Defense of the Ancients 2 (or simply DotA 2) is the deuteragonist of the MOBA scene in the world. Make no mistake though, it’s not second because it’s worse, rather, the game is generally harder to pick up for new players which is a big deterrent.
This review does not aim to compare DotA 2 to its competitors, instead, I will per usual explain how the game works. Without further ado:
Table of Contents
Most of DotA’s storyline comes from various comics released, but you can find some deep lore if you care about it.
The main premise is that there are two opposing teams of 5 heroes fighting each on the side of an Ancient, the Radiant and the Dire, two greater fragments of a primordial, imprisoned into a single moon by the third fragment, Zet.
The Ancients’ influence is so strong, that it brainwashes weaker-minded being called creeps into doing their will. Heroes also have their own backgrounds, but it doesn’t affect the side they’re fighting on.
The reason for fighting is because it brings them closer to their respective goals.
The gameplay is what you’d expect from a MOBA, at least on its basis. People consider DotA to be very complicated and hard to master, and that is not far from the truth. The main purpose is using your heroes, and with the help of your teammates, you whittle down your enemies’ base in order to kill their Ancient.
As the game progresses, your hero becomes stronger and gains gold, which he can use to buy items to further augment his strengths or cover some of his weaknesses.
While the above sound pretty standard for a MOBA, DotA is more complicated than that.
There are over a hundred heroes for you to learn, and because they are all free from the start, this can feel overwhelming. Almost every hero has at least one complicated mechanic that can be very strong when utilized correctly.
There are 3 main attributes (strength, agility, and intelligence) and every hero scales with one of them. The items can give you any combination of the above stats.
But almost every item has an
The map feels huge, and you can’t teleport back to base, you must walk instead, or use a teleportation scroll, which has a cooldown.
The death timers are pretty unforgiving, but you can buy your early revival for a hefty cost. Games tend to last for at least 40 minutes, which is way more from any other typical MOBA.
The aforementioned characteristics might seem like I’m bashing the game, but I’m not, I’m just explaining how everything feels from a newbie’s perspective.
As a matter of fact, these characteristics are what make DotA so unique and deep as a game.
In DotA, you can carry the game with any hero, even in a 1v5 situation. I’ve seen a game where literally one player was playing and his team left the game, and he still won, and it’s not like he had a huge lead. That’s also why DotA’s fanbase is fiercely loyal to the game.
This can be seen by DotA’s esports. While not very renowned, DotA 2 offers the biggest prize pools in all of esports. Not to mention the diversity of the game.
Farming is very hard and complicated. Most heroes’ attacks have a slow missile speed (or animation if they’re melee) and usually, the creeps die before your final attack reaches them.
The mana costs for abilities are steep during the early game, which is why games tend to last so long.
Additionally, the enemy heroes can actually attack their own creeps and structures and deliver the last hit, thus “denying” you gold and experience.
Each hero also has something called a “turn rate” which is some time (microseconds) that it takes each hero to do a 180o turn. Not every hero has the same turn rate.
The SFX is nothing special as it should. However, there are many different announcers, using many in-game champions.
There are even announcers from other popular titles like GLaDOS from Portal, or Adam Jensen from the Deus Ex Machina series.
All in all, DotA 2 really is worthy of all the trouble, but it needs a lot of time spent to truly grasp it as a game. In fact, once you really understand it, the other MOBAs will seem like child’s play.
DotA’s graphics are kinda moody but it’s nothing bad, it actually sets the mood.
The map is split in the middle by a river, and each side has its own theme, respective to each sides’ Ancient.
One is bright and full of vegetation, and the other is dark and full of dead ground and trees.
The day has a day and night cycle, which isn’t only a cosmetic thing, it actually plays a role in the game, it reduces vision range for all heroes, and some heroes have passive abilities that come to play during the night.
The graphics can be quite nostalgic to all of you Warcraft 3 fans, as they Valve tried to make the game as close to the original appearance-wise.
Generally, DotA 2 can be run on most machines without much problems, which really helps with low budget players.
DotA 2 is a game that requires a lot of time to master. Anyone of has spent the time required will tell you that it is worth it, as it a very good game.
Balancing is near perfect, which means that there isn’t a predefined pool of heroes that if you don’t play, you’re gonna get flamed and be at a disadvantage.
However, the game can feel stale, as large updates are scarce and new heroes come about once every half year.
In the end, DotA 2 deserves its place in the gaming world and is a game you should pick up if you really intend on spending a lot of time.
Fortunately, the community can help you in the game, there is even a feature where random players can join in games as a team’s coach and oversee a team and give them advice.
DotA is very innovative as a game in general.
General Rating: 6.7
Do you agree with my review? Is DotA 2 the MOBA of your choice, or do you prefer another? Did this review skim your point of view? If you have anything to add or anything you want to say, leave a comment and I will answer as soon as I can.
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