Opinion PC

Dota 2: The SA Experience – What happened to common courtesy?

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Several months after stating that the local Dota 2 experience is in “An abysmal state of affairs”, I took an extended break from the game. Upon my recent return, playing roughly 25 games, I found that at least some public games have calmed down with the racist / sexist remarks and I encountered less bad apples during matches and in the local chat-rooms.

However, from my recent experience I encountered almost no common courtesy among players, as 22 out of my 25 games where plagued with extended pauses and players leaving. Some players are effectively wasting a large amount of time each match for all involved and are queuing for a match when they really shouldn’t.  

Time management and you

For many people, effective time management isn’t an easy thing to accomplish both in the workplace and in entertainment activities. It’s a difficult skill to perfect and I have personally struggled with it for years. One of the most infuriating aspects of playing Dota 2, especially in a local match, is when players continuously pause the game to do whatever random stuff they didn’t think of when queuing for a match.

A small list of examples I have encountered so far are:

  • “Sorry five-minute pause need to buy smokes.”
  • “Food ready wait please”
  • “Need to pick up kids from school *pauses*”

That’s not even the worst of it. Some of the most outrageous excuses not only causes the player to pause, but actually leaving the game, effectively spoiling the match for everyone involved. For example, a player might leave a match 30 minutes in saying “I have to go to a party” or “I have a doctor’s appointment, cheers all”.

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An average Dota 2 match takes around 40 minutes to complete, so playing a couple of games should take around two hours if you factor in matchmaking queue times and potential pauses. Therefore, there is no excuse when you queue for a match when you know you will have to leave in 30 minutes. If you want to play a match, you should have at the very minimum at least 1 hour and 20 minutes of free time.

Leaving or pausing for extended periods of time negatively affects the match’s mood causing an unpleasant experience for everyone involved. Those who leave also have the chance to get their account suspended by Valve if enough players report them.

When you start a match, keep the feelings of other players in mind, have some common courtesy towards your fellow local players and know that you shouldn’t waste others’ time.

There are of course some scenarios where you can’t help but pause the game for a few minutes, for example an unexpected visitor you have to open the door for or if you experience technical difficulties with your PC and/or internet connection. Therefore, it is always good to play it safe to minimize the risk of unforeseen issues.          

Playing it safe

Let’s face it, random disconnects and connection issues happen often in South Africa. In an average 40-minute game, you can expect at least one or two disconnects from enemies or allies. It is something we all have to live with. However, not every disconnect or player leaving a game is because of unavoidable internet issues.

Across most of my matches, I’ve seen players disconnect, claiming that their Dota 2 crashed, Windows restarted and a plethora of other excuses. Sometimes it’s better not to play if you know you will have issues. For example, one player said his Windows has been crashing all day, while on two separate occasions I ran into a player who claims his laptop kept restarting.  If you do have a technical issue that prevents you from playing a match without multiple disconnects, then you shouldn’t.

If other players have to pause for you every game, it’s simply not right to continue playing until your technical issues are sorted out. Further, if you do keep on disconnecting, sooner or later you will receive multiple “abandons” when other players simply get fed up waiting all the time.

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To prevent abandons, a bad reputation as well as simply extending some common courtesy to other local Dota 2 players, I’ve got some tips that you might want to follow:

  • If you suffer from ADSL issues, reset your router before each Dota 2 session (by turning it off for 20 minutes and turning it back on again) before searching for a match. It might not fix the problem completely, but will at least minimize the risk of disconnecting in a match, as I’ve found my ADSL is a lot more stable after a reset.
  • If you know your game crashes a few times in each match, update your drives and Google the error you get (if there is one). Then, attempt to fix the issue before joining a match.
  • Play a bot match so won’t affect another player’s experience if you are running into any issues mentioned in the first two points.
  • Ask for advice from the local Dota 2 community on Facebook, because it is very likely that someone might have experienced the same issues you are struggling with and could offer some help.

How much time have you wasted waiting for other players? What other tips would you suggest that could help the local Dota 2 public matchmaking become better? Let us know in the comment section below.

Main Image Credit: JaidaLockai on DeviantArt  

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