Spring Cleaning – Are Numerous Bugs Becoming Routine?

Apr 5, 2016

Dota is a complex game that is continually rebalanced. Recently, it seems like every time there is a major update there are also a ton of new bugs introduced to the game. Valve is one of the biggest PC game companies. If they have many programmers at their disposal, then why are patches so buggy?

Each new balance update brings promises of a new meta, some fresh life injected into stale gameplay, and sometimes brand new items, ability changes, and even new heroes. But players also have many new bugs to look forward to in each update. Typically during the first day or two after a new patch drops, Reddit is flooded with threads reporting various new bugs, ranging from messed up cosmetics to client-crashes.

The Spring cleaning update was supposed to, in Valve’s words, add “bug fixes and quality of life improvements.” The update included several changes that were in hot demand, like updates to the Armory, as well as repairs for very many smaller gameplay bugs.  Unfortunately, the initial update completely tanked the client for Mac users and introduced a host of other issues, including screwing up fundamentals such as quick cast.

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Valve has responded to game-breaking bugs rather quickly in the past. Last September, an update created a bug where Dire’s Ancients were stacking automatically (an enormous advantage). Valve quickly addressed this issue and suspended tournament play until it was fixed. However, it seems like bugs that aren’t super critical sometimes take days or weeks to be addressed, causing unnecessary grief in pubs and affecting gameplay for thousands of matches. It’s kind of like an entirely not-fun scavenger hunt while the collective playerbase discovers all the new issues.

To be fair, sometimes the developers over at Valve cannot recreate the bugs and have to rely on a lucky set of circumstances to find enough information on when they occur.

Poor Loda – he seems to be a magnet for obscure bugs.

Still, when the bugs are ubiquitous enough that multiple Reddit threads pop up complaining about them, it seems like it’s something the developers should have encountered in the test client.

Dota wants to be taken seriously and wants to compete with League of Legends and other games in the ARTS MOBA genre. If Dota eSports wants to be sustainable, the game client can’t be full of bizarre issues like not allowing certain heroes to buy items every time a new patch comes out. When patches are pushed to the client right before a tournament start, they can create a sort of “micro meta” where certain hero or item interactions have to be avoided until Valve gets the issues sorted out.

As always, if you encounter a bug during gameplay, you can report it at the Dev Forums along with a match ID.

Now we just have to worry about the removal of All Pick & the influx of players into Captains’ Mode, which is an article for another time.

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Kara Jacobacci
Kara has been following professional DotA2 since the TI4 qualifiers. When not watching matches on Twitch, she can be found working (or attempting to find work) as a geologist and enjoying nature.
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