Once upon a time, in an age long forgotten, an entity named Valve had promised a ‘new-player experience’ for the complexity it called Dota 2. Now, after a time immemorial, Valve has delivered on their promise.
“Today we’re launching a comprehensive update to the new player experience,” Dota 2’s official Twitter account tweeted, “featuring an extensive suite of tools designed to help anyone interested in learning more about Dota 2.”
The new update brings a metric ton of changes to the newcomer Dota 2 experience:
Calling the default shop overwhelming is like calling Mount Everest ‘kinda small’. It’s a god damn nightmare if you are a new player.
The new update prevents this information overload by restricting the choices of items for new players. The shop UI is easier to understand, and features new guides tailor-made to help out newbies. Players will have the option to switch to the default shop as well.
New Player Objectives
To make the gargantuan amounts of game knowledge required to excel at Dota, Valve has added a “quest-like system of objectives” to let players explore the game in a “controlled, scripted environment”.
These quests/tutorials can teach specific game elements, Dota-client features, in-game tactics and concepts like warding, teleporting, lockdown, initiation, etc. The tutorial will also help players get used to playing with friends and spectating games.
To honour the efforts of the community which SirActionSlacks led with his crowdfunded campaign to set up a new player experience fo the game, Valve will include a section for the new community tutorial. Additionally, Valve will be on the lookout for adding similar community-created content to the game in the future.
New Player Rewards
Going back to its old ways, Dota will now reward players for playing the game.
Completing the various chapters of the in-game tutorial will give players rewards based on progress. These rewards include pre-existing Dota 2 hero cosmetics, Dota+ Shards, emotes, and an Axe announcer.
Putting the encyclopaedic knowledge of Dota 2 in a digestible and readable fashion in no joke. The contributors to Dota wikis and the Liquipedia pages know that; and now Valve does, too.
New players can now access a ‘Glossary’ tab in the parent ‘Learn’ tab to educate themselves on various basic and complex terminologies and concepts of Dota 2.
New Player Mode
Based on the concept of the old “Limited Mode,” the “New Player Mode” features a small and stable hero pool to let players learn the basics of the game unhindered.
There will be no penalties for new players who leave the game mid-way to foster a more comfortable environment and experiment with the vastness of Dota 2. Instead, a bot will replace players in such cases.
To keep things even for the older players, new players will never match up with parties or older players. “Solo-queue new players will always play with and against other solo new players”. There will be an in-game queue time cap which will put new players into a game even if the lobby isn’t full. When this happens, empty lobby slots will be filled by bots. This is to keep queue times on the lower end for everyone, and the experience consistent.
If new players choose to queue with friends, they will be immediately loaded into a bot lobby to help them get acclimatized to the game and its mechanics, with a little no-stakes help from friends.
Speaking of bots, they’ve undergone some changes. Embracing one and all in its wake, the Dota 2 bots have new names from different languages.
This change is in addition to “various improvements to the default (bot) set” since the default bots were never updated to keep up with gameplay changes like outposts, neutral items, and new abilities.
The bots also feature improved strategy, laning, farming, rune pickup, ability use, and item use. New players can select an exclusively made bot difficulty until they get better. Once new players get comfortable with the game, and queue ‘co-op’ bot matches, they will be pitted against the top-rated community bots for a worthy challenge.
Dota 2 now features a helpful wizard who pops up every time it sees new players doing something that could be detrimental to their experience. If the game detects players on low health for too long or casually walking under enemy towers, he will pop up with some life-saving advice.
The wizard will also tell new players about concepts like tower damage, crossing the river, ability counters, backdoor protection, vision, wards, dust, and loads more.
And A Metric Ton Else
- There’s… a metric ton else that Valve has added to Dota to make the game more accessible.
- New players can join chat channels with experienced players who have high-behavior scores and moderators.
- Even in the middle of a match, new players can request coaching help from experienced players. On the flip side, older players can see a list of all the people who need coaching assistance, and help them out with the click of a button.
- Hero portraits will feature helpful, short descriptions to keep new players abreast of what the hero they pick is capable of.
- New players will also be guided to use the seemingly chaotic, but actually well-made, menu of Dota 2.
- With a lot of helpful tools locked behind Dota Plus, Valve has even added a free two-month subscription for all new players to help them with pull timings, Hero guides, or to just help them join in the fun with chat wheels.
- Smurfing, boosting, and game-ruining are finally bannable offenses. These detections will come from algorithm changes on Valve’s end. Valve has also added a “report as smurf” option to the game to help them better identify such cases.
- Returning players will “now be placed into a special new calibration mode.” This “more sensitive” mode analyzes games and assigns matchmaking taking into account how long a player had been gone for.
- The Dota website has been updated! Rather, it’s been completely revamped, and it’s still work-in-progress. The rework includes redesigns and updates to “the Heropedia and the blog to better steer players towards the info they want.” There are new videos for all the hero abilities with updated layouts.
It took the creation of a Dota anime and a crowdfunding campaign by Slacksfor Valve to realize that their complex game needed a palatable red-carpet for new people venturing into the universe that has been in the making for almost two decades.
But boy, did they deliver.
This update addresses almost all complaints and QoL changes that the community had been asking for for close to five years now. This update will segue into the Singapore Major, after which Valve will focus on delivering the 7.29 update by April 9, 2021. 7.29 will be a balance-focussed update shipping with a new hero! You can read more about the update on the official blog, and visit the revamped website.
Things are looking up for Dota 2. In the meantime, stay tuned; DOTA: Dragon’s Blood was recently released on Netflix.