Valve has announced that Halloween-themed Dota 2 event Diretide will be returning to the game in its next update.
The company first unveiled Diretide in 2012, and the candy-collecting seasonal event was well-received by players. Many Dota 2 players expected Valve to feature another Diretide event this year, but the event did not happen and Valve did not comment.
Now, writing on the Dota 2 blog, Valve says its choice to not include a Diretide event this year was "clearly a mistake" that was compounded by the developer not communicating with players.
"Whenever we make a significant mistake, we spend a bunch of time looking at what happened, why it happened, and how we can fix it. Most of the time we do this privately, but in our recent mistake around Diretide, we felt sharing our analysis with you made sense."
Explaining why the company had originally intended to not feature Diretide this year, Valve said that "we have a huge update in the works that looked like it would be finished in time for Halloween" and that "stopping that update to work on Diretide seemed like something you would actually be unhappy with us for, because the update is pretty significant. More on that later."
Because the work on a Dota 2 seasonal event is not "trivial," and because much of the game's code has changed since last year, Valve did not plan to feature the event this year. "We made the decision a while ago, and failed to employ our usual process of regularly asking ourselves whether we were still on the right track."
"There were a bunch of people on the Dota 2 team who poked at the decision to not do it as Halloween approached, but due to how busy everyone was with our next major update, no-one really took the time to step back and objectively realise we were being collectively crazy," the company adds.
Valve says it "underestimated" how much the Dota 2 community wanted to see a Diretide this year, and then explained why it did not communicate the absence of the mode to players. "You were already mad and disappointed in the lack of Diretide," says Valve. "Telling you that you weren't getting it at all wouldn't have really helped much. Now we started thinking in terms not of 'what should we say?', but in terms of 'what should we do?'"
With the work on the game's next update now in "final testing," the team is now working on incorporating Diretide. Valve says the next Dota 2 update will be "pretty significant" for the game, and that it has also made a few changes to the Diretide mode that will make it more fun than it was in 2012.
"Paying attention to what is happening in the community around Dota 2 is one of the most important aspects of what we do at Valve," concluded the Dota 2 developer. "And while we are clearly not mistake-proof, hopefully it is useful for us to walk everyone through our process for recognizing and then fixing our mistakes."