Keep in mind that communication is key in a game like DOTA 2, and thankfully there are several ways to communicate with your team. Text chat can be accessed by hitting Enter on the keyboard. Precomposed messages such as “Well played” or “Get back” are on a radial menu which is available by hitting the Y key. Finally in-game voice chat is (usually) the most effective form of communication, and can be accessed using the ‘G’ key.
Tally: As we mentioned, there are two ways to play co-op: private lobby or co-op matchmaking. I play both. Until quite recently, I’d mostly stopped playing co-op matchmaking completely, because, let’s face it - MOBA communities are almost always terrible. I started it again recently, however, and have been surprised that it’s been a much more positive experience than before. I attribute this mostly to two factors: the low-priority queuing system and the muting system that Valve has been enforcing. Getting into the specifics of these systems would run too long, but the short of it is they promote a friendly community and attempt to separate the decent people from the trolls, whether be by putting them in a whole different matchmaking pool, or simply taking away their ability to voice or text chat in game. These measures are not permanent (so people can always come back to the “good” community if they change their ways), but they will continue to be punished if they continue their ways.
Playing co-op DOTA 2 games is generally relaxing, and I often take opportunities to play heroes I am unaccustomed to playing. Every once in awhile the computer reflexes can be annoying, but it’s a small annoyance. Valve continues to make tweaks to the bot AI and add in more heroes for the AI to play, and overall I’m satisfied and impressed with their behavior. It’s usually satisfying to play against the bots, and the players don’t always win. It’s a quality title to blow off some, ahem, steam (you see what I did there?) with some friends. Differing skill levels can also be easily disregarded as long as people don’t get ragey.
Locke: DOTA 2 has quickly become my go-to game. Being able to use all the heroes and test out different strategies is always welcome. I really enjoy the team aspect of the game, and I think that is one of the main reasons I prefer it over other staples. The game has a great flow to it, and I thrive in situations where teamwork and strategy is paramount. If you don’t coordinate it will be a very quick loss. Maybe it is because I’m slightly deprived of team sports in my adult life, and a void is definitely being filled.
Playing with a team of friends is immensely satisfying, especially when things go well. If the match takes a down turn and ends up in a loss, that’s when I learn something. DOTA 2 isn’t a forgiving game, and the learning curve is very steep which turns off most players. However, the best way to play is with friends and learn the game together. You will lose a ton, but losing together is easier than alone and winning together is a fantastic feeling.
So that’s it. Get in there and have some fun with friends. Find heroes you like and coordinate to dominate those lanes!