It’s a new year and we can work on improving the community
Welcome to 2023! It’s a new year and time for a fresh start for many. While we all focus on our lives, our jobs and our relationships, this year, let's also pay some attention to our behavior in the game we all love — Dota 2. Here are five things the Dota 2 community should strive to work on in 2023.
Stop being sexist
Really! Stop with it. Esports in general does not have the best track record when it comes to being inclusive, but Dota 2 almost always seems to get a special mention and it’s not a good one. The community is, quite often, not a friendly place for women, one that consistently turns away women from trying to enter the scene.
It’s not something to brag about. It’s the one metric where you don’t want to be the community standing out for the wrong reasons.
Every few months, there’s a post on the Dota 2 subreddit about women’s experiences- about how they feel unwelcome and for some — even pushed out.
Some players will try to justify it by saying - that’s how it’s always been. Well, it’s time for a change and as we head into 2023, this change is long overdue.
It’s a simple gesture of standing up to a sexist comment voice-chat in-game. A simple "that’s not OK" goes a long way in making Dota 2 an inclusive game for all concerned although we should strive to be more conclusive in our stance.
A small step often has massive repercussions. The Montgomery bus boycott or the Dandi Salt March started off with simple incidents. But these small steps gave thousands of people the courage to stand up and speak against wrongdoings. So don’t wait for someone else to "start the change," be the person to lead by example.
Open yourselves to new players and teach new players
Dota 2 is a very complex game, if not the most difficult one out there. The game’s steep learning curve and difficulty, however, is also a major reason for its massive fan-following. But that also means there’s a problem with getting new players to join the game.
But what do the few new players joining the game experience? They experience extreme resistance from existing players with their holier-than-thou attitude. Just because you have more knowledge than the new players does not mean automatically you are infinitely better than them.
It’s just a video game. The sole purpose of a video game is to entertain you. Everyone who starts Dota 2 does so with the intention of spending a few hours of entertainment and enjoyment. Let’s not ruin their experience by being toxic and unwelcoming.
It’s OK not to be the best. When I started playing Dota 2, I used to spam Rikimaru (because he’s invisible) and just roam around the map. To be fair, I wasn’t that good. I didn’t know how to destroy items then (you could destroy gems as well by attacking it with "A"), so I used to hide the gem in the jungle, somewhere. I never dropped it in our fountain, because (here’s my 200IQ) one of my teammates would pick it, would die, and then the enemy would have the gem again.
But that’s the fun of it, you enjoy the game as you want to. I’ve had people teach me how to play Dota and slowly, spell by spell, I learned and I found joy in this game. Time to pass it on.
Show developers some gratitude
The Dota 2 community is a very entitled one. Somehow the aura of featuring the highest prize pool in esports, the prestige of being Valve’s No. 1 game for so many years, and a combination of other factors have contributed to a community that feels entitled to the very best. And that’s fine to some extent. But we often do a poor job of showing our gratitude to the developers working on this fantastic game.
Despite being a game that’s more than ten years old, the game and the Dota 2 client continue to be light years ahead of the competition. Some of the other tier one titles don’t even have a proper replay system. In Dota 2, you can see the player’s mouse movement, you can freely watch the map, can see detailed statistics within the game and much more. The game client also has a tournament system, a weekly battle cup feature and several other features involving cosmetic items. It’s enough to say, a lot of the other tier one games out there don’t have these features.
As we head into 2023, I think it's important to realize that there is a person sitting behind the computer, whether he is a player or a Dota 2 dev. Devs want community feedback and Dota 2 devs have done a good job of tapping the pulse of the community. But let’s not make them regret seeking feedback if they receive absurd comments and hate 99% of the time. Would you act the same way if you saw your game developer in person?
Treat Non-Ranked modes as the casual modes they are
I have a problem. After enjoying Dota 2 for many years, I simply cannot get myself to enjoy single-player non-competitive games. In my head, I’m always comparing every game I play with Dota 2 and very few actually stand the test.
But I’m not as competitive in Dota 2 as I once was. There was a time when I used to grind MMR for several hours a day, quite often removing my frustration of losing a game on my teammates, my friends, and others.
But in the past couple of years, I’ve shifted to playing unranked and Turbo mode more — which does not impact my MMR. And I’ve been treating them as such — casual game modes that truly bring out the joy of Dota.
While winning is obviously the objective, let’s not make it the only thing that brings us joy in a game of Dota 2. Dota is about shared experiences and having fun in-game. You might enjoy dewarding the enemy’s wards and removing their vision, you might play Rubick just for the sake of stealing one blackhole or you can be that annoying Vengeful Spirit with Aghanim’s and never have any downtime in the game The point is, casual modes are perfect for experimentation and for new players. Smile at a teammate’s mistake and laugh at your own.
What’s the worst that can happen? You’re not going to lose MMR in non-competitive modes. So what’s the reason you’re being so competitive in a non-competitive mode?
Expand your Dota 2 hero pool in 2023
And finally, as we enter 2023, widen up your hero pool my fellow Dota 2 players. One of the charms of Dota 2 is its massive hero pool. With more than 100 heroes and an almost equal number of items to choose from, the permutations and combinations of how to play this game are nearly endless. You add in other variables like positioning, opponents, allies’ item choices, their positioning, and talents, and every game is a new experience.
With unranked modes, players have the opportunity to play the game a little differently each time. Try out new heroes, there’s no penalty for failing. Try Meepo (disclaimer: you might feed and never play it again). Try playing Invoker — it’s not as hard as it looks. Experience Dota 2 differently than what you are used to and suddenly you’ll fall in love with the game once again.
These are the five things I wish the Dota 2 community did differently in 2023. Is there anything else you would like to add to this list? Let us know over at @esports on Twitter.