Tuesday, 29 January 2013 02:45
Dota 2 is an upcoming multi-player online battle arena (or Moba) developed by Valve. It will be released exclusively on Valve’s pride and joy: Steam as well as all future updates. Dota 2 is the remake and improvement on the incredibly popular Dota mod of Warcraft 3, Reign of Chaos and its expansion The Frozen Throne. Today I’m going to go into as much detail as I can on this colossal game, its characters and its developers.
Dota 2 has one trumpt card initially over all moba games in one man: Icefrog (No he has never issued his real name) who is known for being the longest-serving and current developer of the Warcraft 3 mod and currently the lead designer of Dota 2 itself. A phrased was coined in the early development of League of Legends and Heroes of Newerth to be “Blessed by Icefrog” which ment he supported the idea of these games being their own unique thing.
Whereas League of Legends did it’s best to be unique and take a new spin on the genre, with the introduction of Summoner Levels, runes, masteries and Summoner Spells Dota 2 is one simple philosophy: “Dota, but better” It does not strive to change anything from the original Defence of the Ancients concept. Meaning many of its old mechanics are still there and having played the original mod in 2005 I can honestly say it’s a pleasant blast from the past that I’ve been longing for. And you cannot say I’m alone in this matter, Icefrog hinted at Dota 2 in a blog post in 2009 and in 2010 when there was an official revelation of specific details to the game on the site Game Informer, the site which was often being used by many users was crashed due to the influx of people to the website.
That takes a lot of enthusiastic people.
Firstly for those who did read my LoL review the map layout is next to identical, two halves split from top left to bottom right by a river. However it’s from here everything changes. Terrain really matters in this game as it is much larger than the maps in League of Legends. Trees are destrctuable, you can buy items to removes trees, one you eat a tree to heat a moderate amount another can chop them down. Then of course there are huge abilities by heroes that can tear apart entire chunks of forestry, for example batrider can activate a flaming trail behind him, fly above trees and burn a trail through them. Of course after several minutes the trees respawn so they will eventually return it’s not like the map turns into a barren wasteland, although it would be awesome if it did o.o, just saying valve, just saying.
Now I suppose I should discuss a little about the champions in general now this is something you may think that’ll break your heart “I don’t want to earn all the champions again, I hated doing that in LoL why would I do that in Dota?!” You don’t have to. At level one you get every single hero and you can chose from whoever you want, if they have been implemented, you can play ‘em.
Also you can see everyone from Warcraft 3 in Dota 2, Stone Giant is Tiny, The Lich is surprisingly the Lich and the Troll Warlord just to name a few. Also you can see where the character design of LoL is inspired too. Annie’s Summon Tibbers is the Warlock’s Summon Infernal, just...less fluffy....Karthus has a channelled Zues Ultimate and the Lich’s concept, Signed and the Alchemist share ultimates and Ashe’s E, bonus gold on kill is the same as the Alchemist, if you took a night (where you were bored out of your mind) you can see where all the abilities and champions appear from. Also all the characters are far more alive than in LoL. When they get minion kills for example they all have a unique few lines of voice acting to say for example Skeleton King will say “More gold for my coffers” where as Lone Druid says “Minerals, nothing more” I know this is something small but here’s something cool, there are two or three rivalries and unique lines for champions for example if sniper ( a gun user) kills drow ranger (a bow user) he’ll say “That’s a weird looking gun you got” or for example Kunnka and Tidehunter have a great rivalry so much so if Tidehunter kills Lycan, a noble turned werewolf he will say “Lycan, you could teach Kunnka a few things about dying honourably” This is due to their lore where Tidehunter called a great monster from the deep during a huge 3 way battle at the sea and it resulted in Kunnka’s death (yes he’s a ghost sailor) These things I truly do love about the game, they’re small but it adds so much for the game I cannot help but love it.
Now onto the actual game itself, I’ve mentioned a small bit about the game’s map but now about the game itself. Dota 2 is a very very difficult game and it penalises mistakes heavier than ANY moba. How is this you may ask? Well allow me to give you a scenario and Im going to refer to LoL for this one. In LoL if you get a lot of minion farm and you have a few thousand gold in LoL waiting in the bank for you to buy something and get ganked and die all you do is “oh well let’s buy this infinity edge” in Dota 2 you lose money. Not all of it thank god but you do lose a large portion of the money in your pocket. Thankfully however you can buy items from the shop when you’re not at the store. So you can actually if you are running away and know you’re gonna die can buy a large number of items before you die and save yourself a nice bit of money. And now I get onto the death in this game. When you die there is a unique mechanic called “Buy Back” which at the cost of an enormous amount of gold can let you come back to life with no respawn time, this is especially true later on in the game if the enemy catches you flat footed and tries to push to your ancient. It’s a nice costly way to save a game. Now as I mentioned the game penalises you immensely for your mistakes. If you get behind the enemy in terms of kills you will suffer, badly, especially if you’re a carry hero or a tank that requires items for survivability and damage. One of the coolest things however about Dota 2 is no matter who you are if you get fed you’re scary. If an Earthsaker ( thats not a carry) goes 5/1/4 early on (aka by 20 minutes) he is incredibly fed and will have incredibly high durability aswell as having most of his high burst/ stuning abilities nearly maxed which is super important. Now Im sure you can imagine a fed carry as something that’s terrifying, even someone like Centaur Warrunner who is a very durable fighter if he gets fed he is terrifying, next to impossible to kill and hits harder than most carries.
Not only this but there are a lot of different game modes added including Single Draft, where 3 heroes are picked at random and you can only play one of these three, least played, where the game looks at your history and picks heroes who never play for you to play as ( bear in mind everyone is given heroes they never play so it balances out) and the always hilarious SHOM, same hero only mid. This mode is where everyone in the game is given the same hero and by gentlemen’s agreement you all stay in the middle lane. It’s hilarious and great to play with friends.
One final thing about gameplay: I mentioned you can suffer greatly from the game early one this is as with most online competitive games due to a lack of knowledge no moba has truly explained to a beginner how to play however there are many sites and youtube users your should go check out to help you in this regard. I personally recommend Purgegamers on youtube and his website, it’ll help you immensely and just from videos you’ll begin to understand more about the game. Something you truly need.
Now I am going to talk about a few of the cosmetic things in this game. Announcers, Items and Couriers. Announcers are like any other game “An enemy has been slain, first blood, rampage.” And so on in Dota 2 you can get unique Announcers for example the hero Axe’s VA did work in character for example he may say “This game is boring FIGHT” if there is no action. All of them are unique but they cost money, on a game that will be free to play when released but is currently pay for early access (unless you get a key like I did muahah ;P) this would be one of the few this I’d buy. Infact there’s only one I’d recommend you buy. Bastion Announcer, for those that don’t know Bastion is a game with an amazing soundtrack, gameplay and more importantly narrator. This narrator was hired, with permission of the Bastion devs to allow the voice actor to do lines for Dota 2 in character. He gives an amazing performance and is well worth the purchase. Now there are also couriers, these are used ingame to bring items to players who are in lanes and don’t want to go back to base, bear in mind there is not teleport button that brings you back to base for free, although there are scrolls of town portal that at a cost of 135 gold and 75 will teleport you anywhere there is a friendly structure such as towers and the fountain.
There is one final mechanic I would like to talk about. Denying. If an ally unit is under a specific amount of health, if Im right about 10% on minions and 5% on heroes and turrets you can actually kill them, denying gold to your enemies which is one of the most unique and utterly cool parts of this game. Allow me to explain this with a hero deny. There is a hero named Bloodseeker, should he kill any target he is healed for a percentage of that targets maximum health. In a late game team fight I played Bloodseeker and I fought alongside a Tidehunter, who has built for an incredibly high health pool. He and I were both nearing death as were the last two enemies an Axe and a Night Stalker. The Tidehunter and I back off he yelled over ingame chat for me to kill him. Doing so (note bloodseeker naturally has about 1.5k hp at mid/late game) I healed for 1k of my health and turned on my enemies getting a double kill, I denied my enemies gold and secured the game. Now tell me the last time something that crazy happened in a LoL game. Exactly, you can’t.
Now I come to the price tag. Bear in mind this game is still being made so for early access you can pay 28 euro or your regional equivalent. Now there is a way around this. Dota 2 gives out a lot of keys to people currently play it. This includes myself and N7phoenix of gamerrules. All you have to do is add either one of us (Dasacht with a charmander picture is my profile) and when we accept just let us know “Have you a key I could get” and we’ll happily provide. It’s gonna be free when it’s finished so there’s nothing to worry about. I love this game but like a pint of Guinness you’ll hate your first one after that you start to enjoy it and from there on you’ll be hooked. All I can say is:
“What does a hero truly need?”
That is for you to decide. This has been Dasacht and this has been my Dota 2 review. Stay safe everybody, I’ll see you next time.