Not So Massively: D3 cuts death animations and HoN releases another broken hero

Not So Massively title image
Diablo III delivered 100,000 beta keys to North American fans this week, but it also revealed that the epic death animations from the game's first gameplay reveal were actually faked and won't be in the final game. Upcoming online FPS Blacklight: Retribution has challenged players to play 20 ranked matchmaking games by Thursday to win an exclusive golden helmet, and Massively still has beta keys if you'd like to get involved.

Heroes of Newerth released its potentially overpowered new hero Berzerker this week, placing Artesia into the free hero pool for legacy accounts a week early. League of Legends introduced its updated AI, adding 40 champions to the bot roster for both Summoner's Rift and Dominion co-op games. Dota 2 released a new test version to trial experimental changes without interrupting balance testing, and dungeon crawler Path of Exile showed off two new screenshots of its upcoming 0.9.6 patch. Finally, Bloodline Champions increased all XP gains by 50% this week in patch 2.3 and has launched a hilarious new photo content that's sure to get some questionable entries.

League of Legends title image
Last week Riot Games revealed that League of Legends would soon be getting brand-new bots with improved AI. The new AI was deployed on Thursday, February 2nd, adding 40 champions to the roster of bots you can come up against in both Summoner's Rift and Dominion. Senior Producer Mark Norris explained that the game's co-op-vs.-bots option is "the primary game mode for a surprisingly large percentage of users," but until this week there was no way for bots to play most of the game's champions. In addition to expanding the bot roster, the update gave AI "improved map awareness, teamwork, and the ability to use skill shots and activatable items."

Dota 2 title image
As part of the ongoing Dota 2 beta, Valve has produced a new update system that will let it test experimental features without interfering with gameplay and balance testing. All players in the beta will now have access to a separate Dota 2 test game on Steam, which will be used to try out experimental new features. Unfortunately, developing the new update procedure took some development time away from the game, so there is no Dota 2 gameplay update this week.

Blacklight: Retribution title image
If you're playing in the Blacklight: Retribution closed beta, developer Zombie Studios has a challenge for you: Play 20 ranked matchmaking games before the end of this beta stage, and you'll unlock an exclusive golden helmet. The current beta ends on Thursday, February 9th, and if you haven't got an invite, we still have plenty of beta keys to give away over at our official giveaway page. To get the horde of new testers familiarised with the game's maps, Zombie released an intelligence report video on popular map Deadlock. The video highlights the locations of every weapon depot and the main chokepoints to avoid on the map.

Diablo III title image
One hundred thousand Diablo III beta keys went out this weekend to customers in North America. If you have a account, log in to your account management page to find out whether you're among those lucky few. If you plan to make use of the RMT auction house once the game is out, you might also want to check out's new terms of use agreement and its two new articles on integrating your balance with PayPal.

Remember the massive Diablo III gameplay teaser released two years ago that made the game seem almost complete? Remember those epic death animations in the boss battle at the end, with the Siegebreaker Assault Beast tearing the head off a player as if he were a gore-filled jelly baby? In a wholly disappointing forum post this week, Blizzard revealed that not only were those scenes pre-scripted, but death animations like those will not make it into the finished game.

Although concessions have to be made to get the game out in a reasonable timeframe, fans are sure to be disappointed that such an eye-catching feature has been thrown on the scrapheap. To get a glimpse of what we'll be missing, check out the video below.

Bloodline Champions title image
Bloodline Champions released patch 2.3 this week, increasing the XP gain of all accounts by 50% and reducing the level limit for the solo-ranked matchmaking queue from level 25 to level 20. It's hoped that this will get players into competitive games when they're ready rather than making them grind to level 25 even though they've got the skill to compete.

Stunlock Studios loves its competitions, and this week it has a bizarre but hilarious photo contest with prizes ranging from a full Titan Account to items of your choice from the cash shop. To win, you just have to submit a photograph containing as many elements as possible from list provided. For example, players will get five points for including their gaming rig in the photo, 10 points for including an old floppy disk, or 40 points for taking the picture at the beach. You'd better hope that Neil Armstrong doesn't enter the contest, however, as the studio is awarding 140,000 points for pictures taken on the moon.

Heroes of Newerth title image
If you thought Artesia's homing magic missiles and Gravekeeper's corpse explosion were overpowered, you'll crack up at Heroes of Newerth's newest hero. Berzerker is a strength-based carry with the ability to steal strength from other players, resist stuns and slows, and chase down any player in the game. His first ability, Chain Spike, chains the target at long range, dealing magic damage and applying a slow. If it's activated a second time, the damage is dealt again and the target is rooted to the spot for a few seconds.

Berzerker's second ability, Strength Sap, steals strength from nearby heroes to decrease their maximum health while increasing his own maximum health and damage. The ability also heals Berzerker over its duration, and the stolen strength is retained for a while after the sap ability ends. As Berzerker is melee, he'll be in range to sap with every kill and will become progressively more dangerous as a teamfight progresses. The fact that his damage scales with strength makes this ability potentially very overpowered, and it'll be a tough balancing act to keep him in line with other heroes.

Berzerker's third ability, Mark for Death, grants sight of the target player even if he's hiding in the forest, and Berzerker gets a large speed buff as long as he faces the marked opponent. If a player dies while marked, the skill resets and can be used on another enemy instantly. Berzerker's ultimate, Frenzy, grants him slow and stun resistance and adds bonus physical damage to every attack based on a percentage of his maximum health. Combined with Strength Sap to steal maximum health and damage, this ability will demolish entire teams. This comes at the cost of Berzerker's taking 20% additional damage, though, and as he has no escape mechanism, it makes him a proper hard carry.

Path of Exile title image
Dungeon crawler Path of Exile gears up for beta patch 0.9.6 with two new screenshots showing multiplayer combat, a new Power Siphon skill, and some new monsters added to the game's second act.

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This article was originally published on Massively.