Periodically Valve celebrate a time of year with a Dota 2 event. However, this time around Valve have let themselves down.
Chinese New Year sees the return of the year beast, in a new smaller format that allows it to join the ranks of teams in regular styled games. While it must be said the game mode itself is no worse than previous events, the way it is designed and handled leaves a lot to be desired.
Dota 2 players have three main gripes when it comes to the year beast mode: the inability to play anything but the game mode when it’s live, the inevitable server crash and its pay to win nature.
Unlike previous events which occur alongside the regular game modes the year beast event has short 10 or 20 minute windows where only it is playable. Despite being only short windows, many fans are keen to point out that if they don’t wish to play the mode they are unable to play other game modes at that time; stopping them playing the game. As a result of randomly spaced event times, when the mode is available the servers are flooded with players. Inevitably this has led to multiple server crashes with the Dota 2 network breaking and disconnecting players already within games.
The biggest issue is that there is a pay to win feel to the entire game mode. It is perfectly possible to both play and win without making any purchases however it can put you at a disadvantage if the opposing team has purchased additional ability points; used for upgrades or skills on the formidable year beast. To make it clear, every player starts with a base number of points unless they have purchase additional points from the Dota 2 store. As one of the world’s largest Free to Play games player are right to worry when even a slight amount of pay to win is added to their game.
Hopefully, Valve will learn from the mass feedback that has flooded the internet since the modes release. For future events going back to the old formula of an event game mode available at all times, alongside regular modes, would suit gamers better; especially if the mode is balanced so those who don’t pay have an equal chance of winning.