Dota 2 Reborn: New Engine, New UI

Valve formally announced Source 2 in March, long after we first saw scraps of it in Dota 2 [official site], but when will get to properly play games in it? Soon, is the answer, and it looks like the first will indeed be Dota 2.

The company last night announced Dota 2 Reborn, a revamp of the free-to-play lords management game switching it to a new engine (they don’t name Source 2, but c’mon) with a new UI, revamped spectating, what I imagine is support for custom game modes, new ways to ease new players in, and more. This version will launch into open beta next week, then properly launch after August’s big tournament The International.

Valve are doing their usual multi-phase reveal, with the first part focused on the new UI, spectating, and teachy bits. The new UI looks way better than the current trash heap, and that’s about all I have to say on that. See for yourself on the site.

As for newbies, Valve are planning a system of ‘Guided Bot Matches’, where an AI director and tutorials will walk new folk through games. Valve say, “Striking a careful balance between providing enough information to be interesting, and not so much as to be overwhelming, these tutorials should be fun and educational for any beginning player, and give them a taste of what it’s like to play a full game of Dota.”

Early next week Valve will have more to say about custom games, which are basically mods. Dota 2 does support them right now, but it’s alpha, you need to download an add-on, and they’re hidden in a corner. I imagine they’ll be dragged out into the spotlight with Reborn. Later next week, they’ll talk about the new engine (ooh!) and finally launch the beta for all to try.

I am pret-ty excited for this.

29 Comments

  1. The Sombrero Kid says:

    This is gonna be brilliant, i’m a bit worried about losing the ability to roam around the map in the replays, hope they keep the in engine replays as well as the streaming ones.

    • BooleanBob says:

      I’d be amazed if they removed that kind of functionality, the backlash would be enormous.

      Have to say I generally hate any UI revamp, although I tend to get over it pretty quickly. I do prefer UIs that have everything in their proper place, even if it takes a while to remember where said places are, rather than lots of X-boxy boxes featuring random content that I might find useful/distracting.

      The actual features the blog post details are very interesting, though. It sounds like they’re folding a lot of popular features from the surrounding scene into the client, such as the third party dota hattery website, and even trying to poaching some of the USPs that Twitch broadcasts have watching games in-client.

      One thing’s for sure, we live in interesting Dota times!

    • mrwonko says:

      They’d be crazy not to keep them, the new streaming stuff looks like it’s just an improved way to watch streams with additional stats available.

      And yes, this is gonna be so brilliant. :D

  2. Stevostin says:

    Wow. I feel sorry for Blizzard.

    • Herbal Space Program says:

      Don’t be, they don’t appeal to the same demographic. I’d be more worried to the moba out there coded with adobe air.

      • Stevostin says:

        They don’t appeal entirely on the same demographic. Still most HotS player I have seen have some experience either in Dota or LoL.

        • LexW1 says:

          I think that’s a function of who you know, rather than who plays HotS, if that makes sense.

          I mean, most Skyrim players I know are pen & paper roleplayers. Pretty sure that’s not true of “most Skyrim players” in a broader sense though.

        • montorsi says:

          I’ve played some HOTS and it bored me to tears, much like Dota 2. If anyone is worried about either company I’d advise them to seek help for their anxiety.

    • ssh83 says:

      I think most people who prefer DotA over HotS will have picked/returned to DotA regardless of this quality-of-life update. Same as vise versa.

      HotS will have 1 advantage that DotA cannot compete with. Cross-marketting with casuals from WoW. If Blizzard can make DotA playable/fun even for casuals… they will indeed tap into a completely different demographic like what WoW did.

      • LexW1 says:

        I think there’s a bit of confusion from LoL/DotA players about who is playing HotS, to be honest.

        I’m a fairly serious player in any game I player (not necessarily in terms of time, but of investment), but LoL and DotA 2 always left me completely cold because they were fiddly, weird, counterintuitive experiences which required a ton of research to even understand properly, with more jargon and obscure behaviour than even the MMOs of yore (and that’s saying something), not to mention a community frequently hostile to new or bad players.

        Whereas HotS eliminates 99% of what is counter-intuitive, weird, or research-requiring in MOBAs, and community is less toxic due to some design decisions (not least eliminating the counter-intuitive.

        So I don’t think it’s “casuals” who are the main audience for HotS – it’s people who would like MOBAs if they weren’t such weird and disconnected experiences – if they were games that made more intrinsic and intuitive sense.

        • knapkins says:

          See, the research is my problem with HotS that I don’t see as much in DotA. If I want to know the abilities of a hero I’m laning against in DotA, I can click on them and read up on their abilities. I can also see their items, which I can roll over and read about. In HotS, I can see talents on the score screen, but that doesn’t help me much if I don’t know the core abilities of the hero. In DotA I don’t have to leave the game to learn that stuff, I can learn it all in the match. In HotS, I need to do research outside of game.

          I think DotA does the best job of letting people learn when actually in the game (in game build guides help a bunch with that too). and Heroes really turned me off without that ability to learn without Alt+Tabbing

        • Smoky_the_Bear says:

          Yeah quite. I got fairly big into LoL at one point. Playing it more casually and you realise that a lot of what you learned is now obsolete anyway. Items have changed, character roles have changed etc etc. All I know now are the basics and it makes me not want to play it, for a similar reason I cannot be bothered to put the hours into Dota 2 only to have the same happen there unless I constantly play the game AND read a ton about it.
          As you say, a big chunk of learning a MOBA is done outside the game, researching etc.
          HotS manages to remove a bunch of this. How much they tinker with the heroes now it’s released remains to be seen at this point.

        • ALPHATT says:

          HotS strips those things away to leave nothing at the end. The thing about moba gameplay is without all that “faff” the actual factors that made you think critically and make impactful decisions are just gone. HotS is essentially a really pretty version of taking two big units in starcraf II and rubbing them against each other until one dies. I’ve played all three games (lol, dota, hots) HotS has so few factors to pay attention to, it really becomes a lukewarm experience.

          My biggest argument would be that HotS is a casual game, but even worse than that, in that, the pure team fighting aspect of MOBAs, isn’t actually fun or impactful on it’s own, to the point where grossly casual games such as Call of Duty, (which has spawns engineered to give kills) is more fun due to the mechanical nature of aiming and shooting. I’d look to Overwatch for casual fun.

  3. Vandelay says:

    I like what I see so far. The current menu system is a nightmare to navigate and it looks like a definite improvement.

    I’m more interested in the in-game changes though (I can put up with an extra second or two of navigating the menu system, not so much when I’m in a frantic game and need the courier to bring me an item from the secret shop.) It sounds as if these are playing second fiddle to the other UI changes, which is a shame. I would guess that we probably won’t see many major changes in the regard, particularly this close to a major tournament. In fact, I expect the game will look pretty much identical when you are actually playing. At most, I expect the engine change might make the game a little bit more stable and be more flexible for custom games.

    Still, nice to see they aren’t resting on their laurels and are always working on improving the game.

  4. BluePencil says:

    I’m a spectator, not a player, so I’m keen to see the new stuff in there for the likes of me.

  5. LionsPhil says:

    Surprise! In a startling feat of cross-licensing, the new engine is Gamebryo.

  6. The_invalid says:

    Yay, new tutorials. It’s almost as if the main barrier to entry for newbies isn’t the incredibly turgid game mechanics or toxic player base.

  7. Delicieuxz says:

    A random map generator is what it needs.

    • jrodman says:

      It would be a tricky thing to make random maps that aren’t horribly terrible, though it would be neat.

      Right now a large percentage of “custom games” are pretty much the normal game with various map modifications (some small changes, some entirely new maps).

  8. Hunchback says:

    Guess soon it will be time to make the epic comeback to doto and win the next IT… \o/

    • dmoe says:

      I hope you win your conquest in network support. That would be a grand day.

  9. dmoe says:

    Valve basically fixed every issue everyone had with the menu system, DotaTV and the lack of a detailed MMR/Skill meta system in one fell swoop. I cannot wait to play the new Source 2 client next week.

  10. MarcusAurellius24 says:

    I don’t understand why you would deem DotA’s UI as a ‘trash heap.’
    It’s not anything spectacular but it’s definitely easy to navigate, though sometimes slow on loading textures, libraries, etc.
    I’d like to hear which MOBA you think has a more impressive UI?
    Please do not say Riot’s, because it is small print, windowed, difficult to navigate.
    I’d call that a trash heap, and DotA’s maybe a work in progress.

  11. MarcusAurellius24 says:

    to be* a trash heap

  12. fireandice15 says:

    I’d be more amazed if Dota 2 allows 6 vs 6 match… hahaha, make it more challenging with also 6 lanes,.. with a city map…

  13. EhexT says:

    Ugh they’re replacing a perfectly fine UI with one of those horrendous tile based atrocities that are all the rage now.