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Dota 2

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Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Graham Smith)

The scene where one man eats his computer is particularly poignant.

Valve tend to approach every project with a similar ethos, regardless of whether they’re making a game, some software, an operating system or, it turns out, a movie. Their first attempt at the latter, a documentary about professional Dota 2 players called Free To Play, spent much of last year being beta tested in front of private audiences, was premiered at The International 3 in Seattle, and then disappeared back into development for another eight months. As of yesterday, it’s now in general release, and available to download for free via Steam.

A trailerThe full movie is embedded below along with some more detail. … [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Nathan Grayson)

That poor, poor pony.

Heroes of the Storm‘s developers might have made some major missteps (that they apologized for), but that doesn’t mean the game itself isn’t looking extremely promising. I played a fair amount of Blizzard’s MOB- excuse me, “hero brawler” during BlizzCon, and I found it to be a streamlined approach to an often unwieldy genre that could provide a nice alternative when lengthy LoL or DOTA 2 matches sound unappetizing. But man, it’s still really weird> to see Jim Raynor – decked out in full space marine garb, no less – riding a pony whose spine probably looks like a rusted-over sawblade at this point. 17 mins of informatively shoutcasted footage below.

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Nathan Grayson)

At some point, we’re just going to have to accept the fact that Valve is all>. Where once it was merely a humble game developer, it now has a synonymous-with-PC-gaming storefront, its own series of console-ish boxes, a mini-convention, a virtual reality department, the largest collection of virtual hats on Earth, and every number in human history all the way up to 2. Oh, and now it’s got its own movie too, because why not? Free To Play: The Movie is a high-budget Valve production about three DOTA 2 pros. Color me intrigued. And also purple. I am feeling very purple right now.

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

INT: Valve HQ, midnight. GABE NEWELL, DOUG LOMBARDI, MARC LAIDLAW, CHET FALISZEK, ERIK WOLPAW, ROBIN WALKER, SAXTON HALE and MR G. MANN sit astride their genetically-engineered red and black-striped lynx, supping liquid gold from goblets carved out of velicoraptor skulls.>

NEWELL: Gentlemen! I have gathered you here today to discuss my gravest concern. The day we have long awaited is here.

ALL: [Anxious muttering, some shouting.]>

NEWELL: [Holds up a hand. The room falls quiet immediately.]> No, please, silence. It’s true. The time has come. We have made… [bows head. In pride? In shame? In reverence?>] We have made enough money. We need no more. There is nothing we could do with more. Nothing is beyond our reach. Our work is done. Complete our last remaining project, and then we shall shut the doors on our mighty empire. (more…)

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Graham Smith)

The Airing of Grief-ances?

Valve have learnt their lesson from Diretide: don’t deny the Dota 2 community their holiday celebrations. That means that Frostivus is back. The holiday event is traditionally quite lovely. Last year’s Frostivus started normally before being taken over by The Greeviling, an update and game mode in which players can use their Greevil a secondary hero. At this point, I’d normally make a crack about how I don’t understand any of this and don’t care, but truthfully, I do> understand it. It’s just easier to be flippant than explain all the context. Instead, this time, I’ll take door number three and link to the Dota 2 wiki page about the Greeviling event.

(more…)

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Nathan Grayson)

The witch is dead, League of Legends pros can once again stream whatever they want, and eSports is saved! OK, maybe I’m exaggerating a little bit, but I really> didn’t like the potential implications of Riot’s decision to contractually forbid its pros from streaming Dota 2, Hearthstone, World of Tanks, and tens of other extremely popular games. Fortunately, after copious uproarious outcry, Riot decided to rethink its portentously controlling decision. Now pros are able to stream whatever strikes their fancy or tickles their murder bones, though certain sponsorships/promotional angles are still off-limits. This is admittedly much> better, but I’m still concerned about Riot’s position near the top of the eSports food chain. Allow me to explain why.

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Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Nathan Grayson)

When I wrote my Homeric epic about attending League of Legends’ Championship Series, one of my biggest fears was that Riot’s stranglehold on its own game’s eSports scene could eventually suffocate pros and the scene itself. A game creator, after all, will inevitably have different priorities than a dyed-in-the-wool sports organization – especially compared to the way eSports leagues currently operate. And yet, here we are. LCS season 4 contracts are now in the hands of pros, and they contain some sticky stipulations. The most worrisome among them? The one that forbids all contracted pros from streaming DOTA 2, Hearthstone, World of Warcraft, StarCraft, Heroes of Newerth, World of Tanks, and many more for the duration of the season.

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Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Nathan Grayson)

Well, my Heroes of the Storm interview ended on a strange note, didn’t it? You don’t know the half of it, either. You weren’t actually there>. As I attempted to explain why designing female characters that look as empowered as their male counterparts is absolutely not> about political correctness for political correctness’ sake, the room’s atmosphere seemed to me to become extremely curt. Browder seemed highly resistant to engaging on the topic, and sounded particularly severe when saying “We’re not running for President.” Because clearly, that’s the only scenario in which this sort of thing really> matters. When you’re trying to make kissy faces at the camera and win hearts by pretending to care about The Real Issues.

Now, I don’t know if Browder meant for it to come across that way, and he could well have misinterpreted the bottom line of my questioning. If so, that’s fair and understandable, and I apologize for using him as an example. Also, I very much appreciate that he said he’d at least take the feedback to mind. But the attitude he seemed> to express is an incredibly prevalent one both within the industry and among its closest followers, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t discuss it in detail. (more…)

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Nathan Grayson)

Papa Blizzard, Papa Blizzard! Why are Aunt Kerrigan and Uncle Diablo fighting? No, seriously, why? I didn’t even know they were from the same side of the family. Or the same dimension. And yet, for all the “because why not”-ness of the game’s premise, Heroes of the Storm plays quite nicely, taking MOBA mechanics and sanding down the rough edges to a point of real intuitiveness – sculpting a svelte ice swan from a figurative iceberg. I discussed the surprise hit of BlizzCon with game director Dustin Browder, and we touched on everything from business models to plans for a map editor to whether or not Heroes counts as a “casual” MOBA. That was all delightful. Unfortunately, Browder’s perspective on the MOBA genre’s epidemic of absurd, hypersexualized female characters turned out significantly less so. >

(more…)

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Cassandra Khaw)

That cowboy hat and those two dogs? That’d have cost you $40,000 a week ago.

“Do you want a scoop?”

“Yes.” That didn’t seem sufficient. An emoticon — X and D get a lot of mileage from me — gets stapled on. “Yes, I do.”

Jing is my primary contact in the sometimes seedy world of Dota 2 trading. He’s an administrator at Dota2traders, a straight-laced gent with an encyclopedic knowledge of market prices. Which is invaluable in his field, really, because couriers in Valve’s re-imagining of the world’s most popular mod can fetch prices upwards of $10,000 dollars.

We start with the pleasantries. You know Dota 2 is getting a new patch? Yes. You know the thing about socketing and crafting? Yes. Well, traders are mad about it. Why? Because there’s a chance we’ve all just lost thousands and thousands of dollars. Amid my growing consternation, Jing goes on to provide an account of how one simple update could be held culpable for such staggering financial damage. (more…)

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