Not So Massively: Everyone wants PvP arenas and tournaments

Not So Massively title image
Diablo III's lead game designer Jay Wilson raised a few eyebrows this week with a retraction of his previous statement about an upcoming blog on PvP arenas, stating that complications have once again delayed the feature. Livestreamer Kripparian took a break from the world of Sanctuary to try Path of Exile's PvP arena system, which is due to go live with the start of open beta. The open beta date has also unfortunately been pushed back from December to January 24th to allow for the holiday season.

Dota 2's focus on competitive PvP tournaments continued this week with an interesting experiment in selling virtual tournament tickets bundled with exclusive cosmetic items. If successful, the new system could be used to organically fund player-run competitive tournaments. Heroes of Newerth's competitive players know every trick in the book, and in an interesting new video series, one player aims to reveal many of them in the run-up to Christmas.

League of Legends released its new support hero, Nami, the Tidecaller, and detailed the massive changes coming to the game to keep competitive season three fresh. Upcoming MOBA Prime World discussed its talent system, which merges active spells and passive bonuses with a collectable card game mechanic, and Rise of Immortals celebrated its impending re-release with its new immortal Ustat.

Not So Massively title image
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Path of Exile open beta starts January 24
Free-to-play dungeon crawler Path of Exile will enter its open beta phase on January 24, 2013. AusGamers notes that this represents a delay of about a month from Grinding Gear's previous open beta target, and the company has released a statement on its official forums explaining its decision.

Diablo III title image
When Diablo III first launched, the PvP arena system was cut to hit the March release window. Developers promised that PvP would be introduced for free in a later patch, which they hoped would be long before the end of the year. Blizzard has released some huge updates since then, introducing the Paragon level system and the Infernal Machine minigame, but for some players it won't be enough until PvP arenas are released.

Jay Wilson recently apologised to fans for the delay and promised that a PvP blog will be on the way very soon. This week he issued a retraction of that statement, clarifying that "Some complications have risen and forced a delay."

Path of Exile title image
If you've been looking forward to playing Path of Exile but aren't ready to plonk down some cash on a supporter's pack for beta access, you'll unfortunately have to wait another month to get your hands on the game. Path of Exile was originally intended to enter open beta in December, but developers announced this week that the date has been pushed back to January 24th.

While the delay may be annoying for those looking forward to trying the game over the holidays, several staff will be away on their own holiday breaks during this month. Given the current popularity of the Path of Exile closed beta, Grinding Gear Games will need all hands on deck when the game opens to the public in January.

The start of open beta will introduce the game's third act and make its new PvP arena system available to the public for the first time. Popular Diablo III livestreamer Kripparian recently gave PoE's PvP system a try and recorded footage of the various environments the arenas are set in.


Dota 2 title image
The competitive gaming scene has become huge in recent years, thanks in no small part to games like League of Legends and Dota 2. The million-dollar top prize in The International certainly changed how we look at competitive gaming, but smaller tournaments are the lifeblood of the competitive gaming scene. Traditionally these tournaments have been paid for by advertising revenue or sponsored by computer hardware companies, but Valve wants to open up new options for tournament organisers to support their events.

One way that's being accomplished is to let tournament organisers sell virtual tickets to tournaments, which can be used to watch the matches live inside the Dota 2 game client. The visual quality of actually seeing the game in action rather than watching it via a stream has certainly helped to encourage virtual pass sales, but now Valve is bundling exclusive bonus items with ticket sales. Early indications are that this experiment has worked, as the latest tournament The Defense 3 has sold more tickets in its first week than the first tournament did in its entire lifetime.

Heroes of Newerth title image
Heroes of Newerth has always had a strong competitive scene, and in PvP tournaments, every little trick that can give you an advantage counts. In his new Tip of the Day video series, player stonefain is revealing a new trick every day in the run-up to Christmas Eve. If you're a fairly casual player, you'll be amazed as he blocks the ancient creep camp from spawning using a Whispering Helm and interrupts Tempest's ultimate through a Shrunken Head using a Skeleton King's stun.


League of Legends title image
League of Legends' new mermaid-based hero has now officially been released. Nami, the Tidecaller, is an offensive support champion who focuses on controlling the battlefield and buffing her allies' offensive capabilities. Though she has a healing ability, Nami's special role is to buff her teammates' movement speed in order to help them catch up with fleeing enemies. While staying in the background during teamfights, Nami can literally turn the tide of battle.

Competitive season three is about to get underway, and to shake things up, developers have made big changes to items, jungling gameplay, and player masteries. In a colossal new patch preview video, Riot's Jatt and Morello discuss all of the changes in detail. Some of the big changes include making it more viable to farm the jungle, new utility masteries for support champions, and a new Sightstone item that generates free wards and recharges every time you go back to base.


Prime World title image
Upcoming MOBA Prime World has already differentiated itself from the crowd with its Outpost and Dragonwald game modes, but the differences don't stop there. The game's talent system is modelled on collectable card games, with the player building a deck of cards that each give a passive bonus or can be activated during a game. Active talent cards work like Summoner Spells in League of Legends, while the bonuses from passive cards replace the item system.

The player's deck consists of 36 cards, 24 of which unlock throughout a match as his character levels up. The remaining 12 cards are part of his side-deck, which can be drawn from during the game if the player needs to adapt his strategy or tailor his stats to defend against a particular player's abilities.

Rise of Immortals title image
With Rise of Immortals' Battle for Graxia update now in open beta on Steam, developers seized the opportunity to reveal the first new immortal since the game was revamped. Ustat is a melee immortal whose abilities all centre around his wolf companion. He can perform an escape jump backward while his wolf leaps forward, make his entire team invisible for a few seconds, send his wolf to attack enemy players.

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.