Not So Massively: Diablo III open beta weekend edition

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Diablo III's open beta weekend was a huge success, giving developers the chance to stress test the servers that will be used when the game goes live in just over three weeks. Torchlight II teased fans this week with the release of its official opening trailer, which picks up the story from the end of the first game. Web series Extra Credits ran a special episode this week discussing Firefall's plan to let players work together to push back the map boundaries and unlock new content.

Rise of Immortals rolled out a new guild system in this week's patch and released its new area-effect tank immortal, Shard. Dota 2 added classic hero Brewmaster to the beta roster, and Bloodline Champions began preparing patch 2.4 with its new healer bloodline, Dryad. Wrath of Heroes released a hero spotlight video on melee fighter Bax Dreadtoof, and League of Legends highlighted some awesome fan-made art.

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The Summoner's Guidebook: Yes, I've seen your bear Tibbers
Annie is a very popular champion in the lower skill ranks of League of Legends. This is especially true of the Classic gametypes, where she is one of the more common choices for the solo mid lane.
Diablo III roars into an open beta weekend
Flex those mouse-clicking fingers, compadres -- it's demon-hunting time! This weekend, Blizzard is blowing the doors off Diablo III's beta, allowing any and all (well, those with a Battle.
Diablo III punches things up with a new Monk video and the end of beta
Diablo III is still putting together more previews as the game ramps up for its launch on May 15th. The latest reveal is for the Monk, a melee class that takes a very different approach from the already revealed Barbarian.

Torchlight II title image
With launch inching closer, this week Torchlight II released its official opening trailer. The trailer connects the story from the end of the first game to the start of the sequel. Though Ordrak was defeated at the end of the first game, his heart survived and now controls a mechanical body.


Diablo III title image
For all those who were hoping to try Diablo III before release, that chance arrived with this week's open beta weekend. The weekend served as a stress test for the servers, with millions of players worldwide encouraged to repeatedly try to log in at the same time. By the end of the stress test, the servers were more stable and in a much better shape for launch on May 15th. Blizzard emphasised that the open beta was still very much a beta test, with diagnostics running in the background and user feedback being taken on board.

Player feedback so far has been quite positive; players are finding the game to be a fundamentally a solid iteration on Diablo II. Players report that the game feels very much like you'd expect a Diablo game to feel, from the merciless hordes of monsters trying to claw through your skull to that undeniable urge to smash every barrel and pot in sight. Negative feedback has focused on relatively few usability issues, such as skills auto-aiming at enemies near the cursor, the oversimplified skill UI, and starter quests not emphasising the role of weapon damage in determining a caster's spell damage.


Rise of Immortals title image
Rise of Immortals rolled out an experimental new guild system in the latest patch; it aims to get players grouping up more with friends. Petroglyph is encouraging players to try the system and provide feedback. The patch also introduced Shard, a new area-effect tank who is able to deal devastating damage if she's allowed to get up close to the enemy team.

Every MOBA has its own way to implement tanks, but Rise of Immortals may have hit the nail on the head first time with Shard. In addition to having a massive area-effect stun to peel enemies off pursuing allies, Shard boasts a shield ability that severely punishes the enemy team if the enemies don't attack her while it's up. The shield absorbs incoming damage until depleted and can be detonated at any time to deal massive area-effect damage based on its remaining strength. For a full run-down of Shard's abilities and tips on using her in a game, check out her official immortal spotlight video below:


Firefall title image
This week popular web series Extra Credits produced its second promotional episode for Red 5 Studios delving into the world of Firefall. This week's topic of interest is something that Red 5 calls Staged Content but that the Extra Credits team describes as "awesome storyline unlocks."

Instead of developing content and releasing it as soon as it's done, Red 5 plans to produce content for areas outside the accessible map and then let players unlock those areas by completing group missions. As players push one boundary of the map, developers will ensure there's always new content for them to push into. As players progress across the map, they'll unlock new zones, monsters, bosses, and even towns previously claimed by the melding.


Dota 2 title image
Classic DotA hero Brewmaster was added to the Dota 2 beta in this week's patch, along with several bug fixes and bot tweaks. Players can no longer deny themselves while poisoned by attacking themselves through the hero icon at the top of the screen, and bots will now use couriers to buy items. If a player disconnects from a co-op game, the bot team will also now select a similar player of its own to retire from the game and even out the match.

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Bloodline Champions' patch 2.4 goes live this week, bringing with it the newest bloodline Dryad. This musical healer bloodline is pure support, able to heal and shield allies while controlling enemy movement on the battlefield. She has high mobility and several spells that paralyse and knock back enemies. Her Suggestive Tune ability even lets her control an enemy's movement briefly and then paralyse him.

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One of the most often requested features for Wrath of Heroes is some kind of loyalty bonus for players who have an active account in parent game Warhammer Online. This week developers did just that, providing a 50% boost to all gold and experience gain for players with an active Warhammer Online subscription on the same EA account. This week BioWare also released a hero spotlight on Bax Dreadtoof, a melee fighter who gets more powerful the longer he's in a fight.


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It's been a slow week for League of Legends, but that hasn't slowed down the game's creative fanbase. This week's Summoner Showcase highlights some awesome recent fan-art and fan-made projects, from Lulu in a jar to LilyPichu's adorable parody song Last Hit. The highlight of this week's showcase is definitely Hyun90's stick figure spotlight video below, mixing awesome animation with some of LoL's most recognisable attacks.


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.