Dota 2Spending a year learning to shuffle a gaggle of fantasy heroes up Dota's teetering stack of rules and game mechanics will do that to you: we've developed a secret language of our own, one that runs parallel to the talk of creeps and lanes and farm and rax common to everyone who plays the game. "Whack a ward on the donkletron I'm going to stick one up their jungle" is a sentence I can say out loud and be completely understood by at least those three people. For some reason, there's also a lot of singing involved. It's a lot like being a sailor.If you're looking for a reason to commit time to Dota 2 - if you're actually reading this review for advice and a critical opinion, rather than to see what score I'm going to give the most popular game on Steam - then, first up, thanks for being here. Second, I want you to consider what it means when two grown men accidentally lather each other in regenerative goop. It's gaming's equivalent of holding a door open for somebody who is already reaching to hold the door open for you: a synchronicity of kindness that speaks to a deeper shared understanding of the situation both people are in. Dota is a game where you can say the words "are you thinking what I'm thinking?" and be reliably assured that the person on the other end of your VoIP connection actually is. It might have the systems and bearing of a videogame, but Dota shares the social impetus of a sport. Its single environment isn't a map, it's a pitch.Dota 2 is a remake of Defence of the Ancients, the Warcraft III mod that laid out the principles of levelling up a hero, pushing lanes and knocking down towers. Many of the games that followed the original DotA sanded down its rougher edges in pursuit of new audiences or alternative business models. That's not the case here: this is the lane-pushing game in its original, most intricate form. Getting into Dota 2 means committing time to learning a game whose mechanics have been designed with complexity rather than accessibility in mind.A suite of singleplayer tutorials explains the basics, and Valve have done well here to introduce some of Dota's more esoteric concepts alongside the familiar business of attacking enemies, using items and deploying skills. These tutorials are followed up with a series of bot matches using a limited pool of heroes that eventually opens up into full online play. It's inevitable, however, that new players will feel unprepared for their first proper match: like any sport, experience is a better teacher than time spent practising in isolation.It helps that it's fun. Hero abilities are impactful and satisfying to land, and scale well with the ability level of the player wielding them. Lion's Finger of Death power, for example, only requires you to click on the right enemy to see them obliterated by a searing bolt of lightning, and the satisfaction you receive from its use in your first hours with the game will be matched later when you land your first long-ranged Sacred Arrow with Mirana, a skillshot that scales in power the further it travels. As you become familiar with the surface details of the game you'll naturally start to understand its deeper complexities: the knowledge of turn rates, attack animations and stat scaling that become important at higher levels of play.Valve have implemented systems to help police player behaviour, but it's an area where they could do more. You can commend or report players for a variety of respectively positive and negative behavioural traits - friendliness and leadership on one side, text abuse and intentional griefing on the other.Commendations are listed on player profile pages as badges of honour, whereas receiving a sufficient amount of reports in a given period can result in players having their chat rights shut off for a variable amount of time. It's common to see players - often the worst offenders - demanding that people be reported for simply having a bad game, while requesting commendations for themselves because they scored a lot of kills.