Not So Massively: D3’s ladder reset, HOTS’ team league mode, and Starfall Tactics

    
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Diablo III is getting ready to close its second ladder only two months in on April 5th but will be providing a 100% gold and XP boost for the remainder of the season. Blizzard discussed how the development of Project Titan led to its new online FPS Overwatch and revealed that the title will be the first of a series of games set in the same universe. Path of Exile‘s Torment and Bloodlines leagues ended today, and a tournament this weekend awarded four of the game’s top players with some nice Alienware swag.

Indie RTS Starfall Tactics announced its intention to develop a persistent online shard in which players can wage wars and conquer each other’s territories. Riot Games announced a new contest in the EU region that will give university-based League of Legends clubs €1,500 toward the costs of running an event. Warframe‘s massive Sanctuary update landed this week, introducing new quests, weapons, tons of bugfixes, and the Chroma warframe. And Blizzard announced an upcoming Team League mode for Heroes of the Storm that aims to let everyone take part in competitive team play.

Read on for a detailed breakdown of the stories above and a roundup of all the other big news this week from the wider world of not-quite-massive online gaming.

Diablo III‘s second ladder season will come to an end on Sunday, April 5th, with season three due to begin the following week on April 10th. When the season ends, all seasonal characters will be converted to non-seasonal, and any gold and items in their possession will also be transferred. Paragon XP accrued will be combined with non-seasonal paragon XP to calculate new levels. Items in your stash will be sent to your non-seasonal mailbox, so remember to log in and collect them.

Before season three begins, rewards of exclusive cosmetic items for transmogrification will be given out to players based on their attained level and number of achievement points. Finally, on April 10th, all the seasonal leaderboards will be wiped and season three can officially begin. If you haven’t reached level 70 or are still going after achievement points to unlock the season’s rewards, don’t worry because all characters now have a 100% gold and XP bonus until the end of the season.

overwatch3If you’ve been keeping an eye on Blizzard lately, you’ll have noticed how much weight the company has been putting behind its new projects. Polygon has recently spoke with Blizzard’s Jeff Kaplan about how the project got started and where it’s heading.

Overwatch stumbled out from the remains of Project Titan, a game that was reportedly equal parts Destiny and vapourware. Speaking about the phenomenal and unexpected success of Hearthstone, Kaplan said that Blizzard had to learn that “not every game can be World of Warcraft” and that “sometimes it is OK to have a smaller, self-contained game.”

Kaplan also revealed that Overwatch will be the first game of a whole new IP and universe, with more titles to eventually follow. The dev team is now focused on creating an interesting future Earth at a time global crisis and populating it with likeable heroes.

Play Path of Exile and win prizes? That’s the message from this week’s Competitive Season Invitational tournament. Players have competed for in-game prizes before in PoE’s previous seasons, but this time a set of shiny new Alienware Alpha consoles were on the line. Top players faced off this past weekend in a PvP tournament and level race invitational in the EU and US regions, and four winners emerged victorious. Players Roshak, Dsfarblarwaggle, Throzz and lPeeps each walked away with an Alienware Alpha, a TactX keyboard, and a TactX gaming mouse.

The month long Torment and Bloodlines leagues ended just a few hours ago, but your league characters are safe! Grinding Gear Games has transferred all characters, gear, and hideouts from the completed leagues to the Standard and Hardcore leagues.starfalltactics-ittleRussian indie developer Snowforged Entertainment announced this week that its upcoming RTS Starfall Tactics will feature a persistent online shard. The core gameplay of Starfall Tactics involves designing and building fleets of ships to conquer territory, and the persistent shard will extend this further. Players will reportedly be able to send fleets out into unexplored space, discover new planets, mine asteroids, and even claim sectors of space in the outer regions. Starfall Tactics is powered by Unreal Engine 4 and is currently in a pre-alpha development state, with an estimated release window of 2016.

leagueoflegendsDoes your university have its own League of Legends club that wants to run a flashy event or tournament? If you’re in Europe and register your university’s LoL society with Riot Games by April 2nd, you can enter a competition to win €1,500 toward your dream LoL event. The winners of the competition will be selected by Riot using judging conditions such as efficiency, the size of the audience you’ll reach, whether you have a well-planned budget, and how innovative your event idea is. To get an idea of the kinds of events Riot has in mind, check out the video below of one successfully run budget LoL event.

warframeWarframe‘s Sanctuary update landed this week, and it looks like it was well worth the wait! Players got their hands on two awesome new weapons: the Ripkas motorised saw fists (yes, saw fists), and a hand shotgun called the Kohmak that increases its volley with successive shots. A ton of new Conclave Mods and Ability Augment Mods are also now available, and the list of bugfixes and general gameplay updates is huge.

The patch also saw the release of a brand new Cephalon Capture PvP game mode and a pile of improvements as part of PvP 2.0. As if that’s not enough, a new Warframe called the Chroma has arrived, and new missions and quests stand ready to be completed. [Thanks, Kenny!]

heroesofthestormBlizzard announced that a new Team League game mode is on the way for Heroes of the Storm‘s ranked matchmaking. The mode will allow you to create and name persistent teams of five players and compete with other teams for a spot in the top rankings, in line with how MOBAs tend to be played competitively. You’ll have to spend 1,000 gold to form a team, and each member will need a level 40 account with at least 10 heroes unlocked.

Your group must play together to enter the queue as a team and gain ranked standing, but the good news is that you can have up to nine members in a team and just select five when you queue. You can also be in multiple teams at once, so you’re not stuck with an inactive team of one or more of the members leaves. Team ranks will start at 50 and adjust upward or downward based on successes and failures, and a new UI screen will track your team’s stats.

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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Frosty90
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Frosty90

Warframe’s is just going down and down, they do not really know what to get into the game to make it more playable. It is just getting worst and worst with each update.

Warframe Platinum Generator – Get Free Platinum

Sorenthaz
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Sorenthaz

Siphaed  Stealing ideas and designs?  What?
And the article covered 3 Blizzard games.  Out of the 7 highlighted, 4 were non-Blizzard games.  The remaining 6 are also non-Blizzard games. They didn’t even cover Starcraft 2 in this article (which had a bit of a patch I guess) nor did they touch Hearthstone (if there was any real news this week for it).

So it’s more like “3 Blizzard games and Warframe, Smite, DotA 2, League of Legends, Starfall Tactics…”

Blizzard has toyed around with the idea of a shooter for a very long time now. Starcraft: Ghost was the first attempt, followed by Titan (if it was partially like Destiny), and now like… what, ~12.5 years later after the initial announcement of SC: Ghost (September 2002)?  They’re finally getting a shooter out, and one that actually establishes a brand new IP that isn’t Warcraft, Diablo, or Starcraft.  They’ve essentially been working on trying to get into the online shooter market for nearly 13 years.  And it’s been nearly 17 years since that came up with a new IP that isn’t part of the trifecta that they established very well.

In the meantime, they pulled out a massively successful Warcraft-styled Virtual TCG that’s their first venture into F2P territory.    Which was a very smart move to create after the WoW Trading Card Game (which has been out since October 2005) was kind of a meh-ish success and was mostly popular ’cause of its loot cards.  Hearthstone is basically the TCG in video game form with some major tweaks and changes to make it easier to pick up and play.   

Heroes of the Storm was simply going to be a Starcraft 2 DotA Allstars-styled map initially, mostly as a way to show people the capabilities of SC2’s Galaxy Editor (which had lukewarm reception compared to Warcraft 3’s map editor, hence why they turned it into the SC2 Arcade and made it free for everyone to play Custom SC2 maps without the need to buy SC2).   They started working on it in 2010 as “Blizzard DOTA”.   League of Legends had only been out for around a year at that time, and DotA 2’s development had only started in 2009 as well.    Once they saw the success of LoL and the build-up around DotA 2 though they of course did a sensible move to turn it into a standalone MOBA.   And they’ve done a great job on putting unique spins on it, imo, and making it casual-friendly and much more team-focused than other MOBAs.  

You must be sipping on some strong haterade if you’re tunnel visioning through the article that hard. 

And yeah I realize this is all falling on deaf ears, but just putting these things out on the table.   These are all pretty natural moves by Blizzard if you look at their history and what led up to them.  And Blizzard gets mad props for managing to be successful with them, considering other developers are lucky if they manage to get a single successful title/IP under their belt.

Sorenthaz
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Sorenthaz

That Warframe preview of Chroma seems slightly off… considering the fact that for half of the abilities it showed the Excalibur warframe as a placeholder, lol…  guess they rushed that one out a bit too fast.

Nyphur
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Nyphur

Siphaed It’s true, Blizzard is working on a lot of online games in other genres now but who can blame them after Titan failed to live up to dev expectations and a relatively simple to create game like Hearthstone became this huge competitive phenomenon? That’s also kind of Blizzard’s thing, they come into an existing genre and try to build a better and more polished game of their own. Seems to be working well for them so far, and as consumers we get better game to play.

carson63000
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carson63000

Siphaed If their games aren’t as good as the competition, they will fail. If they’re better than the competition.. well, what are you complaining about? We get a better game.

BalsBigBrother
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BalsBigBrother

Diablo 3 season 2 broke my mouse, too much clicky clicky and now  my mouse button is sticky sticky :-(

TheFlameCrow
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TheFlameCrow

Will you guys add DFO to this section? :D It certainly fits for this section.

Damonvile
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Damonvile

Siphaed well yes, it’s called diversifying. Titan was going to be an attempt to topple it’s own giant, and they saw that. They have no reason to put everything into bringing down their own cash cow. There was no winning that scenario and wow obviously isn’t going anywhere. What they’ve done now is used their IPs to make popular games in every genre, and they did it the same way they’ve always done it. Improve on what’s already out there. To me that’s smart.

As for it being all about blizzard, I think that’s just you. I skipped past the blizzard stuff :)

Siphaed
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Siphaed

Is it just me or is Blizzard trying to claw and bite its way into as many genres as possible?  Stealing ideas and designs from other companies to push its own products as “king” while simultaneously saturating said products with its own established IPs to market on fans drooling over sameness? MOBAs (Heroes of the Storm), Strategy games (Star Craft II), Dungeon crawlers (Diablo III), MMOs (WoW), and FP shooters (Overwatch).   The whole article read as:  “Blizzard, Blizzard, Blizzard, some other game, Blizzard”.   UGH!.

SkyyDragonn
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SkyyDragonn

whoa, lot of good news in this article. Will have to take time to read it all proper later tonight.