Dota 2's Lack of Surrender Option Shouldn't Upset You

You can't concede in Dota 2, and that is totally okay.

Perhaps one of the biggest issues League of Legends players have when going into Dota 2 is the lack of a surrender option, alongside the game retaining the turn rates from the original DotA. Heroes having varying turn rates is bad enough, but not being able to surrender? Strap on my diaper and call me a baby, because I'm ready to cry.

Except not really, because I fully support Valve's decision to keep this feature out of the game.

Unlike League of Legends, Dota 2's matches are not decided by how much gold each team has at the 12 minute mark. It is much easier to completely turn the tide of a match by a well coordinated team fight, thanks to the game's gold-transfer upon death mechanics, game changing items, and "Everyone is OP!" philosophy.

You truly cannot say a match is over in Dota 2 unless the enemy team is knocking on your Ancient, and even then there are some rare matches where things are close enough to be turned around at that point. Such is the beauty of DotA and its sleek sequel brother.

Those of you baffled by Valve's decision to stay put on the issue may want to read these words from Dota 2 director Erik Johnson, scanned from this month's issue of PC Gamer and posted on Reddit.

Longtime players of the game can understand where Johnson is coming from here, and even newer players who have experienced the supreme satisfaction that comes from a total comeback can understand the logic behind the above statement.

What feels better and is more memorable? An easy win, or a seemingly impossible comeback and victory? Losing feels bad, but those moments stick with you far longer than the damage to your ego a loss so unsympathetically provides.

Now, none of this is to say that comebacks don't happen in League of Legends. In the 2000+ games played over the course of my time with the game, I had my fair share of comebacks. Sure, they sometimes felt almost as good as they do in Dota 2 but they were even less frequent because so many players are willing to surrender at 20 if their team makes a few mistakes or is underfarmed.

In that same vein, losing in League of Legends is generally less harsh because of the ability to surrender and move on. A real crushing defeat in Dota 2 means 30 to 40 minutes of frothing at the mouth and wishing your teammates would die in a ditch while the enemy team has the time of their lives. Either you get big fun, or you get a big kick in the junk. There is often no middle ground.

While I certainly don't like dealing with a 1-7 (at 13 minutes) Rikimaru building a Shadow Blade and screaming in Russian (I couldn't make this up), I love that even in those situations it is possible to win with some luck and cooperation. That is what DotA has always been about, and that is why the above quote from Johnson is 100% spot on. Who needs a surrender option when the most unlikely victories feel so good?

Associate Editor

Ashley is pretty lost in most things, but not the FFXIV smol life. Oh yeah, there's someone impersonating me. Trust me: I didn't email you.

Published Jun. 20th 2013
  • mihir_5607

    Why? Honestly if all the five players in a team think that they have lost then it should give then an option to surrender.

    Not only this but if we just stop playing then the shitty game gives us an abandon and puts us in low priority.

    So we have to endure a nightmare for 50 mins when it is already clear by 20 mins that we have lost.

  • Bibotot
    How much did they pay you for this? Have you been playing ANY other game apart from Dota 2. Life is short. We need to work, too. Spending 60 minutes in a single match with no surrender is fucking bullshit.
  • Daz_1364
    Sometimes when I am loosing and dont want to play, I just alt-tab, leave my character at base and then I alt-tab back and make him run around the base a few times.
  • GG Squirts
    You know what happens when a winning team spends 40 minutes kicking the crap out of a bunch of Brazillian feeders?

    They start to think they're hot shit, and when they get paired against a semi-coordinated team who speaks English and grew up with interenet connection, they blame their own team and ruin the experience for them.

    This will just become a vicious cycle of toxic competition until a feature is added to cut losses, end the feed fest and move on to the next game. Nothing can be learned from horrible teammates and toxic enemies.
  • Blue Codex
    Anyone who claims that when you're getting beat really bad in Dota you can just come back has simply not played the game or is lying, because EVERYONE who plays a decent amount of Dota has been in a position where they're just getting beat into the ground.

    Wokendreamer said: "Come-from-behind victories are entirely possible, especially in the later game where single won fights can lead to huge pushes and drastically-changed battlefield conditions."

    Except that in Dota there are buybacks. "Hey guys, we just won that teamfight! Lets push rax" *Carry buys back, kills entire team*

    Clay said: "Complaining about a lack of surrender option seems a bit silly for any game that describes itself as competitive"

    Except that there are a lot of competitive sports where people recognize there are times you need to bow out. That statement just shows a profound lack of understanding about how the world works. The term "Throw in the Towel" from boxing for example. When a person is losing really bad but is still physically capable of continuing, sometimes he surrenders because he recognizes that he's no longer in the running.
  • Bryce_8136
    If a surrender option is ever included (and I really hope it isn't), I think it should have to be a unanimous vote. I have played countless games of both LoL and Dota where I get fed, but the rest of my team isn't doing the best (sorry if I sounded a bit cocky in that statement). In the LoL games, the four other people on my team aren't able to recognize that I could carry the team to victory, and end up surrendering. It really aggravates me, and I always ask after the game is over why we decided to surrender, as we still had a chance. Without the option to surrender in the Dota games however, I estimate that my team and I win around 20-25% of games where we are down early. That 20-25% chance of an epic comeback makes up for the 75-80% lose rate, as the article has already stated. So in conclusion, even though Dota and LoL are team games, never underestimate the power of a single player.
  • Luisho
    I just came from a match where somebody decided to pick Invoker and proudly announce he has never used him before. I ask if he at least knew combinations he did not. The guy who picked Razor proudly announced it was his first time as well. I already knew it was lost.

    The Razor got killed a whooping 20 times and killed 2. The Invoker 11. A Chaos Knight 15. It ended 62-17.

    I was playing Bane and for some reason I was solo in a lane. When I asked the opposing team to finish it fast the invoker start berating me about how we were doing fine. I proceed to ask "30-11 (at the time) is fine? A support left alone in a lane is fine? An Invoker who doesnt even know the combinations for his spells is fine?"

    I continued to do what I could because leaving would mean going to dreadful low priority.

    Fast forward,match finishes. I try to find another match and behold, low priority. I can only assume the mediocre team reported me (God knows why as I didn't use any foul language or afk or anything) so I ended up exactly where I wanted to avoid.

    So yes, give me a surrender option.
  • WanderinSoul_4558
    So I'm new to dota 2 and every game I've played so far out of the 20 I've played 3 people leave on my team or the enemy team. I'm playing a game against 2 people and 3 bots after the other 3 players that left fed hard as hell. Why the hell wouldn't I want to surrender. Playing that through is pointless.
  • Klaste
    So basically, the developers don't trust us, so they want make our own decisions for us. I love DoTA2, but seriously, I can make my own decisions, thanks.
  • Runyyy
    If you are telling that no game is over before the other team knock on ancient i'm sorry but you are a complete retard and don't know shit about Dota. Deal with it.
  • Marcos_1678
    Surrender should and MUST be an option. Jesus, how am I suposed to fight a lvl 20+ team when my team is trying to get lvl 16? Fuck you. There is no counter-measure when your team is raped constantly and loses gold
  • nitefox1337
    So boxing is ruined by surrendering? Maybe Mike Tyson could have comeback from his 20 seconds KO?

    Or soccer shouldn't have 90 min limit. It should be played forever just for the sake of a possible comeback?

    Guys. Surrender is a right. not an option. If a team decides they dont want to play a game, who are you to tell them otherwise?

    Imagine in Starcraft 2, where gg is not an option and one side has to wait that all his buidlings are killed.


    The real thing is that Valve, by making "All heroes OP", couldn't balance the longevity of the game, thus forcing players of both side playing, by consuming their time and energy for nothing.

    And I disagree with the article. I am even more bored when I am on the winning side. As soon as one side crashes the other, the fun is gone.

    What valve need is changing the game mechanics to be able to properly add a Surrender option.

    Simple version of the above:

    Even though some rare comebacks are possible, and fun, they are not enough "fun" to legitimize the absence of a surrender option.

    The truth here is that Dota2 is an unbalanced game for casual players in which the winning team can clearly be decided at the first 10 minute.

    Valve can't fix this and so is forcing players to enjoy 20 minutes extra decimation time, even if they dont want to.

    Remember that 90% of players are not pro gamer or has the skills for proper comeback.

    Already most of my friends left the game bored by feeders and randomized heroes.

    Valve can't claim any crown against LoL or the upcoming heroes of the storm with such poor matchmaking mechanics and poorly designed team balance.
  • Prokso
    All said here makes sense. Really does.
    But after playing 4 games (as a beginner ofc) i must say that i can't stand playing a game where there are 3 people fed on other team rampaging trough whole 30-45 minutes of the game and not being able to surrender. Yes you talk about pro games and team plays that can turn the tides but at the beginner level its nonsense. I my self would never surrender at games like this and always go for that last straw but facing totally OP opponents while your teammates run around doing nothing is waste of my time. 3 hours of misery , god..
    I don't even care if they change it, I'm off...
  • Fael_9148
    Always stupid excuses! How you cn enjoy a game with trolls leaver and spamming russians?
    How you cn enjoy a game when enemy tam camps at your fountain nd you are waitin for minutes until the enemy creeps end the game?
    DOTA FAIL in this one for sure and i am not a lol boy
  • MikeyB_5151
    Johnson's "robbery of fun" premise is just silly. For every one "amazing comeback" game, there's ten straight up, predictable, not-fun losses. So if he is truly interested in maximizing fun, as is implied by his "robbery of fun" premise, then a surrender option easily serves that purpose (with obvious restrictions, as mentioned below). He must not solo-queue very often to have the perspective that he does.

    There is a great deal more fun "robbed" by lack of a surrender option than including one. You can put sensible, reasonable restrictions in place for a surrender option to work that won't do much "dampening" at all. For example, make it a unanimous vote and only allow the vote to be called after the 20 minute mark. This way there are no first-blood surrenders, nor is there any one dude that can force a team to surrender (quite the opposite, one brave soul can force a team to keep playing).

    If all 5 players on a team are in agreement that they would like to move on to the next game after 20 minutes of losing hard that should be allowed. If it's not allowed, Valve fails to realize that people will do it anyway, via abandons, which really fuck up a game. The surrender option absolutely cuts down on abandons dramatically. Plenty of players, with no surrender option to rely on, just abandon when losing, ruining the game, sometimes within the first 5 minutes.

    There's this great fear that a surrender option will lead to games constantly ending in the first 5 minutes, despite easily accessed evidence. What evidence? Just play League and see for yourself. I have played plenty of League of Legends (I now prefer Dota 2), and let me tell you, the sky didn't fall just because there is a surrender option. There wasn't chaos, locusts, or deaths of firstborn sons. The overwhelming majority of surrenders that I experienced happened around the 40+ minute mark, when the game was literally minutes from being over anyway. At least 90% of surrender votes that happened at the first possible moment (is it 15 or 20 min? i forget) quickly failed. It is very, very hard to get 5 people to all agree to a surrender that isn't completely legit. Really, Valve's argument straight up dies when one considers the surrender experience in League. It works and is hugely popular and appreciated by the community.

    All that being said, I am totally fine with disabling a surrender option for competitive matches. My only argument is regarding the public, everyday queuing experience that affects 99.9% of Dota 2 players who don't always have a ready 5-stack or get to play in streamed tournaments.
  • Christian_2443
    "Robbery of fun". Surrendering in both LoL and HoN are democratic votes, and turnarounds happen almost every game there aswell, but when everyone pukes on the experience, they arent robbed from it by having to stay in another 15 minutes of their lives. The vote is because they actually don't enjoy it, not so they can flee a fun experience. Hell of a bad option not to incorporate surrender.
  • Beowaffle
    The simple fact is that in a 40-10 game, a comeback is not a realistic option. Not because the enemy is so fed its impossible, but because the losing team lacks the skill to pull it off. They have been getting outplayed for 20 mins, and are going to continue to to be outplayed for the rest of the game. Kills and deaths aren't assigned at random, neither do towers spontaneously explode. Teams earn these things, and they serve as a reasonable measure of that teams coordination/skill. Forcing them to keep playing because a comeback would be possible for a better team is rubbing salt in to open wounds.
  • steijn
    don't worry about surrendering, you can just go afk and it doesn't matter anything at all
  • shit blog
    [Removed by moderator]... if you think dota shouldnt' have a surrender option, when the entire enemy is fed and you can't do anything to stop it.
    Hi, I arrived at this page googling for "dota 2 surrender" because I was baffled that there is no such option in the game, after asking about it it in one of those "my team is just people running around aimlessly" 40-10 games.

    The lack of a surrender option is pretty [removed by moderator] stupid, as is your fanboyism defending such a stupid design decision. All your babbling about amazing comebacks is cool and all, but it ain't the truth. Games do become unrecoverable, and if the winning team is having too much fun destroying the losing team without the slightest threat of defeat, they may not even press the attack. People do even camp the fountain to endlessly kill the losing team while their creep wave slowly advances. And when that happens, because it will happen, all you can do is quit the game, possibly getting you punished for it.

    And if your team is really bad, or doesn't even care about trying to counterattack, all you can do is watch as the enemy wrecks your base, if they want to.

    Retarded lack of a core mechanic, and retarded defense of it.
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