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Dota 2 Esports

Meta adjustments in 7.07

7.07b

The game of DotA 2 has changed dramatically in the wake of patch 7.07. When pasted into a word document the collective patch notes total over 70 pages. Seventy full pages of changes to heroes, items, talents and core mechanics can be difficult to absorb quickly.  Taking time to analyze every change line by line would generate an article longer than the patch notes themselves. Instead, we are going to evaluate the high level changes that Valve has made to see if we can discern how they want the game to be played in 7.07.

Before the horn

Hopping into a match in 7.07 feels familiar, yet still different. While nothing compared to previous map changes, there are a few specific ones worth talking about. Arguably the most notable change is the relocation of the bounty runes and shrines. Offlane bounty runes and shrines have practically swapped positions, and safe lane shrines have been moved closer to their respective team’s tier two towers.  Safelane bounty runes have also been moved closer to the river.

7.07
Teams can practically stare each other down from the rune spots now. Screenshot taken from the Dota 2 client

These changes have many implications across all phases of the game. For starters, teams may be more eager to fight over bounty runes at the start of the game now that they’re so much closer to each other. During the laning phase, an enemy support can also easily sneak into your jungle and steal your rune thanks to its new position. With easier escape options, the rewards quickly begin to outweigh the risks of attempting such maneuvers.

On the other hand, the new shrine positions serve to strengthen a teams position in the mid-game. After tier one towers have been taken, the previous shrines offered a great forward position, but at a cost. The problem was that they could not help teams defend their tier two towers thanks to the distance between them. Players trying to teleport to the shrine to defend a tier two either wouldn’t make it in time, or find a nasty ambush waiting. The new shrine positions give players a place they can retreat to should a tower fight go sour. It also gives allies a safer place to teleport should they wish to assist in such a fight.

The laning phase

The big ticket item in the laning phase is the adjustment to the XP reward gained from killing lane creeps. Melee creeps XP increased from 40 to 57, while range creeps XP decreased from 90 to 69. The large previous discrepancy between the values rewarded players much more for killing or denying the range creep in each wave. While the ranged creep is still more valuable, players may no longer weigh it so heavily when fighting for those initial last hits.

This experience change is also a nerf to any hero that likes to purchase a Hand of Midas, albeit a small one. Range creeps were prime Midas targets in 7.06 thanks to their ultra high XP reward. Now that range and melee creeps are closer in value, it becomes more efficient to Midas a siege creep, but those do not spawn every wave. If there is no siege creep, Midas carriers are likely to leave the lane for a large jungle camp creep in order to maximize the return on their investment. Midas characters will have more to consider when moving around the map, which isn’t a bad thing.

This change is also the nerf to Lich that some players had been hoping for. While he can still sacrifice the ranged creep in one lane at the start of the game, it no longer grants him as much experience, nor does it deny a full 90 experience from enemy heroes in that lane. This change won’t stop this behavior, but it reduces the impact substantially.

Denying the ranged creep might be less important than in 7.06, but denying as a mechanic has become more crucial to success in lanes. This is due to the reduction of experience received by the denied team from 75% to 25%.  Denying lane creeps is now quite literally three times as effective as it was in the previous patch. This change is going to put more pressure on players in the laning stage to perform well. Before, losing a lane would leave you with a little bit of catch up to do in the mid-game. Now, a losing player might find themselves hopelessly under-leveled if their lane goes poorly enough.

The mid/late game

Games need to end sometime. So many games in 7.06 would stalemate for too long as teams were afraid to take high ground. This was not a fun way to play, nor was it fun to watch. Valve has looked to remedy this by bring quicker ends to games in a couple of ways.

7.07
It may look like a shrine, but now its just a useless “filler building”. Screenshot taken from DotA 2.

The first of these is the removal of the shrines in each base. Shrines in each lane gave high ground defenders multiple chances to heal up and push back their attacker.  This was a nightmare to fight into, especially when a single bad teamfight could flip the game on its head. Removing these shrines removes unnecessary second chances for the defending team, and should also serve to shorten games overall in 7.07.

Almost every hero talent adjustment also contributes to this in some way. Many generic stat-boosting talents have been removed in favor of more hero specific talents, many of which are incredibly powerful. Taking Enigma’s new +70 Eidolon damage talent in addition to +8 Eidolons at level 25 grants unrivaled pushing power. Gyrocopter’s new Global Call Down talent allows the hero to clear any lane from the safety of his base. He can even participate in fights he’s nowhere near.

Moving forward with 7.07

As we expected, some heroes were nerfed, some heroes were buffed, the map changed and nothing will ever be the same. 7.07 definitely hid a few surprises for DotA fans, and I’m sure there are possibilities we’ve only begun to discover. It will take a few weeks and some tinkering for the new meta to reveal itself, but that’s most of the fun.

DotA Esports seems to benefit from this patch more than even the players. The changes I mentioned lead me to believe we will start seeing more early game skirmishes and shorter games overall. Shorter games will allow tournaments to stay on schedule more easily, and should prevent viewers from getting bored of watching drawn out games. If those aren’t victories for 7.07, then I don’t know what are.


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