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Not So Massively: D3 Reaper of Souls, Star Citizen hits $16m, and Dead Island goes MOBA

Brendan Drain, @nyphur
August 26, 2013

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Star Citizen celebrated hitting the $16 million US crowdfunding milestone this week, unlocking a virtual PvP arena game module. Developers revealed the system requirements for their upcoming hangar module release and promised that the $18 million goal will include a private solar system exclusively for pre-launch backers. Elite: Dangerous talked procedural galaxy generation in its latest fiction diary, confirming that around 75,000 real-world stars will be used and key locations like the Sol system will be manually created.

Details of Diablo III's Reaper of Souls expansion have come thick and fast this week following Gamescom 2013, with the announcement of the new Crusader class, a fifth story act, and a ton of other features aimed at improving the loot-gathering endgame. Path of Exile recently introduced a hidden unique item accessible through an unknown vendor recipe, and players have already figured out what's required to make it. And Red 5 Studios was also at Gamescom to announce details of the second stage of MMOFPS Firefall's open beta.

Bloodline Champions fans will be glad to hear not only that the game will be getting a little more attention in the near future but also that the developers have secured the contract to create a new MOBA named Dead Island: Epidemic. League of Legends put on its usual showing at Gamescom with the EU LCS Playoff and International Wildcard tournaments, and new champion Lucian has officially joined the game's growing roster of characters. Finally, SMITE celebrated a new partnership with Chinese publisher Tencent that will see the game released in China.

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Gamescom 2013: Roberts demos Star Citizen's hangar module
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Star Citizen title image
Star Citizen crossed the $16 million US pledge barrier yesterday morning, unlocking a new Arena mode for the game that will let pilots test their combat skills against each other in a simulated environment. A new flyable battlecruiser ship class will be added if funding hits the $17 million mark, but that has nothing on Cloud Imperium's crazy plans for its $18 million goal: a private solar system exclusively for pre-launch backers.

Developers also released an FAQ on the upcoming hangar module, which is set to release soon for public alpha testing and will give backers the first glimpse of their ships. The alpha will require a 64-bit Core 2 Duo or equivalent, 8GB of RAM, and a fairly beefy DX11 graphics card to run, but it obviously hasn't been fully optimised yet. Cloud Imperium has been cautious in building expectations for the release, stating that this is an earlier build than would ordinarily even be sent for internal quality assurance testing.

Elite: Dangerous title image
The fifth Elite: Dangerous fiction diary has been released, answering many questions from fans and delving into the design process behind building a galaxy that feels populated. The game picks up the original Frontier storyline, starting in the year 3300 and with many of the same solar systems still present. Key locations like Lave and the Sol system will be manually created, but most other systems will be procedurally generated. A complex economic model will be simulated in the background so that the galaxy can evolve over time based on what the player does.

Most of the stars in our solar system's immediate vicinity are accurately represented based on data from real world astronomical catalogues, along with many major detectable stars out to a range of 600-700 lightyears. That's around 75,000 named stars, only a small chunk of the playable galaxy. The remaining billions of stars are procedurally generated based on current scientific theories.

Diablo III title image
Last week's prediction that the recently trademarked name Reaper of Souls would be a Diablo III expansion was confirmed this week after Blizzard revealed full details of the expansion at Gamescom 2013. The expansion will raise the level cap to 70, introduce the new Crusader class, and add a fifth story act centred on the angel of death stealing the black soulstone. Paragon levels will become shared account-wide and will add character stats that players will be able to customise, a feature that players requested when the game was still in early development.

A new smart loot system will give items that drop a chance to automatically roll good stats for your character, and legendary items are reportedly now dropping like crazy. Also included in the expansion is a new Loot Run endgame with highly randomised dungeons and Nephalem Trial portals strewn throughout the world with big challenges in exchange for big rewards. The Mystic artisan from beta will return by popular demand, offering a new enchanting service that lets players re-roll one attribute of an item but make the item account-bound. Beta for the expansion is planned to begin this year, with a 2014 release.

Path of Exile title image
Path of Exile's developers recently added a new unique item to the game that's only accessible through a vendor recipe and published a cryptic riddle hinting at its components. Players picked the recipe apart within four days and discovered the recipe for The Goddess Scorned, a two-handed Elegant Sword that converts all of your damage into fire damage.

The item requires a 20% quality Goddess Sword and Elegant sword with the same socket colours and links, an Orb of Fusing, and a Chance to Ignite support gem with at least 1% quality. Patch 0.11.4 also went live this week, cutting the game client's filesize by 2GB and improving loading times in some zones by optimising many of the game's art assets.

Firefall title image
Red 5 Studios was also at Gamescom 2013 to announce its second stage of Open Beta for upcoming MMOFPS Firefall. The second stage focuses on taking the war global, with a full 3-D map of the globe showing the current playable areas and places still hidden by the Melding. Developers plan to introduce and test the game mechanics that players will use to push back the Melding and so expand the explorable game map, unlocking new zones to play in.

Bloodline Champions title image
If you're a fan of 2011-released MOBA Bloodline Champions, it can't have escaped your notice that the playerbase has all but died in the past year. Once a popular game with a healthy competitive scene and small but dedicated playerbase, BLC eventually shrank in popularity until it was no longer profitable to keep developing new content. Developer Stunlock Studios initially began work on a new futuristic MOBA named Project O, but that project has now been put on hold in favour of a brand-new contract from publisher Deep Silver.

Named Dead Island: Epidemic, the new title is billed as a fast-paced co-operative action game with a control point mode, weapon crafting, and hordes of zombies. If you were a fan of BLC, you can show your support for its developers by signing up for beta now. Stunlock developer gedan addressed the Bloodline Champions community directly to recap the rollercoaster ride the studio has taken to get to where it is today and discuss its future. In addition to creating this new game, the team hopes to increase support for BLC again and release a new patch to merge the game's matchmaking queues.

League of Legends title image
Riot Games had a booth at Gamescom 2013 this year with its usual dose of League of Legends tournaments, cosplay, and promotional events. The EU LCS Playoffs and International Wildcard tournaments both took place live from the event floor, where top teams from Europe and international teams played their hearts out to secure spots in the World Championship playoffs.

This week also saw the release of new ranged champion Lucian, a highly mobile ganker who dual-wields ancient pistols. While he normally fires them one at a time, Lucian will fire a double-shot after casting another ability. Clever timing will let him dodge around the battlefield and get off multiple shots at the enemy to maximise his ganking potential.

Lucian's other abilities include a long-range line nuke for harassing, a ground-targeted explosive blast that briefly reveals stealthed enemies, and a short-range dash to chase enemies or escape from danger. His ultimate ability unleashes an autofire barrage from both pistols in the target direction, and he can even move and dash while the attack is underway.

SMITE title image
SMITE developer Hi-Rez Studios showed off a series of new videos at Gamescom to celebrate its upcoming partnership with Chinese firm Tencent. The game will now also be getting a Chinese localisation and release, and two new Chinese gods will be added to the roster. Developers also revealed an upcoming Match-of-the-day game mode that will feature larger 10v10 battles.

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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