Dota 2 is arguably one of the most popular strategic role-playing games, where two teams of five players compete to destroy the enemy's base. If you are a new player, read this Dota 2 beginner’s guide 2023 for the bare minimum knowledge you’d need to start playing the game.

What Dota 2 hero should you pick as a first-time player?

Dota 2
As a new Dota 2 player, it really doesn’t matter what hero you choose

In Dota 2, each player controls a single hero with a unique set of skills and characteristics. Every hero is overpowered in their own way, along with their own weaknesses, which means no one is really overpowered, and that is how the creator keeps the game balanced. New players are recommended to select heroes from the Low Complexity pool in order to get the feel of the game, then you can slowly move your way up to more complex heroes. Before jumping right into the queue, you should try your heroes out in the demo mode.

Every hero in Dota 2 can technically take on any role in the game. When you are at the newbie stage, there are no specific line-up rules as well as no standard mid, AD, carry, or jungle role you need to remember. Just pick any one hero of your liking and start the game.

Earthshaker is best suited for initiating attacks and is a common Support hero

There’s a pre-game phase in Dota 2, in which 2 players from each team will select their heroes first, then the other 2 players from each team will take the turn picking theirs, then the final player from each team will take their pick. This phase allows the teams to build their overall draft and counter-pick the opponent. But of course as a newbie, just make a random pick and pray for your teammates. 

Complexity Rating
In the pre-game phase, new players are advised to filter by Complexity Rating

After the pre-game phase comes the strategy phase, which is when the teams decide how they want to lane, where they want to ambush, what starting items they want to choose, etc. If you don’t understand what’s going on yet, it’s totally fine to wait it out until the game is ready to load.

Before you begin, it’s probably useful to keep in mind that in Dota, you don't turn instantly when moving in the opposite direction because of a short delay called a 'turn rate'. Your game is not laggy so don’t fret.

How to win in the game of Dota 2?

In Dota 2, each team has a base with a main building called the Ancient, which must be protected at all costs. The first team to destroy the enemy's Ancient wins the game.

Now you’ve first entered the game, your hero will spawn in the area of your team’s Ancient. If you skipped the strategy phase where you’re supposed to plan your items, this is where you should open your Shop to choose your items. Click on Browse all guides where you’ll see plenty of guides made by top-gear players, select a guide for items, and follow it. 

Dota 2 items
Check out the items and read their descriptions in the demo mode

Be sure to make use of all your item slots to buff your hero’s characteristics. You will be given 6 item slots, 3 backpack slots, 1 neutral item slot, and 1 TP scroll slot. 

Your teleport scroll allows you to teleport back to the base or any tower on the map. Item slots are for items that you buy and use. When you run out of slots, place them in your backpack and switch them out when you want to use them. Of course, there will be a cool-down when you switch your item back. Almost every item is usable, meaning that you have to press and activate the different effects that come with each item in order to see how the effect plays out with your hero. Item builds in Dota 2 are pretty complicated to explain, and since the equipment of items is a crucial part of any winning strategy in Dota 2, you should pay attention to the different effects of these items early on and hopefully improve your judgment with them while you play.

Secret Shop
The Courier and the Secret Shop are two of the extra mechanics of Dota 2

There are 2 Shops in the game: 1 in your base and 1 outside of the base, which is the secret shop. Veteran players would want to delve into strategies that prevent enemies from reaching the secret shop so they don’t get to buy items, but as a new player, you should ignore that for now. If you need an item there, you can walk or buy it with your Courier, which is a unit that delivers the items you need from the shops to you. Your Courier can be killed and will start flying when you reach level 4. As you level up, your Courier will gain your hero abilities as well. So remember to set a hotkey for your Courier.

HjDeath Prophet
Death Prophet belongs to the Intelligence class, best used as a Pusher role

Which lane should you choose as a new Dota 2 player?

The Dota 2 map is divided into three lanes: top, middle, and bottom. Each lane has a series of towers that defend the base from enemy creeps and heroes. Destroying towers grants gold and map control to the team. As you play the game, you’ll learn the different lane combinations with different heroes. Right now, you’re either a Core or a Support hero - there are 3 core rows, 2 support rows, and 0 jungle rows. Each Core goes to each of the 3 lanes. The top and bottom lanes will have a Support to follow a Core. 

Dota land
A lane is one of the paths that connect the two teams’ Ancients

First, you want to move out of your base and plant the Observer Ward, a watcher that gives a ground vision to your team for a period of time. You are given 2 Observer Wards from the start, they are free and will have a cool-down. Plant them wherever you want throughout the whole game, preferably on the cliffs, which are the terrain that you cannot get to unless you use a certain spell or special item. 

There are day vision and night vision in Dota 2, you see more during the day and less during the night. Certain heroes see less during the day and more during the night, while certain heroes have the effect of reducing your vision, etc. Every tree in Dota is a Fog of War: you’re not invisible, you’re just in their shadows. If the enemy has no ward and you hide behind a tree, the enemy won’t be able to see you. 

There are also high ground and low ground, which are rather easy to recognize on the map. It is always advisable to be on the high ground because you have more vision, and if the enemy wants to attack you from the low ground, there is a 25% chance to miss.

How do gold and experience work in Dota 2?

Heroes can be improved over the course of the game by gaining experience, levels, and items. Experience is earned by being near enemy creeps or heroes when they die. Levels increase the hero's stats and unlock or upgrade their abilities. Items provide various benefits and can be purchased with gold.

Gold is earned passively over time, by killing enemy creeps, heroes, or buildings, or by using certain abilities or items. Gold can be lost upon death unless the hero has a reliable gold source (such as killing an enemy hero).

Dota gold
Any kill gives a minimum of 110 gold, which increases with the hero’s level

There are two types of creeps in Dota 2: lane creeps and neutral creeps. The lane creeps spawn periodically from each base and march toward the enemy base, fighting any enemy units they encounter. Neutral creeps spawn in the jungle, an area between the lanes, and can be killed for gold and experience. Jungle creeps will drop items after 7 minutes. 

There’s an interesting detail of the game that creeps can be blocked in Dota, and in fact, you can kill your own creeps in order to control where you want your creeps to be positioned, or if you want to prevent your enemy from earning gold.

How do runes work in Dota 2?

Rune Spawns
Runes are power boosters that spawn in intervals across specific locations on the map

There are also various objectives on the map that provide strategic advantages to the team that controls them. These include runes, which spawn every two minutes and grant temporary buffs; Roshan, a powerful neutral creep that drops an item that can revive a hero once; and Outposts, which grant vision and experience to the team that captures them.

Your first objective is going to be the Bounty Rune. Every 5 minutes since the beginning of the game, the Bounty Runes will spawn on four specific areas of the map. If any one hero of your team takes them, the whole team gains gold and it’s important to fight for it. 

Starting from the 6-minute mark, a Power Rune will spawn every 2 minutes on a random rune spot within the river. The Power Rune provides a special effect for the players who take them and is particularly important to the mid-lane hero as it helps them win the lane or gang other lanes. There are 6 types of Power Runes: Arcane Rune - reduces mana cost and cool-down, Invisibility Rune - gives the player invisibility effect for a period of time, Regeneration Rune - regens the player back to full health and mana, Illusion Rune - conjures 2 illusions of the hero which deal 35% damage, Haste Rune - gives the player max movement speed, and Double Damage Rune - which is self-explanatory.

A little bit more about invisibility: Invisibility is a huge part of the game, and there are spells, items, and runes that can make your hero invisible. An opponent can only see your invisible hero when they have True Sight, which they’ll have to buy with gold and activate the items’ effect.

Hoodwink is a popular hero for sneaky players

In Dota 2, there are several types of Damage: physical, magical, pure, piercing, siege, spell, HP removal, and instant kill. Physical damage is inflicted with right-mouse clicks and can be mitigated by armor or evasion. Magic damage can be mitigated by magic resistance or spell immunity.

New players usually choose a Support role, but remember, Support heroes in Dota are not just harassment tools - they have to control Runes and Stack, pull creeps to prevent the enemy from getting gold and experience, control lotuses for HP/mana regeneration, bring utilities to Core hero, place vision all over the map, gank allies of your won lane, and much more. Start slow, and eventually, you’ll find the macro mechanics in Dota 2 really fascinating.

Dota 2 beginner’s guide 2023
Now you should have everything you need to know to start playing Dota

That has been the basic Dota 2 beginner’s guide 2023 minus any advanced strategy or hero combination. Now you should have everything you need to know to start playing Dota. Happy farming!