When it comes to becoming decent at DOTA 2, a final factor that affects really any multiplayer game is commitment. I haven’t really seen many people observe how tough it’s gotten to stay committed to one game when there’s so much available in recent times. Maybe it’s just my problem.
Never before have I had so many good multiplayer games available to me at one time. I’d like to think it has something to do with this console generation’s craze for multiplayer, but it could also be that I own more contemporary hardware than ever. Whatever the reason, it used to be that I’d stick with one or two multiplayer games for several years and get fairly good at them, but today I find it tough to stick with one for more than a couple weeks.
Before the current console generation, I always had that one game that I’d play regularly for five years whenever any kind of multiplayer was organized in my house (maybe two games). First it was Street Fighter II with a healthy dose of Mortal Kombat II, then it was GoldenEye, then Super Smash Bros. Melee. These days I can’t really decide on one and just keep bouncing between Street Fighter IV, Team Fortress 2, Call of Duty, Soul Calibur, Gears of War 3, Left 4 Dead, and NeoTokyo. This has only made it harder for me to break into Counter-Strike and DOTA 2. But have there really never been so many really good multiplayer games available during one generation of hardware?
If it’s a personal problem with me, then it might be because this is the first console generation where I’ve owned pretty much all contemporary hardware available. Most of the time in the past I only owned Nintendo hardware, and after the SNES there were really only a handful of good multiplayer games to occupy my time. I didn’t have access to Halo or Tekken, and I didn’t own a computer that could run Quake, the original Counter-Strike, or StarCraft. GoldenEye and Melee were almost the only significant multiplayer games available to me on the N64 and Gamecube respectively.
Another personal reason could be the downfall of local multiplayer gaming these days as well as my adult life making local multiplayer almost no longer possible to organize. I played those aforementioned games all the time partly because my friends and family played them. Today, in any of these current gen games I can just find a server or find someone on matchmaking to play with practically any time I want.
If the issue is something more though, then I’d say that it is indeed some kind of oversaturation of multiplayer games. I’m not even just talking about all the games that uselessly throw in multiplayer to stop people from trading them in, but an oversaturation of actual good multiplayer games that could probably stand on their own were the market less crowded. Capcom has already admitted that the fighting game market is saturated right now. Maybe the problem is that none of them are truly exceptional games — that I can’t find one peerless enough to pull me away from all the others.
The hyper-iteration of multiplayer games on consoles, which I did a blog about a while ago, is definitely a factor in my opinion. If Activision hadn’t released five Call of Duty games since COD4, COD4 could very well still have been my main multiplayer game today. I even still think about reinstalling it sometimes.
Whether it’s just me or some larger market issues, in order to really become any good at a multiplayer game, you have to put some time into it in lieu of other games. You probably have to adopt it as your favorite game and as a personal pastime. This goes double for something as complex as DOTA, and whether or not I’ll actually stop sucking at that game probably depends on how much I end up liking it.
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