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Not So Massively: Competitive gaming, D3 patch 1.03, and more


MOBAs have been concentrating on competitive gameplay this week. Dota 2 launched a new pay-per-view tournament scheme with the $10,000 competitive tournament The Defense. Heroes of Newerth released its new competitive game mode, Lock Pick, which adds another layer of metagame to the competitive scene. Bloodline Champions followed its latest competitive tournament with the release of its new tank bloodline, Sentinel, and League of Legends announced an exclusive tournament for Greek players as part of the Greek client launch celebrations.

Diablo III released patch 1.03 this week, heavily nerfing attack speed on items but at the same time balancing the damage in inferno mode. The South Korean FTC ordered Blizzard to accept requests for refunds, and Blizzard confirmed the world first completion of inferno difficulty in hardcore mode. Path of Exile released a video spotlight on a player's innovative melee witch build, and Firefall announced its new Mobile Gaming Unit -- a massive LAN center bus that will be touring the US starting next week.

Dota 2 title image
Dota 2 is aiming to be the top competitive MOBA in the world, and Valve has developed some new tools to support the competitive scene. While the company's official tournaments have been highly successful, the competitive gaming scene thrives on smaller community-led and industry-sponsored tournaments. This week Valve is shipping the first of a series of updates aimed at supporting high-end competitive play by integrating tournaments right into the game interface.

With the new Tournament view, players will be able to find current and past tournaments and watch the matches in their own game clients at full resolution rather than rely on a livestream. Tournament organisers will be able to charge a fee to view the matches and put the earnings toward future tournaments. To test the system, joinDOTA is launching a new $10,000 tournament named The Defense, with prizes sponsored by Razer.

Heroes of Newerth title image
Following the success of its casual Mid Wars game mode, Heroes of Newerth has turned its sights to the competitive side of MOBA gameplay with its new Lock Pick game mode. Lock Pick is limited to pre-made teams of five players with one player designated as the captain. Each team's captain bans two heroes from the match, excluding up to four heroes from the picking pool; the teams then take turns locking three heroes each.

The captains next alternate to ban three more characters each from the picking pool, but they can't ban any of the locked heroes. Finally, each team picks three heroes from the normal picking pool and two from the locked hero pool. Players can take even a hero locked by the other team to disrupt its team-forming strategy, leading to an interesting competitive metagame at the picking phase.

League of Legends title image
If you're one of League of Legends' many players from Greece who are looking forward to the official Greek client release, prepare for an awesome free launch event in Athens next month. The event begins with a competitive online tournament open only to Greek players with EU Nordic East game accounts. Riot clarified that any Greek players playing on EU West servers will get a free optional server transfer to EU Nordic East as part of the new client launch; the transfer can be used to participate in the tournament.

The grand final will take place on July 14th during a special launch event in Athens, with travel costs paid for both teams competing in the final. Entry to the event will be open for free to all League of Legends fans in the area, and the final match will also be streamed live for fans at home.

Bloodline Champions title image
If you like massive hammers, you'll love Bloodline Champions' latest tank bloodline, Sentinel. Revealed last week at DreamHack Summer 2012, Sentinel was introduced this week with patch 2.5. Check out the character's official gameplay introduction video below for details of his abilities and tips for playing him in a game.

Diablo III title image
Diablo III patch 1.03 launched this week, bringing in the dreaded attack speed nerf and balancing difficulty and loot drops in inferno difficulty. Attack speed was halved on all items, including those dropped before patch 1.03. Broken legendary items with attack speed on them were also fixed in the patch, but existing items won't be updated until 1.04 is released. The damage of monsters in inferno acts 2, 3 and 4 was reduced to lower the spikiness of damage and remove the difficulty wall players typically hit at the start of act 2. Acts 1 and 2 also now have a chance to drop valuable item level 62 gear.

The South Korean FTC forced Blizzard to approve refund requests in the country this week as the game has had significant problems that aren't the fault of the buyer. The refund deal applies only to players who haven't been able to access the game enough to reach level 40. Blizzard's latest efforts to curb gold spammers and illicit RMT have caused outrage this week as it was discovered that digital editions of Diablo III will be limited to trial restrictions for up to the first 72 hours, although most players have their restrictions lifted in just 24 hours once it's confirmed that the account wasn't purchased with a stolen credit card.

While players completed all of Diablo III on inferno difficulty within weeks of launch, hardcore difficulty is another thing entirely. Characters killed in hardcore are dead forever, so there are no second chances on bosses. This week, Blizzard's Bashiok confirmed that popular livestreamers Kripparrian and Krippi have just secured the world first inferno difficulty Diablo kill in hardcore mode.

Path of Exile title image
This week's Path of Exile build of the week video features zriL's melee witch build, which proves that a cleverly designed build can be highly effective even with low-end gear. The video shows the labyrinthian route zriL took through Path of Exile's massive passive tree and the build's core items and stat requirements.

Firefall title image
Firefall developer Red 5 Studios is sparing no expense for the launch of its new online FPS, this week announcing plans to tour the US with a massive Firefall-themed vehicle. The Mobile Gaming Unit is more than just a pretty advertisement; it's a massive gaming LAN center on wheels. The vehicle will be unveiled next week at Anime Expo 2012 and will give fans an opportunity to play Firefall on top-of-the-line gaming systems.

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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