Valve’s latest blog post covers a multitude of topics close to the Dota 2 community’s heart right now, with the developer sharing information on the timeline for new heroes, upcoming changes to MMR, Guilds, DotaPlus and more. The blog post comes just three days after news broke that Valve is supporting the BTS Dota Summit 13 across five regions.
First of two new heroes planned for November
Valve stated that while they traditionally do not share their plans to avoid false expectations, that they “recognize that sometimes we need to balance that approach with the desire for some information to the community”.
The lack of new heroes has been a topic of frustration in the community recently considering traditionally new heroes have been announced every summer. The last two heroes added were Void Spirit and Snapfire, who arrived as part of the Outlanders update in November 2019.
“We know the community tends to expect new heroes in the fall each year (usually released around November sometime). We are currently aiming for end of November (2020) for a new hero release, followed by more that are spread throughout next year with the next one in the first quarter next year.“
While they did not release any details regarding the new hero, the timeline they’re suggesting means we should have two new heroes within the next six months. Back in August 2020, a data miner discovered game files relating to a hero called “Puppet Master”. While a hero by the same name did exist in rival MOBA Heroes of Newerth, it is more likely to be Anessix, The Mistress of Secrets, from Valve’s auto battler Dota Underlords. Anessix’s is described as “a demonic puppet master” in-game, and is the strongest hint we currently have for what hero to expect.
MMR reset will now be optional
For the coming season the MMR reset which has always been compulsory in the past every six months, will now be optional. Players will have between October 22nd and November 22nd to activate their recalibration, with Valve hoping this will allow people to do an MMR reset in “a little bit more of a stable environment”.
“Feel free to press the button the moment it’s available to you, never press it, or warm back up to competitive play before activating it,” said Valve.
Toxic players, boosters and smurfs being dealt with
Valve also addressed the hot topic of player behavior and toxicity, stating they “are working on a new Overwatch style system, similar in some ways to that of CS:GO.” Players creating smurf accounts and ruining games of lesser skilled players has been a constant point of frustration in Dota 2 in 2020, but Valve stated that progress has been made in dealing with them.
“We’ve made improvements to our smurf detection systems, and as a result we’ve started separating new accounts from entering the pool of normal and new players,” said Valve. “ Smurf accounts are now much more likely to play with other smurfs only, this includes parties where only one player is a smurf. They are also likely to inherit any negative behavior scores of their alternate accounts, to limit their negative impact when playing.”
The developer also shared that smurf accounts are now more likely to inherit negative behavior scores of their alternate account, reducing their game-ruining potential. In terms of tackling boosters, Valve said 14,000 booster accounts have been banned in the last 30 days thanks to an improved detection system.
Finally, a Dota Plus update
Following news from Valve on October 15th, players might finally get their money’s worth for subscribing to Dota Plus. Valve have announced that Dota Plus members will now be able to purchase 12 new community-created sets using their Shards, with plans to release a new seasonable treasure every three months. Valve have also added Dota Plus quests for the Fall Season, giving members the chance to earn up to 57,850 additional Shards.
Aside from extras such as the basic Chat Wheel sound effects and pull timers now being part of Dota Plus, the biggest selling point will likely be the new Role Assistant hero grid.
“The new Role Assistant automatically records the picks of every hero in Ranked Roles matchmaking and displays heroes in their most picked roles,” said Valve. “This data is updated automatically to highlight the latest trends and is filterable by MMR rank.”
Valve’s lack of love for Dota Plus had become somewhat of a running joke within the Dota 2 community, with no update in over a year for it despite players paying a monthly subscription fee of $3.99. While the prospect of a new treasure might entice members, Valve’s communication that they will be providing regular updates will have to be seen to be believed.
Guilds leaderboards introduced
The arrival of Guilds in the summer was well-received by the community, but many hoped there could be more to them besides Guild Levels and daily quests. Valve said they are now removing Guild Levels completely and replacing them with a weekly regional leaderboard based on Guild Points, with Shards rewarded to the higher ranking Guilds each week, double if a player has Dota Plus. Valve also stated that Guild Points will decay over time in order to encourage and reward active guilds.
“Guild contracts now earn both guild points and shards. All players have access to one contract slot per day, and Dota Plus members have access to a second slot. Guild challenges are still completed in parties of 3+ guild members, and they earn guild points for leaderboard position. Playing a match while in a guild earns guild points, with bonuses for being in parties with your guildmates,” said Valve.
The buzz around guilds quickly died out but with a weekly leaderboard and rewards for playing with your guild members this update should encourage community spirit.
Valve’s blog post update has come just at the right time. Tension was beginning to build following their seeming lack of initiatives to keep the competitive scene of the game alive following the postponement of TI and the Dota Pro Circuit, but this is another massive step towards redemption.