As promised, a new version of Dota 2 was released yesterday. This new patch was a lot different to the previous one, focusing on global changes without touching any of the heroes. While the changelog might look small, it did introduce some fundamental changes that might drastically change how the game is played, especially in pubs.
A massive change to support early game. Freeing up 150 gold is no joke, since it means at least some extra regeneration at the start of the game. Invisible heroes should be slightly worse off, since there are now more free resources at the start and mid players can feel a little more pressured, since the chance of an early Smoke gank is higher.
Coupled with the changes further in the changelog, it is now going to be quite normal for supports to be missing from the map for prolonged periods of time. Overall it should create a slightly more dynamic early game, with higher amount of skirmishes for resource control and less regeneration at base.
Given how support items are the only ones that got cheaper, this change only further solidifies their early game boost. Once again, however, there are also some other changes that might change the way the initial stages of the game are played.
There is an obvious increase in the amount of total gold from starting bounty runes, with each now providing 200g total for the team that picks it up. While each hero only gets 40g in the end and won’t be able to snowball into early boots of speed or an orb of venom, controlling starting runes is still a lot more important.
It is especially important for mid players, since it is unlikely the first-purchase-salve meta is going to change any time soon — mid players need this regen to sustain themselves long enough to get bottle and we have seen how punishing deviating from it can be.
Losing even a single bounty rune, coupled with a 25 starting gold decrease might make some mid heroes a lot harder to play, with either less regeneration at the start, or less stats. A 3-5 attack damage difference is not noticeable in vacuum, but when playing against a highly skilled opponent, it can make quite a bit of difference. Even a single last hit lost due to the damage differential can be devastating — there is a lot less XP when the enemy creep is denied and the gold difference can snowball into an even bigger advantage for the opponent.
Support will now need to buy two sets of tangos at the start to have enough to pull to their mids, since it is unlikely there is going to be any money to spare for the mid cores.
At the same time, the instances where an extra set of tangos are bought after the game start is now higher — not only is there less of them, but they are also a cheaper total and can be a necessity for some heroes to sustain in lane.
This is seen as one of the biggest change of the patch, but in reality the actual amount of gold gained from stacks is unlikely to be over 1k by the end game. It is still a lot of money and the stacks did become a lot more important than they were, but it won’t suddenly make supports roll in gold. In fact, most of the time it might be even abused by the core players to boost their income, rather than share with supports.
What it did well, however, is shift the perception of stacking. There is an audio “reward” for successful stacks, there is also a monetary incentive and all of it will definitely have a huge impact on the pub play. Making supports more appealing and have even more ways to influence the game for a rather insignificant change in balance is a good change for pubs and an interesting one for the pro-scene, where, as mentioned previously, supports missing from the map is going to create a lot of extra tension.
When read, it looks like the change was aimed at protecting mid players from ganks and maybe even incentivize a return of true 1v1 mid battles. In reality, the positions of towers have been changed insignificantly enough, for them to make close to no difference.
Mid ganks are still going to be harder and there is definitely less room for invisible maneuvers, but it is unlikely to change the double-mid meta much, even coupled with a higher stacking incentive.
This patch is certainly unique. It slightly changes some fundamental Dota rules, without changing the hero balance, and the result of this patch should be quite interesting. Once again, we will recap the biggest winners and losers of the patch in a week. As for now, it is extremely hard to speculate how the meta is going to change in the professional scene, while pubs should see an increase in support play and their impact.