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Dota 101 – How to optimize your (in-game) settings

In the end it all comes down to one thing, who presses their buttons the best. This is what the game of Dota 2 boils down to.

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Let’s see how we can arrange these buttons in such a way that pressing them becomes a piece of cake.

Your first hotkeys

The first thing you will see when you open your options menu is the hotkey section and that is for a very good reason. Your hotkeys are the medium between the thoughts in your head and what you intend to do, therefore how to get these thoughts to be executed by your character on the screen. Within this transfer however you want the least amount of friction possible, you never want to have to think about what button to press. You only want to think about what you want to do in the game, the pressing of the buttons should come naturally.

To achieve this you need to find a hotkey setup that feels comfortable for you, and stick with it. Nobody can tell you what buttons are the easiest for you to use, as everybody’s hands and bodies are built differently. That is not even speaking about hardware differences, as keyboard layouts can vary wildly. So maybe stick to the default at first, and make changes as you see fit when things feel uncomfortable. Eventually you will land on a layout that works for you, and you won’t even have to think about it anymore.

Big boy hotkeys

Once you got the basics down on what spells are used with what buttons, it’s time to go a little bit deeper. When you open the advanced hotkeys on the bottom of the screen you will suddenly see that there are a myriad of options you haven’t even thought were possible. From a patrol function to double tap self casts, it’s all in there. Two personal recommendations about what functions you should probably find a place for in your hotkey layout are the following:

  • Directional move allows you to forgo pathfinding, instead making your character move towards a clicked point in a direct line. This is great when playing heroes like Shadow Fiend or Snapfire that have abilities that are aimed in the direction you are facing, since it allows you to instantly decide where to face.
  • Double Tap Ability to Self Cast allows you to instantly use items on yourself without needing a second appendage in the form of your other hand moving the mouse to cast things on yourself. This is incredibly useful when using a force staff to escape for example.
Gameplay options

Now that we have gone through the hotkeys, it’s time to look at the other options available to us. Especially since there are quite a lot of things that you can change to your liking. There is the Auto Attack option, that is generally recommended to be kept on standard so it doesn’t force your hero to do weird things.

Something even more useful though is the Teleport and Channeling require Hold/Stop options. They are very helpful in preventing wasted Teleports and Abilities due to trying to move too quickly after u started using them, breaking the channels. Finally the Right Click to Force attack is of great use, as this takes away the necessity of having to keep the attack hotkey pressed when going for denies, making the denying process a whole lot easier.

The minimap

Most players are aware of the huge importance the minimap has in giving you awareness of what’s going on in the game. The best players will always have one eye on the minimap to see anything changing so they can adjust their gameplay accordingly. To help you in this endeavor, it’s important that your minimap is set up in just the way that it works for you, although just like hotkeys it differs from person to person as to what this looks like exactly.

For myself the combination of the simple colours mode combined with simple background mode allows me to instantly spot how many enemies are on the map and in what area, while pressing alt allows me to see what exact heroes these are. For others however it might be way more useful to have the different colours so they can remember what hero is what colour and make better decisions based on that. Or maybe you are a recovering League of Legends player who has recently seen the light, but still prefers their minimap on the right instead of the left.

Our beautiful game possesses a melody of options arranged in an astoundingly broad menu. But while the amount of options might seem uncomfortably diverse, it’s nothing compared to the ridiculously diversity in humanity itself. You are all different, have distinct needs and wants, and have your own special preferences. So go on, and experiment, try different options and find what works for you. So you can be that extraordinary person you are, even if your settings are unconventional. Just remind yourselves, that even Slacks made it to 5K MMR with having the dollar sign as one of his item hotkeys.

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Image credit: Valve