In the land of MOBAs, League of Legends looked back on PAX East this week and celebrated some of the incredible costumes that fans turned up in. Dota 2 fixed a few behavioural problems with bots, added the ability to skip straight to kills in a game replay, and brought back the popular Random Draft game mode. Bloodline Champions revealed its new bloodline Dryad, and Rise of Immortals revealed its new crystalline tank immortal Shard. Heroes of Newerth released its third ranged agility hero in a row this week, the unfortunately named Artillery.
League of Legends had a big showing at PAX East this year, with tournaments, costume competitions and hands-on previews of new champions Hecarim and Varus. This year's event saw some fantastic costumes, including a great Gangplank, Kassadin, Lux, and several Annies. An incredible Orianna cosplayer stole the show with her eerie steampunk costume, complete with Orianna's floating orb and a speaker that played her catchphrases. Check out the full gallery of amazing costumes and see what players thought of the Hecarim and Varus in the highlights video below.
Dota 2 beta update contained mostly balance tweaks, bugfixes, and AI updates. Bots will now preferentially attack stunned players and will no longer try to portal out of a fight if they're obviously going to die before the portal finishes casting. A useful new feature has been added to game replays, one that highlights the times when hero or tower is killed and lets you skip immediately to five seconds before the event. This will be particularly useful for figuring out what went wrong during a game or just putting together a kill-montage video. The Random Draft game mode returns this week; it picks 20 random heroes and lets the players take turns selecting from that pool.
Diablo III microsite's share rating refused to budge from 0% in its first day, players worried that the share requirement had been set so high that the 100% unlock would never be reached. This week those fears were allayed when the share meter hit 30% in just seven days. The first three unlocks have now been revealed: two developer diaries and an extract from the Book of Cain. The developer diaries were filmed during the final year of development and give a glimpse into what the team was thinking at each stage.
The first developer diary was filmed over a year ago on February 28th and discusses plans to release by the end of 2011, while the second diary is from April 2011 and looks forward to the internal alpha tests. Fans have complained that these aren't the exclusive content they were promised. The developer diaries may turn out to be extracts from the Collector's Edition's behind-the-scenes DVD, and the Book of Cain pages are from a book that's already been released. Fans are still anxious to see what further unlocks reveal and expect an epic trailer once the meter reaches 100%.
To celebrate hitting two million Facebook fans, the Diablo III team released 275,000 new beta keys to US and EU fans. Be wary of phishing emails claiming that you've been accepted to the beta. The safest option is to log into your account management page and manually check if you've been accepted. If you can't wait to get into the game, check out this week's class reveal video dedicated to the Barbarian, an unstoppable close-range killing machine.
Bloodline Champions revealed its next bloodline this week, the nature-themed Dryad. Stunlock Studios also explained its plans to run a round-table discussion on Dryad with the game's top professional players. Last week Stunlock asked players whether all players' grades should be reset for the current competitive season. It's been running a poll on the question all week, and the results have been firmly in favour of the reset.
Heroes of Newerth released yet another ranged agility hero this week with the potentially overpowered and obtusely named Artillery. The hero's first ability, Long Range Missiles, fires a rapid barrage of missiles that hit all enemies in a line and scale up with basic attack damage. The ability can be re-aimed during the attack by moving the mouse to the target location and hitting the Q button again.
Artillery's second ability adds a stacking slow to every basic attack and missile hit, letting him shut down an enemy's retreat from far outside the fight. Artillery's third ability, Bunker Down, greatly increases his attack speed, base damage, missile damage, and basic attack range. This ability has almost no mana cost and a short cooldown and so can be used at any time with no penalty. Artillery's ultimate deals massive magic damage in an area and throws him away from the explosion, an escape mechanism that completely bypasses terrain.
Players have responded extremely negatively to the new hero, as he's the third ranged agility character to be released in a row and his Long Range Missiles ability provides unavoidable lane harassment. He can hit heroes with missiles from 1500 units away right from the start of a match, and with level 3 of his third ability, he can outrange towers with his basic attacks. However, first-hand reports from games against people playing Artillery suggest that he may not be as overpowered as the spotlight video below suggests.
Rise of Immortals revealed its next immortal this week, the crystalline area-effect tank Shard. Shard can deploy a shield that absorbs damage and can be detonated to deal massive damage in an area. Players will have to choose whether to attack Shard to remove charges from the shield or face the full explosion damage. She also has an interesting hybrid damage and movement speed buff that can be used for either damage or speed but not for both at the same time. The damage potion decreases as the player moves, and the movement speed portion decreases as the player deals damage.
Grinding Gear Games launched a Kickstarter-like pre-order campaign for its upcoming free-to-play dungeon crawler Path of Exile. Offers included points to spend in the microtransaction store and special goodies available only at pre-order. The campaign was a colossal success, raising over $200,000 in pre-orders in its first six days. Over 13,000 individual pre-orders were lodged, including 13 copies of the $1,000 diamond pack.
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