Dota 2’s 6.87 update landed today, and it brings with it a host of balance changes and additions. The time has come yet again to shake up that meta.
MOBA patches are interesting. Frequently, they’re not really “fixing” things, so much as altering aspects of the game in such a way that it keeps the meta game fresh. MOBA players like to stick with what works, and what’s comfortable, and it’s up to those who design MOBAs to ensure that what works and what’s comfortable shifts as time goes on. A lot of the time that happens naturally as trends occur among players. Other times, the shifts in the meta have to be kick started, like with Dota 2’s 6.87 update.
Take for instance the new ability available to both teams: the scan. Every 4.5 minutes, someone on the team can now scan anywhere on the map, revealing whether there are enemy heroes there. It’s a shared ability, so once one player uses it, the cooldown activates for all players, much like the Glyph of Fortification, which makes buildings briefly indestructible.
The scan can be used to reveal players who’ve smoked themselves. That’s a consumable used to give the entire team temporarily invisibility in order to plan an ambush or to sneak somewhere undetected. Now there’s a way in which for the enemy team to see these smoked players. Of course, the scan is just affects a small area, so the chances of finding smoked players randomly would be quite the jackpot. Another limitation to the scan is that it can’t be used to see inside Roshan’s pit, Dota 2’s boss creature that can be killed for powerful items. The team itself is going to have to hoof it to the pit in order to check whether the enemy team is fighting Roshan. Another benefit is that the opposing team isn’t alerted when they’ve been detected through a scan.
The scan is perhaps the biggest addition in the patch, but it’s most certainly not the only one. Dota 2’s 6.87 update also grants spell damage based on your intelligence. It’s not a huge amount (only 1% per 16 points), but it certainly makes Nukers and other intelligence-based characters slightly more powerful.
There are a tons of other tweaks to tower damage, lane creep health, and now towers grant armor in an aura. Little tweaks that might help to shake up the laning phase (the start of the game when MOBAs are at their most boring) a fair bit.
6.87 also adds 7 new items to the game, including a Tome of Knowledge. Now every ten minutes, starting at the ten minute mark, a hero can spend 150 gold in order to buy 450 experience. I can see this as being a great way for players who’ve fallen behind in levels to catch up.
There’s also the Echo Sabre, which – aside from having pretty decent stats – also causes your attacks to double-strike every 5 seconds. A lot of heroes will find a use for this, but most of all, it’ll be strong in the hands of those who attack attack slow and hard.
The Bloodthorn can be activated to increase critical attack chance against silenced targets, and those attacks also gain True Strike (they cannot miss). Bloodthorn should be really powerful in the hands of any hero that silences their target. That and it provides a fair amount of damage passively.
The last weapon added in the patch is Hurricane Pike, which increases range on ranged heroes, and can be activated to push you and your target apart. Great for ranged carries that find themselves jumped on by a melee hero.
The last three items added are cheaper items that are now components in the recipes for pre-existing items. Blight Stone reduces enemy armor by 2, and is now a component for both the Medallion of Courage and Desolator. Wind Lace increases movement speed and is now a component for Drums and Eul’s Scepter.
Those are only the new items, there are a host of little tweaks to preexisting ones as well. Far too many to list here, but check out the patch notes, if you want the lowdown.
Then there’s the balance changes. Much like the items, many of Dota 2’s heroes are seeing a change in some way shape or form.
Most of all, though, is the Arc Warden, the most recent hero released for the game. He came to Dota 2 December of last year.
- Flux no longer slows magic immune units
- Flux is now purgeable
- Flux slow reduced from 50% to 35/40/45/50%
- Magnetic Field cooldown reduced from 50 to 35/30/25/20
- Magnetic Field duration increased from 3.5/4/4.5/5 to 3.5/4.5/5.5/6.5
- Magnetic Field now only evades attacks done from outside of the field
- Spark Wraith mana cost reduced from 100/110/120/130 to constant 80
- Spark Wraith activation delay reduced from 3 to 2
- Spark Wraith now applies a 0.4/0.5/0.6/0.7 second purge
- Spark Wraith damage rescaled from 150/200/250/300 to 100/160/220/280
- Tempest Double no longer has an HP/Mana cost
- Tempest Double ability/item cooldowns now persist on the unit
- Tempest Double no longer replicates items that drop on death [?]
- Tempest Double cooldown reduced from 65/60/55 to 50/40/30
- Tempest Double duration reduced from 20 to 12/13/14
- Tempest Double cast point increased from 0 to 0.15
- Strength growth increased from 1.9 to 2.3
- Intelligence growth increased from 2.1 to 2.6
That about sums it up for Dota 2’s 6.87 update.
It’ll be interesting to see how these changes and additions alter the meta game over the next few months, until 6.88 inevitably rolls around in a few months to shake it all up again.