While writing the Tides of Blood review a few months ago, I found that screenshots simply weren't doing enough to convey the mechanics that I wanted to talk about. This led me to try recording some gifs, which turned out to be a great solution and a great way to make the material more engaging in general.
One of the things I have struggled with while writing reviews has been discussing heroes, particularly for maps where painstaking attention to hero design was a hallmark of the game. Hero design is a deep topic on which I have many opinions, and it isn't something I want to delve into in every review. But, with video content, now the heroes can speak for themselves.
Over the coming months, I will be revisiting and updating several reviews which I feel were sorely missing appreciation of their heroes, notably Advent of the Zenith and Age of Myths. To keep the site mobile-friendly, I am not embedding video directly, but linking instead.
If you have any feedback about video content, or anything else, feel free to contact me or leave a comment below.
Just before the Frozen Throne expansion was released in July 2003, Eul's Defence of the Ancients was easily among the most popular maps on Battle.net. But it was also a rare example of a map that didn't have tons of clones, since it was made using non-standard tools that made editing it difficult.
The Legend of Sand is one of the most distinctive AoS concepts out there. It taps into ideas from a variety of other genres, and while the result lacks refinement, it's certainly an interesting experience. The game depicts the tale of two early settlements on an island called Sand, and how they wrestle to take control of the island by securing and exploiting its natural resources.
I recently read a book called How Life Imitates Chess by former World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov.
It describes the strategic analysis and decision-making techniques he developed while competing at the highest level of chess, and shares how the same techniques are applicable to decision-making in other areas of life.
For the first time, I've decided to review a commercial lane-pushing game: Dawngate. It presents itself with the goal of usurping the "meta" that's supposedly been a menace in other genre-games, and in practice aims to refine the wildly successful League of Legends formula.
It implements a number of decisive design choices, many of which are ambitious and well-motivated. The game also earned a positive reputation for its emphasis on lore, with elaborate character introductions and the community participating in a supplementary webcomic.
In Part 1, we looked at the history behind ToB, examined some of its map features, and started looking at the motivations for its hero design. But it's worth noting that over time, both the game and community were evolving: exploring the consequences of various mechanics, and experimenting with different design directions.
This part of the review will discuss some of the mechanics which were more closely entwined with the formation of ToB's meta.
Few maps can claim a legacy quite like Tides of Blood. As well as being a respected and well-received map in its own right, ToB is also cited as an inspiration for many of the best AoS maps ever made.
It enjoys the rare and deserved privilege of being enshrined in Blizzard's official Hall of Fame, among only five other maps.