Trying to learn things about DOTA 2…again

Every year around the time of The International I try to start playing DOTA 2 again, and this year has been no different. I’ve played a few online matches since TI7, and for the most part my performance has been terrible. With the way they’ve changed the game to engage new players I’m only allowed to pick from 20 heroes, and the two I’ve played the most as, Doom and Chaos Knight are off limits. So I’ve been playing as Juggernaut, and although I feel like I’ve started getting the hang of him, I haven’t been able to contribute much to my teams. I pretty much play really conservatively and try to keep my lane pushed, but I don’t like engaging with enemy players.

I’ve played around with a few solo bot matches as I’ve tried to get a better grip on Juggernaut’s abilities, and the game I finished up a few minutes ago has been my best one to date. I got more kills than I think I ever have during a DOTA match, and even got my first killing spree. To be fair, I’m playing against easy bots, but it still felt good to win a match where I think I contributed something. I’m sure I still played poorly, but maybe I’ll get better before I lose interest again. Maybe.


The International 6: My reintroduction to Dota 2


A few weeks ago I watched the documentary “Free to Play” and it immediately piqued my interest in Dota 2. The stories that were told about the featured players got me more interested in eSports than anything ever had previously. I found myself caring about these players, and I was excited to watch Fear and Dendi’s progress throughout the film. Once I finished watching it I wanted to know when the next International tournament was, and to my surprise it was only a week away.

On Saturday morning I tuned into The International and was hooked from the start. They did a great job telling the story of the tournament so far, and made it easy to cheer for Digital Chaos and their underdog story even if you had never heard of them before the tournament.

I got so into the experience of the tournament that I ordered the TI6 attendee grab bag that the Dota store was selling, and it arrived yesterday!

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I had a great time unpacking the bag, and was impressed with the quality of the pins included. It’s pretty cool that the pins have codes to unlock matching “genuine” pins that you can display on your Steam profile.


Since TI6 I’ve tried to learn to play Dota, but have found it quite time consuming. I’ve played a few matches, and it’s been an uphill battle. During the first match I played after the conclusion of TI6 I had my entire team quit within the first 5 minutes of the match, and it was me taking on a team of 4. I guess I could have quit the match without penalty, but I saw it out and got pounded into the ground. Soon afterward I finally found another player willing to give me a hand and I started to learn the ropes.


I won two matches in a row and started to have fun playing! That said, the time commitment required to play Dota 2 is still a little off-putting. It’s not fun to spend 45 minutes or longer facing an uphill battle just to lose in the end. It’s especially unpleasant when no one communicates on the team. It’d be nice to have a team of people I could play and chat with, instead of feeling like I’m playing with a team of AI.

Ultimately I’m going to keep trying to learn to play Dota. There are so many characters, and I’ve only played as two so far (Doombringer and Chaos Knight). I look forward to learning more about Dota, and I can’t wait to watch the next competition!


Recently watched: ‘Free to Play’


I was browsing the 99¢ documentary rental section of iTunes the other day and came across the documentary by valve about the first International DOTA 2 competition. I’ve never really gotten interested in DOTA or any MOBA for that matter, but I’ve been intrigued by eSports lately and ended up renting it.

I just finished watching it a few moments ago, and I’m glad I discovered the film. It’s incredibly well produced and tells a wonderful story that made me care about something I never thought I would. Throughout the documentary I found myself pulling for just about all of the personalities featured in the film and felt true disappoint as each was eliminated from the tournament. They do a great job of exploring the player’s lives and showing what each has at stake in the tournament.

Free to Play movie

They also do a great job at dramatizing the matches, especially during the finale. I never thought I’d feel actual excitement while watching people compete in a video game, but I felt like I was watching the Super Bowl as they showed the most thrilling moments of the final matches. Valve does a great job of building up the tension to the very last moment, and it’s a rewarding finish for sure.

I’m not sure if I’d feel the excitement while watching matches take place live, as I’d imagine there must be a lot of dull moments during certain stages of matches, especially for those of us who have little idea what is going on. I’ll definitely end up tuning into the next DOTA tournament I come across on Twitch to see for myself if it’s truly as exciting as Valve makes it seem during “Free to Play”.

If you’re looking for something to watch this weekend, I highly recommend “Free to Play”. For 99¢ it can’t be beat. Heck, I even ended up renting it twice, because I didn’t finish it during the initial 24 hour rental period and it was worth every penny.

Get your DOTA 2 Steam Key


So by now I think just about everyone with a Steam account has received DOTA 2 early access for free (it sells for $29.99 in the Steam store), but if you haven’t you can find a Steam Key quite easily. Valve often sends Steam users bundles of DOTA 2 keys to send to friends so that more people can play the game, and I recently received 10 keys to give away (now 8 keys as of this posting).

If you’d like one simply add me on Steam (Darth Gumballs) and drop me a message and I’ll be sure to hook you up with a DOTA 2 key.