Welcome to Not So Massively, Massively Overpowered’s weekly roundup of all the news from the world of MOBAs, lobby-based games, and other online multiplayer games that aren’t quite MMOs. If this column looks familiar, that’s probably because back on Massively we had a similar column called Not So Massively. With the site’s rebirth, the column is back with a new name and full-featured coverage!
It’s been a bumper week for online gaming news, with Star Citizen announcing its new equipment rental scheme for Arena Commander and Destiny streaming its latest Raid dungeon at Crota’s End. Both SMITE and Path of Exile have announced the beginning of new competitive seasons, and League of Legends released Patch 5.3 with nerfs to Ahri and a new Nemesis Draft game mode. Blizzard revealed that the next playable character in Heroes of The Storm will be The Lost Vikings (yes, all three at once), and Infinite Crisis revealed new champion Katana. In more bizarre news, a Russian Diablo III player has managed to hit paragon level 1000 in hardcore mode, and Dota 2 faces intense community backlash to its Year Beast Brawl event.
Read on for a full breakdown of the week’s biggest online gaming news.
Chris Roberts revealed this week that a new equipment rental system is coming to the next version of Arena Commander. Instead of being limited to the ships and equipment they’ve bought with real cash, players will be able to grind up Rental Equipment Credits to buy temporary versions of items that last one week. Credits will start to be delivered in Arena Commander 1.1 as rewards for playing ranked matches of Squadron Battle, Battle Royale, New Horizons Raceway, and Capture the Core. Bonus credits will be available for completing various challenges, such as dodging missiles or raking in thousands of kills.
This week’s 31st episode of Star Citizen’s development roundup show Around the Verse talks to developers in Cloud Imperium’s studios around the world about what their corner of the dev team has been doing lately. Highlights of the episode include discussion of upcoming landing and hangar features for Arena Commander, a sneak peek at concept art for a new holotable display for your ships and weapons, and a hilarious top 10 bugs of the week segment.and a new Conquest map. The new map has a more dramatic visual overhaul that makes the difference between the order and chaos sides of the map a lot more pronounced, adds new animations for jungle camps, and offers a few small balance changes. The duo lane buff has been replaced with an attack speed power buff, and the fire giants have been given all new abilities.
The big changes for Season 2 are to items and god balance. Several boot items have been rebalanced, and several completely new items have been introduced to shake up the meta game. Shield of the Underworld can be activated to reflect 40% of your damage taken back at the attacker for five seconds, while Achilles’ Spear can be activated for a five second boost to attack speed, lifesteal, and movement speed at the cost of taking 30% more damage. Other new items include a mace called The Crusher that stacks an attack bonus on hitting towers, and the cost-effective the mana-regenerating Bluestone Pendant.
Path of Exile celebrates the start of its eleventh competitive season this week, which runs from February 15th to March 14th and features some pretty awesome prizes. The signature event type during this season is the ominously named “65 Minute Fixed Seed Unwavering event” in which participants have just over an hour to get as far into the game as possible solo and with one life.
The Unwavering modifier on this event gives every monster increased health and immunity to stuns, increasing the difficulty significantly when compared to the normal game. The Fixed Seed modifier means that every player will experience the exact same map layout and NPC spawns, so it may be possible to coordinate with players to avoid dying to the same enemies they did. If that’s not your cup of tea, there are plenty of other event types scheduled throughout the month, and you can earn points toward winning prizes just by staying alive and reaching a certain level.
League of Legends released Patch 5.3 this week in preparation for its Lunar Revel event. Ahri recieved a small nerf in the form of increased mana costs to Orb of Deception and decreased damage and range on Fox Fire, and Kassadin’s Null Sphere damage was reduced by 10 at each rank. It’s not all nerfs, though, as Gragas gets a significant buff to the slow from Barrel Roll, Diana’s shield will now proc faster, and Varus’ Chains of Corruption has been increased in width to make it easier to hit with.
If you’re bored of playing the same old game modes over and over again, you might want to check out the new Nemesis Draft featured game mode. Nemesis Draft is just like a standard 5v5 Summoner’s Rift match except that you pick the enemy team’s champions, not your own. You can pick from any champion anyone on your team has, so now you might have an incentive to pick up some of those awful champions everyone hates to play.
DC Comics based MOBA Infinite Crisis revealed its next champion this week, the Japanese assassin Katana. Wielding a magic glade called the soultaker, Katana is a high-mobility damage-dealer who can deal significant burst damage. Her Slash ability deals damage in a cone, while Cross Step can be used with good timing to either dodge past enemy attacks or jump into range to strike.
Katana’s unique ability is that each cast of Slash or Cross Step will build up stacks of a buff, which can be unleashed as powerful finishing moves with her Kendo ability. Building up Slash charges allows her to unleash an arc projectile that passes through enemies, while charges of Cross Step allow her to shadow step and become temporarily immune to disables. Katana may be a tricky champion to master with a complicated move set but has the potential to deal a lot of damage.
Remember when Diablo III removed the limit on how many paragon levels a player could get and people started speculating on how long it would be before someone hit level 1000? About 108 people have now passed the 1000 paragon level mark, but it’s taken until now for anyone to accomplish it in Hardcore mode without dying. The feat was accomplished this week by Russian Demon Hunter Nokieka.
Diablo III’s first competitive ladder season recently drew to a close, and the second season officially has officially gone live in all gameplay regions. If you’ve been itching to play Diablo III or just fancy checking out how the game has changed since you last played, the new ladder reset is as good an excuse as any to start a new character and check the game out from scratch.
If you fondly remember The Lost Vikings on the Commodore Amiga or other early platforms, you’re going to absolutely lose your mind over the latest addition to Blizzard’s MOBA Heroes of the Storm. Olaf, Baleog, and Erik are effectively combined into one hero, but they can move independently and can be killed and respawn separately. Coordinating three characters at once is a tough task for any MOBA player but opens a lot of strategic options.
Dota 2 hit a huge milestone this week as it passed the one million concurrent player mark on Steam, becoming the first game ever to do so. This landmark moment comes as Dota 2 celebrates its New Bloom festival with the Year Beast Brawl Event, a unique twist on the standard 5v5 Dota 2 match that gives each team a powerful beast ally. A new beast will spawn for each team every five minutes, and players can use ability points to give their beast bonuses to support, combat, or speed. This mechanic has sparked fierce blackash from the community, however, as ability points are acquired by purchasing particular skins and they can be bought directly for cash.
If you’ve been following the development of Bungie’s almost-MMOFPS Destiny, you’ll know that developers have been working on expanding the game’s MMO elements with the addition of new six-player dungeons that they’re calling raids. If you’ve ever wondered what happens when you mix Halo with World of Warcraft, check out the video below of developers streaming the new raid Crota’s End:the Anniversary Bash Chained Operation, with each part setting a challenge and giving the player a nice reward. You can win silver, repair kits, and even a few days of premium subscription for your account.