DOTA 2: Halloween Brings Diretide
By Mohammad Abubakr, OnRPG Journalist
Dota 2 has been the game taking up most of my free time during the last few months. While also continuously adding all existing heroes from DOTA, Valve also continues to add their own features into the game. With great features already in the game such as cosmetic items, leaver and replay systems, Valve has just released a new map alongside a unique game mode for Halloween!
Most Dota 2 players that follow the game closely knew about this upcoming update weeks before release but started to wonder when it would be pushed to the main client. Halloween had already passed and the TF2 Halloween was already released but the Dota 2 Halloween map and game mode was nowhere to be seen.
There was talk on Reddit about the Dota 2 team working extra hours in hopes of releasing the new game mode during this year's Halloween season. Turns out this was true as the patch was pushed to the main client late Halloween night. I was very excited for this new game mode but I would have to wait until the following day to try it out!
Before we jump into Diretide, the new game mode available during Halloween 2012, let us go over some other changes this patch brought for us. The most obvious change this patch has brought for us would be an updated user interface and map decorations with the Halloween style in mind. The map is played the same way as only visual changes have been made to everything from a bloody river to zombie creeps.
The water has become blood!
Even the default announcer has been replaced with a Death Prophet announcer featuring very well done Dota 2 themed poems. The map has been designed in such a way that the Halloween changes are there but do not interfere with the player's ability to focus on the game. Overall, I am very happy and impressed with the work the Dota 2 team over at Valve has done with the new Halloween themed map.
The Dota 2 shop also offers some new items including Death Prophet, Wind Runner, Invoker, and Anti-Mage items, Diretide chest and key, Baby Roshan courier, and a Greevil egg. The new Diretide chest can only be opened using the new Diretide key and offers very good drops. Unlike most chests, the worst you can get by opening it is an uncommon item and if you are very lucky an unusual Baby Roshan courier.
The Greevil egg is a unique item that will hatch to become a Greevil courier after the Halloween event comes to an end. This new courier's appearance will depend on how many and what kinds of essences players add into the egg. These essences can be found by simply playing Diretide and drop like regular items. We do not know which essences lead to which results as we will have to wait until they hatch.
However, we do know that mixing different colored essences will result in the combination of the colored essences added into the egg. There are also unusual essences which increase the unusual level of the egg by adding additional glowing rings around it. However, we have to wait and see what this will mean for the final hatched courier.
Greevil eggs can be bought from the Dota 2 store, found by playing Diretide, or received after killing your first Roshan in Diretide.
Onto the best part of this patch, Diretide. This new game mode is made up of three different stages: Candy Chaos, The Trickster Awakens, and Sugar Rush. At first I assumed these three stages were separate game modes which must individually be queued for but it turns out Diretide progresses through all three in one game.
Chance to win rare items!
After both teams have selected their heroes, the Candy Chaos stage begins. In this stage both teams have 20 minutes to try and fill their team's pumpkin with as much candy as possible. Instead of spawning the regular catapult creeps, Roshlings march alongside melee and ranged creeps. These Roshlings are quite tanky and do decent damage but upon death they drop candies.
When player pickup these candies, they get added into their inventory and decrease their hero's max HP per candy, making it essential to hand in candies in small amounts. If a player dies with candies in their inventory, they are dropped and lootable by either team.
The pumpkins must also be defended as when they are attacked, they drop candies allowing opposing teams to steal candies. These pumpkins act as towers granting true sight and the ability to teleport on them. Due to these major changes to the Dota 2 map, new strategies must be employed.
I have found that mobile heroes work the best due to their ability to quickly steal and hand in candies. You only have twenty minutes so focusing on farming for late game is not an option. These changes lead to a very fast paced and action packed game.
It is also important to note that when candies are handed in, EXP and gold is given to all team members allowing for multiple heroes in one lane to be a viable option.
After 10 minutes The Trickster Awakens causing Roshan to randomly target heroes on the map, alternating teams, and charging them for candies. Roshan will continue to bash the target unless he is fed a candy. This adds another thing to worry about during Diretide as players must carry at least one candy per team after the ten minute mark.
This Roshan is much stronger than the normal Roshan and cannot be killed, so feeding it candy is the only option in order to survive. Even if you run, you will only be wasting time as it will catch you.
Once 20 minutes have passed, the team with the most candies is awarded items, one for each team member! Diretide is a gold mine when it comes to items! My friend has gotten two courier drops and another mythical item drop just from Diretide simply by playing for two days.
It's like a raid boss but in Dota!
Now comes the time for Sugar Rush. In my opinion, this stage is the one that amazed me the most. You would never expect to see something like this done in an action RTS. Both teams team up to fight Roshan aiming to kill him in the shortest amount of time possible. All players also receive items after Roshan has been slain.
Players are given gold to purchase items in order to fight this raid boss like Roshan who uses abilities such as Tiny's toss, mass sunstrikes and deafening blasts. These spells are strong enough to one hit some heroes and do major damage to others making it essential to dodge them. The charge time is fairly slow and obvious so players should have no excuse of being hit. That is unless he tosses you into a sun strike.
Players have come up with strategies to defeat Roshan as fast as possible in hope of receiving a golden baby Roshan courier. The group of players that beat the current record time are given this very rare and valuable courier. Groups of players really wanting this courier aim to get matched against each other and with 10 players working together, farm for 8 to 9 hours on heroes like Pudge to deal massive critical strike damage.
Do you think teams should be allowed to work together just to beat the record?
You are probably wondering how they are able to stall the game for 9 hours when stage three begins automatically after 20 minutes. They tie the score which in turn does not result in a winner until one team hands in more candy. However, since all 10 players are working together, most likely queued together in low priority, they can stall the game for as long as they like.
While the Roshan fight is lots of fun, it can begin to feel like a grind as seen in many MMO raid bosses. Hopefully next year extra variations are added so that it does not become a grind for items as Valve did seem to rush this patch in hope of getting it in this Halloween season.
In conclusion, Dota 2's Diretide patch turned out to be very well done. I did have my doubts about how well a new game mode would work, but as always Valve did not disappoint. If Valve continues to include seasonal game modes and maps as seen in Team Fortress 2, we could be in for a treat!