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Valve’s Dota 2 summer update boosts your looks and lowers toxicity

The Dota 2 summer update is here from Valve with an overhauled armory for your cosmetics, new behavior tools to stop toxic players, and a graphics boost.

Dota 2 summer update - The Turstarkuri Pilgrim skin for Anti-Mage, with flowing blue and purple hair.

The Dota 2 summer update is upon us. Valve has released its latest overhaul to its fantasy MOBA game, giving it a new look for the season. The Dota 2 summer client update includes a brand-new armory that will now handle all your various cosmetic items, along with acting as the place to buy and sell them. There are also new tools aimed at putting a stop to the most toxic players, and a rather lovely graphics update.

Dota’s player base is its biggest blessing and its greatest curse. Having a great game with some people who are there to have fun, or to try their hardest to win, is an experience so satisfying that almost no other game can reach the same highs. But getting even one bad apple can turn the bunch rotten, and sour the whole experience in ways that make you question why you even bother queuing up.

Fortunately, Valve is deploying some new tools to help. These include ‘personalized matchmaking,’ where players you commend are more likely to show up in your future matches, while those you dislike post-game will be less likely to appear again. There’s a new reporting system, which you can use at any time with no cap. You’ll be able to report a player on either team for “toxic chat, toxic voice, smurfing, griefing, cheating, or role abuse.”

Dota 2 summer client update - the new reporting screen, showing successful actions taken.

Valve also says it’ll now actually let you know when a report you’ve submitted has been actioned, and the player that was punished as a result. This action can even take place during a game – in the case of a ‘toxic chat’ report, the person’s chat will be analyzed in real-time and, if they’re found to be guilty, they’ll have their voice and chat muted for the remainder of the game, with other communication such as pings and the chat wheel placed on a 30-second cooldown.

Along with the current ‘behavior score’ assigned to all players, a new ‘communication score’ will “reflect the quality of in-game chat and speech interactions.” Your scores are also set to have greater impact than before; if your behavior rating falls too low you can lose features such as “post-game item drops, game pausing, and ranked play.” Falling too low in communication will see you hit with automatic in-game mutes.

The new Dota 2 armory is a unified interface designed to handle “every cosmetic item in Dota.” You’ll be able to browse through every cosmetic item available to your hero, along with all the ones you don’t, and will be able to do all your buying, selling, previewing, and equipping from one place. There are some handy sorting tools, and duplicate items will now stack to compress your inventory size.

Dota 2 summer client update - The new-look Armory, filled with all your cosmetic items.

If you’re demoing a hero, you can test out various item combos together, and a global item section lets you handle all your non-hero cosmetics such as map terrain, couriers, wards, and neutral unit replacements. Obviously, the benefit of this for Valve is that players are likely to be more tempted to buy new cosmetics – I’d previously all but given up on changing my hero looks because it was too much busywork – but an improved system is always welcome.

Finally, updated map rendering has made a wealth of small but subtle changes that add up to some really nice visuals. Particle lighting now reflects off terrain and heroes more visibly, shadows have been spruced up, and the in-game contrast has been upped in darker areas of the map. You can compare the changes with sliding images in Valve’s full blog post, and they certainly add up to a pretty noticeable improvement.

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If all this has you tempted to jump back in but not sure that you’re ready for the real deal yet, the best Dota 2 custom games let you get back in the groove with all manner of fun, alternative ways to play. Make sure you’re caught up on all the best Dota 2 heroes as well, and you’ll be ready in no time.