Some may ask themselves why I would sit down and write a post about this, well, the main reason is that it breaks my heart when I see people make their team fall over completely because of slight mechanical disadvantages. Obviously I do understand that some are new to the genre and don’t know everything yet, but there are cases where a little more focus on basic aspects of the game would help them do so much better. So when I actually have the chance to help those out I might as well do so.
In this small tutorial post we will take a closer look at the basic mechanics for the three most popular MOBA games, DotA, Heroes of Newerth and League of Legends. But to make it a little more simple I will not focus on hardcore meta game, as this is not aimed at those who wish to make it to the top, I will focus more on the average gamer, in other words, those who have some knowledge about MOBA games but still have a lot to work on.
First of all we will take a look at shared mechanics, these apply to all the three games, but while DotA and Heroes of Newerth may be almost similar League of Legends have a few different mechanics and we will look into those later on. I figured we would beging with looking into the true basic mechanic of MOBA games, last hitting, this is how you make most of your gold and gain levels through XP. Last hitting is a term for getting the killing blow on a minion or neutral monster, these give you, and you alone gold. Once you begin to grasp the concept of last hitting you will be able to keep your lane in one place and farm safely while zoning out your opponent, which is a term for denying your opponent gold and XP. Keep in mind that most people at the lower levels will auto hit a bit too much which will push their side of the lane forward, so if you focus on last hitting alone you will have the lane safely just outside your tower and if your opponent want to farm from that position he will have to take risks, as he opens himself up for ganks when pushing too far.
With that being said, there are two more important basic aspects which apply to all three games we will take a look at, map awareness and wards. Wards are something people tend to forget, regardless of if you play a supportive role or not you should spend some money on wards, as it is better to keep yourself safe by paying a few gold than giving away those horrible early kills. The only exception is the AD carry, as his/her support will take care of the wards for him/her. Map awareness on the other hand is your ability to keep track of things happening outside of and around your own lane, this is kind of hard to make perfect, but if you check the minimap every 5 seconds or so you will notice when someone has disappeared from other lanes, when the opponents are setting up for any of the epic monsters or when you have an opening to go gank somewhere. If your map awareness is somewhat good there is no problem if someone in the other lanes forget to call MIA on their opponents.
Appart from these mechanics which apply to all MOBA games, we will now take a look at the specific mechanics you need to consider when playing Heroes of Newerth and DotA. First out we have denying, this means you get the last hit on your own minions or towers, which results in the opponent team not getting any gold and a reduced amount of XP for those denied objects. This is just as important as last hitting to give you an advantage. Denying is done through using the attack button, default A on your keyboard, if you have remade your keybindings you may wish to bind a new, easily reachable key to attack. The other part is losing gold on death, this makes the advantage of getting a kill and the disadvantage of giving away a kill twice as large. As you give your opponent a set amount of gold while you lose the same / almost the same amount yourself when dying. So to cover a death in terms of gold you need to be around 40 last hits ahead of your opponent. In that case it is still even. And last but not least we have forest juking or, what ever you wish to call it, this means that you avoid or confuse chasing enemies by running around in more “odd” patterns among the trees in the forest. This is mainly to give you a better chance of escaping.
League of Legends is a little bit of the special case of the MOBA family, as there are quite a few different mechanics in LoL compared to DotA and HoN. First of all, summoner spells, while 95% of all champions should have flash as their main summoner spell, the secondary is more about personal preference. Some prefer ignite, while some prefer exhaust, heal or cleanse. The support usually get either flash + clairvoyance or flash + exhaust, the clairvoyance build is more for well coordinated teams. All summoner spells have their own advantages and disadvantages, a good example would be using your ignite on a Singed while a Vladimir with massive spell vamp is going rampage on your team. Obviously that healing reduction would be more use on the Vladimir to help you score a kill on him than using it on their tank. Appart from that, there is no such thing as denying in LoL, you need to zone people out of XP range instead to deny them farm. And the possibility of escaping out of line of sight among the trees is removed in favour of brushes, so learning to utilize the brushes properly will give you a huge advantage. As for the gold advantage / disadvantage with kills and deaths, it is a lot smaller in LoL as you lose no gold when dying, and you need to be around 15 last hits ahead of your opponent to cover one death in terms of gold.
And last but not least, make sure there is a plan behind every item you buy, don’t run off buying three Doran’s ring or blade if you don’t intend to go aggressive early on, if you intend to stay passive focus more on your major items instead. And keep in mind to get some defensive items into all your builds, a glass cannon is never any use for your team. As for the use items, like blinkdagger, portalkey, refreshing stone, shurelia’s reverie and so on, if you buy them, remember to use them as half of the benefit you gain from them are the use abilities. There are countless times I have seen people running around with expensive use items just because they are recommended items but they never use the ability provided by those items.
Yes I know this is a lot to process at once, but if you go step by step and get one thing at a time into the system, you will notice that you are improving way faster than if you just play a lot and have no idea what you are doing wrong and what you should improve. Hopefully somebody got something useful out of this post, as I tried my best to make it as easily understandable as possible.