It started simply.
A Friend and I were having one of our usual discussions, that is DOTA 2 Vs LOL. It’s a constant source of debate, especially since this particular friend had been a 1500 ELO player and on his way up before he got into the DOTA 2 and made a little migration. Of course i still played LOL, and was argueing for LOL while he argued for DOTA.
A little background here. I never played DOTA, at least not until after i started playing LOL. A load of people in the business assume that everyone was part of the undergroudn DOTA community from it’s outset, but the simple fact is that that’s not true any more, if it ever was. A huge proportion of the people playing LOL didn’t go through the DOTA camp first, and that proportion is growing rapidly. Of course i played DOTA after, but LOL was my cradle of the genre, rather than DOTA.
So this conversation raged back and forth. LOL was argued to be a simpler, lower skillcap (did that ever come up frequently) version of DOTA, with serious problems in game balance compared to DOTA and a under-developed metagame. I replied that DOTA was a muddled, frequently confusing game that suffered from legacies of it’s origins in DOTA 1 and in turn Warcraft 3. (oh and against the aforementioned points against as well)
Eventually, i decided i couldn’t really judge DOTA 2 unless i had played it, So getting the key off him, i downloaded it this morning and started playing.
What can i say?
The very first thing you notice about DOTA 2, is that… it’s DOTA.
The best comparison for DOTA to DOTA 2 is Halo: Combat Evolved to Halo Anniversy. Valve have changed nothing. Or near enough to nothing. It’s basically DOTA with online match making, community, and a Graphics job. Every hero in DOTA is still here, every item, every buff, every camp.
That in itself is a bit disappointing. DOTA 2 needs to be a sequel rather than a remake of the original DOTA. If i want to play DOTA, then Valve needs to attract something more than graphics and a shiny UI if it wants people to pay to play or for champs involved. Not when the original DOTA has everything DOTA 2 has.
The next problem is… the really did keep everything.
All the little quibbles in DOTA which were annoying reminders of it’s origin of a mod of Warcraft III are all still there. The shop is still confusing, the map is still imperfect (not the actual map itself- but rather the way it’s shown on the mini map, which lacks detail- for example in LOL you can easily see who’s where, but it’s much harder in DOTA), and perhaps in attempt to emulate the dark and gloomy feel or the original DOTA, the graphics drab, murky, and generally lacking the crispness and detail of others in the genre (LOL). The animations themselves can be a little understated or overstated depending on who or what is happening. In LOL you can easily identify any ability by any character, and see what it does. In DOTA a lot of novas and abilities tend to look like each other, and Animations are sometimes a bit disproportionate. A AOE stun might be hard to see incoming in a teamfight over the other less important abilities such as a damaging stun. Another noticeable flaw is that buffs from items such as the DOTA equivalent of Oracle’s aren’t immediately apparent- if they are shown at all (it might be a gameplay decision, i’m not sure).
The item system is admitably a lot more complex, and it’s obvious that Valve went to considerable effort trying to make it more noob friendly, although the system of attributes and recipes in different shops will doubtlessly only be mastered with time. This a marked difference from LOL, where the shop is, while being less complex a fair bit more intuitive.
The items in both games are exceptional, but it’s an undeniable fact that DOTA places a lot more emphasis on them, particularly on items with actives. LOL has comparatively few active items, although with only one exception (Ghostblade) they are all AOE team fight actives such as Locket of the Iron Solari, Randuilins Omen, and Shyrella’s reverie, and most are support or tank. Useful certainly, but by no means compulsory unless you’re playing a support.
Items with actives in DOTA are an omnipresent fact of life in almost every stage of the game (including this nifty little item which restores mana and health after acquiring “charges” based on how many spells have been flying around the place). So are Aura items, which are a lot more common. All of this does increase the skill cap of the game, and make correct use of these actives pivotal.
All of the problems with the animations, the graphics, and the direction of development aside, there was a reason why DOTA changed the nature of the online gaming scene. In short.
It’s still a fantastic game.
To be expected, i got completely noobed as i figured out playing the game (thanks Sven). But my next game with Broodmother ended up as 3-0-4 (Crazy health regen in those webs make her quite a strong solo top), even though our team didn’t have a jungler (but it did have a leaver, fortunately the enemy team did too).
Anyway off to play. Hopefully i’ll get a Hat in TF2 for this or something. Being in the closded Beta of something, even quite far along has a nice ring to it.