Valve have revealed the Dota 2 Spring Cleaning update, aimed primarily at fixing a lot of the niggling issues that get overlooked in larger patches.
No, no, don’t leave. It’s not a new balance patch, but there’s actually a lot of genuine importance here. Some things are relatively minor (“Fixed various attack animation prediction exploits (such as Coup de Grace)” or “Added AoE targeting Cursor to Ignite” for instance) but there are a few major changes too. And I’m not just talking about how you can now alt-click a Dagon or Necbook to show what level it is.
Two of the big things highlighted by Valve include the ability to see neutral creep spawnboxes when placing Observer and Sentry Wards, and the ability to see a tower’s attack range and current target when you have it selected. Both big changes, and I approve of both (not least because you will have the option to disable these). They’re both bits of fake difficulty, in terms of memorising exactly where the spawnboxes are for camp blocking/safely warding/safely counterwarding, and knowing where tower range is. I confess I’d get annoyed if Dota 2 said “RUNES HAVE SPAWNED” every two minutes, sure, but both of these changes are mostly removal of memorisation.
Minimap crosses for the enemy team have been changed to arrows, so you can now see the direction they’re facing. You can independently mute people’s voice or text. The Store has a full “browse” feature. You can add a control group to a map location, so you can tap a key to fly back there and see what’s going on. You can now set up ability hotkeys for each hero individually. You now have way more Armory slots. Etc.
Other nice touches include the ability to bind mousewheel directions and Mouse 3 as hotkeys, a ctrl-shift click letting you add individual items to the quickbuy bar, and range indicators for items and all abilities. And, y’know, lots of other stuff.
There are also a few balance implications in here too. “Fixed Roshan to update his health immediately on the upgrade timer, rather than the next time he spawns”, for instance, is actually pretty huge: while his armour and the like update according to his upgrade timer, he (presumably – I’ve never noticed) still has the same tiny health pool until he respawns. This would make it a lot tougher for certain heroes to take him on in the early game. Ursa should still be able to comfortably solo him thanks to his absurd lifesteal, but Lycan might have rather a lot more difficulty, as an example.
Most important, though? “Equipped taunts will now automatically play in-game under a variety of rare circumstances.”
You can check out the full notes over on the Dota 2 blog. The patch is scheduled to deploy later this week, although I believe it’s on the test client right now.