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Valve just turned the gameplay of Dota Underlords on its head with Contraptions

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Valve seem to be using Early Access to really mix things up for Dota Underlords, with a new update out adding in Contraptions you can put on the board.

While I like Underlords a lot, I was pretty keen to see them do a little more with it. So the idea of Contraptions is pretty fun and it does mix the gameplay up quite a bit. You can place them on the board, move them around and they will affect the combat making placement even more crucial than ever. They also don't count against the normal unit cap. The team at Valve even made a little trailer for it (source):

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If you can't watch the video, a quick Contraption list for you:

Barricade:

  • Newly added Tier 2 Contraption.
  • Has 400 Health and 20 Armor.
  • Two placeable barriers to block enemies and ranged attacks. Immune to spells.

Target Buddy:

  • Newly added Tier 2 Contraption.
  • Has 1000 Health and 10 Armor.
  • Taunts enemies and draws fire. Can equip items.

Healing Ward:

  • Newly added Tier 3 Contraption.
  • Has 200 Health.
  • Heals friendly units within 1 cell for 20hp/s.

Tombstone:

  • Newly added Tier 4 Contraption.
  • Has 2000 Health and 20 Armor.
  • Ally and enemy heroes spawn zombies when they die within 2 cells of the Tombstone.

Contraptions are not something you buy like heroes, instead they're given out like other rewards:

Barricades as an example, might be useful to cover your back from enemies trying to get behind at some of your weaker ranged units. They have quite a number of fun uses. I'm sure people with find lots of ways to use them over time!

That's not all! Valve also mixed up the unit tiers. Tier 5 heroes are now known as Aces, with each being the "capstone to its associated alliance". These Ace heroes have a new "Ace effect", which activates when you have a full level of the alliance they're associated with. As an example, Enigma is the Ace for the Shaman alliance with their Ace effect extending the effects of the Shaman alliance across your entire army.

It's going to be interesting to see how this update changes the meta, for me it's actually got me more interested in it again after taking a little break.

Apart from that there's the usual improvements, bug fixes and balancing updates. The Friends UI was adjusted, hopefully cases of "unexpected unit deselection" have been solved, you can also actually see the next level's odds of finding a hero, the unit panel will show the correct armour values during combat and a few other little adjustments.

See the full news with all the changes on Steam.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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Dunc 31 August 2019 at 2:23 pm UTC
It's a bit of an aside, but it occurs to me that this sort of thing is very much a modern phenomenon that's only possible with online distribution. Stellaris is almost a different game to the one that was first released too. And it's even more true of, say, Minecraft. In that case, it's definitely a Good Thing, especially as most of the older versions are still easily available for those who prefer them (right back to the astonishingly basic rd-132211 if you're so inclined). In others, I'm not sure.

Genuinely so; I can see the advantages, but what if most people like the changes but you don't? It's like having a game you enjoy snatched away from you. (To be clear, this isn't a comment on DOTAU itself; I downloaded it since it's free, but I've barely played it.)

Interesting times.
kuhpunkt 31 August 2019 at 3:02 pm UTC
DuncIt's a bit of an aside, but it occurs to me that this sort of thing is very much a modern phenomenon that's only possible with online distribution. Stellaris is almost a different game to the one that was first released too. And it's even more true of, say, Minecraft. In that case, it's definitely a Good Thing, especially as most of the older versions are still easily available for those who prefer them (right back to the astonishingly basic rd-132211 if you're so inclined). In others, I'm not sure.

Genuinely so; I can see the advantages, but what if most people like the changes but you don't? It's like having a game you enjoy snatched away from you. (To be clear, this isn't a comment on DOTAU itself; I downloaded it since it's free, but I've barely played it.)

Interesting times.

And then you get something like WoW Classic
scaine 31 August 2019 at 3:38 pm UTC
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Target Buddy is gonna be huge for Blood Bound contract setup, since it draws fire. Things are getting interesting!
ronnoc 31 August 2019 at 3:51 pm UTC
kuhpunktAnd then you get something like WoW Classic

I'm generally interested in WOW Classic, and I see it runs well under Lutris ATM. But man, what a time-sink it was back in the day! I'd be officially scared that it would suck me in again (Just ONE MORE RUN of the Scarlet Monistary, I swear!!!!)

...As for the changes to DOTA U, I'm intrigued, although I find the game extremely difficult ATM and usually end up in the bottom 3 in matches. Pretty frustrating.
eldaking 31 August 2019 at 4:03 pm UTC
DuncIt's a bit of an aside, but it occurs to me that this sort of thing is very much a modern phenomenon that's only possible with online distribution. Stellaris is almost a different game to the one that was first released too. And it's even more true of, say, Minecraft. In that case, it's definitely a Good Thing, especially as most of the older versions are still easily available for those who prefer them (right back to the astonishingly basic rd-132211 if you're so inclined). In others, I'm not sure.

Genuinely so; I can see the advantages, but what if most people like the changes but you don't? It's like having a game you enjoy snatched away from you. (To be clear, this isn't a comment on DOTAU itself; I downloaded it since it's free, but I've barely played it.)

Interesting times.

Well, I'm not sure if it is only possible with online distribution. It certainly happens with competitive tabletop games - expansions are released, other people start using them even if you don't, and the game changes.

For multiplayer games I think that yes, the chance of "losing" something definitely exists; you can't just go back and play an old version by yourself, because the point is not playing by yourself. So I think that consistency and transparency are important, and overhauling the entire thing is less recommended.

For singleplayer games the lack of legacy versions shouldn't be a problem, but sometimes it is because of stupid copyright laws that make it harder to make back-ups of previous versions and distribute them (and even merge the changes you liked, or change something yourself... in the end the problem is proprietary software).

For Underlords, I think it is kind of expected as the game is still in Early Access, so it is by definition going to change a lot.

scaineTarget Buddy is gonna be huge for Blood Bound contract setup, since it draws fire. Things are getting interesting!

But at the same time it competes with Contract for your items since it is the same level, and barricade is also level 2 so it should be harder than ever to find multiple contracts. Putting a contract on a non-attacking dummy seems like a huge waste of a powerful item unless you already have 3+ contracts.
CJOR 31 August 2019 at 5:23 pm UTC
In this update it feels like you have more luck.
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