The animated series based on Dota 2 is now out on Netflix, and expands the elements of MOBA’s backstory to eight gruesome episodes. Expecting an influx of curious beginners who would be appalled at how unfriendly Dota is, Valve yesterday updated Dota’s new gaming experience to be less useless. They have added new playable tutorials and a new player mode that gently introduces players to low-stakes games, as well as enhances robots. Plus they’ve made smurfing a bannable offense, to keep sharks out of that kiddy pool.
To begin with, the game̵
The new player mode is part of the limited mode of the old new player experience. It has only a small number of the game’s squillion wizards and uses some of Dota’s turbo mode settings to speed up battles. Players will also not be penalized for playing in new player matches, and a fine will be immediately imposed for taking over playing the wizard. Bots will also go in to fill out a match if matchmaking takes too long as well. And solo players will never meet teams, because teams will be matched against robots.
Valve says they have also improved robots. And added pop-up tips that warn new players when they do something they may not realize is stupid. And add a friendly, simpler store interface for new players. And put in a glossary of written information and statistics on many things. And expanded the coaching system for players who want support. And – you gods! —Launched a new website with lots of useful info including fancy new hero pages. New players will also receive a two-month free trial of Dota Plus, which provides additional advice.
Another change that is apparently made for beginners, but which is useful for everyone, is to ban smurfs. Skilled players who jump on new accounts to throw matchmaking rankings and melted faces have long been a problem in Dota. It makes less skilled players miserable, and empties the matchmaking pool at the upper end. So smurfing is now banned. Valve says they will primarily focus on accounts created from now on, but they will occasionally manually ban existing smurf accounts “that are obviously ruining the game”. The in-game reporting tools also allow you to graze people for smurfing.
See Valve’s announcement for more than anything. It is quite impressive and long overdue.
This is more than I expected from Valve, and obviously more than many fans did. A group of fans were so concerned that Dota should be more accommodating to newcomers that they raised $ 30,000 to create an unofficial playable tutorial, which they released on Tuesday as a mod. I guess Valve puts all this in the background. Valve has at least let the training into the new training part, and says “If we see other similar activity in this space from the community, we will look at adding it in the future as well.”
Speaking of the future, Valve says they plan to launch update 7.29 on the Friday after the Singapore Major (it will be April 9). It will add a new hero and balance the game a bit.
Oh, the series. Dota: Dragon’s Blood is on Netflix. Eight episodes, all now. It’s about boring old Dragon Knight, with other wizards, including Mirana, Luna, Invoker and Terrorblade. It is animated by Studio Mir, the South Korean studio known for its work on series, including Kipo And The Age Of Wonderbeasts and Voltron: Legendary Defender. Kipo was a pretty one.