I’ve struggled to enjoy most computer games for a while. Valve’s Dota 2 is one of the few that I can. It’s most enjoyable when played with friends, so here’s my shameless attempt to convince you to join me.
What is it?
Two teams of five people, each using one of over a hundred heroes, battling it out across a top-down map (reminiscent of WarCraft 3), to destroy the other team’s Ancient.
Free to play, funded by the purchase of cosmetics – to the extent of raising $9million for The International 2014 prize pool through the sale of what is essentially an electronic sticker-book – no two games are the same.
Games are totally standalone and each lasts around 30 to 60 minutes, so when you lose it’ll be because you were out-played, and I really enjoy having nice discrete chunks of gaming time to stop me sliding into a “just one more level” trap.
How do I get started?
It won’t be easy. There’s a lot of depth to the game, that’s one of the things I love about it.
Fortunately Purge Gamers have an excellent guide, with the humility-encouraging title “Welcome to Dota, You Suck”, which I found utterly invaluable. Unfortunately, I still somewhat suck (that’ll be my fault; the guide’s solid), but every game’s a learning experience and that’s part of the fun.
Watching the game, having a Bud
I’ve never really been able to enjoy TV sports, except as an excuse for beers and time with friends. Then I started watching The International 2014 (TI4), Valve’s annual Dota 2 tournament, and for the first time I enjoyed the act of watching itself.
So what next?
Come play with me! I’m DoISmellBurning and I play on EU West, normally around 2200 UTC on weeknights and sporadically at weekends. I can’t say I’m particularly good, but I’m also not bothered by how good you are or aren’t. I’d much rather lose a game with a team that cooperates and communicates, than win in silence.