Dota 2's biggest update yet is here, and players are coming to terms with the fact that a game they spent hundreds of hours barely wrapping their heads around just got turned upside-down.
Ever since Valve took the reigns on Dota with Dota 2, the game's received all sorts of updates over the years. While those ones tweaked balance, upgraded the interface, added new heroes and whatnot, version 7.00 adds entire new mechanics. This is the first new version number in more than a decade, and that's no coincidence. This is the beginning of a new era for Dota 2. In a game as precise and generally impenetrable as Dota 2, this means the old status quo -- tenuous as it was -- now exists only as a memory.
Some players are taking it well, pointing out that changes like hero talent trees and an overhaul of the game's main map freshen up an experience that was starting to sprout some patches of grey. Sure, many old lessons about balance and strategy go out the window, but they point out that their best Dota 2 days were those first 500 or so matches, when everything was still unpredictable and terrifying. In Dota 2, the best games serve as lessons. Now everybody's a nervous newbie again.
"I'm more excited to be watching Dota than I have been in years," said one former player named Zangis. "May even start playing again, after quitting because of toxicity. But definitely want to see what will happen with this game, and what the community will do with all these new toys."
Predictably, though, some people are freaking out. Dota 2 isn't like other games. You don't just pick it up and git gud in a couple of afternoons. You've gotta put in work, soldier on through some seriously shitty times and eventually earn back your dignity. Some players, especially ones who only recently started feeling competent, aren't stoked that their treadmill just transformed into a stair-stepper.
"Holy shit," wrote a Dota 2 player named obnoxiousloudmouth. "Why the fucking fuck are they adding skill trees? This can't be happening. I'm having a fucking breakdown. I don't want to believe Icefrog is such a [Heroes of the Storm] fanboy. I want an Io Arcana. I want inventory management. I cannot fucking deal with this right now. It wasn't supposed to be like this, I thought he was going to change the game for the better???? This is so fucked."
Many have voiced similar concerns that hero talents will upend the game's precarious balance, but others point out that organised talent trees give Valve a more precise means of balancing the game over time.
Still, in a game as complex yet somehow popular as Dota 2, it's kinda nuts that lead developer Icefrog and co decided to suddenly add even more complexity. A player named Areign summed it up best.
"Its just incredible that despite being one of the top 3 esports in the world, having a massive casual player base, a level of complexity unlike any other major esport and a level of balance approaching perfection (maybe a bit hyperbolic but perfect or not, the balance is top tier), the creator just went 'fuck it, i'm bored' and turned everything upside down," they wrote.
Exciting times ahead, in other words. For better or worse!