Reviews: DOTA 2

Content Warning: 

Game contains Pagan Gods (Zeus), demons, violence, death, some gore, and light profanity. Gamers discretion is advised.


Defense of the Ancients 2, more commonly referred to as DOTA 2 by the community, is an action strategy game focused on five players selecting heroes from a large pool to combat against another team of five players. The best thing about this game is that it’s FREE. You don’t have to purchase anything and you cannot pay to gain an advantage over other players. No two games ever go the same-things can go horribly wrong or horribly right. Players play in an arena separated by a river with the goal of knocking down enemy towers and destroying their base before they destroy yours. Players must work together with friends and strangers to achieve this goal, crossing language barriers, and often instigating some stress when team mates “Feed”, a term used to describe when a player is dying too much, causing the other team to get more money to purchase items.



This game is NOT for everyone. Action Strategy Arena’s, or Massively Online Battle Arena’s (MOBA’s) are not everyone’s cup of tea. The gameplay is similar to a Real Time Strategy (RTS) game like Age of Empires or Starcraft. Players right-click to move their unit, and use the basic keybinds of QWER to activate abilities. At the basic core, DOTA 2 is an easy game to play. However, going into the intricacies of all the heroes and combining their abilities to assure victory can be very difficult. If you have not played the game yet and you want to learn the basics, pick one or two heroes, and only play them for your first 10-20 games so you learn the basic mechanics of the game, and how to make your hero function.

Players can upgrade their hero with items that change heroes’ stats and add active abilities and auras to help them achieve victory. Each player at the beginning of a new round starts with 625 gold to spend on items.  More gold is generated whenever enemy heroes are killed, minions are beaten with the last hit from your hero, or when enemy buildings fall. Itemization is one of the most argued and fundamental mechanics of the game. Some items increase your damage by a flat amount while other items give you stats that give you more health. The item system usually takes smaller items and builds them into bigger items that have much superior stats.

Every new match of DOTA 2 begins with a fresh start. None of your previous stats or items carry over into the next game you play. Some critics of DOTA 2 say this makes the game kind of flat, but it insures that everyone has a basic, level playing field. No advantages can be purchased outside of the game. The biggest advantage anyone can build is experience and knowledge of the games mechanics.

When it comes to playing online matchmaking, unless you are playing with friends, your beginning matches are going to be rough. People don’t like losing, and often people will rage-quit their games, weakening your team and allowing your enemies to finish the game faster. Don’t be too surprised if other players rag on you for not being good at the game, ignore their cries to uninstall. If allied players or enemy players are hassling you, pressing the Tab key on your keyboard will drop the scoreboard, and next to the players name is a little button that allows you to mute toxic players.


Presentation (Includes Graphics and Audio/Music)


Depending on the power of your PC, DOTA will look either A) really good, or B) REALLY, really amazing. The game is based in Valve’s famous source engine, allowing for high polygon models and amazing visual effects. The maps are beautiful, with the two teams being characterized by the environment on each side of the river. You have the green, lush radiant side, and the dying, almost scary looking dire side. Each side is full of details, from roaming critters like squirrels and birds that don’t participate, to crumbling trees that fall as the battle rages around the woods.

The music is medium paced and gives a heavy atmosphere to every fight, with trumpets sounding when a match is found, to the music that surrounds your inevitable victory-or defeat. The default music levels may be distracting, so some players like to turn down just the music levels. The game’s sound effects are very crucial and can give auditory cues as to what abilities are being used.



DOTA 2 is not a game for everyone. It’s a difficult game to learn, but once you understand the core mechanics the game becomes much more enjoyable. I give it an 8/10 overall because it is an amazing game, but the skill required to play is too high for it to be played by everyone. The game is free to play, which is a huge bonus. Most might want to give this game a try, and if it doesn’t work out, consider similar games like League of Legends, Strife, or Dawngate.
Keep a look out on our pages on Youtube and Facebook. The Geeks Under Grace Team is going to be starting a series soon to help players get into DOTA!



The Bottom Line



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Darman Smith

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