Deadbreed Gets Buried…Permanently

Well, it finally happened. After three years of development, the creepy-themed MOBA known as Deadbreed has finally announced that the game will be going down at the end of this month. Anders, Stefan, and Greger, the three-man team developing Deadbreed, made the statement official in a Steam announcement, with servers going offline on January 31st.

By the lack of a strong player base, a crap ton of bugs, and other issues, I’d have to say that this game was not gonna last long, especially since most MOBA players would rather stay with the popular titles (e.g. League of Legends [ugh], DotA 2, Heroes of the Storm, or SMITE). I mean, an especially innovative MOBA I’ve played was Infinite Crisis, but I always got the same excuse when I was actively campaigning for that game: “I’d rather stick with League [of Legends].” Don’t get me wrong, Deadbreed had some good stuff going for it, but there was simply too few players actively involved to keep it alive for very long.

With Deadbreed gone, the next MOBA currently in development is the beautiful TPS from Epic Games: Paragon. That will be a post for another day.

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Supernova in Open Beta, Deadbreed Still Six Feet Under

At the time of writing, Supernova (Bandai Namco‘s sci-fi MOBA/RTS) has gone to open beta for the last month or so, while creepy, Gothic horror game Deadbreed is still floundering in its grave. The last time I played, the one surefire way to get a match is to add people from the leaderboards to your friends list. Now, don’t get me wrong, Deadbreed is a great idea and all, but the lack of marketing and a number of inconsistent animations in the game (among other bugs) keeps Deadbreed’s community at a very small number of players.

Meanwhile, the latest update to Supernova saw the addition of a new pet-based Commander. I really want to get a new computer with a much better GPU in order to play more often. As far as bugs go, a personal one sees the map texture disappear when I play more than one game in the same sitting (therefore, as a precaution, I quit and relaunch the game after every match). Supernova, to me, is a great idea, and I wish more people could play the game, if they weren’t so attached to the Big Two (I mean League of Legends and Defense of the Ancients 2).

 

Slither on, guys.

Supernova: A MOBA with An Army

I haven’t posted anything in over a month, and yes, I only blame myself for that. I guess you could say that nothing was really coming to mind on what to write about. Recently, though, I have some awesome news.

I heard about a new sci-fi MOBA that’s currently under development and I decided to look further into it. The game is called Supernova, and it is being developed by Primal Game Studios with Bandai Namco as publisher. The game just launched their second closed beta on Monday this week, and I just got invited to play a couple days ago. So far, I’m enjoying it more than League of Legends by Riot Games. Truth be told, I haven’t had this much fun since I played Infinite Crisis by Turbine, Inc. (which, by the way, is still my top favorite MOBA and I miss playing it).

Imagine, if you will, a MOBA where you not only play as one of several characters (dubbed Commanders in the game), but you’re also assigned a lane to which your squad will spawn and advance. Each lane begins with two units of basic troops, but periodically you gain resources with which to upgrade and build your army. There are two factions to use, Cyborgs and Humans (I’m using the latter faction), each with their own unique units. Supply is capped at forty (40) to begin with, but your resource usage doesn’t stop there. As you level up with one or both factions, you can unlock more and more stuff to use in the game, such as more upgrade tiers for your army, better tech with which to equip your unit types, or even an automatic increase to your supply cap (goes up to forty-five [45] at level ten). Each game also gives you randomly generated resources that you can use to craft better equipment for your Commander’s loadout prior to locking in before each match. It’s a great blend of MOBA with RTS. Not only do you build your army in the lane, you can also adapt to your opponent’s army by selling off units and adjusting accordingly.

The recall feature is pretty cool, as well. When using the human faction, a personal dropship flies to an area that you mark and picks up your Commander before flying them back to base to heal. While in base or on the dropship, you can use attribute and proficiency points to upgrade your Commander, similar to items in other games like League of Legends, Heroes of Newerth, and Defense of the Ancients 2 (Dota 2). Each player also can use a deployment feature that works opposite to evacuation (sort of like a Homecoming Stone/Town Portal Scroll, or the Teleport Summoner Spell) except deployment is a global ability, provided that the area has been revealed first. Your dropship flies you to the area you mark anywhere on the map. I haven’t used the Cyborg faction yet, so I don’t know what that entails but from what I’ve seen, their version involves personal teleportation.

Supernova is a great MOBA-RTS that I recommend playing. Sign up for the beta here and I may see you on the battlefield. After I explore the game some more, be on the lookout for an official preview down the road. Slither on, readers.

Infinite Crisis: A Eulogy of Sorts

Well, it finally happened right out of the blue. My favorite MOBA, Infinite Crisis, is closing down in two and a half months. August 14th, to be exact. I’d rant and bitch about how I don’t think this is happening, but let me tell you that I’ve already gone through the stages of death yesterday.

I jumped on Facebook yesterday morning as part of my usual morning routine when I got the news from my Infinite Crisis Facebook group: the game has officially announced that it is closing. I read the posts by the developers and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. This couldn’t happen! Infinite Crisis was fun! I loved it more than League of Legends! It can’t be closing down now! Try as I might to deny it, the truth was still there. I’d like to give a “eulogy” about the game (even though the servers won’t be closed until August).

I first heard about the game when it was announced on Facebook roughly three years ago. I immediately loved the idea of being able to slug it out with Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, the Green Lantern…everybody I could imagine out of DC comics! I kept careful watch on the game, like when it would be available to play. In fact, I could still remember the excitement I felt when Turbine, Inc. announced that the game would be going to closed beta in May of 2013. By this point I had already signed up for a beta key to get in.

The first week went by and a full round of keys were sent out. I felt a little bummed that I didn’t get one, but I was still hopeful that I would get in. The second week rolled around and I decided to check my email for any major updates. Imagine my surprise when I discovered an email from Turbine…with a beta key! I got in! I submitted my code and got into the game. I still remember how pumped up I was back then. I met several players and immediately the popular guys started emerging on the forums, keeping in almost constant contact with the developers on behalf of the rest of us.

As the months went by, more heroes and villains were added to the game. Of course, no game is perfect, and Infinite Crisis showed early signs of struggle, since most everybody was (and still is, more or less) addicted to League of Legends like a friggin’ drug. During one particular period in the summer of 2014, Turbine announced that they would cease production on new characters while they sorted out balancing. To be honest, I believe this might have started the road to its demise. A lot of long-time players, many of who were there since the start, jumped ship. At this point for me, the updates to game made it practically unplayable on my laptop (the very same from which I’ve written all of my posts so far), whereas in the beginning I could run the game with fairly high graphics. Thus, I couldn’t actively play the game, but I could still keep up with updates and changes. After the September update, I could finally run the game decently, although the graphics weren’t running as clean as they were before. More champions were coming out and it really seemed like the game was taking off. With the full release of the game coming up in March, I was really getting into the game, pulling more and more away from League of Legends. Thus, Infinite Crisis became my go-to MOBA.

In March of this year, the game went full release, after the closed and open beta stages. I even had invested $100 into the game for the Elite Founder pack, which came with exclusive stuff and early access to Gotham Divided at the time. I even went through the stage when Coast City Marina was disabled while Gotham Divided and Heights were the main maps to play on. With the relaunch of Coast City after the full release, players were coming back. For a while, it seemed like Infinite Crisis would really take off. Ranked queues were even included in May, allowing the player base to start racing each other up the ladder. The only thing was, by this time there was only one map to regularly play on: Coast City Marina. Sure you could still play on the Gotham Maps but it had to be a custom-made game. Understandably, the relatively small player base made it so that queue times would be cut down to allow more games to happen.

Unfortunately, this also was the time that a lot of new players were coming over from League of Legends. Now, League is currently infamous for its community and anyone who’s played a PvP game knows just how toxic that community in general is. Needless to say, the player base for Infinite Crisis was dwindling, unbeknownst to many people. I think its largely because people weren’t seeing the characters they wanted to be released (such as Deadshot, Deathstroke, and others) and, throwing hissy fits on Facebook, ended up walking away.

With the announcement yesterday morning, the final nail was hammered into the coffin. I had made so many memories with Infinite Crisis, almost all of them good. I simply couldn’t bring myself to log into the game again to continue playing, as, personally, it would’ve been too painful. It was just like City of Heroes/Villains all over again: a game I was really into was going down within a few months. I couldn’t go through the emotional pain again like I did with CoX. With a heavy heart, I made the decision to remove Infinite Crisis from my Steam library. In essence, I buried the game on my end.

All in all, I don’t think any MOBA will give me quite the enjoyment that Infinite Crisis did. It also helped me find some new friends along the way via the Facebook group. Here I could geek out with other comic book fans who were just as into the game as I was, but I digress.

From The Scaly Burrow, this is AdderTude, the Serpent of Cyberspace. Infinite Crisis, I salute thee.

“It’s not over yet!” – Atomic Green Lantern

Why League of Legends Has Gotten Worse

Since I’ve started playing League of Legends, I’ve noticed that there have been many changes come and gone over the last few years. At that start of this fifth season, however, I cannot say with confidence that the game has gotten any better. In fact, I think the Game’s age is starting to show, and not necessarily in a good way. Sure, Riot Games has put out many graphical updates since they launched the game, but this doesn’t necessarily improve the mechanics of the game

First, League of Legends has the largest roster of characters of any MOBA out there with the number approaching 150. You’d think that the Game would be due for an increase in draft bans by this point, right? Nope! The Game still remains with three bans per side, which leaves a heap of champions that can wreck house too easily. Seriously, there would be more planning and actual counter-play involved if the bans were extended to five bans per side. You can even see it in the ban window! The size of the portraits screams “five bans is possible.” But no, the Game still wants only six bans total to allow the popular champions to grace the field no matter which others are sent off.

The community is not much better. You can come across a handful of genuinely nice players, but the rest is really what brings the game down. The second you want to do something unorthodox, immediately there are trigger-happy people with their finger on the report button, even if you do well. In my honest opinion, the community has steadily gotten worse with every year. The professionals are treated like gods and their words as holy scripture not to be deviated from. It’s like a new form of religious fanaticism!

Balancing isn’t anything to hoot about, either. As per the aforementioned lack of more bans due to the size of the roster, the changes to the champions always throws the balancing out one way or another. While it’s virtually impossible to have a perfectly balanced roster, there should be changes to champions that bring them in line with everyone else. The only problem with this is that the change seemingly are made solely at the consensual word of the professionals. The Game seemingly caters mainly to the pro players, which leaves the overwhelming majority of us out of luck when certain changes need to be made. Which brings me to another point in regards to balancing.

I’ve said it time and time again in-game, there are only two ways that the winning team of a match is decided. First, the winning team that has the most tanks is almost guaranteed a win. In all the matches I’ve ever played, I can count how many times I’ve beaten a team of tanks on only one hand. Second, the winning team also has the most bullsh– champions on the team. And by bullsh– I mean champions that can snowball the easiest.

I don’t really know why I keep playing the Game at this point. It might be because I use a laptop that’s a few years old and while it has decent graphics, other games that are graphic-intensive tax my machine too much (CONSORTIUM and Saints Row 2 being examples of this). If I had a better computer, rest assured I’d be on Infinite Crisis and Heroes of the Storm much more often. For the reasons of a worsening community, a character roster that’s outgrown the number of bans necessary for more balanced play, and the sole focus on snowballs and tanks, I believe League of Legends is making itself worse as time goes on, not better as many people will say.

Travel Plans…More Like Dreams

So, as the League of Legends World Championship draws closer, I’ve suddenly had the idea to see if I can travel to South Korea in two months to see the final matches of the tournament.  I’ve had previous travel plans in tentative measure (which were to return to Brazil to see the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016), but at the moment I’ve had the longing to go elsewhere just to get away from the repeated hum-drum of living at home day after day until I return to college.  Seeing as how someone very high up the political ladder decided our economy wasn’t bad enough, the cost of travel has since become somewhat of an annoyance due to how inflated the US dollar has become.  Riot Games has already posted ticket schedules and pricing but there’s already a problem: the ticket prices are for local currency only, so you’ll need a converter to see exactly how much ticket prices for the Summoner’s Cup are.  Factor that in with travel and lodgings and you’ll likely be shelling out several hundred dollars.

I wish I had that kind of money so I could attend the event.  The funny thing is my birthday’s smack dab in the middle of October so that would also be a good birthday gift to have.  I think I need to get out more, so why not a trip to South Korea to see the pros in action?  The initial plans are great, but the overall cost of being there makes my plans into just dreams.  Dreams that I wish could be fulfilled over the next couple of months.

Why “The International” Tournament Works Well For MOBAs

I am keeping tabs on The International, VALVe Corporation’s world championship event for their mega-hit MOBA, Defense of the Ancients 2 (commonly known as Dota 2).  I noticed that their playoff style works in a series of phases.  First off, eleven teams are invited to the event after giving outstanding performances in events around the world.  After regional qualifiers are held, the regional winners go to the tournament while the runners-up have a small playoff for the Wildcard spot.  This is known as Phase One.

Phase Two of The International is the playoff stage where the fifteen teams play in a round robin setting in a single “mini-league,” if you will.  The top two teams at the end of fourteen played matches advance to what is known as the Upper Bracket and are guaranteed a chance to play for a spot in the Grand Final. The middle eight teams advance to the next stage of the competition, while the bottom six go home empty-handed.

Phase Three is the playoff stage for the middle eight teams from Phase Two.  They’re seeded and placed in the bracket according to their playoff placement from the previous phase.  In two separate brackets, the eight teams fight for the final two spots in the Upper Bracket to play against the leaders from Phase Two.  The first two teams to lose in both halves are eliminated and awarded cash prizes for their placement in the tournament.  The other four are dropped to the Lower Bracket, where the rest of the teams play

In the Main Event, the Phase Two leaders and the playoff winners in Phase Three have a small playoff in the Upper Bracket.  The winner of the Upper Bracket moves on to the Grand Final while the other three are dropped into the Lower Bracket.  The first two teams eliminated from the Upper Bracket are inserted into Round Two of the Lower Bracket, while the loser of the final game in the Upper Bracket earns a second chance at the Grand Final by securing one of two berths in Round Four.  The Lower Bracket is where most of the Main Event happens. The remaining seven teams play in four rounds to determine the second challenger at the Grand Final.

 

This playoff format looks and sounds complicated, but I personally think it’s brilliant. This is probably one of the fairest tournament setups I’ve seen.  I like how VALVe gives the regional runners-up a second chance to fight for the right to enter the tournament and see how they fare against the world’s best players.  This year, Team Liquid won the Wildcard race and fared well in Phase Two, joining seven other teams in Phase Three, where they were eliminated together with Titan in the first round of Phase Three.  The amazing thing about Liquid is that they advanced where veterans failed, including defending champions Alliance, who got eliminated at the end of Phase Two after being found among the bottom six teams.

Probably the most surprising performance at this year’s International comes from Newbee.  After splitting even in Phase Two with a record of 7-7 and a seed of eighth place with Titan, Newbee headed into Phase Three with a vengeance.  They swept their Phase Three bracket, eliminating Titan and sending Invictus Gaming into the Lower Bracket with 2012 champions Natus Vincere (also known as Na’Vi).  Newbee continued their dominating performance, rolling past Phase Two leaders ViCi Gaming and Evil Geniuses (EG) in the Upper Bracket to secure their chance at the world title, playing on Monday against the eventual winner of the Lower Bracket after tomorrow’s conclusion of the Lower Bracket playoffs.  Being the runner-up of the Upper Bracket, EG guaranteed a second chance at the Grand Final by getting placed as an automatic finalist of the Lower Bracket.

 

This is an excellent playoff model in the professional gaming scene, one that I believe other MOBAs ought to follow (yes, this includes the World Championship of League of Legends).  As an additional marketing move, VALVe has also partnered with ESPN to broadcast the Main Event games on ESPN3 while the preview show for the Grand Final will be broadcast on ESPN2.  This brings eSports more into the mainstream light, closer to being shown alongside physical sports like soccer (or football, if you’re outside of North America) and basketball.  I firmly believe that The International sets a playoff standard that best gives pro teams the chance to earn that world champion title.  Way to go, VALVe!