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Long Form

Valve releases Patch 7.02 for Dota 2; nerf hammer brought on Helm of Dominator

In the middle of the Dota 2 Asia Championshp Cup Qualifiers, Valve announced a relatively huge update to the game play. Patch 7.02 deals with hard nerfs on the item Helm of Dominator, medium nerfs on meta heroes Lone Druid and Ember Spirit, and a lot of buffs on non-meta famous heroes such as Bristleback, Windranger and Bounty Hunter.

“Today’s patch unveils the 7.02 Gameplay Update, focusing on numerous small balance adjustments. Including adjustments to hero talents, shrines, terrain, and the addition of Lycan to Captains Mode, this update features multiple balance changes in the wake of launching The New Journey,” Valve’s Dota team mentioned.

Helm of Dominator has been really famous of an item pickup, with almost all heroes on all positions getting access to the item. With the recent changes, its viability in the metagame might be shaken:

* Helm of the Dominator All Stats from 6 to 4
* Helm of the Dominator creeps now give a constant 125 gold bounty
* Towers no longer attack neutral team units

Also, the highly picked Lone Druid, Ember Spirit, and Underlord heroes were also affected:

Ember Spirit:
* Root now disables Activate Fire Remnant
* Level 10 Talent from 15% Spell Amplification to 12%

Lone Druid:
* Level 10 Talent from +200 Attack Range to +175
* Level 15 Talent from +65 Damage to +55
* Level 20 Talent from +7 Spirit Bear Armor to +12
* Level 20 Talent from -50s Respawn Time to -40s

Underlord:
* Movement speed reduced from 305 to 290
* Atrophy Aura Damage Reduction from 10/20/30/40% to 4/16/28/40%
* Level 15 Talent from +200 Health to +35 Movement Speed
* Level 20 Talent from +100 Cast Range to +125
* Level 20 Talent from +50 Attack Speed to +60

Some general gameplay changes were also added, including the strategic updates on Shrines, and the improvement for the quality of life for supports:

* Shrines are now vulnerable after a T3 tower dies (same as the Shrines inside the base), rather than after all T2 towers die
* Sentry Wards now come in packs of 1 for 100 gold (instead of 2 for 200)

More so, Lycan has been added to Captain’s Mode with some changes to go his way:

Lycan:
* Added to CM
* Agility gain from 1.5 to 1.0
* Howl manacost from 30 to 40
* Level 15 Talent from -20s Respawn Time to -25s

Here are also some of the Medium-grade to Major-grade buffs to certain heroes, particularly with their new talent changes:

Bounty Hunter:
* Scepter now also increases Shuriken Toss ministun duration from 0.1 to 0.75
* Level 10 Talent from +15% XP Gain to +20%
* Level 20 Talent from +100 Damage to +120 Damage
* Level 20 Talent from 8% Spell Amplification to +75 Shuriken Toss Damage
* Level 25 Talent from +20% Evasion to +25%

Brewmaster:
* Fire Spirit now has phasing movement
* Level 10 Talent from +25 Attack Speed to +30
* Level 15 Talent from +20 Movement Speed to +75 Thunder Clap Damage
* Level 20 Talent from -25s Respawn Time to -35s
* Level 25 Talent from 14 Primal Split Unit Armor to +20

Bristleback:
* Quill Spray Max damage from 450 to 550
* Viscous Nasal Goo Scepter range from 700 to 750
* Level 15 Talent from +20 Movement Speed to +4 Max Goo Stacks
* Level 20 Talent from -30s Respawn Time to -35s
* Level 25 Talent from +4 Max Goo Stacks to +20 Quill Stack Damage

Dark Seer:
* Movement speed reduced from 300 to 295
* Ion Shell manacost from 70/90/110/130 to 100/110/120/130
* Level 15 Talent from +90 Damage to +120
* Level 20 Talent from +25 Intelligence to +75 Vacuum AoE
* Level 20 Talent from +12 Strength to +10% Cooldown Reduction
* Level 25 Talent from +12% Cooldown Reduction to +25 Strength
* Level 25 Talent from +70 Ion Shell Damage to +80
Windranger:
* Powershot damage from 120/220/320/420 to 180/260/340/420
* Powershot cooldown from 9 to 12/11/10/9
* Windrun slow AoE from 300 to 325
* Windrun manacost from 100 to 75
* Level 10 Talent from +15 Damage to +25% Windrun Slow
* Level 15 Talent from +16 Intelligence to +20 Intelligence
* Level 15 Talent from +200 Health to +40 Movement Speed
* Level 20 Talent from +12% Magic Resistance to +20%
* Level 20 Talent from +12% Spell Amplification to +15%
* Level 25 Talent from -5s Powershot Cooldown to -6s

More Gameplay changes can be found in this link.

 

Long Form

5 Female Video Game Characters who defied Stereotypes

Women in video games back then are often just damsels in distress. Say for example Princess Peach; her only role in the first few Mario games is to be abducted and saved by the player. If not seen as objectives to be saved, female game characters were often just eye-candy, wearing revealing clothing without any unique personality traits to speak of.

Now before the month of March is about to end (it is after all Women’s History Month), we are highlighting five female video game characters who have defied the stereotypes. These characters are nuanced and multi-dimensional, with different ages, backgrounds, and personalities.

Lara Croft

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Lara Croft, she’s one of the most recognizable video game characters of all time, and with good reason. The Tomb Raider series are excellent adventure games in their own right, and is one of the first adventure series to feature a badass female playable protagonist. No matter which iteration of Lara, she’s sure to be a force to be reckoned with. Though we would like to highlight the latest incarnation of Lara from the 2013 reboot.

The current Lara Croft is a great character, as she is initially portrayed as vulnerable and inexperienced, but through her experiences throughout the game, she turns into the Lara Croft that we have all come to know and love. This evolution of her character shows more depth to her personality, and is much more realistic compared to the previous Lara’s; not to mention she wears much more appropriate tomb-raiding attire (I mean, who wears a bright blue tank-top and short-shorts to tombs?).

Aloy

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Aloy is the newest character included in the list, though this does not make her the least interesting. She is the playable character of Guerilla Games’ and Sony’s newest IP, Horizon: Zero Dawn. As the game is set in a post-apocalyptic world filled with robots, you have to be tough to survive, and Aloy is just that. She climbs, fights, and takes down large robots with ease, and she’s resilient despite the harsh obstacles along her way. Most importantly though, Aloy is compassionate and sympathetic to those in need, making her one of the best new female characters in games.

Clementine

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The two previous girls on the list are strong physically, though they might not match the mental and emotional strength of The Walking Dead’s 8-year old Clementine. The game’s two seasons (with a new one underway) throws equal parts danger and heartbreak throughout her journey of survival, but she keeps on persevering. Clementine is smart and mature for her age, and she makes many tough decisions throughout her journey, decisions that most of us might not make properly given the situation. Given all that she’s been and will go through, Clementine surely deserves praise.

Tali’Zorah Nar Rayya

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One of Commander Shepard’s constant companions throughout the Mass Effect trilogy, Tali’Zorah Nar Rayya might not be human, but she’s one of the most memorable characters in the said trilogy. As a Quarian (one of the many alien species in Mass Effect), Tali is a mechanical genius, which proves invaluable in their fight against the Reapers. Tali is also a kind-hearted and gentle soul, but can kick-ass when needed. And the best thing about her is that she’s loyal to her friends aboard the Normandy, and her family in the Quarian Fleet.

Ana Amari

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Overwatch is one of the finest games when it comes to female representation, with female characters ranging from a bodybuilding Russian, to a feisty Korean gamer. And the last one on our list is Ana Amari, the game’s Egyptian sniper/healer. At 60 years old, she’s one of the oldest characters in the game, and one of the oldest female characters in any FPS.

Ana’s design deserves a lot of praise, especially as there are only a few games that feature playable female characters that are already in their 60s, even though old male characters are quite common. She’s also unique gameplay-wise, as she is equipped with a sniper rifle that heals allies. And best of all, she has a motherly nature, which is in line with the colorful personalities of characters that inhabit the world of Overwatch.

Images courtesy of in2gpu, Escapist, PlayStation Universe, PlayOverwatch, and the Mass Effect Wiki.

Long Form

Dota 2 Asia Championships 2017 Tier List (Part 2 of 2)

The Dota 2 Asia Championships will be starting March 27th, where the 12 participating teams shall undergo a BO2 round robin stage to determine who’ll go to the Upper Bracket or the Lower Bracket of the Main Event come April 1-4. GG Network evaluated where the 12 participating teams fare in terms of their chances in winning this tournament:

READ: Dota 2 Asia Championships 2017 Tier List (Part 1 of 2)


Tier 3: Dark Horses

Vici Gaming. J (VG.J)

Sun “Agressif” Zheng
Liu “Freeze” Chang
Bai “rOtk” Fan
Xu “fy” Linsen
Lu “Fenrir” Chao

The standout performance of Vici Gaming.J last Star Ladder Star Series — where they eliminated teams such as Wings Gaming and OG en route to the Grand Finals — was enough for Valve to actually directly invite them for the Kiev Major. Understandably so, because the face value you get from just their lineup is quite immense. It is still the support duo fy and Fenrir as well as former TI runners-up Agressif and rOtk, anyway. They’ve shown that they can defeat even the greatest if they find their groove.

Wings Gaming

Chu “shadow” Zeyu
Zhou “bLink” Yang
Zhang “Faith_bian” Ruida
Zhang “y`” Yiping
Lee “iceice” Peng

Wings Gaming might be the recent world defending champions, but teams have already figured out their unpredictability up to this point; hence, their poor performances in their past tournament outings since their TI6 championship run. They have shown that VG.J can defeat them as well, but the chaos that Patch 7.04 might bring could be their second wind.

Newbee

Xu “uuu9” Han
Song “Sccc” Chun
Damien “kpii” Chok
Hu “kaka” Liangzhi
Zeng “Faith” Hongda

The second Chinese powerhouse hasn’t been active as of late — but the fact that they were direct invites to both DAC and the Kiev Major speaks a lot about the team’s pedigree. There’s still much to stay whether or not they look good for the recent patch, but their roster since Fall season has been kept intact and their strength should also be here as well. It is not impossible at all for the 9000 MMR-heavy team (both Sccc and kaka were the first ones to reach such height in the China Region) to take this tournament home.


Tier 4: Championship Contenders

Team Liquid

Lasse “MATUMBAMAN” Urpalainen
Amer “Miracle-“ Al-Barkawi
Ivan “MinD_ContRoL” Borislavov
Maroun “GH” Merhej
Kuro “KuroKy” Salehi Takhasomi

Finally, the three-man 9000 MMR stack of Team Liquid — MATUMBAMAN, Miracle-, and even the support GH all reached 9000 MMR  — found their success after winning the StarLadder Star Series Season 3 last month. More importantly, they did it in a very convincing fashion. They have netted their Keiv Major invites as well, and it’s no doubt that the uber-talented team can easily become the champions of this tournament.

OG

Johan “N0tail” Sundstein
Anathan “ana” Pham
Gustav “s4” Magnusson
Jesse “JerAx” Vainikka
Tal “Fly” Aizik

The recent Fall Major champions may have had a rather premature exit at the Star Ladder Star Series Season 3, but their strength and tactical depth as a team is nothing to be shrugged off. In almost all of their LAN outings, they are a threat to any team and a championship contender as well. They are looking in prime shape as of late, and they are a very strong force here in DAC.

Evil Geniuses

Artour “Arteezy” Babaev
Syed Sumail “SumaiL” Hassan
Saahil UNiVeRsE Arora
Ludwig “zai” Wahlberg
Andreas Franck “Cr1t” Nielsen

Their Fall Season have had a rocky start, but the new iteration of Evil Geniuses seemed to slowly be gelling. They had quite an impressive run during the Boston Major, but their stand out performance was taking down the titans OG last Dota Pit Season 5 to win the tournament in five epic games. They are indeed the defending champions of this tournament, and SumaiL might just get his second Divine Rapier from DAC this year.


You can follow this writer through @caisamyvez

Long Form

Dota 2 Asia Championships 2017 Tier List (Part 1 of 2)

The Dota 2 Asia Championships will be starting March 27th, where the 12 participating teams shall undergo a BO2 round robin stage to determine who’ll go to the Upper Bracket or the Lower Bracket of the Main Event come April 1-4. GG Network evaluated where the 12 participating teams fare in terms of their chances in winning this tournament:


Bottom 3: Happy To Be Here Tier

Team Empire

Vladimir “Chappie” Kuzmenko
Rostislav “fn” Lozovoi
Andrey “Ghostik” Kadyk
Yaroslav “Miposhka” Naidenov
Rinat “KingR” Abdullin

Team Empire found a lot of luck after Virtus.Pro failed to participate in the online European Qualifiers of DAC. This team was also neither invited nor qualified for the upcoming Kiev Major, which proves their struggles in maintaining their performance at the EU scene. Still, they qualified for DAC, but they’re long ways to go especially against 9 other Kiev Major participants.

LGD.Forever Young (LFY)

Du “Monet” Peng
Xie “Super” Junhao
Xiao “Jixing” Zhihao
Lei “White” Yipei
Luo “Lpc” Puchao

Like Team EmpireLFY would not be participating in the Kiev Major and might just be the weakest link in the stronghold of the Chinese lineup for DAC, as their revamped roster still hasn’t brought fruit. They can easily be taken down by other more stabler teams, and both Super and Monet has a long way to go in terms of representing this team.

Team NP

Kurtis “Aui_2000” Ling
Jacky “EternaLEnVy” Mao
Arif “MSS” Anwar
Avery “SVG” Silverman
Theeban “1437” Siva

Team NP also failed to qualify for the Kiev Major, after a big upset from Team Onyx and Abed “Abed” Yusop’s Meepo. This is hard evidence for Team NP‘s chances in DAC: surely, they can go far in this tournament by talent value in ther lineup alone, but they can also be easily defeated by any team if they don’t get themselves together. Team NP‘s chances are slim against other top-grade teams here in DAC, and they themselves can make it slimmer because they are a team proven — time and time again — to be outplaying themselves.


 

Second Tier: Long Shot

Invictus Gaming

Xu “BurNIng” Zhilei
Ou “Op” Peng
Lin “Xxs” Jing
Ye “BoBoKa” Zhibiao
Fu “Q” Bin

iG might not be the best in the Chinese scene, but still proves to be successful in many of their recent online tournament outings. They’ve bested many teams in this region, and successfully qualified through three premiere tournaments throughout 2017: DAC, Kiev Major, and Manila Masters. The BurNIng-led bunch of considerably upstarts in the Dota 2 scene showed the whole world recently that if they can find their stride, they can be successful against many other teams.

Invictus Gaming Vitality

Zhang “Paparazi灬” Chengjun
Xu “Sakata” Zichen
Yang “InJuly” Xiaodon
Su “super” Peng
Gao “Dogf1ghts” Tianpeng

As the secondary team of the franchise, iG.Vitality found themselves more successful than the main squad since their revamp last Fall season. They actually qualified for last season’s Fall Major — though they had to change three of their players because of US VISA issues — and masterfully defeat them in a series to effectively qualify for the upcoming Kiev Major. They still have a lot to prove when going up against the top-grade Chinese teams, but they have already shown the international scene their strength as a team. It wouldn’t be surprising if they can upset many other teams because of their youngster savvy.

Team Faceless

Dominik “Black^” Reitmeier
Anucha “Jabz” Jirawong
Daryl “iceiceice” Koh
Toh “Xy-“ Wai Hong
Wong “NutZ” Jeng Yih

There’s no doubt that Faceless are currently the kings in the Southeast Asia region, but they are the team that showed quite inadequate performances when it comes to international tournaments. Then again, they showed last Dota Pit Season 5 that they can defeat even the top teams because of the amount of veteran experience running through their decorated lineup. If Faceless can still pull something out of their bag o’ tricks, their chances in making it through the tournament can be higher.


Watch out for Part 2 of this GG Network Tier List for Dota 2 Asia Championship. You can follow this writer through @caisamyvez