Recently I created a new account on the Eastern European server on Dota 2, and was shocked to find how long wait times for a match can be for new players. This is a problem for the majority of the playerbase, but it hurts newcomers the most, and can be a factor in turning people away from the game, and even shrink its community over time. Well, it has already begun to do so.
What are the exact numbers?
Since Dota 2 has many types of game modes, the wait times differ a lot. And since the region, language prefix and behavior score matter too, these all come into play when the game decides to match you up with other players. If you want to know about the experiences of others, you can take a look at the discussion board on Steam. They’re mostly not good. If you search for wait times, you will clearly see that many people rage over the fact that they have to wait so long. Some players even mention being in queue for 50+ minutes, which is absolutely ridiculous. The average is around 15 minutes, though – still way too long.
Let me tell you about my experience. I opened a new account in a new region and started playing against bots. Well, I wanted to, at the very least. I selected the option, went in queue and decided to watch videos until I got into a match. Bad choice.
I could’ve watched an entire episode of my series, because I was in queue for an entire hour for a bot game. Dota 2 failed to find 4 other players in the span of 60 entire minutes. And I was done at that point. But I had waited for so long I wanted to get my time’s worth. So I got into a Turbo game.
Now, you would expect the game to match you up with people who are on the same skill level as you, right? That’s what happened with the bot games probably, I mean that’s the only explanation I can think of. Well, Dota 2 decided this is not necessary with Turbo games. It threw me into a match in about 2 minutes, however my teammates were already skilled and knew everything there was to know about the game and their heroes. I was just glad that it wasn’t actually my first PvP game.
Why are the wait times in Dota 2 so long?
I looked around online and couldn’t really find a reason as to why this is happening. The only thing people were able to pinpoint is the fact that the game is trying to balance things out. This is because it doesn’t want to match all kinds of players up. Which would be understandable, but let’s be honest here: nobody wants to wait around at least 15 minutes to play an hour long game. That’s just way too long, especially considering how other games have already handled this problem.
This is a problem that propagates itself. Long queues are a big turn-off, so players drop from the game. The playerbase slowly but surely begins to shrink, which makes queues longer as less players are present at all skill levels. Not to mention the fact, that new players will be discouraged from playing longer.
This problem has been around since 2018, and I suspect that Dota 2 won’t last much longer if they can’t fix this.