In Dota 2, a major key to victory is communication among team members. If a team can coordinate to pressure the opposite team and keep each other from dying for dumb reasons, that team is more likely to win. Most of the Dota games I play are known as “pubs”, which means I queue up to be randomly matched with 9 other people who are also queued (they may be solo, or a small group of friends). In pub games, especially in the lower skill brackets the rule of the day is often anything goes. Some pubs have people willing to talk to each other, other times it feels like the words I’m saying go completely unnoticed.
That may not be entirely my fault – in some cases the other players may not even speak english. In that case you can only hope that they will use the game’s built in systems of communication. Some other pubbing folks I’ve seen take offence to people who can’t speak English in their games, but with only English, Russian and Chinese to choose from, what are people from somewhere like Mexico supposed to do? As long as they are making an effort to communicate, it shouldn’t be an issue.
All that said there are several ways to communicate with your team in Dota 2:
Text Chat: press enter and type to talk to teammates, shift+enter and type to talk to everyone
Voice Chat: use a microphone to talk to teammates directly, the enemy team can never hear this
Chat Wheel: set to a keybind and press that to bring up the chat wheel, select a phrase (eg “Get Back!” or “Missing Mid!”) and your team will see it in the text chat area
Pinging: alt+click anywhere on the map, or on the ground on the main game screen to make a pinging sound and display an exclamation point. This is context sensitive, so if you ping one of your towers, it displays a shield there and signals to your team that the tower needs defending.
Drawing on the map: Super fancy. Usually used to draw dicks in the loading phase. Hold ctrl and draw with your mouse on the map to indicate routes, danger, whatever.
The quandary that I’ve run into in my pub games is an odd one, and possibly one I’m imagining (although after seeing some of the flaming that goes on in pubs already I think I’m right to be cautious). I avoid voice chatting with my teams because I am a woman. The example that brought this topic to mind today was a pub I played this morning in which the only person in voice chat kept calling my “bro” and “dude” and so on. I don’t mind that at all but I kept considering jumping on voice to improve team coordination (I wasn’t doing so hot that game) but my paranoia told me that if I started to speak, the team would discount my bad play as “playing like a girl” and assume I could do no better. Even if I’m wrong about this, I feel like it shouldn’t be something that even occurs to me and yet there it is. My plan is to venture forth in voice more often to test my theory. Expect my very non-scientific findings on this very blog in the near future!