'Dota 2' Fans Divided On Temporary Changes To Ranked All Pick Hero Selection

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If you’re thinking about taking time off from Dota 2 after Valve’s bizarre and unexplained decision to randomly ban 25 heroes in ranked All Pick, you aren’t alone. Fans have been flocking to popular online destinations, like the Dota 2 subreddit, to question the change after it debuted on Wednesday afternoon. But not everyone is upset. In fact, some Dota 2 players are surprisingly positive about the change, even if it means All Pick probably needs a new name.

First, a bit of background. Dota 2 players have a plethora of matchmaking options. There are the obvious choices, like whether to play ranked or unranked, but the possibilities don’t stop there. Players must choose between a variety of match types -- the rulesets don’t change, just the process for picking heroes -- like All Pick or Captains Mode. The former gives access to the entire roster, after an initial round of bans, while the latter tasks a member of each team with choosing picks and bans for the whole squad. There are also modes that automatically whittle down the pool of heroes available to each team. You can even fight against a team of AI-controlled bots, with AI or human teammates. But the game’s latest patch makes a pretty major change to All Pick; one that many argue disrupts the point of the queue.

On Wednesday, Valve published a patch that drastically reduces the number of heroes available in All Pick. It’s a substantial change, one with enough impact you’d expect a lengthy explanation from the Dota 2 team. Here’s what we got:

As an experimental change for a few days, All Pick will now have 25 heroes randomly removed from the hero pool at the start of the draft before the ban phase. This change only affects Ranked Matchmaking.

The change only affects ranked matchmaking -- and yes, that includes International ranked -- but it’s already dividing the Dota 2 community into three distinct camps. Some welcome the change, hoping the random bans will lead to a reduction in “hero spammers,” people who insist on playing the same hero in every game. Hero spammers are frequently so insistent on getting their favorite fighter that they’ll threaten to take every rune and/or feed the other team. It’s a group many would happily see inconvenienced, if not completely driven out of the ranked queue.

The second group is mostly just here for jokes. There are lots of suggestions to rename All Pick, none of which are particularly clever, and one redditor was quick to highlight the fact that players can still nominate auto-banned heroes during the ban phase. But it hasn’t taken long for a third group to take issue with the changes. Reasons run the gamut. Some are self-proclaimed hero spammers, upset they can’t ride Invoker and a handful of other hard carries up the ranked ladder. Some assume the change is a half-assed attempt to force more diverse picks without rebalancing the roster. Dozens have been happy to point out the change makes All Pick feel a bit too similar to Random Draft. And there’s no shortage of players who say they plan to avoid ranked All Pick until it reverts back to normal.

The good news, for everyone upset by the temporary tweak, is that things will go back to normal relatively soon. We don’t know how long the “experimental change” will remain in effect or what Valve hopes to learn during that time. But there should still be plenty of time for the community to work on its International ranked MMR without having to worry about their favorite heroes being caught up in pre-selection bans. Let’s just hope everything goes back to normal in the next few weeks, because my International MMR isn’t going to improve itself while I wait.

Dota 2 is currently available on Windows and OS X.

Be sure to check back with iDigitalTimes and follow Scott on Twitter for more Dota 2 news in 2017 and however long Valve supports Dota 2 in the years ahead.

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