lane pushing games

League of Legends to get Intro Bots mode, designed to help new players

Phil Savage at

Lane-pushing games are notoriously difficult to learn. There are basic principles, sure—kill things; don't be killed by things—but beyond that, there are a multitude of quirks, rules and abilities to learn. It's a process that can take hundreds of hours, which means, for a game's newbiest players, some form of tutorial is essential. In a recent post, Riot admit that their existing methods to teach new players aren't entirely adequate—something they hope to fix with their upcoming Intro Bots mode.

League of Legends players claim UK's anti-porn filter may prevent patching

Phil Savage at

League of Legends players are claiming that the UK's anti-porn filter agreement - imposed by the country's four main ISPs - may be preventing people from patching the game. While I personally find the game's female representation somewhat juvenile, it's in no way pornographic, so what exactly are the collected auto-guardians of morality taking such umbrage with? File names, it would seem, and the fact that two of the downloaded files contain the word 'sex' in their title. At least, they do if you are a robot that can't tell how words work.

The claims were made to the League of Legends subreddit, by a user involved with a voluntary group called the "Wrenchmen" who help with technical issues on the official LoL forum. According to the user - known as LoLBoompje - the issue has been reported "a few times already". It's worth pointing out Riot's statement to Eurogamer, in which they say that there were no reported incidents of the filter causing problems for their users. Despite this, a spokesperson for Riot has said that they're monitoring the situation. "Our feedback to players is to double check with internet service providers and if anyone experiences a problem, get in touch and we will be able to help."

League of Legends' pre-season update to focus map vision, late game growth

Phil Savage at

League of Legends' third season recently ended with a shocking cliffhanger, as Ziggs was revealed to be the lovechild of Gragas, who had himself been framed for the horrific slaughter of hundreds of minions. None of that is true, but I know more about TV than sport, and so like to pretend that LoL's seasonal shifts relate to that instead. As we head towards the new pre-season, Riot have been running through the balance changes that will arrive along with it.

But will Season 4 of League of Legends be comparable to any season of 24, where small tweaks are made to the same basic formula; or will it be more like the last season of Fringe, with all of the existing plot lines abandoned for something really dumb? Well, dumber. A new video by Riot explains what to expect.

Dota 2 update adds a trio of spirits and the return of Diretide

Phil Savage at

つ ◕_◕ ༽つ Have DIRETIDE. That's Valve's message to the community today, as they announce the impending release of Three Spirits for Dota 2. For some, the return of the much requested seasonal event is far from the most exciting thing about this update. To quote Chris on learning that a redesigned Storm Spirit would be making an appearance: "AAAAAAAAAAAAH!" He is a very happy man. Find out why, below.

Dota 2 blog post conceals first preview of the GLaDOS announcer pack

Phil Savage at

Valve are up to their old tricks again, concealing tasty teasers in otherwise unrelated blog posts. I like to think of it as Lazy ARG-ing. Bigger announcements would get a scrambled HTML comment that decoded into a website, containing an mp3 that, when run through a spectrograph analyser, would create a map pointing to an abandoned shack in the outer Hebrides, containing a switch that activated thousands of lasers that combined to broadcast a message on the moon. This, the first taste of the GlaDOS announcement pack for Dota 2, gets a hidden link in a full stop.

Dota 2 review

Chris Thursten at

Of the half-dozen people I started learning Dota 2 with, three still play regularly. Though there are hundreds of thousands of players of our approximate skill level populating the matchmaking queues, the four of us are more like each other than we are like anyone else playing Valve’s isometric wizard-’em-up.

Spending a year learning to shuffle a gaggle of fantasy heroes up Dota’s teetering stack of rules and game mechanics will do that to you: we’ve developed a secret language of our own, one that runs parallel to the talk of creeps and lanes and farm and rax common to everyone who plays the game. “Whack a ward on the donkletron I’m going to stick one up their jungle” is a sentence I can say out loud and be completely understood by at least those three people. For some reason, there’s also a lot of singing involved. It’s a lot like being a sailor.

End of Nations has resurfaced, is now a DotA-like

Phil Savage at

I'm sighing the weary sigh of a man staring into the future and seeing naught but DoTA clones. You may remember End of Nations as the Petroglyph developed free-to-play MMORTS that ran into trouble after its open beta was postponed and members of staff were laid off. Subsequently taken in-house by publisher Trion Worlds, it's now resurfaced as - you guessed it - a lane pushing game.

Dota 2 beta invites' Steam Marketplace removal suggests we're closer to launch

Phil Savage at

Bad news, fans of getting rich incredibly slowly. Valve have disabled the selling of Dota 2 beta invites through the Steam Market. Previously, for a scant few pence, you were able to buy your way into the beta, bypassing the then £22.99 price tag of the Steam Store. But while there are still places to get invites for free, that they're starting to be phased out suggests we're another step closer to the game's official launch.

Dota 2 updates with new tutorials, account link

Phil Savage at

Dota 2 continues to send out wave after wave of update, as part of Valve's plan to knock over the big fiery tower between them and an official release. I'm assured that's how game development works. The latest patch bolsters the beta's previously lackluster tutorial - giving newbies a chance to play Sniper in a round-up of more advanced lessons. But this week isn't just focused on players in their first hour: a new deal with will let you watch tournaments through the streaming service while still accruing those precious Dota 2 rewards.

Dota 2 hits new high with 180k concurrent players

Tom Senior at

Dota 2's popularity hit a new peak on Saturday when it passed the 180,000 concurrent players point. A glance at stats gathered from Steam using Steamgraph turns up a new high for Valve's Dotalike, which has continued to gain popularity after a spike in September triggered by The International tournament. Dota 2's peak figure is second only to Skyrim, which hit 287,411 players shortly after launch late last year.

Awesomenauts free weekend blasts off

Tom Senior at

The excellent Awesomenauts is free to play until Sunday, and will be available to buy half-price for the duration. Awesomenauts cheerily translates the levelling, lane-pushing and tower bashing of Dotalikes onto a 2D plane and dresses it up as a Saturday morning cartoon punch-up. It feels like Bucky O'Hare has teamed up with Captain Planet to fight the Ninja Turtles, but with more robots and less IP infringement. Read our full verdict in the Awesomenauts review, and download it now via Steam.

Dota 2 update adds Magnus, 150 new store items and a mega-list of balance changes

Tom Senior at

"Behold the horn!" is the tagline for Dota 2's latest hero, Magnus. He's a cross between a horse, a rhino and a rug, and belongs to a species that call themselves the magnoceros, though he himself identifies as a "magnataur." His tale is a violent one that mostly involves impaling enemies on his massive horn, which is interesting, because in the game he favours charging down the lanes wit a great big stick. It is best not to question the mysterious ways of the, magnoceri, magnataurs, magna- oh nevermind. Let's see what he can really do.