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Paragon Releases Sevarog

29 Mar
Paragon Releases Sevarog
271316
Paragon
eSports

Epic have just released their latest update for Paragon, including a host of changes to Grux and Feng Mao as well as releasing a brand new Hero: Sevarog. Where Sevarog is concerned, early signs point to him being an amazing tank. With a kit that includes a root, an escape (or engage depending on how you use it) as well as a handful of crowd control, he's already a monster. The fact his damage is so high, combined with his utility and survivability lead me in little doubt he'll be nerfed soon. 

Where balance is concerned, Grux took a fair beating this patch. He was incredibly strong but easily countered and yet people failed to factor this in or work around him. With the exception of his pull, everything else was neutered pretty heavily. 

Passive – Only the Strong Survive

Players could consistently gain 1000 or more health from his passive. This has been reduced, but should still favor early-to-mid game.

  • Reduced health gain from passive from 4 per kill to 2 per kill.
  • Passive now caps at 100 stacks or 200 health.

Ultimate – Warlord's Challenge

Players routinely got 120 Physical Damage, which is equivalent to 15-16 card points of physical damage. This has been reduced.

  • Removed move speed bonus from Warlord's Challenge.
  • Reduced damage bonus on Warlord's Challenge from [60, 90, 120] to [15, 30, 45]
  • Removed duration scaling from Warlord's Challenge from [6, 7, 8] to [8]
  • Increased coast of Warlord's Challenge from [-100] to [-100, -125. -150]

Ability – Smash and Grab 

  • Increased base damage scaling on Smash and Grab from [80, 108, 136, 164, 192] to [80, 115, 150, 185, 220]
  • Reduced card scaling of Smash and Grab from .525 to .5.

Ability – Charge

  • Reduced base damage scaling on Charge slightly from [50, 82, 114, 146, 178] to [50, 70, 90, 110, 130]
  • Reduced card scaling of Charge from 1 to .5

Additional Changes

  • Reduced Max Health scaling of Grux slightly from [0.9] to [.85] to compensate for passive.
  • Affected tooltips updated.

Other notable balance changes include a reduction in Feng Mao's damage (roughly across the board). 

Passive – The Balance

We saw large swings in power from Feng Mao's passive. We reduced the impack of each stack to make his power a bit more predictable.

  • Reduced attack bonus and shield bonus from Feng Mao's passive from .1 to .04 per stack [30% to 12% maxed]

Ability – Reaping Dash

  • Reduced card scaling on Reaping Dash .75 to .5.
  • Reduced card scaling on Sweep to account for Passive potential [1, 1.15, 1.3] to [1, 1.1, 1.2]

Ability – Sweep

  • Reduced card scaling on Sweep to account for passive potential.

Ability – Hamstring

  • Reduced card scaling on Hamstring from 1 to .5

Ultimate – Earth Shatter

  • Rebalanced base damage scaling on Earth Shatter from [400, 500, 600] to [325, 515, 705]
  • Reduced card scaling on Earth Shatter from 3 to 1.
  • Increased cost of Earth Shatter from [-100] to [-100, -125, -150]
  • Reduced shield on Earth Shatter [100, 175, 250] to [100, 100, 100]

BUG FIXES

  • Fixed a bug with shadow pads.
  • Disabled Scourging Tails and Tainted Magick due to instability issues.

Rumour also has it that there's another patch due on Friday, so I'll keep you posted of any incoming changes. 

Are Multiplayer Video Games Really Social?

29 Mar
Miscellaneous
MMO
Editorial

Online multiplayer video games encourage or require interaction between players. Players may be required to collaborate in order to progress through the game or the game may be contingent on the competition between players. Multiplayer games are said to create lasting social relationships between players. In fact, many people argue that multiplayers games, in the same way as social media apps, are designed to increase and improve interactions between people and can be used in a similar way as book club meetings or coffee groups. A game can support communication between people via text, sound or images and can enable interaction between individuals, groups or even communities.

However, the social impact of multiplayer gaming has been the topic of some heated debate over the past few years. There are those that argue that social gaming (such as multiplayer video games) is simply a marketing ploy that makes business sense. You must collaborate with your friends in order to improve your gaming statistics which keeps up the excitement and keeps you playing.

But, the question can be asked whether you are really playing “together” and therefore, whether these games are really social. The fact is that the games are designed to serve the platforms, not the users. Users might be much better served if the games served the players only.

In addition, multiplayer games no longer mean that players all sit around in the same room enjoying a split screen game experience. Today, online multiplayer games require each player to have his own screen and console and players could be anywhere in the world. In other words, people are sitting alone, but feel like they are being social with the option to chat to someone they don’t know who lives who knows where.

On the other hand, many people argue that multiplayer video games are social. While you could be playing with people across the world, they often result in people sitting together in a public setting, in front of a big screen. In addition, these games are dynamically social in that players create their game lives and build up entire communities based on these lives. Within these communities, players engage in many forms of communication within groups, as well as one-on-one. The games can be huge with massive communities, but can also be intimate between small groups. This is also true for a lot of online casino games, which often offer up unique multiplayer features.

Many games require corroboration between players, as well as collective intelligence to progress through a game. These are fundamental aspects of being social, requiring communication and cooperation between individuals and groups. In many ways, the relationships formed between players within a game community mirror the relationships that can be formed in life. These relationships become easy to maintain through the game and can even expand to real life.

While the debate rages about whether online multiplayer video games are truly social or not, the games themselves are continuing to grow in popularity, adding many new social features and possibilities for all members of the communities that are created through them.

Paragon: Further Impressions

24 Mar
Paragon: Further Impressions
271259
Paragon
eSports
Feature

After my first impressions of Paragon, I’ve been playing it a lot. In fact, I’ve been playing it every single day to the point where it’s the only game I’m looking forward to playing. In my original thoughts, there were two main issues I had concerns about: the pace of the game and the design of some Heroes being particularly “safe”. While I stand by both, it becomes readily apparent after playing for some time that you do get used to the speed. Although I’d still like it quicker (15% on movement and attack speed) I have to admit that I’m absolutely in love with the game.

A Beautiful Map and Incredible Jungle

Agora is truly beautiful. Not really a place for a holiday, though.

Agora is, without question, a beautiful map. It’s probably one of the best designed MOBA maps I’ve ever played and while that might sound odd - especially considering it houses many standard design decisions necessary for the genre - it’s truly brilliant. Unlike in DOTA 2, LoL or SMITE, there’s a genuine sense of apprehension as you skirt the map and importantly, it’s Jungle. Unlike in other MOBA’s that rely on fog of war to limit view, Paragon doesn’t utilise this. It has full vision at all times and your view is only restricted by objects or if players are utilising stealth pads. There are moments when sprinting through the jungle due to its depth and height that you’re genuinely nervous about who you will bump into. Several times I’ve crashed straight into an opposing player and jumped out of my skin only to then begin fighting.

The fact the Jungle is a warren of tight corridors, stealth pads and camps make it an intricate and elaborate location. It’s genuinely fun to roam in there and even to farm the camps before arriving back in lane. It’s a triumph of design and for the first time, genuinely reflects its name.

Tactical Depth

It’s not instantly apparent just how much finesse there is involved in Paragon and its combat but it soon becomes clear as you build your deck and learn the skills of opposing Heroes. No fight ever pans out the same as you’re anticipating what skills they do or don’t have off-cooldown. There’s also a real game of cat and mouse as you duel enemies.

Gideon. Moody but awesome.

One of my players to fight against as Grux is Gideon, not because he’s an easy kill but because the fight exemplifies the fun on offer. Engaging Gideon almost always guarantees he will use his teleport, resulting in Grux needing to use his charge in order to (hopefully) catch up. If Gideon has his ultimate, you can also cancel it with the stun from your own. The challenge in all of it is not only predicting where Gideon will teleport to, but if he’ll buy himself enough time to sprint away. It’s always a nervy exchange and there’s a fear that I’ll miss-time my charge and allow him to escape. Managing skills in this way, combined with your mana pool, offers a lot of depth that isn’t immediately apparent.

Those Little Extras

Four of the best things about Paragon are its stealth pads, sprint, Inhibitors and the “Overpowered Buff”. As original additions by Epic, I have to say that all four are absolutely brilliant.

Stealth Pads

A true game of hide and seek.

Throughout the jungle and leading onto each lane are circular locations that when you stand in them, turn you invisible. Anyone in the circle with you can see you, but those outside it can’t. The fact they’re in the jungle and leading onto lanes makes the reliance on map awareness even more important but it also means there’s some toing and froing when it comes to ganking lanes. Only yesterday my friends and I were constantly being attacked in lane by Steel, Rampage and Grux. They were making brilliant use of the stealth pads and we were extending too far down lane trying to push the tower. Knowing we’d soon be ganked again, we sat in the stealth pad near our lane leaving one of our team to fight the minion wave. Sure enough, the deadly trio came rumbling through the jungle and met us head on. The fact we attacked them while they were sprinting to take down our Sparrow not only rooted them, but we wiped all three instantly, pushed the lane and secured two Towers. They’re a truly brilliant addition and although bushes and vents work similarly in other MOBAs, the fact these are in a limited set of locations makes them particularly clever.

Sprinting

Agora is a large map and travelling it at base speed takes a long time. The addition of a sprint that takes a second or two to activate, that then hurries you along a swift pace is brilliant. Not just because it allows you to travel quickly but because of the fact if you’re hit while sprinting you become rooted. Whether or not you risk sprinting to an enemy or trigger it just in time for escaping is absolutely key to effective play. There’s a huge risk/reward factor to the sprint and I absolutely love it - there’s also nothing more satisfying than snagging someone who is sprinting.

Inhibitors

Losing an Inhibitor, the last line of defence before your core, is a big deal. If you lose one, super soldiers will begin to flood the lane and unsurprisingly they’re not only fast but hit hard. It’s a mechanic that’s brilliant for pressuring lane and while there’s a certain element of snowballing with it, come-backs from losing your Inhibitors definitely are possible. As long as you ensure someone is always protecting a lane (or lanes) the rest of your team are free to play as normal. It certainly stretches any team thinly but it’s a mechanic I absolutely love.

Overpowered Buff

The “OP Buff” collected from the central purple boss that stands in the Jungle is a brilliant mechanic. Most MOBA’s have it but what I love so much about it in Paragon is the fact that unlike in say, SMITE, you have to deliver the power-up to receive the buff. With the delivery point always being deep in the opposition lane, there’s yet again a huge risk/reward factor to securing it. Considering the carrier of the buff also shows up on the mini-map, regardless of their location, creates incredibly tense standoffs. Today my team managed to ambush the opposition who were carrying the Orb, wiping them before delivering it ourselves. It’s a brilliant mechanic.

Final Thoughts

There’s still lots more for me to discuss in Paragon and from my First Impressions to now, I really couldn’t be more impressed with the game. Yes there are things I’d like to see (greater clarity on buffs and their duration, finished camp models, more Heroes and a little speed boost to name a few) but the game is just so much fun. Like any MOBA it has depth, tons of tactics and every single match is different. The key difference is the fact that terrain genuinely makes a huge difference here and having a Z axis is so refreshing. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m itching for another match.

Destiny April Update Overview

24 Mar
270902
Destiny
MMO

Things have been very quite for a long time on the Destiny front, but as we approach spring there seems to be a thaw on the info freeze. The April update releasing on April 12th looks to be the biggest patch to hit the game since the previous expansion dropped way back in the early fall of 2015.

The first major change will be an increase in the level cap from 320 up to 335. If you've been playing the game even casually since the Taken King came out, chances are you're fully equipped with 320 gear and running raids and strikes has become a bit pointless. To get us up to this new light level is a new addition to the Prison of Elders that introduces a wing for the Taken enemies we've been fighting it out with these last 6 months and a new difficulty setting. The new Challenge Mode in the Prison of Elders offers above light level 320 gear in exchange for completing it's additional task.

Challenge Mode adds a scorecard to the Prison of Elders, similar to the one you complete in Trials of Osiris, only this time you have to reach a certain amount of points. Complete the scorecard by accumulating enough points in Challenge Mode, and you can turn it in for your rewards. There is no matchmaking for Challenge Mode, you've got to put together your own squad.

I  addition to the changes to the Prison of Elders, there will be new difficulty modes and other minor changes to some of the game's existing strikes, raids, and other end game activities. More details are expected to be released as we get closer to the launch date.

How to Survive Dark Zone Extractions – The Division

24 Mar
dark zone extraction tips
271301
Tom Clancy's The Division
MMO
Gameplay

The Dark Zone is a perilous place at the best of times, but it’s when you need to extract items that puts you at the greatest risk of being ambushed and killed by Rogue agents. For someone who has just spent hours farming NPCs and is minutes away from safely adding some high quality loot to their inventory, the minutes waiting for the extract can be excruciatingly stressful. Getting taken out and looted by a roving band of rogue agents is down right depressing.

If you’re one of the many who has fallen with the extraction rope just out of reach, this guide is for you. While it wont solve all of your extraction worries, it should hopefully help you get a few more out of the Dark Zone safely.

Bring a team or group using matchmaking

The absolute best way to have a smooth extraction is to have an army at your back. Best case scenario is you have a full squad of your buddies with you that you can easy communicate and work together with. If you don’t have any friends that play the Division you can use the laptop in the safe house to matchup with other players in the Dark Zone.

This option is a little risky because there’s no real way for you to 100% trust the people you group up with. The best way to increase the odds that the random players you group up with wont screw you over at the last second is to group with them well before you try to extract. If you work together on gathering the loot by farming NPCs, there will not only be some time to build a little comradery, but the other players in your group will have gathered some loot of their own leaving less reason to jump you for yours.

Also try to get groups that use microphones. Communication is key when pointing out potential threats during extraction, and while fighting NPCs.

Stay stealthy

If you have to go it solo, stealth is your best friend. Throw up your extraction flare and then head for the nearest dark corner you can find. Odds are at least one other player will show up to extract, but if any more than you feel comfortable with come around, sneak out and head for the next extraction point.

A good way to tell if another player is at an extraction point for ganking or not is to look and see if they have a Dark Zone loot satchel on their back. If you don’t see that yellow on their backpack, chances are they’re there to take yours.

Watch the other player’s behavior

Do you notice one or more players lurking around the sides of an extraction point? Are some not even carrying a loot satchel at all? Maneuvering themselves behind the other players the closer the chopper gets? These are all telltale signs that a player is gearing up to do some ganking.

If you’re solo either hide or mix in with the crowd that seems the most docile. If you seem like your part of a larger team, the gankers are a lot less likely to try anything. When the chopper does arrive try to get your gear on as fast as you can, but be ready to abort and flee even faster. A favorite tactic of gankers is to throw a grenade onto the extraction rope. Be ready to roll out of the way and sprint to cover when it happens.

Paragon Tier List

24 Mar
Paragon Tier List
271274
Paragon
eSports
Feature

In this Paragon Tier List we present the latest rankings for Player versus Player. In line with our ever popular Heroes of the Storm Tier list, this page will always show the latest updates every patch, or every month depending on movement. 

Please note it's important for me to state that this should be the community's list as I appreciate any and all input. Please don't be afraid to make a statement or a suggestion and remember: it’s the player’s skill, not the Hero choice, that is often most important (this list also assumes equal player skill level). I will also add that "meta" builds regularly change and it often requires just one team to use a Hero effectively to see the landscape change. 


Tier List updated March 29, 2016

Tier Movement

Moved Grux to Tier 2. He received a bag full of nerfs on today's patch and it can already be felt: less damage, less health gain from his trait. 

Moved Sevarog to Tier 1. Straight in at the top, he's a monster in the right hands with a flexible, powerful kit. 

Moved Feng Mao to Tier 2. Still incredibly strong but his scaling was reduced and it has hit his potency somewhat, he's still fantastic just not as good as he was. 

Tier 1

"Heroes that are first pick. These Heroes, without question, are the backbone of any team due to a combination of abilities and utility."  

Jungler: Rampage - His damage is OK but it's stun and ultimate that makes him so formidable. If he lands his Boulder Throw on you, at the very least you're going to take some damage from him and his team. Rampage is also incredibly good at escaping, meaning once he has bullied his way down a lane from the jungle he can quite easily escape. Unsurprisingly, hard crowd control or high damage from Feng Mao and Grux can bring him down to size but it still takes an age. Worse, once he has used his Ultimate and if he's paired with Muriel there's no stopping him.

Jungler: Sevarog - Instantly Tier 1, Sevarog is a monster. A kit that has damage, mobility, survivability and utility he's amazing in lane, jungling or defending. A must have tank. 

Support: Muriel - Partly in Tier 21due to her being the only true "support", her global presence thanks to Reversal of Fortunate (ultimate) not only allows her quick map travel, but it allows her and her team to quickly bully lanes. The shielding she provides also significantly bolsters Feng Mao, Rampage and Grux to the point where they can comfortably take on any opponents or lane without fear. 

Tier 2

"Second favourite and if Tier 1 Heroes are unavailable. These Heroes are incredibly strong and slightly above the point of balance."

Support: Dekker - There's no doubting that her slow and stun are very strong. Her damage is good, her means of escape useful and her Ultimate needs absolute perfect placement to be of value. Despite that, in an organised setting her combined kit can allow her team to wreck opposing Heroes.

Jungler: Feng Mao - Feng Mao is a versatile melee Hero that's capable of not only dealing eye watering damage, but he also has some mobility and survivability through his shielding. With his attacks cleaving and capable of hitting for well over 1,000 per swing, during early, mid and late game he's unrivalled. Although he received some nerfs in the recent patch, he's still an amazing pick. 

Pusher: Gideon - With amazing wave clear, high damage and mobility thanks to his teleport (Torn Space) he is rightly feared. With a well timed ultimate he can comfortably kill a group of enemy Heroes or at the very least facilitate his team doing the killing. He's regularly picked and for good reason: he's amazing in the right hands. 

Ganker: Grux - My favorite Hero but one that's recently seen his potency nerfed. Grux is still capable of ganking easily and when needed, jungling with ease. If he pursues a full damage card setup, he can quite comfortably kill Gideon in a only a couple of hits (I do this often) and then use Stampede to escape. His ultimate ability, Warlord's Challenge, offers an invaluable stun and allows him to cut through most enemies. 

Carry: Murdock - What makes Murdock so strong is the fact that if you get him to late game, there are few Heroes he can't comfortably kill in two hits. With an Ultimate ability that has a huge range, zoning capabilities through his Static Trap that allows him to comfortably protect his lane from ambush, he's a brilliant ranged carry. Hitting for over 1,000 every half second always helps.

Tier 3

"Considered “right” in terms of balance, these Heroes remain strong in the right hands and compliment 'most' team compositions."

Pusher: Howitzer - Despite my love of Howitzer, I think he's well balanced right now. His damage is high thanks to his ranged poke and he has good pushing capability with a combination of AOE attacks, grenades and mines. His ultimate, although easily avoid by Gideon and Grux can pair really well with Dekker's making him surprisingly useful at zoning. 

Ganker: Kallari - Although Kallari is unquesitonably strong, he (she?) is somewhat limited by the strenght of Feng Mao and Grux when it comes to jungling and ganking. He hits for much less on basic attacks and although he has the burst and means of escaping, he jungles much worse and has few means, if any, of cleaving in a team fight (especially late game when people tend to group together). 

Support: Steel - My favorite support, Steel is very strong and brings with him bags of utility. He can comfortably lane, push Towers and if he builds to be a tank, can withstand lots of punishment. His kit also means that if he does find himself too deep, he can use Charge to escape or Shield Slam (in an emergency). The fact he has access to some verticality (there's nothing better than Shield Slamming onto someone on a high ledge makes him particularly strong. I'd recommend players try him with a damage deck - he's awesome.  

Carry: Twinblast - Twinblast is largely carried by his powerful ultimate ability. If he beings to hit you with it and you find you're next to him taking shots to the face, you're going to die very quickly. Although he has some mobility (Rocketdash) it's easily countered by most melee Heroes and he's simply too squishy to survive against them. When he's in lane he can't really protect his flanks and is easily ganked the further he moves down lane. Unlike Murdock he has no knockback or slow and hits for less than he does.

Tier 4

"Heroes that are considered good but ones which require teams to form around them or they’re Heroes that rely heavily on personal ability over composition."

Area Control: Gadget - A Hero I want to love but one I don't feel neccesarily suits the pace of Paragon. Her kit is "OK" but it's largely slow and doesn't push half as well as many others. For example, Speed Bots isn't great for hurrying minions along despite that being its job (it doesn't last long and minion waves are very spread out to benefit from it) while her Sticky Mine takes too long to detonate and deals too little damage. Even late game and if you build for maximum damage, she's still pretty poor.  

Carry: Sparrow - Sparrow is limited severly by the fact her ultimate is relatively short range (unlike Murdock that can fire half a map away) and her damage, despite being brilliant late game, isn't superior to Murdock. Her kit is average at lane clear, she has no escape or any means of defending herself. Almost every ranged alternative (Gideon, Murdock, Howitzer) brings more to the table. 

Tier 5

"Considered poor: these Heroes have fallen out of the Meta and are seldom picked or seen."

There are no Heroes currently considered Tier 5. 

"What would you change? Why? Let us know in the comments below!"


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Heroes of the Storm: Dehaka Build Guide

23 Mar
Heroes of the Storm: Dahaka Build Guide
265196
Heroes of the Storm
eSports
Classes

Overview

Dehaka is a mobile, flexible warrior that brings not only utility but versatility to any team composition. Capable of tunneling underground instead of using a mount, he can move to anywhere that has a bush or a vent. This makes him particularly strong at bullying in lane and supporting his team mates quickly. His ability to pull enemies with Drag, combined with an invulnerability (Burrow) makes him a nuisance. Finally, his trait - Essence Collection - provides him with a reasonable amount of sustain as it heals him for a large amount once you've collected enough Essence. The one downside to Dehaka is the fact that if your Brushstalker (mount replacement) is off cooldown, you can be very vulnerable if you dive too deep and need to escape. 

Updated: 01 February 2016

Pros

Cons

A strong kit capable of damage, utility and survivability

Doesn't have a large healthpool (2400)

His Drag ability can cause any team huge problems

His damage isn't amazing compared to other Warriors 

Incredible map prescence due to his ability to burrow to a location  

Almost entirely reliant on effective Hook play  

Both of his Ultimate abilities are strong

She has a bizarre running animation 

Works well as a solo tank or paired with another

Very squishy if focused

Abilities

Essence Collection (Trait) - Providing Dehaka with some much needed survivability, Essence Collection offers an exceptional heal over time. With a maximum of 50 Essence to collect and with Hero takedowns providing 10 and minions 2, it's fairly easy and quick to maximize it. On consumption you gain health over 5 seconds for each Essence stored. It's a huge amount of healing and makes life much easier for your healer. The fact you can also using it during Drag and Burrow (Burrow especially) makes it particularly useful as you can regain health while immune to damage. 

Drag (Q) - Functioning similarly to Stitches' Hook, Drag works in a similar way. It has a much shorter range, but allows you to tether yourself to an enemy. Once you've struck them, you can pull them towards you for almost 2 seconds. It's amazing for bringing enemy players out of position and allowing you to quickly kill them. 

Burrow (W) - Burrow functions similarly to Iceblock, with the exception it sends you immune to damage underground. The invulnerability lasts for 2 seconds and once it ends, you'll poke back up where you dived down. Considering Essence Collection can be used during this time, its two seconds of healing. Burrow is also invaluable at avoiding a burst from heroes such as Kael'thas. 

Dark Swarm (E) - Dark Swarm is unique in that it allows Dehaka to move through enemy Heroes, rather than being body blocked by them. It also causes AOE damage to all enemies near him for 3 seconds, dealing double damage to Heroes. Interestingly the skill can also be cast while you're underground with Burrow, meaning anyone surrounding you will take damage. 

Isolation (R) - Probably my preferred Ultimate of the two, Isolation slows and silences the first enemy it hits. In a team fight it's especially powerful due to how often players group up, you're more than capable of hitting at least one target. It's a very offensive, high pressure ultimate that should be aimed at a healer (preferrably). 

Adaptation (R) - Providing an ultimate similar to Kharazim's Divine Palm (sort of) Adaptation heals you for 60% of all damage received after 5 seconds. Great before you enter a fight, you just need to time its use to ensure you not only survive 5 seconds but can then dive back in once it triggers. 

Talents

Level 1: Enhanced Agility 

Dehaka relies solely on movement to not only engage, but also get around the battleground. With no mount and if his Brushstalker is on cooldown, you'll find movement incredibly slow. Gaining a permanent 1.5% movement speed increase every 50 essence thanks to Enhanced Agility is very easy to do, especially considering it only takes 25 minions to accomplish. Over the course of a match and with 10 Essence gained from killing a Hero, you'll quickly hit the level cap. 

Variable: If you're against an ability heavy team such as Jaina and Li Ming, Enduring Swarm is a good form of mitigation as it reduces the damage from two incoming abilities by 25%. 

Level 4: Numbing Eruption

Considering most players will gather around you when you Burrow into the ground, causing a knockback and slow when you emerge is much more useful than the stealth offered by Lurker Strain (which is totally predictable). At the very least if enemies know you have this upgrade, they'll spend less time near you when you're underground which can buy you time to escape. Alternatively you can use it offensively and Burrow down before popping back up to disrupt the enemy team (the 30% slow is awesome.). I really like Numbing Eruption.

Variable: If you're after more survivability more often, take Hero Stalker. It increases your Essence gain by 150% from Hero takedowns, effectively providing 25 per kill. Two Hero kills and you can use your heal - amazing. 

Level 7: Constriction

It doesn't sound much, but Constriction providing a 0.5% second extension to your Drag brings its total up to 2.25 seconds. It's a very lengthy period of time (longer than any stun I think!) so it gives your team tons of time to burn someone down that you've grabbed. 

Level 10: Isolation

Amazing in a team fight and invaluable against mage heavy teams such as Jaina, Kael and Li Ming, having the ability to silence your enemies buys your team so much time to deal damage. The fact Isolation also slows and deals damage is even better.

Level 13: Whirling Dervish

As a warrior and considering you've very few means of mitigating damage outside of your trait, Whirling Dervish reducing crowd control effects by 50% while Dark Storm is active not only keeps you moving, but ensures you can continue to damage or escape. 

Level 16: Rapid Regeneration

A reverse Stoneskin, Rapid Regeneration provides a heal over time when you Burrow. Considering you can also use your trait while Burrowing, it's a HUGE boost to your survivability and can bring you just about to full health during any team fight. Considering when you do appear you'll knock enemies back and slow them, it's amazing sustain for any team fight. 

Level 20: Hardened Shield

Further boosting your survivability, Hardened Shield reduces all incoming damage by 75% for 4 seconds. It's incredible for surviving a burst. 

Variable: If you want Isolation to affect ALL enemies affected by the first strike of your Ultimate, take Contagion. It's unrivalled team-wide pressure. 

Matchups

These Hero Threat Levels (1 being lowest threat and 10 being highest threat) are to help you determine which enemy Heroes can give you a headache. For the Heroes listed here, take extra care as they're particularly dangerous for Dehaka. 

PLEASE NOTE WE'LL BE POPULATING OUR MATCHUP TABLE ONCE DeHAKA GOES LIVE (THERE ARE TOO FEW PLAYERS ON PTR TO SEE WHO HE IS WEAKEST AGAINST)

Hero

Threat 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tips

This list of tips and tricks are just a handful of things we think will help your Dehaka play. We'll continue to add to the list as required and if you have any tips you'd like to share, let us know in the comments below and we'll place them here. 


1. Remember that Dehaka's Trait provides you with a powerful heal over time. You should always ensure you have maximum stacks before engaging in a team fight.

2. Burrow provides complete immunity to damage for 2 seconds. Use this to buy you time to avoid damage or for your team mates to arrive.

3. When using Burrow you can use any other skill except Drag. If enemies are around you, use your Essence to heal up and then Dark Swarm for when you reappear. 

4. Drag doesn't have a huge range so try not to over extend when using it. You'll find yourself out of position and you can be focused quickly. 

5. Despite Burrow being particularly strong (it's effectively an Iceblock at level 1) it can still leave you open to being surrounded and then ganked. 

6. Always try to use Drag on a target that can't escape easily. Li Ming for example can blink away after it ends, so try an alternative hero such as Jaina or Lunara. 

7. Although Dark Swarm is an offensive ability, the fact it allows you to walk through enemy Heroes makes Dehaka the only Hero in the game that can't be body-blocked. Remember this when the enemy team are trying to prevent you escaping. 

8. At level 1 it takes 25 minions to kill before your Essence is full. Staying in lane, or using your Bushstalker to move between lanes to maximize your intake is a must. 

9. Remember that Dehaka has no escape skills and until level 13 is very vulnerable to roots, stuns and hard crowd control. Don't over-extend. 

10. Your lack of mount is a negative and positive. It means you have global map presence (which is amazing) but it also means on large maps it can take you some time to cover them when your Bushstalker is on cooldown. Factor this in when picking Dehaka or when an objective is due. 

11. Remember you can only use Bushstalker on vents and bushes. If you're out of position and there isn't one nearby, you're in trouble. 

Ark Survival Evolved Poop Origin Story

23 Mar
271064
Ark: Survivor Evolved
MMO

Ark: Survival Evolved has been making a big splash all year, but in an interview with Kotaku at GDC they took the time to elaborate on how some of the game's smaller features, like pooping, came to be. The answer, surprisingly enough, is that pooping is their version of the suicide button you'll see in many open world games these days. Studio co-founder Susan Stieglitz explained.

If you’re trapped in a room, it’s the only conceivable biological function you could kill yourself with. Originally, we were debating putting in a suicide key to escape situations like that.

The pooping feature has evolved since the game's initial release, and now even has a very useful function in that it can be used to fertilize crops and craft other materials. With the pooping systems success it will be interesting to see if games currently in development add bodily functions to their own characters. Master Chief may have to jump out of his suit for a bathroom break soon enough.

 

Ark Survival Evolved Poop Origin Story

23 Mar
271064
Ark: Survivor Evolved
MMO

Ark: Survival Evolved has been making a big splash all year, but in an interview with Kotaku at GDC they took the time to elaborate on how some of the game's smaller features, like pooping, came to be. The answer, surprisingly enough, is that pooping is their version of the suicide button you'll see in many open world games these days. Studio co-founder Susan Stieglitz explained.

If you’re trapped in a room, it’s the only conceivable biological function you could kill yourself with. Originally, we were debating putting in a suicide key to escape situations like that.

The pooping feature has evolved since the game's initial release, and now even has a very useful function in that it can be used to fertilize crops and craft other materials. With the pooping systems success it will be interesting to see if games currently in development add bodily functions to their own characters. Master Chief may have to jump out of his suit for a bathroom break soon enough.

 

Best Ways to Farm Phoenix Credits – The Division

23 Mar
phoenix credits division
271286
Tom Clancy's The Division
MMO
Gameplay

Phoenix credits are used to purchase the highest quality gear and weapons in the Division, so it’s very important to find the best ways to farm them as soon as possible. Unfortunately, you have to already be level 30 before you can start collecting them, but once you are you have several options to increase your stash, all of which we’ll cover here.

It should also be noted that you can only have up to 1000 Phoenix credits on you at one time. If you’re maxed out, any credits you collect will be lost, so spend them while you have them.

Dark Zone

One of the most straight forward ways of earning Phoenix credits is by taking down named enemies in the Dark Zone. They don’t give a whole lot for each kill, but it’s one of the only ways to get them solo. That being said, named enemies are the toughest opponents you’ll find in the Dark Zone, so if you plan on farming a lot of them in a single session, it would be a good idea to bring along a team.

For each named enemy you kill you will receive anywhere from 1-5 credits. The best spot to find the named enemies in the Dark Zone are in the indicated landmark areas you’ll find on your map. Watch your back though, these landmarks are hotspots for all players especially rogue agents looking to profit off of all your hard work.

Hard Daily Missions

Each day you will receive a list of daily missions that when completed will reward you with all sorts of goodies, including Phoenix credits. Completing each hard daily will give you 15 credits and while you can complete them by yourself, bringing a squad will make it a piece of cake.

The daily missions reset each day, so be sure to check back every day for a new set to complete. Daily hard missions are by far the easiest way to gather Phoenix credits, and are a great way to gear up enough to take on the challenge mode missions.

Daily Challenging Mission

Along with each daily hard missions there will also be one challenging mission each day. These are no joke, and will take a crack squad of well geared agents to complete (and even then it can take some time). If you do complete it though, it will award you not only with 45 Phoenix credits, but a whole host of other high end items and gear as well.

Challenge missions can be repeated even after you finished them once for the day, but their Phoenix point reward will be a lot less than your first completion of the day.

Now that you’ve got all these Phoenix credits you’ll need to spend them. You don’t have to go far to trade in your Phoenix credits, the base of operations has a vendor right in the front lobby. High end weapons and gear can cost anywhere between 100-300 Phoenix credits.

Single Player vs. Multiplayer Games

22 Mar
Miscellaneous
MMO
Editorial

Single player video games are video games that can only be played by one player at a time, although they may offer a multiplayer mode. These games tend to be more artistic with storylines created for the gaming experience.

Multiplayer video games allow multiple players to play in the same game environment, at the same time. Players can compete against one another or play cooperatively as a team. Players either need to share a game system or need to play via networking technology such as the Internet.

When talking about video games, we were once talking only about single player games. Only a few years ago, this began to change with the option of multiplayer games becoming available; however, the multiplayer games of then and now were significantly different. Multiplayer was commonly a bonus mode available in single player games. Series like Tomb Raider, which were single player games, started to have a separate multiplayer mode as well. This did not change the single player game experience; it simply added a new dimension.

The shift to multiplayer games today has been much more dramatic. Multiplayer is no longer an add-on to single player games, but is now a completely multiplayer-focused game. So, why is this happening? Is multiplayer significantly better than single player or is there another reason behind the shift?

To start with, multiplayer games are significantly cheaper to develop than single player games which need to create a single player experience with access to open worlds that serve only one player at a time. With multiplayer games, extra maps and characters are needed and they can be enjoyed by many more players. The comprehensive storylines of single player games are also getting lost.

Many people prefer multiplayer games for the social aspects they involve. Players can band together to create entire communities of people who enjoy similar interests. they are able to chat one-on-one or via a group and may need to cooperate in order to progress in the game. Even in competitive multiplayer games, the sense of using one’s skills to excel, often excites players and keeps them participating. Other people prefer to play for money online in virtual casino environments.

Single player games tend to be more time consuming as players aim to complete an entire story campaign that can last many hours. This is a significant time commitment that many people do not have and these people may prefer multiplayer video games which allow you to play in short bursts of as little as ten minutes at a time, depending on the game.

However, single player games tend to be more artistic and creative and they allow individuals to direct the games and create the destinies they choose.

More and more companies are abandoning the single player game options in favour of multiplayer. While this certainly seems to be the trend, it does leave a void in the industry. Many people are wondering why there needs to be a void at all and why companies cannot focus on both game experiences to appeal to all types of players.

GTA 5 Deer Cam Stream Follows the life of a Deer

22 Mar
270531
Grand Theft Auto V
MMO

If you have absolutely nothing to do today (I mean nothing), you might want to check out the latest Twitch sensation the Deer Cam. Twitch has been evolving over the last several years from a place where you go to watch other people play games to the place where you go to watch a poorly programmed AI make it's way aimlessly through games.

The Deer Cam is just that, a camera following around a deer who is wandering around GTA 5's San Andreas. Here's the description from the official Deer Cam website.

The deer has been programmed to control itself and make its own decisions, with no one actually playing the video game. The deer is ‘playing itself’, with all activity unscripted… and unexpected. In the past 48 hours, the deer has wandered along a moonlit beach, caused a traffic jam on a major freeway, been caught in a gangland gun battle, and been chased by the police.

If any of this sounds interesting to you, you can either head to the official website, or check out the stream on Twitch.

What to Do When You Hit Level 30 – The Division

22 Mar
the division what to do after 30
271268
Tom Clancy's The Division
MMO
Gameplay

There’s no shortage of things to keep you busy on your trek from lvl 1-30 in The Division, but once they do hit that level cap, many are wondering what’s left to do. While the game doesn’t really do a good job of pointing you to it, there’s actually a decent amount of work to be done after you’ve hit the current cap of 30.

Now not all of these activities are going to be everyone’s cup of tea, particularly if you’ve mostly been into the game because of the narrative, but they will keep your agent busy while you wait for the first piece of DLC to arrive.

Complete all the Wings in your Base

If you haven’t completed all the wings in your base you’re not only not taking part in all the game has to offer, you’re not seeing your agent at their full potential. You only get access to all of an agent’s abilities, talents, and perks when all of the three wings have been unlocked 100%. It’s also how you gain access to all your vendors have to offer.

Unlocking the wings will have you taking on a variety of challenges whether it be completing missions or collecting materials, so there’s something in there for everyone.

Daily Hard Missions/ Weekly Challenge Mode

Anyone who has played a modern MMO or even certain mobile games will be familiar with the concept of daily missions. In the Division, Daily missions reward players with Phoenix credits that can then be exchange for some of the game’s best gear, weapons, and blueprints.

There’s not a lot special about the daily missions, they’re just regular missions with added difficulty. Completing one hard mode daily will award you with 15 Phoenix credits.

Challenge missions are another form that players can complete weekly for 50 Phoenix credits. They are extremely difficult and for the most part, only able to be cleared by full squads of agents.

You’ll be needing a lot of Phoenix credits so you can fully upgrade your agent’s weapons and gear. Try to complete your dailies whenever they are available but remember, you can only hold up to 1000 phoenix credits at one time, so spend them before you hit the cap.

Upgrading your Gear

This will be your primary goal after you’ve completed all of your wings because it’s the only real way to make your agent any stronger. There are several ways to get your hands on High End gear. To make the process go a little quicker, you should diversify and take part in all of them.

Farming your dailies is a great start, but once you’ve completed them you can move start completing missions on the highest difficulty for a chance at a high end drop at the end of it. While its not guaranteed each run, the more runs you do the greater your odds of landing a great piece of gear.

Blueprints are another way to get your hands on great gear, although you’ll need to farm the materials for them from around the city.

The Dark Zone

If PvP is your thing, the Dark Zone is the place you’ll want to be. It’s not the safest place to farm NPC’s for gear, but it’s one of the most lucrative, with high end drops possible off of the named NPC’s not to mention the gear you can purchase when you get enough Dark Zone Rank and points.

If you prefer hunting other players you can always go rogue, or be the rogue hunter in hopes of catching someone tying to extract a high end piece of gear that you can take for your own. Just be careful you don’t become the prey when you pick it up.

New Overwatch Animated Short “Recall” Released

21 Mar
overwatch short snimated
271010
Overwatch
eSports

The wave of Overwatch content leading up to the game's May 24th launch has begun with an 8 minute short animated video that givers us a little more backstory on the Overwatch hero Winston. Winston has been one of the main faces of the game, appearing in almost all of the game's cover art and promotional material. He's also one of the most unusual, being a giant talking ape scientist and all.

The video doesn't go too deep, but it gives us a glimpse into the backstory of Winston including the origins of his name and how he came to be a scientist. We also get a look at the current state of the Overwatch group and where they stand in the world. There's not a whole lot to go off of, but it seems that the group was disbanded for some reason and has only recently come back into an active state at the beginning of the game due to some mysterious threat that we get a quick look at in some news footage.

There will be many more story reveals to come in both video, comic and graphic novel form as we approach the release date so stay tuned.

Tips for Leveling Fast in The Division

18 Mar
the division leveling fast
271244
Tom Clancy's The Division
MMO
Gameplay

There are players that want to level up fast in many games for many reasons, and Tom Clancy’s The Division is no different. Some just have an impulse that wont let them stop until they hit that max level, some want to be able to take part in end game content, and others want to get their hands on that ultra loot that awaits those who make it to the top.

Whatever your reasons, there are a few tips and tricks you can use to make the level experience a more expedient one. We’ve put together our list of them here.

Collect the Collectibles

There are a ton of collectibles located around the city and each of them will give you a bump in experience when you collect it. It’s easy to get locked in on a mission, but if you start paying attention to the alleys and areas you’re travelling through and not just the destination, chances are you’ll run across several collectibles each tie you head out.

They also give other rewards like appearance items, another reason they are worth taking a second to grab.

There will also be the odd civilian in need that you have the option of helping out. While it may cost a bottle of water, each one you help will give you a burst of experience.

Unlock the Security Experience Boost Early

When you first arrive in the city and reclaim your headquarters, you’ll be able to take on several missions but you should start with the Lincoln Tunnel Checkpoint mission first. After completing the mission you’ll gain access to the first security wing unlock which in turn grants you access to the experienced agent perk that gives you +10% bonus on everything you do.

Not just missions, everything. Get this first to make the most of the missions and kills that follow.

Complete Side Missions

Each safe house in every district has side missions available for you to complete. These are great sources of experience, especially if you’re feeling out gunned in the story missions. Once you’ve completed all the side missions in a district, you can return to the safe house to receive an additional amount of bonus experience.

Like the other areas, safe houses also give a small amount of experience just for discovering them the first time.

Story Missions

Story missions are by far the biggest experience earners in the game as it appears Ubisoft didn’t want players to out level their content via side missions or other activities. The required level for story missions are listed right in their descriptions and at their starting areas. If you fall short, head to a district that has side missions available and complete them until you’re beefed up enough to take part.

Bring friends along if at all possible to reduce the amount of time spent in the missions. You don’t lose much experience at all for completing content in a group, so whenever you can group up, do it.

The downside of story missions is that they can only award their completion experience once. Replaying a story mission will not give any more experience, except for what you earn from killing bad guys.

Group up and Farm

As mentioned before, grouping up doesn’t cause you to take a massive reduction in experienced earned like the other traditional MMO’s out there. Many players are having a great time levelling by putting together a squad and then farming large amounts of NPC’s. This only really works if you’ve got enough players to make the process fast, but if you do it’s a viable option.

Will it give you experience at the same rate as completing story missions? Probably not, but if you need a break from missions or a bump in levels to reach those next story missions it’s a good alternative.

Tips for Leveling Fast in The Division

18 Mar
the division leveling fast
271244
Tom Clancy's The Division
MMO
Gameplay

There are players that want to level up fast in many games for many reasons, and Tom Clancy’s The Division is no different. Some just have an impulse that wont let them stop until they hit that max level, some want to be able to take part in end game content, and others want to get their hands on that ultra loot that awaits those who make it to the top.

Whatever your reasons, there are a few tips and tricks you can use to make the level experience a more expedient one. We’ve put together our list of them here.

Collect the Collectibles

There are a ton of collectibles located around the city and each of them will give you a bump in experience when you collect it. It’s easy to get locked in on a mission, but if you start paying attention to the alleys and areas you’re travelling through and not just the destination, chances are you’ll run across several collectibles each tie you head out.

They also give other rewards like appearance items, another reason they are worth taking a second to grab.

There will also be the odd civilian in need that you have the option of helping out. While it may cost a bottle of water, each one you help will give you a burst of experience.

Unlock the Security Experience Boost Early

When you first arrive in the city and reclaim your headquarters, you’ll be able to take on several missions but you should start with the Lincoln Tunnel Checkpoint mission first. After completing the mission you’ll gain access to the first security wing unlock which in turn grants you access to the experienced agent perk that gives you +10% bonus on everything you do.

Not just missions, everything. Get this first to make the most of the missions and kills that follow.

Complete Side Missions

Each safe house in every district has side missions available for you to complete. These are great sources of experience, especially if you’re feeling out gunned in the story missions. Once you’ve completed all the side missions in a district, you can return to the safe house to receive an additional amount of bonus experience.

Like the other areas, safe houses also give a small amount of experience just for discovering them the first time.

Story Missions

Story missions are by far the biggest experience earners in the game as it appears Ubisoft didn’t want players to out level their content via side missions or other activities. The required level for story missions are listed right in their descriptions and at their starting areas. If you fall short, head to a district that has side missions available and complete them until you’re beefed up enough to take part.

Bring friends along if at all possible to reduce the amount of time spent in the missions. You don’t lose much experience at all for completing content in a group, so whenever you can group up, do it.

The downside of story missions is that they can only award their completion experience once. Replaying a story mission will not give any more experience, except for what you earn from killing bad guys.

Group up and Farm

As mentioned before, grouping up doesn’t cause you to take a massive reduction in experienced earned like the other traditional MMO’s out there. Many players are having a great time levelling by putting together a squad and then farming large amounts of NPC’s. This only really works if you’ve got enough players to make the process fast, but if you do it’s a viable option.

Will it give you experience at the same rate as completing story missions? Probably not, but if you need a break from missions or a bump in levels to reach those next story missions it’s a good alternative.

Paragon: First Impressions

18 Mar
271241
Paragon
eSports
Preview

I’ve played many MOBA’s and sunk thousands, upon thousands into them. SMITE firmly stands as one of my favorites and so it was with a great deal of excitement that I went into Paragon. Even this week I wrote about how much I was looking forward to it and yet only hours in, I’m already disappointed with my experience. You might think looking at the trailers for the game that it looks fast, frantic and exciting and yet it’s none of these things. There’s no questioning its beauty but the core gameplay - that of laning against AI controlled minions whilst fighting opposing players doing the same - is so pedestrian and uninspired it’s difficult to know where to begin.

For all intents and purposes Paragon plays almost exactly like SMITE, with the exception that there’s a Z axis to allow for aiming up and down. Everything else, such as three lanes, purchasing items and clearing minion waves and camps remains pretty much the same. That’s not a bad thing as SMITE is a wonderful game, but what sets the two apart is pacing and a sense of speed in combat. SMITE is snappy and quick and although matches can still last some time, it doesn’t ever feel slow. In contrast, Paragon has to offer some of the least satisfying third-person combat I’ve ever played at a pace that’s both frustrating and sleep inducing.

Even when you’ve unlocked all your skills, there’s still no mistaking the painstakingly dull basic attack speed and a set of skills that feel lacklustre. For the first few minutes as you level up, you’ll only have access to your basic attack. It’s the same in most MOBA’s (outside of Heroes of the Storm) and it becomes quickly apparent just how sluggish the pace of the game can be. Slowly poking at oncoming minions that seemingly take an age to kill if you’re the only player in lane is never going to get the heart racing.

Considering the trailers would have you believe that Paragon is an epic exchange of heavy hitting attacks at frightening speed, it’s simply not the case. While such a pace might suit some, in comparison to Gigantic, Battleborn, or SMITE, the game needs a dose of rocket-fuel to inject some life into its movement and combat. Considering this is the studio behind the Unreal franchise, I’m honestly struggling to understand how they lost their oomph. Unreal was never slow, nor unsatisfying.

When it comes to the selection of Heroes on offer, I have to say only a handful feel inspired. Twinblast, Sparrow, Kallari and Gadget have to be four of the most generic Heroes I’ve ever encountered in the many years I’ve been covering video games. They’re so drab and forgettable with skillsets that are neither original or fun that I’m amazed that they made it to the cutting room floor. If we take a look at Twinblast, on paper he’s very similar to McCree from Overwatch - which sounds great - but he looks pretty awful and feels incredibly generic. Even Gadget, a Hero I thought I’d love, just lacks character. Her appearance is largely fine, but why couldn’t we have had something like Bucket from Evolve? Heck, any of the Hunters from Evolve would have been a damn sight better than the majority here.

The reason why I say this is that for Heroes to be desirable, they have to not only look good but play well. But when you’ve a Hero (Sparrow) that’s literally a carbon copy of Artanis from SMITE - with the exception of an alternative, albeit worse, Ultimate ability - it’s very poor. Going back to Evolve, even though it isn’t a MOBA and forgetting how you feel about the game, it’s undeniable that Turtle Rock have done an incredible job at designing their Hunters to be unique and original. Bucket is a far greater version of Gadget and Lennox so much better than Howitzer. Why couldn’t Epic have gone about crafting Heroes that not only looked good, but brought with them kits that you actually wanted to use?

You might be thinking at this point that it’s all grim for Paragon and while I do feel disappointed, there is some good stuff here. The map is brilliantly designed and the jungle particularly excellent. The stealth pads that lead onto lanes help both attacker and laner - they keep you on edge much more than I thought they would. Its card system and the socketting of further upgrades into them is clever and easily understood though the random acquisition of cards does make me nervous. Paladins is a prime example of how randomness doesn’t have any place in a competitive setting. Finally, some of the Heroes are undeniably fantastic. Gideon, Steel, Muriel and Grux highlight how Epic Games can design a set of aesthetically pleasing, and fun Heroes.

Fortunately for Paragon, it’s still in the early stages of development and I hope that the take a serious look at not only the pace of the game, but the intricacies of its combat. At present, it’s physically impossible to outrun any melee Hero who is attacking you because there’s no reduction to a players speed when attacking. It’s a staggering oversight and means that melee players stick to you like glue and unless you happen to be one of a few Heroes who have an escape, you’re guaranteed to die. SMITE implemented movement speed reduction when attacking for this very reason - irrespective of range or melee - and Epic Games have to do the same.

Other than the above, if they just increase movement speed across the board and add some life to basic attacks, they’ll be halfway there. Either way, this very much remains a first impressions and I’ll be spending as much time as possible in Paragon over the coming days to bring you further thoughts.

Paragon: First Impressions

18 Mar
271241
Paragon
eSports
Preview

I’ve played many MOBA’s and sunk thousands, upon thousands into them. SMITE firmly stands as one of my favorites and so it was with a great deal of excitement that I went into Paragon. Even this week I wrote about how much I was looking forward to it and yet only hours in, I’m already disappointed with my experience. You might think looking at the trailers for the game that it looks fast, frantic and exciting and yet it’s none of these things. There’s no questioning its beauty but the core gameplay - that of laning against AI controlled minions whilst fighting opposing players doing the same - is so pedestrian and uninspired it’s difficult to know where to begin.

For all intents and purposes Paragon plays almost exactly like SMITE, with the exception that there’s a Z axis to allow for aiming up and down. Everything else, such as three lanes, purchasing items and clearing minion waves and camps remains pretty much the same. That’s not a bad thing as SMITE is a wonderful game, but what sets the two apart is pacing and a sense of speed in combat. SMITE is snappy and quick and although matches can still last some time, it doesn’t ever feel slow. In contrast, Paragon has to offer some of the least satisfying third-person combat I’ve ever played at a pace that’s both frustrating and sleep inducing.

Even when you’ve unlocked all your skills, there’s still no mistaking the painstakingly dull basic attack speed and a set of skills that feel lacklustre. For the first few minutes as you level up, you’ll only have access to your basic attack. It’s the same in most MOBA’s (outside of Heroes of the Storm) and it becomes quickly apparent just how sluggish the pace of the game can be. Slowly poking at oncoming minions that seemingly take an age to kill if you’re the only player in lane is never going to get the heart racing.

Considering the trailers would have you believe that Paragon is an epic exchange of heavy hitting attacks at frightening speed, it’s simply not the case. While such a pace might suit some, in comparison to Gigantic, Battleborn, or SMITE, the game needs a dose of rocket-fuel to inject some life into its movement and combat. Considering this is the studio behind the Unreal franchise, I’m honestly struggling to understand how they lost their oomph. Unreal was never slow, nor unsatisfying.

When it comes to the selection of Heroes on offer, I have to say only a handful feel truly inspired. Twinblast, Sparrow, Kallari and Gadget have to be four of the most generic Heroes I’ve ever encountered in the many years I’ve been covering video games. They’re so drab and forgettable with skillsets that are neither original or fun that I’m amazed that they made it from the cutting room floor. If we take a look at Twinblast, on paper he’s very similar to McCree from Overwatch - which sounds great - but he looks pretty awful and feels incredibly safe. Even Gadget, a Hero I thought I’d love, just lacks character. Her appearance is largely fine, but why couldn’t we have had something like Bucket from Evolve? Heck, any of the Hunters from Evolve would have been a damn sight better than the majority here.

The reason why I say this is that for Heroes to be desirable, they have to not only look good but play well. But when you’ve a Hero (Sparrow) that’s literally a carbon copy of Artanis from SMITE - with the exception of an alternative, albeit worse, Ultimate ability - it’s very poor. Going back to Evolve, even though it isn’t a MOBA and forgetting how you feel about the game, it’s undeniable that Turtle Rock have done an incredible job at designing their Hunters to be unique and original. Bucket is a far greater version of Gadget and Lennox so much better than Howitzer. Why couldn’t Epic have gone about crafting Heroes that not only looked good, but brought with them kits that you actually wanted to use?

You might be thinking at this point that it’s all grim for Paragon and while I do feel disappointed, there is some good stuff here. The map is brilliantly designed and the jungle particularly excellent. The stealth pads that lead onto lanes help both attacker and laner - they keep you on edge much more than I thought they would. Its card system and the socketting of further upgrades into them is clever and easily understood though the random acquisition of cards does make me nervous. Paladins is a prime example of how randomness doesn’t have any place in a competitive setting. Finally, some of the Heroes are undeniably fantastic. Gideon, Steel, Muriel and Grux highlight how Epic Games can design a set of aesthetically pleasing, and fun Heroes.

Fortunately for Paragon, it’s still in the early stages of development and I hope that the take a serious look at not only the pace of the game, but the intricacies of its combat. At present, it’s physically impossible to outrun any melee Hero who is attacking you because they seemingly have an inherant speed advantage over ranged. It’s a stange oversight and means that melee players stick to you like glue and unless you happen to be one of a few Heroes who have an escape, you’re guaranteed to die. SMITE implemented heavy movement speed reductions when attacking for this very reason - irrespective of range or melee - and Epic Games surely have to do the same.

Other than the above, if they just increase movement speed across the board and add some life to basic attacks, Epic Games will be halfway to where they need to be. I’ll be spending as much time as possible in Paragon over the coming days to bring you further thoughts. Stay tuned.

Heroes of the Storm: Stitches Build Guide

17 Mar
Heroes of the Storm: Stitches Build Guide
265196
Heroes of the Storm
eSports
Classes

Overview

Stitches is a strong and frustrating Warrior to play against. His kit, though appearing simple, actually has a lot of flexibility and utility. So much so that as main tank or off-tank, he's capable of making plays through his Hook that can single-handedly win games. Although he lacks direct immunity to skills, or a means of mitigating damage entirely until later levels, he makes up for in continued pressure from his trait as well as high damage from his Slam ability. I will stress that practice with his Hook takes time and being able to use it well, without regularly missing, is key to effective stitches play. If you miss more times than you land your Hook, you really shouldn't be entering Hero League with him. 

Updated: 01 February 2016

Pros

Cons

A strong kit capable of damage and utility

Has no reliable means of escape

Capable of dealing good damage

No real means of mitigating damage until levels 13 and 16

His Hook is invaluable at targetting single enemy players  

Almost entirely reliant on effective Hook play  

Both of his Ultimate abilities are strong

She has a bizarre running animation 

Works well as a solo tank or paired with another

Very squishy if focused

Abilities

Vile Gas (Trait) - Although Stitches trait isn't amazing, its primary function is to simply add pressure to enemies that strike him. Causing poison damage to enemies that have attacked him for 3 seconds, it increases the pressure the enemy teams healer needs, in order to keep his team topped up. Ideally, you want to be infecting the enemy team with Vile Gas as often as humanly possible. 

Hook (Q) - His signature skill and key to his play style, Hook has a huge range and allows Stitches to pull one player towards him. Be aware however that if there is a minion or mercenary in front of your target, you'll Hook them instead. Fortunately the projectile speed at which Stitches throws out his chain is fast, so the margin for error only grows if your specific target has invulnerability or a teleport. Always try to target Heroes that have the fewest means of escape and preferrably the squishiest. Finally, Hook will briefly stun anyone you strike so even if you're at very close range and want to interrupt, say, E.T.C.'s Mosh Pit, you can. 

Slam (W) - A high damage, low cooldown, wide area attack that purely deals damage. Ideal for wave clear or pressuring a group of enemy players, you should use Slam as often as humanly possible as it's also incredibly cheap on mana. 

Devour (E) - Key to his survival is Devour. Dealing relatively high damage to non-Heoric units (and over half to Hero) it restores roughly 20% of Stitches' health. It's a huge amount and will keep you alive 1 on 1, but also reduce the need for a healer on your team to constantly heal you. Try to always use Devour on a nearest target, if it gaurentees your trigger the heal. 

Putrid Bile (R) - The most popular Ultimate ability of the two, Putrid Bile tends to be a safe bet. Allowing Stitches to sprint quickly by gaining a 20% movement speed buff, he also emits a bile that slows enemies by 35%. If you can manage to squeeze around the enemy team to cover them in the Bile, your team can capitalize on this and focus them down. Best of all, Putrid Bile can also be used as an escape skill due to the trail of Bile following behind you (the speed boost also helps!)

Gorge (R) - An Ultimate that's often overlooked, Gorge allows Stitches to consume one player for 4 seconds. When Gorge ends, the player takes damage and during the period the consumed enemy can't do anything. Against an enemy tank, or healer, you can turn any fight from 5 v 5 to 4 v 5 instantly. Four seconds is a very lengthy period of time in Heroes of the Storm and if you use Gorge on the right target, there are few team fights you can't win. 

Talents

Level 1: Heavy Slam

Stitches already deals high damage with Slam but increasing it by 50% thanks to Heavy Slam, at level 1, is fairly significant. It allows for easier wave clear, greater pressure in team fights and the possibility of finishing off more enemy Heroes. 

Variable: Chew Your Food is great if you're against a ranged heavy team that's likely to eat away at your health. Providing a heal over time for 10% of your maximum health, on top of the 20% healing from Devour, gives Stitches a fair amount of survivability. 

Level 4: Putrid Ground

Due to the size of Slam, it's hard to miss one or more enemy Heroes. By having the skill infect enemies struck with Vile Gas through Putrid Ground you're sure to not only deal more damage, but pressure them continually with poison. 

Variable: Amplified Healing can be a great choice if you're with a limited healer such as Brightwing or Kharazim who rely on passive, or a single heal to sustain their team. 

Level 7: Tenderizer 

Tenderizer is my preferred option out of this upgrade line simply because the slow is a nuisance against any Hero. A 25% slow for 1.5 second against any enemy, every time you swing, is very frustrating to fight against, especially on maps that have close quarter objectives (Towers of Doom).

Variable: Last Bite is great for providing Stitches with sustain because it's fairly easy to know when someone is about to die (including minions or mercenaries). When they do, you gain a 12 second cooldown reduction on the skill. That's huge and leaves you with 

Level 10: Putrid Bile

Control is incredibly important in team fights so having a slow, and skill that damages enemies is incredibly useful. Stitches can comfortably block paths, weave around the enemy team and ensure they're all slowed. This gives your team maximum opportunity for dealing damage to them. Putrid Bile does take some practice, but it's well worth it.

Variable: If the enemy team has Lt. Morales, E.T.C or Xul, Gorge can be amazing for eating them up and removing them from a fight. It makes any encounter 4 v 5 and if you can snag a healer, makes the opposing teams life a misery.

Level 13: Mega Smash

Having a 25% increased arc and range on Slam by 25% is huge and allows you to hit targets much more often and infect them much easier. It also helps with your ranged poke - Mega Smash is awesome.

Level 16: Stoneskin

At 16 most Heroes peak in power which is where Stitches tends to take a beating. Picking up Stoneskin can provide a much needed shield and gives him some healthy survivability. 

Variable: If you find you're managing fine in team fights, take Pulverize. Reducing Slam's cooldown by 2 seconds and causing a 75% slow for 1 second, Slam seriously gets awesome with this skill.

Level 20: Hardened Shield

Further boosting your survivability - or providing it if you took Pulverize - Hardened Shield reduces all incoming damage by 75% for 4 seconds. It's incredible for surviving a burst. 

Matchups

These Hero Threat Levels (1 being lowest threat and 10 being highest threat) are to help you determine which enemy Heroes can give you a headache. For the Heroes listed here, take extra care as they're particularly dangerous for Stitches. 

Hero

Threat 

The Butcher: Lamb to the Slaughter combined with Butcher's Brand will absolutely destroy you. Without a means of escaping, you're going to die.

8/10

Xul: His Bone Prison, attack speed reduction and Poison Nova can blow you up in seconds. 

8/10

Jaina: She's a threat because of her ability to slow you and as a result, you'll struggle to escape. Although you can pull her, she'll Blink away and then fire back. 

8/10

Kerrigan: Her shielding, stun, leap and pull makes life very difficult for Stitches. You can survive her for some time, but she'll end up winning 1 on 1.

6/10

 

Lunara: Her damage over time, mobility and range make her a headache - especially now they've fixed her stutter stepping. Lunara also easily avoids your Hook - she's very annoying. 

8/10

Thrall: Self healing, a powerful stun ultimate and a root make life for Stitches very difficult. If he does root you, you need to hit him with everything you've got, as quickly as possible. Even then, you'll have still took serious damage. 

8/10

Raynor: His auto attack damage is enormous and his stun on his knockback can absolutely destroy you. He has better range, can attack quickly and heal himself. Try to avoid or have your team focus him early.

9/10

Tips

This list of tips and tricks are just a handful of things we think will help your Stitches play. We'll continue to add to the list as required and if you have any tips you'd like to share, let us know in the comments below and we'll place them here. 


1. Remember that Devour is your heal. Don't waste it when you don't need it.

2. Hook should always be used on squishy targets or those that can't escape easily.

3. Hook can be blocked by minions and mercenaries. Approach enemies from an angle to avoid the wave. 

4. Slam is incredible at clearing minion waves, but can drain your mana if it's all you use. Don't be afraid to auto attack. 

5. Gorge is a must versus play-maker Heroes such as Xul or Lt. Morales. Gobble them up. 

6. Always try to use your size to body block for your team. You can always top yourself up with a heal should you need to.

7. If you take Gorge, you can walk people behind your Keep walls, trapping them. Do it as often as possible. 

8. When using Putrid Bile try to always weave around the enemy team without extending too much. Alternatively, use it to zone out an objective area. 

Heroes of the Storm: Stitches Build Guide

17 Mar
Heroes of the Storm: Stitches Build Guide
265196
Heroes of the Storm
eSports
Classes

Overview

Stitches is a strong and frustrating Warrior to play against. His kit, though appearing simple, actually has a lot of flexibility and utility. So much so that as main tank or off-tank, he's capable of making plays through his Hook that can single-handedly win games. Although he lacks direct immunity to skills, or a means of mitigating damage entirely until later levels, he makes up for in continued pressure from his trait as well as high damage from his Slam ability. I will stress that practice with his Hook takes time and being able to use it well, without regularly missing, is key to effective stitches play. If you miss more times than you land your Hook, you really shouldn't be entering Hero League with him. 

Updated: 01 February 2016

Pros

Cons

A strong kit capable of damage and utility

Has no reliable means of escape

Capable of dealing good damage

No real means of mitigating damage until levels 13 and 16

His Hook is invaluable at targetting single enemy players  

Almost entirely reliant on effective Hook play  

Both of his Ultimate abilities are strong

She has a bizarre running animation 

Works well as a solo tank or paired with another

Very squishy if focused

Abilities

Vile Gas (Trait) - Although Stitches trait isn't amazing, its primary function is to simply add pressure to enemies that strike him. Causing poison damage to enemies that have attacked him for 3 seconds, it increases the pressure the enemy teams healer needs, in order to keep his team topped up. Ideally, you want to be infecting the enemy team with Vile Gas as often as humanly possible. 

Hook (Q) - His signature skill and key to his play style, Hook has a huge range and allows Stitches to pull one player towards him. Be aware however that if there is a minion or mercenary in front of your target, you'll Hook them instead. Fortunately the projectile speed at which Stitches throws out his chain is fast, so the margin for error only grows if your specific target has invulnerability or a teleport. Always try to target Heroes that have the fewest means of escape and preferrably the squishiest. Finally, Hook will briefly stun anyone you strike so even if you're at very close range and want to interrupt, say, E.T.C.'s Mosh Pit, you can. 

Slam (W) - A high damage, low cooldown, wide area attack that purely deals damage. Ideal for wave clear or pressuring a group of enemy players, you should use Slam as often as humanly possible as it's also incredibly cheap on mana. 

Devour (E) - Key to his survival is Devour. Dealing relatively high damage to non-Heoric units (and over half to Hero) it restores roughly 20% of Stitches' health. It's a huge amount and will keep you alive 1 on 1, but also reduce the need for a healer on your team to constantly heal you. Try to always use Devour on a nearest target, if it gaurentees your trigger the heal. 

Putrid Bile (R) - The most popular Ultimate ability of the two, Putrid Bile tends to be a safe bet. Allowing Stitches to sprint quickly by gaining a 20% movement speed buff, he also emits a bile that slows enemies by 35%. If you can manage to squeeze around the enemy team to cover them in the Bile, your team can capitalize on this and focus them down. Best of all, Putrid Bile can also be used as an escape skill due to the trail of Bile following behind you (the speed boost also helps!)

Gorge (R) - An Ultimate that's often overlooked, Gorge allows Stitches to consume one player for 4 seconds. When Gorge ends, the player takes damage and during the period the consumed enemy can't do anything. Against an enemy tank, or healer, you can turn any fight from 5 v 5 to 4 v 5 instantly. Four seconds is a very lengthy period of time in Heroes of the Storm and if you use Gorge on the right target, there are few team fights you can't win. 

Talents

Level 1: Heavy Slam

Stitches already deals high damage with Slam but increasing it by 50% thanks to Heavy Slam, at level 1, is fairly significant. It allows for easier wave clear, greater pressure in team fights and the possibility of finishing off more enemy Heroes. 

Variable: Chew Your Food is great if you're against a ranged heavy team that's likely to eat away at your health. Providing a heal over time for 10% of your maximum health, on top of the 20% healing from Devour, gives Stitches a fair amount of survivability. 

Level 4: Putrid Ground

Due to the size of Slam, it's hard to miss one or more enemy Heroes. By having the skill infect enemies struck with Vile Gas through Putrid Ground you're sure to not only deal more damage, but pressure them continually with poison. 

Variable: Amplified Healing can be a great choice if you're with a limited healer such as Brightwing or Kharazim who rely on passive, or a single heal to sustain their team. 

Level 7: Tenderizer 

Tenderizer is my preferred option out of this upgrade line simply because the slow is a nuisance against any Hero. A 25% slow for 1.5 second against any enemy, every time you swing, is very frustrating to fight against, especially on maps that have close quarter objectives (Towers of Doom).

Variable: Last Bite is great for providing Stitches with sustain because it's fairly easy to know when someone is about to die (including minions or mercenaries). When they do, you gain a 12 second cooldown reduction on the skill. That's huge and leaves you with 

Level 10: Putrid Bile

Control is incredibly important in team fights so having a slow, and skill that damages enemies is incredibly useful. Stitches can comfortably block paths, weave around the enemy team and ensure they're all slowed. This gives your team maximum opportunity for dealing damage to them. Putrid Bile does take some practice, but it's well worth it.

Variable: If the enemy team has Lt. Morales, E.T.C or Xul, Gorge can be amazing for eating them up and removing them from a fight. It makes any encounter 4 v 5 and if you can snag a healer, makes the opposing teams life a misery.

Level 13: Mega Smash

Having a 25% increased arc and range on Slam by 25% is huge and allows you to hit targets much more often and infect them much easier. It also helps with your ranged poke - Mega Smash is awesome.

Level 16: Stoneskin

At 16 most Heroes peak in power which is where Stitches tends to take a beating. Picking up Stoneskin can provide a much needed shield and gives him some healthy survivability. 

Variable: If you find you're managing fine in team fights, take Pulverize. Reducing Slam's cooldown by 2 seconds and causing a 75% slow for 1 second, Slam seriously gets awesome with this skill.

Level 20: Hardened Shield

Further boosting your survivability - or providing it if you took Pulverize - Hardened Shield reduces all incoming damage by 75% for 4 seconds. It's incredible for surviving a burst. 

Matchups

These Hero Threat Levels (1 being lowest threat and 10 being highest threat) are to help you determine which enemy Heroes can give you a headache. For the Heroes listed here, take extra care as they're particularly dangerous for Stitches. 

Hero

Threat 

The Butcher: Lamb to the Slaughter combined with Butcher's Brand will absolutely destroy you. Without a means of escaping, you're going to die.

8/10

Xul: His Bone Prison, attack speed reduction and Poison Nova can blow you up in seconds. 

8/10

Jaina: She's a threat because of her ability to slow you and as a result, you'll struggle to escape. Although you can pull her, she'll Blink away and then fire back. 

8/10

Kerrigan: Her shielding, stun, leap and pull makes life very difficult for Stitches. You can survive her for some time, but she'll end up winning 1 on 1.

6/10

 

Lunara: Her damage over time, mobility and range make her a headache - especially now they've fixed her stutter stepping. Lunara also easily avoids your Hook - she's very annoying. 

8/10

Thrall: Self healing, a powerful stun ultimate and a root make life for Stitches very difficult. If he does root you, you need to hit him with everything you've got, as quickly as possible. Even then, you'll have still took serious damage. 

8/10

Raynor: His auto attack damage is enormous and his stun on his knockback can absolutely destroy you. He has better range, can attack quickly and heal himself. Try to avoid or have your team focus him early.

9/10

Tips

This list of tips and tricks are just a handful of things we think will help your Stitches play. We'll continue to add to the list as required and if you have any tips you'd like to share, let us know in the comments below and we'll place them here. 


1. Remember that Devour is your heal. Don't waste it when you don't need it.

2. Hook should always be used on squishy targets or those that can't escape easily.

3. Hook can be blocked by minions and mercenaries. Approach enemies from an angle to avoid the wave. 

4. Slam is incredible at clearing minion waves, but can drain your mana if it's all you use. Don't be afraid to auto attack. 

5. Gorge is a must versus play-maker Heroes such as Xul or Lt. Morales. Gobble them up. 

6. Always try to use your size to body block for your team. You can always top yourself up with a heal should you need to.

7. If you take Gorge, you can walk people behind your Keep walls, trapping them. Do it as often as possible. 

8. When using Putrid Bile try to always weave around the enemy team without extending too much. Alternatively, use it to zone out an objective area.