Optimize Dota 2 and PC for Best Gaming Experience
I will explain in detail about the steps through which you can optimize Dota 2 for a smooth gaming experience. It will not tell you any cheats or hacks but just some tweaks and settings for best game performance. It will be the game’s working performance, it is not about how you play during the game, rather it is about customizing your game to avoid lags, delays, crashes and improve your in-game performance.
I have assumed that you have low-end PC and low-end Internet and you may be knowing many of the stuff earlier. If you know anything, skip to the next step. Even if you have high specs PC and fast internet, there are still some stuff which can be useful for you. You can implement as many steps as possible or as you wish. This will ensure that you have a smooth gaming experience and will make your gameplay more easy than before. I have distributed this guide in 2 main sections.
- Optimize PC for Smooth Gameplay: This will have all the information about optimizing your PC for Dota 2 so you can take best out of your PC.
- Optimize Dota 2 for Smooth Gameplay: This part will tell you settings and tweaks which you can apply in-game in Dota 2 to ensure smooth and improved gaming experience
Section 1 – Optimize PC for Smooth Gameplay
1. Hard Disk Defragmentation
If we talk in easy language, Information is stored in form of small boxes on your hard drive. So for example, if Dota 2 is distributed on 24 boxes, then these 24 boxes will be scattered over the whole hard disk. So de-fragmentation allows you to combine all those boxes in 1 part of your Hard Drive for the smooth working of game. Here is how we do it.
- Go to My Computer
- Right-click on C Drive and from the drop-down menu, select “Properties“.
- Go to the “Tools” tab and select “Optimize“.
- Another new window will open. Select the drive in which Dota 2 is installed and click on Optimize.
- Give it some time, it may take from 1 hour to 5 hours depending upon the size of your hard disk and you are done.
2. Delete Dota 2 Crash Dump Files
Each time Dota 2 Crashes, it creates a crash dump report file in case you want to report the issue to steam or whatever reason they got. Size of each file is almost 35 MB. So just make a guess how much space that can create on your hard disk after every 6 months?
First time I cleaned those files I freed up 2.3 GB of space form my Dota 2 folder. Again after almost 3 months this size has swelled up to almost 850 MBs.
You can remove all these files with “.mdmp” extension. Do not worry it does not create any issue, I tested it my self. You can locate those files in C :/Program Files (x86)/Steam /SteamApps/Comom/dota2beta. Here is how those files look like.
Just try and tell us in comments below how much space you have got back?
3. Install Dota 2 in Drive other than C Drive
In case your C Drive is full of stuff and even after trying so much you can not get free space in it, then you need to install in any drive other than C Drive. This can be a harsh but more stable solution. Here is how you can do it.
Hard but Reliable Method
- Uninstall Dota 2 from your system (The part with hardest feelings though :D)
- Click on Install button in Steam. When you will install it, it will ask you where you want to install it? Then you should give it the path to another drive where you have got enough free space.
- Dota 2 needs only 13 GB of Disk space, but it is advised if you can keep almost 25 GB free space for Dota 2 for upcoming updates etc.
- With this method, you will also erase all unnecessary files from Dota 2 Folder which actually occupied space in your hard disk. For example, if you just check out your Steam folder, it will be minimum 20 GB plus. But actually, Dota 2 is of just 13.7 GB. So what are rest of those 7 GB files? Those are just junk files that are stored on your computer regularly after each update.
- Once you will install a new copy of Dota 2, then only almost 14 GB space will be consumed and you will free another 5-10 GB of space for sure.
Easy but Less Reliable Method
- Make a back up of Dota 2. Here is how you can make a back up of your Dota 2.
- Now restore the backup. You can follow the link above to restore the back up too.
- Now while restoring the backup, install it in any other drive.
- This method will take only 30-40 minutes, but it is just like copying all files from one drive to another. So you may not get rid of useless and junk files which have piled up in your system for a long time.
4. Stop All Downloads when you play Dota 2 Online
Even if you have an awesome internet connection, still you should not run parallel downloading while playing Dota 2 online. It will eat out your bandwidth and data packets. The result may be high pings and may be packet loss too, thus lags and delay. That is why it is highly recommended to shut down all torrent and other download managers.
5. Shut Down Heavy Programs
Well, it will not hurt to open notepad while playing Dota 2, but it will definitely hurt if you open Adobe Photoshop along with Dota 2. It will put lots of burden on your CPU, RAM, and graphics cards. Thus your FPS may drop and you may have a laggy experience. So it is suggested that once you start Dota 2 for Online gaming, do not forget to shut down heavy programs.
6. Dota 2 Issues on Windows 10 and their Solutions
Windows 10 is not like other operating systems of windows in many aspects. There are many good features in it but for gamers, it is really a pain in the a**. I have written a complete article about Dota 2 on Windows 10 – Problems and Solutions, which you MUST read if you are running Dota 2 on windows 10.
7. Fixing Dota 2 Crashes
If you are facing regular Dota 2 crashes, then you need to read this guide to fix your Dota 2 Crashes. It gives you almost all the solutions to the Dota 2 crashing problems. Give it a go.
8. Activate Gaming Mode on your Antivirus
Most of the antiviruses have gaming mode by default in them. Activating gaming mode will prevent your antiviruses from making any popup notifications. These popup notifications will minimize your game sometimes. You can well imagine the fate if you are in the middle of a gank and suddenly a stupid notification or ad from your antivirus appears and your Dota 2 gets minimized. When you restored your screen and you know your hero is dead and you have lost the battle and now your Barracks are under attack. LoLs
So just activate gaming mode before you play Dota 2. I recommend using Avast Antivirus software which is free for 1 year. Well, here is a cheat, make a new email address every year and then make a new account to keep your antivirus free permanently. Thank me later 😀
Section 2 – Optimize Dota 2 for Smooth Gameplay
1. Optimize Video Settings
You may have an excellent gaming PC for playing, but you need to optimize your settings especially video settings so that everything works perfectly. If you have good Graphics Card and RAM, you can play Dota 2 on high settings. But in case you don’t have a high-performance system, you will have to optimize your settings.
In the game, graphics should never get priority over in-game performance. So you must first fix the performance issues, then you should go for good graphics.
- Resolution: You must select appropriate resolution for your Game. Do not forget to select option “Exclusive Full Screen” under Display Mode option. If you do not understand how to use Resolution settings then its best to select the topmost option “Use my Monitor’s Current Resolution“.
- Rendering: If you have got the best gaming PC or Laptop, you can turn on all the options in Rendering Settings, but if you have got a low specification PC or Laptop, then it is better to turn off all the options. Again, if you do not understand those settings, it is better to use the topmost option in Rendering Settings. Check “Use Basic Settings” and then if you have low specifications system, keep this bar towards “Fastest”. But if you have got awesome PC, then move this bar to the right towards “Best Looking“
- It is advised to keep Low Texture Quality and High Screen Render Quality if you have low specs PC.
2. Use Console
With the console, you can literally change your in-game Dota 2 experience. We already have a detailed post about it which can tell you in detail about Dota 2 Console and autoexec.cfg and you will be surprised to find autoexec.cfg files of 2 pro players. (Arteezy and Funn1k)
3. Enabling Network Information
You must enable Network Information while playing Dota 2. It gives you an insight of game while playing. For example, if your Pings drop while playing, that means it is your network issue, you need to fix your internet. But in case if your FPS drop, that means it has nothing to do with your internet, rather it is your PC. So you will fix the PC problem in the latter case.
That is why it is always advised that you keep the network information active. In Source 1 Dota 2, you had to enable it via Console, but thanks to Source 2 engine, Dota 2 Reborn has an option in settings using which you can Enable FPS and pings.
After settings are saved, you can see FPS and network information like this.
4. Fixing High Pings and Lags Issues
Sometimes it may be your internet providers and sometimes it may be steam which may be causing high ping and lag issues. Obviously, you can’t perform well if you have high pings or lags. I suggest you use WTFast. It is a software specifically developed for the sole purpose of reducing in-game ping and lags.
5. Use Hero Icons Instead of Dots in Minimap
I think the title says it all. You can never know which hero is coming to gank you if you look on dots in mini-map. But if you have turned on the option to show Hero Icons instead of dots, you can plan your next move in advance.
Let’s suppose enemy Zeus is coming to gank you. You saw some random dot in mini-map, you don’t know its enemy Zeus or enemy Pudge. So you will definitely try to stay away from that hero to save your self from ganking. But in case you turned on the hero icons, you will know precisely which hero is coming for ganking. So you can actually ambush that hero instead of going and hiding.
Just simply I will say, it is better to know who and what is coming at you in Dota 2. Here is how you can turn on Hero Icons in Minimap.
Here is how it will look after you have enabled the hero icons. So tell me which one looks better as per ease of game point of view?
Add “dota_minimap_hero_size 1000” in your console or autoexec.cfg without quotation marks to increase the size of hero icons. For more details see Step 2 in Optimize Dota 2 section.
6. Add Items to Quick Buy
Adding items to quick buy is always a good idea. Whenever you have enough gold to buy any component of that item, you will hear a coin drop sound which will tell you that now you have enough money to buy it. Simply press Quick Buy key to buy those items.
This is especially helpful when you are about to die and have enough gold to buy a certain item. Buying item just before item will reduce the gold you lose on death. This is one of the tricks to save gold.
First, select a Quick Buy key in setting menu as shown below.
So once you have set up the quick buy key, drag any item in quick buy area. So when you ever you have enough gold, just press the quick buy key, it will buy the 1st available item for which you have enough gold.
7. Customize Recommended Items for Every Hero you Play
If you don’t know, you can customize the suggested items for your hero. This allows you to have items ready to purchase instead of searching the whole shop. Once you play any hero, in before battle begins, it gives you enough time to decide what items you will be needing in this match. So customize your shop accordingly. Or you can have a perfect shop for 1 hero and all the items in shop’s left that you can possibly make on this hero.
Here is an example.
If you see in above image, I have added all possible items which I can EVER make for Templar Assassin in a game. Now no matter how my game goes, it will be easy for me to select and choose items from the market and add them in quick buy area.
8. Use Steam Call instead of Skype and other IM Software
Being in communication is an important part of coordination which you need during the game. Most of the users prefer to use Skype for this purpose. If you are not aware of the fact that Skype consumes the most data out of 10 tested apps.
This is just to give you an idea and obviously steam is not in this test. But if you want to read this research in detail here is the link. I suggest you use Steam inbuilt chat and voice chat feature, that is enough for you to communicate with all of your teammates. It also consumes less data and bandwidth for obvious reason about which I am not going in detail here and also you will not have to open any other program for just chatting purpose (See section 1 step 5).
Here is how you can start a voice chat with any of your friends if you don’t know it already.
9. Turn off Background Updates for All Steam Games
If you have automatic updates enabled for games on steam, it will start updating whenever there is an update. No matter even if you are in the game. So it is obvious that downloading during a game-play will sabotage your internet connectivity for the current game you are playing by stealing data and bandwidth. if you don’t have an awesome internet connection it is a guaranty that you will face high pings and lags during the current game.
So it is also suggested that you keep all background updates off for all the steam games including Dota 2. Here is how you can Turn off Background Updates for All Steam Games.
- Go to the main Steam window, right click on Dota 2 (or whatever game you have) and go to Properties.
- A new window will open. Go to the 2nd tab which is Updates.
- Go to background updates and select “Never allow background updates“.
- Click Close and you are done.
Closing Notes :
I have researched for almost a week and then chose what to be added to this guide. There might be some of the important stuff that I did not find or I did not include it. You are free to let me know about that in comments below. I’ll add that if that stuff is good to be added to this guide. It took me almost 10 days to complete this guide so you may like to see the bigger picture and appreciate it instead of criticizing it for nothing like a douche.
If anything is factually wrong (Which it won’t be as I tested all the stuff before adding it in the guide) please be polite and tell me in comments below so I can correct it. Thanks for reading this long guide, I hope you have got at least something from it. 🙂