This guide is not finished, and will be updated periodically in the future. To preface this guide (although such a name seems perhaps grandiose, as it is merely a collection of my hard-won knowledge of how to play dota.), I should say that I am not the best player in the world, but I do consider myself decent.
Some background to myself as a player, or, The Beginning
I played wc3 dota with a friend of mine (Fridgemagnet, ya there?). Sometimes we would stack, other times we’d just play inhouse, since we were all part of this massive group, more or less headed by Fridge, since he he ran the hostbot. Anyway, pretty much every person in this group was far better than me. This one guy, fafanoob, he would go mid and pwn every game. Still no idea how he managed that, even with heroes like earthshaker or dazzle. Scary. I don’t really specify one hero, I have a quite diverse pool. I would just play the heroes I felt most comfortable with, which was basically carries. My team realized that it was within my admittedly limited skills to carry a game, and so I got good at farming. Like, really good, because that was literally all I could do. I kept on reading guides, diversifying heroes, etc. I slowly got better. I started to be able to ward and manage mana, skillshot, pull and stack, lasthit (mainly due to the fact that Fridge was a fucking crazy good lasthitter. Had to get good or starve 🙁 ).
What I’m saying is that improvement in this game is incremental. You learn one tiny skill or twist of the ai mechanics, ranges, functionalities and exceptions of heroes skills, etc, and eventually those tiny skills build up into what amounts to general skill in a player.
A quick moment of clarification, and a division in the definition of skill.
How I see it, “skill” is divided into two parts:
Game sense can be defined as the ability to read and react to the game. It is things like knowing when to back off or commit, or knowing which heroes to pick, or formulating and implementing strategies.
Hero sense is, broadly, divided into knowledge and skill. Knowledge is essentially the detailed and intimate knowledge of hero skill interactions, as well as knowledge of each hero. Who is tanky? Who has a large/small mana pool? Should I harass with spells or autoattacks? What items is this enemy likely to get, and how can I counter them? Are there any synergies on the enemy team, and how can I counter them? does x combo work? Most of these questions have to do with knowledge of heroes, rather than any kind of general game sense. It can be essential, as surefire knowledge of hero skill interactions can often allow you to commit or pull off things that you would not be able to otherwise. Hero skill is fairly self-explanatory. It is being able to use your heroes’ skills to the best of your abilities, and to the maximum of intelligence and effectiveness. Simple, but not. I can’t really advise in this part of playing. Practice makes perfect!
Tips, suggestions, and advice
No matter the role, know when to fight. Don’t just run into fights. Analyse quickly, know what the different heroes do, and know your hero. Try to only go into fights if you can ensure victory. *As Sun Tze said in The Art of War, you must endeavor to fight in a time and place of your choosing.**
Communicate with teammates, and encourage them to do the same. This is essential. You need to tell your allies what you are doing, especially if there is any risk whatsoever. *Knowledge is power**, and much of what makes the game hard has to do with denial of knowledge; the fog of war and making it difficult for the enemy to commit to a fight, primarily.
*This mainly applies to solo queue, but if it is clear that no-one else is buying a courier, get it. It is so goddamn useful, and starting the game without one is a massive handicap.
Understand that no advantage you can receive is too small; lasthits are an excellent example of this kind of incremental advantage, as is experience, positioning, etc. *Small advantages build up into a big advantage**, which can then be used to create even bigger advantages. Similarly, denying your enemy of as many advantages as possible is essential, be it in the form of deny, dewarding, etc.
*Familiarize yourself with tower aggro mechanics and ranges. It pays off massively, allowing you to extend and harass much more effectively.
*Similarly, creep aggro and ranges can be very useful to know in order to gain an advantage while laning.
*If new to the game, expect to do some reading. Find some guides, read up. At least know what every hero does, and the general needs and strategies of each.
*Learn how to lasthit. It really isn’t very hero-specific, just get used to adapting to the animations and damage of each hero quickly. If you can lasthit well, you are guaranteed some form of advantage.
Mechanical skills Further tips on individual heroes will be updated when I have some more time and patience.
Edit: Whoever downvoted this post, what the fuck? Thoughtful, concise, well-written and formatted post. Clearly downvote-worthy. Thanks for shooting down a couple of hour’s work, asshole.
Q: Can you explain the creep aggro algorithm?
Creep aggro works in a 500 radius. If you right-click on an enemy within that 500 area, the creeps will be aggro’d even before the attack hits. Spells or non-autocast orb effects will not trigger creep aggro. The utility of this is more effective right-click harass. If you position correctly, you can hit the enemy a few times without risk (spells notwithstanding). Very useful in the laning phase, especially in the supporting role, as it allows you to put pressure on the enemy without taking damage from creep attacks, or in mid for largely the same reason, with the added utility of not making the creeps run into a different position.