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  1. Jessecar

    Dota 2 Blog The Outlanders Update

    Today’s update unleashes two new heroes — Snapfire and Void Spirit — and unveils the 7.23 Gameplay Update, featuring a host of changes, all-new features, and multiple reworked items and abilities. Head over to The Outlanders update page for a full list of all the changes now available. View the full article
  2. Jessecar

    Dota 2 Blog Fast Queue

    We know that queue times have increased across the board recently, and the most significant factor contributing to this has been the stricter requirements that Ranked Roles imposes on the formation of matches. Prior to the introduction of Ranked Roles, the matchmaker had a wider pool of people to draw upon because of the few restrictions. In the past, when one or more players desired the same role, this conflict was resolved during the game itself, often with unpleasant results. This conflict is now resolved at queue time, but a price of this is that the matchmaker is often starved for players in the least-queued roles. The matchmaker must wait for players in the desired roles to enter the queue, or form sub-optimal matches with the players currently in queue to satisfy all role requirements. Usually the role most in demand by the matchmaker is Hard Support, but this is not always the case, and historically this has varied based on time of day, skill bracket, region, etc. To address role imbalance more generally, today’s update introduces Fast Queue for Ranked matchmaking. Players in the Fast Queue are given priority by the matchmaker, and will find matches much more quickly. In order to earn games for Fast Queue, you must elect to play with all roles selected. Playing with all roles selected will also automatically place you in Fast Queue for free. When playing solo with all roles selected, you will earn four more games for future use in the Fast Queue. When grouped as a party, players can also earn Fast Queue games if the party fulfills all roles between its players. Two-player parties earn 2 games each, three-player parties earn 1 game each. You can earn and store up to 60 Fast Queue games. For example, if you are in a party of two where one player marks the three Core roles and the other marks the two Support roles, they will enter the Fast Queue for free, and will each be awarded two additional Fast Queue games. Parties of 5 will always enter the Fast Queue for free, but do not earn Fast Queue games. We’ve added new UI to make it easy to see to understand when you or your party is eligible for Fast Queue. Our data clearly showed that players choosing roles without any additional constraints simply doesn’t result in enough role diversity for the matchmaking population to be healthy, negatively affecting both queue times and match quality. The motivation of the Fast Queue is to solve the “roll for mid” problem in a structured way that prevents in-game conflicts, while also providing enough role diversity to enable reasonable queue times. Going forward, our immediate focus will be validating that Fast Queue is doing enough to improve health of the matchmaking pool, and tweaking as necessary. We’ll also be rolling out a small incremental update to the behavior and report system in the coming weeks. As always, please continue to give us feedback. We appreciate your patience thus far as we iterate on matchmaking. View the full article
  3. Today’s update is once again centered on improving our Matchmaking system, focusing primarily on fixing issues that arose from our previous update. We understand that some players, especially at the high end, have experienced a significant drop in matchmaking quality as a result of our recent iterations. We appreciate all of the feedback and match IDs that we’ve been receiving—your input has been very helpful and we hope you’ll continue to give us feedback after this update as well. We are committed to making matchmaking as good as it can be. Please check out some more detailed information on the different aspects of today’s update below. High MMR Partying ==== Due to the unusually high frequency of matchmaking abuses found in party games in high level matches–we’re adding a new rule to party matchmaking for Divine and Immortal ranks to help reduce some of the negative behaviors that have become common at these ranks and to help make solo queuing more viable. For any party that includes a Divine or Immortal player, every player in that party will be considered the same rank as the highest player in that party. While this will significantly reduce some of the more common abuse scenarios, the trade-off is that it will also affect “normal” parties with large MMR disparities. We think this trade-off is worthwhile at this high level, however, because matches are unlikely to be of high quality anyways with extremely disparate skill levels within a party given the shallow pool available. Such disparity has often made the games less fun for most players involved. We expect that this will have the net effect of reducing the number of party games at the highest skill levels by some amount, but compared to how infrequent high-MMR party games were in the past, the number of party games should still be higher than the historical average. Matchup Combinations ==== We are making changes regarding what solo and party matchups are allowed. For any five-player party, they will now only be matched against other five-player parties, regardless of any other matchmaking consideration. We are unsure if an absolute requirement like this will result in net higher quality matchmaking due to the more limited opponent spectrum available in that case, but we know this is an aspect the community talks about often and we are going to do our best to work within those constraints. Similarly, any solo player will now only ever be considered for matches against at most one party of two. This means that from a solo player’s perspective, matches will always be either against a team of all five solo players or against three solo players and one party of two. This will be a hard requirement for the matchmaker instead of a situational consideration. Match Quality and Role Symmetry ==== As a result of some of the new features we added recently, we found numerous bugs in the matchmaker’s evaluation that caused it to incorrectly rank various considerations. We’ve fixed those bugs and are expecting them to have a notable improvement in matchmaking. We will be monitoring the system after release to make sure the fixes have the intended effect. It is possible that there will be more issues to work out, so if you notice anything too far off please let us know. We’ve also done various tuning to make Role Symmetry perform better, as there have been a few cases at certain brackets where it did not do a good job at all. Finally, we are putting a bigger emphasis on having supports not be the highest MMR players in a game, to the extent that it’s possible within parties. We’ve heard feedback from both core and support players that they would prefer the intra-match rank allocation to be that way. Medal Rework ==== We are back to 5 stars per medal now, 7 stars didn’t add enough upside compared to the visual noise and confusion. In previous ranked seasons we’ve had a mechanism that caused the rank ranges that a given medal represents to shift over the season. While this gave some loose sense of progression, it made comprehension of what medals represent more difficult. It especially caused confusion after calibration where most players dropped medals despite winning most of their games. As a result of removing this mechanism, and the star count re-scale, we are rebalancing what MMR range each medal represents. The distribution model we are using for this is the curve we had in the final months of the previous season (and what we’ve had historically). This will help ensure that medals long term represent the same skill level at the beginning of the season as they do at the end. We are expecting there to be some confusion as a result of this rebalancing, since most players’ medals will be adjusted upwards somewhat to be more in tune with what the medals meant at the end of last season, but there is no actual change to anyone’s MMR number. High-Water Mark ==== In the past, once a player reached a certain rank medal, they would retain that medal for the remainder of the ranked season, even if their actual MMR fell dramatically below that medal’s threshold. With today’s update, your medal will no longer represent a strict high-water mark. Instead, if you are ever more than one star away from your actual current rank, your medal will be adjusted to reflect that. We originally added the high water mark because we thought it helped with player anxiety in ranked games. We think that is still true to some degree, however our data suggests that a one-star buffer captures most of that benefit for the majority of players. There are multiple downsides with having too broad of a spectrum on the high-water mark. First, it makes match fairness really hard to evaluate, because we always match based on MMR and not medals, and thus sometimes a game can appear to be good or bad as a result of the medals not representing reality. As it relates to the above goal in making it easier to evaluate matches, we think a one-star buffer helps balance both goals. The second benefit is that it makes account buying indirectly less valuable. A player can no longer be on another account and keep a high medal for an entire season. Moreover, this change will also work in conjunction with the smurf detection system we’ve been working on. We are currently only using smurf detection to increase ranks upwards to the correct levels, but soon we plan to have it work in the reverse direction as well. With high-water marks only holding onto one star’s worth of a buffer, boosted or purchased accounts will now fall faster and lose the medal along with them. Post-Game Match Evaluation ==== We’re very thankful for the feedback we’ve received in the last few weeks. We think the feedback people had was well rooted in real issues. In our eyes, creating high quality matches is the most important thing we can do to help players enjoy the game, and we’re committed to improving our matchmaking system to achieve that goal. In an effort to help facilitate the discussions on matchmaking, we’ve made a couple small changes to the post-game screen. The post-game screen will now show the average and max queue times for players in the match to help you determine if we formed a bad match too quickly or not. A summarized behavior category of the match will also be displayed, to help players understand if the reason for the lack of a better match was a shallower pool as a result of poor behavior or if it was because of the matchmaker doing a bad job. Finally, we are sorting the list of players in the post game screen from left to right with position 1 through 5 (parties will have a new type of indicator on them still so you can still see what the allocations were). We are hoping this makes it easier for you to evaluate if Role Symmetry is working as expected or not. We recognize that adding more information here may cause a short-term increase in complaints rather than a decrease, but our long-term goal is to create the highest quality matches, and having more information exposed to players will ultimately lead to that end. Post-Game Survey ==== We’ve added a new post-game survey that is similar to ones we had a long time ago. Once a match has concluded, players will sometimes be surveyed to rate the experience in a match. This will allow us to gather more player sentiments on match quality to help find common patterns to what makes matches enjoyable vs what makes them unenjoyable. It’ll also help us find bugs or mistakes in our decisions sooner than later. Of course it’s natural that players will be more likely to equate winning a match to having a good match and losing a match to having a bad match, so we’ll normalize the data for those obvious scenarios to help filter through the background noise and bubble up useful signals. We’ll hold off on enabling this survey for a few days, to work through some bugs and update-related issues first. Communication with Low Behavior Score ==== Our last update included a wave of bans on users that were at the very extreme edge of the player population in terms of toxicity and negative behavior. However, those bans affected only a very small percentage of all players, and we also wanted a more gradual system to address players that are not at the furthest extreme but are still big outliers from the general player population. To that end, players that have a behavior score below 3000 are no longer able to use chat or voice until their score rises above the acceptable threshold. We believe this more gradual user-facing reinforcement mechanism will be valuable for both protecting the larger population from outliers and as a warning system for players who are moving in the wrong direction that might encourage them to improve. We set the threshold score at 3000 due to the low probability that anyone would be that low without having had a consistently negative impact on the experiences of many different teammates. Party Spread ==== As we’ve mentioned, extremely large MMR spreads within a party makes it hard for the matchmaker to find compatible opponents, and even in cases where it can, the matches are not necessarily enjoyable for the players involved due to some players having low impact/agency in the game while others have an outsized one. We recognize, however, that players still want to play with friends, so this aspect is not without trade-offs. To help address that, we’re reducing the acceptable MMR spread within a party from 2800 to 2000. We’ll consider further reductions to this spread over time, as the current value is still quite large, but we’d like to find the correct balance incrementally. This limitation only applies to ranked matchmaking. Core Matchmaking Code ==== We’ve made a significant revision to how the heart of the matchmaker iterates through the many players that are queuing at any given time. This revision restructures the matchmaker’s search process to have more flexibility with how considers the increasing number of requirements. Because the matchmaker must segment the large number of players into smaller combinations to consider, it was possible that the list of evaluable matches weren’t the highest quality in cases where the matchmaker excluded players due to soft considerations early in the process. Previously it was not very efficient if there were too many considerations within a team and against a team. Because of the nature of this rewrite, we are expecting there to be bugs for the next few days that may cause matchmaking to be sub-optimal, but are hopeful that this investment will allow us to more easily increase matchmaking quality in the long run. Reports and Player Bans ==== This update will remove some methods of reporting that were not rate limited in order to improve the signal-to-noise ratio, especially at the conclusion of a game. We have also been refining our booster and exploiter detection algorithms and have been doing regular ban waves in the background. We will continue refining these systems over the coming weeks. Banned players will also no longer show up or consume rank spots on the leaderboard. This fix was implemented a few days ago, as some of you may have noticed due to leaderboard ranking shifts. Going Forward ==== We are expecting the next day or two to be a little unstable as we iron out issues with the update, but after that we’d appreciate continuing with the feedback on your match experiences. Please make sure to always include a matchid with your feedback, as we often find them missing that crucial data needed to follow up. Our focus going into the next few weeks will be on monitoring and measuring the results of this update and following up as needed based on what we learn. The other big category we are going to be focusing on soon is revamping the new player experience for an update in the future. In addition, a lot of the ongoing work we are doing on smurf detection will indirectly help us in the future with placing new players into more ideal matches once they’ve completed their initial new player experience phase. We are hoping that after we get matchmaking into a better spot, it’ll be an ideal time for brand new players to join in as well as for existing players to invite their friends into the game with the help of a better new player ramp. View the full article
  4. Jessecar

    Dota 2 Blog Dota Plus Autumn Update

    Today’s patch brings a few features to Dota Plus in the wake of the Battle Pass season, as well as the addition of all-new item sets for Lion, Slardar, and Crystal Maiden to the Dota Plus Rewards section. Plus subscribers can now use the Avoid Player feature to exclude unwanted players from their matchmaking pool, get precise stacking info with the Creep Pull Timers, ward more effectively with the Ward Suggestions, and see your total incoming damage breakdown by type. This update also replaces the old machine learning hero suggestions with the Friends and Foes feature from the Battle Pass, transfers some new Chat Wheel Sounds into your Dota Plus reward options, and adds the ability to customize your Chat Wheel phrases with emoticons. To top it off, we’ve also introduced the Season 4 Matchmaking Quests and some new hero quests to add some more ways to bump up the number of shards in your stash, and players who queue into the Hard Support role in Ranked Matchmaking can even earn bonus shards. Lastly, this year’s Trove Carafe will only be available for two more weeks, so players still interested in purchasing should make sure to snag some treasure before it’s gone. View the full article
  5. The new Ranked season is here. Today’s blog will go over the changes we are doing as well as areas we are still thinking about. The changes in this update will be rolled out gradually over the next two days as we iron out bugs. The calibration part of the new season will begin this Thursday. Role Symmetry ==== One big observation that we had since the previous update was that matches with misaligned roles had a meaningful impact on game quality. An example of this is when the mid player for one team has the highest rank on his team, and the mid player on the other team has the lowest rank. This tended to cause games to be really volatile and not enjoyable. In the past we used to prioritize rank spread between the two teams as one of the main criteria for the matchmaker to judge success, however as part of this update we are changing its priorities. It will now put a big emphasis on making sure that the roles are more symmetric rather than other criteria. This will also be something we will continue to tweak and iterate on over the coming weeks to make sure the algorithm’s search structure is correctly tuned and optimized for this. Draft Role Report ==== To help ensure everyone plays the role they queued for, this update includes a role report function during the drafting and beginning minutes of the game. Starting with today’s update, using this information along with some other detection mechanisms, we will be much more aggressive in punishing players who abuse the system. Core and Support Ranks ==== Some baseline dota skills and knowledge are shared between the Support and Core roles. So having the two numbers be entirely separated didn’t seem like a good idea to us, as we’d be losing valuable information about the player as well as promoting some warped incentives when you play your least used roles. As such, when you win or lose a game queued as one type of role, we’ll also update the MMR of the other type by a percentage of that game’s gains or losses. We’ll be tweaking that ratio over time as we figure out the best balance. Ban Waves ==== This update includes a few different ban waves for bad actors. The first ban wave is to players with exceptionally low behavior scores. We will continue to do regular ban waves for users who fall into this small percentage of the community. Users that reach this low level of behavior in the game are too big of a tax on the rest of the community and are not wanted. The second case where users will be banned today is for anyone detected of violating the Steam Service Agreement that prevents the purchase or sale of Steam accounts. Buying accounts to get a higher or lower rank is not allowed and causes negative side effects for the play experience of others. This doesn’t catch all account sales that happen, but we think we have caught enough to take some action. We are also banning players who’ve been detected using exploits to gain an advantage over other players. In the coming weeks, we will be refining the detection algorithms for these abusive behaviors and will begin issuing weekly bans that will go into effect without advance notice to violating accounts. Accounts that we ban will now also have the associated phone number permanently blacklisted from being able to have access to ranked matchmaking. Smurfs ==== We recognize that recently there has been an increase in smurf accounts. We share the sentiments the community has expressed on this issue and we consider it a high priority for us to solve as well. There isn’t a single solution that can address this issue easily, but we hope that a combination of multiple different changes over time will reduce the negative impacts and frequency of it. The first change in this area is the usage of phone number verification. We’ve found a loophole that allowed a large number of users to play ranked without a unique phone number attached. We have fixed this bug and any user that does not have their account set up correctly will be prevented from queuing until it is resolved. This will also affect accounts that have been actively playing in ranked matchmaking, rather than just new accounts going forward. We are also changing the mechanism to grant Ranked access. Rather than a fixed number of games, we are changing the metric to be a time based one and increased that amount to 100 hours of playtime. Any users that already have access to ranked without meeting this requirement will be removed from ranked until they’ve played enough time. Our general approach to Smurfs is to try to get accounts that are performing higher than expected to their correct rank faster. The first change on this axis is to adjust MMR by more than just +/- 25 when we detect that a user has been clearly over performing (based on how the played heroes usually perform at a given rank). This will be an ongoing process as we get better at detecting this, but from the data analysis we’ve done so far, we think we can make some progress using this. This change will be silent for a few days as we verify the detection mechanism is working as intended, and will be enabled once that is verified. The other change we are making is how we calibrate the initial ranked MMR for new accounts entering ranked. Leveraging the new hours played gate we are adding for ranked access, we will be using your account’s historical performance more aggressively to place you into a more accurate initial rank. In the past we introduced a really low cap on initial rank, we think that was a mistake on our part, because it caused smurfs to unnecessarily impact a large volume of games before arriving at a closer-to-accurate rank. Moving forward, we will be spending more time on live detection of smurfing and boosting behaviors. This will hopefully allow us to put detected accounts into an aggressive recalibration, resulting in a much quicker adjustment to an accurate MMR while reducing the number of games that are ruined in the process. In addition to this aggressive recalibration, we’ll also be detecting and banning accounts for egregious boosting or exploiting of game mechanics. Miscellaneous Changes ==== To help reduce role confusion when queuing as a party, we’ve added a detailed popup for times when your party’s selected roles are incompatible, such as when two players have only selected the same role. While this update is banning extremely low behavior score players, we’ve also increased the number of commends available for each player so you can recognize good behavior in your games as well. Other Thoughts ==== There are a few other general changes that we are not sure are needed yet or haven’t been able to address yet, but are on our radar. We thought it might be a good idea to supplement this blog with information in the hope that community conversation about it can be helpful. – High MMR games: While we have some changes here that directly and indirectly improve matchmaking quality for the extremely high end bracket, we will be closely monitoring this to see if other changes are needed. – Hard Support: For certain MMR brackets, queue times and game quality would be meaningfully improved if there were a bigger percentage of players queuing for Hard Support. Many of the subpar matches we’ve found were a result of there not being enough players queuing for this role. We are exploring to see if any solutions can be effective for incentivising this. We also know that it is more common that you’ll get Hard Support if you queue for all the roles, and we’d like that to eventually not be the case. – Role queue abuse: As mentioned above, we’ll be much more aggressive in punishing players who don’t play the role they’ve queued for. If we find that role abuse persists despite these efforts, we’ll consider implementing role-specific bans that prevent a user from queuing for the abused role in future matchmaking games after they’ve left low priority. Our hope is that implementing such measures will be unnecessary as the results of our other changes. – Smurfs: Dota 2 being a free-to-play game introduces various matchmaking related challenges. One option we have thought about is having Ranked access have a one time entry cost, and that access can be lost for players who regularly ruin games. We may also grandfather in users that we have enough data on, but we haven’t gone too deep in assessing the details here. We aren’t sure if we need this as a solution yet either, we hope that other solutions can have a good effect at improving the matchmaking ecosystem. In terms of our development focus moving forward, we are spending more of our time than usual focusing on matchmaking quality. We believe that is the right call given how much opportunity there is to make the day-to-day experience better for all players. We look forward to seeing your feedback on this update, and to continue to hear feedback in the following weeks for how to improve matchmaking. View the full article
  6. Road to the Aegis Congratulations to OG, Grand Champions at The International 2019. OG rebuffed every challenger and silenced all critics as the first reigning champions in the history of The International to successfully defend their hold on the Aegis of Champions. After a dominating Group Stage that saw them drop only two games to their fourteen wins, OG squared off against a Newbee squad that was eager to prove themselves on the Main Stage. Newbee eked out a small advantage in the early goings of game one before OG took over and snowballed to victory. The defending champs never trailed in game two, and Newbee failed to kill ana’s Juggernaut even a single time. Next up would be the stalwart Evil Geniuses, who smashed through OG’s defenses for a convincing victory in game one that saw EG’s top cores at their best. In game two, the teams traded blows for thirty minutes before OG took over and never looked back–taking the win to push the series to a decisive game three in which OG’s ana killed every EG player at least once en route to victory. Last year’s runners-up PSG.LGD were the next challengers subjected to OG’s dominating run. Though the elite Chinese squad were able to secure a game-one victory, game two was a one-sided stomp in which ana was again unkillable–this time on the tournament powerhouse Alchemist. Game three was a tough fight with huge net worth swings. PSG.LGD scored more kills than the OG lineup, but the end result went the way of the resilient champions, sending OG into the Grand Finals for a second consecutive year to await their next opponent. While PSG.LGD did their best to set up a rematch by taking game one of the Lower Bracket Finals, Team Liquid proved the worthiest opponent, cracking off two straight victories to secure the right to face OG in the Grand Finals. As had happened in the previous two rounds, OG dropped the first game to their adversaries, unable to overcome Liquid’s assault despite leveling out a 20K net worth deficit before their Ancient fell. But from there, it was all OG. Their clever drafting and stellar play led the way to three straight victories over Team Liquid. OG sent the challengers packing and claimed the Aegis of Champions–the first players to ever raise it twice. As bearers of the ultimate symbol of victory, these names shall forever be inscribed–again–upon the Aegis of Champions: 2019 Anathan “ana” Pham Topias “Topson” Taavitsainen Sébastien “Ceb” Debs Jesse “JerAx” Vainikka Johan “N0tail” Sundstein Looking Back If you missed any of the tournament, or just want to relive the incredible moments and plays, head over to the Dota 2 YouTube channel, where you can find replays of the tournament, including broadcast content from in between the games. You can also find a stash of photos from the event over on our Instagram and the Dota 2 Flickr. We would like to thank all of the players, talent, and everyone in the Dota community for helping bring this celebration to life. The International is the crowning moment of the competitive season, and without everyone’s support, none of this would be possible. We hope you enjoyed this year’s tournament as much as we did. The Days Ahead In the wake of The International, our next focus will be on preparing for the new Ranked Season as well as releasing some small gameplay balance tweaks. With the recent changes to Ranked Matchmaking, we’re interested to hear any feedback or suggestions you have. As always, it’s helpful to include account info and match IDs with your feedback in the contact form. Our next major release will be arriving later this fall with The Outlanders update, featuring the two new heroes–Snapfire and Void Spirit–that we announced at the event, as well as the next gameplay patch. View the full article
  7. Jessecar

    Dota 2 Blog Trove Carafe Immortals

    The Trove Carafe for The International 2019 is now available, featuring all-new items for Bounty Hunter, Crystal Maiden, Nature’s Prophet, Arc Warden, Templar Assassin, Chaos Knight, and Tusk. In addition, each treasure you open offers the chance to receive a rare item set for Techies, very rare golden versions of the Tusk or Crystal Maiden items, or an ultra rare set for Monkey King. The Trove Carafe also lets you support your favorite broadcast talent at this year’s event by purchasing autographed versions of the treasure. Select the desired talent from the dropdown menu when purchasing to inscribe their autograph onto the item that you unbox. Attendee Item Drops Fans watching the tournament live at Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai will once again have the chance to receive special item drops during the Main Event. At First Blood in each individual game, a limited number of exclusive Attendee Treasures will drop, each containing visually-unique versions of items selected from this year’s Immortals. To be eligible, make sure to register your daily code once you arrive at the arena. The International Main Event After four days of grueling battle, The International 2019 Group Stage is complete. Already we must say goodbye to the first two teams eliminated–Chaos Esports and Ninjas in Pyjamas. Defending champions OG are headed to the Upper Bracket after a dominating performance. They’ll be joined there by PSG.LGD, Team Secret, Vici Gaming, Evil Geniuses, TNC Predator, Newbee, and Virtus.pro. Alliance, Mineski, Infamous Gaming, Fnatic, Natus Vincere, Team Liquid, Royal Never Give Up, and Keen Gaming all face the threat of immediate elimination as they head into their first-round best-of-one games in the Lower Bracket on Tuesday, August 20 at Mercedes-Benz Arena. The opening broadcast begins at 10:00am China Standard Time. Head over to The International website for more info on the tournament standings, schedule, and more. View the full article
  8. Today’s update rolls out the exclusive ‘Majesty of the Colossus’ prestige item set for Tiny at Battle Level 255—along with the ‘Reptilian Refuge’ custom Radiant and Dire creeps at level 182—to fill out the Battle Pass rewards line as we approach The International. Featuring completely new models for each of his Grow states, plus custom animations and effects for Avalanche and Tree Grab, the ‘Majesty of the Colossus’ can only be earned by increasing your Battle Level to 255 before the conclusion of The International 2019 Battle Pass. Players who’ve already grown to level 255 can claim this item set from the rewards line and roll into the lanes in splendor and style. To accommodate the release of this new item set, Tiny’s item slots have also been updated and simplified to correspond to his four levels of Grow, and his materials have been optimized to allow for more robust content creation. This means he will soon become available on the workshop, and that artists will only need to focus on making items to fit four base slots and one weapon slot on any future Tiny designs. The International Group Stage The first Group Stage action of The International kicks off at 9:00 am on Thursday, August 15 in Shanghai. With seeding in the Main Event at stake right from the start, make sure to tune in to the main stream to see the first stage of the tournament unfold. View the full article
  9. Jessecar

    Dota 2 Blog Summer Scrub Part 2

    Today’s update delivers the second half of the Summer Scrub, focused on bug fixes and some quality of life improvements just in time for The International. One of the first changes you’re likely to notice is the implementation of a new version of the customizable hero grid. Players can now create multiple grid presets, each with their own unique layouts and categories. You can drag and drop heroes around the grid and rename or resize different buckets to suit your needs for any situation. We’ve also added a new alternate layout for the in-game item shop that allows you to toggle the classic column view to a new grid-style layout that retains the Basic and Upgrade sections while adding multiple grouped sub-categories for ease of use. On the game side, we decided to do a little house cleaning related to players exploiting matchmaking, botting or transferring accounts, resulting in a fresh ban wave for cheaters today. We’ve also made multiple performance improvements focused on minimizing hitches during teamfights. There’s also a whole host of bug fixes that you can read about over on the update page here. Thanks to everyone in the Dota community who helped us identify which things were most in need of a good scrub. View the full article
  10. The International Group Stage is almost upon us. As the teams, fans, and broadcast crews make their final preparations for the crowning esports event of the year, it’s time to unveil some of the final details for everyone watching. Tournament News Head over to the in-game Compendium for a complete list of Casters and Talent for this year’s event. Don’t forget to fill out your predictions for hero picks, team results, player performance, and tournament meta. Predictions lock before the start of Group Stage play. We’ve also launched the official tournament website for The International 2019 as a hub for keeping up with the daily tournament proceedings. As the Group Stage and Main Event progress, you’ll be able to see updated standings and new social media content posted each day from Shanghai. Group Stage: August 15th – August 18th, 2019 – As before, two best-of-two groups of nine teams. Top four teams in each group advance to Upper Bracket, five – eight advance to Lower Bracket, bottom in each group is eliminated. Main Event: August 20th – August 25th, 2019 – The tradition continues as 16 teams battle through a best-of-three double elimination playoff. Lower bracket first round is best-of-one, Grand Finals are best-of-five. Media The top eighteen Dota teams in the world have earned the right to join the final test of the Dota competitive season. As the tournament progresses, check out the main stage and behind-the-scenes action on our media page, which features all content from our YouTube Channel, event-specific Twitter feed, and Instagram. Pubstomps Whether you’re playing or watching, Dota is best enjoyed with friends. To help people around the world connect with each other for their own celebratory Dota events, we’ve once again partnered with Barcraft United to facilitate Pubstomp administration. Their official landing page will launch later this week to help find a Pubstomp in your area. View the full article
  11. Jessecar

    Dota 2 Blog Matchmaking Update

    A comprehensive matchmaking system is an important factor in being able to enjoy playing Dota, regardless of which hero or role you prefer. Today’s update includes some engineering changes to the core matchmaking system to allow for bigger changes and better analytical capabilities. Over the next year, we’ll be spending more time focusing on various aspects of matchmaking such as intra-team balance, player conduct, new player experience, abusive behaviors, account buying, friend and teamplay aspects, high mmr matchmaking dynamics, and other issues in an effort to make the overall experience of playing Dota more fun for players of all levels. In this blog post we decided to drill deeper into the changes in today’s update and explain our thoughts. Matchmaking involves various tradeoffs and our goal is to find the best balance between all the different factors. In order to help make progress on finding the right set of tradeoffs, today’s update includes a couple different experimental changes that will last until the end of the season. Close to the end of the season we’ll do a direct call for feedback on how the changes have worked out and use that feedback, along with data we are gathering in the meantime, to help inform the direction for the next season. We’ll also be working towards other features, such as better detection of smurfing and other abusive behaviors as the year progresses. The first of these experiments is removing the concept of separate Solo and Party MMRs. We expect this to be the most controversial component in today’s update, as we’ve heard fair criticisms of it in the past. We can’t say that we are fully confident that this will end up being a good change either, so we’ll want to wait until the end of the season when we gather feedback and data on how it has played out after players have had a chance to absorb it. There are two major aspects with this change: 1) the teamplay and social aspect and 2) the value and correctness of the MMR value. For the teamplay aspect: We think it is really crucial for you to not have a disincentive to play with your friends. The game currently overly emphasizes playing solo and establishes a strong social reward mechanism for this, which causes many players to prefer playing alone than with friends. We believe that bias has over time caused more negativity and unhappiness when playing Dota. Furthermore, Dota is a very teamplay heavy game and we want to consider that aspect a bit more strongly in the hierarchy of matchmaking values. We’ve considered other approaches to the friend and teamplay incentives, but they tended to do a poor job at making it feel actually rewarding to play with friends and only papered over the issue. For the correctness of the MMR aspect: We recognize that there is a tradeoff here on the mmr data quality if the match has solo mmr numbers with party mmr numbers, however we feel that the impact of that data noise is much smaller than even we initially considered it to be early on and generally with how it is discussed online. Most of the issues related to this we think we can solve with better algorithms. Another common case is playing with a friend who has a higher mmr than you, expecting that it will cause your mmr to go higher. While that has been at least partly true in previous matchmaking system iterations, our most recent version does a fairly good job of addressing this. We have enough data to form matches that cause you to have an even chance to win by carefully choosing the opponents that have a similar makeup. At a base level, we think mathematically we are able to have high confidence that playing with a friend will not have a material effect on your average mmr value with a properly balanced matchmaker. We’ve done some testing to make sure this is true in advance of this update, however we know it’s likely there is more work to be done here and we’ll continue working on this aspect in the background during this experimental period. Through our investigation into the topic of matchmaking volatility and how parties affect the game, we’ve noticed something that fans likely already know: players have very different comfort levels when playing core roles versus support roles. Some players perform really poorly when they play a role they are not used to, and in turn introduce a lot of volatility in the system for everyone by causing your MMR number to drift away from your actual skill level as well as causing imbalanced games. So because of that, and because of our abiding love of having multiple MMR numbers, we are adding a new concept of Core and Support MMR numbers. In order to achieve this, we need to know what role you want to play in advance of the match being formed. So for this experimental update, we are moving the Ranked Roles feature to the base Ranked matchmaking and expanding on its capabilities. Now when you matchmake, you will have the option of selecting roles from position 1 through 5 (Safe Lane Core through Hard Support), including multiple selections. So if you like playing Mid or Offlane, you can select those two, or if you like playing Hard Support and Mid, you’ll be able to do that as well. You will be matched based on either your Core or Support MMR. Each MMR type will also have its own leaderboard, and for the purposes of this short experimental period the existing rank will be applied as the initial rank for both Core and Support. If we end up keeping this feature in the future, there will be a separate calibration phase for each one. These experimental changes will remain active for the rest of this season for you to try out. Sometime after The International concludes, we’ll issue a call for community feedback to help guide the next steps in our efforts to increase matchmaking quality for everyone. We hope to have your support and patience through this experiment as well as subsequent changes towards the path of making a better overall matchmaking system. While we were initially going to release this change as part of the Summer Scrub update, the amount of significant underlying code changes required for this update introduces a lot of potential instability. So we are splitting the Summer Scrub update into two parts, this first part for a matchmaking rework, and the second part soon after for bug fixes and a few quality of life additions. We are expecting that we’ll have a lot of matchmaking related bugs to work through today, so please let us know if you run into any issues and make sure to include the matchid in your reports. View the full article
  12. Jessecar

    Dota 2 Blog Immortal Treasure III

    Today’s update unveils Immortal Treasure III, featuring all-new items for Axe, Clinkz, Lycan, Mars, Terrorblade, and Slardar. In addition to one of those items, each of these treasures you open also offers increasing odds to receive a very rare Golden version of the Axe item or an ultra rare Necrophos item. There’s also the chance to discover a rare haul of Battle Points or the cosmically rare Overgrown Emblem. Battle Pass owners can find an Immortal Treasure III ready to open in your Armory, with more treasures available as you increase your Battle Level. Head over to the Battle Pass page for to get a preview of the new items and custom effects in this treasure. View the full article
  13. Introducing the first-ever Hero Persona—a completely different visual and thematic take on a classic hero—available now to Battle Pass owners who invoke level 305 or beyond. Featuring all-new models, animations, voice performance, and item slots for future customization, this first persona sends the ageless Invoker back to his earliest days studying the wizarding arts. Every legend has a beginning, and the Arsenal Magus is no exception. Aeons before he was recognized as the most dangerous magician alive—in days even he no longer remembers—the Invoker was the adolescent star pupil at an ancient wizard’s academy. Now, harnessing dangerous magics purloined from his headmaster’s secret archives, young Carl has discovered the means to journey forward and join the battle of the Ancients well before his time. Head over to the Acolyte of the Lost Arts update page to learn more, and then head into the lanes spry in step and brimming with powerful magics. View the full article
  14. Congratulations to the six teams that have earned the right to join the twelve DPC standouts in battling for the Aegis of Champions. Mineski, Royal Never Give Up, Natus Vincere, Chaos Esports Club, Infamous, and Forward Gaming have all emerged from the Regional Qualifiers as worthy additions to the field of the world’s finest Dota teams. Now that the final list of eighteen teams is set and preparations in Shanghai are well underway, it’s time to explore The International 2019 Compendium. To get started, Battle Pass owners are invited to unwrap Player Card Packs and begin assembling the perfect rosters for this year’s Fantasy Challenge. You can also select your Favorite Team to unlock customized emoticons, effigy banners, team sprays, team balloons in place of your sky snakes, and special Teleport effects. The Teleport effects even have upgraded versions for players who collect a full set of a team’s silver or gold cards. The International Compendium also includes Hero, Team, Player, and Tournament Predictions. Test your knowledge of the professional scene by correctly predicting the meta of the tournament before the first draft begins. The more results you correctly predict, the more Battle Points that await. All you need to do is choose. View the full article
  15. The International 2019 Collector’s Cache returns for another round, featuring multiple items from this year’s Call to Arms as well as some hidden workshop gems for a span of favorite heroes—including a Rare set for Necrophos, a Very Rare set for Ember Spirit, and an Ultra Rare set for Juggernaut. Available now for $2.49, unboxing thirteen of these treasures will automatically grant you thirty-two Battle Levels, and the odds of receiving a bonus rare item increase with each one you open. You can also recycle any unwanted sets for two Battle Levels. Volume II of the Collector’s Cache will only be available for the next thirty days and is the only way to receive these exclusive item sets, apart from the Ultra Rare Juggernaut set which will be marketable near the end of 2020 after next year’s tournament concludes. As is tradition, 25% of each sale contributes directly to The International prize pool. Once again, we’d like to thank all of the community artists who tendered submissions to the Dota 2 Workshop, as well as the entire Battle Pass community for your support. View the full article
  16. Jessecar

    Dota 2 Blog The Summer Scrub

    The sun is shining, the creeps are marching, and it’s the perfect time to open up the proverbial windows and give the Dota world a healthy scrub. To that effect, we’ll be working on an update focused on bug fixes that should help get the lanes in good shape as we head into the final stretch before The International. To assist in our efforts, we’d love the Dota community to put on your bug-hunting hats and sound off on any bugs you’ve encountered during your games. While we will be primarily looking for bug reports, we are also interested in adding some quality-of-life improvements, so if you have any ideas please don’t hesitate to share. Up next for the Battle Pass, we are aiming to ship the Kid Invoker Hero Persona with next Friday’s update on the 19th. View the full article
  17. Wrath of the Mo’rokai Deep in the jungles of Fellstrath, the ruins of an ancient civilization lie hidden beneath tangled canopy and creeping vine. In today’s update, all Battle Pass owners can choose to queue up to face the Wrath of the Mo’rokai, as two ancient guardians rise from slumber to wreak havoc on the age-old battle of the Ancients. To join the battle at full strength, the Mo’rokai require tributes of essence that will help them reclaim dormant abilities and greatly aid those who fight by their sides. Players can gather essence from slain enemies and other caches around the Dota map to guide which arcane powers the Mo’rokai develop. When the Mo’rokai march into the lanes, choose your strategy wisely to make the most of your new ally. The Mo’rokai are powerful, but even they are emboldened with friendly heroes nearby. Work together with your Mo’rokai to destroy the enemy Ancient and you’ll earn 250 Battle Points for each victory, up to a weekly total of 2000 points. You’ll also have the chance to unearth special Battle Point bonus bundles throughout the game to split with your team. Each week will offer one chance to win with a Battle Point bonus active that will net you 1000 points for the victory. Your weekly point total and number of bonus games will increase as you raise your Battle Level—reaching level 150 will bestow a 3000 point cap with two weekly bonus games and level 252 will increase the total to 4000 points with three weekly bonus games. All of your Battle Pass features are active while playing Wrath of the Mo’rokai, so don’t hesitate to take a Jungle Expedition or Daily Challenge hero into battle or sound off to friends and enemies with your favorite chat wheel lines. Immortal Treasure II To help welcome the Mo’rokai to the fight, Immortal Treasure II is also now available, featuring all-new items for Dazzle, Timbersaw, Grimstroke, Pugna, Warlock, and Luna. In addition, each of these treasures that you open also offers increasing odds of receiving a rare demonic mane for Lion, a very rare Golden version of the Luna or Timbersaw items, or an ultra rare celestial mantle for Ember Spirit. There’s also the cosmically rare chance to discover the Overgrown Emblem custom hero effect. All Battle Pass owners can find an Immortal Treasure II ready to unbox in the Armory, and you can earn more treasures by increasing your Battle Level. Check out a preview of the new items and custom effects from today’s treasure over on the Battle Pass page. To help players enjoy more time in the jungles of Fellstrath on the hunt to earn ever more treasure, we’ll be extending this year’s Battle Pass features for two additional weeks after the conclusion of The International Grand Finals. View the full article
  18. The fifth and final Major of the 2018-2019 Dota Pro Circuit is now complete, and the final point standings of the competitive season are set. Congratulations to the twelve teams that have shown the consistent performance needed to earn direct invitations to The International 2019 in Shanghai: Team Secret Virtus.pro Vici Gaming Evil Geniuses Team Liquid PSG.LGD Fnatic Ninjas in Pyjamas TNC Predator OG Alliance Keen Gaming The International Qualifiers With twelve teams decided, six more teams must battle through one last competitive gauntlet for the right to join the top DPC contenders at The International. The final chance begins when Open Qualifiers kick off on July 3rd across the six regions—Europe, North America, South America, Southeast Asia, China, and CIS—to determine which squads will make the cut to clash against the teams awaiting in the Regional Qualifiers. To set the stage, the direct invites to participate in the Regional Qualifiers are now available in the Compendium section of the Battle Pass, and fans are welcome to enter predictions for who will earn the right to stand alongside the best Dota teams in the world this summer in Shanghai. View the full article
  19. Explore ever deeper into the reaches of the Battle Pass rewards line with the Battle Level Bundle, available for a limited time only. Battle Pass customers can purchase this discounted bundle from now until the morning of Monday, July 1 to unlock 120 Battle Levels, 9x Immortal Treasure I, 6x Immortal Treasure II, and 3x Immortal Treasure III for only $29.99. Limited to one purchase per customer, this bundle offers 75% savings on the combined value of the levels and treasures, and will contribute 25% of each sale directly to The International 2019 prize pool. With this year’s Battle Pass abound in mythic rewards—like the Overgrown Empire Terrain at level 160; Tiny Prestige item at level 255; Young Invoker Hero Persona at level 305; Custom Towers at level 335, Planetfall Earthshaker Arcana at level 365; bare-knuckle Axe Unleashed set at level 425; Collector’s Aegis at level 1000; Chat Wheel Bundles continuing up to level 1205; and much more—the Battle Level Bundle is just the tool needed to unearth the full potential of this epic treasure stash before the conclusion of The International and this Battle Pass season. View the full article
  20. Today’s update unleashes the new Dark Willow Announcer Pack, available to all Battle Pass owners who flutter to Battle Level 75 and above. Featuring the voice of the inimitable Mireska Sunbreeze, this pack replaces the default announcer and mega-kill exclamations with the rogue fae’s take on every game, helping ensure you’ll never miss your mark in battle again. Eligible players can claim the pack from the Battle Pass rewards line, and once unbundled, you can equip the announcer and mega-kills from the Global Items menu in the Heroes tab. Today’s update also includes several fixes that we’ve identified to improve performance in the game client. In other Battle Pass news, we’re nearly complete with work on Immortal Treasure II and the Wrath of the Mo’rokai special event, and expect to unveil both next week. View the full article
  21. Jessecar

    Dota 2 Blog Dota Underlords

    A few weeks ago we posted about our love of Auto Chess and how we were working on our own standalone version of it. In that same post we promised we would share information about the game soon. As it turns out, “soon” is today. Dota Underlords is a new stand-alone game that pits you against seven opponents in a battle of wits that will have you building, combining, and leveling-up a crew in a battle of dominance for the city of White Spire. In this game, victory is determined not by twitch reflexes, but by superior tactics. DOTA 2 BATTLE PASS PREVIEW For the last few weeks, we’ve been running a Friends and Family Beta, and today we’re expanding it to include all Dota 2 Battle Pass owners. With your help, we’ll be stress testing our servers as we prepare for our Open Beta. In the preview version, you’ll be able to: Play online against seven other players. Practice offline against our lineup of advanced bots (from easy to hardcore difficulty). Party up and play together against bots or other players. Battle Pass owners can find a link to add Dota Underlords to their Steam library on the Dota 2 dashboard. After approximately a week of stress testing we’ll transition to Open Beta. OPEN BETA Once the open beta begins, Dota Underlords will be available to everyone for free on Steam (Windows, Mac, and Linux), Android, and iOS. In addition, the team will be enabling the first set of new features, including: Ranked matchmaking. Cross-play across all devices. Rank and progression shared across all devices. Because the game is in active development, both the Preview and Open Beta have one important thing in common: we’ll need your help to make the game the best it can be as we work towards Season One. BETA FEEDBACK We’re sharing Dota Underlords fairly early in development. And while we intend to constantly be updating the game and adding features throughout the Beta Season, your feedback is critical to help the team know what issues are important to you. On the main screen we’ve added a ‘Submit Feedback’ button to the game. Feel free to wear it out. Tell us what you love, and tell us what could be better. We welcome it all. See you in the game, The Underlords Team View the full article
  22. The final votes have been tallied and The International 2019 Collector’s Cache is now available, loaded with the top 18 item sets as voted on by the Dota 2 community. Unboxing 15 treasures will automatically grant you 36 Battle Levels, and the odds of receiving a bonus rare item will increase with each treasure you open. You can also recycle any unwanted items for 2 Battle Levels. The 2019 Cache is available for $2.49 and will only be on sale for 30 days. This will be the only way to acquire these exclusive items, except for the ultra rare Rubick item, which will be marketable towards the end of 2020 after next year’s International concludes. Each purchase contributes 25% of sales directly to The International prize pool. The final vote tally is listed below, with the exception of a second Tidehunter set at rank 18 – that set will be released at some point in the future. Rank Hero Votes 1 Abaddon 617,716 2 Dark Willow 594,031 3 Disruptor 572,513 4 Grimstroke 562,751 5 Dragon Knight 548,520 6 Rubick 546,820 7 Chen 523,382 8 Enigma 500,527 9 Tidehunter 494,966 10 Death Prophet 488,544 11 Undying 486,303 12 Huskar 474,832 13 Slark 473,412 14 Dazzle 466,372 15 Oracle 462,502 16 Drow 460,119 17 Phantom Assassin 454,950 18 Earth Spirit 448,703 We’d like to thank all of the community artists who tendered submissions for this year’s treasure, as well as the entire Battle Pass community for casting votes in support of their favorite item sets. We look forward to seeing all of this new finery in the lanes. View the full article
  23. As always, the Dota 2 workshop has seen an impressive number of high-quality submissions for this year’s Collector’s Cache. To help make the final selection, we’d like to invite all Battle Pass owners to weigh in on the process. From now until Monday, June 3, the final candidates for the Collector’s Cache will be featured for preview in the Dota 2 client, where all players can see a lineup of the item sets for easy comparison. Battle Pass owners can give a thumbs up or down to each set under consideration, and sets with the highest scores will be prepared for inclusion in this year’s Cache. We thank each workshop artist that submitted items for this year’s call to arms, and we look forward to seeing which sets strike a chord with the Battle Pass community. View the full article
  24. Jessecar

    Dota 2 Blog The 7.22 Gameplay Update

    Today’s patch brings the debut of the 7.22 Gameplay Update, focused on introducing Aghanim’s Scepter upgrades to all remaining heroes in the game, adjusting existing Scepter upgrades for many other heroes, and unveiling a variety of gameplay balance changes—including the addition of Mars and Io to Captains Mode. Head over to the 7.22 update page to check out a full list of changes. View the full article
  25. He who was one with the spirit of this Earth has now merged with a fragment from another world. Planetfall, the Earthshaker Arcana, has landed. Available now in The International 2019 Battle Pass. The Arcana includes an all-new model, custom Echo Slam, Enchant Totem, Blink Dagger, and Stun effects, a combo counter for showing your ability streaks, and over 500 new Arcana-exclusive voice lines. Earn 500 Kills or Assists with Echo slam to unlock the Burning Descent alternate style. Learn more about Planetfall on the update website. View the full article
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