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Not So Massively: Star Citizen expands alpha, D3's Mystic revealed, and Path of Exile launches

Brendan Drain, @nyphur
October 28, 2013

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Star Citizen smashed through the $24 million and $25 million crowdfunding barriers this week, unlocking public transportation and expanding the game's upcoming alpha test. Designs for Diablo III's upcoming Mystic artisan were revealed, and it was confirmed that the she will be part of the Reaper of Souls expansion. Path of Exile saw a remarkably smooth launch day, with only minor lag and just a few bugs for Steam users.

Blizzard may have run into yet another naming blunder with Heroes of the Storm, as this week it emerged that a Finnish RPG published in July bears the same name. Third-person MOBA SMITE re-introduced Chinese god Sun Wukong this week, compete with shapeshifting abilities, an extendable staff, and a flying cloud. Firefall developer Red 5 Studios revealed details of what players can expect to be released in the next few months, and its parent company The9 has signed a $24 million US investment deal that values the game at $100 million. And Arena of Heroes is offering fans the chance to win an Ouya console and controller in a competition that will end in just a few days.

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Diablo III dev blog demystifies the Mystic
Diablo III's latest dev blog unveils more tasty information about a new artisan NPC, the Mystic, coming to the game in the Reaper of Souls expansion. As many Diablo III fans are undoubtedly aware, Reaper of Souls will mark the introduction of a set of features, known colloquially as Loot 2.
Path of Exile launch-day roundup
With a patch as big as today's, you have to wonder what Path of Exile has in store for players after launch. And starting now, you can find out. Today the free-to-play action MMO breaks from the bonds of beta and bursts into land of launched titles.

Star Citizen title image
Star Citizen's crowdfunding efforts showed no signs of slowing this week as it smashed through its $24 million and $25 million stretch goals. This unlocks an in-game public transportation system and lets the team expand the alpha to include more players. When funding inevitably hits the $26 million mark, it will unlock enhanced capital ship systems like damage control teams to fight fires and repair ship systems during a battle. The feature will also add navigation and engineering consoles to the bridge of a capital ship, allowing players to command the ship in a more immersive way. The $27 million stretch goal was revealed to be a new Banu trading ship.

Diablo III title image
In a new development update released this week, Blizzard gave Diablo III players their first official look at the Mystic artisan due to be released with the upcoming Reaper of Souls expansion. The Mystic can enchant items you find to boost their power or transmogrify one item to look like another. Enchanting allows players to re-roll a single stat on any item, so you can add key stats like lifesteal or critical hit chance to otherwise great items. Items that are enchanted or transmogrified will become account-bound and untradeable.

Enchanting costs materials and gold depending on the level of the item used, and if you don't get the stat you were hoping for, you can pay to re-roll the enchanted property until you get it. You can't just roll every stat until you make the perfect item, however, as all properties other than the one that was re-rolled will become locked. The Mystic is situated in Westmarch and so will be accessible only if you have the upcoming Reaper of Souls expansion.

Path of Exile title image
It's launch week for Path of Exile, and everything seems to have gone off without a hitch! Lead Developer Chris Wilson remarked that the release "went far more smoothly than the first day of Open Beta," with only minor server load issues and a bug affecting just a few hundred Steam users that was quickly fixed.

Among its long list of features, the launch patch added support for player-run guilds. Guilds start out with 30 member slots and additional slots have to be purchased at a rate of 10 slots per 100 microtransaction points (about $1 per slot). Guild Leaders can also buy extra Guild Stash tabs for their members to use, and all guild members can donate microtransaction points to their guild.

Blizzard All-Stars title image
As if Blizzard hadn't run into enough naming conflicts with its upcoming MOBA, now it's been revealed that the newly selected name Heroes of the Storm may already be taken in Finland. The game started life as Blizzard Dota but was renamed to Blizzard All-Stars following a legal settlement with Valve over its use of the DotA brand. It was recently renamed again to Heroes of the Storm, which it turns out is the name of a pen-and-paper RPG system published in Finland.

The RPG system was published back in July, but creator Mike Pohjla didn't actually file a trademark on the name until several days after Blizzard filed for it in the US and Europe. Pohjla's trademark is registered in Finland and covers the name Myrskyn Sankarit, which translates the the English phrase Heroes of the Storm.

SMITE title image
Chinese god Sun Wukong made his triumphant return to SMITE this week with a new look and a full set of new abilities. He's been recreated as a physical melee warrior with shapeshifting spells and some interesting combat abilities. Sun Wukong automatically gets bonus critical hit chance and defensive stats when below 50% health, and he can extend his cudgel to hit enemies at long range or perform a whirlwind attack named Master's Will to hit all nearby enemies.

Perhaps the most interesting spell in Sun Wukong's arsenal is "72 Transformations," which causes him to transform into an eagle, tiger, or ox before charging forward. The eagle form will fly extremely quickly over enemy heads, the tiger moves more slowly but pounces on the first enemy it hits to deal a stun and bonus damage, and the ox charges through all enemies in its path and knocks them back. Sun Wukong's ultimate ability makes him leap onto a flying cloud, leaving a decoy of himself behind to confuse opponents.

Firefall title image
Red 5 Studios' parent company The9 signed an investment deal this week to receive around $24 million US from entertainment organisation Oriental Pearl Culture Development Ltd. Statements released by the companies show that Firefall is currently valued at around $100 million.

The latest Firefall development update also revealed details on what players can expect in the coming months. Developers will be focusing on the first set of story missions for Act 1, an improved user interface, Dynamic encounters, and some meaningful progression milestones.

Arena of Heroes title image
Multi-platform MOBA Arena of Heroes has been celebrating its announcement of an upcoming Ouya release by running a competition to win a free Ouya console and controller. One hundred bonus prizes of microtransaction gems and cosmetic skins for Arena of Heroes are also available. The competition ends in just a few days and has just over 2,600 entrants, so your chance to win something is actually quite high.

As Arena of Heroes is available on multiple platforms and mobile devices, keeping the user interface intuitive and clutter-free has been a real challenge for developers. This week saw the release of a full Battle UI revamp, which has been built from the ground up to solve those issues.

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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