In MOBA news, League of Legends celebrated one year of its player-mediated banning tribunal and released the official champion spotlight video for new champion Darius, the Hand of Noxus. Dota 2 released a new interface this week to help players pick heroes more effectively, and Heroes of Newerth released a strange new tentacle demon plant hero named Bramble. We also heard of upcoming indie MOBA Smashmuck, which entered closed beta yesterday.
Upcoming action FPS Hedone was recently rebranded under a new name, and this week developers opened signups for a new closed beta. Torchlight II's beta officially ended this week, and the Wrath of Heroes Beta introduced new hero Amenadresh.
Firefall video blog says farewell to levels, hello to skill
The team at Red 5 Studios has been working hard on making Firefall the best game it can be, and as it turns out, that happens to be a game without traditional levels.
New Firefall dev blog discusses raising the skill ceiling
The other day we talked about Red 5 Studios' new development philosophy for its upcoming MMOFPS, Firefall, and its decision to take things in a direction that's more focused on player skill than levels or gear.
Blizzard denies Diablo III authenticator hacking claims
We've been following the mass reports of hackers bypassing passwords and authenticators to rob Diablo III accounts blind, and now we have a new twist on the story.
Diablo III achieves fastest-selling PC game and biggest PC game launch titles
Launch bugs, server problems, and silly single-player online requirements didn't stop Diablo III from becoming the biggest launch in the history of PC gaming.
Blizzard talks Diablo III hotfixes, delay of real-money auction house
In a post on the official Diablo III forums earlier today, Community Manager Nethaera addressed a few of the concerns that have been brought up in the game's momentous first week.
League of Legends tribunal that lets players vote on whether to pardon or punish players reported for misconduct. To celebrate, Riot has launched a few improvements to the tribunal and released some interesting statistics on its use over the past year. Over 47 million votes have been cast in total, with 51% of cases being given a guilty verdict and 49% of cases dismissed. Of those guilty cases referred on to GMs, only 5.7% resulted in a permanent ban.
These statistics are impressive, but conflict with reports of tribunal activity released five months ago. While today's punishment figure is 51%, in December 2011 it was claimed that 94% of cases that faced the tribunal resulted in punishment. Although only 16 million votes had been cast by then, that's a pretty big drop in conviction rates.
Last week Riot released details of new champion Darius, the Hand of Noxus. This week's champion spotlight video below shows Darius' axe-swinging abilities in action, including laning strategies and advanced tactics for both Summoner's Rift and Dominion game modes.
Valve redesigned the Dota 2 hero picker and dashboard with this week's beta update. The new interface includes a search tool for heroes and filters that let you select a hero by role, attack type, or by your own personal tracked stats and favourites. With the huge array of heroes Dota 2 will have at release, these new options will come as a welcome addition to the game.
Diablo III's server woes were put into perspective this week as we learned that the game had vastly outsold Blizzard's already high expectations. Sales of 4 million units were predicted within the first 90 days, but that prediction was smashed in just over 24 hours. Selling 6.3 million copies in its first week, Diablo III became possibly the fastest selling PC game of all time. This impressive statistic has been unfortunately overshadowed by six-hour-long server maintenance periods during which even singleplayer games are not possible.
This week saw a number of account hijackings, leading players to suspect that the Battle.net servers or authenticator databases had been compromised. Blizzard assured players that neither had been compromised, and that the total number of hacked accounts wasn't very high. Complaints also continued this week of poor itemisation on Legendary items, most of which have random stats and many of which are outclassed by rares.
The Inferno difficulty mode has encouraged players to find creative ways to handle the challenge. Wizards using an energy shield build to trivialise Inferno were disappointed when the skill was nerfed in a hotfix this week. A player also published the video below showing a witch doctor killing the first act's end boss on Inferno mode in just nine seconds.
Heroes of Newerth released Bramble, a mutated mantrap plant that's more Cthulhu than wallflower. Bramble's first ability, Spore Breath, deals damage every second to players in a cone in front of her, ending with a stun. Ensnaring Shrubbery places a shield on Bramble or an ally that slows nearby enemies and heals both the target and any nearby allies for a portion of any damage dealt to them.
As the shield heals for a percentage of damage taken, it can act as a form of damage reduction. Bramble is a strength hero and so will have a huge health pool by the late game stage, allowing her to absorb a huge amount of damage in team fights and heal all nearby allies. Bramble's third ability, Combat Vigor, grants Bramble and all nearby allies movement speed every time an attack is landed. Her ultimate ability summons a wall of impassable vines that slow and damage nearby enemies.
Smashmuck as it's being developed by indie studio Kiz Studios, but this upcoming MOBA has turned a lot of heads. The developer's ambitious plans include four separate game modes: Capture the flag, classic DotA style tower defense, control point capture, and a more StarCraft-like resource combat mode. Featuring a more cartoony style than most MOBAs, Smashmuck will be launching with four maps and a full roster of champions. The game entered closed beta yesterday and you can sign up now for a chance to play it.
Hedone has been a little quiet lately, and this week we found out why. Developer Acony has signed a deal with Sony Online Entertainment and rebranded the game as Bullet Run. You can sign up to the beta now using your Station account.
Torchlight II beta officially closed this week on Thursday May 24th. Developers will now begin the process of collating the masses of feedback and bug-reports it received during the beta and finishing off the game.
Wrath of Heroes released details on its newest hero this week, the Tomb King Liche Priest Amenadresh. His abilities include area-of-effect damage-over-time and heal-over-time spells, a nuke that removes armour from the enemy, and an area-effect nuke mixed with a heal.
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