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Not So Massively: MOBA development, LoL tournament cheating, and D3's Monster Power


The League of Legends $2,000,000 World Championship was rocked by controversy this week as several teams were caught cheating. Despite being fined, Korean Team Azubu Frost was allowed to continue in the competition and made it all the way to the grand final to face Taiwanese favourite Taipei Assassins. Dota 2 launched a new art contest this week that asks players to design and sell virtual items, and Heroes of Newerth delved into the lore and design decisions surrounding its newest item: Lightbrand.

Guardians of Middle-earth announced its release date this week and revealed new heroes Beregond and Felgrom. SMITE started a new video series looking into the stories behind each of its gods and how the development team matched that god's abilities to the lore. Finally, Diablo III revealed the hard facts and figures on its upcoming Monster Power system, which lets players increase the game's difficulty in exchange for higher rewards.

League of Legends title image
It's been a rollercoaster week for League of Legends fans as the $2,000,000 US World Championship tournament was immersed in cheating controversy. Fans watching the event livestreams from home noticed a few competitors looking away from their screens and called it to the attention of the tournament organisers. After initially denying that any significant cheating took place, investigators eventually determined that players were able to look across the room and see the other team's map, revealing their player positions. Riot Games ultimately warned three of the teams involved and fined Korean team Azubu Frost $30,000 for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Having been permitted to continue in the tournament, Azubu Frost clawed its way to a grand final match-up against Taiwanese team Taipei Assassins and won its first game. Taipei Assassins went on to pull a clean victory out of the bag, dominating in its next three matches to win the $2,000,000 top prize. There would certainly have been some player outrage had Azubu Frost walked away with the $2,000,000 top prize after cheating, but Riot appears to have dodged the bullet this time. Congratulations to the incredibly talented players of Taipei Assassins, who go home with enough money to each buy a small island and whose team name will be engraved on the impressive new tournament cup.

Dota 2 title image
Dota 2 launched its first contest in conjunction with Polycount this week. The contest offers players the chance to design items to be featured in the Dota 2 store and make some cold, hard cash from sales of their virtual creations. If you're a 3-D modeller or texture artist, you can enter the contest by designing a completely original item set for a hero of your choice. The contest isn't limited to individuals, so you can team up with a modeller or artist to complement your skill set. The deadline for entry is November 19th, giving you just over a month to put together the perfect Dota 2 item set.

Heroes of Newerth title image
Heroes of Newerth is one of the oldest of the new generation of MOBAs, so over the years it's collected a huge lineup of heroes and new additions. The game has changed a lot since 2010, and to keep things interesting, S2 Games periodically throws a new item or game mechanic into the mix. This week developers revealed its new core item designed for intelligence heroes and particularly with carries in mind. Lightbrand is the intelligence equivalent of Firebrand and Icebrand, with flat mana regeneration and an attack modifier that adds a stacking damage-over-time effect to each attack and spell.

The interesting part is how Lightbrand combines with Firebrand and Icebrand. It can be separately combined with either of the two to produce Burning Light or Frozen Light, or all three can combine to make the even more powerful Dawnbringer. In the late game stages, players typically break their combined swords apart and build each of them into more powerful items. Lightbrand can be similarly built into a new item that increases every source of damage, from autoattacks to spells and even the Lightbrand damage of time effect.

Guardians of Middle-Earth title image
Upcoming console MOBA Guardians of Middle-earth puts players in control of notable characters from the Lord of the Rings lore. This week developers revealed the latest two heroes to join the roster: Beregond and Felgrom. Minas Tirith Elite Guard Beregond is a mobile close-range fighter with abilities that let him escape from controlling effects and shield himself while he dashes around the field of battle.

Felgrom is a goblin madman with a huge bag full of bombs just waiting to be blown up. He can throw bombs directly in front of himself to deal area-effect damage at long range and stun any enemies hit. Felgrom's signature ability is Ka-Boom, which detonates all of his bombs at once in a hilarious and deadly suicide attack. If Ka-Boom hits an enemy player, Felgrom's respawn timer is greatly shortened so he can get back in the fight. Guardians of Middle-earth is coming to PlayStation Network on December 4th following an autumn release on XBox LIVE Arcade.

Smite title image
Upcoming MOBA SMITE hasn't shied away from the spotlight following controversy over its choice to use gods from living religions as the basis for its characters. With such a wealth of lore behind each major religion and mythology, it's no surprise that developer Hi-Rez Studios has started delving into the lore surrounding its characters. This week saw the release of the first in a new series of Lore Spotlights titled Know your God.

This week's first edition of the video series is dedicated to Artemis, the Greek Goddess of the Hunt. It delves not only into her backstory but also into the development process behind the character in SMITE and how developers tried to match her abilities to the lore. If you're a mythology buff or just love to know the stories behind characters in the games you play, definitely check out the video below and leave Hi-Rez some feedback in the comments.

Diablo III title image
Blizzard has been teasing us with information on its upcoming Monster Power system that lets Diablo III players increase the game's difficulty in exchange for higher rewards. Players have been trying the system out for the past week and have found it adds some much-needed challenge to the levelling experience while increasing the difficulty cap of endgame significantly. This week Blizzard revealed the cold, hard numbers and stats behind the Monster Power system, detailing the bonuses that you and the game's monsters get at each level.

We already knew that increasing Monster Power even to its first setting would upgrade the monsters in all acts to lvl 63 and that the new loot mechanics would mean that any item dropped by a level 63 monster could roll level 63 affixes. What we now know is that non-elite monsters who drop loot in Inferno difficulty will now have a chance to drop an additional set of items; at Monster Power 10, this chance is 100%. Monster Power 10 will also increase your magic find and gold find by 250% and bonus XP by 160%. This difficulty definitely isn't for the casual Diablo III player, however, as enemies have almost 35 times more hitpoints and deal nearly four times their normal damage.

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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