DOTA 2 is not the kind of game you can play casually. The difficulty of this game, and in fact of this entire genre, is completely unrelated to any other expression of difficulty in a game outside of the MOBA genre. When you first dive into the world of MOBAs you soon realize that there is nothing in the world of video games that could prepare you for what is in store for you. Imagine the complexity and depth some the most difficult strategy games you have ever played combined with the incredibly fast reflexes necessary for a first person shooter compounded by a necessary extension of knowledge necessary for games akin to MMO’s. To make matters worse, when you throw yourself into the matchmaking lobbies of these games you are immediately expected to have mastered all of the incredibly complex aspects of the game, of course it would be impossible even understand most of the finer points of this game at first, however the community surrounding the game shows little to no remorse for newcomers.
Reasons for the shared animosity are varied, but mostly the impatient nature of the players is directly related to the nature of the game itself. This is a game that usually takes at least twenty minutes to complete a match and can last over an hour at times. This level of time investment can cause some serious frustration when some of your other team members do not perform on the level expected, causing a loss. The problem is that in order to learn you have to play, and when you do not know what to do you have to lose and lose many many times before you can learn enough to actually win on a consistent basis.
The first thing you will probably notice about DOTA is the non playable character aspect of the game, what is called the “creep wave”. To learn how to play DOTA effectively you must learn how the interactions of these opposing NPC’s effect not only your hero but also the opposing teams hero’s and your allies hero’s that immediately surround you in the area of the map that you are playing in called your “lane”. You earn experience differently and push the non playable creeps towards the enemy lines in diversely different ways depending on which hero you choose, which hero your allies choose, which heroes your enemies choose, where your allies position themselves within the lane, your allies and your enemies play styles with their particular heroes, all of these aspects effect how your hero levels up, earns gold, and how well you and your allies are able to win the game.
Each hero in the game has various abilities activated usually by the Q, W, E, and R buttons on your keyboard. Each hero works in their own distinctive way and has various advantages and disadvantages to them, along with various roles that they can fulfill to help their teams in different ways, such as acting as tanks for damage, healers, disablers, and other roles that in many ways mirror the sort of roles commonly seen in MMORPGs. This makes learning the game even more difficult because while you are learning the basics of how the lanes and just winning the game works you must learn how the various hero roles interact with one another and how to most effectively build a team that can win.
After you understand the basics of how hero roles interact with one another then there is the incredibly large item library in which you must delve into. The way items work mechanically in the MOBA genre is relatively different to how one might initially assume they would in relation to how they usually would in the world of video games. Instead of controlling how your hero increases in strength in relation to it’s stats when they level up, you have no control over them save for with items. You use items to create a build for hero because certain items increase certain stats or allow for the use of special abilities such as lifesteal or a stun ability.
So in summation, you suck at DOTA 2. Even if you think you understand some of the core concepts outlined here, you are in no way prepared for the shit storm that awaits you when you boot this game up. While this can be a major source of frustration when trying to learn this game, it is also one of the secret ingredients that makes it so successful. Never mind the fact that it has one of the most dedicated communities in video games or that it is constantly breaking new ground in the free to play area, even without those incredible motivational tools behind it, the core concept of DOTA 2 is one that requires complete immersion and an immense amount of dedication to become proficient at the game. The level on which this game sucks a player in and always has something to teach you can not be understated and is why MOBAs, for better or worse, are here to stay.