Dota 2 developer and publisher Valve will cease implementing its bi-weekly balance patches before or during Pro Circuit Major events starting immediately.
The change to the schedule and implementation of updates was announced last night via the official Dota 2 Twitter account.
This move is presumably a response to complaints from the community and the professional scene regarding the release timing of Patch 7.14, which was implemented on the live servers last Thursday. The update almost coincided with the first day of Epicenter XL, a Major scheduled to run from April 27 to May 5. Patch 7.14 happens to be the largest one yet since Valve committed to the new update scheme, with a whole host of tweaks to heroes, items, and more.
It even enabled Techies in Captains Mode, making the hero available for selection at Epicenter XL despite the fact that teams have had no time to try it out in scrims thus far.
Since the Reborn update in September 2015, official Dota 2 competitive matches haven’t been utilizing Tournament Mode, a lobby setting that allowed games to be played on previous versions. The setting was deprecated and completely removed from lobbies in Reborn.
The lack of Tournament Mode has raised concerns from the community at large since its removal, and until this announcement, it seemed like Valve was content with keeping it out of the game for good. This meant that teams at important tournaments could be thrown for a loop at any given day, and that their carefully-prepared drafts and strategies would suddenly be rendered useless.
Thus, the “Major clause” is a step in the right direction, at least in terms of keeping consistency in the pro scene intact. Minors, however, will be fair game as far as dropping patches while they’re running is concerned.
Curiously, this also means that public matchmaking won’t receive balance patches when Majors happen to be running at the same time. But this is probably a sacrifice worth making in favor of maintaining consistency and a healthy competitive environment.