Not So Massively: LoL’s streaming controversy, Star Citizen’s mining, and Diablo III’s microtransactions

    
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The League of Legends community is in an uproar this week over a dispute regarding who owns the gameplay in a League of Legends match and who has the legal right to stream it. Riot Games President and Co-Founder Marc Merrill even suggested that players broadcasting professional player Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok’s public matches may constitute bullying, harassment or e-stalking. The rest of the MOBA genre has been pretty sedate this week, as Sins of a Dark Age approaches the first anniversary of its Steam Early Access release and South Korean MOBA Chaos Heroes Online is closing its doors just months after officially launching.

Star Citizen described its complex designs for immersive asteroid mining gameplay with separate minigames for mining beam control, asteroid scanning, and pulling in rock fragments with a tractor beam. Bungie warned against the dangers of using the PS4’s Share Play feature after an 11-year-old kid had his Destiny characters deleted by a troll. Path of Exile is getting a fully localised Russian release complete with a local realm and full voice acting. And Diablo III‘s patch 2.2.0 is set to boost several legendary item sets, improve the randomness of Nephalem Rifts, add new treasure goblins, and more. Asian servers will also get a new microtransaction system, though Blizzard says there are no plans yet to release microtransactions in Diablo III’s US or EU realms.

The League of Legends community was hit with some controversy this week over whether players have the right to control how video of their matches is used. Professional LoL player Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok frequently streams his matches on Azubu TV, a livestreaming service that’s been trying to displace Twitch as the main place to watch LoL streams for some time. As the majority of viewers are on Twitch, a player recently decided to watch Faker’s matches using the in-game spectate feature and then stream that. It wasn’t long before the SpectateFaker Twitch account was pulling in over ten times as many views than the official stream.

The controversy reached its peak when Azubu TV issued a DMCA takedown notice to Twitch, claiming that it owned the content in SpectateFaker’s stream and he was stealing it. The problem with that was that SpectateFaker was not rebroadcasting content that Azubu made but was instead creating its own stream of the same publically spectatable match. There’s also the question of whether Azubu or Riot Games owns the copyright for the footage of LoL gameplay in the stream.

The SpectateFaker account was unblocked and its creator StarLordLucian has vowed to continue the stream until he’s hit with a DMCA request from Riot Games itself. Riot President and Co-founder Marc Merrill has said that repeatedly streaming Faker’s matches without permission may consitute harassment and bullying against him and that Riot may need to re-evaluate its rules to protect players against what he calls e-stalking. Whatever action Riot takes could have far-reaching implications for the question of who actually owns the creative rights to the actual gameplay in videos or livestreams of games — the developer or the player? Travis at onGamers summarised the issue nicely in the video below.

Mining in most sci-fi games is a profitable but thoroughly boring activity. Hoovering up asteroids may be profitable and an important part of the economic supply chain, but it’s hardly most exciting career for a would-be starship pilot. This week, Star Citizen revealed its extensive plans for mining that it hopes will add teamwork, immersion, and some exploration gameplay to the process. Some asteroid fields will be public knowledge just as in EVE Online, while others will have to be hunted down by explorers or their locations bought from information dealers.

Once a suitable asteroid field is found, a scan operator will have to launch manually targetted probes into individual asteroids to determine their compostions. A player acting as the Beam Operator will then have to manually target the asteroid and carefully control his mining beam’s power output to avoid overheating the asteroid and destroying the ore inside. Each mineral has its own unique thermal conductivity stats, the goal being to make common materials easy to mine but to make valuable minerals require scalpel-like precision to excise. As if that weren’t complicated enough, your laser also generates seismic activity that must also be controlled to prevent the asteroid exploding in your face.

With asteroid fragments floating through space, you’ll next need someone manning the attractor and repulsor beams to sort the minerals from the garbage, and then also a refinery operator who can extract the small volume of minerals from tons of useless rock. That’s four separate jobs required just to hoover up a few asteroids, but thankfully you’ll be able to hire NPCs to do the jobs you don’t want to.

With online games, we’re always warned about avoiding trolls and the dangers of sharing personal information and login details, but what happens when trolls can take direct control of your game right in front of your eyes? That’s the nightmare that came true for one 11-year-old Destiny player recently, who let another player access his game and came back to find his two highest-level characters had been permanently deleted. George used the PlayStation 4’s Share Play feature to give a control of his console to a friend he’d made in the game. He stepped away from his console for just a few minutes and came back to find two high-level characters missing.

George was livestreaming at the time and sent a video of the event to Bungie, but developers told him that it was against their policies to interfere. Bungie has since said that it has some ideas for how to make mistakes like this less permanent in the future. The heartbreaking footage of the event was released publicly on YouTube [since deleted by author -Eds], and there has been considerable online backlash against player KirmitTHEfrog, the owner of the offending account; he claims that he wasn’t at his console at the time and has no idea who is responsible.

Path of Exile developer Grinding Gear Games announced a partnership with publisher Garena Russia this week that will bring a fully localised Russian game client and server realm to life. The Russian version of the game is scheduled to enter open beta on May 1st and will be the first non-English localised version with full voice acting. If you have any burning questions about Path of Exile, the developers at Grinding Gear Games are also running a question and answer session right now on their forums. The team will pick the best questions from the 40 page thread (and growing) and answer them all in a news article on Wednesday.

Patch 2.2.0 is on its way for Diablo III, and it’s a big one. In addition to adding six new gear sets, the patch will add bonuses to iconic legendary gear sets like Tal Rasha’s Elements, Natalya’s Vengeance, and Immortal King’s Call. Nephalem Rifts and Greater Rifts will be getting an overhaul to make the layouts more random and three new tilesets will give them more replayability. Over 20 new bounties will be added throughout the game for those playing in exploration mode, and three new variations on the treasure goblin will keep players on their toes.

The patch is light on balance changes but promises several quality-of-life improvements for those sinking long nights into the game. It was also revealed this week that the patch will add microtransactions to the Asian version of Diablo III, which looks like it’ll be selling everything from cosmetic items and stash space expansions to time-limited experience boosts. While there are no immediate plans to release similar microtransactions in the US and EU realms, Blizzard hasn’t ruled out adding them in the future.

chaosheroesonlineOver the past few years, it seems as if every studio tried its hand at making a free-toplay MOBA. South Korean developer Neoact threw its hat into the ring last year with the launch of Chaos Heroes Online, a standalone successor to the Korean Warcraft 3 map adaptation DotA:Chaos. Unfortunately, the game received mixed reviews and never reached the player numbers it needed to be sustainable, prompting publisher Aeria Games to pull the plug. The servers officially shut down this week, and all cash spent in the cash store has been refunded as credit to players’ Aeria Games accounts.

sinsofadarkageA little under two years ago, developer Ironclad Games announced its upcoming MOBA Sins of a Dark Age, which aims to improve the genre’s classic gameplay through the addition of its unique Realm Quest feature. We’re now approaching the one-year anniversary of Sins of a Dark Age‘s launch on Steam Early Access, and it looks like development is still ongoing.

This week saw the release of update 34, which added a new quest and several new items, tweaked the balance of some champions, and saw the launch of new servers in Russia and Australia. Reviews on the game so far have been mixed, with a lot of praise for the gameplay and quest feature but a chronic lack of active players making it difficult to get a match. Ironclad plans to release Sins of a Dark Age as a free-to-play title, which will hopefully solve the problem of not having enough players.

Every week, Brendan Drain scours the net to bring you all the latest news from from the world of MOBAs, lobby-based games, and other online multiplayer games that aren’t quite MMOs in Not So Massively. If there’s anything you want to see covered here, drop me a comment or send mail to brendan@massivelyop.com and let me know!
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