Some heroes are practically unrecognizable when you compare them to their past selves.
Dota 2, like any massive multiplayer game, is constantly changing, especially with 10-plus years under its belt. Specifically for MOBAs, the characters you play as (in Dota 2’s case, heroes) are the ones most likely to have changed the most over the years. Whether it’s cosmetic or gameplay, we’ve got four of Dota 2’s most changed heroes.
Slardar, The Slithereen Guard
Many heroes have gotten a glow-up over the years but one of the best goes to the bulky fishman. Dota 2 struggled with its visual identity in the past but even then Slardar stood out like a scaly thumb. His lore states that he’s a vigilant protector who has spent his life guarding his home in the darkest depths of the ocean. However, his cartoonishly large fangs and maw plus his rotund shape made him more like an angry sea slug.
His new model does a much better job of conveying his backstory and character. Rather than taking control of a goofy monster, playing Slardar now actually feels like you’re controlling a powerful warrior from the deep sea.
Traxex, The Drow Ranger
While Traxex has also received a visual upgrade her most significant changes come from her gameplay updates. Traxex is a ranged carry, where her primary role is to stand at a safe distance and pump out damage. As one of the earliest designed heroes, she was made to do this one job and not much else. While her original abilities allowed her to deal single-target damage from long range she lacked the strategic flexibility of other ranged carries.
Since then she’s had two of her abilities reworked. One was her Silence ability getting turned into Gust, where instead of silencing just one enemy she releases a wave that pushes enemies back and silences them. The other was her losing her Precision Aura for Multishot, which fires a flurry of arrows in a cone. This drastically changed her usefulness to a team as she can now do more than just hit a single target.
Ostarion, The Wraith King
Ostarion received more than just a visual update, he had a complete visual transformation. Originally known as The Skeleton King, his design was fairly straightforward: a reanimated skeleton swinging a huge sword. Then in December 2013, he was removed from the game and, following the Wraith Night event, the Wraith King arrived.
There’s been a bit of speculation as to why this sudden overhaul came about. Some say it’s a workaround to China’s strict policies on using skeletons in games and media. Still, this original design lives on as a high-end cosmetic that players could acquire in The International 10 Battle Pass.
In all of Dota 2’s history, no hero has been more reviled than Squee and Spleen, the goblin Techies. As professional demolitionists and arsonists, their one goal in life is to blow up people, buildings, and occasionally themselves. They achieved this by planting copious amounts of mines all over the map, and if push comes to shove they could always detonate themselves to deny enemies the satisfaction of taking them down.
This gameplay was infuriating for both teams; allies hated the fact the Techies would abandon their lane to start roaming and planting mines while enemies obviously hated walking into a huge stack of mines and getting annihilated immediately. They received a major update in patch 7.31 that smoothened the edges of their gameplay. Techies were given incentives to play around their team instead of just doing their own thing. A boon for many players although it’s a bit of a shame that a unique playstyle had to be removed for the health of the game.
Banner image from Dota 2.