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Not So Massively: Character reveals, e-sports tournaments, and legal battles


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, Rise of Immortals, Bloodline Champions, and more.

Last week we saw the end of Dreamhack with some huge prizes being handed out to the winners of competitive MOBA tournaments. We got to see what high-end competitive gameplay looks like in League of Legends, Heroes of Newerth and Bloodline Champions thanks to the recorded Dreamhack matches with live commentary. We also got a look at League of Legends' new champion Yorick the gravedigger in a new champion spotlight, and we checked out Realm of the Titans' new hero HaZ'zard. We then introduced a recent dev interview with Rise of Immortals' lead designer Amanda Flock.

In this week's Not So Massively, we examine the recent legal battle between FireFall developer Red 5 and its publisher Webzen. Competitive tournament play is also still buzzing this week, with both Heroes of Newerth and Bloodline Champions looking into new sponsored tournament deals for players. League of Legends players look forward to upcoming female tank champion Leona, while Heroes of Newerth shows off its upcoming ranged anti-juking hero Emerald Warden. As it nears open beta, Rise of Immortals also revealed Balak this week, a ranged agility hero with an extremely fast attack animation.

Following last week's Champion Spotlight on Yorick the gravedigger, Riot Games is gearing up to release the second hero from its E3 reveal. Leona is a female tank designed to cause havoc in a teamfight with a short-duration, low-cooldown interrupt. Riot took the opportunity to explain its vision for tank roles as a teamfight initiator who can peel attacks off vulnerable targets and pose significant threat as a teamfight continues. After Yorick's poor reception by players, hopefully Leona will live up to expectations.

In this week's Summoner Showcase, the ever-enthusiastic Nikasaur shows off some League of Legends street chalk art, crochet Teemo hats, a chipmod version of the LoL character select tune and more. Finally, to celebrate reaching a goal of 260,000 YouTube subscribers, Riot has released its second Season One blooper reel video. Even as someone who doesn't play League of Legends, I still found it pretty funny, and I wish more developers would make fun of themselves like this.

This week the crew of Thermaltake's Tt eSports Challenge announced the launch of a new competitive tournament for Heroes of Newerth. The tournament will be open for players of all skill levels and has a total prize fund of $1,500 US, putting it on the same level as the company's existing $1,500 League of Legends tournament and $3,000 StarCraft II Open. Teams of five can sign up to enter the tournament absolutely free, and interested players will be able to follow the matches with live coverage from popular fansite HoNcast. To encourage players to tune into the tournaments, Thermaltake will be giving away one of its products to one lucky viewer with every match. Tournament registration is open until July 8th.

This week we got a first look at Emerald Warden, a new ranged agility hero with some impressive anti-juking mechanics. In addition to featuring some awesome music and camera work, Emerald Warden's hero spotlight video gives details of his abilities and shows the hero in action. His first skill, Silencing Shot, is a low-damage ranged attack with a short silence. The range of this ability is slightly higher than Emerald Warden's autoattack range, but the skill is likely to be used mainly for interrupting channeled spells or preventing escape abilities. One level in Silencing Shot should be enough for any build.

Warden's second skill, Hunter's Command, spawns a spirit wolf that immediately heads toward the nearest enemy hero, ignoring line of sight and fog of war. The tiny nuke the wolves deal when they hit isn't a big deal, but they also apply a slow and the anti-juking potential of knowing exactly which direction the enemy went is massive. Warden's third ability Overgrowth creates an invisible trap that triggers when enemy units walk on top of it. The sprung trap holds enemy heroes in place for up to four seconds and deals significant damage over time but can be killed in two hits to release its targets early.

Emerald Warden's ultimate summons Galwaith, a powerful flying minion that follows Warden and has its own set of activatable abilities. Galwaith isn't controllable and will activate his abilities automatically if they are off cooldown and there's a valid target in range. Galwaith's most important attribute is the clearvision he grants in a small radius, letting you see over trees and hopefully catch even the best juker. He will also periodically attack any enemy hero in range for a small amount of damage, and he gains additional abilities at higher levels. For the full details and to see how Emerald Warden plays in a game, check out the official Hero Spotlight, Embedded below in HD:

In its summer developer update for Bloodline Champions, Stunlock Studios explained plans for new features and improvements that will be made over the coming months. A long-awaited party mode for matchmaking games will be coming in to let players join the system with friends. If the queue times in other games with this feature are any indicator, it may take much longer to get into a game with friends than on your own. To help with this, Stunlock is looking at merging the European and U.S. matchmaking queues by default and allowing players to deselect one or the other based on personal preference. The developers may also be taking the bold move of removing the server list altogether and putting all players directly into the matchmaking system.

Tackling the learning curve for players who aren't used to DotA-based MOBAs is always tricky, so it's no surprise that Stunlock is planning to make a tutorial mode for Bloodline Champions. There may also be a big push for the game's community to submit guides and videos to be included in the tutorial. Carrying on from the e-sports excitement at Dreamhack, developers plan to push for more sponsored competitive tournaments this summer. As expected, with Dreamhack over, it's also time for all those balance changes that had to be held off in the name of eSports.

With the Rise of Immortals open beta just around the corner on July 5th, Petroglyph has released details on another new immortal that will be in the game at release. Balak is a long-range damage dealer with an extremely fast attack animation. Concept art, skill details and background information on Balak can be found on a new Immortals section on the RoI website, along with information on every immortal revealed to date. Stay tuned to Not So Massively next week, in which we'll deliver our impressions from hands-on playtests in the current beta.

Gamasutra reported this week that upcoming co-operative team-based shooter FireFall's developer Red 5 is suing the game's contracted publisher Webzen. Red 5 claims that Webzen has failed to meet its contractual obligation to market the game and has filed for arbitration in California to seek both termination of the publishing contract and recovery of 5 million unspent US dollars. Speaking to, Webzen responded that the company "has patiently waited for the completion of the game for five years despite numerous delays in development," adding that it has already sunk a $25 million US investment into the game as publisher.

For those interested in the development of FireFall, Red 5 releases a monthly video update on how the game is progressing. Check out June's update below for shots of the game in action and details on the game's storyline and the involvement of a professional sci-fi writer.

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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