If ever we needed evidence that e-sports are fast becoming more like real-life sports, this week’s MOBA news provided it. Dota 2 announced that a new seasonal Major Championship league will fill in the gap between world championships and that there will be strict transfer windows for teams just like in real life sports. Top North American League of Legends player Hai Lam retired this week due to an injury, and controversy unfolded over potential cheating in this week’s IQCI Finals. Heroes of the Storm got an official launch date of June 2nd following an April 19th open beta, and its ESPN-sponsored Heroes of the Dorm tournament finals were completed.
Hundreds of Grand Theft Auto 5 players’ accounts have been reportedly compromised due to a security breach at an unknown website, but Rockstar insists that its Social Club servers have not been breached. Path of Exile started the beta for its upcoming expansion, The Awakening, and SMITE revealed its next character is Mayian death god Ah Puch. Elite: Dangerous spoiled us with details of its Powerplay territorial warfare update that lets players pick a side in an ongoing interstellar war. Star Citizen showed off its plans to let players manually load and unload cargo and then sailed past the $80 million mark by selling MISC hull hauler ships.
Read on for detailed breakdowns of the stories above and other news from the wider world of online gaming in this week’s Not So Massively.
With Dota 2‘s world championship tournament fast approaching, Valve announced plans to expand next year’s e-sports presence with a whole new series of official tournaments. The Dota 2 Major Championships will run three times per year and fill a gap in the year’s events calendar for autumn, spring and winter. Full details of the tournaments are due to be released after The International this summer, but one key piece of information has been revealed that has e-sports fans hyped: Any teams participating in the Majors will be able to trade members only during limited periods throughout the year. This is sure to drive speculation throughout each competitive season and is a big step toward making e-sports more like real-life sports.
In another move that mirrors real-life sports, professional League of Legends player Hai Lam retired from the game this week due to a persistent wrist injury. Hai is the founder of North American team Cloud9 and has been intrumental in the team’s success in the competitive scene, helping it secure several first place prizes in tournaments throughout 2013 and 2014. Hai will remain with Cloud9 as its new Chief Gaming Officer but is taking himself off the active roster and won’t be playing in any more tournaments.
It’s been a very rough month for the League of Legends community on Reddit, with some crazy drama kicking off over controversial moderator decisions, including allegations of collusion and bribery between the subreddit’s moderators and the creators of a dubious third-party service that promises to reduce your game lag. Kotaku delved into this latest drama and has put together a fantastic in-depth article laying the entire situation bare.
This week also saw a new controversy unfold as players gathered evidence that one or more teams may have broken the rules during the recent IWCI Finals. Participants in the tournament are forbidden from having any communication equipment on them in order to prevent someone in the audience from feeding teams cues about enemy movements. At least one team at the IWCI Final was found to have mobile phones out during the game, which were then confiscated. It’s not clear whether any actual cheating took place or the team simply forgot to hand in its phones before the match.
If you’ve got a Rockstar Social Club account for playing GTA 5 online, you might want to change your password. Rumours circulated this week that the service had been hacked and passwords leaked, as lists of hundreds of usernames and passwords for the service were being posted online. Rockstar released a statement saying that its service hasn’t been compromised and your passwords are safe; the studio confirmed that “attempts have been made to access user accounts using email and password combinations from an unaffiliated, compromised website or database elsewhere on the internet.”
It isn’t clear yet which site the usernames and passwords have been stolen from, but the advice from Rockstar is to change your password for its service anyway and to make sure you don’t use the same password for your Social Club account as you use on any other website. Scammers have already been found changing the passwords on valid accounts and then reselling them to unsuspecting gamers.
Path of Exile‘s closed beta test of its upcoming expansion, The Awakening, has been live for several days now, and things are off to a slow but solid start. Only a handful of players were initially invited to the beta in order to catch all the biggest bugs and most common crashes before the masses come streaming in. For those who absolutely cannot wait to get into the beta, you can win a spot by being one of the top 35 Softcore or Hardcore players in a new five-day solo event. An additional 25 winners will be drawn at random from players who reach level 70 in either the Softcore and Hardcore leagues.The Mayian death god Ah Puch. The new character’s abilities centre around controlling the dead, with abilities that toss out dead corpses onto the battlefield. He can then explode the corpses for massive area-effect damage or pick them up again to gain health and mana and reduce the cooldown on his Undead Surge ability.
Heroes of the Storm now has an official launch date of June 2nd, which will come after a free open beta period that starts on May 19th in North America and May 20th in Europe. Blizzard has promised that there will be no further wipes on the beta from now on, so progress made during the closed beta will carry forward into the live game. This gives Blizzard just two months to iron out all the game’s bugs and means it will only be in open beta for two weeks.
This past week leading to release saw the lead up to the live grand finals of the Heroes of the Dorm scholarship tournament, which was sponsored by ESPN and paid the winners’ college tuition fees as its prize. UC Berkeley’s team emerged victorious, beating Urbana-Champaign 2-0 for its slot in the final against Arizona State University, which it defeated 3-2.
Elite: Dangerous revealed the juicy details of its upcoming Powerplay update in its 72nd official newsletter to fans. The core feature of Powerplay is the ability to take sides in a massive galactic power struggle between competing or warring factions. These factions will begin to take control of space, some by peaceful economic means and others by military force. Taking a side is completely optional, but being part of a system’s ruling power will unlock a series of faction-specific perks.
Many of these perks will work only when you’re in a star system owned by your supported power, which incentivises you to help expand its territory. Frontier Developments describes this power struggle as a massive strategy boardgame, with each power taking a move once per week based on the actions of its player supporters. Players will gain ranks with their chosen faction for completing tasks, and higher rank gives you more votes in your faction’s action that week.
Star Citizen described its hands-on cargo loading gameplay in a new design feature on cargo interaction. Players can either use the “grabby hands” system to pick up small containers and place them in their ship’s cargo hold or use cargo drones and loader suits to interact with larger items. This week also saw a new devblog all about the MISC hull range, which is intended for cargo transportation and comes in a range of different hull sizes. Sales of the new MISC hulls have managed to push Star Citizen over $80 million crowdfunding mark.
- Armored Warfare discussed its reputation progression system for unlocking new tanks and equipment.
- Robocraft is relaunching on April 29th with a series of major game overhauls.
- Warframe is running a competition to win a limited edition Rhino statue.
- Early Access arena fighter Skara released a new gameplay trailer.
- Dungeon Defenders II revealed more details of its upcoming Pets and Dragons update.
- Mobile game Game of Thrones: Ascent‘s new Fire & Blood expansion went live.