Not So Massively: Hearthstone’s MagicAmy drama; Riot rules on SpectateFaker

    
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Riot Games President Marc Merill says he regrets comments made in the heat of the moment regarding the recent SpectateFaker controversy. Riot issued its ruling on the matter this week, confirming that it will take the stream down as Faker believes it’s harming his career. League of Legends also got a new champion this week with Bard, an odd new support champion who grows in power by collecting musical chimes that appear randomly on the map. Hearthstone was also rocked with its own scandal recently as players began aggressively investigating female competitive player Hyerim “MagicAmy” Lee over accusations that someone else was playing her tournament matches for her.

In lighter news, Blizzard announced that it will have a huge booth in March’s Intel Extreme Masters event and will be giving out Heroes of the Storm beta keys at the event. Infinite Crisis faces low player numbers as it closes down the Gotham Heights matchmaking queue. Diablo III players have found a way to power-level extremely quickly and have already broken the 800 paragon level barrier. Third person MOBA SMITE has released new goddess Bellona, the Ancient Roman Goddess of war. Destiny‘s patch 1.1.1 has now landed along with new goodies like mobile vault access and a new hardcore Inferno game mode. And mobile MOBA Vainglory released new mage hero Celeste as part of patch 1.2.0.

Read on for a detailed breakdown of this week’s news from popular online multiplayer games.

League of Legends‘ recent SpectateFaker drama came to an end this week as Riot Games has finally ruled that the stream will be shut down. The debate reached its peak when Riot president and co-founder Marc Merrill spoke out against streamer StarLordLucian and implied that he was bullying and harassing competitive player Faker. Merrill said this week that he regrets making those statements on Reddit in the heat of the moment and that the team has spent the week discussing all of the issues surrounding the SpectateFaker incident to come up with some sensible guidelines.

Riot has decided that while StarLordLucian wasn’t doing anything wrong and wasn’t in violation of the LoL terms of service, the stream was harmful to Faker’s brand and his career. This isn’t a blanket ruling, however, and cases of this nature will be judged individually based on whether there’s harm being done. In answer to the question of whether a player owns the rights to his or her gameplay, Merrill confirmed that Riot Games claims full ownership of all LoL gameplay and that Azubu’s DMCA takedown request against the SpectateFaker twitch account had no legal standing.

In lighter news, this week also saw the reveal of LoL‘s newest champion Bard, the Wandering Caretaker. Bard is a support character with a twist, gaining power by collecting magical chimes that spawn all across the map. Small spirits called Meeps will appear whenever Bard attacks, and the strength of these spirits depends on how many chimes the player has collected. Bard can also drop health packs for teammates and can create portals that allow him to instantly tunnel through walls, which should lead to some pretty unorthadox strategies.

hearthstone

Lately it seems as if there’s always controversy brewing in the online gaming scene, and Blizzard’s competitive card game Hearthstone is no exception. Accusations of fraud were recently levied against popular South Korean player Hyerim “MagicAmy” Lee, one of only a handful of female competitive players in the game. Player Specialist said that Hyerim approached him and asked him for his deck build, then used that build to achieve a high rank. He went on to accuse her (NSFW link) of not being a real girl and of allowing other people to play for her, arguing that she never streams and hasn’t been to any live events.

The drama reached boiling point when Hyerim reached the final of the ESL Hearthstone Legendary series as part of Team Tempo Storm only to withdraw from the live final due to last minute personal issues. Specialist, who was previously banned for win-trading in an attempt to game the Hearthstone rankings, then launched a huge Reddit thread claiming that Hyerim only pretended to be MagicAmy and that a Canadian player was playing the actual games. This sparked other players to come forward with their suspicions and stories of their dealings with Hyerim.

Tempo Storm owner Andrey “Reynad” Yanyuk condemned the Reddit community’s attacks on Hyerim as a witch hunt. Yanuk says that he spent three days investigating Hyerim and found no evidence to support the accusations against her. YanYuck discussed the event on a recent livestream (NSFW link) and called it “probably the biggest setback to getting women into esports.” Accusations of this type are not new to competitive gaming; a similar event occurred in StarCraft 2 several years ago in which player VeraLynn was found to be teamed up with a Romanian account booster. VeraLynn was outed with irrefutable evidence from in-game match replays, prompting her to admit to and apologise for her fraudulent behaviour.

Blizzard announced this week that Heroes of the Storm will make an attendance at Poland’s biggest e-sports event of the year. The Intel Extreme Masters event will take place in Katowice from March 13th to 15th and will feature events for Heroes of the Storm, StarCraft II, Hearthstone and more. Blizzard will be running a huge booth at the event with 60 PCs available for those who want to check out Heroes of the Storm and will be giving out beta keys to attendees. The key tournaments will be streamed live by ESL, and attendance at the event itself is free if you happen to find yourself in Poland on the weekend of March 13th.

If you’ve been playing Infinite Crisis, it can’t have escaped your notice that matchmaking queue times have become quite long. The matchmaking queue for control point based Gotham Heights map is due be officially shut down in an upcoming patch, but fans of the map want to keep it alive. Players have begun organising structured tournaments of the map in an effort to get people playing it more and have some fun at the same time.

It’s only been about a month since season two started in Diablo III, and some players are already beyond Paragon level 800. The increased levelling speed seems to be due to a change to how experience bonuses are calculated in greater rifts. The bonuses are now multiplicitive instead of additive, so you can get huge numbers by stacking gear with XP bonuses.

vainglory-titleThe MOBA genre has always been unapologetically aimed at hardcore PC gamers, with fast-paced competitive gameplay and frequent tournaments. That’s not the sort of thing you’d normally associate with a mobile game, but iOS MOBA Vainglory aims to change that with its touch-centric gameplay. The game looks graphically similar to League of Legends and has been redesigned for a touch screen interface, with each hero having only three abilities and communication handled through map pings rather than text and voice chat.

Update 1.2.0 went live this week, adding a new mage hero called Celeste with the abilities based on creating and controlling stars. Celeste can create small damaging stars on the battlefield with her Heliogenesis ability, then make them go supernova to extra deal damage in a large area. The patch also comes with 5 new tactical pings above the minimap for communicating with your team, notifications for when your friends come online, matchmaking improvements, and balance changes.

Bungie delivered Destiny‘s patch 1.1.1 this week as promised, and it turns out that there are a few extra features in the patch you might not have heard about. In addition to rebalancing several weapons and fixing bugs, the patch added mobile vault management to the game’s website. Now you can manage your vault from any web browser or mobile device in order to share items between characters.

Bungie is also releasing a new hardcore PvP game mode called Inferno that removes the tracker system to promote a stealthier and more tactical style of gameplay. The new game mode releases tomorrow; the first version will be limited to the Control game mode.

Following the recent start of its second competitive season and revamped game map, this week third-person MOBA SMITE added a new god to its roster. Bellona, the Ancient Roman goddess of war, is a powerful melee fighter and strong initiator. She can dash a short distance toward enemies using Shield Bash ability, dealing damage and slowing enemies hit. For each enemy god hit by the dash, Bellona then gains a stack of block, allowing her to block one basic attack.

Bellona can also switch her shield and sword for a massive warhammer by casting the Bludgeon ability, which summons the hammer and performs a huge area-effect attack with it. She can also switch to a scourge weapon by hitting enemies with her Scourge ability, which deals damage in a line and disarms enemies hit. Switching between weapons will be vital for playing Bellona effectively, as each one has a different special effect: Basic attacks with the scourge get extra range and every third hit heals Bellona; attacking with the hammer hits all enemies in melee range; and the sword and shield combo builds up stacks of block.

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, post a comment or send mail to brendan@massivelyop.com to let him know!
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MikedotFoster
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MikedotFoster

carson63000 Paint-to-win

MikedotFoster
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MikedotFoster

Nyphur DPandaren Worth noting that because of this disaster she left the Hearthstone community entirely (or had planned to). I personally know women who have done the same with Dota and StarCraft because of similar (but not this extreme) weirdness from male competitors/players. eSports might be the last tower to fall on the whole “acting like a decent community” thing gaming has been working on for the last decade.

GoJammit
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GoJammit

Nyphur GoJammit Queue up. You’ll probably be able to get an entire article written between matches.

Nyphur
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Nyphur

Rebel Engie carson63000 I would start playing SMITE again just to buy this as a skin. Epic find, Carson :D

Nyphur
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Nyphur

DPandaren Yeah. Regardless of whether the accusation that someone played her competitive matches for her turns out to be true or false, this whole thing was handled in an incredibly inappropriate and invasive manner. People were posting screenshots of private conversations they had with her, publishing her personal information, and playing internet detective to find any dirt that could discredit her. I don’t care what justification the folks on Reddit think they have for this, that behaviour is simply unconscionable.

Nyphur
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Nyphur

GoJammit I do recall covering strife once as part of the Heroes of Newerth segment. I think I wrote about how HoN players were raging about S2 potentially ditching their game to go work on another MOBA and how it’s a conflict of interest. I’ll admit I haven’t kept up with how Strife is doing and had forgotten about it, but I’ll add it to the list of games to check each week!

Nyphur
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Nyphur

Valkyriez I must admit, I was pretty surprised by the graphical quality of Vainglory and their web presence. I didn’t expect a mobile MOBA to do in-depth hero spotlight videos or high-quality concept artwork, so that was a pleasant surprise. It reminded me very much of Heroes of Newerth in its early days, which is when it was at its best.
Vainglory also has one huge thing going for it: No voice or text chat. It’s a lot harder to be toxic and abuse people when there’s no communication. That may be a negative point for solo players in what is essentially a team game, but they seem to be marketing it as a game to play as a group with your real life friends when you’re together. And since it’s on a tablet, that’s actually feasible. Will be interesting to see how well this one does and whether it comes out for other platforms.

Golden_Girl
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Golden_Girl

Sinaptic Golden_Girl That’s just natural instincts :-p

BriarGrey
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BriarGrey

I really wish we could get past the boy/girl mentality in life and just remember we’re all effing people and such.

boredinBC (aka Daniel James Clarke)
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boredinBC (aka Daniel James Clarke)

NoYou This video is obs fake.  Reynad doesn’t have a soul.