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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Get the fuck in there

Dota in many ways is a game of chicken.  Spells in dota are powerful, and a mistake can be very costly, so everyone tries to stay within their comfort zone and not try to venture into uncertainties.

You weren't always like this.  When you were new to the game, you were fearless.  Largely because you had little to know to even fear, but fearless.  As you develop a better understanding of the game, of what heroes do and their spell set look like, you've become more respectful of what the enemy is capable of.  Thus the chickening.  This makes many play scared, often choosing to play passive, farm based and without pressure.  


Just run at them and press buttons

It was what now foregone (though not forgotten.... nor dead) Broodstar had told not just me, but everyone he encountered.  He wasn't best at articulating all that he meant by saying that, nor did he give a shit to explain at all.  But the message was there and clear; stop being so damn scared all the time, get the fuck in there and press your spells.

This one time, he did something interesting to demonstrate the power of run at shit, though I imagine education wasn't top of his priority list, but to expose awful players for his own amusement.  He ran the fuck in and pressed no buttons.  

And this sounds total bullshit I know, but dota was a different game back then when the cores were much stronger, and the difference between pos4 and pos5 is that pos4 had forcestaff only in a winning game (so you pretty much had two 5s).  An edge a player had back then was much bigger.  Your respect for players like Brood was massive because he had ~80% winrate in IHL before the days of ranked matchmaking.  When he ran at you, your butt clenched and knew something bad would happen.  Except, this time, it sort of didn't.  He ran at you, you would freak out and do a bunch of clowny shit, he'd back out and everyone would get a hearty fuckin' laugh.  

What he showed me then was very powerful.  You see, every player has their comfort zone in varying degree.  When you enter a player's red zone, they tend to freak out and is susceptible to making mistakes.  And you want to be the kind of player that can draw out mistakes from the opponent.  To do so, you must take risks, as without it, there is no reward.  

If you ever feel a bit stuck in dota.  You can do this experiment yourself.  Try running in, and run in a little deeper than you usually do before casting a spell.  This works best when you are the aggressor and have an upper hand.  See what difference a 150 range make when you move in a bit more further in than you would normally.  To both you and the enemy, this is an uncharted territory.  You would never know what would happen really, until you do it.  

It has some other elements too.  In dota, you don't always have time to communicate ac action.  As they say, it's a game of milliseconds.  But you don't really need to say anything if everyone just runs in and press buttons.  We let our actions do the talking.   

Here's an example.  I'm a fat TA and you are ES.  We see a full HP, low level SD.  I can three shot him, but he may disrupt me after 2 hits.  So our goal is simple, I go in and do my deed, and you stun.  As soon as we see a vulnerable SD, all of this should be instantaneous.  We don't have time to put on our top hat and monocle and discuss the plan of attack.  I go the fuck in.  And so should you.


don't be a leo guys, commit!!
oh god its a suicide joke how classless..


Brood operated on doing something that is right even if the others didn't see it.  And when others failed to comply, he would then flame.  He wasn't friendly by any means, but he pushed you to play better to his expectations and standards.  This is also why so many pros are bitter all the time playing a pub, because the game does not work if we don't take a leap of faith.  And we take countless leaps all the time, only to be returned with nothing but the comforting air and a hard fall on your ass.  So run in friends, and press buttons.

You see, we are scared.  All the time, we are just scared about everything.  Scared of making mistakes.  Scared that we may get flamed for our mistakes.  Scared that we may lose because of our mistakes.  Somewhere along the line, you've lost your sense of adventure, as fear and comfort has overtaken you in the game that you've become so accustomed to.  You decide to go jungle instead of pushing that extra wave because you are afraid of getting ganked.  But you don't realize that you should risk the gank because A) it's direct pressure, as someone must react to this push and B) if they do make a move and fail, it's space.  There's too much respect.  Let them prove to you that they are deserving of such respect and adjust accordingly.  


So get into spots

You might be pretty good at Antimage.  But Arteezy is better than you at AM, and that's because he's made more mistake than you have.  It is through his meaningful experience of the hero that he knows his boundaries more.  It's like entering a dark cave with no lights, whereas you might have only wandered within 20 feet of your original position and crawling up in a fetal position, he has ventured further and touched every corner of this cave.  In the process, he ran into a stalagmite, stumped his foot on a rock, and got ganked by zubats even.  But in the end, he has a better sense of what the cave looks like than you do. 

If someone is good at a hero.  It means largely two things.  First, he knows his success scenario, and how to replicate it.  Secondly, he knows his boundaries far better than others.  He knows how to put himself in spots where others would be uncertain about, and know how to come out ahead in those spots.  I see this all the time.  

Just the other day, I saw Badman on Morph call to end the game.  I wasn't certain of what he saw, and thought we should back.  But he was right, and we highwayed through mid and ended the game.  This other time, I saw Kotaro (aka Minoz) Storm diving this Invoker with full HP and raindrops from a far distance.  I didn't see a kill, but apparently he did (https://a.pomf.cat/kutxkq.mp4).  Hell, I've seen this clip many times and I still have a hard time seeing this.  I just don't know the hero well enough.

One shouldn't confuse discipline with bad play.  When you don't go for a play, is it because you are being safe, or is it because you don't know what would happen.  Why don't you know.  Can you know?  Should you know?

we r 6 and they r 3 lets run at them, wat culd go wrong??

Don't avoid spots.  You should experiment and put yourself in weird, interesting spots.  That's how you map out the boundaries of a hero.  Now that you have learned what the opponents are capable of.  It's time to be brave.  Rest in peace Ned "ボロ ボロ" Stark.

Monday, November 2, 2015

No, you are not helping.

This is an entry about how risky it is to commit to a spell on impulse.  Whatever the initial value it might have offered, it just ends up sucking.  I will explore four different scenarios:


Support Mirana taking leap to avoid being firstblooded
This can happen at times when Mirana is choosing to go uphill to ward before creeps spawn, or just getting randomly gone on by 5 peopled that smoked into your jungle.  Whatever the scenario is, it will often catch the Mirana offguard, and the player may choose to skill up leap and attempt to get away.

The trouble here is that when Mirana is chosen to be played as a support, her strength lies in offmap presence and stacking.  But now she can no longer effectively abuse this playstyle, and even if she hits lvl2 from pulls, that's a lot of valuable time wasted, and absence of pressure she would apply otherwise to applicable lanes.

In a more competitive setting, this can be detrimental because your entire early game to mid game transition may be based on the presence of arrow.  The first 3 waves are incredibly important in mid matchups, and Mirana's offmap presence might be everything in deciding the fate of your mid.  If that was the game plan all along, and it was stopped by a split second panic decision, then "it was either that or give them fb dude" is not good enough.  Sometimes, you have no good options, just an option that is better than the other.  And that might have been choosing to die instead of leveling leap.  It's just one death, instead of your entire early game.


Enigma to take midnight pulse for level 1 clash
Depending on the outcome of the level 1 clash, it can be very damaging or not.  You have to consider why Enigma was picked.  Is it because this hero can hit lvl6 in 5min in the jungle, or do we feel that even without that asset of the hero, it would still accomplish its job?  Opposing team might feel that with Enigma on the other side, the runes are no contest.  And maybe you want to surprise them.  Either way, the choice to level up midnight pulse or not at lvl1 is a very deliberate one, and you should be clear as to why you are doing this.

If you want to avoid variance, you could just not do it.  In the least, that won't hurt the team.


Earthshaker to enchant totem for courier snipe 
Context matters here a lot, but the later the courier snipe is, the more damaging this becomes because that would mean Earthshaker lvl1 with little to no experience at 2min.  He will struggle to find lvl2 and that also means he'll be missing stack timings.  Yes, the courier snipe gives more gold, but stacks give more experience.  And experience matter a lot in the early-mid game.  It's not that bad as long as you get fissure ASAP, but it can definitely turn out less than optimal in a lot of cases.


Skywrath to take slow for firstblood
In my opinion, much of Skywrath's strength comes from his powerful laning presence through spammable nuke, fast movement speed and 600 range right clicks.  Blinded by firstblood, one may choose to skill up slow over nuke, and find himself in a tough spot during laning phase, struggling to keep their offlaner in check.

Obviously, at the cost of firstblood, slow over nuke may not be the biggest deal, and might end up in a weird place where both sides are decently happy with the outcome.  The lesson here is that it's not so simple as securing firstblood, that depending on the context of the game, a tighter grip on safelane may be more meaningful.

This one is tougher because your allies may be super discontent with "missing" the firstblood, and they may cancer up.  But then your lane partner will be annoyed that you lost all your lane competitiveness had you taken the firstblood, and not willing to reason.  Don't pick Sky is the answer I think, GG!


In closing..
A lot of these choices do not have end up bad, especially in a competitive setting where you have more control over your environment.  As long as the players are incredibly self-aware of the situation, they can make recoveries through proper channels (eg. funneling solo exp to Mirana so that she may get her arrow ASAP).  At which point, the damage can be minimal and in turn, amplifies the reward that was achieved earlier.

Still, usually, these rewards are often not worth the hassle most of the time.  DON'T DO IT GUYS!!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Pub Experience: North America

This is a follow up to my entry about Chinese and SEA pub scene.

China is really cutthroat.  The competition is fierce every game, winning is everything and it's all about abusing broken things.  It's survival of the fittest at its purest form.  NA is quite far from that, and they shun that, even.  Winning is important but it certainly doesn't justify making the game uninteresting for people.  You have the freedom to pick whatever and play it however without too much trouble, which can feel quite liberating.  This results in softer games since "weaker" heroes are being picked but also gets the gears moving for the next new thing.

Peruvians are not as a big problem as I was foretold.  They're there, but they're either harmless or just as harmful as any other English speakers.  What is harmful however is the general attitude towards the non-English speakers.  They become an easy scapegoat for everything terrible.  I'd advocate region lock, but that's probably not a real solution when you consider the reason why they're in NA servers in the first place.  SA servers are likely not very populated.  This rather unfortunate dynamic between English speakers and non-English speakers in NA remind me a lot of SEA, except across like ten different nations for ammunition.

High rated games are more common in NA and that's fun.  These are pretty good in SEA when it happens too, although very rare.  I've had four consecutive 6k games in a row the other night and that was the most enjoyable pub experience I've had in years.  People at higher MMR tends to understand the need to work together and create a non-acidic environment.

The most distasteful thing in NA are the brats.  I definitely feel like NA has the worst snobby and entitled brats.  They're sort of everywhere in the lower 5k and below, threshing around, flaunting their mediocrity and making sure everyone know how much they don't care about the game they spend more than 40hrs/week playing, and fiending social media related to dota.  You see some brats in upper brackets too, often accompanied by item breaking.  I've never seen so much item breakage until NA.  That shit's new too.  I mean, that was never a thing in NA two years ago.  It's so brutal that it's comical.  It's like the ultimate grief.  Whenever you get in an argument with your teammate and you just break your fuckin items, gg son GG.  You can't top that.  He just displayed zero interest in winning the game and made that a reality.  Whatever glimmer of hope you had of winning is gone.  Feeding on purpose?  You get bored of feeding.  To rez, to run down a lane, rinse repeat, that's a lot of work!  Instead, you walk down a lane and display your item breakage to the world, you let both sides know wassup.  It boosts the other team's morale and does the polar opposite to yours and you just GGAFK SON.  God... fucking dicks LOL...

Well, all in all, it's certainly a lot more pleasant than SEA despite sharing a lot of similarities.  I find myself focusing more on the game rather than playing politics to keep the team functional.  It's been a positive experience.  FPL's been more active lately, which robs all the 6k players from MM pool.  But then there's FPL, which is cool.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Pub Experience: SEA

This is a follow up of my pub experience in China.  Which is a little outdated already, but most of the core values are still the same.  China naturally evolves to abuse the easiest and most effective method of beating the game.

SEA is a bit different.  Reddit will have you believe that SEA is the worst region by far, and while there it is sensationalized, much of it is also true.  And I've experience hundreds of games on KR, USE, USW, China, and EU.W.  SEA certainly stands out as an exceptionally awful place.  Which is kind of sad in a way because for people born in SEA, it's all they have.  But maybe I think worse of this because I've had taste of the better?

Let's start with the goods:


The times when the games are good, they're good
It doesn't happen often, but when everyone's pleasant, the game experience is really good.  Sometimes I get lucky and get two in a row.


Games are softer, and thus it's easier to carry with certain heroes
Which are often mid heroes.  SEA meepos are world class, there are a lot of MMR boosters that wants quick MMR and that really paved the way for strong meepos.  The problem is that people are prone to throw, but if you are playing the right hero strong enough, they tend to get the job done.  Yeah, I don't know if this is a good thing or not now that I've written it.


I don't know what else is good about SEA.  Honestly, there are a lot of great guys that play there.  It's just greatly overshadowed by all the awful things...  Sorry.  Here goes the bad parts:


Low Skill
Objectively speaking, SEA is most definitely low skill compared to China.  Players do not press their buttons as competently, they do not make sharp rotations as the Chinese, and are just about every way inferior to Chinese players.  Which isn't that weird because the Chinese are honestly pretty pwnage but kind of sad because they have a bigger playerbase than China.

A lot of SEA pros choose to play in China servers too.


Attitude
It's like the one-two punch along with low skill, and perhaps not mutually exclusive.  This one is hard to explain because which region doesn't have players with attitude.  I suppose when I say attitude, what I really mean is the core mentality that plague SEA altogether.  I'd say it's a crab mentality... on crack.

If there's any blood shed at bounty runes, you are about to get a refreshing splash of SEA acid.  If the same were to happen at China, and it happens all the goddamn time in China, no one even bats an eye.  Except for that one Chinese guy who is perpetually mad but he's rare.  In SEA, it's like every game without fail someone will try their hardest to cancer the game up.

The thing about bad attitude is that it is contagious.  I fall prey to this just as anyone else, and I was often the primary offender myself at a time.  It starts putting people in a mood where they no longer care about winning because really, fuck that guy.  Most days, I persevere and try to stay above the acid.  The days I cannot, I succumb to it and flail about the ocean of acid haplessly as anyone else.  


Ego: "don't blame"
Perhaps the root of all evils.  One common trait I feel often about SEA players is their complete and absolute lack of humility.  It's always "don't act pro" or "don't blame" or like listing your previous mistakes and slander you at every petty opportunity.  It's an ugly, ugly trait.  It's a struggle to get any message across because everyone's so sensitive and they take offense to everything.

"Don't blame" phenomena is quite enraging.  I think what people meant to say were, "let's not dwell on mistakes and focus on the game", but it is very much so used in a literal sense and I can't see why but to protect people's precious ego when they're fucking shit up everywhere.

I don't know why blaming has such a bad rep.  Someone must be fucking up to be losing fights repeatedly when you are leading 10k gold/xp, and that person better know what's up because we don't want to lose the game.  But no one wants to own up to mistakes and it gets thrown around like some sort of a social statement to shut everyone up.  This isn't some no means no to rape, I just want you to stay back on dazzle so we don't lose a teamfight!

This whole "don't blame" is the epitome of a SEA mentality.


Aftermath
Perhaps the worst part for me when playing in SEA is that I start hating everyone.  This is irrational because not everyone is a contributing factor to bad games but because the negativity is so fierce and so persistent game after game, that it starts to acidify me.  I get really tired of convincing my team to calm down all the time, mute another, and giving them directives to focus on the game so that aren't further muddying the waters.  I shit you not, every game really is like this.


Are some nations worse than other
Probably not.  Majority of SEA playerbase is supposed to be pinoys and they're mostly okay in my experience.  English isn't really a problem either.  Everyone speaks enough English to play dota.

You get occasional Aussies and they're often really bad.  Their MMR doesn't really reflect properly to other regions because of poor population, but they're generally such nice people that it's hard to even get mad at them.

Indians get bad rep too, but I don't meet them often.  The ones I do are often leaderboard players and they're cool.

Boosters
MMR boosters and boosted accounts are bit of a problem.  In fact, most of the players above 5500 are pleasant to play with.  And when some are really terrible, I suspect that they're actually account buyers.  I think MMR boosting is quite real in SEA.  When I go to sites that sell MMR boosting, most of them seem to be from SEA.  A lot of pros and semi-pros partake in it shamelessly, I dislike the culture.  Viets are real ham with meepos.  You see a player and his name is Viet with like funny ass alphabets and shit then you better get ready to fight a dope ass meepo.


In closing...
I seriously didn't think this entry would end up with so much negative things to say about SEA server.  I must say, a lot of the good does exist and there are fun games.  It's just... they don't happen often..  I guess the bad sticks out like a thorn.  Below are list of funny/sad captures of SEA, made months ago in span of two days.  Not much has changed, and you can have a taste of how bad it can get.  I stopped making these after the second day because I felt kinda sad and unnecessarily vindictive about it.

















Saturday, May 16, 2015

Necrobook Zeus

For a while now, I've begun to realize that dota is no longer a game where you can make sense of things by running rough sims through your mind.  And perhaps it never really was, maybe it was that years and years ago, we were just all terrible and was never able to grasp its real depth.  No way to know really, since dota five years ago and now are arguably a different game in many ways.

But seeing players like Attacker! innovating a hero that had largely been the same for years is quite astonishing to see.  In Kunkka's case, it wasn't so much the new build Attacker! had introduced, but the play capabilities.  Kunkka had always had the ability to do this, why is it now that only now am I able to witness this.


seems i can't embed youtube with timestamp, ass.
go to 50:18 to witness next level
who does that indeed

Juggernaut is interesting.  Again, a hero that has largely been the same hero for years.  And only recently have we discovered the magic of phase, aquila, mask of madness and yasha.  Okay, so back then, you didn't have aquila, but back then, we also had much less appreciation of yasha too.  A lot of things were indeed different, but if we were to adapt this playstyle, go back in time and apply it during those days, would it really not work?

Innovation is harder in today's game where many concepts are more ironed out than before, and weakly constructed theorycrafts are easily demolished (do we really need to afk jungle the Necro to see if it's viable guys..).  Players have gotten better, it's hard to try and innovate what Phantom Assassin is capable of, when players counterpick Broodmother.  You just got robbed of your safelane, and maybe that already marks an end for whatever you were attempting that game.  And my 25 points you TWAT.

But this is only half true.

Game is constantly changing, new items, buffs & nerfs, shifting hero pool in meta, players getting better all give new leads to innovation.  For all we know, there's so much more to discover about the game than what we can perceive.  And it could just as well take a very small change that makes all the difference.  Be it an attitude towards a hero, item, or even playstyle.  Naga going radiance isn't anything new, but Naga doing what she does now with radiance is certainly new.  but do u rly need to pick terrorblade and go armlet shadowblade to ult enemy support youFUCKINCUNT.

Now is an exciting time for dota, newly revitalized with assortment of new items and buffs, there's a lot of fun things to try out.  The best kinds of innovation are the broken ones.  In dota, you normally itemize with balance of both offense and defense as a lot of items offer both.  But sometimes, you can itemize towards pure offense, and it's so strong that it sort of breaks all the formerly established rules of the game.  When I first saw Juggernaut's glass cannon build, it was hilarious because no one in the game was prepared to deal with over the top damage output of Jugg.  This hero has like 1000hp with MoM on, and everything in its way just melted.

So basically, when Dubu tells me that necrobook Zeus is awesome possum, I should refrain from slapping him, because maybe it's really good.  Fuck, I haven't tried it so I can't know.  Dota's a complex game, and I know fuckall.



just kiddin tho imma slap dubu.  #weallslapdubu

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Ridiculous

This is sort of a response to Meracle being upset with team Malaysia.  You can read about it here.  Now, I don't know what exactly happened in the lobby and what sort of tasteless things were said between the teams.  But I got a little upset reading Meracle's posts, and how people on fb and reddit are cheering his crusade.  I realize the people don't actually care, and Meracle's an easy player to like from fans' perspective, and most of us that know more will choose to shut our mouths because we don't want to succumb to drama.  Because that's what it's really about, isn't it; drama.  

But I do want to explore why I feel disappointed about this whole ordeal.  I don't really care for my opinion being heard, because otherwise I'd just post this on his facebook.  But yeah, fuck that.  No one reads any of the shit here anyway.

Here's his quote for reference:

TIL it's shit trying to make friends with your competitors. I admit I may be unprofessional but holy fuck people don't have to keep whining to the tournament admins as if they are your god damn savior or something. Do you fucking think I don't have to wait 30mins as well when somebody in my team doesn't join the fucking game?

I'm fine with being disqualified for being late by admins and all that's fine. I just can't stand my opponents being a bunch of whiners. It's one thing to be professional and another to be a complete dick.

Continue being stuck-up and sticking to your "oh-so-professional" shit that I'm not buying. You just gave me a new found motivation to make sure you are never going to TI this year if we do meet in the qualifiers.

So, he's obviously upset.  Maybe some unnecessary things were said in the lobby, but it is as if he doesn't realize that he, being part of 5eva, is wasting team Malaysia's time.  While waiting is frustrating to Meracle as it is to everyone else, he is still waiting for his teammate to arrive.  He must share the responsibility of his team, and tank the humility when your teammate is late.  We are all human, and it's possible that people get upset when your teammate does not show up on time everyone had agreed to days before.  

Here's my anecdote: 

I've recently played against 5eva, and they're a great bunch.  In fact, we've played recently and our last three games against them had been a loss (Corsair Cup & Joindota MLG).  But I can't quite say that it's a pleasant experience playing them due to their persistent nature of being late.

In our last match against them, they were not 30min late, but over 40min late.  IIRC, we even had to rehost the lobby after starting because their 5th just arrived home (replacing the standin).  And during the match, we paused for another 20min where one of his teammates were supposedly ddos'd.  We were a gentlemen through all this nonsense, didn't present a single complaint nor did we say anything at all.  Because you know, naturally, beyond the whole professional attitude or whatever, we don't want to be shitty people.  Also, I'm much more sane and mannered in matches than when I'm being tormented in matchmaking. 


This response from Meracle did annoy us a little.  What's with this cunty passive aggressive attitude.  None of us implied anything stupid to happen (such as 4v5), and perhaps waiting was indeed the wisest decision.  I just wanted the admin to take control of the situation and make a verdict.  Which is something I am very weary of, as SEA admins are very passive (shit, the admins said nothing the whole time we were waiting and we didn't fuss).  There's really no need to be a dick about it.

This whole thing about being a dick in regards to team MY:  I think in some ways, being a professional means you should actively complain and correct the wrong.  Because Malaysia is definitely a team with reputation and influence to change what's broken in SEA, especially regarding the tourney culture.  If that appears dick-ish, perhaps you should try not being late.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Pub Experience: China

The pub culture of dota seem to vary from region to region.  Different heroes, different playstyles and even different atmosphere.  In this entry, we'll look at some of the things I've observed from Chinese pub scene, the Perfect World.


Graphical illustrations of seasoned Perfect World players ready to play some dotes

The pub culture of China is hands down the most brutal, ruthless shit I have ever seen.  It's basically dota set in the universe of Fist of the North Star.  First thing you will notice is that there is no safelane.  In fact, you will soon realize that there is absolutely nothing safe about the Chinese pubs.  First pick is Juggernaut, and second pick is Axe like clockwork every game.  Third is often a Silencer, and it really varies what sort of an early game Silencer will have.  It can be miserable, and it can be okay.  It larges depends on who is accompanying Axe to his lane.  Often times, it's strong enough to crush your Juggernaut safelane (who - oddly - will go to safelane to his demise every game).  Instead of picking two strong supports that can contest the Axe dual lane, they return the favour by picking something that would crush the enemy safelane as well.  The games are almost always four cores, if not even five cores at times.  Couriers are bought (most of the times anyway..), and maybe even the first set of wards.  Everything after however is at your own, personal discretion.  A walking courier at 14min into the game in China is not unheard of, let alone a pitch dark map with five cores all competing for farm and space.  There are many Earth Spirits and sometimes even roaming Dooms that randomly show up behind your tower from lvl1 with nothing but Centaur stomp, and kill you, leaving you terrified of what had just taken place.

Get the picture yet?  It's a goddamn horror house.  And yet, barring these ... cultural differences, the quality of games can be quite impressive.


Why is it like this?

It's Darwinian as shit.

The trend of fucking up enemy safelane seem a deep rooted tradition in Chinese pubs.  Perhaps the idea is that if the enemy safelane has an easy lane, your chance of losing skyrockets so why do that.  Instead of playing like gentlemen, trading farm and making your move starting midgame, the Chinese don't give a fuck and will fuck your shit up starting minute fucking zero, and everyone ends up at mid lane by 5min regardless of picks.

Picking your traditional supports is not a solution either.  Take Skywrath for an example, a great solo support, great at zoning and is capable of playing a hobo ass 5 role while staying relevant.  That is, if it ain't the Perfect fuckin World.  You are not going to have a great time when Batrider and Axe comes to your lane, with Earth Shaker occasionally dropping by to say fuck you.  Even if you do get past the laning phase in one piece, a Skywrath who's buying supportives will most certainly struggle against four cores from midgame onward.  Because of this, China has a very limited pool of support heroes that can be successful.  They have to meet certain conditions:

A) Combat the presence of Silencer throughout the game
B) Press their buttons from fullscreen away because how else are you going to fight four cores that are looking to fondle your ass
C) Basically a pick a core pretending to be a support

This often means Zeus, Silencer himself, Earth Shaker, Omni, Earth Spirit, Dazzle etc.

As you can imagine, buying supportives on these heroes may not be the most realistic thing to do because you need to get strong enough to combat four cores at 40min into the game.  You might just need a BKB, in which case all your gold is going towards a BKB.  And because you also have four layers of fatcores, a little damage here and there that come of shitty vision or unupgraded courier is not as a big deal either.


Skill & Heart

Players are generally better.  I mean, you are always going to be disappointed in some ways, but you are going to be impressed at how good players are just as well.  The general button pressing abilities of players are very high.  Players are really HAM too, they just go the fuck in.  And since every game has so many cores, being down a rax or two rarely seem to bother anyone.  When you have 10 cores running amok, the game is on until the throne blows up.

I also find that players are much better at late game fights than other regions I've experienced.  When the game is like 60min, and even supports have sheeps, blink and bkbs, the game gets funny because everyone has so much options.  The teamfights will have several pages of action, beyond the scope of "Tide blink ravaged and we all pressed our buttons and the fight was over".  It comes to a point where it's very hard to imagine how the teamfight will and should go.  In these moments, you rely on your instincts and try to come out in one piece.

PW players seem very comfortable playing these ultra late game scenarios, and often make sure to itemize correctly for these situations.


Every man for themselves

Players are about winning, but they rarely do the little things that makes the game run smoother.  So, if you are used to that, you are going to have a sour experience in Perfect World.  Chinese pub culture is really not about that, or at least, it manifests in a very different way.

For example, if someone on your team picks Earth Spirit to shit on the enemy SF, he's ganking your lane because that's what will yield most success for him.  But he won't buy wards for you to be safe from ganks or up chick in time for you to bottlecrow when runes are contested.  Instead, he'll sit behind you and countergank the imminent aggression, and take your lane when you have to go back to base because again, that's what's going to yield most success for him rather you die or not.

When accustomed to the comfortable life of vision and stacked camps, the pub life in China can quickly become hell for you.  But the mission to win the game remains the same regardless of region, and you still have to find a way to be successful.  Which brings us to our next chapter.


Don't die


Dota in China is a brutal, savage thing.  Not dying alone can come a great challenge.





The clip above is a highlight of a very high rated game in China.  Our mid player (Roddgeee) happened to be in this game and Jubei and I got to watch it live.  What you do not see in this clip is how crazy lame Maybe's SF plays mid versus June's QoP.  To summarize, Maybe got firstblooded before creeps spawned, and June purchased an extra nulls with this.  If you know anything about this matchup, you would know that there come a time where SF is so rolled that he loses all competitiveness in the lane.  Even showing a glimpse of his face in the lane would mean his death.  Well, it certainly came to that point, especially with Earth Spirit nearly camping mid.  Except, Maybe didn't feed over and over (I would have, and have had fed like shit in that same scenario).

Maybe got zero help.  He had so little to do that he just casually walked back to base to refill his bottle at one point.  He spent majority of his time hiding from the aggression of QoP and Earth Spirit, even if that had meant zero experience.  I think at one point, the QoP was lvl 9 when SF was 5.

But what he did was control what runes he can, and try his hardest to not die to minimize QoP's snowball.  Just weathered the storm that was his lane.  As time went by, his teammates got stronger, especially because the enemy Earth Spirit was camping mid fruitlessly, and they were able to have good midgame fights which allowed him to recover.

The takeaway here is that you will undoubtedly have really rough lanes like all the time, especially as safelane or mid.  But since the general skill level is higher and you have many cores to fall back on, your growth is not the most important thing.  Also remember that their safelane is (likely) suffering too.  As long as you make sure that you aren't causing the game to be more difficult than it needs to be (ie. feeding), you'll eventually have the time to catch up.



Attitude in general

Players seem really chill most of the time.  I mean, not always, there's always that one guy who seem angry in perpetuity.  But otherwise, no one really ever says anything.  You will come to witness really odd laning choices and no one bats an eye.  There's always a bloodbath for bounty runes and no one seem to care of the outcome.

I also feel that there's a lot of friendly and meaningful communication towards winning.  People do cuss, but it's sort of like "ahh fuck!" kind of thing (wo cao!).  I don't really understand the language so I can't judge.  Maybe it's a blessing, so I don't get to hear all the intricate flaming that is beyond the scope of the word "shabi" or "malakabi".


Trends that are unique to China

One thing that's interesting in China is that there's really no "junglers".  In SEA, or maybe even in NA, there's often that person who choose to be useless for first 10-15min of the game.  Jungle for China is like a place you sort of stay to occupy yourself when you are not running at the opponent heroes, which is mostly at every moment of the game.  I shit you not, I've never seen a single player AFK jungle in Perfect World.

I feel like there's like a public forum (like Reddit), where people popularize certain thoughts and concepts about the game, where literally everyone just plays it like that.

I remember when Ember's shield became dispellable, literally every Invoker I encountered without fail went quas/wex and tornado'd off the shield starting the very first day of the patch.  Similarly, if anyone picks SF, QoP is counterpicked right away.  I see a lot more Sniper vs. SF as well since that was a popular matchup during the DAC.  Trends and flavours are very noticeable in Chinese pubs.

Shadowblade is also very popular.  I suppose it's partly due to the general lack of vision that's available throughout the game, and it's just a very good snowballing item while keeping the other team restricted when farming.  It's bought by like every hero imaginable.



In closing..

China's games are definitely more high skill.  That being said, I'm not a big fan of their meta, it's very un-fun for me.  Supporting is no fun due to small pool of viable supports, and I find most of these heroes rather boring to play.  Mid is stressful due to every living thing running at you as if you bear the mark of Cain, and on top of that, you have to supply your own everything.  Safelane is basically the new suicide, which can feel very hapless at times when the game is just over before you can do anything, which is odd since your lane is supposed to be the hard one, how come everyone's losing elsewhere?  Offlane is secretly the new safelane, and it's probably the lane with the most room for creativity, but you have to make sure you can combat Jugg or Slark.

While I wouldn't say the metagame is stagnant, there's always same pool of heroes in every game.  If you were to judge the number of heroes exist in dota only by the Chinese pubs, the count would not exceed 30 heroes, and even that may be a stretch.  So, it gets boring.  I sort of agree when someone says ranked matchmaking should only be CM (or... even RD?).

Still, if you can get past all these things, with your average personal skill level being so high, you can find some good games in Perfect World.