Dota 2 and the length of seconds

So I have been playing Dota 2 a bit recently.  For those that don’t know, Dota 2 is a MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena), or a place where people go up against each other and fight with digital heroes.

I tried playing a while ago, and it is really not that friendly to new players.  There are over 100 heroes which is a bit of a daunting list to pick from.  The tutorial tells you the basics of the game, but only really teaches you the how to click buttons, not any of the strategy of the game, or how team fights play out, as it is presented as a top down RPG in style, rather than a battle game.

Against bots, you can fairly easily press buttons to select your abilities with the mouse, but against real people, fights are over in seconds, and you can go from full health to death in a couple of seconds.

Since most abilities only last a few seconds, timing is critical, leading to a steep learning curve, and if you don’t know your abilities or the key bindings, you will have big problems.

I have started playing with a friend online and he has taught me enough to get started, and actually be competent with several heroes (Even getting MVP a few times!).

DOTA 2 in comparison with other games

I have played a fair number of games, including RPGs so I was familiar with the idea of cooldowns on powers and selecting powers on heroes, but looking through these powers, what seemed odd to me was the idea that they are all measured in seconds.  Like, the ultimate power of a character lasted perhaps 6 seconds on an enemy hero.

What can you do in 6 seconds?

My favourite hero is a character by the name of Riki.  His ultimate power is permanent invisibility, and his main powers are of jumping on people and stabbing them in the back.

With equal equipment and levelling, that 6 seconds is enough to take a hero down from about 1000 health, to death.  It really happens so fast.  Several times I was ganking a hero who was trying to cast a spell.  I get the feeling that they were distracted and searching for a button.

That pause is all it took.

Other heroes have all kinds of powers, which cause damage, and have other effects like silencing which disables your abilities for a few seconds.  Team fights between all the heroes are bloody affairs which don’t last long, but have a huge impact on the game.  When your hero dies, you have to wait to respawn.  At higher levels, this can be around a minute.

Given that the game only lasts for about 45 minutes, that is a huge amount of time.

So, just think about it.  6 seconds; enough to win or lose a combat.  Not a lot of time to think, but enough time to make a mistake.

I guess that is a bit like real life in stressful situations.  Racing drivers have to react in a fraction of a second, if a pilot makes a sudden mistake during landing, that can be the death of a flight.

6 seconds.  What will you do with yours?