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As promised last week, Valve have just announced the 6.84 balance patch for Dota 2. Like all balance patches, 6.84 introduces a massive range of tweaks to various heroes, items, and gameplay mechanics in order to freshen up the game for both pub and pro players alike.
As expected, this patch has focused on reducing the comeback gold and experience mechanics introduced a little while back, limiting their effectiveness by 25% and 40%, respectively. More surprising changes to how farming works have arrived in the form of reductions to how much gold is received from killing lane creeps and a 10% increase to how much bonus gold is awarded for hero kills, likely to promote aggressive team fighting and ganks.
The majority of the patch notes focus on the usual hero and item buffs or nerfs which we're not going to go into any real detail about here. What we are going to address, however, are some of the plentiful new items set to be introduced. These include the new "Enchanted Mango" consumable which provides 150 mana when used, the "Lotus Orb" which removes negative buffs from friendly heroes and allows all targeted spells placed on them to be rebounded back to the original caster, the "Moon Shard" which passively provides 250 bonus night vision or a permanent 60 attack speed buff, and the "Octarine Core" which reduces all cooldowns by 25% (yes, ALL of them). There's a few other new items included in the patch, but we'll leave you to discover them for yourself.
While the update doesn't feature any kind of multi-day reveal or a special gamemode, the 6.84 balance patch is likely going to shake up the Dota 2 gameplay experience quite a bit and it'll definitely take a lot of practice to get used to. There is currently no definitive release date for the update, but we are hearing reports from Valve claiming it will be ready sometime later this week alongside The International 2015 Compendium.
In one of the fastest and most severe turnarounds in Valve's long and varied history, the Steam team today announced they will soon be removing the ability for users to create paid mods on the Steam Workshop, a feature only implemented last week. This move comes after massive community outcry, failed Reddit AMA's from Gabe Newell, and an uncontrollable amount of workshop trolling.
In a short post over on the Steam Workshop announcements page, the team discusses why they thought the introduction of paid mods would be a beneficial idea - bringing about positive, large-scale projects like Garry's Mod, DayZ, Killing Floor, and Counter-Strike, all of which started out as community-made games before they blossomed into huge financial successes. As many claimed, Valve seemingly underestimated this approach, effectively placing a strict pay wall right down the middle of one of the Steam Workshop's oldest and most well-established supported games in the form of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.
With that said, Valve have admitted their mistakes, claiming they missed "the mark pretty badly" before mentioning that the team will return to the drawing board to see where a similar system such as this could work in the future. As such, all users who have purchased Steam Workshop mods over the past week or so will be given full refunds, regardless of whether a purchase was made outside of the now-defunct 24 hour refund period.
You did it, Reddit.
In a recent interview with Game Informer, game designer Warren Spector has revealed a number of new details regarding partnerships between his company, the now-defunct Junction Point Studios, and Valve Corporation back in the mid-2000’s. Prior to the Junction Point’s acquisition by Disney Interactive Studios in 2007, Valve apparently stepped in and saved the company from going out of business by allowing the team to develop new conceptual designs for Valve over a period of about two years while also conducting contract work for Disney on another project at the same time. This project later evolved into what we now know as Epic Mickey.
During this time, Warren and the team were largely involved in creating work for a new standalone Half-Life title set to be released on Steam, likely sometime around the release of Episode Two. Following Junction Point’s acquisition by Disney in 2007, all work related to the Half-Life title and their other non-Mickey Mouse projects was scrapped.
Later in the same interview, Warren explained the Half-Life title was set to stand as an “episode”, that would fill in one of the gaps in the Half-Life universe, describing how the team were looking to try and flesh out a specific part of the series’ fictional universe. Their conceptual work also involved the creation of what Warren dubbed the “Magnet Gun”, a new weapon with a number of reportedly exciting applications, including some which would have complimented the Gravity Gun’s existing toolset quite nicely. The Magnet Gun and its unspecified uses were all shelved when the project was scrapped.
A lot of this information isn't really "new" as such, but we thought Warren's recent reveal of the "Magnet Gun" was a good enough excuse to make a little round-up here of all the details for yet another of Half-Life's scrapped spin-off episodes.
About Junction Point Studios
Junction Point Studios was an independent studio established in November of 2004 by Warren Spector and Art Min, the latter of whom had previously worked at Valve. The studio spent much of their time creating concept ideas and attempting to find funding partners. In December of 2005, the company announced that it was working with Valve on a new video game project using the Source engine to be delivered via Steam. This was later revealed to be a Half-Life 2 episode that went unfinished.
While Dota fans around the world are used to looking forward to the annual International tournament at this point, they may soon have a lot more to be interested in! As announced today, Dota 2 fans will now have three more large-scale Valve-sponsored tournaments to look forward to in the form of the "Dota Major Championships". The four tournaments, taking place across each of the seasons, will see the best teams in the world competing at premier venues across the globe thanks to third-party organisers, with the "Summer" championship taking on the form of the annual International.
The Dota 2 eSporting scene has been under a lot of fire recently as fans and players gradually lose interest in the game due to constantly shifting and uncertain team configurations as organisers scramble to have a line-up worthy of competing in the yearly International. This should hopefully all change with these new tournaments which, starting in Fall 2015, will allow teams to focus on more than a single, game-changing championship. Other details are currently scarce, with Valve claiming more will be revealed in the run-up to the first championship in Fall following The International 2015.
The blog post which revealed the new championships also confirmed that next week will see Valve release The International Compendium for this year's event alongside a brand new "major balance update", which will likely begin addressing recent gameplay concerns, such as the gold and experience comeback mechanics. This can only mean good things are coming, so we'll be sure to bring you more information as we have it.
Since its debut, items on the Steam Workshop for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim have garnered a total of over 170 million downloads to date. In order to facilitate and encourage community content creators even further, today Valve announced that Steam Workshop creators will now be able to sell their creations directly on the Steam Workshops for certain games and receive a portion of the generated revenue. This new functionality begins today with Skyrim as the first game to support monetized Workshop items.
Along with the announcement came the news that the process for listing, selling, and managing Workshop items has been newly-streamlined with a host of new features. For instance, content creators will have free reign to choose their own prices for their own items -- and of course, “free” will always remain an option. Additionally, Workshop creators now have access to new tools that will allow them to easily keep track of item sales and revenue.
Similarly to Steam Greenlight, items which were produced by multiple people can now be set to distribute revenue to each contributing member as part of a team. Since this addition opens the doors for using assets from other Workshop items, it also allows Workshop items to have dependencies/requirements, such as having specific games, DLC, or other mods already installed.
In an effort to stave off unwarranted reviews, paid Workshop items will now require users to purchase them before being able to review them. Additionally, all paid Workshop items will henceforth give users the option of returning for a refund within 24 hours of purchasing.
Despite being a mere few hours old, the new paid Workshop policies have already proven controversial, with many users pointing out that this new system takes away a lot of the incentive that creators have to make their content available for free. There have been a great many people suggesting that a donation-based system would be preferable to this full-on purchasing approach, as it gates off a substantial amount of content that would otherwise be free.
While Skyrim is the only title to support these new Workshop features as of today, Valve have made it clear that more titles should follow in the coming weeks. So, as usual, we’ll be sure to keep you up-to-date on all the latest Workshop news.
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