Not So Massively: Diablo III's console constroversy and Wrath of Heroes' shutdown

Not So Massively title image
It's been a huge week for MOBAs, with the release of several new characters, a ton of balance changes, and even a game closing down for good. League of Legends announced that it will start officially supporting Mac and released a new Smart Ping system designed to help players work together as a team despite language barriers. SMITE showed off its new crowd-controlling water god, Poseidon, and console MOBA Guardians of Middle-Earth released a new Survival game mode DLC.

We heard the unfortunate news that Wrath of Heroes will be closing its doors at the end of the month, and it's not the only game going out of business. Online FPS Bullet Run, formerly known as Hedone, is due to shut down on Friday, March 8th, in a big final event. It's not all doom and gloom, though, as Dota 2 has hit another impressive milestone, passing 300,000 peak concurrent players. The first season of Heroes of Newerth's HoN Tour league is soon to draw to a close, and developers are planning a huge balance patch before the next season kicks off.

Blizzard enraged Diablo III fans this week with the announcement that the console version will not feature the controversial always-online DRM and can be played offline. Path of Exile detailed its next open beta patch, which is due to introduce a new fire skill, a 3v3 dueling arena, and significant Duelist class buffs. Online FPS Firefall produced a new trailer this week showing off its flight gameplay amidst criticism from fans over its lack of beta content. Finally, sci-fi sandbox Star Citizen gave fans a look behind the curtain of game development in its biggest development update video yet.

League of Legends title image
League of Legends officially started supporting Mac this week with a new beta client available for download now. Riot Games released its new iBlitzcrank cosmetic skin to celebrate, but the release didn't exactly go as planned. Players complained that the skin provided a gameplay advantage as one of the character's abilities was more difficult for enemies to spot. Riot replied that it takes the issue very seriously and will have someone look at the skin.

With League of Legends having been released in so many countries around the world, players can occasionally come up against a language barrier. As teamwork is such an important part of the game, developers have implemented a new smart Ping system that lets you give quick alerts to your teammates that will be displayed in their home language. The system is similar to Dota 2's chat wheel but integrates with map pings and can deliver only the four main map alerts people need: Enemy Missing, Danger, Assist Me, and On My Way.

Smart ping went live in patch 3.03 along with a series of major balance changes to Taric, Xin Zhao, Kayle, and Nidalee. Taric's aura was a little too strong in the early game and so has been changed from a flat armour aura to one that scales with armour. With certain item combinations, Xin Zhao was able to keep enemies permanently slowed and abuse his ultimate ability. The cooldown of Audacious Charge and Crescent Sweep have been increased to make timing the abilities more tactical. Kayle and Nidalee were both hit with the nerf bat, and several items were rebalanced.


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Upcoming MOBA SMITE published a video reveal of highly anticipated character Poseidon, God of the Oceans this week. Poseidon is a ranged mage with a suite of crowd-control and damage-dealing abilities. Landing basic attacks stacks a tide buff on Poseidon that increases his movement speed and empowers his damage-dealing spells. This pairs well with his Trident buff that increases movement speed and causes his basic attacks to split into three.

The Tidal Surge ability is a skillshot nuke that deals damage to all enemy gods in its path and pushes them back. If that isn't enough crowd control for you, his Whirlpool spell covers a huge area on the ground with a whirlpool that pulls enemies toward the centre and deals damage over time. True to his mythological backstory, Poseidon's ultimate ability releases a horrible sea beast called The Kraken, stunning all enemies near the cast point and dealing massive damage. Enemies who aren't at the center of the ability are slowed instead of stunned.


Wrath of Heroes title image
If you haven't heard from third-person MOBA Wrath of Heroes in a while, that's because the developers haven't done anything big with the game in months. It comes as no surprise then that EA is shutting the game down at the end of the month. Fans of the game can continue to play until March 29th and 17-18 new heroes that were ready for deployment will be released.

Dota 2 title image
Dota 2 hit another milestone as it passed 300,000 peak concurrent players on Steam this week, more than the next highest six games combined. The latest beta patch introduced the first part of a new guided tutorial initiative designed to get new players into the game. This combines with the recently released Hero Guides feature to help ease new players into the game.

Heroes of Newerth title image
Following the successful reception of Heroes of Newerth's colossal Patch 3.0 update, developer S2 Games revealed plans for a massive upcoming balancing patch. All of the usual balance tweaks released on a weekly or biweekly schedule will be put on hold to prevent interference with the HoN Tour league and then released all at once between league seasons. The end of HoN Tour's first season is almost upon us, with cycle seven of eight now underway.

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Console MOBA Guardians of Middle-Earth continued its post-launch content schedule with the release of the Goblin Town single-lane map and a new Survival gameplay mode. Survival is a co-op mode that pits a team of players against waves of powerful creatures on a new cave map. Players currently have to pay for access to the game mode or can get it bundled with some characters by purchasing a season pass, while the new Goblin Town map is free to all players.


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Following the recent announcement that Diablo III will be coming to PlayStation 3 and 4, news emerged this week that the console versions will feature offline play. The always-online requirement of the PC version caused a huge stir when the game was originally released, especially as the servers were unstable at launch. Players asserted that the lack of a singleplayer game was a move designed to encourage use of the real money auction house, but Blizzard never gave in to demands for offline play.

PC players are sure to feel bitter at the fact that the console versions will launch with this feature, and that's not the only console-exclusive feature to drool over. A new four-player co-op mode will put all four players on the same screen and simply zoom out when players get too far apart, and the console version will have a unique evasion mechanic. The co-op mode can be played online or locally with four controllers on a single console.

Path of Exile title image
Details of upcoming patch 0.10.2 hit the Path of Exile forum this week, including significant buffs for the Duelist's area of the passive skill tree and a new 3v3 dueling arena. The patch also includes new endgame item mods for level 78 and 79 items and a new Incinerate fire skill that creates flames which grow in size and intensity over time.

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In its latest trailer, upcoming online FPS Firefall showed off its signature jetpack and gliding gameplay. Response to the trailer has been mixed, with a lot of current beta players complaining that the game lacks PvE content and a satisfying endgame. Supporters have argued that the game is still in beta and that content will likely be released more frequently once the development team is finished with the core gameplay.

Massively's Mike Foster tried the game out this week and wrote up his largely positive first impressions, stating that "there are kinks that need working out" but that "the main experience is a slick, attractive sci-fi shooter" with "solid shooting mechanics and rewarding customization and progression systems."


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If you've been wondering when online FPS Hedone will be released, I have a little bit of bad news for you. The game was bought over by Sony Online Entertainment last year, renamed to Bullet Run, and released without much of an announcement. The game performed understandably poorly, leading SOE to pull the plug. Bullet Run and all of its servers will officially shut down in few days on Friday, March 8th, with one massive last event open to the public. If you've never tried Bullet Run, Friday's event will be your last chance to give it a go before it disappears forever.

Star Citizen title image
Have you ever wanted to see what goes into developing a game like Star Citizen? In the latest episode of the Wingman's Hangar series, developers show the guts of the development process and answer questions from fans. We get an inside look at how animation references are filmed, the thought process behind having an economy with item decay, and game development with SCRUM.


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.