Heroes of the Storm – Black Screen Fixes

“I just started HotS a few days ago as my girlfriend got an invite (I have yet to receive one) and she has been kind enough to let me use her account to play. It’s an interesting game with a very different feel from DotA 2 and I have been enjoying it thus far. But, as soon as I installed it on my computer. I was met by a strange black screen where it swapped between the desktop and the black screen until I would forcibly close the program. After looking online for some fixes I eventually came to a combination of approaches that worked for me and wanted to share them with everyone.

Step 1: If you have a high resolution like 1920 x 1080, set your display resolution down to 1280 x 720. Apparently the game has issues with loading into a higher resolution like initially (on the first run). Once you’re in the game you can return your display to its previous levels and adjust the in-game resolution values accordingly.

Step 2: Once I booted up the game I could only see the UI with a bit of the game showing up in the minimap area. My fix was for this was to follow the instructions posted by Velnrak (a mod) on the Blizzard forums. After changing Antialiasing to Application-controlled for HotS in the Nvidia control panel I was able to see the entirety of the game properly again!

Step 3: If you’re still having trouble, you can try changing the variables file in your x:User/Documents/Heroes of the Storm folder and adding in a value:displaymode=0 to the variables there (a reader also suggested changing it to value:displaymode=1 if you’re still having issues. Might work for you!) . I didn’t have to end up doing this but it may help.

These are the fixes that I found worked for me. Hopefully they help you out as well.

That’s all for now. Have a pezant day!

Note: If you liked this article. Consider donating or installing this Chrome Extension I made that gives me credit for your Amazon purchases (by adding in my referral tag when you’re browsing Amazon).


The Next Big Patch: Looking over 6.82 – General Changes

“Though the general changes aren’t quite as glamorous as the item and hero changes they also carry a great deal of significance. There are many livability changes (like the fountain change, changes to Ranked All Pick, and pathing fixes) but the majority of the general changes are actually quite significant for those of us who play and love this game. A jacked up Roshan, new rune, increased juke potential and more await!


Fountain area is now at a higher elevation level | Fountain vision increased from 1400 to 1800 | Fountain attack range increased from 1100 to 1200 | Fountain True Sight increased from 900 to 1200

Fountain camping is no longer like shooting fish in a barrel. And, though I do miss beating on the opposing team mercilessly after a crushing victory, it makes sense to try and discourage this type of behaviour. Fountain camping was just an extension of an already painful experience for the other team and 97% of the time served merely to prolong their suffering. The 3% that were edge cases where the fountain camp resulted in the other team coming back weren’t quite enough to justify the suffering that so many had to go through on a regular basis. Note: These stats are clearly made up but I hope they are somewhat representative.

Reworked terrain surrounding the Roshan area | Reworked terrain around the Dire bottom lane | Reworked terrain below the Top Radiant Tier 1 Tower
Reworked the area to the left of the bottom Dire Tier 2 Tower | Moved Dire bottom Tier 2 Tower back very slightly | Added an alternate path to the north of the bottom lane Side Shop
Added an alternate path to the right of the bottom Dire Tier 1 Tower | Added a new ward spot near the bottom Dire Tier 2 Tower| Added a new ward spot near the top Radiant Tier 2 Tower | Added a new ward spot between Roshan and the Dire bottom lane | Bottom Lane Dire creeps now arrive slightly closer to the Dire Tier 1 Tower | Top Lane Radiant creeps now arrive slightly farther from the Radiant Tier 1 Tower 

Added a bunch of extra paths which provide many more options for ganking, escaping and juking. These changes make the game much more dynamic during the laning phase because it is much more difficult to ensure one’s safety by standing in a certain position. The addition of various paths through the trees also makes heroes with flying vision potential (Beastmaster, Treant with Agh’s, etc) as it is more difficult to juke them with the new paths (whereas you have a much better chance now that you can split off in many more directions than you could before). These new paths have resulted in a great deal of confusion for me and my friends but I really like the possibilities that they have added! A great change.

The new ward spots are nice and give some more options for warding later on in the game (they also help with keeping an eye on those crazy new juking spots).

Added a Bounty Rune [?] – 50 XP +5/min and 50 gold +2/min | Two runes now spawn in the river every two minutes. One of them will always be a Bounty Rune | Runes are replaced every two minutes if they are not picked up

The bounty rune is an interesting addition. When I first read the patch changes I thought that it gave you a 50XP/Gold boost and throughout the rest of the game you got an extra 5/2 per minute (with that effect being stackable with additional runes). Unfortunately, for those long of us obsessed with long term returns, this is not the case. But you do get an instant boost in gold/XP when you use it which is nice.

The addition of the bounty rune and the 2 rune spawns per 2 minutes means that there is no longer any guesswork in going to a rune spot. This adds an awesome element of supports, offlaners and mid laners contesting rune spawns regularly which makes the early game a little bit more interesting and dynamic. It also favors heroes that are able to contest those types of situations more successfully.

Finally, this change brings heroes that are able to move to runes quickly and present a significant threat 1v1 into a better position for the mid lane. Along with the changes to the courier (huge cooldown increase for boost) it looks like Icefrog and Valve are trying to dissuade people from spamming bottle crow and going mid with any hero they like. I, for one, favour this change as it really was getting a bit tedious/ridiculous seeing all sorts of silly choices for mid justified by the ability to bottle crow.

Denied creeps now give less experience [?] | 50% experience instead of 36 per.

Denied creeps giving less experience than before means that denies will have more impact in lane. Greater rewards for players with the ability to balance last hitting and denying.

First Blood bonus gold decreased from 200 to 150

Part of the range of changes made to reduce the impact of early game momentum. 150 gold is still important but 25% less than 200 and a 50 gold difference is somewhat significant early on.

Reworked the bonus area of effect XP | Reworked bonus area of effect Gold and Streak ending

These changes resulted in a huge shift in kill rewards that people were referring to as “”rubberbanding””. Basically, if you had a huge lead and allowed heroes with large net work/kill sprees to be killed suddenly you found yourself even or below the opposing team. These changes were toned down significantly in following patches and were further reduced in 6.82c.

This change only affects the extra Gold given if within an area after a kill.
It does not affect the natural Gold received for killing a hero of a certain Level/Streak.

VictimLevel = Level of the Victim

1 Assist: Gold = 125 + 12 * VictimLevel
2 Assist: Gold = 40 + 10 * VictimLevel
3 Assist: Gold = 10 + 6 * VictimLevel
4+ Assist: Gold = 6 + 6 * VictimLevel
The player that got the last hit now also gets the area of effect bounty.

VictimLevel = Level of the Victim
VictimNW = The victim’s Net Worth
EnemyTeamNW = Enemy team’s total Net Worth
AlliedTeamNW = Your team’s total Net Worth
NWDifference = ( EnemyTeamNW – AlliedTeamNW )/ ( EnemyTeamNW + AlliedTeamNW ) (minimum 0)
NWFactor = NWDifference * VictimNW

1 Hero: Gold = 40 + 7 * VictimLevel + NWFactor * 0.5
2 Heroes: Gold = 30 + 6 * VictimLevel + NWFactor * 0.35
3 Heroes: Gold = 20 + 5 * VictimLevel + NWFactor * 0.25
4 Heroes: Gold = 10 + 4 * VictimLevel + NWFactor * 0.2
5 Heroes: Gold = 10 + 4 * VictimLevel + NWFactor * 0.15​

VictimLevel = Level of the Victim
VictimXP = Total XP of the Victim
EnemyTeamXP = Enemy team’s total XP
AlliedTeamXP = Your team’s total XP
XPDifference = ( EnemyTeamXP – AlliedTeamXP )/ ( EnemyTeamXP + AlliedTeamXP ) (minimum 0)
XPFactor = XPDifference * VictimXP

1 Hero: XP = 20 * VictimLevel + XPFactor * 0.5
2 Heroes: XP = 15 * VictimLevel + XPFactor * 0.35
3 Heroes: XP = 10 * VictimLevel + XPFactor * 0.25
4 Heroes: XP = 7 * VictimLevel + XPFactor * 0.2
5 Heroes: XP = 5 * VictimLevel + XPFactor * 0.15

In combination with these changes, the gold for ending a spree is in turn reduced, from 125->1000 to 100->800.

Factors have now have been reduced to:

* AoE Gold NWFactor reduced from 0.06/0.06/0.05/0.04/0.03 to 0.05/0.05/0.05/0.04/0.03
* AoE XP XPFactor reduced from 0.3/0.3/0.2/0.15/0.12 to 0.23/0.23/0.2/0.15/0.12

Glyph of Fortification cooldown is now refreshed whenever you lose a Tier 1 tower | Tier 2 Tower’s armor increased from 20 to 25 | Tower bounty gold for destroying Tier 1/2/3/4 reduced from 264/312/358/405 to 160/200/240/280 (denied is 50%)

These tower changes are a godsend when playing against pushing lineups. After witnessing the destruction that was the TI4 finals it is a relief to see that the power and momentum available to a pushing lineup has been reduced substantially. DotA is a game about objectives but the complexity and depth of the game was being compromised by the overwhelming power of a pushing lineup.

In Captain’s Mode, the 3rd ban phase order is swapped

This restores a bit of balance to the picking order

Reworked how All Pick works in Ranked Matchmaking

All Pick in Ranked MMing now progresses with each team taking turns to pick heroes one by one. It has brought a surprising amount of structure to the mode and greatly reduced squabbles over lanes, roles and the likelihood of the other team holding out attempting to counterpick. Now, if no one has picked within the duration everyone begins losing gold and a forced random occurs 30 seconds in.

Randoming has also become more difficult as you cannot random and repick into a hero. If you random you are forced to random again, making it a much more risky decision than before.

Aegis duration decreased from 6 minutes to 5

Adds urgency to push after taking Roshan. Again, not giving as much time for teams to build on early momentum. Bumping it down to 5 minutes gives them that much less time to prepare (farm, pick off, etc) before the Aegis expires.
Roshan’s Slam area of effect increased from 250 to 350 | Roshan’s Slam damage increases by 20 every 4 minutes

Roshan was a bit of a pushover in the mid to late game. This change mostly effects heroes with summons that would have been able to take him on quite easily later on by just letting the summons tank. Lycan and Nature’s Prophet are particularly affected by this change. I like it, removes some of the ease of soloing Roshan and pushes him more towards being a team objective.

Centaur Conqueror’s Swiftness Aura has been moved to Hellbear Smasher
Hellbear Smasher Attack Time increased from 1.35 to 1.55
Hellbear Attack Time increased from 1.35 to 1.5
Centaur Conqueror Attack Time improved from 1.65 to 1.5
Centaur Courser Attack Time improved from 1.35 to 1.3
Dark Troll Summoner’s Ensnare duration increased from 1.5 to 1.75
Satyr Banisher HP increased from 240 to 300
Satyr Banisher movement speed increased from 300 to 330
Satyr Banisher attack range reduced from 600 to 300
Satyr Banisher Base Attack Time improved from 1.8 to 1.7
Satyr Banisher’s Purge cast range increased from 200 to 350
Wildwing Ripper’s Toughness Aura now works on Siege units

In general, netural creeps have become stronger and more useful for heroes that can take control of them. Chen and Enchantress are going to be pleased with these changes.

Fixed some rare edge cases with pathing malfunctioning

Yay for bug fixes! Goodness, those pathing issues were so annoying when they did occur. Thank goodness this was fixed.

The following abilities can now be cast on Spell Immune allies: Ice Armor, Surge, Alacrity, Nature’s Guise, Chakra Magic, Recall and Mist Coil

Buffs for the heroes that happen to carry these abilities.

The following buffs are now properly dispellable: Chilling Touch, Thunderstrike, Inner Vitality, Alacrity, Chaos Meteor, Shadow Word, Liquid Fire, Shadow Strike, Warcry, Concussive Shot, Overpower, Mana Leak, Curse of the Silent, Press The Attack, Poison Touch, Flame Guard, Whirling Death, Viper’s Poison Attack, Sticky Napalm, DK’s Frost Breath, Whirling Axes, Walrus Punch’s slow

Nerfs to heroes that use these abilities. But brings a bit more of a standard to the way abilities work and are dispellable.

Dark Pact/Kraken Shell/Aphotic Shield/Press The Attack/Time Lapse no longer have a special condition for purging the following otherwise unpurgeable spells: Poison Nova, Heaven’s Halberd, Ensnare, Eye of Skadi slow

These are buffs to the above abilities are they can no longer be purged in these edge cases. It is also a nerf to the corresponding heroes that carry the abilities (Slark, Tidehunter, Abbaddon, Legion Commander and Weaver).

A great set of changes with the map and rune changes really shifting the way that the game flows. With the tweaking to the way that the new kill rewards we find ourselves with a nicely balanced patch with plenty of new content to enjoy. I’ve been enjoying it thus far despite my loss streaks.
That’s all for now. Have a pezant day!

Note: If you liked this article. Consider donating or installing this Chrome Extension I made that gives me credit for your Amazon purchases (by adding in my referral tag when you’re browsing Amazon).


The Next Big Patch: Looking over 6.82 – Item Changes

“Items are a hugely important part of the game and, though the changes aren’t quite as grand and far-reaching as the hero changes, these adjustments still make a pretty big difference (especially the new item, bottle and TP costs, the flying courier and ethereal blade changes). So, without further dithering, let us dive into these changes!

Armlet of Mordiggian

  • Recipe cost reduced from 700 to 600

A slight cost adjustment. Reduces the total cost of the item from 2600 to 2500 (~4% less).

Assault Cuirass

  • Assault Aura no longer displays its debuff on the enemy if the carrier is not visible

A nice change for heroes with a shadowblade or innate invisibility who would have had to be careful about the debuff showing otherwise. Now you’ll have to be super aware to notice that your armor has dipped suspiciously in order to figure out that they are nearby.

Black King Bar

  • Avatar spell immunity duration and cooldown are now tied to the hero, instead of the item [?]
  • Minimum immunity duration increased from 4 to 5

No more buying a new BKB to get that fresh duration. I really dislike BKB so anything that makes it a little less prevalent throughout the entirety of the game is a plus to me. This means a lot for heroes that rely heavily on BKB and would have been able to continue refreshing their BKBs once the duration got too low.

Blink Dagger

  • Gold cost increased from 2150 to 2250

:'(, Blink Dagga Dagga. Such an amazing item, it was inevitable that it eventually be toned slightly as it was just too great. I like that they’ve elected to make it a bit more difficult to obtain rather than reversing the removal of the mana cost. This keeps those awesome plays open but reduces it’s strength a bit.


  • Now requires Soul Ring and a 800 gold recipe instead of Perseverance (1600 vs 1750 total gold)
  • No longer grants +10 damage (other bonuses stay the same)

Bloodstone is no longer a huge pit that you throw all of your gold into in the hopes that you will end up getting a lot of kills after you purchase it and have near infinite mana regeneration. With the change from a Perseverance to a Soul Ring you can purchase Soul Ring early on and build it into a Bloodstone later on when it suits you. A great change for heroes that tend to build into Bloodstone.


  • Gold cost increased from 650 to 700

50 gold is one more last hit required to get that bottle for your mid hero. Though it may not seem like much it does add up and puts it a little further out of reach. In combination with the changes to the flying courier and the rune spawn adjustments it looks like they are seeking to severely restrict bottle crowing and have mid be a more favourable place for heroes that can make their way to runes quickly and contest them well.

Boots of Travel

  • Teleport cooldown reduced from 60 to 50

 This adds to the value proposition of BoT. Aside from saving you the 100 gold it now costs to purchase a teleport. It also shaves a delightful 10 seconds off of the usual cooldown for Teleportation. This means that you’ll be able to flee from those difficult situations that much quicker. I really like purchasing BoT later on in the game in order to free up an item slot (usually occupied by a TP) and this makes it that much more appealing to purchase.


  • Butterfly now has an active ability, Flutter, which can be cast to trade Butterfly’s evasion for a 20% movement speed bonus for 8 seconds. 35 second cooldown. [?]

 A great little addition to Butterfly. 20% movement speed increase is nothing to balk at. And as long as you’re fleeing or chasing you won’t mind the temporary loss of your evasion. Adds another dimension to an item that was viewed a little less favourably due to the fact that it could be countered nearly entirely by the purchase of an equivalently costed item (MKB).


  • Cloak, Hood and Pipe magic resistances now stack like all other normal magic resistance do

 Not sure how this was set up before but I imagine it has something to do with the streamlining of various mechanics in the game.

Crimson Guard

    • New Item that is formed from Vanguard and Buckler

Crimson Guard:

Vanguard (2225)
Buckler (800)
Recipe (825)
Total: 3850 gold

250 HP
+6 HP Regen
Passive Damage Block (80% chance for 40/20 melee/ranged)
+5 Armor
+2 All Stats

Active: Guard – Gives nearby allied heroes (750 range) +2 armor and a damage block shell that has a 100% chance to block 50 damage. Lasts 9 seconds. Cooldown 70.
Passive: Damage Block – Gives the wearer a chance to block damage from each incoming attack based on whether the equipped hero is melee or ranged.
Note: Guard only affects heroes. Has the same no stacking mechanic as Pipe of Insight/Mekansm for 70 seconds.


  • Intelligence bonus per level increased from 13/15/17/19/21 to 13/16/19/22/25
  • Energy Burst mana cost increased from 180/160/140/120/100 to 180

 The 100 mana cost at level 5 for Dagon was a bit much and this makes it a little less spammy later on in the game. Most heroes would never upgrade Dagon all the way to Dagon 5 but it does hurt heroes like Tinker (who also suffered as a result of the E-Blade nerf) who now have to manage their mana a little more carefully.

Diffusal Blade

  • Recipe cost reduced from 850 to 700
  • Agility bonus rebalanced from 25/30 to 20/35
  • Feedback rebalanced from 20/36 to a constant 25

 Diffusal Blade now offers more agility at the second recipe level but drains a lot less mana. This helps heroes who pick up a casual Diffusal Blade but is quite a tragic change for heroes like Phantom Lancer who absolutely love the Feedback portion of the item and consider it to be the item’s strength.

Ethereal Blade

  • Ether Blast now has a projectile [?]
  • Ether Blast now only turns the caster ethereal if they target themself

 Ethereal Blade is no longer the do-it-all nuke and protect yourself tool. Now you have to choose whether you want to render your target ethereal and damage them or save yourself. This item gave a little bit too much reach to certain spellcasters in the late game and made them pretty un-enjoyable to play against. Though it was a nerf for those spellcaster types it is certainly a buff for more physical damage based heroes like Morphling who like to pick up an E-blade for themselves.

Finally, the change from an instant to a projectile makes it dodge-able and removes a portion of the absolute certainty that once existed with regards to the final fate of your victim (formerly a quick, painful death).

Eye of Skadi

  • Frost Attack attack speed slow increased from 35 to 45

 Eye of Skadi was basically ignored most of the time so this buff makes it an even more important item to consider when playing a hero that could benefit from it. A constant 45 attack speed slow is quite significant when facing off against the opposing carry in the late game. We may begin to see this item being picked up more often.

Flying Courier

  • Base movement speed increased from 350 to 430
  • Flying Courier now takes 50% extra damage from melee heroes
  • Flying Courier Speed Burst cooldown increased from 40 to 90
  • Flying Courier Speed Burst duration reduced from 20 to 4
  • Flying Courier Speed Burst speed increased from 522 to 650

These changes to the courier make it more vulnerable as boosts come far less frequently. Increasing the damage taken from melee heroes helps them with  trying to pick off the courier (as before it was quite a fruitless proposition for the most part).  Though this change makes my courier much more vulnerable, I do like the fact that it encourages you to put a bit more thought into your decision before pushing on the courier sprint button.

Helm of the Dominator

  • Now provides +3 HP regeneration (to match its components)
  • Dominated units now have 250 bonus HP

 Nice little buffs to HotD. The regeneration will help with sustaining it’s holder and bring things a bit more into synergy. The extra 250 bonus HP helps you bring creeps along with you into battle (and not just use them purely for stacking). Neither of these changes are huge but they do help a bit with making the item better.

Hood of Defiance

  • HP regeneration increased from 8 to 9 (to match its components)

 Nothing to see here.

Linken’s Sphere

  • Linken’s Sphere only blocks Wrath of Nature’s initial bounce, not subsequent bounces
  • Linken’s Sphere only blocks Lightning Storm’s initial bounce, not subsequent bounces
  • Nether Ward no longer triggers Linken’s Sphere
  • Lightning Bolt now triggers Linken’s Sphere when targeted at the ground
  • Maelstrom and Mjollnir no longer trigger Linken’s Sphere

 A mix of changes for Linken’s Sphere. Not included in this change log are that Fissure no longer triggers LS and Static Link now does. Not too consequential and people will still be picking it up for the same reasons that they did before.


  • Recipe cost increased from 600 to 700

 After the changes to Maelstrom we’ve been seeing it built on pretty much every hero. The recipe cost increase seeks to make it a little less tempting to purchase on every single hero that benefits from attack speed.

Manta Style

  • Mirror Image vision type changed from Unobstructed/Flying to Ground [?]
  • Recipe cost reduced from 900 to 800

 Manta Style no longer temporarily gives Flying vision when creating illusions. This removes the opportunity for sneaky plays to spot out an enemy hero juking away or a fleeing courier.

The recipe cost reduction is nice and for those of us who aren’t 360 NO SCOPE MLG PRO it’s a net improvement for the item.

Mask of Madness

  • Recipe cost reduced from 1000 to 900

 MoM has seen a lot of play on a few core heroes (Faceless Void most notably amongst them). It’s an interesting item with pretty significant advantages and trade-offs so I’m happy to see it being given a chance to have it’s day to shine.


  • Restore mana cost increased from 150 to 225

 50% increase in mana cost is nothing to scoff at. Makes Mekansm much more mana intensive and pushes it towards being suitable solely for heroes with larger mana pools. Heroes like Doom (who is already struggling with a Devour mana cost increase) will find it pretty difficult to sustain all of his various mana costs along with Mekansm.

Pipe of Insight

  • HP regeneration increased from 8 to 9 (to match its components)

 Nothing major.

Refresher Orb

  • Reset Cooldowns cooldown increased from 160 to 185

 25 seconds on top of the previous 160 seconds adds even more gravity to using this item. You’d better have some pretty significant cooldowns to be resetting if you’re going to be popping it.

Ring of Protection

  • Armor increased from 2 to 3
  • Gold cost increased from 175 to 200

 The armor increase is a bargain when you consider that the gold cost was only increased by 25. It does make it a bit tougher to pre-purchase and bring out to lane with you than before though. Overall, a buff for RoP though.

Sentry Ward

  • True Sight area of effect increased from 800 to 850

 Making life for invis heroes and wards a little more difficult.

Shadow Blade

  • Shadow Walk invisibility break damage increased from 150 to 175

 An extra little punch for shadow blade users. Moving towards strongly encouraging users to try and get that initial hit off before using other abilities.

Shiva’s Guard

  • Freezing Aura no longer displays its debuff on the enemy if the carrier is not visible

 Similar to the AC changes. Helps Shiva’s Guard users sneak around if they happen to be invisible or hidden.

Town Portal Scroll

  • Gold cost reduced from 135 to 100

One of the largest changes in this patch. A 35 gold reduction is not significant for roles that generally would be fairly well off in terms of gold generation but for the hard support roles saving 35 gold is a pretty important change. It looks like Icefrog is moving towards making the support role a little bit less arduous (reduction in cost of boots, wards, etc) which I support to a certain extent as it makes it more attractive for people to try it out and actually support their teammates.

Overall, a bunch of good changes. An exciting new item. Plenty of measured and reasonable adjustments. The large changes are the TP scroll cost reduction, flying courier changes, bottle changes, Butterfly active being added, Ethereal Blade projectile, Mekansm mana cost increase and BKB duration being tied directly to the user.

That’s all for now and I’ll be back with thoughts on the last few changes soon. Have a pezant day!

Note: If you liked this article. Consider donating or installing this Chrome Extension I made that gives me credit for your Amazon purchases (by adding in my referral tag when you’re browsing Amazon).


The Next Big Patch: Looking over 6.82 – Damage Type Changes

“A few abilities and damage type mechanics have been reworked. There are now three primary damage types and a Spell Immunity Piercing status with each. Each ability now carries a notation in the tooltip indicating these.

The three damage types are Physical, Magical and Pure.

Physical is affected by Physical Armor, Magical is affected by Magical Damage Resistance and Pure is affected by neither.

Magic Immunity has now been renamed to Spell Immunity. Spell Immunity only defines if Spells interact with it, not how damage itself is handled. This means that on its own Spell Immunity status does not reduce any damage.

Black King Bar, Repel, Rage and all other previous forms of “”Magic Immunity”” now grant Spell Immunity status and a 100% Magic Resistance bonus.

In the vast majority of cases, the interactions are still the same, however an example of a case that would be different is if an ability has both Spell Immunity exception and has Pure damage type. Previously the damage would not have any impact, however now it does.

Ability Tooltips now have these fields:

-Damage Type: Physical/Magical/Pure
-Pierces Spell Immunity: Yes/No

If the Damage Type is not Magical it will be colored differently to make it easier to notice. The same is true in cases where Pierces Spell Immunity is Yes.

There have been a few abilities rebalanced with these mechanics in mind. In some cases the intent is to maintain similar balance, in other cases as an adjustment to their balance.


  • Acid Spray damage type from Composite to Physical (still pierces Spell Immunity)
  • Acid Spray damage reduced from 14/20/26/32 to 12/16/20/24


  • Nightmare damage from HP Removal to Pure


  • Wild Axes damage type from Composite to Physical (still pierces Spell Immunity)
  • Wild Axes damage reduced from 90/120/150/180 to 70/100/130/160


  • Primal Split Earth Spirit’s Pulverize damage type from Magical that pierces Spell Immunity to Magical (No longer pierces Spell Immunity)


  • Doom damage type changed from Magical that pierces Spell Immunity to Pure that pierces Spell Immunity
  • Doom damage reduced from 30/50/70 to 20/35/50 (Aghanim’s Scepter from 50/80/110 to 40/60/80)


  • Echo Slam initial attack is now the same Magic damage type as the rest of its damage (initial damage no longer pierces Spell Immunity)


  • Midnight Pulse damage type changed from Magical that Pierces Spell Immunity to Pure that Pierces Spell Immunity
  • Midnight Pulse damage reduced from 4/5/6/7% to 3/3.75/4.5/5.25%


  • Diabolic Edict damage type changed from Composite to Physical (still pierces Spell Immunity)
  • Diabolic Edict damage reduced from 12.5/25/37.5/50 to 9/18/27/36
  • Diabolic Edict now deals 40% more damage to towers (same overall damage per second as before)


  • Laguna Blade Aghanim’s Scepter damage type changed from Magical that Pierces Spell Immunity to Pure that Pierces Spell Immunity
  • Laguna Blade Aghanim’s Scepter no longer increases damage, only the damage type is changed [?]

Lone Druid

  • Spirit Bear death now deals 10% max health as Pure damage instead of 100/200/300/400 composite damage


  • Heartstopper Aura is now negative regeneration instead of HP Removal [?]


  • Land Mines damage type from Composite to Physical (still pierces Spell Immunity)
  • Land Mines damage reduced from 300/400/500/600 to 225/300/375/450
  • Suicide Squad, Attack! damage type from Composite to Physical (still pierces Spell Immunity)
  • Suicide Squad, Attack! damage reduced from 650/850/1150/1550 (350/400/450/500 partial) to 500/650/850/1150 (260/300/340/380)


  • March of the Machines damage type changed from Magical that pierces Spell Immunity to Magical that does not pierce Spell Immunity

Vengeful Spirit

  • Wave of Terror damage type from HP Removal to Pure that Pierces Spell Immunity


  • Fatal Bonds now shares the same damage type that is dealt into it, before it is reduced [?]
  • Fatal Bonds damage percentage from 20% to 25%
  • Flaming Fists damage type from Magical that pierces Spell Immunity to Magical (No longer pierces Spell Immunity)


  • Last Will damage type from Pure to Magical (Still does not pierce Spell Immunity)
  • Last Will damage increased from 400/500/600 to 550/675/800

Urn of Shadows

  • Changed from HP Removal to Pure

Additional Notes:

1) Composite Damage: This damage type has been removed. There are no longer any abilities which use Composite Damage.

2) HP Removal: This is no longer considered a Damage Type, and its remaining uses are as an alternative cost to Mana for spells to use (Sunray, Burning Spears) or as functional HP modifications (Armlet, Sunder, etc). These are now considered usage costs in the game and are never lethal.”

Casting: It’s a Lot of Work but very Rewarding!

“For those of you who have been following my work, you know that I’ve been working on improving my casting ability by commentating on various games (a lot of them from TI4). Recently, I had the distinct pleasure of having the opportunity to cast 9 of the qualifier games for the DotA 2 Canada Cup. Despite my attempts to prepare for it, it was quite the different experience from casting games on my own with a very limited audience (or, most of the time, none at all). The first day was a bit rocky as I adjusted to all the hidden difficulties behind running a stream for a tournament like having music available to play before and after games, the challenges with camera control, keeping one’s voice in good shape, and many other considerations. With the help of Capt’nCanuck, the organizers of the DotA 2 Canada Cup and our wonderful viewers I was able to make great strides and really improve on my casting.

Below are some of the games I had the pleasure of casting!

[youtube_video clip_id=””GPGZCiYA43I”” hd=””true”” width=560 height=315]

[youtube_video clip_id=””hHlHrpMwSe0″” hd=””true”” width=560 height=315]

Having been so involved in a tournament made me ever so cognizant of the rigors of running a tournament, providing the commentary and making sure everything is going on as it should behind the scenes. I look forward to continuing to work with other excellent organizations and having the opportunity to witness more exciting DotA firsthand!

Note: If you liked this article. Consider donating or installing this Chrome Extension I made that gives me credit for your Amazon purchases (by adding in my referral tag when you’re browsing Amazon).


Random Chrome Lag on my New Computer: The Seemingly Effective Fix

“I set up my shiny new Lenovo Z-40 70 (which I purchased reluctantly with the paltry $100 off coupon that I was given by Lenovo for their price error) and was enjoying it immensely until I set it up with my dual monitors and Chrome was lagging inexplicably (there wasn’t too much of a CPU load). I made sure that my drivers were set up and updated properly and even checked to see if my bios was up to date. After much frustration and considering just using another browser (a sad moment as I would have to let go of a lot of addons that I am fond of) I happened upon this post by Vincent Palmer suggesting that I uncheck  something called “”Predict network actions to improve page load performance””. Apparently it worked wonders for him and many others in the thread. Since it’s just a simple setting I gave it a shot, and, voila! My lag problems have evaporated since then.

For those of you wondering how to go about doing it, simply go to settings. Click on show advanced settings and then find the offending option (it’s just under the privacy options) and uncheck it.

I’m not sure why this option seemed to be causing me issues. But so far this fix has allowed me to continue using Chrome without having to suffer from incessant, seemingly random lag. Let me know if it helps you guys out!

That’s all for now. Have a pezant day!

Note: If you liked this article. Consider donating or installing this Chrome Extension I made that gives me credit for your Amazon purchases (by adding in my referral tag when you’re browsing Amazon).


The MMR Plateau: An Update

“Having reflected on what it is that I need to focus on I’d hoped that I would see a noticeable improvement in the outcome of my ranked matches. But, so far, it hasn’t been the case. I think I can chalk up some of the losses to misfortune but I cannot justify attributing all of my failures to the gods of chance. So let’s try and figure out what I did wrong.

Out of the last four games that I played I randomed in two of them and lost both those games. The one game that I did win (as Viper) I waited patiently and sought to choose a strong answer to their potential choices for mid. I also did a good job of directing my teammates and made some intelligent item choices (like getting a blink to accelerate my destruction of the enemy team). We overextended from time to time but mostly made good decisions (like taking Roshan later on in the game to ensure that our advantage was secured).

In my other games I either randomed (Brewmaster, Templar Assassin) or chose a sub-optimal hero (Skywrath). My game as Brewmaster actually went really well but we didn’t push our early advantage enough and Lifestealer did a really bad job of farming and playing Lifestealer. I made the mistake of getting an AC (hoping to help our team on the carry front) as opposed to getting an Agh’s (which would have helped the strength of our early pushes). Overall I feel pretty good about that game despite it ending in a loss. It’s making me reconsider my recent devotion to the mid role as I find that sometimes people do terribly mid but it’s much more rare to find someone who can actually play a hard carry really well.

My Skywrath game I was supporting my friend Kata in bottom lane (on the Anti-Mage) and we were doing reasonably well but it was a constant brawl there and AM was unable to get the farm he needed until much later in the game. I made the mistake of taking my Arcane Bolt rather than Concussive Shot first. Usually Arcane Bolt is a decent choice but we would have been able to secure a first blood had I leveled Concussive instead. It wasn’t necessarily the wrong decision but I could have simply waited to skill my ability until I needed to take action and retained that flexibility. Upon further reflection, Concussive first would generally be better in a tri lane as the slow will allow you and your teammates to put out more damage than the initial burst of damage provided by Arcane Bolt. I made some good plays later on in the game but we lost our bottom lane barracks to a really stupid decision from WR and WK not to TP back and help. Then AM and WR bickered for the rest of the game rather than focusing on playing intelligently and coming back. We lost gradually and there wasn’t much that could be done to stop it.

In my game as TA I fared reasonably well against Brewmaster mid but he was a problem in terms of trying to actually kill him and finish him off (which is something I generally like to do when I’m in the mid lane). An attempted gank on Brewmaster (suggested by Bat Rider) went horribly wrong with Enigma coming to turn it around on us into a double kill. Later on Batrider tried to blame it on me attacking Brewmaster to get his health down but I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t have killed him when he was at full health before he could use his ultimate. Batrider had a really awful attitude and after a failed gank in the jungle a little later on (him and Riki tried to go on Brew without sight of the lane and most of the enemy team missing) he elected to feed the courier and sell all of his sentries. Generally, I like to try and turn games around and keep trying but there was no way we were going to win with someone deliberately feeding.

So in conclusion, I suppose I learnt from my last few games. I definitely noticed that if you start the game off with a good attitude and laugh off mistakes it helps with preserving your team’s morale and keeping from falling into a pit of despair. Now let’s see if I can turn it around for the next few and start making a push for 4600!

That’s all for now. Have a pezant day!

Note: If you liked this article. Consider donating or installing this Chrome Extension I made that gives me credit for your Amazon purchases (by adding in my referral tag when you’re browsing Amazon).


Featured image is from ravkavka on deviantart

The MMR Plateau: Is It Possible to Break Through the Ceiling?

Update: I did eventually hit my goal of 5K! Once I settled on it and really worked towards I eventually made progress, :).

“I’m a fairly accomplished DotA 2 player currently sitting at about 4300 MMR for my solo and party ratings (usually it is 4400 solo and 4200 party) but I’ve been noticing that for the past few months I have been hovering around that rating. Now, there is nothing wrong with being at whatever particular rating someone is at but I like to always try and improve as I play games (as you may have come to realize while reading my posts) so, in the interest of improving my play and creating some interesting content, I’m going to air my perceived weaknesses and see if I can improve on them over the course of the week. Ideally, I’ll see an appreciable gain in my ranking as a result of such reflection.

Off the top of my head, I can list a few things that I think are likely limiting my success.

1) Picking a hero that I feel like playing as opposed to a hero that really fits the composition and does exceptionally well against the enemy team.

Everyone has a hero that they treasure dearly and love to play. Sometimes we let that affection get in the way of reason and logic and play them despite it perhaps not being the best decision for the current situation. My heroes that I am guilty for picking despite there perhaps be being better options are Tiny and PL. These are two heroes that are a lot of fun but I often find myself frustrated by a loss despite having done exceptionally well in the game. But if we look at these occurrences over a period of time a pattern begins to emerge. That despite my most valiant efforts I am handicapping myself and my team by picking a hero that isn’t quite optimal simply because I feel like playing said hero at that moment.

Now, obviously my choice of hero isn’t the only determinant of how the match goes but if we look at the games below we can see that it definitely contributed to our loss in some sense in all of those games. Tiny is an awesome hero (and one of my very favourite ones) but he is not a hero you can pick blindly against any lineup.

So hero choices is one part of the equation, the next big thing is item choices.

2) Item choices.

Looking at Tiny again we can see that there are certain items that I favour and pick up in pretty much any situation. Looking at my last 20 matches I get a Shadow Blade, Agh’s, and Bottle pretty much every game. And, if given the time, I get BoTs and AC and maybe Manta. Now, these are all pretty good items for Tiny, but perhaps I need to reexamine my choices based on the heroes I am against and whether we are leading or not. BoTs are great because they allow me to push and farm much better, but, at the same time, that’s 2500 being put towards an item that doesn’t really help me fight immediately and I could be getting a BKB instead. Speaking of BKBs, I like to avoid getting it on Tiny because in the late game he is so tanky and has so much stun and burst that often times you don’t need but I think I need to reexamine my item choices in game and consider getting one based on the other team’s composition despite my disdain for it. Sometimes, it just makes sense to get a BKB. Even if I really really don’t want to.

I see this trend in my other games and am generally aware of it but so far, I haven’t really done much to improve on it. I also notice that I neglect items like Wand (which makes sense in a lot of cases and can really be a lifesaver) and in-between items like Wraith Bands, Bracers and Drums. These items don’t allow me to accelerate quicker towards a late game state (which, given the long term point of view I tend to take in a game is what I am generally aiming for) but they will likely help me make it through the mid game and could prove to be the difference in team fights that we are losing and make the late game less arduous.

3) Lack of leadership.

Just today, I played a game with my brother which meant that I am generally queued with people who are lower in MMR. I drafted what I felt was a pretty excellent team (Luna, Venge, Alch tri safe, Clock off, Huskar mid) and did quite well in my role but after a decent start the tri-lane started dying and getting picked off and generally doing badly. I kept trying as well as I could and Clock and I managed to stave off the enemy team for a while but it wasn’t enough in the face of the constant feeding by our supports and our carry. Additionally, I let my temper get to me and wasn’t thinking clearly and got picked off a few times myself.

This is a situation that I am sure you are familiar as we all have those games of DotA where we are just getting pummeled mercilessly. However, I’ve found that if I am able to rise above the current situation and continue playing calmly, identify the causes for our lack of success (in the case of this game – bad positioning, being picked off and poor initiation), seek to rectify them and provide guidance to my members that often times we can reverse the situation or at least put up a much more substantial fight. It’s difficult to do when the human response is to play the blame game or to simply withdraw due to frustration and abdicate all responsibility but those are not the right things to do. If you truly do want to improve, being a good leader (or at the very least, a good team member) is an incredibly important component of that. Everybody wants to do well and if they are struggling to catch a break in the game do your best to give them a break and get them back on their feet. When you win that big team fight and the mood on the team swings and you start pushing the enemy team back it’ll be worth having held back all the f-bombs you were so tempted to release in a fiery storm of rage.

4) Playing when tired.

DotA is a demanding game that asks much more of you than most. If you fail to pay attention for even one moment then you can find yourself dead, missing an opportunity or just generally falling behind. Therefore, it is imperative that you be able to perform at the required level. Unfortunately, for most of us, being tired takes away from our potential to perform at an optimal and, despite my more analytical side, I have played many a game at a point in the day where I was tired, sleepy or just out of it. So, if you really want to focus on improving your MMR you need to take proper care of yourself and make sure that you’re ready to go when you choose to accept a queue (and take steps to wake up like running on the spot, splashing your face with cold water or having some sort of stimulant). If you don’t feel up to the task have  a nap, go to sleep or play an unranked game instead. If you are really tempted think about it this way, if you are tired and end up playing badly you’re likely to feel shitty about the game you just played or get angry when things don’t go the way you would have liked them to and be worse off than when you started.

This is a lesson I really need to apply seriously and will be trying my best to do so in the next week or so as I undergo this experiment.

5) Keeping the push up when we have an early-game oriented team.

Another one of my weaknesses is my tendency to favour the late game. This works out just fine from time to time, but with the current shift in the meta towards early line ups it is not a luxury that I am always able to count on. I have found myself in one too many games where my team has had an early advantage but failed to capitalize on that advantage adequately and let the other team catch up and eventually overwhelm us. Though it’s fun to farm and certainly less stressful than pushing and taking objectives, ultimately, the game is about destroying the enemies’ Ancient (which VG and Newbee demonstrated quite powerfully during TI4). If you have an early game focused team don’t let your early successes fool you. You need to build on that advantage and keep on beating the other team or else you’ll find yourself at a growing, irreconcible disadvantage as the other team gains more gold and experience.

Don’t let your emotions get to you.Think about what it is that you could be doing wrong and actively seek to improve those things. Just remember, you’re the common factor amongst all the games you play. So, at some point it becomes a matter of you not getting any better rather than your teammates failing you. Look to yourself for answers and you will improve. Look to others for excuses and you will never improve yourself.

Look to yourself for answers and you will improve. Look to others for excuses and you will never improve yourself.

As part of this experiment I will be looking through my replays (and perhaps casting some of them) in order to see if there are any other mistakes that I make on a regular basis and are dragging me down.

Come check this out again on Friday for another update!

That’s all for now. Have a pezant day!

Note: If you liked this article. Consider donating or installing this Chrome Extension I made that gives me credit for your Amazon purchases (by adding in my referral tag when you’re browsing Amazon).


The International 4: A Post Mortem

“There’s already been a great deal of discussion about TI4 but I figured I’d throw in my own opinion to the variety of ones currently swimming about. In a few short words TI4 was both under, and over, whelming. I’m sure it sounds strange to read it when it’s laid out like that but for those who attended I think they’ll have an idea of what I mean.

On the underwhelming side, as a General Admission attendee, I had access to seats in the upper sections of the arena, the Secret Shop and the various other activities laid throughout the remainder of the arena (the Workshop section, the Juggernaught Lounge, etc). This meant that I was able to enjoy the vast majority of what was great about TI4 (seeing the games being played out live in person, meeting fellow DotA players, availing the Secret Shop of its wares) but it also meant that my friends and I were very aware of our position in the very last tier of attendees. We didn’t have much of an opportunity to meet pro players or commentators unless we happened to come across them whilst they were walking around the arena (and weren’t sticking to their separate floor, it was pretty easy to see how actually wanted to meet and talk with their fans and who didn’t because of this) and often times we found ourselves in seats that were not optimally situated for acoustics or visuals.

To Valve’s credit, watching the games in the arena was still an incredible experience. When big plays were made and the crowd roared and clapped as their heroes fought valiantly on the huge monitors laid out in front of us there was an irreplaceable atmosphere that made the experience seem completely surreal. However, due to the poor audio setup (I heard that they were pressed for time in setting up and didn’t have the opportunity to set it up exactly as they liked) there was a significant drop in energy in between games when the analysts covered what had just occurred as well as during the drafting stage. Since it was near impossible to fully comprehend what they were trying to say most people took to chatting to their seatmates or going out for bathroom breaks and trips to the Secret Shop. This left the arena with a strange dichotomy between the grandeur of the presentation laid out below us and the behaviour of those in the stands. Honestly, I can’t really complain because we still got an awesome experience for several days for around the price of a typical concert ticket but I want to contribute to next year’s event being even better. So, consider this to be constructive criticism!

For next year’s event, something definitely needs to be done about the audio in the General Admission seats so that people can clearly hear what the casters and analysts are saying. Otherwise, the analysts will be left with the unfair and unpleasant task of attempting to perform in front of an audience that largely isn’t paying attention to what they are saying or are struggling to follow what they are saying. Having had to perform in front of an audience myself, I know how important crowd reactions are and how difficult it can be to continue on your anticipated track when they aren’t responding in the fashion that you had expected. Another, admittedly less major, issue was the projectors cutting out for the overhead screens and the image occasionally falling in and out of sharpness. This made what should have been an easy choice between the screen right in your field of view and the screen all the way in the front unnecessarily difficult. Additionally, the need to scan in and out of the arena made for a few traffic jams when influxes of people were trying to enter or exit. But that’s an issue that couldn’t be solved without a major change in the Arena’s setup and wouldn’t be within Valve’s control. As for the lack of access to personalities at the event, that is something that is totally understandable but I would advise attendees to come with the expectation that they’ll have to work hard to find the people that they want to meet and talk to and they won’t simply be strolling through the arena bumping into one person after another.

Having aired those grumblings I am now free to rave about the overwhelming side of things. I got a chance to meet some of my most beloved personalities like Dendi (so incredibly kind and generous), Bruno (has a Masters in Computer Science and is just as smart, witty and kind as you would expect), Pyrion Flax (a great guy to chat with and hilarious even when he’s not trying), Draskyl (super smart, awesome sarcastic sense of humor, very pragmatic) and Ixmike (representing despite his team’s elimination in the qualifiers and quite the momma hunter) and they were just as wonderful as I’d expected they would be. Some of the games were absolutely electrifying (especially the EG, C9, Na’vi and DK series due to my cheering for them specifically) and the production value was excellent. In the arena we were able to see the main action in the middle of the screen with an enlarged minimap on the side, key stats on the right and awesome hero portraits in front of the player booths. Though the lineup for the Secret Shop was insanely lengthy (5ish hours at most points during the event) the merchandise there was of an impressive level of quality and the complimentary daily gifts were beautiful (at least the concept art and comic book that I got). The arena food was awful, both in terms of price and quality, but fortunately TI4 coincided with a food festival being held just outside so attendees had the opportunity to pursue alternative sources of nutrition close by.

Despite its flaws, TI4 was a fascinating, beautiful experience that I will certainly be aiming to be a part of again. I heard from several people who watched the event online or happened upon it on ESPN 2 and were inspired to give a shot at playing or had their interest in DotA 2 reinvigorated.

Hopefully by the time next year rolls around I will have made enough of an impact as a caster, writer and DotA 2 lover that I will have secured an invitation. If not, I’ll be grabbing those General Admission tickets again and making the best of the experience!

That’s all for now. Have a pezant day!

Note: If you liked this article. Consider donating or installing this Chrome Extension I made that gives me credit for your Amazon purchases (by adding in my referral tag when you’re browsing Amazon).


Time for an Upgrade!: TI4’s Secret Shop Experience

“The Secret Shop at TI4, once we’d gotten through the interminable lineups, was full of wonders and a fantastic experience. We lined up early on the second day of TI4 and ended up waiting about 5 hours before we’d gotten through and acquired our merchandise. The lines were of a similar length up until midway through the third day at which they became somewhat bearable (and if you chose the right moment, like just before the end of a game in the semi-finals on the last day, you could get in and out in less than 5 minutes). Though I think Valve did a pretty good job of creating merchandise and handling the huge crowds of people who wanted to get it (and they are deserving of props for setting up screens for people to watch the games, having order booklets available as you approached the shop, having a space on the side where you could try on different sizing, and handing out umbrellas when it was really sunny or threatening to rain) I did have a few thoughts with regards to potential improvements to the system.

A link to the catalog for the TI4 merchandise for those interested

The biggest bottlenecks in the chain were the entering of the order items off of the order sheets and the receipt of payment and gathering together of orders when you went to pick up your stuff. Now, it’s fairly obvious that those would be the points at which there will be stumbling blocks as the remainder of the process is fairly decentralized and just a matter of setting up lines (booklets are handed out in every swag bag and also available at the door, there is plenty of space for lining up in Key Arena). So, how could Valve have managed the huge influx of people and orders more effectively?

Making the process less painful for those involved would be a question of either expediting the various parts of it, or redistributing the workload to areas outside of peak hours (basically reducing the load on the critical paths).

The process in question was composed of a few main steps.

  • Lining up to enter the Secret Shop (starting with a line up outside the arena in the morning, then a line that stretched from the entrance all way out to wherever people were still lining up).
  • Receiving an order booklet upon entry to the outdoor section of the Secret Shop (so once you actually got to the area where the shop was).
  • Moving through the outdoor line (at which point you could take a quick glance at a screen indicating which items were in/out of stock, next time use an IPS monitor or increase the brightness Valve! As it was quite difficult to read with the light outside shining off of it).
  • Reaching the section where you handed over your order form and it was keyed in (and the associate there confirmed that the items you’d listed were those that you wanted to acquire).
  • After receiving your payment receipt you then moved to line up for the processing station that you were assigned. Wait patiently in line some more.
  • Get called up to the station, hand over your order receipt, wait for them to fetch your order that was put together, and then pay.
  • Walk off ecstatic that you’ve managed to secure some sweet merchandise!

After discussion with my group of friends that I went with (but mostly my lovely girlfriend) I came up with a few ideas.

To make the process faster Valve would be better off if they could eliminate the paper component. The way that they set up the Secret Shop this year was that you got a physical Order Form which you would then fill out with the quantities of the respective items that you would like to obtain. Having a paper form meant that once you’ve puzzled out how exactly you were supposed to fill out the form that that form then had to be transcribed into the digital system to calculate the payment due as well as send the order to be put together at the payment and order fulfillment line. This was one of the major slowdowns in the process because the number of time to input increases variably with the amount of items selected for purchase and some people hadn’t circled the item numbers that they wanted (used to help with spotting them out) or didn’t always print legibly.

A potential solution for this conundrum would be to create an app for Secret Shop customers to download on their phones and plot their order out on before they get in line for the Secret Shop. The app could communicate via NFC with the order entry consoles. With that option in place, Valve could set up a few express lines for people to go in if they have already set up the app and the order on their phones. This would reduce the burden on those entering orders and simplify their task to notifying people when items are out of stock and verifying that the correct choices have been entered. Additional possibilities would be opened if the app had updated in-stock information and allowed for order submission online. However, if that kind of capability was introduced then it would simply make sense to allow people to order online in advance and then come to pick up their orders. Which leads me to my next point, redistributing work load out of peak hours.

If an option were introduced to order (and perhaps even pay) in advance then an express, order pickup line could be created for those who have placed their orders in advance. There are a few things to take into consideration with this approach as it opens up the potential for abuse and fraud but those risks could be mitigated. With an online order and pickup option the experience of waiting five hours in line for the Secret Shop would likely never occur again. Granted, this option would likely put a lot of stress on Valve’s servers and onsite databases but with enough planning and preparation they should be able to weather the workload. With regards to the potential for abuse and fraud, purchases would have to be tied to some sort of permanent ID (like a passport) to prevent people from making excessive purchases aimed at resale (like upwards of $5,000 or something) and to make sure that the person who has come to pick up is in fact the person that ordered (this is doubly important when payment had been made in advance).

The other big advantage of orders being made in advance is that the second major portion of the process, payment receipt and order preparation and distribution, could be done outside of hours when the Secret Shop is open to the public and potentially even done offsite (where space isn’t as much of a concern). With orders being prepared in advance, staff would simply have to verify the identity of the person who has come to pick up an order and then go and pick up the appropriate prepared package. With advance ordering (depending on the amount of time that orders can be placed before the shop opens) demand can also be better estimated and there is even the potential for increased manufacture of particularly popular products.

These are quite big changes that would require a lot of planning and diligent execution but if Valve put even some of these proposed changes into effect they could make the Secret Shop experience much more enjoyable for those involved, make even more money that they did at TI4 and reduce the amount of people missing games being played due to their being stuck in line for the Secret Shop.

Let me know what you guys think, and if anyone knows someone from Valve that they could push this on to I’d be curious to hear what they think (who knows, they may have already thought of all of this!).

That’s all for now. Have a pezant day!

Note: If you liked this article. Consider donating or installing this Chrome Extension I made that gives me credit for your Amazon purchases (by adding in my referral tag when you’re browsing Amazon).


Settling in Seattle: Tips for TI4 Travelers

“Those of you going to Seattle for TI4 will obviously be focusing on the Battle of Titans that will be occurring at Key Arena but every once in a while I imagine you will be taking breaks to do human things like sleep, eat, and maybe shop/experience the city a little bit. Having been to Seattle for PAX Prime 3 times now I am going to attempt to put together a small guide to experiencing Seattle from the point of view of a traveler.

The Location

Key Arena is a little ways northwest of the Downtown core but still within 30-35 minutes walking distance. As far as I can tell there aren’t really any landmarks near it, but, it’s about the DotA and not the quality of the tourist attractions nearby so it doesn’t really matter.


If you haven’t already booked accommodation then you’re likely going to be in for a rough time in terms of being able to find a place that is both nearby to the Arena and not 200$ a night. I would suggest consulting resources like Kayak.com (also an excellent option for finding cheap airfares), hostelbookers.com and airbnb.com to attempt to find somewhere to stay. A quick search of each of these on June 23rd produced the following results. At this point in the game, you might want to consider issuing a call for help on Facebook and seeing if anyone else would be willing to share a room for you.


Honestly, I haven’t really been too impressed by the food in Seattle thus far. Most of the restaurants that I’ve come across in the Downtown core are of the chain variety and not really too wonderful to experience. That being said, we found two gems in Michou Deli and Pike Place Chowder down by Pike Place Market  (quite a hike from the Arena unfortunately). We did find that Jimmy John’s (a sandwich shop) was a pretty decent option if you are hungry and just want something to eat and there are a few of those throughout Seattle. Following are different food places that you could check out near the Arena (based on a mix of distance/rating, in order of distance with the one furthest away ~20 minutes walking). If you’re especially well organized you can always take advantage of the refrigerator in your room and prepare your own meals at the beginning of the day (unlikely to happen throughout the duration of the tournament though).

  • .


We aren’t big on the shopping side of things but we did take a bit of time during our last visit to check out our options within the Downtown core. After visiting the various locations we were most impressed by the little shops down at Pike Place Market, perusing Pacific Place and the deals at Nordstrom Rack (however, these require quite a bit of shifting through piles of nausea inducing clothes). If you really want to get a great deal of shopping done you’d be best suited to visit the outlets and malls outside the core such as Premium Outlets, Northgate Mall, Southcenter Mall and the Outlet Shops at Burlington.

Experiencing the City

Given that you won’t have too time to explore Seattle beyond the evenings once games are over I would say that the one place you do need to visit is Pike Place Market. The other parts of Seattle that I’ve seen thus far haven’t really been that awe-inspiring (though I do hear there are some nice hiking trails in the area). I suppose you could check out the Space Needle but so far I’ve been satisfied with seeing it from afar.

Best of luck with your adventure and I hope you enjoy your TI4 experience. Maybe I’ll even see some of you folks there!

That’s all for now. Have a pezant day!

Note: If you liked this article. Consider donating or installing this Chrome Extension I made that gives me credit for your Amazon purchases (by adding in my referral tag when you’re browsing Amazon).


A Comparison of the Four Major Internet Providers in Vancouver: Shaw, Teksavvy, Telus and Novus

“In my previous article, I gave people a simple guide on how to negotiate a better deal regarding their internet with their provider. Here is a comparison of the different choices that I did to help you with your tense phone negotiations (or maybe if you’re just trying to decide who to go with). Good luck!


My current provider. Get use of Shaw Go WiFi with a plan with them. Can be quite useful for people with no, or limited, data plans.

Offers 25 Mbps down and 2.5 Mbps Up with a 250GB cap at 73/month.


An underdog in the internet services provision market. Buy their internet through Shaw and use their network but offer significantly lower rates. No data caps on usage between 2AM and 8AM.

Offers 25 Mbps down and 2.5 Mbps Up with a 300GB cap at 40/month (39.95 but that’s essentially 40$).


Telus’s network is set up in a different fashion from Shaw’s such that when there is a lot of traffic on your node (in your area) you will experience reduced speeds. Hence the strange 5-25 Mbps speed that is advertised. One thing that Telus does do really well is the large amount of upload speed that they offer. Something that I found quite appealing given that I’ve not set up for streaming and you need ~5Mbps up to avoid lagging while streaming. You can play Telus and Shaw against each other as they are always competing for each others’ customers.

Offers 5-25 Mbps down and 5 Mbps Up with a 250GB cap at 63/month.


When I discoverd Novus I felt like I’d found a mythical unicorn. With the lowest rates across the board of any of the providers and amazing upload speeds offered (10 MBps Up at the lowest tier) I was immediately ready to switch. Unfortunately, my brief moment of joy at having found an incredible competitive choice was crushed by the harsh reality that they only offer service in condos and apartments that they’ve run their fiber into. That eliminated our single family, detached home from contention. If you can choose Novus as your provider, I see absolutely no reason not to.

Offers 25 Mbps down and 10 Mbps Up with a 250GB cap at 34.95/month (wow).

That’s all for now. Have a pezant day!

Note: If you liked this article. Consider donating or installing this Chrome Extension I made that gives me credit for your Amazon purchases (by adding in my referral tag when you’re browsing Amazon).