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League of Legends

The Summoner's Guidebook: Two years and I'm still playing LoL

PvP, Opinion, Free-to-Play, MOBA, League of Legends, The Summoner's Guidebook, Anniversaries

It's the time of the year when I get to sit down and reflect a bit on how I've grown as a League of Legends player. Last year I had made some pretty big jumps in skill, especially in the realm of Dominion skill. This year I've kind of shifted my focus to SR. Also, I got a little more involved in the community, but not enough. That, I hope to change.

Playing more stuff that you play

Disappointingly for a lot of Dominion players who read these articles, I haven't been talking about it much lately. The big reason is I've been playing it a lot less, and unfortunately it's because the game mode isn't very popular.

My solo queue time in Dominion is kind of long, for starters. Once you get to any sort of respectable level in that game mode, queue times start to get obscene. I end up having to wait 5-6 minutes for games on CS, and that's not so good.

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Not So Massively: Elite's Alpha 2.0, Star Citizen hits $38m, PoE's first expansion, and MOBA news

Betas, Sci-Fi, Video, Business Models, Culture, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Patches, PvP, Endgame, News Items, PvE, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Dev Diaries, Miscellaneous, Not So Massively, Sandbox, MOBA, League of Legends, Diablo III, Crowdfunding, Star Citizen, Elite: Dangerous, Path of Exile

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Elite: Dangerous released the second phase of its alpha testing this week, giving early adopters the chance to smash each other to bits or play co-operative horde-style missions. Star Citizen hit the $38 million crowdfunding mark to unlock a solar system with an interesting oceanic planet where terraforming is banned, and it showcased the talents of its modders in episode 1.2 of The Next Great Starship.

Turn-based MOBA Arena of Heroes asked for votes on its Greenlight campaign to help the game secure a free-to-play release on Steam. SMITE revealed the deadly and barely-dressed Greek goddess Nemesis in a new god reveal video. League of Legends made a change its ladder system that allows highly skilled players to actually skip the promotion series matches, and week four of the Legends Championship Series ended with further upsets for European team Fnatic.

Blizzard revealed that Diablo III's sales have topped 15 million worldwide on all platforms, putting console sale figures at somewhere below three million units. We also discovered that items dropped before Reaper of Souls will not be enchantable when the expansion hits, and several legendary and set items will be exclusive to Torment mode. And Path of Exile announced that its first mini-expansion will land in March and has promised teasers with more info all this month.

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The Summoner's Guidebook: My goals in League of Legends

PvP, Opinion, Free-to-Play, MOBA, League of Legends, The Summoner's Guidebook

Whenever I enter a League of Legends match, I have a few goals set in mind. Of course, winning is a goal, but that's not the only goal. My agenda tends to be a lot more long-term, relative to other LoL players.

We've talked a lot about meta lately, and it tends to be a hot topic with Season 4's preseason patches shaking up the meta quite a bit. There are a lot of reasons to justify not playing meta. There are also a lot of reasons to take risky decisions that might not pan out.

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Not So Massively: Star Citizen design contest, Dota 2's New Bloom, and LoL tournament controversy

Betas, Sci-Fi, Video, Business Models, Events (In-Game), Expansions, Game Mechanics, New Titles, PvP, News Items, PvE, Free-to-Play, Dev Diaries, Miscellaneous, Not So Massively, Sandbox, MOBA, League of Legends, Diablo III, Star Citizen, Elite: Dangerous, Path of Exile

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The first round of Star Citizen's Next Great Starship competition got underway this week, pitting 24 teams of artists and technical wizards against each other for a chance to get their ship design in the game and win the $30,000 top prize. The latest Elite: Dangerous newsletter clarified that there are three major alpha stages coming and that each stage will proceed onto the next only when developers consider it ready.

The League of Legends Championship Series is off to a great start with Gambit breaking Fnatic's undefeated winning streak in the EU circuit. On the smaller end of the competitive scene, Razer has come under fire for allegedly unfairly disqualifying a team in its own $1,000 tournament. Dota 2's New Bloom update has introduced a hilarious new game mode that lets players trade skills with each other and added a clever new feature that lets players jump into recorded games and take control of them.

Third-person MOBA SMITE introduced its first limited edition skin and has pledged to add $5 from each purchase to the prize pool of its upcoming launch tournament. Turn-based MOBA Arena of Heroes hit version 1.44 this week and got its official release on iPhone and Linux. Diablo III showed off the contents of its Reaper of Souls expansion collector's edition box, and a new Path of Exile video shows content update 1.0.6's awesome new summoning spells in action.

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The Summoner's Guidebook: Stop worrying about the LoL metagame

PvP, Opinion, Free-to-Play, MOBA, League of Legends, The Summoner's Guidebook

If there's one thing that seems to be fairly static among low and mid-level League of Legends players, it's that they dislike the metagame. If I weren't such an exception (being a kind of bad player overall), I'd say that probably 100% of low-level players challenge the meta. This kind of complaint hits the comments, my email inbox, or IMs all the time: "LoL is so dumb! There are only four viable champs in each role, and the meta is static."

The first thing I'd like to point out is that those statements, regardless of variation, are all wrong. LoL as a game changes wildly from patch to patch and season to season, and while the existing Summoner's Rift solo queue metagame is more or less fixed in terms of roles (duo bot, one jungler, a "support" who does not CS in favor of giving it to an ally), none of that applies to premades of three or more players or other game modes. Even between the roles, there's a wide variation in expectations of what those roles should do. Stop blaming the game; think outside the box and start seeing the game for what it really is.

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Not So Massively: LoL update blocked by porn filter, Firefall's story campaign, and PoE's summoning skills

Betas, Video, Business Models, Culture, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Patches, PvP, News Items, PvE, Free-to-Play, MMOFPS, Dev Diaries, Miscellaneous, Not So Massively, MOBA, League of Legends, Diablo III, Firefall, Crowdfunding, Star Citizen, Elite: Dangerous, Path of Exile

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​Star Citizen hit $37 million in crowdfunding this week, unlocking the strange new Tanga solar system in a rectangular planetary nebula. In the latest Elite: Dangerous newsletter, developers revealed plans for the upcoming multiplayer alpha stage, the travel and trading alpha, and the eventual full beta release. Red 5 Studios secured $23 million in funding for additional development on Firefall and revealed plans to launch in 2014 with a full story campaign.

Several League of Legends players in the UK have reported that innocuous game files in the latest patch are being inadvertently blocked by the new country-wide internet pornography filter. Heroes of Newerth indulged lore-hounds this week with a new content website for artwork and game fiction. Diablo III's latest public test realm patch doubled the drop rate of legendary items, and developers clarified that XP gain for players grinding paragon levels will be drastically increased in the next update. And Path of Exile revealed the four new summoning skills coming in patch 1.0.6 that will make necromancer Witch builds a lot more viable.

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Riot claims 27 million daily players for League of Legends

Fantasy, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, MOBA, League of Legends

League of Legends
It's no secret that Riot Games's League of Legends is the biggest MOBA on the block, but just how big might come as something of a surprise. Riot has revealed that the League playerbase has now reached 27 million players daily. Player concurrency hits about 7.5 million players during high-traffic hours; for comparison, Valve's Dota 2, which most would consider League's primary competitor, sees about seven million players per month.

The high numbers have done wonders for Riot's pocketbook, helping League to generate over $624 million in revenue in 2013.

The Summoner's Guidebook: Supports are ruling League of Legends

Classes, PvP, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Guides, MOBA, League of Legends, The Summoner's Guidebook

I think Season 4 of League of Legends has been dominated by support play. Some of this is because there have been a number of really inspiring star support players at the pro level, and their brilliance is shining down a bit on us plebians. Although I think that the Season 4 jungle is still really messed up, the support role has really solidified in a good way.

What do I mean by "good"? Supports still get less gold than other roles and don't generally rock huge K/D ratios. They're still the team's ward machines, as we talked a bit about last week. However, the support's overall game impact has increased dramatically. Supports get more gold than before; they are making plays, initiating fights, and making way more of an impact in those fights than they ever were before. There's no more need for a support who is an ult and ward bot; you can now tank, deal damage, or whatever mix of support you want.

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Potential League of Legends patching problems due to porn filters

MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, MOBA, League of Legends

Will the UK's anti-sex law cause issues with patching League of Legends? According to LoL's subreddit, some members are seeing an effect from the filters UK Internet service providers have in place by default to block pornographic content for new customers; specific update files that happen to have "sex" in the wording -- VarusExpirationTimer.luaobj and XerathMageChainsExtended.luaobj -- have been blocked.

Riot Games informed Eurogamer that there are no reported incidents of this law interfering with the game, but the studio is monitoring the situation. If players run into a problem, they should contact LoL support for help.

Not So Massively: LoL's LCS tourney, Star Citizen's death mechanics, and PoE's race infographic

World of Warcraft, Betas, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Video, Business Models, Events (In-Game), Expansions, Patches, PvP, PvE, Free-to-Play, Dev Diaries, Miscellaneous, Not So Massively, Sandbox, MOBA, League of Legends, Diablo III, Crowdfunding, Star Citizen, Elite: Dangerous, Path of Exile

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Rumours over former World of Warcraft designer Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street's reasons for quitting were quelled when it was revealed that he's now a lead game designer at Riot Games. League of Legends also kicked off its 2014 competitive season with the first round of the Legends Champion Series. Dota 2 extended the deadline for its 3-D modeling competition until tonight, and Russian MOBA Prime World revealed plans to merge its English and Russian servers together.

Star Citizen's head honcho Chris Roberts answered more questions from fans this week, touching on topics from character death and contracts to NPC AI and playable alien races. The next stage of the Elite: Dangerous alpha was revealed to be a focused test of the multiplayer ship combat gameplay, but its release will cause the first beta stage to be delayed.

Diablo III enabled background downloading for its upcoming Patch 2.0.1 and the Reaper of Souls expansion, allowing players to download the game's 6GB pack of artwork and models ahead of launch day. The treasure hunters among you will also be happy to hear that dozens of legendary and set items have been significantly buffed in the latest public test realm patch. And a new infographic published on Path of Exile's hardcore new-year race shows that over 25,000 characters were made for the event and just over half survived the entire week.

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Led by mobile and free-to-play, U.S. digital sales see big gains in 2013

Fantasy, Real-Life, Business Models, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, PvE, War, Free-to-Play, Browser, Mobile, MMOFPS, Dungeon Fighter Online, Miscellaneous, MOBA, League of Legends, MMORPG

MMO Chart
The digital games market is still on the rise, generating $11.7 billion in sales in 2013. According to market research firm SuperData, this total marks an 11% increase over digital sales in 2012. SuperData noted that Christmas and New Year's occurring in the middle of the week may have helped spiked end-of-year numbers; December 2013 saw a 36% increase in digital sales compared to December 2012.

Mobile titles claimed the largest percentage of the digital pie, representing $3.6 billion in sales. Free-to-play titles were up 45% year-on-year to $2.9 billion. Perhaps most interesting for MMO players is the fact that F2P MMO offerings from games like World of Warcraft and Star Wars: The Old Republic landed in the top ten, though the top three free-to-play earners in 2013 were CrossFire, League of Legends, and Dungeon Fighter Online.

Data used by the firm is gathered by collecting digital transaction data directly from developers and publishers.

[Thanks to Hagu for the tip!]

The Summoner's Guidebook: Wards win League of Legends

PvP, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Guides, MOBA, League of Legends, The Summoner's Guidebook

A lot of you have noticed that I've been talking a lot about wards over the past several months. This is for a good reason: Wards win League of Legends! I think that every one of my past wins on Summoner's Rift has been either due to wards or a complete blowout laning phase.

Of those two things, there's one you have almost zero control over, even as a jungler. You can outlane the person you're against, but there's no telling when your opponent is just better than you. If you're a jungler, sometimes the enemy lanes don't give you any openings or your lanes just throw kills away to the enemy jungler. No matter how good you are, someone can always be better than you -- or your allies can be horrible.

However, in Season 4, if you place down a ward, in probably 90% of circumstances you're getting vision for the full duration of the ward. No matter how good the enemy team is, if it moves through that area, you get intel. If it doesn't, you also get intel.

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Greg Street is now lead game designer at Riot Games

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, MOBA, League of Legends, MMORPG

Greg Street, also known as Ghostcrawler, was the lead systems designer for World of Warcraft for much of the fantasy MMO's life. When he left Blizzard late last year, the rumor mill exploded with speculation on where (and why) one of WoW's most familiar and visible developers might be going. As of today, the mystery appears to be solved.

Information on Street's LinkedIn profile, supported by several industry sources, indicates that he is now working as lead game designer at Riot Games, known for the massively popular League of Legends. Street has yet to confirm the move via Twitter or any other official channel.

Not So Massively: LoL team cheated out of winnings, SMITE's $100,000 tournament, and Star Citizen on plotting jump points

Betas, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Business Models, Events (Real-World), Expansions, Patches, PvP, News Items, PvE, Free-to-Play, Legal, Dev Diaries, Not So Massively, Sandbox, MOBA, League of Legends, Diablo III, Player-Generated Content, Star Citizen, Elite: Dangerous, Path of Exile

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Members of competitive League of Legends team Absolute Legends revealed this week that they still haven't seen a penny of the combined $11,500 in winnings from November 2012's IEM Singapore tournament. Absolute Legends CEO Tim "WetDreaM" Buysse has been accused of holding onto all of the prize money despite his contracts with players entitling him to only a small cut. Dota 2's unique monthly player total broke the 7,000,000 mark this week, and new stats suggest that almost 10% of those logged into Steam may be playing the game. And SMITE announced details of its $100,000 launch tournament, which will see four of North America's best teams take on Europe's finest four at the end of March.

Chris Roberts answered more fan questions on Star Citizen this week, revealing further details on exploration and mapping space and confirming that plotting a new jump point will be a very risky business. In a new interview on Elite: Dangerous, David Braben outlined the massive scope of the game's upcoming online features, which will include huge conflicts between NPC factions that players can influence. Blizzard announced that it's aiming to release the pre-download for Diablo III's upcoming Reaper of Souls expansion by the end of January and confirmed that vendor-sold items will no longer be salvageable in the next expansion beta patch. Finally, Path of Exile kicked off race season six this week with some fantastic prizes and revealed that PvP tournaments may be coming in Patch 1.0.6.

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The Summoner's Guidebook: Reckless risk-taking in League of Legends

PvP, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Guides, MOBA, League of Legends, The Summoner's Guidebook

Most people who play League of Legends tend to take really silly, ridiculous risks. If you've read the Summoner's Guidebook for any length of time, you know that I always recommend playing your cards close to your chest and avoiding uneccessary risk-taking.

However, being extremely cautious is not the best idea in the long-term. I'm not suggesting that taking risks all the time is good, but I do advise taking at least one or two stupid gambles every game. Calculated risk-taking is important to victory. You can't be timid and let the enemy walk all over you, but you also can't be mindless. It's important to know the difference.

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