Gaming Spotlight – Defence of the Ancients 2 (aka DOTA 2)

So for my first Gaming Spotlight I’m actually going to start with a recent favourite of mine, Defence of the Ancients 2 (or has it has become lovingly condensed to, as these things often are, DOTA 2). The amazing development team Valve created DOTA 2,  these guys were the genius’ behind such game series as Left 4 Dead, Half-Life, and Portal. They are also the development team behind the now widely used Steam distribution platform.

Valve Games

Now before I begin, are you all sitting comfortably? As with building a house, foundations must be laid first before a solid understanding can be made. In this case it’s the getting to grips with the type of game DOTA 2 is; At its core DOTA 2 is a Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (guess what kids…. Yep that’s right here comes another abbreviation – it’s a MOBA).  The idea behind this sub-genre of game is to have two teams of players, aided by computer controlled units, destroy their opponents main ‘base’ structure.  The map is often designed with three pre-made paths, referred to as “lanes”, which lead to each base. Along these lanes are strategically placed automated towers that the players must destroy and advance past.

Map_of_MOBA
Generic layout for a MOBA map

In the case of DOTA 2, the teams are made up of 5 players each controlling a single hero unit.  These heroes come in lots of different shapes and sizes, ranging from the sleek, cold-hearted ‘Drow Archer’, to the gruesome and menacing ‘Pudge’.  Each player’s hero comes with a pre-designed set of unique abilities that they can use to destroy their enemies and claim victory.  The abilities often take the form of four base abilities (which can be tuned up with each new level achieved) and a fifth more powerful one, often referred their ‘Ultimate/Ulti’. The selection of teams individual heroes, and their ability to use said hero as part of a team, is a vital part in becoming victorious.  DOTA 2 requires a large amount of teamwork from all those involved, whether that be defending your lane against the advancing enemy or summoning the whole team to attack a single player (known as ‘ganking’).

DOTA 2 Characters: Drow Archer // Pudge
DOTA 2 Characters: Drow Archer // Pudge

I can appreciate that this kind of game may not be to everyone’s tastes, and I’ll be honest with you, the game does have quite a steep learning curve.  With that said, I have really enjoyed getting to grips with both the controls and understanding how each individual hero can be used to achieve the most deadly/effective warrior.  My final conclusion to DOTA 2 would be this; if you’re a fan of Real Time Strategy (aka RTS games… had to squeeze in another few abbreviations before I signed off) and not afraid to spend a little time learning the ropes DOTA 2 is worth having a look at.  Also the game is completely free, okay I may be leading you astray there, with the exception of a few OPTIONAL in-game payments (for the most part these unlock purely customisation options for your heroes), the game is free to play.  How can you argue you with that?

Catch you later gamers and gamerettes,

Iain x

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