Not So Massively: HoN’s Grimm Hunt, HEX’s 100k tourney, and Descent’s reboot

    
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It’s been a packed week in the world of online multiplayer gaming, with competitive tournament announcements, patches, and tons of new videos. Microsoft may be forced to remove monsters and combat from Minecraft in Turkey following a report by the country’s Social Policies Ministry. Competitive card game Hearthstone revealed a $3,000 invitational tournament among eight pre-selected pro players, while competing card game HEX announced its colossal $100,000 Frost Ring Arena tournament. SMITE followed up its recent Oceanic server release with a new competitive league for players from Australia and New Zealand and jumped to consoles with its Xbox One alpha.

Heroes of Newerth released a new objective-based game mode called The Grimm Hunt to liven up the standard MOBA gameplay with some new ideas. Destiny revealed some more details of what’s to come in patch 1.1.2, and Elite: Dangerous released its own patch 1.2 with the highly anticipated Wings multiplatyer feature. Star Citizen released a new trailer showing off the social module and how the various parts of the game will tie together in the persistent universe. Classic dogfighter Descent may get a reboot as Descent Underground if its ambitious $600,000 kickstarter succeeds.
League of Legends stopped its experimental Party Rewards feature that gave players bonus IP for queueing with their friends, and Path of Exile is running a special deal for St Patrick’s Day. Blizzard announced its new streaming awards in conjunction with Twitch. And Infinite Crisis‘ newest champion is Krypto, Superman’s genetically engineered canine friend.

minecraftEarlier this week, Eurogamer reported that the government of Turkey wants to ban Minecraft following a damning report from the country’s Social Policies Ministry. The report allegedly warned that the game would be socially isolating for children and encouraged them to act violently toward animals.

Turkish Embassy Press Counsellor Fatih Oke in Washington D.C. confirmed that the Social Policies Ministry doesn’t have the authority to ban a game and that there are no plans to ban Minecraft in the country. Instead, the Ministry may ask Microsoft to remove all monsters and combat from the Turkish version of the game or provide only the creative building mode.

hon-titlenewThe MOBA genre has been around long enough that the general formula is well understood by now, but that doesn’t mean innovation is dead. This week Heroes of Newerth revealed its new objective-based game mode The Grimm Hunt, which sees two teams compete to destroy magical constructs that spawn around the map. Each defeated construct will drop one item from the shop and grant the attacking team around 200-350 points, while each hero kill will be rewarded with only 50 points. Once a team accrues 5,000 points, the opposing team’s base becomes vulnerable to attack, and the team can destroy it to win the match.

The items dropped by constructs improve in quality as the game progresses, with basic items like boots and bottles at the start of the game and more powerful items like the Shrunken Head and Barrier Idol after the five-minute mark. Once the game hits 10 minutes, build-defining items such as the Hellflower, Frostwolf’s Skull, and even potentially a Doombringer will start to drop. The constructs carrying each item will scale up in power proportionally as the game progresses, and players will be able to trade items within their team to help put together a strategy.

hearthstone

Hearthstone officially turned one year old this week, and Blizzard encouraged players to share their favourite Hearthstone memories online and on social media. Players have expressed their disappointment at the lack of in-game celebrations, with many saying that they expected some kind of event or at least an anniversary card.

Livestreaming platform Azubu has teamed up with Razer to create the Hearthstone One Turn Kill Invitational Skirmish, a short tournament featuring eight of the world’s top players and $2,500 in prize money. The tournament starts tomorrow at 8 p.m. EDT and will continue on Thursday 19th at the same time.

hex2Crowdfunded online card game HEX: Shards of Fate announced its first competitive tournament with the $100,000 Frost Ring Arena. Everyone on the game’s North American or European servers will soon be able to earn qualifier points for the tournament by playing ranked matches. Thanks to Dylan for letting us know about this story!

Third-person MOBA SMITE recently expanded into Australia and New Zealand with the opening of a new Oceania server, and now it looks like a new Oceania Pro League is on the way. Hi-Rez Studios will be running a series of competitive tournaments throughout the year, with a grand final at PAX Australia in November. The tournament will also select the best teams in the Oceania region to advance to the world championship.

Following its success on the PC, SMITE‘s developers are also now looking at making the jump to consoles. The first Xbox One alpha started earlier this week and currently has the Arena, Siege and Joust 3v3 game modes. If you signed up to alpha test SMITE on the Xbox One, check your email to see if you’ve been invited.

descent-titleAs of the time of writing, the Descent: Underground Kickstarter stands at over $186,000 and 3,000 backers with a comfortable 25 days left on the clock. The fully licensed reboot of the classic Descent franchise aims to bring back the 6DoF dogfighter with modern graphics, destructible voxel-based maps, customisable ships, and online multiplayer. The newly created Descendent Studios has promised to stay true to the design of the original game and has been keen to clarify that it won’t be a MOBA and won’t be free-to-play.

Destiny‘s patch 1.1.2 is on the way, and this week developers teased us with a few details of the upcoming features. We’ll be getting more vault space to store raid loot in, a whole series of raid bugfixes, more audio and visual customisation options, and some changes to ammo crates in Crucible.

Star Citizen released a new trailer this week at the SxSW film festival showcasing work that has been done on the game’s ground combat, persistent universe, and upcoming social module. The trailer shows a ship docked in a hangar for repairs in the persistent game environment, while its pilot explores the planet’s bars, weapon stores, medical facilities and starship show rooms. The result is a kind of vision trailer showing for the first time how all the pieces of the Star Citizen puzzle may ultimately fit together.

Path of Exile is celebrating the most important holiday in the year tomorrow with its new St Patrick’s Day Mystery Box. The box costs 15 microtransaction coins (around $1.5 US) and contains a random green-themed cosmetic item worth at least 15 coins, such as a green weapon glow effect or frog pet. Grinding Gear Games also released a screenshot showing a few quality of life changes and user interface tweaks coming to the game in the next big update.

League of Legends released new champion Bard this week and ended its Party Rewards scheme. The experimental scheme gave players bonus IP for queueing with teammates in order to cut down on the number of people blaming their teammates for a poor game. The response from players has been pretty negative, with many saying that they didn’t get any bonus IP and others saying the bonuses were far smaller than advertised.

If you thought mecha wonder woman and giant telepathic squid monster Starro were mad champions, you’ll lose your mind over the latest Infinite Crisis hero. Krypto is superman’s genetically engineered Kryptonian dog and a powerful melee champion with some odd support abilities.

Krypto’s “Fetch!” skill tosses a bone to the target area, granting vision and allowing him to dash to the location, dealing damage and slowing enemies struck. Allies can also pick up the bone and throw it a second time, allowing him to dash twice as far into combat.

The Man’s Best Friend skill allows Krypto to rush to a target ally and create a protective shield around the target for a few seconds, and his On The Hunt skill releases a howl that reduces the attack speed of nearby enemies.

elitedangerousElite: Dangerous released patch 1.2 this week, adding the much-requested multiplayer wings feature, two new playable ships, and several other gameplay tweaks. The maximum loan you can take after destroying your ship without adequate insurance coverage has been increased to 600,000 credits, income from bounties and exploration has been increased to make it more competitive with trading, and players can now repair and reboot destroyed modules in space.

This update also changed the comms interface to automatically broadcast messages to all players in range in no target ship is selected, allowing players in the same combat area or space station to quickly chat with everyone in range. Check out the video below for instructions on how to form a wing and play with up to three other players.

inothernews

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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israel.kendall
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israel.kendall

I apologize for my vulgar language, now please buy my cards for gold.

nightbeard
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nightbeard

Phoey? That’s harsh. You kiss your mother with that mouth?

israel.kendall
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israel.kendall

nightbeard Hey man, you seem pretty misinformed to have been a kickstarter. Frost Ring arena brought the first real PVE content and is really just now letting people really progress for free. If you do not believe me, then message me and I will sell you, or anyone reading this, ANY card in HEX for gold (the F2P currency). AoD, CMK AA, anything. 

And if you want to sell your HEX cards for real money you are free to do so (many have and are doing so). And if you look at card values, there are more HEX cards commanding higher prices in the current set than any current MTG cards. So phooey on your “retain value”.

nightbeard
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nightbeard

Played mtg for years. kickstarted hex based upon the Cory hype train. When I saw the ticket system from modo and the cards like murder that even had the same name I was grossed out.
Hex made sure it had it’s monetization in place before consistently under delivering on over hyped vapor ware pve. The game isn’t remotely free to play at all.
I’ll stick with mTg. If they both charge money at least my mtg cards retain sell value for real money .

israel.kendall
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israel.kendall

HEX is an MTG rip off in the same way WoW is an Everquest rip off. It built upon what was already great and made it better. An MTG player will find HEX very familiar and easy to pick up,, but will also find it a very different and ultimately deeper game.
F2P players are already getting into drafting and things without having to spend any money. And the current F2P content is just the tip of the iceberg.

nightbeard
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nightbeard

Hex should have spent that 100k on making the game better than a mtgo ripoff

israel.kendall
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israel.kendall

You forgot the $$$ in the title it should read “HEX’s $100k Tourney”!

TheJewishMerp
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TheJewishMerp

Woah…I forgot about Heroes of Newerth…damn