IceFrog, Dota’s head developer, tweeted late last night that the publisher will take a different approach to how the game is updated going forward. Instead of a few dramatic patches peppered throughout the year, Dota 2 will now get smaller updates every two weeks.
“We want to try taking a different approach to how gameplay patches are released,” IceFrog said in his tweet. “Instead of big patches a couple of times a year, we’ll be releasing small patches every 2 weeks on Thursdays. We’ll be trying this out for about six months and then reevaluating.”
One the one hand this means updates will come more gradually and consistently, helping to space changes to hero stats, abilities, and item powers more evenly. On the other hand, it could mean that players who aren’t logging on all the time will find Dota 2 has changed from since their last session. Maybe their favorite ability costs more mana points or their prefered character now dies more easily. This has always been a facet of the game, but now players will have to keep adjusting week to week rather than all at once as they had when a major patch would be released in the past.
“To make it easier to keep track of changes, we’ll also be releasing a new in-game feature to notify you of any recent changes to heroes in your match,” IceFrog said in a follow-up tweet.
Major changes usually come in larger dumps right after big tournaments have concluded, giving everyone a chance to adapt to what amounts to a new version of the game prior to the next competition. With this new schedule in place, all of that could change. We’ll have to see what’s in the game’s first patch under this new approach to get a better idea of how things will shake out going forward.
[Update - 1:45pm] It looks like Valve has decided to drop one more larger update before moving to the two-week cycle. “The Spring Cleaning 2018 update has arrived to sweep in a slew of bug fixes and quality-of-life improvements,” says a post over at the Dota 2 website.
These improvements include a redesinged player profile page, a last hit trainer tutorial that lets you practice killing creeps while queuing for matches, and changelog notifications during drafting so players can see how heroes have changed since they last played. There are also a lot of smaller tweaks like towers now looking progressively damaged as you try to destroy them and even granular stuff like additional icons that show you what everyone on your team’s teleportation cool downs are.
Most notably though is a new type of ban. Some Dota 2 players are real shitheads. To separate them from the people are just occasionally assholes, the Spring Cleaning update brings with it automatic six month matchmaking bans for players who “show an extreme frequency of native behavior.” Talk about swinging the ban hammer.
You can head over to the update page itself to see all of the changes, including hero updates (Enchantress’ base damage has been dropped three points, for instance). While neither IceFrog or Valve has confirmed when the first update as part of the new two-week will go live, it seems like this latest update is an attempt to clear the decks before the new schedule starts.