Dota 2's Shifting Snows patch notes have just been released offering a number of hero tweaks, game balance changes and - if you're feeling grumpy about the lack of Frostivus this year - the snowy winter map makeover.
Having a skim through what Shifting Snows (or 6.83 to give it its less poetic title) has to offer a few things stood out on first pass, particularly with regard to Pudge, Lifestealer and Sniper.
Pudge's change is pretty straightforward - his meathook range starts at 1000 and climbs by 100 with ever point in that skill. Given it previously started at an apparently puny 700 that's going to alter laning against the butcher as characters need to recalibrate their understanding of what now constitutes "out of reach".
Lifestealer has apparently become one of those brain parasites which turns the infested unit into some kind of powerless zombie. What happens is, when Lifestealer crawls inside a unit he gets a subskill called "Control" which lets him take charge of that unit's skills and movement. It doesn't work on heroes so don't even think about trolling friends with it. You should also be aware that the unit becomes attackable by enemies and will then move with Lifestealer's speed. Things to bear in mind if you consider hiding in an enemy creep.
Sniper feels like he's going to play very differently now thanks to a reworking of Shrapnel. It was a really useful skill for pushing down towers, chipping away at them with a rain of explosive pellets while Sniper himself took shots from afar or waddled to a different area of the map entirely. Now Shrapnel will last slightly longer, cost less mana and... no longer does damage to buildings.
Lastly, I'm just going to do a tiny fist pump over some buffs to Leshrac. He's a kind of tormented magical disco goat who I played a lot when first starting out. He and I now have a test client lunchdate which will involve a bacon bagel and the crushing of many fools (hopefully). Might also try out some "Force Staff can be used on homing missile" shenanigans too.
You can tinker about with the update in the test client at the moment or read the whole thing over on the official Shifting Snows blog post. Don't forget to alt+click the notes.