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Opinion

Why does Dota 2 ladder mean more?

Chiu on This
A short and regular opinion blast from Stephen Chiu

‘Chiu on This’ is a short and regular opinion blast

Among all of the team games I follow, the only one that holds the MMR ladder in high regard is Dota 2. In Overwatch/League of Legends, it’s considered a joke in North America, just OK in Europe and good in Korea. In CS:GO, the MMR ladder has been abandoned completely and they do FPL/Rank S pick-up games. The reason the ladder is good in Korea for Overwatch/League of Legends is that the Korean culture takes it much more seriously.

But why is it that the Dota 2 ladder is taken more seriously in all regions? In particular, why is it so much more revered in NA compared to other games? Every other esport I’ve seen has had systemic problems with the NA region not taking ladder seriously except in Dota 2. I don’t know the answer, but I’ll just give some possible reasons as to why this could be.

  1. Dota 2 has an extreme amount of outside the game information to process, and this gets renewed every patch. There is an exponential amount of heroes and item combinations to be played, so that ladder will always give some kind of learning beyond just fundamental mechanics like other games. Perhaps this is why it is fine in Dota 2 to random a hero whereas it is seen as terrible in League.
  2. The open circuit in conjunction with the open recruitment by teams. After PPD recruited Sumail into the team, he basically created a clear path to the top for all young and skilled players. It has become an arms race since then to get young talented players and put them into team systems (generally the smarter, more experienced captains/players) and this has been the general way to formulate teams. In LoL, there isn’t a clear path from the ladder to the team because it’s a closed circuit so it becomes more of a risk to pick up a player if he is a dud and because they won’t get nearly as much experience as their Dota 2 counterparts. Overwatch is too young for me to make any substantial claims about its ladder system, though I think that Overwatch Contenders is supposed to be the clear path to the top for that game.
  3. MMR means more in Dota 2 than other games, particularly in the Western regions. So this naturally incentivizes playing harder on ladder, though I don’t know why this isn’t the case in LoL excluding the Korean ladder.
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