The wait is over and it seems it was worth it—the changelog for patch 7.20 is massive. Today we will be focusing on the general changes to the game, looking at how they might affect the gameplay and what they mean for an average Dota player.
We will also be doing a separate blog post on the map changes, once we get some idea on new and better ward spots, farming patterns and points of interest.
It is hard to say whether we will see a return of solo offlaners with this change, but this step definitely makes laning stage a little less impactful on the overall course of the game. Contesting creeps in lane and being able to achieve at least something in it is still very much worth it, but perhaps this change will allow for different approaches in the early game.
This change also means there is now less overall XP in the game, making levelling a little bit slower. This theoretically should extend the time supports get to dictate the pace of the game, while also making many carries vulnerable for a little longer.
These changes make split-pushing more complex and will also make late game macro mistakes considerably less punishing. There are now more ways to react, more safe opportunities to engage and absolutely no reason not to have a TP in your inventory.
It is going to be very interesting to see how the heroes who sometimes get Boots of Travel early will benefit from being even more mobile across the map.
After running some calculations it seems Armor is a little bit more effective, compared to the previous patch: If previously 50% damage mitigation was achieved at exactly 20 Armor, now the same value is achieved at 16 Amor.
The changes should be quite noticeable throughout the whole game: at 10 armor there is already almost 5% difference in damage reduction; at 40 armor heroes will now mitigate ~¾ of physical damage, while previously the value was closer to ~⅔.
It also means that armor reduction should be a lot more potent: we will keep an eye out on heroes like Dazzle and Slardar, as well as the buffed Desolator.
Hero Kill Bounty XP
Killing sprees now giving both XP and Gold bonuses means that taking out priority targets is now more or less mandatory for a comeback. Previously, several pick-offs on low-level supports of the winning team could result in sizeable XP swings.
This change is in line with what was introduced in the patch 7.11, where the comeback gold mechanic was heavily nerfed. It resulted in a lot less “rubberbanding” and made several comeback-heroes a lot less appealing for a period. Given how similar these changes are, we expect similar results: late-game carries who relied on picking off supports in a teamfight to get back into the game should be less popular, while tempo heroes will not be punished by teammates’ misplays, but should also be a lot more careful, when on a long kill streak.
Mana and HP regen
It is hard to analyze the full results of these changes, but for the most part it should mean that stat scaling isn’t going to be as powerful as it used to be, at least for Strength and Intelligence heroes, who rely on massive mana or HP pools and high regeneration.
Our initial impression is that this change will make heroes like Storm Spirit, Zeus, Outworld Devourer and Leshrac weaker and will probably also have a small effect on regen-relying Strength heroes, such as Alchemist and Dragon Knight.
Root was standardized and it is a good thing—if moving forward we get more of the new “element-based interactions”, consistency of the old mechanics should be a priority, otherwise the game will become even more complex.
No roots no longer interrupt, meaning that you can’t use Overgrowth or Troll Ensnare to cancel Black Hole on a BKB Enigma. All roots now cancel and prevent teleportation and mobility spells. The effect now has its own niche, without any exceptions and specific cases, and this change is very welcome.
Cleave and Splash Changes
This change is a big nerf to all cleave heroes and all heroes who want to get a Battlefury, especially given the changes to armor. Stacking cleave damage in an attempt to one-shot a group of enemies through cleave attacks is no longer a viable strategy.
For heroes like Sven, Kunkka and even Phantom Assassin this change means that their playstyles are now restricted even further. They weren’t particularly powerful before the cleave nerf and will probably be even less of a threat in the late game.
Spell Immunity and Dispels
A great deal of passive abilities and auras no longer pierce spell immunity, meaning that kiting BKB heroes is now slightly harder. The big highlights of these changes are probably the Ensnare abilities from Dark Troll and Naga—they used to be very potent in kiting or disabling enemy heroes with Spell Immunity.
Anchor Smash, Epicenter and Requiem of Souls also no longer apply their secondary effects on spell immune targets, meaning you can no longer mitigate incoming damage from BKB’ed enemies.
Theoretically it should help melee heroes without gap closers the most—it should be easier for them to Blink in and deal damage under the effects of the BKB. Though it is still hard to tell whether it is actually worth trying to play something like a carry Sven.
A big buff to Slark and several other heroes. Hex was the ultimate disable for the last several patches, but now it is more in line with stuns. It does take away from its uniqueness, but also promotes counter-play in specific cases, allowing the game to be more interactive.
Towers and Structures
After all the changes to armor and health, most structures now have more or less the same amount of EHP against physical damage. For the most part it shouldn’t result in significant gameplay changes, but it does make Pugna slightly less potent at pushing.
Extra Max Attack speed will rarely come into play, however certain heroes can benefit from it on occasion. New Drow Ranger, Troll Warlord and Windranger are probably going to have some new builds, allowing them to fully utilize the ability to attack roughly 4 times a second.
Leash is a rather interesting new extension of Root mechanic: it prevents mobility spells and teleports, finally giving Puck some niche, while also making Slark an interesting counter to heroes like Storm and Ember Spirits. Overall the patch really seems to favor Slark, given how he also doesn’t break clarity when using Dark Pacr while farming jungle.
No backpack manipulation during taunt is a massive buff to Winter Wyvern: the hero’s ultimate was more or less rendered useless damage-wise once players figured out they can simply backpack their DPS items, saving their teammates.
Finally, the reverse of a global turn rate change of 7.00 is going to be interesting. It largely went unnoticed at the time, but do keep in mind that people are generally more likely to notice inconveniences, rather than convenience improvements.