Not So Massively: 50,000 play Pokemon together, Heroes of the Storm leak, and PoE's Sacrifice of the Vaal

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A bizarre experiment is currently taking place on Twitch.tv as thousands of gamers have tuned into a stream of Pokemon Red/Blue that puts the viewer in control. Almost five million people have tuned into the stream so far, with hundreds competing to control the game via chat. League of Legends revealed plans for its upcoming Hexakill featured game mode that turns Summoner's Rift into a 6v6 battle. Leaked screenshots of the Heroes of the Storm client surfaced this week, giving previously unknown details on unrevealed characters that will be in the upcoming MOBA. Infinite Crisis expanded its roster of super-heroes with the addition of Star Sapphire, and turn-based MOBA Arena of Heroes has now been released for Android devices.

Blizzard's Wyatt Cheng told fans of Diablo III's Wizard class that he's been experimenting with decreasing the Arcane power on Crit stat to better balance resource generation. Changes will not apply retroactively but will apply to all gear dropped after the Loot 2.0 patch. Path of Exile's Sacrifice of the Vall mini-expansion was revealed in a teaser ahead of the March 5th release date. And Star Citizen sent five more players through to the second round of the Next Great Starship contest; Chris Roberts answered 10 fan questions in another Ten for the Chairman video.
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Pokemon Red and Blue have become surprisingly popular on livestreaming service Twitch.tv lately, but heads were turned this week when it shot up to the number two slot with over 50,000 concurrent viewers at peak times and rising. It turned out that almost all of those views are on a strange new livestreaming experiment that's more competitive and massively multiplayer than most hardcore MMOs. Twitch Plays Pokemon allows viewers to direct the on-screen action by typing the commands "up," "down," "left," "right," "A," "B," and "Start."

Over 50,000 people are currently watching the stream at peak times, and hundreds are competing to control the game by typing commands over each other. There's even a popular subreddit dedicated to the channel in which people discuss the game's progress, post memes, and struggle to control the madness. The experiment has now been running for over four days of utter chaos and has even spawned several similar projects that play Pokemon automatically with a random number generator.

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If you've been playing League of Legends lately, you've no-doubt tried out a few of the new featured game modes. Riot began experimenting with variations on the standard MOBA gameplay some time ago by adding temporary new game modes such as its recent Showdown mode featuring 1v1 and 2v2 battles. The next featured mode coming to the game is the aptly named Hexakill, which scales the standard Summoner's Rift gameplay up to teams of six. The new game mode will be playable only from February 20th to March 2nd, after which time it will disappear.

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If you've been wondering what's happening to upcoming MOBA Blizzard DotA Blizzard All-Stars Heroes of the Storm, WoW Insider has an early preview of what you can expect to see when the game goes live. Four battlegrounds and 10 heroes have been officially revealed so far, with characters drawn from Blizzard's Warcraft, Diablo, and StarCraft franchises. A recently leaked early version of the game client showed additional heroes that haven't been revealed yet, and Blizzard has confirmed that they are genuine.

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Turbine's added another classic DC character to MOBA Infinite Crisis this week with the addition of Star Sapphire, who takes on the mantle of a ranged magic damage-dealer. Using the incorporeal Predator to attack foes, Star Sapphire can deal massive damage at medium range. She can also chain enemies together with Bonds of Love, dealing damage over time and allowing her to pull the targets together. Star Sapphire's ultimate ability is essentially Annie's Tibbers spell from League of Legends, causing the Predator to spawn as a solid creature and rooting nearby enemies.


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Turn-based indie MOBA Arena of Heroes was released on Google play for Android devices this week. The game was already available for iOS, Linux, Mac, and PC, and is currently trying to be greenlit on Steam.

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Wizards in Diablo III may be disappointed to know that Blizzard is considering nerfing the Arcane Power on Crit stat. Wyatt Cheng stated on Reddit that he's been experimenting with reducing the stat as it allows builds in which players can spam costly spells. Abilities like Whirlwind, Meteor and Arcane Orb can be made to generate more arcane power than they cost to cast, allowing free-casting and making signature spells obsolete. Changes to arcane power generation will be introduced in the upcoming Loot 2.0 patch.

Path of Exile title image
Path of Exile's first mini-expansion was revealed this week ahead of its impending March 5th release date. The Sacrifice of the Vaal adds new story content centering around Atziri, the Queen of Sacrifice, who has returned to power through the slaughter of her own followers. This is the first of a planned series of four-monthly updates that will each significantly expand on the game. Details of new skills, items, and areas in the mini-expansion will be released in the coming weeks.

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The third episode of Star Citizen's Next Great Starship contest is now complete, and 15 teams have advanced to the next round. The 16th and final qualifying team will be selected by the community from a list of those that didn't quite make the cut during the first three episodes. The entries range from low-tech machine guns to some impressive-looking futuristic blasters.

The latest Ten for the Chairmen video saw with Cloud Imperium CEO Chris Roberts answer 10 selected questions from fans. Roberts confirmed that Banu space will be dotted with space stations and space ports and that their architecture will be alien. We also learned that developers are trying to integrate player-run courier services with the promised public transportation system and that the long-term development plans include future content updates and graphical upgrades.


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.