For those of you who don’t know, DOTA stands for Defense of the Ancients, and it is one of the most popular custom maps for Warcraft 3 and its expansion.  It has spawned an array of similar games, such as LOL, HON, and now DOTA 2.  These games are in the genre classified as MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena).  While these type of games are a lot of fun, they are notorious for having some of the most rude, elitist, awful communities in the world.  This is because your efforts are wasted if your teammates aren’t playing well, as the game relies heavily on coördinated play.

This guide is for those who want to get better at MOBAs, and for those who want to excel.

Try Your Hardest Not to Die

I became a great MOBA player by applying this tip.  Forget kills, I wanted to try to help my team win first, and get the lowest amount of deaths as possible.  Now I don’t mean baiting your teammates and not taking any risks, but to get good at DOTA, you must play a smart, cautious game.  That means while farming, you should be looking at the minimap in between every last hit.  That means never going out of position on the enemy side of the map unless you are with teammates.  That means porting back to base when your health is low, instead of trying to snag a couple more last hits when three enemies are missing on the minimap.  Staying alive is so important, because every time you die, you are giving the enemy team more gold.  The more gold you give them, the better items they can get, the faster they can kill you, and the easier they can get to your base and win the game.  I cannot stress this enough.  DO NOT DIE!  If you win the game with a score of 4 kills, 0 deaths, and 14 assists, you did a great job.  Your score might not be as flashy as the 18/10/8 carry’s score, but you were just as every bit important to your team’s victory, if not more. 

Be Efficient

Make use of every single second of the game to contribute to you and your team’s success.   That means consciously trying to get every last hit, every deny, getting to places as fast as possible, porting to town rather than walking, etc.  Keep your APM (Actions Per Minute) high, ideally above 100.  You are committed to the game once you have joined, so you might as well play to the best of your ability.  The more efficient you are, the higher your GPM (Gold Per Minute) is, allowing you to buy your end game gear before your enemies can.  You want to be more efficient than your opponents, as this means you will have more items than them, allowing you to deal more damage, and ensuring that you win team fights.

Communicate With Your Team

Communication in MOBAs is crucial.  If you have a mic, use it.  Even if you are the only one on your team with a mic, don’t be afraid to talk to your team.  Let them know when enemies are missing.  Ping the map where you see a possible gank.  Instead of going into the enemies’ forest alone, get one or two teammates to come with you.  Communication is key, keeping your team on the same page and allows for better coördination and planning during team fights.  MOBAs are a team game, and only under rare circumstances can one player win the game.  Communicate with your teammates to ensure that you guys are all acting as one.

Know Your Role

Are you the carry? Then don’t wander around looking for ganks early game, just farm.  Are you support?  Don’t build DPS items.  Know your role in the game and stick to it.  If you are a nuker who doesn’t scale into late game, let your carries get the kills.  This comes down to teamwork, and the team whose players play to win as a team rather than get the most kills will win.   Getting a super high kill death ratio is easy.  Winning consistently against harder and harder competition isn’t.

Know the Game

You should know what ever item, hero, and spell in the game does.  The more you know about the game, the more prepared you are for whatever the enemy throws at you.  Does their carry build invis and you are support? Buy some wards that will be able to detect them.  Do they have a nuke heavy, early game team?  Make sure you tell your teammates all to buy a bit of magic armor.  Know the strategies, counter strategies, and counters to their counter strategies.   Knowledge is power in these games.

Watch the Pros

Download replays of the best players in the world.  Look at how they play during the laning phase, what they build, what they say to their teammates, etc.  Try and copy exactly how they play.  I have gotten great with certain heroes I hated before just by watching a pro play that same hero and dominate.  Try and play that hero as if you were the pro.


Practice is the best way to get better at MOBAs.  To get better at something, do it a lot.  After constant repetition and hundreds of games, DOTA, LOL, or whatever you play will be like second nature to you.  You will be able to play it in your sleep.  You will know every hero, every build, every map like the back of your hand, and you will have had success and losses with each.  You will know the game inside and out, and it will show in your play.  Practice makes perfect.

MOBAs are super fun and rewarding to play once you have gotten good at them.  Practice is the most important thing you can do to improve your game, but you must make a conscious effort to learn from your losses and mistakes as well.

Good luck out there!  If you have any MOBA tips, please leave them in the comment section below.