A lizard-riding auntie with a shotgun and an incarnation of aether today arrived in Dota 2 and Dota Underlords in matching Outlanders Updates. Snapfire and Void Spirit are the two new heroes announced at The International in August, and here they are in both games now. They’re accompanied by big updates for each, with Dota 2 adding new buildings and dozens of new items and Underlords adding a new quick-paced mode plus the other Spirit heroes. These patch notes sure are a lot to take in. Damn, Dota.
Snapfire is an elderly weaponsmith who rides a fire-spitting dragon toad named Mortimer with mounted guns, carries a shotgun, and bakes cookies that really put a spring in your step. In Dota 2, that means she has several slowing attacks (an area-of-effect shotgun blast, saddle-mounted rockets, and Mortimer’s damage-over-time firespit from her Ultimate ability) and can give Mortimer or allies a cookie that makes them leap a short distance and land with an AoE stun. In Outlanders, she can fire a slowing shotgun attack and as a Dragon ability has Mortimer spit globs that light people on fire. I don’t yet know if she’s good, but she’s great:
Void Spirit is the fourth of Dota’s mystical elemental spirits, largely living outside this material plane and watching the flow of reality. In Dota 2, this means Void can drop remnant traps that watch in a straight line and damage units which cross the gaze, Void can conjure a shield which also damages nearby enemies on cast (and shields more damage the more it hits), can phase out then phase back in through your choice of seven portals around your vanishing point, and for an Ultima has a blink which also damages and slows enemies along its path. In Underlords, Void vanishes into portals then drops back out a random one to damage and reduce armour of nearby enemies.
The updates are so much bigger than these two, mind.
Dota 2 has fiddled with enough that I can’t quite imagine the consequences just from reading the changes. The level cap is increased to 30, with the full talent tree unlocked at 30. Side lane shops are replaced with neutral Outposts, which can be captured to give nearby vision and bonus XP. Neutral creeps can now drop items unavailable elsewhere, and the drops are more powerful as the game goes on (some are mighty powerful). Every player automatically has their own courier, which levels up as you level up to gain more speed, health, and abilities (at level 25, it can even use items). Observer Wards are now free. Heroes start with three Town Portal Scrolls. Many, many, many items and skills are rebalanced.
I’m sure I’ve glossed over a huge change or two too. See Dota 2’s Outlanders patch notes for everything.
The Dota Underlords update also adds Void Spirit’s pals, Storm Spirit, Earth Spirit, and Ember Spirit to form the new Spirit alliance. When three Spirits are ‘charged’ by casting a spell, they form the triangular Delta Attack formation to zap all enemies within and hit ’em with their own individual elemental effects too.
Knockout Mode has arrived in Underlords too, a faster mode where each player picks a starting lineup of five heroes, levelling is faster, combining heroes to upgrade only takes two, and players are knocked out by round losses rather than health points. Valve say games last about ten minutes.
I can’t even take in all those Dota 2 changes.