Not So Massively: LoL comes to Australia, D3 bans botters, and Star Citizen's 24-hour livestream

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Australian League of Legends players have been celebrating the opening of a new Oceanic server, and developers outlined the path European and North American players can take to get into the competitive scene. The prize pool on Dota 2's world championship tournament has now risen to over $2.4 million US with a month still to go until the event. And indie MOBA Rise of Immortals officially closed its doors and shut down this week.

Mobile MOBA Heroes of Order and Chaos released a new update with a steampunk 5v5 map and two new heroes. SMITE revealed its next big update, which includes new consumable teleport items, Conquest map overhauls, and cosmetic upgrades for several characters. And if you've ever had a hard time picking from Heroes of Newerth's massive roster of characters, a new filter system introduced in the latest patch will let you filter our characters by role or even pick random characters from your favourites.

Star Citizen became the most popular crowdfunded project of all time during its 24-hour livestream event, reaching almost $12 million US. Blizzard released a blog post reminding Diablo III players that it issues bans for botting, exploiting, and using any third-party software to modify how the game plays. And Firefall's Mark Kern sparked an intense debate by stating that he thinks World of Warcraft has "killed a genre."
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Petroglyph's adventure in the MOBA genre that began back in 2011 ended this week with the closure of Rise of Immortals. The game launched in 2011 when there were only a few major players on the scene, but it failed to secure as big an audience as rival games. The developers tried to save their game by revamping it into a more competitive MOBA with features gamers are used to like a lobby system and picking phase. The game was relaunched as Battle For Graxia alongside a new competitive tournament, but uptake just wasn't enough to justify keeping the game running. Petroglyph thanked its remaining fans for sticking by the game throughout the past two years and is now moving onto its next project.

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Up until now, Australian League of Legends players have had to contend with terrible lag when connecting to North American or European servers. Riot Games recently announced a new office was set to open in Sydney with the intention of releasing an Oceanic server to provide a better service to Austraian players. The new server has now opened as a beta, and Riot is temporarily allowing players to transfer their profiles over from the other servers for free.

If you think you've got what it takes to play League of Legends on a competitive level, you might just get your chance to prove it in the 2014 LCS tournament. Your team first has to battle its way up the in-game ranked 5v5 ladder to secure one of the 16 spots in an online qualifier tournament. The top four teams from North America's online qualifiers will be flown to PAX to take part in another live tournament, the winner of which will earn a place in the main LCS tournament next year. The top four teams from Europe's online qualifier will be flown to a similar tournament at Gamescom.

Heroes of Order and Chaos title image
Fans of MMO Order and Chaos Online might be interested in following smartphone and tablet MOBA Heroes of Order and Chaos. The developers recently ran a poll on their forum asking what features and content fans would like to see them work on next, and they released a huge game update based on that feedback. The new patch includes some new matchmaking options to separate new players from veterans, two new heroes, weekly tournaments, and an awesome steampunk-themed map. The update has already been released on iOS and will soon be coming to Android devices.

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Diablo III has seen more than its fair share of exploits and nefarious shenanigans since launch last year, including a recent bug in the auction house that allowed players to duplicate gold and did significant damage to the in-game economy. Anyone caught abusing bugs and exploits gets the banhammer, but most of the bans levied against players are for more obvious infractions like botting.

This week Blizzard reminded players that bans are also handed out for using any third-party software that modifies or transmits the game files, changes how Diablo III interacts with Battle.Net, or provides access to features or abilities beyond what is allowed by the game's design. Using programs that obtain information from the client that isn't normally available to the player, such as a map hack, can also lead to a ban.

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With Dota 2's world championship tournament set to start in just over a month's time, sales of the digital tournament compendium are continuing the drive the prize pool up. Players reached the compendium's fifth goal this week, unlocking an 8-player solo tournament and pushing the prize purse up to a ludicrous $2.4 million US.

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In the latest SMITE reveal, developer Hi-Rez Studios discussed upcoming changes to the Conquest map, character updates, and jungle improvements. The Conquest map has been shrunk slightly to keep the action compact, and several characters have been upgraded with new alternate skins and voice packs. Fog of war has now been added to the jungle, and jungling lanes have been expanded to improve line-of-sight to characters. New items like teleport consumables will also shake up the tactical metagame significantly.

Heroes of Newerth title image
Heroes of Newerth added a new hero filter feature to the picking screen this week that helps newer players select a hero based on particular roles. Players can now select roles like carry or jungler, and the game will limit the pool of available heroes to those specific types of character. You can also select the favourites option to show only heroes that you've favourited or hit the filtered random button to pick a random hero from the currently filtered pool.

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Red 5 Studios CEO and Firefall head Mark Kern sparked some intense debate this week with a column disparaging World of Warcraft and its effect on the genre. Kern was a former developer on WoW and remarked that he thinks the game's streamlined and simpler gameplay may be responsible for "the creeping casualness" that he believes now defines the genre. "Sometimes I look at WoW and think 'what have we done?'," remarked Kern, adding, "I think we killed a genre."

Mark's thoughts are expressed in the context of his work with Firefall, a game that he hopes will reinvent the genre by bringing back deep exploration in an open world. Firefall will officially enter open beta next week on July 9th, kicking things off with its very first story mission, Blackwater Anomaly.

Star Citizen title image
Star Citizen held its awesome 24-hour livestream this week in an effort to raise more funds for the project. The developers had already raised around $9 million US but smashed that total to become the most successfully crowdfunded project of all time with a new total of almost $12 million. Over 200,000 PC gamers have contributed to the campaign, donating an average of around $60 each.

​This week also saw the launch of the new Star Citizen website, complete with a series of new roundtable videos on game design, engineering, and the art of Star Citizen. If you missed the livestream, head over to the latest Stick and Rudder column for our own Jef Reahard's excellent roundup of the event.

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This article was originally published on Massively.