Valve already confirmed that the next ranked season is going to start in the new year and that means it is time to prepare for the new climb towards the top. Today we would like to talk about different strategies and motivations that can help you achieve better results in Dota and enjoy the game even more.
This should generally be the first question players ask themselves when trying to climb in ranks and increase their MMR and the good thing about this question is that there are no wrong answers.
When I set my goal of reaching Immortal in season 2, the main idea I had in mind was that as a writer and content creator for the biggest Dota 2 website I simply couldn’t afford not to be in the top 1% of the players. Players read my hero and patch analysis, my meta overviews and they should be confident in the credibility of the author.
There was one very important side effect. Once I’ve reached the Immortal rank, I’ve started noticing how much more enjoyable my games became. Teams acted like teams, coordination between individual players got better and the gameplay became more interesting overall: action became more dense and outplays became more complex.
This higher level of play is certainly going to be my main motivation for climbing the ladder next season—I want to experience the best, most intense, smartest Dota I can. For you it might be going pro, like it is for Cptn.Canuck, or reaching a higher rank than your friends for bragging rights. Regardless of your motivation, though, you can be sure that the quality of your games is going to increase and your are much more likely to enjoy the game. That is probably the most important part.
MMR is just a number
People often say that your skill level is going to determine your MMR eventually so a better strategy is to concentrate on improving yourself as a player, rather than trying to climb. That is true for the most part, but there is one caveat.
Your MMR determines the quality of your matches. Based more or less on a single number you get matched with particular people at particular skill level. These particular people at this particular skill level make particular mistakes and make particular plays.
That means that attempts at learning the game in this very specific atmosphere will eventually lead to lower and lower returns on skill level gains, as you are playing with pretty much the same people over and over again.
I propose a slightly different approach, one that will hopefully maximise your learning speed: spam your best meta hero until you can no longer win more games. Climb as high as you can giving it your best, until your best is no longer enough. And only then start to attempt to learn the game in a more holistic sense.
In this case, after climbing as high as your best can get you, you are going to be learning Dota at a higher level and will be forced to improve. Your mistakes and bad habits are going to be exploited more. Your usual maneuvers that allow you to outplay the opponent and get an advantage are going to be less effective, and you will have to think of new ones. You will be learning faster in an environment more brutal than what you are used to.
Your second best hero might not be enough to sustain your highest achieved MMR initially, but sooner, rather than later, you will get them into shape. You will be forced to. Do that with your third best hero, your fourth one and so on and then repeat the process, climbing even higher this time.
We would also like to discourage people from using booster services—you can understand mistakes you’ve made individually or as a team in game where the best enemy player is ~200 MMR above your actual skill level. More than that and you are simply feeding and ruining the experience for yourself and your teammates, without learning anything.
Cool, Calm and Collected
For some reason paragraphs about toxicity in Dota always sound preachy and cheesy, but it is an important part of Dota. Your behaviour score is the second most important number in matchmaking, possibly the first.
There is an idea that you will win 15% of games regardless of what you do and your actions in 70% of games are going to have a direct impact on the outcome of the match. That leaves us with 15% of games you can’t win, no matter how hard you try or how well you play. We want this to go down as low as possible.
Part of getting this as low as possible is having a decent behaviour score—there is lower chance you are going to be matched with teammates who will break their items, tilt uncontrollably or feed couriers.
Speaking from experience of someone who knows how to shut up, not engage in arguments with teammates and uses chat only when necessary, never adding to toxicity if it occurs, I can assure you that it helps a great deal.
In roughly 120 games played I’ve played in the new patch, there were zero instances of someone intentionally feeding couriers, zero instances of teammates feeding and two instances of teammates going afk and breaking their items. There were definitely other games I couldn’t have won due to the skill level difference, mistakes on our side and other factors, but only 1.7% of infuriating, intentional losses attributed fully to one of my teammates is definitely something worth striving for.
I love Dota. I’ve played the game for close to 15 years, wrote countless paragraphs about it analyzed every single patch since 6.80 and still find something new and unexpected in most of my games. The depth of Dota gameplay is simply unparalleled.
Because of it, and in stark contrast to most other games, Dota actually gets more and more interesting the better you get at it: players think of more creative threats and more creative answers to those threats. When everyone understands how most things work, it starts transitioning from the characters vs. characters interaction to players vs. players, adding an extra layer on top of an already deep gameplay.
That is when Dota starts to truly shine and we would love if everyone could experience it at its best.