Sometimes, we get so caught up in the new that we forget about the gold we already sit upon. The past year, 2020, was absolutely great for games, even despite the ongoing pandemic. You had masterful releases like The Last of Us 2, Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, Spiderman Miles Morales and even the controversial-yet-visually-unmatched Cyberpunk 2077. However, it is important that games from previous years, that still run great, gain their due recognition. So while Dota 2 certainly isn’t an underrated or underground title, its timeless appeal merits praise.
Dota 2, for those somehow unaware, offers an amazing multiplayer battle arena game. Published by Valve in 2013, its popularity remains virtually unparalleled. Launched in 2013 to acclaim, the game features an ever-expanding world of objectives, characters and events that make it the quintessential Esports title. Millions worldwide play the game regularly, and countless more join every single day. That itself is a testament to the game’s survival through the years, and cultural relevance.
However, despite the game’s superb production and content, this game requires intense focus. With a highly steep learning curve, and complex tactical factors in every match, Dota 2 is technical. The very best players know how the game’s systems work, and they use high-end hardware to push out the highest possible framerates (frames per second). While not exactly at the same pacing as a first-person shooter like Call of Duty Warzone, Dota 2 still requires serious concentration and reflexes. You can’t just think about your next move; to outmatch your opponent, you need speed and focus.
To enjoy Dota 2 to its fullest, cutting back on lag and latency is imperative
Playing a AAA title at low framerates is not something one voluntarily does. Jumping from the old standard of 30 FPS to 60 FPS is a massive leap. Then, the transition from 60 FPS to 120 FPS is the biggest leap in player enjoyment. Anything after that is certainly welcome, but not as immediately perceptible. If you’re a competitive Dota 2 player, or even just a hardcore fan, you want the best FPS value possible.
Likewise, when it comes to an entirely online game like this one, your internet connection matters too. In fact, we’d go as far to say that it matters the most. If you want to beat your opponents, you need a stable, fast and secure connection (yes, all three of those differ in definition). This guide will show you just how to optimize your online gaming experience for Dota 2, so you too can rise to the very top!
1) Reset your router, and set up a wired Ethernet connection
The oldest trick in the book makes a comeback. We know it sounds silly and outdated, but turning it off and back on really works wonders. With respect to your internet connection, the process is simple but goes miles. All you must do is turn off the router for 30 seconds, then back on. Give it a few minutes to reconnect and get back running. This serves to clear away any network traffic overloads.
Next, we advise players to use a wired Ethernet connection over Wi-Fi simply because of the reliability and reduction in latency. That’s right, it’s the 21st century and we still haven’t found a faster, wireless alternative to fiber-optic cables. As it stands, Wi-Fi networks are subject to interference, signal drops and delays in data transmission. These delays lead to increased latency (also called ping), meaning your PC gets info slower than others.
2) Invest in a 5 Ghz router over the standard 2.4 GHz one
Most Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) give you their default 2.4 GHz router. This works perfectly fine for many households because the wider range allows for smoother connectivity across devices. However, if you want to reduce Dota2 lag, then a 5 GHz router works best. It offers better network speeds and more stable connection. Your packet loss (the missing data, that results in stuttering) will hate you for the investment. Also, now is a great time to pick one up, given the price drops and lots of brands available.
3) Configure your ISP’s advanced settings, like NAT type and enabling QoS
To get the most out of your ISP, you can access the Admin Access portal. As every router is unique in make and model, the only way to do this is to search yours up online. Or, call your ISP up and ask them for details. Once you can access the portal, you will see options for changing NAT type and enabling Quality of Service (QoS). These two settings will cut down your Dota 2 lag and latency.
NAT type is essentially how conservative your security is when allowing connectivity to online servers. If you change this from the default Strict to Moderate, you can enjoy more stable connections with less packet loss. Don’t worry, your network will still be safe as long as it is Private.
On the other hand, enabling QoS basically configures your network to prioritize your PC gaming over more idle devices. That way, it will focus more bandwidth to your Dota 2 connection rather than that constantly refeshing YouTube feed on your cell phone.
4) Turn down Firewall protections for Dota 2
Using security while connected to the internet is a great, nearly fool-proof step for safety. However, a more aware PC user can still stay safe while doing away with useless bandwidth blocks. Most Firewall programs aren’t optimized for gaming online, so they end up cutting down connectivity. While this may not impact your Netflix experience, gaming like this may face severe lag and bandwidth drops. Therefore, open your Windows Defender or Anti-Malware programs and Whitelist Dota 2. As long as your game comes from the official Valve/Steam source, it won’t do any harm.
5) On Steam, or any other game store, disable Automatic Updates
When you run your game, you tend to concentrate on what’s on your screen. That’s not a bad thing, but sometimes we don’t notice background processes eating up our bandwidth. That’s why a sudden 20 GB update from Steam to a different game can ruin the match you’re in. The dip in bandwidth means less stable and smooth connection in Dota 2. Therefore, if any app, not just Steam, has an option for Automatic Updates, it might be best to turn that off. After all, you can always manually start the update later when not gaming.
For more on Dota 2, the upcoming Dota 3 and PC gaming, stay tuned!