Tag Archives: Dota 2

#525 Questions raised by Valve’s new Paid Mods

The PC gaming side of the internet had an explosion yesterday with the with Valve’s announcement of their launching of the paid player generated mods for Skyrim, with the Fallout and future games in mind. The internet is not happy about this business move from Valve and Steam, and rightfully so.

Mods has been a staple to one of the best arguments for choosing PC gaming over console gaming, on top of the over all better hardware and software systems that PCs has over the consoles; the backwards compatibility to play any game from your childhood to the most recent AAA title that launched last weeks, the community mods scene were always the third corner to the trifecta of PC gaming, breathing countless additional hours of game play back into those year old games. Skyrim and Fallout are almost synonymous with their mods, from their graphical improvements to the novelty mods, people like myself will buy the game for the mods instead of the main game.

steam paid mod

But Valve’s asking the community to start pumping out paid content, by installing a forcing a new market into the Steam Workshop seems….greedy at best and evil at worst.

This one move might cause serious repercussions within the greater gaming world. We might see mods artists who do this for free, or because it is a passion project, be pressured to monetized by Steam and by the market to get recognized. Also we now open up a can of worms within the modding scene about money, because money always complicates everything,and questions that are now raised that were never asked until yesterday.

First there was the reveal that Valve/Steam takes a 75% cut of all paid mod’s profits and there is a $100 payout limit so only time that a paid modder can cash out all their earnings is when they make $100, or to put it the other way, when their mod programs grossed $400 or more in the market place.

steam 75

Why is Valve taking 75% off the transaction? Valve mentioned that it is going to be split between Valve, for hosting the program on their servers and the game company of the vanilla game but what is the spit between companies? Why is the cut so high?

With the fact that Steam now has a premium mods that are behind a paywall, will we now start to see Steam start to phase out or DRM lock games to only use steam approved/bought mods? The biggest competition to valve right now is NexusMods which has thousands and thousands of mods available for free, and the easiest way to stop that competition, to gain maximum profits, would be to ban those third party mods from the games the Valve hosts.

How will steam make sure that these mods actually work with the main game? This is now a product sold by steam and now there is some responsibility of product assurance because unlike proper DLC, which is made and QA’d by the same team that made the game, mods are community made and they might be coding something that breaks something deep within the game’s engine. How will Steam handle the complaints from the paying community when a published mod does not work, or worst when a the game patches with an update and waves and waves becomes obsolete?

The funny thing is that I, and we the gaming community, would not be demanding these questions if Valve did not make this one move to build a paywall but these questions. but these type of questions needs answers in order to build trust for this new market. I guess, in hindsight, we saw the prototype to paid mods back with community made hats and cosmetic items sold in the marketplace in TF2 and Dota 2 respectfully, but this entire paid mod program looks like crowd sourced microtransactions for single player games, which is something I would see from EA.

oh yes, I just went there

oh yes, I just went there


I’m also on Twitter

Be MOP focuses on the world of videogames with my own reflections about the current news and developments that happens throughout the gaming industry. Updates Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

#401 Where is our eESPN?

Valve’s Dota 2 tournament with a record  is just starting up and even I am excited to tune in and see what all the hubbub is all about. Between that Riot’s weekly seasonal split streams on Twitch I have to ask: where is our eESPN channel or at least a consolidated cable channel dedicated to the competitive side of video games?

I made the eESPN joke a few times before (Be MOP #261, #276, and #356) but now I think of it more as a serious possibility rather than a silly joke based on wordplay.

I talked about the potential of some gaming streams to become full-time sports broadcasters, like how Riot has been positioning themselves for the limelight for the past few seasons with their personal stream filled with community created skits, Question and Answer segments with the professionals, highlight reels, Table talks with the professionals and analysis, and the personalities (Be MOP #276).

While I have not followed Dota 2 streams to know what they are doing for providing entertainment during and between matches but I do know and have seen the immense popularity of the Dota 2 documentary and fundraising for the main prize/jackpot.

I know for a fact that somewhere a bunch of sports marketing people just dropped their jaws when their heard the success of Dota 2’s fundraising project.

I know for a fact that somewhere a bunch of sports marketing people just dropped their jaws when their heard the success of Dota 2’s fundraising project.

 

With Twitch’s constant concurrent viewers numbers and the level of interaction in the Twitch Chat, the games respective forums and ,  it is easy to prove that there is a substantial amount of interested demographic. With the year’s Fifa world cup ESPN has proved that they can get Americans to validate the sport of soccer and still getting them excited to watch a sport tournament where the American team was not expected to win.

It is not like there is not enough content to fill a 24 hours cable station, we have; League of Legends, Dota 2, Infinite Crisis, all of the other A.R.T.S, StarCraft II, both of Pokemon’s virtual and card game matches, Melee and Smash Bros tournaments, Speed Runners, Magic the Gathering (ESPN already has precedent on broadcasting this sport), plus all of the news programs that could be created about the latest news/predictions/gossip about these different esports and upcoming tournaments.

I would wager to say there is more than enough games to showcase for 24hrs content, a constantly updating website, AND a special, consolidated, twitch stream.

Just think of the promotions for Riot, Valve, and Blizzard with other companies, new viewership spillover from one fanbase to another, and the increased credibility with other viewers & non-viewers.

Just think of the promotions for Riot, Valve, and Blizzard with other companies, new viewership spillover from one fanbase to another, and the increased credibility with other viewers & non-viewers.

 

The only problem would be is licensing these games for public viewing, the personalities that are currently paid by these companies, and getting these multibillion dollar, global internet gaming companies (that are all competing with each other) to play nice and fair in order to get this eESPN network to properly blossom.

I think we might have found the reason why  eESPN has not happened yet, but that does not means it should not happen.

 

But I want to bump the question back to you:

What do you think of a consolidated cable channel dedicated to the competitive side of esports? Would you regularly tune in to watch broadcasted tournament on a TV cable network, even if it was not a esport that you regularly follow? Or, and most importantly of all, would you rather stick to each company’s own Twitch channel on your computer?

Leave a comment down below I am interested in what other people think about this idea.

 


I’m also on Twitter

Be MOP focuses on the world of videogames with my own reflections about the current news and developments that happens throughout the gaming industry. Updates Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

#375 What items would I buy from a F2P store

I might have mentioned on this blog before that I have a personal policy against buying anything for myself in Free to Play games. A stingy policy I know, but that policy stops me from paying through the nose for every cosmetic items and every new champion the company constantly pumps out. That being said I do not have a policy of putting money in the F2P market, over the past few years my brothers and I have bought and traded Riot’s League of Legends IP cards for our Birthdays and Holiday because we have all reached that point where my brothers and I no longer want to be gifted stuff, but rather items that we can use.
But because Birthdays and Holidays only come once a year and on top of my purchasing policy of mine makes I do realize that this make it difficult for game designers and the people behind new games like Infinite Crisis and Heroes of the Storm to gather information about my purchasing patterns.

Even though I do not often vote with my wallet that does not mean I should not have a say on what items should be sold in the game. So for today’s blog post, to give the people at Infinite Crisis, Heroes of the Storm, and every other ARTS/MOBA, and F2P game a break I am going to give a quick recap on the few item I have bought in the past when I was at F2P checkout line.

First WoW, now this? I should start charging for my marketing insight and data....nah Im just going to blog about it for free.

First WoW, now this? I should start charging for my marketing insight and data….nah I’m just going to blog about it for free.

Just like yesterday lets cover the types of items that I have sworn to never going to buy from the F2P game:

My first rule is to never pay for in-game boosts/advances that unbalanced the game, this policy is easy because do not play those games where you can gain the upperhand by outspending the opponent.

The next rule I have is never to buy anything that I can earn.

This extends from the champions themselves, extra skill pages in League of Legends, Stolen powers in Infinite Crisis and EXP boosts in the game. Paying for all of those items are for the lazy and it is foolishness to spend money on those items compared to all the other things that could be bought from the online store. On top of that buying shortcuts in the game to the rewards you want seems to be counterproductive to what a game is supposed to be.

After being scorned I will never buy a pallet swapped skin of a champion ever again. This comes after buying the Phantom skin for my favorite League Champion, Karthus when I first got my hands on some microtransaction credits. If buying EXP boosts and champions are lazy on behalf of the player, this is laziness on the game developers to add these slightly changed models into the game. Granted this was a relic of Riot’s older policy on skins, like Nightmare Cho’gath where they just change the colors around and placed it on the store shelves. Now it looks like Riot and good game developers are moving away from this practice and are putting more effort into the skins they create now. In my defence I only bought the Karthus skin because it was a part of the first category of reasons I would buy a skin because it was a holiday skin or a limited edition skin.

Last christmas my brother game a few Riot IP gift cards and as a result I brought a Snow Day Ziggs, a skin that has the bomb enthusiast champion be decked out in snow gear and Riot switched out his normal bombs with snowballs and icicles. Those snowballs and icicles are actually serves a nice segway into the next, final, and greatest reason when it comes to buying a cosmetic skin because there is something special added than the original champion

I am a sucker for once a lifetime deals. Shhh keep it a secret through

I am a sucker for once a lifetime deals. Shhh keep it a secret through

Whether it be added and cool particle effects or a part of history I want to see that the skins that was creative, unique, and most importantly of all see that the game developers actually put some time and effort into it. Two perfect examples of that are the TPA or SKT skins that Riot created after each team won their Worlds championships and the Clark Kent Superman from Infinite Crisis. Something that I can resonate with and that I can show off and something that justifies my choice of giving the free to play gaming company my money.

Also do not tell anyone in videogame marketing team but I will go to the ends of the Earth for a free skins, weather it be waiting hours at PAX Expo hall for convention handouts, Facebook events, surveys, or authenticating my account. You name it I have done it, within reason, for the sake of getting a cosmetic skin for free.

Also do not tell anyone in videogame marketing team but I will go to the ends of the Earth for a free skins, whether it be waiting hours at PAX Expo hall for convention handouts, Facebook events, surveys, or authenticating my account. You name it I have done it, within reason, for the sake of getting a cosmetic skin for free.

 

Be Careful, dear reader, with this information that I have shared with you today on this public blog. I wrote this post with the intention of providing my thought process during the few times of the year when I have the money to purchase microtransactions so that videogame developers can take this data and make skins and cosmetic items that are not more appeal more towards me but to make skins that are more worthy to buy to everyone.

 


I’m also on Twitter

Be MOP focuses on the world of videogames with my own reflections about the current news and developments that happens throughout the gaming industry. Updates Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

#366 The ARTS era of Gaming

This week I am still going trough all of my PAX East loot , going through all the pins and giveaways and entering any and all codes I was handed on the expo floor.

Between everything I noticed that a common theme of the free beta tests and games were for existing or start-up MOBA games or as I call them, Action Real Time Strategy games (or A.R.T.S for short) It seems that the ARTS genera will be the go to PC game for any company in the 201Xs.

Currently we have; League of Legends, Heroes of the Storm, Dota 2, SMITE, Heroes of Newerth, Infinite Crisis, Dawngate, Magicka: Wizard Wars, Orcs Must Die: Unchained, and all the others that I forgot.

 

Too many launchers....and I intend to play all of them

Too many launchers….and I intend to play all of them

 

It reminds me of the last decade, where we saw every gaming company and their dog create a Massively Multiplayer Online game like; World of Warcraft, Rift, Lord of the Rings, Star Trek online, Star Wars: The Old Republic, DC Universe Online, ESO and all the others I forgot to name.

With the end of the last decade we saw that most -if not all- of the MMO companies caved from the popping of the MMO bubble, forcing most of them to go Free-to-play.

The question is will this A.R.T.S bubble pop the same way? Because these games are not are based on a monthly payment plan, so people like me can be subscribed to multiple titles of the same genera. With the introduction and how these games are built around microtransactions these games can easily be supported by the 1 or 2% of gamers that spends a ridiculous amount of money at the online store page.

The problem these A.R.T.S games now have to face -at least my guest is- would be competing with each other on how to woo the MOBA/ARTS base to spend their free time and eventually money on their game rather than their competitors. The multimillion dollar question is how? Heroes of the Storm will have Blizzard marketing advertising power, with the appeal of free palette swapped skins. Dota 2 had more complexity and all the champions are free to play from right out of the gate. Infinite Crisis has the allure of having every DC comics Super Hero you or I have ever heard about become a playable character And League of Legends is getting ahead by just being popular.

I know there is marketing term for when a company doesn't need to advertise it's product because it is so popular....It is like the Apple/Iphone effect.

I know there is marketing term for when a company doesn’t need to advertise its product because it is so popular….It is like the Apple/Iphone effect or something.

 

On top of the question. ‘How to get the ARTS players to play their preferred game’ the other question is ‘How to make a new ARTS game that is different enough in-game play or giveaways to comfortably compete with the other, established ARTS companies.’

The first company that can come up with solid answer to those two question can dethrone LoL, HotS, and everyone else in the market.

 


I’m also on Twitter

Be MOP focuses on the world of videogames with my own reflections about the current news and developments that happens throughout the gaming industry. Updates Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

#356 Finally Finding Free Time to watch Free to Play

This weekend I found some time t0 sit down with popcorn and soda  to watch Valve’s recent documentary of the competitive side of Dota 2, Free to Play.

The few bit I will say about the documentary, coming from someone who is not  a film buff at all, is that it was a good film. As someone who had no experience with following the professional circuit of Dota 2 the filmmakers did it’s job of drawing me into the story, keeping up suspense on what will happen next in the tournament, and getting me emotionally invested in the people towards the end.

I do not know what makes a good documentary, but I can recognize a good film when I see one.

I do not know what makes a good documentary, but I can recognize a good film when I see one.

 

While watching it many thoughts several important things stood out at me while watching the film. First I liked the clever use of the document’s title and how Valve implemented the various DLC packs that features the various professional players the documentary focused on throughout the story.

It was also comforting that see the early history esports, how popular the idea of a professional gamer is in the rest of the world, although I understand that the depiction of how beloved esports are in Asia might a bit bias for the sake of the film.

More importantly it looks like this is another step towards validating the idea of professional videogame players to be considered athletes.

I mentioned before that Riot Games has been doing this with their TV segments by inviting those gamer to the commentary decks to deconstruct the previous match fight by fight and showing the behind the scenes segments of everyone’s favorite teams very similar to what Football and Basketball shows are doing. (Be MOP #276)

Just recently League teams and Tournament Coordinators putting money in their own PR YouTube videos but I wonder if this will become a norm to have these are done just to prove that these tournaments are legitimate sport to the rest of the world.

Either way I am glad that products like these videos had enough support to warrant the cost of production and editing for full length features and promotional shorts and I would not be surprised to see these video aired on proper T.V stations, or possibly seeing the birth of a TV channel all about e-sports.

 

I’m still holding out for the creation of an eESPN sister channel.

 

 


I’m also on Twitter

Be MOP focuses on the world of videogames with my own reflections about the current news and developments that happens throughout the gaming industry. Updates Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

#288 An ARTS by any other name

Good news everyone! In preparation for next  month’s BlizzCON 2013, Blizzard has officially -and finally- announced their own Action Real Time Strategy game to compete with the likes of League of Legends, DOTA 2, Heroes of Newerth, and DC Comics’ Infinite Crisis.

It's about time, even when factoring in Blizzard-time

It’s about time the company acknowledged this game, even when factoring in Blizzard-time

 

This game has been on my radar for quite a years ever since Blizzard first announced three years ago in the 2010 BlizzCon, up to when they causally mentioned it in the Activision-Blizzard’s Q1 Financial Report (Be MOP #219). Since then the project when through a bit of an identity crisis, initially the game was called Blizzard Dota then last year it was renamed as Blizzard All-Stars and now finally settling on the title “Heroes of the Storm” and the official announced it with a humorous little self-referencing video titled “The Game Formerly Known as ‘Blizzard All-Stars'”

Curse them for using that Prince joke, I was going to use that for this post. I guess they know their audience.

Curse them for using that Prince joke, I was going to use that for this post. I guess they know their audience.

 

As the title of this post suggest the name of the game is not what we should focus on but instead on the game play and the uniqueness it brings to the table. For this game to be successful it needs to have something built into the game that makes it stand out from the other A.R.T.S like League of Legends and Dota 2.

As of right now there is no video of the game play of the Storms of the Heroes, either from back 2010 or from the current build, but I would not be surprise if Blizzard releases a ton of content, including the starting champion pool, the maps designs and that one thing that makes them stand out from the other games on the market.

To any Blizzard employees that might be reading this, I would gladly volunteer to be a beta tester.

To any Blizzard employees that might be reading this: First, hey how’s it going? Secondly, I would gladly volunteer to be a beta tester if you are looking for players.

 

But I want to know what you think, what do you think of Blizzard’s ARTS game? and more importantly what do you think of the ARTS/MOBA genre?

I ask the second question because to me, it looks like the ARTS genre is on route to be the defining go-to genre for 201X  for the PC similar to how the MMO was big thing for the PC gaming world back in the 200Xs.

 


I’m also on Twitter

Be MOP focuses on the world of videogames with my own reflections about the current news and developments that happens throughout the gaming industry. Updates Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

#261 The Art behind professional A.R.T.S games

Gather around summoners because we are half way through  Riot’s Season 3 Championship series. While I am not the biggest fan of any of any one professional League of Legends teams or the individual professional players, I have been following the official US/EU summer split steams.

Those League of Legends streams acted as the gateway for me to get interested and watch other professional e-sport matches, whether it be Team Fortress 2 and StarCraft 2 matches or the Pokemon World Championship series or the Dota 2 International series (which surprisingly both took place last weekend).

I tried watching some of the Dota 2, but with no background on the champions I must have felt the same as my dad whenever I and my brothers hook up the twitch steam to our big T.V

I tried watching some of the Dota 2, but with no background on the champions I must have felt the same as my dad whenever I and my brothers hook up the twitch steam to our big T.V

Whether I was watching an intense match of shooting people in bright hats, a game of science fiction Real Time Strategy or the turn based pocket monster games I just was not satisfying the itch that I got whenever I watched a proper Action Real Time Strategy (A.R.T.S) match like League or Dota 2.

I'm calling League and Dota2 A.R.T.S because the title M.O.B.A is not any less accurate of the game's genera.

I’m calling League and Dota2 A.R.T.S because the title M.O.B.A is not any more accurate of the games’ genera.

 

With the raising popularity of eSports I think we will see A.R.T.S games take the lead and clear the pathway for professional, competitive players of different games to be recognized by the general population.I make this claim because both League and Dota 2 hits the trifecta of what makes a IRL sports, like Football, Baseball, and Soccer, so enjoyable to watch, both of these eSports are team focused, offers the right about of strategy and action in a given match and they are created in such a way that the fans at home get to see everything that is going on in the battlefield.
The various teams acts as a common interest in the gaming community, a way to get people to bond over something and create some rivalry between the fans in matches, just like the conflicts between the fans of the Red Sox and Yankees or between the two US political parties. From my experience it is easier to lend support to the idea of a team than supporting a single player. 

 

Just go on any message boards (political or sports) and you end up seeing the same arguments and ad hominem comments appear, no matter the topic.

Just go on any message boards sports or political) and you end up seeing the same arguments and Ad Hominem comments appear,over and over again no matter the topic.

But beyond the teams, League of Legends, Dota 2, and  all other A.R.T.S brings that special balance of action and strategy to the game. In the professional games there are plenty of wonderful players and team fights to get the viewers at home excited and interested and gets the crowd going at their live events. On the flip side, after every play, team-fight and match there are sports/shoutcasters that are able to dissects, analyse and provide play-by-plays on exactly what happened . While the action is what draws people in and what makes a proper turn based strategy tournament game like Pokemon games a bit tough to sit through if you do not know all of the optimized move sets off the top of your head.

I watched a bit of this and maybe because I haven't been following the meta game of Black/white 2 I just wasn't hooked in as I used to.

I watched a bit of this and maybe because I haven’t been following the meta game of Black/White 2 I just wasn’t hooked in as I used to.

 

But most importantly of all in an A.R.T.S match that trumps all others in how the spectators can see everything that is happening on the map in real-time, just like how professional IRL Sports are viewed. 

I recently watched a documentary of a TF2 Lan that showcased a match between the best TF2 teams in the US and EU and while it went into the background of the players the documentary also showed a bit of the game that was broadcast in front of an auditorium full of fans and it was all fast passed with it’s fair share of action I just could not get into it because you could only watch the game from either the individual player’s perspective or from a fixed camera points around the map. There was no roaming, and to pan left or right on the map, now compare that to the ability that League and Dota 2 has of giving the fans a bird’s-eye view of the map to see what every player is doing on the field that gives us a strategic advantage over the  best in the world.  And while a team set up a trap  at one of the key objective in a game is entertaining to watch, there is just as much value to be had seeing all the pieces be set in place, from both sides get set up and fall the way it does.

 

Very similar to the viewing layout of a football game

Very similar to the viewing layout of a football game

 

With the growing popularity it would not be foolish to think that in a few years the both Riot’s and Valve’s tournament might draw an audience outside of the gamer niche and appears in the T.V cable sport channels and pave the way for the more obscure  professional gamer, like BOILeR tournaments, to be recognized, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see an eESPN channel by the end of this decade.

 

But I want to know what you think, do you follow any professional eSports events, if so which ones? Do you think there is a chance all or any professional videogame gamers to be recognized by the sporting society? Leave a comment below, I would love to hear what you think.

 


I’m also on Twitter

Be MOP focuses on the world of videogames with my own reflections about the current news and developments that happens throughout the gaming industry. Updates Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized