With the Stockholm Major behind us, it is now time to start thinking of what we want to see in the future. The International Battle Pass some time soon™ is a given, at least we hope it is, but even more than cosmetics, we are excited about possible gameplay changes. Here are some of our ideas for what could be improved.
There is no trinket that is as effective as Null Talisman in the late game. This item single-handedly allowed for an entirely new playstyle for Storm Spirit, one that goes against many Dota fundamentals, such as gold economy being relevant. Toning it down or at least making Null Talismans stack diminishingly would go a long way.
Toning down, but not completely destroying Wraith Pact also seems necessary. Reverting it to the previous version should be enough and we hope it doesn’t get too harsh a treatment. The game needs a solid, general purpose, late game support item that is both effective and easy to use.
There are several mostly irrelevant items in the game right now, most notably it is Mage Slayer and Orchid into Bloodthorn. Revenant’s Brooch is also not very popular, though we believe this situational item just hasn’t been explored enough. It is clear these items need a buff. Perhaps a “Notice Me” buff, where nothing fundamentally changes for the items, but they get on the players’ radars.
There is also BKB, which is now built as the first item on every single core, it feels. Perhaps making it so that it goes down to five or even four seconds would dissuade some players from building it too early, as currently it is more or less forced: you can’t fight without BKB if enemy has BKB, so everyone has to go BKB, but if no one went BKB, perhaps we could play something other than BKB-piercing or instant stun supports and tempo, BKB-building cores.
All in all, 7.31c is a fairly balanced patch. There are some questions about Null Storm and how balanced it is, but otherwise, we genuinely don’t see a lot of problems with the hero pool. Only ten heroes had a 50%+ contest rate at the Major, with only five having 70%+. Those are great results.
That said, we wouldn’t mind seeing the likes of Axe, Dazzle, and Warlock being relevant. Axe has a bit of a rocky laning stage nowadays, especially against all those tempo cores. Some early game buffs, even at the cost of late-game scaling, would go a long way for the hero. BKB-piercing AoE disable on a low cooldown is undeniably strong, so the hero must be balanced with it in mind, but it feels like he desperately needs some seemingly minor +1 Armor buff for the laning stage.
Dazzle is slowly turning into OD with the amount of reworks he has been getting. That is not a good sign, in our opinion. Since the Oracle release, Dazzle’s been kind of forgotten in the professional scene: his highest impact spell was what Oracle did, but worse. The changes were necessary, but they went wildly in every single direction simultaneously. Right now Dazzle is a below average: laner, healer, armor reducer, clutch saver and with shard he also gets to be a subpar disabler. We have close to no idea how to use the hero right now in pubs, let alone the professional scene and that is with Dazzle being my most played hero.
Warlock needs one talent, preferably at level 15 or 20, that says “Fatal Bonds Undispellable” and he will always be an option in high level pubs and the professional scene. Right now the hero doesn’t work as a healbot past the laning stage, even with a shard. He doesn’t offer consistent teamfight, since his BKB-piercing interrupt has a massive cooldown while the golem itself is largely irrelevant. He also doesn’t scale well into the late game, since the “dispel” effect is currently slapped on too many items, some of them being Neutral, hence free. The hero just gets naturally countered by the default game and item progression and that makes him unplayable at higher levels of Dota. He is a great Wraith Pact carrier, though, so maybe he is one buff away from becoming popular.
Slark and Tinker also remained uncontested, indicating that the heroes might not be in a good spot right now. Let’s keep it that way for a while longer, maybe?
There is nothing wrong with the map per se, but it currently feels slightly too formulaic to play. Not because of the layout specifically, but because there were no changes to it for so long.
There was an interesting idea of switching Ancients to one side of the map which we personally feel was underexplored. While it did create a lot of extra small problems, it helped immensely with restoring balance between Radiant and Dire.
Changing Rune behaviour could also be quite impactful. By making them closer or further from the midlane, it would be possible to change the behavior of sidelane support rotations at even minutes, once again breaking the flow a little bit. Runes themselves could use a bit of tone-down as well: One-and-three-quarters-damage Rune doesn’t quite roll off the tongue, but it would be a welcome change.
There are many things Valve could change to freshen up the game. The last patch was huge for higher-level players and the professional scene, as the jungle changes had a ton of implications for all positions. We hope the next one will be slightly more average player focused, though.
What are you hoping for in the next patch? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.