Not So Massively: Elite galaxy lore, D3's Book of Tyrael, and Dota 2 chat bans

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Not So Massively: Elite galaxy lore, D3's Book of Tyrael, and Dota 2 chat bans
Not So Massively
Star Citizen introduced new game designer Pete McKay in the latest episode of Wingman's Hangar, and mentioned plans for a planet-side module and an in-game social bar. Elite: Dangerous delved into the fiction of the Elite universe and confirmed that the entire Milky Way galaxy will be available for play and that humanity will have only explored a roughly 250 lightyear bubble around Earth.

Diablo III announced its new lore compendium, the Book of Tyrael, which tells the story of Sanctuary through the eyes of Tyrael himself and reveals unseen threats to humanity that may be part of the planned expansion. Path of Exile will open the doors on its new four-month-long Anarchy and Onslaught leagues this week, with a whole slew of challenges and a t-shirt prize for completing them.

In MOBA news, Valve clarified its stance on communication bans following accusations of false positives, and showed off stats highlighting the positive impact chat bans have had on the game. Warner Bros announced a live Infinite Crisis tournament to be hosted by Major League Gaming at E3, and fans of Cyborg got their wishes when the character was finally added to the beta. Finally, Heroes of Newerth released its new Stardust Aluna avatar for a character designed by US actress Paula Garces, and Sins of a Dark Age gave a sneak peek at its Realm Quest system.

Star Citizen title image
In this week's episode of Star Citizen's video devblog series, developers touched on the release of the new hangar module and how it will interact with other modules to be released in the future. Some of the ideas mentioned included a dogfighting module, a planet-side module, and a social bar that would let you hang out with your friends in-game. This week's episode also starred employee Pete McKay, who rose from a customer service position at RSI to become a full-fledged game designer. Pete is currently working on ship parts, economy recipes, and mining mechanics.

Elite: Dangerous title image
In the latest Elite: Dangerous Fiction Diary, Head of Elite Fiction Michael Brookes delved into the background lore building up to the start of the game and answered fan questions on the Elite universe. Michael revealed that humanity occupies less than 1% of known space at the start of the game, in an area spanning about 250 lightyears from earth. This bubble will be surrounded by a roughly 50-100 lightyear border zone that's less explored, and then the rest of the galaxy will be empty and ripe for exploration. Developers will also be blocking off areas of space for use in future expansions, and there are plans to introduce the Thargoids after launch.

Diablo III title image
If you're a big fan of the Diablo lore and enjoyed The Book of Cain, you'll be happy to know that Blizzard has announced its next Diablo III lore book. The Book of Tyrael is a 148-page hardcover lore companion that delves into the history of Sanctuary through the eyes of the archangel Tyrael. Blizzard plans to use the book to reveal all-new parts of the Diablo lore, including details of enemies humanity has yet to encounter. This may be a prelude to the upcoming Diablo III expansion and so hint at a November or December expansion release, or it could just be a lore companion set to coincide with the upcoming PS4 release.

Path of Exile title image
In a huge reveal post on the Path of Exile's forums, developers revealed some of the big changes coming in patch 0.11.0. The patch will introduce the Anarchy and Onslaught league types, both of which will run for four months starting on June 8th. The Anarchy league is just like normal softcore mode, except that 13 rogue AI-controlled players roam the map and will hunt you down with skills normally reserved for players. Onslaught is a hardcore league with increased difficulty, as all monsters get buffs to attack speed and damage.

Both leagues contain special unique and base items that you won't find in the standard game, and after four months your character and all the equipment you found with him will be moved back to the standard server. Both leagues also come with a series of difficult challenges, and everyone who manages to complete them all within the four month period will win a free limited edition t-shirt.

Patch 0.11.0 comes with a free passive skill reset for all players and a new rare currency item that lets you save an item's stats and restore it to its original condition later. This could be useful when rolling stats on a valuable item that you don't want to ruin with a bad roll.

Dota 2 title image
Just over a month ago, Dota 2 added a new communication ban system to discourage players from engaging in abusive behaviour over text and voice chat. Most abuse reports are sent to the customer service department, but players soon found that the communication ban system was automated. Some players began reporting teammates for performing poorly in matches or enemies for winning, and claims of false positives inevitably popped up. This week Valve released an update on how the system has been working and what kind of impact it's had in-game.

Valve clarified that the system looks for patterns of behaviour over time and that multiple players ganging up on you has no effect on whether or not you're banned. The studio has been investigating claims of false positives, and it's found that many reported players were legitimately banned but weren't aware that their conduct was considered abusive to other players. Since the ban system has been introduced, less than 1% of players have been subject to a chat ban and 60% of those banned do not re-offend. Valve admitted that the system still needs improvement, but developers are happy with the results so far.

Heroes of Newerth title image
Since it went free-to-play, much of Heroes of Newerth's funding has depended on the sale of exclusive alternate skins. Some low-cost avatars are simple texture swaps, while others include new models, animations, and sounds, and Ultimate Avatars even change appearance throughout the game based on what items you buy.

The latest release is Stardust Aluna, an Ultimate Avatar with what looks like a double-ended lightsabre, a jetpack, and a Dragonball-style scouter. Aluna was originally designed and voiced by US actress Paula Garces, and was the last remaining hero without an alt avatar because S2 Games needed Paula's permission to modify her character design.

Infinite Crisis title image
Warner Bros has signed a deal with e-sports organisation Major League Gaming to run a live Infinite Crisis competitive tournament at E3. It's hoped that the success of a tournament at E3 will lead to Infinite Crisis joining the MLG Pro Circuit. This week also saw the release of new beta champion Cyborg, who plays the role of a ranged damage-dealer with exceptional burst damage.

Sins of a Dark Age title image
If you've been following Ironclad's upcoming MOBA Sins of a Dark Age and wonder how exactly its Realm Quest system works, head over to the official development blog for a sneak peek. The first quest in a match will begin at the eight minute mark, and subsequent quests won't begin until five minutes after the previous quest is completed.

The game can be won normally by one team destroying the other's Keep, or alternatively by being the first team to complete three quests regardless of the status of the Keep and defense towers. This should create an interesting dynamic in which teams have to weigh up the cost of defending towers versus completing quests.

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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