It seems just as if yesterday that IceFrog tweeted out about trying out biweekly patches, and now the year is almost at an end. That’s just how it goes, isn’t it? Even though that system has been discontinued, it gave us a lot of patches – 14 to be exact! We started the year with 7.07, the patch that came out after TI7 and the patches kept changing after every two weeks from February 2018. 7.19 stayed for a long time with us (nearly four months) and now we are strutting along with 7.20. Through these small patches, the game saw a lot of changes and even though there were complaints about the patches changing too fast, I think it gave us some diverse metas that kept things interesting by changing the game. Let’s take a look at what major changes that came in with every patch…
Starting 2018 with 7.07
The year started with 7.07, a patch that was introduced in October 2017 but carried on till February 2018. The patch stopped the mid laner snowballing which was seen in 7.06, in which the middle lane would see an extra creep spawn for the first 15 minutes of the game. That was the start of the ‘make the game slower’ process which continues throughout the season. Those were times when Sand King was still the most picked hero and Night Stalker was the most banned one.
The patch also saw a major resurrection for Gyrocopter. The carry had gone missing for a couple of years (if not more) and came back to life with 7.07. Even though Gyro’s pick rate has a faded a bit now, the Io-Gyrocopter pairing is still a viable option as of today.
The early level hero XP was brought down a lot this patch, which meant it was more important to last hit and deny creeps instead of trying to kill heroes in the laning stage.
7.07 was the patch that started taking away 75% XP from a hero if a creep was denied and giving the denier 25% of the XP. This was when denying gained a lot of importance in the laning stage.
Windranger was a long forgotten hero in the professional scene. Her revival began in 7.08, the first of the biweekly patches that started brining her back to life. She did go up in popularity, but sadly was not the best of heroes come TI8. It was also the patch where Lycan, who was a popular hero for the first half of the 2017-2018 DPC, started to take a hit with nerfs.
Before 7.08, Bounty Runes provided gold as well as experience. Roaming supports used to thrive on Bounty Runes without having to stay in to the lane. The removal of experience from them was a way to deter roaming supports and push the game towards meta that had all heroes in lanes early on.
7.07 hadn’t been the most support favoring patch except for the fact that the courier started upgrading itself at the 3 minute mark. 7.09 changed a lot to make sure the support life was easier early on in the game including:
- Reducing courier cost from 200 to 50
- Tangos coming as 3 charges instead of 4 and costing 90 instead of 120
- The initial bounty being shared by the team instead of just the hero taking it
- 15% gold from stacked camps to the hero that stacked it
Not only did the courier cost reduction put 150 extra gold into the coffers of the supports right at the start, the Bounty Rune sharing meant they would get 80 extra gold if the team got two bounties. Before 7.09, only the hero picking up the Bounty Rune got 100 gold and usually, it would be the cores. The stack bonus gold was the cherry on top of the cake.
The distance between the mid towers was reduced in 7.09, which was another factor to demotivate roaming supports after the Bounty Rune experience had been taken away in 7.08.
— Wykrhm Reddy (@wykrhm) February 15, 2018
If you’re trying to remember since when Boots of Speed started costing 500 gold instead of 400, it was this patch. It made a lot of boots first build unviable, especially on the likes of Pudge who could earlier go Boots, Tangos and Clarity.
7.10 was also the patch Dark Willow was introduced into Captain’s Mode, as a lot of supports will fondly remember!
This was a patch that had a lot of mathematical formulas in the patch notes. Gold mechanics were revamped and the buyback gold penalty was removed.
The biggest change of the patch though, was that the buyback cost was decided based on net worth rather than the game time. This made it a lot easier to buyback and join an important fight (especially for position 3, 4 and 5 heroes) as it cost less and because there was no buyback penalty any more.
7.12 was when Pangolier was introduced to Captain’s mode
It was also the patch where DP and Omni’s reign started to crumble. The duo, who were very popular in the first half of the season, began to see their pick rate go down after 7.12 due to a series of nerfs.
Seeing that efforts till now had not succeeded a lot in making the game slower, IceFrog made structures a lot harder to kill in 7.13, giving buildings more HP and decreasing building bounties. Deathball lineups were the ones targeted with these changes.
Mid game respawn times were decreased and Glyph duration was increased from 5 to 6 seconds, on the whole making it easier for teams on the backfoot to make a comeback. Early push lineups had a smaller margin for error after this patch was out and in time, they weren’t seen a lot as TI8 approached.
Gains from strength, intelligence and agility were changed with the attributes now giving-
- Strength – HP, HP regeneration, magic resistance
- Intelligence – Mana, Mana regeneration, spell amplification
- Agility – Armor, attack speed, movement speed
Heroes got 25% more from the attribute if it was their primary attribute, which made strength comparatively even more tankier.
There were no mixed feelings about patch 7.14 – it was either you loved the fact the Techies was being brought into the CM mode or you just despised it. But it didn’t have a big impact on the game as teams did not warm up to the use of techies in professional games.
This was a patch that had everyone’s jaw dropped for a long time. Bounty Runes, which used to spawn every 2 minutes were changed to spawn every 5 minutes! And the gold from every Bounty Rune was changed to be divided amongst an entire team. This change was in favor of two things IceFrog and Valve were trying to do – put an end to roaming supports and make the games longer. And it sure worked!
Valve announced that the patches after this would just be balance patches. In this first balance patches, the big changes were:
- Decrease in Bounty Rune gold increase per minute – if one team got all Bounty Runes mid game or late game, it would lead to a huge gold swing
- Sentry ward duration increased from 4 minutes to 6 minutes – observer and sentry wards placed in pairs would now expire at the same time
- Bloodseeker, Clinkz, Wraith King and Zeus got the near final set of buffs that made them important heroes at The International 2018
- The nerfs in 7.16 finally buried Sand King in the ground and started Night Stalker’s deterioration
- Clinkz, Necrophos and Pudge continued their rise to fame with Enchantress, Earthshaker and Weaver joining them
- Night Stalker kept getting hit and it seemed Io might be too, but Wisp can never be put down
Night Stalker: Void now deals half damage during day
Night Stalker: Base movement speed reduced from 290 to 285
Night stalker: Getting sun burned during day, losing ability to attack and losing 3 gpm
— Dominik Stipic (@LacosteDota) June 26, 2018
7.19 started with hero changes based on Summit 9 and ended Pudge’s dream of making it big at TI8. The patches from 7.19a to 7,19d were all after the TI8, with changes based on earlier tournaments. By the end of 7.19d, it was a three carry patch with Terrorblade, Morphling and Phantom Lancer the only three carries being picked regularly in the professional scene. A lot of heroes like Spectre, Bloodseeker, Necrophos, Wraith King and Clinkz, who were regular picks in Vancouver were nerfed and were not seen by the end of 7.19d.
We will be ending the year with a patch that changed the game as we knew it last season. From map changes, change in the XP mechanics, denies giving the denied gold to a large number of ability reworks, 7.20 was a patch that made everyone go back to the drawing board. Also, Grimstroke was added to Captain’s Mode! There is a lot about this patch that is yet to be deciphered and the community is still learning new things about it every day. The patch has narrowed down to a few favorable heroes, but in this time where there aren’t any tournaments, teams will be practicing a lot and unveiling new things about 7.20 which we will get to witness in to the tournaments to come!
Alright I need to relearn everything
— Ioannis Loucas (@Foggeddota) November 20, 2018
On the whole, the year 2018 has been quite an eventful one for Dota 2. The constantly changing patches has kept casual as well as professional players on their toes, making them adapt constantly to the new patches. Although the new patches in 2019 won’t come as quickly as just two weeks apart, I do hope we have at least 8 to 10 patches in the course of the year, with small changes in each patch that end up having major effects!