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Recently, I got my hands on a copy of Warcraft 3 and its expansion. The main reason I got it was because of my best friend; he plays a custom game on WC3 called Defense of the Ancients (DotA), and was perpetually upset at playing with bad teammates. So, I told him I would buy it, and if I liked it, I would let him teach me.

I’ve played for about a week and a half now, and as it turns out, I do really enjoy them game. It’s a bit convoluted, but I enjoy the team aspect and variety of the game. My friend is good enough to play in clans, which I’ve read is no joke, so I’ve got a good teacher. There’s only one problem: DotA players take their game way too seriously.

Here’s a super quick rundown of DotA: It’s a 5v5 game where people choose from 93(!) different playable characters, each with their own special abilities. Each team has a base, and some weaker units controlled by AI that run up and attack bases along with the playable characters. Your characters level up and get money; level ups allow them to make their special abilities stronger, and money allows players to buy items which give them more maximum life, max mana, faster movement speed, faster attack, et cetera. The game ends when the main building in a team’s base is destroyed.

Anyways, back to my soapbox…People who play DotA in public games are serious rage cases. If you don’t play a character how someone else would play it, they’ll likely yell at you. If you try an item build order that they don’t like, they’ll try and correct you in the most crass way possible. If you’re not doing what they want you to do at any point in a game, you’ll hear about it. And, worst of all, if you’re new to the game, people will hate you for it.

Thankfully, because I have a teacher with a lot of experience to guide me, I don’t have to weather these problems by myself. However, it just makes me wonder: how exactly does one get good by playing in such a hateful, xenophobic environment? You can’t learn anything if you can’t experiment, and you can’t experiment when people are always reaming you for not playing a perfect game, or doing exactly what they want you to do – usually with no regard to how poor they might be playing.

Perhaps I’m just spoiled; I’m part of another competitive gaming community: the 2D fighter. Sure, you’ll always find some bad eggs everywhere, and there are certainly dicks playing fighters. However, people in the fighting game community, while rough on the exterior, are generally helpful and excited to get new people playing their games. The overwhelming majority of us do whatever we can to help, and we show respect, no matter how good or bad our opponent is in relation to us.

Don't understand what's happening here? You're probably new to the game, then. Get ready to feel the love.

Don't understand what's happening here? You're probably new to the game, then. Get ready to feel the love.

DotA, however, is such a disrespectful environment. In most games I play, it’s common courtesy to say “gg”, or “good game(s)” after a match, whether you won or lost. Once, when my team lost, I wrote “gg” and people on the opposing team started hurling every insult in the book at me. My teacher even said I shouldn’t do that! What the hell?

Many times, while using a character for the first time, my teammates would feverishly call me a newbie (a player who is new to the game), as if that was a bad thing. Then, they would treat me like dirt by calling me names and giving me no support in-game. It’s as if they desperately want no new players to join their ranks, or maybe they just want you to magically be good from the start. Fat chance! Anyone knows that this will never happen, but there’s no telling them.

Once, while playing with my teacher friend, one of my teammates called me a newbie and freaked out on me, saying that I shouldn’t join a game that says “pros” in the game name (when joining games, the word ‘pros’ of course signifies that you should have already invested a good amount of time into the game). My teacher quickly pointed out two things that made him rage quit immediately:

1. The game we joined did not say ‘pros’ in the title, which he confirmed by asking the game creator, and

2. The real killing blow: Public games, by definition, are not pro. If you wanted to play with the big boys, you’d be playing clan games, not public games.

I think I will still keep playing the game, but I wonder if I would have bothered to stay and learn if it weren’t for my friend? I wonder how many people quickly give up the game forever, due to how rude its player base treats newcomers? I had a third friend that I tried to get in on the action, and he hung up his shoes after TWO DAYS due to stunning etiquette of DotA‘s players.

So, let me end this with an open message to DotA players in public games:

Your family isn’t going to be taken away if you lose. You’re not going to be executed if you lose. Your game is not serious business. You play public games and have no regard for team ethic, but yell at everyone else for having the same folly. You might even play on easy mode (finding a public game that says “easy mode pros” is priceless, by the way).

You are not playing serious DotA, and, as someone who is a part of a competitive gaming community, you guys are not helping. If you want your game to survive, you have to be more accomodating to the new player base. But, I guess if you want the game to die off in about two or three more years, keep doing what you’re doing.

  1. Hahahaha. Ah DotA…

    Everything you said is so true. I remember “practicing” in Pro games in order to learn the basics, then getting flamed when my character was level 5 while everyone else was 15.

    Sample game:
    DOTA APEM – Pros Only GO GO GO! – I love it!

  2. @Komplex
    What a classic song!

  3. Just so you guys know, DemiGod is pretty similar to DOTA and it’s made by the same people.
    I absolutely hate how people take the game way too seriously.

  4. It’s a fun game, and I’ve been playing it off and on for years now, but I agree with you. People go banana sandwich on you for trying to learn the basics, the game is constantly evolving, and it’s impossible to stay current unless you play it non stop. What really ticks me off is how people have created banlists for players who ‘didn’t play to expectations’ in game. I mean c’mon. It’s a mod that is meant to be enjoyed.

  5. I’m pretty sure that the banlists are meant more for people who quit in the middle of games, but yeah. I’m sure I’ve been banned at least once for not playing up to snuff. How lame.

  6. avatar Kabuki Jones

    Any game that offers different tiers and requires any amount of intelligence/skill (games like COD4, Gunbound, etc.) will always have people who consider themselves pr0 or leet. Trash talking and over-fed egos rule these kinds of games. I personally think it’s an issue of either dealing with the trash talking and getting better, or finding a friendlier game.. perhaps pokemon or Petz?

  7. avatar Lollers

    True, every environment has their trash talker. Trash talking to opponents is the thrill of any competition IMO. However, DoTA takes it to another level. I haven’t seen any other situation whether in multiplayer games or real life where players would actually talk to another human being that way. DoTA is unique in that. I think a lot of people have anger problems coming out of that game. It’s a viscous cycle passed on from one angry gamer to another.

  8. avatar DoTAHater

    The game’s community truly sucks, and it takes up 50% of Battle.net, while more deserving maps such as Knights and Kings remix deserve more…50% of the Bnet community hate it, by the way…etc.

  9. avatar D0t@

    Well, the main reason people get so pissed off when playing with
    newbies on the team is that noobs essentially destroy all the hardwork and effort put in by other team members who are playing to win the game. Let’s face it noob or not, everyone wants to win the game. Now the more effort you put in a game, the more it will make you want to win that game. It’s only natural to get pissed off at someone who is trying to learn a new character or new items combination etc.

  10. The problem with getting mad at anyone who ruins a game for you, is that you’re not allowing them to learn. Sure, you have a point – who wants to lose? But on the other hand, in any competitive game, you can’t ALWAYS play to win. Especially when you’re just starting out, you have to play to learn – experimenting, not worrying about the outcome. Sure, there are “noob” games for that, but you can’t always find them. Players who are past this phase need to be more conscientious of this.

  11. avatar Orc Philosopher

    One of the problems with hating on noobs on Bnet is that the games are public, you gotta know that not everyone who plays DotA has played before, or is any good at it. Reading strats and playing your own custom games can only take new players so far, in the end they’ll be forced to play public games if they want to improve. Not everyone has a huge friend base so can run against each other either, public games are the only option. A really good option for “Pro’s” would be to create private games after inviting players with promise from public games. Thats why they have private options as well as public. Then you can trash talk all you want, and whiners either take it or leave. Thats the way it was done in the “Old days”. It all comes down to respect, it seems a lot of players don’t have respect for others, respect should be given regardless of skill, more respect is earned the better you do. Most times it’s a gradual process. Players earn respect as they respect others, your performance should speak for itself, not your mouth. You can help team mates if you really want to win, ask if they need help, tell them where to go, it ups the chances of your survival when you “mentor” players during games. That shows you have real skill when you can teach someone what to do in game, and win. Chances are if your running your mouth about how bad someone is, or how good you are, you’ve just been playing a while, and if you played someone with real skill you’d get trashed, whine about how someone else on your team screwed up, and then yell @ your MOM because she didn’t make you dinner. I’ve been playing on Bnet since it started and the community just keeps getting worse and worse, lets hope this isn’t a reflection of the world today.

  12. avatar -PaiN-

    Pretty sure APEM Pros only = pro
    U can learn basics from APEM Noobs only Pros banned<
    U cant learn by feeding i know how about AI maps?

  13. You can’t even really get a decent game with “Noobs only” games, because experienced players join them all the time to do pubstomps. I have never joined a ‘noobs only’ game without someone who is obviously better than the rest of the crowd, so that’s still wrong.

    As for the AI maps:

    1. AI maps are relatively unknown by new players

    2. If the same jerks who never stop talking trash could shut up for five seconds and tell them something helpful like “yo dog, there’s AI maps you can practice on”, they’d have to yell a lot less. I think they just like yelling.

    and,

    3. AI maps are good for almost nothing. You can check some stuff out, but ultimately, DotA is about outsmarting and outplaying your opponent. You don’t learn to do that by playing computers. Furthermore, you do learn by feeding; you learn, “That obviously doesn’t work.”

    I love DotA, and I’m glad I stuck it out to get good at it. But dude, it’s such a nerd rage-filled game. People who take themselves so seriously are just so pitiful in my eyes.

  14. avatar Aciaedius

    Everything he said is completely true.
    I was in his shoes in fact. I learned from playing under a guy already on decent skill. The community hated and flamed me of course. I made it through and here I am today on the higher tier of skill level among public players. And for jackasses among the comment readers, that means I’m on competetive skill level. I don’t bother playing competetive though, since I also play other games and I don’t want a single one to waste all of my free time.

    Do I pass the torch? No. Today, after playing the game for over two and a half year, I don’t complain over new players. If someone asks what to get or skill, I tell them my recommendations. If they get items per initiative that I have reasons for disliking, I tell them why in a nice tone (eg. “Team: Hey, you might want to get bash instead of maim. Maim is an orb and your hero already has an orb, so they don’t stack.” rather than “All: LOL MAGINAS GETTING S&Y #&*$& NOOB”).

    Of course, there’ll always be the occasional or even common asshole who responds with hostility. Someone who doesn’t say “ok thanks” to a hint like the above, but rather say “OMG NOOB STFU, I PLAY HOW I WANT” and proceed to feed on purpose to deliberately ruin your game. Those may or may not be lost cases. There’s still a HUGE new player base that consists of people who aren’t like that. Way larger than the experienced player base who are open-armed and want to learn them rather than flaming, in fact.

    So do your part and try to change. We can always hope.

  15. avatar stargaze

    I just got a copy of the game from a friend, and after reading this, i think i will not enoy thie game… :( btw, i am a friendly and helpful player in all the online games that i played before.

  16. avatar Sarevok

    Dota is a game of concentration. Players should concentrate on PLAYING, not flaming. How could they not understand that flaming does NOT help?
    What I learned in my newbie time:
    - ignoring flames (they are just a string of characters on the screen, and on pubs you got no face, so there’s no “social reputation loss”) (difficult as that may be, I’m still no master in ignoring flames)
    - ignoring trash-talking (in pubs it’s rare, because people usually get annoyed, and rage-quit);
    - communicate the strictly necessary, coldly (like “mira missed arrow, bbb”, ulti cd 1/2 (cooldown at half));
    - if you lose, it’s a good game anyway; what charm is there to a game you constantly win?
    - dying IS part of the game, UNDERSTAND that! (I once played Slardar and fed the enemy team, feeling helpless, and became underlevel: still, i could go into the fray to land a stun, which was useful to the team) – so… if you find you are dying often, CHANGE the strategy
    - if a player proves to be a useless rambo, do not allow it to come with you to battle, tell him to def the base instead (it works, if you can push without him with confidence);

    So, simply put: you die, change strategy! Often, a pushing team can win the game without many frags.
    You lose a game, no problem, you’ll win next time. And there is always a next time.

  17. avatar NoFuneral

    I think the type of people that play fighters/Dota are normally fundamentally different.

    I doubt you’d find most players of dota down at the arcade playing Street Fighter or Tekken. Not that I’m backing the stereotype that people that enjoy games with elves are sociopaths, but in my experience if you mention Guile to a fantasy games player they go “ewww, Jean Claude Van Dam is sooo old.”

    The same hate-riddled nonsense happens to new players of World of Warcraft. I’m not sure if Dota has a tutorial like Heroes of Newerth, but I know that WoW essentially does not. I’m curious to see how Blizzard changes the starting parts of WoW to accommodate newer players in their Cataclysm expansion.

  18. avatar Miso

    Well, the sie islf looks prety legit and is probably ttuhrwortsy too I’ve playing few games and well they are pretty adictive too lol and doing the promotions steps, there;s seems to be a feeling of progress, but still I think to win money you need to pay a fee for the game you wan to play and compete, then play and beat the oponents an so, not sure, I havent been much on the site, since I am new, but will be playing few hours on weekends and holidays to kill time and well if there any cash on

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