League of Legends had a quiet holiday week, issuing a reminder to players that the dodge rune removal scheduled for last week is now complete. Bloodline Champions officially released its new bloodline Stormcaller and relocated its servers to Sweden in order to improve performance. Finally, Valve threw hundreds of Dota 2 beta keys into its holiday giveaway over the past week, and Massively managed to snag one.
Skip past the cut for details of this week's biggest news from the world of MOBAs and other big online games that aren't quite MMOs.
Diablo franchise hit its 15th anniversary yesterday, and fans have been celebrating by firing up the old titles for a bit of nostalgia. The overwhelming sentiment on Twitter is of anticipation for Diablo III, but the lack of a release date even though the game is close to completion has put a bit of a damper on things. Blizzard revealed that there will be some celebrations planned for this week, so keep an eye on the #diablo15 Twitter hashtag over the coming days.
South Korea still hasn't decided on whether to certify Diablo III, citing the requirement of a more thorough review of the auction house system. Blizzard expects a decision by January 4th but relates that this won't slow down release as the game may not necessarily be released at the same time everywhere around the world. Legal complications held up World of Warcraft's expansion release schedule in China, for example, and the same may happen with Diablo III.
According to developers, the beta schedule is no longer an indicator of release date as the original plan changed when release was pushed over into 2012. Presumably Blizzard doesn't mind how long the game takes to finish now that it's missed the Christmas sales.
Riot Games has gone quiet for the holidays, but not without a quick update about the removal of dodge runes from League of Legends players' accounts. Dodge as a stat is planned for removal as part of the season two combat revamp, and removal of all dodge runes is the first step toward that goal. Some champions unfortunately still rely on the dodge stat, and until that is rectified, the stat has to remain in the game. Players have been refunded the total IP value of all deleted runes and are able to re-purchase them if needed. Once every hero that uses dodge as a core mechanic is redesigned, the stat will finally be removed from the game altogether and a second rune refund will be issued.
Stormcaller has officially been released this week, and Stunlock Studios used the patch as an opportunity to make a few changes. Bloodline Champions' game servers have been relocated to Sweden, and all eight original bloodlines can now be accessed in the starter quest.
MOBA fans around the world have been holding out for Dota 2 beta keys since the game was first unveiled with a $1.6 million US tournament. This week we found out that beta keys were among the possible presents in Steam's recent Great Gift Pile giveaway. Countless gifts were given out to players who completed brand-new holiday achievements in various indie games and free-to-play titles, and among them were several hundred Dota 2 beta keys.
Thanks to a phone call from a family member asking "What's a Dota?" followed shortly by "Do you want this?", I've found myself in the Dota 2 beta. Keep an eye on the Not So Massively category over the coming weeks as I get to grips with the game to deliver my first impressions of the upcoming MOBA.
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