Ranked matchmaking hits Dota 2 Reborn

A whopping 1.9GB patch has just added ranked matchmaking to Dota 2 Reborn.

Other than allowing you to compete for MMR (which should now be imported from your standard Dota 2 profile), complete Compendium challenges, use any cosmetic items added before 16 July (including Immortal Treasure III items), and hopefully crash the game less often. Yeeeah, that still happens. This might not be the best place to actually try to raise your MMR.

There are some nice other additions in this patch, mind. Tinker’s Rollermaw shouldn’t murder the framerate anymore, the Enter key can now be used to accept matches, the way games are ranked in the Custom Games list has been tweaked, and there are lots and lots of bug fixes. Lots.

To encourage you to try out Dota 2 Reborn, you’ll earn 50% more coins for completing Compendium challenges in the Reborn client than you would in the regular client. Just remember that it’s a beta.

It’s worth noting that this also offers some more ways of getting Compendium points. Two new achievements have been added – one for winning five games in the Reborn beta, and one for winning 15 games. Each of these goals offers a full 500 points, so that’s another 10 levels waiting to be grabbed.

You can view the full fix list over here.


Read More

Dota 2’s TI5 Wildcard and Group Stage brackets revealed

While Dota 2‘s The International 2015’s main event doesn’t kick off until 3 August, the Wild Card and Group Stage games begin this weekend.

The Wild Card brackets will see Vega Squadron, CDEC Gaming, Team Archon, and MVP.Phoenix compete for the last four slots in the main event via a double-elimination, best-of-three tournament. It’ll kick off with CDEC taking on Vega, and Phoenix taking on Archon. From there, the winners will face off, as will the losers, and things continue from there; anyone who loses two match-ups is out. As I said: double-elimination.

Then there are the Group Stages, which see all invited teams (including the Wild Card winners) battle it out for tournament seeding. The teams have been divided into two groups of eight; the top four teams in each group head to the upper bracket of the main event, while the bottom four in each group are off to the lower bracket.

Group A contains compLexity Gaming, Invictus Gaming, LGD Gaming, Natus Vincere, Fnatic, Cloud9, Team Secret, and the second Wild Card. Group B contains EHOME, Evil Geniuses, Team Empire, Vici Gaming, Newbee, Virtus Pro, MVP Hot6, and the first Wild Card.

The Wild Card games begin on 26 July – this Sunday – at 9am PDT. The Group Stage kicks off on 27 July – Monday – at 9am PDT, and will last through the 30th. Three games will be played simultaneously, with each having its own stream.

So while TI5 doesn’t kick off properly until 3 August, there’s still plenty of professional Dota 2 to keep you occupied until then. You can read Valve’s blog post (and see the brackets and scheduling for yourself) over here.


Read More


Last week, a former pro e-sports player went on the record to say that he — and pretty much everyone else in the top brackets of competitive gaming — takes performance-enhancing drug Adderall to help keep ultra-alert and hyper-focused during events. Some of our readers scoffed at the report, saying that everyone does it, from college students cramming for exams to top-tier World of Warcraft raiders, bringing the term “hardcore” to all-new lows.

But it appears to have been news to the ESL, which stopped just short of accusing the e-sports player a troll this week while promising to alter its tournament procedures to test for doping rather than just forbid it. “We are hoping to have a waterproof strategy for identifying PEDs, testing for their presence and punishing players who were caught using any of the forbidden substances,” the organization told Wired. “Full blown drug tests at esports events are far away, but that doesn’t mean we can’t and shouldn’t try to tackle the issue.”
And that leads me to today’s Daily Grind: Have you ever used a “performance-enhancing drug” to boost your gaming abilities? Would you admit it if you had? Just how widespread is this among online gamers? And where should we (and the e-sports governing boards) draw the line between caffeine and something like Adderall?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!


Read More


The Imperial City in The Elder Scrolls Online is on the dangerous side, and if you didn’t already know that the introduction to the Drake of Blades would make that pretty obvious. She is some kind of psycho woman who leaves severed heads around the city and seems to speak chiefly in insults. You are not sitting down and getting a pamphlet from her on things to do in the city’s nightlife, that’s for sure.

She also serves as a point of contact for players first entering the city, though, so that’s something to note. Her introduction is offered in the form of light fiction, so if you want to know what sort of people you’ll be working with once your feet touch the paving of the Imperial City, you owe it to yourself to give it a read.


Read More

Global Chat: Can MMO stories rise above mediocrity?

Players have long debated the importance, relevance, and quality of stories in MMOs. Some have called for an abolishment of dev-driven narrative entirely, some enjoy what’s there, and some have pressed for better writing and storytelling techniques. This week we’ll hear from one blogger who is struggling with “mediocre” stories in MMOs and what might be done with them.

But wait, that’s not all! We’ll also hear from writers about MMO inventory systems, aging games, and how pretty much nobody in the world was shocked when Elder Scrolls Online ditched its sub.

It’s not all roses and finisher fun in Guild Wars 2’s WvW these days, as Bhagpuss reports: “Considering ANet appear to do virtually nothing to police behavior in WvW and, especially, that they’ve been leaving gaping holes wide open for exploits for years, it’s perhaps surprising that most matches don’t already degenerate into a seething melange of siege trolls, zoom hackers, spies, and saboteurs. By and large, though, players have policed themselves reasonably well. Not any more.”

Clean Casuals: MMOs & Story: Accepting mediocrity

In which Aywren asks the crucial question, “If we choose not to expect anything from the story in a game, if we remain content with what we’re given, then why should the writers/developers ever need to strive for better quality writing in MMOs?”

MMO Juggler: LotRO hatred?

Does this Middle-earth MMO really deserve some of the scorn heaped on it these days? One blogger argues that it actually deserves respect: “Besides, LotRO isn’t exactly the poster child of F2P misery when it is approaching five years as an F2P title –- outlasting the entire existence of WAR, for example.”
ECTmmo.com: Allods Online, a pleasant return

Here’s one game that you haven’t heard much about recently, and according to Kaozz, it’s worth checking out again: “For now it is simply fun to quest and level. It reminds me much of those simpler times in WoW, back in the old days. Where classes felt different and unique. Where going out in the world felt like a real adventure.”

Killed in a Smiling Accident: Gamers shocked as Elder Scrolls Online drops subscriptions

I got a huge laugh out of this post: “When The Elder Scrolls Online launched in 2014 the subscription model for MMORPGs was completely normal, every single other MMORPG requiring the purchase of a box then payment of a monthly subscription except for 99.487% of them.”

Weekly Wizardry: Inventory systems as game features

When’s the last time you really considered your inventory as a key MMO feature? Right now: “It may seem like a boring subject, a tiny little thing beside the things we tend to see as more important, such as combat. But overlooking it is not justified, for how the inventory is handled in a game affects all of it’s players, raider and playerkiller, crafter, and warrior alike.”

Null Signifier: Adrift in ArcheAge

Here’s a nailbiting account of a sea voyage that illustrates how treacherous such trips can be in this sandbox: “The first few minutes were nerve-wracking to say the least, but nerves soon gave way to exhilaration. The sea is beautiful, perilous, and alive — sea gulls circle above the waves, and sharks and other sea monsters lurk beneath.”

Read More

Threat-Based PVE is Lame and How I’d Fix It

The traditional model of PVE tanking, which revolves around the “threat” (aggro) mechanic, severely limits the gameplay experience of MMORPGs. I’ll share an alternative model that would provide a much more dynamic combat experience.

PVE tanking and the “holy trinity” (tank/healer/DPS) themselves are not the issue – the problem is that they tend to be implemented with threat-based mechanics. In this article, I’m not going to advocate ditching the “holy trinity” as ArenaNet (AN) did with Guild Wars 2 (GW2) last year.

Here’s what’s wrong with threat-based PVE:

It defies common sense. Why would an intelligent boss and his buddies attack the tank, who is the toughest, most-armored, highest HP target who is also the least capable of inflicting meaningful damage?
It dumbs down PVE encounters. You have threat, boss attacks you. You don’t have threat, you can do whatever you want
It creates an environment where where the focus tends to be on the UI not the combat: watching threat meters, tracking cooldowns, using abilities is optimized rotations, and listening to addons/mods tell you what to do and when – as opposed to having to continually read and react to situations and what your opponents are doing
The last two points combined have severe implications in most games where the vast majority of content and boss fights are simple tank-n-spank:

The majority of PVE content fails to prepare players for much more challenging boss fights later in endgame which require not just threat-management but also high coordination and awareness. The hard boss fights are often referred to as “guild breaking” but the fault here lies IMO not so much with the talent in the guild but rather the lack of an experience provided by the developer to train players to be more skilled and aware
Players are trained to expect predictable opponents – this becomes very problematic for PVE players foraying into PVP, since human opponents are very intelligent and far less predictable than threat-dumb bosses
My Fix for Tanking: Think NFL Offensive Lineman

If we ditch threat-based tanking, what would it look like to have a model where tanking is relevant but that the combat is much more dynamic and based on rich coordination?

Let’s consider how tanking works in the National Football League (NFL), which is American pro football.

In the NFL, the quarterback (QB), who is a squishy RDPS, is protected by five offensive linemen, who are the tanks. An offensive lineman (OL) keep defensive players from reaching his QB; the OL blocks, shoves, knocks down, and holds opponents. An OL is therefore both a protector and a bully.

But here’s the thing. In order for an OL to “tank” effectively, he needs his QB to work with him. Both players have to be on the same page as to what the QB and rest of the team are doing, and the movement and positioning of the QB has to be synchronized with the protection scheme of the OL. Moreover, when things break down in real-time, the QB has to move in such a way that his OL can continue to shield him. An OL also has to adjust his blocking assignments in real-time to counter the defense.

What if PVE combat works like this, where the tank uses abilities to control mobs and protect friendlies, and the trinity is constantly working in real-time to address situations as the boss and mobs fluidly switch targets and tactics, because there is no concept of sticky aggro? Combat shifts from staring at your hotkey bars and UI elements to paying attention to what the boss and mobs are doing and what your friendlies are doing, and taking appropriate action as an individual and group. Tanking becomes a team effort: the healers and DPS have to pay attention and work with the tank.

With such a model, developers could make bosses and mobs smart, and encounters would be much more fluid, challenging, and fun. Combat would keep you on your toes, so to speak. Boss fights could still have stages, if that’s your thing. But the days of boring tank-n-spank would be gone, or the days where you watch TV while raiding as a RDPS, because let’s face it, you don’t need to watch most of the combat these days, and that’s rather sad.

Aside from improving the combat gameplay experience, there are other positive implications of the “Offensive Lineman PVE Tank” model:

Players would have the expectation of working together. I saw this in GW2, where the collaborative nature of the game mechanics encouraged players to help one another
PVE players who foray into PVP would be much better prepared – they’ll have gotten reps in PVE and learned how to pay attention / avoid tunnel vision, counter unpredictable opponents, move properly i.e. not backpedal, etc. Simply put, this model of PVE would make players better
Tanks would have the same role in PVP as they do in PVE (control and protect). Unfortunately in many games, tanks simply have no functional role in PVP
Tanking can be implemented in terms of abilities not numerical factors. With threat-based tanking, tanking successfully is dependent on numerical factors: threat generation, mitigation, avoidance, and HP. With the proposed model, tanking can could be implemented based on weapon selection / abilities (bolas, nets, shield bashes, shield walling, Vulcan death grips, etc) and character customization, which means that any class could play the tanking role. This would allow for more flexibility for group compositions – and no more waiting in Ogrimmar or Ironforge trying to find a tank

Read More

New Server Celebration in MMORPG Magerealm

Magerealm has been garnering worldwide success since the launch of Open Beta this month and things are just getting started for players. Veteran publisher and developer GTArcade is ecstatic that players are fully enjoying their wildly addictive free to play Action MMORPG. Feedback has been very positive, with players praising the action-packed battles, customization options, and wide range of features. And now GTArcade is ready to announce a grand celebration to kick off the launch of a brand new server!

Players will receive more for just playing the game! Event rewards will be greatly increased during the server launch celebration. This includes daily task rewards, 7-day login rewards, and so much more. There will be many new Hot Events added daily so players will always have something fresh and exciting to do (while earning some nice loot).

There will be new exclusive rewards, including unique titles, for reaching milestones in player level, guild level, Battle Rating, and more. The top 3 ranking players of each criteria will receive dazzling new titles to reflect their dedication to the game. These titles will only be up for grabs during the celebration, and will not be available afterwards. All players will receive bonus rewards for leveling up, raising their guild level, and other activities.

To give players a jump start on the new server, there will be a massive sale in Shop during the launch celebration. Additionally, after spending a certain amount in the Shop, items will be discounted even further! There will also be heavily discounted limited item bundles that players can purchase once per account. Get more bang for your buck! If you were thinking of jumping into the fantastic world of Magerealm, there’s no better time than now!


Read More