Community! Your requests have been answered: Volvo will indeed give Diretide. Better still, they’re giving it alongside a large update which they claim we’ll be very, very happy with. Ecstatic, even. We will be so happy that the sheer shock and joy will cause us to literally shit ourselves so hard we rocket through the ceilings of our houses.
They didn’t actually say that last one, but I really wanted to give you an unpleasant mental image.
I’ve spent a bit of time thinking about what might be included in this, what I want to be included in this, and some horrible possibilities about what Valve may, in their infinite wisdom, incorrectly believe will make us happy. I’ve spent a bit of time talking this stuff over with guildies and friends who play Dota 2. I thought I’d give you a heads-up on what I expect, what I hope for, and what will cause me to roll my eyes so hard they’ll get whiplash.
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A brand new hero of your very own
I will honestly be very, very surprised if we don’t get a new hero. I’ll also be surprised (although slightly less surprised) if that new hero isn’t Legion Commander.
Abaddon was added back in July, so it’s been nearly five months since the last time we got a shiny new hero to play with. Legion Commander stuff has been floating around in the game’s patches for ages, and – judging by the textures, art, and ability stats hidden away in them – she’s likely the most complete of the unadded heroes. So yeah, she looks like a near-certainty.
I’m looking forward to this, as Legion Commander looks fun. She’s got a few support-y abilities (Press the Attack grants attack speed and health regen while removing debuffs and disables, and Overwhelming Odds deals damage and grants movement speed based on how many enemies are nearby) but it’s her others that look entertaining. Moment of Courage is a passive that gives her a chance to instantly strike back at anyone who hits her, with bonus lifesteal. Her ultimate, Duel, forces her and her target to do nothing but fight each other for the spell’s duration; both are muted, so no items and skills can be used. If either of them dies, the other hero gets permanent bonus damage. The things I want to do to supports with this and a Blink Dagger…
There is another possibility. This could be the Spirit patch, reworking Storm Spirit and adding Ember Spirit and Earth Spirit. I don’t think this is as likely because, despite having ability icons, I don’t believe either of these heroes are as close to being finished as Legion Commander… but it’s definitely possible, and there have been hints to this effect for awhile. And yes, I do consider spirit_secret.jpg to be a hint at something like this.
Do we want this: Yes please.
Is it likely: Extremely. If we don’t get a new hero, I’ll eat my hat. Or someone else’s hat. Or force-feed a hat to somebody. Yeah, that one.
Tools for building a growing guild
I’m going to be honest with you: the guild system currently in Dota 2 is shit, and there are at least seventy-two billion ways it can be improved. Probably. Maybe a few less.
There’s the basic stuff, like, ooh, the fact that you can’t send guild invites if the other person isn’t in Dota 2 at the time, and there’s no way to make a Message of the Day appear at the top of the chat window when someone logs in. There’s more complex stuff, like the lack of scheduling or grouping or frankly anything to help big guilds sort themselves out. There’s the way guild chat is hidden when you’re in game unless you click away from the team chat, which no sane person would ever do. There’s… look, there’s a lot of stuff that could be improved. Right now, the guild system is just arse; about the only thing it does right is the Open Guild Parties. Everything else is very bare-bones and needs improving.
While we’re on the subject, if any guildies are reading this – yes, we have stuff planned. The guild isn’t where we want it to be yet, but we’re not totally content to just sit and wait; if Valve doesn’t fix some of this stuff soon, we’ll be looking into alternatives for the guild.
Do we want this: Well, I bloody do.
Is it likely: Honestly? I doubt this is particularly high up on Valve’s list of shit to do. They might surprise us, but I’m not holding my breath for this one.
Tying into the above, the little button for the mentor system is still greyed out. I have honestly got no idea what this will involve, but I want it. I want it because I want to actually mentor a few people. I want it because there are a bunch of people in the guild who want mentors, and a bunch of people in the guild who want to be mentors. If this provides a good way of teaching people how to play and helping them out, I’m all for it.
Do we want this: Not as much as most of the other stuff, but it’d be a pleasant surprise.
Is it likely: To my mind, it’s… possible. Perhaps even somewhat likely. I don’t datamine and I haven’t been paying too much attention to forums and hints and discussions, so I could be wrong, but: it’s something Valve have presumably been working on for awhile, and if Valve say this new update will be MEGA-HUGE, then a new system would be a definite fit. It’s not even close to guaranteed, but it fits the profile.
Do we want this: Sigh.
Is it likely: Sigh.
The bots in Dota 2 really need tweaking, and I’m not talking about letting them play more heroes. What I want to see are options.
The bots, as they are now, play however they like. They’re not great, but they coordinate with each other extremely well. But I – like Martin Luther King Jr. – have a dream. I dream of bots with customisable profiles, so that you can actually set up their build and skill orders and their AI, and download custom profiles from the Steam Workshop. I dream of being able to give orders to the bots, like sorting out who gets to go mid so that I never wind up with a Razor in a sidelane while Dazzle goes mid. I dream of being able to set up matches and choose which bots I want to play against so that I can try particular things against particular heroes. I dream of a proper, modular, customisable bot system.
I will admit that my dream isn’t quite as lofty, inspiring, or world-bettering as his, but you have to start somewhere. I’ll have my dreams get onto inequality and poverty and hunger and warfare once the bots get sorted.
Do we want this: Not hugely. It’s something that would be useful for beginner players and anyone who just wants to try stuff out (or actually make bots useful) but I daresay most of the player base would rather see tweaks fitting to the actual online, multiplayer stuff, and not the bots.
Is it likely: Not really, for most of the reasons given above. I just don’t see this as being anything approaching a priority. This might be the HUGE BOT UPDATE, but I really doubt it; at most, the AI might be allowed to play a few new heroes, but I don’t even think that’s likely.
VOLVO GIVE DIRETIDE
It’s okay, guys. Volvo are going to give us Diretide.
Do we want this: Well, the actual Volvo probably want Valve to give us this, just so that people will stop spamming them on Facebook.
Is it likely: They’ve said it’s going to happen and it’s going to be put out alongside this next major update. Add on Valve Time, and we’ll get Diretide around 2017.
Yeeeah, there’s a chance they’re going to push this tutorial/lore/single-player stuff. The tutorial is fairly complete right now, but part of me thinks they’re going to want to push the single-player stuff a bit further with little quests to help you practice particular mechanics. Mini-games, possibly, akin to the stuff Blizzard did with StarCraft 2.
Do we want this: Not particularly. I will honestly sigh if this is one of the big update things that’s meant to make us happy.
Is it likely: As a focus? Nah. I don’t think Valve are that silly, despite the evidence to the contrary over the past few weeks. It’s possible there’ll be one or two more added if this is a bit of a scattershot update, adding things everywhere, but I don’t think that’s going to be the crux of the patch.
The season changes
I’m relatively new to Dota 2 so I’ve only ever seen the “current” map, but apparently there are different visual styles of the map for different seasons. There’s apparently an autumn map with everything very yellow and brown, and a winter map, and… well, the season has definitely changed.
Do we want this: Honestly? I wouldn’t complain about a quick change to the visual style.
Is it likely: I have absolutely no idea.
Massive, sweeping, game-changing, world-altering patch notes
The one thing that most Dota 2 patches do is tweak values and really annoy players who are used to how everything works. Well, no; the one thing that most Dota 2 patches do is add hats, but minor adjustments are a close second. We’re inevitably going to see some tweaks, but…
Do we want this: That depends entirely on what gets changed.
Is it likely: We just had 6.79 released, which totally changed the meta. We’ll almost certainoly see minor tweaks, but we’re unlikely to see sweeping, game-altering changes across the board.
Historically speaking, Dota – the Warcraft 3 map – had secrets squirreled away in most of the 6.x9 updates. Really silly secrets. Big hidden bosses that would only appear if you did utterly obscure things, like find invisible totems hidden around the map in practically inaccessible places. We’re on 6.79 now, but there appears to be no secret. Could this patch add something like that?
Do we want this: I doubt anyone would complain, unless it utterly broke the game.
Is it likely: Honestly, I don’t think so. It’s possible, sure, but I don’t think it’s all that likely. I sorta hope to be proven wrong, though.