Not So Massively: Dota 2 launch, HoN's chaos mode, and D3's expansion

Not So Massively: Dota 2 launch, HoN's chaos mode, D3 expansion not until 2014, and awesome space ships
After almost two years of not-so-closed-beta, Dota 2 has begun the complex process of upgrading its server capacity and slowly transitioning into launch. Heroes of Newerth's developers have been toying with a hilarious new game mode recently in which heroes spawn with a completely random set of abilities. SMITE introduced its newest character, Hun Batz, the howler monkey god, and turn-based MOBA Arena of Heroes officially entered open beta.

Star Citizen teased fans with a video advertisement for its Origin Jumpworks 300 spaceship series; free versions of the ship will be available for in-game credits, while purchaseable versions with lifetime insurance are on currently on sale for cash. Elite: Dangerous showed off concept designs for its holographic cockpit UI and demonstrated the scale of its ships in a terribly british way by putting them next to a scale model of Big Ben.

Fans of Diablo III who have been waiting for its inevitable first expansion heard this week that it probably won't be coming out until 2014. Blizzard clarified that this isn't a delay as the expansion hasn't even been announced yet. And Path of Exile plans to bring back its controversial Diamond Flasks in the next patch, which also brings an interesting new Descent event series.

Top Stories title image
SMITE unveils Hun Batz, the new monkey god
The most recent SMITE patch did not add a new god so much as it monkeyed around with an existing one. Sun Wukong has been removed from the game for the time being and replaced with the Mayan monkey god Hun Batz.
Turn-based MOBA Arena of Heroes enters open beta
If your primary complaint about MOBAs is that they move too quickly, Arena of Heroes might be something that lands a bit more in your comfort zone.
Hands-on with Arena of Heroes' turn-based gameplay
During the last week, I've witnessed two excellent unions: My good friend married his college sweetheart, and a MOBA reached out to the ranks of turn-based gaming.
I went to a Dota 2 tournament and not one person called me a noob
There are many things you could say about people who play MOBAs. Most of those things would be negative. Games in the MOBA bracket, most notably League of Legends and Dota 2, have a reputation for being unkind to new players, both in terms of the mechanical skill required to play and the vitriolic communities that tear apart new players for not being instantly granted that skill upon downloading the game.
Path of Exile introduces Descent Events
Path of Exile, despite not actually being out yet, has a reputation for holding special events that challenge its most loyal and hardcore players and offer them a slight break from the normal day-to-day of killing monsters in dungeons.
Cloud Imperium reveals Star Citizen's 300i
You know what the best part of buying the new Origin Jumpworks 300i is? That new spaceship smell! Cloud Imperium games has taken the wraps off its latest Star Citizen spacecraft, and the beast is given the A-list treatment courtesy of a new in-character brochure and an in-engine video.

Dota 2 title image
Dota 2 has officially been in closed beta for almost two years now but has been accepting microtransactions the entire time and has consistently been the most popular game on Steam by a huge margin. So many beta invites have been given out that practically everyone who wants to play the game already can; in the MMO business, we call that a launched game. Valve tackled the elephant in the room this week with an article on how the studio plans to transition the game into launch.

News sites have been reporting that Dota 2 is now officially in open beta and no longer requires an invite, but this isn't quite true. New players are currently able to play only through the tutorial, after which time their game reverts back to a spectator client. Valve will be activating new players' accounts in batches to ensure that the game servers can keep up with the demand. New servers will be added over time.

Heroes of Newerth title image
Heroes of Newerth is one of the oldest MOBAs on the market, and developer S2 Games isn't afraid to experiment with new gameplay modes. Following the success of the casual All Mid mode, this week developers announced that a chaotic new game mode is on the way. The as-yet-unnamed mode asks each player to select her three favourite heroes and then puts the 30 results from all players into a pool. Each player is then given a completely random set of abilities from heroes in the pool, creating bizarre hybrids between all of the chosen heroes.

If that doesn't sound hilarious enough already, your set of abilities changes every time you die. You could spawn with ridiculous combinations like Legionnaire's charge and Pyromancer's ultimate or Polywog's lick attack and Ophelia's charm spell. The new game mode has been in internal testing for some time and is similar to the community-designed custom map Cursed Quarry that also spawns players with completely random skill sets. Developers claim that the mode was already under development before Cursed Quarry was released several months ago.

Star Citizen title image
Star Citizen teased fans this week with the reveal of its brand new Origin Jumpworks 300i spacecraft. Revealed with a slick advertisement from in-game corporation Origin Jumpworks, the ship is part of a new series of craft that includes dogfighters, exploration vessels, and racers. All of the ships in this series will be available for in-game credits, but players can pay cash now for versions with lifetime insurance and pre-fit equipment.

Elite: Dangerous title image
If you've been following the development of sci-fi sandbox game Elite: Dangerous, you've no-doubt seen the remastered Asp and Anaconda ships. In the latest developer newsletter, developers showed the two ships next to a scale model of English landmark Big Ben and the two largest ships in the game: the Panther Clipper and Puma Clipper. This update also gave us a first look at the 3-D cockpit inside fighter ships and a mock-up of the kind of UI we'll be dealing with when the game releases.

Diablo III title image
If you've been looking forward to Diablo III's first expansion, you might be in for a bit of a wait. Venturebeat recently quoted a source that suggested Diablo III's upcoming expansion has been delayed and won't arrive until 2014. A Blizzard representative later clarified that the expansion had never officially been announced, and so there was no actual release date. Some fans expected the expansion this year due to a previously leaked Blizzard development schedule, but so far several games have overshot that schedule.

Path of Exile title image
If you played Path of Exile during closed beta, you'll remember how important Diamond Flasks were. The flask used to grant 100% critical strike chance for a few seconds, which paired well with so many other abilities that the flask was seen as mandatory for almost every build. The item was removed when the game hit open beta so that it could be rebalanced, and now it will be making its triumphant return in the next patch. Rather than give a few seconds of guaranteed critical hits, the flask now causes critical strike chance to roll twice per hit and pick the best value.

The next patch also introduces a new series of Descent events scheduled to last around one hour. Each event has a unique set of overpowered items and monsters, and players must tackle them solo. The idea behind Descent events is to give players unique standalone experiences that require creative character builds to tackle. Items from these events cannot be carried into the normal game, so the events exist outside the normal game economy.

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This article was originally published on Massively.