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Not So Massively: Star Citizen's mining ship, D3's cow level, and Elite's incoming alpha


With the monumental funding push from its anniversary sale, Star Citizen broke three million-dollar barriers this week and unveiled its plans for several new ships. Players will get a new luxury yacht, a salvaging vessel, and a much-requested mining ship. Elite: Dangerous announced that its alpha test will begin very soon and will initially focus on the flight control portion of the game before opening up to become a full-scale PvP battleground.

League of Legends released its major pre-season update ahead of competitive season four, making huge changes to support classes, wards, and more. Heroes of Newerth confirmed that it will be running its usual $30,000 US tournament at DreamHack next week, and developers released a spotlight video on new hero Klanx.

Diablo III's Reaper of Souls beta will officially launch by the end of the year, but many streamers are already in the beta thanks to Blizzard's Family and Friends beta scheme. One streamer got the surprise of his life when he stumbled into what appeared to be a new cow level, but we aren't sure whether it's the real deal. Path of Exile saw record turnout for its first Descent Champions events this weekend. And Firefall's latest development update blog entry confirmed that the game will be getting an episodic storyline.

Star Citizen title image
Star Citizen's recent anniversary sale absolutely obliterated all expectations, pushing the game from $27 million to over $30 million raised. The two new stretch goals reached are additional mission content for true Wing Commander remake Squadron 42 and a new luxury yacht ship named the Origin 890 JUMP. Developers have turned the decision for what to work on next over to the community, running polls asking what type of ship to design as the next stretch goal.

The $31 million tier will add a new mining ship called the RSI Orion, which developers promise will provide a more immersive mining experience than just clicking on asteroids. After that, the next stretch goal will add a salvage ship called the Aegis Surveyor with a long-range jump drive, tractor beams, advanced scanner options, and launch pod for unmanned drones. The voting is currently open to decide what the $32 million stretch goal will be, with options including an exploration vessel, dedicated smuggling ship, or something designed for piracy.

Elite: Dangerous title image
If you've been wondering what the space suits and the ship cockpits will look like in Elite: Dangerous, head over to the latest development newsletter for a double dose of new artwork and information. Developers have also revealed that the first alpha test is on its way and that it'll be a test of the flight controls and ship combat. The initial alpha release will be a simple singleplayer flight simulation to gather feedback on the controls themselves, but this will then be opened up to allow PvP battles between testers. New alpha builds will be released periodically, adding new features and content until developers are happy to move into the beta phase.

League of Legends title image
League of Legends' fourth competitive gaming season is set to begin soon, and to prepare developers have released a huge pre-season update. Large changes have been made to jungling, support, items, vision, and more to keep the competitive metagame interesting. Riot Games is now collecting feedback on the changes before the competitive season begins; check out the video below for details on what's new in this coming season.

Heroes of Newerth title image
With DreamHack Winter 2013 approaching, Heroes of Newerth has thrown its hat in the ring with the announcement of its usual $30,000 US tournament. The tournament will take place next week on November 28th, with two spots secured by teams who attend the event, one from an online tournament, and five more pre-selected from the competitive scene.

S2 Games also revealed its new hero, Klanx, this week to a mostly positive reception. Klanx is a master of gadgets, with a jetpack that lets him fly over terrain and a flashbang grenade launcher. The jetpack has the same drawback as portal key, so can't be activated for three seconds after being attacked. If the jetpack is already active when Klanx is attacked, the remaining duration of his jetpack ability decreases. Klanx can permanently summon a small creature that fires rockets at the targets of his autoattacks, and his ultimate ability spawns a whole squad of critters that also fire lightning and ice attacks.

Firefall title image
The latest Firefall update introduced the much-requested wandering encounter feature, and developers aren't stopping there. The next development milestone includes cleaning up the code that spawns NPCs and creatures in order to make sure tough areas are consistently spawning more difficult enemies. Progress has been made on the game's first campaign missions, which developers have decided will be released in an episodic format with new acts and chapters being released frequently. The system won't be ready for the next development milestone, but Red 5 Studios has assigned an entire team of developers to the task.

Diablo III title image
The Reaper of Souls family and friends beta has now begun, and streamers around the world have been showing off the new content. Fansite DiabloFans has collated a list of over 150 new legendary items, put together a gallery of screenshots from the beta, and completed a chart showing the amount of XP required to hit the first 2,000 paragon levels. Blizzard has also revealed that a closed beta will be released to the public before the end of the year and that no NDA will be placed on those who are invited to playtest the game.

Though the Whimsyshire level in Diablo III was a sly nod to its predecessor's secret cow level, one of the mostly commonly requested new features is a real remake of the cow level itself. To his surprise, streamer KingKongor discovered that cows can spawn inside a Nephalem Rift, which pulls random monsters from the game's database. We already knew that a hell bovine model was in the game files but still have no idea whether a real secret level exists or how to access it. While this doesn't confirm that a real cow level exists, it shows that the hell bovine monsters have been balanced for gameplay.

Path of Exile title image
The first Descent Champions races started this weekend in Path of Exile, and participation was off the scale with 8,000 to 10,000 players joining the most popular events. If you're interested in taking part in future race events, you can can look up this season's schedule online and check out the information on the various event types on offer. The Descent Champions events come with the interesting twist that players can select two free unique items at the start to base their builds around.

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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