Dota 2: The Greeviling Reviewed
By Mohammad Abubakr, OnRPG Journalist
Frostivus is cancelled! Both sides, the Radiant and Dire, were looking forward to a time when they both could relax and not have to worry about the continuous war. All the heroes would finally have time to relax while drinking Eultide and a chance to put those skates to use on the frozen river. However, those little Greevils all of us were working hard to nurture and breed during the Halloween season have come to ruin it all.
There was still hope that maybe both sides could still be at peace and work together to get rid of the mischievous Greevils. The Greevils ruined the business for Tuskar, the shop keeper, by stealing his items causing Tuskar to hold a little competition to kill Greevil camps the fastest. Now the Radiant and the Dire fight once again, working to kill eleven Greevil camps the fastest in this fun, fast paced, and exciting competition; The Greeviling.
This new seasonal game mode has taken out the creep wave system and the ability to purchase items or even receive gold. Similar to the spawn times of neutral camps, on every minute mark three Greevil camps spawn in three random camps, including ancient camps, throughout the entire map. This means one side might get lucky and get more Greevil camps closer to their base. Randomly a unique shop keeper Greevil may spawn in the river giving both sides the chance to kill it before it gets to the top. If both sides kill him, they receive a free gift with a chance to receive a golden Greevil! It is also important to note that Greevil camps do not spawn if a Roshan kill is in progress by either side.
The Greevils even got Roshan!
The team that lands the last hit on the last creep in each camp receives one point, the first to eleven points wins the game. These Greevil camps start out to be weak but continue to grow in strength as the game progresses. Based on the type of Greevils at the camp, the higher leveled Greevils possess certain skills such as Bane's Nightmare or Lina's Stun. When the last Greevil at a camp dies, it drops a gift which when looted gives two random players on the map a random item. This can cause games to get quite silly when you have heroes such as Sven getting lucky with lots of free Divine Rapiers or ranged heroes receiving multiple Battle Furys.
All of this sounds pretty good but it needs more to make it great. At the beginning of each game, each player receives a stocking. This stocking can be opened to reveal a Greevil Whistle, random boots, a blink dagger like item, and a random consumable. The consumable items are new unique potions bundled with The Greeviling but still function like a regular salve. The boots are all regular boots except the new skates which offer movement speed similar to Boots of Travel while also allowing players to run over the frozen river without sliding. Without skates players spin in circles on the ice instead of moving straight to their destination. The blink dagger item is simply a really small ranged blink dagger which must be channeled.
The item from this stocking that makes this game mode a blast is the Greevil Whistle. Finally our ugly Greevil couriers can be put to use as this whistle allows players to transform into their equipped Greevil! As we know from the Diretide event, these Greevils were hatched from eggs with their looks based on the essences we placed inside these eggs.
The Greeviling further adds on to the Greevils by adding stat bonuses and various skills to these Greevils based on loaded essences. For example, blue Greevils have Enigma's Black Hole as their ultimate while seraphic Greevils have Omni Knight's Heal as their ultimate. All players that do not possess a Greevil are given a naked Greevil.
Dreaded Greevils are strong!
Greevils and heroes have different health and mana pools. When in one form, the other form (hero or Greevil) will be regenerating at a fast rate. Knowing when to use the Greevil or hero is essential to playing well in The Greeviling.
At the beginning of this event there were many balance issues. Valve went ahead and gave advantages to certain players and the odds favoured these teams before the match even began. One of the main selling points of Dota 2 that set it apart from other Action RTS games on the market was that it did not offer ANY advantages to players based on time spent playing or their wallet. Now, players that played a lot of Diretide or purchased strong Greevils had an advantage over those that did not.
This issue still exists but it has been almost completely resolved. Now naked Greevils have the same number of skills as any other Greevil which leaves the advantages coming from the stat bonuses. However, essences and eggs are dropping once again during this event so even new players can play and easily hatch a stronger Greevil. I am still not a fan of this feature as Dota was meant to be a game where no players had advantages over others because of their time spent playing the game. It was all about individual player skill and decision making. Luckily, the traditional Dota game has not been affected and will hopefully never be affected.
Upon either team reaching the magical eleven Greevil camp kills, both teams receive prizes! The incentive to win is that the winning team receives nice gift boxes while the losing team receives gift boxes crushed by Greevils' bottoms. These boxes can be opened for free, no keys required, and give out random items just like a traditional chest. Obviously the nice gift boxes have a higher chance to give nicer items.
The ice results in very silly looking battles!
With a new game mode come new strategies that must be used to succeed. After playing The Greeviling for a couple of days I have come up with some criteria which a hero must meet to be considered viable for The Greeviling. The hero does not necessarily need to meet all of the criteria to be considered viable.
Before we go over the criteria to be met, let me go over what happens in a traditional Greeviling match. We know that creeps don't spawn so there will be no point to separate heroes and split them up into lanes. This further leads on to both teams roaming as five for the majority of the game in both their hero and Greevil form aiming to land the last hit on Greevil camps.
From this I have concluded that viable heroes must be able to do at least one of the following: snipe Greevil camps, have area of effect abilities, abilities that are effective regardless of the player's form, not require items or be mobile. Before a hot fix, auras remained active while in Greevil form but this has been patched rendering mass aura strategies to not be effective anymore.
Some heroes that are viable for The Greeviling according to my criteria include Warlock, Invoker, Necrolyte, Pudge and Mirana. Even with a mini game there are many areas to consider in order to play effectively.
In conclusion, The Greeviling is definitely a welcome addition to Dota 2. Similar to Diretide, it does not remain fresh after many plays like the traditional game mode. It is very fun for the first few games but after that it just becomes a grind for items. With these new game modes released by Valve, I am very excited for the release of a map editor. Valve, let the community make their own game modes as soon as possible!