Dota 2 gets 4-player co-op and gamepad support for Christmas

Dota 2 characters about to enter the new continuum mode.
(Image credit: Valve)

Valve has released a major new update for Dota 2 that, while not making any general balance changes, features the return of its 4-player co-op mode, full controller support, and a major rework of the hero Mirana. There's also a boatload of cosmetics included in this update, but you'll need to splash out on Dota 2's battle pass, which costs $7.49 at a base level but can also be bought in more expensive forms (so $41.99 will boost you 100 levels). 

That dude called Aghanim has created multiple dimensions, as you do, and from this comes the Continuum Vault mode. It's free for all players and can be entered as a party or through solo matchmaking, and fourteen of the game's heroes can be selected to run through it. If you're wondering why the whole roster isn't available, it's because each hero's got their own upgrade choices and possible paths through the 'Aghanim's Blessings' matrix which is basically a way of gaining permanent buffs and new heroes within the mode.

This sounds slightly like Dota-meets-Diablo, and the idea is multiple runs that begin to escalate as you're entering with more powers, getting further, finding even more outrageous abilities, and starting all over again. Yes it's a returning mode but, as Christmas presents go, not a bad one.

The main concern among the community is certain elements of this update being locked behind the extreme high levels of the battle pass. Which is a tough one to tease the bones out of, because this update adds a lot of substantial stuff for free, and the battle pass stuff as ever is cosmetic.

The exception being the rework of popular character Mirana, which is essentially paywalled and even then takes a lot of time to grind (unless you pay more), but clearly a huge amount of work has gone into it (for example the developers re-recorded something like 800 voice lines). That doesn't seem like an unreasonable thing to charge for but, of course, everyone will have an opinion: There's also the fact that, bluntly, players would complain if something desirable wasn't at the end of the track.

Finally, a pleasant surprise is the addition of controller support. You could play Dota 2 with the Steam gamepad if I recall correctly, but now the game will work with any Steam Input-compatible device (read: all of them). Get that Nintendo Pro Controller ready folks.

"This is an experimental feature that is still evolving," says the patch notes, "so we'd love to hear your feedback to help inform the changes we make. For moments where you want the familiarity of your classic ways, don't worry—you can always swap between controller and mouse+keyboard on the fly as you play." Here's a full FAQ on controller support and, yes, the community is going to immediately seize upon this as an insult du jour. The update is live now.

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."