Dota 2 Beginner Guide


2016-02-24_00001What is Dota 2?

Defense of the Ancients or Dota 2 is a free-to-play, Multiplayer Battle Online Arena (MOBA), developed by Valve Corporation.


Dota 2 is played by two teams of 5 players, the Radiant and the Dire. Each team owns a base on opposite corners of the map. The base contains a throne called the “Ancient”, which the opposing team must destroy in order to win the game.

Each player controls a character called a “Hero”. The player’s task is to improve his Hero. This is done through leveling up abilities, buying items through collecting gold, and complement their team their team, to become strong and fight against the opposing team to win.


At the beginning of each game, each player chooses a unique Hero to play. There are currently a total of 111 Heroes to choose from. Each Hero starts from level 1 and by gaining experience, through killing units and killing the opposing teams’ Heroes, can level up to a maximum level of 25. Every time a Hero levels up, the player can learn new skills and eventually max out these skills upon reaching a certain level. Upon reaching level 6, a Hero can learn its “Ultimate Skill” or “Special Skill”. The number of skills a Hero can learn/cast varies on the type of Hero you play. Each skill has its own cooldown and costs Mana every time it’s cast.
Besides learning skills, a player can also enhance the general statistics (Attributes) of a Hero which is influenced by Strength, Agility or Intelligence. A list of the types of heroes is below.


Heroes that can deal the highest amount of damage to the enemy and are responsible for offensive plays in team fights. These heroes are usually weak at the start of the game, but get stronger as the hero farms and gets more items.


Heroes that can restrict the movement or skills of a single target enemy hero or multiple heroes.


Heroes which help protect your team’s Carry so they can farm on the early stages of the game. Supports typically buy items which benefit the team such as Couriers, Observer Wards (used to give vision on a certain area on the map), Sentry Wards (used to detect Observer Wards & Invisible Heroes), Smoke of Deceit (AOE Invisibility on Heroes), Dust of Appearance (used to give vision to Invisible Heroes), etc.


Heroes which help set the fight or can easily jump in to start the team fight.


Heroes who can independently farm in the “jungle” or “neutral creeps”, rather than the lane in the early stages of the game.


Heroes, which are also called “Tanks”, who have the most potential to sustain a large amount of damage dealt by the enemy. They have the largest amounts of HP, armor, and physical or magic defense.


Heroes with fast, strong and high damage spells which can quickly kill enemy heroes.


Heroes whose primary focus is to destroy the enemy’s towers and barracks quickly to acquire map control.


Heroes who have “escape mechanisms” to quickly or easily avoid damage dealt by enemy heroes while retreating during a fight.

Roles of Heroes

Carry – Hero who is supported by the team to deal the highest amount of damage to the opposing team and win team fights. This hero usually farms at the safe lane of the map.

Mid – Hero who ganks in the early stages of the game to help other lanes in killing enemy heroes. This hero farms at the mid lane of the map.

Offlane – Escape Hero who can solo his lane, so that the Carry can be given the priority of Support Heroes.

Jungle/Support – Support Heroes who can farm on their own and is given more priority to build items.

Hard Support – Support Heroes who are given less priority to farm and is assigned to protect the Carry.


The Fountain is situated inside the base where a Hero respawns every time he dies. Heroes can also regenerate both Health and Mana.


Items can be bought in shops which are necessary to improve the abilities of Heroes. Items can provide bonus skills or buffs to a Hero’s ability. Items vary from the basics (health and mana regen items) to the more complex (which requires 2 or more items to build and may require a recipe).

There are a total of 6 shops in the map, 3 on each side respectively.

Types of Shops

Base Shop

Located inside the fountain for each team. Basic and upgraded items can be bought here. You can buy any item from the Base Shop regardless of where you are in the map. If you are inside the fountain, the item will directly go to you inventory if there is space. But if you are outside the fountain, the item will directly go to your stash, which can be picked up by the courier.

Side Shop

Located on the offlane for each team (top for the Dire and Bottom for the Radiant) near the Tier 3 Tower. This shops contains some of the items which are also available in the Base Shop and the Secret Shop.
Secret Shop

Secret Shop

The Secret Shop is located in the mid lane near the Tier 2 Tower (Dire side) and in the offlane near the Tier 3 Tower (Radiant side), where most of the late game items are bought. You cannot purchase an item from the Secret Shop anywhere from the map. A Hero or Courier must be beside the Secret Shop to be able to purchase an item from it.
Items take up space in what we call an “inventory” of the Hero. Each Hero can only carry up to 6 items at a time. If a Hero tries to buy another item while his inventory is full, the item which was bought will directly go to the Hero’s “stash”, which can also carry up to 6 items at a time.


Gold is the currency which is used in Dota 2 to buy items or revive your Hero. Gold is divided between 2 categories

Reliable Gold – earned by killing Heroes & Couriers, destroying towers, and killing Roshan.
Unreliable Gold – earned from creep kills, neutrals, etc.

Acquiring Gold

Starting gold – each player begins with 625 unreliable gold. Players who choose “Pick Random Hero” will begin with 825 gold. Re-picking a Hero will leave you with 525 gold.

Periodic gold – each player receives 1 unreliable gold every 0.6 seconds (100 gold every minute).

Bounty Rune – gives 100 unreliable gold to the Hero at the start of the game, and 50 unreliable gold on the succeeding Runes.

Items/Abilities – can be bought or used by Heroes, or learned by Heroes who have specific skills which allows them to boost their gold income.

Hero kills – gives reliable gold to the killer.

Assists – all allied Heroes that are in 1300 radius of the killed enemy, including the killer, will be given a certain amount of reliable gold depending on the number of Heroes present in that area.

Buildings – when enemy towers/racks are destroyed, gold is awarded to each of the players on your team. The player who gets the last hit on the building is rewarded with bonus unreliable gold.


Runes are special items which help boost a player and spawns on the river (top and bottom) of the map. Runes spawn every 2 minutes and if a Rune is not picked up by any Hero, it will be replaced by a new Rune.

Runes are instantly activated when it’s picked up by a Hero, but can be stored inside a Bottle to be used later on. Runes can help replenish the charge of the Bottle, but will be automatically activated after 2 minutes if it isn’t used by then. When a Hero picks up a Rune while still having one inside his Bottle, the 2nd rune will activate right away.

Bounty Rune – the first set of Runes which spawn at the river. It gives 100 experience and gold at the start, and 50 experience and gold on its succeeding spawns.

Double Damage – increases a Hero’s attack damage by 100% for 45 seconds.

Haste Rune – applies a 522 movement speed haste on the target.

Illusion – spawns 2 illusions of the hero that last 75 seconds, and deal 35% damage.

Invisibility – grants invisibility to the Hero after a 2 second fade time. Lasts 45 seconds.

Regeneration – grants the Hero 100 health regeneration and 67 mana regeneration per second for 30 seconds. It can be cancelled by attacks.


A Lane is one of the 3 paths which connect the 2 Ancients. There are 3 types of lanes in the map: the top, middle and bottom. Each lane is protected by 3 towers that deal damage to enemy Heroes, and can only be destroyed in the early stages of the game whenever there are creeps because of “backdoor protection”.

Types of Lanes According to their Function

Safe Lane (marked green on the map) – referred to as the easy or short lane since it’s the easiest lane for the hero to retreat under the protection of the tower, and is the easiest lane to use “creep pulling” since it’s closer to the jungle.

Mid Lane (marked orange on the map) – where the lane creeps and Heroes clash in the river. A single Hero usually lanes in the Mid Lane and gains the most experience and gold.

Offlane (marked red on the map) – referred to as the hard or long lane since it’s the farthest from the creep line. A single Hero usually lanes in the Offlane. It’s also the hard lane since the Hero may face 2-3 Heroes from the opposing team. But for beginners, 2 Heroes usually occupy the lane.


Lane Creeps

The most common unit in Dota 2. It is the biggest source of gold and experience for Heroes, mostly in the early stages of the game. Lane Creeps spawn in waves at regular intervals in both bases and move down each lane towards the enemy base. They attack any enemy units, buildings, and heroes along their way.

Lane creeps disable “backdoor protection” on enemy buildings. Each creep wave will slowly become more powerful throughout the game. By destroying the all the barracks of the opposing team, mega creeps will begin to spawn from all the lanes.

Types of Creeps

Melee – have more health and appear in larger numbers, but deal less damage.
Ranged – deal more damage to other creeps, but less to heroes.
Siege – deal more damage to buildings and have more health.

Neutral Creeps

Neutral Creeps, often called “neutrals”, can be found in the jungle. They spawn grouped together in “camps”, and can be used for farming gold and gaining experience. In each jungle you will find: 1 small camp, 2 medium camps and 2 large camps.

Ancient Creeps

Ancient Creeps, often called “Ancients”, are very powerful creeps with high HP and spell immunity. Ancient Creeps grant a high amount of gold and experience.

Creep Stacking

A technique where a Hero pulls Neutral Creeps away from their camp at a specific time, so that they leave the camp to make way for a new batch of Creeps to respawn. This will significantly increase the number of Creeps per camp, allowing Heroes to earn more gold and experience.


A technique where a Hero pulls Neutral Creeps away from their camp and onto their lane, causing them to attack Lane Creeps. It’s a very helpful technique in the early stages of the game since a low level Hero cannot tank Neutral Creeps alone (except for Heroes with abilities which can help them jungle on the early stages of the game).


Roshan is the most powerful creep in Dota 2. It spawns as soon as the match starts and easily overpowers Heroes in the early stages of the game. Lots of Heroes struggle to kill Roshan alone as it grows stronger as the time passes, so Roshan is usually dealt with as a group.

When Roshan is killed, each player from the team who was able to kill it will be awarded with 200 gold, giving the Hero who gets the last hit 350-600 gold. With its death, the Aegis of Immortal is dropped.
The Aegis of Immortal can only be picked up by one Hero and cannot be dropped, and also gives the owner a second life upon death. Upon the 3rd death of Roshan, it will also drop the Cheese which can be sold for 500 gold or used by a Hero to restore 2500 health and 1000 mana.

Game Modes

Normal Match

Unranked matches or casual games which doesn’t track your MMR (Matchmaking Ratings).

All Pick – each player is free to select any Hero from the entire Hero pool.
Single Draft – each player can only select a Hero from a set of 3 Heroes randomly chosen for them.
Captains Mode – each team is assigned a Captain who makes all the Hero selections for their team. Captains also ban Heroes from the pool.
Random Draft – players take turns selecting a Hero from a shared pool of 20 random Heroes.
Ability Draft – players can create a unique Hero by drafting from a pool of abilities.
Least Played – players can only choose a Hero from a list of their least played Heroes.
All Random – each player is randomly assigned a Hero.
Limited Heroes – play with Heroes suitable for new players.
Captains Draft – each team is assigned a Captain, who bans and selects Heroes from a limited pool.
All Random Deathmatch – players can become a new Hero each time they respawn. Each team gets a total of 40 respawns.

Ranked Match

Tracks and displays MMR (Matchmaking Ratings) for either solo or party matches. You can choose All Pick or Captains Mode for Ranked matches.

Bot Match

Matches you or your team to AI-controlled bots. Can be used to practice a Hero or your playstyle.


Cosmetic Items

Items that can be bought in the Dota 2 Shop/Market, or earned through gaining levels and events, which modify the clothing, appearance or summoned units of specific Heroes. These items do not affect the gameplay of Dota 2.

World Items

Items which you can equip that are not Hero-specific.
HUD Skins
Loading Screens
Multi-kill Banners
Action Items/Taunts
Custom Base Items
Cursor Packs
Weather Effects
Blink Effects
Teleport Effects