As many within the community predicted, Valve is launching a massive update to the Dota 2 new player experience with the goal of providing a comprehensive way to learn the game to new players.
The reason so many people expected this to happen is that the launch of DOTA: Dragon’s Blood, and anime adaptation about the Dota 2 universe that is launching on Netflix on March 25 is going to put a lot of new eyes on the free-to-play MOBA.
Because so many new faces might end up trying Dota for the first time after they watch the anime, Valve has tried to create “a system of steady engagement” that will provide those players with gradual learning opportunities.
“As the community knows, depth and discovery are hallmarks of Dota,” Valve said. “They’re why we play. However, that depth also brings a vast number of new things to process and absorb, and the first steps of Dota discovery sometimes feel overwhelming. It’s true that the highs of Dota are surprising and joyous, but for new players it’s often difficult to sift through all the information and find clear paths to positive results. Today’s update aims to help with that.”
Valve also made it clear that smurfing is a bannable offense, and the developers and moderators will be cracking down on it much more to keep it from impacting new players. The ban rate for boosters and purchased accounts has also recently been increased.
Additionally, the team confirmed the 7.29 update is slated to launch the day after the Singapore Major, and it will include the next hero as well as a balance-focused gameplay update.
But for the new player-focused update, Valve has streamlined the Shop for new players instead of having them run through a massive tutorial that would explain a general outline to them.
New and returning players will now see a streamlined version of the shop that limits the complexity of choices presented and helps “avoid information overload” that displays a guided experience on exactly what to build. The more a player builds, the more options will be unlocked, with the guide going step-by-step to help them learn the ropes. Once players feel comfortable, they can opt to use the normal shop.
New player objectives have been added to help push players to try a variety of options in order to complete tasks in the new quest-like system. This lets players explore aspects of the game in a controlled, scripted environment and features four tiers of progression through tutorial-like scenarios for specific elements of the game and client.
To go along with this, new player rewards have also been added for that progression system and the Glossary mode has been updated so players can easily browse through any mechanics and details they might want to look into.
A mode dedicated to new players is also being pushed based on the old Limited Mode, which offers a small and stable hero pool that will let players learn the basics with a reliable set of recurring elements. It will also let players dip out of matches at any time without an extended penalty.
Speaking of bots, Valve has also implemented “various improvements to the default set” of AI bots to support gameplay changes, utilize improved behavior when navigating lanes, and rebalancing their strategy. A new bot difficulty level custom-built for players learning the game has been added and new names have been given to the bots too, which might get pretty nostalgic for older players.
Once players enter live matches, new in-game “Wizard” tips will be available to give new players helpful suggestions to guide them through the basics. This will happen throughout a match when the AI sees new players doing something that it views as “not wise.”
A dedicated chat channel for new players that can be accessed upon completion of the first set of new player tasks is going to be available and players can request a coach to join them either in-game or from the dashboard even in the middle of a match. New players will also see a slightly-tailored version of the menu for the Dota dashboard at the start too, which will help them learn how to navigate.
Each hero now has a focused overview breaking down core aspects of how they play that can be viewed by checking the bottom-left of each hero’s loadout page.
Specifically for returning players, their accounts will be placed into a special new calibration mode that takes into account how long they have been absent from the game, which will more sensitive in how it places them into matches at the start to ease them back in.
You can expect details on the next update, the new hero, and more to drop in the coming weeks.