The Dota 2 Crownfall event is here and it is safe to say it has divided fans. Some are happy with the new content, cosmetics and the promise of more to come, whereas others are outraged that actually playing Dota hasn’t changed at all with no balance patch and no new hero.

Of course getting more content for free, with absolutely no need to spend money to experience it fully, is great and the early stages of the Crownfall event seem to be fun enough. But since the death of the battle pass, Dota has been in a strange place when it comes to new updates and Crownfall only compounds that feeling. Regardless of your thoughts, there are a lot of things to unpack in the world of Dota right now, some of which are good, others are bad and there are a few things that are outright ugly.


It may not have been what we expected, but the Crownfall mode in Dota 2 appears to be pretty fun. Of course, it’s early days and with progress being limited by the games you play it is certainly too early to pass judgement on the whole experience. But so far we have seen that there is a lot of lore to unpack, some interesting mini-games to play and some decent things to unlock.

If this launched out of the blue with no hype behind it then everyone would be praising it, and hopefully, once the emotions drain away more people will appreciate the Crownfall mode for that it is.

Skywrath Mage Arcana And Vengeful Spirit Arcana

The other major part of the Crownfall patch was the arcana sets for Skywrath Mage and Vengeful Spirit. For the first time in years, these are arcanas that can be purchased outright, without having to deal with battle pass levels or other ways of unlocking them, which is a welcome return to the old style of cosmetics.

As for the sets themselves, they both look great and are some of the best arcanas we have seen so far. With a 100-page comic to explain the lore behind them, and even more comics promised, they will also be perfect for lore fans, offering up more backstory for the two popular heroes.

Where’s Ringmaster?

For the last three years, ever since Covid changed the timings of The International, we have had a hero release in the first four months of the year. In 2021 Dawnbreaker arrived in early April, then Primal Beast showed up in February 2022 and Muerta arrived in early March 2023, so when Ringmaster was announced at The International with a 2024 release date, most people thought that meant he would be released in a similar time frame.

That has not been the case, with the circus-themed hero not showing up with the Crownfall update, leaving many people to wonder where his development is at. There are, of course, three more acts to Crownfall where he could pop up, but none of them screams circus, so it could be an even longer wait to get the first new hero in over a year.

Poor Communication

If this were any other company the total lack of communication could easily slide into the ugly category, but it’s Valve and we know they never reveal their plans. But this time it stings more than most because the information we did get about Crownfall almost set it up to fail.

Crownfall was first teased way back in June 2023 when Valve officially killed the battle pass, saying that cosmetics would ship separately from the annual TI fundraiser. Then in November, we heard that the rumored arcana update had grown in scale and would be pushed into 2024, before another update in February revealed it to be Crownfall and that it was still months out. With so many teases and mentions of this big update, many expected it to be much bigger in scope than it actually turned out to be. If Valve had said weeks ago that the patch wouldn’t include Ringmaster or a balance patch there is no doubt that the reception would have been more positive, so it seems strange why they let this be a surprise to everyone.

No Balance Patch

While not getting a new hero is disappointing, the real kick in the face is the lack of a balance patch for the core Dota experience. In fact, if you queue into a game and play Dota, the only change is a few new cosmetic sets you might see, with no changes to how the game is played.


With months of letter patches that have only made smaller meta shifts it finally felt like now was the time when Dota would be freshened up and in my opinion Dota really needs it. I still think there is a big problem with going onto high ground in all but the most one-sided games right now, and we need some kind of big overhaul to change that. It feels like if the game is even close to even after 20 minutes, the next 15 are all but pointless until one team decides to go high ground and then it often becomes a back-and-forth fight to the death until one team has no buybacks.

Actually playing Dota right now feels quite stale, and while I expected to be jumping back into the game following the Crownfall patch, I think I’m more likely to play it less until there is a balance patch of some kind. I’ll no doubt be back at some point, but for now it’s a good job there are so many other great games around like Manor Lords and Gray Zone Warfare to keep me entertained while Dota is getting a little frustrating.