Not So Massively: Diablo III's competitors speak up and LoL reveals Lulu

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The big announcement we've all been waiting for has finally arrived: Diablo III has a release date! This week the beta was wiped to prepare for launch, and Blizzard's Jay Wilson responded to questions about the cash auction house in hardcore mode. Competing title Path of Exile continued development toward its own release, and Torchlight II gave players a unique look under the hood of the game with a breakdown of item drop statistics. Runic Games congratulated the Diablo team on its release date announcement and published an open letter to fans urging them to just wait a little longer for their Torchlight fix.

In MOBA news, League of Legends revealed its next champion, Lulu, and explored the game's rapidly growing German community. Dota 2 added classic DotA hero Shadow Demon and performed some much-needed tweaks to bots, and Rise of Immortals released the official Azcadelia immortal spotlight. Heroes of Newerth released Gunblade, an original ranged agility carry hero that was been met with some strong disapproval in the community. Blacklight: Retribution's open beta updates continued this week with the release of its Vertigo map, a battleground set in the roofspaces of a sprawling industrial complex.

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League of Legends talks nerfs and reveals Lulu, the Fae Sorceress
If you can't quite get your daily dose of adorableness with Teemo or Annie, you'll definitely want to pick up League of Legends' next champion, Lulu, the Fae Sorceress.
The Summoner's Guidebook: Dominion isn't ready for ranked
I'm a huge fan of League of Legends' Dominion gametype. One of the complaints I hear regularly is that Dominion doesn't have a ranked mode. Right now, Dominion's highly skilled summoners must choose between "curbstomping pubbies" in blind pick mode or waiting for a year in queue for draft pick mode.
Diablo III launches May 15th
At long last we have a release date for the third entry in Blizzard's unholy trinity. Yes, kids, Diablo III will be yours on May 15th, and even though there has been a lot of controversy surrounding the title of late, we're pretty sure that it's still going to sell like hotcakes.

Diablo III title image
Last week we examined all the recent signs that Diablo III's release was finally on its way, and soon our suspicions were confirmed as Diablo III was given a solid release date of May 15th. The response from gamers has been one of relief more than anticipation, as the game has appeared to be close to release for years.

When asked whether the cash auction house could be added to hardcore mode, Jay Wilson responded on twitter that "if there is a demand for it, [they'll] consider it." A poll following the tweet showed a polarising split in community opinions, with 56% against having the cash auction house in hardcore mode and 44% in support of it. While the feature might eventually come to hardcore mode, Blizzard has already confirmed that it is too late to add it now before release. In preparation for launch in just under two months, the beta servers were reset this week and all beta characters were wiped.

Path of Exile title image
With this week's announcement of Diablo III's release date, competing dungeon crawler Path of Exile has continued to approach its own version 1.0 release. Grinding Gear Games has published two new screenshots of the game in the run up to patch 0.9.7, which will be released later this week.

Torchlight II title image
Ask anyone what dungeon crawler he's looking forward to this year and the answer will probably Diablo III, Torchlight II, or "What the hell are you talking about? Get out of my house before I call the police." Both Diablo III and Torchlight II stem from extremely popular previous dungeon crawlers, and most fans of the genre have hung their gaming hopes on one or the other of the two titles.

In addition to congratulating the Diablo III team, Runic Games released an open letter to fans this week urging them to keep their faith in Torchlight II. "We began making the first Torchlight in 2008 when development on Diablo III was already underway," the letter explains, adding, "We didn't let that be a reason that we couldn't make an RPG." Runic reiterated its intention to produce the best game it can regardless of any announcement or other releases.

Information-hungry fans got another sneak peek under the hood of Torchlight II this week with a devblog on the breakdown of loot drops in the game. Key insights include spells' being most common in bookcases, scrolls' being found plentifully in barrels, gems' being found more in rocks than chests, and unique gear's being slightly more common from chests than monster kills.

League of Legends title image
The League of Legends crew explored the German community this week as part of its ongoing world tour series. With two of the world's biggest trade shows, Gamescom and CeBIT, on their doorsteps, German gamers are avid convention attendees. LAN parties and smaller conventions are run all across the country. Germany has been LoL's fastest-growing EU province since the game's introduction there in October 2010, and several German players rank among the world's top competitive players.

With upcoming champion Lulu revealed earlier this week, Riot has treated players to an impressive time-lapse video compressing nine hours of concept art work on Lulu's signature image into just under six minutes. If you're a budding artist, take some inspiration from the impressive video below.


Dota 2 title image
This week's Dota 2 beta update adds classic DotA hero Shadow Demon to the game, on top of the usual bug fixes and balance changes. Co-op bots have been updated to make them progressively worse at last-hitting as you decrease their difficulty levels, and Easy-level bots will not use any intermediate tactics like breaking channels with stuns, dodging projectiles or pushing a tower with more than three heroes. Although bots charging in suicidally to defend towers was funny, it wasn't terribly effective, and they will now judge how dangerous a situation is before teleporting to defend a tower.

Blacklight: Retribution title image
Blacklight: Retribution continues its open beta with the release of a brand-new map this week. Vertigo is set on a tall industrialised skyscraper, and much of the map is actually outside the building on roofspaces and walkways. If you have a fear of heights, it may be a good idea to give this map a miss.


Heroes of Newerth title image
S2 Games games released a new hero spotlight this week on Heroes of Newerth's upcoming agility carry Gunblade. Response to the spotlight has been overwhelmingly negative as the video makes Gunblade look ridiculously overpowered and the character currently has to be purchased for cash from the early access store. Players have also complained that most of his abilities are copies of other heroes' abilities and that the spotlight video was poorly edited compared to previous ones. Gunblade's release this week makes Berzerker available for purchase with silver coins and available for free to all legacy account holders.

Gunblade's first ability, Crippling Slugs, fires three shots in a line at long range, with each shot slowing the target and dealing minor physical damage. Demonic Shield grants Gunblade bonus movement speed and puts up a shield that absorbs all incoming damage until depleted. The size of the shield is dependent on Gunblade's agility, making it incredibly powerful if you get the right items. Lethal Range increases Gunblade's base damage by up to 60% against targets within 200 units, tapering off to 0% bonus damage at a range of 600 units.

Gunblade's ultimate ability, Grappling Shot, is essentially Gauntlet's hook spell. It fires a grappling hook at the target, dealing magic damage and applying a stun. For the next five seconds, the target has an armour penalty. If you've stacked a lot of agility and pair this with high attack speed or Elder Parasite, this will combine with Lethal Range to deal massive damage in those five seconds. While this hook deals magic damage and sets Gunblade up for a kill, it can be completely negated by a null stone.


Rise of Immortals title image
Rise of Immortals has gone Azcadelia mad this week, with the release of her official immortal spotlight video and a great new guide posted on the forum showing how to build her as a full carry. The immortal spotlight explains each of Azcadelia's main abilities, gives players tips on playing her in a game, and shows off her awesome Buttercup and Queen of Hearts skins.


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 brendan@massively.com.

This article was originally published on Massively.