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Network Update

Recently we’ve seen some players experiencing significant network issues across multiple regions, in particular US East and Europe West. We thought we’d take a moment to update you on what we’ve been doing in this space, because it’s such an important issue.

These kinds of problems generally stem from either limited server capacity or poor network connectivity. In this case, the problems are entirely connectivity related, and they come in three different forms – two of them are related to DDoS, and one is ISP connectivity.

The first, DDoS attacks on an entire data center for a region, are particularly problematic because they saturate the entire connection into the data center. This is a very recent type of attack that has been plaguing a variety of high profile games. It causes players to freeze up or drop entirely because as their network packets reach the data center, the link has no room to accept them and they are dropped. In the short term we are forced into being reactive to these attacks on a case by case basis, while building out a long term infrastructure to bring better stability and protection.

The second, directed attacks on a single server, is one that we’ve released various fixes for over the past month. These attacks largely targeted pro players or tournaments. The primary problem in those cases was the ability for an attacker to pinpoint the exact IP address of the target game server, which allowed them to successfully attack it with a small set of resources. We’ve recently updated Dota 2, Dota TV servers, and Steam itself to better protect that IP address. We have also improved the local lobby system so it can function as a better fail safe for tournaments, in case the IP address leaks out through other means, such as human error or third party software.

The third, network connectivity issues, result in some players having continuous networking problems between their ISP and our game servers. For quite a while this has been most visible in the South East Asia and South America regions, but does exist with other ISPs around the world. Finding the right solution with every region, and its local ISPs, requires us to have more detailed data on exactly why our players are experiencing these issues. So, this week we’ve finished implementation of a more advanced network monitoring system that will automatically gather much deeper connectivity data from all our players.

Good networking connectivity is a requirement for a good Dota 2 experience. While we work on the core problem, we’re also working on reducing its effects – this week’s update includes improved detection of Poor Network Conditions. Previously, our detection algorithm was only triggered when multiple players completely lost connection to the game server. This new algorithm will now monitor the actual quality of the server’s connection to its players, and trigger in the case of poor connectivity for multiple players. Matches flagged as having Poor Network Conditions will be immediately safe to leave, and won’t record their results.


The Foreseer’s Contract is Coming

A mysterious figure, a ruthless assassin, and an infinite number of possibilities. The Foreseer’s Contract is coming soon. Head to the update page to get your first peek at a deal with incalculable ramifications, then come back next week to learn more.

Meanwhile, the Dota 2 Workshop has been redesigned to include a voting queue, which will make it easier for Dota workshop users to discover new items to vote on, as well as let us on the Dota team know which items you’d like to see shipped in-game.

The new design will also make it easier to browse new item submissions by authors you follow, find out what your friends are favoriting, and receive Workshop-related updates from the Dota 2 team. Workshop authors should now mark their sets as “sets” in the “edit collection” page, as this will give us a better opportunity to showcase your item sets.

So once you’re done reading The Contract, be sure to head over to the Dota 2 Workshop and start voting!


The Rekindling Soul Update

The long awaited metamorphosis of Shadow Fiend arrives at last. In addition to a completely new look for his form and effects, the update also contains the Demon Eater Arcana. This Arcana provides a fiery reimagining of Shadow Fiend, complete with new effects, sounds, animations, icons, and an altered voice. We also thought it’d be fun to allow you to show off your skill at triple-razing enemies to the ground, so with the Arcana equipped you’ll be see a fiery celebration of your skill. Finally, if you buy the Demon Eater set before October 31st, it will come with an ‘Exalted’ quality.

Yet Shadow Fiend isn’t the only one receiving special treatment – this update also contains the much-anticipated 6.82 balance update, which introduces an arsenal of additions and tweaks affecting every part of the game. Major systems have been overhauled, and heroes have been retooled and reworked. Bloodseeker and Phantom Lancer both now sport new abilities, you’ll find a new rune in the river, a new item in the shop – the list goes on and on. And for the first time in years, the Dota 2 map itself has changed, with significant layout changes to Roshan’s lair, base fountains, and more.

What are you waiting for? Head over to The Rekindling Soul Update Page.

If you’ve never watched Dota 2 played live, you’re missing out. The sword swings, the ancient explodes, and the crowd roars. It’s amazing, but don’t take our word for it. There are two upcoming events for you to check out: if you’re near New York City, check out ESL One in Madison Square Garden on October 9th and 10th. Or, if you’ll be in Yinchuan, China next month, the World Cyber Arena will be holding their LAN finals at the Yinchuan International Convention Centre from October 2nd through the 5th.

One more thing: we on the Dota 2 team have a number of updates in the works right now that we’re really excited about, some for the rest of this year, and a big update for early next year. But we’re pretty sure we won’t be able to make enough progress on the larger update if we put it down to work on Diretide – so we’ve decided that we’re not going to ship a Diretide event this year. We know that last year we weren’t clear enough in our communication about this, so this year we wanted to be up front about it early. Next year will bring monumental changes to Dota 2, and we’re confident that when you’ve seen what we’ve been working on, you’ll agree it was worth it.


Step Lightly: The Techies Update

Just when you thought it was safe to walk, well, anywhere. Techies are finally coming to Dota 2, along with a host of new features and Compendium stretch goals, including the new All Random Deathmatch mode and the All-Hero Challenge. Check out the Techies Update page and learn more about everything you’ll be seeing, doing, and fighting when the update goes live next week!

Time to find a new hobby


Dota 2 Workshop Tools

Today, we are announcing the Alpha release of the Dota 2 Workshop Tools. This is the first release of a new set of tools to create, play, and share custom maps and game modes for Dota 2. This is a developer focused release and currently has high system requirements which means not everyone will be able to run the tools. At the moment the tools require a 64-bit version of Windows and a Direct3D 11 compatible GPU. We are working on expanding the number of PC configurations (including 32-bit OSes like Windows XP) that will be able to run this but wanted to get the tools out there so developers could start working on their Custom Games. You can find more info here.

In other news, as you recall from The International, Techies made a surprise appearance during the All Star match, giving hopes of fun and mischief to Dota children all over the world – that is until Arteezy decided to ruin the dream. The Dota 2 Team is working on the Compendium Stretch Goals and putting the final touches on the explosive gang. We’re aiming for a release by the end of August.