MDL Disneyland marks the end of the patch 7.21 era. There are still some qualifiers to be played for Epicenter, but next week we are finally leaving the patch behind. It was a good patch with a decent variety of heroes, but it doesn’t mean it was perfect. Here is our top 3 wishes for changes introduced in 7.22.
Marksmanship procs fully ignore armor of the target and you can think of it as a kind of a critical hit, since it indirectly multiplies Drow Ranger’s attack damage. Attacking a target with 16 armor (~50% damage resistance) with a marksmanship attack effectively doubles the damage dealt by Drow Ranger. Attacking a target with 30 armor (~66.6% damage resistance) triples the damage output. For a hero with ~42.5 armor (~75% damage resistance) the pain is quadrupled.
Most agility heroes currently popular in the meta have upwards of 35 armor in the later stages of the game. Most Strength carries also have at least 20 by the 25-minute mark. We can’t stress it enough—2x, 3x or even 4x crits with a 40% proc chance are not alright. That is even without taking into account the extra 120 physical damage on proc. Even Phantom Assassin rarely has access to so much physical burst damage.
The highest we’ve seen armor go in MDL Disneyland was on a Morphling and he had 64 armor at one point in the game, corresponding to 83.79% physical damage mitigation. Drow Ranger attacking this Morphling would essentially crit for 5.17x and deal 120 extra damage on top, with a 40% chance of proc.
That corresponds to almost 2.7xAD expected damage from the hero on all attacks even if we disregard the 120 extra damage, where AD is attack damage. Jugg’s crit expected damage value is 1.28xAD and PA’s crit with +5% talent expected damage value is 1.7xAD, for comparison. In real-life scenarios all of it gets infinitely more complicated, but we remain absolutely sure that Drow needs a nerf.
Riki, Tinker and Techies were the only three heroes who made no tournament appearances throughout the whole patch 7.21 DPC period. We are certainly not mad enough to wish for Techies buffs, but Tinker and Riki both could use some love.
Tinker didn’t change much in the last several patches, but the map and the game did. The ability to have BoT’s and TP’s at the same time made Tinker split-push a lot weaker and he can longer stall the game as easily as he could previously.
Moreover, the hero currently doesn’t fit the meta too well—mids in the current patch are typically the tempo-setters for their team. They are space-creators, who use their level advantage to hunt squishier enemy heroes. Tinker, on the other hand, just wants to farm until he has at least BoTs and a Dagger. This is too slow right now and the payoff isn’t as massive, as there are a lot of tanky heroes in the meta.
Perhaps extra stats for laning or some early talents reworks could make the hero feel slightly more at home in current Dota. Or maybe slight price increases for items like Pipe of Insight and Hood of Defiance could bring the hero back, along with slight tankiness nerfs.
Riki on the other hand, suffers from lack of identity. You don’t necessarily want him as your position four support or position three offlaner, since he offers very little in terms of lane presence and gank potential early in the game. As a Carry he is mostly outclassed in terms of both DPS, Utility and reliability by most other carry heroes. He does decently well in pubs in his current state, but doesn’t seem to entice professional players.
Perhaps this is for the best—not all heroes must be viable competitively and buffs to Riki to make him ready for the pro-scene could result in him running rampant in pubs. If there are changes to the hero, we hope they will focus on making him better in one role, while making him worse in others. We love flexibility in heroes and cherish this aspect of Dota, but Riki seems like a hero who is one small buff away from completely ruining lower level pubs.
7.07 changed the deny XP from 70% to 25% and ever since then Dota has been gradually evolving into dual lane meta with the laning stage becoming more and more important. We are firm believers in the fact that all stages of the game in Dota should be important, but none of them should be as dominant as the current laning stage.
Over the last couple of major patches deny XP went back up to 35% and it is still too little. Dota is a game about both strategy and execution, but right now it feels like in the majority of cases better execution will always beat the better strategy.
One could argue that picking lane-dominating heroes is, in fact, a part of the strategy and they would be correct, but the current reality is that many heroes in the game are hard-countered by other heroes not because of how their abilities interact with each other and how one hero can outplay the other through better spell usage, but through sheer stats. In our opinion Hero A shouldn’t make the opposing Hero B completely irrelevant for the first 15 minutes because they have 10 more damage and 2 more armor. Sure, Hero A should get an economic advantage and should absolutely be rewarded for having better laning presence, but it shouldn’t also mean that Hero B has no game at all.
The last wish is probably going to be somewhat controversial within the community, especially given how most dedicated players frequently win mostly through mechanical skill advantage, but personally, we would really like to see riskier picks, lane compositions and the ability for professional players to draft some interesting combinations of heroes, without fear of getting stomped in lanes.