Daeja’s View: Post-TI8 Patch When?

One of the questions most frequently spotted floating around the Dota-sphere, possibly tied with “Artifact Beta when?” is “Dota 2 patch when?” This week, let’s discuss patches after The International.

It seems natural that there would be a patch after The International (TI), heading into the new Dota 2 Pro Circuit (DPC) season. It’s the perfect time to introduce changes to the game, tweak heroes, and shake things up so that the game feels fresh.  

As a counterpoint to that, it’s useful to remember that amateur players are inspired by TI to play themselves. Being able to play a version of the game that’s as similar as possible to what they’ve spent two weeks watching is important. Trying to emulate the pros is even more difficult when the terrain has changed or a key mechanic has been altered, let alone when hero skills are different, possibly even reworked entirely.

Still, there is an expectation that there will be a big patch. And while we’ve had a few patches since TI8, these hasn’t been the large patch that we anticipate. 7.19b and 7.19c primarily tweaked a handful of heroes and items. The former also adjusted buyback respawn time penalties, the XP requirement for level two, and put Glyph on cooldown until three minutes on the in-game timer. We saw the importance of buybacks at TI, and how they can be used aggressively to change the outcome of team fights. Tweaking buybacks with a change to the time penalty is a step toward changing how Dota 2 is played, particularly at the highest level of competition where seconds matter. But none of this satisfies that major patch itch.

One Measure for Whether We “Need” a Patch

For all the adjustments to heroes, we’re still seeing a lot of the same picks and bans at post-TI8 qualifiers that we saw during the LAN event. I used Dotabuff to compare the most picked, banned, and overall contested (picks+bans) heroes during the LAN portion of TI8 to the qualifiers for the Kuala Lumpur Major, DreamLeague Season 10, and ESL One Hamburg. What I found is that all top five bans and three or four of the top five picks at each of the three events post-TI8 were in the top eight bans or picks at TI8.

This, of course, carried over into a comparison of the most contested heroes as well. Tiny, Io, Weaver, Necrophos and Silencer, especially, were all near the top of the list for each of the four events.


Sure, Tiny’s cute, but do we need to see him every game? Probably not.

This doesn’t mean we need a new patch. Yes, there’s clearly some heroes that are being given higher priority at the most competitive tier of play, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the game needs rebalancing or to be altered in bigger ways. There are certainly plenty of measures for when a patch would be welcome. I only speak for myself when I say that for me, the best indicator is when hero picks are starting to feel stale. I think we’re starting to hit that point, personally. I’m ready to see a shake up in the top ten most picked and banned hero lists.

Timing

So when might we expect a bigger patch to arrive?

Wykrhm Reddy highlighted a Valve employee’s Reddit comment in a tweet this week:

Chelsea “Daeja” Jack

I love talking about esports and books. I think compassion and curiosity are really important and that a balance between serious and silly keeps life interesting. You can follow me on Twitter @writingdaeja

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