Clinton ‘Fear’ Loomis Retires From Evil Geniuses

Evil Geniuses today issued the announcement that EG and esports veteran Clinton ‘Fear’ Loomis is retiring from the player’s hot seat. He is, however, remaining with EG as an active coach for future EG Dota2 lineups.

His retirement is effective immediately, with Fear citing his personal health as a priority. In a brief statement on EG’s website, he recognizes his accomplishments and gushes about EG and Dota. “I still have a passion for Dota and for competing,” Fear begins, “but the long term health of my arm has to come first.”

clinton-fear-loomis-eg-dota2

The sudden removal of heavy-hitters like Fear is sure to make a splash. Teammates and many redditors who Bleed Blue are bummed yet supportive. Teammate PPD said this of Fear: “Fear helped me reach my potential, and I believe he will continue to do that for players in the years to come.” Of his prospective coaching abilities redditor /u/prolepatriot thinks, “considering how much ppd and others on EG have praised fear for being a calming presence as well as helping with the drafts…i expect fear to be one of the best coaches in the scene.”

With an empty chair now in the lineup EG plans to announce its new Dota2 roster tomorrow.

Endless Legend: Tempest DLC Details are Trickling In

Amplitude Studios is in a great place right now. Endless Legend continues to have a devout following. Dungeons of the Endless pounced upon the masses out of nowhere and was warmly received. Sega recently added Amplitude to their publishing roster. Details about Endless Space 2 continue to tantalize even the most innocent of bystanders. And, above all, their new Games2Gether platform encourages gamer involvement in the development of the studio’s future titles.

Dadgum.

Amplitude’s attention to Endless Legend specifically illustrates the work ethic this developer practices. Each of the game’s three major DLCs introduces a new faction or addition that alters the player’s way of 4X-ing his way to victory.

Endless Legend Tempest Logo

Endless Legend: Tempest is the latest DLC and is currently in the process of initiating a closed beta. Details continue to trickle out from the devs, including this most recent post on the site’s forums. And what we see here looks so incredibly promising and so incredibly fun. Some of the highlights include:

  • The oceans, where once they were just obstacles to overcome, will become alive with activity.
  • The “Morgawr” faction will not only make the thrive on water but will need to manipulate minor factions on land if they want to make any headway there. (This reminds me of how The Cultists operate.)
  • Sea Fortresses are buildings that land-based factions can sack in order to gain an advantage over the seas as well as the Morgawr.
  • Naval Battles will be a completely different beast compared to land battles. This means new naval units! This means embarked units are hella vulnerable. This means any naval endeavor is shaping up to be a ‘high risk, high reward’ venture.
  • Sea Weather! Details are a little fuzzy here, but Amplitude intends to make weather enough of a factor that it will include its very own mapmode! This is more than just the Winter/not-Winter cycle that is already in place. We’re talking wind strength and direction. Maybe lighting storms. Maybe fog banks. We’ll have to keep a keen eye on this.

There is no set release date for Tempest yet. But, as mentioned above, there may still be an opportunity to participate in the closed beta. Whatever your prerogative, Endless Legend and its existing content is available on Steam and GMG.

From the Ground Up: Four Recent, Upcoming PC Strategy DLCs

As unfavorable as the rest of the world has viewed Anno Domini 2016, fans of PC strategy games certainly have reason to rejoice. The bounty of quality new releases and DLC/expansions continues to be harvested – even now, well into the second half of the year and showing no signs of abatement.

For every quality base game release, additional content is sure to follow. Such is the business model nowadays, of which I do not bemoan. Even for a few select games released prior to this year, developers are continuing to support and add content. And, when I say ‘content’ I do not refer to cosmetic packs or exclusive bonus maps.

Listed below are some of the current and more hefty DLCs, and details about their place within the greater fabric of its franchise.

Crusader Kings II: The Reaper’s Due (Paradox Development Studio)

Love them or hate them for it Paradox are unrepentant releasers of DLCs. Their DLCs even have DLCs.

Crusader Kings II, now well into its fourth year, has a staggering list of content to consider. Naysayers will spat at this, citing abuse of their gamer base. The gamer base who knows better sees each expansion as just that – one that expands the medieval playing field and adds relevant mechanics to that particular location. As a brief overview of which DLC does what check out this fantastic Crusader Kings II DLC infographic by @AsaTJ

A Plague Rages in Crusader Kings II

A Plague Rages in Crusader Kings II

The Reaper’s Due puts Eurasia at risk, infesting from the inside out. Plagues are already possible in provinces but this addon handles the sickness like a medieval epidemic rather than an isolated case of illness. To combat this outbreak a new courtier position is available; Physicians are hired in to aid in containment and eradication – should you, as ruler, choose such an approach for your population. And you too, as ruler, are not exempt from the reaper’s due. Indeed, you must decide what to do with yourself while the plague rages, of which alters your ability and methods of ruling.

Crusader Kings II: The Reaper’s Due is available now for $9.99 on Steam

Order of Battle: Winter War (The Aristocrats)

Order of Battle takes an almost episodic approach to playing WWII. The base game, free of cost and released in April of last year, and the bundle of paid expansions released throughout this year, each visit a specific simulation of a campaign of the great war. All are turn-based hexes and utilize specific units, weapons and stats particular to its respective DLC.

Winter is a whole different battlefield

Winter is a whole different battlefield

The most recent DLC is Order of Battle: Winter War. This one is thusfar unique in the lineup. A majority of the four other addons are focused on the pacific theater. Winter War moves its attention far inland and northward towards the Russian/Finnish borders. The primary draw here is to play as the Finns as they try to protect their lands from waves after waves of Russian military who seek nothing more than conquest and protection for their great western cities. International politics, landscape and ball-shriveling winter weather all play a role in how you design and implement your strategies.

Order of Battle: Winter War is available now for $14.99 on Steam.

Offworld Trading Company – The Ceres Initiative DLC (Mohawk Games)

Offworld Trading Company incubated in early access for a few years and was officially launched in late April of this year. It is unique amongst the lot of strategy games in that the focus is economic superiority instead of military – You buy your enemies out for chump change instead of stomping them into gore soup. What makes this premise even more interesting is that all this takes place during early Mars colonization efforts. You must set your sights to the heavens if you are to build yourself a true offworld trading company.

The Ceres Asteroid is your new home.

The Ceres Asteroid is your new home.

… And it just so happens that The Ceres Initiative DLC takes a step in that direction. Indeed. It moves your base of operations off of the martian surface over onto Ceres, the largest asteroid in the belt just beyond Mars. Here, the core concept remains except now the resources are more scant and will even deplete as you mine them. Luckily, as in the base game, there are questionably ethical work-arounds in overcoming the challenges at hand. It’ll be interesting to see how the co-op can work if one player is on Ceres while the other remains on Mars. Cool stuff.

Offworld Trading Company – The Ceres Initiative DLC is available for a very humble asking price of $4.99 on Steam.

Endless Legend: Tempest (AMPLITUDE Studios)

AMPLITUDE Studios is on a roll. They received a surge of media facetime recently when Sega added them to their publishing roster, joining the likes of other strategy game developers like Creative Assembly and Relic.

What this means for Endless Legend could mean divers things. Perhaps we shall see what Sega’s publishing power can accomplish for the newest DLC of the divisive strategy franchise. Endless Legend: Tempest will be entering closed beta on September 1. AMPLITUDE is holding a closed beta contest.

The seas will be yours to control.

The seas will be yours to control.

Tempest will develop EL’s homeworld of Auriga even more, promising to make the planet’s seas a more viable homebase instead of just an obstacle that must be overcome in order to reach more land. The Morgawr is a major faction that will be introduced in this DLC. This aquatic race will be able to alter the tides and weather of Auriga, thus making them another strong factional contender for the control of the planet.

I love how, with each expansion, Auriga, the mother planet, is becoming more a tool and less of a passive theater upon which EL’s factions faceoff. This fits in with the lores very nicely.

And that is what I love about quality DLC for strategy games: They offer a new vantage and new avenues to accomplish objectives within the same grand space. Obviously, the above four titles are not the summation of all expansions for 2016, but it is just enough to keep us busily digging deeper and deeper.

TI6, EHOME vs. EG: How EHOME Faltered, EG Staged a Comeback

In what can confidently be declared as one of the greatest matches of DOTA2 in the history of everything ever, game 1 of the EHOME vs. Evil Geniuses went to EG, having bided their time, staged a clutched throne rush and producing a thrilling last minute comeback. The fallout of the nerve-wrecking 75 minutes match witnessed EG moving on and EHOME dropping to the lower bracket.

Dagon

EHOME had all of the radiant T1 and T2 towers down by the 20-minute mark. They were ahead in farm, in kills, in XP. IceIceIce as Timbersaw kept the lanes pushed out and Old eLeVen as Beastmaster provided vision all over the radiant side of the river. EG were hesitant to do anything; PPD was picked off nearly any time he happened to leave base. All the while old chicken continued his free reign in the enemy jungle for farm and items for his Juggernaut. EHOME must have taken Roshan at least four times. Fenrir had a stash of that sweet, stinky cheese in his inventory.

There came a point where an EHOME victory was all but certain. So, what the devil happened? Why was Key Arena filled with thousands of EG fans ejaculating “U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!” Prompting PC Gamer’s Chris Thursten to Tweet:

Two factors led to EG’s victory: 1) Their ability to read the situation, and 2) EHOME’s mishandling of an early advantage.

Put simply — and as nicely and professionally as possible — EHOME’s early advantage went to their heads. Contrary to the more controlled and paced play style they generally favor, it seemed that this early aggro gave them a little too much confidence. To be fair, this dominance was rightfully earned; EG did not give this to them. EHOME just played smart…

… that is, until they started sieging radiant high ground. Old chicken specifically was overextending himself too often. Iceiceice seemed to forget that the DOTA2 user interface has a map in the lower corner, often getting ganked because of zero (0) awareness. The supports did the best they could to maintain dominance of the radiant side, but EHOME’s cores started getting too cocky and thus team composition started breaking apart.

Dagon

EG saw this. Even though they had less vision, they read how EHOME was behaving when besieging and capitalized on this. Using PPD as Ancient Apparition as bait, EG would stage counter ganks, relying on the head-strong EHOME cores to come in for the kill. With those threats removed Universe would then drop some damn effective chronospheres while SumaiL dropped the stars on remaining the remaining EHOME roster.

And so it went for nearly another 60 minutes. EG paced themselves, resetting fights and reacting to EHOME tactics. Iceiceice kept the lanes pushed. Juggernaut kept farming. Roshan was highly contested. Buybacks were commonplace. But it seemed with each passing minute EG somehow kept gaining ground back, and EHOME was consistently underestimating their opponents’ draft.

There came a point after the 60-minute mark when EG had to get creative and act fast. Iceiceice was become too tanky for rightclicks and old chicken’s six slots made it hard for Universe to trade punches with him. What to do… What to do…

THIS!

THIS!

SumaiL was the first to purchase a dagon. Then Zai. By the time they both had a level 5 dagon, PPD starting getting in on it. Evil Geniuses were having themselves a laser party. And that party came a’knockin on the dire’s front door.

Yes! EG chrono’d, brawled, and zapped their way back across the map, dodging golems and saw blades. They rushed mid, took out the barracks. In the last few minutes, both teams fought dirty right there in front of the dire ancient. Kills were had. Buybacks were bought. Both teams sent their carries on a Hail Mary mission to the opposing side, and the game quickly turned into a base race. EHOME had siege creeps flooding the radiant base.

The clutch moment was when we got the notification that Universe was now equipped with a Divine Rapier, giving him the edge in the race. He activated his Boots of Travel, plopped right in front of the dire ancient and demolished that sucker before EHOME had time to preemptively declare ‘gg’.

Commentators were speechless. The crowd was bezerk. I still can’t even. I think all the the Dota community still can’t even.

The fallout of that spectacular 75-minute match carried over into game 2 where EHOME was clearly deflated and tilted. In a rather unspectacular match, EG was the victor mere minutes before the 40-minute mark.

And this is only the semi-finals.

Props to both teams for giving us so damn good Dota.

The International 6, Day Three: Evil Geniuses Vs. EHOME

The schedule for The International tonight is quite the humdinger. This stage of the tournament is when the games get scrappy, dirty, increased in variance and tremendously fun to watch. Four teams will move on, two teams will be shown the door – and still quite a handsome consolation prize.

The tournament will open with the lower bracket matchups which consists of Alliance vs. Fnatic, and Newbee vs. Liquid. Alliance will most certainly wallop Fnatic. And, regardless of who emerges this victor between Newbee vs. Liquid, that team will most certainly wallop Alliance tomorrow.

After the deciding lower bracket match of who exactly is going to wallop Alliance tomorrow, we’ll move on to the upper bracket where the first matchup is between MVP Phoenix vs. Wings. Both teams have had a rather even-keel climb, winning some, losing some. MVP specifically have stuck to generally tried-and-true drafts, with QO performing competently in position 1 as predominantly either Juggernaut or Phantom Assassin.

The real battle tonight — the one I am already surging for and hate that I have to wait until the very end — is EHOME vs. Evil Geniuses. This one… hooo baby. This is going to be some serious Dota.

DOTA 2 ESPORTS TEAM EHOME

From the very beginning of TI6, EHOME has been solid. Starting as a wild card, they scrapped and fought their way into the upper bracket where they currently sit, pitted against EG. As a team, as a business entity, they aren’t nearly as conspicuous as EG. This unassuming presence also translates into their playstyle. They draft and play in an unorthodox way that, while may not be the most bombastic spectating experience, still yields results. They are all about the slow burn, flexibility, making versatile heroes do tremendous things.

This is why I love them. They skirt around the meta and thusly totally befuddles their opponents. Their position 4 is just as effective as their position 1. Take, for example, yesterday’s second match against Alliance. Team leader iceiceice as Sven seemed almost like a position 1 decoy alongside Fenrir as Shadow Deon, while old chicken as Mirana, old eLeVeN as Sand King, and old LaNm as Elder Titan constantly rotated lanes, chained stunned for miles, and took objectives with the ease and grace of a flock of swans. old LaNm on ET was especially fantastic, totally the unsung player for that match.

Evil Geniuses EG SumaiL DOTA2

Evil Geniuses on the other hand has had a successful, albeit rocky, series of engagements whose outcomes have placed them where they are now. The champions of TI5 seemed a little rattled from the group stage but still readily pounced Newbee last night.

What makes me most nervous for EHOME in this matchup is SumaiL. A versatile player, SumaiL alone could bleed EHOME dry. Where EHOME dodge the meta with unusual tactics, SumaiL can potentially be EG’s tip of the spear; all he needs is one crack in EHOMEs armor and the damage will be deep and irreversible.

If SumaiL goes with a Storm Spirit or Huskar pick I will be sweating bullets for EHOME. If he goes for position 3 or lower, then I’m going to pop some popcorn and watch these yankees go down.

EHOME vs. EG — East vs. West — Champions vs. Underdogs

GonBGud