"Go and play with bots you scrub".
That sentence isn't exactly how it was said, as I've removed a number of expletives and curses. Welcome to DOTA 2.
My first few public matches went pretty badly. I didn't have a bloody clue about the maps, where to go or what to do and quickly realised that I've a lot to to learn and still haven't found a Hero I really click with. Luckily for me a close friend who plays DOTA 2 religiously asked me what style of play I like. He knows I'm into my massively multiplayer games and have a very set style of play because of that, so he pointed me in the direction of Clickz and Windranger.
He must know me well because both Heroes are right up my street. According to the official description, Windrager (a typical tree hugging bow wielder) is described as:
- "quite versatile and can be fielded as a midlaner, roamer, lane support, or even a carry, if the game calls for it. She is famous for her immense utility and versatility, and as such, she is one of the most common picks of experienced players."
That suits me fine and sure enough, having escaped to the confines of Bot play for a few more matches, I really get into the swing of things. I still feel there's a real lul in play during the opening minutes as players/bots tentatively tease one another out of the safety of their towers but it is short lived.
Even against AI (no doubt because I'm absolutely shite) I'm getting my ass kicked by the opposing heroes and their spike chains. It's actually refreshing to see these skill chains, even if it does mean my death, as it becomes apparent how important it is to not only know your own Hero but those you face.
I still have a nagging doubt about the balance of the number of Heroes as I simply cannot fathom how it's even possible to make them equal. I've tried to discuss this with players in matches but have all too often been met with a wall of "STFU noob" or something similar. They're a pleasant bunch this DOTA 2 lot.
The idiot community aside (I really see no reason for such behavior, considering it isn't like you actually "win" anything in a match), I'm finding it hard not to play. There's something about DOTA 2 that has the 'one-more-play factor' and as much as I like that, I can't put my finger on why.
Yes the games polished, slick and stylish but it isn't particularly exhilarating and there's no sense of character progression as everything, with the exclusive of extortionately priced cosmetic items or account wide XP, is temporary. Thinking about it though, the sense of accomplishment and the need to play more boils down to your personal growth as a player and seeing your skill improve match by match. Like any E-Sport or competitive PvP MMORPG knowing you can get one up on an opponent through skill alone is a powerful incentive and DOTA 2 has that in bucketloads.
I'm going to stick with DOTA 2 for a few more days yet, as I want to get to the bottom of individual class roles, what the in game store has to offer and to shed the Bots for real players when I've actually a modicum of skill. In line with this feature though, you won't have to wait too long: I'll drop by tomorrow with my thoughts.