Wednesday 27 November 2013

by Extarm1n1ous, Cookies, [A]dmiral Puppy, and moonfish8 (Gavin See, Loh Zhun Yew,  Ng Zu Ming and Lee Ting An), Sophomore 2 Cempaka, Class of 2015

If you wonder why the guys in your class haven’t been responding to your Skype messages recently, we can assure that it’s nothing to worry about. In just a few more days, they will emerge from their burrows, cross eyed and pale, shrinking from the sun’s rays. But for now, we can safely say that they remain cut off from the outside world and permanently glued to their computers screens. Because now, dear readers, is the season of the Dire.

For those already considering whether they should just close the tab because you have no idea what’s going on, Diretide is the yearly event for the internationally known game Defence of the Ancients 2, or as it’s better known, DotA 2. And while DotA 2 is already addicting enough to keep our grades to an all time low, the Diretide halloween event has taken it to a whole new level of gaming.

Assuming some of you guys and all of you girls out there also have no idea what DotA is, here's a crash course for Defence of the Ancients 2 - really all you need to know.

Dota 2 is a 3D game of action and strategy, teamwork and tactics. Much like the somewhat more famous computer game ‘Starcraft’, each match is a test of skill and speed as well as strategic thinking. Comparable to a game of chess, each game involves two teams of 5 people each, who choose a side (either Sentinel or Dire) and then a hero from a pool of over a hundred heroes. They then fight to destroy either the other team’s Tree of Life (for the Sentinel) or Frozen Throne (for the Dire), which are located at the very heart of the bases. 

Frozen Throne and the Tree of Life
And while at first glance it may not seem all that thought-demanding, it is hardly as simple as that.  Each hero usually has three normal skills which differ from one hero to the other, as well as one ‘ultimate’ skill that can often be game-changing. This makes every hero special in his or her own way. No two heroes share the same skill set and each provides a unique gaming experience, which may explain why we’re content to play this game forever. Surprisingly, although there are so many of these heroes and each has at least four or in some cases, fourteen (invoker, anybody?) skills, naming all of them and explaining what each can do is no sweat for any true DotA player, for a deep understanding of all of them is critical for proper gameplay. Which may explain why there’s simply no time, no time at all to study for tomorrow’s math test.

Aside from the humungous variety of heroes for us to learn and master, the game takes place in a ‘map’ which consists of the two bases, separated from each other by a river and guarded by three tiers of towers, as well as jungles for each team. Each base is filled with barracks, which produce creeps, towers, and other buildings whose purpose we’ve still yet to figure out, while jungles are labyrinths of trees which provide both danger and sanctuary. Starting to get more complicated, isn’t it?

To cap it all off, there are exactly one hundred and sixteen items that your hero can buy with the gold he/she (yes, there are heroines) accumulates by killing creeps, towers, and especially the other team’s heroes. While the cheaper, common items are nothing to be excited about, enough gold can buy you items that can change the tide of battle- or aggravate your team mates off to no end. 

And if all that wasn’t enough, DotA is positively brimming with more advanced tactics and many other aspects we prefer not to bore you with. Last hitting and denying, creep pulling and stacking, warding and counter warding, the secret shop, side lane shop, Roshan, juking, ganking, raxing, jungling, really there’s no end to what the average DotA player has to learn. The new DotA player is more often that not very taken aback by the sheer volume of thought required to be put in one game, or the extremely steep learning curve involved. Thankfully, we have a very ‘understanding’ community; after all, if they’re saying it in Russian or Chinese, we can’t tell if it’s insult or praise. (The word noob, however, as we’ve discovered, is universally understood. Nice to know we’re such a united bunch.)

Basically, your main role in the game is to choose and play a hero. There are three main types of heroes : Strength, Intelligence, and Agility. They are split according to their primary attribute, which is to say which attribute of the three increases the most per level (generally). As a result, in very general terms most heroes in the same type have rather similar abilities. Strength heroes have the delightful job of running into team fights shouting ‘YOLO’ while enemies focus on them so that their own team can go on a killing spree, and are able to do so because strength provides additional health and health regeneration (to put it in laymen terms, it makes them ‘tanky’.) 

Intelligence heroes have a large reserve of mana and have in general either damaging spells in their arsenal, making them the main sources of damage in the early stages of the game, or stuns and slows, to support their fellow heroes. While they can barely scratch a Strength hero late into the game, usually a good intelligence hero can shut down an enemy team and score their team and early win. (Unless you picked Techies. Then just shut your computer, sit in a corner, and think of what you’ve done.) 

Agility heroes have agility as their primary attribute and therefore have more attack speed and armour than the other two. Typically, they are ‘carries’- they carry their team into late game, they are the main damage doers as the clock slips into the thirty and forty minute bracket. With such a responsibility, it’s no surprise they garner the most flak from their team when the opponents begin to fountain farm and get their 'Beyond Godlike' killing sprees. Team losing? Blame the carry. Tower fallen? Blame the carry. Top rax? Blame the carry. Courier died? Blame the carry. Fed so much until Keeper of the Light soloed Roshan? Well, you can blame the lag.

DotA 2 has a very sizeable fan base. Aside from the massive online community, who play in games known as ‘pubs’ and appears to be made entirely out of Russians and Chinese, it is also played by competitive professionals around the world. The International, which offers two million and a spot in the hall of fame (Aegis of Champions) for those who battle it to the top, is currently the largest worldwide DotA competition and is extremely well known. Just like comparing Olympians to school teams, the difference in the level of play for public and competitive players is beyond comprehension. Competitive DotA is fast paced, extremely coordinated, and impossibly complex- no strategy has been left untried, untested. 'Pub' DotA, on the other hand, is mostly just kids fooling around with the new computer game or adults with more than enough time on their hands. Though there are exceptions, it’s not all that hard to predict what you’ll hear during the game.

Strength: “zzzzz Huskar为什么你lifebreak蠕变”

Intelligence: “OMG CM GO BUY DESO FOR WHAT.”

Agility: “PA iявляется хакер!

And now that we’re done with DotA 101, it’s time for the Diretide.
’Tis the season of the Dire, Dark tide rising ever higher, Greevils hatching from Roshan, Radiant’s power is almost gone.
When the river does run, with the blood of the sun, gather candy in it’s spate, lest Roshan you aggravate!
Should you offer nothing sweet, he will feed on your hero’s meat, Dire or Radiant matters not, best be ready when you’re caught.
Once Roshan has has his fill,candy then afflicts his will, maddened into sugary fits, he will rage until you quit.
Dire and Radiant must unite, with a common end in sight, Roshan will not yield to five, ten must join if they’re to thrive.
If Roshan your team defeats, Dire tide offers up it’s treats; eggs and essences do abound…
After that, another round!”
It’s that time of the year again, where children are dressing up and walking from doorstep to doorstep for candies. Well, most children. A small fraction of them are getting their candy by brutally murdering Roshan’s newborns in cold blood and gathering their scattered remains that they fight over in a bloody battle to the death. I guess we are the new generation.

Diretide is an annual event for Halloween, which lands on the 31st of October. Unfortunately this year because of certain issues that Icefrog (the developers of DotA) chose to keep undisclosed, the event was cancelled. This then led to massive complaints and a "GIVE DIRETIDE" uprising by the community, where the forums was swarmed with complaints. Smartly, Icefrog decided to give them what they wanted instead of risk losing their entire fanbase. We say? Better late than never.

Diretide is divided into three phases: Candy Chaos, The Trickster Awakens and Sugar Rush. Similar to a normal game of DotA, the teams are divided into two teams of 5. The first two rounds (Candy Chaos and The Trickster Awakens) are similar; both focus on acquiring as much candy from 'roshlings' as possible and stashing it in your candy bucket, located conveniently in the jungle. Aside from that, some team members are tasked with defending their candy bucket and stealing from the opponents' to add to their own. With that said, the second round is different, as per the name, Roshan will leave his cave in search for candies from any random player. They can choose to either feed the candy to Roshan or die. Either ways results  in an increase of Roshan's already colossal strength, which is a crucial factor in the last phase. The team with more candy in their stash when the round ends is considered the winner of the first two phases and are awarded random rewards.

The final phase, known as Sugar Rush, is the phase where both teams co-operate in order to defeat Roshan. The aim is to kill Roshan as many times possible- after each death, he revives stronger. The more your team triumphs, the greater the reward. Initially, Sugar Rush lasts one and a half minutes. Each time you kill Roshan falls, he revives one level higher and an additional thirty seconds are granted to the two teams to take him down once more. If they fail to kill him within the allotted time, the ame is overand everyone receives random DotA goodies. The difficulty increases greatly every time he respawns and killing him even in the first few levels is not an easy task. Even with the combined efforts of ten heroes, Roshan can and does fight back, making everything much more challenging.

If you reach the highest level in Diretide, you will be awarded a Platinum Baby Roshan courier. This Platinum Roshan courier has been recently sold online for over thousands of dollars, yes, United States Dollars. Which proves just how hard it is to get to this elite level. Many innovative strategies are needed to survive and win the first 2 phases, some choose to lock Roshan during the Trickster Awakens phase in a corner by using a blink dagger (note: this no longer works.) Hero choices are vital, there are many complex strategies (so far all involve a Mortred with six Rapiers) that have to be used to get anywhere near close enough to the Hall of fame. So it should comes as no surprise, that those who enter the Hall of Fame sacrifice hours, and some even days, just to grab the glory. 

This is the end of out rather lengthy DotA article. While we would have put in more easter eggs and strategies to appeal to the veterans who just happened to stumble across this, we think you'd understand when we say we've written enough and we've got to go play a game or two. Instead, here's a video which we feel displays perhaps the finest strategic skill we've ever seen. Watch in awe.
by Anonymous 10:52 16 comments | in , , , ,


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