Worried of doing something wrong in pubs? We have listed the 10 unwritten rules of Dota 2 that can save you from blame and shame.
Dota 2 is a decade-old game and it has been through various changes, overhauls, and modifications. With years and years of people playing the game - Dota 2 gradually developed a set of unwritten rules.
Of course, these rules aren’t actually real and there are no real consequences to breaking them - but they are very much vital for everyone’s sanity. Also, not all of them strictly apply at all times but it is the general consensus. So if you’re new in the game and you don’t want to instantly get reported, religiously follow these ten commandments of Dota 2.
1. Pick according to order
The first Dota 2 rule in our list comes in the drafting phase. The drafting phase is when players pick their heroes and players might want to play the same role or the same hero. In this case, use the roll feature (/roll) in chat and see who gets the highest and the other person will have to adjust.
During drafting, the usual pattern for role picks is supports first, followed by the offlane, carry and the final pick goes to the midlane. This is heavily important because counter-picks exist and it's best for your cores not to get countered. Why must the midlane go last? It's because midlane is a 1v1 lane. They don't have a lane partner and getting countered is a massive disadvantage.
So pick according to order, don't exceed the timer, don't waste your teammates' gold, and adjust whenever needed.
2. Don't experiment in Ranked Matches
In Ranked Matches, most people are tryhards and it's because MMR is at stake. If you feel like making a bizarre pick, it's better for you to try out the other game modes such as Unranked or Turbo.
There have been many instances of pro players trying out something new or something unorthodox and inevitably, it trickles down to every rank in pubs. And if you’re experimenting heroes or itemizations that you aren't sure of in a Ranked Match, you're highly likely about to be flamed. Even though experimenting might just end well, it is extremely risky.
You can always practice something in an Unranked Match or a Turbo Match before officially bringing something to a Ranked match. Remember, you're not only risking your MMR so pick properly!
3. Stack and pull to maintain creep equilibrium
This right here is a Dota 2 basic but many people still fail to master it. The concept is simple on paper, however, the method of doing it is very subjective and it depends on a lot of factors. But we'll break down the basics of it to help you understand.
So what is Creep Equilibrium?
It is creep balance, in which you have to last hit and deny properly to make sure the creep wave remains in the same area. If you maintain creep equilibrium, you're able to static farm at one place that is safe and efficient.
How do you maintain creep equilibrium?
Aim for the last hit and deny. Don’t randomly push your creep wave. If you’re playing the core role, don’t randomly hit your creeps, it will cause the creep wave to push into a more dangerous part of the lane which in turn makes it dangerous to farm. Calculate when you have to hit or deny and keep that balance so that the next creep wave ends at the same area.
Creep blocking is also a great way to control your creeps' movement. You can do so by body blocking the creeps or if you're playing a hero like Earthshaker, you can use Fissure to block creeps easily.
One of the most common ways to maintain creep equilibrium is to stack and pull. Using the nearest jungle camp, you can deny your own creep wave so that the next wave is pulled back. But before pulling the jungle creeps, make sure to stack it first so that you can deny the whole wave. If you don't stack, it will cause your creep wave to double and the lane will push further. Creep pulling is usually done by the supports while the cores stay in the lane.
4. Treat the midlane like a king.. or a baby
The midlane is like the backbone of a team - if it fails, the entire body crumbles. And that is why it is essential to make sure your midlane is doing well. If they are struggling, you have to go out of your way to make them as comfortable as possible. It is like being a babysitter.
Because of how important yet vulnerable the midlane is during the early stages, it is common for ganks to happen. So either help gank the enemy midlane or you help counter-attack when your midlane is ganked or dived under the tower.
The midlane is also the nearest to power runes and it is important to secure or deny them from the enemy so they don't get an early advantage. Because of the runes, midlaners usually buy a Bottle. If supports just respawned or returned to base, make sure to teleport mid and refill your midlane's Bottle if they need it.
Remember these three points about helping the midlane:
- When the midlane is ganked or dived, teleport and help counter-attack.
- Rotate to the midlane to gank the enemy and help secure Power Runes
- If you just respawned or returned to base, teleport to the midlane and help refill mid's Bottle
5. Don't take someone's farm
This rule is as simple as it sounds. Don't steal someone's farm. If your allies are minding their own business in the jungle, hitting creeps in a camp - don’t steal the last hit, don’t steal the gold. This rule also applies to camp stacks. If someone stacked a camp, you don’t take the stack. Most of the time, support heroes will stack for the cores, and in that case, the cores can take it. Make sure to communicate so there are no misunderstandings.
The whole issue of 'who gets to farm what' actually depends on the distribution of resources and which hero needs the gold more. But the rule of thumb is to let your cores farm and clear waves. Meanwhile, the supports can opt for the unoccupied camps and creep waves.
6. Not only supports have to carry Smoke and Dusts
This Dota 2 rule might cause an uproar in the community but we have to say it loud.
Dear core players, sometimes you don't HAVE to carry that extra Iron Branch over a valuable Dust of Appearance in your inventory. If there are invisible enemy units such as Riki or Bounty Hunter, make sure you have one in your inventory at all times - at least during the early to mid game.
There’s this perception that only supports must carry utility items such as Smoke of Deceit, Dust of Appearance, and Wards. That is a distorted fact. Generally, supports invest and carry these items because they don’t have to prioritize farming as much as the cores. They also usually have a couple of extra spaces in their inventory. But that doesn't mean only they have to carry these items.
If you're playing a hero that is fast or that initiates, for example a Spirit Breaker or Axe, it’s more efficient for you to hold your own Dusts or even Sentry Wards. This is because you come into the fight first and the support heroes, with a puny Boots of Speed in their inventories wouldn't be able to pop the Dust in time. Also, the Observer Wards are free! If the supports are not warding well, the cores can simply plant their own and save their time from endless pinging.
If cores don't feel like investing in these items, they can always ask for the supports to buy a couple and drop it to them.
7. Don't buy the Tome of Knowledge when you don't need it
Most core players don’t understand the pain of being Level 4 at 10 minutes into the game. Supports do - and it’s important to give the Tome of Knowledge to those who need that XP boost. Supports usually are the ones that go away from the lane and rotate the most, so they will have an XP deficit. It’s also crucial for supports to get their ultimates as fast as possible, so they can make space around the map. A level 4 support can really be useless when the timer reaches above 10 minutes and they'll miss a huge power spike.
In the case of a carry or midlane hero experiencing a tough laning phase and they’re extremely underleveled, then they might need the Tome more. The deciding question should be - who needs this XP boost right NOW? It might be an ally who’s very close to Level 10 or Level 15, it can be given to allies that are underleveled, or to an ally that has a stronger ultimate.
8. Don't take the Aegis if it's not yours
Not many players understand the importance of Roshan and its Aegis of the Immortal. Killing this gigantic creep gives your team a chunk of gold, XP, and item rewards - a massive advantage that can help you snowball. The main reward is the Aegis and the person who holds the Aegis has the ability to reincarnate on the spot. When taking Roshan, your team has to decide who gets the Aegis and it depends on who needs that 2nd life.
So who should get the Aegis? Usually, the one who dives in and deals a lot of damage will have the Aegis priority. It's because they're the main damage dealer that is very important but they are also prone to dying first. And that is the role of carry heroes or maybe even the midlaners. There is no point for someone who sits at the back and barely does any damage to have a 2nd life.
Same goes for the rest of the item rewards including the Cheese, Aghanim's Shard, Refresher Shard and Aghanim's Scepter. Don't take what you don't need, determine with your team which item should go to who.
9. Mute for a better experience
This might be contradictory to the whole mindset of Dota 2 being a team game but pubs are not perfect. You'll have great teammates but you'll also get extremely obnoxious and offensive ones. In fact, you will likely have one of these players in every game you play.
Communication is vital but talking with toxic players is nothing more than wasting your time. There is no quick solution to dealing with toxic players than the mute button and immediately your game turns into a better experience. Do not forget to leave them a report and pray that they'll get the ban hammer.
10. Don't steal a Rampage
This is a bonus Dota 2 rule but it is probably the most important one if you don't want to get flamed. You see someone on an Ultra Kill streak? You do whatever it takes to help that person get their Rampage. It's like sportsmanship - it's not required but it's somewhat ethical. A Rampage is another level of glory for a player and you don't want to steal that moment from them.