Dota 2 is one of the most complex competitive games on the PC and requires years to perfect the game.
Gamers can have a very gradual rate of improvement from starting to becoming an accomplished professional. This can make it very difficult and discouraging for a newbie. But a few tried and tested approaches can help you get better at the game quickly.
We spoke with two young Indian gamers – Krish Gupta aka Moon and Ganesha Manjunath aka Anx1e8y – for their tips on how to get better at Dota 2.
Never give up hope
Victories in Dota 2 can come from the unlikeliest of positions. Even when games look completely lost, there are ways to bring them back. Since the heroes in the game have different power spikes and timings, the momentum of the game keeps switching. You are never really out of the running till your throne falls, and it is best to keep making good plays till the end instead of throwing in the towel in a losing position. This is one of the reasons that a forfeit option doesn’t exist in Dota 2 because much of the game is built on miraculous comebacks.
Use settings according to your comfort
There are multiple settings like controls and in-game factors which can be tweaked to the tiniest of details. Simple things like switching on/off the auto attacks or whether to use quick cast, settings allow you to experience the game differently. Map your hotkeys such that they are familiar to use and keep trying out different in-game settings to find out which works best for you. There are tons of guides online for best settings but ask any veteran player and they'll tell you that personal comfort is the only factor.
“You should not copy anyone’s settings and look to find a combination that you are comfortable with. At the end of the day settings are a matter of preference, and it doesn’t really matter what you want to use as long as you can do everything correctly,” says Moon.
Experiment with new builds
While building items on heroes may seem cut and dry, there are actually many ways to itemize on a hero. New builds and item progressions are always being found and then end up becoming the norm. While certain builds may be trending in the meta, always be open to trying out new stuff.
Understand your power spike
Every hero has its own peak time in the game. While some require you to farm until the later stages, others can do well with just levels. Yet other heroes might do well in team fights and suffer in lane. Each hero has their own strengths, weaknesses and power spikes. This is an important concept to learn. For example, Templar Assassin is super strong if she can farm a Blink+Desolator early. Helping her do this and making sure she doesn’t have to rotate too much will make her super powerful in the mid-game.
Play with gamers who are better than you
It’s simply not possible to understand and identify all the unique hero aspects, combinations, item builds and power spikes on your own. Playing with better players who can point out your mistakes and shortcomings is useful as it will mean that you have stronger basics. Since there is no end to learning in Dota 2, you want to eliminate your basic mistakes as early as possible so you can focus on getting better at individual heroes and play styles.
“It’s really hard to understand Dota 2 on your own since there is just so much information. If you play with friends, you can learn much faster as they can tell you what to focus on and what to leave for later,” explains Moon.
Try different roles
Every role is important, from the carry to the position 5 support. Even if you have decided on specializing in a certain role, it's best to keep playing all roles from time to time. This helps you understand what the enemy hero can possibly be doing and how certain matchups work. For example, if you are a carry player, playing offlane from time to time helps you understand how the offlane can manipulate the lane to his/her advantage. That way, when you play as a carry, you know how to plan against an offlaner.
Enjoy the game
Dota 2 can be an incredibly stressful game. From toxic teammates to smurfs and griefers to results not always going your way – you are bound to have a few bad days. Being toxic to your teammates and focusing on winning all the time can be unnecessary pressure on you and your teammates. At times like these, remember to enjoy the game and things will improve with time.
Moon explains that it's good to take a break from time to time. Because the game is quite immersive, you will feel fatigued eventually. “Try to enjoy every game and if you start tilting, take a break and go play some other games to relax.”
Communication is key in Dota 2, especially when you want to let your teammates know how you want to proceed. Letting them know whether you can join a fight, whether you’d rather farm or which targets you want to prioritize is great information to strategize their attacks. Be clear and effective with your communication, and don’t over communicate.
“Communication is more about passing information than ordering people around. You tell your teammates what you are doing and whether you can join them if required. Similarly others can say that they are looking to take a fight and you can respond saying whether you are in a position to join them or not,” explains Anx1e8y.
Interested in Team OG? In 2018, OG were at rock bottom, hit by painful departures and scrapping in qualifiers for Dota 2's TI8. Against the Odds is the fairy tale of this broken team's shot at gaming’s biggest prize. Watch their journey below:
Against the Odds