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See: Riot Games

Dauntless’ founder alpha has begun

Don’t miss our hands-on with Dauntless from E3!
We’ve been keeping an eye on Dauntless, the sci-fantasy online co-op action RPG from the former BioWare, Riot, and Blizzard devs now fronting Phoenix Labs, ever since its first reveal back in December. Today, regular gamers can leap in themselves — at least if they’ve ponied up the 40 80 bucks needed for a founder’s pack with access to the alpha. [Thanks for the clarification, jinarra!] Otherwise you’ll be waiting until the game launches later this year, at which time it’ll be free-to-play.

Following his E3 hands-on with the game, MOP’s Andrew Ross said the game was surprisingly solid and natural, impressive even, though he worried over rival Monster Hunter World.

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Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds whupped League of Legends on Twitch last week

Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds may have one of the worst video game names in history, but it set a new record on Twitch last week.

Gameloco founder Nicolas Cerrato points out that PUBG beat League of Legends in terms of hours of eyeballs on Twitch during the week of August 6th, the first time LoL’s ever been unseated by a game outside of a special event. And indeed, this was a special event: Dota 2 actually came close to beating both PUB and LoL together thanks to Valve’s massive $10M prize-pool The International tourney, which concluded over the weekend.

But PUBG still managed to edge out LoL — something that’s never happened before, possibly because MOBA eyes were distracted, or possibly because, as Cerrato puts it, “PUBG looks more and more like an extremely powerful cultural phenomenon that will impact gaming like very few games ever have.” There’s a reason Tencent was trying to buy it and its studio up, after all.

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League of Legends skin based on soccer player Edgar Davids is going to cost Riot money

See the charming dark-skinned gent in the header image? That’s the Striker Lucian skin in League of Legends. It also strongly resembles the kit, hairstyle, and distinctive eyewear of Edgar Davids, a retired soccer player who was pretty good at the game and wore a similar kit at the time of the skin’s introduction. And now that skin is going to cost Riot Games some money because a Dutch court has ruled that the skin infringes upon Davids’ personal rights.

The resemblance was, of course, intentional; Riot’s core argument was that players would recognize the character as Lucian first and foremost, but the court ultimately decided that it’s close enough to Davids’ likeness that he’s still entitled to compensation. So however much money the skin has made in the Netherlands, a percentage of that will go to Davids. Good news for Davids, bad news for Riot, neutral news for whoever has no deep investment in soccer.

Source: Het Parool via Kotaku

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SuperData’s mid-2017 report reflects a wildly expanding gaming industry

Gaming analysis firm SuperData is touting a new report for marketers today, shedding some light on the shape of the industry so far in 2017 — for everyone. Yep, today’s report is free, as long as you’re willing to hand over a mailing address, so let’s run down the highlights:

  • 46% of US gamers are now women.
  • 665 million people glue their eyeballs to gaming videos and streams — more than HBO, Netflix, ESPN, and Hulu combined.
  • “The global market for games and interactive media will grow 12% this year,” for the first time crossing the $100B threshold.
  • A streadily increasing percentage of that dough is coming from digital console revenue.
  • By 2020, SuperData argues, “players will spend $4.5B on immersive gaming — more than 20 times what they do today.”
  • Rocket League shows that console gamers are willing to spend on optional cosmetic items in multiplayer games.” Stop buying lockboxes, people.

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Australia will play host to awful League of Legends e-sports reality show

Tear your eyes away from the wackadoodle reality show we’re all living in right now: Riot Games has apparently sanctified a reality show for League of Legends to keep you amused. Are you not entertained?! As Eurogamer reports, the show is called The Next Gamer.

“Are you Australia’s next esports star? We’re on the lookout for League of Legends guns. One lucky player will win $10,000 and a contract with one of Australia’s biggest Esports teams. 40 contestants battle it out online over 5 action packed 5 days [sic] to win a spot in The Next Gamer house. 10 successful contestands will join the house in Sydney. Daily challenges and tournaments will test mental fortitude, physical fitness, and teamwork.”

This horror will go on for a week, at which time half the house will be eliminated and the remaining five will be completely destroyed by “Oceania’s top gaming teams,” culminating in a live finale event at which a single winner will be handed $10,000 and a half-year contract with “one of Australia’s best League of legends teams,” and how could that possibly go wrong?

Thanks, Australia.

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The Soapbox: Getting to the heart of toxicity in MMOs

So we’ve gotten another post from a developer saying that they’re going to really 100% be better about rooting out toxic players from their games. Seriously, we mean it this time. The latest one is from Blizzard, but let’s be real, this is something that’s always happened. We always get periodic statements from companies that this time they’re really going to address toxic behavior, someone links that inevitable Penny Arcade strip, nothing really changes, play laugh track, roll curtains.

I’d like to be happy about this, I really would, but it’s so much empty posturing, and it came out only shortly before the announcement that everyone who plays the game can now be signed to the Overwatch League. I think the two are pretty closely connected. And I think we need to actually start talking about this because this sort of darkly toxic problem is at the core of the designs of these games, even though on some level it’s entirely separate. The problem isn’t that these games are designed to be toxic; it’s that they’re designed to encourage toxicity.

Getting rid of individual toxic players, as Blizzard purports to do, is merely treating the symptom. We need to discuss the disease.

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RuneScape is a massive hit on Twitch

Time and again, we here at Massively OP have noted how RuneScape seems to be incredibly underestimated by the larger MMO community. For how popular it is, it never seems to get the respect and attention from the core MMORPG community that its online contemporaries do.

That is, until you head over to Twitch. According to the June viewing charts over on NewZoo, the fantasy MMORPG drew in an astounding 6.7 million hours of viewership over that month alone. This is enough to put it in 11th place, well ahead of titles like Destiny, Minecraft, Black Desert, and H1Z1: King of the Kill. It’s RuneScape’s world — we only watch it from afar.

The top 10 of the viewership chart is filled with the usual suspects, including much of Blizzard’s roster (World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, Overwatch, and Heroes of the Storm) and the dominant MOBAs of our time (League of Legends and Dota 2).

Source: NewZoo. Thanks Sally!

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Gigantic devs liken their graphics to candy and plastic toys

If you love to hate on brightly colored cartoony-stylized graphics of games like World of Warcraft, League of Legends, and even Wildstar, know that the tide’s against you.

So goes the argument of Motiga’s Vinod Rams, who compares MOBA Gigantic’s graphics to candy during a recent Gamasutra livestream. The idea, he says, was to combine styles popularized by Disney and Hayao Miyazaki with bright plastic toy looks rather than photorealism — and consequently, that Gigantic is in the Nintendo ARMS/Splatoon family of games because it looks like candy.

“You wanna reach in and grab one of these guys and just pop ’em in your mouth. Like… candy is completely engineered to entice you to pick it up. It’s an unnatural color sometimes. Why would I want to eat something that’s bright green?”

But of course, we do because it catches our attention.

The design conversation begins around 15 minutes into the video and resumes again around 35 minutes if you’d like to hear the whole thing.

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Riot Games files a lawsuit against the developer of an alleged League of Legends clone

Once upon a time, a studio named Riot Games made a game called League of Legends, which was essentially a Warcraft III map given some slight adjustments and a new coat of paint to avoid copyright infringement. Now, that studio is very successful because LoL made roughly all of the money ever printed, and it’s suing another developer on the basis of that studio skipping the “slight adjustments and new coat of paint” phase of the plan.

You can check out a trailer for Mobile Legends below, and… well, that does look similar, but it’s really up to the courts whether it’s similar enough to shut down the operation. It’s developed by Shanghai Moontown Technology and has already been removed and re-submitted from Google Play under a slightly different name. Time will tell if the lawsuit moves forward or not.

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The MOP Up: SMITE sees a Divine Light (July 9, 2017)

The MMO industry moves along at the speed of information, and sometimes we’re deluged with so much news here at Massively Overpowered that some of it gets backlogged. That’s why there’s The MOP Up: a weekly compilation of smaller MMO stories and videos that you won’t want to miss. Seen any good MMO news? Hit us up through our tips line!

This week we have stories and videos from Pokemon GoSplatoon 2Blade and SoulDragon’s Dogma OnlineClosers OnlineOverwatchVindictusMu OnlineWurm OnlineAstellia OnlineDofus PetsHellionSMITEStarCraftAionFinal Fantasy XI, and League of Legends, all waiting for you after the break!

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Chinese government attacks on Honour of Kings MOBA leads to child locks

You may not have heard of Honour of Kings, but that’s probably because you don’t live in China. It’s one of the most popular mobile MOBAs in the country, racking up an astounding 200 million players (50M of whom are monthly active users) since its launch in 2015. And it’s that popularity that has the government worried, with a state-owned newspaper calling the game a “drug” and “poison.”

In particular, the Chinese government is concerned that kids might be getting addicted to Tencent’s MOBA, hinting that regulations on the title should be imposed. Perhaps to get out in front of government interference, Tencent went ahead and slapped the game with a child lock. Now, kids under the age of 12 can play only an hour a day, and youth ages 12 through 18 are limited to two hours daily.

Tencent’s stock took a sizable hit from the government’s statements, falling 4% initially. The company also runs League of Legends in China and made $3.9 billion from gaming in Q1 2017. Honour of Kings will be coming to the west in September of this year.

Source: BBC, SCMP. Thanks CistaCista and Mysecretid!

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League of Legends increases prices in the UK over Brexit currency woes

Your pounds won’t carry you quite as far in League of Legends at this point. The game’s prices for Riot Points (i.e., the currency you use to purchase everything else in the game) will be increasing on July 25th by roughly 20%. Developer Riot Games has stated that this is in direct response to the falling value of the pound and its consistently lower value following the unexpected Brexit vote a year ago; while altering prices was hardly an original goal, after a year went by and the pound remained low, it was time to make the change.

The silver lining (of sorts) is that players should still receive the same points from a single purchase as they would if they converted from dollars to pounds and then purchased a point bundle, so it’s more about parity than just hurting gamers in the UK. Any points bought before July 25th will be unaffected, so if you want to stock up, now may be the time to do so.

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GTAV OpenIV modding continues, but Rockstar’s barred the Liberty City module

The Rockstar modding fiasco still isn’t over.

Back in June, Rockstar and TakeTwo began sending takedowns to the operators of modding tools of varying skeeviness, including OpenIV, a decade-old foundational toolset used by countless modders for the Grand Theft Auto series. The legal threats to a community staple, demands that cheater-centric mods donate their profits to charity, and dubious claim that the move was intended to protect Grand Theft Auto Online — which doesn’t allow mods to begin with — caused players to riot across the forums, Reddit, and Steam, where reviewbombing caused GTAV’s rating to plummet, in spite of Rockstar’s relatively noncommittal statement that the companies “generally will not take legal action against third-party projects involving Rockstar’s PC games that are single-player, non-commercial, and respect the intellectual property (IP) rights of third parties.”

The good news is that this means OpenIV is back in development. The bad news is that one of its biggest projects is toast.

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