Not So Massively: Dota 2 plans a reboot, League of Legends nerfs Ekko

    
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Valve revealed plans to reboot Dota 2 in the near future with its Dota 2 Reborn project, which moves the game over to a new engine, revamps the user interface, and adds huge new features such as custom games and better livestreaming integration. League of Legends donated $31,850 US in fines collected from last year’s LCS fines to The Trevor Project to help battle online harassment, and Patch 5.11 predictably nerfed recently released champion Ekko. Online RTS Grey Goo got a new lease on life thanks to a pack of new multiplayer maps and the influx of thousands of fresh faces thanks to the Steam summer sale.

Path of Exile developer Chris Wilson delved into the details of changes to the endgame map system in its upcoming expansion, The Awakening. Two of Star Citizen‘s designers answered players’ questions on shield and weapon systems, and confirmed that the small ship flight model we have in-game now is unlikely to significiantly change. And Warframe released its Tubemen of Regor expansion to the XBox One and PlayStation 4 versions of the game, adding new weapons and maps, an 8-player game mode, and major graphical upgrades and engine optimisations.

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!

Following the phenomenal financial success of this year’s Dota 2 compendium, which is slowly creeping up on the $50 million gross revenue mark, Valve seems to have decided to re-invest some of that cash into revamping the game. Developers have announced the Dota 2 Reborn Beta, a project that promises to revamp the game’s user interface, move the game into an entirely new graphics engine, and add the capability to create custom games. The dashboard has been recreated from scratch in a new UI framework and now contains a server list on which players can list their games publicly.

New social and party tools will make the game easier to play with friends, and each hero can now be experimented with in an offline test server. These are all features that proved very popular in early MOBA Heroes of Newerth, so it’s expected that they’ll bring a lot of improvement to Dota 2. Valve is also adding inline livestream support so you can watch matches live and the ability to stream your matches at 60 FPS using the Steam Broadcasting feature. More information will be revealed over the coming days.

leagueoflegendsLast year’s League of Legends Championship Series saw a significant number of rule infractions, with teams being fined for everything from poor behaviour to poaching other teams’ players. Riot Games promised that the proceeds from all fines would be given to a charity of their choice, and now it’s finally selected the beneficiary. A total of $31,850 US is to be donated to The Trevor Project, an American non-profit organisation that provides free crisis intervention and suicide prevention to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youths aged 13 to 24. The Trevor Project was selected for its focus on fighting harassment and bullying online, a problem that MOBA players and developers alike know all too well.

Patch 5.11 has now landed and Ekko has been unsurprisingly nerfed. The patch notes contain a laundry list of balance tweaks to 17 of the game’s champions, details of visual upgrades to the Twisted Treeline and Crystal Scar maps, and information on some major gameplay changes for Twisted Treeline. Classic champion Caitlyn received a small buff, and Jayce’s ultimate ability now gains free bonus levels automatically at levels 6, 11, and 16. The extra skill points saved allow each of his abilities to have six levels instead of five. In the new Patch Rundown video below, developers discuss the update wtih a focus on maintaining champion diversity.

greygooOnline RTS Grey Goo added a pack of nine new experimental maps to unranked play, including the four-player Tainted Wasteland map featured in the video below. The maps are free for all users and were launched alongside the Steam Summer Sale to take advantage of the influx of new players. It’s safe to say that the sale has given Grey Goo a shot in the arm, with the average number of players online rising from a daily peak of less than 100 to over 1,700.

A big part of Path of Exile‘s endgame gameplay is in running randomly generated maps for loot, and like every part of the game it’s getting a revamp in The Awakening. Maps drop rarely as loot and open portals to random game areas filled with monsters, and the toughest monsters inside a map area have a decent chance of dropping a higher-level map. Players will progress on to higher and higher level maps until they get to a level that provides a good challenge and some nice rewards. The expansion will introduce a series of new maps based on the Act 4 areas and ensure that only the map’s final boss can drop another map that’s two levels above the one that spawned him. The loot from map bosses is also being improved significantly, and map drop rates will be increased in general to compensate.

starcitizenIn a new “10 for the designers” video, Star Citizen designers Calix Reneau and Matthew Sherma answered several questions from fans on topics ranging from ship shields and damage systems to how exactly multi-crew ships will work. We learned that the upcoming ship damage system could take into account the angle of impact, and fixed weapon mounts may have optional extra armour. Reneau confirmed that the small ship handling is about where it will be at release and that medium and capital sized ships will be more akin to tank or submarine battles.

Some fans have complained that the current small ship flight model is unrealistic, ships don’t appear to carry inertia properly, and the small maneuvering thrusters on ships seem to be as powerful as the main engines. This week also saw Star Citizen‘s sales reach the $84 million mark.

warframeWarframe‘s new Tubemen of Regor update went live on XBox One and PlayStation 4 this week. The patch adds the 8-player law of Retribution Trial mission and kicked off a series of events that last until the end of the month. This update also comes with some big graphical upgrades and performance tweaks, so your game should look better and run faster even in the new 8-player mode. As if that weren’t enough already, the expansion adds the incredibly difficult Nightmare Trials group events, four new Conclave PvP maps, four new weapons to acquire, and six new tilesets to explore.

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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Digest
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Digest

DPandaren Digest Don’t you think we’re all aware of that?

Armsbend
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Armsbend

PizzaDoh Valve has their public making their games for them and raising their money.  They are the laziest jerkoffs in the business.

Armsbend
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Armsbend

PizzaDoh Yes, that is why I asked.  I know some of them make a living but I certainly don’t follow these goofballs.

PizzaDoh
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PizzaDoh

Armsbend I don’t get how you don’t get that.

They are collecting a salary doing this, just like football or baseball. Esports isn’t just “play a tournament, hope you win a few hundred bucks” any more.

PizzaDoh
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PizzaDoh

Digest ….what. I don’t think you know what you’re talking about and have a very skewed idea on what is lazy.

PizzaDoh
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PizzaDoh

DPandaren Except they’re also greatly improving the interface as well as things like keeping party voip between games. It’s a pretty big deal.

Damonvile
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Damonvile

Everything about path of exile has me wanting to play it again. The loot drop thing was kind of an issue for me before and I’m hoping the large improvement means players with more normal drives to find it might actually walk away with some :P

DPandaren
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DPandaren
DPandaren
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DPandaren

They’re not really rebooting Dota 2. More that they’ve finally making the move to the Source 2 client. Which people could have been playing on for little over a year now.

DPandaren
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DPandaren

Digest Um, what? If you’ve been paying any attention to the dev forums for Dota 2. It’s been a feature set that they’ve been working for a good year or two now.