Let's be honest. Nobody loves wasting their time, twiddling their thumbs, and waiting for what seems like forever for a Dota 2 match to be found. So what gives!? If you resonate with this scenario, finding yourself pulling at the hairs on your head watching the matchmaking queue time tick past the 10- or even 20-minute mark, then this guide is dedicated to you.
First and foremost, you'll be happy to know you're not alone in this situation. I have personally found myself frustrated, crying out loud in despair, "Why the f**k is Dota taking so long to find a game?!" And might I add, I have a perfect 10k behavior score and typically match with other players in the Legend and Ancient brackets.
What Causes The Long Matchmaking Times In Dota 2?
So, what is the issue? Why does Dota matchmaking take so long for some players? Well, the answer is multifaceted, really. Perhaps the most obvious reason for long matchmaking time is related to having a low behavior score. Being toxic in-game will naturally attract reports, which reduces your behavior score, placing you in a low-priority matchmaking pool, along with all the other toxic rejects.
- Solution: Don't be toxic.
Likewise, even if you manage to recover your behavior score to respectable levels (in my opinion, this is at 8k+), there's still a chance that you'll struggle to find Dota games. That's because you're likely listed on other players' avoid lists (karma is a b*tch, isn't it?).
- Solution: Start being nicer to other players. Beg for forgiveness and farm Commends.
Assuming you're extremely well-behaved in matches, you might also encounter long matchmaking queue times quite simply because you're no good. No, really, I mean it. The Dota matchmaking algorithm will endeavor to match you with players similarly matched with you in skill. As a result, if your hidden MMR is too low, you might struggle to match with other competent players in your region.
- Solution: Don't give up. Try searching with friends or try joining a guild or party. Also, work on building your Dota skill by practicing in bot or co-op bot lobbies. You'll get better, eventually.
Perhaps more obvious is you might be searching for an uncommon game mode. For example, most players will queue for All Pick or Turbo matches. If you're queueing Ability Draft, Single Draft, or All Random, you might struggle to find games. Likewise, searching for Dota 2 games at an ungodly hour (like late at night when other players are sleeping) will likely result in extremely long waiting times.
- Solution: Search All Pick and Turbo games when most people are playing, like during the day or in the evening before midnight.
Similarly to the previous reason, it's also possible that you are playing on a low-density server. If you are searching on a server with fewer active players, then (obviously) it will take much longer to find a game.
- Solution: Select more server regions. You might find games much faster on high-density servers like Europe West. Note that selecting servers that are geographically further away from you will attract higher latency.
Lastly, the Dota game coordinator may be offline. This sometimes occurs when Valve is pushing an update. We have a dedicated article that speaks about this issue in a bit more detail that you can read.
Disclaimer: There might be many more reasons your Dota games take longer to find. If you know any I forgot to mention, drop me a message on Twitter, and I'll add it to this list.