moba

League of Legends Champion Spotlight shines on Azir, the Emperor of the Sands

Andy Chalk at

Behold Azir, the ancient Emperor of the Sands, commander of the Shuriman armies, and the latest Champion to fall under the League of Legends Champion Spotlight.


Three Lane Highway: what tournament play has taught me about Dota 2

Chris Thursten at

Three Lane Highway is Chris' column about Dota 2.

You're always learning, whether or not it feels like it. I've had games of Dota where I've felt like I've learned nothing at all, where my mistakes have been obvious to me (and probably to everybody else involved) and my victories have been conducted against enemies too busy screaming at each other or eating paint to make it mean anything. There is always, however, a way to learn.

League of Legends event introduces new Ascension mode and desert map

Wes Fenlon at

Last week, we wrote that Riot Games was throwing out the lore League of Legends has built up over the past five years and replacing it with something new. Now we know what that something is, or at least what’s coming first in LoL’s rebooted fiction: a gameplay event tied to the desert empire of Shurima, which includes the launch of a new champion named Azir and a new game mode called Ascension.


Three Lane Highway: your Dota hero is having a good time and so should you

Chris Thursten at

Three Lane Highway is Chris' column about Dota 2.

Dota 2 is funny, both by design and by accident. It's funny when people get angry. It's funny to screw up. It's funny to Force Staff your friends into the enemy fountain. It's funny to get a rampage as Axe. Laughing at the weird stuff that springs from Dota forms the basis of a healthy
numberofYouTube channels. It's as vital a part of the life of the game as the competitive scene or making items for the Steam Workshop.

League of Legends devs talk depth and player engagement at PAX Prime

Ian Birnbaum at

Members of Riot, the dev team behind the popular MOBA League of Legends, gathered at PAX Prime 2014 to talk about their design philosophy and how they carefully balance the game’s dozens of playable characters. With over 27 million players logging into LoL per day, they cite player feedback as one of their key guides.


Three Lane Highway: the seven stages of Techies

Chris Thursten at

The patch could be here tomorrow. Maybe? Hopefully. By the time you read this you'll probably know more than I do. Valve have promised Techies by the end of August; Valve have promised a lot of things. Anything - and literally nothing - is possible.

It'll probably be tomorrow. If it is, we'll finally begin the process of accepting Techies into the game. Techies, the argument goes, are going to change how pub Dota is played forever. All Pick is going to become a (literal) minefield. The old ways will be gone. It seems appropriate that a hero with a reputation for griefing should attract a seven-stage process of its own.


Three Lane Highway: why Culling Blade is Dota 2's most entertaining skill

Chris Thursten at

Three Lane Highway is Chris' column about Dota 2.

Ultimate abilities are a good place to start whenever you're tasked with explaining why Dota is cool. They're silly, diverse, exciting to watch. If you're staring at an unconvinced game designer, show them how Chain Frost interacts with Chronosphere. Show them how Wraith King's Reincarnation power is both a safetynet and a mobile psychological deterrent. Show them almost any great Echoslam, but probably this one, because it's a tragedy and a comedy at the same time.

Arena of Fate gameplay video features an aggressive Red Riding Hood

Shaun Prescott at

You've just got to have a MOBA nowadays. Crytek is aware of this, so Arena of Fate is the studio's entry into the extremely popular genre. Our first glimpse at the game in action arrived at Gamescom 2014, and here finally is the full video for your viewing pleasure. Watch as Red Riding Hood explains the rules in her (rather overdone, let's face it) regional British accent, and then watch as Alice (of Alice in Wonderland fame) helps slay her enemies.


League of Legends champion Gnar is now available, see him in action here

Shaun Prescott at

You know what? Gnar is pretty cute. Just look at him. I don't want to get sentimental about Gnar, because he's a League of Legends champion and not say, a loved one, but I'm not sure watching Gnar die is something I'm prepared for. The video says Gnar has a "sweet cuddly face" with a "terrifying temper". Sounds like a cat to me.


Three Lane Highway: there are many Dotas, and other thoughts on custom game modes

Chris Thursten at

Three Lane Highway is Chris' weekly column about Dota 2.

Dota 2's popularity goes against all of the received wisdom about game design I can think of. It is complicated and inconsistent and it pushes people to interact in a way that generates all sorts of well-documented discontent. What it offers can't be summed up in a single sentence, and even a documentary dedicated to explaining its competitive side can only do so much to explain what you actually do in the game, or why that is fun.

Heroes of the Storm 'artifacts' progression system abandoned

Shaun Prescott at

Barely a fortnight after Blizzard outlined plans to introduce a new 'Artifacts' progression system to Heroes of the Storm, the functionality been removed. The controversial system was Heroes of the Storm's answer to League of Legends' Runes system, but thanks to a combination of community handwringing and balancing issues, it is now no more.


Awesomenauts gets even more MOBAy with its latest beta patch

Tom Sykes at

Sidescrolling MOBA-like Awesomenauts gets a little less like and a little more MOBA with an upcoming patch, which is now in beta if you want to try it out. 2.6 ditches the loadout system and replaces it with a full-on shop. Sorry, a "big ass shop" that will allow you to buy whatever you want during a match. Well, anything Awesomenauts-related anyway. You won't be able to buy a Faberge egg or anything like that. The update also adds new bots, nifty graphs during replays, and a profile screen—this forum post will inform you of the whole kaboodle.


Three Lane Highway: surrender buttons, Gordian knots, and other thoughts on giving up

Chris Thursten at

Three Lane Highway is Chris' column about Dota 2.

When someone describes something as a Gordian knot the presumption is that it's waiting for the sword. There's virtue associated with solving complicated problems quickly and decisively—the legend of Alexander and the knot expresses a cultural preoccupation with the notion that twisted impossible things are deserving of a direct and just and violent 'solution', normally at the hands of somebody with unusual power and perspective (read: some dude with a sword.) Anything else, it follows, is a waste of time.

The International 2014: Valve's SFM recreations of classic plays in webm form

Chris Thursten at

Remember the International? Twenty million people watched it, so chances are you do. I wrote a couple of things about it, too. But we missed something: one of the best bits of fan service to emerge from the entire event, particularly for people who have followed the pro Dota 2 scene for the last couple of years.


Heroes of the Storm will soon introduce customisable 'Artifact' slots

Shaun Prescott at

Wondering where you're going to spend all that Heroes of the Storm gold? Blizzard has announced it will introduce a whole new progression system in the next Technical Alpha patch. In a nutshell, it's basically HotS's equivalent to League of Legends' Runes: there are three Artifact slots all up, with the first available free once the player has reached Level 15. After that, players will need to pay gold in order to unlock the second two.


League of Legends cinematic A New Dawn shows six minutes of champion murder

Andy Chalk at

I can say with a good degree of confidence that you don't need to be a League of Legends fan to appreciate the surprisingly brutal six-minute cinematic A New Dawn. I'm almost as confident that if you are a non-fan, you'll be at least slightly more interested in the game after watching the video than you were before.


The International 2014: looking back on the Grand Finals

Chris Thursten at

You can find write-ups of all three previous days of play at the International here.

The fourth International is over. As a fan, there's always a hollow feeling that comes with this period - the sense that the last of the hype has finally burned away, that this event that has come to occupy so much of your time and energy has been suddenly brought to a close. Post-International blues are a real thing. This year, though, those inevitable doldrums have been compounded by a Grand Final that won't have been what many fans were expecting when the main event began. Below I'm going to explain why I came away from the finals largely satisfied even though I agree with some of the criticism, and what I think the course of those four games say about the state of Dota 2 as we enter the next year in its life. Spoilers, obviously.

League of Legends is testing new disciplinary measures for 'extreme toxicity'

Shaun Prescott at

The League of Legends community has an unfortunate reputation, but Riot Games is eager to change it. Lead Designer of Social Systems Jeffrey Lin has tweeted that the studio will test new disciplinary measures today (July 21), with a view to introducing them permanently should they prove effective. Punishable offences include "intentional feeding, racism, death threats (and) homophobia."


The International 2014: a Grand Champion emerges

Andy Chalk at

Warning: spoilers follow.

The International 2014: must-watch games from day three

Chris Thursten at

Missed yesterday's report? Read it here.

The bloodiest day of The International 2014 began with a run of the tournament's best matches. Then, after a run of upsets in a tournament that has been defined by upsets, one team emerged that will face Newbee in the grand final today. It's certainly not the grand final I'd have expected a week ago, and if you'd told me these results a month ago at ESL One I'd have called you crazy. I'd also have asked what it was like in the future and if you could help me skip the queue in the Secret Shop, but that's another matter.