Dota 2's map has always been significant but was never really complex until hit by the 7.00 update. The International 2017 greatly highlighted the importance of hills and vision--two in-game elements which were evident since its beginning.
During the fifth day of The International 2017, EternaLEnVy got Sean "Day" Plott baffled while instead of the usual in-game imbalances which are exploited throughout the event, EE-sama chose to rant about the number of hills in Dota 2's map.
Even though the $24M tournament concluded more than two weeks ago, EternaLEnVy's complaints against the number of hills in Dota 2's map would still be significant. This was somewhat proven when Valve released the 7.06f update--an indication that Dota 2 won’t likely be hit by any major changes for quite some time.
Dota always has these realistic features regarding hills and vision. Since the beginning, having the higher ground gives you better vision; your attack’s accuracy is even reduced when you’re attacking from a lower standpoint.
However, Dota was made better when they capitalized on these features by reconstructing its geographical structure. For the first time in the game’s history, the competitive meta was not utterly dictated by particular imbalances on heroes, items, and/or skills but by the game’s actual environment.
Take a look at how Team Liquid deleted Maybe’s Mirana, for example. Liquid’s pivotal cliff ward helped them see Mirana coming, allowing to position themselves where they won’t be scouted by the Sacred Arrow. Just as when Maybe thought it was safe to go up the hill towards the Secret Shop, he met Matumbaman’s Reaper’s Scythe to go down for 70 seconds.
Uphills can also help boost the success of smoke gank attempts. This fact was heavily exploited by TNC Pro Team as they start almost all of their games with an aggressive wrap around smoke attempt to secure First Blood and three Bounty Runes.
At the 13:31-mark of the video, TNC started their 4-man smoke attempt from Dire’s top shrine to the south of Radiant’s top shrine. MidOne never anticipated the rotation that he didn’t move even after the smoke broke. The result was a quick First Blood for Raven’s Naga Siren.
However, this signature move by TNC Pro Team also cost them their series against the four-time Major champions. In the impromptu showdown between East and West’s Earth Spirit gods, OG perfectly utilized the advantages of uphills by continuously disrupting TNC’s smoke attempts.
OG compensated their lack of vision by having JerAx’ Earth Spirit stand on critical high grounds. Despite TNC having mobile heroes, the information gathered just from having the better vantage point was already enough for OG to work out an effective strategy against TNC’s aggression.
Maybe up until Valve graces us with the Dueling Fates update, EE’s perception about Dota’s hills will be held important. The next Dota Major may not be until October but this information will always be useful in your pubs.
Abuse Night Stalker’s Hunter in the Night or Keeper of the Light’s Aghanim’s Scepter vision upgrade. Pick mobile support heroes who can easily secure vital warding spots or AOE stunner carries who can strategically survive low ground ambushes.
Imagine a game where you can see enemies coming from a mile away, wasting their rotation and effort for nothing. Have as much vision as you want that you can already see victory flashing before your eyes. Glorious isn't it?