The original Dota is a frustrating game that has not aged well at all
The original Dota was responsible for creating an entire genre. Without Defense of the Ancients, there’s no Dota 2, no League of Legends, no Smite, no massive cult-like followings.
The original Dota was also an absolutely terrible game.
I first picked up the game sometime around 2009. A friend was having learning sessions on Sundays at a local LAN center and we’d play 5 on 5 in-house games. We were confused, we were intimidated, and we were lost. The visuals were incredibly dated, the user interface was a mystery, but those weren’t the main problems we would encounter. There were hundreds of heroes to learn, seemingly countless skill and item builds, and a secret shop we had no idea existed until we were told.
To call Dota accessible would be like calling listening to Robin Thicke pleasing. It is not an easy game to comprehend at all, one that hasn’t aged well over time either, but problems slowly but surely begin to stack up.
One of the biggest, and personal favorite, issues I’d come across dealt with your hero being randomly deselected. There’s nothing more stressful than being involved in a key team fight only to mis-click and realize “hey, I’m not controlling my hero anymore. Aaaand I’m dead and we lose. Cool.” The game’s camera feels awkward, harmed further by the visuals of the Warcraft 3 engine. At first this honestly wasn’t the biggest of problems, but thanks to releases such as Heroes of Newerth, we would soon realize that taking in your surroundings in Dota wasn’t pretty.
The other problems blatantly stem from the game’s poor aging process. Voice chat? Ha, that's funny. User friendly tips and tricks with a clean UI that isn't hampered by its base game? That's cute. The ability to make changes on the fly with ease to help make things more accessible? Absolutely not. One of the big changes eventually made by Heroes of Newerth was moving the secret shop items to the main base, allowing players to have constant access to items, as well as implementing in-game tutorials.
Man, I sure wish Dota had those. Hell, I'd even be happy with art assets that aren't from Warcraft 3. I feel like, at times, there were some pretty big stretches for items and heroes, plus it's annoying to hear a teammate call a hero by their proper name but you recognize them on screen by their Warcraft name.
But even examining it without considering its modern counterparts, issues quickly arise. The original Dota is definitely an enjoyable game, but it’s also an incredibly frustrating experience.
Thank goodness we have Dota 2.
You can follow Jake on Twitter @hop3less. Be prepared for a lot of tweets concerning The International 4 even though his belived Fnatic, aka "HoNtrash," have been eliminated.