I have a book to write, classes to prep, a family to hang out with and, in theory, a social life to try and keep alive. So, I’m reviving my interest in DOTA 2.

I played DOTA 2 rather briefly a couple of years ago, won more games than I lost, and generally gained a little insight into why the game is just so popular. I can’t quite recall why I stopped, but I vaguely remember it being centered on a stranger spending ten minutes of the game complaining about me specifically and my decision that I had better things to do with my time.

And the time, the time it takes… Dear me. With everything going on, I would be mad to get back into DOTA 2.

I am going to play my (almost) first DOTA 2 game with humans in more than two years later this week.

Perhaps, if I was being generous, I could argue that this adventure could become an experiment of sorts. I’m just not sure what experiment would amount to:

  • married dad tries to play DOTA with predictable results
  • area man quits Internet after multiple evenings of abuse from strangers during his free time
  • video game fan of thirty years finally figures out what a “hard support” is

The desire to play more DOTA is partly the resumption of a long held desire and partly a need to fulfill a certain obligation. I do like MOBAs, in theory at the very least, and I long ago decided DOTA 2 was the best one. I also enjoy watching competitive DOTA 2. I want to write more about DOTA 2, and the fact is that I will be able to that better if I play the game regularly, admittedly if what I choose to call “playing” amounts to occasionally figuring out how to ward properly in pub games.

I did the same thing what feels like a long time ago now with my dissertation. The plan to write on baseball had no roots whatsoever in any interest I had in the game, and so I had to give myself an education. I went from having the mild distaste for baseball every decent European has to being very happy yesterday that the Texas Rangers went twenty games over .500. Seeing as I actually enjoy DOTA 2, I have a head start.
The trick, of course, will be to shut out people who try to make the game less fun. This is the problem with DOTA. I fully understand that it brings a competitive experience that is very difficult to match in other games, or at least one that can be reached with less investment than you might think. I get that. However, if I’m having a rough game and letting down the team I probably feel badly about it already. That, or I promised my wife we were going to watch the latest episode of Game of Thrones after this. Either way, really.

The funny thing is, it’s difficult to just rise above it. I know there are mute buttons but it’s tough when a teammate decides to spend a significant chunk of time complaining about every decision you’ve made in the last five minutes. I find this more difficult to deal with than an idiot being abusive, honestly. Finally, I think I’m getting better at recognizing that a lot of these people are just bizarre. I have a grammatically rough “almost” up there in parentheses because I did play a game a few months ago. A reasonable person tried to get us all together on voice chat, a young boy panicked and died a lot, and two other teammates basically went off in a huff and did their own thing. And we won. It was incredibly weird. I plan to mute all microphones before I even start.

So, we’ll see. We’ll see where all this takes us. We’ll see where I find the time. Let’s go. Summer of DOTA.

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