It's BlizzCon week, and that means a whole torrent of information has been released on Blizzard's upcoming action RPG Diablo III. Blizzard also showed off its official StarCraft mod Blizzard DOTA, which has the potential to be a fully fledged MOBA with characters from every Blizzard game. Heroes of Newerth's developer S2 Games threw together a series of developer-vs.-player matches this week and got thoroughly smashed to bits.
Online FPS Hedone has started its U.S. closed beta, and we have 2,000 beta keys to give away. Readers who managed to get their hands on a Realm of the Titans beta key from our key giveaway during the first beta test will be glad to know the second beta stage will be starting soon and that their old login details will work. Rise of Immortals fans received a new immortal spotlight video on Balak this week, while Blacklight: Retribution developers released the game's second developer diary.
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 MMO
Diablo III information was announced at the gameplay panel, including details of the game's crafting system, achievements, difficulty settings and item lifecycle. Three artisan NPCs will be unlocked throughout the game, each with the ability to craft different things. The blacksmith can craft powerful gear, with new recipes unlocking as you level up or find the plans as loot. The Mystic enchants your items with new stats and the Jeweler adds gem sockets, allowing heavy customisation of crafted equipment to complement a particular item build.
Diablo III is currently in the closed beta stages and is due for release early next year. The collector's edition was shown to contain an art book, the soundtrack CD, a two-part behind-the-scenes bluray of the making of the game, a model Diablo skull and a soulstone USB pen drive. Anyone who signs up for a year's subscription to World of Warcraft will also be getting the standard digital edition of Diablo III for free. As a teaser, Blizzard released the Black Soulstone trailer below. The trailer features footage from the game's opening cinematic, with parts removed to keep the story from being spoiled.
BlizzCon this year is that Blizzard is currently developing its own MOBA to compete with other games currently dominating the emerging genre. The original DotA was a mod for WarCraft 3, but Blizzard itself had no hand in its creation. The new game is simply named Blizzard DOTA in spite of Valve's similarly named Dota 2. As the original DotA had several developers and no real copyrights in place, it may be impossible for either company to claim the name exclusively as its own.
Blizzard DOTA is essentially a mod for StarCraft 2 and was first announced at last year's BlizzCon, but the version on display this year more closely resembles a modern MOBA like League of Legends. WoW Insider's Mathew McCurley got some hands-on time for us at BlizzCon. According to Mat, the big characters from every Blizzard game meet on the MOBA battlefield, with WarCraft 3 heroes facing off against StarCraft units and even Diablo characters.
S2 Games challenged Heroes of Newerth players to a series of developer-vs.-player matches with prizes to be won. Teams were put together from the development team to fill every skill bracket, from 1400 MMR all the way up to 1800. To take part, players had to put together their own teams of players in those brackets and enter the matchmaking system. Those lucky enough to be matched up with developers were given bonus silver coins for participating in the match and the chance to win one of 12 pieces of computer hardware. The matches were streamed live on Friday via popular fansite HoNCast, with the final score ending up at 12 wins for developers versus 16 wins for the players.
League of Legends won a Golden Joystick award for the second year running, adding this year's award for Best Free-to-Play Game to last year's Best Online Game award. To celebrate, Riot Games is giving every player a free 10-win IP boost.
Hedone, a game with high-quality graphics and gameplay that has been compared to popular FPS Brink. The free-to-play title's U.S. closed beta has just gone live, at here at Massively we have 2,000 beta keys to give away! Head over to our Hedone key giveaway page to grab yourself a code and redeem it on the official Hedone website to register. Once registered, you can join in the beta testing on Wednesdays and Sundays between 8 p.m. and 4 a.m. EDT.
Petroglyph released a new Immortal Spotlight video this week featuring ranged damage-dealer Balak, Guardian of the Crystal. While most MOBA spotlight videos focus on delivering details of the character's gameplay mechanics and showing how the character fares in a real combat situation, Petroglyph has opted for a rather unique strategy with Balak's spotlight. The entire video is voiced by Balak himself, who tells the tale of how he came to fight in the immortal games entirely in-character.
The story is filled with the lore of RoI's fictional land of Graxia, but about half way through the video, Balak blurts out, "I am a very long range single-target DPS" as he begins to explain the mechanics of the character and his abilities. It's clear that the Rise of Immortals team doesn't take itself too seriously and is having a bit of fun with the genre, which is a refreshing change from the hardcore competitive scene found in most MOBAs.
Blacklight: Retribution developer spotlight, developer Zombie Studios discuss switching from developing for console platforms to creating a game for the PC. To take advantage of the increased CPU speed and memory capacity of the average PC over the current generation of consoles, developers made the decision to make Blacklight: Retribution initially a PC exclusive. The game boasts a level of graphical quality not normally associated with free-to-play titles.
In the video diary, developers discuss the various ways in which the game is made to feel like a plausible near-future Neotokyo set in our own world. To achieve this effect, the game world was created as a modern-day environment with brick-and-mortar buildings and recognisable structures, and then futuristic elements were added on top. As a result, the cityscape looks like a naturally upgraded version of a modern-day city. Check out the developer diary video below for information on this and other development topics, from working with the Unreal 3 engine and DirectX 11 integration to the game's audio and art direction.
Realm of the Titans ran the first round of its closed beta at the start of August, collecting feedback from eager MOBA fans. The second round of RotT's closed beta will begin on November 4th and if you managed to get your hands on one of the hundreds of beta codes we gave away during the first beta stage, you're in luck! Participants in the first beta get automatic access to the second stage by just logging in with their old usernames and passwords during the beta period.
Diablo II's ladder reset, Massively will be running a special Not So Massively Diablo II livestream. Tune in via the Massively TV livestream page at 6 p.m. EDT on Saturday, October 29th, to watch Massively staffers Patrick Mackey, Matt Daniel and me play through the early levels of this classic action RPG. We'll be joined by Tina Lauro and friends from GamerGaia, who will also be streaming the event as part of their weekly Saturday Night Live event.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.