Online gaming and e-sports are getting bigger by the day, and there are literally hundreds of popular online games out there that don’t really fit into the MMO category. Join me each week for Not So Massively, where I gather together the top stories from the biggest MOBAs, competitive card games, first person shooters, and other popular online games in one place.
This week we have weird new champions and big game updates from League of Legends and Heroes of Newerth and a revolutionary game-changing patch for Counter Strike: Global Offensive. We also hear about adorable new online roguelike For the King, look into the latest cheating controversy in Hearthstone, check out what’s been happening lately with Path of Exile and Star Citizen, and more!
If there’s a game or story you’d like to see covered in next week’s Not So Massively, please drop us a tip and let us know.
Vancouver-based game developer IronOak Games has announced its new graphically stylised game For The King, a turn-based RPG roguelike with co-operative online multiplayer. The game is currently in the pre-alpha stage and the developers have just launched a Steam Greenlight page and Kickstarter campaign for the project. The Kickstarter campaign managed to smash through its conservative goal of $40,000 CAD in just over a day, and is now adding stretch goals such as new zones and a pet feature.
Counter Strike: Global Offensive got a major update this week that seems to have fixed a lot of the game’s hit registration problems. The old hitboxes have been replaced by a new system that uses “non-polygonal capsule-shaped hit volumes” to more accurately fill out the shape of the player models. The new hit volumes appear to be very forgiving of poor player accuracy, with the head, chest, arms and legs now taking up significantly more screen volume.
The patch also replaced all of the player animations with new ones and updated the animation system to continually synchronise with the server so that players are always in the same animation on your screen as on the server. Players are reporting that shots now consistently hit and miss when expected, and there are significantly fewer unexplained misses. Hitboxes are also now accurately represented while jumping, defusing and climbing a ladder, which finally fixes the jumping sniper exploit that let players poke their heads up from behind cover without danger.
A new SV_ShowBulletHits command has been added to let you see exactly where your shots hit when playing on a private server. The M4A1-S has also been nerfed in power and reduced in price a little, the Zeus is now only $100, and player character and weapon models can no longer poke through walls.was knocked out by someone who may have cheated but was allowed to continue competing. The controversial match occurred during the Regional Last Call Tournament, which acts as a qualifier for the world championship tournament at Blizzcon but is actually run by third party organisation ESL.
The rules of the tournament demand that players bring only three decks of cards into the game and win a match with each deck. Players can ask their opponents for proof that they are complying with the rule in the form of a screenshot at any point during the tournament. Player Alex “Redwall420” Spruck recalls that he made such a request of a player named Austbuck, who then admitted he had brought additional decks into the game. The ESL organisers decided to allow the offender to delete the extra decks and continue in the competition, despite objections that his rule-breaking may have contributed to a previous win in the tournament.
ESL’s Hearthstone head responded to the complaint with an explanation that it will only take action if there’s concrete proof that a player has cheated, stating “players who feel their opponent is using cards not in their submitted lists can submit a ticket to the admins with screenshot proof of the card being played.” Polygon points out that players can’t possibly know if a card is on their opponent’s registered card list as only the admins have access to that information. This latest scuffle has prompted renewed calls for Blizzard to produce their own dedicated tournament mode that locks decks and manages tournament brackets automatically.
Heroes of Newerth is adding an interesting new agility carry hero called Nitro who is actually a pair of characters on a mobile artillery platform. Psychopop mans the cannon, while her sidekick Mauser sits in a motorbike that can be detached and controlled as a separate character. Splitting the two characters up increases the range of Nitro’s cannon but leaves her immobile, which can be dangerous as both characters automatically die if their partner is killed. When the two characters are reunited, their health pools recombine so that damage is carried over, making Nitro a very squishy character.
The Nitro patch also significantly changes HoN‘s laning gameplay and game progression. The gold rewards for killing enemy heroes have been rebalanced, and XP will be split between people in a teamfight even if they died during it. Pushing lanes with creeps will be made more effective to to de-emphasise turtling strategies, while tower damage will be increased to discourage pushing without creeps. Towers will take more damage and will no longer attack heroes if there are creeps in range to attack, and creeps are now a lot more powerful.
Lane creeps also now give 20% bonus XP if there’s a second allied hero in range, so having a jungler and a second solo lane will be a lot more optional. Each player will get his own invulnerable courier that can only be instructed to deliver items from the stash, and revelation wards will automatically give sight on enemy wards in range. The patch is due to be released on September 22nd.a weird new champion that’s half purple wolf ghost and half creepy bipedal lamb. Kindred is a ranged Jungler with a dash and a slow, and can deploy the wolf spirit to gain a buff to the dash’s cooldown inside a set area. Kindred can also mark enemies for death from anywhere on the map and gains a permanent stackable buff to basic attacks for each marked foe killed. The champion’s ultimate ability creates a zone around the target champion that prevents damage which would bring any champion’s health to critical levels and then applies a heal on termination. The ability affects enemies too though, so you could inadvertantly heal your attacker.
The final pre-championship gameplay update arrived this week in the form of patch 5.18, which contains balance changes to 20 champions and several items and is the build that this year’s World Championship series will be played on. The series is due to begin on October 1st with the group stages in Paris, leading eventually to the grand final in Berlin on October 31st. Patch 5.18 also fixes the invisible missile exploit that players recently discovered, which Riot has confirmed was caused by a mistake made in the animation cancelling code.
Riot updated its Instant Feedback system that immediately gives players bans and report cards after matches if it detects toxic behaviour this week. The system now delivers report cards in-game immediately following a match rather than via email, and it now also detects and punishes players for intentional feeding. The automated ban system recently claimed popular YouTube star Dunkey, who was reportedly banned after an abusive chat tirade against another. In response, Dunkey made the video below (NSFW) defending his right to trash talk other players delving into all the reasons that he’s quitting the game:launch a new month-long set of league events for the month following this that revisit previous league types, with prizes including unique gear and random microtransaction items for reaching certain level thresholds.
Star Citizen passed the $89 million crowdfunding mark this week, and opened up its new community hub website to all backers. Jason Hutchins over at Illfonic discussed the kinds of problems they’re still finding in the Star Marine codebase after the recent dev stream merge. The team also detailed all the work that was done this week, including finishing the code for reloading weapons while in cover and handing over the Headquarters game mode to the designers over at Foundry 42 UK.
- Splatoon added its a new map called Hammerhead Bridge.
- Joy Entertainment announced We Are Heroes, a new RPG-MOBA hybrid game.
- Mobile MOBA Ace of Arenas got a release date of September 24th.
- Professional eSports team Natus Vincere has launched a Hearthstone wing.
- Order and Chaos II has released on Android and iOS.
- Mobile game World of Tank: Blitz is having a tournament.