A new hero, a new mechanic, and a slew of changes? Yep, it's a Dota 2 patch. So, the Dota 2 7.28 patch has hit today. It’s 1.6 GB. It’s called the Mistwoods update and it adds a brand new hero — Hoodwink — and a whole slew of other stuff. And I get to write about this.
Dota 2: Hoodwink-ed
Hoodwink’s first ability is Acorn Shot, which fires an acorn at one target. From there, it bounces to nearby enemies, slowing them and dealing bonus damage. Think Witch Doctor’s Cask or Medusa’s Mystic Snake, I guess, though I’m not sure how randomised the targeting is. Acorn Shot can also be ground targeted at a tree, but “the added bounce will be lost.” I’m guessing that means it loses one bounce, but it’s unclear.
Her second skill, Shackleshot Bushwhack, tosses out an area-of-effect net trap. Any enemy heroes in that area that are near to a tree are pulled to the tree, stunned, and reduces their vision to zero for the duration. So… halfway between Shackleshot and Spear Toss.
Hoodwink’s third skill is Scurry, which has both a passive and an active component. Passively, it gives Hoodwink a chance to evade attacks when near trees. When activated, Hoodwink gets bonus move speed, phased collision, and tree-walking.
Finally, her ultimate is Sharpshooter. Hoodwink charges up her crossbow over a maximum of five seconds and then launches a bolt with a stupendously long-range (and which appears to travel faster than a Mirana arrow). On impact, this deals with heavy damage, slows, and inflicts Break. The damage and debuff time scale up the longer she charges the skill.
Seriously, I look at this and kinda see a reworked Windrunner. We’ve got a charged-up linear shot skill, an evasion ability that doubles as a movement speed booster, numerous slowing abilities, and a stun that’s reliant on nearby trees. There are new elements in there too, and some glimpses of other heroes (Mars, Treant Protector, Mirana, Medusa) but I can’t help but see Windrunner in this.
I’m usually terrible at predicting where new heroes will be played. I mean, to begin with, we’ll see her as a mid and a carry because that’s how we see literally every hero when a patch launches. I suspect she’ll gravitate towards a mid, 3, or 4 roles later, but if she synergises really well with attack items then she may end up being a soft carry pick. Nukers tend to fall off a bit, but I haven’t seen her talent tree and it’s entirely possible she can evolve into a ridiculous physical damage dealer, or that she’ll be amazing if she has a level advantage.
And now, one million more words
Okay, now I don’t think she’s a fox. Squirrel? Chipmunk? Fictional creature? I give up.
So that’s it, right? That’s the patch? Hahaha! No. Of course, it’s fucking not. These patch notes are around 140 pages long, going based on “number of presses of Page Down to get from the top to the bottom”.
So let’s talk about the other biggest thing, which is Aghanim’s Shards. These were kinda hinted at in the Aghanim’s Labyrinth event earlier this year, but they function very differently here. These cost 1,400 gold and are available after 20 minutes, and are immediately consumed to give your hero a brand new ability or upgrade. And, as you’d expect, these vary wildly across the gargantuan hero pool.
Alchemist’s Aghanim’s Shard upgrade, for instance, gives him the Berserk Potion ability. This can be lobbed at an ally (or quaffed himself) to give them +50 Attack Speed and +40 HP Regen for 10 seconds — effectively, a mini Alchemist ultimate. Bounty Hunter gets a track upgrade that gives 800 vision around the target and gives your allies 50% of the track movement speed boost. Broodmother gets a Silken Bola that can root enemies for two seconds. Clockwerk gains a fucking jetpack, giving flying movement, flying vision, and increased movement speed, but disarms him and lowers his turn rate. Meanwhile, Witch Doctor turns into an invisible and invulnerable Death Ward for two seconds.
Others are a lot less massive, at least in an obvious sense. Ancient Apparition’s Ice Vortex does 40 DPS and reduces attack speed, while Abaddon’s Mist Coil and Aphotic Shield apply Curse of Avernus. And Phoenix gets a passive Fire Spirit every seven seconds. They’re still big things, but not in a “shiny new ability” way.
Seriously, there are way too many of these to go over (120 now, considering there’s one per hero), but they’re going to drastically change the way things go.
Unlike my sanity, these patch notes aren’t even nearly done
So, aside from Aghanim’s Shards, we’ve also got plenty of hero changes and reworks. Almost every hero has had some form of stat or ability adjustment, with a number getting full-on ability reworks. There are loads of Scepter reworks to go along with the Shards, plus a batch of new abilities. Keeper of the Light now has a new basic ability called Solar Bind, for instance, which is… kind of like Mana Leak? It lowers magic resistance and lowers the target’s movement speed the more they move. Lifestealer has Ghoul Frenzy instead of Open Wounds, which grants him extra attack speed and lowers enemy movement speed the more he hits them. Etc.
One thing I do want to highlight is the change to Vengeful Spirit’s Aghanim’s Scepter ability because it’s kinda neat. This creates a strong illusion of Venge on death which can cast spells and deals (and takes) 100% damage. But… it also has a 30% movement speed bonus. And any XP it gains is given to Vengeful Spirit. And if it’s still alive when Vengeful spirit respawns, she takes its place, getting back into the fight immediately. Meanwhile, her Aghanim’s Shard lets Wave of Terror steal 25% of an enemy hero’s base damage.
Also, Outworld Devourer is now called Outworld Destroyer for some reason, which is effectively not a change because I’ll still refer to him as Outhouse Demolisher or whatever else I feel like on that day.
Everyone needed more Blink Daggers, obviously.
And then we get to the items! Because of course, it wouldn’t be a major Dota 2 patch with only a major new mechanic, a new hero, and sweeping changes to every existing hero.
Lots of items have been updated. I’m not going over that. All I’ll say is that some mainstay items now act rather differently from how they used to. Instead, let’s look at the 12 new items.
Many of these are actually upgrades. Overwhelming Blink, Swift Blink, and Arcane Blink are all Blink Dagger upgrades with additional effects aimed at strength/agility/intelligence heroes, respectively. Overwhelming grants a strength bonus, and damages all enemies near the target location while also slowing them and reducing their attack speed. Swift Blink grants agility, while also offering 30% phased movement speed and bonus damage and attack speed after a blink. Finally, Arcane Blink grants intelligence, while lowering cast point and ability cooldown after blinking.
Oh, right. Timbersaw’s Aghanim’s Shard upgrade is a flamethrower. And yes, it murders trees.
There are much more worth exploring. Helm of the Dominator Tier 2 can convert Ancients. Witch Blade is an auto-attack damaged item for intelligent heroes. Gleipnir targets an area ensnare enemies within it and blasts them with chain lightning. Mage Slayer is an agility-focused item that debuffs the spells of your targets. Eternal Shroud grants spell life steal and HP regen, while also letting you create a shield that converts damage into mana.
More importantly, Fluffy Hat gives you 125 health. And I guess it can also be upgraded into Falcon Blade, Orb of Corrosion, and Holy Locket if that’s somehow more important to you than having a fluffy hat.
Finally, Wind Waker summons a cyclone just like Eul’s Scepter, but it can target allies and you can move it when you cast it on yourself.
And then neutral items, because this is a Dota 2 patch and we aren’t done yet
Neutral Items are interesting, both because we have new ones and because old ones have been “removed.” I put “removed” in quotation marks because the exact phrase used is “cycled out,” which implies we’re going to see neutral items rotate as seasons and patches come and go. For now: so long, Mango Tree, Poor Man’s Shield (again), and Iron Talon (again). Goodbye, Clumsy Net and Vampire Fangs. Meanwhile, we get a load of neat new ones like the Giant’s Ring, which lets you walk over enemy terrain and inflicts 100% of your strength per second as damage when standing on an enemy. Or the Stormcrafter, which zaps a nearby enemy every three seconds. Or the Tier 1 item, Chipped Vest, which grants HP regen and returns some incoming damage to enemy attackers.
And yes, lots of older ones have been adjusted for balance too. Of course, they have.
In terms of general changes… well, there’s not a huge amount I want to go over, but the one thing that stuck out to me is that the game now starts at night time, and only turns today when creeps spawn. This might actually make early skirmishes and rune-grabbing a little riskier. Also, the jungle is shittier than before, with the stacked gold bonus reduced and neutral creeps no longer increasing in bounty over the course of the game. Still, no massive changes to the way hero bounties or passive goldwork. Yet. Just wait for 7.28b.
And that’s about all I’m covering. There’s so, so much more to it. At the very least you’ll probably want to go and see the changes to your old favorite heroes and the old meta heroes to see how useful they are now. You can do that very, very easily.