It is a fact that the learning curve in Dota 2 is relatively steep for a video game, so different skills will take time to develop. In addition, if you are failing at something you have a direct negative impact on the game of 9 other people, so there is some pressure to perform or at least to play decently.
This is why in this section you will find one simple recommendation (in the form of steps) on how to approach new situations in Dota 2 so you can learn fast and in peace and in the same time not annoy other players.
Before we begin, to make things easier we will take an example: let us say that you are relatively new to Dota - you have played a few games, but that’s it. You have seen this hero Lone Druid to own and you really want to try it as it seems interesting. So, here is how you should approach mastering Lone Druid:
Before you enter the game, try to find out how exactly you should play the hero.
Continuing with the example, if you are interested in Lone Druid you should start by reading the Specific Hero Guide of Lone Druid here in Dota 2 Navigation, created for you with the help of the players of Na’Vi.
The first things you need to know are the basics: the skillset of the hero, how his mechanics work, which are some good skill and item builds. If you find something difficult to understand, always go back to the Core and Advanced secions to make things more clear in your head. The Core section for example is the perfect place to understand in depth the mechanics you need (for instance the Entangling Claws of the Spirit Bear).
Afterwards you need to focus on the specifics: how exactly to play the hero. You need to understand your role in each game. Lone Druid is a carry, so you should understand what a carry is (the Core section will help you in that) and how exactly to play a carry (in the Advanced section). Finally, always return to the Hero Guide. You will find there details about how to play in all stages in the game, which will help you out a great deal.
By having all that info you will understand what exactly you need to focus on in order to be good with the hero - way better than going in without a plan.
It sounds boring to play with bots, however it could accelerate your learning greatly. Initially you will most likely fail at what you are trying to do. The great thing about bots is that they don’t get mad if you feed, they don’t care if you are good or bad and they are not likely to get to you emotionally. Even if you leave the game it doesn’t matter. This gives you the huge freedom to try something, if you fail to leave the game, start a new one and try again until you do things right.
For our example, for a beginner there are two most difficult things about playing a Lone Druid. Firstly you have two units, so you need to learn to micro properly in order to play the hero decently. Secondly you need to last hit well- you are a carry, so your team expects you to have farm. Playing with bots will allow you to practice those two skills a bit. When you feel confident in your bear control and your last hitting with Lone, you can move to the next step.
If you are practicing something like skill shots or other hard to use skill, you can enable cheats in your lobby before you start the game with bots. This will allow you to enter the WTF mode which has no cooldowns and mana requirements, which is very helpful when practicing skills like the Arrow of Mirana or most of Invoker’s spells.
Playing All Pick with friends
It is always better to play with friends in your team when you are playing something new. This way you can get some needed advice, support and most importantly even if you fail your friends shouldn’t become upset. In a PUB with complete strangers you are likely to get flame, non-constructive criticism and so on, which will not help you at all to understand your mistakes and improve your game.
The reason why we recommend AP instead of another mode when playing a new hero is that people are rarely coordinated as a team in AP. This means that you are not likely to get counter-picked, you are not likely to get intentionally focused for ganks and so on. This will give you a much larger margin for errors, until you get used to the new thing you are trying out. This could be said for other modes like SD or AR, however there you don’t have the freedom to choose the exact hero you want.
Playing All Pick with random people
Don’t get us wrong, playing with friends in your team will always be more pleasant and more constructive than playing with random people in matchmaking. However, at this point you should know more about and be better at Lone Druid than the majority of random people you will meet in Pubs. This means that flaming and non-constructive criticism shouldn’t worry you at all - you will be able to understand which comments are worth noting and which teammates deserve a mute.
After you feel confident and are able to win most of your AP pubs with Lone Druid you should try playing the hero in Captains Mode. Usually in captains mode you are much more likely to face coordinated opposition. Opponents will try to counter pick against your hero and they will try to ruin your early game with ganks and aimed aggression, so your skills with Lone are much more likely to get tested. In this mode you are going to understand the reason behind most things pros do with the hero, which will greatly improve your play.
As in AP, playing with friends here is also better, since you can try to have a thought-out strategy including your hero. You will have a distinct role and personal goal in the game, which will force you to play more seriously. Also, if you are five it will be best to play TM (team matchmaking), since there you will play against a team of five which is likely to be on a call, meaning they will be more coordinated.
To improve your game you must challenge yourself - you must play against better opponents, with better allies and so on. However, you must take things one step at a time, starting from the lower steps and moving up steadily. If you take too much all at once, you are not likely to learn a lot.