‘Dota 2’ update should make things much easier for newcomers

An overhauled new player experience arrives the same day as Netflix’s 'Dota' anime.


It’s a big day for Dota 2. Not only has a Netflix anime based on the game dropped, Valve has overhauled the onboarding process to make things easier for newcomers. Auto Chess, which started out as a Dota 2 mod, has brought in similar changes.

The Dota: Dragon’s Blood anime could increase interest in the game. But, given all of its complexities, Dota 2 can be daunting for novices. There are 119 heroes (and more on the way), each of which has their own abilities. Some hardened Dota 2 players might not be too forgiving of newcomers either.

Instead of an overwhelming information dump, rookies will have access to four tiers of quest-like objectives and rewards for completing them. They'll also have a streamlined shop, a helpful glossary and improved bots to practice with. In-game tips from a help wizard should come in handy, as will detailed overviews for each hero.

There’s a new player mode that uses a smaller hero pool and gets rid of penalties for leaving during a game. That should offer newcomers a low-stakes environment in which to get to grips with the basics. New players who are queuing by themselves will only play with each other in this mode, not parties or experienced players.

Valve is also cracking down on smurfing, or veteran players using alternate accounts to destroy rookies. Players can now be banned over the practice.

Dota 2’s massive popularity hasn’t really waned over the past year — on average, between 400,000 and half a million people have played it at any given time since last March, according to Steam Charts. But the game didn’t have quite the explosion in popularity that other titles had during lockdown. Streamlining the onboarding experience for newbies (and returning players) could help Valve take Dota 2 to even greater heights.