It seems to be an unfortunate, yet unavoidable, fact that where competitive endeavours are concerned, people will find a way to convince themselves that their level of skill is in fact greater than it is. From armchair football pundits who, of course, could see that playing x player over y was an act that would lead to disaster to the context of economic competition where one cannot see why another is paid so much because, naturally, they could easily do their job and for less and in less time, this sort of overestimation of one’s own skill is commonplace and permeates many aspects of life. My most common insistence that I’m better than I am lies within how I play DOTA.
Don’t misunderstand me: I am at peace with my ~2.4k MMR, well, as comfortable as someone who is deeply uncomfortable with the idea of the objectivity-in-anything-other-than-a-mechanical-objectivity-sense of an algorithm that is designed to stratify a given community by their worth, but I feel myself often thinking that the people, even in the generally more civilised ranked matchmaking, are far too unpleasant to be matched with someone as horrendously docile as I am. There are some game-relevant elements of the folks that I tend to be matched with that also raise concern: supports that do not go for support items or support skill builds and an amazing egocentricity in how the game is played being the two things that crop up most regularly that are serious bugbears. I’d like to think, then, that I am in a decent position to start teaching someone new to the game how it can be played fairly decently. Whether I am the right person to teach anything, however, is an open question.
I’m not patient, and I usually assume a certain level of background knowledge of subjects I know much of when talking to people about them: this, combined with a game that I’ve spent around nine-hundred in and am completely aware that I don’t quite understand all of the mechanical interacts in, is not something that any reasonable person should expect to lead to a rewarding experience for either involved parties. Sitting and playing DOTA, both in games against bots that do not quite to understand the core ideas of the game, and against people at a lower matchmaking rating than myself, however, has proven to be an experience both worthwhile and beneficial to both myself and my tutee. Working from the fairly base level of knowledge embued into new players from the tutorial (a tutorial, while impressive in its production values does very little to illustrate the mechanics of a “real game” of DOTA) to building the confidence of someone to play the hero other than the one which is first introduced to them in the tutorial to overcoming the understandable anxiety that playing in public games can bring given the reputation of the community has brought laughter, frustration and a good deal of smug self-fulfillment associated with me being right with regard to my multiple utterances of “see, I told you you’d enjoy it!”
Of course, I could be being lied to: it would be rude to reject such a kind offer of tutelage after the fact by saying that it was in fact not worth their time. With such doubts aside, however, it has confirmed what I feel about the game: it’s far worse for being played solo. While the aspect of testing one’s mettle in the solo queue for ranked is appealing, it seems to bring with it some unhealthy attitudes along the lines of the ones elucidated above – people like to think that they would play flawlessly in your position, and can be quite rude about that fact. Playing with others, however, and furthering their understanding of the game and by doing furthering their very enjoyment of the game: that is the cardinal virtue of a set of systems as unapologetically obtuse as those of DOTA in the multiplayer context; that is the core of the social aspect of the game; that is the core of their virality.
I am impatient, as I mentioned, but it seems that in this context, rather than in previous contexts working in first-line support for a large institution’s IT Services department, I have some time for people not seeing through the perceived complexities of the systems in front of them. Perhaps this is because DOTA knowledge is not a core life skill for people aged between nineteen and thirty in the way that backing up one’s work-in-progress dissertation should be for someone pursuing a PhD (for but one example), but there is something satisfying about being able to impart esoteric wisdom to a willing listener; to explain why certain suboptimal courses of action were suboptimal. The people who got me into the game (and, it should be noted, people I still play with) were equally patient with me, before the point at which I’d like to think that my knowledge outstripped theirs.
Of course, me saying that could just be me not substituting a tired defender at the right time.