We may have skipped releasing an episode last week due to the annual mid-April news drought, but the same cannot be said for this week - with interesting new headlines for both Valve's biggest games and Steam! Is Counter-Strike: Global Offensive's classic map Inferno about to be remade, what effect will the changes of 6.87 have on Dota 2, and is Steam about to enter the digital film market in a big way? Come find out in this week's News Round-Up!
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After several weeks of speculation about the community, this evening finally saw Valve announce "6.87", the latest balance patch for Dota 2. Like most balance patches, the update focuses on finely tweaking the gameplay experience of Dota 2 with both small and large brush strokes, changing values by decimal places or introducing totally new items and abilities. We won't be going over most of the contents of the changelog here as there's way too much to cover, but here are a few of the highlights!
A total of 7 new items have been added to the game with this patch, a number of which feature as end-game combinations or early game components for existing items. They include Bloodthorn, the game's most expensive item which features as a combination between Orchid Malevolence and Crystalys capable of guaranteeing critical hits and silences, Echo Sabre, which causes its owner to attack twice in quick succession every 5 seconds, and Hurricane Pike, a combination between Force Staff and Dragon Lance that blows enemy heroes in the opposite direction from the user. Other less expensive items include Blight Stone, a mini-Desolator which removes 2 armour on hit, Wind Lace, which gives +20 movement speed, Tome of Knowledge, a rare book capable of instantly giving 425 experience points, and Infused Raindrops, a 5-charge item able to block numerous instances of 120 magic damage.
An all-new mechanic known as "Scan" allows a team to check a 900 unit radius on the mini-map for enemy activity over an 8 second period. The scan, which is on a team-wide 4.5 minute cooldown, will alert the team with a light pinging noise, alerting them that enemies are now within that area without revealing exact locations or number of opponents.
Alongside this update's new items and mechanics come the usual plethora of changes for the game's roster of heroes, with Storm Spirit, Mirana, Oracle, Winter Wyvern, and Bloodseeker all being granted Aghanim's Scepter bonuses for the first time, while Earthshaker, Gyrocopter, Skywrath Mage, and more have had their benefits reworked to make them more effective or interesting. Other big changes include numerous nerfs to Invoker and Outworld Devourer, who have seen rampant success and ridiculously high pick rates over the past few months.
The spawning patterns and gold / experience balance of certain jungle creeps was also modified, alongside minor changes to the map's layout and a new structure for both Ranked All Pick and Captain's Mode. More details can be found over on the official changelog should it interest you.
While the release of traditional films onto Steam has been a slow and inconsistent trickle since the functionality was introduced with Valve's own Free To Play Dota 2 documentary back in 2014, things should start speeding up considerably thanks to a new partnership announced today via a press release. The partnership is between Valve and Lionsgate, the Canadian-American entertainment giant, which will see "over 100" feature films made available on Steam over an undisclosed period of time.
The press release references The Hunger Games, Twilight, Saw, and the Divergent franchises as a few examples of the blockbuster series which should soon hit the platform. As you would expect, more titles will also be added in the future as their long term partnership continues, with more entertainment content producers likely to join forces with Steam in time should these initial steps prove fruitful. The current and expanding line-up of Lionsgate can be found over on a new dedicated sale page!
The first update to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive in a month has introduced a small number of minor changes, the largest of which hints at a continuing trend. Following the release of an overhauled Nuke back in February, the map has been added to the Active Duty map group, allowing it to be played both in competitive matchmaking and professional tournaments, starting at ESL One Cologne 2016 in July. It replaces classic map Inferno, which has instead been moved to the Reserves map group.
While this may not seem particularly important at face value, the last two classic maps to be relegated to the Reserve pool were later re-released by Valve with all new visuals, overhauled layouts, and a subsequent resurgence in the competitive scene. This include Train in December 2014 and Nuke in February 2016, both of which featured as older maps dating back to CS 1.6 or earlier, with designs and outdated visuals barely distinguishable from CS:S. This profile also fits Inferno, which is one of the oldest maps currently in circulation, and one of the "worst" looking in regards to visual fidelity and polish. While it is easy to get excited, or disappointed, for an Inferno remake, but it'll likely be a long time before we see Inferno return (likely in the 10-12 month range, based on previous examples).
Other changes introduced with tonight's CS:GO update include a new main menu UI option to sign up for upcoming beta programs and minor tweaks to Tulip and Mirage, so head on over to the changelog to check out the update for yourself.
In an overdue Round-Up episode, we're taking a look at the recent announcement of "The Mayann Project" community update for Team Fortress 2, the launch of the HTC Vive and The Lab, and the first details for The International 2016 Dota 2 tournament! We're also recapping some of own content, some of which may or may not be real...
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