a real-time strategy game. Arguing that it's tactical and not strategic is silly for two reasons. One, even though DotA is tactical and not strategy by the narrow nitpicking definition, most people aren't using the right military definitions of strategy and tactics anyway. Two, "strategy game" outside of historical conflict sim games has almost always
used the word in the all-encompassing sense that can mean strategy, operations, tactics, and even logistics and politics to some extent. Command and Conquer and Starcraft are RTS's even though they are tactical by the strict definition.
Single-character RTS would be the best designator, even though you can technically end up controlling more than one unit, the point is you have one character rather than an entire "side" or "army".
The other option is to use "DotA clone" or "AoS clone" which I'm sure everyone would agree is quite silly.
Not really - almost every game in the genre is basically Wannabee DotA.
DotA 2 is awesome in some ways, mostly because it's free from the constraints of Warcraft. The spell countdowns actually having numbers, the channeling bar, the new hotkeys (i love being able to cast items with the keyboard FINALLY), are all awesome. The build interface needs some work because it requires moving the right hand from the mouse to the keyboard and back unless you can type the item all with one hand. The graphics are just HoN ripoffs and suffer from the same problems - more modern than Warcraft sure, but the functionality isn't any better and in some cases is worse.
Lich is a good starter champion. DotA has a rather steep learning curve, and people tend to yell at new players a lot (because nobody likes getting stuck with one on their team), so you may just have to put up with some amount of venom while you're learning.
I disagree with Lich being a good hero for a beginner. I do agree that pub DotA players usually do insult new players too much, which is funny because most of the people doing it aren't that good themselves and think that K/D/A stats tell the entire story of the game and have no concept of team play whatsoever, and most of them wouldn't be able to give a single bit of useful advice to help the person play better anyway.
The best beginner heros have 3 or 4 of the following if not all 5:
1)Aren't especially easy to kill (because you can't get better if you're sitting out of the game)
2)Have 1 or 2 passive spells (easier to remember how to use the ones you have if you aren't try to manage 4 at a time)
3)Don't need a lot of positioning or aiming to use spells well
4)Don't require tons of farm to get key items to be useful
5)Don't frustrating run out of mana easily
Skeleton King (3 passives, single target spell, gets 2 friggin lives) and Tidehunter (damage block, simple but powerful spells) are pretty good in that sense. Dragon Knight too, if you want to try and carry rather than tank/support. Necrolyte is nice because of his healing and mana regen spell. Most agility characters aren't good for beginners but I'd say Naga is a good start.