The International 5 – Part XIII – My thoughts on Dota 2 Reborn

Dota 2 Reborn is the updated client for Dota 2. It’s the same game as the base Dota 2, but with a new UI and HUD and with custom games. However, it’s only in beta. While it is intended to be the exact same game as Dota 2, there are a myriad of glitches, some known but the vast majority are still being discovered by the community, and herein is my problem with it, because there is literally no reason to play Dota 2 reborn as it is, for the glitches, a worse game.

They’re nothing game breaking, but in a game as complex as Dota 2, and one which requires so much user input for a wide variety of things, people experience a few minor glitches each game. However, it is complex in part because it is about precision. One of the most annoying things is that, frequently, you will press for your hero to do something and it just won’t go off. Then you lose the teamfight and your team blames you. It’s ridiculous and, as everyone has played the better, working Dota 2, it seems stupid to even bother. This is why, for about 99% of people, playing in the old client is what they want to keep doing.

However, Valve needed beta testers. People were happy to play the custom games in Reborn, which is arguably its only selling point, but they didn’t want to play Dota 2 games, and that sucked for Valve because, in order to make Reborn the equal of the old Dota 2 client they need people to find the glitches so that they can fix them. How they did this was via the TI5 compendium.

Leveling up your Compendium has been notoriously difficult without shelling out money. If you wanted to you could upgrade your compendium to infinity and beyond with infinite cash, but those who actually bought the level 1 Compendium have been left feeling slightly hard done by. The level 1 compendium is, on the whole, good value for money when comparing it to other items in the Dota 2 shop. It gets you one of everything that Valve releases linked to the Compendium, however, it also tells you that you can get an incredibly large amount more by leveling up your compendium. It’s not consumer friendly and I think that, if Valve do this with their newly announced Majors tournaments, and TI6 next year, the money for them will dry up faster than they think.

But back to Reborn. They added 2 achievements to the Compendium, each of which rewarding you with 5 levels. Win 5 games in Dota 2 Reborn and win 15 games in Dota 2 Reborn. Moreover, the challenges that are released for everyone, which you can complete at your leisure and you can trade for cosmetic items and sets, would gain 50% more rewards if you completed them in Reborn.

While this is, I’m sure, fantastic for Valve and is giving them lots of feedback, it is see-through for everyone with a mental age greater than single digits, and what’s more is that it has turned Dota 2 Reborn into a completely unenjoyable experience. At the start of every game you see who, out of the 10 players, owns a compendium. It is beyond rare to see anything less than 9 people with them in an average game of Reborn. Everyone is playing it just for the challenges and just for the achievement, and if and when you lose, because it’s par for the course in Dota 2 that you lose occasionally, you feel like you have wasted your time. I am currently on 13/15 victories and, after I get that 15th, I’m uninstalling Reborn.

There’s no quicker way to garner negative press than to forcibly integrate something like, for example, Google Plus into YouTube. Valve have subverted that negative press by baiting us with a carrot while giving us the stick, and what’s more is that they’re already making loads of money from the people who are playing Reborn without wanting to.

Just this week they released 2 treasures with new Immortals in them. Each on is more expensive than a regular treasure, at £2.69 or $4. I thought they were incredibly underwhelming and I’m not going to buy them. If they had been a normal price then I would have considered getting them but, whenever I look at them, I see rejected Immortal treasures that weren’t good enough to come packaged with the Compendium. I thought that one or two of them looked quite cool, but it was in the same way that I felt that one or two of the other immortals looked a bit like an overflowing bin that’s been out in the sun for 2 weeks. Compared to those around them, some will stand out against the others. Some people seem to think they’re better than those that came with the Compendium but that’s just a difference of opinion. My biggest sticking point, as mentioned, is the price, and yet again they bait people into buying them with the achievement of buying one of each treasure, netting 2 levels for each one bought, or buying all 5 to get all the now immortals, getting 5 levels for each completed set.

They’re charging that much because they can rather than because they’re worth that much. It’s the same theory they use with the Secret Shop at each International. Everything I’ve looked at from the TI5 Secret Shop, which is basically the physical retail part of the Dota 2 store which sells merchandise, looks fairly good. I like the badges and I would have probably liked a plushie or two because I thought they looked quite good as ornaments, but it was all just too damn expensive. Of course, if you’re spending $1000s to watch the biggest esports competition in the world then I guess Valve have figured out that, 1. you really like Dota 2 and 2. that you have quite a bit of disposable income for Dota 2, but you are being duped. The plushies that I mentioned are $15 and contain one of the new immortal treasures. So, for £10, I consider that to be a reasonable offering, however, the pins that I quite liked come in packs of 5. 4 regular and 1 rare one in each pack, and again they come with one of the new treasures that have been released. They are $45, or about £30, and that leaves me incredulous. More incredulous, however, is how much money some of the players spent at the Secret Shop. Mushi, arguably the most famous and well established mid-player of the East, spent $1600, and I’m not stating that just because he went mad and bought everything, that wasn’t even close to the most. There were a few players who spent double that and, while I think the stuff they bought it high quality, I don’t think there’s much that can justify the prices Valve want you to pay for a lot of the things surrounding TI5.

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