A new journey.
Valve yesterday announced the coming of 'Dota 2' update 7.00, the first whole-number patch in years, to much community excitement. Now, with the official 7.00 site up and running (after a couple of hours of glitchy downtime), we can finally see what's new in 'Dota 2.'
Titled "A New Journey," inspired by the new Monkey King character, the patch is making significant changes to the game's mechanics and interface, and the changes can be seen before a match even starts. The 7.00 update is giving more meaning to the game's pregame phase. Once players select their heroes via a revamped selection screen, teams will have 30 seconds of guaranteed planning time to throw together a quick plan of attack on an adjacent "strategy map" while the match loads in the background. Players will also be able to buy their starting items before the game starts, allowing them to hit the ground running once everything is loaded.
New gameplay mechanics
The mechanics of the match itself are being overhauled as well. The game is introducing a Hero Talent Tree, which is a way to further customize the abilities of your chosen hero. At levels 10, 15, 20, and 25, players will be able to choose one of two bonuses that they can use to complement their playing style. For example, at level 10, the Wraith King can choose to buff his own damage or his intelligence. Then, at level 15, he has a choice between added movement speed or health. Each hero has their own unique talent tree.
The other significant addition to gameplay is the backpack, which allows players to carry three additional items. These items are inactive in the backpack, meaning they offer no bonuses and cannot be activated, but they can be switched into a player's active inventory and used after a six-second inactivity timer.
Valve is also adjusting many of the game's nuts and bolts, such as XP progression and respawn times. If you want to dive into these numbers, they can be found on the 7.00 website.
New character, the Monkey King
The Monkey King seems to be the figurehead for this new patch. The melee carry was first announced back in August, but now Valve is opening up more about his specific in-game abilities. Besides dealing damage with his staff, the Monkey King comes with some interesting powers, including being able to leap through the trees of the map (which he can follow with a damaging slam back to solid ground) and being able to disguise himself as different objects based on his location.
The last major change in 7.00 is an updated heads-up display. During a match, the various information elements have been redesigned to take up less space, giving players a better view of the field and making room for some new interface options. You can see for yourself how the game's interface will be changing on the 7.00 website.