The big news for Dota 2
this week is the announcement that the game will be free-to-play
and supported by a microtransaction store. Given Valve's financial success with Team Fortress 2
since it went free to play, no one should be surprised. Valve took the announcement as an opportunity to clarify that Dota 2
will not be using a pay-to-win scheme and that the store will contain only cosmetic items that won't affect gameplay. All heroes will also be free, as Valve believes restricting players' access to heroes could be destructive to game design.
Over 80% of the items that will be in the store on launch have been designed by players
as part of the Steam
Workshop that gives 3-D modelers a profit share from items they design. So far over $3.5 million US has been paid out to Steam Workshop members for their Team Fortress 2
hat designs. If you're a 3D modeler, you can join the Steam Workshop now
and get started on making Dota 2
The Diablo III
servers have been in their worst state since launch this week, with the European servers hit hardest of all. Players have been experiencing crippling lag, unpredictable disconnects, and the dreaded Error 37 in droves. It's been impossible to trade commodities like gems and crafting materials on the auction house all week, and the auction house has been taken down for hours at a time without explanation or notice. Maintenance periods lasting anywhere up to six hours a day without prior warning have continued, and this week's patch deployment did little to help matters.
Players requesting refunds have been advised that Blizzard may be under legal obligation to honour those requests in the US and EU and that they should submit a support petition
about the issue. Blizzard's Korean office was even raided
by the Seoul FTC when it became clear that refunds were not being given in that country.
Last week we showed a video of a player killing the Act 1 end boss on Inferno
difficulty in just nine seconds using a Witch Doctor build that combined mana-hungry skills with huge mana regeneration. This week, famous gamer Athene, who is close to raising $1,000,000 US for children in Africa through his Operation ShareCraft campaign
, beat the record by killing the same boss in three seconds with his eyes closed.
It seems like studios are trying to get a cut of League of Legends
' success by developing their own MOBAs with recognisable characters. This week, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
announced Guardians of Middle Earth
, a Lord of The Rings-themed MOBA
currently being developed by Monolith Studios
. Interestingly, Guardians of Middle Earth
will be released on XBox 360 and PS3, with no word yet of a PC release. Players will get their first look at the game this week at E3
; until then, all we have is the cinematic trailer below.
League of Legends
celebrated hitting over 3,000,000 FaceBook fans
with a weekend of double IP and XP this week and released details on its next champion. If you thought Darius' axe was big, check out the colossal blades wielded by Draven, the Glorious Executioner
. Unlike his brother Darius, Draven is a ranged attack damage carry
whose abilities center around throwing two massive spinning axes.
On hitting a target, each axe will bounce into the air and Draven can catch it to automatically ready a new spinning axe and reset the cooldown on his Blood Rush ability. As Blood Rush provides movement speed and attack speed, accurate axe-throws and positioning will make Draven an absolute monster on the battlefield.
This week Riot
also announced a special livestreamed invitational tournament in Las Vegas
pitting five of the world's best League of Legends
players against the five best Riot employees. Unfortunately, the tournament was announced late the night before the tournament and Riot didn't provide a link to the stream channel, leading to some confusion. You can catch a recording of the tournament below:
Heroes of Newerth
has come under fire in the past for not balancing the game or listening to players, but S2 Games
challenged that view recently with the release of the community-backed Mid Wars game mode. This week S2 continued that trend with the release of a new community balance patch that's been in the work for a long time. The patch tweaks 30 heroes and 3 items
, though most of the hero tweaks are just tiny 0.05-stat-per-level changes.
Bound eye now works properly when picked up by the enemy team if a player drops it before he dies, and it's now impossible to put one on a courier. Hellflower's duration was decreased from 5 seconds to 4 seconds, and Pickled Brain was increased in cost by 100 gold. The patch used a light touch on balance changes but indicates that the team is open to a more collaborative design process that involves fans.
revealed the next immortal in Rise of Immortals
this week, a mage who interestingly focuses on close-range combat. Kreed, the elementalist
, is a melee damage-dealer who pairs a teleport ability with area-effect spells centred on himself. It's rare to see a melee mage, and it will be interesting to see how Kreed works out. Petroglyph also released an immortal spotlight on hybrid healer and damage-dealer Psychozen this week, showing each of his abilities and a suggested support item build.
Grinding Gear Games
announced this week that its upcoming dungeon-crawler Path of Exile
will enter open beta in mid-August
. While fans are anxious to play the game, developers are very wary of releasing the game for public consumption before it's ready. One final character wipe will happen when the game enters open beta, and from then on your progress will be permanent. Since Path of Exile
is a free-to-play game, that essentially means the game will be released and fully playable at that date.
Upcoming free-to-play cooperative online shooter Firefall
has spared no expense to get fans interested in the story, going as far as to hire award-winning Hollywood effects artist Steve Wang to work on costumes for trade shows. This week more big names join the team with the announcement that an official Firefall manga titled Affinity
is just around the corner. With a story written by Ender's Game author Orson Scott Card
, the manga is being drawn by artists at Udon Comics, the team behind the Street Fighter comics.
Red 5 Studios will be giving the manga away online for free, anticipating that it will release around two pages per week up to a total of 80 to 90 pages. The first page is due to be published tomorrow on the official Firefall website
. If you can't wait until then, check out the video below for a preview of the comic's graphic style and story.
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 email@example.com.