Dota 2: The diverse experiences of new players

Dota Dragon's Blood (Image via Studio Mir and Valve)
Dota Dragon's Blood (Image via Studio Mir and Valve)
Agnibesh Bandyopadhyay

Ever since Dota: Dragon's Blood was released on Netflix, Dota 2 has had a small influx of new players.

The average monthly player base for Dota 2 before Dragon's Blood was was 390k. Currently, it sits at 405k. The game has a steep learning curve and is hard to master. Even 15k players is a lot in that regard.

Dota 2 is also infamous for having a very toxic and unwelcoming community. To mitigate this, Valve released a revamped new player experience accompanying the anime to help the new players get accustomed to the game.


The new system was seemingly helpful as some people shared their positive experiences as beginners in Dota 2. The negative aspect didn't disappear as several new players found getting into Dota 2 troublesome.

To tackle toxicity and griefing in Dota 2, Valve introduced Overwatch (not the game) to Dota 2 in January. Players can watch the replay and judge whether the accused is guilty or not. The same replay is given out to several players and if the verdict is overwhelmingly guilty, the player faces disciplinary action.

Ever since Overwatch was released, the system has punished hundreds of players for being toxic and ruining games. The system is also helping older players create a friendlier environment for new players to come into.

Another problem every new player will face is something players in the lower ranks face every day - the Smurfs. Smurfs are high-ranked players who intentionally play on lower-ranked accounts so they can get easier opponents. Some high-ranked players also use low-ranked accounts to play with their friends who might not be high-ranked.

They are one of the biggest sources of game-ruining in Dota 2. The new player experience also attempts to fix this by using an AI to recognize and remove smurfs from the pool of new players. In this system, smurfs will ideally get matched with other smurfs while new players will be matched with other new players.

Related: Dota 2 confirms "DOTA: Dragon's Blood - Book 2" anime sequel

The Bad in Dota 2

Dota players can often be very toxic
Dota players can often be very toxic

In a Reddit post on r/Dota2, the user u/YungCatgirl shared their experience as a new player. Based on the comment, it can be assumed the Reddit user decided to play Dota 2 after watching the anime, considering they are playing Dragon Knight.

One of their allies playing Zeus asks the other teammates to report the new player for being bad at the game. New players cannot be expected to excel at the game. Hence, older players must have patience and be tolerant. Those traits are very hard to find in Dota players, as evident from the post.

The Good in Dota 2

Sometimes Dota players are pretty nice too
Sometimes Dota players are pretty nice too

In another contrasting post on r/Dota2, user u/Brucena posted a screenshot of a Steam review of Dota 2. A new player with just 9.4 hours on record wrote about their wholesome experience.

The reviewer shared the experience of meeting a guy in a game who had just lost his job. They worked together to win the game, and the reviewer managed to cheer the guy up by doing so.

These experiences in Dota 2 are rare. But they do happen and will continue as long as the people playing the game are respectful and welcoming to new players. Hopefully, the Dota 2 community continues to encourage and replicate positive behavior.

Disclaimer: This article reflects the subjective views of the author.

Also read: Top 5 Most Iconic Caster Calls in Dota 2 esports

Edited by Srijan Sen
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