Valve had unveiled the Dota 2 Reborn beta earlier today; showing off a new interface, engine and UI amongst other things. Next week, more detail will be given for Custom Games before finally releasing the beta for the public.
Firstly, the home screen has been given a complete overhaul that replaces the outdated menu for a very gorgeous, smooth and dynamic interface. The new dashboard will allow the user to toggle between the home screen, the ‘Heroes’, ‘Watch’, ‘Learn’ and ‘Custom Games’ tabs.
The home (and default upon starting Dota 2) screen will feature news, friend feeds, sales, user Dota 2 stats and other kinds of specially featured content such as custom games. Across each tab, the party will always be viewable, you will also be able to access chat to the party and start looking for a game of Dota any time you’d like no matter what tab you’re exploring or reading through.
Changing up matchmaking, players can now search around for games that people set up lobbies for. The lobbies can be set to public or private by the lobby leader. Users can also look into lobbies to see if their friends are playing in it or if they are LAN. Hopefully though, these games will not be able to use the prediction charms or the like that can be abused; but only time will tell.
To make it easier for friends to gather together, Dota 2 Reborn has revamped the invite system to be able to more easily invite friends, party chat while in the dashboard while waiting up for a match as well as during the loading screen without a hitch, enabling parties to be able to join together instead of having to disband and manually invite everyone again and finally allowing a notifier to allow friends to know if you’re available for a game or not.
Speaking of friends; if you’re into comparing yourself to your friends, or just want to have more information on how a person plays in general, you can look at a person’s stats by hovering over a player’s avatar. Revealing a miniprofile, you’ll get to see their favorite hero, treasured item, trophy, badges, wins and experience. The friend feed on the home page also allows you to see how well your friends go in matches such as most kills, game changing ultimates, death defying saves and the like. You’ll also get the chance to look into how well a person does with certain heroes according to the individual MMR of heroes. Finally, and I think it’s one of the most interesting additions, is a graph showing the playstyle of the person; showing an axis for fighting, farming, supporting, versatility and pushing, depending on the way they play in matches with their hero.
Chat has been improved vastly. The chat has expanded to being able to talk to people who are not playing Dota; a much simpler way than having to go through the old shift+tab interface. You can also place multiple chat rooms to put messages on the one chat as well as in their respective rooms for a quick access to messages sent. Further, chat rooms have been expanded to allow 5000 people at once to allow bigger communities to exist in game.
Reworked completely, the hero tab will allow users to browse through characters based on roles, most played, least played, etc. You can browse each hero and check out available sets and items that can be changed on the hero as well as being able to purchase them straight from the store. One of the more unique features now is a ‘Demo Hero’ button that allows you to test out the hero’s skills and last hitting speeds with creeps. The demo also allows the user to try out the cosmetic set to see what it looks like in game. A very interesting move and I think it’s fantastic that Valve’s allowing this feature.
To further emphasize spectating matches both amateur and professional; the watch tab had a make over to make it much more easier to watch games. You now have screens when you browse through matches showing who is playing what hero, and a map showing hero movement at the time. You can then instantly hop in and see in real time what is going on in game. You can check out the match in 4 ways: Inline stream, third party, steam and In-game.
Steam is also combining with DotaTV to provide streams that are 1080p at 60 fps and on top of that, making sure to provide stats and graphs detailing the players, the heroes they use and other useful and interesting statistics. The player still exists for when you’re watching a recorded match. Further, featured tournaments will be shown in explicit detail including the brackets, upcoming games, casters and all that jazz.
You’ll also have the ability bookmark matches for later watching as well as sharing the replays with friends as well. There’s also an option to put in descriptions so when you share, your friends will get an idea on what happens in the match; enabling people to discuss and enjoy watching and sharing.
To push out the last tab before we get a good look at Custom Games next week, the Learn Tab adds on to the old tutorial that was slowly being implemented by Valve. The “existing tutorials were good for teaching Dota’s mechanics, they weren’t great at helping new players understand why Dota is awesome”, and for this reason, the tab now also includes alongside the tutorial with Dragon Knight to understand simple mechanics. These are generally for people who have no idea about the genre. The other option is the guided bot matches which allows new people and an experienced friend to participate in a full game of Dota but with the new player given educational detail without being bland and overwhelming.
Overall, Dota 2 Reborn is an extremely polished UI with so many new features from the old outdated hub. There’s a lot to be covered and seen regarding what to expect. But I think the best way to deal with this is to actually try it first hand. I can’t wait for the open beta to be released, and I can’t wait to just mess around and enjoy spectating matches while waiting for my match making to kick in.