Valve has officially unveiled the details of Dota 2's much-anticipated 7.00 update. It's a huge one, and it launches today.

Most straightforward is the newest character, the Monkey King. Based on Sun Wukong, he's a melee carry who carries a staff he can slam down to deal damage to enemies in a line. He also has the ability to jump from tree to tree, transform to disguise himself from enemies, and summon a pack of monkey soldiers to attack nearby foes. Alongside his release, Valve has also launched a new comic and will offer new Monkey King-themed items for purchase. These include a new Arcana item, announcer pack, and a terrain that gives the map a new look.

7.00's other changes and additions are more wide-sweeping. The HUD has been redesigned, refining the map, hero console, top bar, and shop. All characters now have a talent tree, presenting you with choices between two perks when you reach levels 10, 15, 20, and 25. Experience gain, gold gain, and leveling up have been altered, and the respawn timer has been decreased at certain points.

Everyone receives a backpack, allowing you to carry three additional items that can't be activated and provide no bonuses. These can be swapped into your main inventory after a short delay, but item cooldowns take longer when they are in the backpack. This should make it easier to complete recipes.

The map has been updated as well. Roshan moves from his existing spot to a new area near the power-up rune and gains additional armor and attack range, but he loses health and some health gain. Runes have been divided into two types: the aforementioned power-up and bounty types. Shrines are a new type of building that can be teleported to and offer a buff to allied players when activated. They don't provide vision and only become vulnerable when its team loses all of its Tier 2 towers. And there is a new ancient neutral camp and a ton of adjustments to the overall map and jungle layouts.

Things will be different before ever getting into a match, as the pre-game phase sees some changes, too. The selection screen now looks like the character gallery, offering filters and a search function. New information is also presented to give you an overview of each character and of your overall team composition, and alt-clicking a character recommends it to the rest of the team.

Once character selections have been made, teams get 30 seconds to strategize, during which they can plan who will take which lane, purchase starting items, and change their loadouts. While this is happening, the game starts loading in the background.

There's even more to this update, including redesigned heroes, a ton of balance changes, and other improvements. Full details are available on the 7.00 update section of the Dota 2 website. All of this is playable on test servers now, with an official launch coming today.

Source: GameSpot