DotA 2 Reborn is out, so here's some tips for people interested in joining the fray!

How to survive the transition to DotA 2 from LoL or HotS

DotA 2 Reborn is out, so here's some tips for people interested in joining the fray!
This article is over 8 years old and may contain outdated information

With DotA 2 Reborn now released, a massive influx of players is expected. While this is fine and dandy, there are some gameplay and social tips I want to make clear to ensure the transition is a smooth one.

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I would love to tell you that the DotA 2 community is a safe haven, free of trolls and harassment that you find in Heroes of the Storm or League of Legends, but it’s not. No game is. As such, I’ve devised some tips to make sure your first few games of DotA 2 not only go smoothly, but to help you survive the community as well! Even if you have played DotA 2 for a while consider these tips anyway!

Gameplay tips!

First thing’s first: forget everything you think you know about MOBAs!

Yes, I mean all of them! DotA 2 is very different from its cousins League of Legends and Heroes of the Storm. Players may find some common ground coming from Heroes of Newerth, but both of the other games are different in a number of ways.

Deny everything!

Denying creeps and towers is an essential part of the game. Whenever a tower or creep is below 100 hp players can attack an allied creep or tower to deny the enemy player crucial gold and experience. If done well this can put enemy heroes at a severe gold or level disadvantage as the laning phase goes on. As such, players should always try to deny whenever possible by pressing the attack button, and then selecting the allied tower or creep.


Never deny anything on the high ground. This includes the towers guarding the barracks or the ancient, as well as your barracks. Failure to comply – even if it was done while the enemy was attacking said towers or barracks – will result in you bringing out the worst in the DotA 2 community. This will result in you getting a slew of hate messages or being reported – even by the enemy team. Consider yourself warned.

Buy items before dying!

In DotA 2 you can buy various items from the store in your base, the lane shop found in the top-left or bottom-right of the map, or the secret shop found near your ancients camp. Unlike Heroes of the Storm or League of Legends, dying in DotA 2 is the worst thing that can happen to your team. Death means not only giving the enemy valuable gold and experience, but (unlike League of Legends) you will also lose gold upon death.

To counteract at least one of these tragedies, buy items before you die. By pressing ‘shift’ before right-clicking an item in the store you can save an item in a neat little box in the bottom right. If you feel like you’re about to die, check if an item (or recipe piece) you saved is highlighted in gold. If it is, buy it before dying to make sure your death isn’t nearly as bad as it could be.


Never buy recipes before you die (the brown paper-looking items). With the further exception of the Hand of Midas recipe, there is no reason for you to buy these prior to acquiring all the items required to complete the item. This is because the items that are put into building an item that requires a recipe can give you valuable stat boosts.

Carry a Town Teleportation Scroll at all times!

While you don’t have to use them immediately, carrying a teleport scroll can be a valuable asset if you find yourself in trouble or if a tower on the other side of the map is under attack. They can also be useful for getting back into lane if you died in the earlier parts of the game.

Make sure to check the minimap (bottom left) for any colored Xs on the map. These are enemy players, and getting caught by multiple foes will result in death 90% of the time…

However, don’t overdo it. Each scroll costs 100 gold, and while this doesn’t seem like much, the costs can really rack up over time. Also, think twice before teleporting. You will get reported if you are the kind of player to teleport into the enemy team and die. I cannot stress this enough. I’m what you would consider one of the nicer people in the DotA 2 community, and even I might report you if I catch you doing this one too many times.

Don’t play a hero because he’s “overpowered!”

If you are coming from Heroes of the Storm or League of Legends, heroes like Lina, Lion, Sniper, or Spirit Breaker might seem overpowered at first. This is for a number of reasons ranging from passive bashes, ultimate skills that can kill most heroes on the lower side of the health stats, or even just absurd amounts of burst damage.

The truth is these heroes aren’t anywhere near overpowered. The reason for this is that DotA 2 is balanced in a different way. Heroes in DotA 2 are designed to be good counter-picks to other heroes. This means that one hero who is really great at taking out one hero might be terrible at fighting other heroes. There are even some support-role characters who can take on certain designated DPS heroes if they get into the right position.

In lower skill brackets, Nature’s Prophet is considered overpowered due to his ability to summon treants to push lanes. However, he can be quickly dispatched by nuker heroes, or simply paying attention to the minimap

As such, never pick a hero because you think they’re stronger than the others. This is never the case, even with newly released heroes. Everything has been tested, not only in the original DotA All-Stars game that has been around for years but also by multiple levels of testing in DotA 2.

Just… don’t do it. Unless you want to get reported for feeding, and earn yourself a spot in low-priority with the scum of the DotA 2 community. It’s basically gamer hell. I don’t think you’d like that.

Community Tips!

I’ve played Heroes of the StormLeague of Legends, and Heroes of Newerth before returning to DotA 2. Since the game is moderated by Valve, and is a Steam game, you can be sure that the community isn’t the most cancerous in the world. That said, you can evoke the rage of some players if you don’t follow certain codes of conduct, namely the following tips…

If you don’t like something someone is saying, silently report them for communication abuse!

Don’t get involved. If someone is being a racist, sexist, homophobic, whatever piece of a s***stain… ignore them. By bringing up the player stats (default: tab button) you can click on the little circle containing a speaker to mute their microphone and text. You can then report the player during or after the game by clicking on their name and selecting Report Player.

By selecting Communications Abuse you can send a ticket to Valve about the player’s toxicity. Valve will then view your game before making a decision about whether or not the player was breaching the terms of service. Communication Abuse reports can be punished with anything from the player simply getting muted and restricted to the chat wheel, or getting sent to low-priority depending on the severity.

Don’t get mad, get even!

No, I don’t mean having an extremely distasteful verbal war with your less-than-pleasant teammate. I also don’t mean sitting in base and waiting for the game to end. You will get reported, and it’s not worth getting tossed in low-priority just because you didn’t like someone.

Instead, try winning the game single-handedly. I’ve done this several times in my skill bracket simply because I played carefully and picked off enemy players. By making your teammate eat their words, your other teammates will not only love you, but will likely come to your aid in reporting the player.

 Getting an ace is a great way to prove to yourself (and your teammates) that you’re a force to be reckoned with. You can then promptly tell the troll that he’s a noob if you really want to pin the last nail in their coffin!

If you can’t out-play the enemy team, consider the following: maybe you are actually bad at the game. 

You are just starting out, after all. Even players who have been playing for years aren’t amazing at the game. Longer game time, better Kill-Death ratios, or Gold Per Minute doesn’t equate to being better. If you have all 6 of your recommended build items, all the kills on your team, and so on… consider the fact that maybe you’re just a really crappy team player.

You’re not bad on paper, but it’s like any other sport involving teams: a lack of synergy means you will lose, even if your team is composed of all-stars.

Lastly, practice some humility!

Whether you’re a noob or a pro, a bit of humility never hurt anyone. Haters are going to hate no matter what you try to do. You can rather choose to let people get to you or you can choose to get the better of them by reacting in a way they don’t expect. It’s the internet after all, and no cyberbully ever succeeded in bullying someone who simply didn’t pay attention or blocked them.

That’s it!

Everything else I could teach you can be found in DotA 2 Reborn’s reinvented Training and Practice modes. Just keep it cool, and remember that at the end of the day it’s just a game. If you aren’t having fun, then it’s not worth doing!

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David Fisher
Author, GameSkinny columnist, and part-time childhood destroyer. David W. Fisher (otherwise known as RR-sama) is a no B.S. reviewer and journalist who will ensure that you get as close to the facts as humanly possible!