Not So Massively: Dota 2's Diretide fiasco, D3's Adventure Mode, and HoN's Rift Wars

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Not So Massively: Dota 2's Diretide fiasco, D3's Adventure Mode, and HoN's Rift Wars
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Several new experimental game modes are on their way to League of Legends, starting with the interesting One For All mode that gives every player the same champion. Valve defended its decision to silently cancel Dota 2's Diretide event but has agreed to release the event as part of a huge upcoming gameplay update. And Heroes of Newerth has now released its chaotic new Rift Wars game mode that spawns players with a completely random set of abilities.

New details on Diablo III's upcoming Reaper of Souls expansion were revealed this week at BlizzCon 2013, including an Adventure Mode that makes the endgame a lot more like classic Diablo II. The expansion will also introduce the Nephalem Rift mode that creates randomised game maps for farming loot, and a hilarious console feature that sends deadly monsters to kill people on your friends list. Path of Exile will soon be coming to Asian regions thanks to a new partnership with Asian publisher Garena Online. And Star Citizen announced its plans to support AMD's proprietary Mantle graphics API, an alternative to OpenGL and Direct3D that's optimised for Radeon graphics cards.

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Not content with just the standard 5v5 competitive lane gameplay that has become the MOBA standard, Riot Games expanded the League of Legends universe in 2009 with its Dominion capture-point game mode. Now it looks as if developers are planning something even bigger, with a variety of new experimental game modes due for release in the coming months. Each new game mode will be featured for a short time, after which developers will delve into player feedback to see how it was received and what needs to be improved.

The first experiment will introduce the aptly named One For All mode, which pitches two teams of five players against each other using duplicates of the same champion. This is similar to the "Pink vs Blue" games that have become popular among the Heroes of Newerth's community, in which both teams elect a leader to pick a hero and then each member of the team picks the same hero. It's not clear whether LoL's version gives all members of both teams the same champion or gives each team a separate pick.

Dota 2 title image
Following last week's Dota 2 Diretide fiasco, Valve has released a detailed breakdown of what happened and why. Developers clarified that the game had changed significantly since last year's Diretide and that running the event again wasn't a simple matter of just flicking a switch. Valve said that it underestimated how much players were looking forward to the event and opted to cancel it in favour of working on a huge gameplay update that "looked like it would be finished in time for Halloween."

Most of the Diretide outrage focused on the lack of communication from Valve during the Halloween period, a position that Valve hasn't apologised for. The company defended its decision to stay quiet, arguing that "by the time we'd realized we'd made a bad decision, the pitchforks were out" and that "telling you that you weren't getting it at all wouldn't have really helped much." Diretide will be added to the next update, which has been in development for the last few months and is due to be released soon. This has gone a long way toward calming down players, but the damage to Dota 2's Metacritic score may never be repaired.

Heroes of Newerth title image
Heroes of Newerth's chaotic new Rift Wars game mode went live this week in Patch 3.2.7. The game mode spawns players with a random set of abilities every time they die, leading to some interesting and potentially hilarious combinations. Every player in the game mode also has access to new Amulet of Rebirth ability that rerolls their other abilities while in their team's base in exchange for a small number of Goblin Coins. Players can also earn free uses of the amulet by playing Rift Wars games. Rift Wars is now accessible through the matchmaking system and takes place on an updated version of the Grimm's Crossing map.

Diablo III title image
New details on Diablo III's upcoming Reaper of Souls expansion were revealed this week at Blizzcon 2013. Console players will get a hilarious new Avenger Kills feature that allows monsters that kill you to teleport into a friend's game and try to kill him too, creating a potentially hilarious cycle of deadly elite monsters hopping between games. The upshot of the feature is that if the second player kills the monster, then both he and the first player get a piece of loot.

The expansion will also include an Adventure Mode that removes all story-driven elements, unlocks all waypoints, and allows players to seamlessly move between waypoints in separate acts. This makes the game more like Diablo II and will open up more options for efficient farming runs. For those who want to be given a little more direction, a new Bounty feature will create randomised objectives for Adventure Mode two show up on the map for each act. Objectives include killing certain elites or bosses, or clearing certain dungeons, and completing all of the bounties in an act will give you a large XP and gold reward.

The Loot Run feature discussed in previous devblogs has been reimagined as a new Nephalem Rift system that creates completely randomised maps featuring tilesets and content from all acts of the game. Each rift will contain random sets of monsters and end with a random boss encounter, and some will intentionally overwhelm the players with hordes of summoned creatures. This system is similar to Path of Exile's endgame map gameplay and should provide endless replayability without getting boring. Developers have also hinted that there might be unique legendary items only accessible through the bounty system.

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While Path of Exile has successfully released in western territories like the US and Europe, players connecting from Asian countries have to contend with significant lag. Grinding Gear Games has always intended to release a dedicated Asian server to service countries like South Korea and China, but both countries require that a local company handles a game's publishing. This week developers announced a new partnership with Garena Online to publish Path of Exile in the Malaysia/Singapore region, with plans for further rollout later. The new server will be a completely separate realm to the existing worldwide realm and will open for closed beta on November 14th.

Star Citizen title image
Pledges to Star Citizen slowed a little this week, but this particular crowdfunding train shows no signs of stopping any time soon. Cloud Imperium has produced another run of t-shirts, mousepads, and patches to add to the store but warns that stock is limited. The studio has also revealed that it plans to adopt AMD's new Mantle graphics API, a proprietary alternative to OpenGL and Direct3D that promises to squeeze extra performance out of Radeon graphics cards.

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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