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