DotA 2 is a Moba (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) based off the wildly succesful DotA (Defence of the Ancients) which lead to the creation of other giants such as LoL (League of Legends.) The game is developed by Valve with its main developer being the anonymous IceFrog who originally took a hold of the mod (DotA All-Stars.) Other developers later branched off and created Blizzard Entertainment.
DotA 2 is developed on the Source Engine, which allows for content creators to create custom content and upload it on the Steam Workshop. A match of Dota 2 requires 10 players of equal skill level, randomly placed onto the Radiant or Dire side of the map, each side of the map is exactly identical to the other one, except some artistic differences. Each player must select a hero in the beginning of the match. The game has a huge roster of 112 heroes all of which are free to play, each hero possess unique attributes, different skills while some of the heroes are easier to play than the others.
In the beginning of the match, creeps are spawned on both sides of the map and heroes are required to choose a role for themselves, the first one being the carry or core role which requires heroes to attain as much gold and experience in order to “carry” the game for their team.
The second role is the support role which requires players to stay alert and to assist their carries wherever possible. Support heroes usually have heals, stuns and disables in order to aid their fellow comrades in battle. The third role is the mid-laner, who must perform ganks (ambushes) on other lanes in order to make it easier for their carries to attain last hits. When a creep is killed, the hero who places the last hit and performs the killing blow is awarded with additional gold and experience. The final and option role is the jungler, whose job is to attain farm from either side of the jungle (Dire or Radiant.)
Once the match starts and the roles are defined among all team mates, creeps are spawned and the early game begins, in this stage of match, players must stay alert for ganks (ambushes) by the mid-laners and junglers, defend their towers from attacks by the enemy heroes and must try to attain as much farm as possible while harassing the enemy carry. Supports usually roam around the map as in this stage of the game, they are extremely powerful with their stuns and a successful combination of stuns can easily kill the enemy hero. Supports usually place wards on key locations in order to gain vision of the area so that they might know if a gank (ambush) is being set up.
In the mid-game phase, team fights occur, where almost all players of both the teams show their skills by using their spells and items which they attained through killing creeps and purchasing them from the shop in order to gain a lead over each other. Usually, in the mid-game phase at least 3-4 team fights take place which show one team’s dominance over the other. In the late game phase, supports are extremely weak while carries are extremely strong, supports are usually the first ones to die in team fights and if a large number of the opposition is dead, the team who has one the fight proceeds to take towers, or the barracks situated in the heart of the base which makes the respective lane’s creeps much stronger and harder to kill for the enemy opposition. If all three barracks of the top middle and bottom lane are taken, mega creeps are spawned which are extremely powerful. After the barracks, two towers remain as the final defense, once they are destroyed the ancient is vulnerable. If the ancient is destroyed the opposing team wins the match. Dota matches are inconsistent when it comes to timing, with some lasting 20 minutes and some lasting more than an hour.
The game offers paid skins and sets for those who wish to customize their hero, the sets are merely aesthetic and make no difference to the skills of the hero nor give an advantage to the player. This is generally appreciated by the community which coins Dota 2 as the best game which makes revenue and does not follow a “Pay to Win” strategy. Dota 2’s map is extremely vibrant and colorful while all the heroes have different personalities and a different lore accompanies each hero. All of the heroes dress themselves according to their personality and have unique dialogues and taunts.
Dota 2 has an extremely huge competitive scene with Valve sponsored tournaments such as the International having a prize pool of more than eighteen million dollars. Amateur and local tournaments are organized in almost every country and it is especially enjoyable for an avid Dota 2 fan to watch his team win a tournament. Moreover, Dota 2 has almost 1,000,000 players playing the game at any given time and has one of the largest player bases which ensures that that multiplayer expeirence is always unique, fun and enthralling. The community cares a lot about the game and will voice its opinions on anything and everything. Valve too cares for the opinions of its fans and listens closely before changes are made.
The game has a very steep learning curve, and it is sometimes very hard for new players to adjust to the fast paced action of the game. However, what keeps most new and veteran players going is the unique way each match goes. No two matches are the same and with more than a hundred heroes to choose from, it is very hard for one to be bored. For hardcore players, ranked match were introduced which follow an Elo system where each player is given an MMR (Match making rating) and with each match played their MMR decreases/increases respectively.
In conclusion, Dota 2 is one of the best free PC games out there, and can definitely be called one of the best MOBA games out there. It has a huge competitive scene, an extremely large player base, open developers and allows its community to voice its opinions making the game truly a unique blend of fast paced action and complex strategy.