Not So Massively: Million-dollar tournaments, PAX 2012, and the Battle for Graxia

Not So Massively title image
MOBA Rise of Immortals revealed details of its massive Battle For Graxia relaunch this week and made all immortals free to play until the patch arrives. The finals of Dota 2's world championship tournament The International took place this weekend, with last year's winner Na'Vi facing off against Chinese team Invictus Gaming in the final to fight over the $1,000,000 US grand prize. League of Legends' incredible $5,000,000 US competitive season is now just over a month from completion, with regional championships leading up to a spectacular $2,000,000 grand final in October.

Torchlight II fans were treated to hands-on gameplay demos and a final release date this week at PAX 2012 while Firefall used the event to announce its pre-purchase founder packs. Upcoming action RPG Path of Exile released details of patch 0.9.12 and showed off a hilarious unarmed fighter build nicknamed "Mike Tyson." Diablo III developers weighed in on a puzzling stat discrepancy this week, and Blacklight: Retribution launched a new video podcast series digging into all the game's new updates, maps, and items. Finally, upcoming console MOBA Guardians of Middle-earth revealed four new characters this week: Sauron, Hildifons, Arathon, and Runsig.

Rise of Immortals title image
Rise of Immortals hasn't seen many new characters released lately, but that's because the game is about to undergo a massive reboot. In a producer's letter this week, developer Petroglyph Games gave a sneak preview of what's coming in the massive Battle For Graxia update. Players previously had to unlock each immortal for play and level each one up independently. The Battle For Graxia update is set to change all that with account-wide levels and stats, a single discipline tree shared by all characters, and all new tactical items.

Battle For Graxia seems poised to transform Rise of Immortals into a more League of Legends-style competitive MOBA. The social hub will disappear, making way for a standard game lobby and improved matchmaking systems. Players will be matched into 5v5 games based on account-wide persistent level and Elo stats and will select characters in a tactical picking phase before each match begins.

Dota 2 title image
Dota 2's $1,600,000 US world championship tournament The International has been underway all this weekend with full live streaming and a whole host of broadcasters. Last year's winners, Natus Vincere (Na'Vi), faced off against LGD-Gaming in the winner's bracket to determine which team would go through to the grand final. Chinese-favourite Invictus Gaming suffered defeat against Na'Vi in the winner's bracket but clawed back a chance at entering the grand final by quickly knocking out last year's grand finalist, EHome.

In yesterday's finals, Invictus triumphed in the loser's bracket to join Na'Vi in the grand final. Despite losing its first match, Na'Vi pulled a decisive second-round victory out of the bag to stay in the game. With Invictus cleaning up in the third round, Na'Vi had to win every remaining match to defend its title for a second year running. The reigning champion struggled to stay in the game in a tense hour-long fourth round but ultimately lost the match. Chinese team Invictus was crowned Dota 2 world champion and walked away with the million dollar grand prize, leaving Na'Vi with a respectable second place win and $250,000 US in prize money.

League of Legends title image
If you were impressed with Dota 2's $1,600,000 US prize pool, be prepared to pick your jaw up off the floor. The prize pool for League of Legends' Season Two championship is a colossal $5,000,000 US, with over a million already having been awarded to teams in regional tournaments. The championship finals will be taking place on October 13th in Los Angeles, where 12 teams from around the world will compete to win a cut of the $2,000,000 US final prize pool.


Torchlight II title image
Last week Runic Games announced that it was still aiming for a summer release for Torchlight II. At PAX 2012 this week, Runic confirmed that statement with a release date of September 20th 2012, which is still technically one day before the official end of summer. With just under three weeks to go until release day, Runic gave PAX attendees some hands-on time with the current beta build.

Path of Exile title image
Upcoming action RPG Path of Exile has been making steady progress with updates since it entered closed beta just over a year ago, and it is slowly approaching open beta. Previous estimates placed open beta in mid August, but the team at Grinding Gear Games has been taking its time to ensure that the game is in the most playable state possible. In a development update this week, Chris from Grinding Gear detailed some of the changes coming in patch 0.9.12 ahead of the upcoming PvP update. New skills, items, and numerous bug-fixes will arrive in 0.9.12 next week, while the PvP features will be released later as 0.9.13.

This week's Build of the Week video demonstrates a hilarious unarmed build that's been nicknamed "Mike Tyson." Designed by beta player Faerwin, the highly effective Marauder build runs around knocking enemies out in one hit with its fists. This was the first build of the week submission to actually get nerfed, as the team discovered it could be made even more powerful with the addition of other rare items.


Firefall title image
If you're looking forward to upcoming free-to-play FPS Firefall, you might be interested in one of the game's new founder packages. The packages essentially let you pre-purchase microtransaction points in exchange for bonus gifts. The strategy has proven successful in the past and was recently used by Grinding Gear Games to crowdsource funds for Path of Exile.

For $15, you get priority access to the beta, a permanent 5% XP bonus, and $20 worth of microtransaction currency, and you can also reserve your name so nobody else can take it. More expensive options give higher XP bonuses and additional rewards. The XP boosts have sparked complaints among gamers that the packages may amount to a pay-to-win scheme as said packages shorten the race to endgame. Others insist that XP boosts are innocent, pointing out that MMOs have been selling XP boosts for years and that the boost won't matter once you reach the level cap.


Blacklight: Retribution title image
Blacklight: Retribution delved into upcoming developments this week in its first official video podcast. Hosted by Community Manager Frank Johnston, the two-part podcast gives details on the game's upcoming Evac map, repair tool changes for the Scorpion game mode, the new auto-shotgun, and the 30 days of fight event.


Diablo III title image
Diablo III players discovered an interesting discrepancy this week with legendary Wizard offhand Triumvirate, which seemed to be delivering a huge damage boost for some players and a moderate boost for others. The discrepancy was traced to the three elemental damage affixes on the item, which are stated as "Adds 6% to Fire Damage" but didn't seem to boost fire spell damage by 6%.

Blizzard clarified the affix and confirmed players' findings that the stat will actually add an additional 6% of your physical damage as fire damage onto every attack. Weapons with only physical damage on them will gain the full benefit of the effect, while weapons with elemental damage on them gain only 6% of the base damage. As a result, players have begun buying up "black weapons" with no elemental damage.

Guardians of Middle-Earth title image
Upcoming console-based MOBA Guardians of Middle-earth revealed four new characters this week with new Battle Profile videos on Sauron, Hildifons, Arathon, and Runsig. Hildifons is a hobbit with a focus on long-range area-effect abilities, while Sauron is a melee monster with root and knockback abilities.

Arathorn is a hybrid ranged and melee damage-dealer with a stunning arrow attack and a melee strike that causes him to go invisible, and Runsig is an evil warrior with a massive axe and abilities that buff nearby allies and towers. Guardians of Middle-earth will be coming to both PlayStation 3 and XBox 360, with no plans yet to release a PC version.


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.