Unsuspecting fans found out on the 10th of December that instead of going from 6.88 to 6.89, Valve are updating DOTA 2 straight to version 7.00 – a first in almost 12 years.
Version 7.00 brings a plethora of changes to the world of DOTA, including massive map changes, new aghanims upgrades, new neutral camps, a new HUD, skill trees, Monkey King (and an arcana for him) and much, much more. The update is to go live on main servers sometime today, but if you are impatient (like myself) it is available to check out on the test client.
Talent trees add variety to the playstyles of every hero now, similar to the talent mechanic in Heroes of the Storm. This means that, for example, you can specialise your character to be more tanky, or to do more damage depending on what the game requires. The talent trees add some very fun build possibilities such as octarine core Lycan (his ultimate would only have a down-time of 3 seconds with the correct talents) and carry Winter Wyvern. You gain a point for your skill tree at levels 10, 15, 20 and 25.
Three heroes have had new models: Slardar, Viper and Enigma. Enigma getting a remodel instead of Jakiro however is rather puzzling.
New aghanims upgrades
- BOUNTY HUNTER – Allows Shuriken Toss to bounce twice on each hero.
- CHAOS KNIGHT – Reduces cooldown of Phantasm by 20 seconds and allows Phantasm to be cast on an allied hero.
- CRYSTAL MAIDEN (REWORKED) – Now applies Frost Bite to any unit that has been standing in the Freezing Field for over 2.5 seconds. An enemy can only be affected once.
- PHANTOM LANCER – Spirit Lance now to bounces to nearby enemies up to 5 times.
- RIKI – Increases ultimate duration by 4 seconds. Allows you to target an allied hero, hiding inside them for the duration.
- SKYWRATH MAGE (REWORKED) – Anytime you cast an ability, a different random nearby target also has the ability cast on them.
- SLARK – Reduces ultimate cooldown from 60 to 30 and causes Shadow Dance active to be a 325 AoE, hiding allied heroes underneath it.
- SNIPER – Assassinate is now a ground targeted spell with 400 AoE. Upon cast, it locks onto the targets in the area, and after the channel period launches a 2.8x critical strike and procs headshot on the player-controlled units in the AoE.
- ZEUS (REWORKED) – Grants you the Nimbus ability. Creates a storm cloud anywhere on the map that casts Lightning Bolt automatically on the closest enemy within 500 AoE once every 2.5 seconds. Clouds last 50 seconds. Cooldown: 50, Mana cost: 275.
- You can no longer manually put skill points into stats.
- Roshan has been moved to be near where the top run is.
- There are now three extra inventory slots known as backpack slots. They can be used to hold extra items such as recipes however items cannot be activated while in these slots.
- Illusions now give a gold and xp bounty when killed.
- Illusion damage penalty against structures increased from 30% to 50%.
- Attack speed bonuses now apply to illusions.
- Necrophos has a new ability called ‘Ghost Shroud’. Turns Necrophos ethereal, increasing the magic damage he takes but also increasing the regeneration he receives. He slows nearby enemies while in this form.
- Root now disables the following movement spells: Burrow Strike, Waveform, Blink Strike, Phantom Strike, Reality Rift, Pounce, Skewer, Ball Lightning, Timber Chain, Rolling Boulder, Icarus Dive, Leap, Poof, and Time Walk.
- New structures called ‘Shrines’ have been added. When activated they regenerate the mana and health of nearby allied units.
- New Ancient neutral camp including 2 Prowler Acolytes and 1 Prowler Shaman.
At first glance, some of the changes in this update seem insanely overpowered, such as a 25 second cooldown Reaper’s Scythe for Necrophos, or a 10 second cooldown Sunder for Terrorblade, but it seems that this patch is balancing itself by making everything broken in its own way, because if everything is overpowered, then nothing is overpowered. This should result in a more unpredictable and fun gameplay environment.
More detailed information about this colossal update can be found on the official update page here.