Is Dota 2 really better with a high behavior score? We found out

By Steven Rondina


Nov 4, 2021

Reading time: 4 min

There’s a lot of talk among Dota 2 players when it comes to behavior score and what impact it has on the playing experience. Only those who have been at the top and at the bottom of the game’s behavior score brackets can really give definitive answers on the differences between having a high and low behavior score.

I’m a player that’s been in the trenches of Dota 2 with a sub-2,000 behavior score and has since climbed back up to around 10,000, it’s worth going over the differences and similarities between the two brackets for those who are curious.

I’ve played Dota 2 for many years and have spent most of that time in North America in a middling MMR bracket. Though things may vary between regions and MMRs, here are the observations I made about the real difference a behavior score makes.

How do you get a low behavior score in Dota 2?

Dota 2 behavior scores drop after receiving reports, abandoning games, or failing to accept games after a queue is completed.

In my case, I plunged into the depths of the behavior score pit for having regular arguments with teammates. I didn’t necessarily talk trash to my teammates, but if there was a disagreement over buying wards, an argument would likely follow and I wasn’t shy about sharing my feelings.

How do you increase your behavior score in Dota 2?

Increasing one’s behavior score in Dota 2 requires frequent commendations after a game’s end.

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The way that I got out of the low behavior score ditch was mostly just offering up commend trading after each game. Including “trading commends” in the post-game chat is just about the only way to regularly get commends in low behavior score games, and it’s vital for actually climbing back out of the behavior score hole.

There seems to be a significant cultural difference between high and low behavior score brackets in terms of how commends are handed out. Generally speaking, players will not commend one another in low behavior score games unless they’re actively trading commends. Meanwhile, it’s fairly normal to receive commends in high-score games without asking for them, even if you didn’t play particularly well.

Because of how stingy low behavior score players are with giving out commends, getting them requires a proactive approach. Without really changing my behavior or play style, I was able to get commends by offering to trade them. Though there’s a shortcut there in the form of playing with friends who will always commend you, they’re not going to be able to do all of the work for you. You’ll almost certainly need outside help.

Personally speaking, my actions and approach to the game haven’t changed comparing the 2,000 behavior score range and with being in the clouds of 9,000 and up. Simply on the virtue of how much more generous high-score players are with their commends, it’s very easy for me to maintain a high score for myself.

What are the differences between a high behavior score and a low score?

The biggest difference between having a high and low behavior score seems to be queue length.

While there are some differences when it comes to the actual in-game behavior of players in these brackets, the most profound difference comes with how long it actually takes to get into a match. At a lower behavior score, queues for commonly played game modes regularly approached 10 minutes. With a high behavior score, queue times rarely went above two minutes.

Games aren’t necessarily significantly better, and high behavior score games still sometimes include toxic players. There are fewer egregiously toxic players at higher score ranges, but the general experience isn’t radically different.

It’s unclear if the longer queues for players with lower behavior scores are a result of fewer players being available at that score range, or if the queues are made longer as a form of punishment. If the queue lengths are being artificially increased to punish players with a lower behavior score, it may be an unwise move by Valve. The increased queue length could be a contributor for further negative behaviors. After all, if it’s going to take 12 minutes to get into a game, players are going to be frustrated with anything but a great experience. And at lower behavior score ranges, they’re very likely to express that frustration.