Not So Massively: Descent’s Kickstarter woes; Heroes of the Storm’s $450K tourney blunder

    
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Descent: Underground has passed the 50% mark on its Kickstarter campaign and promised to add singleplayer to the title but has only four days left to secure over $200,000 US. Path of Exile pulled a hilarious April Fools’ Day prank on players and revealed details of its upcoming Act 4 update, including the highly requested loot filter feature. League of Legends ran the 2015 URFitational tournament as part of its April Fools’ Day celebrations and unbanned reformed professional player Nicolaj Jensen.

Blizzard revealed details of Diablo III‘s upcoming third game season, including season-exclusive legendary items and achievements. Nosgoth got a huge update with a new map called The Crucible and a system for punishing people who quit games early. SMITE released its Written in Stone patch along with iconic new hero Medusa, the Gorgon. Star Citizen passed $78 million in crowdfunding this week and released its monthly progress report for March. And Heroes of the Storm‘s $450,000 college scholarship tournament got off to a shaky start as some teams didn’t bother showing up for their matches and others were unable to report their match results.

Read on for a detailed breakdown of all the above stories and more news from the wider world of online games.

starcitizen

Star Citizen‘s latest monthly report is now out, detailing all the work that’s been done by the various studios around the world in March. Highlights of this month’s work include a first glimpse at the FPS module, steady progress on the persistent universe, and footage from PAX East and SXSW. The current crowdfunding total also passed $78 million this week with over 865,000 backers.

descent-titleDescent: Underground has raised over $366,000 of its $600,000 US goal on Kickstarter, but with only four days to go it doesn’t look good for this classic reboot. The game has now passed Steam’s Greenlight programme and has over 5,500 backers on Kickstarter, but if the campaign doesn’t pick up some serious steam in its final days, then it may not succeed and the developers will get no money at all.

The original plan for developing the game was to focus on multiplayer, with hints of a singleplayer campaign to be added as a stretch goal. Now the team is promising both singleplayer and multiplayer as well as linux and mac releases, VR support, and co-op game modes. Response to the Kickstarter from Descent fans has been mixed, with criticisms levied against the focus on multiplayer and the decision to sell ships as Kickstarter reward tiers.

For its April Fools’ Day prank this year, Path of Exile replaced all skill gems with triggers like “Cast when Damage Taken” to “Cats when Damage Taken,” with hilarious consequences. Players soon found themselves engulfed by hordes of cats, more of which spawned every time a trigger spell was activated. The developers posted a fake incident report for the bug and apologised for the inconvenience, blaming the mistake on a typo in the latest patch.

Grinding Gear Games announced this week that the Forsaken Masters supporter packs will stop being sold on Sunday, April 19th, in preparation for the game’s upcoming Act 4 release. The upcoming expansion will add an entire additional story act to the game and will ship with the highly requested item filter feature.

Developers have always been reluctant to allow players to filter out all the rubbish loot on the ground because any user interface they could develop for such a feature would be extremely complicated and impractical. The new feature will use text-based scripts that players will have to write themselves, but it will let players customise the text shown for particular item types and even play alert sounds when particular types of item drop.

League of Legends pulled a switcheroo on its April Fools’ Day joke this week, replacing the hilariously slow and boring gameplay of its New Ultra Rapid Fire mode with last year’s classic Ultra Rapid Fire game mode players had been asking for. Ultra Rapid Fire is a fast-paced game mode that makes all skills mana-free to cast, increases attack and movement speed considerably, and reduces cooldowns by 80% across the board. Everyone has tons of hitpoints to grind through, but damage comes fast and quick, resulting in a complete bloodbath. To top it off, Riot ran the 2015 URFitational tournament with 10 of the game’s top competitive players.

Riot Games also reinstated previously permabanned pro player Nicolaj Jensen, who was banned in 2013 for persistent toxic behaviour and participating in DDoS attacks against other players. The ban was lifted after a review of Jensen’s account showed that he has genuinely reformed his toxic behaviour since the ban and has not been implicated in any further DDoS attacks. Riot decided to give Jensen a second chance, making this the first professional player ban to be overturned in the history of the game. Professional player Khaled Abusagr who was banned at the same time as Jensen has apparently shown no signs of reforming and won’t be reinstated.

diablo3Blizzard gave players a look ahead at Diablo III‘s upcoming third season in a new devblog this week. The new season will add several season-exclusive legendary items that are sure to change the way people build characters, including new legendary gems that can be inserted into jewelry with sockets. New conquest challenges will be coming to the season, along with 100 new seasonal achievements, and those who earn enough seasonal achievement points will unlock unique cosmetic rewards. Season 3 is set to begin on April 10th, and there’s currently no specific time frame on how long it will last, though the previous season was only a few months long.

If you’re a student and avid MOBA fan, chances are you’ve seen Heroes of the Storm‘s recent competition that promises to pay winning team’s college tuition. The Heroes of the Dorm is an unusual scholarship programme open to students in the US and Canada, with over $450,000 worth of college tuition fees to be won in a massive ongoing tournament. Signups closed last week on March 26th, and this week saw the top 64 teams emerge from a series of open qualifiers. Unfortunately, that’s when the tournament started experiencing problems.

BlizzardWatch reports that the teams were having difficulties connecting to the TeSPA page to report their match results, and others were unable to sign in at all. Many of the 900 teams that signed up also didn’t bother showing up for their matches and effectively used the tournament to get free invitations to the closed beta. Blizzard also announced that it will be discontinuing sale of new founder packs tomorrow as it begins opening the closed beta to more players through additional waves of invites.

nosgoth[AL:Nosgoth]If you’re a fan of the Legacy of Kain and Soul Reaver series’ and haven’t played third-person online shooter Nosgoth, now might be a good time to check it out. Developer Psyonix has just released a huge update for the game, including a brand-new map called The Crucible set in a city beneath the land of Tartarus. The patch also added the some user interface improvements and the first phase of a new leaver penalty system that will lock players out of the matchmaking queue for three minutes if they abandon a game early.

Third-person MOBA SMITE released its Written in Stone patch this week, overhauling the clan system and adding new champion Medusa, The Gorgon. Medusa is a ranged attacker with exceptional mobility, able to move sideways at full speed and suffering only half the normal movement penalty when slithing backward. Medusa can throw venomous snakes forward to poison foes using her Viper Shot ability and spray them with acid to reduce their attack speed.

Using her Lacerate ability, Medusa can dash toward a target and hit them for a small amount of damage, leaving behind a debuff that reduces their healing for a short duration. As expected, she can also turn enemy champions to stone temporarily with her ultimate ability; enemies who are looking at Medusa when she casts Petrify are completely stunned, while others are only slowed. Check out the God Reveal video below for a demonstration of all of Medusa’s abilities and tips on playing her in combat.

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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JamesDurant34
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JamesDurant34

This is exciting, another MOBA entering the ring, ill still always go with League though, I just like their champion system. Choosing a Champion that not only fits your play style but is also one that can do well early in the game is ket to dominating the competition. I really sucked at the game for the longest time, I went to a competitive match with a few friends where they did a few matches. After my friends told me they got destroyed , I asked what happened. They said that the guys they went up against had a guide book from Cinderhelm , a pro player, at the time I didn’t know. So I search for it and found it, bought the guide and ended up doing very well in a few weeks of reading it and watching the videos. I found the guide here on http://hytil.com if anyone wants to check out the review. Definitely happy with it and its regular updating.

Nyphur
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Nyphur

carson63000 Skyewauker That’s… a really good point. Jensen had had several accounts permabanned before, and in their ruling on this case Riot explicitly banned the player himself by name from ever owning another LoL account. That decision obviously wasn’t enforced if he ended up owning more accounts.

carson63000
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carson63000

Skyewauker carson63000 But the linked article links to an article about their bans which links through to a notice of the Tribunal decision:

http://forums.euw.leagueoflegends.com/board/showthread.php?t=1015978

“As a result of this player’s history of DDOS activity, abusive behavior
and poor sportsmanship, the player behavior team has issued a lifetime
ban on Jensen. His Veigodx account has been permabanned and all future
accounts will be permabanned on sight.”
Sure sounds like he was banned from the game, not just from Riot sanctioned events??

Cyroselle
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Cyroselle

Wish I had been there for the cat-astrophy in Path of Exile, that sounds so fun!

JohnT_NC
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JohnT_NC

Nyphur JohnT_NC Celestial
“the studio may not have invested the time in adequately communicating the type of game they planned to make”
I totally agree with that.  They should’ve stressed the 6DOF much more than they did, and why that gameplay would be worth investing in.  Also, if you’re going to pay the price for a full-blown game, you should get a full game’s worth of content, and the way they structured their ships and packages definitely wasn’t right.  Was still hoping their Kickstarter would succeed.  There’s a bunch of talent on that team.

Nyphur
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Nyphur

JohnT_NC Celestial  I think a lot of people were put off when they initially said it
would be Multiplayer focused and it may be too late to recapture those
lost eyes. And though they’re now promising singleplayer, it’s in the
context of finding further funding for the game post-kickstarter and
isn’t guaranteed. It’s part of the roadmap, but if they run out of gas
on that road they won’t make it there.
Some of the comments on
Kickstarter have also suggested the studio may not have invested the
time in adequately communicating the type of game they planned to make
to the press, didn’t do enough to correct the media on the fact it’s not
a MOBA, and didn’t follow up on all the media coverage with their plans
for singleplayer, Co-op, VR support etc. As far as I can tell, we recieved no press contact at all, just a few tips from
readers with links to the Kickstarter etc.

Nyphur
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Nyphur

FineFineValentine Only the first mention of each game name or studio links to the tag. Bree would know the reasons we do it better than me, but I think it’s good for SEO and thus the site’s income and sustainability. I imagine it also helps to direct people from sites scraping our content or reprinting the RSS feed.
Linking to tags has been a bit of a sticking point with old Massively, so with Massively OP we now put links to a game’s official website etc and any important info on it at the very top of the tag page so all in one place. I think that’s a pretty good compromise, but if you have any feedback on it or suggestions please let us know.

JohnT_NC
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JohnT_NC

Celestial Hmmmm…  The image on the kickstarter page says otherwise.

And if you look at the FAQ:https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/descendentstudios/descent-underground?ref=nav_search#project_faq_126239
Yes, single-player is a part of our roadmap.

Skyewauker
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Skyewauker

PizzaDoh Damonvile Publicity or not, scholarships are scholarships.  How can anyone fault them for doing this?  This will help kids out.  Thats a lot better than them sitting in their homes gaming and missing classes or not even going to college in the first place.  Some of you need to remove the Hate-Colored Glasses and see the good in things for once.

Skyewauker
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Skyewauker

Greaterdivinity Damonvile Did GolenGirl hack your account? lol.

You mean “every gaming company in the world has discovered” right?  Come on maaaaaaaaaaan.