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Diving into DotA: The International is coming. Hide yo kids!

Sometimes you just can help people, no matter how hard you try. © Jazza Studios

Had an interesting conversation last week with a guy who was trying to convince me that games like DoTA and League of Legends are not that big of a deal. While he admittedly didn’t play any MOBA’s, it didn’t stop him from voicing the opinion that they are not in ascendancy and that the culture we have in America will never support these types of games. Especially compared to Asian communities with games like Starcraft. “Those guys are rock-stars” he said “and we’ll never have anything like that here.” As an avid DoTA fan, I told him as politely as I could that he was nothing but wrong.

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Living Story Log: Guild Wars 2 Season One Wrap-Up

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All’s quiet on the western front…

For now, Tyria is enveloped in an eerie calm, as the world heals the wounds inflicted by the recently defeated Scarlet Briar. Now is the time to bury the dead, and begin the mammoth repairs to the zones utterly decimated by the recent campaign. Of course now is also the time that the questions and speculations arise, and answers to most seem to be in short supply.

Let’s look at what facts we know so far, in order to better prepare for what is to come.

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Warning to Diablo III Crusaders: Shattering Throw is Bugged. You Will Die.

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Blizzard Entertainment released an urgent note today warning all players of the game’s new Crusader class of a game-breaking and rather infuriating little bug.

Apparently, if any Crusader uses a combination of his or her Blessed Shield ability combined with Shattering Throw, the character will die. Immediately. For no reason.

This includes all hardcore characters as well.

You read that right. A game where an entire mode is built around the idea of permanent character death now has a bug that can instantly kill you with no warning. Ouch.

Blizzard is obviously working overtime on getting this particularly nasty bug fixed, but for now, it might be best to keep your holy smiter of evil on the sidelines.

Diablo III’s Reaper of Souls expansion was released last month to great reviews and has already sold more than 2.7 million copies.

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Summoner’s Sanctum: Staring Down Eye of the Void; Ladies Progress in Korea

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Patch 4.3 for League of Legends offers numerous game changes that are sure to keep players busy for quite some time. Among other various tweaks and changes to both characters and items, the latest version of LoL includes an exciting new champion that provides a new challenge for veterans and new players alike.

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Next Stop, Nexus: A Primer on Upcoming MMO Wildstar’s World and Races

 

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Wildstar, a crazy, fun MMO from Carbine Studios and NCSoft will be bursting onto the scene this June (June 3rd to be exact.)  Pre-orders are currently in process and Open Beta weekends have kicked off, so if this is a title that interests you don’t delay in getting in on the ground floor!

Needless to say, I am excited about this game; probably the most excited I’ve been since I was waiting for Skyrim to drop.  What has drawn me to it has been how well it’s put together and presented to the public.  Visually, the stylization reminds me of a tongue-in-cheek graphic novel featuring breathtaking art, witty emoticons and a pleasing color palette.  Lore-wise, it is incredibly friendly to a new player who’s interested in learning about the world they are entering.  Spend twenty minutes on the Wildstar website and you’ll have all you need to know about the basics of what the game and the universe it takes place in are all about.  But if you want a quick breakdown, I’ve got you covered after the jump.

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The eSports Report: 2014′s Spring eSports Finales set, TI4 Sold Out

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Hello again eSports fans! The LCS’s Pre-playoffs Super Week has just wrapped up in Europe and North America, The GSL finals have concluded, and the WCS America and Europe are set for their playoffs as well. Oh, and TI4 tickets just went on sale, but I can’t seem to get one. All that and more, right now on The eSports Report!

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Warcraft Waypoint: Can Leveling Be Saved?

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It’s finally happened. For the first time in World of Warcraft’s history, you can now skip most of the leveling process on any character you wish at the press of a button. Granted, access to that button is set behind a $50 purchase (or pre-purchase) of Warlords of Draenor or a separate $60 purchase for the service, but there it is.

A somewhat controversial move on Blizzard’s part, the option to skip directly to the end game has received some mixed reception from the player base. The question on everyone’s mind seems to be, what is the future of leveling going to look like?  Will players still find it fun and engaging enough to grind to 90 with the carrot of a LEVEL 90 NOW button just one click away?  Let’s take a look at the new level 90 boost feature and what it could mean for the game.

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The eSports Report: The Everything IEM Edition

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Hello again eSports fans! Last weekend featured one of the largest events in European eSports: The Intel Extreme Masters World Championships. Held this year in Katowice, Poland, it featured high level competition in League of Legends, Starcraft II, Counterstrike: Global Offensive, and Hearthstone. Here at Elite Monster, we’ve got IEM covered for this week’s eSports Report.

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The eSports Report: IEM, Studio Shutdowns, LCS Super Week and TI4

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Hello again, eSports fans! This week in eSports was packed full of action and news, many changes, upcoming events, and the end of some cherished relationships. The LCS continued on with Super Week in North America and Europe, and IEM Katowice will commence this upcoming weekend. The International 4 dates are announced, NASL and Blizzard end their WCS agreement, and Free To Play the movie is just on the horizon. All that and more, right here on The eSports Report!

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Warcraft Waypoint: How Healing is Being Redefined for the Better in WoD

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The art of making your allies not die is about to change drastically be it in a raid or an arena. In a Developer Watercooler last Thursday Blizzard dropped a series of bombshells that still have the healer community buzzing.

The watercooler does a good job of explaining what the changes are and why they were made. What every healer must be wondering, however, is what it will mean for them in PvP and PvE. Were the changes made for the wrong reasons? Wasn’t the old system fine? Am I being horribly nerfed?

All good and valid questions. Making a major change to healing doesn’t affect just one class or one specialization, of course. A significant portion of Warcraft’s population is understandably uncertain about their future. Some are quick to throw in the towel already. I’m here to say that the forecast for healers in the near future isn’t all doom and gloom. Blizzard hasn’t moved the goalposts for healers in order to make it harder on them, they’ve simply changed the rules of the game.

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Independent Games Festival Chairman Denied Coverage for Cancer, Raising Funds on GoFundMe

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One of my favorite moments during PAX East is the Q & A with Penny Arcade founders Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins. The questions are anything goes and it’s always a fun time, but it also tends to create the most poignant moments at PAX. Plenty of people tell “Gabe” and “Tycho” every year about how PA and gaming in general have helped them through difficult times. It always reminds me that when you get away from the Internet trolls and get everyone in the same place, the gaming community is filled with awesome people who care about each other.

I was reminded of this again upon reading this story on Polygon about Brandon Boyer, the chairman of the Independent Games Festival. You can get the fine details over at Brandon’s blog but he was diagnosed with cancer last year, had to get parts of his liver and intestine removed and his health insurance company refused to cover the bill, which came in at over $100,000.

Brandon has started a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds for his medical bills, and as usual, the gaming community has once again stepped in for one of its own. As of this post, the campaign has raised almost $74,000 of its $100,000 goal.

Brandon is thankfully in recovery at this point but he will continue to face ongoing medical bills for the treatment needed to keep him alive. You can stay up to date with Brandon through his Twitter.

This year’s Independent Games Festival is later this month in San Francisco.

 

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Diving into DotA: It’s All the Rage: It’s a GAME People!

In case you missed it this last week, DotA had it’s first (alleged) real life death. In what can only be described as bizarre and sketchy, a 16 year old in the Philippines is in custody after it was alleged that he stabbed his 11 year old “friend” to death in an empty construction site. While details aren’t entirely clear, the initial statements by the police seem to indicate that the violence was incited by an account hacking episode. The 11 year old was found in the construction site with over 40 stab wounds on his body and his blood was discovered on a discarded pair of shorts belonging to the 16 year old. There are no subtitles in the above video, but the message is pretty clear.

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Square Enix Releases Details on New Primal: Leviathan

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Sqaure Enix recently released a preview for the new Final Fantasy XIV patch coming this month, and it gives a pretty cool sneak peak into one of the things I’ve been waiting for since before this game was released.  Leviathan.  This amazingly awesome monster has kept me waiting long enough.  Ever since I saw artwork showing what our Sea God would possibly look like, my hopes shot through the roof.  I’ve been a fan of Leviathan ever since I got to use the famous sea serpent as a Guardian Force all the way back in Final Fantasy VIII.  Finally, players can now take on the beast in patch 2.2 when it’s released sometime this month.  Requirements for challenging the creature are pretty strict.  Players must be level 50, the highest level in Final Fantasy XIV, as well as completing the required story quest, “Into the Heart of the Whorl”.

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Quench Your Thirst for Heroes of the Storm With This 17 Minute Gameplay Video

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Blizzard Entertainment has released another video to YouTube featuring a full-length match of its upcoming MOBA Heroes of the Storm.  Game director Dustin Browder guides players through the 17+ minute game that takes place on the Dragon Shire map. The game is currently in an early alpha stage and you can expect more info to continue to leak out in the coming months. Check the full Dragon Shire match after the jump.

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Final Battle for Lion’s Arch Commences in Guild Wars 2 Today

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Today has been a long time coming for Guild Wars 2 fans. Those of you who have been following Drew Bolton’s Living Story Log know that the game has been moving the story of villain Scarlet Briar towards its conclusion over the past few weeks.

The final battle for Lion’s Arch went live on servers today. Players will try to take back one of the game’s most important cities and according to ArenaNet, may have an opportunity to finally square off one and for all with Scarlet herself.

Players can check out the patch notes on the official site. Elite Monster will have a first hand account of the events in another Living Story Log this Friday.

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A Galaxy Far Away: Orange is the New Black in SWTOR

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First of all this has nothing to do with that Netflix show. No, this has everything to do with Jedi, Sith, Bounty Hunters, and Smugglers. While browsing the comments in another recent SWTOR related article, I came across a troll who actually had a decent point. His complaint was something similar to, “OMG, SWTOR is so dumb. The only thing people care about is how their toon looks. Nobody actually does anything.” Pause. Rewind. Wait a minute. He’s right.

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New 42 Minute Destiny Video Tells You Everything You Need to Know

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Well, this is just outstanding. YouTube channel Destiny Updates has put together a comprehensive video detailing all of the information that has been released so far about Bungie’s upcoming online shooter, Destiny. Set for release later this year on Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Xbox One and Playstation 4, the next major title from the developers of Halo is one of the most anticipated games of the year.

The video covers everything from the game’s gear, progression and economy systems to an in-depth look at its unique mixture of RPG, MMO and FPS game play. Check out the video after the jump.

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StarCraft Soapbox: Thoughts on the Recent Balance Patch

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Terran players rejoice! Maybe…

After extensive trials on the test map over the last weeks, Blizzard has implemented a long-awaited balance update. The patch went live on Friday, 28th Feb (Saturday the 1st in EU).  There is one significant change to each of the three races, although this round represents a clear nerf to Protoss, particularly in the Terran v Protoss matchup.  The changes, and my thoughts on the patch, are outlined below.

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Into Exile: Sacrifice of the Vaal Preview

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Grinding Gear Games has been teasing us for weeks now about the new content update coming on March 5th. They have been showing a lot of cool stuff and assure all the players that there is even much more they aren’t showing us. It’s impressive that they are releasing a major update to the game after only four months and it really shows the developer’s commitment to keeping Path of Exile a relevant game for the next 10 years.. Even with the tiny teasers they have been giving us, there is still a lot to comb through. Here’s a quick roundup on what we might see from the upcoming content.

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Living Story Log: Escaping Lion’s Arch

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I hate it when I am right…

Ladies and gentlemen, Lion’s Arch is burning.

On February 18, ArenaNet did what many perceived was unthinkable. With the latest update- Escape From Lion’s Arch, the most famed city in all Tyria has fallen siege to Scarlet and her forces. As we suspected in the previous living story update, she is actively searching for something underneath the city, and from all appearances, this attack is chiefly a diversion, so that she can drill into the bedrock unimpeded. Needless to say, this is exactly what she has done.

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