Dota 2: Thoughts 400 Hours In

It definitely needs to be said first that I, Cole Olson, have only played this game for 400 hours. That is it – 400 hours with probably around 50 alone dicking around with bots but do you know why I spent 100 hours dicking around with bots? Because I’ve heard such atrocious things about the Dota 2 community that I knew I KNEW that since I didn’t play the original Dota, I would not do well and would thus face the famous lashing and verbal abuse of Dota players that would stress me out, causing me to actually uninstall Dota, and quit video games for good. It took baby steps and the generous encouragement of my friends who have been playing since the OG Dota (original gangster) days to actually start playing Dota with real people against bots and then eventually, real people. So all in all, my experience has just skimmed the surface and I’m maybe 10 feet deep in what is really the Black Sea of video games (Black Sea because Russians). Nonetheless, my opinion is my opinion and others may share the same feelings as I do.


Dota 2 is a multiplayer online battle arena game (MOBA) in which two teams of five face off against each other and try to destroy the enemy’s base which occupy opposing ends of the map. Each player controls a hero and focuses on leveling up, gathering gold, buying items, and destroying the other players as you help push the creep waves into the enemy’s base. A creep wave is a group of non-player controlled units that consistently spawn at each base and travel down the map to fight the enemy’s creep waves. The game gets complicated as each hero serves a different purpose and grows with items that each serve their own purpose making this game incredibly deep in gameplay. With over 100 heroes to choose from and with more coming out each month along with dozens of items to customize your hero, the game is always adapting while staying consistently exciting and fresh. Dota 2 even has a very large competitive scene with last year’s premiere tournament, The International, having the single largest winning prize pool in the history of gaming. The best part is – the game is entirely free so long as you have a Steam account (and if you play computer games without a steam account, I can only imagine you’re playing Peggle Nights which you bought at your local Office Max).

While many people consider Dota 2 to be a MOBA, Valve, the creators of Dota 2, consider the game an action real-time strategy game (ARTS) and have made it very clear through the mechanics that strategy is very important in winning. To elaborate, there are several roles in Dota that each 5-man team should fulfill: Carry, Support, Initiator, Pusher, Nuker, Jungler, Semi-Carry, Disabler, Lane Support, Durable, and Ganker. Not every game demands all of the roles to be fulfilled and most characters fit more than one role but the roles most critical to success are the Carry and Support. Carry is the heavy dog who deals the most damage and carries the team to victory and the support has to obviously play a supporting role by setting up kills for the carry, healing the team, and warding the map. I’m not going to elaborate the other roles but they serve to make the carry’s job easier. When everyone fulfills their role and does their job, victory is pretty much assured and hook, line, and sinker, you’re loving Dota. If you’ve played WoW, you know that you never truly quit WoW but just take extended breaks. This applies to Dota as well and you’ll keep coming back when they introduce new heroes and game modes.


So now you’re thinking, “Wow what a great deal! I should immediately invest my precious free time into Dota 2 instead of watching one of the worst shows on TV, Law and Order: Special Victims Unit,” but I’m telling you to There is a catch. THERE IS ALWAYS A CATCH. Dota 2 in my lengthy online gaming career of 11 years has the worst community I have ever had the displeasure of being a part of. I have played many games online (WoW, Halo, CoD, Runescape, etc,..) where honor and kindness is rare and far in between but Dota 2 is devoid, DEVOID of any semblance of good qualities of people. Fuck, even the kids who took advantage of my naivety in Runescape and did so like those Nazis in American History X had some shred of dignity and code but there is nothing here.


You want to know true frustration? Try dealing with an entire team of non-English speaking Russians who decide to join the US-West or East server despite the incredible lag it creates and then proceed to communicate to each other in Russian the and then blame you for your loss as they report you for feeding or communication abuse. Then the game forces you to join the Low-Priority pool where it takes upwards of 10 minutes to join a game where you join other scum who have been reported as well but for the most part are the scum that abandon games early leaving their teammates to suffer a 4v5 game or are the fucks that actually deserve to be reported for feeding or for communication abuse. Never before in my life have I learned to loathe entire populations of people like the Peruvians and Russians who plague US servers who speak exclusively in their native language despite being on an English server. Oh golly fuck I forgot that Russians do know some English like “NOOB”, “____ IS FEEDING”,  and “REPORT ___” which they use as a weapon to spam team chat. I can only imagine that this is the equivalent of getting physically T-bagged as you choke on your own words and begging for it all to be over.

If that isn’t enough for you, get ready for the worst human conditions emerging as the reason why your team is losing is everyone else’s fault but your own. Your team members who ignore all attempts at communication and teamwork begin to constantly die and begin feeding the enemy team making them stronger and richer and thus, making the game infinitely more difficult to win. Oh but of course is isn’t their fault that they are dying, IT IS YOURS and will always be your fault because Dota 2 players constantly externalize the blame upon their teammates. This is a generalization mind you but I am very surprised when I hear a Dota 2 player admit it was their fault for a loss. Oh and another thing, if you don’t get good at support role characters, then you might as well uninstall Dota 2 because you will have to play a support player every game because everyone else on your team will pick a carry and demand that you play a support role. If you don’t, your team will consist entirely of carries and will only win if you are graced by Gabe Newell’s dingleberries.


Now you’re probably thinking, “Jesus dude. I don’t understand half of the shit you just said but it sounds like the opposite of a good time – in fact, a very bad, bad time full of Hitler revivalists,” and this is true but while this game has caused me more stress than any other video game in recent memory, it has also caused some of the greatest joy. I keep coming back like a dog to his own ass. Playing with your friends and winning a close game will have you jumping with joy giving you a buzz that will keep you smiling for hours (so long you don’t play another and get fistfucked into oblivion). Just winning two or three games in a row will keep you coming back for more while simultaneously hating yourself for making four hours of your day disappear as your testicles accumulate enough sweat to make you consider going to a doctor. Just the other night, I and four other friends played a few games together causing us to fight during the awful games and joke around and have a gay ole’ time when we were winning. The only other times I can recall having this much fun with a video game are during successful WoW raids, Halo 3 LAN parties, and Left 4 Dead during an all night gaming marathon. So take from this what you may from this rant/praise/cacophony of curses, but at the end of the day, this is still my opinion and opinions vary from person to person (I shouldn’t even have to point that out) so while my experience is good and bad, yours might be glorious bliss or rampantly racist and ulcer-inducing.

P.S. I hate people who pick Pudge, Riki, Sniper, Clinkz, Bloodseeker, and most of all, Phantom Lancer. Go fuck yourselves.

Credit to Mslumbz for dog-ass sentence and CrazyFox for suggestions.


Written by Cole Olson