Damn DOTA, You’ve Changed

It’s been roughly a year since I played a match in DOTA 2. It’s not like I hate the game or anything, in fact it’s quite the opposite. I use to play several ranked games daily, and my poor ass even saved to attend TI5 as a spectator. I love the game but I simply got bored of it.

Bored of the same battlefield, the items, and the meta. After spending 1000+ hours on the game nothing really excited me. The game was stale, and it needed to change. Fortunately, Valve must have been thinking the same thing.

6 Million dollar echo slam.
Damn that 6 million dollar echo slam was satisfying to watch.

Before I continue I should state this isn’t an article about patch notes or anything of the sort. This article is about my experience returning to the game after over a year and the impressions it had on me. To say the least the changes were a huge step in the right direction.

Valve has accomplished something that very few MOBA developers could: they made the game feel new again. Since my departure DOTA 2 has made some insane adjustments not only to the game, but to the matchmaking process as well. They’ve made ranked games require phone verification, added backpack slots, and introduced talent trees into the game. All minor by themselves, but game changing together.

DOTA 2 talent tree system.
Example of the new DOTA 2 talent tree system.

But perhaps the biggest change is not to the ranking system or the HUD, but the map itself. DOTA 2 is famous for its map reshuffles, but never before have they changed it this much. “Shrines” are now scattered across the map and will restore health and mana to any nearby teammates when activated. These buildings can also be used as teleport beacons and are useful for big turnarounds in team fights as well. The layout of the map has also changed. New jungle camps were introduced, Roshan found a new home, and the most beautiful feature I have ever seen was added: bounty runes for supports.

You might be wondering “why the hell is he telling us all this?”. Well like I said, Valve has accomplished something great here. They used new mechanics and features to turn a stale game into something spectacular again. So while your objectives and heroes may be the same, your experience is ever changing and evolving.

The new HUD is a lot sleeker than the old one.

This feat is something few games have achieved, and something more games need to strive for. Changing a game in such fundamental ways not only leads to new experiences, but keeps casual and professional players alike on their toes. Far too many good games become stale because developers are reluctant to embrace change. Ask yourself, how many games are sitting in your Steam library because you’ve gotten bored with them? Only once you answer that can you really understand the importance of these updates.

Imagine how many more hours of enjoyment we could be getting from our games if they received new updates. Honestly it’s dumb if you think about. Just a few changes could revitalize dying games and renew their fan base. That’s why I applaud DOTA 2 for the changes they have made. Their changes weren’t much, but they were enough to bring people back to the game and give them a hell of a good time.