Dota 2 remains one of the most popular games around the world. However, it has also gained notoriety for being a difficult game to master. There is a huge number of users, particularly newbies, who has sounded off on the complexity of Dota 2.

Arguments have also been made that Dota 2 may be the hardest Esports game. Aside from being a complex game, it also has a ton of depth to it. Not only do you need to learn a high level of mechanical skills and micro gameplay, but it also involves a lot of individual and team decision making throughout the match.

If you are one of those who find themselves asking, “Why is Dota 2 so hard?” I’ll answer that question in this article. I will also provide some tips on how you can be better in the various aspects of the game.

Wide Hero Pool

To start, there are more than 120 heroes in the game, and it is continually growing in number.

Every one of them has at least three unique basic abilities and an ultimate skill. Each hero also has a talent tree that allows users to select between two distinct talents at levels 10, 15, 20, and 25, which will give the character a boost in a unique way.

The heroes additionally level up differently in terms of attributes (strength, agility, and intelligence), health pool, mana pool, and base armor. There are other mechanics to consider, too, including magic resistance, status resistance, evasion, and others.

Of course, you do not have to thoroughly learn all of them immediately. But gaining a basic understanding of how these mechanics work will give you an advantage, especially when selecting a hero to counter the opposing team’s heroes.

Ability Timing

Like mentioned above, each hero has at least four spells. And it is not as if you can keep casting all of them on a whim. Most abilities consume mana, which the heroes have a limited amount of at the beginning of the game.

Furthermore, there are various ways to target the spells. There are some that have no target requirement, and some that have to be toggled. However, many of the spells have to be targeted at a point or area in the map, while some require you to directly target a unit.

Some heroes’ abilities are vector targeted, which can only be casted by determining the initial location of the spell then choosing its direction.

On top of these, you also have to consider the abilities’ cast times (how long it takes for the ability to be completed) and cooldowns (the wait time before you can use the spell again.)

To be proficient in mastering the abilities, as well as the right spell timing and combinations, you can head to a practice lobby and play with friends or bots. You can also demo a hero if you have not used it before. For instance, before you use Invoker in a real match, you will certainly have to practice first because he has more than 10 spells!

Buying the Correct Items

While there are numerous heroes to choose from, there are even more items. In fact, there is a total of more than 200 items in Dota 2.

The synergy between your chosen items and the build you are creating with your hero in the match can make or break your chances of successfully killing opposing heroes and surviving team fights. It is essential then know what items to buy and prepare to purchase.

Keep in mind that there are also neutral items that are randomly dropped by jungle creeps. As the match goes longer, some higher-tiered items become available. The items that drop are random, so luck or RNG also plays a significant role in the game.

It will be advantageous for you to at least get an idea on what items you should look to obtain in matches. Fortunately, there are guides in the game that recommend what you should buy and in what order. These guides also suggest how you should level up your hero’s abilities each time you level up.

Dota 2 is a Team Game

Why is Dota 2 so hard to learn? Another reason is that it is more of a team game than an individual one. Even if you happen to be the most skillful player in the lobby, if your squad does not have the right teamwork and synergy, you might still find yourself in the losing end.

A well-rounded team in Dota 2 is one that has players who understand their respective positions and who can accomplish their roles well. Think of your favorite sports team. Its players should excel in the positions they have been assigned in order to increase its chances of winning or succeeding.

The Five Roles in a Dota 2 Team

The basic things you need to know about the five different roles in a Dota 2 team are discussed below:

Position 1: Carry or Safelaner

Like what the name denotes, the safelaner’s duty is to carry the team to victory. Although it is not as strong in the early phases of the game, the carry player should eventually become the most farmed and highest-level player in the team. Once it is strong enough, it should be able to dictate the flow of the game. Carry players have to master the techniques on how to level up fast.

Position 2: Midlaner

The duty of the midlane hero is to farm and level up early in order to enable his team throughout the match. When his teammates are suffering from bad laning phases, it is the Pos 2’s goal to attempt to help them out. Midlaners are typically the most active and versatile players in the game.

Position 3: Offlaner

Arguably having one of the most critical duties in the game, the offlaner has to make space for his team the entire game and must be able to harass the opposing carry into having a bad time. The best offlaners in Dota 2 are those that can initiate team fights and tank physical and magical damages coming from the opponents.

Position 4: Soft Support

Soft supports are often paired with the Pos 3 hero in the beginning of the match to increase its teammate’s survivability. However, at the four-minute or six-minute mark of the game, he can start roaming to the power rune location or other lanes to help ally heroes or secure kills. The Pos 4 hero also has to be all over the map and provide as much vision to his team as possible.

Position 5: Hard Support

The primary job of the hard support is to babysit the carry in the early parts of the game. This is to ensure that the safelaner gets an acceptable amount of farm. It also enables the entire team by purchasing various team-oriented items, such as Sentry Ward, Smoke of Deceit, and regeneration items.

Fully understanding the mechanics and nuances of each position can take a lot of time. What can help you achieve that faster is to watch tutorials online. Additionally, it pays to watch “player perspective” videos of professionals to see how they act and execute their roles.

Playing with Strangers

One more reason why Dota 2 is so hard is that you need to play with strangers unless you are queuing up with a party.

It can be difficult to be matchmaking with random players whom you have not built rapport with. In some instances, you cannot even decide which user will take which lane. Although for cases like this, you can use the roll function in Dota 2 to assign positions in a fair manner.

Even so, being with unfamiliar teammates can hamper your ability to communicate in the match, which can lead to lack of teamwork. To win games, there has to be synergy within the team. For example, you must have an understanding of your ally heroes’ cooldowns and be able to take advantage of the timings.

What can help you in this regard is to find friends who also play Dota 2. If that is not possible, you can alternatively join a party you can queue up with. This will allow you to strategize with teammates before matches.

Matching Up Against Smurfs

Unfortunately, there might be instances when you find yourself playing against smurf accounts. Smurfing is when a highly skilled player uses a different account to be matched among a pool of players with lower matchmaking ratings.

This can make the game more challenging than it already is for novices, as they are forced to battle someone who is much better than them.

The game developer has already issued a crackdown on this misbehavior, because it can ruin what should have been an enjoyable match. If you believe that you have gone up against a smurf account, you can help the game’s overwatch system by learning how to report in Dota 2.

Final Thoughts

Dota 2 may be difficult to master and has a steep learning curve, but there are still a lot of reasons to dive into the game.

For one, it is completely free to play. Unlike other games where you have to shell out money to collect boosts, Dota 2 only requires you to commit time and effort to be a proficient player.

The game does have a Dota Plus subscription service that offers tools to help you track and analyze your games, among many things. However, it does not automatically guarantee wins to its subscribers. It just provides a suite of learning tools to help members master the game more efficiently.

Even though Dota 2 is so hard and has high mechanical demands, it continues to be extremely interesting for those who love complex games and competitions. Moreover, the game has provided a way for friends to come together and have fun. It has also enabled players to connect with other like-minded members of the community.