Dota 2 is a beautiful (albeit difficult) game where 10 people slam their heads together in cooperation and opposition. We are all familiar, at this point, with how standard Dota unfolds. But as fun as it is to play the same map every day and try out new things on our favorite heroes, it is easy to find yourself wanting more.
For new players, multiplayer is daunting. The thought of letting down four other people can be a hard one to grapple with. Enter Siltbreaker, a new way to play Dota 2 with friends, without having to worry about how bad you are (in theory).
The idea of a MOBA campaign is a brilliant one, and I am glad to see Valve putting so many resources into this one. On one hand, it hearkens back to Warcraft III, the game that DotA spawned from. On the other, it allows all of us to play a cooperative only experience using characters, items and skills that we are already familiar with.
How cool is that? When the entire community has the same common knowledge, isn’t it more fun if we occasionally get to branch out and stretch a little? Siltbreaker forces everyone to use characters they know and love in a completely different way. You aren’t farming and denying against enemy opponents: you are trying to survive waves and waves of horrible wolves.
More games should learn from what Valve has done with Siltbreaker. These characters mean something to us. Whether we have spent one game or 1,000 with them, they are familiar. Marooning our favorite heroes in a strange location and forcing them to work together twists expectations just enough to make things feel brand new. It takes Dota 2 and turns it into Diablo III. But instead of bashing in heads with a Barbarian or disintegrating things with a Wizard, we get to slice wolves in half with Sven.
This is but one of the many ways that Valve has shown themselves to be flexible when it comes to Dota 2. There is a clear interest here in branching out, in taking these characters into different locations and adding new ways to play them.
Features like Siltbreaker have the potential to bring new players to Dota 2. It also has the potential to reinvigorate older players and make them fall in love with a hero they haven’t played in months or even years. We won’t know how good, or successful, Siltbreaker turns out to be until it releases in its entirety. But for now, Valve is pioneering something new, and new is always praiseworthy.