A lot of changes happened to Dota 2 in the blink of an eye. Although these modifications to the game affect the professional and casual scenes alike, they also make for a great introduction to Dota 2 for your friends that have yet to play a single game.
One of the biggest problems with Dota 2 is its very high learning curve. There is just too much to learn, and people who wish to get into the game feel overwhelmed by the 115 heroes, 150 items and an infinite variety in how you play. There are plenty of game modes, tons of spells, status effects and talents. You play on a large map, and the game even has its own lingo. There’s just too many things to learn.
Granted, the same issues are present in other games in the MOBA genre, but Dota doesn’t hold your hand like the other games do. In game design, scaffolding refers to how games teach you its core elements by slowly unlocking features for you as you progress through the game. In League of Legends, you start with a handful of champions, and the game rewards you with in-game currency that you use to buy more champions. Heroes of the Storm unlocks different sets of abilities as your account level goes up.
Dota 2’s tutorial segment have been helpful in introducing the basics of the game to newbies. However, it’s not expansive enough to fully immerse a player in the intricacies of an actual game with players. A lot of the things to learn in Dota 2 can only be imparted through coaching, hundreds of hours of in-game experience, and excruciating lessons from losing over and over again, marked by a million or so in-game deaths.
Thankfully, a lot of things changed in Version 7.07 makes it easier for friendly regulars to introduce the game to their newbie friends. After letting their fresh meat experience the game first-hand through the tutorials, regulars could start playing with them in public matchmaking in a much more forgiving environment than ever before.
Version 7.07 introduced Turbo Mode. Turbo Mode is a great environment to let your friends try out the game in. Normal matches would usually take too long to finish, and being in the losing end of a game (which you and your friend will likely be in for your first few games together) for an extended period saps all the fun away from playing. At least in Turbo Mode, even if you were to lose, you won’t be staying in that game for far too long, anyway. And you and your friend could move on to the next game again, allowing them to play with a fresh start until they get the hang of things and be ready for the normal matches.
In addition to Turbo Mode, matches also end faster now in general. Thanks to the removal of the sanctuaries at the base, sieges are now easier than before for coordinated teams. It’s either you and your friend would find it easier to finish matches, or at least your misery won’t be taking that long, hanging on a losing game with false hopes of a mega comeback.
Once you have started a match together, whichever mode you choose it to be in, I suggest for you two to stick together in the bottom lane. The easiest and most effective way of teaching Dota to a newbie is to be their hard support and letting them enjoy all of the good stuff as the hard carry. At this early point in their soon-to-be illustrious careers, they wouldn’t know enough about the mechanics of the game to effectively ward, pull and stack ancients, so it’s up to you to do those things for them. Pick a hero that can easily save the life of your carry, like quick healers such as Omniknight, Enchantress, Necrophos or even Io. Heroes that allow more survivability for their carries like Dazzle, Treant Protector and Phoenix. If you think your opponents are going to be aggressive, you could use disablers like Earthshaker, Slardar, or Tiny. Using these heroes, you could teach them slowly about the essentials of the laning phase: the timing of the waves, tower pushing, and last hitting and denying.
Let them pick any hero that they want to use. It’s important for them to choose a hero that they could identify with and stick with. Everyone remembers the first hero they ever used in Dota 2, and it’s good for them to just stick with one character as they explore the game. As they become more and more familiar with their hero, it allows them to learn more about the environment without having to worry about themselves so much.
Now that bonus heroes have been introduced in Dota2’s drafting phase, it has become easier for newbies to choose which heroes they would like to try out next. It makes a whole lot of difference to simply choose from a handful of heroes versus the overwhelming hundred. As a minor bonus, picking these heroes reward them with an extra mango. With the reworked Guides System, trying out new heroes is less scary now, and learning them has become much more instructive thanks to the new UI. The fact that you can now view guides from the Main Menu is a big thing, as your apprentice could just spend hours reading the new guides before they try them out in pubs. I highly recommend the instructive and explanatory guides by Torte de Lini.
Traversing the new map is much easier now, too. The jungles are wider, shrines are now deeper into the jungles, and everything just feels so expansive. Thanks to the wider leg space, it feels safer walking around the map. It’s also become easier to see oncoming opponents, provided that you, their support, has placed the wards at appropriate spots. The creeps even sleep at night again, too, making it even safer to go around the jungles more than ever.
With some properly placed wards, you could teach your friends the importance of getting bounty and river runes. As an added bonus, it feels better now to collect bounties, since the bounty runes are much closer to each other in the new map design, allowing them to pick your own and steal the opponents’ as well. If ever it seems like your friend will get himself into trouble, the new ping system will help them understand exactly what you’re trying to tell them as you tap your mouse on a frenzy.
Laning has also become easier in 7.07. As their support, it is now easier for you to pull creeps towards your lane. Also as their support, you’d be happy to know that couriers automatically level up now, travels faster, and can protect itself with a shield of invulnerability. More tangoes also mean more survivability for both of you, allowing you to stay in lane for a longer time than before.
Experience leech range has increased, so your friends could get experience points from farther away. Paired with the fact that the required experience to level up has now been lowered at the early game, it makes it so much easier to level up and reach level 6. Earning your ultimate and using it is one of the most exciting moments for a newbie, so this changes to how experience is gained is a welcome addition to the game.
Finally and probably most importantly, the rework on the ranking system welcomes newbies to try out the game better than the previous style. With the old numbers leaving and replaced with shiny medals, it’s more encouraging to rank up. Replacing numbers with tangible medals gives more motivation to reach the next rank. Although you and your friend might not want to start playing ranked just yet while you’re still teaching them the ropes, by the time that they are ready, they’d find it more enjoyable unlike before.
And there are a lot of smaller reasons why it’s easier now to learn the game than before.Unique Attack Modifiers are gone, making it less complicated to plan out your builds; Lifesteal has been reworked to be stackable; Turn rates have imporved; Better HP regen received from the fountain, etc. But the most important factor of teaching someone the game is guidance. Be there for them so you could help them learn the game. Enjoy the game together. After all, Dota is best played with a bunch of friends just having fun.
P.S. Don’t forget to have them tick “Channeled Abilities Require Hold/Stop” and “Teleport Requires Stop” so that they don’t accidentally put these important things on cooldown.
Neutral has been playing video games since he was a little kid. He started being competitive when he and his brother would bet favors for each other depending on who wins at the PS2 game Naruto Shippuuden. Recently he has been playing Dota2 and Animal Crossing on his revived 3DS. It is his dream to be part of the formation of the eSports version of UAAP through UP Gaming Guild’s Impetus 2017.
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