Not So Massively: Path of Exile’s Ascendancy expansion (November 23, 2015)


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.

Path of Exile revealed details of its upcoming Ascendancy expansion and its new procedurally generated labyrinth system this week. Star Citizen also finally released its alpha 2.0 patch to the public test servers and revealed its expected launch date for the patch’s final release. Destiny increased legendary drop rates with Update 2.02 and added some interesting hints at its upcoming refer-a-friend system rewards. Dota 2‘s $3,000,000 Frankfurt Major tournament was won by an unexpected newcomer from Europe, and one of the losing teams kicked a member for leaking game strategies and other instances of misconduct. And as if one player controlling two characters wasn’t difficult enough in a MOBA, Heroes of the Storm‘s new character Cho’Gall actually allows two players to control one character.

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This week we heard news of Path of Exile‘s upcoming Ascendancy expansion, which promises to add a massive procedurally generated labyrinth full of traps, puzzles, and hidden secrets. Rather than adding a new act to the story, this expansion’s content is focused on the labyrinth and the trials required to unlock it. The procedurally generated nature of the dungeon should keep it fresh for at least the next several months, and is sure to make an impact on the game’s seasonal race leagues. The expansion is due for release in early 2016 and will also introduce new gems, enchantments, items, challenge leagues, and boss battles. Check out Massively OP’s in-depth look into the expansion for more details.

As you level up in Path of Exile, you’ll probably find that the original starting skill gems are quickly outclassed by other skills with more specialised properties such as larger area of effect. Grinding Gear Games is now trying to solve this problem through the introduction of new Threshold Jewels that augment certain skills. The jewels are inserted into sockets in your passive skill tree and are only activated if you reach a certain threshold of stats in range. An example would be a jewel that increases the area effect of the Fireball skill but requires 50 intelligence points to be unlocked nearby in the skill tree. This allows those old skills to remain competitive at high level without disrupting the balance of low-level play.

starcitizenStar Citizen‘s big Alpha 2.0 update is finally ready, and has been deployed to the test server in a limited roll-out. All development teams are now working only on bug-fixes and polish while the number of participants in the testing is gradually being increased to ensure that it’s ready for the heavy load of a live rollout. This version of the game includes a small area of space with several combat and research missions, random space encounters such as pirates, several newly-playable ships, and three space stations to dock at.

The full public rollout of the Alpha 2.0 update is expected to be released some time within the next week. Star Citizen‘s funding level also reached the $95 million mark this week following a new ship sale, and we heard details on how ship repair and maintenance will work in the persistent universe.

destinyDestiny‘s much-anticipated crucible patch went live this week with Update 2.02. The patch increases the drop rates of Legendary items in the normal crucible and the Iron Banner considerably. The Banshee-44 gunsmith also now sells weapon parts in exchange for Glimmer, and there are new emotes and emblems for the upcoming refer-a-friend system.

dota2The $3,000,000 Frankfurt Major tournament took place this week, with European newcomers OG unexpectedly taking first place. OG was a new team formed for the Frankfurt Major from the members of former competitive team Monkey Business. Most of the squad got their starts in the original DotA or the Heroes of Newerth‘s competitive scene and have moved between various squads throughout their e-sports careers. The team was one of eight competitors who were not invited to the tournament but instead fought to secure their places a qualifier round. Despite being knocked down into the lower bracket by a first-round loss to Vega Squadron in the group stages, OG went on to defeat Fnatic, Mineski, Virtus Pro, CDEC Gaming, EHOME, Evil Geniuses and Team Secret to claim the top prize of over a million dollars.

In the wake of the tournament, professional team Cloud9 have let go member Ravi “Ritsu” Kodippili amidst allegations of misconduct. Ravi is accused of attempting to manipulate the North American Dota 2 scene to get rid of his team’s new rival Digital Chaos and was found to be leaking information on DC’s strategies obtained from private practice matches. Though these matches are not necessarily secret, Ritsu was shown to be sending the information to other North American teams in an effort to stop DC them from qualifying for upcoming tournament The Summit 4. The announcement comes after Cloud9 was knocked out of the Frankfurt Major tournament in straight losses.

heroesofthestormHeroes of the Storm released a major patch this week, tweaking the upcoming Towers of Doom game mode and rebalancing several heroes. The patch includes sweeping changes to how stats scale as you level up, increases to respawn time for characters of level 10 and below, and replay files should no longer be made incompatible by future patches.

The update also includes new hero Cho’Gall, a two-headed Horde ogre from the Warcraft universe. Cho’Gall is the first character to be controlled by two separate players, with one player using each head. Whoever’s controlling the head named Cho is responsible for moving the character and has four abilities to activate, including a Rune Bomb ability that throws a magic ball at enemies. The player in charge of Gall can detonate the Rune Bomb for a burst of area-effect damage and has several of his own damage-dealing spells.



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 to let him know!
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