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Dota 2 Esports

IceFrog checks in, Spring Cleaning already

A fresh patch is here! Dota 2’s competitive streaming debate got an upgrade last weekend. On Wednesday, the game itself has a new patch.

Relax, it’s not a huge patch. That would be a disaster with the Starladder tournament this weekend. IceFrog himself has decided to change the way Dota 2 patches work.

(Twitter)

For a long time one of the largest complaints around Dota 2 communities has been stagnation. From the grind of being stuck at a certain MMR to extended periods of the same meta. Broken heroes could terrorize pubs for months. But those days have long gone as the last few patches have been great. Almost every hero feels viable and nothing feels game-breaking. Valve’s new investment in the pro scene is starting to permeate throughout the scene.

As a game it feels more balanced than ever, while the pro scene is making it feel more serious and polished. Regardless of opinion on the ESL One “Facebook” thing it is a healthy debate for a growing esport.

This change to the way Dota 2 is patched could really help fine tune the game. While proving a commitment from Valve to continue innovating. Pushing the game to new heights. A “Spring Cleaning” patch is here with many more to come. Let’s take a look.

Quality of life changes

As a whole, the patch seems to revolve around this theme. From seemingly small things like more support for “alt-tabbing” in and out of the game to long hoped for bug fixes like Aghs upgrades showing on hero loadout.

This includes a lot of new and interesting additions. Language-based matchmaking hoping to drive more communication between players, being able to see team-wide TP cooldowns and even six month ban periods. But what was most interesting, off the bat, was the changes to player profiles. Introducing a new level of personalization for Dota 2 players!

(Dota 2 Blog)

You can now show off some of your favorite cosmetics with three featured heroes. As well as easy comparison and more recent match data. Bringing a fresh personal touch for every player.

New items get a dust-off, Heroes tweaked

Some minor changes to Soul Ring and Spirit Vessel recipes are not really too exciting. Minute increase to the price of these items seems inconsequential with all the gold available on the map right now. Meteor Hammer and Aeon Disk probably saw the biggest upgrade when it comes to items. Reducing the damage threshold on Aeon Disk is nice. But, the item still does the same thing. The cooldown rework from 40 to 28 seconds on Meteor Hammer, is major. Put this item on a Dragon Knight with level 6 and you can kiss that tower goodbye.

Heroes themselves remain largely unchanged. A minor stats change here or there. Talent reworks that give some heroes better tools. Like Lion’s mana drain becoming a slow or another half-second on Windranger stun at level 20. Shadow Shaman’s spells take an early game nerf. Pudge’s rot slow finally gets changed, but don’t worry he will still be in every game.

Lycan might finally go back to the unplayable hole he came from thanks to nerfs to his ultimate cooldown. 130 seconds at level 1 completely destroys him early game. It may only be 10 extra seconds, but it could throw off your timings and even make you rethink when you use the ability. Add on that he now has zero base armor. Congratulations on losing your lane.

Somehow Medusa managed to get a buff. You read that right. Her “Mystic Snake” cast range has been nerfed from 800 to 700. But her talents just keep getting better. At level 10 you now choose between +20 damage and 20% evasion (previously 15%). Level 15 still leans towards +30 attack speed, but 20% mystic snake mana steal is really strong as it also means more burst damage to her spell. Medusa’s best talent for a long time has been +800 mana at level 20. Making her unkillable without manaburn. It has finally received a nerf! Down to +700 mana. Which doesn’t feel consequential at all.

 

Small changes that matter

For a while a large criticism of patches in which Valve mainly address UI/quality issues was that none of these changes really affect the game. Well, a large part of this patch can be filed into this category. Though there are a few changes that do stand out. One example being the new indicators for difficulty of camps that are spawning. This is a great change for new players. It will allow newer players to streamline their farming pattern with the help of these new icons. Conversely this does add even more clutter to a map that already displays a plethora of information. Between seeing wards, player icons, towers and rune indicators, the minimap is becoming more and more crowded.

Another useful addition geared towards new players is the “Last Hit Trainer.” A sort of custom game that was probably conceived as a great way for players to warm up while queuing. While being a great idea it is not currently executed well. As you cannot use either spells or items. Really taking away from the mechanics and accuracy of this mode. Being able to complete the mini challenge in this trainer may keep people trying it for some fun between games, but overall without items or spells this is not really a great practice environment. Just not realistic to how you would last-hit during a game.

What would any patch be without making the life of support players a little easier? There have been a few with 7.08. What stands out most is the new ability to pool items during the strategy phase. No more chasing down non-communicative cores to try and give them a tango. No more racing out of the fountain to try and give your offlaner a ward. Those days are behind us, supports. Now during strategy time you can divvy up resources however you see fit! In addition, wards now will not combine in your inventory if another player hands you their stack. Which became a real pain when you would have to then give up all of your wards to give them back one observer. Adding to this is the ability to move items around, disassemble, and even sell items while you are dead. This is a long awaited fix that will really come in handy. As in some games of Dota your best time to make decisions on items is while dead and you don’t have anything else to think about.

Continuing on this theme of death. The courier will now automatically return items to your stash if you called it and then died before the items were delivered. Seemingly inconsequential but now you will never forget to grab those items once you respawn. Aside from avoiding feeding a courier you sent to the Secret Shop.

Overall, this patch didn’t shift the game too much. There were plenty of changes to the games UI. Which will undoubtedly take a little bit to feel an impact. But, IceFrog has committed to an updated patching system to allow the game to progress alongside the blossoming Pro Circuit. Larger changes are sure to come. For now we can be content with a little “Spring Cleaning”.

Featured image courtesy of Valve

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