Imperial Command of the Raccoon General

Thoughts and Memoirs of a Ring-tailed and Masked Dominator of the World

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General of the mighty Raccoon Army

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Defense of the Ancients: Basic Thoughts

This is in part my observation, thoughts and opinions only. By no means is it an official guide nor even the most effective guidelines, but merely a result of my experience. Knowledge in the game is needed to understand this.

Knowing your Heroes

As a general guideline, Strength heroes are typically melee who excel in hitting hard with their normal attacks while taking ample punishment themselves; with their abilities preferably some passive and some to give them an added edge when facing off with other heroes. Agility based heroes are either fast attacking melee heroes or ranged combatants, and their primary strong point is attacking fast and and cunningly, because they can't take as much damage as strength based heroes. Intelligence based heroes are tricky to use in that their basic attack is either slow or not strong enough, for which they make up with devastating skills and a large mana pool to use the skills more often. This is mostly generalization and not exlusive to every hero of its type.

Heroes are also divided into other classifications. Brunts are the frontline soldiers able to deal and receive damage, thus for the most part, staying power is their primary asset. Support type of heroes usually function to aid other heroes, by healing allies or by disrupting and holding the enemy in line. Flankers or killers are typically heroes with the ability to kill other heroes quickly which is by means of ambushing, to which some of it are also chasers, those with the capability to hunt down enemy heroes that are running away.

Though that is the underlying basics, each hero is unique in his/her own way and thus the item build for them differs, partly also based on playing style.

Building the Hero

The two aspects of hero builds are skill tree and item build.

Skill tree refers to choices made per levelling up onto which ability to invest on. Though by maximum level of 25 you will have all skills, the journey to get there can be most crucial and dificult if done incorrectly. A typical tactic would be to invest on one or two skills early on (usually damage giving skills or skills that can provide and edge when facing off, otherwise skills that give the ability to escape when necessary), while alternating with stats upgrades, which increases you base attributes, Strength, Agility and Intelligence. this is so that you can have one or two skills to rely on against the enemy while increasing your base effectivity and lastability. Again, this is not mandatory but on most occasions, this will give a fighting chance.

Item build is more difficult to generalize, mainly because it depends on what skills the hero has and whether one chooses to further augment the hero's capabilities or cover up his weaknesses. Secondly is to consider the hero's primary attributes, since some items greatly boosts a single attribute. However, people do typically focus one one or two items first at the start; speed increasing items, move and attack, as well as items that contribute to survival like health regeneration or lifesteal. The later items are usually dependent on user preference. Another thing to consider is the 'fill up inventory vs. save cash consideration'. Some items, even recipe ones, are dirt cheap that you can acquire them quickly. Some more powerful (and maybe more useful) items take time to attain the money, to which one must be considerate when spending money. again these choices are dependent on user, for I have seen some people fill up their intentories from level 1 recipe shop items, to people like us who fill up early on with only 'ironwood branch' (That's a +1 to all stats item).

Situational Awareness

This is the first key 'player skill' to being successful in DotA. You need to be aware of your hero's capability and thus how he/she is curently faring, in conjunction to what he/she is facing. In easier terms, you need to know what your hero is capable of, thus how much damage he/she can sustain before heading back, how much he/she has already sustained and what opponents you are facing (For example if you're fighting Zeus, who is already level 6, you shouldn't keep your life too low because he can strike you anywhere you are for a heft amount of damage). Being aware of your immediate situation is key, and eventually one must learn to be aware of the entire fighting scene of your team.

Global situational awareness is what makes a team funtion well, and most definitely so for heroes who are supposed to go in support of their teammates. Even if you are successful in your locale, if your team mates are being beaten up, and you failing to support them, it could spell the defeat of your team. Thus in relations to that, we must be aware that even if primarily each one of us are assigned to one lane, there has to be a time to leave that lane in order to converge and mass your firepower to break one specific point of the enemy's defenses.


This is most tricky but most interesting.

There are times when some forces are evenly matched, or even totally outmatched, on statistics, but achieve victory because their morale held and because they have a negative effect on their opponents psychology. Some people love staying out of harm's way, so much that a light scratch is sufficient to send them running. This is because they lack bravery and confidence. The result is they run away a lot, thus making them lousy support for their army of creeps and thereby giving the initiative to the more aggressive player. Typically I find this mentality happens when some rely to much on ranged attackers. People who are 'baptized' with melee heroes usually can develop an aggresive persona that counters this meek types.

There are some heroes even, with skills that are more meant as an intimidation skill rather than a real killer. The very usage of these types of skills can cause fear among his/her enemies that they lose a fraction of their effectivity because they had to opt to be overly caustious or even retreat. In fact such heroes are even so feared that their very presence is enough to deter enemies from coming.

Of course there are counter psychological tactics, which for me is basically to make the enemy cocky and thus slip up. Or the very least, this gives them a sense of false confidence that they would be more willing to risk themselves, which makes it easier to kill them.

Understanding of psychology is thus beneficial, partly to know when best to strike against the enemy, how to counter him/her or the very least, to deter him/her from being an effective force on the field, or suppression.

**Added 27 February 2006**

I would just like to add my personal picks for 3 heroes per primary atribute type. I'm not going as far as to say these are the best in the game, merely that these are my pick on what I like. The thought came to me that if we were to to choose a favourite hero from each type, what would they be.

Strength Heroes

3. King Leoric, Skeleton King - One nasty fella'. By having only one active skill, he is easy to use and his passive greatly complements his basic fighting; vampiric maintains his life in battle and criticals to inflict heavy damage. His one active skill can be use as a range attack to slow down retreating enemies or even as a finishing move. Should he fall in battle, provided enough mana, he can ressurrect himself, making him difficult to kill.

2. Slaardar, Slitherin Guard - Slardar suffers from the lack of range attacks, but he is extremely deadly in that he can significantly reduce an enemy's armor with his ultimate. He also has a passive bash ability that makes it a risk for any retreating or low hit point targets for taking even one hit from him. Additionally he has an ability to greatly increase his speed, which can be used as a chase ability.

1. Mangix, Pandaren Battlemaster - My all time fav. Dubbed as the Strength based hero that plays like an Agility Hero. His primary asset is his drunken brawler passive that gives evasion and critical hits all in one skill. While the percentage is not as much as skills that give either evasion or criticals solely, he makes it up for hitting hard and fast and having lots of hitpoints (courtesy of being Strength based.) His Drunken haze and Thunderclap ability can slow down enemies, as well as having other effects; thunderclap deals as much as 300 damage and drunken haze causes the enemy to miss 3/4 of his attacks. His ultimate is one of the most unique in that he splits into 3 pandas, which can be used either in attacking or in retreating, though good management is required. His only flaw is the lack of range attack in normal form.

Agility Heroes

3. Razor, Lightning Revenant - What's cool about this guy firstly is that he is fast. He moves fast and he heals fast too. He can increase his attack speed and cast chain lightning, a good ranged attack spell that also bounces off to damage nearby targets to as many as 9 targets. But the best of all is that his ultimate deals 120 damage every few seconds to anyone near him, passively! The combination was so great that even I managed a triple kill, including getting the infamous Venomancer.

2. Lesale Deathbringer, Venomancer - People yack about the Netherdrake having the one skill with the highest poison damage effect, but the Venomancer can stack his poisons as well as adding poison passively and poisoning an entire group of enemies. Serpent Wards can add additional firepower, but ultimately, the relatively fast venomancer kills by stacking his poison skills on enemies so that he does not even need to be nearby the enemy, who will continue losing hitpoint for quite sometime and if his HP is low enough, will eventually die unless given some form of health regeneration.

1. The Nerubian Assassin - The one hero that has no one specific name. the Assassin can be played like a Strength hero, for even if his hitpoints is slightly less, he makes it up for a high amount of armor. He hits fast, and has a ranged attack that stuns. Additionally he can surpress enemies by mana burning. But his deadliest skill is Vendetta, a skill that gives the assassin invisibility, increased move speed and a nasty 525 backstab damage IN ADDITION to whatever he has in his base attack. Couple that with his stun ability, he is great hero to use in ambushing.

Intelligence Heroes

3. Zeus, Lord of Olympia - Without a doubt one of the nastiest hero to be facing as a team, due to his annoying ultimate that can strike heroes ANYWHERE in the map for a maximum of 570 damage! That is serious, especially to low hitpoint characters when facing off with an enemy or critically wounded heroes attempting to go back to heal. His Arc Lighting, functions as a chain lightining that strikes 15 times is cool but his Lightining bolt is what is best; at 350 damage, it is quite nasty for a non-ultimate skill. Zeus is one hero that almost always needs a refresher orb, just to be a lot nastier than he already is.

2. Lina Inverse, the Slayer - One of top babes of DotA, this mistress of damage dealing has abilities like Dragon Slave and Light Strike Array, each area damage and deals 280 damage (Light Strike also stuns for 1.5 seconds). Lina can also increase her attack speed temporarily, which is good because she hits hard, though slow without the use of that skill. But most impressive of all is Laguna Blade, a deadly lightning bolt that deals a maximum possible of 1250 damage! I like playing her because of the way she can stack up damage on foes realy quick, but her main flaw is that she can't deal multiple threats; her basic spells are for spamming uses, needed to soften an enemy quickly rather than part of a one shot-combo-killing.

1. Rylai Crestfall, the Crystal Maiden - For me, the hottest babe of DotA. The Frostbite skill of hers can encase an enemy for an extended amount of time in an ice cube, sort of like a stun function. Frost nova is a nice damage dealing spell that can slow enemies in a small radius as well. This is crucial for her because she is quite slow, and needs to be in the centre of it all to unleash her Freazing field ultimate, by far the coolest mass area effect spell of all. It basically releases random explosions around her(LOTS of Random explosions with each explosion dealing 310 damage max) and slowing enemies who are caught in it. Rylai's flaw as an intelligence character is that she does not have insane amounts of mana pool, though she does try to limit this flaw by having an aura that increases mana regeneration. Still, the ability to affect large amounts of targets in a spell like that makes her my choice for "coolest" character of the type.

Oh lastly, the most annoyingly FUN HERO, because for me, he feels like a class of his own. These are...

SQUEE and SPLEEN, Goblin Techies! - These duo are minelayers without equal. they lay 3 different types of mines; normal explosive mines that detonate upon any approaching enemy for a max of 600 damage, stun ward mines that stuns target for as long as 6 freaking seconds and the Remote Mines, each dealing 600 damage (bunch em up together!) and detonates upon the Techies command. By far the best trap to kill ANY hero. Think about it, 600 damage per mine, and if you stack 5 to 6 of em, that's about 3000 to 3600 damage, or in effect, more than almost ANY heroes hitpoints! Their only flaw is that such skills are more effective defensively.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Lessons of February 8th...

There's been at least a dozen things or so that occured since February 8th 2006, 8am until now that has got me contemplating on a number of issues, regarding in part of my continued role in human society, or something of the like. I view it as neither positive nor negative but mainly in an inquisitive and contemplative manner.

Firstly, people in general hate being forced into responsibilities. In the context of having the burden of responsibility, most people prefer it as a matter of choice, and that the burden be hold only by one's own decision. But fact is reality will push all sorts of issues to us, and at times, like it or not, someone has to bear it. What usually sickens me about people is that they see the responsibility coming, they are aware of its consequence, they even go as far as to point it out, but immediately scurries of like a rodent in hopes that they can outrun the others, who will then be forced to bear the burden whilst they themselves merely look on from afar. I learnt this on a bus. It doesn't matter the circumstances, what matters is the point stated.

Secondly, nobody else is like you. Nor are others like us. What I mean is that the individual maybe unique but even a group as a whole is special in that it is wrong to hope to encounter the same types of society elsewhere. I sought everyone to be as tolerent and open minded as the people I know. I sought people to understand the things we are used to. Tough luck. Some people are intolerent and some people will make absolutely no sense to us. Adaptability is key, and for the most part to think before action. Running your mouth off is like firing a gun to the air; eventually the bullets will find a mark.

Thirdly, it is far easier to claim innocence or to claim neutrality than to admit one's guilt. It is amazing at times how some people still try to deny the obvious. They'd make a whole list of mambo jumbo just to show it wasn't their fault. Learn to admit that you are wrong. Better yet, learn to admit that in some things, you have been wrong ALL ALONG. Enough said.

Fourth matter, I do not hate girls. I used to maybe, but now I love girls. The female beauty is among God's finest work. I admire them in some aspects but not enough to be a supporter of feminist movements. In fact, far from it. But I am in no hurry to find a girl, get laid and settle down. For despite my admiration, I am most suspicious of the females. Their methods are usually deceptive and for the most part, they have different standards on what is fair on the battlefield. For more information on the kind of girls I think is nice, you can research on the characters I created.

Fifth, and partly related to the fourth, I love money. Well, actually I've started to love money. I could afford to eat McDonalds everyday. Or even KFC. But I will stick to the small stalls and Teh O panas; the cheaper the better. Why? Because the money I save is like storing nuclear weapons. In times of crisis, or when needed to show 'power', those warheads are there. Additionally, the money can be used to gain stuff that has a longer satisfying power, or better yet, make more money. The thought of spending a large sum of money (and yes, LARGE, because there is no way one can do it with a small amount) on a girl seems distasteful to me right now.

So, sixth, maybe I am not ready for a relationship. But I tell you this, I was asked on how far I would go for a girl, and I simply replied that it might not be an appropriate question for me, but truth of the matter is, the answer is very easy. As far as she will go. If she doesn't go far, then I don't go far. She backstabs, then I do the same. Reap what you sow. And equality to both genders. Cold? Maybe, but only in concept, for if she gives warmth then warmth she shall receive. I chose not to voice this out because I was in no mood to entertain any.. opposition who cares to challenge my 'credibility' in this love issue. Also, I do not believe anymore that I should, as a guy, be obligated to cater to her needs mostly if not exclusively, make the first moves, and sacrifice a bigger piece of my pie than she sacrificing hers. Love does not overcome all. Ignorance might do the job, however. So take your pick. And if for this I am marked to be single for life, then so be it. More money for me.

Seventh, knowledge is power. Hide it well. But learn at times to share it too. It works well and all in relations to the enemy, but keeping someone you claim friendship, or to care about, in the dark can be more painful than breaking bad news. Do not make a habit of keeping people in the dark too often. Knowledge is the true currency in which the world revolves with. There are people we keep our knowledge away from, there are those we share it with, and there are those we trade with. Thus, there is a fine line between being a busybody and a well informed person. Or maybe there isn't a line at all. Maybe it is a matter circumstances or the manner in which we use the knowledge. So when I say it's not my business, it does not mean I totally don't care. I would care, if it suited my needs or purposes, to listen, or... I would prefer in the event of a reluctance to share info, to find out through.... other means.

Eighth, and among the most prominent, nobody truly has the rights to disrespect you. There is no true circumstances where manners are irrelevant. You have strengths and weaknesses just as others do, and nobody should make you feel inferior. Nobody should feel they are above you, or have the rights to simply push away your opinions, rights or what you have to say. So they have more money, or know people in higher places, or have more relationships and romance, or have seen more of the world, but the fact of the matter is you still know things they don't, and that is worth being respectful. And respect is not simply saying out loud or in your heart that "I respect this person". It's about action, and the manner of your conduct.

Ninth, I have learnt that expectations is dangerous. I was told not to have expectations. So I must apologize here, I am sorry but that is truly not the case. I find my position in matter to have changed. True, having expectations is a risk, for having not get what is being expected or to be let down is frustrating and very painful. But we need to have expectations, in a way, because they are like goals; objectives or aims for us to pursue. Like expecting someone to return a call, the context here being that our aim is to have the person call back thus showing we are in some ways, valued. To that extent we can work towards that aim, by being nicer to the person and so on. The bad part is simply if we react very negatively in the event of a failure.

Tenth, I like to relax in a park, chit chatting or playing chess or having a drawing jam. I like to take strolls on highlands and cool places or rest by the sea side and listen to the sound of the waves. That is the true answer I think for what MOST people, though based more or less on my preference, would like to do with a special someone. But I will not admit to it openly in public. Maintaining a cold and emotionless front serves me better. It makes people cautious of you, thus less likely to underestimate you, and take you for granted. It's not about a 'cool thing' or about 'chicks like bad guys'. For me, I have learnt that some treasures should be kept inside a case that wards off others instead of attracts. That way we know that those who actually do get to know inside of you, they are the people that are willing to take the trouble to know you better. Kind of like a masquerade of sorts. Those that read this, congratulations for finding out; those that did not, I really couldn't give a damn.

Lastly, I am not writing this out of spite, anger, jealousy, contempt or the like. I am however writing this out of irritation that many of the points here are considered irrelevant or viewed incorrectly. I am annoyed by the "all-logic-and-commonsense" attitude that seems to prevail today. Commonsense should be tampered with a little humanity, and emotion should be mixed with a little logic. What simply works, does not mean it is proper.