Not So Massively: Star Citizen hits $14 million, Valve partners with Twitch, and Path of Exile goes back in time

Game title image
Star Citizen smashed its $14 million US funding target this week, unlocking a new frigate ship type and a hibernation save feature for deep-space explorers. Developers also revealed details of the game's complex economy simulation and how it spawns missions for players and NPCs to tackle. The latest Elite: Dangerous newsletter delved into the details of how the game will generate a full galaxy of 400 billion stars and showed a gorgeous prototype UI mockup for the solar system view.

Valve announced a new partnership with Twitch that will allow Dota 2 players to win prizes for watching tournament livestreams rather than be forced to use the spectator client. Heroes of Newerth revealed details of its $360,000 US HonTour league, which opens for signups on Friday and may provide prizes for even mid-tier players.

Path of Exile took a trip back in time this week, showing screenshots and a video of what the game looked like five years ago and how far it's come. New information confirmed that the console version of Diablo III was in development before the PC version launched and that gear on consoles will be tailored to the characters in the game. And Firefall announced plans to celebrate the start of open beta with a two-day livestream event set to begin tomorrow.

Star Citizen title image
Star Citizen gave fans one last chance to purchase the Aurora LX, ORIGIN 350r, M50, Starfarer, Caterpillar, and Gladiator ships with lifetime insurance this week before retiring the option forever. The massive last-minute surge of pledges pushed the game's crowdfunding total up to an incredible $14 million US. Developers tempted existing players to increase their pledges with a series of miniature stretch goals that were set to hit at intervals of $100,000 and some big features at the $13 million and $14 million mark.

Reaching the $13 million mark unlocked the new frigate ship class and a command and control deck on large ships, while $14 million secured a professional behind-the-scenes documentary on Star Citizen and a new Hibernation Mode mechanic. Designed for deep-space explorers, hibernation will power down your ship and save your progress, allowing you to exit the game safely and pick it back up later. When the campaign inevitably hits the $15 million mark, players will get a new Escort Carrier ship class and a 42-page manual on customising and overclocking ships.

In a new video devblog on the Star Citizen economy, Chris Roberts revealed that transport and kill missions will be assigned by a complex underlying economy system and that prices of goods will be tied to the success or failure of those missions. Given the extent of market manipulation in games like EVE Online, you have to wonder how long it will be until players figure out how to manipulate the economy on the promised persistent game shard.


Elite: Dangerous title image
Elite: Dangerous released its eighth newsletter this week, delving into the fascinating world of galaxy generation. The original Elite and its sequel Frontier both managed to fit entire galaxies of solar systems into just a few kilobytes of information, and it was all thanks to the magic of procedural generation. Rather than storing the star data itself, the game simply stored a random seed number and used a complex algorithm to generate parts of the galaxy as and when they were needed.

As long as the same seed number was used, the algorithm would always return the exact same results, providing a galaxy that was effectively persistent. Stars near our own solar system were manually created, but much of the galaxy was essentially random. Elite: Dangerous uses the same basic principle, but the algorithm used to generate the galaxy is much more complex. It starts with a galaxy roughly filled with gas and then collapses that gas into stars and generates realistic planets. The result is a plausible-looking galaxy of around 400 billion stars that can be generated sector-by-sector as needed.

Dota 2 title image
Dota 2 continued its long march toward release with an expanded tutorial for first-time players and a new Limited Hero mode that features a pre-selected set of only 20 heroes. Valve also announced an interesting new partnership with Twitch this week that will let Dota 2 players earn item drops by watching tournament games on Twitch and not just in the game client. You still need to buy a virtual ticket for the event in question, but you are no longer tied to using the spectator client. To avail of the new service, log into your Twitch account and link your Steam account to it.

Heroes of Newerth title image
It may not have million-dollar grand prize tournaments, but Heroes of Newerth still has a thriving competitive scene. The end of July will mark the beginning of the second season of the HoNTour league, a multi-cycle competitive series that promotes staying power and skill over a few lucky tournament wins. To reach the very top of the league and have a chance to take home a slice of $150,000, teams must consistently stay at the top of their game for eight cycles.

HoNTour has proven itself to be one of the most inclusive competitive MOBA leagues out there, with players of all skill levels able to participate. The league is split into a series of divisions, with prizes for the top teams in each division given out every cycle. Teams at the top of their division are then promoted to a higher one and must face-off against tougher opponents in the next cycle. The signups for HoNTour season two open on Friday 12th; the first qualifiers start on July 27th.


Path of Exile title image
If you've ever wondered what Path of Exile looked like in its earlier incarnations, check out the series of old screenshots developers released this week or the video below. Independent studio Grinding Gear Games started developing Path of Exile around seven years ago, and the progress made in that time is absolutely staggering. Oh, and the latest patch just added adorable ferret pets.


Diablo III title image
Diablo III fansite Diablofans recently attended an exclusive event with other fansites in which some new information on the console version of the game was revealed. We now know that development on the console version actually started before the PC version had launched and that huge parts of the code had to be ripped out and replaced just to get it to run on a console. The console version has been developed separately ever since, but the team has focused on implementing many of the patches that have hit PC into the console release.

Further details were revealed on the loot and itemisation changes console gamers can expect when the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions are published in September this year. Worthless white and blue items are a rare sight on the console game, and vendors are more likely to sell rare gear. A new smart-loot system makes class-specific items drop more frequently for the class being played, and the stats on crafted items are now tailored to the class of the player crafting them. Hopefully this means wizards won't be crafting wands with strength and no intelligence in the console release.

Firefall title image
Firefall will be celebrating the recent start of open beta with a new event named Firefall Fest scheduled to begin tomorrow. Tune into the Firefall livestream tomorrow or on Wednesday for a chance to win some Razer gear and unreleased in-game items.



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.