If I could change Dota, I wouldn’t

Action RTS games are plagued by numerous things that ruin the experience for a lot of players.  Flaming, trolling, noobs, and feeders are all things a game creator could attempt to curb, but ultimately prove impossible to prevent.  Of all the things one could change, I would not change anything that affects the game play.

The game play needs a certain level of banter.  It just doesn’t feel right when you get out-played and the opponent doesn’t let you know where you messed up.  Conversely, letting other people know that you think you are better than them is a humbling experience when you get smacked around by them in the late game.  Pummeling a player after they have talked trash on you is the best part of any gaming experience.

Trolling and excessive flaming is unfortunate, but that’s online gaming (online anything).  I don’t think a system should be implemented to punish users from verbally harassing others, but something could be done to prevent those users from playing with each other in the future.  The game should allow a player to control who they do not want to play with in future games.  This won’t stop that player from trolling, but eventually their matchmaking will be slower than others because they will have burned their bridges with other players.

I ran my own database of banned players with an add-on to WC3.  If anyone joined my game that was banned it would let me know everything about the ban so I could make my own decision about playing with them again.  This prevented trolling and leavers to increase my gaming experience substantially.

Matchmade games are great when they work.  If Dota 2 has a ranked matchmaking system it should take the time to match up a good game or allow players to leave if the teams are unbalanced.  I love the idea of being able to reconnect to a game if something happens to your network and/or PC, but forcing players to play an unbalanced game is not fun for anyone.  I would rather wait a few extra minutes to get a better matched game.  This would prevent leavers by default and enforcing a reconnect seems more reasonable.  An option to get a quick match game (leavable) and a quality match game (Elo ranked and not leavable) would suffice.

I would not want noobs and pros to be entirely separated.  Noobs will learn or become bad players.  The best part of Dota is that you can carry your team to victory with almost any hero as long as you know what you are doing.  Dota doesn’t require good team composition (players playing roles they probably don’t want or know how to play) as long as the team knows what to do or can follow directions.  Helping noobs by coaching them, leading them in battles, and educating them in what you have experienced is what they need to learn the game and have a good time.

Keep the replay system!  We need replays to analyse what other players are doing.  It’s important for players to take time out of playing to build their knowledge of the game.  Noobs understand the nuances easier when they can watch other players like observers (I know there is an option of having in-game observers, but there are obstacles like cheating and increased latency that need to be addressed).

Before all the other gaming platforms you had to purchase WC3 to play Dota, but if you had WC3 you could play Dota for free.  I will gladly pay to play Dota 2 whether it be upfront, monthly, or a combination of both.  Players that pay to play will be more serious than the ones that are not force to pay anything.  This is not the best business model to make money, but it does help weed out the players that make numerous accounts to disrupt the experience of other players.  Microtransaction games suck for the players because they end up spending more money for less stuff.

If it were up to me I would:

  • Only enforce a no-leaving policy on quality matched games
  • Give players more control with who they don’t want to play with the future
  • Force players to incur costs to play, not just for extra stuff
  • Disallow players to have multiple accounts
These 4 things, in my opinion, would improve the experience for most players without ruining the over-all experience of Dota.
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