My first time playing DOTA2

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I loved the video game era I grew up in. I don’t regret a thing but sometimes I do get a little jealous at what’s out there today, both in terms of games and technology, but also in gaming culture.

I like to think I did my part to help make gaming culture what it is today but while I had my own visions of creating a LAN party business in my parent’s basement, I never would have imagined that 20 years later people would pack arenas to watch kids play video games.

That’s not to say I would have been some pro gamer or the likes but I can imagine being 10 or 12 years old and dreaming about being The Guy when it comes to a specific video game. These days you can turn any game into an eSport-worthy title…from fighting games, to Madden football and of course, games like DOTA2. While I’ve read and heard of DOTA2 and League of Legends, I had never played one until just recently.

Stereotypes in action

I had watched DOTA2 matches in an attempt to see what all the hubbub was about but I never understood what was going on so it was hard to get invested. It just looked like an RTS game like Starcraft to me, and frankly, those games just aren’t that interesting to watch.

Then one day at work a few of us were talking games and DOTA2 came up. One guy was really into it while the rest of us had only played once or twice or not at all. He was trying to get us to join him in a game one night…sure, why not? I’ll play any game once and give it a shot. If it’s not fun, I won’t come back.

DOTA2 is difficult but not frustrating

DOTA2 Pudge

Pudge was my character of choice

After playing two games of DOTA2, I can tell you that it’s not an unfun game. Even as a complete noob that approached the game like any other RTS, I had fun playing. I died a lot and had a tough time figuring out all the items, inventory and stuff but I stumbled along and played until the match was over. It’s a hard game with a pretty sharp learning curve but it’s not so difficult that you rage out.

The pace of DOTA2 is a little different than I expected. Instead of controlling a bunch of tiny soldiers like in Starcraft, you’re controlling just one character that you build up over the course of a match. There’s 5 players to a team and you’re trying to destroy the other team’s towers. And while you’re running around with your character, automated guys attack your opponent and their towers. You’re trying to not only fight the other people playing but also make a safe path for the automatic minions…in short, you got yourself tower defense.

Yet DOTA2 is a game that requires extreme coordination between teammates and that requires a headset…which I do not own. Okay, so you don’t need a headset to play but it helps a lot. You can’t really go all Rambo in DOTA2 and, unfortunately, that’s how I play. I’m not a big team player when it comes to video games. Even when I was playing Call of Duty nightly, I rarely stuck with my teammates. I’m lucky I was playing DOTA2 with friends, otherwise I would have probably gotten booted from the team.

I’ll be back

As I mentioned, I only played two games of DOTA2 and by the second game I started to understand more about what skills and power moves my character had. While I wouldn’t have considered myself “good” after an hour of playing, I felt I had improved quickly and that was enough for me. And it’s enough for me to come back and play…at least if I have friends playing.

There’s no way I’d be happy joining a DOTA2 match with strangers. Without the proper accessories to join the fight combined with basic skill, I couldn’t expect any established player to suffer through my noob-ness. Thankfully, that’s what friends are for. Hopefully, we can play a few more times and I can get better to the point where I feel I’m an asset to the team.

No, I don’t picture myself in an arena anytime soon…that’s scary and wrong for many reasons, but I’m just happy to have played DOTA2 and have an understanding. Not that I think it makes watching a tournament anymore interesting, at least I can see the fun of why they’re doing it. And, I can appreciate and admire the necessary teamwork it takes to be good.

Oh, and bonus, DOTA2 is completely free to play so there’s really no excuse not to give it a try.

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Brian is a staff writer at TMA. He races Hot Wheels at RedlineDerby.com while watching cartoons with his kid. You can follow @morningtoast on Twitter.

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