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Dota 2’s International prize pool nearing $6 million

Dota 2’s International prize purse is approaching $6 million, thanks to crowdfunding efforts centered around the “Compendium,” a virtual level treadmill that rewards purchasers with in-game cosmetic rewards.

Polygon points out that Valve keeps 75 percent of Compendium sales, with the remaining 25 percent going directly to The International’s prize pool. Valve intends for this year’s T15 prize pool to top $15 million.

[Source: Polygon]


Portions of the tribunal system are returning to League of Legends this month

Remember Riot’s Tribunal? Back in 2011 it was put forth as a possible antidote to toxic player behavior in League of Legends. Three years later, Riot removed it and announced that it was upgrading the system. That was early in 2014, and things have been quiet on the Tribunal front until now.

Riot’s Jeffrey Lin announced on Reddit that the system is indeed returning, and that it will provide incentives for good behavior instead of simply punishing bad behavior. Kotaku reports that Reform Cards, the initial portion of the new and improved Tribunal will go live in LoL “later this month.”

[Via: Kotaku; Source: Reddit]



Singapore-based Garena buys out S2’s Heroes of Newerth MOBA

Heroes of Newerth has a new owner, but Michigan-based Garena subsidiary Frostburn Studios says that the five-year old MOBA’s 30 million registered players will be minimally impacted by the switchover from original developer S2 Games.

Singapore-based Garena is “striving to extend HoN’s success to America and Europe,” according to a press release that touts the title’s performance in Southeast Asia. HoN veteran Brad Bower is “heading up” Frostburn.

[Source: Garena press release]


Not So Massively: HoN’s fifth anniversary update; Dota 2 rakes in millions of dollars

Heroes of Newerth received a colossal patch this week to celebrate its fifth anniversary, introducing a new intelligence carry hero, a capture the flag game mode, dozens of events and countless balance changes and improvements. League of Legends revisited two of its oldest champions with a full redesign of Ashe in the works and the recent Ryze overhaul being rolled into Patch 5.8. Upcoming MOBA Sins of a Dark Age got a confirmed free-to-play release date of May 8th following over a year in Early Access. Details of Path of Exile‘s new Divination Card system coming in its upcoming expansion were revealed.

Dota 2‘s digital compendium for the upcoming world championship tournament has raked in almost $14 million US in its first few days on sale, and Valve is prepared for it to gross as much as $53.6 million. Star Citizen hit $81.14 million in pre-sales after answering fans’ questions on the recently revealed MISC ship hull series. And Jagex‘s new online FPS Block N Load has now released and is being described by fans as “Minecraft meets Team Fortress 2.”

Read on for detailed breakdowns of all the above stories and links to more news from the wider world of online gaming in this week’s Not So Massively.


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Make My MMO: May 2, 2015

This week in MMO crowdfunding news, Pathfinder Online made some noise about the future of its settlements feature. Goblinworks CEO Ryan Dancey also made headlines by imploring Pathfinder fans to recruit new blood from the larger MMO community.

In other news, Star Citizen summed up its April progress with a lengthy studio report and dropped a couple of interesting persistent world info nuggets in the process. You can read the rest of this week’s crowdfunding news roundup after the break.

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Here’s what Civ Online’s industrial age looks like

XLGAMES and 2K have released some new screenshots of Civilization Online (you know, that Civ title that currently has no plans to release in the western market!).

Steparu has posted the shots and frankly, they’re gorgeous, even if the game in question seems a bit out of our reach at the moment. Civ Online is a faction-based PvP MMORPG where players must work within their faction to progress through the game’s various eras. Like its offline namesake, Civilization Online will feature various win conditions apart from world domination.

[Source: Steparu]


The Secret World cinematic director moves on to other Funcom projects

If you’ve enjoyed the hand-crafted cinematics in The Secret World over the past couple of years, then chances are you’ve benefited from the efforts of Cinematic Director Davichi. Alas, Davichi announced on the forums that he’s transferred from the TSW team to work on unspecified Funcom projects.

“After almost five years of working on cinematics for TSW it is time to move on,” Davichi said. “It has been a great project to work on and I will miss it. […] One thing to remember: I have not made the cinematics alone. There has been many other involved making assets we needed to make the cinematics, as good as possible within time and cost. Most of these will continue to work on TSW, whether it be for assets for cinematics or gameplay.”

Davichi follows former TSW Producer Joel Bylos, who left in February for the aforementioned secret projects.

[Source: Official forums]


Eternal Crusade lead level designer is the latest in a string of desertions

Eternal Crusade seems to have a retention problem with its employees, as Lead Level Designer Steven Lumpkin just became the latest of a series of devs who have left the project this year.

Lumpkin announced that he is leaving Behaviour Interactive for another game studio: “In a week, I will be departing my role as Lead Level Designer on Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade. I feel gratified to have worked with this team for the past two years, and they’re well positioned to deliver a strong founder’s access. I look forward to battling alongside you all when it gets into our hands later this year.”

When he departs, Lumpkin will join the ranks of fellow ex-Eternal Crusade developers Studio Head Miguel Caron and Lead Programmer Patrick Balthazar, both of whom have left in the past few months.

[Source: TwitLonger, official forums]


Massively Overthinking: Are boutique MMOs the future?

This week’s Massively Overthinking question comes to us from Kickstarter donor Taemys, who just so happens to be a guildie of mine. He’s clever, and so is his concern:

“Are all the smaller, ’boutique’ MMO’s the future? To put it another way, do you think we’ll see anything as big as World of Warcraft or EverQuest again?”

I put his questions to the Massively OP writers, who as usual were happy to overthink them!

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Steam empowers studios to permaban players

Forget modgate — the next controversial decision by Valve might already be here. The company announced that it will be allowing game studios to identify disruptive or cheating players and target them for permanent bans from that particular game on Steam.

Valve explained its reasoning behind the so-called game ban: “In order to ensure the best possible online multiplayer experience, Valve allows developers to implement their own systems that detect and permanently ban any disruptive players, such as those using cheats. Game developers inform Valve when a disruptive player has been detected in their game, and Valve applies the game ban to the account.”

Affected players will need to contact the developer rather than Valve to appeal such bans.

[Source: Steam via Eurogamer]


Perfect World to become privately owned

Perfect World is no longer a publicly traded company, as founder Michael Yufeng Chi made a deal to take the company private.

Chi will take over Perfect World by merging it into a new company, Perfect Peony Holding Co., which is located in the Cayman Islands. Current investors will receive $4.04 a share as part of the buyout. The deal is made possible by a $900 million loan from a Chinese bank, is approved of by the board, and will go forward later in 2015.

Perfect World Entertainment, the game division of Perfect World, recently made the headlines due to a series of layoffs worldwide.

[Source: Washington Post. Thanks to Paraxes for the tip!]


Guild Wars recalls what a long, strange trip it’s been

As you might have already been aware, today is the original Guild Wars’ 10th anniversary. To mark the occasion, Community Manager Gaile Gray wrote up a post in which she walks down memory lane to talk about the formation of ArenaNet, the debut of Guild Wars Prophecies, and the game’s subsequent updates.

“I think it says a great deal about the company’s founding philosophy that — years before the release of their game — they were thinking not solely of development but were also thinking about how to communicate with their future players and fans,” Gray notes.

The article covers several quotes from current and former ArenaNet team members while noting some of the game’s important milestones. With 10 years of Guild Wars behind us, what are some of your favorite memories from the game?

[Source: Guild Wars 2]


Shadowrun Chronicles: Boston Lockdown launches today

After quite a while in early access testing and a significant name change that appears to have displaced much of the “online” component of the game, Shadowrun Chronicles is officially launching today with its first campaign, Boston Lockdown.

The launch is accompanied by several balancing changes, a polishing pass, and plenty of bug fixes. Players can form a team of “runners” to tackle missions with turn-based combat in this cyberpunk setting. While it can be experienced completely solo, there is an option to join up with other players in hubs for a co-op run.

The standard version of Shadowrun Chronicles is $40 while the deluxe version will run you $60.

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