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26

5 days ago

Feature: It's very card

Artifact review

There’s part of me that wants to champion Artifact as a step forward for digital card games. I want to celebrate how it bottles the essence of Dota 2 into turn-based ‘take that-ing’, to enthuse, misty-eyed, about the new avenues of thought that it has me gallivanting down. I will do all that. But with some pretty big reservations.

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6 days ago

Valve ban Dota 2 player from tourney over racist remark cover-up

Valve have banned Dota 2 player Carlo "Kuku" Palad from their upcoming 'Major' tournament in China over a racist comment he made mocking Chinese players in a non-tournament game earlier this year. Kuku's team, TNC Predator, initially tried to pass a cover-up story and have further muddied waters with unsupported claims that Major host city Chongqing's government threatened to cancel the tournament if he attended.…

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1 week ago

2 weeks ago

ESA defend loot boxes again, while IGDA call for industry self-regulation

Several video games industry associations have reacted to the news that the USA's Federal Trade Commission (FTC) are planning to investigate loot boxes over concerns about potential impact on children. America's Entertainment Software Association (ESA), whose duties include running the E3 games show, have repeated their stance that loot boxes "can enhance the experience" and aren't gambling and they're fine okay just leave it. The…

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FTC & Australian Senate committee give loot boxes the stink eye

Several government bodies around the world are continuing to eye loot boxes with suspicion, with yesterday alone bringing news that the USA's Federal Trade Commission is investigating them and an Australian Senate committee has concluded that the government should take a closer look. No, neither of those steps is close to sparking actual industry-wide changes to exploitative loot boxes, but it's potentially laying groundwork for…

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Valve start Artifact story comic, teasing changes for Dotaworld

Tomorrow brings the first full and proper new Valve game since 2013: Artifact, a card game based on wizfest Dota 2. Yes, it is a game about pushing lanes and managing lords (made together with Magic: The Gathering mastermind Richard Garfield, no less), but apparently it also has a story told in that modern Valve way, through a companion comic. Artifact's first digital issue is…

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3 weeks ago

Gambling Commission report decries skin gambling, but not loot boxes

Great Britain's Gambling Commission did not call loot boxes gambling or a gateway to gambling in a new report, the body have stressed after some media coverage of it claimed that they did. Their 'Young People & Gambling 2018' report, based on a survey of young'uns aged 11-16 "to explore gambling behaviour among young people in Great Britain", did repeat the body's stance that betting…

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Dota 2 v7.20 changes oh god so much how does Dota even work anymore

Now that I'm a few years past the point of playing Dota 2 nightly, I do still find big patches exciting but they also fill me with a sense of "Oh god, how does Dota even work anymore" - and yesterday's update was a big'un. Version 7.20 has reworked the landscape of Valve's MOBA, fiddled with the workings of core Dota tricks from denying (killing…

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1 month ago

Warcraft 3: Reforged aiming to support all original mods

One detail I'd missed in Friday's announcement of Warcraft III: Reforged is that Blizzard's upcoming remaster should be able to play all the original's player-created maps and modes. Which is great news. WC3 has one of the great forgotten modding scenes, growing so many genres beyond the obvious MOBAs like DotA. Every night for months, my pals and I would play random 'custom games' and…

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2 months ago

Dota 2 starts showing odds of rare bonus items in loot boxes

Valve are starting to clearly disclose the odds of receiving a rare bonus wizard costume in your Dota 2 loot box of wizard hats, adding an in-game pop-up stating your chances. This is for the "escalating odds", which go up as you open more and more of a certain loot box, and will always track your current chances. The odds were vaguely available before in…

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Feature: Great games to play against friends

The 25 best multiplayer games on PC

Multiplayer games are the best type of games, because they're built around the most interesting components known to humans: humans. Men, women, and an awful lot of children. Internet strangers aren't always the friendliest bunch, but they can surprise you in ways that a static system can't. People form the living, beating hearts of the gaming moments I value the most. Join me, then, as…

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4 months ago

OG win Dota 2’s The International, $11 million prize

European Dota 2 team OG triumphed in this year’s The International, netting a whopping $11.2 million (£8.7 million) grand prize. They beat out China-based team PSG.LGD to take the win. TI8 boasted the largest prize pool of any esports event to date, with teams competing for part of a $25.4 million (£20m) total. The second place finishers still walked away with $4 million (£3.1m), which…

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Dota 2 announces two new heroes, one playable now

Valve’s MOBA Dota 2 is having a busy couple of weeks. The finals of its esports championship The International are tonight, and as part of the celebration they’ve announced two new heroes, one of whom is playable now. Grimstroke, named for the fact that uses ink from his runebinding brush to “channel vile forces,” is currently available, while Mars, who appears to be very much…

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Gabe Newell steps up to the mic in new Dota 2 voice pack

With over $25 million (£19m) now in the prize pool for Dota 2's The International tournament, Valve need a certain level of hype and energy to match that. Enter Gabe Newell, the softly-spoken CEO, knife-collecting uncle, and megacorp mascot. A new voice pack for Dota 2 has Newell deadpan through announcing large numbers of murders, delivering lines including "Megakill", "Monsterkill", "More than two kills but…

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Steam expands its broadcasting features, starting with The International 2018 live on SteamTV

While Twitch still seems a popular venue to watch Dota 2 mega-tourney The International, Valve have rolled out a few upgrades to Steam Broadcasting. If it tickles your fancy, you can now watch the massive esport event on SteamTV, complete with Steam friends integration and the option to invite your regular Dota posse to watch the match with you in a private chat (text or…

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OpenAI’s bots just thrashed some of the world’s best Dota players

"We estimate the probability of winning to be above 95%", said OpenAI's Dota 2 bots at the start of their second game against extremely skilled humans. I knew they'd been trained up using a sophisticated reinforcement learning technique that had instilled them with millenia worth of experience. I didn't know they'd been versed in trash talk. It seems they had training time to spare, because…

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Valve start dealing Artifact on November 28th

Valve have announced plans to launch Artifact, their digital card-battling adaptation of wizard management simulator Dota 2, on November 28th. That's the plan. That's what they say now. Valve's first big game since Dota 2 in 2013, Artifact turns the MOBA into a card game where players build decks to make wizards fight across three 'lanes' of the table and murder the other wizards' base.…

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5 months ago

Dota 2 loot boxes start telling Dutch players what they’ll get

Valve have reportedly stripped the uncertainty and razzle-dazzle from opening loot boxes in Dota 2, but only for players in the Netherlands. When Dutchlanders now look at Dota 2's loot boxes, which contain cosmetic items, the wizard 'em up simply tells them which item they would receive if they bought it. No hoping, no dreaming, no fancy animations or pounding drums as it shows you…

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Counter-Strike crates blocked in Belgium & Netherlands

Presumably in order to adhere to new gambling rules pertaining to loot boxes, players in the Netherlands and Belgium are now blocked from opening key-locked boxes in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. This is following their announcement last month, where CS:GO and Dota 2 market trading was blocked for Dutch players (as covered here by Eurogamer), with promises that a "less inconvenient" solution would be coming.

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