Not So Massively: Magnets, how do they work?

Welcome to Not So Massively, our weekly roundup of the top news from popular multiplayer online battle arenas (MOBAs) and other multiplayer online games that aren't quite MMOs. Published every Saturday, the column covers games such as League of Legends, Heroes of Newerth, Defense of the Ancients, Bloodline Champions, and more.

Online gaming has taken off in a big way in recent years, but not every online game fits neatly into the category of MMO or session-based slugfest. A growing number of online multiplayer games fall somewhere in between, with ongoing development and even microtransaction-based payment schemes.

Last week we got a first look at Metal Assault, a new Metal Slug-style online game from Aeria Games. Bloodline Champions also announced a massive tournament with $5,000 US in prizes, Darkspore celebrated its official release worldwide, and Defense of the Ancients received some much-needed updates. Finally, we took a look at the gameplay behind the new League of Legends champion Rumble, the Mechanized Menace.

In this week's edition of Not So Massively, we take a first look at upcoming online multiplayer brawler Aida Arenas, introduce the first Rise of Immortals developer podcast, and announce the massive League of Legends Your DreamHack contest. We also get to grips with the HoN's magnetic new hero Flux, who went live yesterday.

The big news for LoL fans this week is the massive Your DreamHack contest in which one player will win a trip to Sweden to attend DreamHack 2011, the world's biggest annual LAN party. The grand prize also includes a whole set of top-end Razer gear, with additional prizes of Razer mice and Riot Points going to five runners-up and five honourable mentions. To enter, players have to make a short 90-second video proving that they love LoL and demonstrating why they should be sent to DreamHack.

The Your DreamHack contest is sure to cater to the LoL community's abundant creative players, who proved themselves again this week in Summoner Showcase #26 with an awesome Ryze sculpture, a plushie Rammus and more artwork. This week we also got a first sneak peek at the upcoming crossbow-wielding champion Vayne, the Night Hunter.

The release of a new hero always changes gameplay a little, but the newest hero to hit HoN is a definite game-changer. Flux is HoN's first ever ranged strength hero, making him an incredibly tanked out ranged hero with high damage. His primary role is as a survivable initiator and his abilities definitely reflect that. Flux's key ability is a passive skill called Polarity Swap, which switches him between a blue attractor mode and a pink repulsor mode. Depending on which mode he's in, each of his other abilities reacts differently. Polarity Swap also passively increases Flux's attack by up to 200 units, for a total of 550 range at level 4.

Flux's first skill, Release, is an area-effect nuke that applies a slow based on how close targets are to him. Targets closer to Flux are slowed more when in blue mode, while targets farther from Flux are slowed more when he's in pink mode. This lets you swap between using the ability to initiate and using it to chase people down. Flux's second skill, Magnetic Surge, moves a target enemy hero by up to 350 distance units while dealing a percentage of his strength as physical damage. The enemy is pulled toward Flux if he's in blue mode or pushed away when he's in pink mode, both of which are sure to be hilarious fun in a lane and will be invauable for ganking or for saving allies. The bonus range from Polarity Swap also applies to Magnetic Flux.

Flux's ultimate, Discharge, pulls all enemy heroes up to 700 distance units toward him regardless of where they are on the map. In pink mode, it instead pushes all enemy heroes away from Flux. This is sure to be an incredible ability for initiating or counter-initiating and could be used in combination with Magnetic Surge to pull unsuspecting heroes into a trap beyond their field of vision. Flux went live yesterday, and a video showing his abilities can be found at IGN.

In the first of what may be an ongoing series of developer podcasts, the Rise of Immortals team over at Petroglyph answered some of big questions from potential players. RoI entered closed beta one month ago and has been collecting vital feedback from a growing playerbase. The group talks about some controversial issues, such as the decision to augment the traditional MOBA formula with persistent character levels and items. Potential players are understandably concerned that cash-shop items will provide direct in-game benefits -- a stance that the developers of most microtransaction-based games opt not to take.

Petroglyph is also intending to include co-operative PvE in Rise of Immortals, which is gameplay usually associated with MMOs rather than MOBAs. The idea behind RoI's PvE is to give players who aren't used to MOBAs a foot in the door and help ease them into traditional competitive play. Also discussed in the podcast was the various leagues players will be able to compete in based on ability level. The podcast was released as a video, which we've embedded below.

Back in February, Gamerkraft announced Aida Arenas, a new brawler-style game incorporating elements of both MMOs and beat-em-up games. The upcoming free-to-play title will incorporate many of the character progression and social features of MMOs, but the gameplay itself may not be quite massive enough to call the game an MMO.

As far as we can tell, the game takes place in instanced stages and players can group up to tackle them together. The only details we have to go on are a few trailer videos, which show off some of the game's classes and its beat-em-up style gameplay. Classes revealed so far are the Cleric, Fighter, Priestess, and Gladiator. The Cleric trailer is embedded below in HD, and the others can be found on the Aida Arenas website.

Join us every Saturday for Not So Massively, our roundup of the top news from popular online games that aren't quite MMOs. If you think there's a game we should be covering in Not So Massively or you've found some interesting news you think deserves attention in the next roundup, please mail the details to
This article was originally published on Massively.