Image credit: Valve At this last weekend’s The Summit 7, one team decided to challenge itself. Rather than lean on any one hero, Virtus.Pro would go the opposite way: Try to never pick the same hero twice. We’re don’t know why the team decided to play like this—the consensus seems to be it was either to prove some naysayers, who admonished the team for lacking in hero variety, wrong, or it was just for the fun of it. Either way, Virtus.Pro confirmed on-stream that the team was intentionally trying to pick every hero in the game only once for their entire tournament run. In the games VP played, heroes who haven’t seen the competitive light of day in months got a chance to shine again. Given five heroes picked per game, and 113 heroes to chose from, the cream of the crop was quickly done away with for niche picks like Viper, Huskar and Lich. Advertisement As fans followed along and updated a tally of which heroes were still available to VP, it became apparent that Virtus.Pro wasn’t just goofing off. The team shined on a variety of picks, able to turn READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!
Image credit: Valve Toby Dawson has been commentating in the Dota pro scene for over a decade, and has been the voice behind some of its biggest moments. In a recent post on the Dota 2 subreddit, Dawson voiced his concerns on the continued viability of the scene. It started with a tweet, where Dawson laid it out in simple terms: we are approaching a breaking point, and Valve (publisher of Dota 2) will be the ones to determine whether it happens or not. In a more detailed explanation, Dawson highlighted issues that have been brought up by others as well. Tournaments being eclipsed by the majors with little competition and a lack of crowd-funding for events, which in the past created staples like The Summit and experimental leagues like Captain’s Draft. These are two tournaments closely tied to the community, with the long-running Summit series having its seventh installment this weekend, and without crowdfunding they wouldn’t have started in the first place. These tier-two and tier-three tournaments are also the events that help support up-and-coming teams, and without the possible influx of new talent, high-level Dota risks becoming stale. Advertisement READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!
GIF Even in professional matches, sometimes you have to dive the fountain. Team Liquid ended their run at this weekend’s Epicenter Dota 2 tournament with a bang, as a rush from Amer “Miracle” Al-Barkawi into the enemy team’s spawn highlighted their 3-1 win over Evil Geniuses. EG, who came into the grand finals having dropped only a single game in the tournament, looked to be a favorite over Team Liquid, a squad that has struggled in the last two majors. A team that’s been hot and cold in the past, Liquid looked strong in a semifinals win against LGD Forever Young, and even stronger in their win over EG. Advertisement Despite Miracle having some highlights worthy of his 9k matchmaking rating status, four-role support Maroun “GH” Merhej really showed up during key moments, especially in his two games as Earthshaker. In the clip below, you can see GH simply walk up to the middle lane at the right time to both pick off the enemy courier and kill EG’s mid laner, with help from Miracle. A well-played series culminated in a game four where Liquid had a heavy lead, enough READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!
Siltbreaker, a cooperative Dota 2 campaign event, launched its first act yesterday, and it’s been driving my Dota group mad. Between the exponential difficulty spikes, impossible bosses and wave after wave of enemies, it plays less like a jolly ol’ game of Dota and more like a genuine raid. A comic handles most of the exposition before you start: an evil force called the Siltbreaker could soon escape from its prison, and the various heroes of the Dota-verse have been called into action to stop it. The way to Siltbreaker’s confines is beset by ancient evils, presumably spurred on by its growing power, and so you have to clear a lot of quests and bosses on the way there. If you’ve been playing Dota since the WarCraft III days, Siltbreaker will feel at home right away—it plays a lot like Warchasers, the pack-in dungeon-crawling custom game. Four players team up to roam through a map, combing every corner for treasure and mobs, pressing forward with each new objective. There’s a tinge of Diablo as well, though the game gradually becomes less about loot after the first fifteen minutes, and more about handling the monstrous READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!
GIF The hook is a simple but effective tool in games: a chain, thrown accurately, pulling enemies back to their likely doom. But in the realm of competitive games, hooks seem almost ubiquitous. The reason why a hook is a near-necessity for any competitive game, is simple: They’re the biggest moments in games, boiled down to a single throw. Ed Boon’s yellow ninja may be one the of the earliest examples (as long as we’re not counting Bionic Commando), but the hook really seemed to stick in most with the MOBA crowd. Starting with Defense of the Ancients, a mod for WarCraft III that popularized the concept of pushing lanes and destroying ancients, there was one character that stood out from the rest, a sack of flesh and guts called Pudge. Pudge was modeled after the Abomination unit, and alongside being able to rot the air around him and chop up enemies, he could throw a hook. This hook, if it landed, pulled back whatever unit it hit. By itself, it was a strong tool for displacing enemies; combined with his powerful but short-ranged skills, it was a brutal means of picking off heroes. READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!
GIF Some days, you just can’t catch a good Puck. The Manila Masters concluded today with a grand finals between Newbee and Evil Geniuses, a rematch of the winner’s finals. In a 3-1 win for EG, one player showed up time and time again: Sumail “SumaiL” Hassan, the 18-year-old mid-lane master. Whether on Outworld Devourer or the tricky Puck, Sumail had stellar matches every game. In game two, up a win against Newbee, Sumail looked all but caught out, but managed to utilize every tool available with his hero Puck to escape. To break it down, Sumail is locked down by Naga Siren’s song. Once the song drops, he uses his phase shift to avoid any incoming crowd control from Lina or Sand King, and shifts out to shoot his glowing orb. He then pops his Eul’s, which cyclones him into the air and safety, then teleports to his orb and uses his blink dagger to dodge the pursuing Sand King. Advertisement Advertisement He wasn’t the only star though, as Ludwig “zai” Wåhlberg had a stellar game in the fourth round against Newbee. On tournament point for his team, while the rest were fighting below in the river, Zai held…
GIF The Dota 2 community owns its memes. Players have long histories within the scenes, and few are as infamous as Clement “Puppey” Ivanov, whose rage was honored in a competition during last night’s Manila Masters matches. Dubbed the Battle Of The Rages, three fans were invited on-stage to show off their best rage-quits, inspired by the game that has inspired many a rage-quit. Two commentators, host SirActionSlacks and commentator LD, were joined by Puppey himself to decide the winner. Captain of Team Secret, Puppey is known as one of the best drafters in Dota 2, but also as one of its most infamous ragers. In a lengthy blog post last year, former teammate Jacky “EternaLEnVy” Mao detailed his experience with the team, including a video of Puppey throwing his headset at a monitor during practice. Owning the joke now, the Manila Masters offered three spectators the chance to appease Puppey himself with their rage, and they did not disappoint. One fan, during the interview portion, simply said “I play Legion jungle,” a phrase that would set off just about anyone who has played a game with a Legion Commander in the jungle. READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!
GIF Jacky “EternaLEnVy” Mao, captain of Team NP, was coming off a loss in the team’s first game at the Dota 2 Manila Masters when even gravity seemed to let him down. During a break between games one and two, as both teams went over strategy and drafts for the coming, likely decisive contest, Mao got a little tilted and ended up on the floor. Nearby teammates Kurtis “Aui_2000″ Ling and Arif “MSS” Anwar seemed unfazed by this development. Though NP took game two off opponent OG, NP lost game three in a 51-minute slugfest and will face Team Secret in an elimination match tomorrow. No word on whether the chairs will remain wheeled leading into the set. READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!
It probably does, but that hasn’t stopped a federal court from taking a closer look at the question. Two mobile developers, Lilith Games and uCool, have tried to make clones of Dota 2 for smartphones and been sued by Valve as a result. Their games, Dota Legends and Heroes Charge respectively, are slimmed down MOBAs that are popular in China. As Ars Technica reported, in response to Valve’s copyright claim against them, uCool has argued that the company doesn’t actually own the source material that Dota is based on, make its claim illegitimate. Dota started originally as a mod for Warcraft 3, making the question of who owns the rights a complicated one. Citing a forum post from 2004, uCool argued that because the original creator of the mod that would eventually evolve into Dota, Eul, had “released” it to the public, the lore and characters are fair game for anyone to use. Advertisement “I wish I could give you a last map that’s playable, but I can’t. Instead, from this point forward DOTA is now open source,” Eul wrote back in 2004. “Whoever wishes to release a version of DOTA READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!
Image credit: Valve The next mainline Dota 2 patch hit the game’s servers today, and with it came a litany of balance changes meant to address the most pressing concerns in the wake of the Kiev Major. With The International 7 looming on the horizon, it’s time to fine-tune the game that will be played for millions in prizes—and Valve started by taking a hatchet to all respawn talents. Advertisement Talents, special upgrades added in patch 7.00, allow a player to invest a skill point in a branching tree of upgrades to their hero of choice. While some options are fairly benign (more health, or some extra intelligence), others offer major changes to the hero’s skills or massive buffs, often becoming a cornerstone of the way the hero is played. Lately, heroes with talents that reduce their respawn times have been seeing a lot of competitive Dota play. It wasn’t solely because of said talents, but being able to take say, 30 to 50 seconds off your respawn timer means a bad teamfight can be salvaged. If you trade evenly in a fight, it even becomes an advantage, as your dead are READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!
Not everyone who watches the Super Bowl plays football, and it turns out the same is true for the League of Legends World Championship. According to research done by analytics firm Newzoo, 42 percent of esports viewers surveyed do not actually play the games they watch. Advertisement Specifically, Newzoo studied the esports viewing habits of people in 10 different Western countries: the United States, Canada, Germany, the UK, France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Sweden. Their findings focused on three heavy-hitters in esports: League of Legends, Dota 2, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. 191 million people surveyed reported watching esports “frequently,” and another 194 million reported “occasionally” watching esports streams. Because almost half of these viewers don’t play the game that they watch, Newzoo speculates that esports live-streams and commentary provide a source of engagement for “lapsed” players who don’t have the skills to keep up with the pros. Newzoo also found that 70 percent of esports viewers only focused on following one game in particular, with League of Legends raking in the highest share. Advertisement Newzoo also found that Overwatch viewership has exceeded Dota 2 viewership in READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!
Image credit: Valve In today’s qualifier matches for Dota’s The Summit 7, Natus Vincere’s Danil “Dendi” Ishutin found himself warped away from a fight by Vega Squadron’s Disruptor. With seconds to save himself, Dendi landed a chain onto a nearby tree and took a journey through space and time. Disruptor’s “Glimpse” ability warps an enemy hero back to wherever they were four seconds earlier. But Dendi’s hero, Timbersaw, has the “Timber Chain” ability, which launches a chain that latches Timbersaw to a tree and pulls him towards it. Dendi was teleporting in from another lane, so if Disruptor lands the glimpse, Dendi will get sent well away from the fight. You can see the blue particle effect on Dendi, indicating he’s been glimpsed and has four seconds to respond. Timing here is critical—if Dendi chains too early, he might get teleported out after blowing the chain, but throwing it too late could mean missing the window. He needs the chain to be in-transit to a tree when he gets flung back to his lane. That disembodied chain from another dimension is the result—Dendi lands it and comes flying back READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!
DOTA 2, usually a video game about saying mean things to other humans over the internet, is embracing the spirit of togetherness later this year with the release of a series of co-op story missions, part of a campaign called Siltbreaker. Advertisement Anyone owning a 2017 Battle Pass will be given access to the campaign, which is broken into two acts, the first of which goes live later this month, the second being made available in July. The campaign sees groups of four friends (or matchmade strangers) “undertake a cooperative adventure into the blackest depths of Dark Reef”, and ask them to traverse a “diverse landscape of loathsome monsters, cunning traps, and other lethal terrors.” Advertisement Every time you play you’ll earn campaign XP, with “an exclusive Desert Sands Baby Roshan” available on the Wheel of Rewards. Not a terrible way to try and convince people to pick up a Battle Pass for $10. I’m sure there’ll be those with no interest in DOTA 2 as a whole who will be keen to try out an actual story-driven video READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!
Photo credit: Venture Beat. A wise person once defined insanity as “watching Valve do the same thing over and over, and expecting different results.” Advertisement Once a quiet enigma, popping out an all-time classic video game once every handful of years, Valve now does a bunch of stuff—largely centered around hardware and updating Steam—announcing these efforts without much in the way of forewarning. It might not seem like there’s a method to the madness, but it turns out there are only really a few different Valve news stories, with only the details changed. The ‘Sure, We Still Make Games’ The story: Fans express fear that Valve doesn’t make games anymore. Gabe Newell cryptically suggests that Valve is making games, actually, but doesn’t name any. Advertisement Past examples: Gabe Newell said back in 2011 that Valve has decided to eschew traditional single-player experiences post-Portal 2 in favor of socially connected games. In 2015, Newell reiterated that Valve approaches games differently now, saying that they’ve learned too much to go back and create a “super classic kind of product.” In 2017, fans and interviewers got Newell to say READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!