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markcocjin's blog

7:22 PM on 02.06.2012

Training: Dota 2 for the Intimidated

Most games today are a mostly made up of publicity. They're usually a repackaged game with established game dynamics only with a slightly different skin and a really really fascinating trailer. When you buy these games, developing skill to operate and have fun with it is not your biggest concern. You're going to be coming in to the same community you had with your last game. For many people, at least those who are not used to Dota, getting into Dota 2 is a whole different ballgame.

I'll try not to call it MOBA since that can describe just about any other game from Counter-Strike to Age of Empires. I'd prefer to call it Action RTS. Diablo was an Action RPG compared to a regular RPG while Dota is an Action RTS derived from a regular RTS like Warcraft III which also borrows from RPG. This makes sense to a lot of people out there who plays these other games. The thing about Dota and/or Dota 2 is that what you know about RPGs and RTSes can't really help you when it comes to the game itself. Dota 2 is an amalgamation of different established genres and yet the result is something quite different and for a lot of people, quite intimidating.

What you've heard about it.

You've heard about how awful its community is. That is mostly true. In some games like first person shooters, you'd have someone calling you racist or sexist names or you'd hear about things other people do/will do to your mother or sister. That's pretty offensive on its own but it is without context. It's like noise or the nasty writings on a public toilet wall. They don't matter.

When you play Dota 2, you are part of a team and your actions are not only noticed but it affects the entire team's performance. When you get insulted by someone, it is because of what you are as a player. And the timing of the insult is also perfect. It's just after you commit your mistake. You cannot disappear into anonymity. You're stuck there for around 30 to 45 minutes of constantly being the worst in the team. Leaving especially in Dota 2 puts abandonment on your record. That means you'll likely be automatched with leavers in the future. That's like avoiding a gang down the street and finding yourself in their HQ all of a sudden.

You've also heard that playing Dota 2 is hard. Not only hard in a way that you're dying all the time. It's also hard because it's meticulous. You're right about that. It is hard for the unprepared which is why we'll try to prepare you. Not to play good mind you. That would take a lot of work. We're going to prepare you to learn Dota 2 and to come in to a mindset that allows you to learn the game more easily as compared to coming in already dreading or hating everything bad about it.

I'm in the best position to talk about that because I am a noob that just started this November.

How to deal with them.

There is not much about the community we can help you with unless Valve implements some measures into the game that lessens the aggravation. They've already done the automatching to make sure that people are mostly grouped within their skill level. They've also given priority to those who do not get into the habit of leaving their games. That's a start.

As far as insults goes, you need to know what kind of behavior Dota 2 produces. There's a lot of sore losers in the game. When you choose a role like support, these people will expect things from you. When they make mistakes, they will blame you. If you rush into an impossible blob of enemies to save them and then die, they will still blame you for feeding and not being good enough. It's a lose lose situation.

I see these people as alter egos of their decent selves. They don't really act like that in real life or they'd get stabbed. Or they are really children. Or neckbeards in diapers. They really don't matter. What matters is the match and winning it. Trash talking helps in competitive reality shows but in Dota 2, they're just noise with context. I once told someone who has been harassing me in game that he deserves me because we're on automatch. I told him that he's not good enough to be matched with a better team or be on a clan so he just has to deal with it. I don't know how they feel about this but I know what I said is true. The truth usually hurts.

How to deal with it.

I won't refer to League of Legends because that game was tweaked to cater to players to give them a more pleasant experience of the genre. I also won't refer to Heroes of Newerth because it is almost exactly like Dota but only with a different company. We'll be talking about Dota 2.

Dota 2 is a lot like boxing. You punch each other in the face and body till one of you collapses or gives up. There is nothing pleasurable (debatable) about getting injured. You know what's pleasurable? Winning. You don't have to win the war, just the battle. It feels good. It feels much better than destroying a punching bag that's for sure.

Getting killed is a really bad thing in Dota 2 just like it is in Counter-Strike. You lose money. You make it harder to win for your entire team. Do not get killed. Seriously. If they get mad at you, know that it is probably because of something valid. Do not worry though, they can't actually do that to your mother. Unless of course it was your brother who said it.

Okay so how does one play it?

This is not a tutorial about Dota 2. There is a massive amount of information to be found online from YoutTube to web pages. I like going to Dota Cinema or to Purge Gamers. Google it.

What I can tell you is how you should approach learning Dota 2. Remember playing PopCap games? Or maybe Facebook games? Everybody can learn match 3 games like Bejeweled. These are casual games. Games that are easy to get into.

Dota 2 is a top down game which makes it vastly easier to train others for. There are no quirky mouse movements you need to learn like in FPS games. It's just a series of button presses and mouse clicks. A lot of the elements of Dota 2 can be broken down to casual game rules. Pro players might get mad at me saying this but I really do see them as a lot of casual game mechanics bunched together.

You just read the situation and pull out a mini game out of your gaming skill selection and execute it. I pretend courier management is like Diner Dash. Executing a gank with a spell combo is a lot like a rhythm game. Laning is like playing Space Invaders. Running through the forest is like old school Metal Gear stealth games.

The most difficult thing is to take all these mini games and making it work. This is why you have to see them as different skills that when learned well individually, will at least earn you anonymity in a match. Not being called out is actually an achievement for me. Getting the lowest ranked player in my team makes me feel that I'm in good hands.

Just get a support class for now and try not to die. When your'e dying, try to stick with the group and be at the back so you're at the forefront when they start to retreat. You'll know why Dota 2 is so much fun when you do get your heroic kill. Just remember to be nice to noobs when you're all grown up okay?[img]   read

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