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Dota 2's summer event is a free raid-like roguelike

Like it or not, everything is a roguelike now. Dark Souls? Yep. Monster Train? Definitely. The precariously loaded cheese and pickle sandwich I’m about to eat for lunch? May as well be. Dota 2 is joining their ranks with its summer event, which is free and live right now. Aghanim’s Labyrinth is a “four-player, cooperative roguelike” where you team up to defeat various nasties lurking about in an old wizard’s shady astral maze. It immediately makes me think of raids, like wot you get in MMOs.

Could be a lark?

Dota players will know Aghanim as “that bloke who makes cool staffs”. He’s been trapped in another dimension for eons and has now lured you in with him for the lols. That’s what I’m getting from the eyebrows in this (quite nice) cinematic trailer, anyway.

The labyrinth is a series of rooms with monsters in them. You drub them up, then get to pick which skills you want as a reward, and which monsters you want to fight next. There are bosses, too, which is what makes my mind jump to that raid comparison: Dota Cinema has some illuminating videos of their party hopping about while dodging big telegraphed attacks.

Gathering Arcane Fragments, which fall out of all the monsters you punch, let you unlock upgrades that persist between runs. Those might come in handy for scaling the four ascension levels, which make the Labyrinth a bit harder every time you beat it. Battle pass owners can earn up to 2000 battle pass points a week from playing. More details can be found on the event page.

There are, of course, cosmetics. They mean little to me, but I like how they’re tied into a special weekly run where everyone competes to see who can do best when given the same seed. Those kick off next week.

The appeal of Dota’s special events has never outlasted their novelty, for me, but this does seem alluring. I’ve never committed to an MMO for long enough to properly enjoy raiding, and I’m hoping this will scratch a similar itch. Who could resist those eyebrows.

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Matt Cox


Matt is the founding member of RPS's youth contingent. He's played more games of Dota than you've had hot dinners.

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