Tag: blizzard entertainment

Why You Should Start Playing Dota 2

With the International 2017 currently on its final day, I find myself doing what I do every year around this time. I'mplaying Dota 2. I started playing in 2013 and it has slowly become one of my all time favorite games. And when one begins to realize they enjoy a game so much, they want to share that with the world. So here we are. Yet another bad Dota player writing about why he loves this game. 

Obviously if you’re already into Dota, this more than likely isn’t going to be a list for you. But if you have no interest in ever trying the game because you hate multiplayer, don’t like Mobas, or any other reason, maybe give this a read anyway and see why someone like me enjoys this incredibly complex game. Hhere are the reasons why you should start playing Dota 2:

It’s Free. Like actually Free.

freedota

Before I get into the history of Mobas and other complex gameplay mechanics, I need to sell you on how Dota is selling itself to you. Well unless you are a compulsive complesionist who needs to be able to own every single item within a game, you will never need to spend a single cent on, or in, Dota 2. Not only is the game free to download, but there is not a single hero behind a paywall. All 112 heroes in the game are free to anyone who installs Dota 2.

No Pay to Win Bull****

items

When I say actually free, I really do mean it. You cannot buy anything with real world money that will help you in the game. There's no experience boosts, gold boosters, Runes, or any other crap that many Mobas use to leech money out of their player base. The only items in the game you can buy with real money are skins and countless other aesthetic additions that you’ll acquire by playing the game. If they don’t interest you at all, sell what you earn on the Steam Market and save some money on your next game purchase.

eSports

No I don’t mean this reason to encourage you to drop out of school and start playing Dota 24/7. But if you enjoy watching eSport events, The International has been the biggest eSports event for many years now and continues to grow. "But Cody" You say,  "I don’t care about eSports at all, why shouldn’t I just skip the explanation of this point and just read the next bullet point?" Well reader, it's because the Olympics themselves are starting to care about eSports, and what game is at the top of the addition list? Of course it’s Dota 2. You don’t have to play a game to appreciate watching the best players in the world compete in it. I don’t play Starcraft, but watching professional players play is incredibly exciting and entertaining, and I find Dota 2’s eSports scene to be best of them all.

esports

prize

Icefrog

For those you who already play Dota 2, this pseudonym is already familiar to you. But like I said, this article isn’t for you. So for you newcomers, before I tell you about Icefrog, I need to give a brief history about the Moba genre.

Warcraft 3 (2002)

Warcraft 3 (2002)

Long before there was Dota, or League of Legends, or any other Moba, there was Warcraft 3. Developed by Blizzard in 2002 this RTS captured the minds of gamers and modders alike. One such mod for the game was a very detailed and complex 5v5 game mode where two teams chose different heroes to protect towers and bases.  These heroes would then level up and gain power over the course of an ~hour long match. If you guessed that the name of this mod was DOTA you would be correct. The author of said mod was Icefrog, and no we’ve never learned his real name. 

Obviously this mod became so popular it spawned many actual games trying to recreate what Icefrog had created from the tools within Warcraft 3. For the longest time the best attempt was HON (Heroes of Newerth), until League of Legends came along and invented the term Moba. Before they came up with the very generic genre name of Multiplayer Online Battle Arena, games such as League were simply referred to as Dota clones. League omitted many mechanics and rules from Dota such as Creep Blocking, Lane Pulling, Denying, Turn Speed, casting times, and jungle stacking just to name a few. This obviously lowered the barrier for entry to get more players interested initially, but also significantly lowered the skill floor.

So where does Icefrog fit into all this now and why is he a reason to be Playing Dota 2, a Valve game? Well after League’s rise to popularity, Blizzard knew less and less people would be buying Warcraft 3 to play Dota. So they asked Icefrog if he would remake his mod in their new Starcraft engine for free. He declined and instead took an offer from Valve to be brought on as a full time employee and be completely in charge as game director of Dota 2. So not only do you have the founder of the genre at the helm of the game, he is constantly pushing his development team to new limits by creating new Heroes every year and changing the map and game mechanics ever so slightly. This keeps players on their toes, as they learn and then adapt to heroes as tweaks are applied to them. Speaking of players constantly learning...

Dota 2 Beta (2011)

Dota 2 Beta (2011)

Dota 2 (2017)

Dota 2 (2017)

It’s a game you can never master.

dota2heroes

I will never be good at Dota. I’m already bad at video games as it is and Dota is by far the hardest video game I’ve ever played. There are so many mechanics and heroes to learn in Dota that even if I played 24/7 I wouldn’t be able to learn everything. Even if I could there’s no way I wouldn't make multiple mistakes in a game. And that's the best thing about Dota. In so many multiplayer games the instant you or one of your team mates does something stupid, everyone turns on them because mistakes are not allowed. In Dota, even the pro eSports players make numerous mistakes every game. (They just make fewer than me :P)

XLDfAhv

You are always going to be learning how you could have done something different or more efficiently. Heroes you would think fit into one role can do something completely different once you learn what all the items do, and you will always want to try more.

iteams_dota2

As a gamer, that’s one of my favorite things to do. I love stretching my mental and physical limits.  I love bettering my ability to play the game [very slowly] over time and growing as a person because of it.

 

So yeah, hope to see you in the river soon.

river

- Thanks to Greywolfe for editing :P

Yoda’s #4iF Results

I am bad at video games. Plain and simple. So bad in fact, i can't get further than 15 minutes into Undertale without dying no matter what I do. I really want to like that game. But I've tried four times now to get into it, only to be so bad I couldn't get anywhere. So in a repeat of last year's results, I beat three games, then couldn't get through Undertale. 

But just like the Academy Awards this year, there is a twist! I took a look through my game library to find the shortest game on there, and saw Q.U.B.E. a first person puzzle platformer. And what do you know, it was easy enough for me to beat! Making this an official Four in February success story! So'm going to give a quick run down of the four games I beat and my thoughts on them, enjoy. :)

QUBE_Poster1

The Yawg

Our housekeeper here at Twinstiq, Dr. S, actually gifted me this first title. And I owe you a big thanks good sir ;) because I love this game. There are so many possible outcomes and heartbreaking stories to discover here. The sheer number of ways you can change the world your characters reside in is impressive to say the least, and I can't recommend this enough. 

Aragami 

What a gorgeous game. And if you're not hardcore about your stealth games like me, I'm sure you'll find a lot to enjoy here. I never found much challenge throughout this game due to it being designed around a teleport mechanic. But the story alone is worth playing, as long as you don't mind reading. 

Abzu

If i had to pick one game from my 4iF to suggest people go play, it's Abzu. Austin Wintory once again proves that he is John Williams of video game scores. Even if you could care less about that aspect, you are nearly guaranteed to find something in here to love. This is a game that everyone needs to play. 

Q.U.B.E.

My White Knight of February 2017. Emerging from the depths of my growing back catalog of games was a fun and thought provoking little indy title that did not get as much attention as it deserves. This puzzle platformer really did find every use for a simple concept that it could without overstaying its welcome. I'm sure many have compared this to Portal unfavorably but I actually found its narrative to be a bit more compelling then Valve's similar game. Definitely a game worthy of much more lengthy discussion, perhaps on a future GameClub down the line. 

 

Anyway, that's what I got done this past month! Thanks for reading guys! 

Good night, and good game.

Spellweaver Review: It’s Magic, Jim, But Not As We Know It

Links open in new pages

Magic:  The Gathering is a great game with a troubling digital history.  In one sense, it's really sad, because Hearthstone is immeasurably polished - a thing that Blizzard is absurdly good at.  And where Blizzard have gone, others have attempted to follow, because surely, if they can make it work to the tune of a silly number of people throwing money at imaginary cards that they're never going to really own [because the servers will go down and then you'll be left with nothing] then someone else has to be able to share the pot, right?

Probably.  But a lot of that is going to depend on lots of little factors.  And where Spellweaver comes up strong in some of those factors, it's just kind of bland and uninteresting for a lot of the rest. Read more

The Fifth Rule of Game Buyer’s Club: ALWAYS talk about Game Buyer’s Club.

This is long and ranty.  But I feel that it is important.

You guys absolutely got the industry you wanted.

We got here through slow degrees.  Like the proverbial frog in the pot - although, it didn't actually seem that way to begin with.  So, very quickly, let's talk about the divide between modern games and how they monetize and older games and how those raked in the money.

In the bad old days, a game was a once-off experience - for the most part.  You bought the game, it had absolutely all the content on the disk and off you went.  This wasn't absolutely universal, of course - even back then we had what were known as "Scenario Disks" and added content through content builders - Things like the Forgotten Realms Unlimited Adventures construction kit.

But if you bought a game you would be assured of ALL the content.  At least until a scenario disk/expansion pack rolled around.  There was no messing around with day one DLC [a misnomer, but we'll get there] or very many "added content exclusives."  The game you took home was - generally - the same game your European friends took home on the day of release.

Then, Bethesda cracked open the door through Horse Armor and everything changed.

But it's important to realize an important thing about this whole fiasco:  we can't go back.  We can't stuff the genie back into the bottle.  But we can maybe make executives think twice about fleecing us.

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Farewell, Blizzard

Warning!  This is long and ranty and link heavy!  [Links will open in new tabs]

I remember Silicon and Synapse.  You might not, but I do.  They weren't big enough to work on their own projects, so they did ports of other games to various other consoles.  None of these ports were particularly big, but they established the company as detail-oriented and good at what they did.  And a key element from those days has stayed with Blizzard:  they know how to refine.

Which is at least some of what I want to talk about.  But the other thing I want to talk about is how distant Silicon and Synapse are from the Blizzard we have today and why - after almost twenty five years of playing Blizzard's games, I am going to slowly start winding down Blizzard projects I'm still pursuing. Read more

Greywolfe’s Games To Look Forward To In 2016.

Please note:  This article is LITTERED with links.  They will open in a new window and will take you off-site.

Now that four-in-February is behind us, I thought I'd take some time to look into games that I'm at least a little curious about for the calendar year of 2016. I have divided my choices into three broad sections:

Things that will almost definitely be with us in the near-future or before the end of 2016.

Things that might make it into 2016, but you never know.

And, finally, things that I'm totally worried about. Sometimes with good reason.

So, let's take a look and see, shall we? Read more

Four ^H^H^H^H Three out of Four In February Ain’t Bad

I had such high hopes for February, I really did.

I sat on Banjo Tooie, because I wanted to experience it, but I didn't want to experience it quite so close to Banjo Kazooie. I was genuinely looking forward to what Plague Knight had in store for me at the end of Shovel Knight. I wanted to delve into Simon the Sorcerer and find out if time - and my memory of that game - had treated it well. I also wanted to see if - a year on - Jazzpunk was still that spellbinding, silly experience I found it to be while watching Lucahjin play it.

You can read my gung-ho and ready post about all that here.

This tragic tale is a tale of how that all fell flat and how I ended up playing three games that weren't even on my list. Well. Kind of.

[Please Note:  Some of the links in this article will take you away from Twinstiq.  They have been formatted such that they will open new browser tabs.]

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