Path of Exile
officially entered open beta this week and had its final character stat wipe. The servers struggled under the weight of 56,700 simultaneous players
and countless thousands downloading the game. If you're not sure if you'd like Path of Exile
, tune into the Massively Livestream
this Wednesday at 3 p.m. EST to see what it's all about. I gave my first impressions of the game back in October 2011
before competing action RPG Diablo III
was released, and I'm keen to see how Path of Exile
stacks up against it now that it's in open beta.League of Legends
has taken a harsh stance against disruptive behaviour with its player-mediated banning tribunal, and even top professional players aren't immune from punishment
. It doesn't matter how good you are at LoL
-- if you can't keep yourself from verbally abusing the opposition, then you can't compete.
This week two competitive players, Khaled "StunnedandSlayed" Abusagr and Nicolaj "Veigodx" Jensen, were booted from the game
for harassing other players. Both players have been permanently banned and barred from all tournaments for life, and all accounts they create will be killed on sight. The punishment forced Team Solo Mebdi to drop out of an upcoming European competition due to not having enough players.
On a lighter note, this week's LoL
patch introduced new tanky support champion Thresh. We got our first look at Thresh's abilities last week
and can finally see them in action in the champion spotlight video below. Thresh focuses on controlling the position of players on the battlefield, pushing and pulling enemies with Flay and Death Sentence and helping allies escape or join the battle with his Dark Passage ability.
MOBAs are highly competitive by nature, and the team-based gameplay means that one player on your team underperforming can cause you to lose a match. This sometimes leads to players harassing their own teammates for poor performance, especially if players' previous match stats are made public. This became a serious problem for Dota 2
recently as player-built website DotaBuff
began tracking the stats of every public game and compiling its own third-party rating scores for each player. This led to some in-game harassment as players started looking up their teammates' stats during the hero-picking phase.
In response, Valve
added a new privacy option
that stops matches being released to the public and enabled the option by default on all accounts. Competitive players still have the option of making their match histories public, and anonymous stats on heroes and items are still to be published as usual. The change is hoped to cut down on toxic behaviour in the game and help create a more tolerant gaming community. Third-party stat-tracking websites have been protesting the change
.Heroes of Newerth
was one of the first in the new wave of MOBAs, and at over two years old, it's starting to look its age. Developer S2 Games
revealed details of its massive upcoming Patch 3.0
this week, one that aims to revamp the entire game with gameplay changes and all-new graphics and animations. The map has been updated with high-quality textures, and the defense towers now look amazing. Heroes will also contrast better with the background, and their animations will be much smoother than before.
The biggest change in the patch is the introduction of bots and co-op game modes
that have proven popular in League of Legends
and Dota 2
. It's difficult for new players to really get into MOBAs for the first time due to the steep learning curve, and playing against bots offers the ability to train before jumping right in at the deep end. The AI scripting will actually be released to the public so that modders can develop better AI routines and even run bot-vs.-bot AI modding challenges. To combat antisocial behaviour, new algorithms will streamline the abuse reporting feature to "make sure that jerks are getting the punishment they deserve."
Upcoming MOBA SMITE
officially entered open beta last Thursday
, and to celebrate, developers revealed all-new content and features for the beta. The Conquest map has undergone some serious graphical overhauls, and players can test their skills on a singleplayer practice map. Multiplayer games now have a new draft mode tactical picking system, and players can create teams to enter competitive ranked matches. The spectator mode has also been upgraded to allow streamers and tournament organisers to show SMITE
at its best, and the feature will soon be rolled out to the general public.Rise of Immortals
continued its regular updates with the release of new immortal Undine
this week. Undine is an aquatic mage with an array of powerful skill-shot nukes and area-effect spells.
With so many new MOBAs being released lately and League of Legends
becoming the most played game in the world, it's no surprise that Blizzard wanted in on the action. Developers first announced their new MOBA Blizzard DOTA
shortly before a court case with Valve over their use of the Dota
brand. Blizzard went on to settle the case with Valve
, renaming the game Blizzard All-Stars
and promptly falling off the gaming radar. Developers piped up this week to announce that the game is still under development
and that a lot of the remaining work is for systems to handle a free-to-play business model.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 firstname.lastname@example.org.