Dealing with frustration in Dota

Frustration and anger are a part of pretty much every public matchmaking game of Dota 2. But what is it that makes this game so frustration-prone and what are the ways to deal with it?

A joint effort

Whenever there is a group of people coming together, there will be friction. Dota requires five individuals, often times complete strangers, to work closely together. In the process, each of these five persons will have a different role to fulfill while making thousands of decisions in the blink of an eye. In this challenging environment, finding some common ground is the basis of success.
Starting at the pick screen, a team has to come up with a gameplan. This includes hero choices, laning setup and role distribution. In pub games, this is often times the first source of conflicts. While both the carry and the mid position are highly sought after, pub players tend to show utmost reluctance towards picking a support. 
A lot of pub players consider themselves underrated while also believing that carry and mid should be played by the highest skilled players in the team, and it is most often them that are the most skilled. With that, the first wave of conflicts arises. Once several players on a team refuse to settle for, as they perceive, less impactful role of support, things typically start to go south. Even if one or two eventually agree to play support, they often spend their time looking for mistakes by their mid and carry in order to discredit them, which leads us to our next point.
Image courtesy of TeddyBeard / dota2hq

Mid or feed?

A game of Dota can easily be lost at the pick screen. In pub games, that does not only come down to hero choices. A lot of times, conflicts develop here, making people tilt to the point where they will throw away the game from the get-go. A little bit of tact can go a long way however. Wanting to play carry or mid is not a crime, yet the way you communicate your wish to your team makes a huge difference.
It is a rare sight to see pub players ask their team in a mannered fashion if they can take a certain role. Instead, you see icons flying to the mid and safe lane once the game has finished loading, often times accompanied by eloquent caps lock phrases such as “ME MID”. This creates an environment of conflict rather than cooperation within your team. Avoiding this by communicating with your team in a friendly way in the pick screen and also being willing to make adjustments for the better of your team will help to avoid frustration for yourself and your teammates. With that, your chances of winning are drastically improved. However, it does not stop there.  

Communication is key

Not only during the drafting phase, communication is what affects a player’s mood the most in Dota. By following a few simple rules, you can create an environment that will help your team win. The first and probably the most important principle is to use universal languages exclusively. Language barriers will frustrate your teammates and will also evoke negative stereotypes that will affect the way you are treated by your team.
On most servers, english will be your best bet. Don’t worry if you are not 100% fluent in the language, even simple words such as “back”, “fight” or “push” will do the trick in most cases, you don’t have to write an essay. If you are queued up with someone else, make sure to use one of the countless VoIP programs out there if you want to communicate in another language. Jamming the (voice) chat with a language that isn’t understandable for most of your team will not only cripple your ability to coordinate, but also frustrate your teammates.
Image courtesy of reddit/u/WholeClanOfJohnnies
Furthermore, binding the chat wheel with useful phrases can also help you in case you want to communicate a bit more than 3 words. However, some chat wheel phrases can also cause backlash. A lot of the common options for it are so overused or sarcasm-overloaded that they hardly mean what they say anymore. The “Well played!” option, for example, is used for flaming people so often that people take offense at it. Therefore, be very careful when to use it.  

A game of mistakes

Probably the main reason for the amount of frustration present in the Dota community is simply the nature of the game. Besides the need for five people contributing at a high level in order to win, Dota also features a humongous amount of mistakes made by every player. Even amongst professionals, there are tons of mistakes in every single game. With countless factors interacting constantly, it is impossible to do a perfect job at everything you do. Therefore, winning often comes down to who makes less mistakes, and makes a better use of enemy’s. Especially with mechanics such as comeback gold, consistency is worth more than a single stand-out play. 
Even though most of these mistakes go unnoticed, even the small amounts that do catch the attention of other players often cause conflicts between teammates. In order to avoid this distraction, keep in mind to not focus at the absolute amount of mistakes you observed. Once you consider the amount of decisions being made in contrast to the number of mistakes, you will find that your teammates have done an awful lot of things right besides the slipups and inefficiencies you observed. Additionally, focusing on other people's mistakes will make it much harder for yourself to perform and improve.

Not so well-rounded after all

The problem of paying too close attention to other people’s mistakes is amplified even more in lower MMR brackets. Since Dota is such a diverse game with countless aspects to work on, lower skilled players often have a certain field where they are above the average of their MMR, while severely lacking in other aspects. This disparity is the most common source of frustration in the Dota community.
Image courtesy of Kevin Glint
A big part of this disparity is knowledge-based. There is an absurd number of interactions and mechanics to memorize, but no clear order in which you learn them. Therefore, the pools of knowledge of 2 average 2K MMR players might be similar in size, but drastically different in shape. With that, you see carries get angry at supports for not knowing pull/stack timings, while supports in turn get angry at carries for not knowing how to tread switch. Instead of using that knowledge to pick on teammates, create a productive climate and exchange thoughts in a civil manner.
Knowledge, however, is not the only issue. When you take a look at the 3K MMR bracket, players already know a lot about the game. For most of them, translating that knowledge into execution is the problem. This is another huge source of anger, since the gap between theoretical knowledge and mechanical skill is quite significant. In these brackets, it is even more important to focus on your own level of play rather than trying to correct or criticize your teammates. Knowledge is typically picked up faster than mechanical skill, but both are needed to be successful.

It’s only a game

Besides all that, it is essential to keep in mind that Dota should be a source of entertainment. Even though that enjoyment doesn’t only contain smiles and giggles all the time, since it is highly competitive after all, remember to treat the game as a recreational activity. Once you catch yourself being unable to enjoy it anymore, you should probably step away from the game for a couple of days instead of trying to play through your frustration. That way, you can enjoy Dota with all its up and downs, because let’s be real: we love them both. 
AuthorKardinalR Date14 April 2017, 08:49 Views25244 Comments0
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