Dota 2 Reborn: Top 5 Custom Games
The launch of the Dota 2 Reborn Beta back in June opened a whole new world of opportunity through the introduction of custom games. Not only is Valve developing new game modes that allow players to experience Dota in a totally different way, but the community has those tools as well, and there are already some truly fantastic custom game modes out there. Let’s take a look at a few of the top popular maps right now.
When Kaci revealed that the TI5 All-Star match was not going to be 5v5, but rather a 10v10 match, I think the entire Dota 2 community got nerd chills. After all, we’re talking about twice the players, twice the fun and twice the number of available players to be blown up by a Techies suicide. What’s not to love?
The All-Star game kicked off the game mode in a grand fashion, ironically with one of the closest matches ever played on a TI stage. Now that it’s in all of our hands, it remains hilariously fun to play. Bloodseeker and Silencer were removed from the hero pool for balance reasons. Other than that, so far, I’ve encountered a Zeus in almost every game, just waiting for that Monster kill streak when he presses R. Other strong teamfight heroes like Undying, Dark Seer, Earthshaker and Gyrocopter, for example, are all common. For once, Techies may not be the most irritating hero in this game mode. Right now, I’d give that title to Pugna and his endlessly frustrating Nether Wards.
As one of Valve’s official maps, 10v10 has fewer bugs than most of the other custom game modes at this point, but matchmaking is still a bit problematic, especially when trying to load in that many players. For now, I count on at least one false start per match.
The first of Valve’s custom map releases, Overthrow pits players against each other free-for-all or in small teams, all seeking to reach the goal number of kills first. Each team has their own fountain and shop around the periphery of the circular map, with rune spawns in between the fountains.The bloodbath centers around the Midas Throne, a structure in the middle of the map which gives extra gold and experience to all players within its radius, as well as extra gold coins thrown out periodically from the wealthy Kobold on top of the throne. Random item deliveries also occur throughout the game, giving players who are behind a chance to snatch a more powerful item and even the odds.
Overthrow is a great way to play some Dota if you’re short on time or short on friends - who are online, of course. There are 3 maps: Forest, which is true solo free-for-all, Desert, which is 5 teams of 2, and Mines, which is 3v3v3. Regardless of your preference, matches are quick, generally only lasting about 15 minutes.
Again, as an official map, Overthrow generally has fewer bugs than other game modes. A few heroes have been removed from the pool for balance reasons, and Dagons are disabled to prevent players from sniping too many kills. Instead, many players just opt for a kill-sniping hero: Queen of Pain, Lina and other nukers are common choices in this mode, as well as highly mobile heroes like Storm Spirit or Windranger. Invisible heroes like Riki or Bounty Hunter who can hang out by the Throne with less interruption are also regular picks.
Horde Mode by Nye
Horde Mode is a popular community-created survival game mode where players defend the Radiant base as long as possible against wave upon wave of increasingly powerful creeps and bosses. The real challenge is to simultaneously destroy the Dire base, which, as it turns out, is quite difficult, even in 5-player “Easy” mode. There is also a 4 player Hard mode for true Horde veterans.
There are a limited number of heroes in the pool at this point, though more are consistently being added as their skills are modified or even changed completely to increase their viability for this game mode. Perhaps the most notable skill change at this point is Omniknight whose Repel skill was replaced with Hammer Time, giving him a huge critical damage strike. New items such as the King Rapier also provide a much-needed damage boost against the creep onslaught.
Horde Mode is still in Alpha, so it lacks polish and there are still plenty of bugs to be worked out, but even in it’s current state, the game offers solid co-op fun and a serious challenge. I’m excited about the potential for this game as it develops.
Power Multiplier + 10v10 by DarkSupremo
With Reborn now putting robust developer tools in the hands of the community, the first thing we’ve done with them is screw up Icefrog’s finely tuned balancing system. There are multiple custom game modes that have been created to boost the power of hero abilities. The most popular iteration at this point combines stupidly overpowered items and abilities with the already-hectic 10v10 game mode, creating incomprehensible teamfights with more particle effects than dropping a nuclear bomb on the Hadron Collider.
A mode like this seems practically impossible to balance, though I think more often, the games just end up very one-sided due to a few more skilled players in the game snowballing early. Then you encounter situations like an Ember Spirit who can kill most of the enemy team with single sleight of fist, or your whole team dies within a Void chronosphere that is the size of your entire base. It’s not uncommon to find yourself dead before you even knew you were in danger. It’s hard to anticipate Pudge hooking you into his fountain from a Tier 3, or Techies mines blowing you up from just about anywhere. Wait...that’s actually pretty normal.
All in all, this map can be hilarious to play if you’re willing to throw all seriousness out the window. I expect it to be one of many in a long list of power multiplier game modes that are developed. For now though, if you feel the need for a little extra confusion, try one of the games alternate modes that gives everyone a random draft of spells.
Pudge Wars by Kobb and Aderum
Here’s an oldie, but a goodie: Pudge Wars was a beloved mod back in the days of Dota 1, so it seems only fitting that Dota 2’s most-played hero gets a remake of this signature game. As the name suggests, every player in this map is Pudge and has only one skill: Meat Hook. It’s a 5v5 team deathmatch in a square map divided by an uncrossable river. Each team attempts to hook and kill enemy Pudges in order to reach a set kill count first.
As you gain kills, you gain skill points to upgrade the damage, speed or reach of your hook. There is also a small shop where you can buy items very helpful items like observer wards (unless you really like blind hooks) and other upgrades to give you an advantage, such as lifesteal, exploding mines or adding a Rupture effect to your hook. You can also grab one of the runes that periodically flies up the river too, if you’re quick enough to hook them.
Overall, Pudge Wars is a faithful adaptation of the original, fun to play and a great way to practice those hookshots. Even the pros have been known to enjoy a nice game of Pudge Wars, with Dendi included, of course.
There are still many, many more custom maps worth checking out in Reborn, and I look forward to seeing what Valve and the rest of the community come up with next. What’s your favorite? Let us know in the comments!