We’ve got a fun roundup of Blizzard’s doings, so let’s get started! The studio is selling a new “Shadow” fox pet with adorably huge ears for $10 in World of Warcraft’s
cash shop. So why is this special? Because the studio is donating all profits to charity
to benefit the victims of the current hurricane season.
“For every Shadow pet purchased between September 12, 2017 and December 31, 2017, 100% of the adoption fee will be split equally between American Red Cross Disaster Relief and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Disaster Relief Fund to assist with relief efforts around the world,” the studio said.
Moving on to Overwatch, the devs are busy putting the final touches on the game’s newest map. Junkertown is coming on September 19th to all platforms, but you can get a preview of the map right now.
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.
Dota 2’s The International 7 tournament is over, having concluded this weekend by crowning EU group Team Liquid — which arrived to the finals by way of the loser’s bracket — champions. Liquid walks off with over $10M in earnings.
But perhaps the most interesting bit for folks who don’t follow Dota 2 closely came on Friday when the ubiquitous Elon Musk revealed his company’s Dota 2 bot, which he says learned a lifetime’s worth of game skills in just two weeks. To prove it, he pitted the bot against pro player Danylo “Dendi” Ishutin in a demo match… and the bot won easily twice.
Lest you think Musk has aims to take over the world, recall that his company OpenAI was founded to stop the AI from taking over the world, meaning this demo was ostensibly another high-profile attempt to provoke regulation.
If you haven’t figured it out, Shroud of the Avatar and Ultima Online’s Richard Garriott is on a press tour lately for his new memoir, Explore/Create, in which he talks about his interesting life of video game development, adventuring, and even space travel.
As part of that tour, Garriott penned a piece for NBC news in which he goes more in depth about his stint as an astronaut that was sent up to the International Space Station in 2008. While the game designer paid a large sum of money for the privilege of the space flight, he pushed back hard against any suggestion that he was nothing more than a tourist.
“Please don’t call me a ‘space tourist,'” he wrote. “I was not a tourist. I got the same training NASA (and Russian) astronauts get. In orbit, I worked hard to complete those experiments both to offset the high cost of my flight and, more important, to build the businesses that will take me (and you) back to space and ultimately help humanity escape the cradle of our existence.”
When it comes to financial reports, there’s always one word that every investor wants to see: growth. And for those that read Perfect World’s 2016 annual report, that’s exactly what they saw.
The international publisher, which operates titles as diverse as Dota 2 (in China) and Star Trek Online as well as other media properties, reported that it had a very good year, raking in 6.1 billion yuan over the course of 2016. Its gaming division was responsible for over two-thirds of this revenue and an impressive 25% growth compared to 2015.
What’s interesting here is that while PC game sales remained relatively stable and flat, it was the mobile market that was the driving force behind this increase in Perfect World’s income. This means that we can expect to see the company put an even higher priority on developing and publishing mobile titles in the future.
Valve’s Gabe Newell and Erik Johnson have confirmed that the company is working on a trio of VR-centric games, not cheapie experiments but full-scale games built in Unity and its own proprietary Source 2 engine. The discussion came as part of a press briefing in Seattle last night.
Newell also commented at length on the U.S. government’s travel ban, which was once again blocked by the courts yesterday. He explained that Valve employees have been directly affected by the ban, people who’ve “been here for years” and “pay taxes” but can’t leave the country to visit relatives or attend events overseas lest they become unwittingly entangled or trapped far from home.
Newell and Johnson further said that the ban (and the threat of its return in one form or another) also affects their ability to hire and their ability to host international e-sports competitions, as many pro players already had difficulty securing work visas. Consequently, the duo say they’d consider hosting the big-money Dota 2 The International tourney out of the U.S. if necessary.
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 get a special preview of Elder Scrolls Online’s Cradle of Shadows dungeon. We’ve got that plus stories and videos from EverQuest II, Marvel Heroes, Dota 2, Das Tal, and more, all waiting for you after the break!
DOTA 2’s huge annual tournament, The International, is coming to Seattle this August, and tickets for the popular event are going on sale next week.
The International will be held at Seattle’s Key Arena from August 8th through the 13th. Tickets for the tournament have been split up into two types: mid-week (August 8th through 11th, $75) and finals (August 12th and 13th, $100). There are no assigned seats and no VIP tickets this year.
Valve is taking pity on those who can’t splurge on both tickets: “For fans with only the midweek ticket, we’re also providing a free large outdoor viewing area on the Key Arena grounds where you’ll be able to watch the final two days.” The company is also giving away some in-game items during the event to lucky attendees.
The international trailer for this summer’s Warcraft feature film is now out, and it contains a few new shots interspersed with scenes we’ve seen before. It’s still squee-worthy, especially if you’ve been waiting for years to see World of Warcraft up there on the big screen.
Blizzard Watch has a breakdown of some of the images you’re seeing, including Karazhan exploding, Medivh and Khadgar enjoying some bonding time, and the mighty staff of Atiesh being all stick-like and impressive.
So load up on some popcorn (but not too much, this is only a minute long), sit back, and enjoy the latest trailer after the jump!
Back in 2011, our former corporate overlords at Massively-of-old noticed that games like League of Legends were getting pretty damn popular and asked us to work them into the site. In order to incorporate them into an MMO blog without disrupting the existing MMO news coverage, we decided to put all of the news on games that may not fit the MMO definition into a new roundup-style column called Not So Massively. In the years that followed, the column kept track of dozens of online games in various stages of development, watched the MOBA genre mature, saw many games plod slowly into an early grave, and witnessed the e-sports explosion on a weekly basis.
It’s no secret that online gaming has been trending away from the persistent online universes of MMOs and into the shorter session-based gameplay of MOBAs, action RPGs and first person shooters. With gaming preferences changing, it wasn’t long before Not So Massively became oversaturated with news each week and began drawing more traffic than some of the MMO news. Naturally, we’ve now adapted and started rolling MOBAs and other online games into our everyday news coverage. As we hit the end of 2015 and approach almost a full year since Massively was reborn independently as MassivelyOP, I’d like to look back at the past year and highlight the top ten most surprising and controversial Not So Massively stories of 2015 in no particular order.
Tree of Savior players in Singapore and Malaysia have a serious, deadly, world-shattering choice to make.
OK, it’s not that dire, although it is a little interesting. IMC Games said that it is allowing players from those countries to choose from one of two servers and their operators. The first choice is rolling on the international English server through Steam, while the second is on Indonesia’s English server run by Gemscool.
Tree of Savior begins its Korean open beta test on Thursday.
Online gaming and e-sports are getting bigger by the day, and there are literally hundreds of popular online games out there that don’t really fit into the MMO category. Join me each week for Not So Massively, where I gather together the top stories from the biggest MOBAs, competitive card games, first person shooters, and other popular online games in one place.
The big story this week is that the ongoing drama surrounding Star Citizen has now reached boiling point as Cloud Imperium Games is now threatening to sue The Escapist Magazine unless its demands are met. Dota 2 players are up in arms over details of the new Fall digital compendium, and player activity has dropped by 16%. We also have some awesome new characters from SMITE and Heroes of the Storm, a hacking rumour from Splatoon, a $70,000 prize pool for mobile MOBA Vainglory, and Jagex’s Block N Load is now free-to-play!
If there’s a game or story you’d like to see covered in next week’s Not So Massively, please drop us a tip and let us know.
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!