Dota 2 got a lot more than vacuuming and bug extermination with its Spring Cleaning 2018 patch, which Valve dropped on Thursday. This update, officially the 7.08 patch, saw plenty of bug fixes and gameplay changes, of course. However, while the Dota 2 client was already overhauled as recently as 2015, Valve took this opportunity to bring a lot of features up to date.
With in-game UI additions, some changes to custom games and a profile that leans towards a Dotabuff feel, it seems Valve is trying to refine their all-around experience, especially as more competitive games create a more competitive market. Plus, with the every-two-weeks patches coming up, players are going to peek in more frequently to see how the meta will shift, and Valve needs to have a welcoming experience to keep them coming back.
There are a lot of small details to take in, so we’ve summed up some of the more important changes that you’ll likely run into.
We’ll be meta first, as this patch finally brings... well, alerts about patches. It seems redundant, as players are often left frustrated at Dota’s giant Steam updates, so wouldn’t they know? Still, unless players were staring at their Notifications tab in the upper right-hand corner, which is extremely small — or unless Valve made a big deal out of the update, per Dueling Fates — the actual content of updates was hard to catch.
Now, Valve’s made it easier to figure out what’s been affected, which will be necessary with the increased frequency of patches announced this week.
The Learn tab lit up with this week’s update, directing players to a full gameplay changelog. It actually is much more visually informational than the browser version, including not only the pictures of the heroes that are altered, but the ability icons of such heroes as well.
If players enter a match without this knowledge, fear not: Valve has also added in-game tips for these scenarios. In the drafting screen, if the hero you are considering playing has changes, the drafting bar on top of the screen will show a small alert regarding recent changes.
Obviously, you can’t see the drafting screen the whole game, which means you may have some trouble remembering these changes once things take off. No worries, because Valve also put these changes in the ability descriptions.
In the years since 2015’s Reborn update, which brought Dota 2 into Valve’s Source 2 engine, players have lamented the loss of their profile’s “featured heroes” tidbit. It allowed players to show off their favorite heroes — or, at least, the one with the nicest hats they were willing to share. Thankfully, this feature has been reborn, and you can show off your Immortals once again.
But this profile re-addition comes with a few other neat updates that makes understanding a Dota player’s history better. This especially includes better visualization of statistics, including “Most Successful Hero,” the player’s “All-Hero Challenge” status and a quick, minimalist “Recent Matches” bar.
Another feature missed by players, this time with the 7.00 update, was the loss of loading screens. With this patch, you can equip these as backgrounds to your profile.
Custom game changes
Fans of old mod-friendly games such as Warcraft III will find delight in the way Valve has altered the “Arcade” section, where custom games live. The front “Overview” page has opted out of showing an array of top and featured games, in favor of displaying a list of global open lobbies for all games, not just the top ones. Instead of picking a game, queuing into a lobby and hoping for the best, you can choose a game that people are actually looking to play at that moment.
There are also improved tweaks for developers hosting the games. For one, devs now have the option to punish abandons, queue leavers and AFKers in their games, and are given the tools to do so. Devs can also rejoice for one more degree of developer support, as all custom games are granted dedicated servers by default. (Sadly, we’re not yet sure how the two-week patch system will make or break their games.)
Party queue fixes
Going into a match with your friends can be hectic, but Valve’s added some small features to make the party life easier. For starters, the in-game Friends list will also prioritize friends who have actually played Dota recently, instead of mushing your Dota friends in with the ones who’ve jumped ship for Counter-Strike. Also, anyone in the party can now invite friends—no more harassing your party leader, who probably stepped away to take a leak or grab a drink.
Speaking of going AFK, if you want to make sure everyone’s not in another room, you have the option to prompt a “Ready Check” for your party. This makes sure everyone in your party is actually there to hit the “Accept” button and avoid a queue ban for everyone.
If you’re a six-stack type of player, they’ve fixed some Coaching features as well. Your frantic pinging and scribbling will finally be of use, as Valve claims to have fixed many of the notification and assistance bugs. However, the enemy may still be able to see what you’re saying, according to some users.
In the details
Of course, there are plenty of other small tweaks in the game that make the Dota 2 experience better. Some of these are in the client, while many are within the game itself, elevating the Dota 2 experience in subtle ways.
Here are some of the neat details that have been thrown in with this update:
- A revamped “Last Hit Trainer” training mode, now with score-keeping and a few nifty stats.
- Tournament streams for Dota Pro Circuit events are now shown on the front page of the client.
- The minimap provides more information. When a teammate dies, they will appear as a skull. It also shows what level neutral creeps are.
- “Ability icons now show a progress overlay for cast points once the button is pressed” — in other words, the ability icon will show how far into your ability’s cast animation you are.
- Commends will now notify the commended player of such, including the commender’s name, a small boost to reward kindness in-game.
- “The new player pick restriction has been changed from a Limited Set of heroes to pick from to all heroes except those few who have a very high complexity rating.” — This is indicated by the three diamonds under a hero’s icon in a draft screen.
This is all on top of Valve’s annual bug-squashing victories, and there’s plenty more to see. If you want to check out all the good details, you can check the official Spring Cleaning page, plus plenty that patch analyst SirBelvedere caught for Reddit.