Not So Massively: Diablo III faces competition as it enters closed beta

Not So Massively title image
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 Monday, the column covers games such as League of Legends, Heroes of Newerth, Rise of Immortals, Bloodline Champions and more.

The past few weeks have been full of Diablo III news, and this week is no exception. With the friends and family portion of the closed beta underway and no NDA imposed on participants, videos of Diablo III gameplay have been flooding the net. It seems the upcoming title will be in for some competition when it releases, however, as Diablo-inspired action RPG Path of Exile is also in closed beta.

League of Legends drops support for its Mac client this week and publishes a champion spotlight on popular champion Corki. Rise of Immortals also releases its second spotlight video, featuring health-draining immortal Lazarus. Heroes of Newerth releases Midas this week, a new damage-dealing hero with the ability to turn enemies into solid gold (at least temporarily). The oddest piece of news we received this week was that upcoming Wii-based RPG Dragon Quest X will feature MMO features and might even require a subscription fee.

Skip past the cut for details of this week's biggest news from the world of MOBAs and other online games that aren't quite MMOs.


Path of Exile title image
With Diablo III's imminent release, fans of online action RPGs have been looking for more games to satiate their needs for hack-and-slash gameplay. Path of Exile by Grinding Gear Games is true to its Diablo-inspired roots, with procedurally generated areas and a dark, gritty game world. The game has impressive graphics, incredible lighting effects, and some very creative gameplay elements. A dynamic skill gem system itemises skills as gems that can be added to gear. Support gems can then be added to modify the skill's behaviour, adding extra projectiles, reducing mana costs, or changing it in some other way.

Path of Exile will be free-to-play when it releases and is currently in the closed beta stage. If you're interested in some good old fashioned hack and slash gameplay, check out the trailer below and sign up for the beta on the official website.


Diablo III title image
Blizzard revealed the minimum and recommended system specifications for upcoming online action RPG Diablo III this week and confirmed that the public beta is due to begin very soon. The friends and family portion of the closed beta official began this week, and Blizzard has surprisingly opted not to put an NDA on those involved. Videos of gameplay have begun to surface on YouTube, expanding on last week's brief leaked footage with some real first-hand game experience. YouTube user synark123 has uploaded some great hi-definition videos of each of the classes, like the Demon Hunter video embedded below.


Rise of Immortals title image
Rise of Immortals celebrates its official release today with an immortal spotlight video featuring Lazarus, the Hand of Oblivion. Lazarus heals himself when he deals damage with most of his abilities, an advantage balanced out by the fact that several of his skills cost both health and mana to use. If you're interested in seeing how this immortal plays, check out the spotlight video below.


League of Legends title image
Bad news hit this week for Mac-using League of Legends fans as the Mac beta client has been discontinued. Riot Games has been working on a Mac version of the LoL client for over a year but consistently ran into problems with maintaining consistent quality on the Mac due to its rapid update schedule. Players in the Mac client beta will have to choose to either play on under the PC client or close their accounts for a full refund of all money spent to date. Mac users will also be receiving a free champion pack as an apology.

If you're not convinced that the League of Legends community has a huge following of creative players, check out this week's Summoner Showcase. In addition to some fantastic fanart, players sent in two fantastic champion sculptures and an adorable phone charm.

Riot continues to release champion spotlights on some of the older champions this week with a thorough look at Corki, the daring bombardier. Corki is a ranged DPS champion who flies the cutest little tiny helicopter complete with rocket launchers and a gatling gun. Corki is on the free champion rotation this week, and if you'd like some tips on how to play him, check out the champion spotlight video below.


Heroes of Newerth title image
Patch 2.1.8 went live this week, bringing Heroes of Newerth players some much-needed balance tweaks and a new ranged strength caster named Midas. This unusual hero's abilities make him an incredible lane farmer and an excellent hero to have in a team fight. His three main abilities are all damage-dealers with some added utility. Golden Salvo deals five overlapping area-effect nukes in a line in front of Midas, even going over terrain and through trees.

Lion's Pride sends out a golden lion to the target location, dealing an area-effect nuke on impact. Friendly players and creeps the lion passes through are healed, and each heal increases the damage the lion will deal when it hits. This makes Midas lethal in a lane with creeps and keeps him extremely useful in a teamfight.

Midas' third ability, Elemental Warp, is a short-range blink that deals a small area-effect nuke both when you cast and when you land. Projectiles in the air are not disjointed by the blink, but Midas does become invulnerable for half a second while in the air. Clever timing of this ability with defensive item activations could make this already-beefy strength hero incredibly difficult to kill.

Midas really starts to take over a game when he gets his ultimate ability Transmute, which turns any hero hit by more than one of his abilities temporarily into gold. This adds a free two-second stun and some extra magic damage, but only if his abilities are used together tactically. Transmute also reduces the cooldowns of Midas' abilities, making it easier to set up abilities combinations. For the full details of how each of Midas' abilities work, check out the official spotlight video below.


Dragon Quest X title image
Fans of the Dragon Quest series will probably be very surprised to see this single-player title in Not So Massively, but not nearly as surprised as we were to hear this week's big news for the title. The next installment of the series is set to hit the Wii and WiiU in 2012, and it aims to introduce MMO-like features to the platform. Players will be able to group up to tackle quests, and characters may be stored on a persistent server with shared online city zones. Dragon Quest X has started to sound a lot like an MMO, with Square Enix even announcing that players may have to pay a monthly subscription fee.

Join us every Monday 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.