PC Gamer

Warhammer. Warhammer never changes, as Wrong Perlman once said. But Dota 2 does, it changes loads, and its latest alteration is its support for Warhammer-themed items in the Steam Workshop. As that support was just announced yesterday, there are currently no Warhammer-themed items in the Dota 2 'shop, but I'm sure 3D modellers and texturisers are busy inventing them as I type this. Here's the Warhammer tag, looking all sad and empty.

An incentive to do so is the Call to Arms contest, which runs from now until the end of August, and will reward up to eight of the best entries with a coveted place in a new Warhammer-themed Dota treasure pack. They'll also get a load of Sega games, including Total War: Warhammer, along with all the other Total Wars. The rules are linked above if you fancy your chances, but the main one is that entries should abide by the "visual themes" of Games Workshop's series. Designers of big spiky shoulderpads and massive guns will be in their element, I reckon.

PC Gamer

We ve got a relatively quiet weekend coming up as League of Legends takes a break ahead of the forthcoming mid-season invitational. Even so, there s some top-tier European Counter-Strike to watch and a lot of great Dota 2 happening at WePlay s Season 3 LAN finals (rubbish greenscreen staging notwithstanding.) Some of the world s best Hearthstone players will be putting Whispers of the Old Gods to the test in Korea, too.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive: CEVO Gfinity Pro-League Season 9

There's some top-tier CS:GO happening at Gfinity's arena in London this weekend. Play has been ongoing since Thursday, but continues with semifinals on Saturday and the grand finals on Sunday. Play begins at 12:00 BST/04:00 PDT on Saturday and at 15:30 BST/07:30 PDT on Sunday and you can find the livestream here.

Dota 2: WePlay League S3 LAN Finals

There s two more days of play left in the WePlay League Season 3 LAN finals in Kiev. There s been some really exciting, fun Dota played so far although the tone of the event has been set by a run of Shanghai Major-style production snafus. From a comedically terrible greenscreen set for the analysis panel (see above) to arbitrarily cutting away from games during crucial teamfights, it s been a bit of a shambles. That s part of the fun, though, and reason enough to tune in. Play begins at 08:00 BST/00:00 PDT on Saturday and at 10:00 BST/02:00 PDT on Sunday and you can find the English language livestream here.

Hearthstone: Seoul Cup World Invitational

An array of top Hearthstone talent including Thijs, Ostkaka, Reynad and more will compete for a share of $22,000 in Seoul this weekend. It'll be a relatively quick, single elimination contest with play spread across both days. Hearthstone s latest expansion has done a number on the metagame, so it ll be fascinating to see what decks succeed at one of the first serious competitions since Whispers of the Old Gods launched (you can find some pro predictions here, incidentally.) Watch the English language livestream here, but bear the timezone in mind: play begins at 14:00 KST both days, which is 06:00 BST or 22:00 PDT on the day before.

PC Gamer

The looming Manila Major is on course to be classic Dota with a twist. Valve has announced the 12 invitees who will be joined by four victors from the regional qualifiers. Among them are stalwarts like Alliance and Na Vi, joined by the power-players of South East Asia in Fnatic and MVP.

This year s selection process has been enigmatically described as a more holistic approach . Valve considered a history of greatness in addition to recent success in making its picks. Consideration was also given to the outcomes of third-party LAN tournaments to reduce emphasis on the qualifiers.

In full, the teams who made the cut are:

  • Team Secret
  • Team Liquid
  • Evil Geniuses
  • MVP
  • Wings Gaming
  • Vici Gaming
  • Fnatic
  • OG
  • Complexity
  • Alliance
  • Na'Vi
  • LGD

The Manila Major kicks off June 7, with qualifiers for all regions taking place May 3-6.

PC Gamer

Gif by Gunpoint/Heat Signature artist John Roberts

Three Lane Highway

Documenting Chris' complex ongoing relationship with Dota 2. To read more Three Lane Highway, click here.

Dota doesn't evolve by increments. There are adjustments and hotfixes from time to time, sure, but this is a game of dramatic shifts. Even after all these years, Dota patch notes have retained their power to shock—perhaps because this is such a complex game, requiring thousands of hours of slowly-acquired knowledge with little hand-holding. When the underlying rules of this complex competitive sandbox get changed, years of ingrained intuition get thrown out and need to be replaced.

That is what has happened over the course of the last 24 hours with the release of the 6.87 update. It'd be hyperbole to call this 'the biggest patch ever', or anything like that—after all, I felt that way when they moved Roshan, when they introduced magic lifesteal, and so on. New patches are always the biggest patch ever. 6.87 feels like a particularly big one, however. We'll be figuring out its ramifications for a while, and there's loads left to be discovered.

There are an enormous amount of changes in this update. Many heroes have been changed in variously subtle and dramatic ways, and it'd take an extensive essay to go through the impact of every subtle mechanical change (like the alterations to creep aggro), the changes to the map, and the impact of every new item. If you'd like a thorough overview, put aside a couple of hours and check out this reddit thread. You'll find a bunch of long Twitch analysis sessions by professional and high-ranked players, which is a good way to get a sense of the patch as a whole.

In this article, then, I'm going to run through a couple of specific changes to highlight notable buffs, nerfs, and silly sideways shifts. It's too early to say what 6.87 is going to do to the top-level meta, but here's a taste of Dota 2 in the immediate aftermath of this huge update.

Strength is stronger, intelligence is... different

There are a lot of top-level changes in this patch, but here's one you need to be aware of. Hitpoints now scale more from strength, and a hero's basic health pool is larger. It's not enough to make a huge difference in the opening minutes of the game, unless you end up in one of those close-fought early teamfights around a bounty rune: expect most characters to be one or two auto-attacks tankier.

Later on, though, it amounts to a chunky buff to strength heroes. Given that the previous metagame was dominated by intelligence and agility, this is the start of a shift back towards Dota's beefy frontliners that will continue elsewhere in the patch. If 6.87 had a theme song, it would be this.

People who declared that 'we LoL now' when Octarine Core and Aether Lens introduced scaling damage and utility for spells might need to hold on to something, because spell damage scales with intelligence now. Not a huge amount, mind, but enough to keep spellcasters competitive for longer into a match. This is a profound philosophical shift for Dota 2, which for years was about the tension between powerful spells and scaling auto-attacks. Now, those lines are fuzzier—expect perceptions about roles to change, particularly when it comes to intelligence heroes.

Even so, the amount of mana gained per point of intelligence has been reduced. This is a big part of the nerf to previous pubstompers Outworld Devourer and Invoker, who have both, in various ways, had their mana pool axed: Invoker has undergone a flat intelligence reduction, while OD has had his costs increased and intelligence steal nerfed. Magic scales better but heroes that rely on it need to be more careful with their usage, at least until they pick up a big item or two.

This is offset a little by the boost in hero base mana from 0 to 50, but I'd argue that this is a bigger buff to strength heroes anyway. On average they gain more proportionally from the change, and the way their spells fit into their playstyle means that this extra mana opens up their options more. Dragon Knight has jumped from 195 to 230 base mana, for example, allowing him to get more use out of his freshly-buffed laning skill Breathe Fire.

With these buffs to strength heroes in mind, let's address the big red elephant in the room:

Axe is an extremely good Dota guy

With a 7.46% positive winrate swing in the first hours of the patch, I'm both happy and sad to report that my most played and probably favourite Dota hero is now flavour of the month. He's been made competitive, particularly in pubs, by two sets of changes in addition to the general strength buffs outlined above.

The first regards him directly. Counter Helix, his passive, now does pure damage and as such isn't mitigated by armour. It has had its damage slightly reduced to compensate, but in effect this makes him scale much better: level 4 Helix will now always do 180 damage, whereas previously it would steadily decrease as enemies stacked up their defenses.

Axe hits harder, scales better, and is one of the few heroes to be unaffected by the armour aura that has been added to towers. These punish dives by characters that rely on physical damage, but Axe isn't one of those characters any more. Axe doesn't care.

The second factor responsible for the rise of Axe is the change to Blade Mail, which now returns damage before Axe's damage mitigation is applied (meaning it stays effective even if Axe is tanked-up) and goes through spell immunity (meaning that it synergises brilliantly with Berserker's Call, which also goes through spell immunity.)

Blade Mail is one of those Dota mechanics, like Undying's Tombstone and the entire character of Omniknight, that requires enemies to play around it. As such, it is the bane of pubs and anywhere where coordination is in short supply. Axe is now the best carrier of an item that is uniquely able to turn a player's own farm against them, and this is what I'd attribute his spike in winrate to.

It's worth mentioning that the Blade Mail buff is also a big help to characters like Centaur Warrunner, who has also had a couple of nice buffs in this patch. It remains to be seen just how big an impact it has, but I wouldn't surprised to see Blade Mail tuned back down fairly shortly.

Arc Warden is an actual hero now

There are a bunch of nerfs in this patch—Invoker, Outworld Devourer, Death Prophet, Earth Spirit, Enchantress, etc—but Arc Warden feels like the one that has come closest to a proper rethink. Dota 2's newest hero didn't make a great first impression thanks to a cheese strat that is now well and truly dead. Having been stripped of his ability to teleport around the map with a Divine Rapier that he has no danger of losing, he has to actually use his abilities in synergy with one another.

I'm not an Arc Warden player and I don't feel fully qualified to explain how his playstyle will change, but its clear that the patch raises his skill ceiling and potentially increases his utility a great deal. His Spark Wraith ghost-mines are much easier to spam and now purge, which is a big buff, while Magnetic Field needs to be used more thoughtfully—it's not enough to just stick it down on top of whatever you're trying to kill.

He's now more interesting than cheesy, which will probably devastate his popularity but makes him a much more positive presence in the game. Whether or not you believe he's been dumpstered or rescued from the dumpster is down to your definition of trash.

Earthshaker is the hero Dota deserves

There's no Dota 2 update party like a Dota 2 crazy Aghanim's Scepter changes update party. There a few notable ones in this patch—Mirana and Gyrocopter, Winter Wyvern and Oracle—but none of them do this:

That's from my first post-patch ranked game. Mirana believed that she had survived the Rosh fight. Mirana was wrong. You can try to run from the slam; the slam does not care. The slam will find you. I've had a lot of reactions to solo Dota, but laughing maniacally in the office has never been one of them. Aghanim's Scepter, Aether Lens, Octarine Core Earthshaker is the most fun I have had in this game in years.

To explain: Aghanim's Scepter now enhances Enchant Totem rather than Echo Slam, giving it the ability to be cast anywhere within a 900 AoE. This causes Earthshaker to leap into the air and cast Enchant Totem at the target location, which never stops being funny. It's an initiation and an escape, as well as an 'I must go, my people need me' button to be used during slow moments.

I'm 90% sure this got added first and foremost because it is funny. Earthshaker's itemisation was a little set in stone before, sure, but he wasn't necessarily broken. He didn't need this—but I'm delighted that he got it.

Let's all celebrate the age of Jumpshaker with another round of this amazing gif:

This change is also, incidentally, a nice little buff to Rubick (who otherwise got a bit of love this patch.) Rubick loves stealing Earthshaker's stuff, and Enchant Totem was previously the spell of choice for preventing the Grand Magus from getting Echo Slam. If you're using it to initiate, that's harder. And if Rubick has his own Scepter, then getting Enchant Totem is its own kind of reward.

Icefrog is a Markov Chain

There's a lot more I could say about this patch, and a lot more I want to experiment with. Storm Spirit's Aghanim's upgrade, for one—a 450-range AoE Electric Vortex! Plus: Skywrath Mage's 12-second ultimate! You'll see a lot more Skywrath/Clockwerk, Skywrath/Axe, and Skywrath/Legion Commander in the days to come. And I'll do my best to cover the best/silliest/worst new combos as they emerge.

To wrap up, however, I'd like to address 6.87's dumbest change:


Illusory Orb speed increased by 1

If you don't play Dota 2, a speed increase of 1 is not very much—at all. This is this update's joke change, a reference to a Reddit thread from last week which generated Dota 2 patch notes by feeding previous updates into a Markov chain text generator to create a machine's idea of what a Dota 2 patch might look like. There were a lot of brilliant and impossible things in that post ('Lone Druid dies', 'Torrent now give less experience with all heroes in the Forest') and one that was funny because it was so inconsequential—increasing Puck's Orb speed by 1. So that's what Valve and Icefrog have done: implemented an idea that comes directly from a joke. They definitely read reddit, is the takeaway here.

I love the idea that in a few months we'll see yet another International won by a hairs-breadth Puck play, and we'll wonder: did a a Markov chain text generator just win somebody millions of dollars?

PC Gamer Pro is dedicated to esports and competitive gaming. Check back every day for exciting, fun and informative articles about League of Legends, Dota 2, Hearthstone, CS:GO and more. GL HF!

PC Gamer

Dota 2 is about to undergo significant changes in the form of the 6.87 gameplay update revealed by Valve earlier today. Foremost among them is a change to Ranked All Pick that incorporates the addition of a 15-second “voting phase” which will take place ahead of the picking phase. Each player will vote for a different hero, half of whom will be selected at random and banned.

"Two players cannot vote for the same hero. The game displays heroes as they are voted on, but not who voted. The number of bans is equal to half the total number of votes. If there is an odd number of votes, the number of bans is randomly rounded up or down," the Dota team explained. "The random ban selection will choose at most 3 heroes from one specific team's votes, so it's more evenly split."

The update also adds a new Scan function to the minimap, which scans a selected area for eight seconds and indicates whether or not it contains any heroes. The scan “does not consider units inside the Roshan Pit, but does consider Smoked units,” and the results are a straight-up yes/no: No indication of how many enemies are present is given. On the plus side, enemy teams won't know when you've performed a scan, so your surveillance efforts won't raise any alarm bells.

Other notable points include an increase of starting HP from 180 to 200, HP per strength being boosted from 19 to 20, an increase in Hero base mana from 0 to 50, and mana per intelligence reduced—whoa, quick change of pace there—from 13 to 12. Of course, there are quite a few other changes and balance tweaks on the menu, and a small handful of new items.

The Dota 2 6.87 update will be rolled out to the main client within a couple of days, barring unforeseen disaster, but if you want an advance look at what's coming, you can take it for a spin with the Dota 2 Test client right now. Our resident Dotaphile Christ Thursten is preparing his thoughts on the patch from the penthouse of his mind palace, and will post those on PC Gamer Pro tomorrow.

PC Gamer

SmartEmbellishedGreatwhiteshark  (gfyCat video)

To promote the launch of the HTC Vive this week (our review is on the way), Valve has put up a few montages of different demos and games on the SteamVR page. Most of these excerpts are stuff we've already played, but one of them stands out: a glance at what appears to be a VR spectator mode in development for Dota 2.

In the clip, a Vive user watches a professional match with audio commentary on a virtual screen. The screen is flanked by life-sized hero statues corresponding to the players participating in that match. The viewer activates Razor's statue, then swipes the Vive motion controllers horizontally to summon translucent UI panels that show graphs for 'Difference in Experience Gained' and 'Difference in Team Net Worth,' which are overlaid above a virtual 3D map. It's only a quick glance, but enough to give us a sense of what Valve has in mind for Dota 2 in VR. No release date for the spectator mode, if that's how it will be packaged, is mentioned in the video.

Although a lot of us enjoy watching esports events passively, while we're doing work or even playing another game, offering functionality not present through Twitch could lure hardcore Dota 2 fans to the VR platform Valve supports. "At first I was like 'VR will never be implemented in Dota,' now I want it so bad," writes one of the higher comments on the Dota 2 subreddit

A text overlay on the video reads "Look forward to more VR features coming to your favorite games," a hint perhaps that games like CS:GO (which had more than a million spectators of its most recent major tournament last week in Columbus, OH) could adopt similar VR functionality. Loyal readers of Chris' Three Lane Highway column will recall his predictions about how VR could make a big impact on Dota 2. Those who attended The International last year were treated to a different kind of a Dota 2 VR experience, a Secret Shop showcase on the Vive.

PC Gamer

Happy Lies Day, everybody! Hope you ve enjoyed a wonderful day of lies. It s time to bring the festivities to an end, however, and settle in for a weekend of extremely serious and definitely happening digital sports. CS:GO is hosting the week s highest-profile clash, but there s plenty of LoL, Dota 2, Smite and fighting to go around. If any of the below tournaments turn out to be April Fools jokes, I will not be accountable for my actions. Haha! A cheeky Lies Day lie. It ll be fine! Nobody need get hurt.

League of Legends: NA and EU LCS quarterfinals

There's an awful lot of League of Legends this weekend. The EU and North American scenes are both getting stuck into their quarter finals, with EU playing at 16:00 BST/08:00 PDT on both days with NA following at at 20:00 BST/12:00 PDT. You can find the stream at LoLesports. China's LPL and Korea's LCK are also playing this weekend: once again, check out LoLesports for stream details and a schedule.

Dota 2: Epicenter Qualifiers

There's top and mid-tier Dota 2 going on all weekend in the Epicenter Qualifiers running around the world. In particular, check out Invictus Gaming vs. Vici Gaming at 18:00 BST/10:00 PDT on Saturday. The easiest place to find a schedule and English-language stream is on Gosugamers' hub page for the tournament.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive: MLG Columbus 2016

CS:GO has evolved a MOBA-style prize pool for this $1m Major tournament. It's been running for a while already, but this weekend is your opportunity to catch the dramatic final rounds (or just sit in chat and complain that you haven't had any loot drops.) Play starts at 08:00 EDT (13:00 BST/05:00 PDT) on Saturday and 10:00 EDT (15:00 BST/07:00 PDT) on Sunday, running throughout. Find the livestream on MLG.

Capcom Pro Tour: Hypespotting

As our FGC man Andi Hamilton reported earlier this week, the Capcom Pro Tour is coming to the UK this weekend at Hypespotting in Glasgow. There's competition across the fighting game scene, from Street Fighter V to Mortal Kombat X to Smash. The Hypespotting website is down, at the time of writing, but this tweet has more information about the schedule.

Smite: Spring Split

Smite's new season has begun and the round robin continues this weekend in both Europe and North America. Play begins at 15:00 EDT (20:00 BST/12:00 PDT) and runs for a couple of hours. The best place to find information on the teams and format is on Smite Esports and you can find the livestream on Twitch.

Pcgp Logo Red Small PC Gamer Pro is dedicated to esports and competitive gaming. Check back every day for exciting, fun and informative articles about League of Legends, Dota 2, Hearthstone, CS:GO and more. GL HF!

PC Gamer

The biggest event in the Dota calendar looms once again. Tickets for The International 2016 will go on sale April 7 at 10am PT and 10pm PT (April 7 at 6PM BST and April 8 at 6AM BST) ahead of the main event at Seattle's KeyArena August 8-13.

This year there are two ticketing options: the Midweek ticket gets you in for the first four days, including the opening ceremony and the all-star game, while the Finals ticket is for the last two days. You'll need both to see the lot, but Valve is also laying on a free outdoor viewing area for the finals.

I do wonder whether the separate tickets will reduce attendance during the play-offs, but Valve is incentivising live viewing with—you guessed it—virtual goodies. At First Blood in each individual game, 500 Attendee Treasures containing unique versions of 2016's Secret Shop Immortals will be distributed to spectators with a badge linked to their Steam account.

Tickets will be sold through Ticketmaster, and for all your burning questions, Valve has written up a ticketing FAQ.

PC Gamer
Image from CS:GO Austin Dreamhack site.

It's an interesting balance this weekend, as Blizzard's biggest esports ramp up for some high-level competition while Valve's largest games both have qualifiers for huge tournaments in May. Hearthstone and Starcraft II have international tournaments held in Europe in the form of the second Truesilver Championship and the Gold Series International. Dota 2 and CS:GO are hosting qualifiers for Epicenter Moscow and DreamHack Austin, respectively. Now matter the competitive level, there's going to be some great pro gaming this weekend. 

Hearthstone: Insomnia Truesilver Championship

This is the second Truesilver Championship, and will be a large tournament made up almost entirely of EU players—including big names like SuperJJ, Thijs, Rdu, Lifecoach and lots more. The tournament begins with a large Swiss group stage, with will narrow the field down to four 16 player double elimination groups, and finally a single elimination playoff bracket with the top eight players. Games begin at 7 am PT (14:00 GMT) today and continue through Sunday, and you can find the stream here.

StarCraft II: Gold Series International 2016 finals

The Gold Series International came to a head earlier this week, and the bracket has been raging on ever since. But that all ends tomorrow, as the only thing left are the semis and the grand finals. PtitDrogo faces off against Snute on one side of the bracket, while Harstem takes on PuCK in the other. All of this takes place on Saturday, starting at 6 am PT (13:00 GMT) and you can watch the stream here

Dota 2: Epicenter Moscow qualifiers

The actual Epicenter tournament doesn't happen until May, but the regional qualifiers are beginning to wrap up in the meantime, with all of the teams set in stone by the end of next weekend. Things kick off with the NA qualifiers today at 6 pm PT (01:00 GMT on Saturday), and then the EU qualifiers start tomorrow at 10 am PT (17:00 GMT). There are two official English streams, the main channel here and a secondary channel here.

CS:GO: DreamHack Austin 2016 Qualifier

Similar to Dota 2, there's a qualifier for a much larger tournament taking place this weekend. DreamHack Austin doesn't take place until May, but there's a large open qualifier followed by a smaller closed one happening this weekend. The open qualifier will be best-of-one single elimination matches between 512 teams, and starts on Saturday at 10 am PT (17:00 GMT). The top eight teams will then move on to the closed qualifier the next day at the same time, where they will face eight invited teams including Cloud 9, Tempo Storm, and NRG eSports. The top two teams will qualify for the DreamHack Austin. You can watch right here.  

Pcgp Logo Red Small PC Gamer Pro is dedicated to esports and competitive gaming. Check back every day for exciting, fun and informative articles about League of Legends, Dota 2, Hearthstone, CS:GO and more. GL HF!

PC Gamer
Photo credit: ESL/Steffie Wunderl.
Three Lane Highway

A column documenting Chris' complex ongoing relationship with Dota 2. To read more Three Lane Highway, click here

It's been a dramatic week. The arrival of this year's Spring Cleaning update has been roundly overshadowed by the professional scene's most recent rosterpocalypse. If you were trying to figure out the optimal conditions for dramageddon ahead of the Manila Major, you could do worse than: Arteezy and Universe out of EG; Arteezy and Universe to Secret; w33haa and Misery teamless with days to go.

EG and Secret have been close to the centre of the western scene's drama and politicking for the last two years, and this week's news ensures that they'll stay that way through this year's International at least. As with any situation like this one, it can be hard to find the line between truth and narrative. What we have is certainly a concerted effort by Secret to build the squad they believe has the best chance of winning The International. It's tempting to additionally frame this as a nefarious plot by Puppey to dismantle a key opponent at a crucial juncture, but that's dramatising the facts.

These decisions don't get made overnight, after all, and nobody has been kidnapped. There are players, captains and managers who believe that upsets like this are necessary in order to safeguard their futures, and so upsets like this happen. Dota 2 is a high-stakes game, and tough decisions get made when there are millions on the line.

As David 'LD' Gorman pointed out on Twitter, the Major system was supposed to make the scene more stable. It clearly hasn't. I'm not sure that it's made the scene less stable, however—the impact of these roster lock periods seems to be to cram what would have otherwise been months of roster drift into a few dramatic days. The changes are more shocking thanks to a system that gives drama a deadline, but I'm not convinced that the system itself is responsible for those changes. The western Dota 2 scene was relatively stable until The International 2014, and then became incredibly unstable in its aftermath—a full year before the Major system was introduced. The aftershocks of that period are still being felt: after all, many of the same teams and players are involved.

It's not the same all over. OG have an air of that old-school Dota stability about them, and in the immediate aftermath of the Frankfurt Major n0tail explicitly credited their victory to the strength of the bond between all five players. If you're a spectator looking for a power-of-friendship narrative in modern Dota, you can find it there. You could also find it in Alliance, who have reformed the old guard after a few years of experimenting with abruptly dropping people.

The point isn't that these teams are doing it 'right' where Secret are doing it 'wrong': it's that there are multiple philosophies about how to build and manage a championship-winning team in modern Dota. Is this a bad thing? I'm not so sure. It's certainly the seed for a lot of great contests in the year to come. If Secret win this year's International, then the grand experiment will have worked—and you'll have, in Puppey and Universe, the world's first two-time champions. If they lose (particularly if they underperform like they did last year) then the apparent ruthlessness of this week's reshuffle will have laid the foundation for a tale of hubris and tragedy. It's a story to tell either way.

I wonder if, in some way, a lot of this drama stems from unreconciled disappointment with the death of 'classic' Dota 2 after TI4. There'll always be people who see Puppey as part of that original Na'Vi dynamic and who struggle to accept a new scene where he's heading up a machine built to win Internationals. There's been a loss of innocence, a shift from heart to brain. That's what happens when you put $18m on the table.

Short of a massive and unimaginable change, I don't think those days are coming back. Dota 2 isn't going to move to $1m prize pools and salaried season play. It's not going to become League of Legends, no matter how many range indicators Valve adds to the game. Dota 2 is now a game where stability exists alongside serious volatility, and where both of these approaches deliver results with enough frequency to ensure that neither of them goes away.

There are certainly improvements to be made. Even if I don't think the Major system has forced roster changes that wouldn't otherwise have happened, it has played a role in making those changes more painful for the players involved. If some of the best players are left stranded by a last-minute reshuffle prior to a hard deadline, then the entire scene suffers: including the lower-tier teams who should be benefiting from mobility among the top talent. In effect the opposite has happened—it seems more or less certain now that these sudden changes to Secret and EG have caused a power vacuum that has ripped Digital Chaos apart while w33ha and Misery remain teamless. These are issues of player welfare that require serious practical consideration.

Even so, I've spent much of this year being struck by the health of the international Dota 2 scene and this week's upsets haven't changed that. This is still a scene that allows fresh talent to transition from pubs and win championships. It's still a scene with meaningful regional diversity, and unless the rise of MVP presages total Korean dominance of the game, which it probably doesn't, then they are a perfect example of how dynamic Dota 2 can be from year to year.

The standard of play has never been higher, the stakes have never been higher, and the scene has retained these qualities regardless. That is a good reason to remain, or become, a fan. But a consequence of volatility is change, and change makes it hard to be a fan of just one specific thing. The more of the big picture you take in, however, the better everything looks.

Pcgp Logo Red Small PC Gamer Pro is dedicated to esports and competitive gaming. Check back every day for exciting, fun and informative articles about League of Legends, Dota 2, Hearthstone, CS:GO and more. GL HF!


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