Dotes: The Ranked Experiment

I really enjoy playing Dota. It’s a great game, but at this point I don’t want to get into the reasons why I like it and why I prefer Dota 2 over other MOBAs 1. No, this little scribble is simply about an experiment I did only recently.


First off: I’m bad. Real bad. The emphasis is on “bad”. Worse actually. Seriously, I’m not exagerrating. But (and this is important) I have an excuse!

I got into Mobas very late, never played anything at all and then started with Dota 2 at the end of its Beta in 2013. Also I don’t have a regular group of people so I’m mostly playing in the solo queue which sounds horrible, but is actually quite ok when you choose Single Draft or Random Draft. I played quite a bit last year, then had a long break and now started again prior to The International 2014. All in all, I never really put in any effort to become any better than kind of bearable.

But at some point, Dota2 introduced “ranked” matches. In those games, you actually gain an MMR (match making rating). You also get that for standard matches but in ranked mode this is now visible. You can see it increase and take it as a measure of your progress in learning the game.

Up until now I hadn’t really bothered, but I thought… let’s give it a try. Just see how it goes. For Science! You need to play 10 games to see your starting MMR and I’m playing anyway, so why not? What could possibly go wrong?

The Dota 2 Chat
saying “gg”

Well, in short: Everything. This was my personal MOBA hell.
Everyone knows the stereoptypes about the community of those kind of games. Easily angered, constantly complaining, calling each and everyone a “noob”, usage of very offensive language… in short: They’re not the people that you want to play a game with. Now up until now, this kept within bounds for me. It was still ok, even if most of the time you seem to be the only one actually talking English, which makes communication hard. But apart from that… yeah, it’s fine.

This time though, I was thrown into the stereotype pit. I am not exaggerating when I say: During each and every one of those games, there were at least four players who met those clichés to a T. The phrase “uninstall / delete Dota” was used in every single game (no, not always at me). In Every Single Game! (of course, this wasn’t the worst by far – it was just something that stuck with me) It doesn’t matter if you’re winning or losing – someone is always to blame for something that went wrong: “noob”, “idiot”, “uninstall”, “fuck yourself” etc. Doesn’t sound that big of a deal, does it? And usually it isn’t. You get a bad game once in a while, but then also good ones. But if it’s happening constantly for an average of 45 minutes per game for all ten games in a row and of course from your own team mates… at some point it just gets to you. Not to mention that of course pauses for disconnected team members are immediately resumed. After one of those pauses, a player of the other team even wasn’t above admitting in chat: “I knew, if we resume the pause while one of you is afk, we win”.

Fair play

I played those 10 games straight one after the other. I could only finish the last three with the help of alcohol and at that point I’m pretty sure I was drooling and my brain was slowly flowing out of my ears. No need to mention that I probably played accordingly. Also I started to mute my team mates roughly as soon as the game began. Although I am quite used to flame wars and people being idiots on the internet, at this time, I was convinced that those players are all actually horrible human beings – egotistical shitheads that really could need someone smashing a chair on their head. My MMR after that was 1922. That meaans “REAL BAD!”. But that also showas what we’re talking about here… this is not playing on a pro level where it’s about money or prestige. This is just 10 guys/girls sitting in their underwear in front of a PC.

Of course, I don’t think that most of those are like this in real life. Maybe they’re just the stereotype teenager. But on the other hand… I’m 32 and I desperately hope that those people I played with were not actual grown up adults. If they were, I think humanity is pretty much fucked. In all seriousness though, I just cannot deal with the fact that people above a certain age can be this horrible to one another over a video game. It just doesnt…. fit… into my head. It doesn’t make sense.

The King speaketh

That all being said, the point is that this really makes me sad.
MOBAs can actually be a lot of fun. At their best they really are and I would heartily recommend you give it a try with some friends. But those people are dragging those games down with their aggressive and offensive behaviour and my tolerance level for this kind of attitude is sinking rapidly. Unfortunately, I have not found a really good way to cope with that. Muting is one solution but that also means you can’t communicate with them anyore, which is crucial to a game like this. Sure, I could only play with a group of five, but currently that would mean not to play at all. Which is not what I want and I’m not inclined to give in. Why should I go out of my way and deny myself the enjoyment of a nice game just because of those idiots?

Well, perhaps with all the research and effort Valve and Riot are putting into this problematic aspect of the game, there will be a solution coming up. In the meantime though… I think we have to do something ourselves. Here’s my rules for how I’ll deal with this problem in the foreseeable future:

  • I’ll have Family Guy running on my second screen.
  • I won’t play ranked unless I’m already drunk
  • Embrace the noobness: “Yes, I’m a noob. If you’re paired with me, you’re a noob too”.
  • People that are talking(!) in a language I don’t understand, will be muted.
  • People writing or saying “fuck you” (no matter in whose direction) will be instantly muted
  • If I see people harrassing a new player, I’ll try to step in and help the new player

Any further tips are of course appreciated.

The game’s just too much fun to stop playing it just because a bunch of some idiots and I’m too old to be dragged down by a bunch of douchebags. Not after all the awesome compendium rewards!







  1. yes, I’ll call them MOBAs for lack of a better word
  2. No I did not black out the names of the players in the pictures – they were assholes