Every week, PC Gamer Pro takes your deepest, most personal Dota questions and delivers them to the personalities that can help. You can find last week's set right here. This week, PyrionFlax talks Reborn, support woes, solo ranked attitudes, and the problem with panic.
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Ted 'Pyrionflax' Forsyth
Pyrion’s life as a Dotaman began with his expertly illustrated, pro-quality hero guides and continued through an announcer pack and subsequent appearances at pretty much every Dota event on the planet. We once played in a games industry Dota tournament together, which is notable for this moment, possibly shane’s finest hour (warning: NSFW language.) Pyrion currently has a new Dota 2 series in the works, Lanin’ ‘n’ Complainin’ with TotalBiscuit.
PC Gamer: About fifteen of the questions we received were people asking why Reborn doesn't work. I figured we could talk about your experience with it, and secondly—do you reckon it was ready?
PyrionFlax: I've played Dota for four years or something, for me Dota has gone from being very buggy and not having very many features, but still fun. It was accepted that it was in beta and that was fine. I feel like they've shot themselves in the foot in a big way because, post-TI, they had all these people that wanted to play Dota and they come into this client that, all due respect to it, can't be called anything less than a beta again. There are that many problems. People complaining about hitbox sizes, people complaining about missing clicks. Weird graphical glitches, weird bugs like the ancient stacking bug. I had a bug where the entire enemy team was invisible.
PCG: Shit, really?
PFlax: Yeah! It wasn't like they'd gained invisibility—they were gone. They could see me and they could attack, but these attacks would appear out of nowhere. I was like "what is going on? How was this released?"
I feel like Reborn needed more time, but they obviously thought "look, not enough people are playing it, we need to force people to play the beta." I think what they could have done is incentivise them by saying, like, you get item drops in Reborn and there'll be all sorts of cool stuff. That way people will play Reborn for the item drops. That's the way you incentivise it—not forcing them to do it and making them resent the client.
PCG: It feels like they should have said 'hey, you want to play Pit Lord? He's in Reborn right now, go play him.'
PFlax: Yeah, that kind of stuff—exactly. Wait for something to incentivise, rather than say "well, it's ready, so that's the only client there is"—when it obviously isn't.
PCG: The emails I got were split between, on one side, people for whom the game doesn't work any more. They're a bit heartbroken—"hey, I've only got my laptop and Reborn hates it."" Those people are basically screwed as far as I can tell.
PFlax: Yeah, that sucks! That really does suck.
PCG: The other people were like "hey, I've been screwed by the ancient stacking bug, I've been spooked by other bugs in-game, I don't want to play ranked any more". Is there an answer to that, other than "well I guess you just don't play ranked any more"?
PFlax: If you're playing a ranked game and you feel like you might lose because of the client, I understand that. In the last nine days I've played three games of Dota and they were all last night—because I've just been turned off it. I'm a little bit sick of the current meta, the whole thing just didn't seem as good as the last client. Which is a shame because it was almost perfect, there were hardly any bugs, and now we're going back to the days where really weird stuff happens.
We'll get there, the client will be great someday, but making us play with it makes people resent it and I think they've lost a lot of potential players, post-TI. I think the timing was really bad, but there you go.
PCG: On to specific questions. Gunars writes:
I would like to know how soon one should start specialising for a certain role? I mainly play position 5 and like it a lot, but I feel bound to this role because most other people don't play it, yet every team needs a support to win.
I suppose he's worried that, by only playing one position as he learns the game, he's gimping himself for the future?
PFlax: I honestly think that if you're playing the support role properly, it's a lot harder and a lot more work than playing the carry. Your job might seem like you're 'just' the 5, but don't think of rank in terms of importance. It's purely a rank in terms of farm priority. That's what it's for. You're the 5, you don't need money as much—but the job that you do is game-winning in just the same way that carry is. He's identified that! He's said, "I feel like we need a support to win". What does that tell you? That tells you that you have to have a support to win. You're winning the game just as much as the carry. He might get all of the kills and all of the money, but that's just the way the heroes work. Supports can win games just as much as carries can—and a bad support will lose you a game. It's the supports that make the difference.
PCG: The next one is related, albeit from a different angle. Rishabh writes:
I am currently trying to figure out how we can trust any player in solo ranked with a core position. Many players buy high MMR IDs these days and I have to suffer a loss. Help!
PFlax: First of all, get over yourself! You're not a pro player who can spot a bought account a mile away. I play with pro players a lot, and they can spot a guy whose MMR they think is inflated. But a lot of times, someone will have a high MMR because they've found a hero that's broken in the current meta and spamming it. That's how you do it. You don't grind MMR by randoming or picking something you think would be fun, you do it by picking the same boring hero that wins games over and over again. MMR is not, up to a point, a defining characteristic of how good that person is across the board.
This might not be this guy in particular, he might have a genuine point, but I find that in my experience the people who make the most noise tend to be full of the most shit—and they never shut up about how much they know about the game.
PCG: In practical terms, he's talking about how to trust people in solo ranked. But often my approach is that you have to lead with trust. If you try to make everybody you're matched with earn your respect, you won't get anywhere.
PFlax: In terms of trusting people, you've got to go in there without this toxic, "oh god it's solo queue these people are idiots I'm so smart, oh god Russians" attitude. You see that in game. Some guy joins and says "GG, I have Russians." Well you're going to lose the game—not because of the Russians, but because of this shitty attitude.
PCG: To finish up. Kadir writes:
I've been playing Dota 2 since it was in the beta and have spent ~900-1000 hours trying to learn the game; half of that time I spent learning the flow of the game and getting comfortable with a variety of heroes. I can confidently say that I still have no f**king clue. My main problem is, I panic. Like, a lot. Sometimes my panicking results in awesome plays and I feel like a god and I'm like "how did I do that?", but mostly I make stupid mistakes. How do I stop panicking when I'm poor Crystal Maiden and trying to ward, like the good support player I am, and Huskar jumps on me like a maniac with his stupid ult and with his stupid magic resistance and his stupid fire spears from stupid hell? (Huskar is stupid.)
PFlax: I agree with that! Like I said, Huskar is a crazy-unpicked hero.
If you're Crystal Maiden and you want to ward, don't listen to your teammates when they start screaming "the wards have expired! Go put some new ones down!" You'll probably die doing so. If your wards are down, you don't have any vision to go and explore, right?
The best thing you can do is keep an eye on the minimap, time your movements, and don't assume that it has to be right on the eight-minute mark. Smart players will know you warded at the start of the game and will wait by the obvious ward spots knowing that a squishy support will wander over. If Storm Spirit is missing from the map, don't go ward. If Nyx is missing from the map, don't go ward—and so on.
More often than not, supports feel such an urge to get the wards down that they throw their lives into this tombola of chance. They hope that after giving it a spin they'll pull out a ticket that says "phew! You made it." But more often than not they're going to pull out a loser—so don't take chances. One of the main things you'll see support players do in high level games is not die. Staying alive is huge. Patience, caution, and watching the minimap at all times.
PCG: There's panicking because you put yourself in danger when you could have avoided it, but there's also panicking because, say, you need to take action. It's a five-on-five, say.
PFlax: If you're panicking about a videogame, stop panicking about a videogame. Just chill. Even do something like turn your flippin' mouse sensitivity down so, if you panic, you can't do so much damage. Something that slows it down for you, you know? Just chill out, it's just a game, don't take it so seriously, don't worry about people screaming at you. Just take a moment. You don't need to rush. You don't need to keep up with the speed of thought of the pros. Just keep your own speed of thought, and try to do the best you can.
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