Valve’s latest update for Dota 2 which is scheduled to launch this coming Monday, September 23rd will add an unexpected “new” feature to the MOBA, LAN support. The addition marks the first major MOBA to add support since the original Dota, which used the built in LAN functionality provided by the Warcraft 3 engine.
Players will now be able to socialize with nine other friends in person as they play Dota 2 without the need to be connected to the internet. While the necessity for dedicated LAN support has indeed dwindled over the past decade due to increased availability of the Internet, the addition will primarily benefit tournament organizers. Organizers will now be able to orchestrate tournaments without the need for a robust internet connection to facilitate the matches.
In the past, major tournaments for games like Starcraft 2 have been hampered due to unstable connections and the inheerent complexities of connectying multiple clients to an off site server through a small group of IP addresses. Long story short, it’s no picnic. The addition of LAN could also pave the way for custom map modes rumored to be an upcoming feature for Dota 2, although no official details have been announced. More on that here.
The First Blood update will also add Captain’s Draft which lets a dedicated player on each team pick their teams heroes from a randomized pool of twenty-four. Player levels, which previously seemed irrelevant now have a purpose as the quality of item drops you are eligible for is now tied to your Dota profile level. Other new additions include an improved Backpack (now called Armory), UI updates, bug fixes and my personal favorite, the Portal Pack which adds a Glados announcer among other Portal themed items.
Below is a video of the Glados announcer pack because I couldn’t resist.