The latest update for Dota 2 is now live across all regions and brings a number of very interesting changes to Valve’s popular MOBA. Entitled Update 7.00, the patch finally introduced the long-awaited new hero known as Monkey King, along with many other new additions, such a new HUD, talent trees, a few hero remodels, and more. Update 7.00 is a pretty big game changer and marks a significant departure for Dota 2 as it distances itself even more from the original Defense of the Ancients.
New Hero: Monkey King
Sun Wukong, otherwise known as the Monkey King, is the first original hero added in Dota 2. While the concept itself is far from being unique among MOBA games, Monkey King is still special in the sense that he is the first hero that was not imported from Defense of the Ancients. Instead, Valve developed this one from scratch and in spite of his physical similarities to other MOBA characters like League of Legends’ Wukong or Smite’s Sun Wukong, Dota 2’s take on the mythological Monkey King is quite different in terms of his playstyle. Particularly, his Tree Dance ability offers Monkey King a great degree of mobility while Mischief allows him to mimic his surroundings and confuse opponents by transforming into various objects, including runes, couriers, trees, and more.
In addition to the hero himself, Valve also announced a new type of terrain inspired by Monkey King along with two comics aimed at introducing Dota 2 players to the origins and backstory of Sun Wukong. The cherry on the top, however, is the new Arcana item for Monkey King that comes with new base model and textures, custom particle effects, hero portrait, loading screen, new running animations, and more. The new Arcana item also changes Monkey King’s appearance considerably based on the level of his ultimate ability, Wukong’s Command.
A Brand New HUD
Update 7.00 brings to the table a number of changes to Dota 2’s user interface, with an emphasis on increased visibility and control. Most notably, many elements of the HUD have been resized to occupy a smaller space on the screen, including the top bar, shop and courier tabs, hero control console, and even the minimap. These changes are meant to allow players to focus more on the action itself and less on micromanagement, though this very important aspect hasn’t been overlooked either. In fact, some of the changes make it easier than ever before to keep tabs on things such as stock count, mana cost and so on thanks to the indicators displayed on the various item icons.
Having said all that, if you don’t particularly enjoy the new user interface for some reason, you can simply equip a HUD skin and change how it looks, much like you were able to do before Update 7.00. According to Valve, all the legacy HUD skins have been remapped and resized to fit Dota 2’s brand new layout. In addition, you will find that certain heroes now have a custom interface design to better showcase their unique abilities. For example, Morphling’s new UI includes a slider that shows his Agility and Strength gains, complete with colored indicators. Aside from all of that, the revamped HUD also includes dedicated slots for the new talent trees and backpack tabs, which we will discuss in more detail down below.
Hero Talent Trees and Backpack
The talent trees in Dota 2 are somewhat similar to what you can find in Heroes of the Storm and a few other MOBAs. Namely, at levels 10/15/20/25 you gain the option of choosing between two powerful ability upgrades that are unique to each hero. Choosing one of the upgrades means that the other one will become unavailable for the rest of the game. Needless to say, it’s very important to carefully assess the situation before making a decision because these talents will have an important impact on how your hero performs from that point on. Because of these changes, Valve has completely removed the attribute bonus ability from the game in order to allow players to focus on the talent trees instead.
As for the backpack, this is essentially an extension of the inventory system and allows players to carry three extra items in addition to the usual six. Unlike the items found in the inventory, however, backpack items can not be activated and don’t grant passive bonuses for your hero. Instead, this new addition to Dota 2 allows players to store extra items for later use, such as various recipes for example. In other words, you no longer need to store components on the courier or drop them in your base until you have enough gold to complete a certain item because you can now carry everything with you, and the same goes for support items like wards, Smoke of Deceit, and Dust of Appearance. According to Valve, the only items that can not be stored in the backpack are the Aegis, Bloodstone, Gem, and Rapier.
Good team composition is key to winning a game of Dota 2, which is why Update 7.00 added a few new tools to help players decide on a solid battle plan before the start of the game. To help with this endeavor, the game now features a Pick Phase followed by a Strategy Phase. The first phase is pretty self-explanatory and allows players to pick their heroes by using the improved filters and easily suggest other heroes for the consideration of your teammates. This is basically the equivalent of writing in chat “someone pick support” only now you can highlight a specific hero suggestion for everyone to use and bypass all the chat spam. In addition, the Pick Phase also includes a Team Composition window that shows the combined strengths and weaknesses of your team.
Once everyone is locked in, players have an extra 30 seconds at their disposal to make any final preparations before the game starts. This is known as the Strategy Phase. This second phase includes an enhanced strategy map that can be used to announce lane preferences and initial ward placements. Even more interesting, however, players can purchase their starting items in this phase and avoid wasting any time once the actual game starts. Meanwhile, everything continues to load in the background so you can jump straight into the action once the Strategy Phase ends and the actual game begins.
A Few More Noteworthy Changes
As mentioned at the start of this article, Dota 2 Update 7.00 also features a few hero remodels, as well as a couple of other interesting changes. The heroes in question are Slardar, Viper, and Enigma, all of which have been modified to look a lot more detailed and imposing than their previous iterations. Speaking of visual enhancements, we also have to mention the new skybox, dynamic grass, and trees that gracefully sway in the wind. Make sure you take a minute to admire these improvements in the Showcase View every now and again. Finally, Update 7.00 also added community-authored bots, which can be created by anyone with some programming skills using the brand new scripting API.
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