Not So Massively: Heroes of the Storm’s launch; Need for Speed’s online DRM

    
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Nintendo’s quriky new online paint-battle game Splatoon officially launched this week to very positive reviews. Monster-battling game Moonrise entered early access and promises Pokémon-like online arena battles. EA revealed that the recently announced Need for Speed reboot will require an internet connection to play. Star Citizen‘s devs accidentally leaked secret assets from the game’s development, including hidden star systems and jump points on the game’s map. And Path of Exile revised the release estimate of its upcoming expansion from late June to early July.

League of Legends released new champion Ekko this week as part of a huge balance patch and revived the old Hexakill featured game mode. Heroes of the Storm announced plans for its official launch, including a live show, game livestreams, and a week-long XP bonus for players. Elite: Dangerous detailed a ton of additional improvements and features coming in its upcoming Powerplay update. And as the prize pool for Dota 2‘s upcoming world championship tournament broke the $10,000,000 mark, two Korean teams decided to spend over $13,000 flying to Singapore to lower their latency and increase their chances of qualifying.

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, and don’t forget to subscribe to the RSS feed for weekly updates!

splatoonIf you own a Wii U, chances are you’ve already heard of Nintendo’s new online shooter Splatoon. The bizarre third-person paint battle game isn’t your typical shooter, as the goal of the game isn’t to kill your enemies but to paint the map in your team’s colours. Players take on the role of a squidling, a creature who is part kid and part squid. You run around the map painting the ground with an ink gun and can transform into a squid to quickly swim unseen through your team’s ink colour. Entering the enemy’s ink will slow you down, and being hit with enemy ink blobs will make you explode in a shower of ink and respawn.

The game’s primary mode is a Turf Wars battle in which both teams compete to cover the highest percentage of the map in their colour of ink. Available weapons range from the wide paint roller and rapid-fire splattershot to charge-up sniper weapons that can create straight lines of ink. The game is even going into the competitive scene with a ranked mode, but currently features no voice chat. Splatoon launched this week around the world and has been met with impressively favourable reviews.

moonriseIf you’ve ever thought that an online Pokémon game would be amazing, you might want to check out new title Moonrise from Undead Labs. Moonrise is an online game in which players collect monsters, train them up with various abilities and use them in tactical battles against other players. The game features the same kind of rock-paper-scissors gameplay as Pokémon, with each creature having an element and some elements being strong or weak against certain others. The big difference is that attacks happen in realtime and have varying cooldowns, and you can have two monsters out at the same time. Moonrise is currently available for purchase in Steam Early Access and will be released as a free to play title on completion.

needforspeedFollowing last week’s announcement that the latest Need for Speed game will be a total reboot of the classic series, EA clarified this week that the game will require an internet connection to play. Several of the previous Need for Speed games have had online shards for players to connect to, but they were always optional and players could always choose play offline. The new game will force players to log into a server in order to play even the singleplayer campaign. EA and Maxis tried to do the same thing with SimCity back in 2013, leading to widespread outrage when players learned that the game could be hacked to enable offline play even though developers claimed it wasn’t possible.

starcitizenDue to a minor gaffe by a community manager, the URL for an online repository of private Star Citizen assets was inadvertantly leaked to the public this week. Around 48GB of data were scraped from the repository, including art assets and possible spoilers for the game’s story. Details of the game’s star map were also unfortunately leaked, including hidden star systems and jump points intended for player discovery. As a result, Cloud Imperium has had to remake the entire star map.

In Path of Exile‘s fourth State of the Beta post, developer and beta manager Qarl let players know that the expansion may not be on track for a late June release but should be available in early July. The developers have been hard at work fixing bugs but still have around 698 issues to resolve. A number of players have been caught abusing an instance server crash for economic gain, a common method of item duplication used in older games like Diablo II that works by forcing a server rollback. Until the crashes can be fixed, Grinding Gear Games will be removing players from the beta if they deliberately and repeatedly crash the server for their own benefit.

Patch 5.1 went live this week in League of Legends, adding new champion Ekko and re-introducing the Hexakill featured game mode. Hexakill squeezes oversized six-player teams into the smaller Twisted Treeline map for more explosive matches. The patch also brought significant buffs to the Ancient Coin, Nomad’s Medallion and Talisman of Ascension items to help them generate more gold, and the Ardent Censer now grants +30 magic damage on hit but can no longer affect creeps. A number of balance changes have been made to utility masteries and to champions including Jinx, Karma, Ryze and Sejuani.

As Heroes of The Storm gets ready for its official launch, players are getting ready for the launch celebrations. In addition to the fancy launch event in London, we’re getting a 25% XP boost until June 9th and developers will be livestreaming a few games with players on June 3rd.

elitedangerousThe latest Elite: Dangerous newsletter delved into the extra features we’re going to get with the upcoming powerplay patch. Mining will become a more profitable profession with the addition of high-value mining missions, new minerals, more rare resources, and ore collecting drones that will speed up the mining process. Accidentally, grazing a friendly ship with an automated turret will no longer register as an assault, so you won’t have to worry about the police turning your ship inside out because someone flew in front of your laser.

Smuggling narcotics will be more profitable and black-market sales will count toward your trading rank, which will now be easily visible from the station UI. A new branching mission system will add some more variety to combat missions, and some targets will be seen in supercruise rather than always being at Unidentified Signal Sources. All of this comes in addition to the expansion’s main feature: the ability to take a side in an ongoing power struggle between various factions.

Dota 2‘s world championship prize pool reached over $10 million this week, unlocking the Immortal Treasure III tier and a wyvern hatchling courier for all compendium owners. If sales of the compendium push the prize pool over the $11 million mark, developers will begin adding bonus features such as desert terrain and new music to Dota 2 itself. The prize pool is being funded through sales of this year’s digital compendium and the direct sale of compendium levels. The final funds will be divided between the winners of The International tournament in August.

With so much money on the table, Korean teams MVP.Hot6ix and MVP.Phoenix took the bizarre step of flying over to Singapore at a cost of over $13,000 in order to play their qualifying rounds for the tournament with less lag. Connecting from South Korea would have put the teams at a 100 millisecond disadvantage, which is enough to make or break a game at this competitive level. That isn’t even the craziest Dota 2 story of the week, however, as footage emerged of a player setting himself on fire while cosplaying fire mage hero Lina.

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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Paaperclips
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Paaperclips

Denngar Armsbend No! Stop! I can’t…. resist… buying….

…now my money is gone.

Midgetsnowman
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Midgetsnowman

Siphaed those amiibos ae also whats driving a lot of people to give up on amiibp altogether due to Nintendo’s complete lack of caring that some amiibos are all but impossible to get, yet have content attached to them.

I know its why Jim Sterling didnt even mention the amiibo content in his splatoon review, because the chances of people getting all 3 is remote.

Midgetsnowman
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Midgetsnowman

Damonvile Midgetsnowman Celestial Oh I’m aware. those are just tyhe latest corpses. both over ridiculous shit EA FORCED THEM TO DO

SallyBowls1
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SallyBowls1

Nyphur Armsbend Hmm. in my experience, no I would never assume that. In my lexicon, Community Managers are not developers, they are marketing/PR people.  You have them because

they are cheaper than developers
developers lack the skills to allow them to say things that won’t be [mis]construed 
why demoralize the developers with reading the forums

CMs are not making development decisions and get unfairly blamed by a lot of Forum Flamers.

Denngar
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Denngar

Armsbend Dude, it started off well last year. Mario Kart 8, Hyrule Warriors, Smash Bros, Captain Toad. Mario Party 10 was a bit weak, but Splatoon more than makes up for it, and fyi, you can get a bundle with it: http://www.bestbuy.com/site/nintendo-wii-u-32gb-console-splatoon-special-edition-bundle-black/6327118.p

Paaperclips
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Paaperclips

Crow God https://twitter.com/xpatriciah/status/604817748175167488

People have already started trying to ruin Splatoon even without voice chat. I can’t imagine how bad it would be if these people could -talk- on top of it. >.>

wolfyseyes
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wolfyseyes

TomTurtle  This is painfully accurate for me re: Smash Bros.  Ugh.  Hate/love that freaking game, jeezos.

wolfyseyes
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wolfyseyes

I played some of the “test fire” demos/open betas for Splatoon and was almost immediately hooked.  The game is fun, frantic and very unique while still feeling familiar in terms of its mechanics.  I’m hoping to pick up a copy this coming paycheck.

Nyphur
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Nyphur

Armsbend Thanks for the correction! Each State of the Beta post started with a note that he was managing the beta, which I mistook for community management. The article has now been updated.

Tina Lauro
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Tina Lauro

PizzaDoh TomTurtle  Nintendo games always make me yell too! I always say it’s anything with Mario in it, but it’s really most things Nintendo. ^.^