Not So Massively: Gamers rally around Total Biscuit (October 19, 2015)

    
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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.

Online gaming communities around the world have been offering their support this week to YouTube gaming star Total Biscuit (aka The Cynical Brit) following the announcement that his cancer is back and is now incurable. E-sports team Natus Vincere dropped its Dota 2 squad after they failed to qualify for the $3,000,000 Frankfurt Major tournament, and the BBC provided some great coverage of the League of Legends world championship quarter finals. Splatoon nerfed several weapons in patch 2.2.0, and Hearthstone suffered a patching mishap on Android. We also heard the latest development news from Elite: Dangerous, Star Citizen, and Path of Exile.

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.

totalbiscuitIn April of last year, YouTube star John “Total Biscuit” Bain published the video below in which he talked frankly about some embarassing health problems that he had left unchecked for over a year. After investigation, he was found to have a cancerous mass in his bowel. A tough year of surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation treatments and recovery later, he was pronounced cancer-free and began getting regular CT scans to follow up. This week John announced that his latest scan shows spots in his liver, meaning that his cancer had already metastasised to other parts of his body. He has been told that his condition is now incurable and that the average life expectancy of people in his position is 2-3 years.

As a prominent influencer on gaming social media, John has helped introduce the world to countless online games that are popular today. Through his “WTF is…” series, we were introduced to games like Path of Exile, Hearthstone, SMITE, and League of Legends. He’s also taken vocal stances on topics that affect all gamers, such as the pre-order incentives, the SOPA copyright act, and censorship by game studios. Gaming communities around the world have been offering their support, raising money for cancer charities, and urging anyone who has similar symptoms to get them checked. John himself remains resolute, stating that most people who fall within the 2-3 year bracket are older and there are a number of promising treatment options available to him.

dota2The qualifiers for the $3,000,000 Frankfurt Major tournament are now complete, and the 16 teams entering the tournament have been announced. Professional team Natus Vincere unfortunately didn’t manage to make it through the qualifiers and has since announced that the team is officially dismissing its Dota 2 squad. Na’Vi was the winner of the first ever International back in 2011, scoring the first million-dollar prize in MOBA e-sports and securing the team’s place in the history books.

The past four years have seen e-sports grow into a true industry, and Na’Vi has been overtaken by some incredibly talented teams. The unfortunate reality is that the team’s current lineup just isn’t good enough to compete at the upper end of the professional circuit, and so COO Igor Sydorenko has decided to let the entire lineup go. A whole new lineup will reportedly be brought together to take on the mantle of the 2011 International champions.

elitedangerousThe latest Elite: Dangerous newsletter reveals more details about the Surface Recon Vehicle, one of the planetary rovers that we’ll use to drive around on planets. The dev team’s goal is to make driving as fun an experience as flying even in the absence of gameplay, and then tie to the gameplay into it.

The SRV will feature thrusters that can be used to get yourself out of a ditch and that compensate for the problems that sometimes happen in high or low gravity environments. It’s hoped that the result will be a more fun and intuitive driving experience. The newsletter also teases us with news both of SRV turrets that can attack low-flying ships and of settlements that you’ll find dotted about some rocky planets.

hearthstone

Hearthstone’s Patch 3.2 was accidentally released early on Android this week, causing compatibility issues with the matchmaking system. Blizzard was unable to roll back affected devices to 3.1 and has instead issued a notice that anyone on 3.2 will experience matchmaking delays as they can only play with users on the same version. The planned PC release of 3.2 is going ahead as originally scheduled.

leagueoflegends

Riot Games published part two in its series on League of Legends champion balance and game design this week, focusing on counterplay, force multipliers, multi-laners, and characters with exploitable weaknesses. The quarter finals of the League of Legends World Championship series took place this week at Wembley arena in London, with explosive results. The BBC has been commended for its coverage of the event, which included a full video series on e-sports, the history of League of Legends, and a guide for non-players to help them follow the events. Thanks to a partnership with BBC Sports, the event was given the same high standard of coverage as any other sporting event.

pathofexile

Path of Exile released patch 2.0.4b this week, adding eight new divination cards and reducing the game’s startup time and memory footprint by about 15%. This week’s Build of the Week demonstrates the kinds of highly creative builds that are possible when combining the game’s passive skill tree with unique item combinations. The level 86 Shadow has no active skills, and instead casts spells every time it takes damage or drinks from the Doedre’s Elixir unique flask. While this is an incredibly creative build, it was somewhat overshadowed this week by the hilarious fan build below, which runs at -99% move speed.

splatoonSplatoon‘s patch 2.2.0 went live this week, with adjustments to dozens of weapons and balance changes to ranked play. Players ranked S+ will now be matched up with other S+ ranked players more frequently, and the number of points won or lost in each match when you’re in S and S+ ranks have been adjusted so that it’s a little easier to stay in those brackets. Roller weapons will no longer one-hit enemies in melee range unless you hit them with the centre of the roller, and the maximum damage of the E-litre 3K sniper rifle has been reduced from 120 to 100 damage.

One team’s special bar will also now charge up faster depending on what’s happening in the map to give that team a way to push forward. In Splat Zones, the leading team will get the special gague bonus when the counter for both teams is stopped. In Tower Control, the bonus goes to whichever team is currently in charge of the tower regardless of which team has the lead. And in Rainmaker mode, the special gague of the losing team automatically charges if nobody is currently holding the rainmaker. Check out the official patch notes pdf for a full run-down of all the balance changes.

starcitizenOver the coming months, the Star Citizen developers aim to merge gameplay from Arena Commander flight module and the Star Marine FPS module together. To keep people in the loop, this week developers started including news from both parts of the game in the weekly development updates. Star Citizen Alpha 2.0.0 is on the way, with new additions including missions, the ship fuel system, and the “green zone” combat-free area. This version of the alpha will also contain the first release of the FPS gameplay, which promises first person combat in the Crusader map.

A landmark moment was also reached this week as the Star Citizen community passed the one million account mark. A total of 1,019,109 players have signed up to the game at the time of writing, contributing a total of $93,255,565 US. The recent spike in crowdfunding is attributed to the recent CitizenCon reveals and a new promise to eliminate paid alpha tests. Future alpha tests will be available to all backers, and anyone who paid for a permanent alpha pass will be rewarded with UEC points.

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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Ashleygr191
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Ashleygr191

Most money spent on cancer research is based towards preventions. Curing as you say may be something we may not find out for a very very long time. But that money spent on prevention helps a lot.

GabeNewellFetish
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GabeNewellFetish

Only started listening to TotalBiscuit recently (his podcast). In the last six months or so. He’s a really intelligent and entertaining guy with a pretty fair minded view of things. I have come to look forward to his podcast, each week. I’m not sure where people come up with the idea that he seems like an asshole or something. The guy seems anything *but*. He seems like an all around amicable fellow.

Anyway, this is really sad news. I was pretty devastated when we lost Ryan Davis a couple years ago and I would be just fine if we didn’t lose any more great gaming personalities for awhile. Especially those who contribute so positively to the general dialog.

Unfortunately, I’ve also witnessed a lot of really scummy behavior by gaming journalists and community managers in response to his news. Outright censoring entire forums, like on reddit, where they said he wasn’t “notable enough” to be discussed… despite all the trivial garbage they discuss there. Really petty.

Anyway, it is hard for me to be optimistic about the news, but I hope his optimism leads him through a trying time and he beats the odds. It almost makes me physically ill trying to imagine what I would do and how I would respond were I given the news today that I only had one to three years left. I can’t even start to wrap my mind around that.

Nyphur
Guest
Nyphur

Sobach Nyphur I’m really sorry to hear that, Sobach, and sorry I haven’t really kept in touch. I hope everything goes well for you.

apmartinez765
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apmartinez765

Armsbend Siphaed Don’t they cut people’s live in half and it’s the only organ in the body that can regenerate itself?

Darthbawl
Guest
Darthbawl

Midgetsnowman A lot of people find him a bit a-hole-ish but that’s likely because he doesn’t have any issue with going places where other colleagues won’t.  I tend to like things he can be hypercritical about: 60 FPS gaming, need for better menu systems, options, polish, etc., stop putting out crappy beta-level early access tripe.

Jarin
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Jarin

Midgetsnowman Yeah, this is about where I stand. 

Hope you recover, ya bastard.

Midgetsnowman
Guest
Midgetsnowman

well, I’ve never really like TB much, he’s always struck me as kind of an asshole. But I sure as hell dont wish incurable cancer on him, and I hope he finds a treatment option that allows him to exist for me to hate for many decades to come.

Darthbawl
Guest
Darthbawl

TB is also a big champion on Steam about 60 FPS gaming.  He has a section dedicated to finding games that are frame locked or limited and making sure to mention which ones have no such shenanigans going on.  Massive undertaking and something that honestly needed to happen.  Love his WTF videos and his TB Tastes videos with his wife.  Watching him eat foreign foods is pretty funny sometimes!

Sobach
Guest
Sobach

Nyphur 
Nyph, go get that checked out again, if for nothing else other than your own peace of mind.  If I hadn’t went to the hospital for what I thought was the flu earlier in the summer, I probably wouldn’t be here today going through my 2nd round of chemo.

BigMikeyOcho
Guest
BigMikeyOcho

Metastasised means that the cancer has infected a part of the body not associated with the original location, which means that it has found a way to travel. And if it’s travelling, most likely in the bloodstream, it could potentially show up anywhere in the body.