Dota 2 update 7.26 has arrived, and it’s a very strange one.
While actual version changes typically consist of a slew of sweeping changes to the game including changes to heroes, items, and buildings, the 7.26 update is exclusively composed of core gameplay changes.
The full patch notes are short enough to be included here:
While there are no item or hero changes, Valve specifically noted that it plans to deliver more granular changes after seeing the impact that 7.26 has.
Fans might brush off Dota 2 update 7.26 because of the shortness of the patch notes and lack of hero changes, but make no mistake. This will likely shake up Dota 2 in a major way, with the net effect being faster games and greater rewards for early aggression.
Dota 2 has been in an awkward spot since the introduction of the Outlanders Update, with numerous factors leading to slower and longer games. This has been felt at all phases of the game, with kill streaks being disincentivized early on due to the punishing effects of the kill streak gold bonuses and aggression in the mid and late game often taking a back seat to growing a net worth difference and farming neutral items.
This has been seen on multiple occasions at the pro level. While games in 2019 often ended in under 30 minutes and rarely reached an hour, the normal game length in Dota 2 has grown considerably in recent months. The greatest example of this came in the ESL One Los Angeles EU and CIS league, which saw Ninjas in Pyjamas and Natus Vincere play an agonizing 93-minute game which saw carries building backup Divine Rapiers to keep in their stashes.
Maintaining shorter game lengths has long been a goal of Valve’s in Dota 2, which almost routinely saw games routinely go longer than an hour in its early years. It’s unclear how profound the impact of these changes will be, but the publisher has been on top of the Dota 2 scene over recent months. Expect the next Dota 2 update to come before long.