Product Update - Valve
* Updated Glimmer Cape to now have a manacost (130)
PC Gamer

Gifting things on Steam can be more trouble than it's worth, thanks to the regional and time restrictions in place when it comes to trading. Now, Valve has offered a rare explanation for the latter's existence on the Dota 2 subreddit, in response to concerns about the game's seven-day trading/gifting cooldown, and referring to the 2015 International Compendium, but really concerning all Steam gifts.

If you bought the newly minted International Compendium yesterday, and you were wondering why you can't gift it immediately, here's why, courtesy of Valve's DanielJ:

"We hate the gift restrictions as much as you do. We thought it'd be helpful to explain to you why they exist so that you can have a better view into the challenges surrounding fraud. Throughout this post we'll talk about gifting compendiums to friends, but this applies in general to all items purchased from the store.

"Here's the problem: Bad guys buy compendiums with stolen credit cards, and then resell them to other players at a discount. It can take days to determine that the cards were stolen, and that a fraudulent item had been added to the economy. We can't effectively punish the fraudsters, because they're not really traceable - they commit the fraud on new or stolen accounts, never on their own accounts. In addition, these side markets make it very easy for people to get scammed.

"When this started happening in 2013, we decided that the impact fraud was having on players and the economy wasn't big enough compared to the drawbacks of imposing restrictions on everyone. Unfortunately, like all scams that make money, it ballooned rapidly. The moment a method of fraud becomes profitable, it will explode in scope until we can find a way to address it. In 2014, the percentage of compendium purchases that turned out to be fraudulent became very significant and we also saw a massive growth in scam-related support requests from users that didn't receive their items or had their accounts stolen. Additionally, credit card fraud can become a big problem for us because if our fraud rates climb too high, we will no longer be allowed to accept credit card payments at all.

"So, we added the time-based trade restriction to allow time to detect and limit the impact that the fraudulent activity has. We believe it actually hurts sales when we put restrictions on our players, because it means it's harder to buy a gift for your friend, for example. We hated doing it, but we didn't have a better solution. We are continuously exploring different methods to solve these problems, because we want to be able to stop fraud without affecting legitimate users."

Community Announcements - SZ
That was fast.

We have just updated the game with the first Immortal treasure and cursor pack. All Compendium owners should receive them over the next hour or so. Check the level reward schedule to see how to get multiple Treasures.

This treasure includes 7 unique Immortals for Luna, Magnus, Sand King, Spirit Breaker, Pugna, Huskar and a bonus rare Night Stalker item. There is also an extremely rare golden version of the Luna Immortal. Head over to the the Immortal preview page to see short videos of them all.
PC Gamer

The 2015 International Compendium has been released, giving Dota 2 players the opportunity to contribute to the prize pool of the Dota 2 International Championship. 25% of each Compendium sold goes to the prize pool, and as the prize grows, more items are unlocked for owners of the big glowing book.

As of this moment, the prize pool is over $3 million, meaning owners receive The International Coin Charm and Cursor Pack, the ability to vote on All-Stars, and Immortal Treasure I, which contains one Immortal item and the slim possibility of some other rare treasure. You can take a look at the full list of rewards here.

The 2014 International's prize pool was initially $1.6 million, with sales of the Compendium and other purchases ultimately raising the prize to nearly $11 million. $5 million went to the winner, team Newbee. We'll see if 2015's total trumps that.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - (Philippa Warr)

Well, this is essentially where my pay packet is going this month I guess

Settle ye down, for ’tis time for some Dota 2 Compendium talk.

In case you’ve missed the now-yearly “You people spent *how much* on a digital sticker book?” articles, the Compendium is Valve’s way of sourcing a community contribution towards its annual International Dota tournament prize pool, increasing #engagement and, obv, making money. In return for contributing, players get treasure chests, loading screens, item effects, in-game pets and so on. More money in the pot unlocks stretch goals like a new type of terrain, emoticons etc etc. You can see the reawards and unlockables in full after the jump.

25% of the profits from the Compendium go towards the prize pool. Last year that same setup pushed an initial $1.6m to a ridiculous $10.9m – three times the size of the next largest prize pool in eSports.

Here are this year’s level rewards (you need 100 points per level):

… [visit site to read more]

Community Announcements - Dota 2

Be a part of the biggest Dota tournament of the year. Every Compendium-related purchase contributes to The International, with a portion of the sale price going straight into the prize pool.

Stretch Goal Rewards

As the prize pool grows, everyone who owns The International 2015 Compendium will gain access to new features and be rewarded with new items, including Immortals, desert terrain, and more. Stretch goal reward items will be released soon after they are unlocked. And it doesn't matter when you buy your Compendium; you'll earn the unlock rewards regardless of when you make your purchase, so there's never a bad time to join the celebration.

Compendium Challenges & Coins

New for this year are Compendium Challenges, where you complete objectives in Dota matches. Complete a Challenge then win the match to earn Compendium Coins for both you and your teammates. You can redeem coins in your Compendium for item or set drops. There are several ways besides Challenges to earn coins including random coin drops or by using Coin Charms. You can accelerate your coin earning rate with Coin Boosters that you can get by increasing your Compendium Level.

Compendium Levels

Increase your Compendium Level by completing activities or by purchasing Compendium Points to earn more items. As your level rises you can earn more treasures, claim your very own pet item, unlock alternate styles, obtain the coveted World Chasm Artifact item for Enigma, and more. Every 100 Points you earn increases your level. And in case you're worried about where you're going to store all these new items, activating a Compendium will add pages to your Armory.

Head over to the Compendium website to get a glimpse of everything you can earn, and track the prize pool. The International is coming. Come and join the fun!
Community Announcements - Dota 2
Entries must be no longer than 1 minute.

Entries must pertain to Dota 2.

Entries can use any form or combination of animation or live-action technique in their creation. Using Source Filmmaker is not a requirement.

Each entry must be at least 720p.

The deadline for submission will be 04:00:00 PDT on the morning of July 13th, 2015. The submission process must be completed, including uploading the video and filling out submission dialogs, before the submission period ends.

Nominees will be selected by the Steam community through voting on the Steam Workshop. Winners will be selected by Valve in its sole discretion from among the community-chosen nominees, and will be announced at The International.

The video must be a new creation made specifically for the Dota 2 Filmmaker Contest.

You are free to use any Valve IP.

If you use any non-Valve IP, you must be the copyright owner or have explicit permission from the owner. You will be required to warrant to Valve that you have all necessary rights and permissions in order for the entry to be considered. Any submissions found to be infringing non-Valve IP will be disqualified. Note that for workshop items, you still need to provide a link to the items used, but you do not need explicit permission from the creator, since submission to the workshop automatically grants permission to use the item.

Multiple submissions per person are allowed.

Submissions must be free of advertisements.

The winners will be announced and showcased at The International. Valve will award $20,000 in prizes to the entry or entries we consider the best.

How do I upload a submission?
Details on how to enter and submit your video will come at a later date.
PC Gamer

Three Lane Highway

Every week, Chris documents his complex ongoing relationship with Dota 2, Smite, and wizards in general.

I've been playing Dota 2 for just under three years. In that time, I've seen a few dozen new heroes. I've seen multiple patches turn the meta upside down and force me to reconsider my (ever-fledgling) understanding of this vastly complicated game.

Even so, I've started to anticipate certain kinds of change. Hero rebalances and redesigns are expected, when you play a game like this. Even the addition of crazy new Aghanim's Scepter upgrades has become familiar—a theme of the last few patches, something that is exciting every time it happens but not, at this point, a surprise.

It doesn't take much for a Dota 2 patch to feel like a big deal—new heroes reliably achieve that. It does, however, take something really different for a patch to feel like the start of a new era. Every now and then, Icefrog does something to the game that makes people say 'is this even Dota'. That's how I felt when 6.82 dared to change the map. I didn't expect 6.84 to meet—or even exceed—change of that magnitude, and yet it has.

A lot of this is down to the new items. It's funny—new heroes form the most obvious milestones in the game's history, but items are far less common and a far bigger deal. A new character squeezes into the roster, upsetting some strategies and galvanizing others. New items—let alone nine of them, with substantial changes to existing ones—affect every character and every player. Learning a new hero, no matter how different, is a known quantity. Incorporating new concepts into every single hero you play is something else entirely.

The Dota community is currently dealing with the ramifications of the Lotus Orb, an item that allows you to reflect single-target spells back at their caster. This adds a new dimension to what could be described as Dota 2's substantial 'crazy shit' component: a million new ways for already-complex abilities to interact with one another. Here, via the Dota 2 subreddit, is Tiny's Toss being reflected. Here, also, is Doom dooming Doom. Here are five Snipers sending off 6.83 in the best way possible.

This is highly visible Crazy Shit; it makes for good gifs. Less visible are 6.84's fundamental changes to core Dota 2 concepts. In the era of midgame items that can be 'consumed' to gain a permanent buff reflecting some of their benefits, being 'six slotted' doesn't mean what it used to. This is also the era of farm being given to a character—Alchemist—so he can produce Aghanim's Scepters for other players, a substantial expansion of what it might mean to be a support in a Dota match.

On top of that, you've got the introduction of magical lifesteal and cooldown reduction, concepts that have never been part of Dota despite featuring in more or less every MOBA to follow after it. Figuring out the long-term ramifications of these changes will take months or more: we should expect surprising ideas to fall out of 6.84 for a long time to come.

I've seen some cynicism, in comments and on Reddit. 'We League now'. 'Is this even Dota'. That kind of thing—it happens every time, and its intensity this week simply mirrors the unusual number of new ideas in this patch.

I want to argue that this very much is Dota. In my mind, the process that is about to begin in earnest—a massive, community-wide adaptation to new ideas, new situations and new interactions—is the exact thing that defines the game. Other games might aim for a stable set of game mechanics that sustain entertaining competition in perpetuity, but not this one. Dota isn't stability. Dota isn't balance. Dota is chaos.

Back in January, I wrote an article about why I don't see Dota as a MOBA. In it, I argued that business models have a substantial effect on the type of experience that a game offers. I still believe this: your time with a game isn't just defined by what happens in a match. It's defined by the structure that surrounds that match, what you're asked to pay for and what you aspire to achieve with every game.

In that regard, Dota and League (and all of the games that imitated League) are very different. Consider how important account progression is in the latter: a high-level Summoner account represent months or years of effort, collection, and progression. It's equivalent to a high-level set of MMO characters, and includes a lot of the same ideas: a long-term commitment represented by cooler stuff and fatter, healthier XP bars.

Dota doesn't work like that. At all. You might collect cosmetics, I suppose, but your account level is one of the game's most meaningless numbers. Your time with the game is vaguely represented by your MMR, but that's hardly consistent from player to player. Dota has no MMO-style progression system, and as such it's a vastly different proposition. It's not a MOBA; it's Dota. This doesn't mean that either type of game is better than the other. It means that they offer very different things, and have different obligations to their players. Which one you prefer is a matter of taste.

That's what I argued back in January. The comments were a mixed bunch. A lot of people—hilariously—sent me the Wikipedia list of MOBAs, as if the terminology we use was determined by Wikipedia and not the other way around. Some people simply don't believe that business models influence game design: I'm more sympathetic to that view, even if I disagree with it.

Here's the thing, though: to me, Dota 2 is defined by its ability to undergo vast, sometimes fundamental changes. A Dota 2 match might only last an hour, but the (meta)game of Dota takes years and its most dramatic moments come when Icefrog does something totally game-changing. This isn't just a concern for pro teams. Everybody experiences it. It's what it means to be a Dota player.

Dota is never more Dota than when one complicated and probably broken game mechanic combines with another complicated and probably broken game mechanic to create a totally unexpected outcome. And it's Dota's business model—first free and community-curated, as a mod, then totally free as a professionally-developed game—that allows it to continue to be this way. It requires a development philosophy that values unexpected combinations of game mechanics, and a business model that keeps player investment and game design separate.

Chaos is the soul of Dota, but chaos is undesirable when your game is also a service. XP bars and microtransactions represent an investment of player time and money, and players expect that investment to be protected by a game's developers. MOBAs need to be balanced and fair and reliable as a courtesy to their long-term players.

Dota doesn't.

That's why there's nothing like it, and the 6.84 update symbolises that perfectly. The reward for your years-long involvement with this game isn't measured in progression bars or an expanding roster of characters: it's measured in the number of times you've looked at the patch notes and thought 'this changes everything.' Dota isn't just three lanes and ten players. Dota is crazy shit.

To read more Three Lane Highway, click here.

PC Gamer

For the past few Junes, right before one of the busiest gaming weeks of the year, we ve taken a moment to imagine the E3 press conference that PC Gamers deserve. It s become one of our tiny traditions (along with Chris questionable behavior in survival games). Mostly it s an excuse for us to publish something entirely detached from reality before we fly to Los Angeles and publish every scrap of gaming news and opinion that our bodies will allow. It s therapeutic to daydream about Gabe Newell materializing atop a unicorn through a fog of theater-grade dry ice to announce Half-Life 3.

We get valuable stories, videos, and interviews out of E3—you can imagine how handy it is to have almost every game-maker gathered under one roof for a few days. But it s no secret that the PC doesn t have a formal, organized presence during E3. Generally speaking it s the time of year when Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo jostle for position about who can create the most buzz. Despite being a mostly exciting few days of announcements, E3 has never given the biggest gaming platform in the world an equal place at the table.

That s our collective fault, not E3 s. One of our hobby s greatest strengths is the fact that there isn t a single owner. The PC has no marketing arm, no legal department, no CEO to dictate what should be announced or advertised. And thank Zeus for that. The fundamentally open nature of our hobby is what allows for GOG, Origin, Steam, and others to compete for our benefit, for the variety of technologies and experiences we have access to—everything from netbook gaming to 8K flight simulation to VR.

Everyone involved in PC gaming has shared ownership over its identity. One of the few downsides of that, though, is that there isn t really a single time and place for PC gaming to get together and hang out. We love BlizzCon, QuakeCon, DreamHack, Extra Life, The International, and the ever-increasing number of PAXes. But there s something special about the pageantry of E3 week, its over-the-top showmanship, its surprises, its proximity to Hollywood. And each June, even as we ve jokingly painted a picture of PC game developers locking arms in a musical number, we ve wanted something wholly by, for, and about PC gaming.

Well, hell, let s do it.

For the past few months we ve been organizing the first ever live event for PC gaming during E3, The PC Gaming Show. Tune into our Twitch channel on Tuesday, June 16 on 5 PM and you ll see a spectrum of PC gaming represented on stage: a showcase of conversations, announcements, hardware, trailers, and other stuff that makes PC gaming great. We ve been talking to everyone we know, big and small—if there s a game or developer you want to see—tell us! So far, Blizzard, AMD, Bohemia Interactive, Boss Key Productions, Paradox, Dean Hall, Tripwire, and more have signed up to be a part of this inaugural PC gaming potluck (Paradox has promised to bring nachos), and we ll be announcing more participants as we lead up to June 16. And hey, the endlessly friendly Day[9] is hosting. We love that guy.

We re sincerely, stupidly excited about this. The PC gaming renaissance we re all living in deserves a moment of recognition during the biggest gaming expo of the year—it s about time! Listen in on Twitter and on our Facebook page as we share more details leading up to June.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - (Alice O'Connor)

I just thought the Spy looked like a bookie here okay.

I lost interest in Team Fortress 2 [official site] around the time that I became good enough to regularly top public servers but had neither the skill nor the interest to jump to organised competition. A little matchmaking, pitting me against other pubstar-tier fraggers, would’ve been wonderful. So huzzah! After many, many years, Valve are finally planning proper matchmaking.

Details are a little thin for now, based on memories of conversations that TF2 community folk had during a recent visit to Valve, but one thing’s clear: competitive matchmaking is coming.

… [visit site to read more]


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