Geek Ink Thinks: Spending a lot of time doing something doesn’t automatically make you an expert


I was enjoying a game of DOTA2 tonight when a team-mate and his friends decided to rage at me over voice chat. One of the “insults” one of them flung in my direction was “I have more hours in this game than you’ll ever dream of!” He was not pleased when I pointed out that having hundreds of hours doesn’t automatically make him better at the game.

Since I kicked League of Legends to the curb, I’ve been spending a small amount of time with an old flame of mine, DOTA2. For the most part, the local community seems to have cleaned up its act and games have been very pleasant. However, there were three guys in a game tonight who decided to give me unnecessary grief (I can only assume they were friends because they constantly agreed with each other). I was very confused by this because they were attacking me despite the fact that we were winning quite handily.

Here’s some basic context as to why they were verbally abusing me. I was splitpushing as Windrunner (for my non-gaming readers, that’s where you go solo on another part of the map to try and create pressure and take objectives) since the rest of my team was grouping as four and quite consistently winning fights. Now three of the players didn’t like my strategy, despite the fact that they consistently came out ahead. I was pushing and getting towers, but every time one of them died they saw me “doing nothing” and decided to flame me. I eventually muted them all, but not before one player (I’ll call him flamer) decided to say to me “I have more hours than you’ll ever dream of.” That was when I pointed out that having hundreds of hours in the game doesn’t automatically make him good at it. He was not amused by this, so he proceeded to call me all sorts of nasty words and talk about how big his peni… I mean his score was, and how he was much better than me.

I decided after the game to see if flamer shared his game stats on DOTABUFF, and it turns out he did. It also turns out that he had played more than me. A lot more. While I had 225 DOTA2 games in total, my dear flamer had 3719. Of course flamer must be correct in assuming that a player with thousands of hours of experience would be much better than a player with only a couple of hundred right? 

Here’s a small quote from the DOTA2 gamepedia, which highlights an important fact that flamer seemed to miss:

The system does not directly try to achieve any particular win rate for players. However, it does try to ensure that each team has a 50% chance of winning by matching players of similar skill against each other.

So my dear flamer, on the off chance that you read this, I’d just like to say that maybe you’d like to reassess your theory that all the hours you’ve spent makes you better at the game, because from where I stand, you’ve wasted 3494 games worth of your life.


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