The latest Dota 2 update is aiming to make the initial experience more friendly for new players, both in terms of mechanical accessibility, as well as smoothing out interactions with its famously competitive and toxic playerbase.
Saying that Dota 2 is a little hard to get into at this stage would be a gross understatement. With 113 playable heroes, countless items and build options, reliance on knowledge of the game's RNG systems, a fiercely competitive and often toxic community, and more layers of metagame than a match of zero gravity chess boxing, Dota 2 is desperately in need of a standardised set of training wheels.
Valve is addressing the issue with the latest Dota 2 update by restricting initially playable heroes down to a select 20 choices, described as the most n00b friendly by the development team, for a player's first 25 matches. Changes to the matchmaking system should make sure that new players are paired with more experienced users that have a consistently high behaviour score.
"Some of the most satisfying moments in Dota are found in the first stages of learning the game, as you begin to see intricate strategies take shape in the battles around you. However, there have also been some issues that caused unnecessary challenges for new players in the past. With today’s update we’re introducing two features designed to help new players face as few barriers as possible to enjoying Dota", was part of the official announcement by the Dota 2 team at Valve.
Dota 2 has suffered a mild decline to its average player count since the start of 2017, slipping down by about 100,000 average monthly players. The game is still secure on the top of Steam's most played games list, but making sure newcomers have a more pleasant experience might go a long way towards making sure it stays that way.