[Update]: Version 7.00 has now been unleashed onto the live servers!
After spending well over a decade in version 6.XX, Dota 2 will finally be transitioning to version 7.00 with tomorrow's update. As you might expect given the time frame involved, the upcoming update is ridiculously large! Monkey King is joining the roster as a brand new hero; there are a stunning number of balance changes; the UI has been completely redesigned; there is now an extra inventory that you can use to store wards and other such items; heroes can choose from a variety of talents in order to amplify their spells and abilities; Roshan has been moved from his age-old stronghold; and there's a whole bunch of other changes I could never fit into even this massively over-bloated paragraph.
That last part wasn't a joke, by the way. Update 7.00 is so ridiculously large that even attempting to summarize and analyze it would take us the better part of the day, so if you're interested in all of the details I would recommend you head on over to the official website. I would also suggest brewing up some coffee before you dive in as you're going to be stuck in there for quite a while!
And while I cannot give you a good analysis of all these new changes, I can at the very least give you a brief list of some of the most important ones. So here it is:
• Monkey King is being added as a brand new, skill intensive hero.
• The HUD has been greatly redesigned in order to obscure less of the action.
• There is now a new pregame system where you can purchase items and decide on strategies (hahahahahaha) before you even enter the game.
• The playable map has received numerous and significant changes. You will, however, need to check the full patch notes in order to get a good grasp on this as it is nigh impossible to explain through words alone.
• Roshan has been evicted from his old home and has now taken residence much closer to the middle.
• Heroes can now choose one of two talents on levels 10/15/20/25. These talents are offering some rather significant bonuses, so expect to see a variety of new hero builds pop up purely due to their presence.
• The inventory has been expanded with a Backpack that allows you to carry three extra items. These items are completely inactive while in the backpack, but can be transferred to the main inventory, after which they will go on a 6 second cooldown (in addition to their preexisting cooldown)
• Illusions now give scaling gold and experience when killed (based on the hero level), except for illusions spawned by Phantom Lancer and Dark Seer. Illusions also do less damage against towers and buildings, so hopefully there will be less boring half-pushes.
• Numerous mechanics have been either reworked or greatly improved. This part is highly technical, so you'll once again need to read the full patch notes in order to understand all of the details.
• Many items have been rebalanced, but the only reworked item is the Rod of Atos which now does a 2 second snare on a 16 second cooldown.
• There is a large amount of hero changes, as well as a whole bunch of new Aghanims effects, so if you're interested in learning more be prepared to lose around 30 minutes just going through the patch notes. Also, it appears that Valve loves their memes given that Pocket Riki is actually a thing now!
• Three heroes have received a much needed model update: Viper, Slardar, and Enigma (oddly enough)
• You can now program your own AI bots! In other words, expect to see bot vs bot tournaments in the near future!
As you can see, I really wasn't exaggerating when I said that this is the biggest patch Dota 2 has ever received. Pretty much every aspect of gameplay has been touched in some way, and while the next few weeks are going to be pure madness I have a feeling all of this will result in a much more enjoyable game. Though I wouldn't be surprised if the talent balance is going to be completely out of whack for at least a couple of patches, but I have faith that Icefrog will eventually bring them all into a relatively eqaul state.
But whatever the case may be you won't have to wait for too long in order to give all of this a try as Dota 2's Update 7.00 is set to arrive tomorrow, December 12. And I don't know about you, but my excitement meter is currently at an all time high, so bring on all the hilariously bad Monkey King players!