Dota is a complex game with a vast amount of different concepts. In fact, it is complex enough to require its own vocabulary. While most of it is already common knowledge, newer players can struggle with the understanding of the lingo. Moreover, it is also almost never explained during tournament streams.
For newer players, this article might be helpful with jump-starting their process of getting acquainted with the game. For others, it’s a reminder that all of us were new to Dota at some point, and it is no easy task to learn the game. There was a time when none of us had even the slightest idea of what these concepts mean.
Pulling — the process of aggroing the neutral camp and “pulling” them into a friendly or enemy creepwave. Mainly done for controlling the lane equilibrium, but can also be used as an aid for farming.
Lane Equilibrium — a place on the lane where creeps from each side meet. A very important concept, since farming closer to your tower puts you in a much safer space. Controlling the lane equilibrium through pulls is a very important game mechanic.
Stacking — the process of aggroing the neutral camp and moving it away shortly before the respawn time. If done properly, results in two (or more) sets of neutral creeps occupying the same camp, which can facilitate the farm or ensure a more successful pull.
Zoning — act of applying pressure to the enemy offlaner, typically by a support, to prevent him from getting experience and gold in the lane and tampering with the farm of the carry.
Roaming — frequent movement from one lane to another for the purposes of ganking or support. Usually associated with supports in the early game, but is not restricted to them. More on the topic can be found here.
Playmaking — initiation of offensive plays. Hence, playmaking heroes are frequently initiators and playmaking players are the players who excel in this role.
Space creation — act of wasting enemy time, frequently associated with self-sacrifice, for the purpose of gaining advantage in the other areas of the map. Advantages usually include extra safe farm for the carry or an objective for the team.
Farming Pattern — an efficient movement pattern between one or two lanes and the jungle which typically aims to maximize the farm of the hero.
Burst Damage — high amount of damage dealt in a very short time. While typically associated with nukes, burst damage can also come from strong critical strike abilities (e.g. Phantom Assassin) or very high attack damage (e.g. Sven).
Map control — accessibility and safety of the map’s resources. Typically, areas around the towers are assumed to be under the control of the team, since the towers can be used as points of teleport and provide some vision. Gaining map control, therefore, is usually associated with taking the objectives from the enemy or warding. For more on vision-based map control, you can refer to our previous blog post.
Positions 1-5 — farm priority positions, with 1 being the highest and 5 being the lowest. Positions 1-3 are usually core heroes of the team, with 4 and 5 being supports. Depending on how starved the supports are, commentators often jokingly refer to them as position 6—8 supports.
Win condition — a specific scenario, under which the team can win the game. While usually ample at the beginning of the match, these scenarios tend to shrink in quantity by the mid-game, especially for the losing team. More on the topic can be found in our “dealing with…” series.
Disjoint — act of evading the enemy spell or auto-attack projectile by using mobility (e.g. Blink), invisibility or temporary invulnerability (e.g. Manta Style) abilities.
Fade Time — a short delay between the use of an invisibility ability and the invisibility being applied. Most invisibility abilities, such as Shadow Walk or Glimmer Cape, have fade time, however, some spells, such as Ghost Walk do not, hence the invisibility is applied instantly.
Dispel — removal of status effects (buffs and debuffs) from an ally or an enemy. Only strong dispels can remove hard disables, such as stuns. There are currently only three sources of strong dispels which can be used on allies: Aphotic Shield, Press The Attack and False Promise. A more detailed overview of the concept can be found in our previous blog post
Interrupt — an ability, that can prevent the enemy from using channeling spells. Includes stuns, mini-stuns, silences, hexes etc. Note, that not all abilities with forced movement will interrupt channeling abilities. Force Staff, Deafening Blast, Flamebreak and many other will allow the enemy to keep channeling, while Vacuum or Nether Swap will not.
Reliable Gold — gold from kills, assists, objectives (including Roshan), couriers and Hand of Midas. Reliable gold is not lost on death, and is only spent during purchases when the unreliable gold pool is depleted.
Effective HP — HP of a target, taking into account its armor.
Pseudo random — distribution used by most random-based abilities in Dota. Each hit without random-based ability proc will increase the chances of the proc, however once the effect works, the chance is reset to below the stated value. The system is in place to prevent long chains of successful or unsuccessful attacks with or without proc.
We understand that many of you will not find a lot of new information in this post. However, Dota is a game that constantly attracts new players and it is our duty to make the newcomers feel comfortable.
Understanding the basic concepts of the game and its own language is a first step towards better in-game communication, and communication is often the lacking element in all of our games.