League of Legends' second competitive season approaches, and with it comes a series of summoner spell changes designed to encourage a more aggressive playstyle. Unused summoner names from season one were deleted as part of a database cleanup, opening 460,000 old names for registration. Firefall celebrates Halloween this week with a pumpkin-carving community roundup special featuring a giant carved pumpkin made in Minecraft. As Blacklight: Retribution continues its closed beta, developers discuss the game's high-technology battlefield and introduce a grenade that makes your opponents bluescreen.
Read on for this week's top news stories from popular MOBAs and other online games that aren't quite MMOs.
League of Legends' second competitive season is on its way, and to support its bloodthirsty theme Riot Games is making some big changes to summoner spells. Season one's most-picked spells were Flash and Clairvoyance, which both turned out to be almost essential in competitive games. Flash will be having its range decreased and cooldown increased to make it less of an obvious choice, while Clairvoyance will have its duration cut and cooldown increased to make its use more tactical. As part of a change to more aggressive playstyles, underused defensive spells like Fortify and Rally will be completely removed. A new combat aura spell that follows your champion will replace Rally, and Promote will be reworked for Summoner's Rift by making it work only on cannon minions.
If you've ever signed up to League of Legends and found your favourite screen name was taken, now's your chance to reclaim that lost moniker. As part of a database cleanup, over 460,000 previously registered summoner names that hadn't been used in the matchmaking system were deleted and are now available to be used.
Firefall community roundup is a pumpkin-carving contest special. In addition to incredibly impressive carvings of the Typhon face, stellar ponies and the Red 5 Studios logo, army Cerberus produced a colossal Minecraft homage to Red 5 intern Landslide. Check out the video below to see the team's handiwork.
Bloodline Champions, with new season rewards and features, and a $10,000 US tournament. The DreamHack Alienware BLC tournament will take place later this month at DreamHack Winter in Sweden and the prize money will be split between the top three teams. Twelve existing teams will be invited to compete alongside four from public qualifiers on the DreamHack floor in a playoff-style single elimination series of 4v4 matches.
When we got a sneak peek at upcoming bloodline Metal Warden a few weeks ago, it wasn't clear what she could do with the massive blaster attached to her arm. In a new gameplay preview video, Stunlock Studios details Metal Warden's nine abilities. Her blaster can either be fired as a low-cooldown nuke or charged up to deal damage based on the charging duration. Magnetic Orb turns Metal Warden into a metal orb that rolls around at double the normal speed and knocks back enemies it touches. The bloodline also features an area-effect crowd control energy leash ability and a massive area-effect ultimate, giving her immense crowd control capabilities. She can also be played in a supportive capacity, healing allies with her blaster or shielding them from harm.
Heroes of Newerth on a competitive level, gather four friends and get ready for the Kingston HoNor Tournament. Registration opens tomorrow on November 8th, with the tournament itself scheduled to begin on November 12th. A total prize pool of $3,000 US will be split between the first-, second-, and third-place winners, and the entire tournament will be streamed live on HoNCast.
If you're a fan of HoN's competitive scene, add Swedish LAN event DreamHack Winter to your calendar. The event runs from November 24th to November 27th and will feature competitive tournaments in several online games. Heroes of Newerth hosts one of the main events this year with the grand finals of its MSI Beat It tournament from DreamHack Summer. Up for grabs is 200,000 SEK ($30,000 US), in addition to five laptops, five graphics cards and five motherboards. Ten of the teams were decided by the first part of the tournament at DreamHack Summer, and two will be selected from attendees on the day through a series of knockout qualifiers.
Dota 2's competitive scene was kick-started at DreamHack 2011's summer games by a massive $1.6 million US tournament. Tournament play continues later this month at DreamHack Winter with the 100,000 SEK ($15,000 US) Corsair Vengeance Championship. Qualifiers are open for anyone attending the event, and anyone who takes part will get a free Dota 2 key granting beta access to the game.
Blacklight: Retribution's closed beta continues, developer Zombie Studios continues to show off new features and give us a behind-the-scenes look at the game's development. In a new dev diary video, Zombie discusses the high-technology world the game is set in and the design goals behind military tech. Developers aimed to make the weapons available in Blacklight: Retribution feel like plausible near-future technology. Technology showcased in the video includes an advanced helmet that allows combatants to temporarily see objectives and ammo depots through walls, and a futuristic EMP flashbang that bluescreen's enemy helmets. As a game progresses, players will accrue enough points to buy devastating new weapons like flamethrowers, rocket launchers and mechs.
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