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Returning to Dota: A Primer – DOTABUFF

The next patch should be coming some time soon and that means a lot of players are going to return to their favorite game. While we can’t prepare these returning players to the realities of the upcoming meta, we can nonetheless discuss how to get back in as effortlessly as possible, as well as highlight how the position of a returning player might actually be an advantage.

One of the biggest problems plateaued players face is that they get stuck in their own habits, preventing them from improving. This is especially true for players who play a small pool of heroes in the same role over and over again. This approach is typically associated with rapid rank increases, followed by a very hard stop.

The reason is quite simple, really: while playing the same hero over and over again, players will eventually find ways to make the most out of their situations, soon automating the whole decision-making process. It is not necessarily a bad thing. Dota is a fast-paced game and making decisions instinctively is often a plus.

Often, but not always.

The realities change; if a player is ranking up their teammates start to change as well, probably knowing more tricks and understanding the matchups better. This is where a healthy, short pause in opposition to incessant grinding might come in handy.

After some period, you start to unlearn the problematic habits you might have had. Games after a prolonged period of absence are a lot less likely to be automated by your brain, but that also means you will have to make a conscious effort for every decision and that will highlight your own mistakes and victories.

The best part about this line of thought is that you don’t even need to have taken a full break from Dota. Play a different role, switch from a core to a support, or vice versa. This will not only give you more insights into various matchups and enhance your understanding of Dota as a whole, but will also allow you to break some of your habits and re-learn some aspects of the game, fully engaging your brain once again.

The good thing about new patches is that no one can realistically oppose anything you pick for the first week or so. The meta won’t be set in stone at that point, meaning you are free to play heroes you are comfortable with.

It might look like this statement is directly opposed to the previous one, however, for players who have already taken a prolonged break, starting out again with something familiar isn’t a bad idea. Then, after some of the muscle memory is back, it is time to start experimenting.

The start of the patch is usually the great equalizer: no one has any idea what works and what doesn’t. Holistic knowledge of the game and its concepts is what matters the most at this point, and even that can be challenged with some Dota economy changes.

So get back and play several games of your favorite hero to start the ball rolling and then move on to the next step.

This is as simple as it gets: knowledge is power. Unburdened by preconceptions of repeated play in the previous patch, returning players also have an extra benefit of open-mindedness. They are more likely to spot some cool and powerful changes to overlooked heroes of the previous patch because their brain is less likely to filter out off-meta heroes.

We are certainly going to be highlighting the biggest changes made by the patch in upcoming articles, but if you are a dedicated player, you will need multiple sources of opinion. It seems like the next patch is going to be huge, so it is going to be easy to overlook some things for a single content source. Tuning in to your favorite streamer and reading our highlights should give you a good head start, or at least will prevent you from falling behind.

Being unpleasantly surprised by something in Dota is absolutely detrimental to your success, so stay prepared. This applies to both returning players and perhaps even more so to players who have been playing all this time.

The last piece of advice we are going to give is to find a friend to play with. Preferably a group of friends. With Dota’s growth, some sense of community was lost and it is about time it started returning. By discussing some ideas and concepts in your group, even arguing, you will be able to get back on track much faster.

There is also a misconception that only games with higher level teammates can be beneficial to your own improvement. This isn’t true: your friends who might not be as good or as experienced in Dota can offer a lot of value for your own progression. Once again, this comes down to not having habits and preconceptions, which is incredibly important in the beginning of the patch.

It is also great for your own confidence, to play against slightly lower-level opponents. This is especially important for returning mids and carries, so don’t miss out on an opportunity to be the star in your team.

Are you excited about the upcoming patch? Are you planning a Dota binge once it is released, or are you going to take it slow? Leave your tips and tricks for returning players in the comment section below.

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