Dota 2 has one of the most unique origin stories in video gaming. A followup to Defense of the Ancients, itself a fan-made mod for Warcraft III, nobody could have anticipated Dota 2’s emergence as the of the leading lights of the esports sector. Nonetheless, Valve’s MOBA quickly became a favorite. Although it’s earned a reputation as being particularly tricky for novices, Dota 2 isn’t completely impenetrable for the beginner. Looking to get to grips with this popular MOBA? We’ve put together some indispensable tips to help Dota 2 newbies win out on the battlefield.

1. Choose Your Heroes Wisely

As with League of Legends, Dota 2 offers a huge range of characters you can play. Currently, there are 123 different heroes to choose from, with new ones being added to the roster all the time. As you might expect, each hero has unique strengths and weaknesses, with many proving a poor fit for new players. To make life easier, start with a user-friendly hero that you can master in relatively little time. Need some ideas? Fan-favorites like Tidehunter and Lina are a good bet for any beginner. When in doubt, take advantage of the ‘Demo Hero’ function. You’ll get a quick taste of what you can expect from the hero in question, without having to dive straight into a match or practice session.

2. Start With Bot Matches

For many years, Dota 2 lacked any real practice mode to help newcomers get accustomed to the gameplay. Many newbies welcomed the addition of a ‘New Player Mode’. While this mode can be a practical option for fledgling players, it’s regularly exploited by more experienced players looking for easy pickings. To avoid ending up in a smurfing situation, make sure you’re practicing against bots.

3. Keep an Eye on Your Inventory

There are a lot of useful in-game items you can use to turn the tide of a battle in Dota 2. However, it can be easy to forget about what you’re carrying if all your focus is on landing attacks and defending against the enemy.

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If you’re new to the game, take the time to experiment with different items to see how useful they can be. A full inventory also means that any newly-acquired items end up in your hero’s backpack. When items are placed here, they’re classed as inactive and will need to be equipped to use them.

4. Don’t Avoid Matches

If you’re inexperienced with MOBA games, it’s tempting to spend ages lurking around in practice sessions and playing against bots. While this can help you get accustomed to hero abilities and general gameplay mechanics, it’s no substitute for playing actual matches.

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 Once you’ve tested the waters, consider launching into matches. Unlike many other games, Dota 2 allows players to participate in unranked matches. This means you won’t have to worry about incurring penalties if you suffer a loss.  

5. Master Your Communication Skills

If you’ve followed any Dota 2 tournaments before, you’ll know that communication is critical when it comes to winning out against the competition. If cooperative gaming is a brand-new field for you, getting to grips with shorthand communication can be difficult. Most of the time, shouting into a gaming headset isn’t going to be too useful. Instead, think about streamlining things and relying on emotes and pings instead.