I've hit a ceiling

#1 Posted by squiDc00kiE (347 posts) -

So I've been playing Dota 2 for about 10 months now. I bought into the early access and have been playing it pretty much exclusively since then. However I'm having some trouble. I've hit a ceiling and I'm having trouble breaking through.

See I feel like my knowledge is not the problem. I can predict picks and lanes fairly accurately, my mechanics are sound, I'm well aware of timings and positioning (both hero and wards), and when I watch other people I can pick out issues with their play pretty quick. But recently my play has just been sloppy. Especially when I'm on my back foot. I start to get tunnel vision and my decision making falls apart. And this seems to be the difference between me and everyone better than me.

They can keep their head in the game with all their wits about them when mine fall apart. I'll go in a game with a plan, and the second the opponents disrupt that plan, I panic. I panic, I play worse. I play worse, we lose.

So my question to any Dota vets out there is this. Have you ever experienced this ceiling, and how did you break through it?

#2 Posted by Sign (291 posts) -

People could probably give you better advice if you were a little more specific on what aspect of your play falls apart when you are panicking or being pressured. Does your mouse movement/accuracy suffer? Do you panic and pop abilities at the wrong time? Do you find yourself getting caught out of position? etc. Without knowing the specific issues you are having, I would say, try to identify a specific issue you have when you are pressured and focus on that. Practice keeping your cool and executing that specific thing perfectly (ie. keeping your positioning good or juking to delay until your team arrives) until it becomes a more learned/automatic response, then begin work on the next part you are having trouble with.

With games that have so much going on at once, so many things to keep in the air, you have to start to break it down and take it piece by piece.

#3 Posted by squiDc00kiE (347 posts) -

@sign: Thanks. Yeah sorry I should have been more specific. Typically what falls apart is my positioning/decision making. Things like "I should go try to save my teammate" or "It's safe so go farm that wave" when at any other time, or watching other people play, I'd know better then to be in a position to be caught out.

#4 Posted by EXTomar (4444 posts) -

A thing that might help is simply "slowing down" by doing things like "focus more on the minimap". Even playing as support in the middle of a fight, glancing towards minimap to check wards, to check where the creep waves are, where the missing enemy hero is on the map helps because it is human behavior that when you shift your attention like this forces the human brain to reassess and refocus.

#5 Edited by squiDc00kiE (347 posts) -

@extomar: That sound like it could help. I'll try keeping my mind there instead, we'll see what happens.

#6 Edited by Christoffer (1742 posts) -

I'm not a vet in any way. But going into a game with "A" plan seems like a bad idea. It's my understanding that most great players adapt their strategies as the game goes on. Or they at least have a backup plan if everything goes to hell. In anyway, panicking sounds like the worst way of getting out of a downward spiral.

#7 Edited by Blommer4 (191 posts) -

I get that fairly often, though it rarely lasts for a long time. Sometimes, a game just goes horribly wrong for me, and my decisions and positions will make even the dumbest players chuckle/sigh. I've invested well over 1000 hours in the game, and I consider myself decent most of the time, but when a bad game like the one I described happens, then I just have to take a break so I don't mentally fall apart during the next game (Note: when I do something wrong I get fairly frustrated at myself, so if I keep playing I end up being so internally mad that I stop caring enough about the game)

#8 Posted by Sign (291 posts) -

This is going to be a harder issue for you to break through. It isn't a simple mechanical issue that you can just practice the motions. This comes down to intimate game knowledge and situational awareness. If you feel your mechanics are sound, then as someone above mentioned, spend more time focusing on the minimap and what the situation of the game is. Think about what the score is, what phase you are in, you should understand the composition of both teams is and how they interact. What the likely objective of each team will be and how to counteract that. Basically it needs to be second nature to look at the minimap, see that one player disappear, know that at this time he is likely to come ganking, or that this kill could be big (about to level and get a big ability etc) so that you can make those snap decisions in the moment.

The only way to do all that is practice practice practice. However, just practicing may not be enough, you may end up reinforcing the same bad habits or bad decision making. Make use of the replays. Watch the game as a spectator, pause it, move around the map. See what the situation was when you made a decision and think about whether it was the right one. If it wasn't, roll back the tape, pay attention to details that were available to you at the time leading up to that decision and see what you could have noticed that you didn't. Train yourself to pick up on those smaller cue's and clues so that when the heat is on next time you don't miss it and you don't repeat the same mistakes. If your decision making isn't as good as you think it is (it is easy to think you know enough), have a more experienced/better player act as a mentor. Ask them to watch the replay you evaluated and give their feedback. It may turn out to be completely different than you perceived it.

#9 Posted by squiDc00kiE (347 posts) -

@sign: Thanks for the advice. That seems to be the path I need to take.

#10 Posted by Slag (3897 posts) -

@squidc00kie:

I'm far from best DotA player anymore but one thing I've always found that helps me is to change my playstyle once in a while. Sometimes you can pick up a new technique from playing new heroes or even just playing a different style of build for heroes you main. If I have a hero that always kills me, I often go play it for awhile to see how other people kill me as that hero to get ideas.

fwiw when I'm playing support, I probably look at the minimap more than the regular screen (75/25) especially after the 6 minute mark or so. I really only look at the screen in team fights, ganks other than the periodic glance for last hits/denies. I find maintain map control through sight provided by wards, really helps with decisiveness. Probably the worst thing you can do is be inactive because you are afraid of where the other team might be, you always want to be getting farm somehow if you can.

As for regards to panicking, I think that's because you might be too mentally reliant on one plan. I try to keep my plans fluid with lots of contingencies. I assume my plan will breakdown or be countered nearly everytime and have adjustments in mind on how to handle the plan going bust. If you change your mindset (in that you expect the original plan to change instead of counting on it working) towards your plan I think you'll calm down and play better.

#11 Edited by AMonkey (116 posts) -

Sounds to me like you're just having bad games OP. I have my share of shitty games were I just feed and can't do anything right, then I'll have strings of success.

#12 Edited by project343 (2809 posts) -

@squidc00kie: I'm super bad at the game (just not enough play), but I think the problem is that you're too focused on the big screen where the action's happening, and need to spend more time looking at that minimap. You know the mechanics, you know the tendencies. Keeping an eye on that minimap and using it to determine your next play is paramount.

#13 Posted by Rowr (5474 posts) -

#14 Edited by Tarsier (1056 posts) -

@squidc00kie said:

So I've been playing Dota 2 for about 10 months now. I bought into the early access and have been playing it pretty much exclusively since then. However I'm having some trouble. I've hit a ceiling and I'm having trouble breaking through.

See I feel like my knowledge is not the problem. I can predict picks and lanes fairly accurately, my mechanics are sound, I'm well aware of timings and positioning (both hero and wards), and when I watch other people I can pick out issues with their play pretty quick. But recently my play has just been sloppy. Especially when I'm on my back foot. I start to get tunnel vision and my decision making falls apart. And this seems to be the difference between me and everyone better than me.

They can keep their head in the game with all their wits about them when mine fall apart. I'll go in a game with a plan, and the second the opponents disrupt that plan, I panic. I panic, I play worse. I play worse, we lose.

So my question to any Dota vets out there is this. Have you ever experienced this ceiling, and how did you break through it?

ive played with a lot of these people before.. stop taking it seriously.. play for fun. play with different people. youll find out how to adapt to new scenarios if you stop holding on so dearly to what you thought was going to happen.

also to the post above me: lol

#15 Posted by TobbRobb (4549 posts) -

Yeah it just sounds like you need to play more until the good and accurate predictions you do consciously now, turn into second nature. I'd imagine if you just pay more global attention of the map and try to find patterns over several games, you will eventually just know what people are doing and when, so its easier to make a counteraction plan.

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