The Dota 2 Outlanders Update is here and the game has been turned completely upside down.
Though the update was largely advertised around new Dota 2 heroes Snapfire and Void Spirit, the biggest changes come with a completely new courier system, a heavily overhauled map, and major shifts to the economy.
Naturally, this is going to heavily shake up the meta and how players approach the game at even the most basic levels. And all of this comes just a few days before the start of the DreamLeague Leipzig Major qualifiers.
Over the last several years, Valve has been politely encouraging support players to actually purchase support items by lowering prices and making them less restrictive to players’ inventories. With the Outlanders Update, they’ve just flung their hands in the air and made it almost impossible to not have effective support item usage.
Observer wards are now completely free. Though there is still a cooldown on purchases, this makes it incredibly easy to maintain vision on the map. There was also a slight change to how dewarding works. Though the player that breaks enemy wards has historically reaped the reward for doing so, that reward is now being passed on to whoever purchased the sentry ward used in identifying it.
Couriers are also now completely free, and each player will now have a personal courier which levels up alongside them, gaining movement speed and granting bonus GPM as they level up. Every five levels, the couriers gain new abilities including the ability to fly at level 5, to plant wards at level 15, and to use the Shield ability at level 20.
With players now having personal couriers, side shops have been removed from the map. Secret shops remain in place, but are now the only place where players can purchase items like Void Stone and Energy Booster.
The map itself has also been redesigned. The top dire and bottom radiant jungle areas now have a larger, more defined elevated area. Shrines have been moved closer to the river.
A new building type, the Outpost was introduced, replacing the side shops. These buildings can be captured by right clicking on them, and grant true sight vision in the surrounding area alongside bonus XP. They also serve to give an extra place to teleport and cannot be destroyed.
Possibly the biggest change is the new neutral Items, which have a random chance of dropping with each jungle creep killed. 62 new items have been added which grant a variety of effects from bonus crit to the ability to survive and fight for a few seconds after death. Different items become available at different stages of the game.
Though the Outlanders update adds a lot of different things to the game, new Dota 2 heroes Snapfire and Void Spirit are still getting more screen time than anything else. That’s not necessarily undeserved.
Void Spirit is an Intelligence-based melee carry. He carries on the “spirit” tradition of leaving copies of himself on the map, with his version being the Aether remnant. These are placed with vector targeting, with the remnant facing in a single direction. If an enemy crosses in front of the remnant’s field of vision, they are sucked towards it and absorb damage.
Past that, Void Spirit has a number of spells that make him highly maneuverable. His W, Dissimilate, allows him to blink to a nearby area and deal a solid amount of AOE damage. Resonant Pulse, his third ability, works similar to Ember Spirit’s Flame Guard. Finally, ultimate spell Astral Step allows him to instantly slash forward in a large AOE, dealing significant damage to all units caught in the line and slowing those hit.
Snapfire is a Strength-based support nuker that can both deal significant damage on her own and set up allies to do the same. Her Q, Scatterblast, is a straightforward AOE attack that deals more damage to enemies who are closer. Lil’ Shredder, which is mapped to E, allows her to quickly rattle off six shots that deal physical damage and slow the target. The cookies teased in the trailer are mapped to W, and give an allied hero a leaping AOE stun attack.
Her ultimate is Mortimer Kisses, which see her rear back on her dragon mount as it shoots fireballs that deal AOE damage on impact and damage over time in the area they land.
The full list of changes for the Outlanders Update can be found on the official Dota 2 blog.