The popular MOBA got a big shot in the arm
Valve launched the massive New Frontiers update for Dota 2 yesterday, exceeding all expectations for what’s next for the nearly 10-year-old, free-to-play MOBA. The most notable change (among many others) is that the map is 40% larger than before, and Valve has rearranged the layout of the map’s jungles. This will force players to adapt their strategies for juking to break line of sight to opponents, farming for XP and gold, and more. This has huge implications for shaking up competitive play, as the pros know the ins and outs of the map — at least, like they used to.
The patch notes for the most part Dota 2 Updates are notoriously long, as the game has dozens of heroes and countless things to balance (and sometimes, players are forbidden to lie down). However, the notes on New Frontiers is, ahem, a new frontier in terms of length and depth. In case you’re wondering, yes, people do read everything in the patch notes. For example, PurgeGamers on Twitch streamed for 14 hours straight just to read the patch notes and get first impressions of the myriad changes.
Along with the expansion, there are other big changes to the map that returning players will notice. Valve claims to have made improvements to its matchmaking, so talented players can be evenly matched. There’s also an entirely new hero type, called Universal, where some of the game’s heroes have been reassigned.
As for what’s changed on the map, Roshan, one of the game’s neutral creeps that either team can spawn in, can spawn in one of two new pit locations in the northwest and southeast corner, and he is stronger than ever. And there are twin gates: portals that can be used to zip across the map (Roshan can use them too — thanks, PC Gamer). But that barely scratches the surface.
Looking at the patch notes, it’s nice to see the humorous, self-aware tone Valve has taken to its notes to introduce fan-requested features and quality-of-life fixes it’s only just implemented. For example, ability squares on the HUD will now show a health cost, if they have one, not just a mana value. The copy reads: “Not bad, huh? Actually kind of crazy that no one thought to put it there before. Anyway, there it is.”
In Dota 2 subreddit, fans are clearly excited, or at least curious, about what’s in New Frontiers. And last night, the game ended 1 million playersthe highest number of concurrent players since March 2019. As someone who appreciates Dota 2‘s growth, yet doesn’t play the game, I’m always tempted to jump in when a big patch like this comes. Perhaps, I am also ready for new frontiers.