The patch has also brought along several new skins and a variety of bug fixes, as patches tend to do. Of course, it’s also brought some issues along with it, which are already helpfully available in a thread on the official site; this includes some after-match placement errors, which are good to know about ahead of time. So jump on in and take on your enemies, possibly while watching everything through a mirror. (It’s a Medusa thing, you see.)
MOBAs are multiplayer online battle arenas, PvP-centric, non-persistent online games that share some but not all mechanics in common with traditional MMORPGs. We formerly categorized MOBAs as “Not So Massively” games. You may also be interested in our Multiplayer category for other multiplayer online games that aren’t fully massive. [Follow the MOBA category’s RSS feed]
There is a lot of stuff in Heroes of the Storm that’s meant as an homage to classic bits of Blizzard games, but the new Alterac Pass battleground is… well, an homage to Alterac Valley. Which is an actual battleground. So it’s like playing something that’s a more direct patch over from the original, although it seems unlikely that Alterac Pass will devolve into both teams ignoring one another and racing for the faction leaders at top speed.
Also, Alterac Valley features very few British lesbians who can teleport or armored space mercenaries with flamethrowers, so that’s a bit different.
True to the inspiration, players will no longer be rushing the enemy core but will deal with the enemy generals as they capture graveyards, take out forts, and generally weaken the other team’s defenses. Check out the preview trailer for the new map just below, and remember: if you want to take part in a battle in HotS, you are expected to actually take part in that battle. Blizzard has just banned a number of people for the crime of joining matches and then either going AFK, refusing to participate, or intentionally dying. So be fairly warned that joinging without intent to play will, well, stop you from playing.
“The 3v3v3 death match brawler adventure will be played on a new egyptian themed map. Teams will spawn at bases around a center objective, but the true goal is to be the last man standing. The first team to win 3 rounds wins the match. A death fog will quickly close in on the map, until only the center play area is left available. The 3-team game format makes for interesting strategy and the potential for alliances not normally found in SMITE game modes. The killer fog sets a definitive timer for rounds, and it makes matches quick-paced and fun.”
The new adventure should be rolling out to PC and consoles later in June as part of the game’s ongoing fifth season.
- Ah Puch’s Corpse Explosion’s damage will shift around to rely a little bit less on minions, buffing him in the early game;
- Cu Chulainn is getting a wee nerf to Berserk;
- Erlang Shen, Neith, Skadi, Zeus, and Nox will see slight buffs;
- Hachiman and Xbalanque are being nerfed slightly to bring them into parity with other characters of their archetype;
- Zhong Kui should be a whole lot less frustrating to play;
- and Chernobog, the game’s newest god, is getting well-earned buffs to make him easier to play.
Of course, that rundown assumes you can actually get in to play, which isn’t a given as the servers have been struggling to stay afloat thanks to tons of people playing and a strange bug, as Hi-Rez’s Stewart Chisam notes:
Fortnite had another record month of revenue in April, according to SuperData’s latest global revenue report. “Epic’s Battle Royale shooter made $296 million in April across Console, PC and Mobile, up from $223 million in March,” says the firm.
But the more interesting story is SuperData’s assertion that “Grand Theft Auto V is finally showing its age.”
“GTA V Online revenue declined 9% year-over-year, ending an impressive streak of 12 consecutive months with year-over-year growth. GTA V Online has declined sequentially every month since the start of the year, likely in part due to the continued rise of Fortnite as well as a dearth of significant content updates from Rockstar.”
Well now the Chinese can experience that unique flavor, as Trion Worlds announced that Atlas Reactor has arrived in that country and is available through Steam. The free-to-play game is the second (after Trove) that Trion launched in the region and brings the full game up through the current start of Season Six.
“Atlas Reactor’s exciting and competitive take on the turn-based strategy genre as well as its compelling cast of characters make it a great fit for China,” said CEO Scott Hartsman. “Chinese players have fully embraced Trove and have been asking for a fully localized version of Atlas Reactor as well, and we couldn’t be happier to bring it to them.”
“Over 20,000 players have been suspended or banned in SMITE during Season 5 so far. However, this latest action today represents a ramp-up in our suspension activities, especially on Xbox and PS4, where our tools and processes have improved the most. One of our top priorities is making sure the player experience is positive and fun, and we’ve done major work recently to help us handle in game toxicity. We’ve been working hard to improve our machine learning tools to better identify players that have shown trends of negative behavior, as well as ramp up the efforts of our internal team at Hi-Rez that checks player reports and chat logs.”
The company stresses that this is all past of its “initiative to promote positive player behavior and handle negativity in game,” with more on the way. It also requests that players keep the reports coming.
Back in February, Valve took action on MMO studio Insel Games, which published hybrid MMOs Wild Buster and Guardians of Ember, booting the company off Steam having determined that the company had tampered with reviews by coercing employees to buy and positively review the game. While Insel Games denied any wrongdoing, its games have been accessible to new players only through its official website for the past few months. For Wild Buster in particular, updates had been scant.
Now, an update has finally arrived. Insel Games told the Steam community that Wild Buster had “failed to attract enough players to provide a sustainable service and a big enough community to enjoy the game.” Rather than shut down the game, however, Insel Games says it’s transferring publishing rights to IDC Games, which will relaunch the game as Champions of Titan with new accounts and a server wipe. Not coincidentally, this will also allow the companies to get the game back on Steam.
The patch also adjust balance for several existing gods and offers new skins, along with some tweaked item balance across the board. Of course, the patch isn’t perfect, and a thread of known issues has already been started; we can only hope that those are addressed sooner rather than later. Still, though, the promise of entirely new groups of myths to fight against? That has to be worth something.
Ugh, here he goes. Look, there’s nothing to be done about it, we’ll just have to listen to Pyke ramble on about how he’s going to stealth his way up to his targets before surfacing and killing them with his other abilities, including a paralyzing shot and a special capturing harpoon. And now he’s putting the trailer for his thing just below instead of just, like, talking to us about it. Seriously, Pyke? This is almost as boring as hearing about Karen’s kids.
You heard me, Karen.
“Our goal has always been to foster community through esports and video content,” Harris writes on the new website. “By organizing ourselves as a separate entity focused only on esports and content, we’re excited to bring even more dedicated esports attention to SMITE and Paladins, and to also explore partnerships with new games and additional game publishers and developers.”
“He is the incarnation of the inevitable evil that persists in the world. He is Chernobog, Lord of Darkness. Learn the lore of our newest Slavic God entering the Battleground in Update 5.8!”
E-sports roundup: Riot and UC Berkeley, Hi-Rez’s varsity league, UK collegiate e-sports, cash for Averett e-sports
Still don’t think we should take e-sports seriously? Doesn’t even matter because it’s happening anyway. To wit:
Riot Games has partnered with UC Berkeley to boost esports in the California university system and launch an intramural e-sports league for League of Legends this fall. There are new scholarships for e-sports “student-athletes” too.
“The recently announced UC Berkeley esports community center will open in the campus’s Foothill complex in fall 2018. The University’s unique esports approach will provide support for educational and professional development programs for esports athletes and incorporates multiple aspects of the student experience, focusing on five overarching pillars: community, competition, social responsibility, wellness, and lifelong learning. Centering on inclusivity and community, a new Women in Gaming initiative will be headed by two female leaders among Cal’s student gamers.”
“Our current quality is not at all where it should be, and we strongly believe our quality can and should be better,” Chisam says. “We’ve been saying that for a while, and things have gotten better — but not good enough. So I think bigger changes are needed. We can’t keep doing things the same way and expecting different results.”
So the team is working on changing that, starting with a beefed up internal Q&A team.