Dotaland note: SGamer presents this opinion piece, from one of their writers, on the top 10 factors holding players back in Dota. Fairly tongue-in-cheek, Dotaland has translated it and taken some liberties in reproduction in English for the flow of the piece. A good read, with some true gems of wisdom for anyone looking for some introspective reading, along with some humor — keep in mind it is an opinion piece and all opinions are of the original SG writer.
SGamer’s Top 10 Factors Holding Players Back in Dota
10. Your friends’ questionable advice
Countless people first came into contact with Dota via some classmate, thus beginninng the cycle of building up key items, blinking in with a shout, and leaving the win or loss to fate; dreams all gravitate towards images of streaks in Dota, memorizing item builds, skill builds, ability usage, playstyles… Because of friendship, here we’ll be lenient, and only rank the shady advices of school-age Dota friends as our 10th in terms of things holding you back in Dota.
9. The so-called invincible, all-purpose strategy
From the early years where it took extensive Baidu searches, a translation, and some luck to find a usable guide to today’s fingertip availability of a myriad of styles for every single hero, Dota’s metagame and strategy has been like a calling card for those of this generation. All the advertised guides promising dominance over high skies and heavens as long as you built X item by a certain time, skilled X at certain levels, went into the jungle with X starting items, pushed with this, or that… After all is said and done, is it really that simple, that if your opponent happened to follow one of these guides to the dot, that your only remaining option would be to type out GG and then follow it up by tossing your keyboard out?
The chase for the mythical ‘unbreakable’ strategy, number 9 in things holding you back in Dota.
8. Everyone wants a cup of the soup
The creators of first person vods documenting flashy plays and top level dominance are not necessarily showing anything spectacularly new or brilliant. Instead, what they are doing is creating a product — geared first and foremost at gaining views and clicks. So when you click on that vod link and see the multi-million number in hits, remember, at car shows it’s about the models, in movies it’s about the celebrities, and in gameplay vods it’s about style. Without that, where would the views come from? Those who create these vods are fine, but those who blindly seek to reproduce what they see in these vods are in trouble — the 8th greatest thing holding you back in Dota.
7. An outdated, out of place nostalgia for past trends
As my late language teacher taught me, the ideas of “non-mainstream” and “counter-mainstream” are greatly different. “Counter-mainstream” is a derogatory term, commonly used to refer to those blind adherents to a certain bland, crude humor associated with a certain Korean culture (insert applause here). “Non-mainstream” is a neutral term, just as name brand Meters-Bonwe’s slogan declares: “Walk on the un-taken path, gain the feeling of flight”. “Mainstream” refers to those things that everyone knows, everyone understands, and everyone follows. This is why there are so many noobs and newbs on the servers perpetually, because they’re all following some outdated formerly mainstream style. With each patch version, Dota changes and shifts, yet people’s playstyles remain often unchanged. Only accepting the mainstream style, and thus becoming sealed in a cycle of non-innovation, ranks 7th in things holding you back in Dota.
6. Rebelling for the sake of it, impulsiveness
Since the mainstream isn’t working out for us, why not go opposite of it. In the minds of young people, things are black and white — if not A, then it must be B, thus mixing and ignoring the importance of certainty and uncertainty. The mainstream, despite any flaws that may arise with changes from each edition, is still the mainstream for a reason in that it must still have useful lessons within. There are still times when the mainstream style can be the strongest, and with some adjustments it can be a good starting point for any success. Yet, the complete rejection of the mainstream in favor of whatever isn’t mainstream is a sign of immaturity. Those that cover themselves in tattoos and piercings just to display how different they are from others are in actuality displaying only a lack of depth. “Oh, no one else goes Vanguard on Tidehunter? Then I will. Others don’t go HoD on Ursa? I will, then. Everyone else’s Tinker goes BoTs? Then I absolutely must go Phase Boots and Midas.”
What’s even scarier than this blindness it the loss of direction it rbings about. Such is in life, and the same is in Dota. Making strange item choices for the sake of being unique, number 6 in things holding you back in Dota.
5. In defeat, your opponent is your best teacher
Even though you’re beyond beastly, your teammates are of course simultaneously shit beyond belief. But a loss is a loss — your opponents showed that they knew how to avoid the tough bone that you presented, and instead go for the weak joint that was your teammates, and thus caused your teammates to drag you down with them. When things are going well, when everything’s going as planned, these are the types of games everyone knows how to play. Everyone can stomp noobs and feel good, flashy, and dominant. It’s the attitude that goes into playing those tough uphill games that is key — and it is right within these tough games that countless people miss out on their best learning opportunities. Dota’s greatest joys: mega comebacks is top, flashy play is second, long satisfying sessions being next, with going beyond godlike rounding out the top joys in Dota. And in order to pull off said mega comebacks, the sky must fall before it can be put back into place beyond all odds. Sadly, most people completely lack the guile, strength, and determination and thus the legend of the second Sacred Relic solidified its role in history.
Lacking the ability to properly accept and assess defeat, the 5th greatest thing holding you back in Dota.
4. Attitude, mentality
The fear is not godlike opponents, it is pig-like teammates. The fear is not pig-like teammates, it is the teammates that show off and play for attention (could be analogous to the Western concept of ‘tryhards’ who talk trash).
“Wang Mazi’s (ancient Chinese paper-cutting artist — hence the pun about cutting noobs) Divine Rapier, perfect for cutting noobs!” The next day on the forums, a thread crops up detailing some Radiant hero having a good game, building a Rapier, then losing to the Dire that held out for 70 minutes to come back.
Trying too hard to impress or express are signs of an incorrect attitude. Even if you’ve got high skill, with this attitude all you can achieve is to beat on some noobs; you’re bound to lose when facing strong opposition. Mentality, 4th in things holding you back in Dota.
3. The search for the ultimate solo
The search for the ultimate solo brings with it a plethora of conditions under which any given hero may be the best: at a distance of 900 units, no autoattacks, and see who wins — Necrolyte. With 6 Hearts of Tarrasque, an ult, and no movement allowed, who wins — Skeleton King. The point being that every hero in Dota can be number one in certain contexts. Dota, ultimately, is a tower-pushing game, the first to push their opponent’s base into ruins wins. In that process, a Crystal Maiden can carry, while your big late-game carry does nothing. You could get destroyed by Furion, or Techies, or insta-gibbed by a Vengeful Spirit. Dota is not all about finding that perfect hero, and when you’ve lost again with a seemingly ideal team composition, you should reflect on that.
The search for the ultimate hero is a production line for creating noobs, yet it only ranks 3rd in things holding you back in Dota.
What are gods? Gods are the main characters, the higher quality players in this game universe that IceFrog has created. The rest of us, we’re just the leftovers, the low quality toys. Countless people dream of one day becoming one of the gods in this game, yet something as miniscule as a small change in mechanics made by the creator, IceFrog, can strip away a god’s right to their power. In this game, there is only strong and weak, and anyone can be defeated at some point. Yet strength is a quality that cannot be defeated or brought down in itself. So those that can only copy, emulate, can thus never become the directors in their own act.
Even still, as long as there are enough people willing to be the subjects, there will be gods and kings. Mindlessly following the gods of this game, not finding one’s own style and skill — the aforementioned search for the ultimate hero creates noobs, while this adherence to god-culture creates puppets; the 2nd greatest thing holding you back in Dota is an over-reliance on the gods and trendsetters to direct your own play.
1. More overlooked than introspection is hard work, more overlooked than hard work is passion
Perhaps you’ve grasped countless mechanics, read up on thousands of tactics, techniques, and other posts. Perhaps you’ve even formulated your own comprehensive framework of understanding for the world of Dota, and coolly learned from and analyzed thousands of replays. Yet one thing remains true always: without practice, you can only go backwards.
The drop in quality of play from 2009’s first vods to currently is something that all can see. It’s not only limited to retired players — from when 820 switched between carry to support back to carry, he gradually found it hard to replicate his abilities of yesteryear. For many people who have gradually faded from Dota, what they’ve lacked is not technique or skill, more so it is time. For someone who lacks time to train, the stage of Dota is one that perhaps no longer suits them, or, at least for them it cannot any longer be a competitive game. Why do they play on, then?
Their reason is one that is different from many that still spend all their time and focus on Dota — or rather, grinding in Dota, on various platforms, for ranking and matchmaking points. The point score becomes the goal, and whatever playstyle guarantees the most points is the one that is pursued. Those that play Dota just for Dota are few and far between, and those that display true skill absent the judgment of an arbitrary matchmaking score are even rarer. How many can say they play Dota purely for the passion for the game itself?
Once you’ve achieved a high ranking score somewhere, does this mean you’re a pro, or high skill player? Since you aren’t, then what is the point? Number 1 in things holding you back in Dota, a lack of true passion for the game itself.