Three Lane Highway: why Dota 2 isn't really about heroes at all

Chris Thursten at

Three Lane Highway is Chris' sometimes silly, sometimes serious column about Dota 2.

It is the most human thing in the world to want to be the coolest person in the room. Competition for status is written into our society and culture. It is why we valourise the assertion of individual will and downplay collective success. It's how teenagers figure out who they are. It's how democracy (sort of) functions, how movies get made, how lies pass into general acceptance. It's a process we can't shake, a process that generates politicians and celebrities and bullies and—to the point—some really, really shitty Dota players.

Crytek announces new MOBA Arena of Fate

Emanuel Maiberg at

Today Crytek announced Arena of Fate, a fast-paced five-on-five multiplayer game. Crytek’s press release curiously does not mention the term MOBA, but the Arena of Fate site calls it a "free-to-play action strategy game." If it walks like a MOBA and quacks like a MOBA, well, it’s probably a MOBA.

Dota 2's Compendium raises over $6 million for the International 2014, all stretch goals unlocked

Phil Savage at

Here's a quick maths question for you. If a copy of Dota 2's Compendium costs $10/£6 (which it does), and $2.50 of that goes to the International 2014's prize pool (which it does), and that prize pool—which launched at a base level of $1.6 million—currently stands at over $6 million (which it does), then how much deeper is Gabe Newell's swimming pool tribute to Scrooge McDuck? The answer is lots.* Valve aren't the only winner of this equation, though. The participants of the Dota 2 tournament have a much bigger prize to compete for, and the Dota 2 community have now secured the entirety of the Compendium's stretch goals.

Dota 2 gets meta with The Stanley Parable announcer pack, available now

Phil Savage at

Now you can get in the mood for DIGITAL SPORTS! with the help of the smooth, comforting and somewhat sociopathic Narrator from The Stanley Parable. As teased all those months ago, his gently mocking wit is now available as a Dota 2 announcer pack. Sure, it's not hard to make fun of an incomprehensible game about internet wizards, but it takes skill to do it and still make the game's fans want to give you money.

League of Legends pro keeps streaming from hospital bed with collapsed lung

Emanuel Maiberg at

People who are dedicated to video games will go to extreme measures to enjoy them. We’ve probably all skipped a day of school or work following the release date of a sequel to our favorite game, or abandoned many social events in favor of marathoning them. But Pro League of Legends Player Hai Lam just took it to a whole new level.

League of Legends All-Stars 2014 tournament starts May 8

Wes Fenlon at

People are playing League of Legends right now. Millions of people. From May 8 to May 11, though, the best players in the world are going to be playing League of Legends in the All-Star 2014 tournament, and millions of people are going to be watching. But how will you watch? Where will you watch? Riot's put together a handy list of who's competing and when. Here's the coolest thing about this year's All-Star Challenge, which precedes the tournament: fans voted on which pro League players get to compete.

Smite launches two lane Siege mode and map on May 6

Wes Fenlon at

MOBAs live and die by their three lane 5v5 maps. Dota 2's map has been passed down from generation to generation as a relic of the ancients. It shall always be as it always has been. League of Legends tried to introduce a new map and game mode with Dominion. It didn't work. Now Hi-Rez Studios' is taking a shot with Siege mode, a new two-lane map for Smite. Siege launches in beta with Tuesday's patch, along with the usual range of balance tweaks and a new god, Egypt's Osiris. Check out the one-minute tutorial video below for a peek at how Siege plays.

Dota 2 Spring Cleaning update changes heroes, interface, bugs

Ian Birnbaum at

Dota 2 hasn't been out officially for even a year, but the most popular game on Steam is getting a host of updates and changes in next week's patch. Titled “Spring Cleaning,” the update includes dozens of changes to the game’s inventory, interface, and heroes.

Smite review

Wes Fenlon at

"They have no idea I'm here," says GamesRadar's Lucas Sullivan as he sneaks up behind two enemy gods in my lane. I'm casually killing minions in front of my tower in Conquest mode, Smite's take on the 5v5 Multiplayer Online Battle Arena codified by Dota and League of Legends. On a strategic level, Smite plays almost identically to League, but it tucks the camera in close behind the back of my character—a god pulled from the pages of Greek or Hindu or Egyptian mythology—and feels more like a third-person action game as I cast magical abilities with the keyboard and sling attacks with the left mouse button.

EA's new MOBA, Dawngate, opens its doors to a public beta

Ian Birnbaum at

Dawngate has just leveled up and announced an open beta release. We wrote a bit about the closed beta almost a year ago, so EA's MOBA, developed by Waystone, has had a lot of time to marinate. If you’re game for a new MOBA, head to the Dawngate website to sign up.

The 12 most amazing moments from Smite's launch tournament

Wes Fenlon at

After a weekend of watching the best players from the US and Europe compete in High-Rez Studios' MOBA Smite, I could pick out the most amazing plays by the volume of the crowd. The thousand-seat Center Theater in Atlanta erupted for every kill and chanted for favored teams, but only the best ganks and jukes incited cheers that grew louder and louder and louder. Sometimes the plays were so precise, so obviously above the skill level of any normal player, that I was already writing them down as the crowd went wild.

At least one incredible play happened in every match I watched throughout Smite's three day launch tournament, and I put together a list of the moments that really wowed me below. Each one is embedded with a timestamped video from a Twitch livestream so you can jump straight into the action.

Smite launches out of beta, asks you to punch gods in the face

Omri Petitte at

The MOBA genre already has colossal communities in both League of Legends and Dota 2, but what's missing is an arena where the greatest gods of mythology toss magic fireworks at each other and roast a couple thousand mortal minions. Enter Smite, Hi-Rez Studios' free-to-play god-on-god rumbler, which launches in full today after a lengthy beta period and is available for all to download on its official website.

Sins of a Dark Age in Steam Early Access for $5

Emanuel Maiberg at

It’s been a long time since we heard from Ironclad’s MOBA Sins of a Dark Age, but it’s still alive and kicking and has just landed on Steam Early Access for $5. That’s a steal compared to the $25 you had to pay previously for a founder edition and access to the closed beta. However, when it’s ready, Sins of a Dark Age will be free-to-play.

Dragons and Titans review

Ian Birnbaum at

When Dragons and Titans released last year, the notoriously competitive free-to-play MOBA space was already crowded by heavyweights Dota 2 and League of Legends. To find its own niche, Dragons was designed in Unity to work entirely in web browsers, and launched on Facebook to become the F2P MOBA you could play anywhere.

The future of PC games: bold predictions from the PC Gamer staff

PC Gamer at

All week long, we're peering ahead to what the future holds for the PC gaming industry. Not just the hardware and software in our rigs, but how and where we use them, and how they impact the games we play. Here's the final entry in our five-part series.

By 2020, cars will fly and the DeLorean will make a successful comeback. The Large Pixel Collider will usher in a new age of global prosperity as President of Earth. Half-Life 3 will, finally, be close to release. Those are just a few of our wildest predictions for what's on the horizon. Below we throw caution to the wind to make our boldest predictions about the future of PC gaming and a variety of genres, from shooters to RPGs and MOBAs.

Dota 2 tournament The International reportedly moving to July, Seattle's Key Arena

Patrick Carlson at

The International, Valve's annual Dota 2 tournament, is one of the largest gaming events in the world, a celebration of Steam's most-played game that last year took over a symphony hall in Seattle. A report at onGamers, citing sources from eSports teams and officials, indicates that this year's event will move from July from August, and according to Valve's Gabe Newell, may take over a sports stadium.

Transformers Universe trailers show off two new characters

Emanuel Maiberg at

By now you might be a little confused about what Transformers Universe is. The game was first announced in 2011 as an MMO. Then, just last month, developer Jagex announced that Transformers Universe is in fact a massively online tactical action game, or MOTA, which clearly evokes MOBAs. If you look at the two recently released trailers, however, Transformers Universe looks most like a class-based multiplayer action game (maybe a little bit like Smite) with a few Transformers-specific twists.

Warhammer 40,000: Storm of Vengeance beta hits Steam

Emanuel Maiberg at

In the year 40,000, our universe is ravaged by war. Bloody battles between humans and xenos rage on endlessly, entire planets are annihilated regularly, and Space Marines, more machine than human, know only death and war. Games Workshop’s Warhammer 40,000 has just about the most epic, metal-album-cover fiction that ever existed, and it’s a great source material for video games.

Infinite Crisis open beta begins March 14, adds three new Champions

Emanuel Maiberg at

Almost a year after it was first announced, Turbine’s DC Comics-themed MOBA Infinite Crisis will begin its open beta on March 14. To celebrate the event, Turbine’s also adding three new Champions: Green Arrow, Aquaman, and Mecha Superman.

Warhammer 40K MOBA Storm of Vengeance announced

Emanuel Maiberg at

British developer Eutechnyx  today announced that it’s currently working on Storm of Vengeance, a MOBA set in Games Workshop’s Warhammer 40,000 universe. Slated for a 2014 release on PC and mobile devices, Eutechnyx describes Storm of Vengeance as a “lane strategy game” set in the dark, gothic, but not-at-all emo universe of Warhammer 40,000.