Valve has pushed out a new update to its immensely popular MOBA title, Dota 2, that aims to ease in new players to the game. Formerly, the game essentially threw new players in at the deep end, hoping that at least some of them would grasp the game's complex mechanics and stick with it, while not getting deterred by any 'toxic' players.
The choice of having to pick a hero from a pool of over a hundred is also an issue, as each hero has its own unique playstyle, and some of them require much more mastery over the game than others.
Valve is looking to alleviate some of these problems faced by new players by introducing two new features that the developer says are "designed to help new players face as few barriers as possible to enjoying Dota."
From today, when a new player goes into the hero selection screen, they will be met with a restricted pool of 20 heroes that will serve as an introductory group to the game. The heroes available in the limited pool are Axe, Clinkz, Ogre Magi, Dragon Knight, Juggernaut, Sven, Zeus, Lich, Lion, Shadow Shaman, Sniper, Wraith King, Death Prophet, Bristleback, Phantom Assassin, Tidehunter, Luna, Jakiro, Viper, and Witch Doctor.
Valve said that these heroes were selected because they were shown to be "very successful in helping new players learn and enjoy the game". New players will get access to the full hero pool after they complete 25 matches of Dota 2.
In addition, new players will now be primarily matched against players with 'high behavior scores', with Valve saying that "It is especially important for a new player to have a good social experience while they are first trying to learn the game. The matchmaking system will now ensure that new players will play with and against appropriately-skilled players that also have a track record of good behavior."
Toxic players are a known-issue in most MOBA games; as such, limiting new players' exposure to them, at least initially, could be a beneficial method of showcasing the game's merits instead of getting bogged down by raging teammates.
Dota 2's annual Valve hosted tournament, The International, is set to begin next month, and is sure to bring a wealth of new players into the game. Changes such as the ones mentioned above will hopefully make these new players' visits a much more welcoming one than before.