I’m a huge fan of DOTA 2 (let’s face it, League of Legends has a much lower skill cap, and the heroes are so much more childish). Regardless, Massively Online Battle Arena (MOBA) games like these are a fun part of many young male adults’ lives (to the chagrin of many girlfriends too). While games are usually the source of fun, the experience can also be frustrating at times, depending on the kind of players that you play with. Here are some of them:
The common denominator in DOTA 2 is a role that every single player has found him or herself in when they started playing. Heck, some players still remain in this territory after YEARS of playing the game as well. Being a Noob was a phase that players had to go through, having to learn the basics of the game, the huge array of heroes available, and the mechanics of the map terrain and itemization.
Trying to identify a Noob during a game can be surprisingly difficult; there are Noob players who are only good with 1 or 2 heroes, and veteran players who are playing unfamiliar heroes and thus looking Noob-ish. There are however signs that point to a true Noob: buying items according to what the game suggests by default (a very bad idea), simply auto-attacking creeps and not last-hitting instead, unlocking abilities at random, running blindly around the map with no clear direction etc.
Belonging to the other end of the skill spectrum, these players have mastered multiple, if not all aspects of the game. Countering specific heroes, last-hitting, warding, hero skill mechanics, ideal itemization for the hero, positioning – these player know it all, and are capable of doing it all.
Finding one isn’t hard; they are usually the ones that get kills after kills, and dominate the game by themselves, rendering your efforts irrelevant for most of the game. It is a curious feeling: on one hand you are happy that you can win the game easily, yet on the other hand you feel like you have achieved and learnt nothing at all, which isn’t helpful as you won’t be playing with that player all the time. Nevertheless, these players deserve recognition for their effort and skill at the game.
So you are a veteran player with a very high Ranked Match-Making Rating (MMR). At some point, maybe you feel like practicing your less-used heroes without risking your rating, or you want to play exclusively with friends who are new to DOTA 2, or you simply want to join lower ranked games and dominate the newer and lower-skilled players. Whatever the reason, you create an alternate DOTA 2 account for your intended purpose; these players are known as “Smurfs”, as they make new accounts to reset their MMR.
Smurfs can be easily identified in-game, as they expectedly steamroll over their opponents with skill that is far higher than what their MMR suggests. Players like this can actually discourage new players and those who are striving to improve, as they are unable to hone their skills in a more even playing field.
Did they suffer from some childhood trauma? Or are they having some major issues in life that stresses them out so much? Whatever the case, I find it incomprehensible that a player would cuss out others during the game, whether if he was winning or losing. It is even worse when the swearing is directed at one’s own teammates over some mistake that they made; it is not as if you betted your entire family fortune on the results of the game. Relax people, it’s just a game, no need to curse and swear over trivial stuff.
Little needs to be said about these players; they ping the entire map constantly over every single detail, comment on every event that happens in the game, or mumble inexplicable stuff through the voice chat. I understand that in DOTA 2, where teamwork is just as crucial as individual quality, communication is a vital component. Also, some banter with other players can make for a more pleasurable experience and take some pressure from trying to win away. But these guys? They seriously take it to a whole new (undesirable) level with “chatter”.
Probably the most common type of player you will find in DOTA 2, these people aren’t that concerned with winning or losing, but enjoying the gaming experience instead. If you ignore the fact that DOTA 2 has tournaments all over the world, is an Electronic Sport (E-Sport), and that it owns the record for the biggest prize pool in the history of gaming (over 10 million USD!!! – refer to The International 4 held by Valve), it is simply a game where people from all around the community converge online to have some fun and friendly competition with each other. Take my brother as an example: he rarely plays in Ranked Matchmaking, because he thinks that DOTA 2 is just a game for him to have fun (“WHY SO SERIOUS?”), and spends his time usually in normal and other game modes (like Ability Draft games). To be honest, I don’t feel that his point is wrong at all; it’s far better than playing competitively, only to end up cursing at your teammates when something goes wrong instead (looking at you Douchebags).