D plays DotA 2: Diretide

Hello readers,

I’m back after playing so much Diretide! Diretide is probably one of the most fun things ever. I’m so serious. One of my favorite parts about it is… I can pretty much random and incur no rage when I do kind of poorly! WOOO FOR BEING SO BAD!

For those of you that don’t know, and yet want to read a blog post about DotA 2, Diretide is a Halloween mode that is still available in DotA 2. The goal of the mode is twofold: 1. Get the most candy in the first 20 minutes, because you will win a free vanity item, and 2. Kill Roshan as quickly as you can. The best part about this mode, really, is how adorable Rosh is the whole time. Roshan is the boss creep that carries the Immortality item on him. In Diretide, Roshan is free from his pit and allowed to roam the map. After 10 minutes in game, Roshan will appear to collect treats from the players… and if you don’t give him what he wants he will kill you. I am 100% serious. He’s also dressed in super cute costumes!

Aww! Guys, he just wants candy!

There are three ways to collect candy: some jungle creeps will drop them, Roshan lane babies will drop them, and rob your enemy candy bucket. The third option is super viable, since it will give you almost a permanent lead if you can keep robbing and defend your own bucket well enough. For that reason, Anti-Mage, Furion, Queen of Pain, and other characters with global TPs or blinks are annoying as heck to deal with. Team fight characters are also extremely welcome, because most engagements will be mini to full on teamfights anyway. Characters like Sand King, Omniknight, Dazzle, and Clockwerk to name a few. Sadly, in this mode, the viable characters in the metagame are still all over the place.

If I had a dollar for every Anti-Mage or Furion I have seen in any game… I would probably have at least 50 dollars.

After the initial 10 minutes, Rosh appears for candy as mentioned previously. One thing my boyfriend and I have been doing is picking gangcentric characters and following Roshan. With enough stuns or damage, you too can help Roshan murder innocent people. Try Riki, Bounty Hunter, Spirit Breaker, and other fun characters for it. Its best done with at least 2 total people, because you might walk into entire enemy team. That’s not fun. =,(

After the candy phase is over, Roshan goes over to the team with the most candy and eats the bucket. This begins the third and last phase of the game — Kill Roshan. The competitive part isn’t to necessarily kill Roshan last, because both teams still get items for his death. The competitive part is beating the fastest Roshan kill, because you will get a Golden Baby Roshan. You want it and you know it.

Its so cute. You want it, don’t you? This is like TF 2 hats all over again! But with couriers.

Diretide is simply a Halloween event that seems to be going away on November 12 this month, but I hope they bring it back as a real game mode. Its fun, its fresh, and its low stress. Maybe they will make it creep sacrifices instead of candy, but I would still love to see this mode stick around.



D sucks at DotA 2: Wait, this is Single Draft!?

Good morning readers,

As promised, I have some news about my progress playing Dota 2. Spoiler Alert: I am pretty bad at characters I don’t know how to play. Now, I’m going to preface the hard stats with information, because it’s 100% necessary and informs you about the kind of trolls I find myself playing with. P.S. these are my friends, which compounds the sadness.

My boyfriend and our mutual friends have been playing bot games. They are actually quite good at this game, so I am not 100% certain why they only play bot games lately. It could be because I am only good at a small handful of characters, whereas if we cue together as a team of five we will be facing my hard support counterpart player that can play more than 3 characters.

The Three L’s.

I’ve been playing bot games myself to practice new characters as well as get some sort of rhythm for last hitting. I have discovered that carrying can be fun, but I am bad at last hitting unless its Riki or Lifestealer. I did enjoy playing my bot game as Visage, but I know I made a lot of microing mistakes that any regular player could capitalize on. Finally, in theory, I could carry a game if I am able to farm. My issue with trying to carry on any of the above listed characters is that once something impedes my farm, I am likely not to catch up. I can try jungling, but enemy players are better about wards and ganks.

My overall win rate, including the game I am about to talk about, is 57.14% for regulars. In matchmaking, I have a 20 – 15 W/L ratio. Lich is my most played followed  by Lina, then Lion. The reasons I stick to these three are very simple:

  1. Lich’s port to HoN was Plague Rider. Aside from different move speed, they were both identical. I learned how to play HoN on Plague Rider, so it was only natural to play Lich to transition into Dota 2.
  2. Lina’s port to HoN was Pyromancer. He was a character I learned how to play so that I could learn how to land ‘skillshot’ type moves. Pyromancer and Lina are identical in every way aside from slight number tweaks and different casting distances. For example, Lina’s Dragon Slave is longer than Pyromancer’s… or vice versa. I forget.
  3. Lion’s port to HoN was Witch Slayer. He was a BAMF. My desire to play this character was simply because his voice was kind of sexy. His abilities also seemed to be like Pyromancer mixed with Politoad Priest (Shadow Shaman). I was not very bad with him at all.
  4. Even though I played Voodoo Jester (Witch Doctor), Glacius (Crystal Maiden), Pharoah (Clockwerk Goblin), and the occasional Swiftblade (Juggernaut) their ports were way different than the characters they were 90% based on. One of the reasons I have yet to pick up and play Crystal Maiden isn’t due to her counterpart in HoN being different, but because I always found Glacius boring… even if I did once get a quad kill solo. (I will try to upload a replay of it just to show off!)

Since the start of Dota 2, I played mostly matches made in lobbies and the only matches that show up on my dotabuff page are my matchmaking ones. Here are the stats of my “Most played” heroes:

My stats as Lich are very overwhelming given my comfort playing Lich. Lich needs no real farm to do what he does. Lich is easy denies even if the game doesn’t count them (a peeve of mine, since I have more than 20 denies on any given Lich game). Lich also fits the type of support I like to play. Given the shift in the metagame since I’ve been at school its clear to me that I need to branch out and try other heroes. Lina works well enough against the current push strats and her ultimate is good enough to kill most characters in a gank. Lion is basically the same way, though I find him a little more farm dependent than Lich or Lina. Seeing that 100% wr on Witch Doctor I wonder if I should pick him up more often. He’s another character that relies on little farm and provides reliable skills for a gank… especially in conjunction with Faceless Void.

What you don’t see in that list are any true junglers. Alas, I am terrible at jungling and usually end up underfarmed and underleveled whenever I try to play a jungler. This comes off as laughable and pathetic to most players since the jungle is the safest place to farm and usually you can do it uncontested. My biggest problem is not knowing when to gank on any junglers. The ‘best’ jungler I played was Legionnaire (a port of Axe that was somewhat different and had a mechanic to ‘guarantee’ spins), and I was only able to do well if I was on a groove and farmed a portalkey/blink quickly.

So last night I was hanging out with my boyfriend and we decided to play bot games with our friends. We played a couple bot games, but then one of our friends decided to queue us up for a real matchmaking game. We had no idea and he didn’t tell us. We weren’t on skype or any other team speak program, so we had no way of communicating. We were also a 5-man team with at least 2 players (including myself) that weren’t the best or were limited in what we knew how to play.

I’m pretty sure this was the enemy team last night.

What came up as the queue ended was Single Draft, and my boyfriend and I looked at each other. The look on my face was probably one of extreme despair. Being parted from my Three L’s wasn’t fun, especially when it came as a complete shock to me. I found out my boyfriend had Treant in his pool, so I was about to ask for a swap until someone mentioned in chat there is no hero trades in Single Draft for DotA 2. On top of that one of our friends, also taken by surprise, was unable to buy items, so we used up like 20 pauses just to let him restart a few times. As usual, the enemy team kept unpausing, so the game was out the a horrible start. In my hero pool there was an Enigma, a Brewmaster, and a Spectre. Any great player would have picked up Enigma or Brew and would have felt great about their chances. I, on the other hand, was ready to call GG already.

I don’t usually take on a defeatist attitude. Even in games where we are leaning on the losing side heavily, I always do my best. Sometimes if my team doesn’t give up on life, we are able to make great comebacks. Especially if our team has carry power and the enemy team doesn’t. While I did do my best this game, I was forced to take Enigma over Spectre and Brewmaster. Brewmaster’s ult takes microing skills I am not confident in and Spectre requires me to actually be able to farm consistently. Given the way MM works in DotA 2 (giving you skilled enemies if you are team queuing) and my lack of ability, I was totally unready to ‘try’ out any hero I didn’t practice extensively.

I choose Enigma for reasons other than the ones listed above. I also had played Tempest, Enigma’s port, in HoN. I was really bad at it, but he had a skill set I was familiar with. If I could land 2-3 people Black Holes it would probably be enough to secure those kills. My boyfriend ended up having to pick Furion out of his set, so it was up to me and one of his friends to lane together since neither of us were good enough to take the hard lane. We started on Dire side and worked our way into top lane. I picked up courier and the recommended items aside from the 3 starting clarities. I opted to get more health regen, I think, because I didn’t want to  risk feeding due to low HP. Cow, the guy I was laning with, chose Razor from his pool of heroes.

I denied a creep in our wave with Demonic Conversion, but for a hefty amount of 170 mana I wasn’t willing to try to play Enigma like Lich. I get very flustered whenever I try to play heroes that have some micro abilities. It occurs to me now that I should have stayed in lane and tried to annoy the Dark Seer and Beastmaster in our lanes. I was busy trying to stack camps and ward in the early game, while engaging in a few ganks top lane. We were up 10 kills in the first part of the match, so I thought perhaps we could win. That was until Tiny and Pudge realized that they could feed on Razor and I. Razor played very bravely and I was squishy in general due to being underleveled and underfarmed.

I wish this really was a skin for Pudge.

The enemy team had no carry aside from Beastmaster, and our team had a Templar Assassin. Due to some miscommunication, I think, the friend who trolled us pretty hard took Nyx Assassin. Awkwardly, the guys are brothers IRL and they both wanted mid it seemed. Nyx ended up going to hard lane bot and I don’t think he had a fun time down there. Granted, had it been I or Razor it would have been a really big feedfest probably. The enemy team had a Venomancer and so, by picking us off, they were able to push us into our base and ultimately win. It was kind of fun, but needless to say I need to work on playing all the characters before I engage in another Single Draft!

3/16/10? Obviously trained by ChuaN himself.

If there is one thing I was proud of that game, if I was capable of looking past all the failure on my part, it was that I did land at least 2 great Black Holes. One of them was mid on 3 heroes and another was on 4 on top tower near the end of the game.


D Sucks at Dota 2: The History

Dota 2, for those of you who don’t know, is the sequel to Defense of the Ancients. DotA is a mod that was created for Warcraft III that is like a mix between tower defense and an RPG. Called an ARTS or MOBA depending on who you converse with,  DotA is a game that requires a lot of skill to play well and oddly enough is one of the few videogames that takes just as much practice as a real life sport. I love this game so very much, but I guess I should give you some history before we talk about how bad I am at this game.

In the winter of 2010, I was getting really bored of Aion (a crappy MMO) and I was looking for something to fill in the free time I still had even with school. I needed a free game, because I simply didn’t have a job and didn’t want to jeopardize my schoolwork. My friend from Australia told me about League of Legends many times before the winter, but I just wasn’t interested cause I couldn’t wrap my head around what an ARTS/MOBA even was. I decided it would be a good time to check it out since I still had winter break going on. My first game I picked Veigar, arguably one of the hardest characters you could pick at the time, and completely dominated with a score like 14/3/10. It felt good to do so well and have no idea what I was doing. I played League of Legends for my entire Spring semester. I was pretty good at the game, typically winning my solo queues. It felt really good.

Annie, Solo Mid, Boots First.

Sadly at the start of summer, I got involved in a car wreck. While I didn’t break anything, both of my arms were too sore to even type with. I had to have a few final papers pushed back simply because I couldn’t take the pain that shot throughout my arm when I lifted them. Though I did start playing League of Legends a little bit at the end of summer, I realized the pain in my arms was going to continue to be a dull pain. I also seem to have a slower reaction time than I used to, because the pain in my hands is somewhat distracting. Nowadays, the pain is not as intense, but it is a constant factor in my playtime. Holding a game controller is probably the worst, because BlazBlue (a cool fighting game) made my hands turn red and puffy.

When I started school up again in the fall, I tried my best to get back into League of Legends. I had a falling out with a boyfriend and just stayed away from League of Legends for a long while. In late November, I took an interest in another man and he was pretty cool, but he played Heroes of Newerth. Heroes of Newerth, at the time, was supposed to be the spiritual successor of DotA. I had heard of HoN before, but was always offput by the rumors of the community being the worst mannered players in all of online gaming. It was actually a little shocking to me that the guy who is now my boyfriend wasn’t a total douchebag. I digress, but its important to note that I hadn’t ever played any other ARTS/MOBA than LoL.

Since my new boyfriend tried LoL out, I decided I should give HoN a few tries. As expected, I did really badly my first few games. I was told to pick Arachna (semi-port of Drow Ranger) and I went 0/4/7. This was a carry, a character that is supposed to win the game for the team, but I had no idea. In LoL there were carries, but the laning was completely different in HoN. It was harder to last hit (to get gold) and hard to avoid being ganked. The jungle was much larger and so even if someone called MIA there would be no way to know if he was just jungling, hiding, or coming to gank your lane. I eventually settled onto a character named Plaguerider (direct Lich port that got a buff ms to 320).  He was a badass because:

  1. He rode on a dead wyrm that pukes death as an ultimate (it bounces like Lich’s ult).
  2. Easy denying.
  3. A dangerous early game nuke that could secure first blood if you laned with a strong stunner like Magmas (Sand King) or Pyromancer (Lina).

Seriously, this is the most badass thing in the world.

All of those things made Plaguerider an amazing support/ganker. The fact that he didn’t need farm or items, just levels, made him a character I could play and learn with. Even with the state of my hands, the easiness of his kit made everything easier for me to do. The biggest hurdle after maining Plaguerider would be learning all the hero names and their abilities. I was a decent/great hard supporter, depending on what game you watch in my replays, that warded at least 80% of the time and always picked up courier at the start of each game. Sometimes I would do courier and wards at the start to just show off how little Plaguerider needed to be a dominant babysitter in lane.

I played HoN a lot on the weekends and really enjoyed myself, but I felt I was reaching the ceiling when it came to playing a hard support. I was able to play most of them,  but I started to want to carry. My ‘best’ character for it was Swiftblade, but for some reason the idea of just farming for 20-30 minutes didn’t meld with my mindset. I would try to get involved with ganks I shouldn’t have tried, or ignored ganks I could have easily stolen kills from. Due to some rage about being unable to learn how to carry, I stopped playing Heroes of Newerth for a while in summer 2011 and started playing League of Legends again. Oddly enough the handicap with my hands were much harder to deal with in League of Legends and soon I ended up giving up on that game as well and picked up playing Team Fortress 2 for the rest of summer.

Then it happened, The International 2011 for DotA2. It caught me by surprise and I watched the entirety of the tournament live would I could. I will admit it here and now, I am a Valve fangirl. I think Valve does right 99% of the time and the – 1% is just for Left 4 Dead 2 not being a free expansion like they had promised (or so that’s how I remembered it). I ate up the game and applied for a beta key.

If you look close enough you will see the screams of a million people crying out for beta keys.

Winter 2011, just in time for my first year anniversary with my boyfriend, I got a key and wanted to play all day and night. We did some practice pub games and a few matchmaking ones. My score for matchmaking mostly occurred during that winter break.  20/10 w/l ratio. Almost all of those wins were with my playing of Lich usually combo’d with my boyfriend as Viper. School started for Spring 2012 and it was all over for me. I had decided to try to graduate school sooner than later and took on a lot of hard courses that I didn’t want to take over the next school year separately like a wimp. Instead, I took them all at once and not peppered with easy classes as was suggested to me. There was no more DotA2, LoL, HoN, TF2, or any game. I did sneak in a game, but I was mostly stuck writing papers for the rest of spring 2012.

Now, I don’t know about you guys, but I am the kind of person who becomes EXTREMELY rusty when I don’t play a game for so long. It was easy to get into DotA 2 since everyone was just getting their beta keys and a good number of them were LoL-only players (aka not used to the idea of how laning works) so it was kind of easy to get into the way DotA 2 worked with my HoN experience. Now, however, people had time to hone their skills and practiced while I’ve been at school. Now there are bot games for people to try out heroes and practice their abilities. I’m somewhat like a minnow being thrown into a pool of sharks.

The worst part is my IRL friends, whom I love, only seem to want to play bot games now. I don’t have anything against the idea, but I personally want to play against real people. Its quite easy to dominate bots of any skill level, but human players are surprising and actually have tactics most of the time. I have tried solo queuing, but its quite scary to attempt since I want to first pick Lich. I have joined a group called DotA Noobs, but I feel like their skill level is so above mine that there is no way I can really queue up with them and NOT ruin their games.

Maybe I should just keep watching Purge Plays.

I’ve gotten myself into a weird pickle and so this series “D Sucks at Dota 2” is going to be a documentation of my attempt to reach where I was with my confidence in my skill as well as hopefully become better.