Earlier this week, Dota 2 released the Bladeform Legacy update. Along with changes to the Captains Mode UI, a Jakiro model update, and a general gameplay changes, the long-anticipated Juggernaut Arcana also arrived. Unfortunately, it was blue.
Juggernaut is a melee carry hero whose most distinguishing feature is his distinct orange hue. In a game such as Dota 2, with over 100 characters, it is important that each character's design is unique and instantly recognisable so as not to cause confusion. This is even more important in highly competitive multiplayer online battle arenas, as the battlefield is constantly changing and a split-second reaction can be the difference between a win and a loss.
Juggernaut's bright traffic cone orange, along with his long sword and face-covering mask, make him one of the most recognisable heroes in Dota 2. He even headlines the banner on the Dota 2 website.
Last August, the popular hero was chosen by player vote to be the next character to receive an Arcana. An Arcana is a rare, expensive cosmetic item in Dota 2. Only a handful of heroes currently have one, and each only receives one. On top of altering a hero's appearance, an Arcana may make various other cosmetic changes such as adding custom animations, sounds and icons. Arcana don't have any effect upon gameplay, aside from telegraphing to your opponents that you probably have plenty of experience with this character. At least, they shouldn't have an effect.
Upon the reveal of Juggernaut's Bladeform Legacy Arcana, players immediately flooded the internet with complaints. It's bad enough that it suffers from the same glowing particle effect affliction that has quickly become a substitute for good design in Dota 2 cosmetics, but the Arcana renders the hero virtually unrecognisable. While the particle effects mask his silhouette, his new blue-green colour makes him practically indistinguishable from a number of other heroes, most notably fellow melee carry hero Phantom Assassin's Arcana, which also features blue-green particle effects accompanied by an orange blade.
Within a day Redditors were reporting that the Arcana was causing confusion in-game and having a real effect upon gameplay.
Several players took to Photoshop to "fix" the cosmetic by recolouring it. General consensus was that the Arcana would have been significantly improved had it stuck more closely to Juggernaut's original colour scheme.
I made the Juggernaut arcana red. I like it a lot more like this, wasted opportunity imo pic.twitter.com/wHW6Z95Jxu
— Baumi (@CaptainBaumi) March 16, 2017
Fortunately, as of today those hopeful fan edits are now a reality. Valve has announced the addition of a new "style" for the Arcana which will return Juggernaut to his iconic orange. Styles are toggleable variants upon a cosmetic, such as a colour change. Owners of the Bladeform Legacy Arcana can therefore switch between default blue-green and orange.
Before they can revert to more familiar colours, players must unlock the orange "Origins" style by scoring 10 kills with Juggernaut’s ultimate ability, Omnislash. However this is not a difficult task even for relatively inexperienced Dota 2 players, adding a small sense of accomplishment to the unlocking of a style that many feel should have been the default.
The community has breathed a collective sigh of relief in response to the recolour, and the numerous complaints have been replaced by gratitude to Valve for listening.
Some have speculated that releasing a second Arcana style had been Valve's intention all along, while others are concerned that Valve's apparent capitulation to online criticism will set a precedent. Others still remain unsatisfied, and feel that many more elements of the cosmetic require further attention. However, there's no denying that this update has been widely well-received, and has gone a long way to fixing the problems with the original Juggernaut Arcana.