This may be old news to most of you but I didn't know you could do this so maybe it'll help out someone else reading this board. Anyway, I first took a look at DoTA about 2 years ago and got nowhere with it. Online play was very difficult because I didn't know anyone and the games themselves seemed infested with players who were no help and in most cases very abusive. I tried occasionally to play it at LANs but since no one else knew anything about it, we very quickly went back to Counterstrike and Quake.
Anyway, today I was browsing around the DoTA forum and I noticed that there is a version of the map available where you can play against the computer. It can be downloaded from this link.
I had a quick game there with me and five bots and while I very quickly got my hero killed, at least I can simulate the online multiplayer experience without all the abusive tossers! Now I just have to start reading here and here.
Hopefully when I've learnt enough not to embarrass myself, I'll join up with my fellow Boardsies .