The highly-anticipated 7.29 update for Dota 2 was finally released on Saturday (10 April), bringing with it a new hero — Valora the Dawnbreaker — alongside a reshaped map, a load of gameplay balance changes, and more.
Read on for a breakdown of the biggest changes in the patch:
A new hero: Valora the Dawnbreaker
— Wykrhm Reddy (@wykrhm) April 9, 2021
The highlight of the new update is undoubtedly the arrival of Dota 2's 121st hero, Valora the Dawnbreaker. She is a melee strength hero that uses a warhammer to damage or stun groups of enemies as well as empower her attacks to both deal more damage and heal her nearby allies.
Her ultimate also allows her to aid her allies regardless of where they are, using her cosmic powers to travel to any point on the map then damage and stun any enemies once she arrives.
The 7.29 update also reshapes the map, giving each side's outpost a more prominent position in their respective primary jungle areas, moving ward cliffs, and adjusting the positioning of neutral camps and various paths around the map.
Each side's outpost now sits directly in the middle of their respective primary jungle areas and with vision over the 'triangle' of all-important neutral creep camps. Outposts have also been changed given their more prominent positions in the updated map. They no longer give bonus experience every 10 minutes, instead granting that bonus every minute.
Most of the lanes have also been made narrower, with more areas around the tier two towers being covered by clumps of trees. The prominent ward spots for the bottom and top lanes have also closer to each side's primary jungle areas.
The official blog post for the update includes a helpful slider that allows you to easily check every change made to the map. You can check it out here.
Attribute Bonus returns
The old Attribute Bonus mechanic that was removed in the game's 7.00 version makes a return in the 7.29 update.
The new Attribute Bonus can be learned every time a hero levels up for up to seven times. It can be levelled in any order by clicking on the Talent Tree circle and will be automatically learned if there are no other options available. With the return of this old mechanic, reaching Level 30 no longer grants all remaining talents. Instead, Levels 27-30 will grant the option to learn the remaining talents.
Free Town Portal Scrolls upon death
Lead developer Icefrog continues to hammer the importance of carrying Town Portal Scrolls in the 7.29 update, as heroes are now given a free one every time they die.
However, heroes now start the game with only one free Town Portal Scroll instead of the three free ones they previously had. In addition, the gold cost for Town Portal Scrolls has been increased from 90 to 100.
The 7.29 update also reworks runes, adding a new 'Water Power Rune' and adjusting Bounty Runes.
The Water Power Rune spawns at both Power Rune locations only at the 2 and 4-minute marks. It will be primarily used to add parity to the laning phase for midlaners, as it can be used to refill bottles when they don't get the Power Rune. It instantly restores 100 health and 80 mana when used.
Starting at 6 minutes, the normal Power Runes will spawn as usual on just one of the two possible locations and Water Power Runes will no longer be available.
Meanwhile, Bounty Runes no longer spawn in the river and their gold bonus has been changed to be provided automatically over time. They now also spawn every 3 minutes in the each side's jungle area, reducing the total number of Bounty Runes spawned at every interval from four to two. However, four Bounty Runes will still spawn at the start of the game in the respective jungle areas as well as power rune locations.
In addition, Bounty Runes no longer disappear whenever new ones spawn and will now spawn alongside the previous one if they aren't picked up.
Item changes: Necronomicon, Royal Jelly removed and more
The 7.29 update has removed the Necronomicon from the game, much to the delight of support players and chagrin of Lycan and Beastmaster players. With the removal of the Necronomicon, the Helm of the Dominator should now be the must-have item for players looking to field an army of summons and controlled creeps.
Losing your Helm of the Dominator creep is no longer as punishing, as it now only gives a 100 gold bounty instead of the 200 it did before. In addition, the upgraded Helm of the Dominator, now called the Helm of the Overlord, allows its wielder to dominate up to two units, with each giving a 150 gold bounty.
The Royal Jelly neutral item has also been removed, which also removes any squabbles between core players who think they deserve to get its bonus.
Some of the more popular items from the previous patch, namely Battle Fury, Abyssal Blade, and Bottle, have also been nerfed. Meanwhile, Divine Rapier and Black King Bar have been rescaled. Divine Rapier no longer grants True Strike but had its bonus damage increased to 350. The duration of Black King Bar's magic immunity active has been rescaled from 10/9/8/7/6/5 seconds to 9/8/7/6 seconds.
Support items have also been made more powerful and affordable in this patch. The self regeneration bonus for HP or mana for items like Mekansm, Pipe of Insight, Veil of Discord, and Vladmir's Offering have been improved.
Meanwhile, Solar Crest now requires a Medallion, Crown, Wind Lace, and a 900 gold recipe to build. While its stat bonuses have been reduced, it is now 1,150 gold cheaper and much more affordable for supports. Force Staff now also requires a Fluffy Hat to build instead of a Ring of Regeneration, with its health regeneration bonus changed to a flat health bonus because of the tweak. This should also be a boon for support players, who can now build something off of an early Fluffy Hat pickup.
A number of other items also received tweaks to their gold costs and other bonuses.
Hero updates: Aghanim's Shard reworks
The hero changes in the 7.29 update primarily focus on the Aghanim's Shard bonuses for heroes.
Anti-Mage, Bane, Batrider, Crystal Maiden, Dazzle, Death Prophet, Grimstroke, Invoker, Keeper of the Light, Legion Commander, Lion, Luna, Meepo, Necrophos, Phoenix, Shadow Fiend, Skywrath Mage, Slark, Tiny, Treant Protector, Troll Warlord, and Ursa all had their Aghanim's Shard abilities reworked.
Meanwhile, Abaddon, Arc Warden, Axe, Beastmaster, Bounty Hunter, Clockwerk, Dark Seer, Disruptor, Dragon Knight, Drow Ranger, Ember Spirit, Faceless Void, Huskar, Io, Jakiro, Kunkka, Lich, Lifestealer, Lina, Lone Druid, Magnus, Naga Siren, Night Stalker, Ogre Magi, Omniknight, Outworld Destroyer, Phantom Assassin, Pudge, Pugna, Queen of Pain, Razor, Riki, Rubick, Sand King, Slardar, Snapfire, Sniper, Techies, Timbersaw, Tinker, Tusk, Underlord, Vengeful Spirit, Viper, Visage, Void Spirit, Warlock, Windranger, Winter Wyvern, and Zeus all had their Aghanim's Shard abilities receive tweaks.
Hoodwink now also has her own Aghanim's Scepter and Shard bonuses.
Aghanim's Scepter grants Hoodwink a new ability called Hunter's Boomerang, which allows her to toss a boomerang in an arc at a target enemy which returns to her once it hits its target. The boomerang will deal 350 damage as it passes through or hits enemies, and apply a Hunter's Mark that causes affected enemies to be slowed by 20%, take 25% more spell damage, and have 25% reduced status resistance for 7 seconds. It has a 125 manacost and an 18 second cooldown.
Aghanim's Shard also grants Hoodwink a new active ability called Decoy. It allows Hoodwink to send a decoy illusion with Scurry to a target location. When the illusion is attacked or hit by a targeted ability, it is destroyed and plants a tree in its place that applies a lesser Bushwhack to enemy heroes around it. The ability has a 50 mana cost and 60 second cooldown, with the illusion lasting for 12 seconds.
Hoodwink has also been made available in captain's mode, meaning we can now see her in pro games, though she has also received an overall nerf to her kit to balance her for competitive play.
Broodmother has also received an ability rework with her Incapacitating Bite passive being removed. Insatiable Hunger is no longer her ultimate and has been replaced by Spawn Spiderlings while Silken Bola, which used to be an Aghanim's Shard ability, is now one of her basic abilities.
Meanwhile, some of the more popular heroes from the previous patch such as Alchemist, Monkey King, and Morphling have received considerable nerfs. Heroes that rely a lot on summons like Lycan, Beastmaster, and Enigma have also received indirect nerfs from the removal of Necronomicon. Various cast range and movement speed talents and abilities have also been replaced or toned down.
For the full list of changes that came with the 7.29 update, check the official update page here.
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