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Embracing The Change: Initial impressions on Dota 2 7.00

December 12, 2016 John Paolo "Sandata" Bago

I love the changes brought by Dota 2’s 7.00 patch. That’s not to say of course that the changes will be good or that they will be healthy. We’ll need hours and hours of the entire community playing and testing things out, multiple tournaments and weeks of pros hammering out the details, to figure that out.

I love the changes because it’s a fresh take on the game we love. One of the best things about eSports is that it’s constantly evolving. I myself am a big fan of the game of Basketball and of Chess. But both games have seen very little changes, if at all, in the years since their creation.

The fact that on reddit, Dota 2’s community is also embracing the latest change much faster than it did in the past, is also very promising. Past patches that offered big changes, such as the map reworks for the Roshan pit two years ago, or the support economy changes of the past, have been met with unreasonable cries from the community. Even the simple addition of more visual options for stuns were met with rabid cries. “Give back MUH SKILLCAP,” they said. “This is no longer Dota!” they screamed.

The moment the timer hit 0 on the Dota 2 website, I was one of 50,000 people simultaneously crashing the Valve servers like a thundering herd of elephants. While we all laughed on Twitter, pastebin notes started proliferating. Some had reasonable changes, some were complete jokes. But the existence of a few notes with elements that reminded viewers of Heroes of the Storms’ talent trees sent reddit and Facebook into a frenzy. “Are we HotS now?” “Blizz lul!” “13 years of MOBA experience” all these jokes started floating around.

But as the servers gradually floated back to the surface, beginning with a Chinese page that needed a google translation to make any lick of sense. By 2:00 AM Philippine Standard Time, we had the full list of changes.

And man, we were floored.

The summary: I like the changes a lot and I haven’t seen anything on paper that’s a deal-breaker or anything that makes me angry. Of course, the implementation will be different. After playing a few games, some hardware and frame drop issues are popping up so I hope those get answered in due time.

Most of the changes to me seem to point to a certain direction: a lot of these changes are geared to make the game of Dota 2 faster and easier to break in the late-game. Consider the changes made to the Experience tables, the Deny Experience changes and the Talent trees.

With less overall experience needed level to level, and more experience granted after denies, we can reasonably expect heroes to level up faster and more often. That means more skills, more power spikes and more action around the map.

Conversely, with some talent trees having really powerful options at 25, such as Wraith King, the late game now has more access to abilities to end the game instead of being a turtle-fest into 80 minutes.

But one of the biggest changes has to be the bounty rune. The bounty runes now spawn in the jungles every 2 minutes, meaning there are 4 bounty runes on the map every time.

That’s huge when you consider that not only does it encourage more roaming play, but also gives out a lot of net experience across the board and gold to help teams fight earlier.

Ben “noxville” Steenhuisen made a detailed calculation on Medium for those interested in seeing the numbers. It’s honestly very eye-opening to consider the pure math that might be behind these changes.

monk
MONKEY SHINES. Sun Wukong is the newest Dota hero and the his arrival marks a tweaked new map layout for Dota 2.

In no particular order, here were my first notes made a 2AM just reading through the entire changelog:


 

LIKES

1. Deny experience change is pretty huge! Only 50% penalty when you get denied. I’m expecting some FASTER games since people level up more, giving earlier power spikes.

2. Speaking of faster games, taking out 10 seconds on respawn timers in the mid-game is pretty huge. Faster respawns, means more fights? That’s pretty dope.

3. I thought I was going to hate the Talent tree, but I kind of like it! It is a mixed bag though. Some heroes have better talent trees, some heroes have boring trees and some have very open-ended trees. Overall, it’s just extra decisions. It’s like building your own spell passive.

My favorite is probably Ancient Apparition. It’s boring, but having +60 gold per minute is huge on a support by level 10. I like that supports get some form of gpm talent. No more poor supports!

4. Backpack is an amazing idea. Reminds me of Ragnarok! Lots more dimension to late game, you can store items being built to benefit from their smaller components (reducing courier traffic), adjusting from fight to fight is super tactical. Those times when you need to choose between another clickable are super crucial.

Is it a stealth buff to Tinker though? Now you don’t need a courier, legit 9 slotted.

5. Placing first ward spots and predicting lanes visually is a plus again, but more for casual play. Still good. Hate the added time though. I think we spend too much time on the waiting screen.

6. No more + stat attributes! Dumb holdover from old WC3. Glad to see them go. Of course, you don’t get those sick once-in-a-blue-moon plays where you level up stat to give you the HP to survive an incoming hit, but I’m ok with that.

7. Shrines! Love the concept! More micro-map objectives for people to fight over. They give a sizeable boost as well to sustain so im expecting level 1 strats to be push —> once again faster games.

One added note on Shrines: You know how people don’t know what to do after they take towers? Having more map objectives keeps the action up so it’s not just always farming farming farming. I love the dynamic.

8. FUCK YES ILLUSION CHANGE. Provides gold and XP when killed. Big nerf to non-meta illusion heroes though, but I’m so mad at SD+Luna that I’m ok playing this out.

9. Root disabling movement spells! Finally some consistent logic.

10. Invoker streamlined. Might be weaker a bit, but at least it makes more sense. Never really got why we had random + stats at Level 25 Invoker when he has 10 spells anyway.

11. The regeneration items changes are huge and will be felt. Good change, but not really something i like. Be prepared to see more 1 hp escapes through creepwaves + salve

12. Bounty runes are everywhere. I feel like there will be more midlaners and roaming types viable in this patch. Lots of sustain and gold and experience around the map.


 

DISLIKES

1. Not feeling the reworked jungle. I get the symmetry but I like the decision-making aspect from the asymetric jungle. Asymetric jungle asks teams to have specific game plans depending on which side they’re on. It’s still good, don’t get me wrong, but

2. No more neutral creep deny lul –> sayang na tactical dimension. In general, most of my dislikes are very minor. I just like having more tactical options in the game rather than less.

3. The following abilities no longer disjoint projectiles: Borrowed Time, True Form, Pounce, Metamorphosis, and Leap —> again, I don’t like lessening tactical moves. I understand Borrowed Time, True Form and Metamorphosis no longer disjointing because those were holdovers from WC3’s system where, if you transformed, you’re actually turning into a different unit.

But Leap and Pounce should still dodge incoming projectiles. You’re leaping away from them!

4. Some talents are more useful than others. Unless you’re super fed, I don’t ever see anyone picking +8% spell amp over +60 gold/min on AA for example. Most of the late-game talents also have less impact since most games don’t really get to Level 25 anymore like they used to. But with the new experience changes, that remains to be seen I guess.

5. Arc Warden, because Arc Warden. Fuck that guy.

 


loading
FIGHT! Dota 2’s new loading screen is reminiscent of console fighting games. The new patch also comes with new pre-game options for strategic planning.

OTHERS

1. A lot of people are going to die to the HUD changes. Disorienting feeling moving from Dota 1 to 2, now to 3. Let’s face it this is Dota 3.

2. Need to play more with the map changes. I don’t mind moving Roshan, I’m neutral to it. It’s a lot more balanced now instead of being Dire-favored for Roshan plays.

3. Reworked XP charts will fuck over some people. A lot of high-level players have leveling up to a science. Big readjustment period here.

4. New HUD is friendly to streamers. Looks like Dota and Valve really want their game to be more popular for the streaming/Twitch crowd. Market decision here.

Added note: It looks like LoL because LoL is a very friendly game for streamers compared to Dota. You kind of need that if you want to live long in today’s market. More people watching -> More people interested -> the scene thrives and continues on.

5. Reduced Effigy building count in each base from 15 to 5 —> FUCK YOU LUNA HONESTLY

6. Sun Wukong is cool. I don’t really care if he’s OP to start. Most new heroes are and they get nerfed anyway. Although, him having that mischief ability is pretty interesting tactically.

7. There’s going to be a rumored MMR reset when 7.00 hits. While that would suck for some people, I don’t mind it at all. If you’re good at the game and grinded to get where you are, your skills will remain with you. Only the number is reset.


 

All in all, these changes are just another thing for Dota 2 players, casters, analysts and journalists to take in and adapt to. The comfort in that thought is that we, as a community, get to go through it together. We’ll all strike out into this new Dota 2, figuring out exactly how imbalanced some parts are, how some parts suck, how some parts are unfair, how incredibly fun this is, how amazing that turned out to be.

It’s going to be a grand adventure¬†and I can’t wait.