Has Diablo III's release date been accidentally leaked? This week we saw compelling evidence to suggest that the highly anticipated title has finally got a release date -- and it's not far away! Heroes of Newerth fans foamed at the mouth with Patch 2.5.4's introducing a potentially overpowered new hero but none of the crash fixes or balance tweaks the game desperately needs. Rise of Immortals announced the winners of its holiday competition and released a new spotlight on Ichorr. Finally, Wrath of Heroes announced the next stage of its ongoing beta, which is scheduled to begin this week.
League of Legends heralded a new year of competitive gaming this week with the last event of 2011 finally drawing to a close. Dignitas claimed the grand prize of $2,500 US in the privately sponsored Counter Logic Gaming Last Call tournament, narrowly beating out Epik and hosts Counter Logic Gaming themselves.
In the first Summoner Showcase of the year, Riot Games showed off art and videos from the LoL community. Silent champion Rammus accidentally became the focus of this week's spotlight, with a video of made-up taunts and Myndflame's short but hilarious machinima Rammus Wants Candy. As funny as that video is, Myndflame's recent League of Legends remake of the classic Abbott and Costello sketch Who's on First had me almost crying with laughter. Check out the video Who's at Bottom below:
Firefall introduced its cosplay programme, which saw professional cosplay artist Crystal Graziano join forces with award-winning Hollywood effects artist Steve Wang to build a suit for the game. With Crystal set to play the part of Firefall's female lead, Mourningstar, Hollywood actor Lee Reherman has taken up the mantle of the male lead, Typhon. Best known as Hawk from American Gladiators, Lee will play Typhon at live action events and trade shows. In the second part of the cosplay programme video series, we're introduced to the new actor and get to see both characters' incredible finished mech suits.
Diablo III's release date surfaced this week when Bashiok mistakenly stated that the game was on track for a first quarter release. He later retracted the statement, clarifying that the game was still on target for "early 2012" but that he couldn't promise it in the first quarter. Further hints of a release date came as Best Buy put up posters about a midnight opening for the game's release on February 1st. Best Buy's website is also showing the date, and UK store Gameplay has displayed a consistent date of February 3rd that would be consistent with the US date.
Although stores have been known to fake or estimate release dates in order to garner pre-orders, scheduling a midnight opening and setting up a countdown clock wouldn't make much sense without an actual release date. Blizzard 's Bashiok announced on Twitter that "Retailers will not know a date until it's officially announced through a press release." Have we finally got a release date for one of the most anticipated games of the year? It looks like we'll find out soon enough.
Heroes of Newerth this week to a very frosty reception. Players have been up in arms on the forum about the patch, with hundreds of posts asking why an 87 Mb patch contains nothing but a new hero, new skins and the removal of Christmas music. Players complain that the latest HoN patches have introduced new bugs and crashes and that the game is facing severe balance issues caused by recently released heroes like Amun'Ra, Monarch and Gemini.
The complete lack of balance changes in the patch has enraged players, with many suggesting that S2 Games is deliberately releasing overpowered heroes to encourage players to buy them for cash during the early access period. Some players report an inability to patch, launch the game or access matchmaking, and others can't even buy the new hero.
The patch brings new ranged damage-dealer Artesia, a mage with a short cooldown Magic Missile nuke that actually homes in on and slows enemy heroes. Her second ability, Dance of Death, is a channeled ability that heals her, restores mana, reduces the cooldown of the next magic missile cast and causes a flurry of tiny bolts to hit nearby targets. Her ultimate, Essence Projection, spawns a totem that causes nearby friendly heroes to regenerate health and mana over time and duplicates every spell she casts. It can be placed at any location on the map, so you can put it in enemy territory to snipe fleeing heroes with magic missile.
Rise of Immortals' holiday event was entered into a prize draw with Alienware gear and Petroglyph coins to be won. The winners were chosen this week, along with 50 runners-up, who each received 1,000 Petroglyph coins.
This week the RoI team released a new spotlight on melee support tank Ichorr, the Verdant Sentinel. While Ichorr can take a beating, his abilities focus mainly on healing, so he makes a fantastic support for a well-coordinated team.
Wrath of Heroes kicked off the new year with a new beta phase running from Thursday, January 12th, through to Monday, January 16th. Players who were in previous beta tests should be able to take part in this one automatically.
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