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Dota 2: Unpicking The Dota Levels System

Dota 2 [official site] now has Dota Levels – “A MEASURE OF YOUR LIFETIME DOTA 2 ACCOMPLISHMENTS”. That means there is a new number on your profile which you can feel pleased or disappointed or ambivalent about. Mine is 37. It made me feel hungry so I had lunch.

The new number is based on the previous experience level system (the previous big number on your profile that increased as you got more battle points) as well as your performance in special events.

The idea is that, as well as rewarding people with levels for simply playing Dota, you’ll be able to complete specific tasks and challenges to earn further levels.

The whole thing revolves around trophies. Looking at my own account, there are two in the available section which is where the live, incomplete trophies hang out.

The Experience Trophy is the basic play reward thing:

“The new Experience Trophy rewards you just for playing Dota. Every match you play contributes toward this trophy, and unlike other trophies it will provide additional Trophy Points each time it gains a level.”

There’s also The Completionist Trophy:

“Awarded for completing matches as every hero in the order assigned by the All-Hero Challenge”

Ugh. God. Ugh. That’ll be me hitting the Puck brick wall in solo queue again, then.

Looking at the Achieved section, there are trophies relating to the Year Beast and Nemesis Assassin events as well as a whole bunch of Compendium-related ones. I didn’t really partake of the Year Beast and Nemesis Assassin events so those are only worth 50TP each (TP means trophy points in this context. 100 trophy points are needed for a Dota Level).

I feel a bit odd about that stuff. With the special events I didn’t play them because they weren’t particularly interesting or fun to me. At the time I was okay with that because I looked at the rewards for taking part and adjusted my effort accordingly. Now there’s a benefit added retrospectively and, even though I don’t care about the corresponding Dota Level, I do care about there being a trophy I can’t complete jammed into this virtual cabinet.

I like to try to complete challenges when I take them on. This is one I didn’t realise I was even competing in until Valve applied it and now there’s a 1/4 completion on the Year Beast event I’ll never be able to rectify or repair. I’d have preferred it if they just awarded the points (as they seem to have with the Nemesis Assassin event) rather than tell you that you only achieved tier X out of a possible Y tiers

The only one that’s maxed out for me is the Battle Point Level trophy which is how they’re transferring the previous system to the new one. I was previously level 173 and that makes me tier 6/6 which is worth 2,640TP.

The other thing I feel a little weird about is that some of the Compendium trophies reward you for obtaining and leveling up a Compendium. That means you’re increasing your Dota Level for buying (or being bought) a Compendium and then leveling it up. Thing is, this year even more than last it felt like leveling it up simply by playing and completing challenges meant you got left behind, or couldn’t reach some of the desirable reward levels while still sleeping, eating and being employed. I know a lot of people ended up buying levels.

That’s not in and of itself a problem because you’d only buy them if you wanted the reward and it was worth it to you. But adding this extra loop of leveling based on leveling feels needlessly complicated and, because of the money component, I’m not really sure what I’m supposed to see when I look at somebody’s level now. How much time, how much effort and how much cash?

I guess previously I mostly ignored it or treated it, at best, like a marker of how much time someone had spent with the game. Now it’s supposed to be a measure of my lifetime Dota accomplishments. But a) I had no idea which accomplishments I was being measured on until now and b) some of those accomplishments are kind of about inserting money and gaining reward, not the actual fun play bits.

They’ll probably work out a bunch of different ways to use it in the future but right now I’m looking at my level 37 (as symbolised by a broadsword) and feeling rather unable to make the mental link with a feeling of a lifetime of accomplishment.

Dota Levels are available in the Reborn Beta when you boot up Dota but Reborn will be rolled out the the main client over the next couple of days.

Oh, and FYI if you bought the 2015 Compendium you’ll also have access to the Harvest, Pestilence and Sirocco weather effects. Harvest seems to be golden particles and autumn leaves in the air, Sirocco is a gentle sandy wind which might be ace in conjunction with the upcoming desert terrain map and Pestilence has black particles that look like burned remains or something floating about. So now you know.

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Philippa Warr

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