In the following article that helps you to get started with DotA, it is presumed that you are in possession of Warcraft III and have it installed on your PC or Mac; both the original Reign of Chaos and the extension Frozen Throne. If you would rather know more about DotA first, click here. Maybe you already started, and you want tips for in the game itself. Okay, now we will be starting with DotA!
If you haven't done so already, you will have to complete the registration online so you can play Warcraft III online, but more importantly so you can in a few moments play the DotA map online with friends and those yet unknown. It can be nice to use a particular style in your registration name. For example if you and your group use the same beginning such as "XXX_" followed by your unique name. This helps to get recognize each other faster and works as a kind of team building or warpaint. For the registration use your own part of the world (Europe (Northerend), United States (Azeroth) etc.) this ensures you have the fastest available connection while playing.
Downloading the latest DotA map, and latest stable DotA map
To get started playing DotA, you will need the DotA map. The latest (new) DotA map can be found on the following site: http://www.getdota.com/ here you will find a link to both the latest stable and the latest new version. Following the advice giving you should download both maps and saving them in the "Map/Download" directory of your Warcraft III installation. Use the opportunity to bookmark the site, another even more important site too bookmark is: http://www.playdota.com/ here you will find a link to mentioned site as well as, news and information about the items and heroes of DotA and even a whole dedicated forum. If you notice other players online are playing a newer map download it (from the just mentioned location) so you can play with them. It can also be interesting to view the changelogs, maybe particular items have become cheaper or more powerful, heroes improved or maybe there is even a complete new hero!
Downloading and playing a DotA AI map
The DotA AI map is different from the standard variation because you can also play with or against computer controlled heroes and sometimes there are some other possibilities. The latest DotA AI map can be found on the following site: http://www.getdota.com/ai_maps the one by BuffMePlz is especially recommended (check for example the -fun mode that adds a decent amount of heroes). This map can be sued perfectly to learn the basis of a strategy, to play with friends or just to have some fun. The AI offers reasonable competition. Real practise is better gained online but if you still want to use the AI map, make sure that you have at least 1 other player playing with you on a LAN or on the internet so you won't learn soemthing unneeded that won't work against "smart" resourceful human players.
Once Online add your Friends
Once online in Warcraft III (battle.net), you can enter a channel or open one yourself (for example OnceWereNoobs), in every possible channel you'll see a tab option "Friends" at the right there use the edit field to enter the player/account name of a friend (BSL_don, BSL_Jero, BSL-SBT.com-Jon, NoobKiller, ProFeeder) and add them. Once you both have each other's names in your friend list you will be able to find each other more easily and follow their movement (because you'll receive in-game auto-messages that will let you know what your friends are doing if online), you can also whisper to let someone know something. Whispering is done by typing "\w " followed by the name and finally text to be whispered. For example: /w BSL_don Hi Don care for a game?
Play DotA Online
Okay this is it, here we go. After you login on battle.net, there will be an option named "Custom Games" in the menu, click on it. You will see a list of the currently available play-options. You can refresh the list to see the latest play-options. Overall during the day there always is someone actively playing DotA, and so you'll see open games waiting for new players to join. Take note of titles with "dota" in their name, usually followed by a abbreviation of a particular mode of play (-apem, -dmar, -sd, -rd, -wtf, -apemom, -apom). You can select 1 of the options and view the DotA version used, if it matches your expectations click "Join", like other games you now have entered the waiting room of the specific game, as soon as the game is started by the host the game wills tart (noticeable by 5, 4, 3, 2, 1). Have much fun with DotA! Tips: Do not leave a game/competition unneeded (before it has ended) and do not play pro games (for example "pro" in there name) before you are winning the none pro games the same goes for games solely meant for specific groups (for example "rus only" in their name, only for Russians) that do not apply to you. If you follow those guidelines you will not enter the many ban-lists which would lessen your chances to play a good game of DotA later on. Have fun in DotA! Or as we say in DotA: Have fun and good luck (HF and GL)!
Okay so now you know how to start playing DotA. Read what exactly DotA is and why it's so popular or learn how to improve your DotA game.