Dota 2's vibrant esports scene was full of drama in 2022, including a fantastic The International 11 (TI11) and a couple of badly-timed team kicks, among other noteworthy moments.
But the game of Dota 2 itself has also undergone several significant shifts, with new items, creeps, and heroes introduced in the game along with several crucial mechanical changes.
As we look back on 2022, let's remember the biggest gameplay changes in Dota 2 implemented this year:
Primal Beast and Marci introduced to Captain's Mode
Two new heroes were introduced before TI11: Marci and Primal Beast. Marci made her debut in the DOTA: Dragon's Blood Netflix anime before being ported into the game in October 2021 while Primal Beast joined the game in patch 7.31 in February.
Of the two heroes, it was Marci who shook up the metagame the most in 2022. Due to the hero's incredibly versatile kit, Marci could be played as both a support and a core and ended up being the most contested hero at TI11.
After TI11, Marci received some needed nerfs and no longer dominates the meta like she used to. In the meantime, Primal Beast has slowly crept up in popularity and is currently being played in almost every role.
Wraith Pact, Revenant's Brooch, and Boots of Bearing added
In Dota 2 patch 7.31, three new items were added to the shop. They were Wraith Pact, Boots of Bearing, and Revenant's Brooch.
While Boots of Bearing found a niche on some heroes and Revenant's Brooch went mostly ignored, it was Wraith Pact that changed the meta.
Wraith Pact had a lot going for it. The item provided a fantastic aura that buffed allies' physical damage while granting them bonus armor. The summoned Totem also dealt 30 damage to enemies, disabling some abilities such as Blink Dagger.
Lastly, and most importantly, the Wraith Pact Totem reduced all incoming damage by 30%.
This gave the team with Wraith Pact a massive defensive advantage during team fights, allowing them to snowball their way to victory. Wraith Pact featured prominently in Tundra Esports' march to the Aegis of Champions at TI11, as they bought the item in five of their last six games at the tournament.
However, no king rules forever and IceFrog gave Wraith Pact a much-needed nerf that removed its damage reduction against magical abilities. Since then, the item has been ignored in the competitive scene.
Flagbearer Creeps enter the lanes
It's been over a decade since Dota 2 introduced the Siege Creep. For over a decade, players have been killing melee, range, and siege creeps on their quest to collect gold and experience.
It seemed like IceFrog was never going to introduce a new lane creep, until Dota 2 patch 7.32 came along in August and with it came a new combatant.
The flagbearer creep is a melee creep that provides nearby allies with a three-health regeneration aura along with a hefty gold bounty to all nearby enemy heroes when it dies.
The new creep changed the dynamic of the laning stage, as new and old players alike had to figure out whether it was worth it to go pull neutral camps or stay in the lane in order to contest the flagbearer?
Thanks to the new creep, Dota 2 has become more lane-focused in the early game, leading to a more action-packed experience for players and viewers alike.
The mid-lane small camp was removed
One of the biggest meta changes came from a tiny line in patch 7.32, which removed the small neutral camp next to the mid tier-one tower.
Before this change, the mid lane was dominated by heroes who could farm the small camp in between contesting lane creeps, resulting in the rise in popularity of heroes such as Keeper of the Light and Storm Spirit.
It didn't matter if these heroes couldn't win the lane, they could always retreat back to their small camp in order to catch up.
Since the removal of the small camp, the mid-lane has returned to being a skill-based match up, with tempo heroes being picked up and the winner of the laning stage dominating the map.
Otomo is a long-time gaming enthusiast and caster. He has been playing games since he was 10 and is the biggest Dota 2 fan.
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