Not So Massively title image
Have you ever thought that MOBAs release far too many new heroes and champions? This week Riot Games revealed not one but two new champions coming to League of Legends: stealthy assassin Rengar and telekinetic mage Syndra. Heroes of Newerth released its brand-new Core Pool game mode that lowers the MOBA learning curve by limiting the playing pool to just 40 available heroes. The game also switched from a two-week hero release schedule to a four-week schedule as there are already well over 100 heroes to choose from.

Valve announced its new free Dota 2 Spectator Client, which that aims to get all Steam users interested in the game's upcoming competitive tournaments. Upcoming MOBA SMITE revealed its latest character, the adorable little cherub Cupid, God of Love. Blacklight: Retribution's $1,000 US per day 30 Days of Fight contest has officially begun, and its new Siege game mode is now live.

Diablo III announced many of the changes coming in its upcoming patch 1.0.4 this week, including details of upgraded legendary items and a whole series of buffs for every single class. Finally, Path of Exile updated players on the game's current development progress this week, revealing that over a million US dollars had been secured in pre-purchase supporter packs.

League of Legends title image
This week Riot Games revealed the next champion being introduced to League of Legends, stealthy predator Rengar, the Pridestalker. Rengar can hide in brush and use the resulting stealth to leap on opponents, using attack speed and armour buffs to claw victims to death in close-range combat. Rengar's ultimate ability, Thrill of the Hunt, grants him stealth and automatically reveals nearby hidden enemies. Rengar moves quickly while the ability is active and generates Ferocity, a resource that empowers his deadly attacks. Oh, and did I mention he's a big fluffy kitty cat?

At Gamescom 2012 this week, Riot Games revealed a second upcoming champion due for release after Rengar goes live. Syndra, the Dark Sovereign, will be an unusual mage who deals damage by hurling dark spheres and enemy minions at unsuspecting victims. With clever positioning of dark spheres, Syndra has the potential to deal a lot of damage and turn around teamfights. If you've ever wondered what goes into making a new champion, check out the champion retrospective video in which the developers behind the champions talk about the design process.


Heroes of Newerth title image
With new heroes released every few weeks, it's only a matter of time before any MOBA becomes overloaded with character choices that complicate the hero-picking process and upset the game balance. The large number of heroes you could come up against makes the learning curve steeper for new players, who have to learn how hundreds of different attacks work in order to stay safe. Heroes of Newerth aims to solve this problem with its new Core Pool game mode.

Unlike other MOBAs that offer a free hero pool that changes regularly, HoN keeps all heroes free to play. This means that in standard All Pick games, you could literally come up against any combination of enemies from the huge list of over 100 heroes. Core Pool addresses this problem, letting players select from a carefully chosen pool of only 40 heroes. New players should begin to get a firm grasp of the game much more quickly using Core Pool than All Pick, and balance can be carefully fine-tuned without the designers worrying about a newly released hero upsetting everything.

The pool of 40 available heroes contains many classic characters from the game's popular beta phases, and the selection will remain the same for the foreseeable future. New heroes will continue to be released for the other game modes, but the new release schedule will see a new hero every four weeks rather than every two.


Dota 2 title image
In an effort to get the world to start watching competitive Dota 2 tournaments, this week Valve announced that all Steam accounts will have free access to the Dota 2 Spectator Client. Using the new client, even players who don't own Dota 2 will have full spectator access to live and recorded matches, with features like Player Perspective and Commentators enabled. The spectator client is intended as a gateway to get players into the game and will be expanded to a full client at some point in the future.

Smite title image
Upcoming MOBA SMITE revealed its next closed beta character this week with a video reveal of Cupid, the God of Love. Cupid's passive causes his basic attacks to grant a stacking 3% buff to his next offensive ability to heal, so he can store up charges and unleash a huge burst of damage or support healing. Cupid can strike enemies with a heart bomb arrow or spawn healing hearts for himself and his allies. His Flutter ability also lets him dash forward, leaving a trail behind him that buffs allied movement speed. Finally, Field of Hearts gives Cupid the ability to deal massive damage and a delayed three-second mesmerise in a huge area.


Blacklight: Retribution title image
The Blacklight: Retribution 30 Days of Fight competition is now underway, offering players a chance to win $1,000 US every day just by playing matches of Blacklight: Retribution over the coming month. If you're bored of the existing game modes but still want to be in with a chance to win, check out the new Siege team deathmatch mode. Modeled vaguely on Team Fortress 2's payload maps, Siege games involve one team battling to push a Scorpion tank through enemy territory while the other tries to stop or slow its advance.


Diablo III title image
Blizzard released an absolute torrent of information this week on the upcoming changes in Diablo III's patch 1.0.4. The update will bring a whole new series of updated legendary items and set items, and major buffs to every single class in the game. Over 50 legendary items have been updated with new proc effects, ranging from slows and roots to the chance to summon a demon or even fire a copy of The Butcher's hook. There are even legendaries that can reflect projectiles, cause enemies to drop additional gold, and summon treasure goblins.

The class updates are following a refreshing new balancing strategy that aims to avoid nerfing abilities and playstyles that players enjoy. Any abilities or runes that players aren't really using at endgame are being buffed to make them competitive with the most popular choices. Several abilities that consume resources are also being buffed for each class, and two-handed weapons are getting a huge buff to make them more competitive with their one-handed counterparts. Unless it's delayed, the patch should arrive at some point this week.

Path of Exile title image
As upcoming action RPG Path of Exile edges closer to release, this week developers released a huge progress update to let fans know what's going on behind the scenes at Grinding Gear Games. The studio's crowdfunding campaign recently passed one million US dollars in pre-purchase supporter packs, a very impressive number when you consider that the game will be free-to-play on release.

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.