How to learn to play Dota 2 fast?

Shekhar Rudra
By Shekhar Rudra
9 Min Read
Image: Valve

Before even starting to learn the game, every person who chooses Dota 2 as their new game must understand that they will have to spend plenty of hours in the game client in their endless tries to understand how things work. The game is very complex and hard-to-learn, but if you’re okay with that, welcome to the community! You’ve just passed through step one: committing. 

Dota 2 is a multiplayer online battle arena, which may sound unfamiliar, but it works as follows: ten heroes (five-a-side) run around the map, farm gold and experience, fight each other and enemy units, and try to destroy the opponent’s base which is the main goal to win the game. DotA Allstars, Dota 2’s predecessor, was a mode to an RTS game, so if you know what strategy games are, it’ll be a little easier. Also, it’s like chess, in a way. 

Playing the game of Dota 2 is not that easy because the game is constantly changing; let’s say, huge updates come once or twice a year. This is why it’s very clinical to stay in touch with Dota 2 news: a new patch may change something you are accustomed to.

There’s a bunch of ways to learn to play Dota 2 fast. First, you can just follow Twitch streamers and see what they do, but it’s worth it only if you know the basics and can understand what they are doing because they do not tend to explain their actions. Second, you can watch YouTube guides for Dota 2, which is better, but you can get lost in explanations and various channels. And third, you can do it yourself with a little bit of reading and playing the game yourself. The internet is filled with Dota 2 game guides, but all of them agree on the game’s complexity and versatility (which is the main reason why people love it). 

The easiest and the fastest way to learn Dota 2 is just to play it against the computer (bots) because the community might be a little toxic to newcomers, and only after a couple of dozens of hours do you then jump into pubs(multiplayer experience). Anyways, you can understand the game a little bit better by reading the guide below. 

Dota 2 Basics

Let’s start with the basics. 

Map

First of all, there’s a map. It has two sides, Radiant and Dire: they do not differ much, just by colors. Each side’s mission is to destroy the enemy Ancient (a huge building in the middle of the base). Reaching the Ancient is not that easy because there are three rows of towers before it on each of the three lanes.

dota 2 map
Pic: WePlay Esports

Heroes

Dota players choose heroes. There are two main types: carries and supports. Basically, the names say it all: the carry hero has to gain levels and gold as quickly as possible, the support hero has to harass the enemies and do everything to ease their carry’s life. There are three lanes and five players, you might say. 

Yes, in Dota 2, players have roles: 

  1. Main carry (farming carry) – these heroes need a lot of gold to have huge impact, but when they reach their peak, there’s no stopping them.
  2. Midlane carry – midlaners need exp more than gold mostly; that’s why they go mid (It’s the only solo lane, and they don’t share exp with another laner).
  3. Offlaner (hardlaner) – team fights initiators, damage receivers, thick characters who can survive a lot. 
  4. Semi Support – helps offlaners in the lane.
  5. Support – helps main carry in the lane.

So, as you can see, there are two doubles (main carry or pos1 + support, pos5; offlaner or pos3 + semi-support, and pos4) and a solo lane (midlaner or pos2). This is where the first tip to learn Dota 2 lies.

  • Dota 2 Beginners Tip #1: if you want to get better at Dota, play the game with friends. 

So, here’s a list of Dota 2 heroes for beginners:

Carry MIDLANECarry HARDLANECarry EASYLANESupport EASYLANESupport HARDLANE
Drow RangerCentaur WarrunnerPhantom AssassinCrystal MaidenVengeful Spirit
SniperBristlebackLifestealerEnchantressAncient Apparition
ViperDragon KnightWraith KingOgre MagiSpirit Breaker
ZeusTidehunterPhantom LancerJakiroJakiro
  • Dota 2 Beginners Tip #2: try each position/role, find which is your favorite by playing 1-2 heroes to understand the basics.

Money and exp

The game is based on getting levels and items. You are acquiring both when you kill creeps (units) and enemies. To get exp and gold, you have to be the last person to hit the enemy (or neutral) unit, so the kill is counted for you. 

Killing creeps (creepstating) is vital in Dota 2! Carries should try to kill as many creeps as they can, while supports should focus on preventing and interfering with enemy heroes trying to farm creeps. 

  • Dota 2 Beginners Tip #3. If you don’t have enough money or your lane is too tough to beat, try farming creeps in the jungle. Supports are allowed too!

Items

Items and item builds are very important in Dota 2 because some of them can change the course of a match as well as save you and your teammates. It’s pretty complicated to understand which items to purchase for each hero because there are 115+ characters in the game, and all of them are unique and require specific item builds, so the best thing is to follow in-game guides. The best guides are from ImmortalFaith and Torte De Lini.

  • Dota 2 Beginners Tip #4: purchase items that are suggested in the game. Open Guides when you choose the hero.
Items dota 2
Pic: WePlay Esports

Open Shop, then Browse Guides, pick your favorite and follow in the footsteps! The Guide will suggest to you which skills to upgrade and which items to buy.

buy items dota 2
Pic: WePlay Esports

Summary

Let’s wrap it up. 

  1. Dota 2 is about destroying enemy towers and the Ancient. It’s also about killing enemy characters, but you win only when the Ancient falls.
  2. There are five different roles, each responsible for different actions and stages of the game. Pick your role and grind 1-2 heroes to understand the game’s basics.
  3. Your character evolves and gains new skill levels with experience gained from being near any killed creeps or heroes. 
  4. You get stronger by acquiring artifacts for gold that you receive when you last-hit any creeps or heroes.

Congratulations, you are now ready to play the game! 

Now it’s all about you: play with bots, read the guides carefully, watch pros on streaming platforms, and try not to be offended by toxic players: they’ll ruin your fun!

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Shekhar Rudra likes mobile gaming. He loves to play different types of mobile games. He is currently maintaining the mobile game content on GameRiv.