An Intro to DotA: No One Wants You Here.

Valve, PC gaming gods, have decided to take DotA under their wing and make a legit version. The gaming world isn’t prepared.

Valve might know what they’re getting themselves into; their all-seeing eye sweeps across the gaming landscape as it reads demographics and satisfies complaints the way only a blue fairy could. It should mean something to you gamers when I say that DotA’s demographic is so small and niche that Steam users (a group that casually summons games to their computers from thin air) are largely in the dark about it.

To all those heading into the three devilish lanes of creeps and trolls, allow Nonstop Karate to present a primer:1) What The Hell Is Warcraft 3?

Defense of the Ancients (DotA, if you’re nasty) is a mod game based off Blizzard’s Warcraft 3 and the expansion Warcraft 3: The Frozen Throne: A Rich White Man’s Rage. You younglings might just now be realizing with the release of Starcraft 2 that Blizzard has a history of Real Time Strategy games. Warcraft 3 used a unique idea of “heroes”; units that could lay waste to entire armies in-game. Rage is building an entire army of Night Elf archers only to have them all slaughtered by a large pig man with a stick named Ukh’akik.

2) More Character and Item Choices Than A Box of Crayons

There are dozens of playable characters, and the game updates will often add new heroes or take old ones away in a quest to obtain something called “balance”. Street Fighter pros are encouraged to learn every playable character enough that they can know how react to any opponent. Imagine trying that with the 50+ heroes in DotA. Now multiply that by the number of items (with their own abilities) one can equip in-game. Set aside two weeks now, young learner. Just start reading online forums. Then you can play the game.

Somehow I flunked a chemistry final because "I couldn't memorize complex charts"

3) Play as a Team, Act Like A Lone Wolf

Valve sure enjoys making team-based games like Team Fortress and Left 4 Dead. Teamwork in DotA is a lot like L4D, except everyone you play with instantly hates you. You can’t win this game going alone (unless you’re Stealth Assassin. Or Phantom Lancer. Or you call “solo” in the beginning of the game). You play with four other members, at least one of which will leave the game early. You have three main roles to help your team, depending on what character you pick.

Big Tank Hulks (Strength) – You are to go into groups of enemies and let yourself be raped. Oh you can fight back, but you are not to survive. You are there to draw fire for…

Agility Gnats (Agility) – These guys will run in and out of battle, “assisting” in combat. It is not uncommon to see them wait to attack until an opponent is nearly dead. They will then teleport/phase/stop time into battle, deliver a killing blow, and then proclaim their elite killing skills to the entire party.

Glass Menagerie Wizards (Intelligence) – You have a similar fighting strategy to the Agility Gnats. Direct combat is going to hurt you so bad, it’s best to avoid contact with others. If you’re playing DotA, it’s likely you already have this skill in real life. You can save lives with spells that disable, stun and heal. Or you can run into battle to summon a rock monster and perish in flames. The style of play best for you depends on how much you like people.

Always remember: It’s not about destroying the enemy team’s base and winning the game; it’s about getting as many kills as possible. It extends your e-penis.

The Phantom Lancer's greatest strength is the ability to avoid copyright infringement from Square Enix

4) Roleplay.

It is highly encouraged to pick a hero that suits not just your play style, but your acting ability. Spam the public chat with declarations of war and taunts the way your character would. This really comes into play in public internet cafes and LAN parties, where your opponents can hear your voice from across the room. I always enjoy Zeus, Little God of Thunder. Nothing improves team spirit like screaming Norse Battle Cries and “Lightning Bolt!” for every attack. It’s better to get a smarmy comment off during a fight than to heal your dying brethren.

It is against the law for an internet cafe to kick you out for wearing this.

5) If you mess up, you were high.

Like a Narc Officer trying to blend into a high school, gamers can often pretend to be high to excuse their mistakes. Did someone kill you? Quickly (but not too quickly) type back, “Oh man, you’re lucky I’m so high right now. I would’ve totally gotten you if I wasn’t blazed out of my mind”. You may think your ruse is transparent, but luckily 95% of your teammates have never smoked either. Success. One may also blame a slow network connection, but be ready to be ridiculed for not being able to afford better internet.

I hope these words guide you well. For around twenty dollars, you can grab a Warcraft III Battle Chest, download DotA and spend the next year letting your soul spiral into a hate pool. Godspeed.


About Chad Quandt

Writer for videogames, animation, the webcomic Suffrage. Master blocker in dodgeball. Barbecued with Corey Haim before he died.

Posted on August 19, 2010, in Chad Quandt, Videogames and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. One of the the things I loved (read: “hated”) about DotA was how dying once in the game would cause everyone on both sides to call you a n00b and question your sexuality. Dying twice would get them to start an internet petition to ban you from And Lord help you if you wanted help learning to play the game because you stumbled into a room for the first time.

    I can’t wait to see how they improve that model in Starcraft 2.

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  1. Pingback: An Intro to DotA: No one wants you here. « | Defense of the Ancients

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