Massive Dota 2 patch makes the map 40% bigger, changes the UI, matchmaking, so much other stuff it's basically Dota 3 now

Image for Massive Dota 2 patch makes the map 40% bigger, changes the UI, matchmaking, so much other stuff it's basically Dota 3 now
(Image credit: Valve)

It's not every day Dota 2 gets a new map. In fact, it's pretty much just today. The New Frontiers Update brings Dota 2 up to version 7.33, and it's a hefty patch that changes the matchmaking algorithm, alters the interface, adds a new hero type, makes a heap of balance changes, and expands the map by 40%.

Valve notes that, while there is "40% more terrain" around the map's edges, the lanes remain as close together as always. There's just more to explore around and between them, and "Both main jungles have also been fully reconfigured, shaking up vision placement, juke routes, farming and more." Here's what's new.

(Image credit: Valve)
  • Four new named areas: The Well, The Graveyard, The Statue, and The Mines.
  • Roshan has two pits instead of one.
  • Twin gates let you teleport between the top and bottom lane. Roshan also uses them to move between his pits.
  • Lotus pools on the map's left and right spawn healing lotus that gives mana as well as HP.
  • Neutral creep minibosses called tormentors spawn near the bases 20 minutes into a match.
  • Eight watchers scattered across the map grant vision to whichever team activates them. That's handy, because outposts no longer grant vision or True Sight.
  • Two new outposts, the original ones have been repositioned too.
  • 12 (!) more creep camps.
  • Two new power runes: wisdom runes on the map's edge and near bases give XP, while shield runes in the river give barrier equal to half your max HP. (Also shield is called barrier now.)
  • Defender's gates are one-way emergency back doors on each base, or as Valve puts it, "Defender's Gate combines the sparkly high fantasy of Dota with the practicality of doors on your house that you can lock when you go to the grocery store to destroy its Ancient."

On the mechanical side of things, the most significant-seeming change is a whole new hero type: Universal heroes. Universal heroes are ones who don't specialize in a single attribute, instead getting 0.6 damage for each point they have in any attribute. Existing heroes who have been reshuffled into the Universal category include Bane, Broodmother, Enigma, Lone Druid, and Vengeful Spirit.

There are plenty of other tweaks as well, like neutral creep abilities now scaling over time, and every disable effect having its duration reduced so you'll spend less time stunlocked. Neutral creeps no longer drop items, instead dropping tokens that can be spent on one of five neutral items, and there's a whole bunch of new items too. The kill formula and Black King Bar have been reworked, and some heroes given major overhauls, including Muerta, Arc Warden, Ogre Magi, Medusa, Alchemist, and Clinkz. As Valve puts it, "Most of Clinkz's abilities, like the best abilities in life, now create skeletons."

Matchmaking has altered in response to what Valve calls "an undesired clumping in the 0-1000 MMR range" and how hard it was for returning players to get back to an accurate Matchmaking Ratio after spending time away. From now on, rather than MMR being calculated with the Elo algorithm, Dota 2 will use the Glicko algorithm. In fact, it's been doing that in the background for a minute, with Valve saying, "We've been running both matchmaking systems simultaneously behind the scenes for a while now to help us build confidence in these changes."

Finally, UI changes should make keeping track of your HP and everyone else's easier. Barriers (the things that used to be called shield, remember?) are visible on the health bar, and anything that doesn't have a HP total but is instead defeated after receiving a set number of hits—like those skeleton archers Clinkz now summons on the regular—have health bar pips to signpost that. And abilities that cost health display that as a number, just like mana cost. Sensible!

As you'd expect in a MOBA, any update is going to come with a big old helping of balance changes in addition to the hero overhauls mentioned above. Have a look at Valve's New Frontiers Update page where you can see full details of that stuff, as well as mouse over an interactive version of the new map.

Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games. He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun, The Big Issue, GamesRadar, Zam, Glixel, Five Out of Ten Magazine, and, whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was about the audio of Alien Isolation, published in 2015, and since then he's written about why Silent Hill belongs on PC, why Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is the best fantasy shopkeeper tycoon game, and how weird Lost Ark can get. Jody edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his promise to play every Warhammer videogame.