Path of Exile announced a potentially revolutionary and futuristic sounding new Deterministic Lockstep mode that promises sharper gameplay and zero desync for those on fast internet connections. Blizzard announced an upcoming balance patch for Heroes of the Storm and revealed that the Chinese release of Diablo III‘s expansion has sold over a million units sales in just two over weeks. Online RTS Grey Goo delayed its upcoming match replay feature in favour of new symmetrical maps aimed at the competitive gaming scene. And the official team list for Dota 2‘s upcoming world championship tournament was revealed this week as the tournament’s prize pool blasted past the $7.5 million mark.
The recent League of Legends subreddit controversy continued this week as moderators were accused of trying to suppress a popular story broken by banned esports journalist Richard Lewis. Heroes of Newerth may be set to make a comeback as the game and its entire development team have now moved to publisher Garena. And Bungie revealed all the details of Destiny‘s upcoming House of Wolves expansion, which increases the level cap to 34 and introduces new PvP and co-op game modes.
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.
Practically every online game suffers from the negative effects of latency and desync, and for a fast-paced action RPG like Path of Exile, the effect can be very noticeable. The developers at Grinding Gear Games have been putting a lot of hard work into solving Path of Exile‘s synchronisation issues and this week announced a huge sync improvement is coming in the game’s upcoming expansion, The Awakening. When the expansion hits, players will be able to choose between two entirely different synchronisation modes: Predictive or Deterministic.
The new Deterministic Lockstep model does absolutely no client-side prediction but will instead send all of your actions to the server and wait for confirmation of what happened. There will be a noticeable delay for players with high pings, but those with very low latency to the server will experience completely desync-free gameplay that developers have described as amazing. The old Client Predictive model will remain the best option for players with over 100ms ping as it makes all spell casts and movements appear to happen instantly on their computer.
The League of Legends subreddit moderation drama we’ve been reporting on has reared its head once again. Complaints over moderation kicked off originally when moderators deleted a popular thread that was critical of third-party service WTFast, leading to accusations that the mods may have conflicts of interest. The drama came to a head when e-sports reporter Richard Lewis leaked information on the topic from a source inside the LoL subreddit’s moderator staff.
The moderators then issued a ban on all of Lewis’ content, and he himself was permanently banned from Reddit as a whole. The official reason given for the ban was that Lewis had allegedly been manipulating the Reddit vote system using his Twitter audience and harassing moderators and other Reddit members, both of which would be terms of service violations.
Complaints about the subreddit’s moderation resurfaced this week when Lewis broke the story that pro player Incarnati0n was set to join Cloud9 and moderators reportedly deleted a number of threads on the topic. This comes just a few days after Lewis released a video statement (not safe for work) describing what he sees as an organised effort to discredit independent e-sports journalism and suppress stories from unofficial or unapproved sources.
The teams for Dota 2‘s upcoming World Championship tournament, The International, have officially been announced. Nine hand-selected teams per region will join one team picked via an open tournament to compete in the regional qualifiers, where they can secure a place in the finals. The open tournaments will be a chance for ordinary players to potentially break into the e-sports big leagues, and signups are now active.
At the time of writing, the prize pool for The International has reached $7,529,760 thanks to sales of the tournament’s digital compendium. That puts revenue from the compendium at over $23.7 million and still rising.
Veteran MOBA Heroes of Newerth earned a new lease on life recently with its colossal fifth anniversary update, and now we know why development has been stepped up. The development team for HoN has been allowed to break away from parent company S2 Games, re-forming as Frostburn Studios and taking Heroes of Newerth to Singapore-based publisher Garena. HoN has been published by Garena in Russia and South East Asia for several years, but the company has now fully acquired the game and its entire development team.
Frostburn consists of 46 developers and several recurring contractors under the leadership of Studio Director and veteran HoN player Brad Bower. The studio has confirmed that S2 Games head honchos Marc “Maliken” Deforest, Shawn Tooley, and Scott Valencia will no longer be involved in HoN. When questioned on monetisation under Garena, Frostburn’s AceJR confirmed that the North American and EU versions of the game “will not be adopting Garena’s pay-to-unlock hero system” and that HoN will maintain a strict “no pay for power business model” in those regions.
In a new Heroes of the Storm patch preview, developers revealed a series of balance changes incoming for several heroes and abilities. The biggest changes include buffs for popular tank heroes Diablo and Elite Tauren Chieftan, a nerf to Abathur designed to stop backdoor strategies, and changes that will make healing wards take area-effect damage. Players responded to the patch notes with complaints about balance decisions being decided by hero win rates.
MMOCulture reports that Diablo III has now sold over a million copies of the Reaper of Souls expansion in China since its April 23rd open beta. The business model for Diablo III is slightly different in China, with the base version of the game being free-to-play and only a few features put behind the expansion paywall. Players have to buy Reaper of Souls only to access Act V, Adventure mode, and the Crusader class, making these pretty impressive sales figures.
Petroglyph‘s online RTS Grey Goo has been officially released for several months now, and development is still continuing at pace. In a new producer letter, developers revealed that they have several unannounced features coming up for casual players but that the main focus will continue to be on providing new content for the competitive playerbase. The match replay feature has been pushed back in development by an estimate of one month, but players can look forward to some new symmetrical game maps.
Star Citizen Alpha 1.1.2 released this week, adding a tutorial mode to the Arena Commander module and fixing a huge list of bugs. We were flooded with a deluge of information on how work on the game’s FPS module is progressing and also heard that the module is now named Star Marine. In an exhaustive new article on the Star Citizen website, developers from the studios working on parts of Star Marine discussed everything from graphics and matchmaking to core engine technology and audio progress.
Bungie revealed full details on Destiny‘s upcoming House of Wolves expansion, and it looks as if the information players datamined from a recent patch was pretty accurate. The expansion will increase the level cap from 32 to 34 and adds a new PvP endgame arena called the Trials of Osiris with all new gear to earn. We’ll also get a horde-mode-style cooperative challenge called the Prison of Elders that pits players against waves of the toughest criminals in the universe, and a new social and quest space in The Reef.
In addition to all the new game modes and maps, players will get their hands on a competitive strike called The Shadow Thief and a new Sidearm secondary weapon class. If you’ve been worrying about your gear becoming obsolete when the expansion lands, you’ll be glad to know that existing legendary or exotic gear can be upgraded to level 34 to serve you thoughout the House of Wolves.
- Civilization Online will be getting a new server in Taiwan, which will be licensed to and operated by publisher Gameflier.
- Infinite Crisis‘ first ranked mode preview weekend ends today.
- League of Legends‘ new reform card system will go live later this month.
- Armored Warfare discussed vehicle balance in a new dev diary.
- Mobile MOBA Vainglory announced its first competitive tournament via ESL in Europe.