If there’s just one thing you need to download this week, it’s the new Dota 2 Reborn update. Throughout this week, Valve’s been teasing out snippets of what appears to be a major overhaul to the game – they’re upgrading the game engine, slapping on a new client interface, throwing in custom game modes – and some of that awesomeness is finally here in the form of a 7GB beta update.
The engine overhaul is actually a huge thing. Source 2, the new engine, is said to be not just prettier and more capable, but far better optimized. We assume this means a hotter Luna and better FPS even for that one random player with the wooden PC.
Even bigger is the Custom Games feature. Custom Games is like campaign support, or, more accurately, like what EverQuest Next is doing: it gives players the freedom to do a whole lot of stuff you wouldn’t believe. To quote Valve, “these games can be anything from a grand brawl between ten Invokers, to a story-driven dungeon adventure, to something creative that no one has seen before.” You get a full-fledged level editor, model editor, materials editor, support for LUA scripts, developer console – basically everything you’d need to script a game within the Source 2 engine.
Which means that somewhere in the not-too-distant future a bunch of brilliant modders will come up with some amazing single-player campaigns for Dota 2. It’s happened before (Warcraft, Skyrim anyone?) and it will happen again. And someone will try to recreate CounterStrike in Dota 2. And it will be awesome. It helps that the new maps will be tiled, leading to much faster map creation.
On the interface side, lots of changes are inbound, but none better than the new interface for selecting and exploring. The update brings filtering by role – support, ranged, melee, carry and so on – and you can select multiple options to see what heroes you can get into before. A player’s MMR is also public and easily accessible.
A few things were broken (and patched) in the process. Reddit users report drastically decreased FPS, profile settings resets, and sentries and towers’ true sight broke (welcome, Broodmother). Some of these things seemed to have been fixed by a series of minor updates. It’s still in beta, so this is about on par for Valve.
Word is that the League of Legends community isn’t too happy about the changes: LOL fans are now looking to Riot and wondering why they’re not getting anything as large as an engine update. A thread on r/leagueoflegends calling out Riot for laziness quickly snowballed before moderators took it down. This isn’t the first time the League of Legends creator has been called out for its apparent “laziness” as compared to Valve. Time will tell how that particular conflict turns out.