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DotA 2 Review
Posted on July 29, 2013 by Nickolai Niver

DotA 2 is a bit of an interesting title. As the MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) genre has gotten larger, almost every title in it owes some form of respect to DotA 2, or at least the original DotA. It’s the game that started a genre (despite what those bastards who still play Aeon of Strife try to tell you), but that doesn’t mean it’s good.

Sure, Castle Wolfenstein can be considered the great grand-daddy of all FPS titles, but that doesn’t mean giving it a facelift and rereleasing it will make it a good game. That’s my concern with DotA 2. Sure, it was the first. But is it still relevant?

DOTA ALL-STARS

Characters Galore - Perhaps DotA 2’s largest asset is that it has one of the largest selections of characters to play from. Second to League of Legends(LoL), DotA 2 character selection is impressive. Each character is unique from one another, so it’s fun to try out as many characters as possible.

Your Own Strategies - When I was writing my MOBA article, I mentioned that LoL uses defined archetypes. Yes, Kha’zix can go mid lane, but for the most part LoL is pretty set in its top, ADC(attack damage, carry), support, mid, jungle strategy. What’s interesting about DotA 2 is that I can come up with lane combinations and play the game any way I want, as long as I’m good. For instance, I can run a kill lane (a lane in which both characters have a lot of presence and health and can bully the enemy heroes) with Bane and Clockwerk. Alternatively, I could also pick a character like Meepo, then jungle and feel confident that my Windrunner will be fine because they can handle 1v2 lane combos. It’s refreshing to watch match after match be different from one another.

Character Interactions - It’s a small touch, but I really enjoy how the characters interact with each other. Listening to Tide Hunter make fun of his pirate rival is honestly chuckle worthy. It really makes the lore come together when Zeus taunts Anti-mage after killing him. Sure, it feels bad when your rival hero kills you, but at least the characters talk to each other.

Still True to Itself - Bit of a history lesson here. A few years ago everyone thought DotA was going to remain a Warcraft 3 mod, and that the MOBA genre would be left in obscurity after Blizzard decided to drop the servers. After the failure that was Demi God, 2 competitors broke out. Staying true to DotA, Heroes of Newerth was created with similar heroes and combat mechanics. On another page, LoL was also released.

After DotA 2 was announced, everyone was skeptical. The big question was if it was going to be a brand new MOBA like LoL had been, or if it was going to be true to the Warcraft 3 mod. As many have already realized, it’s DotA All-Stars with improved graphics. Honestly, that’s good. Most diehard DotA fans have nothing to complain about, and the ones who do are just being giant whiners about the whole ordeal. This is what DotA was on Warcraft 3, and that’s a good thing.

Dedicated Servers - People who transitioned over from the first DotA will take a great bit of enjoyment in this. The game is now locked on solid servers and there is no host player. Everyone reports to a central location meaning that there is no host running on a 28.8kbps connection. While this may sound like something that’s just taken for granted, go try playing the original DotA on a copy of the Frozen Throne. You’ll be a million times more grateful for what Valve has done for the game.

THEY CAME FROM BEHIND

Sluggish Response Time - I’ll agree it’s entirely possible that I’ve been spoiled and am now just being picky, but I don’t like the response time in DotA 2. Anyone who’s played any other MOBA in the last 3 years may notice this as well. The controls just seem sluggish. Characters don’t turn around immediately to respond to a threat which can get really bothersome at times. Sure, you can say that this is preferable to characters who immediately respond by spinning 270 degrees and firing off a shot, but I really hate waiting 2 seconds for Tiny to turn around and attack something once.

Dated Graphics - DotA 2 simply doesn’t have the best graphics in the world. They’re not bad, but the Source engine is definitely beginning to show some age. Sure, not a lot of MOBAs have cutting edge graphics, but it just doesn’t feel like a huge step up from Heroes of Newerth, and that title was released ages ago.

Not User Friendly - This is a fault for all MOBAs, but DotA 2 seems to have it worse. Pure and simple, it’s not a very user-friendly title. Your first 10 games will be spent getting completely obliterated, and even after that it’s an uphill struggle to learn all the characters and every unique thing they do. It’s like any other MOBA or competitive RTS. It takes time and effort that a lot of casual gamers might not be willing to give up.





DotA 2 is exactly what it should be and nothing else. It is a visually upgraded title running on a different engine with dedicated servers. This isn’t a bad thing; in fact, it’s exactly what the DotA fans wanted. Dota 2 is a true-to-form port of their beloved game. My only qualm here is that it might not be quite as friendly to people who have never played a MOBA, or even people who only casually play other titles.

*This review was based on the free-to-play version of the game.*

Nickolai Niver - Staff Writer nic (@) original-gamer.com | all author's articles

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