Not So Massively: Dota 2’s $15M compendium, Vainglory’s Android launch

    
7

Star Citizen started delivering weekly progress updates on its overdue FPS module this week, and two developers talked about how you’ll be able to repair your ship. SMITE made some changes to its jungling and warding mechanics to help keep the game fresh and released its new melee brawler god Ravana, Demon King of Lanka. Path of Exile‘s developers are working hard to fix all the remaining issues with its rapidly approaching expansion, and they revealed some of the unique jewels and divination cards we can expect to find as loot when the expansion goes live.

Heroes of the Storm‘s Eternal Conflict patch landed this week, adding Diablo III‘s demon boss The Butcher as its latest hero. Developers also confirmed that they’d like to release a new hero every three weeks from now on. The prize pool for Dota 2‘s world championship tournament passed its final $15 million stretch goal this week, meaning Valve has now made over $53.6 million and some of the tournament’s winners could end up being made millionaries overnight. Mobile MOBA Vainglory officially released on Android and announced that competitive tournament events are in its future. And Hearthstone‘s 16th ranked season kicked off this week, offering a unique Darkspear card back for anyone who hits rank 20 by the end of the month.

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!

starcitizenAs Star Citizen‘s FPS module is now significantly late, the developers responsible for it have promised to write weekly updates on their progress and explain any problems that they encounter during development. This week’s update revealed that the animation team is still trying to hammer down a bug-free workflow to get movement animations into the engine, the audio team has moved to a new and improved audio engine, and a basic chat system is being added. Developers have also been tweaking the armour and weapon stats recently; they say that “the game felt fun for the first time in months” during a recent internal playtest.

In the latest episode of the “10 for the Designers” vidcast, designers Calix Reneau and Matt Sherman answered player questions on ship repairs, construction, and open hostility in the persistent universe. We learned that you’ll be able to repair individual ship parts and fix your ship to a certain degree while in space, but you’ll eventually need to set down at a repair station to get your ship components reconditioned and durability repaired.

SMITE released new god Ravana, Demon King of Lanka, this week as part of a major patch that overhauls the game’s jungling and warding gameplay. Ravana is a melee brawler who can control opponents with slows and dish out some serious damage. Every basic attack he lands on an opponent adds a combo point that powers up his Prana Onslaught ability, an area-effect punch that deals damage and a slow. With good timing, Ravana can evade enemy attacks and counter with an overhead kick that makes him temporarily invulnerable and deals damage in a line.

To help chase down fleeing foes and keep himself alive in a teamfight, Ravana can use his long-range 10-Hand Shadow Fist to damage and root an enemy god while healing himself. Ravana’s Mystic Rush ultimate ability will come in handy when chasing down slippery foes, dashing straight to the enemy and knocking aside all other enemies in his path. For a few seconds after Mystic Rush hits an enemy god, Ravana takes reduced damage from anyone except the god hit with the ability.

Path of Exile took a look at some of the 40 new unique jewels that will be coming to the game in its upcoming act four expansion, The Awakening. Jewels are added to empty slots in the passive skill tree and represent a new layer of character customisation being added to the game. Some jewels simply give stat bonuses, but others give exciting properties like bonuses to minions, flasks, and other build-defining stats. Still others are situational depending on where they’re placed in the skill tree, giving bonuses depending on passive skill nodes in a certain radius.

With less than a week left until the expansion’s release, developers are rapidly working on the remaining 295 bugs and issues left. This is down from 530 issues in last week’s beta update, so things are looking good for the planned July 10th launch. We also got a sneak peek at several newly revealed Divination Cards, each of which drops as loot in specific areas of the game and can be collected to unlock items and prizes.

Heroes of the Storm‘s Eternal Conflict update officially went live this week, opening the floodgates on a new wave of Diablo III characters. Developers have said that we can look forward to a new hero roughly once every three weeks, with the Monk and skeleton king Leoric on the way. The initial patch added the previously revealed Crusader Johanna and iconic Diablo boss The Butcher, a melee assassin who eats corpses on the battlefield to gain power.

When The Butcher kills a minion or player, that minion or player will drop fresh meat that he can pick up to permanently boost his attack damage until he dies. Diablo players will recognise the character’s charge ability and the fires erupting from the ground that he can conjure with Furnace Blast. He can also use his sickle to mark an enemy with Butcher’s Brand for five seconds, adding some lifesteal to attacks against the target. Check out the video below for more information on The Butcher’s other abilities and strategies for using him in combat.

The Dota 2 world championship prize pool has now officially hit the $15 million mark, securing every stretch goal Valve had originally planned for it. As the original prize pool for the world championships started at $1.6 million and was increased by 25% of the revenue from sales of the digital tournament compendium, this means Valve has made over $53.6 million in sales.

The record sales have been attributed to a new mechanic this year that lets players pay money to level up their compendiums and unlock random rewards. Many players have gambled hundreds of dollars to unlock the rarest rewards as they can’t be bought or sold on the market for the next month or two.

The prize pool will be split between the top teams in next month’s world championship tournament, The International 5. Each member of the winning team will walk away with close to a million dollars in cash, showing once again that e-sports may be approaching the level of many real world professional sports. Tickets to the live grand finals sold out this year in a matter of minutes, and online viewership numbers are expected to be in the millions.

vainglory-titleMobile MOBA Vainglory has been pretty successful on iOS since its release, being played by around 1.5 million active players each month. This week the game officially launched on Android and was released on the Android app store and Google Play. Despite Vainglory being a mobile-exclusive game, the dev team behind it intends to pursue the same kind of hardcore competitive scene that has made PC MOBAs so big. We can reportedly look forward to e-sports events in the future and even a spectator client that lets you watch eight players’ screens simultaneously.

hearthstone

Hearthstone’s 16th ranked competitive season has also kicked off this week, with a unique Darkspear card back reward for each player who manages to hit rank 20 within the month of July. This card back can only be won from this season, so if you miss it, then you may not be able to get it in the future. The recent release of patch 2.7.0.9166 made collecting new card backs more useful by letting players assign different card backs to each of their decks in order to make them more recognisable.

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!
newest oldest most liked
Subscribe to:
JordonSuter
Guest
JordonSuter

Vainglory is definitely easier on a larger screen I’m on an 10.5 but as far as android goes best game on the market and as far as MOBA definitely potential for longevity

calyptic101
Guest
calyptic101

The game is very easy to play on a tablet or a phablet. I have an lg g3 and nexus 7 so its easy to use on bith but anything below a 5 inch screen would suck. But it still ha grwat controls made for touch screen.

calyptic101
Guest
calyptic101

Not only is vainglory the best moba game i have played on mobile its the best mobile game i played. Extremely high quality and a fair purchase system unlike every other mibile game.

Denngar
Guest
Denngar

No news on Splatoon’s new Tower Control ranked mode? http://masterherald.com/splatoon-dlc-news-game-now-features-ranked-battle-mode-tower-control/21349/
And there was Nintendo’s first real online event (Splatfest) on July 4. Was hoping for some MOP NSM love on that =(

Denngar
Guest
Denngar

Greaterdivinity I’m in the same boat. The game looks fun enough, and I really enjoyed the last “mobile” MOBA I played (Solstice Arena, RIP =(  ), but I only played it on PC. I just… can’t get into a game that’s online and “mobile” due to disconnects. I’ve played Hearthstone on the night bus from Tokyo to Osaka, but I usually give up after a single disconnect costs me a game because… well, that really, really sucks (and that’s just with unranked games).

Gavaevodata
Guest
Gavaevodata

Been playing Vainglory the past few days, it’s one of the best mobile games I’ve played. May put some cash down to support the devs and buy a few heroes.

Greaterdivinity
Guest
Greaterdivinity

Played a bit of Vainglory and the production level is great, but damn if it isn’t painful to try to play on a phone. Still totally unconvinced at the viability of core or even mid-core games on mobile.