Dota 2 gameplay
Dota 2 is a very strategic game that is played in teams of two, consisting of five players in each that really has to work well together to be able to become victorious. Every player has a unique hero, with unique abilities that is picked before the game starts. Exactly how the picking is done depends on what game mode you’re playing, but for competitive play where betting on Dota 2 exclusively takes place, the teams alternate banning and picking heroes. In total, there are more than a hundred heroes to pick from. These are generally categorized into “Carries”, “Supporters”, “Off-laners”, “Mid heroes”, “Roamers” and “Junglers”, which all have their own specific role in the game. We will go deeper into detail about this further down, but let us cover the basics first.
Each team (called the Dire and the Radiant) starts in one of two bases on two opposite sides of a map which is partially divided by a river (that is crossable). The objective of the game is to destroy the opposing team’s base. To do this, the players have to level up their heroes, farm gold to buy items and equipment as well as strategically work together and outplay the other team. To level up and get gold, enemy heroes, buildings and creeps, as well as neutral creeps can be killed. Gold is also constantly, automatically generated, but very slowly so.
The map has three different lanes referred to as “off-lane”, “safe-lane” and “mid-lane”, which we will explain shortly why. These three lanes all lead to the enemy’s base and each lane is guarded by three towers. In these lanes, each team’s creeps spawn from each team’s base every thirty seconds. They then automatically move within the lane towards the enemy’s base, killing everything in their way. The map also consist of smaller paths which are leading into jungles. These jungles have neutral creeps (creeps not belonging to either team) which can be farmed for gold and experience. There are a total of four of these jungles, whereas two are big ones and two are a bit smaller. The two big jungles are located on opposite sides of the map, where one is the closest to the Dire team and one is the closest to the Radiant team. Therefore you could say that each team has their own jungle, which is also where the word safe-lane comes from. The lane that is connected with your own team’s jungle is considered a lot safeer than the off-lane, whereas the mid-lane is in the middle and is more or less neutral.
Located in the river, in the middle of the map, is a super strong neutral creep, which when killed gives extra gold to all of the players in the team and drops an item that can be carried by a hero. This item will expire after a certain period of time, but as long as it’s carried, the hero who carries it will be resurrected once on death. Normally when you die, you have to wait for a certain period of time before you respawn in your base again. It is however possible to respawn instantly in the base by paying a certain amount of gold.
On the map you will also find something called shrines, power up runes and bounty runes. There is a total of two shrines in each team which can be used to heal heroes every 5 minutes, which otherwise only is possible by using healing items, running all the way back to the base or by using a special power up rune. The bounty runes and power up runes spawn every two minutes in the game. There are a total of four bounty runes, which when taken will give you a small boost to experience and gold. There’s only one of the power up rune, which will either spawn in the left or the right side of the river. There are a total of four different power ups that can spawn: double damage (giving you double damage), haste (giving you maximum movement speed), illusion (creating two illusions of your hero that do less damage and take more damage) and regeneration (rapidly regenerating mana and hit points). These power ups last only for a short duration of time.
Even though growing stronger is a big part of the game, it’s important to keep in mind that teamwork usually is what determines which team who will win. This includes picking a team that works well together and that counter the enemy’s team. A good team usually consist of a carry, mid hero, off-laner and two supports. This is a good base, but as a big part of the game is to counter the opponent, the setup might be different from one game and another. The carry, mid hero, off-laner and one support are more or less always there, but you might replace the other support with either a jungler or roamer. Alright, let’s get into detail what all of these type of heroes mean.
Carry: The carry usually spends the early and mid part of the game farming for gold and experience. This is so that he can get as strong as possible and deal a lot of damage in the later part, which will hopefully carry the team to victory. Of course the carry can’t do all the work in a team fight, but he is usually the one dealing the most damage. For the carry to get as much farm as possible, he usually starts the game in the safe-lane.
Support: The job of the support is as the named tells you to support. In the early game there’s usually one or two supports in the safe-lane helping the carry getting farm. This is for instance done by healing him or attacking the enemy hero/heroes that is also in the lane from the opposite team, so that he/they can’t mess with the carry. A support should always let the carry get the last hits on creeps so that he gets the gold. A support is not only helping the carry, but if he can prevent the enemy hero/heroes from getting any farm, he’s doing a great job as well. Furthermore the job of a support also consist of buying observer and sentry wards. An observer ward is an item that can be placed on the map to give vision within a certain radius, while a sentry ward can detect invisible heroes, also within a certain radius.
Jungler: A jungler is a hero who will start the game in the jungle. Far from every hero is able to kill neutral creeps in an effective way at a low level, but a jungler does this very well. As a jungler gets a lot of farm and experience from the neutral creeps, he will more or less always be a carry. He will however never carry the game solo, but he is an addition to the carry in the safe-lane.
Roamer: A roamer is a hero that in the early game won’t be in a specific lane, but he will move along the map and aid other lanes in form of trying to kill enemy heroes or just harassing them so that they will have a hard time. A support could very well play as a roamer if there’s room for it in the game, it’s all about adapting. There are however some heroes to choose from that excel in beginning the game with just roaming around and messing it up for enemy players.
Mid-hero: The name Mid-hero comes from being able to handle the middle very well, which is one of the positions a hero should be located in the early game. In the middle you’re more or less always on your own and therefore it takes a certain hero to be able to handle this. Sometimes a support or roamer may come to aid you, but for the most of the part you’re supposed to handle it. Mid-heroes are usually a form of carry or roamer, which means that they either need some type of farm or that they every now and then will move from the middle and try and kill enemy heroes.
Off-laner: An offlaner is as the name may tell a hero that starts the game in the off-lane. As the off-lane is the same as the enemy team’s safe-lane, you will usually face a carry and at least one support here, while you’re often on your own. Off-lane heroes are heroes that handle this very well for various reasons. Off-laners are usually heroes that will have some tanking ability or initiation in team battles, but it’s not always the case. Every now and then you’ll find a team composition that makes it a good idea to have a support with the off-laner as well as a support with the carry in the safe-lane.