This week in not-so-massive online games, third-person MOBA SMITE confirmed that it’s raised over $640,000 in competitive tournament prize money through sales and crowdfunding deals since April and announced plans to split the funds more evenly to better support professional gamers. Dota 2‘s prize pool topped $16 million with the revelation that anyone who clocks up 1000 compendium points worth over $400 will be sent a metal collectable plaque. Elite: Dangerous announced a competition to let players design their own Rare Goods for inclusion in the game, and Star Citizen discussed the animation glitches that are delaying its FPS module.
Path of Exile officially launched its highly anticipated expansion, The Awakening, this week along with a huge video competition. League of Legends nerfed a lot of ability power items in Patch 5.13 and released new champion Tahm Kench along with a champion spotlight video. Heroes of Newerth announced its first new hero since the game was picked up by Garena, the complete with a spotlight video and 15-page lore comic. The top 25 entries have been selected in Heroes of the Storm‘s ultimate fanart competition. And Dungeon Defenders II is preparing to release its biggest patch yet and wipe everyone’s alpha characters.
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!
Hi-Rez Studios confirmed that fans have raised over $640,000 US in prize money for SMITE‘s competitive scene through various sales and crowdfunding campaigns since April. The number is expected to beat last year’s surprising total of $2 million in crowdfunded prize money for the first ever SMITE world championship tournament as SMITE viewership has more than doubled in the past year.
The winners of last year’s tournament walked away with around $1.3 million US, with the top four teams collectively earning 90% of the available prize fund. This year’s top prize will be capped at $1 million, and the remaining cash will be split much more evenly across the professional gaming scene. Even the worst team in the SMITE Pro League Summer Split event will get $10,000 in prize money.
In the latest Elite: Dangerous newsletter, developers announced a new Rare Goods design contest that asks players to submit their ideas for a player-designed rare item. The best ideas will be put into a poll and the top answer will be added to the game. The contest is supposed to be open for submissions from July 10th to July 19th, but so far Frontier hasn’t provided any details of the competition or how to enter it. Keep an eye out for instructions on the Elite: Dangerous forum this week.
This week’s progress report on the Star Marine FPS module for Star Citizen took a look at some of the crosshair sights the team has made this week and confirmed that the much-requested free-for-all game mode has been added in time for the module’s eventual release. The team is still having trouble with the game’s walking animations not synchronising with the camera and has called in engineers and technical artists to help. The animations for throwing grenades, selecting werapon, and attacking in melee range are also currently not complete. The developers have found some bugs in the ragdoll physics for dead characters, problems with the animation that triggers when the player is hurt, and more. If you’re interested in what the rest of the dev team has been up to this month, check out the Star Citizen aggregated monthly report.officially launched this week, overhauling practically every aspect of the game and adding a fourth story act to be conquered. To celebrate the launch, Grinding Gear Games gave away two free Alienware laptops to the first players who managed to kill boss Malachai solo in the Warband and Tempest leagues after the servers came up. In case you blinked and missed that short-lived competition, there’s also a video competition open until August 14th with 40,000 microtransaction points worth of loot to be won. sweeping nerfs to ability power items across the board to make sure that ability power mages have more than one viable choice.
Heroes of Newerth has announced its first new hero since the game parted ways with original publisher S2 Games. Skrap is a ranged intelligence hero who can support his team with slow heals and push lanes like crazy when needed. Skrap has a unique passive ability called Morsels that allows him to pick up bits of icky red goop from enemy heroes, creeps, and towers that die nearby. Skrap can store up to 100 morsels and consume up to two per second to heal himself and all nearby friendly heroes, in addition to getting a small amount of bonus experience for each morsel he collects.
Skrap’s other abilities are a delayed area-effect nuke and stun called Mouse Trap and a skillshot called Zoomerang that hits enemies twice for damage and a stacking slow while picking up any morsels in its path. His ultimate ability is the interesting Unleash Vorax, which spawns a huge monster in the lane of your choice that immediately begins running toward the enemy base and clearing creeps in its way. Vorax kills enemy creeps in a single hit and disarms towers on attack, making him extremely dangerous if ignored by the enemy team. If Skrap consumes morsels within range of Vorax, he heals Vorax and boosts his damage.
Skrap will be going live in Heroes of Newerth tomorrow. To find out more about the new hero, check out the spotlight video below and the 15-page comic strip of his backstory.
Blizzard has selected the 25 semi-finalists in its Heroes of the Storm ultimate fanart competition, and they are incredibly impressive. Angling for $13,000 US worth of prizes, over 2,300 separate pieces of artwork in a vast array of different styles were submitted to the contest. Each of Blizzard’s top 25 selections has already won at least a boxed copy of Heroes of the Storm, a $50 Battle.net balance boost, and 1,000 DeviantArt points.
The selection will now be whittled down to just three main winners, each of whom will get prizes including thousands of dollars in cash and a print of their winning piece signed by the entire Heroes of the Storm creative team. The first place entrant will also have his or her piece of artwork re-imagined and signed by Heroes of the Storm‘s Senior Art Director Sam Didier.
If you’ve been playing the early access version of Dungeon Defenders II, developers warn that the wipeageddon is fast approaching. The colossal Loot & Survive patch is coming soon, adding a new progression curve, introducing a completely new loot and stat system, and increasing the level cap to 50. The new version is so different that all of your currently characters will have to be wiped, but it’s not a total loss.
Anyone who has levelled up at least one character to the current level cap of 25 by 5 p.m. EDT on July 26th will receive a unique Corrupted Welp pet. If you’re crazy enough about Dungeon Defenders II to have one character of each of the four classes at level 25, you’ll also get four unique Survivor Hero costumes.
Following last week’s news that the Dota 2 world championships prize pool had hit its final $15 million stretch goal, Valve made the unexpected announcement that players whose compendiums reach level 1000 before the tournament will be sent a physical one fifth scale metal replica of the Aegis of Champions. Many players have been pumping money into their compendiums by buying levels as a form of gambling mechanic in the hopes of unlocking one of this year’s rarer immortal treasures. Buying your way to compendium level 1000 would currently cost over $400 US, but there are clearly those out there who are interested enough in the collectable Aegis to sink that kind of cash as the prize pool has now jumped to $16.2 million.
- Riot Games claims that it has reduced the incidence of racist, sexist or homophobic abuse in League of Legends to 2% of games.
- Hearthstone is planning to make a big announcement, probably about its next expansion, on July 22nd.