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Dota 2 photo
Dota 2

Dota 2 gets a new update, and the Elder Titan character

ET emerges
May 02
// Chris Carter
Dota 2 keeps on chugging, as a new update has added some minor fixes, sound updates, and tournament improvements, as well as a brand new character -- the Elder Titan (Tauren Chieftan). He's a character based around the concep...
Dota 2 popularity photo
Dota 2 popularity

Dota 2 is officially the most played Steam game to date

Crazy popular game is popular
Mar 04
// Chris Carter
As Dota 2 consistently racks up new content updates, it seems like fans have been racking up big numbers for Valve in terms of overall playtime. Breaking the record for overall concurrent players for a Steam game set by Skyri...
Dota 2 update photo
Dota 2 update

Dota 2 update adds a much-needed tutorial and more tweaks

New store items, visual updates, and tweaks
Mar 01
// Chris Carter
Valve continues on with the updates to Dota 2, with the introduction of a full-fledged quest-based tutorial system. As any former MOBA beginner will tell you, this is pretty much a must have for new players, and it's a highly...
Dota 2 guides photo
Dota 2 guides

Dota 2 adds in-game guides to help players

Core item: Diving Rapier, always
Feb 22
// Patrick Hancock
The most recent update to Valve's free-to-play MOBA Dota 2 brought in-game player-created guides to help people out. When a guide is selected, the recommended items in the shop will change to those that the player has se...
New Dota 2 mode photo
New Dota 2 mode

Dota 2 adds a 'Least Played Mode' game type

Prepare for Meepoes!
Jan 18
// Patrick Hancock
Dota 2 didn't get a new hero yesterday, but it did get a new game mode to hold us over while we wait for everyone's most anticipated hero, Tuskarr. Least Played Mode eliminates your 20 most-played heroes from the pool an...

Defense of the Pickaxe: New Minecraft map mimics DOTA

Apr 17
// Jason Cabral
Nearly six months after the release of version 1.0, the creativity of the Minecraft community has not died down one bit. We have seen inter-spatial puzzle solving, Spartans taking on Zombies and even explored the l...

Blizzard is suing Valve over DOTA trademark

Feb 10
// Jim Sterling
MMO leader Blizzard has filed against Valve in an attempt to stop it trademarking DOTA, claiming the name has been used in exclusive association with the Warcraft series for more than seven years. It was filed late last year ...

Impressions: Dota 2 beta

Feb 08 // Sterling Aiayla Lyons
DOTA 2 beta (PC)Developer: ValvePublisher: ValveRelease: TBA 2012 Those who follow my writing know that I'm a frequent player of League of Legends -- arguably the most popular current-running MOBA game -- and have covered it around the site frequently. I have never played the original DOTA though, so while not completely blind in walking into the beta for this game, I would not be able to tell you for certain what all of the aspects are maintained. From what I could tell, much was held over from the original. The basic elements of the gameplay remain the same. There are three lanes connecting two bases on opposite corners of the map: one that curves at the top-left corner of the map, one that curves at the bottom-right corner of the map, and the third that crosses the center diagonally. Mindless and automated minions walk along these lanes, attacking the towers and enemy minions as they fight their way into the enemy base. Two teams of five players, each player controlling one hero character of their choosing, help these minions along in an attempt to skew each skirmish to their team's favor. Dota 2 plays like any other MOBA. It retains the same overhead perspective, and controls much in the same way you would expect an RTS game to. It also offers some RPG flavor as your chosen hero can level up during the match, and you can allocate points into attributes and skills. Finally, there's an obligatory shop where you can buy items to equip using gold gained from kills. Despite so many similarities, Dota 2 still has some good things going for it. The graphical fidelity is magnificent. Valve certainly has a solid track record of making detailed-looking games that manage to have a simplicity about them, and this is no different here. There is also a matchmaking feature for automatically setting up teams of people, which works really quickly, and seems to set up fair matches. Should there be someone who quits your team after a match has been made, a helpful rule can save you from wasting time on a loss. If five minutes have passed since said person left, then you can leave as well, and you won't incur a penalty for doing so. Until that point, you could actually deselect your own hero and take over the one that person left behind to try an compensate for the lost player. It's something that I'm sure could be greatly helpful for experienced players if one member of the team has a momentary lapse in their connection, or some other unfortunate circumstance. There is also a fully fleshed out Spectator Mode, in which any number of people can click on an in-progress match to watch it live as it happens. Perhaps the neatest thing about this is the inclusion of an automatic camera director, which will move your screen around to watch all the areas where the action takes place. There is also a spectator-only chat in this mode, allowing you to talk with other viewers watching alongside you. When making a private room for a game, you can disable the ability for people to watch in on you as well. Unfortunately, there are also parts in Dota 2 that don't feel quite so good. While the graphical quality is really nice, the general art style and the color choices feel rather bland -- even borderline generic. There are a lot of dark colors, and even on the side of the map that's supposed to be vibrant, there is drab coloring much in the same vein as first-person shooters from three to four years ago. The character designs also don't ring of any distinct uniqueness to them. Other MOBAs that have drawn inspiration from or pay homage to more famous icons, but here the characters all feel like they could be interchanged with anything from fantasy story-hood. This is also reflected in the lack of naming for each hero. While each character may have a name in their lore, the selection screen opts instead to name them by the closest thing to their "class." This also hurts the gameplay to some extent. Targeting specific enemies can become hard as they clump up randomly with each other in skirmishes. Targeting enemy heroes can be just as bad considering there is little that distinctly makes them stand out from the minions. Sure, there is a floating health bar that is a bit bigger than the ones over the minions, but there are still plenty of times where lots of minions and screen-obscuring special effects make conditions where you could lose track of all the players engaged in the same skirmish. The interfacing also hurts the game as well, taking up way too much of the screen for comfort. Given the level of zoom on the action, this can lead to situations where you end up clicking on your HUD instead of a spot on the playfield in an attempt to run away. The ability to deselect your hero is also problematic, as it makes the basic controls of your character slightly more complicated than they really need to be. Although there is a button you can hit to instantly re-select your character, miss-clicking can screw you over. Thankfully, you can bind the command to select your champion to any button, but the camera command only ever remains pressing the selection button twice. The shop system is something that has also been inelegantly handled. There are multiple shops scattered about the map, each with different items in them. It's a holdover from DOTA that was supposed to help separate the different skill level of players, with more "advanced" players knowing what items are bought from where. It feels unnecessary in Dota 2, when the mini-map will ping which shop has the item you're trying to buy. The organization of the items in the shop is also very lacking. The categories are by the type of item, but this makes finding items that affect specific statistics a hassle, requiring you to read all the tool tips and data for each one as you search. Dota 2 is still a beta product, and it shows. There are a variety of options that are unimplemented, or half-implemented. In private games, you can set up bots to play with, and they feel very reminiscent of how the bots are in Valve's other games. Not many of the characters have bots to play with, and even on the easiest setting, most of them are annoying and hard to play with and against. Bot matches could still become something useful for training and practice, but as they are now, they just feel incomplete.  An option for a tutorial is visible, but remains unimplemented at the moment. There is stat tracking, and you can see what characters you like using, as well as success or failure rates with each. Some form of level tracking is shown, though it's non-functional at the moment, which will probably be used for better skill assessment in matchmaking. All in all, Dota 2 is a much slower affair than some of the other established MOBA games to have come out in the past couple of years. It feels like an odd mix of a modern game and an antiquated game. It's clunky, and I would not say that it feels very friendly to new players looking to start playing a MOBA in its current form. Depending on how some of these unimplemented features turn out, they could make the game significantly more accessible for new people who are unfamiliar with the genre. A number of the problems I've found are things that can be fixed by the time the game goes out of beta. As it stands, Dota 2 feels highly aimed at fans of the original, who would claim that the other popular MOBAs are too simplified or too casual. For the most part, I would say that they will be happy seeking a new home in the sequel. For everyone else, I feel that it is a wait-and-see situation. As for which MOBA game the famous Basshunter will choose as the best, and make a new song about, only time will tell.

The Multiplayer Online Battle Arena genre has been fascinating to watch grow. Like many popular independent works, it started from humble beginnings with a little mod for a well-known game. I can only imagine that few could&n...

Destructoid's most wanted PC games of 2012

Jan 12 // Allistair Pinsof
South Park: The Game (PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)Developer: Obsidian EntertainmentPublisher: THQRelease: TBA 2012 I haven't watched an episode of South Park in about a year. Outside a couple episodes, it's never held my interest (You Have 0 Friends" was the last great one). The episodes typically start off with a good premise, but then run that premise into the ground through repetition and dull writing. Yet, here I am looking forward to Obsidian's attempt to RPG-ify the beloved brats and bring new life into Matt Stone and Trey Parker's ever-aging lovechild. The world of South Park is a fun one I'd like to explore, and with gems like Super Mario RPG and Final Fantasy as an influence on this project, I think I'll have a good time doing it. South Park: The Game is a left turn for the developer, lacking the ambition, mature themes, and sequel-driven nature of their past projects. But, maybe a focused, immature, and original RPG might be exactly what Obisidian needs to finally make a classic. Even the overlooked glitches of past Obsidian titles will feel at home in this offbeat, crass world. Dishonored  (PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)Developer: Arkane StudiosPublisher: Bethesda SoftworksRelease: TBA 2012 Arkane Studios make the type of games I like to play. It so happens that these are the type of games that rarely get made these days. Beyond Irrational Games, Bethesda, and Valve, no developer wants to take the risk of spending years crafting a rich, varied world that you can explore. It takes time, money, and a whole lot of skill. And, finally, Arkane have all three of these, which is why I think Dishonored will shape up to be one of 2012's most memorable single-player games. That, and I was blown away when I saw it in action at QuakeCon last year. Arkane are taking lessons learned from their past games (Arx Fatalis, Dark Messiah of Might and Magic), while taking inspiration from Bioshock and '90s PC classics. With one of the strongest creative teams in the industry -- including key members of the Deus Ex and Half-Life 2 teams -- and a drive to finally prove themselves, Dishonored could be the gem that merges their Thief: The Dark Project worship with smart, approachable design that will make any Bioshock fan feel at home. Quantum Conundrum (PC, Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network)Developer: Airtight Games Publisher: Square EnixRelease: TBA 2012 The worst thing about Portal 2 is that it ends. Thankfully, we already have a promising Portal-like adventure on the horizon to fill that void in our hearts. Rather than a knock-off, Quantum Conundrum is Kim Swift's (co-creator of Portal) debut for Airtight Games. Like her previous project, Quantum Conundrum is a charming, colorful puzzle game played from first-person. Rather than traversing obstacles with portals, the player alternates the environment's physics by swapping between four dimensions. One dimension slows time, one makes objects featherweight, and one reverses the direction of gravity. The fourth dimension hasn't been reveled yet at this time, but just thinking of the puzzle possibilities with the above abilities alone boggles the mind. After the utterly forgettable debut of Dark Void, Kim Swift's inspired puzzle adventure with Pixar-esque visuals is exactly what Airtight Games needs to win our faith back. With an entirely new rule set and environment, Quantum Conundrum could make the puzzle-platforming introduced in Portal feel fresh all over again. Honorable Mentions: Shadowrun Online, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Natural Selection 2, Darksiders II, Brothers in Arms: Furious 4 Diablo III (PC, Mac)Developer: BlizzardPublisher: BlizzardRelease: 2012 Prior to playing the beta, I wasn't so sure about Diablo III. All these years later, could it compare to the fond memories we have of its predecessors? My doubts disappeared almost immediately. It's funny how quick I was to forget that Blizzard takes its sweet time for a reason. The game is still very much the essence of Diablo, but that's not to say its designers locked themselves in a room and ignored the genre's steady advances. The attention to detail and seamlessness of it all is impressive in a way that's hard to describe through summary. It takes considerable development time to allow for high internal standards and iterative design, but you can't argue with the results. Dota 2 (PC, Mac)Developer: ValvePublisher: ValveRelease: 2012 Despite having spent hundreds of hours playing Warcraft III custom games, I never got seriously hooked on "Defense of the Ancients." The same can be said of today's growing multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) scene, though that has more to do with a fear of hyper competitiveness and loss of sleep than anything else. Why care about Dota 2, then? Love or hate Valve's games, they're always interesting -- especially for people like me who actively think about design choices that most would consider to be largely insignificant. Given the studio's brilliance when it comes to building sustainable online communities, I have high expectations of this game. Hell, even the journey to a public beta -- remember the $1,000,000 Dota 2 International? -- has been enjoyable to watch. Guild Wars 2 (PC)Developer: ArenaNetPublisher: NCsoftRelease: 2012 I've long struggled with getting into MMOs. The promise of ever-changing worlds and the like is usually there, but boredom arrives too quickly to warrant keeping my credit card on file more often than not. Having had a decent enough time with the original Guild Wars years ago, I'm incredibly hopeful that its sequel will be the MMO to pull me back in. Repetition, particularly when it comes to killing the same old forces of evil, has always been the deciding factor. Choices which have a noticeable and persistent impact, a focus on individual player stories, and improvisational combat are among the highlights of this game for me. Not having to pay a monthly subscription fee means I'll be there on day one rather than wait and see. ArenaNet has a clear vision for Guild Wars 2 -- one I desperately want to see for myself in person. Even if some promises aren't fully met, I suspect they will, in part, influence the genre going forward. Honorable mentions: Hawken, StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, and Super Monday Night Combat.   Additional staff picks for PC: Alex Bout: Guild Wars 2 Alasdair Duncan: Dishonored, Monaco, The Secret World.Jim Sterling: Firefall, The Secret World, Super Monday Night CombatJonathan Ross: Diablo III, Guild Wars 2, Mass Effect 3Jason Cabral: Metro: Last Light, Diablo III, Kingdoms of Amalur: The ReckoningJosh Derocher:  Diablo III, StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, Guild Wars 2Kyle MacGregor: The WitnessAndrew Kauz: Diablo III, Torchlight IIJonathan Holmes: New games from Team Meat, Terry Cavanagh, and KonjakMaurice Tan: Torchlight II, King Arthur II, Wargame: European EscalationTara Long: Diablo III, Torchlight IIJosh Tolentino: XCOM: Enemy Unknown, Mass Effect 3, HawkenChad Concelmo: Diablo IIISean Daisy: The Witness, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Max Payne 3Daniel Starkey: Torchlight II, Prey 2, FirefallSterling Lyons: Blacklight: Retribution, Blade & Soul, Prey 2 

It's a strange time to be a PC gamer. With fewer high-profile exclusives, it has become a glorified Xbox 360. Thanks to efforts from developers and publishers, it's a superior 360 where draw distance, anti-aliasing, and frame...

Should anyone own DOTA?

Oct 26 // Brock Janikowski
Blizzard's Mike Morhaime reiterated this during last weekend's BlizzCon, stating in an interview with Eurogamer, "Our opinion about the situation is that the DOTA name really should belong to the community. I think that it's been part of the Warcraft 3 community for a very long time, and we would like to see the community continue being able to use that name, and having an exclusive mark owned by a competitor doesn't feel right to us." As far as the US Patent and Trademark Office is concerned, Valve is free to take the DOTA trademark. Before final approval, though, the USPTO publishes its rationale so others may oppose the decision. If no one challenges Valve's application, the USPTO will file the mark and afford Valve full trademark protection for DOTA. That future doesn't sit well with Blizzard.  Who came up with DOTA, anyway? DotA, short for "Defense of the Ancients," started as a mod for the Blizzard-owned property Warcraft III. I won't go into the history of DotA too much, but suffice it to say that the creation was a product of Blizzard and the modding community. It's an interesting spin on the traditional RTS structure that has helped to create an entirely new genre of game, spawning titles like Riot Games' League of Legends and Gas Powered Games' Demigod. Who among these creators should own the rights to the name DOTA is confusing at best. But maybe no one should own the rights to DOTA. A trademark needs to identify a product, and whether or not DOTA identifies anything specifically is highly questionable. As the community uses it, and as it is used across the internet as a whole, DOTA seems more to denote a genre of game rather than a specific title. It seems to me the phrase "DOTA" has become a descriptor similar to the likes of FPS or RTS. Of course, there is a difference. Real-Time Strategy and First-Person-Shooter are very clearly descriptors of a certain type of game; as descriptions of a product, they are not traditionally granted any kind of trademark. DOTA as "Defense of the Ancients" is in no way descriptive, but the community does have an implicit understanding of what this series of letters means. A better argument may be that DOTA has become "generic." A word that is considered "generic" does not get trademark protection because it is just too common to point to a specific product. A word like "zipper" was at one time the name of a company and a product, but today we have no notion of this, only an understanding that it is a common device. If DOTA is a genre rather than a singular game, then it is likely too "generic" for trademark protection. Of course, there are also those who say MOBA is the genre, so who knows how a court might feel about this. There is one other wrinkle that might serve as a defense for Valve: "DOTA" and "DotA" are technically different marks. If Valve could argue that DOTA is its property and DotA is everything else it might have a case for the trademark. Then again, neither company can seem to keep their naming conventions straight. If anyone would have a claim to the use of "DotA," you would think it would be Blizzard. Yet Blizzard chooses to use DOTA in its title. Valve is trademarking "DOTA" and many of its ads say DOTA 2, yet its own website uses "Dota" repeatedly. Raise your hand if you're feeling confused. So with all these potential attacks on Valve's DOTA application, why hasn't anyone sued? Blizzard is in a tough spot. Since Blizzard has stated it thinks the community is responsible for the DOTA mark, the company can't really claim it has any rights to DOTA and therefore doesn't have any right to sue Valve. Does that mean Valve gets to trademark DOTA without challenge? Thankfully, no. This is a good example of how the USPTO actually does do some things right. In the current phase of Valve's DOTA trademark application, the USPTO has published their findings "for opposition," basically meaning it is looking for someone to tell the office it is wrong for granting Valve the trademark. The paperwork has already been filed to extend this timeframe to allow for debate on the issue, and Blizzard will no doubt be strongly voicing its opinion. The USPTO will be free to change its opinion on the DOTA trademark afterward, all without going to court. Amazing, right? Valve seems to think they have some sort of claim to DOTA, but if the company is afforded the trademark a reckoning between Blizzard and Valve is bound to occur. Valve will need to start policing the mark, which will certainly mean suing Blizzard for their upcoming DOTA titles and might even mean suing modders for their own DOTA creations. It all sounds a bit scary and would only serve to stifle the future growth of what has thus far been a runaway community success story. Let's hope cooler heads prevail.

On August 8th, 2010, Valve filed for the trademark "DOTA" in anticipation of their latest title, DOTA 2. Just over a year later, the final stages of this process have arrived. The US Patent and Trademark Office is ready to gi...


Details on Blizzard DOTA and what makes it worth a look

Oct 21
// Maurice Tan
Straight out of BlizzCon, Blizzard has shed some light on how Blizzard DOTA will work. With League of Legends going strong, Valve's Dota 2 on the way, and a score of DotA clones out there, it's sometimes hard to imagine just ...

Blizzard's DOTA mod for StarCraft II is still on the way

Aug 18
// Jordan Devore
Remember how Blizzard told us it was working on a Defense of the Ancients mod for StarCraft II, and then proceeded to not bring it up again? Me too! The latest update on this front comes from senior game designer Jonny Ebbert...

The DTOID Show: DotA 2, PS Vita, & Dark Souls bird-butts

Aug 16
// Max Scoville
[The Destructoid Show gives a rundown of all the top news from every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Subscribe to us on YouTube, follow us on Twitter, and like us on Facebook.] NOTE: Flying squi...

Preview: League of Legends: Dominion

Aug 04 // Lori Navarro
League of Legends: Dominion (PC)Developer: Riot GamesPublisher: Riot GamesTo be released: TBA For the uninitiated, MOBA style games combine RTS, RPG and tower defense gameplay elements in a highly addictive multiplayer setting. Critics say they make you click around a map until your hand festers from carpal tunnel syndrome. Nonetheless they are immensely popular especially in Europe and Asia, and in my home country where it is considered a national sport along with Counter-Strike.What makes League of Legends not just another DotA clone, you ask? Well it makes vast improvements to the genre such as a new summoner system, more flexibility in setting up matches, a less steep learning curve and graphics that don't make you feel like you're looking at pixels through a magnifying lens. They also addressed in-game problems by giving incentives to people who don't ragequit. Ultimately, while LoL is a game that's highly replayable, you've got to admit that there's nothing drastically new to it besides being more streamlined and customizable. Riot Games has addressed this issue by introducing something entirely unheard of in the genre. Enter Dominion, the newest gameplay mode that overhauls the classic system to accommodate a more fast-paced, action-packed gaming experience. Instead of the typical destroy-the-enemy-tower scenario of the original, the game pits two teams against each other with the common goal of capturing the five bases around the map and to hold them as long as they humanly can. The team that has the most holds at any given time reduces the health bar of the opposing team, and the team that bleeds to death naturally loses the game. Dominion is set on a completely different map called Crystal Scar, which is described as "a highly contested, war-torn mining village." Crystal Scar is basically the neurotic younger sister of the original map, Summoner's Rift. It has a haphazard, circular terrain that forces your team to be scattered and immediately go head-to-head with other champions as opposed to Summoner's Rift's linear, predictable three-lane map.What emerges is a back-and-forth struggle between the two teams to gain dominance, and it is an adrenaline rush from the get-go. Anything can happen at any time, and the balance between the winning and losing teams is very tenuous, making cooperative play even more crucial. My experience of playing Dominion was as intense as I described. As someone who has played DotA only a few times, I know from experience that I pretty much suck. I admit there was some slight panic as I waited for the pre-game countdown to end. I had no idea what to expect, and this feeling of anticipation remained throughout the game. Everything was consistently happening so fast with a lot of scrambling from base to base and ninja keyboard hotkey action.For my champion, I used Ashe, one of the more popular characters because of her, uh, considerable assets -- such as how she deals high-damage ranged attacks with abilities that slow down and stun the opponent. Naturally, to offset these good things going on for her, she has a tendency to be as weak as a kitten, so it helped that there were new stations around that adds points to my health along the way.Dominion changes things for me in the sense that I might not be a godlike killing machine, but I can play in a different way than before and that makes me suck less. I can pretend to be a hero and run from base to base in an attempt to capture them. This might be more probable if I were playing a more robust tank-like character. Ideally for a character like Ashe, I can go with teams and play a support role and simply strike down foes and hold bases. With how the game is set up, it is highly likely that players can go on one-on-one battles with other players or alternatively arrange mini-skirmishes around the map. There seems to be a more significant push for team gameplay elements in Dominion, and this was confirmed by Ryan Scott, Lead Champion Designer on LoL. We were able to sit down and talk to him, and he explained how the ranking style in Dominion differs from the classic game. What they came up with is a little something called the renown system. According to Ryan, it offers incentives for being a team player rather than just being a bloodthirsty player killer. It is okay to be that guy who gets killed all the time as long as he helps the team win. They want to develop a system that encourages “heroic moments, team play and epic kills." It makes sense for Dominion to do this too as this seems to be the direction a lot of multiplayer games are heading.This new game gives players new opportunities in terms of PvP battle and strategic team playing. And with almost 90 playable characters in League of Legends' arsenal plus the customizable runes and spells already existing in the game, just imagine all the in-game variations that can come up.The best thing about this new mode is that it's also going to be offered for FREE. Thank the benevolent gaming gods! Interested parties can try it out at the upcoming PAX and gamescom shows. Until then, sit tight for further announcements.

It was almost two years ago when League of Legends was first released and since then the game has received a cult-like following. League of Legends has helped cement the Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) genre into video...

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