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Dota 2: Spring Cleaning Update released and IceFrog talks about a new update plan

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When Valve releases a big gameplay update for Dota 2 (generally after a big tournament), things can get a little confusing. There were just so many general gameplay and balance changes in the big updates that they are very difficult to keep track of. Hero skills and their effectiveness change, item builds might change and with talent trees also in the mix, it can take weeks to get back into the swing of things and “figure out” the patch.

Now, it seems like things will be changing for Dota 2 the time leading up The International 2018. The news comes directly from the frog’s mouth, as the lead developer on Dota 2, IceFrog, tweeted the following:

We want to try taking a different approach to how gameplay patches are released. Instead of big patches a couple of times a year, we'll be releasing small patches every 2 weeks on Thursdays. We'll be trying this out for about six months and then reevaluating.” - Source

That sounds good to me and I’m sure many players will like this plan as well because they don’t have to go through hundreds of changes all at once. To make things even easier for Dota 2 players, there will also be a new in-game feature, as IceFrog states that:

To make it easier to keep track of changes, we'll also be releasing a new in-game feature to notify you of any recent changes to heroes in your match.” - Source

I, for one, love this change, as those massive balance updates can get a bit confusing when they are filled with pages and pages of changes. The new in-game feature, gameplay changelog notifications,  have now been implemented with the Spring Cleaning update, alongside many other improvements. The update is quite massive, so I guess the smaller updates will start after this one...

Spring Cleaning Update

Today, Valve released the Spring Cleaning update, featuring a variety of quality-of-life improvements, a tonne of bug fixes and even some small gameplay changes. Check out the highlights below.

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Redesigned Player Profile - We’ve redesigned the player profile to include many common feature requests, as well as some new features. Check out your latest match performance, show off the uniquely combined cosmetics you’ve chosen for your favorite heroes and personalize your profile by choosing any background from the catalog of loading screens you own.

Gameplay Changelog Notifications - Dota constantly evolves, and keeping track of changes can be daunting. Now you can see which heroes have updates by looking at the top-bar portrait of a selected hero on the drafting screen. Hover over the icon to see any changes made since the last time you looked. In addition, there is now a section in the Learn tab with the full changelog. During a game you can hover over an ability or item tooltip to see if and how they've changed.

Last Hit Trainer - Make the most of every creep and push your GPM to the next level with the Last Hit Trainer, a new tool in the Learn tab. You can take the time to practice this vital mechanic anytime you want—even while queuing for a game.

Gameplay Changelog Notifications - Dota constantly evolves, and keeping track of changes can be daunting. Now you can see which heroes have updates by looking at the top-bar portrait of a selected hero on the drafting screen. Hover over the icon to see any changes made since the last time you looked. In addition, there is now a section in the Learn tab with the full changelog. During a game you can hover over an ability or item tooltip to see if and how they've changed.

Improved Buyback Notifications - Keep your battle plans up-to-date with more prominent buyback notifications on the top bar portraits and in the kill feed. You can even hold ALT to see recent buybacks in the top bar after the initial notification has faded. Notifications in the kill feed will be sticky in that area for 45 seconds.

Live Pro Circuit Tournament Tab - As the Dota Pro Circuit progresses towards The International, it should be easy to tune in for a stream without a scavenger hunt. Now when a Major or Minor is live, you'll see a dedicated front-page cell in the client. Clicking that button will launch your web browser to watch the stream.

Strategy Phase Item Pooling - The time before the battle horn blows is precious for early-game reconnaissance. Get to the business at hand before the game even begins by pooling tangos and wards to other players during the strategy phase.

Team Teleport Status - Need to see if your teammates are ready for rapid rotations? Just hold ALT to see a Teleport cooldown notification for Town Portal Scrolls and Boots of Travel under each hero portrait on the top bar.

6 Month Matchmaking Bans - As part of this update, we are now automatically issuing 6 month matchmaking bans for players that show an extreme frequency of negative behavior (feeding, abandoning, player abuse, etc).

Language-based Matchmaking - Communication plays a vital role in destroying an Ancient. To help improve the lines of communication between teammates, your selected language is now a much greater factor when determining matchmaking.

Redeliver Courier Items - Good teammates help ensure the courier always gets where it needs to go, and with new hero-delivery icons that appear on the courier interface when it's carrying someone else's items, it's easier than ever to be a good teammate.

Custom Game Arcade Revamp - The Arcade tab has been revamped to help you find open Custom Game lobbies with greater ease. Peruse open lobbies from around the world, or use the list of the most recent lobbies in nearby regions to join a server with a good ping.

Custom Game Matchmaking Penalties - Custom Game developers can now opt their games into a penalty-enforcement mode. Players who abandon or fail to ready up for these custom games will receive matchmaking cooldowns in the Arcade.

Dedicated Servers for Custom Games - To help improve the overall user experience when playing in the Arcade, dedicated server support is now enabled by default for all custom games.

Minimap Neutral Difficulty Icons - The jungle is home to all manner of creeps, and for some heroes, knowing where each type lives is essential. To help keep track of these natural resources, the minimap has been updated to show the difficulty level of each creep camp.

Ready Check - Want to see if your party is prepared to queue before you push Play and risk a failure to ready up? Just click the Ready Check button in your chat window to give everyone the chance to report for duty.

Active Friend Filter - When you're looking for players to fill out your party, it can be tough to know which friends on your list are prepared for battle. You can use this new filter to show you the list of friends that have been playing recently to ensure that everyone you see is ready to join the fight.

Color-Coded Teleport - In addition to the visible hero outline on incoming teleportation effects, heroes will have a color-coded ring around them that corresponds to the player's top-bar color when they use Teleport.

Visual Tower Damage - As you chip away at your enemy's towers—or watch from afar as they do the same to yours—the visual condition of the structures will begin to deteriorate, before crumbling down altogether.  

Read the full update notes here.

What do you think about the idea of smaller and more frequent gameplay updates for Dota 2 and what is your favourite new addition or improvement in the Spring Cleaning Update? Let us know in the comment section below.

Sources: Twitter, Dota 2 Blog

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