Halloween Happenings
Posted by Bethesda Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 31 October 2014, 5:40 pm
It just wouldn’t be a Halloween post if we didn’t have the annual sharing of office costumes. Take a look at the great outfits from our both Rockville HQ and id’s office in Dallas! Have you gutted your orange globe yet and carved it up? We’ve been seeing some wonderful jack-o-lanterns this Halloween season ranging […]

Preseason 2015: Increasing Strategic Diversity
Posted by News [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 31 October 2014, 4:06 pm

Preseason 2015: Increasing Strategic Diversity

Originally Posted by Riot (View RedTracker Source)


With the 2014 season winding down, we’re once again just around the corner from the time of chaos that is preseason! Rest assured this isn’t chaos for the sake of chaos or disruption for the sake of disruption; the preseason is an important period of downtime between ranked and professional play to set the foundation for the next year of League’s evolution. Over the coming days we’ll publish a series of dev blogs going in-depth with our preseason changes, including the jungle (again!), objectives, and items. While these won’t cover 100% of what’s coming, we wanted to cover the big topics before getting to the fun. For now, let’s kick things off on a higher level.

Preseason: Just the Beginning

Preseason is our chance to set the stage. It’s the beginning, not the end.

There will be a lot of changes to League over a short period of time and, with so many variables at play, we’re expecting the game to be disrupted, imperfect, and require a lot of tweaking over time. In other words, while we’re confident we’re taking the game in the right general direction, we’ll correct course as needed as we see the changes unfold.

While we’ve been testing preseason internally for months, no matter what we do, players will have put hundreds or thousands (nearly millions?) of times more hours into these changes in the first week than we ever could. We’re looking forward to seeing what you’re all able to do with this slew of new mechanics and content, and we’ll be looking for your feedback.

On to the good stuff!

Strategic Diversity

This preseason, we’re looking for ways to support more strategic diversity in League of Legends. If your eyebrow is raised right now, you’re not alone - ‘strategic diversity’ is a pretty vague and abstract idea. It’s not just a buzzword to us, but a deep focus of our design philosophy going forward, so to keep everyone on the same page we’ll be breaking down what strategic diversity means to us and how we’re working to increase it in this series of posts.

The Path Less Traveled

When we talk about strategic diversity, it’s a conversation about the ways you look to win - the different paths to victory your team can take. Mechanical skill (insane Lee Sin ward kicks) and tactical decision making (funneling through the jungle to set up a perfect Orianna ult) are important elements of skill in League. We’ve focused a lot in the past at ensuring that tactical and mechanical mastery are powerful and, while we don’t want to change that, we do want to enhance the impact and variety of strategic gameplay.

Through the years, players have discovered a bunch of viable strategies like teamfight-focused (deathball) strats, split pushing, siege / poke comps, objective control, and more. In the past, when one of the aforementioned strategies was so dominant it crowded out all others we didn’t have a whole lot of options to bring it back in line other than nerfing the champions that were critical to its success. Think Shen back in his split push heyday or, more recently, Ziggs and stall comps. Since we believe that League is at it’s best when multiple strategies are battling it out on the Rift, we had to target champions to bring strategies in line to allow others to emerge. We’re hoping the path being set by the 2015 pre-season will allow us to create an ecosystem where multiple strategies can prosper… and kill each other.

Some Nitty-Gritty

A common theme you’ll notice is a focus on specialized offense but generalized defense. What this means is your offensive strategy is going to be strengthened by specializing into it. If you want opt into a specific strategy, you’re best off picking a team comp and purchasing items that enable this strategy. For defending against this specialized offense, however, we’re going to provide players with the tools they need in a way that makes counter-strategies available to nearly any team comp (for example, an item that will let you engage on an elusive poke comp). This is the intent of many of the changes to objectives or items; they are available to most comps most of the time and can be leveraged as needed. This allows us to add more power to strategic decisions without games just being decided in champion select.

Another major focus is on deepening the demands on players and champions so that there are more ways for a champion to express strength and power. This will be most apparent in the jungle where we want demands to be greater than “can you gank super hard?” We’re looking to re-introduce value to junglers who can clear quickly or safely (think Season 2) as well as keeping the value of junglers who hit lanes hard, fast and early.

Quick Preview

We’ll be experimenting with changes to objectives (towers, dragon, and baron), the jungle (a new camp, spawn times, difficulty, items, rewards… well, all of it really), items (more situationally powerful actives!) and some core systems (stats per level, death timers, how health / mana regen works). It’s a lot to take in and will take even more time to master in-game, but we’ll walk you through it as we go deeper into the design decisions behind these changes in the coming days. Every change is geared towards laying a foundation which can support more strategic diversity - no matter which champ you choose on the path

October in Review
Posted by The Ancient Gaming Noob [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 31 October 2014, 2:00 pm
The Site Not much to complain about this month.  I changed the site theme a few times one weekend, but still cannot find one that is better than the current theme on all fronts. I converted a couple of much-used tags into categories on the blog, so if you want to pull up, as an […]

Will I roll a new Beorning for LOTRO?
Posted by Bio Break [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 31 October 2014, 12:00 pm
Lord of the Rings Online’s Update 15 is scheduled for next Wednesday, and while it’ll have plenty of stuff for my Captain to do at the level cap, there’s also the siren’s song of the first new class for the … Continue reading

A Promising Light for GamerGate
Posted by Zen Of Design [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 31 October 2014, 11:39 am
When #GamerGate kicked in, I strongly advocated for the people who actually cared about ethics in games journalism to use the energy to create a consumer organization (Initial proposal here,

Happy Halloween!
Posted by Bethesda Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 31 October 2014, 9:48 am
In time for Halloween, The Evil Within’s lead concept artist, Ikumi Nakamura, provided this amazing (and timely) variation of The Keeper. From everyone at Bethesda, we wish you a happy and safe Halloween weekend. While you’re haunting about, feel free to share your best Halloween creations and costumes using the hashtag #BethesdART or emailing us […]

Predictability of games
Posted by Tobold's Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 31 October 2014, 8:42 am
Azuriel is talking about Civilization: Beyond Earth and complains that after an interesting start the end game becomes a formality, where you already know you won, but still need to play for hours to actually win. Meanwhile Zubon talks about a board game where the better player always wins. And Stubborn mentions: "Okay, most recently I’ve been playing X-Com (I haven’t fully rage-quit just yet, though I was close the other night when two 90% to hit rocket attacks missed their mark followed by an 88% sniper shot missing, causing one of my people to be killed the following round, but I held it together and played on).".

What do these posts have in common? They are all about predictability of games. Games tend to start out in a state of maximum unpredictability: You usually don't know who is winning before the game has developed a bit further. At some point it becomes very clear who is winning, but unless a player concedes (and an AI player frequently isn't programmed to do so), the game goes on in a very predictable manner. And then it comes down to the amount of randomness in the game whether the game becomes totally boring, or there is still a chance for a reversal of fortunes.

Having said that, a lot of people like knowing early that they are going to win. Not everybody is playing games in a competitive manner. Most people are quite happy for example doing quests in MMORPGs for hundreds of hours, where they always "win", and only rarely encounter minor setbacks. Other players manipulate, cheat, or pay money in order to make a game more predictably a win. Even mild-mannered Stubborn can get close to rage-quitting if his 90% win chance turns into a loss.

That poses a challenge to game design. Do we really want a "No Longer Delay the Inevitable button" as suggested by Azuriel? Or do we want games where up to the very end it isn't predictable who is winning? (There are actually a number of board games with hidden scoring systems that work like that). Do we want more randomness in games, so they become less predictable, or do we prefer less randomness and more predictability?
Tobold's Blog

ArcheAge Alpha - Husbandry Profession
Posted by Mystic Worlds [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 31 October 2014, 9:55 am
One of the more unique ArcheAge crafting professions is Husbandry. Primarily, the profession consists of caring for, harvesting from or butchering livestock. It also includes the opportunity to breed two types of battle pets or mounts – Polar Bear and Yata. This is the first MMO I’ve played with a crafting profession revolving around working with animals and had to give it a try.

Winter is coming
Posted by Bio Break [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 31 October 2014, 9:00 am
A lot of people express (loudly) their love for the fall season, and while I used to be a huge “spring” guy, in recent years I’ve come around to join the autumnal camp.  I feel very alive and full of … Continue reading

TL;DP: Halloween Revue
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 31 October 2014, 6:14 am

Halloween has long held a special place in my heart. It wasn't just the petty vandalism, anonymous racketeering, or sugar highs (or, as I like to think of it, Reeser Madness). It was the spectacle of it. The pageantry. The theatricality.

Name me another holiday where you can dress up as a princess, a pirate, or a slavering beast from Hell (or indeed, all three at once) and people give you free stuff for it.

Well, yes yes. PAX for one. And ComicCon. And ... Look, do you mind? I'm reminiscing here!

read more

Song of the South
Posted by The Ancient Gaming Noob [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 31 October 2014, 12:32 am
Lots of big shiny things to shoot way down  in the southeast corner of New Eden.  Cue Jaws sound track… Of course, they aren’t all there anymore. I do not think I have ever been this far south on the map.  New space to see.

Steam key resellers
Posted by Tobold's Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 31 October 2014, 4:31 am
If somebody offers you a designer watch or handbag for a very low price, sold out of the boot of his car, you would be suspicious. Either the item is fake, or it is stolen. So obviously I was wondering the same when I bought the Civilization 5 complete edition from a Steam key reseller for 15 Euro, instead of paying Steam 40 Euro for the same item. There are fake and stolen keys around.

While I don't know a way to actually buy a Steam key I could mail to somebody else directly from Steam (is that possible?), I have in the past received Steam keys that were quite definitely legit. For example if you fund a game on Kickstarter and the funded game ends up on Steam, you might get one or several Steam keys as backer rewards. If you buy a game in physical form, a box with a DVD in it, there might be a Steam key in there as well. So it is very possible for somebody to end up with a "spare" Steam key which is neither fake nor stolen.

So unlike that designer handbag or watch this isn't necessarily a black market. But I can't shake the feeling that at the very least it is a grey one. The key I bought "works", as in it allowed me to install and play Civilization 5 on my computer. But I am not 100% sure if somewhere in the process something legally dodgy was going on, and the cheap price is somehow the result of a copyright violation or something similar. You getting a Steam key legitimately and you being allowed to resell that Steam key are two very different things.

A bit of research on the internet finds opinions divided: Some people don't buy anything directly from Steam any more, and only buy resold keys. Others report on the possibility that Steam could either remove a game you bought via key from your library, or even ban your whole account. So right now I'm not sure if getting that game for less than half price was actually a good deal.
Tobold's Blog

The Birth of a Pipe Bombing Campaign
Posted by The Ancient Gaming Noob [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 17 October 2014, 1:00 pm
When it comes to watching gaming related videos on YouTube, I must admit that I do not have much patience.  Small screen video, bad audio commentary, and a general inability to grab and hold the interest of any viewer not captivated by shiny colors and an overbearing sound track pushes me to reject just about […]

Tech 3 Destroyers and Other Tidbits from EVE Vegas Keynote
Posted by The Ancient Gaming Noob [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 18 October 2014, 5:30 pm
EVE Vegas is running this weekend.  The one time player driven event that has turned into a CCP sponsored affair, complete with a keynote speech full of new treats. CCP Seagull kicked things off with a theme and overview of how CCP is looking at the upcoming changes.  The idea is that CCP wants to […]

A Short and Bloody Visit to F7C-H0
Posted by The Ancient Gaming Noob [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 20 October 2014, 1:00 pm
Well, it was a short visit for me. The highlight of weekend fleet ops up until Saturday evening had been flying around Black Rise to pop a couple of Black Legion faction battleships with DBRB.  I hadn’t been in one of his fleets in ages, and it was good to see that he hasn’t calmed […]

Should Guilds Have Levels?
Posted by The Ancient Gaming Noob [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 21 October 2014, 1:00 pm
According to Blizzard the answer to that question is no, guilds should not have levels. We got guild levels as part of the Cataclysm expansion, 25 of them, along with perks to go with those levels.  Those levels were not easy to acquire back then.  During Cataclysm our guild only managed to get to level […]

Rome – City Assaults are Difficult
Posted by The Ancient Gaming Noob [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 22 October 2014, 12:00 pm
We formed up again on Friday night for another round of Roman mayhem.  We had done a couple weeks of river crossing battles and it seemed like time to try something new.  I opted not to form the game up so somebody else could decide which skirmish scenario we were going to try.  Loghound was […]

Notes from an Undisclosed Location in the Insmother Region
Posted by The Ancient Gaming Noob [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 23 October 2014, 2:00 pm
The big, pre-Phoebe alliance update was posted yesterday addressing the new order in sovereign null sec.  Since the CFC is as riddled with spies as any other organization in New Eden, updates from The Mittani get posted directly over at The Mittani dot com, saving people the trouble of stealing/distributing them and generating some ad […]

The Instance Group Resurgent in Azeroth… Sort Of… And Hallow’s End
Posted by The Ancient Gaming Noob [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 24 October 2014, 1:00 pm
We decided to get our collective act together and get into the game so as to get used to the new realities of WoW 6.0. And we tried. However, due to authenticator problems, bronchitis, and a previous engagement, only Potshot and I ended up in game last Saturday night. Such is life. We decided that, […]

Sunday Afternoon in YA0-XJ
Posted by The Ancient Gaming Noob [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 26 October 2014, 5:22 pm
Apparently an AFK CFC titan was ejected from a POS and ended up 200+ km out of the shields.  There is speculation that this was because somebody changed the password, but details are uncertain at this point. Black Legion dropped on the titan and then we dropped on Black Legion.  They won the ISK war […]

Home from Camping in Insmother
Posted by The Ancient Gaming Noob [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 27 October 2014, 1:00 pm
Somebody once opined that moon mining was a “risk-free” source of income.  The tower just sits there and harvests the moon goo and all you have to do is drive by in your hauler once in a while to pick it up.  Practically free money. I was reminded of that post as we roamed around […]

Results of the Summer Loremaster Project
Posted by The Ancient Gaming Noob [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 28 October 2014, 2:00 pm
Back in June, with the summer hiatus of the instance group looming, I embarked on a project.  I was going to finish up quests in Azeroth in pursuit of the Loremaster achievement.  And I was going to attempt to do it with characters that were at the appropriate level for the zones being run. The […]

Rome – Ambushed
Posted by The Ancient Gaming Noob [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 29 October 2014, 1:00 pm
I was late to the Roman slaughter on Friday night as the Reaver extraction operation from Insmother took longer than expected… which is pretty much how every op in EVE Online works.  What will happen if we deploy somewhere even further away? Anyway, I showed up to find matches in progress, with Mattman and Loghound […]

Wait, What? The Giants Win the World Series Again?
Posted by The Ancient Gaming Noob [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 29 October 2014, 11:46 pm
Back in 2010, as the San Francisco Giants finished their first game in their first appearance in a World Series this decade, I wrote about what a long road it had been as a fan of the team for at least four decades.  There had been lots of good times, I saw many great players, […]

The Instance Group Mostly Finishes Off Pandaria
Posted by The Ancient Gaming Noob [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 30 October 2014, 2:00 pm
Warlords of Draenor will be dropping in about two weeks, so it was clearly time for the long standing instance group to shake off the warm glow of summer and get back to work in Pandaria.  Last week it was just Skronk and I online on Saturday night.  We doubled that number this time around […]

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