Posts Tagged ‘Dota 2’

Dota 2’s Underhollow battle royale mode sounds cheesy

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What do you call a Dota 2 last-man standing mode? A battle royale with cheese. No, really – today the gates opened on the MOBA giant’s new Battle Pass-exclusive playmode, Underhollow. Eight teams enter a rapidly collapsing dungeon, and victory goes to either the last one left standing, or the first to sneak back out holding a legendary wheel of extra-mature cheese. It’s the kind of daft cartoon antics I’ve come to expect from Heroes of The Storm’s special Brawl modes, but don’t take that as a complaint – more of this kind of thing, please.

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You can see when and why you got reported in Dota 2

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You thought all the European General Data Protection Regulation related news was over, didn’t you? Think again. Don’t worry, this bit takes the form of fun trivia rather than an endless onslaught of delivery companies begging to throw pizza promotions at you. Among other things, you can now see every report and commendation you got in Dota 2 since 2015, along with the reason given by whoever snitched on you. This’ll be old news to anyone who’s already part of our fancy supporter program, but I’ve hardly ever been reported and thus claim my title as the nicest person in the world.

Valve have also given everyone access to their Counter-Strike: Global Offensive stats and reports, as well as all sorts of Steam bits and bobs like your chat history (going back two weeks) and community bans. Read the rest of this entry »

League of Legends’ Clash tournaments are everything I’d like Dota’s Battle Cups to be

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Competitive games like League of Legends, Dota 2 and Overwatch are at their best when you play them… competitively. Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of fun to be had tooling around in casual play – relaxed environments are great for hanging out with friends, or just being silly. It’s how I spend 95% of my time playing those sort of games. That other 5% of the time though? Those comparatively brief periods where I’ve been playing with a full team of people who I know, all on voice coms, all trying their hardest to secure a win? Those are the times when those sort of games have truly shone as games.

That’s why I think League’s upcoming tournament mode, Clash, is going to be a big deal. Starting on May 25th, each online tournament will cost a small amount to enter, run every fortnight, and take place over a full three days of the weekend. I’m a Dota man through and through, but Riot’s plans are starting to make Valve’s automated tournaments look a bit rubbish. Read the rest of this entry »

How Artifact connects to Dota 2’s story

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I’ve had Artifact on the brain these past few weeks, so I’ve mulled over the phrase “Dota-inspired card game” more times than I count. But what does Dota-inspired really mean? Artifact has lanes and creeps and heroes and also some nifty rectangles if you haven’t heard, but that just makes it a MOBA-inspired card game. What makes it a Dota game? I spoke to Artifact programmers Bruno Carlucci and Jeep Barnett to find out. Read the rest of this entry »

Dota 2’s International 2018 Battle Pass includes a battle royale-ish mode

With Dota 2‘s huge annual tournament, The International, drawing near-ish, Valve have launched a new Battle Pass to help boost the prize pool. Dota 2’s Battle Passes are multi-faceted doodads including access to new modes, challenges, a sticker album, progression tracks to grind through, and oh so very many cosmetic pretties to unlock and collect. This year, it includes a battle royale-soundin’ mode. Battle Passes cost £7 to start, though you can pay extra to skip ahead in the unlock grind, and 25% of the proceeds go to The International 2018’s prize pool. Read the rest of this entry »

Artifact feels like Valve’s solution to post-Hearthstone card games

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Collectible card games have been around for decades, but they’ve really been running hot ever since Blizzard unleashed Hearthstone four years ago. Since then, we’ve seen Shadowverse, Gwent, The Elder Scrolls: Legends, Duelyst, Faeria – there are a lot of these things, if you haven’t heard. They all put their own spin on rectangles with numbers on ’em, but they also universally take cues from Hearthstone and, just as often, each other, and as a result they regularly run into similar problems, the biggest two being how to balance a competitive system and how to price card packs fairly.

Artifact, Valve’s upcoming Dota-inspired card game, is definitely using some pages from the same books, but it’s also doing enough things differently that it has the potential to solve a lot of those problems. Read the rest of this entry »

What I learnt from Dota 2 pro Purge about the game and those who play it

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Kevin ‘Purge’ Godec is an ex-pro Dota 2 player turned analyst, commentator and coach, and I recently went to an event in London where me and a few other journos (*puts on Red Bull Esports voice*): “trained under Purge”.

We played a couple of games against people who were far better than us, then listened to a man with near comprehensive knowledge of a stupidly complicated game brutally highlight our every misstep in front of a large crowd of people.

I loved it, though not because of the valuable advice. I loved it because it felt like stepping back into a world that I thought I’d left behind, and realising that I’m eager to get back to exploring. I also hated it, because it brought me face to face with some of that world’s unpleasant inhabitants in a way that I never have been before.

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Artifact pairs the best ideas of Dota with the best parts of card games

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You’ll often see characters in sci-fi stories play seemingly incomprehensible games like multi-dimensional space chess, and that’s basically what it’s like playing Artifact, Valve’s upcoming Dota-inspired card game. It’s an ambitious hybrid of the studio’s MOBA and Magic: The Gathering, and it works shockingly well. So much so that it only took two games for me to understand and get on board with Valve’s vision. Read the rest of this entry »

Podcast: Being a critic makes games better (and worse)

This is how Adam will leave us next week. In a truck

Oh no. Somebody sound the “journalists discussing journalism” klaxon. Rattle it as loudly and furiously as possible, because the RPS podcast, the Electronic Wireless Show, is talking about how being a critic changes the way we play. Don’t blame us, blame listener Aleksei, who sent in the theme as a suggestion. But please also forgive Adam, because it’s his last showing on the podcast (he’s leaving RPS next week) so he deserves a bit of self-indulgence. Read the rest of this entry »

Oh, Canada! Dota 2 International moves venue

The International 2017

In the period of my life where free time basically equated to Dota time, I’d have loved nothing more than to go the International – especially if it was the one where my friends managed to get themselves trapped in a lift with Blitz. No doubt to avoid a repeat of that incident, Valve are moving this year’s main Dota 2 tournament to Canada, where every elevator comes equipped with a button that summons Justin Trudeau himself to sort things out.

So, Seattle is no longer the seat of the largest esport event in the world. Sorry, Seattle.

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Dota 2 launches Dota Plus subscription service

Valve have launched a subscription service for Dota 2, named Dota Plus, which is replacing the old tournament-centric Battle Passes with gobs of ongoing statistics and cosmetic bits. Basically, paying £3 per month for Dota Plus member gives you a load of progression tracks and challenges to unlock new skins and voiced taunts and bits. It does have something for beginners too, offering access to an AI assistant giving advice across matches. But it basically continues Dota’s free-to-play philosophy of monetisation being optional and not changing the game. Read the rest of this entry »

Richard Garfield is working on Valve’s Artifact

“Hooray! Valve’s going to start shipping games again,” studio head honcho Gabe Newell has exclaimed. During a recent press preview event for Artifact, cheery RPS fanzine PC Gamer reports, Newell said that the upcoming Dota 2 card game spin-off “is the first of several games that are going to be coming from us.” What those others might be is a mystery, but this is the sort of quote that gets certain people all in a tizzy so I’ll say it at the start and you can sit here fizzing away.

For people who don’t go weak at the knees any time they see a crowbar, hey, this is hot: the Artifact team includes Richard Garfield, the designer behind such fine card and board games as Magic: The Gathering, the original Netrunner, and King Of Tokyo. Ooh! Read the rest of this entry »

Vulkan set to enable higher framerates on Mac

Valve are celebrating a big step in their push to improve gaming on non-Windows PCs after sponsoring an open-source release of software which lets devs use the zippy Vulkan graphics API on Macs. I won’t get too technical but: the MoltenVK tool runs the Vulkan API through Apple’s own Metal framework, bypassing Apple’s OpenGL drivers of ill repute. What do these acronyms actually mean for players? Valve’s own testing has seen the Mac version of Dota 2 run at framerates up to one-third faster with Vulkan than OpenGL. Obviously gains are situational and it mean nothings if developers don’t use the API, but it seems a firm foundation to lay. Congrats, Maccers. Read the rest of this entry »

Dota 2 makes life easier with the Spring Cleaning update

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Dota 2 has cracked out its ‘quality of life’ duster and set about some spring cleaning. Yesterday’s patch was the first of the new fortnightly updates, and its focus is on improvements that make the game less fiddly. Dota can be more fiddly than an eleven-piece folk band, so this is good news. That’s especially true for newer players, who have enough to deal with without worrying about micromanaging the courier or figuring out which jungle camps are the deadly ones. Two of my favourite smaller changes target those issues, but there’s plenty more here besides. They’ve added in-game tips about recent hero changes, redesigned player profiles and thrown in a whole bunch of UI tweaks and balance changes – and that’s just scratching the surface.

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Dota 2 is ditching twice-yearly megapatches, will get fortnightly updates instead

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Ahh, how I miss Dota 2 patch note parties. They were glorious affairs that could go on for several hours, where me and my Dota chums would hop on skype and pour over literally hundreds of major changes to the game that formed a major part of our lives. Those mega updates would arrive a couple of times a year, and they’d mix the games up so much that much of it would have to be relearned. Dota would still get tweaked throughout the year, but those changes would typically revolve around balance adjustments rather than new additions or major reworks.

It looks like those patch note parties are a thing of the past, to be replaced with patch note… nibbles? Lead developer ‘Icefrog’ has tweeted to say that instead of huge twice-yearly updates they’re going to try smaller, fortnightly patches for the next 6 months.

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Valve pull support from major Philippines Dota 2 tournament, citing privacy concerns

Valve have stopped supporting an upcoming Dota 2 tournament over concerns that the Philippines government would make “unreasonable infringements on the privacy” of players entering the country. Valve don’t elaborate on why they’re dropping the Galaxy Battles 2018 tourney, which was due to run January 15-21, but it seems mandatory government drug testing for esports players is likely to blame. The tournament might continue in some form, but it would be without Valve, not as an official ‘Major’ on the Dota Pro Circuit, and not with all the teams. Read the rest of this entry »

2017 Steam Award winners include PUBG, Cuphead & Witcher

We’ve already seen which games sold best on Steam last year, but a perhaps more meaningful insight into movin’ and a-shakin’ in PC-land is the games that people feel warmest and snuggliest about. To that end, Valve have announced the winners of the 2017 Steam Awards, a fully community-voted affair which names the most-loved games across categories including best post-launch support, most player agency, exceeding pre-release expectations and most head-messing-with. Vintage cartoon-themed reflex-tester Cuphead leads the charge with two gongs, but ol’ Plunkbat and The Witcher series also do rather well – as do a host of other games from 2017’s great and good.

Full winners and runners-up below, with links to our previous coverage of each game if you’re so-minded. Plus: I reveal which game I’d have gone for in each category.
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These are the top 100 Steam games of 2017

Another year over, a new one just begun, which means, impossibly, even more games. But what about last year? Which were the games that most people were buying and, more importantly, playing? As is now something of a tradition, Valve have let slip a big ol’ breakdown of the most successful titles released on Steam over the past twelve months.

Below is the full, hundred-strong roster, complete with links to our coverage if you want to find out more about any of the games, or simply to marvel at how much seemed to happen in the space of 52 short weeks.

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Dota 2’s Frostivus event is a series of merry mini-games

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Frostivus ain’t what it used to be. This year’s Christmas event for Dota 2 launched last Thursday, and it’s the product of a community contest rather than Valve themselves. The winner, VicFrank, has eschewed the traditional format in favour of mini-games: each match consists of ten separate games that are pulled from a pool of 30. I’ve thrown myself into the festivities, and had a surprising amount of fun.

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Okami HD splashes onto PC

The list of games I feel I’ve dearly missed by skipping most consoles isn’t long, and it grows shorter all the time as classics are ported to PC. The latest venerated console game to come our way is Okami, Clover Studio’s 2006 game about a sun goddess incarnated as a wolf to save the land from darkness with her magical ink brush, launched last night. Now named Okami HD, it’s not majorly rebuilt but it is a bit prettier and hey it’s on PC so good, great, wonderful.

Oh, and you’ll get a snazzy Dota 2 courier skin too. Read the rest of this entry »