Following last week's deluge of news, this week's Not So Massively offerings are a little more muted as most of the current MOBAs prepare for competitive tournaments at Dreamhack 2011 in Sweden. Competitive online gaming as a profession is an old idea, but it's one that has seen growing support in the West over the past few years. Dreamhack is the world's largest LAN party and possibly the biggest event in the competitive gaming calendar, with dozens of companies sponsoring tournaments with massive cash prizes. We also get a look at Aida Arenas' Arena Hustle gameplay mode and new online World War II RTS Operation Gamma 41.
This week, League of Legends was added to a long list of games, websites and online services that have come under attack. A distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack was launched against the game's login servers several days ago as part of an attack that also included the EVE Online and Minecraft login servers. The LoL game servers and the website went offline as a result of the attack. With the massive LoL Dreamhack tournament getting started, players have expressed concerns that the event could become the target for a similar huge attack. With its massive 40 gigabit internet connection and a team of networking specialists on-board, however, Dreamhack may prove much too big a target.
Patch 184.108.40.206 hits Bloodline Champions this week, bringing mainly bug fixes and minor updates. With Dreamhack coming up, Stunlock Studios has to be careful about rebalancing bloodlines and items just before the big tournament. The patch contains several bugfixes for the new replay system that went live last week and has been experiencing problems. In addition to the bugs that were fixed, it became known that replays were unfortunately not designed with forward compatibility in mind. Replays recorded on an old version of the client will not be watchable on the current version, forcing players to use a workaround involving an old copy of the game executable.
We haven't heard much about Heroes of Newerth lately, probably because its developers have been struggling to keep the servers online. The HoN servers have been the target of a DDOS attack for several weeks now, causing disconnections, lag, and periods of server downtime. HoN is also gearing up for its own competitive tournament at Dreamhack 2011, with a top prize of $8500 to be won. Popular community website and supporter of HoN eSports Honcast has already started coverage of the Dreamhack tournament with a rundown of the teams in the competition.
Appearing without much of a fanfaire, the newest HoN hero to hit the game was released this Friday. Parasite is a dedicated jungler with abilities based around stealing benefits from opponents. His first move, Leech, is a moderate nuke that steals movement speed from the target. His second ability, Infest, allows him to leave his body and take over any non-elite creep. While inside the creep's body, he gains bonus attack speed, damage and movement speed. The infested creep slowly takes damage over time, and Parasite can choose to kill it at any time to re-emerge and heal himself.
Parasite's third ability is Draining Venom, a debuff that applies automatically to anyone who attacks him. The debuff reduces all damage that enemy deals to Parasite and increases Parasite's damage on the aflicted enemy. This damage increase also applies to items like codex and thunderclaw procs. Parasite's ultimate ability is the cutely named Facehug, which swaps all buffs and debuffs with the target enemy. This includes dots, heals and even rune effects. To see how the new hero functions, check out the new Hero spotlight video, embedded below in HD:
On the run-up to the Aida Arenas closed beta, Gamerkraft has been showcasing the various gameplay modes this cute online brawler will have at launch. Saving the best for last, the team this week revealed Arena Hustle mode, a co-operative battle against the clock on a moving stage. Map features like giant rolling rocks, crumbling bridges, and moving platforms force players to keep up, and a horde of enemies aims to slow you down. Check out the video below to see how the this gameplay mode works.
The popularity of World War II's gritty setting in games has diminished very little over the years. It's quite possible that more time has now been spent playing online World War II games than actually passed during the war itself. While most games set in the period have been first-person shooters, upcoming online game Operation Gamma 41 will be an RTS. Set in 1941, the game will feature both competitive and co-operative gameplay.
Players will side with either the Axis or the Allies, building their own cities and forming alliances with other players. A third unknown faction in the game will brutally engage players, making it a good idea to form alliances with other players. With mentions of arena duels and a single-player mode, however, it's too early to tell how this game will actually play. If you're a fan of World War II games and RTS gameplay, keep an eye out for more news on this upcoming title.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.