Meanwhile, SMITE players can get a hold of two new Old Glory-inspired skins for the Greek goddess Nike and the Egyptian sun-god Ra. The skins, dubbed Star Spangled Nike and Ra’Merica, are available alongside past patriotic skins for Zeus, Bacchus, and others, as rewards from Independence Chests. These displays of nationalistic pride are all for a good cause, though; for every Independence Chest purchased, Hi-Rez will donate $1 to the American Red Cross to aid in disaster relief efforts all over the world.
MOBAs are multiplayer online battle arenas, PvP-centric, non-persistent online games that share some but not all mechanics in common with traditional MMORPGs. We formerly categorized MOBAs as “Not So Massively” games. You may also be interested in our Multiplayer category for other multiplayer online games that aren’t fully massive. [Follow the MOBA category’s RSS feed]
The latest patch for Heroes of the Storm is up on the game’s test realm, and it contains a new set of hero reworks. Both Raynor and Azmodan are on the slate for reworking this time around; there are full videos for both just below if you’d like a overview of the philosophies at work. Raynor has gotten new wave-clearing tools and a completely reworked talent tree, while Azmodan has been vastly buffed in his role as a late-game siege machine.
Of course, there are other changes to functionality and UI improvements for the game, so you can check them out on the full patch notes. There are also plans for new skins for both characters, as well as new mounts, new portraits, and various other new stuff in the works; check it all out if you’re a fan of all the MOBA fun you can have with Blizzard characters.
In the comments of my last Daily Grind about Star Wars Galaxies, there erupted a lively debate about the game’s user interface in the particular. I was surprised to find that some folks are convinced the game’s interface was lacking, given that it’s basically the same minimap-plus-hotbars-plus-unit-frames-plus-chat interface that every other MMORPG since has cribbed, just a bit more Star Warsy, glowy and minimalistic.
Then again, if you hate the stock minimap-plus-hotbars-plus-unit-frames-plus-chat interface setup that most MMORPGs boast, then yeah, hating SWG’s too makes sense.
Which MMORPG has the best user interface? And how does it deviate from the (at this point) completely standard World of Warcraft template?
(Note: The screenshot above isn’t actually SWG’s; it’s Otherland’s. You should check out The Repopulation’s too.)
Perhaps in the future, we’ll all be looking back at the time when e-sports were an actual thing played by humans rather than simply a competition between teams of AI. As the Dota 2 world championships take place this year, spectators will have one team to cheer for that’s definitely not on drugs and has never been suspended for inappropriate behavior, because the team consists of AI players working in harmony. Elon Musk’s OpenAI team is heading to the championships, and it’s not just doing so as a novelty; the team has already won its way in against a team of semipro players.
Of course, it’s an open question whether or not the AI players can match up against the best players in the world, but thus far results are encouraging, and even a hard-fought loss would indicate that the AI in question is approaching the upper limit of what humans are capable of. So keep your eyes peeled, as we may be looking at a line of competition that’s ending remarkably quickly; then we’ll just need an AI to beat the best humans at basketball.
May 2018 was good to Fortnite, again, SuperData’s latest global revenue report shows, but its growth rate may be coming to a middle. “Fortnite hits a new high but growth is slowing down,” the research firm says in today’s report. “We estimate that Fortnite made $318 million across all platforms in May, up 7% from April. The majority of growth came from console, with mobile and PC both coming in flat compared to April.”
And on mobile, Pokemon Go has resurged, as it always does in summer in the northern hemisphere, as it’s gathered up more players than ever. Fun side note: Remember Netease’s Knives Out, one of its two PUBG clones on mobile? It’s in 5th place globally on mobile, just behind POGO, so PUBG’s lawsuit isn’t so bonkers after all.
If you were in any way hoping that the Dutch Gaming Authority’s ruling about lockboxes would lead to a worldwide shift, it seems that’s not quite what’s happening. Valve was one of the companies told to change their lockboxes or face prosecution in the Netherlands for failing to comply with the country’s policies, and Valve has responded… by disabling the Steam Marketplace selling or direct trading of lootboxes for CounterStrike: Global Offensive and DOTA 2 in the Netherlands.
The official statement from Valve indicates that it does not agree with the DGA’s ruling and that appeals are ongoing but that the current action is the only possible solution to the problem. There’s no word of any sort of long-term plans if the DGA does not change its ruling, especially as Valve is currently framing the disabling of lockboxes as a wholly temporary measure. Our condolences to players negatively affected by the decision.
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 6:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, June 19th, 2018
The patch has also brought along several new skins and a variety of bug fixes, as patches tend to do. Of course, it’s also brought some issues along with it, which are already helpfully available in a thread on the official site; this includes some after-match placement errors, which are good to know about ahead of time. So jump on in and take on your enemies, possibly while watching everything through a mirror. (It’s a Medusa thing, you see.)
There is a lot of stuff in Heroes of the Storm that’s meant as an homage to classic bits of Blizzard games, but the new Alterac Pass battleground is… well, an homage to Alterac Valley. Which is an actual battleground. So it’s like playing something that’s a more direct patch over from the original, although it seems unlikely that Alterac Pass will devolve into both teams ignoring one another and racing for the faction leaders at top speed.
Also, Alterac Valley features very few British lesbians who can teleport or armored space mercenaries with flamethrowers, so that’s a bit different.
True to the inspiration, players will no longer be rushing the enemy core but will deal with the enemy generals as they capture graveyards, take out forts, and generally weaken the other team’s defenses. Check out the preview trailer for the new map just below, and remember: if you want to take part in a battle in HotS, you are expected to actually take part in that battle. Blizzard has just banned a number of people for the crime of joining matches and then either going AFK, refusing to participate, or intentionally dying. So be fairly warned that joinging without intent to play will, well, stop you from playing.
“The 3v3v3 death match brawler adventure will be played on a new egyptian themed map. Teams will spawn at bases around a center objective, but the true goal is to be the last man standing. The first team to win 3 rounds wins the match. A death fog will quickly close in on the map, until only the center play area is left available. The 3-team game format makes for interesting strategy and the potential for alliances not normally found in SMITE game modes. The killer fog sets a definitive timer for rounds, and it makes matches quick-paced and fun.”
The new adventure should be rolling out to PC and consoles later in June as part of the game’s ongoing fifth season.
- Ah Puch’s Corpse Explosion’s damage will shift around to rely a little bit less on minions, buffing him in the early game;
- Cu Chulainn is getting a wee nerf to Berserk;
- Erlang Shen, Neith, Skadi, Zeus, and Nox will see slight buffs;
- Hachiman and Xbalanque are being nerfed slightly to bring them into parity with other characters of their archetype;
- Zhong Kui should be a whole lot less frustrating to play;
- and Chernobog, the game’s newest god, is getting well-earned buffs to make him easier to play.
Of course, that rundown assumes you can actually get in to play, which isn’t a given as the servers have been struggling to stay afloat thanks to tons of people playing and a strange bug, as Hi-Rez’s Stewart Chisam notes:
Fortnite had another record month of revenue in April, according to SuperData’s latest global revenue report. “Epic’s Battle Royale shooter made $296 million in April across Console, PC and Mobile, up from $223 million in March,” says the firm.
But the more interesting story is SuperData’s assertion that “Grand Theft Auto V is finally showing its age.”
“GTA V Online revenue declined 9% year-over-year, ending an impressive streak of 12 consecutive months with year-over-year growth. GTA V Online has declined sequentially every month since the start of the year, likely in part due to the continued rise of Fortnite as well as a dearth of significant content updates from Rockstar.”
Well now the Chinese can experience that unique flavor, as Trion Worlds announced that Atlas Reactor has arrived in that country and is available through Steam. The free-to-play game is the second (after Trove) that Trion launched in the region and brings the full game up through the current start of Season Six.
“Atlas Reactor’s exciting and competitive take on the turn-based strategy genre as well as its compelling cast of characters make it a great fit for China,” said CEO Scott Hartsman. “Chinese players have fully embraced Trove and have been asking for a fully localized version of Atlas Reactor as well, and we couldn’t be happier to bring it to them.”