Getting better in dota 2 is a wide, wide subject and the purpose of this guide is to open the subject up and break it down to categories that I think together make a “good” player and everyone can train themselves on.
Category 1, Mechanics
Now everyone knows that when you get better naturally your mechanical skills improve. In this category I talk about last hitting, skill using the correct way like landing fissures with earthshaker, hitting all the hotkeys for items in the correct time such as mek and BKB. All this mechanical skill improves through time, sure you can get hints of progames and prostreams that when someone there shows you how you can use bkb to the maximum effect by popping it the right time or how does someone land big stuns as lion.
In the end all this mechanical skill comes by training and playing a lot. I know I’m far faster and better with reactiontime and skill using than I was a year ago. What I’m just trying to say that all this is just a part of dota 2 and when a player learns more and more of the mechanical skills related to a hero the less time a player haves to think about doing them and it leaves more time for other things to worry about like game reading, map awareness and with this we get to the second category:
Category 2, Game sense
Now when I mean game sense I mean it together with map awareness, timings and the ability to read the game. When a player gets more and more improved with the mechanical side of the hero, for example when there isn’t very much to think about executing on a hero like earthshaker then the player can start to read the game more and more.
With reading the game I mean predicting enemy movements, with time you start to see more and more patterns that you can see even before they happen, such as incoming ganks onto your midlane or carry because you know that when you face an aggressive lineup with 1-2 supports ready to rotate for a gank you start to prepare yourself for it by alerting teammates, staying behind them in the FOG ready to countergank or generally just watching the minimap and keeping a TP ready.
This is an area in dota 2 I personally like to analyze and keep in mind when I’m trying my best to win that what decisions I made, could I have been faster with some rotations and all that.
Category 3, Decision making
Now this area is very much tied to game sense since players make most of their ingame decisions by reading the game. This area covers how people build their heroes with skills and items, this too is improved only by experience since only knowing stuff in theory doesn’t really always go the way usually planned. Though I do think knowing some theory behind certain builds is solid to know what you want to try to learn such as watching guides and streams for tips but in the end experience is what counts.
Category 4, Attitude, behavior and mental strength
Now in this category I talk about the human behind the player and how attitude of ourselves and others affect the outcome of the game. Good players tend to be better in managing their emotions and attitude because of their vast experience in dota 2 lets them know that rage is useless and there is always a way to come back even after a bad start.
This is an area for myself that I lack the most in my play, I get way too caught up with winning and losing is not an option. But nevertheless I still want to be good and play on a high level so knowing and understanding the psychology behind the frustration and anger is important. I know that a year ago I was a lot weaker than I am now when it comes to the mental side of the game but still I find myself being a weak mental player when I play at the wrong time and what I noticed is that in fact the stuff you do outside of dota 2 affects a lot what goes through your head in dota 2, what I’m trying to say here is that keeping yourself healthy and well rested goes a long way in the game.
Category 5, Communication
This is very tied with mental strength that how do you express yourself during the game. For example if a player starts to flame the team due to bad early game the result will most likely be that the team will just mute him resulting in bad communication within the team even though if the player would eventually calm down the team still haves him muted.
Talking and pinging too much can also backfire that your team gets sick of your constant blabbering of either obvious or just useless talking constantly. People usually don’t need constant guidance and minimal communication can work wonders. What I consider good communication is just being calm, giving good feedback when good things happen like big plays or successful teamfights to boost morale and communicating when big objectives are being contested like roshan and towerdefending. And on the other hand bad communication is obvious stuff like “I will use a tango” or “Hey I denied a creep team”, your team doesn’t need to hear the obvious stuff and saying too much stuff can result in a mute.