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  • Dota Outland, Part 2

    14th May, 2015By Softmints8 minutes

    Welcome back for Part 2 of the Dota Outland review; check out Part 1 if you're not up to date. We'll resume going through the enormous list of map features...

    Jump Pads:

    This silly little feature allows units to jump down certain cliffs, as a one-way ticket to enter a lane. It was intended to help a team defending their base to initiate fights from an unlikely angle, without also giving the attacking team a route into the base.

  • Dota Outland, Part 1

    7th May, 2015By Softmints8 minutes

    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

    26th Mar, 2015By Softmints6 minutes

    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.

  • Dawngate, Part 2

    5th Feb, 2015By Softmints6 minutes

    Continuing from Part 1...

    Items:

    Dawngate's approach to items is a well-considered one. There are three categories of item: Basic items can upgrade into 2-5 possible Advanced items, each of which can upgrade into 2-4 possible Legendary items. Naturally, upgraded items carry the bonuses of their components, as well as gaining new stats and abilities.

  • Dawngate, Part 1

    29th Jan, 2015By Softmints8 minutes

    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.

  • Tides of Blood, Part 2

    18th Dec, 2014By Softmints7 minutes

    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.

  • Tides of Blood, Part 1

    11th Dec, 2014By Softmints7 minutes

    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.

  • Crimson Coast

    20th Nov, 2014By Softmints7 minutes

    There's a very nice and relatively recent map called Crimson Coast (CycLotRuTan, 2009) which I never had the pleasure of playing in its prime. As lane-pushing games go, it doesn't have much of an emphasis on interesting map objectives, but is instead a fairly creative exploration into different types of heroes and skill mechanics, particularly when it comes to increasing the quantity of abilities available to any individual hero.

  • Extreme Candy War

    30th Oct, 2014By Softmints6 minutes

    Halloween isn't the only thing to celebrate this week; it's also the 10-year anniversary of the spookiest AoS around: Extreme Candy War (Blizzard Entertainment, 2004)!

    This map was released as a seasonal treat, and distributed as part of Battle.net's update patches. It marks Blizzard's first entry into the world of multiplayer lane-pushing games, and is remarkable for following very few of the usual AoS tropes of its era.

  • Aerie of Ruin

    11th Sep, 2014By Softmints6 minutes

    I stumbled across an old gem called Aerie of Ruin (FuriousBroccoli, 2004) just recently, and I'm delighted that I did. It's a highly asymmetric game, but in a way that creates great dynamics and makes you think deeply about how to play the matchup.