Sunday, October 11, 2015

Why You Should/Shouldn't Play DOTA 2

Defense of The Ancients 2- a popular game in the geek world, filled with your classic characters, the tanks, the mages, the support and the thrill of battle between the classes. I got hooked up to this game by my brother earlier this year (sometime after summer) and I'll admit, the game is enjoyable and fairly easy to conduct. However, there are a couple of downsides to this game too. 

What is DOTA2 about though? Basically, it's a game set in a closed arena. You'll have five characters on each side with a base and a couple of towers, making ten characters in play. You have creeps spawning after every few minutes. Your job is to take your creep wave into the enemy land and destroy their base (called Ancient, thus Defense of the Ancient). 

If I had read an article like the one I'm going to write- before I had started playing- I probably would have thought twice about downloading it and stopped playing without thinking twice. But that's just what I would have done and what a lot of people wouldn't do. Nevertheless, here's all you need to know about-


Let's talk about why you should play DOTA2 and what is it exactly that makes this game enjoyable and addicting? (I'd ask my brother but he's kind of busy in a match at the moment) DOTA noob Kanra is here to do some game promotion!

First of all- the graphics of this game are amazing. From the characters, to the creeps, to the entire arena, the look of everything is amazing. You'd think such a detailed game would lag and go really slow but actually, game play is smooth and you can just sit and watch your character run here and there and be amazed. The characters (called "heroes") are produced to appear lifelike- while standing, they appear to be breathing and if you leave them alone too long, they'll probably do a tap dance to entertain themselves. (Oh and if you write LOL in chat, they actually LAUGH OUT LOUD). (I just had to say that).

The arena, or the battlefield has great graphics too. Change between day and night causes the arena to appear completely different during the respective time. Heroes running over water creates ripples and if you happened to have used a tango on a tree, you can watch it disappear and then suddenly shoot up in a rapid replay of growth several minutes later.

Developers don't make games for beauty though. They make it so that you find yourself challenged. I said, earlier, that conducting the game is fairly easy- you direct your Hero to a location with a mouse, move the camera with the keyboard, select spells and target with your cursor. It sounds easy but the game is dynamic. You have five Heroes on each side (ten players in all, including you) and each of them acts individually (whether playing against Bots or against Players). Then you have the Creeps who come out wave after wave, trying to push into enemy territory. Oh, also, remember how everyone is individual? That means they have a Hero who also has their own unique powers which they can use whenever they want and maybe end up killing you over and over and not letting your Hero do anything heroic. (see what I did there)

The game isn't that simple, we conclude. There are lots of things that compound to this fact. There is no easy way to play the game. You must fight if you want to level up and get money- but if you die, you lose a whole chunk and your respawn time increases after each death (along with the cash needed if you want to get out early). However if you manage to kill a Hero, you might get a substantial increase in cash (depends on how much the Hero was carrying) along with a boost in experience. Each character has different stats- mages are squishy, tanks are tanky and carrys love to gank. But guess what- there's a shop in the game and you can build up your character in ANY way you want. You could take the squishy Crystal Maiden and make her a tank by boosting her strength stats, increasing her health and raising her defenses (provided you manage to hoard enough money without getting killed- which would be really difficult considering how squishy she is, but okay).

Point to be noted? DOTA2 has a variety of characters and playing styles to choose from. You could turn a support based character into a carry, or a mage into a ganker or whatever, really. You take your character and you build it up the way you want. There are three major stats in each character, being strength (increases health points) agility (increases the number of attacks per second) or intelligence (increases your mana pool). Personally, I'm a big fan of agility characters- I like watching my Heroes hit rapidly and pull down someone's health points. But you could give your Hero lots of health and have them survive longer in fights (and maybe be able to get out alive, thus saving you money) or give them intelligence based items and have an enormous mana pool to spam spells from without burning out! The choice is completely yours.

Remember what I said about there being ten players in all? And each of them being individual and unique? DOTA2 is a game based on strategy and teamwork. I've seen some of the Bots of DOTA2 play really cleverly- luring a player with a loner Hero deep into enemy lanes to have the rest of the team gank on it and wipe you out (and I've been wiped like that, honestly). This is a game where, along with your own playing, you have to keep an eye out on what your team mates are doing and lend a hand in if possible. Everyone's Hero is different and has different abilities- there's definitely a time for each of them to shine- provided you know what you're doing. Also, if you've done teamwork sort of work, you'd know how hard it is to get everything just right- so it's going to be doubly hard doing that, whether it's with Bot teammates or Player teammates, adding to the challenge of the game.

What are my favorite Heroes in DOTA2? Well, I'm biased towards long range characters. I love the way I can stand outside the fight and get a few hits and run away before I get killed (which doesn't happen that much, sadly). At the same time, I like female Heroes. (I'm incredibly biased, amn't I?) Nevertheless, here are top three heroes in my list who are..
Female
Drow Ranger (Agility based Long range Hero), Legion Commander (Strength based Melee Hero), Lina (Intelligence based Long Range Hero)

Over Powered
Bloodseeker (Agility based Melee Hero), Viper (Agility+Intelligence based Long Range Hero), Sniper (Agility based Long Ranged Hero)

Personal Favorites
Legion Commander (because she's so awesome), Viper (because he poisons and how cool is that), Sniper (because running away with him sounds easy and he mega kills around level 15ish)

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We talked about the dazzling side of DOTA2 but I promised to write why you shouldN'T play as well! And that's exactly what we're going to talk about now. The game sounds amazing and intriguing but- why shouldn't you play it?

First of all, this game is highly addicting. You'll be having so much fun building up your character in each game and trying to kill other people and dying that you won't realize how much time you've spent on one game (which is an average of at least thirty minutes to a full hour- if we're talking about the shortest time span). Think about it. You need to level up your character, carry your creep wave to the enemy, destroy towers, kill Heroes, advance deeper in and then raid the base- while your enemy is doing the absolute same. It's definitely going to take quite a bit of time.

On top of that, since every game starts with all the characters at level one, it's going to add to the addiction. How about I build this character in that way now? How about I take another character? How about I play as a jungler and just farm next time? There are a variety of Heroes, build up styles, playing styles and not to mention the situation itself, making each and every game you play unique. The possibilities of game play is endless and just as engaging as the first. 

On the other hand, DOTA2 can also get extremely frustrating (doesn't that happen in every game?). It is difficult to "learn" to be a pro player- even by practice- so if you're a newbie who didn't click in to the set up, chances are you'll never click in (yeah, that's me). If you mess up in a game once, chances are that you're going to be targeted (whether by bots or players) because your mistake will make you look vulnerable. Even if you're strong, all your enemies are going to go for killing you first because you'll look easy and against a big group, you will be the first to fall. All because of that one tiny mistake.

So you frequently mess up your game and keep getting targeted and you want to improve your playing style. Let me tell you something- I've been playing for a while and I haven't figured out how to level up my own playing so I can't advise anyone on that. Also, I don't like admitting I'm a really bad player. Conclusion? More frustration while badly playing a game you're already bad at and can't improve in.

Last but not least, DOTA2 has the option of online play. Oh, let me warn you. The DOTA2 community is harsh and unforgiving. Online rules aside, I'm talking about the players. If you die, you're stamped as a noob loudly and if you repeat that mistake (even after repeatedly announcing your own noob-ness) there are high chances of being abused. Oh and you know what I do? I mute all my team mates and don't get to see what they're saying and then I do whatever I want and make the team lose. This is going to happen every single time so I just stick to bot games nowadays.

But if we decide to put aside the issues put up by players in online play, we end up with two other problems. First of all, while playing online, you cannot PAUSE the game (because there's other people playing and they're not going to like the pause) so forget playing online casually. You would really have to sit down and dedicate a solid hour to your game, playing online. Next, if you lag, you can say "Game Over" for you because not only does only YOUR game stop, but your character is going to be stranded and (1) miss out on experience and loot (2) become easy killing targets if abandoned near your area frontier. Easy solution to online play would be to just play offline with bots. Much less hassle.

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So here's why you should and shouldn't play DOTA2. I've put my reasons forward, coupled with my own experiences and now it's your turn to decide on what you're going to do. Are you going to dive into this rich world of Heroes and battle or just do the smart thing and walk past?

this is a re-post article that was originally on my previous blog. the content is solely the work of the author.

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