MOBA games such as Dota 2, Smite, Arena of Valor, League of Legends, Heroes of the Storm, Vainglory, Valorant, Paladins, and so on are a different breed of games. It’s not easy to master them owing to the high number of variables in every game. Multiple characters, items, ability builds, and playstyles often complicate things a lot. It can easily take you 5-6 years just to become a decent player in many of these titles.
But what if you wanted to fast-track the process? Here are some practical tips that should help.
Muting when lower level
For: Players who think that the pub games are full of morons and bad players. Try it for 5 matches and see the improvement.
Typically, you should mute anyone who is griefing, being toxic, throwing the game, or harassing anyone in any way. More often than not, this disturbs your gameplay. All MOBAs provide a quick way to mute the text and voice of any player. Also, ban them forever if that’s possible.
Another good “hack” is to mute all chat. Completely. You get no messages at all. That might be an extreme scenario for many but for low-level players, it can be a boon.
Usually, lower-level players are stuck in low-skill brackets. Players with poor skills who play in these brackets tend to lash out and blame more than they act. This can easily trigger anyone. When you mute everyone, nobody can get on your nerves. What this does is allow you to focus on your own role in the game.
For example, imagine you’re supporting a player who’s very agitated about a small mishap that happened. And it’s not even your fault entirely. Now, their anger will only keep increasing. Your next mistake will make them even angrier. You’re the scapegoat. They have an answer for why their game failed or went terribly—You. Now their agitation makes you agitated. Then you make another mistake while trying to prove how good you are. And rinse and repeat.
This is a spiral.
Once you’re in the spiral, you’re always looking to defend yourself or pointing out mistakes in the other guy’s gameplay. None of these two things are worth your time, trust me. Both of these activities hold you back and keep you from focusing on the game and your role in it. If you have muted everyone by default, you don’t get tilted by such behavior.
You’ll even end up naturally helping the guy who is actually blaming you in chat (which you don’t see now), and that will be a better response to them.
They will shut up in time and understand their own mistake without you spending 1 minute of your thought on them.
This, of course, assumes that you’re not making bad mistakes or only small/honest mistakes. If you are making poor decisions then you will keep making them and not listening to raging feedback might actually do you more harm over the long run, making you play your game thinking you’re doing everything right.
Now, this is not something I recommend if you play without feeling any tilt or if you mostly get good teammates. And of course, if you’re in higher skill brackets, you need to communicate properly so muting everyone isn’t an option. But if you’re stuck, this can be a great experiment to try.
Cross-examining your replays
For: Players who believe their gameplay is better than others in their skill level, or at least it’s good, but still they can’t increase their rank. Watch replays of 2 of your recent bad games (you can skip the boring parts) and follow your hero, especially notice how you died each time.
I’m 100% sure somebody at some point has told you this. Maybe in an article, a video, a friend, or some pro player in an interview. If you have already done it a few times, great. Now, it’s time to do it much more often. If you’ve never done this, it’s time to start now.
Make it a habit of reviewing at least one bad game every day. You don’t have to watch it fully—Just notice the highlights and your own deaths. That’s it. No need to think what could’ve been better. No need to force yourself to come up with a plan for the next time. All of that will come naturally. Just rewatch.
There is always something new to learn.
There are many small details and minor mechanics that you have no idea about. MOBAs are vastly versatile and can possibly fill thousands of pages if someone were to cover every aspect and mechanic under every circumstance.
You can only become a better player (and reach a higher rank bracket) when you learn more of these small details and minor mechanics. There is no final list of these things. Some learn more advanced things earlier whereas others take a lot of time to even learn a basic mechanic well.
But your understanding evolves over time naturally. The more you play, the more you learn. So, if you seem to win a few games and then lose the next few to come back to where you started, it’s time to watch your replays. Watching your replays is the best way to understand these small details and mechanics. There is one more way—Watching streamers—Which we’ll discuss later.
Changing a blaming mentality
For: People who find themselves blaming their teammates for virtually every loss.
It’s very easy to get a fresh start today. You have a streak of bad games and you want to start playing a new character or role. Sometimes, you even want to make a new account because you believe you’re forced to be stuck in a particular trench bracket.
Though it’s very easy today, for example, decent LoL accounts can be purchased for as low as $1, you have to look inward and understand a golden truth:
It’s not always them. It’s very likely you, though.
As sad as it sounds, it’s very true in your case if you’re constantly blaming others or failing miserably in your games.
Even if you believe that you’re playing well and as expected, and it’s always some teammate or a few teammates ruining your game, then you need to take a step back and really introspect. A vast majority of MOBA players feel stuck. A large number of players blame others. Do you think all of them are doing things the right way? No.
Chances are, you’re not doing it correctly either. But if you don’t have an open mind about your own performance and if you fixate on others’ mistakes too much, it’s going to be very difficult to grow competitively in any kind of MOBA.
Friends over fools
For: Anyone who plays pub games a lot and rarely plays with any friends (real world or in-game). Try finding good players and setting up times to play together.
There are indeed times when your teammates are idiots. Playing with friends can make your experience much better, given they are not bad. There are many online communities that you can use to get started, like the Dota 2 subreddit’s official Discord server. You can easily find groups to play Dota here.
Similarly, nearly all popular MOBAs have Discord and Reddit communities that you can use. Also, send a friend request to anyone you think is playing well. When you have a balanced duo, trio, 4-man, or 5-man team, your strategizing will be significantly better, there will be fewer dumb mistakes and throws, and even the losses can be quite fun.
If you’re lucky, this can even become a team for local tournaments and who knows, maybe regional success too.
For: Players who believe they are doing everything the way they should, but are not playing with an objective mindset (What next? What’s the plan? Who’s the next target? When do we do X?). Try to focus on objectives from your next game and work objective-to-objective instead of running around doing what you feel like at that moment.
All MOBAs have objectives. It’s not just destroying towers and killing mobs. Objectives are more nuanced than that. Skirmishes, surprise ganks, eliminating a particular threat, planning a particular push, etc. help you take objectives and punish enemies for any mistakes they make.
A lot of players do what they feel like at the moment. This is the incorrect way to play MOBAs. Find out what the objectives in your MOBA look like. You can read some articles or watch some videos for that. And try to remember these objectives.
You’ll often find that the higher ranked a match is, the sooner it tends to finish. Lower-ranked games, on the other hand, can take twice as much time.
And even then when you compare the endgame score, you’ll find the gold or experience earned per player is pretty similar.
Well, low-rank players tend to waste a lot of time. They try to farm the map, for example, when an objective can be taken. They circle back for something just when their team has wiped out the enemy team. Or, they just waste their spells prematurely and can’t use their kit or combo when an objective needs those spells.
Know the objectives and rally people to do those objectives. It’s one of the best ways to ensure victory when the other team is not playing with objectives.
Build map awareness
For: People who don’t know when to go in or fall back. Also, players who are victims of surprise attacks or sneak attacks more than their teammates and have no clue what to do.
It’s okay to die to a gank. What’s not okay is to not expect it at all. Just because you’re safe on your side of the map doesn’t mean the enemies are on their side of the map.
Vision plays an important role in any MOBA’s map. If a part of the map is dark (fog of war) and you aren’t seeing other enemies on the minimap, then it’s not safe to assume that the enemy can’t be there.
Keep an eye on the minimap. Play around vision. And try to expect what the enemy will or can do and from where.
Another aspect of map awareness is responding. If your team is taking a fight and you’re a mile away getting your solo XP, then when your team loses, it’s also worse for you because now the enemies are better and the solo XP you earned is roughly useless.
Always see what’s happening on the map and try to respond as soon as possible. When you get good at responding in time, you will start to figure out the timings of these things. And then, soon afterward, you will even be able to predict when something can happen, so you can avoid it by responding sooner.
Communicate and be good
For: Players who are genuinely trying to improve their game and don’t blame teammates or don’t get bad teammates on average. Try to become sort of a team leader for a few games while being polite. Not all games, servers, and players are okay with being bossed around, but it doesn’t hurt to rally people and make them stick for valid reasons like pushing or objectives.
Good players thrive in lobbies where communication is good. You can use pings, text, or voice to guide the rhythm of the game. This is mainly done to take objectives, but can also be done to share ideas or provide feedback.
Beyond a point, it becomes impossible to have a better chance to win if the team doesn’t communicate. This is fine if neither team is communicating. But if your enemies are communicating properly, you are more likely to lose regardless of your draft or skills.
Don’t force your version of the game on others, however. You might think that avoiding fights is a good idea right now, but it just might not be the best one.
Watch streamers, not tips
For: Players who think they know all that there is to know in their bracket and now they are waiting to increase their rank, which just won’t happen. Try watching popular streamers on YouTube and Twitch daily and see your own game improve.
There are roughly two types of MOBA content online: Guide style and streams. Guide style content includes stuff like increasing your rank, top lists, tips, advice, strategies, etc. All of that is good but what’s even more important are streams.
You don’t have to watch the best streamers in the game. You don’t even have to limit yourself to streamers who have a relatable playstyle or position as you. You just have to watch some streamer.
Now, of course, it has to be a popular person. It’s sort of a sign that they are mechanically good. Streamers whose mechanics are poor more often than excellent are generally not popular.
So, find these people on Twitch and YouTube and watch their typical streams. Many streamers upload edited streams as normal videos which you can watch too. Basically, it has to be a full game by a popular MOBA player.
But why is this important?
- These people do things naturally that can take you months to realize. These small details and minor mechanics can be picked up easily by watching them repeatedly.
- You learn from their good moves and bad moves.
- All of their knowledge is reflected in their playstyle and your subconscious mind picks it up. Suddenly, you’re doing a lot more good things and making better decisions in your games without anyone telling you to.
- Helps you sleep at night as games are not very exciting all the time.
There are many kinds of streamers. Some like to keep it energetic with their screams and explanations whereas others focus on the game without speaking a word. Though it doesn’t matter what role or style they play, it does matter whether or not you like their presentation.
Try these tips and I’m sure your game is going to improve gradually. You might be looking for shortcuts or OP and broken mechanics to propel your rank, but sadly, that never pays off in the long run. The best way is to improve yourself. And that takes time. All of these tips here will help you improve significantly faster than normal.