Dota 2 review
Huskar get CANCER.” I was Huskar. A small incarnation of Zeus was shouting at me in text chat. “HUSKAR NOOB UNINSTALL GAME GET CANCER DIE IN A FIRE.”
Why he was shouting these things takes some explaining. Dota 2 itself takes some explaining.
Dota 2 is a so-called MOBA. MOBA stands for ‘multiplayer online battle arena’, a terrible catch-all term that describes all games ever. A better term would be ‘DotA-like’ – referencing the originator of the genre: Warcraft III’s Defence of the Ancients mod. In a world filling up with DotA-likes – League of Legends, Heroes of Newerth, SMITE, Bloodline Champions– Dota 2 is the most dotingly DotA-like.
Like DotA, Dota 2 pits two teams of five players against each other. Like DotA, Dota 2is a mix of strategy and RPG, demanding skill management and tactical positioning. Like DotA, Dota 2casts you as one of a pool of more than 80 heroes – soon to be 108, once Valve have finished tweaking – each with their own distinct visual style and combat abilities. And I was Huskar.
Nooo, the Ancient! That’s where we store our crisps!
Huskar is a muscular blue hunter. He wears a headdress made of bones, and carries a spear that he can hurl at Dota 2’s two main types of enemy: AI ‘creeps’ that charge merrily down the game’s three lanes, and the human-controlled heroes on the opposite team. I was playing Huskar, and I was making Zeus angry by doing it badly.
“NOT SPEAR HUSKAR dont use burn spear idoit.”
All of Dota 2’s playable heroes have a range of core skills that can be increased in power by levelling up – in turn achieved by killing enemies. Most heroes have four skills – a few more complex types have more – and they’re either passive bonuses, or ‘actives’, enabled with a button press of Q, W, E, or R.
Huskar’s second skill is ‘Burning Spear’. Press W and select a target, and he’ll set one of his spears alight and throw it at a foe for extra damage and a short-lasting burn effect. Doing so doesn’t drain any of Huskar’s mana – an arbitrary pool that heroes use to power most of their active abilities – but there is a downside: each spear set alight burns away some of Huskar’s own health.
Axe’s dopey pun work is magnificent.
During one fight, I fell foul of this fact. I was fighting in the bottom-most of Dota 2’s three lanes – ‘bot’, alongside ‘top’ and ‘mid’ in Dotese. I was chasing a wounded Lion past the no-man’s land where the game’s two tribes of AI creeps meet to fight. Not actually a lion, but a triple-chinned mage in a pointy helmet, obviously.
I lobbed spears in a desperate attempt to chew off the final portion of his life. Realising I wasn’t going to score the kill, I stopped my charge short and stood for a second, before taking a large, white fireball square in the face.
I’d strayed into tower range Dota 2’s towers are static defences that protect the three routes to the ‘ancient’, deep in your base – the pointless obelisk thing that you’re doing the defending of. Early in Dota 2’s 40-minute matches, towers are lethal to low-level heroes.
My health was already depleted from my scuffle with Lion and I’d gouged further chunks out through self-inflicted Burning Spear damage. The tower killed me in one shot, before I was able to react and scurry out of range. It was that mistake that set Zeus off.