Despite Dota 2's Diretide frenzy over the past week, Valve's been cooking something a little more... substantial. Today the developers unveiled what they've been working on. Introducing the Three Spirits update, a ridiculously large patch that adds two heroes, coaching, crafting, socketing and so much more. "Storm Spirit was the first one bold enough to travel beyond the mountain peaks," but his brothers come bearing gifts.
That's right, Storm Spirit will be joined by his two brothers, the Kaolin Earth Spirit and the Xin Ember Spirit. Those familiar with Dota 2 should already know Storm Spirit and his shocking plays, but let's properly introduce the new spirits now:
Earth Spirit - "Carved of sacred jade, a statue of general Kaolin was buried at the head of a stone army ten thousand strong'a force of soldiers, holy men and acrobats, entombed for millennia in the embrace of the soil. Within this jade flowed the spirit of the Earth itself'an elemental force at one with the planet, gathering its strength until it dug its way free. Now the great Kaolin Earth Spirit strides across the land, fighting his enemies, calling forth remnants of his buried army."
- Boulder Smash - Earth Spirit smashes the target, sending them flying in the direction he is facing.
- Rolling Boulder - Earth Spirit becomes a boulder, rolling forward to damage enemies.
- Geomagnetic Grip - Pulls the target allied unit or Stone Remnant to his location. Enemies struck by the flying target are stunned.
- Stone Remnant - Calls a Stone Remnant at the target location. Stone Remnants make Earth Spirit's abilities more effective.
- Magnetize - Deals damage over time to enemy heroes in a small area. Victims will trigger Magnetize again if they run into Stone Remnants.
Ember Spirit - "Within the Fortress of Flares rests a topaz cauldron filled with ash, a pyre for the warrior-poet Xin, who trained his acolytes in the Bonds of the Guardian Flame. Touched by the teacher's lasting legacy, the Burning Celestial, aspect of fire, cast himself to the fortress to reignite the remains. From these glowing embers emerged an image of Xin, wreathed in flame, his thoughtful countenance prepared to train and to teach, and to spread the fires of knowledge to all who seek guidance."
- Searing Chains - Unleashes fiery bolas that anchor enemies in place and deal damage each second.
- Sleight of Fists - Attacks all nearby enemies in a rush in the targeted area of effect, then returns to his start location.
- Flame Guard - Surrounds himself with a shield of fire that damages enemies and protects him from magic damage.
- Fire Remnant - Generates Fire Remnants that he can dash to and detonate, dealing damage to enemies nearby.
- Activate Fire Remnant - Select the Fire Remnant at which to arrive.
And that's just the start of the Three Spirits update! Not only will both the Earth Spirit and the Ember Spirit be joining the fray, but several new features are being added. First, it's the long-awaited Coaching system. Details are a bit thin, but here's what we know. Coaches will have the ability to utilize an assortment of features including private communication channels and the ability to see what their students are viewing, and more. Coaches can coach in matchmaking, private lobbies or bot games, and can coach up to three students at the same time, or even coach a single player with a second coach at hand.
Next up are the two unique new systems, semi-inspired by Team Fortress 2, Crafting and Socketing. Crafting involved using unwanted items to create different items using "Recipes." The Polymorph Recipe transform several items of the same rarity into a different item. Augment Recipe combines duplicate items into a higher-rarity item. Recipes, however, must be earned through playing or acquired through unlocking Ancient Scroll Cases. Expect to spend money.
Socketing is more about customization, rather than creating new items. Take items you already own and add different sockets to give them unique animations, colors or effects. Each item can now hold up to five socketed gems, but where gems comes from is anyone's best guess.
That's not even all Valve has to offer. Just to wrap up quickly, in addition to all of the above, Three Spirits adds "Showcase View" lets players create cinematic experiences from replays. A bunch of new player items, including the Iceiceice Spiritbreaker set are being introduced. Three new types of treasure chests can be unlocked. And of course a ton of general updates and patch notes too.
The Three Spirits Dota 2 patch should be hitting the Test Client tonight and the regular Dota 2 client tomorrow. Tomorrow! Next-gen may have to wait until everyone's done trying out the new Dota 2 heroes. Check out the full teaser site for more information.