Valve finally got around to releasing its anticipated 6.84 patch notes for Dota 2 last night, meaning that there are some big changes coming to the popular MOBA this week. The updates are characteristically extensive. And insane.
There are too many buffs, nerfs, tweaks and reworks in 6.84 to list them all here. But let me give you an idea of how systemic they by highlighting three of the most important incoming changes.
The patch notes begin with a few general notes about how experience and in-game gold will be doled out to individual player characters. The general takeaway from these is that farming against computer-controlled bad guys is being discouraged compared to engaging in more player-vs.-player fights, and doing so more frequently.
Here are the notes about how big a reward killing enemy creeps will grant players, for instance:
- Melee lane creep bounty reduced from 43 to 40 (-7%)
- Range lane creep bounty reduced from 48 to 45 (-6.25%)
- Hero kills (the non-net worth portions) are worth 10% more
And here are the points about how destroying the enemy team's barracks will reap higher rewards, while towers are being slightly weakened:
- Melee Barracks team bounty increased from 175 to 275
- Ranged Barracks team bounty increased from 100 to 225
- Tier 2 and 3 towers armour reduced from 25 to 22
Neither of these adjustments is profound or game-changing on its own, of course. What will be interesting to see is what they add up to in the aggregate to influence the overall pace and flow of self-contained games in Dota 2. In a detailed patch analysis, YouTuber Merlini Dota argues that the end result will be "swifter games":
Crosby.gg makes a similar case here:
Powerful Item Becomes Even More Powerful
Aghanim's Scepter was already a uniquely handy item for some, but not all, Dota 2 characters because it made their pre-existing special abilities more powerful. 6.84 added a lot of new characters to this list. Some characters, like Morphling, Lifestealer, and Nyx assassin, gain new skills and abilities entirely.
Others just become ridiculously powerful with the refashioned Scepter. Like the bear-summoning hero Lone Druid, whose summoned bear ally can now attack at any range from Lone Druid," and won't die even if the hero dies. The patch also notes: "Hero kills achieved by units under your control now provide XP credit to your hero," meaning the spirit bear is going to reap greater benefits for his hero whenever he kills something as well. I for one am scared of a potential bear invasion in Dota 2.
How excited are Dota 2 fans right now? One Reddit, the Aghanim's Scepter currently has its own megathread for people to discuss the incoming changes:
Eight — Eight! — New Items
Mainlining MOBAs (mostly League of Legends) for the past few months has helped me appreciate just how instrumental a single item can be for making or breaking a game. Whenever League changes one of its most popular items — let alone adds a new one — the community collectively loses its shit. Dota 2 added eight new items in the 6.84 patch. One of them, Octarine Core, is a nice little hat-tip to the recently deceased writer Terry Pratchett. Another is called an "enchanted mango," which is something I wish I could get at the IRL grocery store. Nobody can say for sure right now whether or not any of the new items will end up having a substantial impact on Dota 2. But the fact that the game is getting so many all at once strikes me as crazy.
Luckily, most vocal Dota 2 fans seem to feel that the 6.84 patch is crazy in a good way.