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So you want to be a ganker? A Dota 2 Crash Course for Noobs

by Will Steffen (CitizenBob)  Posted Monday, December 03, 2012 1:52:21 PM

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As this is my first venture into the Gamezone news feed, I thought I'd open with one of those annoyingly trite editorial preambles. 

"CitizenBob is a veteran member of the South African gaming community with over 12 years of online gaming under his belt across various -"  Ok really I'm not doing that.

I'm old. I've been gaming for a long time and I've played lots of games. So you have to listen to me...because I'm old.

So as the end of the DGL Battlefield 3 Season approached, with many a noob youngster falling victim to my trusty M4A1 and blowtorch, I cast my eye about for something new to play and by various strokes of fortune it fell onto the discussion where my clan mates were bartering heatedly over the availability of Dota 2 Keys.

Never being one to pass up on free stuff I jumped in with an "I'll have me some of that" and soon I was legging it away with my Dota 2 invite clutched in one grubby paw and my grubby eye, which narrowly escaped being trampled in the ruckus, clutched in the other.

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The Loot  

That was about three months ago. Three months in which I have barely touched another game and even the glorious vistas of Guild Wars 2 failed to hold my attention for more than a few stolen hours here and there. During this time I have undergone a rigorous crash course in "How not to suck at Dota"  and I can confirm that the learning curve in this game is in fact the cliff that some claim it is. 

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When I get my Ulti you guys are *sooo* ganked!

Never fear though:  Armed with the scars of humiliation and the bitter scent of teabags fresh in my nostrils I am here to share some of my most important lessons with you and help you to claw your way out from under the crushing Power Treads of your enemies and rise to glorious victory.

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Warning! Repeated impact with forehead may lead to PTSD and EBS

Lesson One : How to Farm like a Baws  

“What the hell – I thought we were talking about Dota - not Tractor Sim?!”

Well before you can gank you need to be able to get experience and gold so let’s start with that. We’ll cover the higher grade stuff in future articles, but for now here are some really core concepts to get you going.

Farming is a common term used in games of this type and refers to killing the monsters for gold and experience. I’ll focus in these tips on the farming in the early lane phase ( when the teams tend to split up into the various lanes and try and gain early gold and experience)

In Dota 2 you gain experience just by being near an enemy creep when it dies and you get gold from having the ‘last hit on a creep when it dies.

Denying happens when you last hit one of your own creeps on low health, thus denying your opponents the gold and some of the experience from it’s death.

Here are some basic guidelines for farming in the early lane phase of the game:

  • Stay behind your own creep wave. Pushing out in front of your creeps is making yourself an easy target for your lane opponents.
  • Stay in experience range as much as possible – experience range is about a half a screen away from the creeps being killed, if you are being harassed by your lane opponents fall back, become intimate with your tower and just try to keep picking up experience. It’s better to be sub-farm than to be dead.
  • Don’t auto attack, only go for last hits  and deny as much as possible.         

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Attack creeps when their health is low enough to kill with 1 hit to get the last hit

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Last hitting a friendly creep with A+left click will deny your opponents experience and prevent last hits for them  

  • As a general rule don’t use your spells on creeps – save them to harass and gank your lane opponents – there are some exceptions to this, but leave it at that for now.
    Your mana pool and mana regeneration in the early game is limited – every wasted spell is costly.
  • Don’t ‘tank’ an enemy creep wave (in other words fight the creeps on your own when all your friendly creeps are dead). You will lose a lot of health and every scrap of health and mana is important early in the game.
  • Adding to this if you do get an enemy creep wave pushed all the way up to your tower attack them once to get their attention and then pull them further down the lane past your tower – this is the best way to get safe farm and keep the farming on your end of the lane.
  • Don’t push up in range of the enemies towers – they will pwn you .  

Don't be like these guys

  • If you do find yourself being hit by an enemy tower there is a nifty trick to get it to retarget by A+left clicking a friendly creep. If there are no friendly creeps in range to do this you’ve screwed up big time – enjoy your walk of shame back from the fountain.
  • Oh and on that note if you do die, or go back to base to heal – it’s often better to dump the 135 gold on a teleport (TP) scroll and teleport back down to your lane tower (remember to always target the teleport behind the tower). The amount of time you spend walking back, especially if you don’t have boots yet will probably cost you more in experience and potential farm than the price of the teleport. 

Hopefully you will find those useful in helping you to survive the early lane phase of the game without being sworn at in Russian too often - I'll cover some more higher grade stuff in future posts.

As a final note if there is one single core concept that every new Dota 2 player must grasp then it is this:  

Dota 2 is not a first person shooter!, where you can overcome the odds. 
In 2 on 1 situations you will almost always lose so make a concerted effort not to put yourself in stupid overextended situations.

In Dota the advantage gained from every kill is exponential, meaning that every time you die not only does your opponent gain gold and experience for the kill, but you lose gold for being killed and you lost the gold and experience you were unable to farm while you waited to respawn.

Very finally please note these are all my opinions and are based on my own experiences as a noob and what I've managed to learn from more experienced players.  I am still very much a noob at this game and I am learning all the time so if you have anything you would like to add, or that you think I got horribly wrong I'd love to hear your comments!  

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