Dota 2 is quite a complex game with lots of mechanics one needs to take note of. This page will explain all of it in detail.
A Hero is a player character in Dota 2. There will always be 5 heroes on each team at the start of a standard match. Heroes each have their own unique attributes, abilities and playstyles.
Heroes will earn experience and gold over the course of the game. Gold can be used to buy items from shops, while experience lets heroes level up. Leveling up will improve a Hero's attributes as well as letting the player learn or upgrade an ability. Every Hero has a level cap of 25.
Like most other games, every Hero has health and mana. Health is obviously a Hero's current vitality. Once it runs out, the Hero dies. Each hero has a base hit point total of 150, which is increased by the hero's strength rating. Health regenerates at 0.25 hp/second which is also increased by a hero's strength.
Mana is used for casting abilities as well as using some items. If you don't have enough mana required for an ability, you can use that ability. Heroes get 19 mana for every point of their intelligence attribute. Heroes also have a base mana regeneration rate of 0.1 mana/second which is again influenced by the level of intelligence.
All heroes have an attack damage stat and a base attack time. Attack damage is pretty self-explanatory. It's the measure of how much damage you do, and will increase based on your level as well as your primary attribute. It's important to note that the attack damage displayed on the HUD in-game is not actually accurate. The damage dealt by a hero's attacks will actually fluctuate a bit from the displayed value. For example, if a hero's attack damage is displayed as 98, it means that they might go from 96 damage to 101 damage.
Base attack time on the other hand is almost uniform for all heroes. It determines how long the gap between two attacks will be. All heroes have a BAT of 1.7 with a few exceptions. BAT cannot be changed, but increased attack speed, also called IAS, can. IAS will be increased by leveling up as well as with items, and works with your BAT to calculate how fast a hero attacks. The formula for it is n=(1+IAS%)/BAT, where n is the amount of attacks you can do in a second. IAS cannot rise above 400 or below -80.
Lastly, every hero is split into two groups based on attack range, which is melee and ranged. Since ranged heroes will always be at an advantage when up against a melee hero, there are also a few benefits that only applies for melee heroes. Most item effects like the Stout Shield and Quelling Blade will be stronger for a melee hero. Melee heroes are also the only heroes that benefit from certain buffs like cleave.
There are a few other statistics for heroes, but they will be covered further down the page.
Every hero possesses three main attributes: Strength, Agility and Intelligence. These attributes affect certain areas of a hero's performance. Every hero has a primary attribute. Every point of this attribute will give the hero an additional point of damage in addition to its normal effects.
- Strength determines how tough and durable the Hero is. For every point of it, it will increase the hero's health by 19 and health regeneration rate by 0.03hp/second. Strength heroes will also gain an additional point of damage with each point of Strength.
- Agility is the measure of a hero's physical combat prowess. Each point grants 1/7 armor, increases a hero's attack speed by 1 and if it's an agility hero, one point of damage.
- Intelligence determines a hero's ability to cast spells. Each point will increase your maximum mana by 13, mana regeneration rate by 0.04 mana/second as well as an additional point of damage for intelligence heroes.
All heroes have abilities that have a variety of effects, from small buffs that strengthen themselves to devastating spells that inflict major damage. Most heroes have 4 abilities, 3 of which are standard abilities while one is considered an ultimate. Ultimates are usually more powerful than a Hero's other abilities, though are more costly to use.
Standard abilities can be upgraded up to 4 times, though they can only be leveled once every two levels. Basically, every standard ability cannot exceed level 1 until a Hero is level 3. Ultimates can only be leveled 3 times, no earlier than at levels 6, 11 and 16. The only exception to this leveling system is Invoker, which will be explained on his Hero page. Upgrading abilities will make it more effective, such as increasing its damage and reducing its cooldown. Sometimes, upgrading an ability will also raise their mana cost, meaning you'll have to expend more mana to use the upgraded ability.
There are a few types of abilities:
- Active abilites are abilities that have to be manually activated by the player. These abilities can have all sorts of effects, such as buffing an area, doing damage on a target or summoning a unit. Most active abilities use up mana and has a set cooldown. If a player does not have enough mana or an ability is still in cooldown, they can't use that ability. Active abilities abilities can be split further into sub-categories based on how they are used.
- Target point abilities will affect the area on which it was cast on.
- Target unit abilities will affect the unit it was cast on. Sometimes it also affects nearby units.
- Channeled abilities are abilities that prevents the player from performing most other actions while the Hero is using the ability, including moving.
- Passive abilities are abilities that grant their effects as long as they are learned. These abilities will usually be a constant buff (usually called an aura if it affects an area instead of a unit) or a luck-based attack like a counter attack or critical hit.
- Autocast abilities are abilities that can be toggled to apply or stop their effects. Usually these abilities affect a Hero's standard atack.
- An attribute bonus is an extra passive ability that is shared among all heroes. They will increase all 3 of a Hero's attributes by 2. It is usually leveled after all the other abilities have been mastered, or to compensate for a weakness like a lack of health or mana early on in the game. Unlike other abilities, attribute bonuses can be upgraded up to 10 times.
Damage and Armor
Attack and Damage Types
Dota 2 has multiple types of damage that do damage to different units differently, which are Physical, Magical, Pure, HP Removal, Composite and Universal.
- Physical - The type of damage dealt by normal attacks and some abilities and is reduced by Armor. It can be split into more subtypes.
- Hero - Hero damage is damage dealt by heroes, including those that are dealt by abilities. They do normal damage to everything but siege creeps and towers, which take half of the damage.
- Normal - Normal damage is damage dealt by normal creeps and some player-controlled units. It does only 75% damage to heroes, 70% damage to buildings but do more damage to neutral creeps.
- Piercing - Piercing damage deal 150% damage to lane creeps, but only 50% damage to heroes and 35% damage to buildings. The most notable piercing damage source is probably Venomancer's Plague Wards.
- Siege - Siege damage is dealt by siege creeps and towers. It does 150% damage against structures but only 75% damage to heroes.
- Chaos Damage - Chaos damage is dealt by some player-controlled units, the Fountain and Roshan. It is essentially the same as Hero damage but deals only 40% against siege creeps and structures.
- Magical - Magical damage is done by most abilities. They are reduced by magic resistance and does not affect units with magic immunity.
- Pure - Pure damage is dealt by some abilities. They ignore armor and magic resistance, but also ignores negative armor and magic vulnerability, meaning that it will always deal the same smount of damage as it says. Pure damage is still blocked by magic immunity.
- HP Removal - HP Removal damage directly subtracts hit points from the target, ignoring armor and magic resistance. Instance of it does not count as being attacked, so it does not disable effects like the Healing Salve and the Bottle's restoration.
- Composite - Composite damage is reduced by both armor and magic resistance, but it does go through magic immunity. It is dealt by certain spells.
- Universal - Universal damage is almost the same as magical damage, though it does go through magic immunity. It is the rarest form of damage in the game.
Armor and Magic Resistance
Armor is a stat that determines how much physical damage a unit receives. The higher a unit's armor, the less damage it will take. The formula for calculating the damage reduction of armor is as follows:
- Damage Reduction = (0.06 * armor) / (1 + 0.06 * armor)
For example, 1 armor grants the unit about 0.566 damage reduction, or about 5.66% of the original damage. 10 armor grants a 37.5% damage reduction, and 20 armor grants a 54.5% damage reduction.
Sometimes, a unit's armor can drop below zero due to the effects of certain abilities. This is called negative armor and has its own formula for calculating the damage increase.
- Damage Increase = 1 - 0.94 ^ (-armor)
Using this formula, -1 armor will mean about a 6% damage increase, while -10 armor equates to a 46.1% damage increase. Armor values cannot drop below -20, or about a 71% damage increase.
A general misconception about armor is that it gets less and less effective the more armor you have. The reasoning behind this is if you get an additional 5 armor when you already have 10, you will get a lower damage reduction bonus than if you have only 5 armor beforehand. If you get 5 armor when you already have 5, it will be a 14.4% difference in damage reduction, but if you get it when you have 10 armor, it will only yield a 9.9% damage reduction bonus. This line of reasoning is incorrect.
For example, if you have a hero with 1000hp and no armor, you need to do at least 1000 damage to kill it. If you give that hero 10 armor, which gives a damage reduction of 37.5%, your physical attacks will now only do 62.5% of their original damage. To kill the hero now, you need to do a minimum of 1600 physical damage, so the hero can be considered as having 1600 effective health points (EHP). If the hero has 20 armor, physical attacks will only do 45.5% of its original damage to it, giving the hero 2200 EHP, a 1200 EHP difference which is exactly twice the difference of EHP granted by 10 armor.
Based on the example above, one point in armor grants 6% of your hp as EHP.
There are also types of armor that determines what types of damage a unit is weak to or resists.
- Unarmoured units take 150% damage from piercing attacks and normal damage from other sources.
- Light Armor units take 200% damage from piercing attacks and normal damage from other sources.
- Medium Armor units take 150% damage from normal attacks, 75% damage from piercing attacks and only 50% damage from siege attacks, taking normal damage from other sources.
- Heavy Armor units take 125% damage from normal attacks, 75% damage from piercing attacks and 125% damage from siege attacks, taking normal damage from other sources.
- Fortified units take 40% damage from chaos attacks, 50% damage from hero attacks, 70% damage from normal attacks, 35% damage from piercing attacks and 150% damage from siege attacks.
- Heroes share a special armor type that takes 75% damage from normal and siege attacks while taking 50% damage from piercing attacks.
Magic resistance is considered a seperate stat from armor. Like its name suggests, magic resistance reduces the magical damage the unit takes. Most heroes have a base magic resistance of 25% which can be increased with certain abilities or items. The only exception to this is Meepo, who has an innate magic resistance of 35%.
Magic Immunity makes a unit completely invulnerable to magic, taking no damage from magical or pure damage sources. Magic immune units is also unable to be targeted by most spells. Certain ultimates will partially go through magic immunity like a disable, but the unit will still take no damage if the ultimate deals magical or pure damage.
Gold and Experience
Gold and experience are the two ways a hero become stronger over time. Obviously, gold is used to purchase items, while experience helps a hero level up.
There are two types of gold in Dota 2 which are earned and used up in different ways, but add up to form the total displayed on the player interface. These are:
- Reliable gold - Gold earned from killing enemy heroes, Roshan or destroying towers.
- Unreliable gold - Any gold obtained from anything else.
Buying items use up unreliable gold first before using up reliable gold. However, using the buyback feature after dying uses up reliable gold first. Importantly, the gold loss from dying only takes away unreliable gold, so if your gold is earned from ganks instead of creep farming, you can keep it upon death instead of wasting it. This system might seem arbitrary, but it encourages getting hero kills and destroying towers instead of farming creeps the whole game.
There are multiple sources of gold. You get 603 gold at the start of the game or 853 if you randomed your hero, while swapping a randomed hero will cost you 100 gold. Repicking a hero will also cost you 100 gold. Once the match starts, you will also receive 1 unreliable gold every 0.8 seconds, which equates to 5 gold every 4 seconds.
The most consistent source of unreliable gold is from creeps. All creeps, whether they are found in lane or in the jungle, grant gold upon being killed, but only to the player that gets the last-hit on them. Melee creeps give 38-48 gold, ranged creeps grant 43-53 gold and siege creeps grant 66-80 gold. The bounty of melee and ranged creeps do get reduced if your Barracks are destroyed, only granting 18-26 gold on a last hit. The bounty of neutral creeps vary greatly, so you can look them up on the Neutral Creep Bestiary.
Hero kills grant more gold, and more importantly they grant reliable gold. The formula for calculating the bounty of an enemy hero is as follows:
(Bonus gold from streak) + 200 + (killed hero's level) * 9
The bonus gold from streak number depends on how many kills the killed hero has gotten. The exact amounts are as follows:
- Three kills without dying (Killing Spree): 75
- Four kills without dying (Dominating): 150
- Five kills without dying (Mega Kill!): 225
- Six kills without dying (Unstoppable!): 300
- Seven kills without dying (Wicked Sick!): 375
- Eight kills without dying (Monster Kill!): 450
- Nine kills without dying (Godlike!): 525
- Ten kills or more without dying (Beyond Godlike!): 600
Heroes within a 1200 unit radius will get assist gold when an enemy hero dies based on how many heroes are within that area. The assist gold are as follows:
- 1 hero: 125 + 12 * (killed hero's level)
- 2 heroes: 40 + 10 * (killed hero's level)
- 3 heroes: 10 + 6 * (killed hero's level)
- 4 heroes: 6 * (killed hero's level)
There is also a 200 gold First Blood bonus for getting the first to kill an enemy hero. Whenever an enemy hero is killed by lane creeps or a tower, the credit and gold for the kill will go to an allied hero within assist range. If there are 2 or more heroes within that assist range, the gold is instead evenly split among all heroes. Finally, any items can be sold for 50% of its original price, unless it is within 10 seconds of the purchase, which is when you can sell it for full price.