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The latest patch for Valve's strategy game Dota 2 includes a new gameplay mode called Least Played. This mode forces players to step outside of their comfort zone and try something new.
Dota 2 currently has 96 playable characters. Chances are good that many players have only experienced a fraction of them. This is where the Least Played mode comes into play. It prevents you from playing the 20 characters you have the most wins with. The mode is designed for veterans, as characters with less than 3 wins won't be disabled.
The patch also makes a number of fixes, such as making Thunderclap and Malefice purgable. It also records a players' abandoned matches in their history. The Warlock and Drow are both available in bot form now. Furthermore, bot behavior has been streamlined a bit. The full list of changes can be found here.
Valve also took the time to announce the latest gameplay stats for the game. Over 100 million matches have been played in the game. Over 3 million unique players log into the game each month. Those are impressive numbers, considering the fact that Dota 2 is facing some entrenched competition in the genre such as League of Legends and Heroes of Newerth. We'll have to wait and see whether Valve can retain those players as Dota 2 ages.
Though Dota 2 has a large player base, it's still in closed beta. You can sign up to be on the waiting list at the game's website. Alternately, you can buy the Early Access Package to guarantee a place in the beta and also earn some bonus items.