The South African DOTA Diary: Dealing with change

In this edition of ‘The South African DOTA Diary’, KZN gamer Gareth Jenkinson unpacks update 7.07 – and the changes it has brought to ‘DOTA 2’.

Change is inevitable, but it is often a double-edged sword. Positives and negatives are presented and we all form our own opinions thereafter. On that note, DOTA’s most recent update has brought more than just a little bit of change.

There are two new heroes to play and learn, the game map has changed, and there is a new game-mode that I’ve been grappling with over the past couple of weeks.

The newcomers

To start off with, the latest additions to the DOTA hero catalog are two quirky heroes named Dark Willow and Pangolier.

I’m going to be honest, I haven’t played these heroes myself just yet, but I’ve played against them a few times since their introduction to the game.

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Pangolier seems to lack real fire power and his Rolling Thunder ultimate is comical to watch. I’m not too sure how other players have enjoyed playing this hero – but I’ll be able to form a proper opinion once I’ve played a couple of games with him.

On the other hand, I had a good introduction to Dark Willow the other day. Playing as Sniper, we clashed in the middle lane and I really didn’t know what to expect.

As you can see in the video below, I was totally unprepared. Her Bramble Maze and Cursed Crown abilities caught me off guard and made me recede into some very cautious play, given Sniper’s limited survivability.

Once I’d got the hang of navigating those pesky brambles, I kind of figured Dark Willow out, but I still think this is one of the more interesting and intimidating heroes introduced to the game over the years. I’ll definitely be playing with Dark Willow in the future, and I quite like that a hero labelled mainly as support is pretty handy as a solo in that middle lane.

Turbo Mode – So we don’t lose our jobs…

The introduction of a Turbo game mode had me really excited. DOTA is a fantastic game, but a drawback of its complexity is the length it takes to play a game. You realistically need to set aside an hour of your time for any given match – and Turbo is the answer to that problem.

In essence, you get more experience and gold from creep, tower, and hero kills which speeds up leveling progress drastically. The courier is also lightning fast – allowing you to quickly build powerful items as you level up.

I generally play in the morning – so I was pretty excited to be able to get more than two games in a day.

I’ve had a couple of cracks at Turbo and the experience wasn’t quite as I had hoped. The other players were far less cautious in their approach and kind of played all over the show.

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One of my teammates described Turbo as “DOTA for 8 year olds”, and I kind of agree. It’s a very different experience from a normal game, but I still see the value in the new mode.

It will be a nice way for players to learn the game and for more experienced players to experiment with less-played heroes.

Once again, it provides a game mode for more casual players to enjoy the game without having to sacrifice a large amount of time. Having played a few games, the mode has grown on me and I will definitely be using it to get a quick game in every now and then.

Wait, why can’t I find the shrine?!

Another big change in the 7.07 update was the map. The first game I played, I got quite confused by the way shrines and bounty runes had been moved.

Having the shrine in the middle of the jungle is a nice change in my opinion, while the bounty runes being placed right by the river creates more of a chance of a scrap when trying to get a good steal.

These are the most noticeable changes to the game – while there is a long list of smaller, less noticeable, but no less important changes.

As if DOTA doesn’t have a steep enough learning curve, all these changes can be a lot to digest. However, I honestly believe the update has done a world of good for the game and I wouldn’t be surprised if players who prefer the likes of ‘League of Legends’ or ‘Hearthstone’ give DOTA another shot.

Gareth Jenkinson is a gaming and eSports fanatic. When he is not playing games (or losing them), he works as a sports journalist and presenter for East Coast Radio.

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