Hero Difficulty

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Notice!
This guide represents the personal opinions of R.B.Economy, who posted the Newbie's Guide to Heroes Difficulty to PlayDota in 2011.
It has not been modified from the original, except to add heroes who have been released in the interim.

What this guide IS:

  • Analysis into 6 specific aspects required to play all the heroes in DotA.
  • A final rating perceived for each of the heroes. Higher rating means higher difficulty.
  • A guide where new players can benefit by assessing which hero is easier to begin learning DotA with.
  • A guide where veteran players can benefit by assessing the specific aspects they lack of, resulting in poor performance with certain heroes, although they have mastered certain other heroes.

What this guide IS NOT:

  • This guide IS NOT an attempt to rank the heroes in terms of popularity, usage or power. A hero rated BEGINNER is not necessarily weaker/less famous/less used than a hero rated ADVANCED, and vice versa.
  • This guide DOES NOT provide any information regarding a hero's play in competitive/casual gaming. A BEGINNER hero can be an effective competitive hero such as Vengeful Spirit or Crystal Maiden.
  • This guide IS NOT teasing you as a noob because you used a hero rated BEGINNER. A hero with BEGINNER difficulty can be a powerful hero when used right.

Disclaimer: Just as any other guides, you may or may not agree with the information presented here. If you do not agree with some of the information, you may present your case and explain why so that I can make a good review and correction if needed. If you do not agree with most of the information, you are free to create your own guide instead. This guide is just an information, not a rule! You don't need to follow it if you don't like it!

Guide Manual

Numbers from 1 to 5 are used to rate the aspects of each hero which contributes to the final rating. 1 means the least requirement of your skill in this aspect, and 5 means you need to be very very good in this aspect.

Final rating ranges can range from 6 to 30 (minimum of 1 and maximum of 5 from each of the 6 aspects). However, the resulting minimum final rating of the heroes is 11 (Bane Elemental), and 29 (meepo).

For a newcomer, a hero with lower rating is considered easier to play (again, easier doesn't mean the hero is bad! It's just the way each hero is different from another!). However, a hero with lower rating might have a high requirement in certain aspect. Zeus is a good example of a low rating hero with high requirement in map awareness (aspect rated in red), so if you are bad in map awareness, you may not use Zeus to his fullest potential. Of course, you can still play Zeus! This guide is just an information, not a rule!

The 6 Aspects

Knowledge

Knowledge of heroes, abilities, items and game mechanics. Higher rating means the hero requires you to be more knowledgeable of the game.

1) Requires general knowledge of this hero, general skill build and item build. General starting items.
2) Understands game mechanics such as orb effect, buff placer, melee and ranged items.
3) Requires increased knowledge of this hero abilities, and how all items work.
4) Requires immense knowledge of this hero, alternate skill builds and item builds. Able to determine the right targets in battle.
5) Requires knowledge of all heroes/abilities/items, mechanics, counter abilities and counter items.

Map Awareness

Awareness of what is happening around you and far away from you. Makes use of the mini map, wards, pings as well as the screen. Higher rating means the hero requires better map awareness.

1) Basic map awareness. Usually support/babysitter heroes.
2) Somewhat increased awareness, able to assess missing enemy heroes to prevent being easily ganked and feeding.
3) Requires decent map awareness. A must for constant gankers.
4) Advanced level of map awareness. Has long range ganking abilities. the ability to assess pushing opportunity on other lanes. the ability to sense incoming or know areas of possible gank or clash.
5) Extreme map awareness. Has global abilities that can determine the outcome of battles far away from the map.
6) Knowing the farming pattern of certain carry heroes usually for gankers and roamers and ward placement for supports

Positioning / Reflex

Coordination. And speed. This aspect focuses on positioning hero in advantageous positions, as well as the reflex to take advantage of position, usually with a series of actions in quick succession. Higher rating means the hero requires fast reflex, and excels in advantageous positions.

1) Basic positioning knowledge. Not standing at vulnerable positions that allow enemies to easily attack you. Basic reflex skill of running / chasing.
2) Requires simple ability positioning (usually AoE), ensuring the ability hit better. Basic orb-walking/animation canceling.
3) Advanced hero/ability positioning (lined AoE or abilities that don't hit easily). Able to decide positive outcomes with regards to positions of heroes.
4) Hero requires a combination of very good positioning and lightning fast reflexes to be powerful.
5) Hero has abilities that require precise positioning and timing, critical for turning the tide of battles.

Farm / Last-Hitting

Farm and last-hitting is not about being able to just earn gold, but earn it fast. Higher rating means the hero requires more gold to function and excel, and usually better if you can earn it faster than your enemies.

1) Basic farm/last-hitting required. Hero is able to perform averagely independent of items. Gives farming to heroes that needed it more such as a carry hero.
2) Unlocks better potential with a little more gold, hence better items, although not necessary.
3) Needs some items to perform roles effectively.
4) Requires a key item, and fast. Needs a quick and effective early farm. Able to stack neutral creeps.
5) Needs all the farm it can get to get powerful items, and try not to die at all costs. Usually a carry hero.

Micro Management

Some people think that micro management is just about managing more than 1 unit, but taking care of your abilities and using active items are also part of micro management. Higher rating means the hero requires you to be good in clicking and controlling many things at once.

1) Basic micro, usually simple spells and eventually items.
2) Perform better with supportive items. Able to use animal courier casually. Abilities usage involves spamming/toggling/simple timing/positioning.
3) Player may need to control more than 1 unit, such as summons, but with simple commands such as attacking/chasing/escaping. Abilities involve better timing/positioning.
4) Able to control 3 units or more, and using summon abilities in good timing and positions. May micro to neutral creep pulling, path blocking, exploring far away from map, etc.
5) Able to control multiple units with different commands at the same time, with varied abilities or items. May micro to neutral creep pulling, path blocking, exploring far away from map, etc.

Survival Priority

This aspect involves your ability to juke, escape, run, trick, whatever NOT TO DIE. Higher rating means the hero can contribute to the team better or can't afford to lose exp/gold.

1) Basic survival. Doesn't matter if you die, but don't feed unnecessarily.
2) Just need some quick seconds to throw all spells and do the job.
3) Stay long enough in battle to do enough harm.
4) Stay long enough in battle to continuously support team / disabling enemies / push / defend.
5) Must survive and cannot afford to lose gold/exp. Critical for winning, usually a carry hero.

Disclaimer: It is important to know that these 6 specific aspects are not the only aspects you have to know in DotA. There are other general aspects which can be found in other guides.

FINAL RATING

06 - 16 : BEGINNER

17 - 22 : INTERMEDIATE

23 - 30 : ADVANCED

The Rating Chart

Hero Hero/Item
Knowledge
Map
Awareness
Positioning/
Reflex
Farm/
Last-Hitting
Micro
Management
Survival
Priority
Rating
Abaddon icon.png Abaddon 3 1 2 2 2 4 14
Underlord icon.png Underlord 3 5 3 1 3 4 19
Alchemist icon.png Alchemist 3 3 2 3 3 3 17
link=Ancient%20Apparition Ancient Apparition 4 5 5 1 3 2 20
Anti-Mage icon.png Anti-Mage 3 3 3 5 1 5 20
Axe icon.png Axe 4 3 4 4 2 3 20
Bane icon.png Bane 3 3 1 1 1 2 11
Batrider icon.png Batrider 3 3 4 2 2 2 16
Beastmaster icon.png Beastmaster 4 4 4 2 5 2 21
Bloodseeker icon.png Bloodseeker 4 4 1 3 2 3 17
link=Bounty%20Hunter Bounty Hunter 1 3 1 3 2 3 13
Brewmaster icon.png Brewmaster 3 2 2 3 4 4 18
Bristleback icon.png Bristleback 1 2 2 3 2 3 13
Broodmother icon.png Broodmother 2 4 1 3 4 4 18
link=Centaur%20Warrunner Centaur Warrunner 1 2 2 4 1 1 11
link=Chaos%20Knight Chaos Knight 2 3 1 5 3 5 19
Chen icon.png Chen 3 5 5 2 5 4 24
Clinkz icon.png Clinkz 2 3 2 3 2 3 15
Clockwerk icon.png Clockwerk 3 5 4 2 2 1 17
link=Crystal%20Maiden Crystal Maiden 1 3 2 1 2 2 11
link=Dark%20Seer Dark Seer 3 1 4 1 2 2 13
Dazzle icon.png Dazzle 3 1 3 1 2 4 14
link=Death%20Prophet Death Prophet 1 4 2 5 2 4 18
Disruptor icon.png Disruptor 3 4 3 1 1 2 14
Doom icon.png Doom 5 3 1 2 2 2 15
link=Dragon%20Knight Dragon Knight 2 3 2 3 2 4 16
link=Drow%20Ranger Drow Ranger 2 2 2 5 2 5 18
Earthshaker icon.png Earthshaker 3 3 5 4 2 2 19
link=Earth%20Spirit Earth Spirit 4 4 5 3 4 3 23
link=Elder%20Titan Elder Titan 3 3 5 2 3 3 19
link=Ember%20Spirit Ember Spirit 3 4 4 5 3 5 24
Enchantress icon.png Enchantress 3 3 4 3 3 3 19
Enigma icon.png Enigma 4 4 5 4 3 2 22
link=Faceless%20Void Faceless Void 4 3 5 5 1 5 23
Techies icon.png Techies 3 5 4 2 4 4 22
Gyrocopter icon.png Gyrocopter 3 5 4 3 2 2 19
Huskar icon.png Huskar 2 3 2 3 2 3 15
Invoker icon.png Invoker 5 5 5 5 3 5 28
Io icon.png Io 5 5 4 2 3 4 23
Jakiro icon.png Jakiro 1 3 3 1 2 4 14
Juggernaut icon.png Juggernaut 1 2 3 3 1 3 13
link=Keeper%20of%20the%20Light Keeper of the Light 3 5 4 1 3 4 20
Kunkka icon.png Kunkka 3 3 5 2 2 2 17
link=Legion%20Commander Legion Commander 4 2 5 4 2 3 20
Leshrac icon.png Leshrac 3 3 4 3 3 4 20
Lich icon.png Lich 1 3 3 1 2 2 12
Lifestealer icon.png Lifestealer 3 3 3 3 2 3 17
Lina icon.png Lina 1 3 4 1 2 2 13
Lion icon.png Lion 1 3 3 1 2 2 12
link=Lone%20Druid Lone Druid 3 3 2 3 3 3 17
Luna icon.png Luna 2 3 4 5 3 5 22
Lycan icon.png Lycan 1 3 1 4 3 3 15
Magnus icon.png Magnus 4 3 5 4 3 2 21
Medusa icon.png Medusa 4 2 3 5 2 5 21
Meepo icon.png Meepo 5 5 4 5 5 5 29
Mirana icon.png Mirana 3 5 4 3 2 3 20
Morphling icon.png Morphling 4 4 3 5 3 5 24
link=Naga%20Siren Naga Siren 2 3 2 5 3 5 20
link=Nature's%20Prophet Nature's Prophet 4 5 4 2 3 4 22
Necrophos icon.png Necrophos 3 3 3 3 2 4 18
link=Night%20Stalker Night Stalker 3 3 1 3 1 3 14
link=Nyx%20Assassin Nyx Assassin 4 5 5 5 2 2 23
link=Ogre%20Magi Ogre Magi 1 3 1 1 2 4 12
Omniknight icon.png Omniknight 3 1 3 1 2 4 14
link=Outworld%20Devourer Outworld Devourer 4 3 4 5 3 3 22
link=Phantom%20Assassin Phantom Assassin 1 3 1 5 1 5 16
link=Phantom%20Lancer Phantom Lancer 2 3 1 5 3 4 18
Phoenix icon.png Phoenix 3 3 3 2 3 4 18
Puck icon.png Puck 4 4 5 1 2 3 19
Pudge icon.png Pudge 4 4 4 2 2 4 20
Pugna icon.png Pugna 4 2 4 2 2 4 18
link=Queen%20of%20Pain Queen of Pain 1 3 4 2 2 2 14
Razor icon.png Razor 3 3 3 3 2 3 17
Riki icon.png Riki 5 5 4 5 1 3 23
Rubick icon.png Rubick 5 3 5 2 2 4 21
link=Sand%20King Sand King 3 5 5 1 2 2 18
link=Shadow%20Demon Shadow Demon 1 3 3 2 3 4 16
link=Shadow%20Fiend Shadow Fiend 3 3 5 1 3 3 18
link=Shadow%20Shaman Shadow Shaman 1 3 4 2 3 2 15
Silencer icon.png Silencer 2 5 3 3 2 4 19
link=Skywrath%20Mage Skywrath Mage 3 4 4 3 2 3 19
Slardar icon.png Slardar 1 3 2 4 2 3 15
Slark icon.png Slark 3 3 3 3 2 3 17
Sniper icon.png Sniper 2 3 2 3 2 3 15
link=Soul%20Keeper Soul Keeper 2 2 4 5 3 5 21
Spectre icon.png Spectre 4 5 4 5 1 5 26
link=Spirit%20Breaker Spirit Breaker 2 4 1 4 1 3 15
link=Storm%20Spirit Storm Spirit 3 4 4 5 2 5 23
Sven icon.png Sven 1 3 2 3 2 3 14
link=Templar%20Assassin Templar Assassin 3 5 4 5 4 3 24
Tidehunter icon.png Tidehunter 1 3 5 4 3 2 18
Timbersaw icon.png Timbersaw 2 3 4 3 3 3 18
Tinker icon.png Tinker 4 5 4 4 4 4 25
Tiny icon.png Tiny 3 3 4 4 3 3 20
link=Treant%20Protector Treant Protector 1 3 5 1 1 1 12
link=Troll%20Warlord Troll Warlord 2 5 1 5 2 5 20
Tusk icon.png Tusk 1 4 4 3 3 2 17
Undying icon.png Undying 1 1 3 3 2 4 14
Ursa icon.png Ursa 2 3 4 4 2 5 20
link=Vengeful%20Spirit Vengeful Spirit 1 4 4 1 2 1 13
Venomancer icon.png Venomancer 2 3 5 1 4 4 19
Viper icon.png Viper 2 3 2 3 3 5 18
Visage icon.png Visage 4 4 4 3 5 4 24
Warlock icon.png Warlock 1 1 3 2 3 2 12
Weaver icon.png Weaver 3 3 3 5 3 5 22
Windranger icon.png Windranger 3 4 4 3 2 4 20
link=Witch%20Doctor Witch Doctor 1 3 4 2 2 4 16
link=Wraith%20King Wraith King 2 3 1 3 1 3 13
Zeus icon.png Zeus 1 5 2 1 3 3 15


Conclusion

As you can see, there are more heroes and aspects with yellow and red rating than green rating! Now you know why they say DotA has a steep learning curve!