Not So Massively: Jumping on the MOBA bandwagon

Not So Massively title image
It seems as if everyone is jumping on the MOBA bandwagon lately and trying to cut a slice of the action for himself. Creative Assembly announced that the next game in the Total War series will be a MOBA with RTS elements named Total War: Arena. MMO developer Turbine has also thrown its hat in the ring, teaming up with Warner Bros. and DC comics to develop a MOBA based on the Infinite Crisis DC storyline.

League of Legends continued its plans to revamp old characters with overhauls to Sejuani and Trundle. Developers also revealed upcoming Ice Witch champion Lissandra, a crowd-controlling mage who can cast some of her spells mana-free. Guardians of Middle-Earth finally released Frodo Baggins as a DLC character, and Heroes of Newerth announced that the $60,000 grand final of HonTour Season One will take place later this month in Las Vegas.

In a new Diablo III developer journal, Blizzard discussed its efforts to get players into multiplayer and public games, including some gameplay improvements and a new matchmaking tag system. Path of Exile's Patch 0.10.5 went live today, adding three powerful new support gems, four new unique items, and several balance changes and bug-fixes. And Torchlight II gave modders a huge gift this week by releasing its in-house development tools to the public and officially adding Steam Workshop support to the game.

Total War: Arena title image
If you're a fan of the Total War games, it may surprise you to find out that the next game in the series will be jumping on the MOBA bandwagon. Total War: Arena will use a free-to-play business model and focus entirely on online multiplayer, mixing elements of real time strategy and classic MOBA gameplay. No screenshots or videos of the game in action have yet been released, and the response from fans has been mixed.

Infinite Crisis title image
With several successful MMOs under its belt, Turbine recently decided to enter the emerging MOBA genre. The studio has paired up with Warner Bros. and DC comics to produce Infinite Crisis, a MOBA set in the 2005-released DC comic storyline of the same name. The story sees characters from alternate worlds across the DC multiverse thrown together, providing a huge pool of characters from which to create champions. Turbine has so far shown Nightmare Batman and Wonder Woman in action, with gameplay that looks similar to League of Legends' Dominion mode.

League of Legends title image
Not content with overhauling old champion Karma, Riot Games has revealed plans to revamp two more champions. Sejuani and Trundle are both now undergoing graphical redesigns and ability reworks to bring them up to the standard set by more recently released champions. Both champions have also received updated backstories, and anyone who has already unlocked either champion will get a free cosmetic skin of the pre-revamp graphics.

The ice-themed character overhauls were made as part of the design process behind new champion Lissandra, the Ice Witch. Lissandra will be a ranged mage with an emphasis on mana efficiency, crowd control, and mobility rather than just pure damage. Her passive ability promotes slow, sustained damage-dealing by making her abilities cost zero mana if she waits a few seconds in between casts. Hitting multiple enemies with movement slowing attacks reduces the cooldown on this passive and makes her next free ability come sooner, which should lead to some interesting tactical gameplay.

Heroes of Newerth title image
Heroes of Newerth's HoNTour grand final is fast approaching, with a $60,000 jackpot up for grabs in a live event in Las Vegas on April 17th. The event will be streamed live with commentary from the HoNCast crew. Finalist teams stayGreen, Trademark eSports, and compLexityGaming all secured their places in the grand final by rising to the top of the tournament ladder and are joined by playoff winner Lions eSportsKlubb.

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If playing as Bilbo Baggins on a map skinned to look like the Shire isn't enough for you, Guardians of Middle-Earth's latest purchasable DLC introduced Frodo Baggins as a playable character. Frodo carries the One Ring and can use it at any time to make himself invisible at the cost of health. He can also periodically use the Light of Eärendil to blind and stun nearby enemies, and he can use the Mithril Mail ability to gain resistance and a damage shield. Frodo deals most of his damage through basic attacks and can also use Sting to damage and slow enemies.

Diablo III title image
Following up on his recent developer journal on upcoming itemisation changes in Diablo III, Blizzard's Wyatt Cheng discussed plans to buff multiplayer gameplay. Most players currently prefer to play solo, and the public game matchmaking system has seen limited use. Patch 1.0.8 aims to make multiplayer a more attractive proposition and make it easier to get into public games with people you'll actually want to play with.

Matchmaking tags will allow people who open their games to the public to specify whether they're questing, clearing a full act, doing PvP, or farming key wardens. Players joining games can then select only the game type they're interested in, hopefully matching them up with people who have similar goals. Players have requested that additional tags like Item Hunting be added to the list, but Wyatt responded that most players in public games farm through full act clears.

The patch will also bring in a number of quality-of-life changes for multiplayer, including extending a Wizard's Archon mode when his teammates get a kill nearby and automating alerts when one of your group finds an elite. Monsters will only gain 50% extra health for each additional player entering the game instead of the current 70%, and developers plan to add inherent bonuses based on the number of players in the game. It's still not decided whether that will be a simple XP boost or will also include Gold Find and Magic Find bonuses.

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Path of Exile's patch 0.10.5 went live today, adding three powerful new support gems and a four new unique items. The Melee Splash support gem causes any linked melee ability to deal a portion of its damage as an area effect, and Multistrike makes any attack hit three times in quick succession. The intelligence-based Power Charge on Critical support gem grants a percentage chance for critical hits with linked spells to grant the caster a power charge. Developers worried that these abilities may have been overpowered but have now balanced them for release. All three are available as quest rewards, so you don't have to run out and farm to find them.

Torchlight II title image
Runic Games has been relatively quiet on Torchlight II since the game's release, but the studio certainly hasn't been slacking off. Not only is the game due to be released in Asia, but this week Runic released its in-house development tools to the community. The GUTS editor lets players mod anything they want in the game, from skill balance and item stats to level designs and quests.

Players can share their modifications online and even run custom modded multiplayer games. For those who don't fancy themselves modders but still want to tweak their games, Torchlight II mods are now officially supported on the Steam Workshop. Runic also revealed plans for an upcoming free content update that introduces Nether Realm dungeons, complete with new endgame maps, pets, monsters, and items.

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This article was originally published on Massively.