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Update to Dota Plus and Guilds

The Fall Season is upon us and we’re excited to announce updates to Dota Plus and Guilds. The Season begins today and it will run through the beginning of December, 2020.

Autumnal Treasure 2020

Dota Plus members can now purchase a new treasure with shards. This treasure features 12 community-created sets for Nyx Assassin, Leshrac, Medusa, Vengeful Spirit, Weaver, Clockwerk, Faceless Void, Doom, Sven, Axe, Crystal Maiden, and Tusk. It also includes the re-introduction of Ethereal and Prismatic gems, with the very rare Blazing Hatchling courier coming pre-equipped with a random one of each.

Our plan right now is to have a new seasonal treasure available for purchase with shards every 3 months. The next treasure will be available on Dec 1st, and then again every 3 months after that. This will also align with seasonal quests and seasonal terrains.

Updates to Dota Plus

In addition to the existing ways to earn shards, Dota Plus members can also earn up to 57,850 shards from a new season of quests for Fall 2020. These extra shards will give the currency you need to take advantage of the Seasonal Treasure.

Dota Plus members can now use the new Role Assistant hero grid arrangement. As the Dota community finds new and different ways for heroes to be played, the new Role Assistant automatically records the picks of every hero in Ranked Roles matchmaking and displays heroes in their most picked roles. This data is updated automatically to highlight the latest trends and is filterable by MMR rank.

Several features from the Battle Pass have also moved into Dota Plus:

  • The Chat Wheel sound effects (e.g. Moo, Orchestra Hit) are now available by redeeming shards.
  • The pull timers when holding ALT are now available to Dota Plus members.
  • The post-game healing and gold breakdowns have now merged with the existing Dota Plus damage tab.
  • The Battle Pass MVP feature is now available for all players, but Dota Plus customers can earn extra shards with a new Seasonal quest.

We’ve also bumped up the number of players allowed to be on the Avoid Players list from 16 to 25.

Shards for Everyone

We want all players to enjoy earning and spending Shards, so we have changed the currency to be available to all players rather than being Dota Plus exclusive.

While the most effective way to earn shards is to have Dota Plus, we’ve enabled the following subset of features to be available for all players:

  • All players can now reach up to Hero Level 5 without a Dota Plus subscription. Only subscribers can reach Silver tier and above.
  • All players can now use tipping for shards.
  • All players can now earn the weekly shard reward for winning 3 matches. Non-subscribers earn 500 shards per week, while Dota Plus members earn 1000.
  • The Dota Plus Rewards store has been renamed to the “Shard Shop”, and the premium hero sets, legacy hero sets, and tools are now purchasable by everyone. The Seasonal treasure, Chat Wheel sound effects and Hero Relics remain Dota Plus exclusive.

Guild Updates

We reintroduced Guilds during the Battle Pass, and we were happy to see how many players participated in Guilds and shared their feedback with us. We are keeping the existing Guilds, but many of the rewards received only worked in the context of the Battle Pass. We’ve redesigned those features so that you can enjoy playing with your guild all the time.

Guilds no longer have a Guild Level – instead there is now a weekly leaderboard of guild points earned in a given region. Once a week, guild members will receive their new guild rank and can claim a reward of shards; Dota Plus members earn double the amount of shards. A Guild’s weekly leaderboard position also determines access to special perks that may change over time. The current set of perks is:

Leaderboard Position Perks
0-24th Percentile Bronze Tier
25th-49th Percentile Silver Tier
250 Shards per week (500 for Dota Plus)
3 Guild Emoticons
50th-74th Percentile Gold Tier
500 Shards per week (1000 for Dota Plus)
3 Guild Sprays
Includes Silver Tier Emoticons
75th Percentile or higher Platinum Tier
750 Shards per week (1500 for Dota Plus)
3 Caster Chat Wheels
Includes Silver Tier Emoticons and Gold Tier Sprays

At the end of the week, all existing guild points will decay by a percentage. This is so that new guilds have a chance to catch up to existing guilds; however, they’ll naturally have to work hard to catch up to the leaders! We want this feature to reward active and engaged guilds working together week-by-week to gain points – so with that in mind we’ll be monitoring and adjusting the weekly decay to achieve that goal.

Guild contracts now earn both guild points and shards. All players have access to one contract slot per day, and Dota Plus members have access to a second slot. Guild challenges are still completed in parties of 3+ guild members, and they earn guild points for leaderboard position. Playing a match while in a guild earns guild points, with bonuses for being in parties with your guildmates.

All players can participate in a guild, but only Dota Plus members can create them.

Ranked Season

In the past we’ve seen a bunch of negative aspects to forcing everyone to reset their MMR at the same time. That has been part of our reluctance to continue with resetting every 6 months. However after we’ve expressed this reluctance recently, we’ve gotten a lot of feedback about how valuable they felt this functionality was to them, along with various suggestions to handling this topic.

For this season, we are going to try a new approach to MMR resets. We are making the MMR reset optional, and for those who want to participate, we instead spread it out so it doesn’t create too much volatility at the same time (ontop of the volatility that already exists when you enter calibration). We hope this will remove most of the downsides of MMR resets, and let the people that really want to do it be able to do so in a little bit more of a stable environment.

Upon logging in, you can go to Settings, and under the Account tab there is a new MMR Recalibration section. To prevent everyone from recalibrating at once, start-times will be spaced out evenly between October 22, 2020 and November 22, 2020 and can be activated anytime until the Season is over. Feel free to press the button the moment it’s available to you, never press it, or warm back up to competitive play before activating it.

Communication

The community has been wanting us to talk a bit more about things we are working on. There are a variety of reasons we don’t tend to get into those things until something is ready to release, because sometimes plans change, or an idea doesn’t develop into something solid, etc. Sometimes we also aren’t sure about dates yet, and don’t want to set up false expectations for either the scope for an update or to create disappointment if estimations are wrong.

That being said, we recognize that sometimes we need to balance that approach with the desire for some information to the community. So we’ll share more information on a few topics below.

First is with regards to new heroes. We know the community tends to expect new heroes in the fall each year (usually released around November sometime). We are currently aiming for end of November for a new hero release, followed by more that are spread throughout next year with the next one in the first quarter next year. Recently we’ve been thinking about trying an overall development approach of spreading out updates during the year, rather than only having most content and updates centered around The International. We are hoping a steady state of content will prove to be more engaging to users than the previous approaches.

Another area we’ve been doing work on recently is player behavior and toxicity. Some of that has been work we’ve been doing recently in public without patch notes, while some is upcoming stuff that is still in development. We’ve made improvements to our smurf detection systems, and as a result we’ve started separating new accounts from entering the pool of normal and new players. Smurf accounts are now much more likely to play with other smurfs only, this includes parties where only one player is a smurf. They are also likely to inherit any negative behavior scores of their alternate accounts, to limit their negative impact when playing. We’ve also done a few more improvements on making new accounts converge to their correct MMR faster, however there is still more to be done on that front. We have a couple of approaches to solve that which we are working on but they are in the research/experimental stage at this point.

We’ve also been ramping up our banning of booster accounts, as we’ve improved detections systems in recent months and gained more confidence in the ability to ban for it. In the past 30 days we’ve banned over 14000 accounts, and have set up systems to continually ban for boosting moving forward. This is an area however that needs constant work and improvements to not stagnate, and some of this will benefit from more advanced detection methods that are also in early research/experimental stages.

In terms of toxicity and game ruining behaviors from players, we are working on a new Overwatch style system, similar in some ways to that of CS:GO. We aren’t ready to share more information about this yet, but we will as soon as we are able. We are hoping to get this in the game as soon as possible.

Lastly, we’ve done some engine development that results in moderate performance improvements on multi-core CPU’s and will be bringing those to Dota. There’s still a bit of testing to do as it may result in some bugs, but we are aiming towards the next week or so for it. As you can expect, given the code changes required, the release could be a little bit spooky.


TI 10 Arcana Vote Results

Today marks the end of The International 10 Battle Pass season. Thank you to everyone who participated and while this year didn’t end with a team hoisting the Aegis, all of us at Valve hope that you and your families remain healthy and we look forward to gathering everyone together for TI10.

With the close of the season, we are pleased to announce the results of the 2020 Arcana Vote. This year the community cast millions of votes for two of the purplest heroes in the Dota 2 pool, Faceless Void and Spectre and with a split of 27,475,258 votes to 24,948,538, this year’s Arcana winner is: Spectre. The team will set out to design an Arcana befitting Mercurial, the Spectre, channeling her dark energy into forms heretofore unimagined. How will she haunt her quarry? In what manner can her refraction erode her enemies? When taking aim with her Spectral Dagger, what deadly color will she glow? Yes, purple, obviously, but what SHADE of purple? Sit tight, lavender lovers, plum buffs and violet voters. With time all (or maybe some) of these questions will be answered.

Also, next week we’re releasing some new updates to Dota Plus. Among them will be updates to Guilds, a new Dota Plus Season, and a new MMR reset mechanism.


Immortal Treasure III

Immortal Treasure III is now available, featuring all-new items for Pugna, Clockwerk, Oracle, Treant, Gyrocopter, and Lich.

In addition to these items, each of these treasures you open also offers increasing odds of receiving a rare reward of 50 Battle Pass levels, a very rare Golden version of the Pugna item, or the ultra rare Phoenix Wings. As always, there is a cosmically rare chance you’ll discover a Divine Emblem.

The Battle Pass will be extended for 3 more weeks, until October 9th, with the results of the Arcana vote revealed at that time (hint: it’s a purple melee carry that can cross distances with ease). During this final stretch, each Battle Pass owner can purchase up to two bundles of 60 levels at a 30% discount.

Head over to the Battle Pass page for a preview of the new items and custom effects featured in the treasure.


Compass of the Rising Gale — Windranger Arcana

Not even Lyralei herself understood the true extent of her connection with the guardian wind. With no knowledge of her forebears, or memory of her first days, she could but listen for the truth in the whispers of sun-dappled trees around her, or the howling storms that keep even daylight at bay. But as she grew, and her strange connection with the guardian wind became ever stronger, an unease about her origins began to take hold. Unleash the power of the wind with the all-new Compass of the Rising Gale Arcana bundle, available now in The International 10 Battle Pass.

This Arcana bundle includes a new model and base items, new animations, a custom channel bar and Focus Fire damage counter, ambient wind effects for both styles, additions to base and Immortal effects for her abilities, new death effects for both Windranger and enemy heroes she takes down, and over 500 new Arcana-exclusive voice lines. Rack up damage on targets you kill using Focus Fire to unlock the Reflections of the Gale alternate style.

Learn more at the Compass of the Rising Gale update page.


Update on Competitive Scene

We’ve heard a lot of complaints recently about the state of DPC and we agree that there is more that we should do. We wanted to use this blog to walk you through what happened before, what our thoughts were, and what we will do going forward.

Spring 2020

Once the extent of the Covid-19 pandemic became clear, we posted about our plans to delay The International and started pre-booking arenas for various alternative dates and countries around the world. We then began researching how to execute The International based on how different pandemic scenarios could play out, with the hope that we’d be able to host it as soon as possible. Since the spring DPC events could no longer operate anymore, we started reaching out to the organizers to see what they wanted to do going forward. Some of those organizers shared their desires to run third party events to cover the period from March through the end of the summer.

Summer 2020

As we approached the middle of the summer, the volatility of the pandemic had grown significantly and we became very concerned about the impact it would have on future DPC events and The International. The global situation meant that cross regional play would be unlikely for a period of time, and we have since seen scenarios globally in other competitions where teams from certain countries had to be excluded after qualifying due to abrupt travel restrictions and complications. While we had already assumed that having a crowd for the DPC events was not in the cards, we wanted to at least have confidence in being able to bring all teams together for cross region competition. We felt that was a very important component of how we allocate DPC points for The International. We were also unsure of when The International itself would happen, and given the significant lead time needed, the increased spread of the virus made it harder to model out a time frame with confidence. The potential for the DPC season and its narrative feeling too detached from the path towards The International was negative for us. Doing that would also necessitate a DPC point decay system, which in and of itself isn’t a bad thing, but having to abruptly introduce decay mid season if the landscape changes has some additional downsides. Furthermore, we had also received some feedback from a couple of organizers that were either worried about the quality of the broadcast being lower or reluctant to want to operate DPC events in the fall altogether. While neither the cross-region competition nor the relative distance to The International are absolute requirements, we felt the DPC as both a function of The International and also as a coherent product for fans would be better served by holding off on them for now. Given that, our plan was that we’d make the upcoming months open and clear for other leagues and events to operate. Our approach historically has been to want third party tournaments to be able to exist outside of The International (though the degree of that has been fluid over the years as demands from fans and players for more structured circuits to lead to TI increased). Our hope was that we could both achieve a better and more coherent relationship between DPC and TI by approaching it this way as well as still allowing for third party events to have an impact, with the overall end result for fans still being that there would be entertaining content to watch in the fall.

Moving Forward

Soon after we announced that we were not immediately proceeding with DPC as planned, we received a lot of negative feedback from fans. We think that a lot of the points that were raised were reasonable criticisms towards us, especially because we did not communicate what our intentions were, and what they could expect in the future.

For this upcoming competitive season, there are going to be at least four third party events and leagues in EU/CIS events, three in China, and a few others that are still in the preliminary planning stages and are not able to commit at this time. However, there are still going to be a lot of teams, casters, organizers and fans around the world that are not going to be meaningfully served based on the current trajectory and that is our fault for not pushing on those and supporting them enough.

With that in mind, we’ve started reaching out to many more tournament organizers to offer help and financial support in order to be able to create increased coverage globally for the remainder of the year. We expect that these events will be gradually announced over the remaining season as soon as they are ready to communicate to fans and teams.

Another piece of feedback we got from players as well as fans was wanting more clarity in what we were thinking were the likely dates for DPC and TI to resume. Our outlook right now is that we are anticipating the start of DPC to be in the first month or two of 2021. Our hope is that by the time the first DPC league concludes, travel limitations will be more predictable and spontaneous restrictions will be less likely, thus allowing for Majors with cross-region competition to happen. We are also operating under the assumption that the most likely outcome is for The International to happen in Stockholm in August 2021. While we have other countries as backups, we recognize that fans would be upset if we moved it to another location if the time savings weren’t meaningful enough.

DotaTV and Streaming

We’ve also heard your feedback and concerns around Dota TV streaming rights. This has been a topic we’ve discussed openly in the past and, as we gathered more data, our thoughts have evolved slightly. We ultimately still believe that community streamers providing their own commentary of a tournament is a net positive value to fans and the competitive scene. We also believe that in the long term, the tournament themselves benefit from additional exposure to fans of those community streamers. However, it is true that this can cause a short term loss of revenue as well as a reduced ability to monetize more effectively for tournament organizers. Starting September 15, the Dota license will be updated to reflect the following: Organizers that run Dota 2 Tournaments will have to provide community streamers with a reasonable and simple to execute set of non-monetary requirements, such as displaying the organizers sponsors on their streams or having a slight delay on the games. Community streamers will be able to use the DotaTV feed in their broadcast as long as they agree to those requirements. We believe this will provide more certainty and confidence to community streamers to be able to cast without a lot of turmoil, while at the same time protecting some key interests that tournament organizers have. To avoid possible last minute issues, we would advise casters that want to stream a tournament, to coordinate with the organizer in advance to ensure they are able to fulfill the requirements presented. Tournament organizers and relevant parties that have questions, feel free to reach out to us at [email protected]


The Toy Butcher – New Pudge Persona

From deep inside the toy box, a frightening plaything joins the fray. Available now to all Battle Pass owners who reach level 255, the new Toy Butcher Persona for Pudge features an all-new model, animations, and voice performance.

Feared amongst the fluff-stuffed denizens of the toy box, The Toy Butcher stalks the corners and shadows of the bin, always on the hunt for his next kill. Every toy knows that once the butcher gets his hook in you, your stuffing and your life are forfeit – like as not to be left strewn about the lanes as the plushy monster jaunts happily away from your lonely, ragged remains.

Claim the new persona now in your Battle Pass and don’t forget to pick up the Voice of The International Announcer Pack on your way, available to all Battle Pass Owners at level 75 and above, to herald your next victory.