EDITORIAL posted Mar 6th, 2012
Top Three Newbie-Friendly DOTA 2 Heroes: The Intelligence Hero Edition
After much cajoling, you've finally talked a friend/sibling/significant other into joining you for a DOTA 2 match. There is a look of abject terror on their faces, one intermingled with suspicion and no small amount of distrust. They've heard the stories. They know of the game's reputation. They're also distinctly aware of the fact that their teammates will have them crucified should they prove themselves inept. The game loads. It's time to select your heroes. Your hypothetical companion turns questioningly to you.
On one hand, you can be a sadomasochist and tell them to play whatever their little heart desires. On the other hand, you could be nice and instruct them on the subtleties of a newbie-friendly hero. Your team would probably appreciate the latter. While individual mileage tends to vary, there are a few heroes that you can't really go wrong with.
Ah. Zeus. There is a lot that can be said about the Lord of Olympus. Where his namesake was notorious for his way with mortal women, this version of Zeus is infamous for an entirely different reason: his ultimate. If you've spent any amount of time with DOTA 2 or its predecessor, you're probably well aware of how frustrating it can be to see an opportunistic Zeus take out your kill from the safety of the Fountain.
Of course, that's also one of the reasons he's one of my top three picks for novice-friendly intelligence heroes. Zeus is about as straightforward as they get. Arc Lightning will make the task of last hitting significantly easier for the intrepid newbie. Lightning Bolt, with its mini-stun and ability to bestow temporary True Sight, is largely point and click. On top of all that, we also have his passive: Static Field. For those of you uncertain as to what that is, Static Field is a passive that will cause damage to enemies within 1000 units of Zeus each time he casts a spell. And finally, we have Thundergod's Wrath, a global attack that can deal a maximum of 600 damage to all heroes within the game.
While Lion might have a face only a mother could love, his arsenal is something else entirely. Everyone's favorite gender-unspecific Witch comes with a pretty strong selection of crowd control skills and a nuke that can make it all worthwhile. Impale is probably the hardest skill for the newbie to master but the rapid cast time and considerable range make it a lot more forgiving than it might seem. Hex and Mana Drain, however, are considerably easier to master.
If your newbie is protesting over the lack of offensiveness, tell them about the Finger of Death. More likely than not, this will draw a few perplexed stares. They will ask you if you're joking. They'll ask you if there's a hidden insult somewhere. As they stare menacingly at you, smile sweetly and comment on the fact that the Finger of Death can (with the assistance of a certain sceptre) do approximately 1025 damage. Smile sweetly. Watch as they take on Lion's vestments. Profit.
Lich is a bit of a mixed bag. I've seen him do great and terrible things in the hands of a competent player. I've also seen him amount to very little. Depending on the skill level of your acolyte, the results may vary from one extreme to another.
Nonetheless, there's a reason as to why Lich is often recommended to those new to the game. He's useful. Really useful. Even if you do nothing but spam his ultimate during team fights, you're going to contribute significantly to the game. On top of having a highly effective ultimate, Lich also has both a formidable collection of basic skills. Once maxed out, Frost Armor will be able to provide 9 armor to those you cast it on and slow (it reduces attack speed by 20% and movement speed by 30%) those foolish enough to attack them. Lich also has the ability to snack on convenient friendly creeps in order to provide himself with additional mana, thereafter allocating him a greater amount of sustainability.