The new patch is wild, with all the positive and maybe some negative connotations this word implies. As such, we are trying to be extremely cautious when discussing it so that we don’t unnecessarily invoke some misguided disenchantment from the community.
Bit by bit we will try to chew through and analyze all the changes introduced in 7.23, backing up our claims with more and more significant statistics where applicable. Today there is no need for stats, as we are going to be discussing the implications of the general changes to the game.
Everyone having their own courier is a pretty neat addition to the game. Courier control was a skill many experienced teams were developing over the years, but it is hard to call this experience engaging, meaningful or interesting. The mantra of “mid gets priority courier usage” never actually led to any interesting choices or gameplay interactions, with the exception of courier sniping.
The new system isn’t objectively better, though there are some ways to get an edge out of the courier in the late game. What it does however, is reduce the hassle and the frustration associated with courier usage in uncoordinated pubs.
In the end, we got a system that is significantly less complex, but can be slightly deeper in the late-game. That is something we wholeheartedly welcome, but, again, some edge cases in 70+ games on the professional scene might prompt some adjustments.
Teams getting Observer Wards for free is a huge boost to Support economy. The imbalances between cores and supports in terms of net worth were getting worse and worse and this really helps the latter to feel like they are a bigger part of the game.
Less gold spent means they get to actually build items. It also means that their field of options got significantly bigger and there is a higher chance better, game-winning item choices get to be made.
I once said that while cores are playing an Action-RPG, supports are playing Survival Horror and while it is still the case, they now have a chance to fight back. From a somewhat powerless observer, supports now have a chance to transition into an actual actor with high potential impact.
That does come with a price, however: supports now have a much higher degree of responsibility for the outcome of a match, so they can no longer simply provide a comfortable environment for their core in the early game, get wards up and consider their job done. Their individual skills and mechanics are going to be tested, so if you are a support main you will have to improve in areas formerly associated with core players. We would suggest using Cr1t- as a reference of what high-level support play should look like in the new patch, even on position five supports.
The increased level cap is pretty interesting on its own, since many heroes have pretty high attribute growth and can capitalize on that, but it is the ability to get access to all talents that takes the cake.
Some pretty obvious things include the fact that the XP gain talents are now even better than before. They can still be a risk, but we feel like in the majority of cases the benefits outweigh them. For the same reasons, but to a lesser extent, GPM talents also look much better. Especially the late-game, game-altering ones, such as the one on Puck.
Some less obvious things include a potential increase in value of heroes, which typically have two very strong choices at each level. Heroes like Medusa, who are generally planning on going late anyways, now get to have both +1000 mana and Split Shot modifiers in the same game.
It might look like it is going to be only applicable to edge cases of extremely long games, but the XP boost from outposts is pretty significant and should not be underestimated. In most cases the Outpost XP is going to give you at least a third of a level, which quickly adds up over the course of the game.
The average XPM for all heroes in the new patch has increased by roughly ~9%. Since the XP bounty for a killed hero is calculated based on their level and everyone is levelling up faster already, it is not hard to see how level 30 is reachable in a normal game.
We feel like the new patch is getting some flak it doesn’t deserve. Our preliminary stats show that even Tier Five items aren’t as overpowered or as obnoxious as we assumed. When it comes to Tier Four items, we’ve seen them get replaced in the later stages of the game by core players in the open qualifiers: having a free, random, unique effect is nice, but it is rarely the exact effect that you need in a particular game.
The rest of the patch is undeniably awesome. More objectives on the map, more freedom of expression for supports, less tedium and more choices to be made do make for a better experience. If you are somehow dissatisfied with a fairer redistribution of economy between the players in the game and more opportunities for everyone to grow… well, there is a currently popular internet phrase just for you.