It’s been a week of mixed feelings in the land of MOBAs, with the thrill of a new game launch juxtaposed against the background of another’s impending closure. Heroes of the Storm officially launched with a series of events and celebrated with the release of new tank hero Johanna from Diablo III. Turbine announced that its DC Comics based MOBA Infinite Crisis will be officially shutting its doors on August 14th, just a few short months after launch. SMITE‘s furry little squirrel god Ratatoskr officially made his way out of the test server and into the wild, and Dota 2‘s compendium reached $12.5 million as players pump hundreds of dollars into it in attempts to win rare cosmetic skins.
League of Legends revealed plans to overhaul its user interface and revamp the skillshot code to eliminate hitbox bugs, and LoL commentator Martin “Deficio” Lynge was suspended pending an investigation of his deep connections with a pro team. Destiny increased the drop rate of Treasure Keys in patch 126.96.36.199 and fixed an exploit players were using to loot Ether Chests multiple times. And Path of Exile revealed that several new low-level unique items will be coming out with its upcoming expansion, The Awakening.
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!
Ratatoskr has now officially released following a short stay on the public test realm. Ratatoskyr is a giant squirrel who focuses on rapid movement, area-effect physical damage, and looking adorable. His powers are augmented by a unique Acorn item that can be upgraded through the item store to add slows, bonus damage, a self-heal, and other abilities. A new God Reveal video delves into the furry character’s roots in Norse lore and explores each of his abilities.
Path of Exile teased players with a screenshot of a new encounter that can spring up in the Act Four area of its expansion beta. While the expansion includes a ton of new high-level items and enemies, developers also revealed that they won’t be ignoring its early levels or the levelling process. At least eight new unique one-handed weapons below level 40 will be added in the expansion, and developers will also be looking at the balance between caster and melee builds.
Dota 2‘s upcoming fifth world championship tournament is set to be the biggest one yet, with the biggest prize pool for a single event in e-sports history. Sales of the Dota 2 compendium and related microtransactions have pushed the event’s prize pool up to $12.5 million, meaning Valve has grossed over $43 million with this promotion so far.
The gambling-like nature of the compendium has been highlighted recently as several players revealed that they had spent hundreds of dollars to boost their compendiums by thousands of levels and still hadn’t unlocked some of the rare skins available.
League of Legends has overhauled practically every part of the game since its original release, and now it’s time for the user interface to get some love. Riot is about to push an extensive HUD update to the public beta server that it hopes will improve the tactical nature of the game. The redesigned UI puts vital information all in one place around the minimap, but players discovered that ult timers have been removed and it’s not possible to see teammate’s mana bar. Riot is also currently working on revamping the skillshot code to fix a number of rare bugs.
Following her recent overhail, champion Ashe has returned to competitive play and is now a viable champion according to professional players. Cloud9’s Sneaky believes that “Ashe with just Infinity Edge knows when she can win a duel,” while CLG’s Doublelift described the champion’s Hawkshot ability as “basically a maphack.” Elsewhere in the competitive scene, commentator Martin “Deficio” Lynge was suspended pending an investigation of his close ties with professional team Copenhagen Wolves. That’s not the only prominent staff change at Riot this week as fantasy writer Graham McNeill was hired as the game’s Senior Narrative Writer.
This week we heard the unfortunate news that DC Comics MOBA Infinite Crisis will be shutting down in just a few weeks. The game was first announced over two years ago at the end of March 2013 as a partnership between developer Turbine and publisher Warner Bros. Just a few days ago, Turbine made the decision to end development on the title immediately and to close the servers on August 14th. Developers expressed their disappointment with how the game turned out, saying that “the MOBA market matured around [Turbine as it was] building the game” and that the studio “simply couldn’t find enough of an audience.”
Though Infinite Crisis officially launched at the end of March, it had been in open beta for a full year and the size of the community had been dwindling for some time. The title now joins flopped Warner Bros. console MOBA Guardians of Middle Earth, which failed to gain an audience and slowly faded into obscurity before launching a broken PC version on Steam in 2013. Infinite Crisis will become unplayable on August 14th, while GoME no longer even has 10 players online worldwide at any given time to make a full match.
News of the closure has prompted much discussion in the Infinite Crisis community, with players hashing out the game’s shortcomings and wondering whether anything could have saved it from extinction. MassivelyOP’s Eliot Lefebvre also shared his thoughts on the shutdown and what it means for the games industry and the MOBA genre. If you enjoyed Infinite Crisis and want to give it a proper send-off, player Dycer has organised a final event schedule to make the most of the remaining time.
Heroes of the Storm officially launched this week with a grand event in London followed by livestreaming shenanigans for those of us at home. In addition to the previously announced week-long XP boost and twitch dev streams, Blizzard is also celebrating with a fanart competition on DeviantArt and bonus rewards for anyone who plays World of Warcraft or Hearthstone.
The launch update also saw the release of new hero Johanna, a Crusader from Diablo III with a focus on decensive abilities. She can gain temporary damage shield with her Iron Skin ability while becoming immune to slows for a few seconds, and her Punish ability can damage and slow enemies with a swipe of her massive shield. Johanna’s other abilities include an area-effect stun called Condemn that pulls enemies toward her, and a blinding Shield Glare ability that causes enemy basic attacks to miss.
Destiny‘s Patch 188.8.131.52 went live this week, addressing dozens of issues players were having with the House of Wolves expansion. In response to complaints of low drop rates for Treasure Keys, Bungie has greatly increased the drop rate from chests across the expansion. You’ll also get one guaranteed key on completing your first Wanted Fallen Bounty each week, and players can dismantle their spare Passage Coins and Tokens. An exploit that allowed players to loot Ether Chests multiple times has been fixed, and a number of other bugs have been resolved.
- Cloud Imperium recapped the latest month of work on Star Citizen.
- Elite: Dangerous officially launched its Powerplay update.
- League of legends announced that the LCS summer finals will be heading to New York City and Stockholm.
- Dungeon Defenders II revealed a prototype of its Onslaught mode.