Dota 2 is ditching twice-yearly megapatches, will get fortnightly updates instead

dota-2-duelling-fates

Ahh, how I miss Dota 2 patch note parties. They were glorious affairs that could go on for several hours, where me and my Dota chums would hop on skype and pour over literally hundreds of major changes to the game that formed a major part of our lives. Those mega updates would arrive a couple of times a year, and they’d mix the games up so much that much of it would have to be relearned. Dota would still get tweaked throughout the year, but those changes would typically revolve around balance adjustments rather than new additions or major reworks.

It looks like those patch note parties are a thing of the past, to be replaced with patch note… nibbles? Lead developer ‘Icefrog’ has tweeted to say that instead of huge twice-yearly updates they’re going to try smaller, fortnightly patches for the next 6 months.

Here’s the tweet:

He added that they’ll also be introducing “a new in-game feature to notify you of any recent changes to heroes in your match”. It sounds invaluable – I’ve lost track of the number of times that I’ve had a plan or item build foiled by a change that I wasn’t aware of. Now that significant changes are coming every two weeks, it should prove indispensable.

My thoughts are more conflicted about the changes to how often updates will come, and how big they’ll be when they do. The fortnightly updates aren’t going to come close to matching the excitement that came with the mega ones, and I’ll miss reading through those patch notes where there’d be a dozen or more changes that would make me sit back and shake my head in wonderment. Each big update was a sea change, where multiple additions and major hero redesigns would feed into each other and make it feel like the entire game had shifted beneath your feet.

They were also good opportunities to jump back into the game, as I found with the recent(ish) Duelling Fates update. Getting back into Dota after taking a long break is a difficult process. You’ll lose not just because you’re rusty, but because you have to adjust everything that changed while you were away: playing immediately after a big update at least meant that everyone else was still adjusting too.

On the other hand, I can see the advantages that regular updates will bring. While exciting, having to relearn the game after a big update could also be exhausting. These smaller changes should be much less overwhelming – but maybe I want to be overwhelmed every now and then.

The fortnightly updates will come out every Thursday, though I can’t tell if that means we’ll get the first one today or in two weeks time.

5 Comments

  1. Neutrino says:

    “a new in-game feature to notify you of any recent changes to heroes in your match”

    You’d think they’d add some way to check what the enemy spells even do in the first place before adding this. But no, that would be too logical, so as it is unless an enemy hero is actually in front of you or visible on the map, you have no in game way to check what spells they have or what they do.

    • Robostove says:

      Well you can see and read all their abilities during hero selection. If you’re new it’s probably more than you can keep in your head, but you’ll probably be playing against other similarly clueless players at that point.

  2. Neutrino says:

    This is a bad idea. It’s bad enough when Valve have two big opportunities a year to mess the game up, this will just mean they get to screw it up all year round.

    Much of the last big update was completely unnecessary, changes to heros like Viper and Razor were generally pointless and unhelpful, and the additional of things like status resistance is just more unintuitive ill-conceived complexity.

    The game changing every two weeks is only going to continue the trend of making an already over-complicated game less accessible to non-professional players.

    • shaydeeadi says:

      The viper change made the hero just above remotely interesting to play instead of dull as dishwater like he was before. I’d be surprised if they throw out reworks every fortnight and more likely little adjustments.

  3. Vandelay says:

    So, I expect this means that the big updates are just being spread out across the year, rather than all at once. I think this probably makes sense. With such an intricate game with so many different parts one change can change everything and have completely unexpected consequences.

    Those big patches were always soon followed by a multitude of smaller patches to correct what had gone wrong and you often have heroes that become either pointless or essential for an extended period of time afterwards. With smaller more focused updates this should be less likely to happen and easier to correct if it doesn’t work.

    I will miss those escalating “oh shit! What have they done?” moments whilst reading through those mega patch notes though.

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