Not So Massively: Path of Exile’s crafting scandal; Sins of a Dark Age’s sunset
This week in Not So Massively games, League of Legends players revealed a reproducible exploit that causes skillshot projectiles to become invisible and may have been in the game for several years. The Path of Exile community was also rocked by its own scandal as players discovered that the game’s wealthiest players and top crafters had monopolised their knowledge of secret crafting processes to control the game economy. Dota 2 opened registration for its upcoming Majors seasonal tournament, and pro player Aui 2000 discussed his e-sports career after recently winning the Dota 2 world championship and then being kicked from his team. Diablo III developers revealed that the new artifact named Kanai’s Cube was actually named a as tribute to a developer who recently passed away during the development of the game.
Star Citizen‘s devs have been working their way through merge conflicts following their live demos at Gamescom 2015; Polygon reports that 1,269 backers have been granted refunds to date. Splatoon is gearing up for its Autobots versus Decepticons splatfest event and got a new map named Flounder Heights with some interesting verticality. Elite: Dangerous announced a new art competition that asks players to design their dream ship skin for addition to the game. And we heard the news that recently released MOBA Sins of a Dark Age has ceased development, with the servers scheduled to go offline at the end of September.
Read on for detailed breakdowns of the stories above and other news from the wider world of online gaming in this week’s Not So Massively, and don’t forget to subscribe to the RSS feed for weekly updates!
discovered that the bug can be reproduced on many champions. The glitch first appeared with Jinx’s rocket launcher but has been replicated with many other characters who have skillshot nukes. It involves firing a projectile-based autoattack and casting the skillshot right afterward, making the animation for the nuke disappear while the actual projectile continues and can hit targets.
Several players have since come forward and said they’d reported this exploit to Riot months or even years ago and that it may be one of the causes of the infamous invisible Nidalee spear bug. The good news is that Riot’s actually completely rewritten the back-end system for handling skillshot nukes as the previous one was a tangled mess of old code, so this bug now stands a much better chance of being fixed. The new missile system is being developed by a team that includes ex-CCP Games developer and all-round technical genius Brian Bossé, who delved into the fine technical details of the overhaul in a new Riot Engineering devblog.released patch 2.0.2 this week, adding several new cosmetic pets and upgrading the artwork for many old unique items. The patch also increased the drop-rates of high-end maps to help players reach the level 74-79 map run endgame, and rebalanced a slew of different abilities.
Grinding Gear Games has always told people that there are secrets in the game that have yet to be discovered, and every now and then someone stumbles across one. As Path of Exile has a pretty in-depth loot economy, those who find those secrets sometimes choose to keep them to themselves and make a profit on them. This week a scandal broke in the game’s Warbands league as it became known that a handful of very rich players had been using secret crafting strategies to create godly gear.
The Forsaken Masters crafting system released over a year ago allows items to be locked with the “Prefixes cannot be changed” or “Suffixes cannot be changed” modifier so that the remaining stats may be re-rolled. What players didn’t know was that the Orb of Scouring (which normally removes all modifiers) actually leaves the locked attributes alone. The currency items required to test this theory were expensive enough that everyone just took the game’s top crafters’ words on it that it didn’t work. This and other secrets allowed top crafters to produce great items cheaply and sell them on for a substantial profit.
Registration is now open for the Dota 2 Majors, a new series of four seasonal tournaments culminating in next year’s International. Open qualifiers will be run from October 6th to 9th, and two teams from each region’s open qualifiers will be invited to compete in the regional qualifiers from October 10th to 13th. Many existing professional teams will be invited directly to compete in the tournament, but first they have to register and agree not to change their team lineup after September 5th. Teams will be permitted to transfer players and change their lineups only between each seasonal tournament.
Professional Dota 2 player Aui 2000, who was booted from Evil Geniuses after helping the team win this year’s $6 million grand prize at The International, has said that he’s finalised a new team roster. Aui recently gave the interview below with e-sports historian Thooorin in which he discussed his Dota 2 career to date, getting kicked from both Cloud9 and Evil Geniuses, and what the future might hold.
If you’ve been following recent developments in Diablo III, you’ll know that the new artifact known as Kanai’s Cube was named after the character King Kanai from Act 5 of Diablo II. What you might not know is that King Kanai was himself named for developer Kevin Kanai Griffith, who recently passed away during development of Diablo III. Kevin was responsible for much of the game’s environmental randomisation and put together the ice cave areas single-handedly in a matter of weeks. As a hardcore Diablo fan, he was one of those who wanted to see a Horadric Cube style artifact in the game and wanted to revisit the Barbarian lands of Arreat from the previous game.
Star Citizen put up an impressive showing at Gamescom 2015 with live demos of its persistent universe and the Star Marine FPS module, but that work has left a technical debt behind the scenes. The various codebases for those demos had to be locked down to work on stability issues and hack together fixes for the event, and now they have to be merged back together. This week’s work on Star Marine was primarily focused on fixing merge conflicts, something any game developer with a team of greater than one will know the pain of all too well. Cloud Imperium also took the opportunity to update to CryEngine 3.7.
Chris Roberts revealed in an interview that a total of 1,269 backers have been refunded to date for various reasons. This represents less than 0.13% of the total backers, which now stands at 966,629 players and counting. Refunds are granted on a case-by-case basis and the company believes it has no legal obligation to issue them, but Roberts clarified that “in most cases [CIS has] refunded them.”
Nintendo‘s quirky squid-based tactical ink shooter Splatoon got another major update this week with the addition of the new Flounder Heights map that adds some interesting verticality and long-range gameplay to the mix. Players in the US are gearing up for an interesting Transformers-themed Splatfest event next weekend that asks players to side with either the Autobots or the Decepticons. Players in Europe will get the somewhat less exciting battle between Team Singing and Team Dancing.
The past few years have seen the MOBA genre mature and a few clear winners emerge with the promise of huge cash prizes handed out each year in e-sports tournaments. This booming genre has claimed a number of smaller titles that were too late and too small to get in on the MOBA craze, most recently Infinite Crisis and now Sins of a Dark Age.
Developer Ironclad announced recently that all development on the game had stopped, but the servers will remain online until at least September 30th. Sins of a Dark Age launched on Steam in May to mixed reviews following over a year in Early Access period. It failed to gain any momentum after release and activity levels dropped too low to sustain an active multiplayer community.
Elite: Dangerous is running a new ship paintjob design competition that asks players to design their dream paintjob for the Anaconda, Viper, Cobra, Vulture, or Asp. To be in with a chance to win, all you have to do is grab the template images on the Elite website, paint up your design, and email it to the community team by August 30th. Entrants are advised to stick to three colours only and focus on producing bold designs that stand out from a distance. The winner’s design will be added to the game, and he or she will get a free copy of the skin plus a copy for three friends.
- Hearthstone‘s Grand Tournament expansion arrives on August 24th.
- Mobile MOBA Call of Champions moved from beta to soft launch.
- Armored Warfare revealed its new Pipelines map set in the deserts of the middle east.
- League of Legends players with bans or chat restrictions may lose access to Season 5 rewards.
- Grey Goo is running a map design contest.