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.
When 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.
Online 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 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.
Early 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.
Online 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.
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.
- Google’s augmented reality game Ingress may soon get its own TV show.
- The popular Android game SoulCraft has now entered the MOBA universe with Heroes of SoulCraft, a cross-platform game that allows mobile and PC players to play together.
- Popular iOS city-building game Forge of Empires is now available on Android.
- Infinite Crisis officially launched this week on Steam
- Elite: Dangerous launched a competition to win a new NVIDIA GeForce Titan GPU.
- Old-school DotA released V6.83C this week, with small balance tweaks to Juggernaut and Axe.
- Hearthstone‘s Blackrock Mountain expansion launches in April 3rd
- Mobile MOBA Vainglory revealed its upcoming champion Vox, the Mobile Sniper.