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Discuss: Dota 2's massive new gameplay update

Dota 2 big gameplay update balance changes.jpg

In December 2016, Valve released a game-changing update entitled “The new Journey”, or update 7.00, introducing the Monkey King, hero talent trees, revamping the map and much more. With the most significant update in over a decade now live for almost two months, Valve has deemed it time for a massive balance patch (7.02), with well over 100 changes in total, including hero talent trees, items, the map vision and bug fixes.

The plethora of changes are sure to upset some players, especially if their favorite hero got struck by the nerf bat. There is no doubt that this patch won’t be the last one to focus on balance changes and that the changes within will affect the metagame.

The biggest hero changes

More than half of Dota 2’s hero pool sees some balance changes in the update, most of which focus on talent trees. At first glance, most of the changes seem minor, insignificant little adjustments. However, even the smallest of changes could affect the metagame, which heroes get picked by the pro teams and therefore affect which heroes your opponents or teammates pick in public games.

First and foremost is the talent changes to the Lone Druid, a hero I have adored since the original DotA. The Lone Druid’s triumphant return into the professional scene might have just got cut short, with the following balance changes:

  • Level 10 Talent from +200 Attack Range to +175
  • Level 15 Talent from +65 Damage to +55
  • Level 20 Talent from +7 Spirit Bear Armor to +12
  • Level 20 Talent from -50s Respawn Time to -40s

To be completely fair, I think the Lone Druid was a little bit overpowered, and could still be a very strong carry hero even after the update. The changes to range attack, although small, could affect certain positioning during matches and make the Lone Druid just a little bit more manageable, as his tremendous range did (and might still) give him a tactical advantage. Not everything is doom and gloom for the Lone Druid, as an extra +5 armor to his Spirit Bear is definitely nothing to sneeze at. However, the level 20 talent could affect some matches, as 10 seconds more on a respawn timer might just be enough for teams to push a Tier 3 or Barracks when the Lone Druid is down for the count without a buyback.


  • Level 10 Talent from +8 Intelligence to +80 Devour Bonus Gold
  • Level 10 Talent from +150 Health to +250
  • Level 15 Talent from +6 Armor to +15 Scorched Earth Damage/Heal
  • Level 15 Talent from +15 Movement Speed to +20
  • Level 20 Talent from +65 Damage to +35 Doom DPS

Doom could very well be picked more often after the changes to his talent tree. The hero hasn’t been in the best place and some of his talents felt a bit underwhelming compared to other heroes. Now, with the level 10 talent options being much more attractive, Doom should have a better early game with even more sustainability or farm potential. Further, I love his level 15 talent change from more armor to more damage and heal from Scorched Earth. Although the movement speed increase is minor, the Scorched Earth change is definitely something worth looking into.

Ember Spirit:

  • Root now disables Activate Fire Remnant
  • Level 10 Talent from 15% Spell Amplification to 12%

I’m sure some of you are ecstatic about the Ember Spirit change, unless he is your carry hero of choice that is. With root now affecting the hero’s mobility in a very significant way and players will likely need to get an earlier Black King Bar in order to counteract the change.

There are several item changes in the update, but the most significant of which is arguably the change Blademail:

  • Blademail damage return no longer spell lifesteals off of returned damage

The change could affect certain heroes and the choice of picking up a Blademail or not. For example, Queen of Pain recently became a stronger hero again in part because of her spell lifesteal talent and that when she activates Blademail, she becomes basically immortal for the duration.

Further, the Lycan has been added to Captain’s Mode, the standard mode used in tournaments. How all the changes mentioned above as well as more than a hundred others detailed in the patch notes will affect professional games and change the metagame remains to be seen.

Vision of the ancients

There is no doubt that map vision is an extremely important part of Dota 2. Certain moments in a match, for example a big team fight, can be determined and their outcome changes by the amount of vision a team has during the fight or information gathered beforehand. The latest update brings a few significant changes, namely:

  • Sentry Wards now come in packs of 1 for 100 gold (instead of 2 for 200)
  • Observer Wards now have a Fog of War simulator to show you the area the ward will reveal (taking into account trees and terrain height)
  • Added more trees for TP cover around the dire towers
  • The Dire ward spot to the left of the Ancients no longer gives vision over the rune area infront of Roshan

First off, the Sentry Wards coming in packs of one is an excellent change. Sometimes you need that vision to de-ward, but just don’t have enough gold readily available to purchase two Sentry Wards at a time. Support players should love this change, as it gives them the option to rather purchase one Sentry Ward and an Observer Ward to place after de-warding even when strapped for gold.

The second point of interest above is the Fog of War simulator, which should help those who aren’t 100% familiar with a certain area on the map place Wards effectively and help their team gain much-needed vision. The change shouldn’t affect professional or top players, but for those who are new to the support role, the change will surely help.

Further, the update is bittersweet for the Dire side. Heroes might be able to get away a little easier now using the tree cover while tp’ing out, but the change to the ward spot will result in less vision for the side, which is never a positive thing.

Please note that this is just my opinion on which changes I think is the most significant. Depending on the skill bracket you play in, the type of game mode, ranked or unranked or if it is a tournament match or not, some changes in the update might seem more (or less) significant to you.

With that being said, let us know what you think about the latest update and which changes you are happy or disappointed about and why in the comment section below.

Source: Dota 2 Blog

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