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6 days ago

Valve launch Dota Underlords early for 2019 Battle Pass owners

Defying all we thought we knew about Valve Time, the studio have just simultaneously titled and launched Dota Underlords. It's Valve's take on ultra-popular Dota 2 mod Auto Chess, which they had been teasing for a while now. While the game will eventually be free-to-play, with an open beta due in approximately a week, they've just opened the floodgates to anyone with a Dota 2…

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1 week ago

Auto Chess creators bringing their own standalone version to PC

Not only are Valve making a standalone version of mega-hit Dota 2 mod Dota Auto Chess, the mod's creators yesterday announced they're releasing a standalone Auto Chess on PC too. And this came mere hours after Riot Games announced an Auto Chess clone mode for League Of Legends. It's rare to see a mod attempt to bloom into a full genre in real time.

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League Of Legends riffing on Dota Auto Chess with Teamfight Tactics

Riot Games have announced a new League Of Legends mode named Teamfight Tactics, which is heavily inspired by Dota 2 mod Auto Chess. Y'know, the turn-based mod about buying and melding AI-controlled heroes, which has grown so popular that Valve are making an official standalone spin-off. Teamfight Tactics looks like that but in LoL and with a few tweaks to make it fresh and friendlier.…

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2 weeks ago

Dota 2 now selling premium pass for Auto Chess mod

While Valve work away on their own standalone version of Dota Auto Chess, they're helping the original Dota 2 mod by making it one of the select few selling paid premium features in the game's store. Launched over the weekend, the Auto Chess Pass gives a month of fancy cosmetic bits and bonus rewards for less than a quid. It's mostly just fancybits, with the…

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4 weeks ago

Valve making Dota Auto Chess mod into standalone game

Dota Auto Chess, the most popular mod in Dota 2 these days (and which has nothing to do with chess), is becoming a standalone game made by Valve themselves. I had not predicted that this would be Valve's next game. Valve say they talked with mod creators Drodo Studio about working together and, while dreams of collaboration fell flat, they did agree to each work…

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1 month ago

Dota 2’s paid “avoid player” option is part of a pattern of developers sidelining anti-abuse features

Dota 2's International 2019 Battle Pass has plenty of issues. As Matt wrote earlier this month, alongside a waterfall of cosmetics and a special mode, the pass will unlock an in-game assistant that seems to give owners an advantage over those who haven’t forked over at least £7.50/$10. But (as reported by The Verge) the pass is paywalling another key feature – the ability to…

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The Dota 2 International 2019 Battle Pass includes lizards, a new mode, and problems

The jungle is a rumblin', thanks to Dota 2's International 2019 Battle Pass. Nowadays Dota 2's Battle Passes aren't just big sticker books where you make predictions about how your favourite athletes will perform in the wizard world championships, they're books you have to buy if you want to play a special mode and access features that give you an advantage. That first inclusion is…

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2 months ago

Dota 2’s black hole creating hero, Enigma, sees increased play after Powehi image

This week we got a peek through the vastness of space, with the release of the very first image of a black hole ever captured by humans. Not long after, more players were making similar vast, galaxy destroying horrors in Dota 2 thanks to the abilities of mysterious hero Enigma. Correlation doesn’t equal causation and all that, but it’s not hard to imagine people getting…

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4 months ago

This animated chart of the most played Steam games is unreasonably absorbing

I'm not big into numberwang. Vast numbers of people playing a game might indicate that it's fun, or it might indicate that it's Ark: Survival Evolved. (I haven't played Ark and it could be amazing, this is irresponsible journalism and I will hand in my badge and gun shortly.) Point being, it's more interesting to write about what has made a game popular than the…

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5 months ago

Dota Auto Chess is like Football Manager with wizards

People have been making weird and wonderful custom Dota 2 games for years. With so much good stuff coming from outside the dota-sphere, that's easy to forget - but not when a possible bug convinces the internet you've got more players than Grand Theft Auto V. That seems have happened with Dota Auto Chess, a custom game where you pit teams of increasingly powerful wizards…

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6 months ago

Dota’s Christmas event turns Rubick into the Grinch

It's Christmas Frostivus in Dota-land, but Rubick doesn't care. "Swept up in the zeal of unraveling and reshaping arcane energies" - we've all been there - "Grand Magus Rubick marches a mob into Frosthaven, intent on uprooting the original Frostivus tree to explore the mysterious font of power beneath it." Which means, of course, that five heroes have to defend a Christmas tree in co-op…

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7 months 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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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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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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