Dota 2 New Frontiers is basically a full sequel, and that’s awesome

Dota 2 patch 7.33, New Frontiers, adds a new map and hero type to Valve's MOBA, with gameplay changes so extensive it might as well be a completely new game.

Dota 2 is dead; long live Dota 2. Gameplay update 7.33, called Dota 2 New Frontiers, is a full sequel to the long-standing MOBA game in everything but name. With a new map, a fourth hero type, and vast gameplay balance changes made across all heroes and items, reading Valve’s latest set of Dota 2 patch notes might keep you busy through the whole weekend. Fortunately, we’ve pulled out the key takeaways right here.

The absolutely gargantuan Dota 2 patch 7.33 is such a complete overhaul that even Valve suggests reading the patch notes “slowly, over the course of the next few weeks, so you don’t get overstimulated.” Given what a big game Dota 2 already is, patch notes are inherently large by necessity. But this goes beyond that; any one of the individual gameplay updates by itself would be a game-altering change, yet Valve’s dropped them all at once.

Dota 2 new map layout

Up front is the introduction of a complete Dota 2 map rework that makes the playable area 40% bigger, with vast changes to jungles and mobs. To help you get around, two gates have been placed by the front safe lane towers, allowing you to instantly jump from bottom lane to top. Nearby, on the brink of the river, you’ll find Lotus Pools – fountains that periodically spawn fruit that can be eaten for a mana and HP boost, or combined to make increasingly bigger fruit with more potent effects.

Dota 2 New Frontiers - a tabletop map showing off all the new features in Dota 2 patch 7.33

Dota 2’s biggest, beefiest monster, Roshan, has sold up his river home and now owns two new properties squeezed right in the northwest and southeast corners of the map. He’s also been working out, and will be tougher to take down than before. His rewards have been reworked, too; Cheese will drop on his second death rather than third, while the third is dependent on which pit he’s currently in, offering up either a Refresher Shard or a Scepter.

Roshan’s gym is apparently open to all, as well, because Dota 2 neutral creeps now scale and get stronger over time. That’ll make them harder to take down, but also more potent in the hands of anyone who controls them. I can already hear Chen players licking their lips in anticipation. There are 12 new creep camps to discover, too, so get hunting.

Delve deeper into the jungle and you’ll find Tormentors – powerful neutral creeps that will likely require your whole team to kill, and get stronger every time you take them down for their bounty of Aghanim’s Shards. You’ll also find Watchers, effectively neutral wards which grant vision for seven minutes when activated or until sabotaged by the enemy. Defeating Roshan will immediately turn all Watchers to your side, offering a huge intel boost.

Two new Outposts have been added, with the originals also moved to new locations. You’ll be able to uncover two new Rune types – Wisdom grants a tasty experience bonus, while Shield offers 50% of your max health as a temporary barrier, making them perfect for tower diving. Finally, back doors called Defender’s Gates have been added to both bases, giving defenders a sneaky way in and out that can’t be used by the attacking team.

Dota 2 New Frontiers - the Lotus Pool, a fountain filled with purple, grape-like fruits

Dota 2 Universal heroes

You didn’t think that “finally” marked the end of the full patch notes, did you? We’re just getting started. A fourth hero attribute type has been introduced – Universal heroes. Standing at the middle of the Strength, Agility, and Intelligence triangle, these neutrally aligned heroes gain stats at an exactly equal rate as they level. Inspired by the fourth spirit brother, Void Spirit, this new attribute type has been applied to a wealth of heroes across the roster.

Void Spirit himself is one, of course, but he’s joined by 30 more members of the Dota 2 roster who are now shifting allegiance over to the new type. These include the likes of Abaddon, Batrider, Broodmother, Lycan, Sand King, Windranger, and everyone’s favourite chaos-causer, Techies.

Ogre Magi, meanwhile, has abandoned all pretence of Intelligence and become a Strength hero. Newcomer Muerta now has Aghanim’s Scepter and Shard upgrades, Clinkz creates hordes of flaming skeleton archers, Alchemist’s Greevil’s Greed has become an innate talent, and Medusa is more fragile at match start than ever.

Arc Warden’s Tempest Double is no longer an exact clone of himself – it comes with distinct ‘Tempest’ variants of all his abilities, which act differently in ways that are both better and worse. As if that wasn’t confusing enough, the abilities will be flipped when he plays on Dire side, giving actual Arc Warden the Tempest abilities and his Double the regular ones. Fortunately for your brain, Valve notes “this condition is temporary and will go away once Zet adapts to the new paradigm.”

Dota 2 - graphic featuring Venomancer, Phoenix, and Io to demonstrate the new hero type

Dota 2 item changes

With seven new standard items and seven neutral items joining the pool, there’s no shortage of build mixups. Instead of the standard neutral item drop, creeps will now drop a token that gives you a choice from five options, so they will no longer be something that’s automatically handed to the carry but rather spread out over the whole team as everyone gets a chance to pick up something useful for themselves.

Black King Bar is one of the most iconic and recognisable Dota 2 items. Yes, you’ve guessed it, it’s changing. Activating BKB now applies a basic dispel and grants you 50% magic resistance and debuff immunity, as well as immunity from Pure and Reflected damage types. However, once the BKB effect wears off, any remaining debuffs on your character will apply their effects for the remaining duration, so watch out.

I make that Dota 5, by my count

Elsewhere, Valve has “reduced the duration of almost every disable in the game,” something I almost can’t believe I’m writing as a mere footnote to an article. The ‘Kill formula’ has been reworked to encourage early-game ganking, while lane creep farming will become less profitable as the game progresses due to lower gold scaling.

Matchmaking has also seen an overhaul through a new algorithm called ‘Glicko’ that Valve says “lets us better factor a player’s Rank Confidence into our calculations, resulting in more accurate decisions about Rank gains and losses.” At Immortal rank, players will no longer be put into pre-made teams; two assigned captains will now draft their roster from the other eight players. School flashbacks are imminent.

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Personally I’m very glad to see that Valve is still willing to make such sweeping, bold changes to a game that’s now a decade old (ignoring the prior history of the DotA Warcraft 3 mod, which it essentially evolved directly from). It shows a willingness to not rest on its laurels and coast, instead demanding your attention and simultaneously giving newcomers a brief window to hop in while all the players with thousands of hours logged are also confused.

You can read the full Dota 2 7.33 patch notes here… if you dare.

If you’ve ever wanted to give Dota 2 a try, you might as well take the chance now – no-one else is going to know what’s going on either. Take a look at the best Dota 2 heroes for beginners to get started, and learn about all the fun you can have with Dota 2 custom games. Alternatively, we’ve conclusively decided the best multiplayer games on PC in 2023.