Not So Massively: Overpowered characters edition

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.

Each week here at Massively, we're inundated with news about multiplayer games that are clearly massively popular but aren't quite MMOs. With the growing popularity of online gaming, many MOBAs and other online games have have developed bigger communities than some popular MMOs, and their developers have adopted ideas from the MMO genre.

Last week, we looked at Ubisoft's upcoming online FPS Ghost Recon Online and the huge Bloodline Champions patch 1.2 update. We also looked at Diablo III's runestone system, the Rise of Immortals cash shop and co-op PvE maps, and the Heroes of Newerth servers coming under attack. The big news of last week was undoubtedly League of Legends' ambitious player-mediated banning Tribunal going into full live testing, putting the fates of offensive players into the hands of their milder-mannered counterparts.

In this week's Not So Massively, we take an in-depth look at Heroes of Newerth's latest overpowered hero Amun Ra and League of Legends' devastating new clockwork champion Orianna. We also get a first look at the Rise of Immortals 3vE map layout, Realm of the Titans' hero Abraxas and Karma Online's upcoming closed beta.

Having recovered from a recent series of DDOS attacks that rendered the game unplayable for the majority of last week, Heroes of Newerth is back on schedule to receive its next hero. In a new Hero Spotlight video this week, players were introduced to Amun Ra, a ridiculously overpowered melee caster with the power of self-resurrection. Amun Ra's first ability, Path of Destruction, creates a path of fire 600 units long that terminates with a meteor strike. The meteor applies a one-second area-effect stun and deals significant damage, while the path of fire grants Amun Ra bonus movement speed and the ability to walk through obscuring terrain and trees.

The key to using Path of Destruction well is to remember that it returns 5% of Ra's maximum hit points for each enemy hero the meteor lands on plus a bonus 5% if Ra himself is within the blast area. A well-aimed hit during initiation for a team-fight should reclaim all of the hitpoints used to cast the spell. Ra's second ability, Ignite, is an area-effect damage spell centred on the hero himself. It costs 12% of his maximum hit points to use and deals slightly more damage if Ra is on or near full health.

Amun Ra's third ability, Ashes to Ashes, grants him passive health regeneration in addition to a damage aura and attack speed buff that scales up as he takes damage. This will always be charged up at the start of team-fights as Ra will typically hurt himself with his first two abilities when initiating. Ra's ultimate ability is Pyroclasmic Rebirth, and it's as awesome as the name implies. If he has more than 50% of his mana on death, the spell will automatically trigger and resurrect Amun Ra three seconds later.

As if having a free Kongor token wasn't enough, a free cast of Ignite occurs when Ra resurrects and he gains a massive attack speed and damage buff for the next 10 seconds. If you see Amun Ra die with over 50% mana, you'd better run. Mana burn may be an effective way to disable Ra's ultimate, but the only sources of the ability are Nullfire Blade, Magebane's Mana Combustion and the Puzzlebox Mauler's Manaburn. To find out how Amun Ra plays in a match, check out the official Hero Spotlight video, embedded below in HD:


Fresh off the back of Heroes of Newerth's encounter with a DDOS attack, the League of Legends servers now appear to be having some trouble. As of the moment of writing, the game servers are down for certain people in certain countries and no reason for the outage has been specified. There are no announcements about the issue, and reports on the forum are conflicting. Some players are unable to log in at all, while others can log in without problem and still more players are experiencing disconnects mid-game. This could be a major issue in League of Legends as disconnects count as leaving the game early and can earn a player an account suspension.

The Tribunal system went live last week for a period of intense testing, and Riot Games has been listening to community feedback regarding it. While the system has not yet been fully released, it has already been used to highlight some of the game's worst offenders to those in charge of the ban-hammer. In response to overwheling demand, the Tribunal cap has been raised to 10 cases per day to let people contribute more to the voting pool.

This week's League of Legends Summoner Showcase features a cute Emumu plushy, a cute Rumble yordle and other impressive artwork that's not quite as huggable. Also entering the LoL artwork field this week is an official art spotlight on Orianna, the clockwork girl. If you liked last week's Orianna concept art, check out the art spotlight video to see it drawn at super-speed. With so much information being released over the last two weeks on the new champion, players have been looking forward to seeing how she fares in a game. This week, summoners were rewarded with a full champion spotlight video showcasing Orianna's skills. We've embedded the video below in HD:


Petroglyph has been hard at work adding the new three-player PvE map for the Rise of Immortals closed beta that's currently underway. The devs have sent us a map preview of the the new "3vE" map and a pack of screenshots from the game's new fansite kit, all of which we've included in our RoI gallery below:
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With the flurry of news from other titles last week, we somehow missed the latest Realm of the Titans hero showcase for Abraxas. Although the spotlight video suggests that Abraxas is a support hero by design, his abilities are all designed for chasing down and ganking enemy heroes. He's a short-range combatant, but his spear-throwing ability lets him stun enemy heroes from a distance and his battle cry helps close the gap into melee range to secure a kill. This showcase is a little unusual in that it delivers gameplay tips for the hero but the game isn't currently playable. With the early alpha stages now complete, players eagerly await the start of closed beta.


Several weeks ago, we introduced upcoming World War II FPS Karma Online. We're still not sure how many elements of MMO design the game will be using, what level of persistence will be used or how massive the matches will be. So far, we've seen that it will be microtransaction-supported, with purchasable characters and items, and that it will have elements of persistent character progression. Those of you interested in finding out what the game is all about will be pleased to know that a closed beta period is scheduled for June 7th to June 21st. To encourage participation in the closed beta, the team has deemed that players who sign up for it will also receive a bonus package of goodies when the game goes live.

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 brendan@massively.com.

This article was originally published on Massively.