Dota 2 overhauls new player experience ahead of Netflix series premiere

As the Netflix series will attract new players, Valve hopes to make learning Dota 2 less daunting for newcomers.


Despite being one of the most popular video games of all time, the barrier for entry into Dota 2 can be daunting for even the most seasoned of gamers. The MOBA features 119 different heroes, each with their own special abilities and weaknesses. The community can be less than patient with beginners who will often struggle with understanding the basics of play and how each of the heroes interact with one another. On the eve of the DOTA: Dragon’s Blood Netflix series, Valve is introducing an overhaul to the new player experience for Dota 2. Those who choose to try out the game after watching the show will find a much more user-friendly onboarding process than the online game has offered before.

The previous approach of tossing a library of information at new players has been jettisoned for a more thoughtful curated experience. These changes include a streamlined shop, new player objectives, new player rewards, a glossary, improved bots, and an in-game help wizard. These updates, along with some new initiatives, will ease newcomers into the world of Dota 2 rather than tossing them into the deep end of the pool with no life preserver.

A revamped Item Shop focuses on the basic for newcomers.
A revamped Item Shop focuses on the basics for newcomers.

The item shop will now be truncated for new players. Instead of displaying every possible item, the game will guide newcomers through the process, uncovering new items after foundational items are built. All heroes will have a default guide to assist fresh players with options that allow them to be effective on the field of battle.

An improved tutorial mode guides players through the basics of play like warding and teleporting. These scripted encounters allow for slow, steady instruction and a new set of rewards are now available to offer an incentive for completing these encounters. Giving newbies some nice cosmetics is likely to keep them pushing lanes.

An interactive glossary will explain the various mechanics and items of Dota 2 in the simplest terms. Filled with information about the game, the Glossary breaks down different aspects of Dota into digestible chunks. You can learn about the basics of heroes and items or towers and creeps, or dig into mechanics ranging from leveling and experience to abilities and status effects.

The glossary explains Dota 2 heroes and mechanics in simple terms.
The glossary explains Dota 2 heroes and mechanics in simple terms.

A new player mode shrinks the pool of available heroes so that newcomers aren't overwhelmed by choice. This also allows for the learning of abilities and how they work in practice. Additionally, players can leave mid-match in this mode without penalty. Matchmaking for this mode will be restricted to new solo-queue players to even the odds. Valve has also noted that smurfing, the practice of experienced players using new accounts to stomp novices, will be a bannable offense.

To read about everything Valve has changed for the new player experience in Dota 2, be sure to check out the full blog post on the official Dota 2 website. The DOTA: Dragon’s Blood series launches on Netflix on March 25.

Contributing Tech Editor

Chris Jarrard likes playing games, crankin' tunes, and looking for fights on obscure online message boards. He understands that breakfast food is the only true food. Don't @ him.

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