Over the course of the last few weeks, many comments were made expressing both outrage and joy as the DOTA 2 Client “went back to beta again”. The (in)famous Reborn, as Valve called their Source 2 upgrade of the original DOTA 2 client, became the primary and only client on the 9th of September and has already caused many controversies in the community. So, what’s the deal?
The main difference of course, is the engine the game itself is being run on. The previous and original Source engine was over 10 years old, and since it came out in 2004 was in service of the DOTA 2 fans since its beta phase. For the last few months, the new Source 2 engine (first used in DOTA 2) was in a very intensive beta. It was constantly being updated by Valve, having corrected its numerous bugs and was recently deemed ready to become the primary and only for client all 12 million of DOTA 2’s players. The next largest overhaul is the introduction of Custom Game modes. Players themselves create their own game modes, such as 10v10 DOTA (as seen on TI5), Skillshots challenge, IMBA DOTA and others. These custom game modes give people the opportunity to expand their DOTA 2 experience, because unil now, there were only regular 5v5 modes or 1v1 practice games.
Additionally, the visual design of the client has been updated, which is the most obvious change for everyone. The new graphic interface is just a modernized version of the old one, no matter what people have said about it. The tab section is mostly the same, the main page is a bit reworked but still, the same information is present, only shown in a different fashion. One thing that I like the most is the new player tracker hub as seen here, with global average stats displayed, among with a pentagram-style graph of your performance in the last 20 games, indicating 5 areas: Fighting, Farming, Pushing, Support, and Versatility. This gives you a very detailed overview of your skills, how you fare against your fellow players and where you need to improve in the future. There are lots of other changes like some minor map changes that are listed on the official patch notes site, but the one change that I experienced immediately was how DOTA 2 had better performance in general on my PC. This included a lower server ping and better responsiveness from the game overall. Does that mean that the new client update is perfect?
Not at all. At least from the standpoint of the average Joe. There won’t be any talk about the interface change here, because it is really irrelevant when you finally enter a match, but about things that can make the game itself pretty imbalanced and/or buggy, like the Dire Ancient stack bug. That is the thing that makes most people (who are playing on the Radiant side, mind you) hate the game and is the most high-profile bug that is currently in the game. Why? Because it gives the Dire team an obvious advantage by spawning Ancients even if the ward/hero is present and there are still units present in the Ancient pit. This bug can be used by carry’s with AOE attacks/physical spells like Gyrocopter and Sven, or any Battle Fury wielders which gives them a very huge gold advantage over the enemy team. All this makes the game a real Defense of the Ancients, but the Ancients is used in the different connotations, as now players tend to contest that stack even more than Roshan Pit, which is a bit absurd.
Other than that, there are lots of minor visual bugs. Missing of the hero particles and/or equipment parts, so some players with under-average PCs experience these bugs more often than players with better systems. When I stated previously that there is clearly better performance and even more fluidity within the game, that is only applicable to some players. The unlucky ones suffer from constant lag, game crashing and various glitches, thanks to lack of optimization of the game for all systems. The competitive side of the game wasn’t untouched too. There is a bug with the scoreboard which displays incorrect scores (for example 1-0 in the first game when it’s 0-0, noticed in the CDEC.Y vs Newbee matchup) which is so constant that there is no scoreboard used in some of the more recent pro matches. Valve has already launched a series of updates during the last two weeks which fix most prolific bugs in the game so we hope that things will be resolved soon for (at least) the majority of the 12-milion player population.
I’ve talked to some players from the mYi DOTA 2 Swiss team, Flu (carry) and Davy (midlaner and team captain) about Reborn, the previous meta, and expectations for the new meta. Here’s what they shared:
First of all, can you guys give me a general opinion of the previous 6.84 meta? For me, to be honest, although it had given players options to both RAT, teamfight or farm equally, in most pro matches you see 10-15 heroes in rotation.
Davy: I kinda liked the meta the patch provided. It was more fun, especially compared to the last patch. Also as you mentioned, there were different playstyles possible. Though the longer a patch holds on, we usually see the top 20 hero picks over and over. That’s why it’s crucial Dota 2 gets patched from time to time, so it has a new flow. That has always been the way with Dota 2.
Long story short, I liked the meta. As usual though. the top trending heroes should get nerfed again and some lost heroes should get buffed so we have fresh blood, and more fun.
In regards to the release of the 6.85 patch, which heroes needed to be nerfed? Which ones would you personally like to see back in the meta?
Flu: Lina, Leshrac, Storm Spirit, Techies, Tusk and Bounty Hunter all needed minor nerfs. I really hope for more mid and carry hero diversity and I hoped that Invoker would be buffed again.
Davy: I agree on the over picked heroes, and there are plenty of heroes who are under picked or just too bad in comparison. So not much to add here. I’d say basically every hero which isn’t picked needed a buff, so about 60-70% of them.
I want to ask you guys about this Reborn update. Was it the right timing for it? Players in pubs/ranked and in pro games claim there are still many unresolved bugs.
Davy: It’s very hard to give an adequate opinion on it because I’m not a pro gamer or into this technical stuff at all. I mean everyone is hyped when there is news leaked about something as huge as this reborn update and everyone wants it ASAP, but there are other parts of the community who only want it when it won’t have so many bugs etc.
Coming from Dota 1 and its engine with the old school mechanics, I’m not one to complain and just try to enjoy what will be fixed and what will be new. I can’t judge how hard it is to really find ALL these bugs and the weird interactions in the game, because DOTA 2 is REALLY deep with its mechanics and interactions.
Flu: I think there’s never really a perfect timing. I assume they just wanted to bring it out before the next major event.
How do you like the new layout in general, do you feel like it’s an upgrade over the old one, downgrade?
Flu: Still feels a bit weird, but most things are better than before, they just have to keep fixing bugs.
Davy: Yeah, package was never important for me, but I think its definitely an upgrade. A lot of things feel smoother and the whole custom game thing with the source 2 is really great. Warcraft 3 was a great game also because of the whole custom game fun. I think we will see even more benefits because of the new engine in the near future. Layout is much smoother now and nicer to look at.
Now that you’ve mentioned custom games, are you a fan of any particular?
Flu: Gem TD, challenging TD with a bit too much RNG, other than that it’s perfect. Battleships is another great one, but unfortunately not too many people play it at the moment.
Davy: Yeah, I definitely like custom games. DOTA was a custom game and it wasn’t the only one fun game back in WC3. I love all the good TD-s, some jump/run mazes or RPG-s, holdouts etc. There is a whole lot of great stuff which I enjoy from time to time while playing them together with friends. It just needs some time until all the good stuff is transitioned and new fun Custom Games are up. I LOVED Battleships. Uther party, Gem TD, Burbenog TD, etc. I think so many I have even forgotten from WC3 times.
In the end, the most important thing is that Reborn is here. Although it has some flaws, it is a very welcome update and step up for the game, both on a casual and professional level. When Valve finishes fine-tuning the game, everyone will greet the source 2 version with gratitude. Every criticism is something that can be worked on and patched, and the core of the game itself is a most definite step up from the old Source 1 client.