DOTA 2: A Game for Crazy People?

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I played my first game of Dota 2 a week ago at the time of this writing, and am currently sitting on 34 hours logged. This is with two days spent out of town, away from my computer. 34 hours in 5 days, then. For a week, my computer has been little more than a Dota 2 delivery vessel. I am a man obsessed. Consumed, even. I dream of sick ganks and clutch ults. The distinctive sound of a stack of gold dropping, a reward for a last-hit, or the choir heralding my hero’s return to the battlefield, echo in my brain even as I write this. Any experienced Dota player will tell you that 34 hours is but a pittance, that I cannot even begin to plumb the depths of the game, much less attempt to relay them to you, the reader, but I feel I have no choice but to try. This is the first of hopefully several pieces journaling my descent into the madness that is Dota 2.

DOTA 2: A Game for Crazy People?

First, the absolute basics: Dota 2 is the “sequel” to Defense of the Ancients, or DotA, a free mod for Blizzard’s Warcraft 3. The original DotA is possibly the most-played mod in history, and is still actively supported. It spawned an entire genre pretty much single-handedly, the genre now known as MOBAs, or Multiplayer Online Battle Arenas; a  descriptor so vague as to be meaningless, but nevertheless the one we seem to have settled on. In MOBAs, two teams of 5 players face off in an enormous map. Their home bases are in the bottom-left and top-right corners of the map, and the map has three “lanes” running along the top, bottom, and middle. Each team automatically spawns minions, or “creeps,” periodically, which march unthinking down the lanes attacking whatever they see. The goal of each team is to break down the other’s defensive towers and ultimately to destroy the opponent’s Ancient, sitting in the middle of their base. Players gain gold and experience from killing creeps and other players, which are used to level up and buy equipment.

Dota 2

The main thing to understand about Dota 2, and the overarching theme of any discussion of it, is that it is fucking crazy. It is a mutant, an aberration of game design. Its mechanics seem to have been half-designed, half stumbled-upon, and never revised. In some ways, it is the essence of an RPG experience. You pick a character, grind low level mobs (“farm creeps” in Dota 2 parlance), and level up and load them out until you are an unstoppable force. Rather than take place over 40 hours or 40 days, the entire experience can be had in 40 minutes, and it turns out it is still massively satisfying. In other ways, it is totally unique, even alien. Sometimes, you want to attack your own creeps, so as to “deny” your opponents the full XP and gold from their death. Other times, you want to sit back and abstain from attacking anything at all, so as not to push the front line forward into enemy territory, where they have the defensive advantage. The game is loaded to the gills with idiosyncrasies large and small.

Dota 2

Dota 2’s title may suggest that it is a sequel, but in reality it is essentially a port of the original DotA into the Source engine. The Warcraft 3 engine had some particular quirks and features that DotA inherited by necessity, and they have been largely carried over into the new game. A new player may wonder, rightly, what the point of a full day/night cycle is. At night, units have shorter visibility, and there is one hero who is underpowered by day and reaches his full potential by night. A new player might wonder why, if you pull neutral creeps away from their camps for a crucial few seconds, exact replicas of those creeps spawn in their camp, leaving you with two identical sets of creeps to farm? These are minor features, arguably a bug in the latter case, borne of the Warcraft 3 engine. One might think that they might be streamlined or cleaned up. But no. “Streamlined” is not an adjective one should ever apply to Dota 2 under any circumstances.

Dota 2

This game has an info-density that would put any MMO to shame, and to be competent at the game you better be ready to absorb all that information, fast. At the time of this writing, there are 101 playable heroes, out of a planned 110, each with 4 abilities (unless they have 5 or 6!). Some of these may be active abilities, things like spells or techniques, while others are passive, meaning they are really more just a character attribute. Learning your own hero is feasible over the course of one match, but without some knowledge of your teammates’ and enemies’ heroes, you may be in for some unpleasant surprises, like being struck by lightning literally out of nowhere. Or perhaps a ghost pirate ship will come barreling out of the woods next to you and run you over. All’s fair in love and Dota.

Dota 2

These heroes are categorized by roles. Some of these roles are familiar to anyone who has played any kind of RPG, such as “durables,” a.k.a. tanks, or “nukers.” Some are completely unique to Dota, such as “carries,” who start the game underpowered and must be protected by other heroes, but grow in such a way that by the end of the game they are unstoppable. There are 15 (ish – it’s fuzzy and with lots of overlap) of these roles, and a hero may fill any number of them.

Dota 2

In addition to all of this are the items. There are dozens and dozens of items, which can have some fairly substantial effects on your character’s abilities. With the right loadout, you can even nudge a hero into a role they may not be primarily suited for, as befits your team composition. Items can only be bought at the shop in your team’s home base. Unless you go to one of the “secret shops” strewn about the map which have a separate inventory of items that can only be bought there. Don’t worry if you can’t get over there, though, because each team can also have a “courier,” a separate character that can ferry items from any shop to your character. You should coordinate with your teammates though, as each team’s courier can be controlled by anyone on the team at any time, (or killed by an enemy because, whatever! Dota!) and you don’t want any confusion.

Dota 2

So yeah, this game is fucking crazy. To their credit, Valve is trying their damnedest to lower the barrier to entry and improve the experience of new players. By far the most successful of these, for me, has been the game’s integrated guide system, which highlights the abilities you should be developing, in order, as well as presenting you with the items you should be focusing on for your hero. This has helped immensely, as the stress of having to learn what these scads of items do can be temporarily put aside while you focus on the already ludicrously daunting task of simply learning who these characters are, what they are capable of, and just what the hell is going on at any given time.  Make no mistake though, you will still need several tabs of Dota 2 wikis open at the start of every match to try to piece together what you are facing.

Dota 2

Even then, Dota 2 can be frustrating in a way that most other games would take great pains to prevent. Half of my games have ended with a character (usually for the opposing team) seeming so completely overpowered that I feel like they must have found some sort of exploit, that this cannot possibly be the way this game is meant to play out. But no, no, that’s just how Dota 2 is. There is also the ever-present threat of verbal abuse by your teammates. Dota 2 is a team game more than any other I’ve ever played, and if one member is noticeably worse than the others (or worse, drops from the game), the entire team will suffer dramatically for it. This genre is notorious for promoting discord amongst teammates, and Dota 2 is unfortunately no exception. Bring a friend, or four.

Dota 2

So why, then, am I doing this? Why am I submitting myself to the incomprehensible heroes, inexplicable random deaths and interminable abuse? It’s hard to know for sure what makes Dota 2 so compelling. I think partly it’s what I suggest above, that it can provide the satisfaction of a good RPG in microcosm, as over the course of one match your character grows from a fragile, defenseless creature to a fearsome force of nature. It is game as power fantasy, but this one makes you work for it, every time.

Dota 2

Beyond that, though, is the simple satisfaction that mastery of a complex system can give you. I, like many gamers I suspect, need to understand my games, to master their mechanics and bend them to my will. This, then, is perhaps the largest, most complex, most seemingly indomitable system ever conceived within the realm of videogames, and thus my greatest challenge. At 34 hours in, I have barely reached the point where I understand what is happening most of the time; where I am able to follow conversation between and maybe even play with those who are far more experienced and skilled than myself. Just getting to this point, overcoming the brick wall of confusion and frustration and negative feedback to arrive here, at basic competence, is already one of the most satisfying experiences I’ve had. The game’s runaway success may seem inscrutable given its absurd complexity, but having played it for just a week now, it seems unnatural that it is not the biggest game in the world already.

Dota 2

My previous experience falling deep down a gaming rabbit hole was with Starcraft II. Starcraft II, like Dota 2, is a game of almost limitless depth. It is also the exact opposite of Dota 2 in virtually every other way. Starcraft II often gets compared to chess. It may be asymmetrical, with three distinct factions with different fundamental mechanics, but Blizzard takes great care to keep things balanced, to make sure that every unit plays a core, elemental role in the overall game system, in pursuit of the perfectly balanced competitive experience.

Dota 2

If Starcraft II is a modern day chess, honed by game design masters, then Dota 2 is Cowboys and Indians, being played by a gaggle of eight year old boys, arguing over who missed whom and who is secretly wearing a bullet proof vest. If Starcraft is about a relatively small number of units and mechanics interacting endlessly to create new situations, Dota 2 is about implementing literally every idea that anyone connected to the game has ever had, in the hopes that if every hero is completely overpowered, it will all come out in the wash. The result is an experience that is at once sprawling, messy, disheartening, unpredictable, organic, empowering, and above all completely, endlessly, fascinating.

Warhammer Online: Wrath of Heroes Beta Impressions


It was announced yesterday that I could ultimately take my hands away from my blabbering mouth and finally get my chance to talk about EA-Mythic’s take on the Multiplayer Online Battle Arena genre with Warhammer Online: Wrath of Heroes.

Wait? Warhammer Online? The MMO? Is this an expansion?

Nope. This is its own separate game and it seems that Mythic is trying their hand at the growing popularity of online battle arenas. From what I have seen from interviews and differing blogs, this game will be free and will partake in the microtransactions economy many games are adopting.

Oh, I hated everything about Warhammer Online aside from the PvP. What is this like?

Wrath of Heroes is almost a copy and paste of Age of Reckoning’s PvP. As of right now, there are two maps. I’m not sure if I can pick either one but it always randomly places me into one of the two. For the most part, I get the regurgitated version of Mourkain Temple. For those that remember Mourkain Temple, you fought for a relic at the center of the map and ran away with it hoping your team would protect you. Wrath of Heroes’ version of Mourkain Temple has differing objectives though. There are three flag points that must be capped by your team. Once your team owns one of these key points, you may take the center cap point and gain significant points for your team. First team to hit 250 points wins.

That sounds interesting, Mr. Khan. I have one problem. What if the opposing team is dominating you? That doesn’t give you much hope in reclaiming the game.

Well if the opposing team is dominating you and they become focused on slaying you, who is going to stop the other team from claiming points?

Wait… did you say other team?

Oh, did I forget to mention this game is 6v6v6? That’s right. Three teams brawling against each other. People have been clamoring for a game that finally went for that third team perspective in PvP and Mythic decided “Hey, it worked in Dark Age of Camelot. Let’s do it again!” And guess what, reader? It does work! Having three teams constantly vying for control of the map’s objectives keeps everyone on their toes for the entirety of the game. No more spawn camping. No more sense of security that your team has a lead. Anything can change at any time.

The other map that is available in Wrath of Heroes, which I was unfortunate enough to get only once during the beta phases, is the Arena. This map is a ton of fun. Why? The only objective is to completely decimate the enemy in this three-way team death match. There is plenty of terrain to use as an amazing vantage point for your casters and also to use as a form of abuse with line of sight. There is nothing but complete and utter mayhem in this map and the fact that there is no real objective, no one team can get sneaky and capture a point while people are preoccupied fighting. Everyone has to be involved all the time.

Yes! There is a Skaven champion.

As for the classes, there aren’t any. You just play as a champion that resembles a simplified version of their Age of Reckoning counterpart. There is a marauder champion who drags people in, there is a Witch Elf that pops out of nowhere and stabs you in the butt, and there is a tiny little gobbo shaman who is using the Waaagh to heal. What are the differences in this game that set it apart from Age of Reckoning? Champions like the Bright Wizard and Sorceror don’t receive any backlash as they cast their spells but they also don’t get ridiculously more powerful as they weave their magicks.

Why don’t they receive any downside to spamming their abilities? It probably has to do with the way combat works. The entire game is about spamming all your abilities. Everything is just facerolling your keyboard because almost every ability does damage or buffs you so you do more damage. Cooldowns are short and every champion has one ability that does minimal damage but can be spammed while everything else is on cooldown. It doesn’t lead to a very unique gameplay. Some champions have something special that adds to their combat but why bother when you can just spam abilities? The only champion that felt added any depth of game changing because of their abilities, aside from heal spamming duo goblin shamans, is the Marauder champion. Why? Because he can pull people in, negate healing on them for x amount of seconds, and can root enemies in place. He has the most combat utility out of any other champion. His ability to pick a target and bring them into a bukkake of death is amazing. Unfortunately or fortunately, he isn’t as popular as other champions so you’ll barely see him roaming around.

One of the things in this game that bothers me are the champion skins. Age of Reckoning has some amazing armor sets that made a ton of the champions look quite simply amazing. There were artistically some of the best armors in any game. Wrath of Heroes merely takes the newbie armor you get in the MMO and pasted it on the champions. Pretty lackluster stuff going on. I know that there are multiple skins they will be putting into the game but I feel as though they should’ve made each champion look awesome from the get-go like other MOBA type of games such as League of Legends, Defense of the Ancients, and Heroes of Newerth. Instead, I feel they are going to make the newbie looking skins the free ones and charge for the cool armors, whereas they could have had one cool armor set for each champion and have the additional skins be the other armor set tiers from Age of Reckoning.

As of right now, those are my overall impressions of Wrath of Heroes. I will be reporting on it more often as the beta continues but I do feel that with each play test they are adding more and more to this project. Hopefully, it will be a good game for a ton of players to enjoy as a free to play alternative to Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning and not become another hit it and quit it project by Mythic.

Khan’s Corner: First Impressions of Dominion


For those who don’t know what League of Legends is, Google it. I’m not here to be your fucking Wikipedia! What I am here for is to let you know my godly absolute and factual opinion on League of Legends new game mode, Dominion.

What is Dominion?

For those that played WoW (and don’t pretend you didn’t) it is basically Arathi Basin with minion waves and a fog of war in the center of the map. There are five points in the map and you must claim them, defend them, and reclaim them in order to secure the fought over resources for your team as you slowly dwindle away the enemy team’s nexus HP bar. Sounds pretty wizard doesn’t it? Well it is! It is pretty damn wizard.

What’s the big deal, Mr. Khan? Why is everyone getting so excited about a new game mode?

What’s the big de… WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL? The release and implementation of Dominion is pushing the Defense of the Ancients style of game play to new heights. The addition of new game modes in the genre known as MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) adds more to the static play style which is associated with these kinds of games. No longer will HoN, DoTA, and LoL fight over which game has better laning! Now the games will have to put forth some innovation to compete which will really help this genre grow.

Who cares about new modes and innovation? Gear of War 3 is out!

Don’t care about innovation? You don’t care for change? How would you like if Gears of War played like Doom 1, huh? Would you like if after years upon years of FPS games coming out there weren’t any new game modes? Zombie Assaults? Horde modes? Capture the Flag? Secure Points? You’d rather your FPS just be fucking Free-for-All death matches? Look reader, before you open your fucking mouth again, I suggest you think twice unless you enjoy sounding like an insipid dickfart.

Now that we’ve got a little backstory done on what Dominion is, let’s get into what I think about Dominion. I know, I know! This is the best part of the article.

Dominion is amazing for many reasons. Don’t get me wrong. I see the flaws but there are so many pros that outweigh the cons of this game mode. The normal MOBA game mode match lasts anywhere from 20 minutes to well over an hour. The amount of time needed to sink into a match of Summoner’s Rift can be daunting. What if your mom wants you to pick up your room? What if your baby woke up and is covered in shit? What if someone drives their car through your house and you have to deal with the aftermath! In all of these cases, gaming takes the higher priority but if for some reason you feel compelled to leave the match, you can be reported as a leaver which is a bannable offense! You really have to make sure there is plenty of time in your schedule to get through an entire match without being penalized.

Swain is going fuck someone in the butt

Dominion matches normally take anywhere from 15-20 minutes and trust me on this, the miniscule amount of time it takes to do a dominion match doesn’t take away from the full on hardcore Annie on Timbers action. Why is it so quick? As long as one team has three points covered and kills some enemies here and there, the nexus HP bar goes down. There is constantly something to do and that bar will go down. There is no way only 2 points will be constantly controlled while a third point remains neutral. People fight over resources in games and in real life. It’s an inherent reaction to go running to establish superiority and murder those who would claim stake over your land.

The style of this mode is a twist on the Arathi Basin concept in World of Warcraft. Before any of you nerds flip the fuck out and says “ACTUALLY ARATHI BASIN COPIED ( insert game here)” , I am using AB as an example because it the most relatable reference I can make to the masses. Fuck, you guys are dicks. Anyway, back to the matter at hand! Like AB, you run point to point claiming resource nodes for your team increasing the amount of HP you drain from the enemy Nexus. There are minions in between each node charging towards each other. You don’t have to kill minions in this mode but it is smart to do once in a awhile because minions capture nodes exponentially faster than a player. It’s also nice to have fodder between you and an enemy who skill shots. You can see anything going on anywhere in the map from the main roads to the nodes. The only areas engulfed in the fog of war are the enemy spawn point and the center of the map which houses a variety of buffs, such as a temporary speed increase and health packs.

Screw you Twisted Fate and Annie. Dis be mah node!

Riot is a genius company, let me tell you! I expected there to be an issue with fools who try to top the kill charts and forget about the objectives to win the game. A lot of people just feel an unexplainable bloodlust to chase down an enemy Singed instead of forcing him to run so you can capture his resource node. What Riot implemented to make people realize there is more to this mode than skull fucking your enemy was add an in-game ranking system which lets you know how well you are doing compared to the rest of your team. It takes into consideration your defending kills, your capturing of nodes, and slaying of enemies. This allows your team to get their heads out of their ass if they want to get that MVP rank and not look like a total scrub.

The time frame and familiar objective style factors into something fantastic for the community and popularity of the game as well. It opens up accessibility to players who haven’t taken the leap into the MOBA genre. Yes, League of Legends is free to play but the stress and unforgiving nature that comes from the classic game mode is for many new or casual players nerve-wracking. With the nostalgic Arathi Basin-esque flow and the manageable 15-20 game time it makes the plunge so much easier. Let’s throw in some similes so you bitches understand. Pre-Dominion: League Of Legends is like jumping into the water at the beach. It’s pretty awesome and a lot of fun but your eyes burn from the salt and holy shit would it suck if a jellyfish stung you! Post-Dominion: League of Legends is like going into a hot tub and there are two chicks DTF. The kind of chicks who would put their finger in your ass if you asked them to. Fuck! Dominion is awesome!

If you haven’t tried League of Legends yet, there isn’t a better time than now. With Dominion being a fast paced, enjoyable, and forgiving game mode for novice and veteran players alike this is the time to get into the MOBA genre. Join millions upon millions of players in this quickly blossoming and wallet friendly gaming. See you in the Crystal Scar, Summoners.

Will Valve’s New Game Be Free To Play?

 

Valve’s New Game Be Free To Play

Steam, the online game distributor, has recently embraced the free to play phenomenon gaining popularity in North America and is now offering this genre an outlet. With games like Champions Online, Spiral Knights, and Global Agenda all feeling resurgence in their populations from this new spotlight its only natural for Valve to try their hand at the F2P model.

Why not test out this success on something deep-rooted but admired? Steam has already taken one of their most popular games, Team Fortress 2, and given it a free to play make over. Has their been any success in this move? Apparently so, since it is rumored that Valve is going to make a F2P game, but what future feature project could they be thinking of making F2P?

Could it be Defense of the Ancients 2? By all logical means, it sounds like this would be the most likely model for success for DotA2. Why? Because its main contender is none other than League of Legends, a game that has garnered international popularity with its free to play model, microtransaction payment method, and E-sport fame.

If Valve intends to yank players away from a game that requires no down payment or box sales this seems like the most likely means to be able to strive in the DotA Clone market against such a heavy hitter such as LoL. If they manage to make DotA 2 an entity of its own while keeping to the core concepts of the original it could possibly dethrone or spar head to head against its competitor. Good luck with that feat, Valve.

League of Legends: The Unsung Hero of the Online Competitive Gaming Scene

League of Legends Logo

If the title didn’t give it away, I have a very high appreciation for Riot Games because of what they have managed to do in creating League of Legends (LoL).  That isn’t to say they don’t have a few hiccups here and there but overall, LoL is a great game.  I will not delve into the HoN vs. LoL debate in this article but maybe I will tackle it at a later date.

What is League of Legends?

League of Legends falls into a genre that has more descriptors than I care to write out but a few of the more popular ones are “AoS,” “Dota,” “ARTS,” and “MOBA.”  AoS refers to Aeon of Strife, a Starcraft mod that has similar game play.  Dota refers to the wildly popular Warcraft 3 mod Defense of the Ancients which is still played today although its popularity has only held in Asia.  ARTS is short for Action Real Time Strategy and this term is used because the game action is based on real time, in-game decisions.  Also, Arena is sometimes added onto the end of this term since the game is played on a fixed map.  Lastly, MOBA refers to a Multiplayer Online Battle Arena and this is probably the most widely accepted term of this genre of game.  The game is multiplayer (team-based, 3v3 or 5v5) and the objective is to defeat (battle) your enemy on a fixed map (arena).  I hope that wasn’t as painful to read as it was to write but it has to be said before I dive into the game itself!

To summarize the game quickly, you play on a team against another team and your goal is to destroy the other teams base.  You choose to play one of the over seventy champions currently in game.  While in game, you level by killing creeps (attacking AI units that each team automatically spawn which head to the enemy base down three in-game lanes) and enemy champions (players).  You get to choose your skills (which vary depending on the champion you choose) and you use the gold you earn (from killing creeps, towers and enemy  champions) to buy items that enhance your hero.  While there are hundreds of more details I can and probably should give about LoL, the above description is enough for the basic gamer to understand what the game is all about!

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How does Riot do it well?

First and foremost, LoL is free to play.  That’s right, you can go download and play it for free right now.  Not only is it free to play, you can earn all the champions and runes for free over time.  So unlike other free to play games, you can actually enjoy all aspects of the game (from a competitive standpoint) without being tricked into spending money.  However, if you like the game, you probably will shell out some cash so that you can grab a champion pack or some skins to make your champions look more mighty or goofy.  Skins only change the aesthetics of your current champion so they are by no means required.

If you are a new player, Riot is looking out for you.  They have in game tutorials and you can practice against bots so you can learn without having to worry about other people.  Of course, if you are like me, you just tell your friends, “I’m playing LoL now and you are going to have to deal with me until I get better so stfu and tell me what to do so I learn faster.”  This approach is less subtle but has worked for me in the past.  Riot understands that they need to cater to all their players  if they want continued success and have done as such.

Riot’s interaction with its player base is one of the reasons the game is going strong.  Riot releases new champions at a rate of about one per every two weeks.  This is smart on multiple levels.  First, the new champions keep players interested in the game and it causes a constant change to the dynamic of the game.  Second, new champions mean new skins and this results in Riot earning more money from its players who actually do spend money on the game.  Riot developers are on their official forums posting information and giving player feedback where needed.  Obviously, they cannot respond to everything but the fact that they give the effort is important.  Riot also addresses champion and item issues in a speedy manner trying to keep the game as balanced as humanly possible.

Riot also keeps the game simple by having a basic yet well-designed engine that will not kill your PC and will not have you screaming at the terrible graphics.  Some people think LoL’s graphics are a bit too cartoon-like but I have no problem with it.  Riot has also been redesigning certain champions and aspects of the game to make it a little more visually appealing.

League of legends gameplay

Diving Deeper Into League of Legends

Now that I have covered the preliminary topics, let us take a deeper look into the game itself because this is the real reason people play.  If the game was bad, people wouldn’t play!

Riot decided to add features into its game that increase the amount of action (the battles) that happen between champions throughout the game.  Even at the onset of the game, before the creeps spawn, teams are either protecting or roaming (well, they should be!) the map in an attempt to avoid getting killed or scoring an early kill.  Certain champions are specifically designed to have the highest impact by roaming and ganking.  This increases the intensity of the game.  The more action that is happening around the map, the more fun the game is.  Riot introduced “brush” which was sheer genius because it allowed for players to hide their champions strategically around the map to optimize ganks or use as getaway paths.  Moreover, summoner spells and runes add a level of customization to your champion that will help you in many situations by increasing everything from your damage, move speed, gold/experience earned, survivability and your overall ability to engage or escape a situation.  Riot has found a way to increase the action and intensity of the game without taking away any of the aspects that makes the genre great.

After you have played a couple hundred games and you start to get a feel for the game by having a moderate understanding of the champions, items, runes, spells, etc you will hit start to see more of the subtle aspects to the game.  Of course, Riot knows that not everyone is amazing and that if new players are constantly rolled because they are playing top players, they will quit.  So, Riot has a hidden rating for each account that controls the games you play.  Basically, if you are new, you will play against other new people until you get better.  This extrapolates all the way to the top where if you queue, you will play against some of the pros on a daily basis.

League of legends gameplay

League of Legends as an E-Sport?

LoL has tons of potential to be a very strong e-sport.  LoL has tournaments in some of the largest venues in the world: WCG, ESL, Dreamhack, etc.  Riot is not skimping on the prize money either.  However, my primary concern about the growth of LoL as an e-sport is that most players (even those good enough to be on a pro team) are focusing on the Solo Ranked Ladder because that is seen as the “place to be” so to speak.  Basically, I would like to see Riot “push” the online 5v5 scene because it seems lackluster.  HotShotGG of CLG, the best LoL 5v5 team in world has even said on his stream that their team has no real reason to practice because they don’t need to due to lack of competition.  However, as of late his team has been showing signs of rust and losing to some teams that they normally would not have lost to.  Maybe other teams are starting to practice more in anticipation of more 5v5 play.  Of course, I think Riot is doing a great job all around and this is one of the few areas I think “could” use improvement.  They may not agree with me.  Either way, LoL tournaments will continue to happen at major venues but I would really like the 5v5 online scene to grow so we can see some great games at these events.

Maybe they could do an online tournament that would force teams to be formed and force those teams to practice to get better so they can go for a prize at the end of the season.  The end result being that more teams get formed and the push for 5v5 competitive play grows to the point where Solo Ranked is not the “place to be.”  Of course, this tournament or season would need to be something done over time so that the change could slowly happen.  As I said above, there is a good chance Riot likes the current design they have because it has more focus on the individual player and the individual player is where they earn their money from.  Even though it would most likely never get to the point where 5v5 Queues reduce Solo Queues down to very low levels, it is still a potential risk that Riot doesn’t need to take due to the games popularity and success.

League of legends gameplay

Last Words

League of Legends is amazingly fun.  When you get bored of playing Portal 2 and are looking for something with a competitive edge, go try LoL.  You can play solo or with friends and it won’t cost you a dime to try out.  However, I cannot guarantee that you won’t get hooked quickly and may be spending more time and possibly money than you thought.   The sheer number of champions and items you will need to slowly learn about will keep your interest in game piqued for a long time.  Long enough so that when you finally “think” you have a good understanding of the game, you can try the Ranked Queue where you will figure out that what you knew was “LoL for Beginners” not “LoL for Advanced Players.”  If you are as competitive as me, this will make only want to make you play more.  😀

Overall Game Grade: A-

Cosplay: Team Rocket

So a few people actually liked the little stories before the sexy pictures, I guess it made them a little happier about the Cosplay. This week you get some pictures from Alienware with descriptions, so it’s like something good wrapped within something awesome. You guess which is which.

Blizzcon 2008

Clan PMS & H20

My first time going and it was a blast. We were with the Dell guys over in the back with our awesome Semi truck. We had a lot of contests and gave out some cool prizes. We had a beat the pro tournament there where fans could play against Clan PMS and Clan H20 which are pictured above. Those guys and gals were really cool and we had a great time. The final day of the show I filled in as MC for a bit and while it took some getting used to I think I did and okay job.

Blizzcon 2009

Blizzcon 2009 Warcraft 3 DOTA contest winners

These are the guys who won our Warcraft 3 DOTA contest. It was a lot of fun working Blizzcon because honestly the people there were so nice and though our section was smaller for this event we still had a great crowd. You may have even seen me testing out one of the laptops on G4TV’s coverage of the event, but for some reason I just can’t find the footage.

Halloween 2009

We were always allowed to wear some type of costume for Halloween at Alienware with a few exceptions. Last year we had a contest for the best costume and it was voted on by other employees. It was good fun, but there was bias. I mean the warehouse guys stick together and my small team had no chance to win. Then again we didn’t dress up; maybe that was part of it too.

Happy Now?

Alright, enough about me and my time at AW on with the pictures!

Via Cosplay!

 

Heroes of Newerth – Open Beta

Heroes of Newerth logo
Heroes of Newerth logo

Heroes of Newerth has entered its open beta stage, to participate you will need to register for a free account here.

HON is a RTS made by S2 Games, if it has the look and feel of Warcraft III it is because it was based on one of Warcrafts most famous scenario’s Defense of the Ancients.

The game looks sweet and the different characters you can play as are pretty awesome. Check out their trailer from our Obsolete Gamer YouTube channel.