Things are looking slightly grim for Valve’s MOBA, as SuperData reports that DOTA 2’s playerbase is in decline as the game continues to lose its population.
The average player base, which peaked at 709,000 back in February 2016, is now down to 437,000 as of last month. Peak players have declined from 1.2 million down to 733,000 over the same span of time.
While the MOBA is still boasting respectable numbers and is active in the e-sports scene, it doesn’t even break onto the top 10 charts for Superdata’s monthly PC rankings (where competitor League of Legends continues to sit comfortably at the top).
The MOBA pushed out its Feast of Abscession update earlier this month, adding the Pudge Arcana for the butcher and lots of new voiceovers.
If you had expected the Netherlands to be leading the fight against lootboxes, you may be more clairvoyant than the rest of the population. After investigating 10 games, the Dutch Gaming Authority has found that four of the games tested feature lootboxes that violate the Better Gaming Act. That may not sound too serious until you consider that the offending games have eight weeks to make changes to the lootboxes to comply with the law.
Failure to do so can result in fines or just straight-up forbidding the games from being sold in the Netherlands. That’s a pretty big deal.
While the DGA did not specifically name games, the Dutch paper reporting on the situation cites FIFA ’18, Dota 2, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, and Rocket League as the offending titles. The remaining six titles are not in violation of the law but were still sharply criticized for the lootbox implementation, which is said to target younger players and encourage gambling. It’s also worth noting that each of these violations specifically pertains to tradeable items for real money, which just squeaks in as a gambling option.
Perhaps because the announcement was all the way back in January, but Paragon’s shutdown is scheduled to take place at the end of next week. Epic Games made the decision to pull the plug on the action MOBA due to an unsustainable playerbase and refunded all users any money they had spent on the title.
As the sun begins to set on this title, we can take a moment to ponder what might have been. Artist Dave Rapoza shared some concept art on Twitter that he had developed for the game but had never been turned into actual assets. This gallery of characters ranges from the heroic to the bizarre and gives a taste of the odd sci-fi angle the game as attempting.
“Four years ago I got the opportunity to help flesh out Paragon, the now-cancelled MOBA from Epic Games,” Rapoza wrote. “I was given free reign on the character designs, it was an awesome opportunity, but most of these never made it into the game. Hope you like it!”
If you feel as if the Heroes of the Storm team has been worse than it should be about communicating with the playerbase and explaining how issues are being handled, the good news is that the development team agrees with you. The latest letter from the team notes that communication has been worse than it should be, and it outlines a number of steps being taken to improve match balance, like the addition of a new ban pick during the mid-ban phase.
Other areas are still being discussed; intentionally dying during a match is a form of toxic behavior, for example, and the team is still working on the best method of sussing out when someone is intentionally dying rather than just not staying alive. The team is also looking into the right balance to strike for time in the queue vs. match quality, something that comes up especially on the highest skill levels. Check out the full rundown for an idea of where the game is going from here.
Video games have always been a remarkably insular field; that’s the nature of development. Someone produces Super Mario Bros, and a few years later Sonic the Hedgehog sounds like a really good idea for some reason. But then you have games like The Great Giana Sisters, games that don’t try to just copy parts of what made the inspiration good but just copy the whole thing with one or two changes.
For normal video games, this can work out decently; a game that just doesn’t get much traction still sells some copies, hopefully. Just because Croc wasn’t Spyro didn’t mean that no one bought the former. But for online games, these trend-chasing games are almost always dramatic failures that litter the landscape. Why is that? Well, there are pretty good reasons, and today seems like a good time to talk about that.
Blizzard fans, this year’s BlizzCon has a date, and that day is November 2nd and 3rd, almost three months after the launch of World of Warcraft’s Battle for Azeroth, meaning you won’t even be missing much grinding time to attend, and you can count on lots of post-mortemy-type panels rather than endless teasers. On the other hand? E-sports, e-sports, e-sports.
“This year’s event will again commence with the esports action of BlizzCon Opening Week, taking place at Blizzard Arena Los Angeles from October 25 to 29, where the initial rounds of the StarCraft II World Championship Series Global Finals, the Heroes of the Storm Global Championship Finals, and World of Warcraft Arena World Championship Finals will unfold. The competitions will culminate in Anaheim on November 2 and 3, where the champions of these tournaments along with those of the Overwatch World Cup and Hearthstone Global Games will be crowned.”
Last year’s event was sold out, so if you’re aiming to go, jot down these even more important dates: May 9th and 12th, when tickets will go on sale.
Believe it or not, there are studios out there still trying to break into the heavily cornered MOBA market. For Korea’s Reloaded Studios, the strategy is simple: Make a MOBA that cuts out the fat and delivers a lean experience.
Meet The Day Online, a free-to-play third-person action MOBA that throws players into close quarters, gets rid of excessive farming, eliminates personal resources, and speeds up the gameplay cycle.
The title just went into early access this week and features three battle arenas and four game modes. There are already 28 champions from which to play, and the team has plans for even more heroes as well as a massive 25v25 arena.
Don’t skip this article — stay a while and listen!
The big news for Heroes of the Storm this week is that Blizzard is bringing over one of its most iconic characters from the Diablo franchise to fight for players. That’s right, Deckard Cain is back (even though he didn’t quite make it out of Diablo III alive) and coming to the MOBA this month.
Cain is a setup healer who assists allies and keeps foes out of range with his various spells, potions, and boring stories. Seriously. And if the Diablo geek factor wasn’t high enough, Cain even hauls out the Horadric Cube as a weapon. Check out his hero spotlight after the break!
It’s funny how presentation problems can have such a huge impact on the same product.
Warframe, as a game, is almost crippled by its lack of guidance and the poor resources it has to explain things to players. Some of this, as has been noted in the comments, is the result of a general design philosophy that producing more fun stuff is more advantageous than providing guidance, but some of it is also a result of having a philosophy that doesn’t seem to take full advantage of its business model. Better tutorials and direction would do a whole lot to redeem the game.
This would be a good thing because Warframe is also strikingly unique and fun in a lot of other ways, and it seems to be to be the logical apotheosis of a lot of game design aspects. It has flaws, it could use some streamlining and refinement, but at the end of the day it’s a slick and fun experience that is mostly let down by its failings in guiding players. And it’s another game that I’m not really done with even though my month is up.
The anniversary of the original StarCraft is getting celebrated in multiple games, and Heroes of the Storm is outright bringing one of its major characters to the field. Fenix is now available in the live game, alongside a balance pass aimed to bring his numbers down slightly from where they had been on the test realm. Don’t worry, he’s still just as flexible a Dragoon as he’s ever been, and his shields will still be hard to cut through while he barrages the enemy team. Just as always.
Balance changes also arrive for Tracer and Varian Wrynn in this build, with Tracer getting slightly retuned to lose some mobility while needing to stay closer to enemies for longer while Wrynn has his Heroic abilities moved lower. There are also the usual bug fixes and quality-of-life changes in the patch, so even if you have no interest in anniversaries or the heroes with balance changes, it’s still a worthwhile patch.
Even the gods like a good party every now and then. Actually, pretty much all of the time, if you read some of the old stories. It’s kind of why they got into trouble so often.
SMITE’s Patch 5.5 strikes up a party atmosphere in this MOBA, starting with eight new god skins, adjustments to the matchmaking system, and improvements to the new player experience. Beginners will enjoy better level up rewards than ever before, including a free god, a free voice pack, and plenty of other goodies.
The devs at Hi-Rez are also using this patch for significant balance tweaks: “As the Season continues, we have gotten to a point where players are starting to really understand the map and how to gain a lead from it. Even so, players are struggling to find opportunities to end the game; with Phoenix sieges being very difficult even with a substantial lead. Comeback potential is important, but it shouldn’t feel like the lead built up through the game is unimportant.”
It’s been four years since SMITE
sped onto the scene; that’s four years of gods smashing other gods on the battleground. It’s been a pretty fun ride for Massively OP’s MJ since she climbed aboard, especially with all the adventures! Tonight is all about just hanging out and celebrating the game. Who knows, she might even finally brave the new 5v5 conquest map! Tune in live at 9:00 p.m. and wish the MOBA a happy birthday.
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 9:00 p.m. EDT on Monday, March 26th, 2018
For years now, we’ve been accepting our hostile insults and hyper-constructive criticism in League of Legends
through team chat like chumps. Well, that’s all going to change with this week’s Patch 8.7, as the MOBA finally integrates voice chat
into its game client. Now people can shout right in your ears what a loser you are!
Okay, that might be looking at this from a strictly negative perspective. Voice chat is obviously key to a tightly coordinated team, and while there are plenty of third-party options for League of Legends fans, it’s nice to know that the game will provide its own system for those who need it.
Riot Games resisted adding voice chat for almost a decade before now, saying that it was worried such a system would “lead to toxic behaviors.” It publicly changed its mind last year and began to work on such a system in the hopes that it would promote teamwork.