7.28 or 8.0? Dota 2 New Patch Expectations
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The current Dota 2 patch, 7.27d, was released in the last days of August, that is, three and a half months ago.
Before the start of the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve seen patches releasing more or less often, albeit minor ones, and still changing the gameplay. It looks though that Valve had planned game-mechanics changes up to a certain point in time. They focused on cosmetic updates and events recently, and there were no clues to any life-changing updates.
Nevertheless, they promised a new hero which most often comes out with a patch, so a total (expected) gameplay change is just around the corner, or as Valve promised, next week. It is almost impossible to predict what the developers will give us because if the dataminers can find the Diretide files and unveil the data about new heroes, the game component specifically will never be seen or leaked because the code and text information is poured into the client directly with the patch, not in advance, so to run on closed servers (although sometimes it would be worth it).
Let's try to figure out what works well now and does not need improvement, and what definitely needs to be nerfed.
Take a look at the list above. These are the heroes with the highest win rate on patch 7.27 with 60+ pro games. Let's go over the possible nerfs of this top ten.
Enigma will not receive huge nerfs, they can only reduce eidolons’ damage and increase the cooldown. Still, our purple buddy is very complex to perform and not such a frequent match visitor.
Whatever you do, it's still imba
Faceless Void will not receive an utter nerf. After all, just think: Valve tried to nerf this hero in all possible ways for many years: they reduced bash proc chances, doubled the cooldown of the ultimate, shortened jumping range, reworked the Aghs, cut talents, but he is still in the top. And he will always be there thanks to his unique mechanics.
Best Supports are OK
Ogre Magi got a strong nerf quite recently, and the only thing that can be changed is Ignite’s damage and duration, but this is not a must-fix problem. Ogre Magi’s power lies in an instant impact: he stuns, sets you on fire, buffs allies, and... waits for CD to start again. In a fight, there are always those five or six seconds when you just have to run around and hit the enemy with your club. So the balance is kinda kept.
Chen is as a specific character as Enigma. Only the chosen ones pick him, and only the great ones know how to play him, so the most changes we can see are the creeps’ HP and the regen aura decrease.
Mirana is very popular nowadays. Even after the Arrow nerf, it still has a very strong stun (and a death sentence when combined), her ultimate ability is a delight for aggressive teams, and she is very difficult to be caught. But if she gets a nerf, she’s a dead hero. So, there can only be a Leap cooldown decrease.
Cores can suffer
Gyrocopter is just a very strong carry with an additional strike that also hits all enemies in the area. Perhaps Valve will rework his Aghs or do something with the rocket, but this is very difficult to predict. Leshrac and Beastmaster are very strong heroes, but if you nerf them thoroughly, they will most likely be out of the pool forever. But with Monkey King, things are more interesting: most likely, Valve will not touch him for one simple reason: this is a middle-distance hero for a game of snowball. There are better pure carries in the current patch, but there are not many like MK.
Venge will be nerfed
At the end of the list, there is the most unbalanced support of the current patch (in the right combination). While Io is banned (otherwise, it’s either picked or the teams are dumb), Vengeful Spirit is the second-best support-partner of all possible. With the right set of heroes (at least 3 range characters), you simply won't be reachable for your opponent, you get control & armor debuff, and the enemies won't be able to run away all because of a single hero. There is a 95% chance Venge will be nerfed: Vengence Aura and Magic Missile, get ready to be cut.
Sven's going down also
Interestingly, Sven is not in the top ten. It’s because his win rate is not the highest, although one could ask - how so? Simple: Sven is a support’s nightmare, hence the impression that this is a very strong hero.
Most likely, Sven will get a tiny ult’s damage % decrease and a little nerf to Storm Hammer + Aghs (I'm pretty sure they will swap the level 15, 20, and 25 talents). Obvious, but very likely.
What about the heroes on the back of the list? A very funny situation.
Tinker is the lowest pick of all other heroes in patch 7.27. Why? At the pro level, he is very easy to counter. Only in pubs is Tinker an irresistible force that alone can win the game. It's not about boosting the character, he doesn't need it, it's just that he's not a team hero and requires huge resources before starting to make an impact, and in competitive Dota, there are better carrying options.
The list also features such pub villains as Pudge, Huskar, Meepo, and Techies. And if Techies got some kind of glory in the summer thanks to W_Zayac, for obvious reasons, no one will take the rest of them in pro-games. Perhaps the developers will slightly strengthen Pudge and Meepo (and somewhere in Poland, Nisha will rejoice), but not in such a way as to return them to the list of the most popular heroes.
Also, some unexpected heroes are here: Dazzle, Bristleback, and Razor. Bristleback just suffers from the regeneration meta and a large number of dispels, which is very disappointing; Dazzle is here for a simple reason: Oracle; and Razor is simply too dependent on Static Link and does not have a plan B. One can’t predict what will happen to them. It's funny that Razor has been buffed and strengthened in the last few patches, but he still doesn't fit into the meta.
And so, we made three special awards to greet them before the patch arrives.
Techies will not be nerfed or reworked. Yes, he’s a pub menace, but when has Valve cared about pub issues?
Of course, Spectre gets it. Whatever the meta is, Radiance, Blademail, Diffusals, this hero is strong and doesn't care about any balance. Even the worst game can be won by Spectre due to her unimaginable ultimate damage. So, she will get either the illusion damage nerf or the general hero damage nerf. Yes, you can turn off her passives and she will become useless, but in the late game, this does not help.
Don't touch it!
Viper is an excellent reserve hero who counters both ranged and melee enemies. Yes, it is impossible to face him in the lane and his spit stacks are simply unbearable, but it is he who can counter-pick a lot of strong characters of any patch because of his mechanics.
Overall, it is rather difficult to talk about hero changes because Valve can and should change the meta regardless of who is popular and who is not: this will affect the involvement in Dota and its PR, and in general, achieving optimal balance here is impossible and too complex for such a multidimensional game. But if we talk about the unshakable game mechanics, everything seems to work fine.
This guy is in perfect balance now. And although VP’s gpk sees no point in killing him early in the game (he said that Aegis does not affect the game that much before the midgame), the sooner Roshan dies, the faster Aghanim and Refresher will become available. This gives a bunch of options for building match tactics, which is very cool. Valve, please don’t screw it up!
They’re simple since everyone is used to them and knows what to do. Neutral items act as micro-goals on the map, which is a rare and cool thing in Dota. The only problem we have is tier-5 artifacts: they need to be fixed. Tier-5 items can break your game, and Valve should address the “more power, more responsibility” issue because when one team gets three pairs of boots and the other gets a ballista for a ranged carry, the balance is dead. Maybe, they should make a cap for the number of boots, as with the consumed tier-1. Maybe, they should remove useless boots and add new artifacts. Seriously, who needs the Force Boots on the 60th minute, when you already have a Force Staff (1k gold if you sell it) and Greaves?
Besides the neutral items, some artifacts have long been forgotten, so Valve should probably think about how to fix them.
For example, Linken's Sphere. For an incredibly high price, there are quite a few additional stats, while the sphere itself works every 12 seconds without the activating possibility (that is, always). Compared to Lotus Orb, the latter is 600 gold cheaper, has a 15-second cooldown, lasts for six, does not save you, but reflects spells. Well, is it really necessary to undo the incoming magic? Juggernaut's ult passes by either way, Lina will first think before blowing the Laguna Blade, and Beastmaster will save his ult for another time. And while Lotus Orb can be assembled from several budget pieces, the support will never save the coveted 2,100 gold just for one Ultimate Orb. For that kind of money, Blink Dagger is better.
Or Butterfly. How long ago have you last seen this artifact? Agility as a stat no longer gives attack or move speed. If you need armor+evasion, there are better/cheaper items, and the artifact itself is perfectly replaced by Assault Cuirass (which has an aura). Valve should make Butterfly’s evasion impenetrable and increase its attack speed.
Give more time to prepare the first pick in ranked games, because supports are forced to choose heroes within ten seconds!
As mentioned above, Dota cannot be brought into perfect condition, as it is a very cumbersome, complex, and versatile game. In addition, this game is not only about esports, but also about ordinary players, which means that you should at least try to respect both of them. IceFrog is back and rumored to have been given a team to work on Dota, so you just have to believe in a better future and wait.
Of course, it would be worth changing/improving something else besides what is on our list. You can never predict what Valve will present to us in the new patch, but we can only say with certainty: at first, it would seem unplayable, but it will be very interesting to learn!
Oh, and yes, the new hero, as always, will become the strongest in its position. Well, we are waiting!