Not So Massively: Dota 2 tickets sell out, Rust brings out the racists, and Grey Goo has population problems

    
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Tickets for the Dota 2 world championship, The International, sold out in a record 10 minutes and are now being resold by scalpers for up to $400 each. Bungie defended its lack of matchmaking tools by highlighting the benefits of self-organised communities in Destiny. Blizzard released a new video and interactive map detailing Heroes of the Storm‘s new Tomb of the Spider Queen game mode. World of Tanks scheduled a $300,000 competitive tournament in Poland next month, and Star Citizen passed the $77 million US crowdfunding mark.

An update to popular online survival game Rust gave each player a random and uneditable skin colour this week, prompting an increase in racist remarks within the community. Recently released online RTS Grey Goo looked back on its first month of release, with the game now suffering from rapidly declining player populations. Sins of a Dark Age added match replays and additional music in its latest update, and League of Legends deployed patch 5.6 with a series of small buffs for over 20 champions. And as thousands of players are completing the challenges in Path of Exile‘s Torment and Bloodlines race events, developers have rounded up a few videos of hardcore players getting stomped into the ground.

Read on for a detailed breakdown of the stories above and links to a few other stories from the wider world of online gaming.

Tickets for the upcoming Dota 2 world championship tournament, The International, have now gone on sale. Aaannnnd they’re gone. Tickets went on sale in two phases on March 27th for $99 each, with both phases reportedly selling out in a combined total of just ten minutes. Many players reported that they were unable to buy tickets even though they’d been waiting in the queue.

Scalpers have already been successfully re-selling the tickets on ebay for $300-$400 each. Buyers should be warned that those promising to transfer the tickets digitally through the Ticketmaster website will not be able to follow through, as Ticketmaster has confirmed that this year’s tickets are non-transferrable. Physical tickets will be sent to buyers in the US around six weeks before the event, however, and those may be transferrable.

destinyWhen Destiny launched, it was met with complaints over its lack of matchmaking features that console FPS gamers were used to. Bungie has consistently responded to player feedback in its regular dev updates and used public opinion to shape its priorities, but now it seems that the lack of matchmaking tools may have been intentional. Speaking to VG24/7 this week, Bungie’s Community Manager David “DeeJ” Dague argued that there’s no substitute for a pre-made team of players who have sought each other out and decided to work together.

Dague believes that the lack of matchmaking has contributed to Destiny’s strong community-building, with groups like “Dads of Destiny” and tools like DestinyLFG popping up due to the need to self-organise. Similar trends have been noticed in PC MMOs for years, with convenience grouping tools and dungeon queues often supplanting community-led efforts.

Blizzard released details of its upcoming Heroes of the Storm map Tomb of the Spider Queen, with the Battleground Overview video below to give a brief overview of the new game mode and an awesome interactive map demo to explain key map features. Both teams in this game mode compete to farm crystals from NPCs and feed them to the Spider Queen, who then deploys additional minions to help in your fight. Victory this game mode will rely on denying the opponent access to gems and killing players to make them drop their gems and lose their progress.

rusttitleOnline survival game Rust recently expanded with the addition of new character visuals, with interesting results. Characters are now given a randomly selected appearance, with the goal that characters will be sufficiently distinct from each other that you’ll be able to recognise someone by their face. Many players have complained that they’d like some degree of control over how their character looks, as right now they’re generated randomly for each player based on his or her Steam ID.

As the update includes multiple skin tones, many players are logging in to find that they’re playing a character of a different race than their own in real life. Developer Garry Newman reports that the use of racial slurs in-game has increased markely since the update, but he likewise said that players seem to be working together to hunt down racists. Newman recogised that this innocuous game update may have evolved into a social experiment, saying, “I would love nothing more than if playing a black guy in a game made a white guy appreciate what it was like to be a persecuted minority.”

Wargaming.net has unveiled plans for a massive World of Tanks e-sports event next month named Grand Finals 2015. The event will run from April 25th to 26th at EXPO XXI in Warsaw, Poland, and will see 12 top competitive teams battle for a slice of a $300,000 US prize pool. The event will be open to the public and will feature competitions and prizes for attendees, and the matches will be streamed live via the Wargaming.Net League EU twitch channel.

Star Citizen‘s crowdfunding campaign passed the $77 million US mark this week, raking in over $1.2 million US this week alone. Chris Roberts also answered 10 more fan questions on the 57th edition of Ten for the Chairman, confirming that there are no plans to add organic ships in the near future and that it will be possible to fly ships without a HUD if you’re insane enough to do so. Roberts also revealed more details on the various taxes and levies that will be in the final game, how players can change their ship transponder IDs to avoid detection, and environmental destruction in the FPS portion of the game.

sinsofadarkageEarly Access MOBA Sins of a Dark Age got a big update this week, adding game replays, Twitch stream ratings, and 25 additional minutes of in-game music. The patch also fixed a number of gameplay bugs and networking glitches, including a potential fix for the random lag spikes players have been experiencing.

greygooOnline RTS Grey Goo has now been released on Steam for just over a month, and the updates are still coming thick and fast. This week saw the release of the game’s first major balance patch and a new anime-style lore trailer called The Pull. Developer Petroglyph took the opportunity recently at PAX East to reflect on the game’s launch and talk a little about what’s to come.

Though the game has received a largely positive reception from both players and press, Steam Charts reports that fewer than 200 people now play simultaneously at peak times, down from its peak of 2,743 shortly after launch. Petroglyph hopes that numbers will rise once it releases dedicated online servers and starts to focus more heavily on e-sports.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qx0a6bRNwQI

The month-long Torment and Bloodlines race events have now begun in Path of Exile, and already thousands of players have completed at least one of the event challenges. To dispel the idea that this event is going to be easy with a full month to play, Grinding Gear Games has put together a list of just a few RIP videos from overconfident players who got turned into red splats on the ground.

Patch 5.6 also went live this week in League of Legends, rebalancing recently released champion Bard, improving high-level jungle XP, and delivering a spread of minor buffs and tweaks to over 20 neglected champions. In the patch rundown video below, game designer Feralpony and LCS analyst Zirene discuss the impact of the patch’s changes on jungling and why Nidalee wasn’t changed.

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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mbbrazen
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mbbrazen

DPandaren mbbrazen I wasn’t suggesting they were trying to address any problems, however it would be nice if developers did think more about how these issues impact their players who are not white. That is all.

Cyroselle
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Cyroselle

dirtyklingon Cyroselle DPandaren I wouldn’t really call it dead, but Blizzard’s death-grip really doesn’t help matters. They should just let people do fun things and run with it.

Cyroselle
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Cyroselle

dirtyklingon DPandaren IMO the beauty of SC2 isn’t the RTS you’re buying, it’s the editor and the neat things fans do with it. like space flight sims and diablo: 

DPandaren
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DPandaren

mbbrazen They weren’t really trying to address any kind of problem in the first place. They just thought it would be an interesting way to implement different skin tones into their game. The social commentary on the move spawned after people started to complain about it. Ideally they wanted to put in different skin tones, but know if they did that, the chances of players actually using them was low. You could look at the player stats for Mass Effect and see that most people just played with boring as heck default Male Shep for example.

mbbrazen
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mbbrazen

DPandaren mbbrazen  Oh I get that they thought they were on to something clever, but black players want to be able to develop characters that they can relate to, that  look like them, that they have molded. Assigning a random racial identity to every player does not address that problem. My point was that black players are already subjected to racial slurs and bad treatment, so having a company make a decision that increases the amount of racial slurs, even if unintentional, adds an additional level of discomfort to what can already be a tense game play experience.

Sorenthaz
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Sorenthaz

…And I realize now with the “I didn’t approve any of this!” bit from Thrall, that’s likely a joke calling to the fact that Chris Metzen is the voice behind him.

DPandaren
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DPandaren

mbbrazen I don’t think that’s entirely what’s happening here. A lot of people who are for it say that there’s a lot of games where minority groups are always forced to play games as a white character, or there’s a selection of skin tones to choose from (but in a few cases it doesn’t really matter, like in Dragon Age for example, in a bad way). In Rust, it’s reversing it and it’s doing it through a seemingly random algorithm. And it’s not just people with darker skin tones, there’s all sorts of poc tones that can be randomly applied.

DPandaren
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DPandaren

AilsaN10 The difference here is that once that character racial type has been hammered out in Rust, you’re stuck like that. The Ship is fun as heck though.

AilsaN10
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AilsaN10

This whole RUST thing is very curious. There is a multi-player game called The Ship where each player is given a quarry (another player) to kill while avoiding being killed. At the beginning of each round, you could spawn as any combination of age (young adult to elderly), race, and gender and no one seems to care.