Is Perfect World Responsible for the Pay-to-Win in New Bloom?

February 19, 2015

As you may have already heard, Dota 2’s recent New Bloom event has not been well received.  The main feature, a 5v5 brawl accentuated with the periodic appearance of semi-controllable ‘Year Beasts,’ has been plagued by a number of questionable design decisions.  The first several days were marred by widespread server issues due queues for the event being restricted to random 10 minute intervals.  This kind of queue restriction is great if you’re trying to boost player density, say to create tightly matched games in the sparsely populated >5000 MMR region.  It’s significantly less productive when you’re dealing with a record high concurrent player count of over one million, most of whom are trying to get inside your shiny new holiday event hat-creation device.

And all this is weird because, as many people have pointed out, none of this seems very like Valve.  I can’t find the video right now, but there was a talk about how Team Fortress 2 patches were structured in a way to periodically reinvigorate player interest.  But for the many casual Dota 2 players out there, New Bloom could easily be an interest killer.  You rush home from school or work, knowing that you’ve already missed a number of opportunities to build up wins for those event couriers.  You find that you can’t queue up for the event, and, assuming you’re outside of the one-hour warning window, you have no idea when the next queue will open.  You can’t practice for the event at all, which makes you nervous because you know random internet strangers can be less-than-cordial when hats are on the line.  Then, once you finally manage to get in the queue, the server crashes, meaning you can wait another ~2 hours to try again, or just do something more productive with your time.

New Bloom feels like a design-by-committee disaster, where requirements and restrictions were pushed with no concern for the viability of the final project.  The F-35 of Holiday Events.  And while there’s been a lot of speculation about Valve’s motives, whether to chalk this up to incompetence or capitalism, I have a theory that they might not have had that much control over the general direction of the event.  I don’t propose this in an attempt to absolve them, but because this alternative explanation is significantly more troubling.  So with the tone properly set, let’s talk about Pay-to-Win (P2W).


 

Originally I had planned to write a whole spiel about Pay-To-Win: how it’s never literally paying “to win,” how it’s really about paying for an advantage that accelerates a reward cycle, and how in a player-versus-player environment these advantages often need to be subtle in order to avoid frustrating the non-paying players into quitting.  But as people have accumulated larger amounts of ability points, it turns out that the Pay-To-Win in this mode is not subtle in the slightest.

And speaking of a lack of subtlety, take a look at the original page advertising the point system:

NewBloomP2WImage nabbed from 2p.com’s New Bloom Article

The immediate impression of this points system is that the deck is stacked against a non-paying player.  There are only three ways to get points without paying, all three fall under varying degrees of unreliable, and the points provided by these methods feel utterly inconsequential compared to the 2400 options.  My point here isn’t that this is a bad P2W system because of it’s lack of subtlety; it’s that the system was designed in such a way that makes me believe subtlety was explicitly not a goal.


With that in mind, let’s ask a simple question: why does New Bloom even exist?  As you might remember from the Rekindling Soul Update:

One more thing: we on the Dota 2 team have a number of updates in the works right now that we’re really excited about, some for the rest of this year, and a big update for early next year. But we’re pretty sure we won’t be able to make enough progress on the larger update if we put it down to work on Diretide – so we’ve decided that we’re not going to ship a Diretide event this year. We know that last year we weren’t clear enough in our communication about this, so this year we wanted to be up front about it early. Next year will bring monumental changes to Dota 2, and we’re confident that when you’ve seen what we’ve been working on, you’ll agree it was worth it.

It’s a pretty popular theory that the “big update for early next year” is a conversion to Source 2 based on its inclusion in the Dota 2 Workshop Tools last year.  It’s reasonable that Valve wouldn’t want to put a lot of work into creating new versions of Diretide and Frostivus only to then have to start all over in the new engine.  But New Bloom is apparently important enough to ship regardless, which suggests that the most important holiday on Valve’s development calendar falls in February, and no, I’m not referring to Valentine’s Day.

And why shouldn’t it be?  China is an enormous part of the Dota scene, and Dota 2 is still trying to make inroads there.  The far more concerning possibility is that New Bloom is as much about pleasing Perfect World, the Dota 2 operator in China, as it is pleasing the actual Chinese playerbase.


If it’s true that Perfect World has a great deal of influence over the structure of New Bloom, then that lack of subtlety I mentioned before suddenly makes a lot more sense in a “feature, not bug” sort of way.  Consider this section from an IGN article on Free-to-Play game talks at GDC Europe:

By listening to someone familiar with the Chinese free-to-play browser game market, you’ll get an entirely different perspective. The much maligned ‘pay to win’ label in the West, where users can only really advance by handing over money, is pretty much a standard for distribution and financial gain in China. As described by Jared Psigoda of Reality Squared Games, something like the seemingly omnipresent energy mechanic in Western social games, which caps the amount of things someone can do for free in-game, is the most innocent thing in the world. They make Zynga look almost saintly when it comes to the transparency of their revenue-driven intentions.

“When I talk to Chinese game designers,” said Psigoda, “they say, ‘I just dug this new pit, this monetization pit, that somebody could spend 10,000 dollars or 50,000 dollars in and not reach the highest level.’ It’s all about the monetization of the game.”

Chinese publishers hope to earn back the development budget within two weeks of launch, so everything – armor, pets, equippable angelic wings — can be upgraded, and everything costs money. And users pay it, because they want to be first on the leaderboards. Psigoda provided statistics showing some gamers would spend over 100,000 dollars on a single game. In some games, botting is a built-in feature, though the service will only remain active if you pay a small fee while away from a computer.

(emphasis mine)

And as for Perfect World specifically, I have a little game.  Take the name of any of the games they’ve developed, append ‘p2w’ and search for it in your search engine of choice.  If you’re like me you’ll find an abundance of helpful forum post titles including:

“pay to win?”

“How do you feel about this game being pay to win?”

“This game is absolutely Pay To Win”

“Is PWI the most P2W Game?”

“Why is P2W bad?”

“Paying to Win, why this is actually a positive thing”

I think it’s safe to say that when it comes to monetization design Perfect World doesn’t do subtlety.  And why should they?  The gaming culture they design for does not demand it, and it is not in the interests of anyone making games there to introduce it and ruin the ride for everyone.  Given that environment, New Bloom is a perfect fit.  If anything the pit isn’t deep enough.


All this is predicated on the assumption that Perfect World has the clout to dictate to some extent the terms of this event.  I certainly cannot prove that this is the case, but consider the situation.  China is an undeniably huge part of the Dota community, but in order to get Dota 2 inside of China, Valve needs someone like Perfect World.  Maybe they could shop around for other operators, but this would at the very least be immensely time consuming, possibly a major social faux pas, and even if they somehow managed to find another operator, it’s unlikely that they would find one that would have a more, shall we say, “enlightened” view on P2W mechanics.  These factors give Perfect World a degree of leverage over Valve that could plausibly allow the scenario I’ve laid out in this post.

If you think it’s outrageous that Valve would agree to these concessions, consider it this way: without Perfect World, we would not have had the recent Dota 2 Asian Championships, and we might have even seen greatly reduced Chinese participation at the recent Internationals.  Salt about the TI4 finals notwithstanding, having to put up with a month of a terrible event isn’t an entirely unreasonable price to pay for a healthier international competitive scene.

So from this pragmatic sense, I might be ‘ok’ with New Bloom.  I still find it repulsive, but I can ignore it if that’s what it takes to keep Chinese teams active in the professional scene.  That being said, slippery slopes aren’t always a fallacy.  This year’s New Bloom establishes a troubling precedent, as previously all P2W experiments were done in PvE modes.  P2W in a competitive game is always 100% unacceptable, so hopefully this event is not a harbinger of things to come.


The Big Losers of 6.82’s Rubberbanding Were Not Supports

October 30, 2014

When 6.82 came out, it was a common refrain that this was the 5-carry patch,  as far as pubs were concerned.  And there was at least some supporting evidence of that position.  As I showed last post, 6.82 made pub matches significantly longer, and if you’re expecting long games why not exclusively draft heroes that are strong in the late game?

But while 6.82 might have been the least bad patch for a 5-carry line up in recent history, I didn’t buy into this line of thinking.  You still have to actually win a teamfight or at least create some trades for the kill bounty changes to take effect, and a 4th and 5th carry with no farm and a terrible laning phase is a lot less likely to contribute to those kills than a support.  To me it was more likely that we would see popularity shifts within the support role, but that supports as a whole wouldn’t see a huge hit to their overall success.

Unfortunately, it was difficult to tell much from win rate shifts between patches.  6.82 had a ton of other changes, making it impossible to attribute any particular hero’s success or struggle solely to the new kill bounty formulas.  Fortunately, we have a much more favorable testing environment in the recent 6.82c patch.

As you can see from the patch notes, 6.82c is a pretty simple patch.  We have longer buyback cooldowns and ethereal blade change, neither of which is likely to alter hero balance dramatically.  Twelve heroes received changes, mostly nerfs to the top pub win rate heroes like Omniknight and Spectre or to the top 6.82 professional bans like Brewmaster, Skywrath Mage, Death Prophet, and Terrorblade.  Finally we have yet another scaling back of 6.82’s rubberband mechanic.  So the logic here is pretty simple: these nerfed heroes are going to lose a chunk of win rate, so the biggest recipients of that win rate are likely the heroes that benefit the most from weaker rubberbanding.

To get these pre- and post-patch winrates (Very High only of course) I consulted DotaMax, but they unfortunately do not divide their winrates by mini-patches.  To get around this, I used a Last Week search to create a slice that was purely 6.82c games.  For something to compare that to, I also grabbed the 6.82 results as a whole at that point, and subtracted the 6.82c slice to create what is close enough to those desired pre- and post-patch results.  You can view the raw data here.

As expected, a small group of nerfed heroes represented a lion’s share of the negative momentum:

682Nerfs

And who benefited from all this freed up win rate?

682Buffs

With the exceptions of Treant Protector, as well as Chen and Earth Spirit depending on how you define things, supports were pretty much absent from the upper echelon of beneficiaries.  My suspicion based off this is that the heroes most hurt by the kill bounty changes were carries and semi-carries who thrive on early game bullying or scaling and leveraging that into a win but lack the long-term scaling and utility to reliably win fair fights in a late-game scenario, as that’s a pretty fair descriptor for this entire list outside of the three exceptions I already mentioned.  And if you’re wondering about conspicuous absences, Viper was just outside the cutoff point for the graphic at +0.77%.

Another conspicuous absence is Razor, but as you may recall Razor was one of the twelve heroes receiving predominantly nerfs in 6.82c.  His shift was -1.05% which seems relatively minor, but what could be happening is that the win rate loss from his nerfs is being mitigated by 6.82c being a more favorable enviornment for similar reasons to the above heroes.

Incidentally, the same logic could apply to Earth Spirit.  The 6.82 environment as a whole was detrimental to the hero, but this may have disguised the apparent fact that his hero specific changes appear to have been big improvements.  As the rubberbanding is progressively reigned in his win rate is surging, at least in top end pub play.


6.82 Has Resulted in Closer, Longer Matches

October 8, 2014

With its kill bounty adjustments, 6.82 has been a very polarizing patch.  Some people love the way the new kill bounties change the way pub games play out, others feel that the extreme rubberbanding undermines the economic rules of the game, and both sides have cited favorable reddit posts as proof that reddit clearly doesn’t know what its talking about.

End-of-match results aren’t great for evaluating changes like this.  Kill bounties change the dynamics of a game, so you’d ideally want stats that measure the rate of change and not just the end results.  Nevertheless, I’ve been able to find evidence that 6.82 has been successful at creating closer games.  At the same time, there’s also some signs that the patch has had some less desirable side effects.

The Samples

Instead of one sample, I actually have four samples, each of approximately 20-30 thousand games and entirely in the Very High bracket. Each sample corresponds to a different patch period

The first is the initial release patch, and I’ve labeled it 6.82[1].  For the sake of brevity I won’t include the kill changes, but you can find them described here.

6.82[2] is the small patch roughly a day later on the 26th that “Slightly reduced AoE Gold bonus Net Worth Factor for 1 hero kills from 0.5 to 0.38.”

6.82[3] was yet another day later on the 27th.  It changed:

* Kill Streak Bounty from 100->800 to 60->480 (6.81 values are 125->1000)
* Reduced AoE Gold bonus Net Worth Factor for 1/2/3/4/5 hero kills from 0.5/0.35/0.25/0.2/0.15 to 0.26/0.22/0.18/0.14/0.10

And finally there is 6.82b on the 28th.  It also has a long list of relevant changes that you can find here.

I’m not going to go into the mechanical details of each patch, but I think a fair summary is that each subsequent patch is essentially a weakening of 6.82’s kill bonus comeback mechanics.

Closer Games

To measure how close a game was I used the very simple calculations of (Winning Team Average GPM – Losing Team Average GPM) and (Winning Team Average XPM – Losing Team Average XPM).  In the future a more elaborate test might be warranted, but this is good enough for now.  So how did the 6.82 patches compare to 6.81 on this metric?

682vs681GPM

As you can see, 6.82 corresponded with a huge drop in average GPM and XPM differential, and this stayed true even in the ‘weaker’ versions of the patch.  One interesting quirk though is that 6.82[1] consistently has small differentials despite having the strongest comeback mechanics.  This might indicate that it took players several hours to adjust to and start taking advantage of the new patch.

Game Duration

But as much as closer games is a generally positive development, it’s all for naught if you ruin other aspects of game quality in getting there.  As I said, end-of-game results isn’t a great way for evaluating this, and Valve likely has better approaches.  For example, it’s likely not a coincidence that this patch included the fight recap feature.  But one thing that these API results tell us is that 6.82 has made pub matches take significantly longer.

682vs681Duration

It varies from patch to patch, but the average 6.82 match is approximately 5 minutes longer than the previous patch period, an increase of over 10%.

Some will say this is an appropriate reaction to the TI4 finals, but this explanation misses the mark.  6.81 was only a fast patch in competitive play.  In public play, it was completely in line with previous patches which had been trending shorter for a long time.  Moreover, the competitive match times were being driven by push strats, which were already directly nerfed in multiple ways in 6.81.  It’s much more likely that the increased match duration is an unintended, though not surprising, consequence of the bounty changes.  It goes against what appears to have been a long-term goal to push Dota towards shorter pub games, but maybe that’s considered an acceptable casualty in the pursuit for closer games.

In any case, this increased duration is just the most obvious example of how wide-reaching the (possibly negative) effects of the bounty changes are.   It’s likely that when it comes to 6.82 reactions both sides were correct and whether you liked it or not just depended on which aspects of the game you were most focused on.  It’s not a surprise that the system saw multiple adjustments the very first weekend it was out, and will likely continue to see changes in future patches based on the feedback of how people react to the patch in the upcoming months.

Radiant vs Dire in 6.82

And in one final note, while it’s still too early to say anything definitive about Roshan balance, 6.82 so far hasn’t disrupted the Radiant/Dire balance very much.  The new Roshan position appears less advantageous for Dire, as evidenced by reduced Dire win rates in longer games, but this has been offset by the overall increase in long games.  This balance could easily shift as players further adapt to the new patch, and it may not even apply to competitive games at all.  Still, it’s interesting that so far the map and bounty changes appear to have offset one another.


The Dota 2 Workshop Tools and the Steam Box

August 8, 2014

There’s been a lot to discuss about the newly released Dota 2 Workshop Tools, ranging from speculation that it’s effectively the launch of Source 2 to its use in the summoning of eldritch horrors, but one thing I haven’t seen brought up is its potential strategic value it offers for the Valve’s Steam Box project.

First, a likely terrible recap on why the Steam Box and SteamOS even exist.  Valve as a company is heavily dependent on the success of Steam, and Steam is in-turn highly dependent on the PC market.  If PC sales suffer a permanent downturn or Microsoft makes Windows a less welcoming platform, Valve’s entire business model is at risk.  A successful Steam Box diversifies Steam’s install base, which leaves Steam less exposed.

But making a successful Steam Box isn’t a simple task, and one of the biggest complications is the Linux-based operating system.  Most games are not going to run natively at the start, and while the SteamOS will support game streaming, it’s hard to see this as anything more than a stopgap solution.  One of Steam’s greatest strengths is convenience, and for casual users the streaming solutions are unlikely to be seen as convenient.

So the SteamOS faces the console paradox: to get popular, the SteamOS needs games, but for game ports to be profitable, the SteamOS needs to be popular.  Traditionally, the most prominent answer to this paradox was the console exclusive.  Super Mario Brothers and the Legend of Zelda not only helped make the original NES a success, but their sequels have played the single largest role in selling new Nintendo consoles for over two decades, the defection of Squaresoft’s Final Fantasy 7 away from the Nintendo 64 to the original Playstation played a huge role in Sony’s takeover of the console market, and Xbox’s eventual challenge to the Playstation was backed by the success of Halo.

Over the years however, the power of the console exclusive has diminished.  For all their influence, games like Super Mario Brothers and Legend of Zelda had comparatively tiny staff sizes and development costs compared to modern AAA mammoths.  A company developing games in the NES day could afford to experiment on multiple titles simultaneously because costs were low enough that a handful of successes could make up for the flops.  In comparison, modern AAA development is sclerotic.  There’s too much at stake financially to take risks, so while you might produce safe top sellers, you’re unlikely to ever get the next Mario.  Even then, to get a top seller you need sales, so committing to an exclusive for an unproven platform is insanity compared to simply going multi-platform.

So to take things back to the Workshop Tools, I’d like to point out that Valve doesn’t really make games, and no, I’m not making a Half-Life 3 joke.  Look at the list yourself.  Half-Life and its sequels are original of course, but besides that you have Counter-Strike, Team Fortress, and Day of Defeat, all of which are like Dota 2 and based on mods.  Left 4 Dead is a bit different in that it was acquired from Turtle Rock Studios, but the difference isn’t a huge one.  The original Portal was based on a student game Narbacular Drop, and if you ever played Portal 2 with commentary on you likely have the words “our student game Tag: The Power of Paint” etched permanently in your brain.

Valve’s MO is finding underrated proofs-of-concept and polishing them up so they can compete with AAA offerings, and in light of that the Dota 2 Workshop Tools become all the more interesting.  If these Workshop Tools become popular, and there’s no reason right now to believe that they won’t, it will create a testbed for game concepts.  The best might get picked up by Valve or they might get developed independently.  Either way their start will be on the Source engine which should eventually make it trivial to run them natively in SteamOS.

But the beautiful thing about all this is it potentially takes us back to oldschool game design where creators are free to experiment in a low-investment environment.  From the modders perspective a lot of your immediate hurdles (engine, art, and especially network code) are addressed for you in the short term, and from Valve’s perspective you get results you can evaluate before committing a huge amount of resources.  It’s theoretically a win-win for everyone involved.

And if you think about it, Warcraft 3’s contribution to gaming is more about serving as the genesis for its descendents (Dota, League of Legends, and World of Warcraft, just to name a few) than it is about its own merits.  It could be the case that 10 years down the line Dota might be overshadowed by a game that’s essentially a mod of a mod.  And to their credit, Valve appears to be pretty well positioned to take advantage to that next step in evolution.


TI4 and 6.82 Part 2: Towers, the Pull Camp, and Blink Dagger

July 23, 2014

I talked about TI4 and why I expect it to foreshadow certain changes in 6.82 yesterday.  I prefer not to get too specific on stuff like this, in Dota there’s hundreds of possible ways to influence the game in a certain direction and I have no confidence that I’ll even come close to the one that goes live, but here’s at least some areas of interest that might come up in the patch.

The obvious change for slowing the game down is towers, but I’d expect any tower changes to be modest like a small boost in armor or bounty.  For one, there’s no desire to kill off push lineups entirely, only tilt the balance away from them a tad.  More importantly I think, the top TI4 strategies featured a broader variety of early aggression than just pushing, and  focusing on towers exclusively would leave those other schemes mostly intact.

What I have heard brought up are nerfs to Smoke of Deceit, which I find intriguing if perhaps a bit off the mark.  Support rotations were a big deal at TI4; fy and Fenrir come to mind, but there was also Liquid who upset a lot of teams largely on the production they were getting out of Bulba and waytosexy’s early roaming.  It might not be the case that Smoke of Deceit is too good right now so much as the opportunity cost of a gank attempt is excessively low.

I talk a lot about 6.79 because I believe it to be a game-changing patch, and I think it needs to come up again.  6.79 effectively nerfed support farm by changing the pull camp to a small camp.  It also reduced the XP bounties of many of the neutral spawns and made it possible for offlaners to steal neutral experience by just maintaining a presence in the area.  Supports can do a lot of things during the laning phase, but the two big ones are gank and neutral farm, and with neutral farming significantly weakened, heavy roaming supports won out pretty hard (6.79 also bumped up passive gold gain, further reducing the farm gap between the two styles of support).  And if ganking supports are decisively more productive that would then favor aggressive lineups that could best take advantage of those early ganks.  I recall TI3 having some crazy support item timings, from Alliance in particular, but I don’t remember anything comparable in TI4 that wasn’t largely a part of intense tower pushing.  I suppose there was LGD’s support Alchemist vs DK in their Saturday night matchup, but that’s a completely different case altogether.

I’m not making the case that farming ought to be favored over ganking, but it should be an actual choice and that maybe it’s not much of one right now.  So with that all being said, I could see 6.82 throwing a bone to more farm-intensive support options.  I don’t know that it will be as extreme as something like reversing the pull camp change, but it’s a possible, indirect way to approach 6.81’s over-reliance on aggression.

Finally, there’s Blink Dagger.  I don’t have anything against it, and I can think of other items that would be more annoying when bought in mass quantities (Shadow Blade, Necrobook, Hand of Midas), but 2014 was definitely the year of the Blink Dagger.

You might remember that 6.80 removed the mana cost from Blink Dagger.  In the preceding patch, Blink Dagger had 1667 purchases in 1341 games, for a rate of 1.2 Blink Daggers per game.  Jump ahead to TI4 and we have 625 Blink Daggers in 166 games, a rate of 3.8 per game or more than three times the purchase rate before its buff.  That’s a pretty crazy surge, mitigated some by the fact that it’s a pretty universally useful item, but if you were looking for factors that might have tilted the game towards early aggression you can’t really ignore it.

So yeah, I wouldn’t be surprised if Blink takes a bit of a hit.  If it does take one, I’d expect it to be smaller than the size of it’s buff, such as regaining a 15 mana cost down from the original 75.  Of course now that I’ve said it, Blink definitely won’t be nerfed in that way.  It might even evade attention entirely, but it still deserves some consideration in a discussion on what made TI4 as aggressive as it was.


What TI4 Means for 6.82

July 22, 2014

Regardless of the collective opinion towards yesterday’s TI4 Grand Finals, 6.82 is almost certain to be a reaction to TI4 just as 6.79, with its buyback nerfs and sweeping off-lane changes, was a reaction to TI3 .  The task at hand then is to establish what it is that actually happened at TI4.

I’ve read talk that Newbee’s domination of VG displays the weaknesses inherent to VG’s strategy, but my problem with this narrative is that Newbee, VG, and the often overlooked LGD were three variations on the theme of extreme early aggression.  Take a look at datDota’s International Main Event Predictions.  The teams in the top 8 with the three shortest match times are, unsurprisingly, VG, Newbee, and LGD.  This stat might have changed some for LGD at the Main Event, but VG and Newbee’s average game length length remained just above 30 minutes, thanks in part to the seven extremely quick games (average length of ~24m if I recall correctly) they played against each other in the Upper Bracket and Grand Finals.

What you end up with between the three is a sort of strategic continuum.  At one end, LGD was oriented around aggressive laning and forcing early fights with heroes like Centaur Warrunner, Viper, and Invoker.  At the other end you had VG, who was heavily devoted to all-out push lineups with Shadow Shaman, Nature’s Prophet, Venomancer, Leshrac, and Luna showing up over and over again.  Between the two you have Newbee, a team that was capable of playing both variants as the situation demanded.  In all three cases you have hero compositions almost exclusively designed to win before that 30 minute mark, and they just so happen to be the three teams that most over-performed their pre-event expectations.

So what I expect  in 6.82 is another patch built around systems changes designed to slow the pace of the game.  There’s always a balancing act to be had between aggression and investment, but the results of TI4 suggest that the changes in the last year may have cumulatively favored aggression a tad too much.  Of course it’s impossible to say whether Newbee and VG style strats would remain dominant in some alternative reality where 6.82 never comes out, but Dota patches tend to be more about creating a environment of constant uncertainty over allowing the lifespan of a perceived to be dominant strat play out.

I also expect these changes to overshadow hero nerfs to an extent.  Take Shadow Shaman.  Looking at his TI4 stats (3rd most picked, .557 win rate) he looks pretty plainly overpowered.  But with Newbee and VG you have Shadow Shaman showing up over and over in their strats because he provides two forms of CC that can be useful for early fighting while at the same time he also gives you the strongest push for the least investment of any hero in the game.  He ended up the most popular hero for both Newbee and VG with a combined 21-4 (.840) record on the two teams; when played by every other team he was a pretty mediocre 23-31(.426).  So if system changes succeed in slowing the game down, heroes like Shadow Shaman and Brewmaster might not really need much in the way of nerfing.  Lycan and Doom will probably get the Morphling treatment regardless though.


TI4 Articles on Faceless Void/Razor and Upper Bracket Team Profiles[Link]

July 17, 2014

Void in the Off-lane & TI4 Main Event Day1 Preview

The title of the second article is a tad vague, so here’s an example of the team profiles[TI4Profile]EG

And more will be on the way tomorrow for the four lower bracket teams, LGD, iG, Cloud 9, and Na`Vi


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