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Not So Massively: Serious internet business


Welcome to Not So Massively, our weekly roundup of the top news from popular multiplayer online battle arenas (MOBAs) and other multiplayer online games that aren't quite MMOs. Published every Saturday, the column covers games such as League of Legends, Heroes of Newerth, Defense of the Ancients, Bloodline Champions, and more.

With the undeniable popularity of MMOs and microtransaction-based payment models becoming a widely accepted industry standard, the online space has seen a virtual revolution in multiplayer games. The past few years have seen the release of countless MOBAs and other multiplayer games that aren't quite MMOs. Some focus on primarily co-operative gameplay, while others cater to more traditional competitive multiplayer roots. Many feature persistent characters who level up, items carried forward between games, or stat-tracking systems to record performance. Developers have been blurring the line between MMOs and traditional online games, and we're here to explore the difference.

Last week, we discussed HoN's new hero Silhouette, LoL's 24th summoner showcase and cutesy Cottontail Teemo skin, Bloodline Champions' Easter updates, Darkspore's new hero Skar and Hi-Rez Studios' new MOBA, Smite. In this week's edition of Not So Massively, we look at Bloodline Champions' $5,000 U.S. tournament, Darkspore's final release, LoL's new champion Rumble, and updates to Defense of the Ancients. We also take a first look at Metal Assault, a new online game by Aeria Games.

There's only one important piece of news this week for fans of Bloodline Champions, but holy cow it's big news. Gaming competition website Beyond Gaming will be sponsoring a massive open tournament with $5,000 in cash, equipment and Bloodcoins to be won. Teams of three may begin registering for one of four qualifier tournaments now in a bid for a spot in the grand final.

If there's one thing the League of Legends developers absolutely do right, it's pumping out interesting news every week and engaging the community. There's always an abundance of new information, and regular features like the summoner showcase and patch previews make for great viewing. This week's summoner showcase highlights the work of several awesome fan-artists from the community and one player armed with a piano. Also released this week was a patch preview video discussing not only the balance changes in an upcoming patch but also the reasons those changes are being made. MMO or MOBA players who are typically used to far less communication from developers will find the patch spotlights to be a refreshing change.

Last week, we got an early first look at upcoming champion Rumble, the Mechanized Menace. This furry little engineer sits at the controls of a mechanical monster, complete with flamethrowers, rockets and a massive hydraulic fist. This week, Riot Games has released Rumble's full champion spotlight video, showing off his attacks, unique character attributes and common strategies that will work well with him. Each of Rumble's abilities generates heat, which gives him further bonuses at certain thresholds. All of Rumble's abilities are increased in potency while he's above 50% heat, and once he reaches 100%, he gains a big increase to melee damage. Watch the champion spotlight for more details, embedded below in HD.

It's been a while coming, but Darkspore is now officially released worldwide. The North American release took place on April 26th, and the European/Worldwide release occurred yesterday. To celebrate the release, the team at Maxis has produced an official release trailer. The video shows off some of Darkspore's gameplay and brings together a few quotes from popular gaming websites whose writers were flown over to the studio to playtest the game early. The official release trailer has been embedded below in HD.

After all these years, it's reassuring to see that DotA is still under continual development and is still being played heavily. Patch 6.72 went live this week, bringing with it a huge list of balance changes, cosmetic updates, gameplay changes and bug fixes. If you're a fan of DotA, you can view the full list of changes in the official changelog and discuss the changes in the official forums.

I wasn't sure whether to cover Metal Assault in Not So Massively, but the more I read about it, the closer to an MMO it looks. Players level up characters, gaining experience by completing missions and quests or competing in PvP. Sound familiar? Metal Assault is a free-to-play 2D mouse shooter with a multiplayer twist. The gameplay is mostly co-op based, with players able to group up and tackle tough group missions or engage in the all-out mayhem of player-vs.-zombie mode. The game also features a free-for-all PvP deathmatch mode and a PvP capture point mode. If you're interested in finding out more, watch the game's trailer below, embedded in HD.

Join us every Saturday 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

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