It’s been a big week for competitive play in MOBAs. League of Legends opened the registration on its European Battlegrounds tournament and lifted the restrictions on item gifting. S2 Games‘ new casual MOBA Strife has now launched for free on Steam’s Early Access programme, while the developer’s original MOBA, Heroes of Newerth, has released a set of 8-bit themed skins in an effort to help fund its tournament at DreamHack Summer 2015. A small indiegogo campaign has been opened to fund a Bloodline Champions tournament, and Infinite Crisis announced plans to add ranked play and add a new server in Brazil.
DICE and EA announced that the upcoming reboot of the Star Wars: Battlefront series of games is coming this November to PC, PS4 and XBox One. Destiny players have datamined what could be details of the upcoming House of Wolves expansion from files in Patch 1.1.2. GTA 5 stole Skyrim‘s record for most concurrent players on Steam for a game that wasn’t made by Valve. Armored Warfare looked at the role of armor types in its tanks in a new dev diary video. Path of Exile revealed details of new skills and weapons coming in its Act IV expansion, The Awakening. Elite: Dangerous teased fans with details of an upcoming mission revamp, and players have launched an expedition to map the circumference of a region of space that players are banned from entering. HearthStone also made the leap to mobile this week, and Diablo III is finally getting a Chinese server.
Read on for more details on all the stories above and more news from the wider world of online gaming in this week’s Not So Massively.
If you were a fan of the old Star Wars: Battlefront games, you’ll be glad to know the series is getting a reboot on November 17th on PS4, PC and XBox One. Developed by DICE and published by EA, the new game will keep the multiplayer focus that critics praised in the earlier titles while adding some offline play. Developers have also confirmed that the game will not be using the Battlelog system from the Battlefield series of games for its multiplayer. DICE has promised that a new system has been built from scratch and that games won’t be launched from a browser.
Gameplay will consist of both ground-based battles in iconic Star Wars locations and ship-to-ship dogfights with X-Wings, TIE Fighters, and even the Millennium Falcon. Fans of the Star Wars films will be interested to know that the team at DICE has been given access to original Star Wars props and filming locations in order to make the game more accurate. You’ll even be able to play as the main characters from the films.
New free-to-play MOBA Strife has now entered open beta and is available on Steam’s Early Access programme for free. Strife comes from Heroes of Newerth creators S2 Games and promises to deliver a faster-paced and more friendly MOBA experience, with features like out-of-combat health regeneration and automatic splitting of gold for creep kills. A simplified form of the Heroes of Newerth item system has been added to Strife, with all items built out of a handful of components and then combined with a recipe item. Players can also bring one of the game’s unlockable pets into the battlefield, which will level up during the game and unlock three special abilities.
If you thought players only datamined for secrets in PC game patches, think again. This week Destiny players sifted through the files from Patch 1.1.2 and discovered a significant amount upcoming content. Two new social spaces were found: One in the Reef called Queen’s Bay and another called Halls of Amentet set on Mercury. Several new story missions and quests were uncovered, as well as a raid named The Prison of Elders that pits players against a series of the solar system’s deadliest enemies.
Players will also be interested to know that 46 new ship schematics were discovered in the patch files, including one for the rare exotic ship Manus Cele Dei. Since the upcoming House of Wolves expansion features The Reef, it’s a safe assumption that at least some of this new content will be released in the expansion.
Heroes of Newerth released its new 8-bit update this week with two new hero skins based on classic 8-bit games. S2 Games plans to release a new skin each week leading up to Dreamhack Summer 2015, and 25% of all the proceeds from skin sales will go directly to the HoN e-sports scene by sponsoring a tournament at the event. The funds will help boost the tournament’s prize pool and help pay for flights for the competing teams.
Grand Theft Auto V‘s recent PC launch has been a colossal success, earning the game a top spot on Steam’s most played games list this month. GTA V has consistently seen a peak concurrent player total of over 360,000 since launch, breaking Skyrim’s previous record as the most played game on Steam that wasn’t developed by Valve.
Infinite Crisis followed up its recent launch with its first big bug-fixing update this week, and announced that preparations are underway to add a competitive ranked play mode to the game. To participate in ranked play, you’ll need to own at least 14 champions and have played at least 20 unranked player-vs.-player matches. Two new achievements have been released to help you keep track of those milestones and be sure you’re ready for ranked matches. Turbine also announced this week that it will be opening a dedicated South American server in Brazil as the game has proven popular in that region.
League of Legends officially opened the registration on its European Battlegrounds tournament series this week and launched the Battlegrounds website. Registrations are open to full ranked teams of five players until April 23rd, after which teams will be pitted against their neighbours from the same country in a series of four qualifying matches. Everyone who plays in a tournament will get a 4-win IP boost even if they lose, and anyone who plays all four qualifying matches will earn a bonus reward. If you’re good enough to place in the top 32 teams in your region, everyone on your team will win riot points and some circuit points that will help you get into the regional qualifiers for the world championship.
Riot also relaxed the restrictions on sending gifts in League of Legends this week, allowing players to send RP or receive gifts from level 1 and increasing the number of gifts that can be sent per day from 3 to 5. Players can also be sent gifts if they’ve been on your buddy list for only one day, a decrease over the old two-week requirement. The restrictions have been lifted due to player support becoming much better at detecting and resolving fraud.
Elite: Dangerous teased players with a few details of its upcoming Powerplay patch, stating that the core of the update will be kept secret for another couple of weeks. We’ve already heard that the patch will introduce a series of consumable drones that can be used for tasks like collecting loot from containers.
Developer Mike Brookes also announced that an major overhaul of the mission system has been under construction since the game launched and will soon be released. The overhaul will add more missions for experienced players and special missions for players with higher ranks or status with a faction. Faction reputations will also begin to influence mission rewards, providing incentive to build up reputation with minor factions.
Players in Elite: Dangerous have organised an event called The First Great Expedition, which aims to explore an area of space 1,000 lightyears away from the core systems. Players have discovered a large area of space that they can’t enter called The Regor region, and this expedition aims to map its perimeter. There’s no doubt that this region will play an important part in a future expansion, but for now players are unable to enter. You can locate the region in the Elite map browser by searching for the Gamma Velorum system.
With the closed beta of Path of Exile: The Awakening launching today, Grinding Gear Games has released a deluge of new information on what’s in the expansion. The new Act IV area contains 13 new types of weapon from the Maraketh people, each with new artwork and different implicit mods than the game’s existing items. The weapons give bonuses to things like critical strike multiplier, radius of area-effect skills, movement speed, elemental resistance penetration, and more. New skill gems add the ability to summon several different types of elemental golems, and a new Fortify support gem grants a stacking defensive buff on each successful attack to help you tank damage in the thick of battle.
The latest Armored Warfare video dev diary looked at the technology behind tank armour, projectile ammunition penetration, and countermeasures. Rather than just give every tank thick plates that absorb damage, Armored Warfare will include ablative armour plating designed to deflect shots and cage armour with multiple layers. Only hits to the turret or main body of the vehicle in Armored Warfare will cause damage and reduce the target’s hitpoints, and armour will be able to deflect shots completely or dampen the effect of explosions. Angle of impact will play a huge part in the equation, and it’ll be up to the player to position his tank correctly to deflect or absorb damage.
Diablo III‘s first official Chinese server will be launching on April 23rd as an open beta. China’s stricter laws about video game content have required Blizzard to re-develop many of the game’s models and textures before the Chinese release could take place. All skeletons have been converted into zombies in the Chinese release, and most of the blood and scars on undead monsters has been removed.Hearthstone made the jump to mobile devices this week with its official iPhone and Android launch. The phone version features a revamped user interface designed specifically for the smaller screen of a phone, and anyone who plays just one game on the mobile version will receive a free classic card pack as a reward. Blizzard also unlocked Blackrock Spire this week, leaving just three wings of its Blackrock Mountain expansion remaining to reveal.
- Bloodline Champions held its Champions Summit tournament over the weekend, and has launched a small Indiegogo campaign to fund the next tournament.
- Languishing MOBA Smashmuck Champions will be coming to PlayStation 4 under the new name of Trans-Galactic Tournament.
- Online shooter Zombies Monsters Robots released its new Game of Drones update, featuring revamped level rewards, new items,new maps, and a capture the flag game mode.
- Online board game Krosmaster Arena has officially launched its PC beta. (Thanks to Avaera for the tip!)
- French developer Lightbulb Crew announced plans to release its upcoming MOBA style shooter Games of Glory on Steam this summer.