|Release: July 9, 2013|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Contains strong language from the game’s community, Blood and Violence, Comic Mischief|
by Jake Valentine
“Crap, Riki has to be somewhere nearby.”
Danger lurks around every corner when there’s an invisible hero on the loose. Sure, Clinkz has the ability to go invisible himself, but Riki unleashes a powerful smoke cloud, silencing the opposing team. A sense of fear runs through the archer’s bones as he traverses through the jungle, looking for his next victim. In the distance, an enemy is spotted. Quickly, the bone fletcher makes his way across the map to capture the unsuspecting enemy. But it’s a trap; Spirit Breaker comes in out of nowhere with a powerful bash. Thankfully, in comes Clockwerk with a huge ultimate to turn the tide and aid Clinkz. Riki unleashes a powerful ultimate of his own, silencing the opposing team; Clinkz and Clockwerk are merely able to auto-attack as…
Oh. My queue popped. Time to stop spectating and start playing. I’m a bit nervous, though. Heroes of Newerth is more of my cup of tea. Thankfully, there are a few heroes that are straight Dota ports, so I’m not totally lost in Dota 2. Though, the art style and game’s pace take some getting used to. While the former is still a work in progress, the latter quickly becomes a thing of the past. The prophecy my friends have foretold is true: Once you start playing Dota 2, you don’t want to stop.
In my preview for the game, I took a great liking to Jakiro. But playing a support hero isn’t the most fun thing in the world. The game’s vile community usually yells at you to drop wards, buy a courier, and refuses to thank you for anything you do. It makes the games where you do get a courteous team that much better. In such instances, I was sure to say my experience was highly enjoyable, and I commended my teammates for being friendly. It’s a system that Valve has put in place in an effort to make the community better. MOBAs aren’t known for caring players; you’re more likely to hear fifty new swears than five “thank-you[s].”
Next, I picked an old favorite of mine: Nightstalker. However, an old nemesis also appeared: lag. So that game didn’t really go too well.
Let’s try this again. I boot up another match, and this time, I’m in the single-draft mode. Given an option of three heroes, I pick Luna due to my familiarity with Moon Queen in HoN. Things are a bit different, however. There are more items to choose from, therefore there are more choices. It’s almost like a completely different game. Heck, it’s a better game (I never thought I’d prefer Dota 2 over HoN) due to the choices available. I pick a highly rated guide, use my knowledge of the hero, and go to work. The art direction is still something I struggle with. It’s a clean look, but not quite crisp; something just feels off, but it could easily be a personal manner.
You know what doesn’t feel off? The heroes. Dear lord, these are absolutely amazing. The controlled chaos that goes on during team fights is a thing of beauty. I know exactly what character is using what spell. I know why I’m silenced/stunned/CC’ed. I know what to avoid for the next fight. Things can get a bit too hectic for newcomers, but this is a game that stresses patience and learning over jumping in and pwning faces. But with great work comes great pay-off. Dota 2 is a perfect example of this. All of your training and research comes through in the most satisfying way, validating all of the man-hours you put in researching strategies and item builds. It’s like that feeling you have in an MMO after you down a raid boss for the first time. You feel on top of the world. That’s what it feels like when you win a game of Dota 2.