Dota 2's Mistwoods update dropped yesterday, making a ton of changes to the game and adding its 120th hero: a crossbow toting woodland creature named Hoodwink.
Update 7.28 is Dota 2's fifth of the year, but arguably also its biggest, adding a completely new mechanic right before the holidays called Aghanim’s Shards: items that can be purchased to give heroes entirely new abilities or upgrade existing ones in the middle of matches. They work similarly to Aghanim’s Scepter in this regard, letting players spend 1,400 gold to expand their character’s arsenal of abilities.
For example, a Shard on Lich adds Ice Spire, a new ability that creates a giant icicle slowing enemies around it and providing something extra for Chain Frost to bounce off of. A Shard on Centaur Warrunner, on the other hand, upgrades the hero’s existing Double Edge ability to grant a strength bonus that can stack up to five times.
Hoodwink, meanwhile, is an agility-based ranged hero with nukes, disables, and escape options. In all these ways she seems to play a lot like the fan-favorite Windranger. However, Hoodwink has an ultimate ability called Sharpshooter that lets her charge up a long range shot reminiscent of Assassinate, except that it has to be manually aimed. I foresee her being extremely popular in pub matches for all of these reasons.
And there are a host of other changes in the update, especially to the item economy. A new early game item called Fluffy Hat costs 250 gold and increases heroes’ health by 125. Helm of the Dominator can now be upgraded to level 2 to take control of Ancients. Blink Dagger now has three new upgrades as well which add powerful bonuses for the few seconds after you appear somewhere, like reduced cooldowns, higher damage, or reduced damage by the surrounding enemies. A bunch of existing equipment has been re-balanced as well. There are even a few overall game tweaks, like matches now starting at night and less gold for killing neutral creeps over the course of a match.
Like I said, it’s a lot. Learning all of the ins and outs of Dota 2 takes hundreds of hours, and then hundreds more when Valve shakes things up like this. But it might just be enough to get me to re-download the game for the end-of-year break. You can go find the full list of changes over on Valve’s website.