I joined some friends in DOTA 2 this evening. Bots are generally fine though a little twitchy, but unfortunately I don't imagine they give you a buzz like you'd get from killing or being killed by a real player (while being abused by team mates of course). This evening then, I joined a couple of friends for a few games of random drought to really see what all the fuss is about.
I think it's fair to say that at this point, I'm well and truly addicted to DOTA 2. Admittedly I'm still absolutely terrible and deserved much of the criticism that I received from one individual throughout the course of a match. Ursa “the bloody nightmare bear” pretty much killed me instantly, for over 40 minutes. Him being able to teleport and one-shot me without me being able to react was a bit of a headache but that didn't stop the game being fun. Friends and I paired really well at times, with me playing Windranger to setup spikes.
The biggest learning curve I've found at the moment is remembering the Heroes I'm facing and what they're actually capable of. After being killed by Ursa multiple times (at least 6), it became quickly apparent that the Hero I was facing was a pain in the arse and capable of dealing massive damage. As to whether there's a tactic to dealing with such a Hero when it's so 'fat' (that's a term relating to his power towards end game) I really don't know and is something I'm going to have to explore through more play.
An interesting discussion my friends and I had after the match though (we thoroughly lost) was about the learning curve of playing humans versus bots. One particular individual throughout the match kept insisting I should play against them more before I jump into a real game. Others supported the need to play against real humans as the spikes, Hero load-outs and such devastating coordination just isn't present against AI controlled opponents. Inevitably, if I were to pursue Bot play for a lengthy period of time, I'd only be experiencing half of what I could be (though that half is likely more than I know now).
My main course of action over a few more days has to be to do some research on all the Heroes, find several I'm particularly comfortable with and learn to be the last person to strike a creep to ensure I get my gold (if you aren't the last person to hit them when they die, you get nothing). It really is evident just how much depth there is here and I'm truly excited to uncover it. Despite my novice nature, I do feel the game does a good job of bringing you up to a certain standard, though I imagine the gap between being “good” and “exceptional” is a truly great leap.
If there's one last thing that surprised me today, it's how long a match actually lasts. Perhaps this evenings in particular was a rare occasion, but 40 minutes isn't a particularly quick thrill and much longer than I expected any match to be. I'd always imagined League of Legends and DOTA 2 lasting little more than 10 minutes, so there's little wonder people get mad when they see a complete muppet with a bow (me) hindering their team for almost an hour.
I did feel a little bad, but my friends felt that the party we were facing were well optimized while we were a motley crew of random Heroes just waiting to be torn to pieces. Hopefully my next few matches will bring better luck and better yet, will allow me to bring together a DOTA 2 beginners guide for those who really know nothing of the genre.