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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
If you missed yesterday's list, you can find it here.
Almost nothing today went as expected. Well, some things. As far as day two's competitive matches went, however, extraordinary upsets and out-of-left-field performances were the rule. Today saw the fall of former champions and the continued rise of teams that almost everybody had counted out. While the matches I've chosen below reflect the best of the day, this was one of those essential runs that bears watching in full and analysing after the fact.
It might have been rumoured for a while, but it's still unprecedented. Tonight at the International Valve took the lid off Techies, a DotA hero with a cult following due to his continued absence from Dota 2. Like Valve's other great unfinished projects - Ricochet 2, Portal 5 - Techies have become an event so long-awaited that it seemed like it'd never happen at all.
Day one is over. Even though none of the teams in the upper bracket faced elimination today, success at this stage meant securing vast proportions of the prize pool in advance of the rest of the tournament. For the team that managed to earn their place in the grand final, it meant a guaranteed place in history as contenders for the single biggest reward ever offered in competitive gaming.
The 2014 edition of The International Dota 2 Championships, better known to gamers as simply The International, will be broadcast live on ESPN3, while an exclusive preview of the final match that will include an interview with Gabe Newell will be carried on ESPN2.
After an eventful group stage, the International begins in earnest tomorrow. Of the nineteen teams in contention for the Aegis of Champions on the 8th of July, eight remain. Over four days at Seattle's KeyArena, those eight teams will fight to secure the lion's share of the largest prize pool in competitive gaming history. The winner will take away just shy of $5m. But this extraordinary reward, most players will tell you, isn't the point. The International is Dota 2's alpha and omega: it is where reputations are made, where teams are proven. Many of the matchups you watch this weekend will never come about in the same way again; the stress of falling short at The International is enough to tear lineups apart and force teams to start over. This is the end of the biggest year in the game's life and the beginning of the next.
Three Lane Highway is Chris' weekly column about Dota 2.
'Metagame' is a sharp, cyberpunkish word for a pretty cloudy and unscientific concept. Which is not to say that it's impossible to get an exact read on a game's competitive landscape, but that sense of certainty is usually unsustainable. The moment a team does something that nobody expects and it works, questions are raised. Figuring out the answers to those questions - or watching other people do it - is one of the major draws of this part of the hobby. It's natural to chase certainty, to be sure, but it's doubt that creates drama.
Gearbox Software's next big thing is Battleborn, an "ambitious fusion of genres" that combines the action of multiplayer first-person shooters with the co-operative combat elements more commonly seen in MOBAs. It sounds vaguely reminiscent of the Borderlands games but publisher 2K Games says we've never played anything like it before.