Where to, DotA?
A: Some of what makes it hard, in current DotA, stems from the lack of services around the game that can help foster a better relationship between players and that it’s hard for players to be matched up with equally skilled allies and opponents. Things like tutorials, matchmaking, AI bots, identity, coaching, and community contribution (my italics) will go a long way to making it easier for new players to fit in.
- DotA 2 Q&A
Everyone relates to DotA differently. Some would find that they have been disillusioned, that it is the matter of time before DotA becomes another forgotten relic, thrown into a dusty room full of games that were once touted to be ‘The Next Big Thing’. Others are more optimistic, they see people working hard to allow players to enjoy the game as much as possible, by providing stable platforms accompanied by dedicated admins that ensure that the good be rewarded and the bad be punished. Maybe with the advent of DotA 2, the community will only grow larger and stronger, and that all is well, the game we so love will only gain momentum and finally be as big as we hope for it to be, reaching a Starcraft-like status. (Indeed some may argue, with the amount of competitions cropping up each year from every nook and corner of the world coupled with a robust Chinese scene, this is only a matter of time)
But I think merely confining DotA to the competitive scene is not enough. I think to answer a question like what a good game of DotA should consist in requires players to look beyond exceptional games that are played by professionals, we must also consider the state in which public games are played. Players that play in public games are granted a veil of anonymity, and this veil has allowed them to act in ways that are in stark contrast with gaming ethics. Consider a game of basketball being played in your local basketball court, players abide by a form of ethics that is lacking in DotA. Or compare DotA to Starcraft 2, where in the latter it is customary to wish your opponent good luck and acknowledge your loss if you should lose the game. Such manners are not extended in DotA, where ‘trash-talking’ is even more commonplace.
We have a famous saying in Malaysia, ‘first world infrastructure, third world mentality’. I believe this is what is plaguing DotA at present, there needs to be a concerted effort to find a way to change players’ mindsets for the better. Everyone might relate to DotA differently, but a few things are certain: DotA is a team game, respect for one’s own teammates as well as opponents is vital to this and if we can urge the community to understand this, DotA will be heading towards the right direction. What we might find debatable is the way to go about this.
Some might find the problem arising due to fundamental differences in skill level among players which leads to frustration and lack of repsect among players. They have advocated for players to be appropriated to certain skill levels and this will allow players to have a better experience playing DotA (this has been done in several platforms, most notably Dotalicious).
I argue that this is not enough and I hope the reader has been able to see this through my line of reasoning thus far. I believe it is players that fundamentally need to change their attitudes in game, and this can only be done by constantly reminding players. As of now, the only way going about doing this to me seems as clear as day, and that is to feature articles and opinions from the entire spectrum of the DotA community on Gosugamers every week, by exposing players to the variety of ideas on DotA I hope that players themselves become more responsible in their conduct and realize that to experience the best of DotA they have to start with a little bit of introspection.
Finally, I would like to reiterate what I am setting out do. The ultimate goal is to allow the community to evolve. Articles such as ‘The Art of Ganking’ might seem very much detached from this goal, but I believe that they can serve to better inform players and these are all stepping stones towards the end goal. I believe that GosuGamers have been working towards this goal step by step since its inception, but the point here is to feature this goal more prominently, to work towards it more rigorously, to enable everyone to be part of this goal.
‘What now?’ This is a timely question considering DotA 2’s unveiling will be in the near future. I urge anyone to step forward, casual and professional players alike, to share their views with the same fervor we pursue DotA; through careful deliberation we shall take the next step towards DotA’s evolution. At the risk of sounding more idealistic than I already am, I leave the reader with these parting words from John Donne, 'No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.'
*GosuGamers will start featuring articles on a weekly basis under this series, 'Where to, DotA?'
**Anyone is welcome to contribute to the series by sending their pieces via PM to qinen