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.
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In 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.
The 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.
The 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.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. 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. 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.
Splatoon‘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.
Over 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.
- Prime World permabanned over 400 accounts, and took the unusual step of naming and shaming those banned.
- Korean officials broke up a StarCraft II match-fixing ring.
- The Dungeon Defenders II open alpha has now released on Steam.
- Grey Goo published a new Tournament Series Overview video on its $75,000 tournament.