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Beginner's Guide to Dota 2 [OrangeGaming]
By Mr. Barnacle and 1 collaborators
A thorough guide on what Dota 2 is and how to play it well with simple mechanics to help you survive and gain an edge when starting out.
[Introduction] What is Dota 2?
THIS GUIDE IS STILL UNDER CONSTRUCTION. This will be a comprehensive guide, but that takes more time. If you want, keep on checking the page to see any new updates!

First off, I want to say that this guide explains things thoroughly and may seem slow to those that have played similar games. You can skip around each chapter if you feel you already know about it.

Well, Dota 2, by definition of Wikipedia, "is an upcoming multiplayer online battle arena video game being developed by Valve Corporation and the stand-alone sequel to the popular Defense of the Ancients mod..."

That might not tell you much, but luckily, that's what this guide is here to help with.

So basically, the main objective is to destroy the opponent team's base/ancient.

Here's pictures of what they look like.
So anyways, to get to these ancients you have to destroy the enemies' towers first. Each lane (one of three pathways each side has, to go directly to the ancients) has 3 towers and the ancient has two towers defending it. To be able to destroy the ancient, you must destroy all the towers in a single lane along with the opposing team's barracks. Now there are two barracks in each lane, and each activates a special perk for your team whenever you destroy them. More on that later, but here is what they look like:
So now that you know how to win, lets introduce the heroes.
Each hero is a character that you pick that you control, but you can only have one. This hero will stick with you until the end of the game so choose wisely. More information will be given in the other sections.

Here's a map of the battlefield:
So with your team and their five heroes you will split into the lanes for what's known as the laning phase. After the timer begins creatures called "creeps" spawn from both bases and proceed to go down each lane to help push it. Each creep gives you experience, but you must physically kill the creep to gain gold.

Now gold is given to you at the beginning of the game, and this will be used to purchase better items as the game progresses. Once the timer starts and the game has begun, you will earn gold each second, but it isn't much. Killing creeps will give you a good chunk of gold, so don't just attack them willynilly. Again, I will talk more about this in the other sections.

In each of the sections that will follow I will give more extensive information about each aspect of the game. This section was mainly to give you a jist of what there is and what exists in the game.

So eventually in this guide I hope to help you learn about how you can begin to play Dota 2 and I hope you enjoy the rest of it!
[Heroes] Where you can make a difference.
Sooooooooooooooo...... what's a hero? Well basically, a hero is the character in the game YOU control. With every action you make with this hero, you will alter the game in either a positive or a negative way.

Lets get started.

So when you begin the game, you can choose a hero out of the many there are. Each one follows one of three different "specialties" if you could call it that. There's
So with strength you are prone to gain more health in each game. With Agility, you gain attack speed. Finally with intelligence, you gain more mana. (Mana is the amount of energy you have to spend on spells) So when choosing, the type of hero means that they will gain attack damage whenever you level up that stat.

So with each hero they have their own unique abilities. Each ability can either be passive or active. Passive means it changes something about what the character does normally, like autoattacking or even defensive traits, and makes it more powerful in some way. The active abilities mean you have to use it manually and target where it will hit. Sometimes abilities are target based meaning that when you specify the target and you use it, it will hit the target basically all the time. If it is area based, you cast it onto the area you want and it will affect that area only. Lastly, you have abilities that aren't necessarily targeted abilities because they don't guarantee a hit. With these you target the direction for something to go, and depending on if there is an enemy or a friend there, may or may not have an effect.
With each ability, it has a mana cost. Meaning, each time you use it, it takes away from your total mana level. If you do not have enough current mana, it will not work.
Also with each ability, it has a cooldown. Cooldowns represent how long you have to wait before the spell is ready to be cast again.

Whenever you die you have a respawn timer. This increases by 4 seconds for each level that you gain. That means, by level 25 (the max level) you will have to wait 100 seconds before respawning. Another option would be buying back, which costs 100 gold plus your Level multiplied by 1.5 plus the gametime (minutes) multiplied by 15.

[Carries] To Carry, or not to Carry. That is the question.
When deciding what hero you will pick, you have to consider what type of character that is. Do they attack with a ranged attack? Do they have high damage attacks that will completely obliterate the opposite team later in the game?

For each of these there are terms that go with them.

Carry - A character that, when fed with multiple hero kills or creeps, excels at killing the opposite team.
Support - A character that aids with the team by providing heals, buffs, or stuns that will effectively keep the team alive.
Ranged - A character that has a long area to autoattack.
Melee - A character that must walk up to the target to attack it.

Now you could say that tanks could be classified in here, but anyone can tank with the right items. "Tank" just means you have an above-average amount of health, armor, and/or magic resistance so that you can take more hits than usual.

If you are interested:
Armor is a stat that will lower the enemies' physical attack damage when they hit you.
Magic Resistance is a stat that will lower the enemies' magic/spell damage when they target you.

So anyways, when making a team:
  • Check the top right of each character's selection to see if they have a carry or a support classification.
  • Know that you won't do well later on in the game if you don't have a carry.
  • Know that too many carries means that each of you won't get enough gold as a whole to get good enough items in the beginning and middle of the game.
  • Know that hard supports, such as Dazzle or Omniknight, are great at keeping a team together.
  • Know that the team composition is just as important as how you play when the game starts.
[Warding] Because its that important.
Never underestimate the power of a ward

Wards are one of the game's best tools to gain an advantage on the other team. They are basically eyes around the whole map. Once you place them, you will be able to see anyone in a certain radius pass by them. This will allow you to see if the other team is going to kill you (ganking) or possibly if someone is in the other team's forest.
There are two types of wards:
  • Observer Wards
  • Sentry Wards
Observer wards are basically the eye around the map. If you have correct ward placement, you will know where the opposite team is at all times.
Sentry wards are eyes to invisible units nearby. I will elaborate more on this in a later section.

So I actually found a really good map reference. If you want to see where this came from, click here[www.team-dignitas.net]. I recommend you take a look at it. It is VERY useful.

Here's the ward map of where you should place Observer Wards.

Red - Rune wards

Yellow - Ubercliffs

Pink - Lane/aggressive/defensive/ wards

Green - Jungle wards

Blue - Push wards

White - Very situational

Purple lines - Blocks the pointed neutral camp from spawning
[Laning/Items] Your first steps onto the battlefield.
It is better to stay close to your tower than to blindly venture forward.

So, you've chosen your character and you are ready to play. Well good!!
To start, you have 603 gold. Now what do you do with that?

Well, I'm a firm believer in the recommended guide that Dota has already in game. So, open your shop and look at the tab that says recommended. Go buy the starting items and then head out to a lane.
When picking a lane, try to stick with a "two top and bottom, one mid" approach. By doing that you will get a balanced way of gaining experience and gold without having no support or being crowded.
Stop by the furthest tower you have and wait until the game starts. If it has already, wait for the creep wave to go by you and follow them. Once the creeps on both sides have met, you can now focus on trying to get last hits if you are a carry. If you aren't, let the other person in your lane, if they are a carry, get them.
Be wary of the other team's heroes. They might harass you or use abilities on you. If this happens and you are losing health, fall back to your tower and eat a tango or use a health potion.
You can also harass the other heroes, but that has low priority if they are well behind their own creeps.
If you see the other team disappear, or one of them is missing, call it out in chat. Either by using the wheel with key binding 'y' or saying "[insert lane here] mia".

Now, if you aren't a carry, you can also do something that's specific to Dota. You can deny your creeps. Wait until your creep is low enough that one attack will kill it, and use your attack key (typically 'a') to kill it. This will lower the experience that the other heroes get.

Now that you know what to do, try and just keep on getting creep kills and preventing the other team from harassing you (by harassing them).

Remember, you aren't the only lane out there.

Your minimap is your friend.
You will check your minimap constantly.
You will see if your team calls mias, but don't count on them.

If your lane or another lane disappears, take the safe route and fall back towards your tower. This will make any attempt on them to try and kill you fruitless.

Warding is your friend.

Lets say that your recommended build has Observer wards in it (or maybe you're feeling superior and you buy them anyways, which is a good thing). Well good job! You will give your team an immediate advantage.

If you are a support, always make sure wards are placed.

Try and place them in the rune warding spots referenced in the map in the [Warding] section. Go for one there and possibly one in the jungle ward locations.

If you end up having to go mid, then you have some added responsibility.
First off, to gain the advantage mid lane, you need to kill AND deny creeps.
Secondly, you need to call whenever your lane opponent goes missing. <--- THIS IS VITAL
Furthermore, you need to go to check runes and grab them whenever you can (Rune information below)
Lastly, you need to put pressure on the opposing team's midlane.
Midlane is a tug-of-war game in which you have to gain an advantage over the other team. If you do this, you will succeed later on in the game.


Runes are special buffs that appear at one of two locations in the map. Right between each lane in the river there is a spot where they spawn every even minute. Check this if you have the time and take it so the other team doesn't get the chance.
Here's the location of where they spawn:
Here are the types:

Invisibility gives the user invisibility for 45 seconds.

Double Damage gives the user 2x the base damage of their autoattack for 45 seconds.

Haste gives the user maximum speed for 30 seconds.

Regeneration gives the user 100 hp regen/second and 67 mana regen/second for 30 seconds. If you are hit this is lost.

Illusion gives the user 2 illusions of themselves for 75 seconds.

Once you are above level 7 or 8, that's when the Mid-Game starts.
[Mid-Game] Behave as a group, not an individual.
Don't be an idiot and jump into their team by yourself.

So now you must be around level 7 or 8, and most of the heroes aren't strictly in lanes anymore. Well this is where the fun starts.

If you were Midlane, you now can try to gank (attack) the other lanes by surprise. If you do this effectively you can get some kills and possibly a tower out of it.

For everyone else, communicate with your team and try to plan some attacks on the other team. This may include destroying towers or picking some heroes off.

This part of the game is more game-specific so I won't be able to elaborate on what you should do exactly. Just follow these basic rules:

1. Sticking together and behaving like a team will prevent unnecessary deaths.
2. If enemies aren't anywhere to be seen, be more careful, they might be trying to kill you or a friend.
3. Keep the wards up, they save lives.
[Late-Game] Omagurd... durrmurrge!!!
Barracks are worth more than kills.

Alright so you are probably level 16+ and now things are getting serious.
You should be fighting as a team for ALL fights and anytime you gain an advantage (Killing Roshan or killing the other team) you should be using that time to push towers and hopefully barracks.

First off, lets talk about what barracks do when they are destroyed.
There are two types, a ranged barracks and a melee barracks.
If you destroy any of these barracks, the corresponding creep gets a huge upgrade into a mega creep, which gives them bonus health, bonus damage. This is EXTREMELY important if you want to make final progression into winning and will effectively shut down that lane for the other team.
Also, as an added bonus, each mega creep killed only grants half the normal gold.

Now is the time that I talk about Roshan.

Roshan is a "boss" per-say that is located in a cove right above the bottom rune location.
Location here:

Inside he has something called the Aegis of Immortals. This item, once picked up, gives the hero the capability to respawn 5 seconds after being killed on the spot that they died. This is an invaluable tool for Late-Game.
So when you have the chance, group up and kill him.
"Every 5 minutes (starting at first lane creep spawn) Roshan gets stronger, gaining: +500 hp, +10 damage and +0.5 armor (given by an aura). He will reach his maximum strength at the 45 minutes mark." - Dota 2 wiki

Make sure you know where the other team is before doing this though, otherwise you are setting yourself up for a gank. This will end up with your team dying and the other team killing Roshan and getting the Aegis.

For the rest of the game:
1. Stay as a group.
2. Take advantage of the other team having dead heroes.
3. Keep it warded.
4. Make sure you focus on the other team's carries in team fights.
[Useful Items and Tricks] Being smarter than your opponent.
Its the small things that count in fights.

So, this section is going to talk about a few neat tricks that are very helpful when trying to counter the other team. This involves juking, smoke, dust, and a few underrated items.

First off, let's talk about juking.
You may have heard about juking in either football or some other sport and the concept is pretty much the same. The goal of it is to trick your opponent into thinking you are going to do something, when you really aren't.
The most popular and most effective way to do this is to weave around different obstacles on the map so that the opponent loses sight of you. This is very important if you are in a tough situation and need a quick getaway. Obstacles can include being on an upper elevation area or possibly hiding behind some trees.
Once you lose the los (line of sight) with them, you can now juke them. If they lose sight of you, they will try and predict what you will do next. Luckily, this is how you exploit them. You then can make a sudden change in movement, such as, backtracking where you came from, making a turn into a small indent of trees and hiding, or possibly even teleporting away with a teleport scroll. The possibilities are almost endless, and when done effectively, it will save your life.

Alright, well let's now talk about the awesome counter items that exist.
This item, is called Dust of Appearance. It basically does what it says. Whenever you use it, invisible enemies in a relatively large area are revealed for 12 seconds. This is VERY useful if you don't want to buy a gem (see below) and want a quick revealer.
This is Smoke of Deceit. Whenever you use this, all of your allies in a certain radius are given invisibility. Sadly, this isn't a attack-your-opponents-right-away invisibility, instead its good for maneuvering around the map. In a way, this is a juker of sorts. For 40 seconds, you and your allies have a 15% speed boost along with this. This is VERY useful if you know the other team has warded certain areas, because you can now pass through the wards without them spotting you. This could be very useful if you are trying to get to a warded Roshan. If you get close to a tower or enemy hero, though, the invisibility buff is lost.
Ah, the Gem of True Sight. This is an invaluable item for your team if the opposing team has either A. One really fed invisible carry. or B. Multiple invisible characters. This item allows the person that carries it to see invisible units when they are nearby. This also includes wards. Because of the overall benefit to see invisible units at all times, this makes this item very useful. BEWARE, though, if the person holding it is killed, then the gem will be dropped. This means that this 700g item could either be destroyed by the opposite team, or even worse, used against you.
Since I didn't elaborate that much on the Sentry Wards earlier, here's my little bit on them. This item is really good if you want to counter an invisible character at ALL stages of the game. That means, if the enemy heroes in your lane have an invisible character, you can use this to kill them from the start. This is also very useful in dewarding.

Dewarding/Counter-Warding is the action of using a gem or a sentry ward to find the opponent's wards and kill it. This is VERY useful if you want to make sure they never get the upper hand when trying to know where you are. Also, if you have an invisible character in your lane, and you know the other team has placed sentry wards, you can place counter sentry wards to kill their sentry wards. Pretty convoluted, huh? But this is a good strategy if they are harassing you.

Alright so, now I'm going to talk about an item that doesn't really get much coverage, although it can be very useful to counter the opposite team.
Ghost Scepter This item is pretty useful later in the game if the other team is completely destroying you with a physical carry. You use this item, and immediately your character is immune to physical damage. Although the negative side is that you take 40% more magic damage. But if you use this right, abilities such as Lone Druid's bear entangle or Naga Siren's net can be dispelled using it. That's pretty useful if they are really fed.
[Change-log] What's new?
  • 12/15/2012 - Added [Useful Items and Tricks] section.
  • 12/14/2012 - Added change-log and created dedicated ward section. Minor grammatical errors fixed.
  • 12/13/2012 - Published the guide!
[Credits] Possibly more?
Most images came from the dota 2 wiki.
Thanks to everyone that reads this!!!

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kingpig73 Mar 9 @ 10:56am 
ArtX Jan 1 @ 12:30pm 
$pybreak Nov 6, 2013 @ 1:58am 
Do a whole paragraph on denying.
Luxio May 12, 2013 @ 1:29am 
what is the error when i join another person it comes that its been a network error
Tsunami Feb 26, 2013 @ 4:56am 
now a good tactic for jungling would be awesome!
Daniel's Jan 23, 2013 @ 9:38am 
great guide but would be amazing if the guide can be translated into portuguese - br
Gamestah|SuperRoach Jan 18, 2013 @ 8:38pm 
Great guide!
Y.S.I.M | Predator Jan 18, 2013 @ 9:02am 
to the one who dont know play dota .. it juz need some practices .. ==!
goldstriam Jan 18, 2013 @ 1:33am 
Привет, если ты играешь в Дота2, и у тебя есть своя команда, то на нашем портале http://playtowin.ws/ ты сможешь участвовать в турнирах. Все правила в группе Steam http://steamcommunity.com/groups/D2playtowin Жми ссылку, Добавляйтесь. Welcome team
Buon Tia Jan 17, 2013 @ 7:41pm 
I still think this game needs a real in game tutorial...
For idiots like me who never played this kind of game before.
One big think that is missing in this guide is the default key configuration, you NEVER mention the controls... yes, you can change the key bindings but I have no idea why I need most keys in the key binding menu.
This is the least intuitive game I've ever played and I still feel very confused after reading this...