Since leaving beta earlier this year and opening itself up to the masses, Dota 2 has seen some substantial changes. Carefully shifting through incremental updates, my most-played game of 2013 is gradually turning into something new: toying with the rich and detailed mechanics that tie the complex experience together. Phasing out the importance of tri-lanes by reducing the value of pulling creep waves, adjusting the way that support roles work with entirely revamped Tango-sharing and heavily altered Tranquil boots. If you haven't clocked much time doin' dotes then the previous sentence will seem like nonsense, but frankly it's tough to say anything that won't.
Dota 2 is an online game in which two teams of five try to destroy the other team's towers, and eventually their base. The premise is simple, but the level of detail and complexity that opens up beyond that is truly absurd - Playing *one* match of Dota 2 as each of the available characters in the game will take you upwards of 100 hours. And we aren't talking re-skinned versions, here: Every character in Dota 2 is dramatically different. You've got Bloodseeker - a guy whose movement speed is vastly increased if anyone on the opposite team is low on health. Get hit by his 'ultimate' ability Rupture, and you'll rapidly lose health unless you stand completely still. Faceless Void can freeze time in his giant purple chronosphere, Puck can dodge attacks by phasing out of existence, and Kunka can summon a giant ghost ship that smashes into the enemy team in a superb splashy fashion.
The sheer quantity of stuff you're expected to learn is a turn-off for most who look at Dota 2 from afar, which is a shame because that's really what makes it so fun. Learning to play the game with a group of friends has been my favourite experience of 2013, and it's an experience that I haven't stopped loving. My understanding and appreciation of the game has vastly changed as the months have gone by, but after 800 hours I'm still going and looking for new ways to learn and improve. Always exciting, often frustrating, but without a doubt the best team game I've ever played. Football can suck a duck.