I want to play Dota too!-A A +A
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
I WAS never really a huge fan of Dota. Way back when it was just beginning to gain popularity in the Philippines, I played it a few times and I was overwhelmed. I found the learning curve too steep, having to memorize what shops sold which items, which items were required to build a certain recipe and on top of all that, the daunting task of learning how to play each hero properly and again memorize hotkeys specific to each hero for their abilities.
A year ago, I happened upon a code for the beta of Dota 2, so I decided to claim it just to add something to my PC games library and see if I could play it. Upon launching it, I found it largely the same and steered clear. I did, however, take note of a greyed out feature at the time labeled "Training."
When news broke out last July that the game had exited its Beta phase, I quickly took to my Steam account and updated the game, hoping that they had made the training mode available for newbies like me to be able to find out how to play without the stress of learning by losing repeatedly. When I finally launched the game, I found that IceFrog, along with Valve, had made Dota 2 so much more accessible.
To anyone who doesn’t know at all how multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) games are played, the Training mode will settle you in to the mechanics of the game, so you no longer have to face the embarrassment of dying over and over again. Over the course of several missions played against AI bots, you’ll learn the basics of the game and even play a few full games with bots as allies and enemies. It’s the little things, however, which I believe made the game even easier for new players to jump in.
In the first Dota, there were a bunch of shops around the base that sold different items. In Dota 2, you no longer have to memorize what items different shops carry, because all the standard items are condensed into a single shop, except of course for the ones that you buy from the Secret Shop. Just one click on the Shop button on the lower right corner of the screen and everything is there. To further make things easier, a search feature has been added to the shop, so if you have difficulty finding the item you want, just type its name in the search bar and voila, it’ll be brought up.
For upgrades, gone are the days where you’d have to memorize the components used to build one. Simply left click on the upgrade you want to build, and the basic items needed to create one will appear under the upgrade. You can even right click the item icons under the upgrade to save yourself time from looking for the items in the shop window.
Another quip about Dota was how difficult it was to learn how to play each hero. Now you no longer have to memorize droves of hotkeys for all the different hero abilities in the game, as all skills can be mapped to the QWER keys, with the D and F keys added if a hero has more than four abilities. Similarly, the hotkeys for items can be mapped to the ZXCVBN keys so that all your actions are within reach of one hand.
It was also extremely important to know which items to buy for your hero, and while you had to memorize them in Dota, builds are accessible in-game in Dota 2. The shop now has a window that by default shows you the standard suggested items for your hero, but you have the option to load community submitted builds, which show you how to play a hero in a certain way, telling you which items to buy, which skills to level up at certain times and how you should use each of the hero's abilities.
Granted, everything I've mentioned are very little things to seasoned players of Dota 2. For those just starting to play MOBAs or those making the transition to Dota, however, all these help ease the player in. I, for example, have gone from not playing it at all to putting in 44 hours into the game in the past week.
The learning curve for Dota 2 is still steep, but all the changes have made it easier to start playing. If you’re a fan of the genre but have always feared how difficult it was to play, there is no better time to start than now.
It’s free-to-play too! Just go to your Steam client (or download one if you don’t have it on your PC yet), go to Shop and search for Dota 2, then download it and play. If you have the time, add me on Steam: dwardward. See you online!
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on August 28, 2013.