The bad news is that there’s no new heroes this week, because, as Valve stated in the update last week that brought us Visage, Keeper of the Light and Nyx Assassin, we’re not getting any more until after the International takes place. The spoilsports. The good news is that in lieu of new and shiny heroes to play with, they’re tightening up the features for tournament modes so that when the International does roll around, we’ll be in the best position to watch it.
And to showcase the new changes, the Defense will be free to everyone to watch this weekend starting tonight.
The first major change is to how the pre-game looks. Whereas before you’d just see what the players saw, with the entire hero roster available to pick and ban from, instead now you’ll be given a pretty slick presentation that focuses on showing you the timeline of whose turn it is, what they’re picking, and what the bans are down the side. What’s especially interesting is that now there’s space down either side for banner adverts, which are currently advertising the International. With tournaments being a paid-for venture in Dota 2, it makes sense to advertise to the spectating public. Captive audience and all that.
The other change is that you can now rate matches, both live and replayed, with a simple thumbs up or down. These ratings then get shown alongside each match, so if you’re just browsing wanting something exciting to watch, you can do it based purely on how many people liked a match. I’d imagine, Valve being the megalomaniac statisticians that they are, they’re also looking at what exactly it is about matches that makes them good and exciting, and what makes others boring.
So it’s all gone a bit YouTube. Let’s just hope they don’t add a comments system. I’d rather not see a hundred ‘BLACK HOOOOOOLE!’s under every match with Enigma in it.