Dota 2: Valve Is Manipulating Gamers into Good Behavior

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Dota 2: Valve Is Manipulating Gamers into Good Behavior

Dota 2 - Main

Experimental Psychologist Dr. Mike Ambinder explains the mechanism behind Valve's psychological warfare.

Multiplayer gaming isn't for the easily offended. Racism, sexism, and pretty much every other form of bigotry are commonplace. But the folks at Valve have been molding the behavior of Dota 2 players using a particularly sly form of psychological manipulation: self reflection.

Dr. Mike Ambinder is an experimental psychologist who works at Valve. Last week, he was a featured speaker at Glitch.ed where he discussed Valve's subconscious trickery:

At the end of a Dota match you have a survey that comes up. It used to just be one question, like 'Rate the quality of the match, one to five stars.' And that was fine. We could correlate those responses to various in-game behaviors, and see what people were doing, and see what kinds of qualities of matches led to good behaviors and so forth. And that was fine.

But what we changed a bit a little more recently was added a couple more questions. So we added, 'Please rate how cooperative your teammates were, one to five stars,' you know, not at all cooperative to very cooperative. We also added a third question, which was, 'Rate how cooperative you were as a teammate.' And this was the important one.

I honestly don't care if you lie. All of us want to think highly of ourselves, so there's going to be a natural inclination to want to put, say, 'Hey, I was really cooperative as a teammate.'

What's going to happen, though, is that if you rate yourself really highly as a teammate, 'Yeah, I'm a five-star teammate' but you weren't, because you know that you were being a dick in the game, you're going to go into what psychologists like to call cognitive dissonance. When you're holding two conflicting notions in mind, right? One, that you were actually a bad teammate, and two, that you rated yourself highly as a good teammate.

You're going to want to answer the question honestly. You're going to want to actually rate yourself accurately as a good teammate, so the hope is that because you had this dissonance between how you want to rate yourself and how you actually behaved, it's going to push your behavior more towards wanting to be a more cooperative teammate.

So we actually saw, once we put those questions in the game, is that the number of reports in-game went down by about 10 to 15 percent.

Granted, mind games like this one probably won't brainwash a truly bona fide preteen bigot, but anything that reduces in-game hostility, even by the smallest of margins, is a step in the right direction.

Source: GeekParty

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As a long time dota player I think this is a very honorable effort, but all of us know this will ultimately be pointless.
I have played this game long enough to know the community ainīt gonna change, I just learned to live with it and try not to get angry even though itīs just not possible sometimes.
Like last game with that fucking chrystal maiden dumbass who let my solo hardlane windrunner buy wards and courier, lasthitted everything she could with chrystal nova and was so fucking stupid that I canīt even..... I think iīll just stop here and get a beer.

No, not really buying this one

"What's going to happen, though, is that if you rate yourself really highly as a teammate, 'Yeah, I'm a five-star teammate' but you weren't, because you know that you were being a dick in the game, you're going to go into what psychologists like to call cognitive dissonance. When you're holding two conflicting notions in mind, right? One, that you were actually a bad teammate, and two, that you rated yourself highly as a good teammate."

I bet Hitler would feel like he deserved some award for what he did and in those games if someone calls someone else a faggot he will probably think that his reason to call him a faggot was justified (it doesnt matter if it was or not, for him it was).

DaViller:
Like last game with that fucking chrystal maiden dumbass who let my solo hardlane windrunner buy wards and courier, lasthitted everything she could with chrystal nova and was so fucking stupid that I canīt even..... I think iīll just stop here and get a beer.

...and this is why I never play DotA or LoL.

It's a noble step in the right direction guys. Perhaps if it was something more along the lines of "start penalizing people who report/tell other people to report players that don't buy/do what they think they should buy/do", we'd have a better gaming experience...

josemlopes:
No, not really buying this one

"What's going to happen, though, is that if you rate yourself really highly as a teammate, 'Yeah, I'm a five-star teammate' but you weren't, because you know that you were being a dick in the game, you're going to go into what psychologists like to call cognitive dissonance. When you're holding two conflicting notions in mind, right? One, that you were actually a bad teammate, and two, that you rated yourself highly as a good teammate."

I bet Hitler would feel like he deserved some award for what he did and in those games if someone calls someone else a faggot he will probably think that his reason to call him a faggot was justified (it doesnt matter if it was or not, for him it was).

Good thing Dota 2's audience isn't composed of a few million Hitlers then. You don't have to go anecdotal to decide rather this would work out or not, it sort of already did. There's been a shrink in reports of 10%ish, that's a huge number. Of course, not everyone is susceptible to this, but the results are pretty damn promising.

This is good news because MOBA communities are filled with assholes who aren't very pleasant to newcomers. DOTA 2 included. Turned me off the genre completely.

"You're going to want to answer the question honestly. "
Pffffffffffff.

Seriously, I do not believe that is in particular something real assholes will have much of a problem with.
Our whole society is built upon "white lies" which are used IMMENSELY often as they are even considdered to be "correct etiquette"!

Holy shit. 10% ~ 15% decrease in reports of bad behavior....on the back of the inclusion of ONE simple, post-match question, is NOT an insignificant decrease.

I was dubious as to why Valve hired a psychologist some time back. Now I'm beginning to understand the point of that endeavor.

And anything that gets players to behave online without being intrusive or stifling is okay in my book.

josemlopes:

I bet Hitler would feel like he deserved some award for what he did and in those games if someone calls someone else a faggot he will probably think that his reason to call him a faggot was justified (it doesnt matter if it was or not, for him it was).

From zero to Godwin in two posts. Impressive.

No, not really buying this one

You don't have to. It's already clearly working. :/

They need to bring such a thing into the COD community. Or better yet, just ban 90% of the COD community. Those rage monkeys are too intense to be allowed any kind of human interaction.

all glory to hypnovalve

image

i hate dota 2, but its nice to see valve trying to make it less awful

I wonder if this data is coming from when they introduced the two reports a week limit, which dropped the volume of my reports by 90% on it's own, or if it's coming from when they introduced the new (and hilarious) mute/low priority system. Or maybe it comes from large numbers of people just giving up on reports doing anything at all.

Basically, I smell bullshit on this one. Far more likely explanations for why report volume dropped than a simple question that no one pays attention to anyway.

Also, I can tell you as someone who play a LOT of dota2 (2k+ hours so far) that game quality has not improved at all since 2010, when I first got into beta. In fact, it's just gotten worse and worse with each new "fix" for matchmaking they introduce. Couple that with the total lack of content releases (still no where near hero parity with DoTA 1) and the fact that thousands of bugs still sit in the dev forum completely ignored for years...

Oh, but don't worry. Valve makes sure to release new hats every week;)

Still a Moba game, good on the psychology but I'm still never playing a Moba and will never touch Dota 2.

Grats I guess?.

now if that would actually work, then I might instead try a couple of rounds for Dota or LoL. hell, I probably would even try Smite.

but no, no matter what the moba community is pretty shit.

new player who doesn't know how to actually play? report.

decide to take bottom lane because every one else is "mid or i feed"? report.

feel like playing support? be called a number of names and then get reported.

choose a champion that you like, but no one else does? report.

no, fuck the moba community. there is no "making it better" unless they attached a shock collar to all of them that goes off whenever they type or do something stupid.

but that wont work either, since no game company has enough funds to defend itself in so many wrongful death lawsuits since those collars would be shocking people non-stop.

Somehow I read that as "Valve brainwashing gamers" and I pictured this on my head:

SupahGamuh:
Somehow I read that as "Valve brainwashing gamers" and I pictured this on my head:

The fun part is it's already happened a few posts above =D.

Personally I rate myself completely honestly. I often give myself 1 or 2 stars. But to be honest the only reason I'll ever play in an uncooperative way is if I either can't trust my team mates to help me (like run away from fights for no good reason) or if I'm being lazy and am just playing for fun to pass the time.

How about 1) ban 90% of all DOTA players or 2) just stop support of this genre 100% until the community gets its shit together.

RaikuFA:
How about 1) ban 90% of all DOTA players or 2) just stop support of this genre 100% until the community gets its shit together.

Why is it that so many people who don't actually seem to play the game apparently want it to go away? No matter how bad the dota community is it's not like it effects you.

DaViller:

RaikuFA:
How about 1) ban 90% of all DOTA players or 2) just stop support of this genre 100% until the community gets its shit together.

Why is it that so many people who don't actually seem to play the game apparently want it to go away? No matter how bad the dota community is it's not like it effects you.

Because that attitude can seep into games that those people like.

The people who would feel the effects of cognitive dissonance are not the people who really need to change their behavior too much. So lotta good this'll do. -.-

image

I have my doubts. You have people with their head so far up their ass that they actually want punishments like Mutes and the Low Priority Queue removed. Why? "Because I should be allowed to 'tell the truth' and some whiny kid who has his feelings hurt shouldn't be allowed to say otherwise". Yes, people have actually argued that they should be allowed to act like assholes as a reason to remove the ability to PERSONALLY mute someone.

RaikuFA:

DaViller:

RaikuFA:
How about 1) ban 90% of all DOTA players or 2) just stop support of this genre 100% until the community gets its shit together.

Why is it that so many people who don't actually seem to play the game apparently want it to go away? No matter how bad the dota community is it's not like it effects you.

Because that attitude can seep into games that those people like.

So how many games that you have played have been damaged/ruined by confirmed dota players? Also did these players aquire said additude playing dota or was it already present?

It's funny how I never got into that cognitive dissonance. I dropped on main account from 3.4 to 2.6k, and mostly because I was a team player, always picking w/e was needed, always doing what I was supposed to do.

I played 5 man ranked with my friends we played at 4k... Now for some reason on that account I just can't do anything at 2.6k rating.

Now how do you find a psychological explanation valve?

see, the problem with this theory is that it means that people realize they were being a bad teammate. the thing is, majority of people online thing they actually were the best teamplayer. as in they genuinely believe it to the point of reporting anyone that disagrees. such tricks does not work on people like these. and there are plenty of them.

RaikuFA:

DaViller:

RaikuFA:
How about 1) ban 90% of all DOTA players or 2) just stop support of this genre 100% until the community gets its shit together.

Why is it that so many people who don't actually seem to play the game apparently want it to go away? No matter how bad the dota community is it's not like it effects you.

Because that attitude can seep into games that those people like.

well, if we close down DOTA 2 genre it will certainly seep into other genres since the player-base will have to go somewhere. Id rather have it mostly contained there. Why yes, i treat it like a plague.

Bertinan:
I wonder if this data is coming from when they introduced the two reports a week limit, which dropped the volume of my reports by 90% on it's own, or if it's coming from when they introduced the new (and hilarious) mute/low priority system. Or maybe it comes from large numbers of people just giving up on reports doing anything at all.

Basically, I smell bullshit on this one. Far more likely explanations for why report volume dropped than a simple question that no one pays attention to anyway.

Also, I can tell you as someone who play a LOT of dota2 (2k+ hours so far) that game quality has not improved at all since 2010, when I first got into beta. In fact, it's just gotten worse and worse with each new "fix" for matchmaking they introduce. Couple that with the total lack of content releases (still no where near hero parity with DoTA 1) and the fact that thousands of bugs still sit in the dev forum completely ignored for years...

Oh, but don't worry. Valve makes sure to release new hats every week;)

Aren't you a salty one? Dota's been improving, it regularly gets new features that make the game and the community better, sure I haven't been playing since the days when it was actually remotely tricky to get into the beta, but I've noticed improvements in game and community since I started playing, so maybe you're just a nihilist who would rather complain than even try and notice the improvements. Just a guess though.

Edit: Actually, I'll go out on a limb and argue that if you haven't noticed a drop in negative behaviour that it's because of the only constant in all your games, you. Negativity begets negativity. You're clearly flaunting a negative attitude here. And if you're the type of player who snarks at teammates for item or hero picks or even unlucky deaths, then yeah, people will be negative because you set the tone. So maybe try and be a bit more positive? Support the team? Be a bit more cheery? Give them a pat on the back if the support upgrades the courier on -exactly- the three minute mark?

Only thing I know is that the Commend system is very ineffective.

I have acquired about 24 "friendly" commendations despite the fact I am very vocal towards "dicks" I encounter in the game.

Also, players have the habit of requesting Commendations from the enemy team at the end of the game.
You can commend someone for:
Leadership.
Forgiveness.
Friendliness.
Teaching.

Leadership - You cannot lead the enemy team. If you could, that would probably be called "throwing the game" or "ghosting". You are actively and consciously causing your team to have a lower chance at winning.

Forgiveness - That is irrelevant. Forgiveness is when someone forgives mistakes or being brash. The former is irrelevant for the opposition. In fact, the enemy making a mistake is beneficial. Forgiving is pointless or sarcastic. The latter I don't think justify commending your enemy for being forgiving.

Friendliness requires more than Good Luck Have Fun and Good Game at the beginning and end of the game. Perhaps kicking up a nice conversation during the Paused periods or time when both of you are dead.

Teaching might be the only justifiable enemy commendation. I like to give pointers out to the enemy. Helpful pointers. Probably a back-handed complement. But it's still educational.

But yeah, just because the enemy was "good", doesn't mean they qualify to be deemed as: "A good leader/forgiving/friendly or teaching mostly". Because if you think you were, you probably had access to enemy team chat, which is probably against the rules (ghosting).

Yeah, they should create a second set of commendation options for commending enemies, but hey. I think the system is intended to be used on your own teammates first and foremost.

But for commending your own team I'd say they're good. And I use it with some frequency, although not nearly as much as I used to as lately I've been playing with friends a lot and goodness knows you can only commend people once.

DaViller:

RaikuFA:

DaViller:

Why is it that so many people who don't actually seem to play the game apparently want it to go away? No matter how bad the dota community is it's not like it effects you.

Because that attitude can seep into games that those people like.

So how many games that you have played have been damaged/ruined by confirmed dota players? Also did these players aquire said additude playing dota or was it already present?

Dunno I'm not a mind reader. But I do know from experience from trying these games that that attitude is rampant in online play. And instead of burying our heads in the sand about it we should be getting rid of it altogether.

Strazdas:
see, the problem with this theory is that it means that people realize they were being a bad teammate. the thing is, majority of people online thing they actually were the best teamplayer. as in they genuinely believe it to the point of reporting anyone that disagrees. such tricks does not work on people like these. and there are plenty of them.

RaikuFA:

DaViller:

Why is it that so many people who don't actually seem to play the game apparently want it to go away? No matter how bad the dota community is it's not like it effects you.

Because that attitude can seep into games that those people like.

well, if we close down DOTA 2 genre it will certainly seep into other genres since the player-base will have to go somewhere. Id rather have it mostly contained there. Why yes, i treat it like a plague.

Yeah I do too. I do think it needs to go away as well. Especially since companies want to shove online play down people throats.

RaikuFA:

Yeah I do too. I do think it needs to go away as well. Especially since companies want to shove online play down people throats.

So dota is responsible for companies trying to shove online play down peoples throats? Dude I dont mind you not liking the game, but what your saying makes zero sense.

Im also curious how you wanna "get rid of that additude alltogether", if your talking about removing any sort of online gaming then good luck with that. Some people will always be assholes and find ways to be assholes no matter what you do, might as well just have fun regardless.

DaViller:

RaikuFA:

Yeah I do too. I do think it needs to go away as well. Especially since companies want to shove online play down people throats.

So dota is responsible for companies trying to shove online play down peoples throats? Dude I dont mind you not liking the game, but what your saying makes zero sense.

Im also curious how you wanna "get rid of that additude alltogether", if your talking about removing any sort of online gaming then good luck with that. Some people will always be assholes and find ways to be assholes no matter what you do, might as well just have fun regardless.

Let me reword what I said. DOTA and LOL are the games that most of this hostility is coming from.

And I have never had fun playing online once. It's always asshole after asshole.

RaikuFA:

Let me reword what I said. DOTA and LOL are the games that most of this hostility is coming from.

And I have never had fun playing online once. It's always asshole after asshole.

So you tried the games, had some bad experiences, and want them to not exist anymore because of that. That sounds reasonable.

DaViller:

RaikuFA:

Yeah I do too. I do think it needs to go away as well. Especially since companies want to shove online play down people throats.

So dota is responsible for companies trying to shove online play down peoples throats? Dude I dont mind you not liking the game, but what your saying makes zero sense.

Im also curious how you wanna "get rid of that additude alltogether", if your talking about removing any sort of online gaming then good luck with that. Some people will always be assholes and find ways to be assholes no matter what you do, might as well just have fun regardless.

however MOBA ARE responsible for forcing in an attitude of "this isnt a game, this is a job/prison" into multiplayer games, they are the reason i cant quit a CoH 2 match without closing the program, the game simply wont let me quit a match normally, just like in LoL/Dota 2, I fucking hate that, its a game, if im not enoying it why should i be forced to continue playing?

NuclearKangaroo:

DaViller:

RaikuFA:

Yeah I do too. I do think it needs to go away as well. Especially since companies want to shove online play down people throats.

So dota is responsible for companies trying to shove online play down peoples throats? Dude I dont mind you not liking the game, but what your saying makes zero sense.

Im also curious how you wanna "get rid of that additude alltogether", if your talking about removing any sort of online gaming then good luck with that. Some people will always be assholes and find ways to be assholes no matter what you do, might as well just have fun regardless.

however MOBA ARE responsible for forcing in an attitude of "this isnt a game, this is a job/prison" into multiplayer games, they are the reason i cant quit a CoH 2 match without closing the program, the game simply wont let me quit a match normally, just like in LoL/Dota 2, I fucking hate that, its a game, if im not enoying it why should i be forced to continue playing?

It's expected of you to finish the game, regardless if it's going on your favor largely because you leaving would remove either 1/5 or even 1/3 of your team. They're not "forcing" anything. They do, however, discourage dropping out by instating timed penalties but at that point you've essentially already decided not to play so it shouldn't matter then.

Mortis Nuncius:

NuclearKangaroo:

DaViller:

So dota is responsible for companies trying to shove online play down peoples throats? Dude I dont mind you not liking the game, but what your saying makes zero sense.

Im also curious how you wanna "get rid of that additude alltogether", if your talking about removing any sort of online gaming then good luck with that. Some people will always be assholes and find ways to be assholes no matter what you do, might as well just have fun regardless.

however MOBA ARE responsible for forcing in an attitude of "this isnt a game, this is a job/prison" into multiplayer games, they are the reason i cant quit a CoH 2 match without closing the program, the game simply wont let me quit a match normally, just like in LoL/Dota 2, I fucking hate that, its a game, if im not enoying it why should i be forced to continue playing?

It's expected of you to finish the game, regardless if it's going on your favor largely because you leaving would remove either 1/5 or even 1/3 of your team. They're not "forcing" anything. They do, however, discourage dropping out by instating timed penalties but at that point you've essentially already decided not to play so it shouldn't matter then.

i dont care what kind of system they implement in their game, when others devs start taking notes, thats when i get pissed

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