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.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive frustrated its community this week with the release of a ridiculous one-hit-kill pistol and serious nerfs to the game’s most popular weapons. Star Citizen hit $100,000,000 in crowdfunding and another equally impressive development milestone this week. Diablo III revealed more details of its upcoming patch, Path of Exile made some major game balance changes, and Elite: Dangerous revealed the launch date for its Horizons expansion. In MOBA news, League of Legends released impressive viewership numbers for the 2015 world championship and a pro player has quit the scene due to ongoing depression and anxiety. Heroes of Newerth also has a new hero, and Heroes of the Storm has annoyed its community with the release of new refer-a-friend rewards.
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.
The Counter-Strike: Global Offensive community was up in arms this week (pun intended) over a new patch that rebalanced many of the game’s weapons and added the new R8 revolver. The new revolver features a unique charge-up method that lets players hold down the left mouse button to steady a shot and make it very accurate. The gun also had practically the same damage, range and penetrating power of an AWP for a fraction of the cost, and had a rapid fire right click mode. I spent much of this week listening to the maniacal laughs of my housemate as he tore through entire teams with the R8 while pretending to be Revolver Ocelot, and he’s not the only one. The fun didn’t last long though as Valve nerfed the R8 revolver into the ground after only three days in the wild.
The patch that introduced the R8 also made some big balance changes that have annoyed top-tier players. Pistols had their running accuracies nerfed across the board, and more randomness was added to the spread of rifles such as the iconic AK 47 and M4A1. Pro players are normally able to maintain extremely high accuracy with rifles while moving by memorising the predictable recoil patterns, but there is now a larger random factor in the firing pattern. The change seems to be part of an effort to change how CS:GO is played, with more focus on single tapping and less on memorising the recoil patterns of guns, but some have pointed out that even single-tapping now involves more luck than skill.
Diablo III previewed its upcoming Patch 2.4.0 this week, which introduces the creepy new Greyhollow Island zone. The new zone requires the Reaper of Souls expansion to play and is exclusive to Adventure Mode, with a more open exploration focus rather than a linear main narrative the player runs through.
Elite: Dangerous‘ Horizons expansion launches tomorrow, adding planetary landing gameplay for anyone who has bought the expansion. Players who already have the base game will get a small discount on the expansion applied when they buy through the Elite store. To celebrate the impending launch of Horizons, Frontier Developments has released a new expansion trailer featuring gameplay highlights from the surface of rocky worlds.
The ongoing legal battle between Blizzard and Bossland GmbH, the company behind Heroes of the Storm bot Stormbuddy, took an interesting turn recently as Bossland suggested that Blizzard had illegally acquired the source code to the bot. Blizzard failed to sue Bossland for copyright infringement in german courts back in May, and then proceeded to file a lawsuit against contractor James “Apoc” Enright in a California court. Enright was the programmer behind the Stormbuddy bot, and it later emerged that he may have given Blizzard the source code for the bot as part of a deal. Bossland’s CEO contends that the source code for Stormbuddy belongs to his company and that Enright had no legal right to hand it over, and further claims that Blizzard has now illegally acquired its intellectual property.
Some drama also kicked off in the Heroes of the Storm community this week when new rewards added to the recruit-a-friend system backfired. Players can gain rewards such as stimpacks and work their way toward a unique mount by inviting friends to the game, with additional rewards unlocked as the invited player gains levels. This has led to outrage among veteran players who have already invited most of their friends without any reward, and has caused some players to create fake accounts in order to farm the rewards. The end result has been to encourage veteran players to make new smurf accounts and play alongside newbies, imbalancing the matchmaking system for new players and artificially inflating the game’s player numbers.
Heroes of Newerth released a new hero this week with the introduction of Merciful King Klout, a bulbous goblin king who is anything but merciful. Klout’s ability set centres around throwing disposable goblin minions at his enemies, with a chain of goblin minions following him around and a new minion spawning every 8 seconds. Every fifth minion will be a red minion who deals extra magic damage on hit, and red minions actually have a 25% chance of spawning as green minions that bounce between enemies. Klout’s normal attacks add a stacking debuff that reduces armour, and once it hits 5 stacks the target will turn into a minion for three seconds.
King Klout will be released tomorrow with patch 3.8, which also comes with two new items. The Arclight Crown combines a Voltstone and two Warpclefts to make an item that grants insane attack speed and adds a blast of chain lightning to every fifth attack. The Jade Spire is a supporting item with a passive aura and an active component that gives massive mana regeneration and magic lifesteal.pulled together some impressive viewership stats from the recent world championship tournament, which has broken e-sports viewership records for another year running. The tournament boasts 360 million hours of viewership in total compared to last year’s 194 million, and the peak concurrency of 14 million unique viewers beats last year’s 11 million. A total of over 36 million unique people tuned in at some point during the finals, a new record for any esports event.
Following the event, professional player Diego “Quas” Ruiz of Team Liquid was suspended following an altercation at the team’s headquarters. Ruiz has since left Team Liquid and the e-sports scene in general, citing his long battle with depression and anxiety as part of the reason why.
The annual Snowdown event is also now underway and it looks like Riot is really going all out for this year’s event. The game map has been replaced with a version covered in snow and ice, and even the minions are wearing hats and winter coats. The Poro King has returned to the Howling Abyss in the Legend of the Poro King game mode, and of course there are plenty of new winter skins. Full patch notes for the latest update are also available.officially launched in Brazil this week, and deployed Content Update 2.1.0 to the live servers. The patch contains significant changes to the Ranger and Shadow parts of the passive skill tree and rebalances many skill gems, so everyone has been given a free optional passive skill reset. Monsters with high burst damage have been given a short cooldown on each ability use to prevent damage from being so spiky, reducing the need to get plenty of life nodes on some character builds.
This patch also kicked off the Talisman league race events, which offer items from a new Rigwald armour set for completing certain challenges within the league. There are achievements for defeating each of the bosses in each difficulty, crafting certain items, levelling certain masters, compelting quests, killing unique monsters, and a ton of other challenges. The Rigwald armour set cannot be purchased and is exclusive to the Talisman League events.
Star Citizen hit its two biggest milestones yet this week as it officially crossed the $100,000,000 crowdfunding mark and launched its Alpha 2.0 release to all backers. Anyone with a pre-order can now download the alpha release, which contains a smaller test version of the persistent online universe. Players can walk around one of three space stations, board their pre-ordered ships, and fight each other inside a star system. There are also missions to complete, FPS gameplay inside boarded ships, multi-crew ships, and players can leave their ships and EVA. Players have been warned to expect bugs and crashes while playing the alpha.
- Voxel-based game Planets3 has officially renamed itself to Stellar Overload.
- Tank game Armored Warfare is promising to release a new tank free to all players.
- Tribes: Ascend got its first patch in several years, and it’s a big one.
- EPIC Games finally revealed details of the gameplay of its upcoming game Paragon, which it turns out will be a third person MOBA-shooter.
- Splatoon released the Mahi Mahi Resort map, and ran its first treehouse tournament.