Dota2 is a great game, but it can be a very frustrating experience if you have to play with ping spikes or packet losses. A lot of things can cause the problems. This guide tries to break down what can go wrong, walk you through each step and bring you closer to a solution.

In short, it is precisely what I wanted to have last time I tried to solve my packet losses.

Time for Science!

First we need Dota to give us more information about what is going on in the game. In your steam library, right click Dota2. Click properties and add -console. This will allow opening the console, which is a place where technical data about what goes on in the game is shown. You can open and close the terminal with F10.

Start Dota2. You will see a large text field to the right. Here we can type in commands and the game will give us technical data. Try it now, write "-status" into the line at the bottom and hit enter.

Now go into settings and enable the configuration option to show fps, ping and packet loss. Inside a game, it will give you these technical data continously at the top right side of the screen. This will allow you to detect precisely when you start to get ping spikes or packet loss. You can then use the console to give you precise information about what is going on.

Does Dota2 give you ping spikes or packet loss?

If the game is lagging, it seems obvious to blame the game. But it may be completely innocent. Correlation does not imply causation and all that. So we need to test whether the problem is with the game or with something else.

Start Dota2 and wait for the problem to appear. When it does open the terminal and see what is going on. Remember it's F10 to open the terminal and that you can take steam screenshots with F12.

  • If your FPS drops, but ping and packet loss is unaffected. It's a problem with the game.
  • If your ping drops and/or you have packet loss and there's nothing in the console it's not a problem with the game.
  • If your ping drops and/or you have packet loss and there's stuff being the console then it could be a problem with the game or with something else.

The last case is the likeliest and the only one needing more detective work. Look at the lines being repeated in the terminal. The answers you find should help you to determine the origin of the problem. Stuff that deals with graphics, sounds or files are likely to be problems with the game and issues relating to missing packets, failed connections and so forth are likely to be issues outside the game. Don't be afraid to google the errors.

Problems in the game could be general. Unoptimized code that suddenly become a performence hog dragging down your system. These can occur after a patch, but tend to be fixed pretty quickly. You could also have issues with a particular device on your machine like your graphics card. Depending on what in particular is wrong you could try to

  • Update drivers
  • Reinstall Dota2
  • Post a report to the dev forums with game ID, screenshots and any other relevant information about your system.

Is the connection to the Dota2 server giving you packet loss?

If it isn't the game itself, it could be the servers the game that are having problems. So we need to install WinMTR, which will detect any packet losses between you and the dota server. Go HERE and install it. Then start the game, open the console and write -status. This will give you the IP of the dota2 server you've connected to.

Now launch a winmtr instance and write in the IP you got. This will show you the hops data goes through from you to the server and detect if there's any problems somewhere on the line. Packet losses can be in one of three places. Your end, the dota server or in between.

There isn't much we can do if the packets are lost at the Dota server. Make an angry post on Reddit and consider playing in another region. Before you do though, do the same with a connection to 8.8.8.8. This is Googles DNS server. So if you also have problems with this server, then the problem isn't at Valves end.

If the packets are lost in between, it's a problem at your ISP. Call them and see if there's anything they can do.

If the problem is at your end. Then the problem could be wireless interference, problems with your hardware or not enough bandwidth on your connection. Continue to eliminate the areas that could be problematic until you know where the problem is. Then fix it.

Did it fix your ping spikes/packet loss?

Going through my packet loss problem like this helped solved my problem. If it helped you or you have any improvements or critique, then feel free to send me an email at andreas.damgaard.p@gmail.com