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Gaming Games Inbox: No Man’s Sky longevity, F1 2016 love, and Call Of Duty 2 retrospective

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Games Inbox: How long should a good game last you?
No Man’s Sky – is 30 hours enough?

The morning Inbox celebrates the joys of Etrian Odyssey, as one reader recommends the new PlayStation-only Humble Bundle.

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Time well wasted

Hi GameCentral. First, let me thank you for being the one gaming website that my works firewall doesn’t block. My lunches would be very boring without it.

Second, Dan Perrott’s email about 30 hours of No Man’s Sky was enough to get him bored. Is that a bad thing? I have it myself but Dark Souls III is taking up my time (35 hours in, should be way less but dying is my favourite habit) so haven’t had chance to give it much attention yet.

30 hours before getting bored seems a good run of playtime for me. Also, it’s only been out a week or thereabouts so I am guessing there have been few long marathons to amass that play time, fatigue is likely to set in on any game.

I can’t see myself sitting through a 30-hour film or TV series to say at the end this was boring.
Mike V

Return to Duty

For those who are interested Call Of Duty 2 is now backwards compatible on the Xbox One. For those who don’t remember the context this was the first console entry in the series, and a major launch title for the Xbox 360. It was also a major online title, and the first console I’d ever played online. And… it looks terrible now.

I mean, it’s 13 years old now, so I don’t know what I really expected, but it’s staggering to think this was what was being played at the beginning of the Xbox 360’s life and something like GTA V (or Advanced Warfare) was what we ended up with.

That’s absolutely no criticism of Call Of Duty 2, but in my opinion at least it’s nothing but a museum piece, an historical curiosity. Although saying that it does make me think that a new WWII game is overdue. Like many I’m not upset that Infinite Warfare is set in the future, rather that we’ve had three, arguably four, future games in a row. Variety is the spice of life and Call Of Duty 2 has frankly lost its flavour.

Humbly yours

Just thought, if no one had done so already, I’d let your readers know that Humble Bundle is currently doing a PlayStation-only sale, which is worth it for Okami HD (on PlayStation 3) alone in my opinion. It works out as a saving from the current PSN price, at the sub £9 mark you’d need to get it currently too (not that the £11.49 PSN price is in any way overpriced, for a game of that quality, I realise).

Other games include Resident Evil HD, the flawed but decently playable Remember Me, and if you pay £12 you get Resident Evil 0 and the Devil May Cry collection thrown in too.

And all for a good cause. Win, win! I’ll provide the link just in case.

Thanks GC, and keep up the great content.
Gengar91 (PSN ID)
Currently playing: Rocket League, ABZÛ, SOMA, and The Witcher 3 intermittently

GC: Thanks for that, we’d also recommend Okami HD. In fact, all the games in the deal are worth a go at those prices.

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Untold releases

Having really enjoyed Etrian Odyssey Untold and the brilliant Etrian Odyssey IV I have started playing Untold 2, which left me with two questions: do you know if they are planning Untold 3 and also do you think we will see V in Europe? I think it came out in Japan a couple of weeks back. Thanks and keep up the good work.

GC: Congratulations on your great taste in games, we don’t see nearly enough Etrian Odyssey love in the Inbox. A third Untold game is hard to predict, but Etrian Odyssey V did pretty well in Japan so there’s a reasonable chance. Whether the latter will come to the UK is also difficult to say, as it’ll be one of the first new Atlus games since Deep Silver took over as European publisher. But the news about Persona 5 was positive so let’s hope it is with this too. While we’re on the subject we’d also recommend Persona Q, which is basically a crossover between Etrian Odyssey and Persona.

Holy cheat codes, Batman

RE: PsillySuedonym and game cheat codes. My favourite cheat was for FIFA 96. You could put invisible walls around the pitch and make the football into a beach ball. The ball would fly around at the slightest provocation and bounce off the walls giving great opportunities for crazy volleys. Plus, you could do all this while all the players were dressed as Batman and Robin.

I also remember the original Need For Speed allowing you to be a T-Rex and a school bus, how those games have changed…
PS: Overcooked is a classic game, simple enough for anyone to play, yet challenging enough to not be demeaning. I want more games like this please, Lego games can only last so long.

Ad hoc racing

I would just like to add to the praise from Charlie Ridgewell for F1 2016 as I am loving it too. The new career mode is excellent and all the authentic features like penalties, safety car, virtual safety car, formation laps might sound terribly car geeky but it all adds to the immersion and depth in what is a brilliant recreation of the sport. GC called DiRT Rally ‘the Dark Souls of racing games’ and F1 2016 could claim that title as well with the amount of detail Codemasters have put in the game. The level of realism is definitely aimed squarely at hardcore fans with all the realistic features games like Forza are too afraid to put in, for fear of scaring off the more casual fans.

Although with multiple excellent driving assists that can be toggled on and off, a simplified car setup and race strategy options available makes it approachable for newer fans even non-gamers should find it easy enough to pick up with several difficulty levels for the computer drivers too.

Picture this, when playing the career on the Hungarian Grand Prix I managed to get into 15th position in qualifying. During the race on lap seven of 18 some of the drivers in front of me went into the pits. Knowing this seemed a bit early for a one stop pit strategy I knew they would need a second pit later in the race. So I went in at the end of lap nine, two stops before my scheduled pit stop I chose at the beginning – calling it in through my headset so my pit crew was ready.

So coming out the pit in P13 and sure enough a few laps later some of the drivers in front went in for their second stop putting me up to P8 then in lap 15 I clipped the car in P7 whilst overtaking and had to do the last four laps with a damaged front wing, meaning corners were much harder to get my car round at speed; which was an utterly nail biting experience but I hung on through grit and determination I finished in seventh place, seven positions ahead of my team’s expectations of me and eight up on my starting position.

All thanks to a great off the cuff pit strategy I thought up on the fly. Just one example of how deep and rewarding this game is. The artificial intellegence is excellent, dare I say better than Forza Motorsport 6’s Drivatars. That and the level of depth and authenticity make F1 2016 the best single-player realistic racing game I have played in a very long time! They have absolutely nailed the handling too, honing and tweaking last year’s game to perfection!
Big Angry Dad82 (gamertag)

Worst of the worst

I would like to ask everyone what the worst game that they have ever played on a console?

For me it has to be Battle Monsters on the Sega Saturn. The sloppy controls are bad enough but what really makes things ten times worse is the ugly interface and horrible animations.

I regret ever buying for the Saturn as this is what makes 2D fighters look like a laughing stock.
gaz be rotten (gamertag)

GC: We would suggest this as a future Hot Topic, but we’ve tried it before and too few people seem willing to admit they’ve played bad games.

Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here

Turn it off

I was looking forward to buying a PS4 Slim, until I read your article about the second lightbar on its controller.

I can only express disappointment regarding this abhorrent and needless distraction. Loads of adults buy and play these consoles, do Sony seriously believe grown-ups want a device that lights up like a toy?

Quite often console design and evolution appears bereft of logic. It’s damning with faint praise but I really liked the ability to boot the Xbox One silently. And then inexplicably Microsoft took that feature away in the last update.

Fair play to the company, they’re bringing back the option to silently boot their console after receiving complaints. But why rob us of peace and quiet in the first place?

Bleeping hardware is a pet hate of mine, especially in this overcrowded world where everyone lives on top of each other. My washing machine is seriously obnoxious. After finishing its cycle it bleeps loudly for attention like some mechanical brat until I give in and go and turn its power off.

As for bleeping consoles the only justification I can think of is to help partially sighted people, but do they play video games a lot?

Apologies for the long rant, news of that second lightbar just set me off.
msv858 (Twitter)
PS: Don’t get me started on the Xbox One’s interface, which seems to have been designed during a game of pin the tail on the donkey.

GC: What drives us mad is that the one legitimate purpose the lightbar has – to help the PlayStation Camera track the controller while using PlayStation VR – is the one time you can’t see it. So why can’t you turn it off the rest of the time?! It angers us greatly.

Inbox also-rans

Yes, it’s totally true! I used to hold down and B when tossing a pokéball at some poor battered down critter on Pokémon Blue. I’m sure you had to hold up and B when using a great ball or above. Still have no idea to this day if those extra clicks made any difference, but it’s all part of the charm, right?
Animated Jak

Does anyone remember Indiana Jones and His Desktop Adventures? It is the oldest game with procedurally-generated levels that I can think of. No one has ever mentioned it in the inbox before.

GC: We remember it, and Yoda Stories. But procedural generation is a very old concept for video games. It’s the cornerstone of roguelikes, and they’ve been going since the ‘70s.

This week’s Hot Topic

Now that Gamescom is over, we know almost everything we’re going to know in advance about this year’s winter line-up. So the question for this weekend’s Inbox is simple: which game are you looking forward to the most?

There’s a list of the more prominent titles here, but feel free to suggest any game you like – as long as it’s released in the UK between now and the end of the year. But don’t just make it a list of games; explain to us why you’re looking forward to each title and what exactly you expect of it.

Will you be buying the games straight away, or waiting for them to be discounted at a later date? When did you first become interested in them and will you pre-order them? And do you think this year’s Christmas is better or worse than usual?

E-mail your comments to:

The small print
New Inbox updates appear twice daily, every weekday morning and afternoon. Letters are used on merit and may be edited for length.

You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word 4Player viewer features at any time, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.

If you need quick access to the GameCentral channel page please use:

Games InboxGaming

Gaming The King Of Fighters XIV review – royal rumble

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Game review: The King Of Fighters XIV is a serious Street Fighter rival
The King Of Fighters XIV (PS4) – it deserves a big hand

Street Fighter V faces a new challenger in SNK’s revamped fighter, but will it appeal only to hardcore fans?

You can infer almost everything you need to know about The King Of Fighters XIV from its name. It’s a fighter, obviously, and since it’s now on number 14 it’s clearly a popular one. It’s also an old franchise, so that must mean it’s a 2D one-on-one beat ‘em-up. And yet it’s not famous in the same way as Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat is, so that means it’s probably Japanese and probably pretty hardcore. Of course, if you’re familiar with the series already its name alone is also a guarantor of quality, and no more so than in this smart new revamp.

Despite its lack of success in the West, SNK’s The King Of Fighters series has always been the most serious rival to Capcom’s Street Fighter. In fact, the first game, from back in 1994, shared the same director as the original Street Fighter. That connection is even honoured by this new game having the same battle designer as Street Fighter IV (and the equally classic Garou: Mark Of The Wolves). The two series are so interconnected they almost feel like sister franchises, with King Of Fighters taking the role of the deeper, more technical alternative.

But The King Of Fighters XIV is a key milestone in the series, as it represents the first time a mainline entry has used 3D graphics. Previous to this everything has been sprite-based, and while the Maximum Impact spin-offs did use polygonal graphics they also featured 3D gameplay more similar to the Tekken titles. But this is still a traditional 2D fighter.

To be honest, the visuals are by far our least favourite element of the game, and are nowhere near as distinctive as either the modern Street Fighter games, the sprite-based BlazBlue, or the peerlessly beautiful Guilty Gear Xrd games. From a technical perspective they look last gen at best, with wooden animation and rather bland art and character design.

But the generic looking combatants have always been a weakness of the series, despite the fact that The King Of Fighters is actually a crossover game that pulls together characters from other SNK titles such as Fatal Fury and Art Of Fighting, and even non-fighting games such as Ikari Warriors. But with 50 different characters in total it’s a good job their play styles are more distinctive than they look.

Regardless of the technology powering it the gameplay still takes place purely along a 2D plane, and retains the series’ signature 3 vs. 3 tag team battles. Although unlike other tag team games you can’t switch characters until the next in line is defeated, which seems a bit limiting at first but does at least make character selection a key tactical decision. For returning King Of Fighters veterans (who usually refer to the series as KOF) the new game is notably slower than the five-year-old The King of Fighters XIII, bringing the feel of the combat that much closer to Street Fighter.

Most moves operate very similarly to Street Fighter, with many being almost identical. But where KOF XIV excels is layering on additional features that players can slowly ease themselves into, as they gain more experience with the game’s mechanics. For example, there’s Max Mode, which replaces the Hyper Drive system from the last game and allows you to perform unlimited special moves for a short time – as well as souped up Max versions.

There are actually three levels of supers, with the most powerful Climax types requiring a full power gauge to pull off. Although one of KOF’s key strategies is to cancel an ordinary move partway through and transition it into a super. That may sound complicated but it’s actually a lot easier than a lot of KOF’s previous systems and a great way to start off a combo chain. And then for beginners there’s also Rush combos, which, as long as you’re close enough, are activated automatically simply by jabbing a single button.

Even this is only scratching at the surface though, as further practice sees you learning about emergency evasions (a Street Fighter-esque parry), counter-proof command throws, and the blow black move which stops you from getting crowded by pushing your opponent into the opposite end of the arena.

The King Of Fighters XIV (PS4) - get lost in its gameplay
The King Of Fighters XIV (PS4) – get lost in its gameplay

But despite its hardcore status KOF XIV remains surprisingly accessible, as returning features are streamlined and new ones, such as giving losing players extra super meters, ensure there’s always the chance for a last minute comeback.

Unlike Street Fighter V there’s also a multitude of different play modes, include some extensive tutorials and a Trial mode that does well to explain how all the different systems fit together. There is a story mode, but it’s very simplistic and there’s virtually no actual plot. The online mode is also a little under-specced compared to most of its peers but it seems to run smoothly enough.

The King Of Fighters XIV comes at a difficult time for fighting games, with the failure of Street Fighter V threatening to plunge the genre into a new dark age (ironic given that Street Fighter IV saved it from the previous one). We doubt that The King Of Fighters XIV will have that much impact, but despite its complex secrets seeming only for the hardcore this is also one of the most approachable and fun fighting games of the current generation.

The King Of Fighters XIV

In Short: A successful soft reboot for the venerable fighting game series, and a great jumping on point for those dissatisfied by Street Fighter V.

Pros: Highly technical fighting system, that combines the best ideas of previous titles and yet remains surprisingly easy to learn. Huge range of game modes and playable characters.

Cons: The graphics are bland and old-fashioned, and despite the huge number of characters few are very visually distinctive. Bare bones story mode.

Score: 8/10

Formats: PlayStation 4
Price: £49.99
Publisher: Deep Silver
Developer: SNK
Release Date: 26th August 2016
Age Rating: 12

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Hearthstone News HCT NA Summer Preliminaries: Karazhan creeps into the meta

Hearthstone News HCT NA Summer Preliminaries: Karazhan creeps into the meta

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The Americas Summer Championship Top 8 was decided this past weekend at the HCT Summer Prelims, in what was our first look at what One Night in Karazhan cards add to competitive Hearthstone. Despite Aggro Shaman and ZooLock lists continuing to dominate, the Top 8 was sprinkled with some new cards, and we saw a resurgence of one of the game’s premier late-game strategies — Freeze Mage.

Abar, Manny “Dude7597” Eckert, Edwin “HOTMeowth” Cook, Mark “Monsanto” Ormandy, Pasco, Rooftrellen, Jeffery “Tarei” Liu and Topoablo11 all cemented their spots at the Summer Championship Sunday in the elimination rounds of the grueling double-elimination, Conquest-format event.

Despite only the first wing of Karazhan being legal for play at the event, the game’s newest expansion certainly left its mark. Ivory Knight was in all three of the Paladin decks in Top 8, an impressive showing for a class that has been underrepresented in recent tournament play. The finalists' decklists also featured a few copies of Cloaked Huntress to round out the new cards that performed well on the weekend.

Despite the fresh Karazhan cards, there was a high number of grindy Freeze Mage decks being played over the weekend. As an archetype that according to top players has strong matchups against some of the format's top decks — Zoo in particular — it hasn’t seen a lot of tournament action lately, but the NA Prelims bucked the trend.

Why Now? Why Freeze Mage?

Freeze Mage has an interesting relationship with tournament play. More than any other deck in the game, it benefits from knowing exactly the metagame it’s going to be competing against. When you’re seeing your entire deck every game, the amount of Flamestrikes, Blizzards or extra card draw in a list can mean the difference between winning and losing. This weekend felt like a coming out party for the high-level Freeze Mage players who took the time to tune their decks against the Dragon Warrior, ZooLock and Aggro Shaman field.

Zoo was of course a highly represented deck this weekend, and it has perennially been a nigh-unloseable matchup for Freeze Mage. And despite Ragnaros, The Firelord being one of Hearthstone’s most frequently played legends, he has seen less play lately. Of the big four archetypes, Rag only shows up in stock Dragon Warrior decks. This is huge for Freeze Mage, as the card’s resistance to Freeze effects has made it one of the best cards against Freeze Mage for a long time.

Ivory Knight in Murlock Paladin

Is a six-mana 4/4 good enough? Apparently it is. Although this card was an oversight during spoiler season, it has certainly made a splash in competitive Hearthstone. Despite its weak base stats, the combination of mid-game heal and board presence benefits all of the controlling variations of Paladin decks, unlike Lay on Hands and Forbidden Healing.

The thing that pushes the card over the top in the Murlock Paladin Archetype is its ability to fetch a third and fourth copy of Anyfin Can Happen. A lot of the control matchups with this deck involve counting win conditions versus sweepers. So, for example against C’Thun Warrior, the Paladin deck wants to play its last Anyfin after both Brawls have been played. Ivory Knight gives you a chance at extra copies of your win condition, while not having to play them in the actual decklist. It lets players get their greedy late game, while not losing points against aggressive decks by shoehorning more win conditions into their list.

The Future of the One-Turn-Kill

OTK Warrior had a big weekend at the top of the standings, and despite Warrior being close to an auto-ban at the event, it looked good when it got its chance to play. Unlike a lot of archetypes, OTK Warrior looks like it will be just as strong even when all of Karazhan is released.

The addition of Arcane Giant to these strategies is something pro players have been streaming a lot, and it's been the buzz of the community. Raging Worgen, seen by many as a "bad card" that was necessary for the combo, can now be replaced with an objectively powerful Giant, which makes for a scary deck. Expect to see more OTK action once Karazhan’s second wing becomes tournament-legal.

Keith Capstick is a Toronto journalist and card game elitist. He's also interested in harsh music, root beer and casting the magic card Dark Confidant. You can follow him on Twitter for a below 50 per cent hit-rate when attempting to utilize "wit."

Game Dota2 Forev leaves MVP Phoenix

Game Dota2 Forev leaves MVP Phoenix

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Dota is the Ayn Rand of esports. Compared to CS:GO or League of Legends, it can be brutally Darwinistic; in other titles, teams that fall short of a top international finish can survive on sticker sales or salaries while they improve, but in Dota, every player’s survival depends exclusively on their team's performance, with little room for error.

The first-or-last mentality this promotes puts immense pressure on players to find every advantage. For some it can be a source of motivation, but there’s no question it also puts a strain on relationships between teammates. When push comes to shove, a player’s own survival comes before that of their team. As Arteezy said on stream in January of last year, "You have to be selfish in what you do to be successful. If that means breaking friendships, or potentially breaking friendships or f***ing up people to get what you want, it's worth it. It's a depressing reality, but you got to do what you got to do." That stream was later deleted.

Since the very beginning, The International has been a the creator and the destroyer, suturing players together on the inhale and blowing apart the global competitive scene on the exhale. After The International 2011, esports’ first million-dollar event, all but two teams had major roster changes, and that pattern has continued in every year since.

That said, the nature of shuffles changed drastically this 2016 season. TI’s ever-growing prize pool and Valve's roster locks weigh heavily on teams, and there's good reason to believe that many of them will fracture in the coming weeks.

Shuffles of the Past

Back in 2011, the post-TI roster shuffle was spread out over the fall season, but as the years have progressed, the period of breakup and reformation has become shorter and more immediate. Valve made this trend an official policy last year when they introduced the Major roster lock system, which gave teams approximately one month after TI to figure things out before they had to sign up for the next Major.

Early on, teams tended to disband completely after mixed results at The International. Seven rosters disbanded after TI1, and the same number disbanded the next year. In 2013, both The International and third-party tournament earnings spiked thanks to the introduction of crowdfunding. At that year's TI, half the rosters attending broke up in the aftermath. In spite of how popular disbanding was, players still tended to cling to past teammates; by early 2014, NewBee had risen from the ashes of TongFu, Titan from the ashes of Orange, and many other players from disbanding teams were joining squads with one or two players they'd played alongside in the past.

Today, by contrast, organizations have become much more stable, and drafting players has become increasingly important. Rather than disband altogether, teams have tended to swap out the majority of their players and build new rosters around one or two defining stars. Meanwhile, players on major teams have had more incentive to stay until they get a better offer, and the growing prevalence of long-term contracts has made transfers more difficult.

Saahil "Universe" Arora was a focus of the spring 2016 shuffle

The International 2014 was the first year where nearly every roster at The International had players change, at least two per team by Spring of the following year. Although this was the first year of true worldwide roster instability, it was also the year with the fewest fully disbanded teams — especially considering four of the six disbanding teams were qualified rather than invited, and three of those had only been sponsored because they had qualified.

In 2015, the trend continued. Evil Geniuses became the first team to kick a player after winning The International — the first team to kick a player after winning any major Dota 2 tournament, in fact. That paved the way for Team Secret to swap out two of their players after convincingly winning The Shanghai Major. Now, after TI6, it’s not clear that anyone is safe; Fnatic, who finished a comfortable Top 4, have already lost one of their players, and all eyes are on second-place finisher Digital Chaos, a small-time NA team suddenly full of desirable star players.

Perspectives on Change

There are two competing priorities in professional Dota: stability and adaptation. Different philosophies have developed around each. According to the latter, it's important for players to be exposed to fresh perspectives and different approaches to the game, and this is most often accomplished by bringing in new team members.

The trepidation is that a team that stays together too long will get stale and fall behind an ever-shifting metagame; that the players will get comfortable and even lazy without the need to constantly prove themselves. This perspective finds evidence in teams like Alliance, who stagnated after winning TI3 but returned to increased success after its players split up for a season and came back with fresh insight on the game.

Yet, from the viewpoint of stability, constantly changing a squad gives the players no time to become comfortable with each other's play habits, and robs them of the chance to develop synergy and improve over time. And this season at least, stability seems to have paid out much larger dividends than adaptation. Wings Gaming have been the most stable team in China over the course of their ascent to become TI’s champions this year. OG and Liquid have had the most stable rosters in Europe since TI5, and although those teams didn't fare particularly well at TI6, OG won two Majors and Liquid placed in the Top 2 at Shanghai and Manila.

Wings Gaming at The Manila Major

The introduction of coaches, substitutes and data analysts is one way these teams have been able to infuse fresh perspectives without changing rosters — for example, OG hired Sébastien "7ckingMad" Debs to help them reinvigorate their game after a downturn last winter. Meanwhile, teams that tried to solve their problems by shaking up their rosters, like Team Secret or Vici Gaming, have often struggled to find success.

At The International, I discussed the issue of stability with as many players and coaches as would discuss it, and no two had the same perspective. Escape Gaming coach Benjamin "Notahax" Läärä told me that if a roster can't commit to playing together for at least six months, there's no point in playing together at all. OG's captain Tal "Fly" Aizik said, "If people are not going to be motivated, they're not going to set a new goal for themselves, you're going to get worse. It's just how it is.” He later added, "It's very important to look at a goal and have that in mind."

RELATED: Fly on maintaining OG's winning mentality: '[We] can't afford to be not as hungry as the other teams'

Though there are only two Majors expected in the 2016-17 season, it is not known when and how long rosters will be locked next year. Given the instability that shook up the scene in the middle of the six-month lock that bridged The Manila Major and TI6 this year, it’s no longer clear that Valve will be able to enforce its roster locks as The International 2017 approaches.

Kurtis "Aui_2000" Ling told the Defense of the Patience podcast that after his experiences with Digital Chaos, he thinks teams are better off risking the open qualifiers than committing to a roster of uncertain quality too fast. From the perspective of Evil Geniuses — who despite breaking the Manila roster lock finished third at TI and went home with $2.2 million — it’s hard to argue that shuffling their roster and facing the open qualifiers was a bad choice. If this year showed us anything, it’s that roster locks that are too long or too rigid can end up increasing instability in the scene rather than ensuring it.

The Pending Shuffle

That lands us in the here and now. With Valve’s new roster lock policy, which breaks up the fall registration deadline into two separate “drop” and “add” dates, teams have more freedom to make necessary changes ahead of the Major. The new rules should play more into teams’ natural roster patterns.

Jacky "EternalEnvy" Mao was one of the first casualties of the post-TI6 shuffle

Between 2012 and 2015, several seasonal shuffles have developed on their own as teams have followed the rhythm of tournament trial and error. There’s a fall shuffle after The International, followed by a minor shuffle for underperforming teams between November and December. A second major shuffle usually occurs worldwide in January and February, with another fine-tuning shuffle between March and April. Teams have tended to stop tuning their rosters in the late Spring, when TI invites go out.

The roster lock system tried to shove all of that into a few frenzied weeks a few times a year, making squads commit before playing events with each other. The new two-Major system may still do this, but at least two Majors instead of three will align Valve’s roster locks more closely with the natural “off-season” periods in the fall and new year. It may decrease the likelihood of a messy post-lock Spring shuffle like we saw this year.

Rumors of the post-TI6 shuffle were already flying before the event ended. We knew contracts would expire for MVP Phoenix. We’ve seen key players like Secret’s EternalEnvy, Fnatic’s DJ and LGD’s Aggressif dropped from rosters on the new version of Valve’s registration page, though there's only speculation as to where they’re going. Many of SEA’s top teams, including TI Top 6 finisher TNC Gaming, have already dissolved. We’ve heard speculation that Alliance, OG and Liquid will all be joining the shuffle, and that China will see a repeat of the post-Shanghai shakeup as major players take the opportunity to retire.

RELATED: Hao's departure signals a changing of the guard for China​

The pressure on teams hasn't yet hit full-tilt. Though TI6 is fading in the distance, Valve has only just announced its new registration rules, and we don’t yet know when the fall Major or qualifiers will be. When teams started making swaps after Manila, they already knew what was or wasn't working, and they had tournaments to prepare for; they also had no incentive to take their time because by changing rosters, they would already be breaking lock rules. None of those factors hold true here, so the current shuffle will likely continue for weeks.

One thing is clear: if history is any guide, it'd be surprising if the world's notable teams went unchanged.

Ryan "Gorgon the Wonder Cow" Jurado writes about Dota 2 and freelances for theScore esports. You can follow him on Twitter.