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Not So Massively: April fool's edition


It's that time of year again when we all forget to check our calendars and get suckered into believing outrageous April Fool's gags. This week's Not So Massively is a blend of yesterday's joke posts and the week's real news from games that aren't quite MMOs. League of Legends announced a joke 3-D mode, released the winners of the I Heart LoL contest, and delved into the game's North American playerbase as part of the ongoing world tour. Dota 2 added classic hero Lone Druid this week, and Firefall revealed its plans to scale up the beta soon.

Heroes of Newerth launched a new art contest and released its new mobile ganker Blitz, while Bloodline Champions laid on the April Fool's mischief with its Catch the Ranid game mode announcement and plans for a tournament with cheeseburgers for prizes. Rise of Immortals joined in the festivities with the announcement of its new immortal Karapyss the Crabomancer.

Blacklight: Retribution explained its datanode system and released a new troll face taunt, and Diablo III teased players with its joke Zergotchi authenticator. Diablo fansite Diablofans revealed changes to the upcoming game's Inferno mode and wrote a great April Fool's joke about releasing on the Wii. Path of Exile took a step closer to launch with a public stress test this weekend, and Torchlight II revealed the game's pets and announced that the latest build of the game will be playable at PAX East.

League of Legends title image
Riot Games pulled off a great April Fool's prank with the announcement of a new 3-D mode for League of Legends using state-of-the-art red-and-blue-tinted glasses. The winners of the I Heart LoL contest have been announced, and a full gallery of the winning entries is now available. There are some spectacular entries, including a couple who got married with the League of Legends logo projected onto the wall, a player who dressed up as Amumu, and one fan who had the game's logo sprayed on the side of his car.

The League of Legends world tour finally visited North America this week, putting a spotlight on the game's first and oldest player community. As one of the first western games to successfully implement a free-to-play model, League of Legends has been a big driver of the trend toward free-to-play games now seen in MMOs. North America hosts many of the world's biggest LoL tournaments and is the birthplace of famous teams such as Team Solo Mid, Counter Logic Gaming, Curse Gaming, Epik, and Dignitas. As the e-sports industry is still emerging in this region, many of the teams manage themselves and have even found their own sponsorship.

Dota 2 title image
Junglers everywhere rejoiced this week as classic hero Lone Druid joined the Dota 2 beta roster. Lone Druid summons a bear companion to tank creeps for him, and his ultimate literally turns him into a bear.

Firefall title image
Firefall developer Red 5 Studios values transparency extremely highly, and in that spirit the studio released a publicly visible open letter to all beta testers this week rather than individually mailing all players with beta access. The letter spells out the plan for expanding the beta, which starts with the servers being switched on today and left running continuously. Very few games have servers that can run 24/7 without some kind of downtime or database cleanup, so the team is prepared to tackle any technical problems that appear during the stress test.

The biggest news is that the game's NDA will be officially lifted on April 6th, when the game is made playable live on the PAX floor. Once it lifts, we're sure to see impressions and reviews from players currently involved in the beta.

Blacklight: Retribution title image
Blacklight: Retribution's datanode system has been something of an enigma to many players, so this week Zombie Studios released a tutorial all about them. Datanodes are items that provide small bonuses to your stats for a number of days. You win a random datanode after each match and can fuse them together for a chance to get a more powerful version. Zombie has decided to sell datanodes directly in the cash shop; players can spend cash to use a special datanode fusion service with a higher chance of success. The team also released a new holographic troll face taunt you can show off at the end of a match you win -- it's sure to irritate the hell out of your enemies.

Diablo III title image
Blizzard has always been good at April Fool's jokes, and this year is no exception. Players were teased with the promise of a virtual pet Zergotchi authenticator, but in response many players said they would actually buy one if it were released. Diablofans one-upped Blizzard by announcing the shocking news that Diablo III will be coming to the Nintendo Wii, complete with hilarious motion-activated attacks and exclusive fitness-based achievements.

This week we learned that Inferno mode will have monster difficulty scaling up as you progress through the game's acts. Inferno was originally going to feature all monsters scaled to the same level so that farming in an earlier act wouldn't be made obsolete by farming the endgame areas. Casual players are not expected to be able to complete Inferno mode, and players are expected to farm the highest difficulty area they're capable of. A Diablo II-style system of adding some pretty good items to earlier bosses will be used to encourage players to farm easier areas.

Heroes of Newerth title image
Heroes of Newerth began preparations for its upcoming second anniversary with a new art contest. Players can submit one entry in each of the five categories: Video, Art, Short Fiction, Music, and Cosplay. These types of contest are very popular in League of Legends, which has a much larger and more casual community than HoN. The grand prize winner in each category will receive 10,000 gold coins, six gold collection alt avatars, and a whole list of other goodies. The closing date for entries is April 27th.

S2 Games revealed its newest hero this week, the highly mobile support ganker Blitz. With abilities that revolve around increasing his own movement speed while slowing enemies, Blitz can chase down any hero fleeing a fight and escape almost any pursuer. His main nuke deals more damage to targets with lower movement speed than he has, making for some great damage if you can synergise his moves together well.

Bloodline Champions title image
Bloodline Champions unleashed a great April Fool's joke about a new Catch the Ranid game mode in which one player would have to reach as many checkpoints on the map as possible while the other five try to kill him. The Stunlock Studios team also announced the game would be coming to Windows 7 phones and that a fast food chain is sponsoring a new tournament with prizes of cheeseburgers and fries. Players pointed out that part of last year's April Fool's joke was actually implemented, leaving questions over whether the game might really come to Windows 7 phones and whether the new game mode could be real.

Rise of Immortals title image
Rise of Immortals gave a nod to Penny Arcade this week with a hilarious April Fool's joke announcing the next immortal as Karapyss the Crabomancer.

Path of Exile title image
Path of Exile seems like it's getting closer than ever to release, as this weekend the team ran a public stress test to make sure the servers could handle the load of launch. The response was huge, with several hundred thousand people visiting the site and a peak of over 7,300 people playing online at the same time.

Torchlight II title image
Did you ever think that Torchlight would have been perfect if only you could have a hawk, bulldog, or goggle-wearing ferret as your pet? You're in luck because the Torchlight II team has released a teaser page showing off these and other pets.

If you want to get some hands-on time with Torchlight II, you'll have to head down to the NVidia booth at PAX East later this week. The latest development build will be running on just four stations, and there's sure to be a queue.

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

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