seem so out of balance. It was a really great time and I am a little miffed that the game mode has been stripped out of DOTA2. I can't wait for next year.

Here are my go to heroes:

Tinker - I think I just randomed him one of the matches and started to enjoy playing him. The real hidden secret of Tinker is his ultimate. It isn't super critical to how you play the hero and it just benefits your other powers which is super helpful. This also lets you have less to worry about. I would do what I could to get a laser blast off and then hope one of my homing missiles would finish off the enemy. And if it couldn't, smack Rearm and try the missiles again. I quickly started to favor the middle lane and work on getting a bottle set up with runes. I could do a lot of damage by myself but couldn't really find a good time to give up and run. I would always get killed while running away from the enemy and it made it hard to survive nukes. Even with just a small drawback, Tinker seems to be my absolute favorite.

Axe - I love melee dudes, I love stocky characters with short dialogue and really gratifying sounds (like the sound of the Counter Helix). My strategy that I enjoyed with Axe was to start with Counter Helix, level up Battle Hunger and harass those dudes. Then start working on getting my Counter Helix to full power and start to shred out. Again, I have the stuns and other powers that can slow me down a lot and allow for the other team to get a kill. It is hard to know when to retreat especially with slower heroes. Item management was pretty simple, build up to Vanguard and the repel mail (whatever it is called). Axe is my second favorite and I have won a lot of matches with this dude.

I have been playing other characters but nothing has stuck like these two dudes. My next venture in DOTA2 will be to find another hero to latch on to.

A couple things that I would improve on Valve's side:

Tutorial for the courier because that is essential for winning matches.

Better UI for the store, easier to track down the items you want, especially the upgrades. I rely on the search box way to much and the quick select doesn't seem to be the right way to handle it.

I don't play a lot of bot matches because I don't think that I am learning anything, but if they were a little more enticing (with achievements or item drops) that would be interesting to see.

I am really interested in watching matches but am really uneasy about paying for them. So if there was some sort of feed that I could add to DOTA2 and just spectate for a while for really great players that play my heroes, I would get a lot from that.

Anyone else feeling this way?

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#19 Posted by Nadril (638 posts) -
. The real hidden secret of Tinker is his ultimate. It isn't super critical to how you play the hero and it just benefits your other powers which is super helpful

It's actually really critical to Tinker's play :). Remember that it refreshes items as well. Tinker is all about split pushing, while going to lanes, spamming his march and then tping elsewhere (refreshing the CD on your boots of travel).

Anyways it's awesome that you found two heroes you really enjoy. I would personally recommend that you try and random each game though. Keep an alt-tab guide handy so that you can see the basic skill and item build. It's by-far the best way to learn heroes.

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#20 Posted by jdh5153 (1097 posts) -

When I play League of Legends I run around looking for quests...I haven't found any yet...but one of these days.... But yeah I just click on stuff...and have won....once or twice. Playing Guardians of Middle-Earth on the 360 right now. A bit less complicated.

I don't care to learn abilities or play styles or what to do, I just want to click crap and see stuff explode.

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