Valve's Dota 2 is spawning an animated adaptation on Netflix this week, and many players see this as an opportunity to welcome fresh meat to the wizard wars. The official tutorial is a bit bum, though, so fans took it on themselves to create a better unofficial one. Enthusiasm! Supported by a crowdfunding campaign raising almost $30,000 (£21k), they've now released their in-game tutorial as a mod. Will you learn the ways of wizards?
Dota 2 does have an official in-game tutorial but it's not, like, very good. Improving it is evidently a low priority for Valve, so players who are keen to share their love of the game have stepped up. Last month, a team launched an Indiegogo campaign to fund development of an unofficial playable tutorial which might actually help would-be players.
"Assuming that there will be an influx of new players brought in from the anime's release, we have banded together as a community to create a tutorial for these new players in the form of a custom game," they explained.
After a stretch of playtesting, they released the tutorial as a Custom Game mod through the Steam Workshop yesterday. It has a number of chapter explaining how to play, as well as links to forums, websites, Discord servers, and such where people might find more help. Here's one of the folks behind the project, noted community figure "SirActionSlacks", demonstrating the tutorial:
I greatly admire the project's enthusiasm, though sadly it does suffer several serious shortcomings for being unofficial. The most obvious is that people need to know to look for it outside the game. And perhaps the biggest is that players don't gain access to Custom Games (and therefore this tutorial) until they've played a whopping 30 regular matches.
"This being a first time players guide, we hope to sway Valve to change this," the team say. "However, we have no power over Valve, so should they choose to not change this rule we are at their mercy."
It sucks that Valve still haven't made a solid effort to welcome newcomers. The game is huge in spite of that, still having the second-most concurrent players on Steam, but sheesh. It is weird that the game is big enough to be licensed for an animated series yet not enough of a priority for Valve to make a decent tutorial. It's one thing when Valve let fans step in with new content and updates for lesser-played old games like Left 4 Dead 2 but man, Dota has been huge for ages.
Dota: Dragon's Blood launches on Netflix this Thursday at 7am GMT. While I've Doted for thousands of hours between the Warcraft 3 mod and Valve's sequel, I'm not too interested. I like the banter and relationships between characters which reveal themselves during a match, but I've little interest in wider stories. And while I like Dota for being weird and colourful, Dragon's Blood focuses on some of the most generic characters. I'll give it a go. Netflix, for their part, tried to introduce non-players to Dota by having folks including Slacks explain lore in a video.