New patch — new meta? Today we are discussing our first impressions of the 7.30 gameplay update and share our opinions on what it means for the game.
Elevated: I understand why Valve has not made sweeping changes with only a couple months until their $40 million tournament. However, I can’t help but feel a bit disappointed at how little changed between patches 7.29 and 7.30. It’s important to remember that the broader game concepts like gold distribution and map layout play a much bigger role in shaping the meta than hero changes. With TI10 just around the corner Icefrog and crew have avoided these kinds of updates and so much of the meta should be similar. Beggars can’t be choosers however so here are a few things that might be worth keeping an eye on as the 7.30 patch develops.
KawaiiSocks: I am more or less in the same boat. After waiting for so long, this patch feels a little bit too tame, but it might be the first impression. Personally, the heroes I play the most have been untouched or even nerfed, so I am not particularly excited overall, but there are a couple of major hero reworks and several notable buffs that should keep the game fresh, especially if you are a Tinker spammer.
KawaiiSocks: At this point complaining about neutral items and providing examples of why this system doesn’t add anything meaningful to the game, while also sometimes creating objectively unfair and game-breaking scenarios is just straight up unhealthy. So be it: I will die young.
Really don’t like Witchbane: it looks hyper-specific and over-punishes ethereal form heroes like Necro and Pugna. Makes Aeon Disk, Ghost and Glimmer worse as well. They also removed Horn, but kept Flicker in, which is interesting, given how the latter had a higher win rate in the previous patch and wasn’t nerfed too heavily. Fun (not really) fact: Flicker as an end-game slot had a 54.1% win rate: higher than six out of twelve Tier 5 items. It is 53.7% after the nerfs.
Having five items instead of four is also an interesting move. On one hand, it increases the randomness, in a sense that there are more possible combinations of five items your team gets. But at the same time, it also increases the chances of getting a specific item, so one can kind of plan better for the items they are going to get, but not really? Sigh. Why couldn’t it just be a system with a separate currency and a separate slot, if Valve insists on keeping it.
Elevated: It’s no secret that Neutrals continue to be a sensitive subject for much of the Dota community. In patch 7.30 we get a fifth item per tier so that all players on each team will have an extra piece of gear. This is a nice quality of life change for support players but realistically won’t change things too much. The new Neutrals feel a bit more creative and purposeful than previous iterations and seem more targeted to specific heroes. Of these, Tumbler’s Toy in particular seems incredibly good since it gives players the potential for a seven minute Force Staff effect. The balance team also removed some of the more egregious overpowered Neutral Items like Imp Claw, Minotaur Horn and Illusionists Cape.
Elevated: Over the last several patches Icefrog and crew have done a really good job making item builds more interesting and fluid. They continue that trend here by taking awkward items such as Helm of the Overlord and combining it with another dead-end item like Vladmir’s Offering. In a similar move they have fully resurrected Silver Edge, a forgotten item in 7.29, by giving Crystalis another downstream build path. The only item change in 7.30 that seems a bit strange is the scaling cooldown on Aeon Disk. The item certainly needed to be nerfed but adding a sort of deteriorating effect to it seems somewhat convoluted as a solution.
KawaiiSocks: Two words: MAGE SLAYER. I’ve talked about how the item is actually not that bad, but now, given how cheap it is and how it builds from mana regen items, it might become the go-to item on a lot of heroes. Especially considering the previous go-to for mana regen, Echo Sabre, is not that good, since it doesn’t disassemble into Silver Edge+BKB anymore. Similarly excited about Helm, but probably for a different reason: Vlad’s needed a progression for a very long time and this looks very solid.
Elevated: As stated before, the meta should remain fairly stable as much of the macro game remains intact in patch 7.30. Popular heroes such as Templar Assassin, Luna, Winter Wyvern and Hoodwink all still seem like solid options. Below are a few other quick takes that will be interesting to keep watch of to see how they play out.
KawaiiSocks: Once again, I am trying to be vary of what I feel about the game and what is happening objectively. We are definitely going to be doing a follow-up post on the patch, but preliminary stats show massive win rate swings on a good deal of meta heroes. For example, Chaos Knight, Luna and Terrorblade all lost ~4.5% win rate, while Lycan and Beastmaster are up in the excess of 7.5%. Wild, but not completely unexpected, given how value Helm of the Overlord is now. So, maybe the meta did change in a significant manner, we are just slow to catch up.
Also feel like the new Tinker might be more powerful than the previous one, once he is figured out. In either case, he is definitely a lot less frustrating to play against, which is a good direction for the hero.
One trend I am also happy to start speculating about is that there is now higher parity between support and carry heroes in terms of game impact, at least it feels like it. 7.29 was the Hyper-Carry patch and carries, it felt, were responsible for most of the game. Not only did late-game overperforming carries get nerfed, but many supports also got buffed, hence even in longer games they should feel like they actually matter. Definitely keep an eye on long-forgotten Lich, Disruptor and Bane.
Overall, to me this patch feels like it could end up being much more than meets the eye. There is no wow-factor and little apparent novelty, but perhaps there is much more depth in these small precision changes, than we assume. What do you think of this patch and do you feel like it is TI-worthy? Share your opinion in the comment section below.