Not So Massively: LoL’s Reddit controversy, HotS’ Heroes of the Dorm

If ever we needed evidence that e-sports are fast becoming more like real-life sports, this week’s MOBA news provided it. Dota 2 announced that a new seasonal Major Championship league will fill in the gap between world championships and that there will be strict transfer windows for teams just like in real life sports. Top North American League of Legends player Hai Lam retired this week due to an injury, and controversy unfolded over potential cheating in this week’s IQCI Finals. Heroes of the Storm got an official launch date of June 2nd following an April 19th open beta, and its ESPN-sponsored Heroes of the Dorm tournament finals were completed.

Hundreds of Grand Theft Auto 5 players’ accounts have been reportedly compromised due to a security breach at an unknown website, but Rockstar insists that its Social Club servers have not been breached. Path of Exile started the beta for its upcoming expansion, The Awakening, and SMITE revealed its next character is Mayian death god Ah Puch. Elite: Dangerous spoiled us with details of its Powerplay territorial warfare update that lets players pick a side in an ongoing interstellar war. Star Citizen showed off its plans to let players manually load and unload cargo and then sailed past the $80 million mark by selling MISC hull hauler ships.

Read on for detailed breakdowns of the stories above and other news from the wider world of online gaming in this week’s Not So Massively.

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ArcheAge’s Freedich housing disappears tomorrow

Do you play ArcheAge? Do you own land on Freedich Isle? If so, you’ll want clear out all your chests, furniture, and crested items before tomorrow. Trion is removing housing from the pirate island with the Dread Prophecies patch, but the firm is also compensating affected players.

If you own an 8×8 plot, you’ll get 625 gold, five worker’s comp potions, materials to build your structure elsewhere, and a unique Freedich Fellowship title. If you own a 16×16 plot, you’ll get 2500 gold, 20 worker’s comp potions, structure materials, and the same title.

Dread Prophecies will be patched to the live servers tomorrow and will bring with it significant changes to both Freedich and the game’s ship systems and components. Trion is currently forecasting seven hours worth of patch-related downtime.

[Source: Forums]

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Cabal II closed beta begins April 30th

Those of you sitting on the edge of your seats and waiting eagerly for the first Cabal II beta test in North America need wait no longer. You can sit on the whole seat now. In fact, you should probably always sit on the whole seat. The closed beta test for the game starts on April 30th, and you’ll want to be sure that you’re getting proper support from your chair while playing.

Said beta will run until May 3rd, allowing testers to explore the game through the weekend and a bit beyond. Streams are also planned to show off what the game has to offer for those not involved in the testing. See? All that good news, and you really didn’t need to be perched on the very edge of your seat. That’s an expression. You don’t have to really do that.

[Source: Official forums; thanks to Khalith for the tip!]

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Marvel Heroes throws Avengers Assemble event

If you’re a superhero fan, there’s a slight — slight — chance that you’ve heard of this Avengers: Age of Ultron movie that’s coming out soon. Seeing as how there hasn’t been a Marvel film in the past couple of years that Gazillion hasn’t cross-promoted, Marvel Heroes will indeed be piggybacking on this movie event with an event of its own.

Marvel Heroes has begun the first phase of its Avengers Assemble event, which allows you to play any of the Avengers (but you can only take one up to level 60) and enjoy a 50% XP boost while on those characters. Other facets of the event include attacks by Ultron sentries, Avengers mystery boxes, and special boosts that stack if you’re partied up with others who also sport the same bonus.

The studio is also selling costumes from the new film. It remains to be seen what will transpire with future phases of the event.

[Source: Marvel Heroes]

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Is Black Desert changing its tune on gender-locking?

Is Black Desert developer Pearl Abyss having second thoughts about gender-locking the fantasy sandbox’s character classes? Maybe so, if a recent fan even in the game’s native Korea is any indication. MMO Culture reports that next month’s Wizard class will be playable by male and female avatars, which the website describes as “a surprising change.”

A second class reveal, tentatively translated as the Plum Flower, was also on display at the event. It’s basically the female counterpart to the Blader class, although the Plum Flower will make use of a traditional sword instead of the Blader’s katana.

[Source: MMO Culture]

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Daybreak launches new site, triggers week of celebratory events

Daybreak Game Company now has a new home and logo to make its transition from Sony Online Entertainment complete.

“We are so proud of our new company branding as it truly reflects who we are as an organization and captures our vision of approaching each new day as an opportunity to move gaming forward,” said Daybreak President John Smedley on Reddit.

To celebrate the re-launch of the studio, Daybreak is hosting a week of events and activities, both in-game and out. These events include double XP boosts in EverQuest, EverQuest II, and PlanetSide 2, as well as several developer livestreams.

[Source: Daybreak, Reddit, Daybreak Week schedule]

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Guild Wars 2 teases shield Mesmer, distributes beta keys as in-game loot

Shield-using Mesmers may be one of the new specializations coming with Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns if a new piece of concept art is any indication. ArenaNet posted a picture of a light-armor class with a spiked shield on Facebook, which many players believe to be a Mesmer.

The studio has also decided to take a new route with distributing beta keys for the expansion. Starting on April 28th, special rare portals will drop from enemies in Dry Top and Silverwastes that will flag the looter’s account for beta access.

Not every player is thrilled that ArenaNet is taking this route. Blogger Verene says that eager players will be facing the game’s incredibly stingy loot tables: “The biggest problem is that it’s going to be entirely down to luck. There is no way you can work towards getting one of these beta-granting portals than simply farming in those two zones and hoping you get lucky.”

[Source: Facebook, Guild Wars 2, Under the Pale Tree]

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Koster’s final post-mortem: Did Star Wars Galaxies fail?

Raph Koster has wrapped up his Star Wars Galaxies retrospective with a blog post that asks whether or not the sci-fi MMORPG failed.

It’s a loaded question, naturally, and from a player perspective it depends upon whether you’re in the all-lightsabers-all-the-time camp or whether you enjoyed the fact that SWG simulated many different aspects of a galaxy far, far away.

In terms of performance, Koster debunks a lot myths about the “failure” of the game in terms of player numbers and financials. The title picked up “more new users a day than all other SOE games combined, even after the Combat Upgrade,” he notes. “The game wasn’t doing as badly as people seem to think. It didn’t fail in the market. It did just fine, even by the standards pre-WoW,” Koster explains. “But there were huge expectations that we didn’t push against, it launched with serious problems, and the team wasn’t really equipped to fix them. This resulted in a series of errors that damaged the game’s ongoing viability, which resulted in more hurried changes.”
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SWTOR’s Rise of the Emperor update arrives tomorrow

You know what they say: You can’t keep a Sith emperor down. After rumors of his demise were proved premature, the shadowy big bad of Star Wars: The Old Republic has risen to take the center stage of his very own update.

Game Update 3.2: Rise of the Emperor will hit SWTOR tomorrow, bringing with it the ancient Sith capital planet of Ziost as well as the continuation of the Shadow of Revan storyline. Players will reunite with NPCs Lana Beniko and Theron Shan to figure out what the Emperor is up to as well as combat the Sixth Line Jedi.

The new patch will also introduce the costume designer and bring back the 12X leveling boost for subscribers (which starts May 4th and will run until this fall). You’ll also want to note that the game is giving away astromech droid pets on May 4th for those who log on.

[Source: Game Update 3.2, May The 4th Be With You]

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Sword and Bored: Behind the scenes

At this point, it’s probably not overly obvious, but we have created Sword and Bored in story arcs. And this comic represents the ending of the second arc.

This also represents the first comic that doesn’t really include Mo. I feels a bit weird to have a comic without him, but I thought it appropriate to experiment. We want Mo to be the main protagonist in the comic, but we believe that the actual funny parts aren’t necessarily him but the things that happen around and to him.

At any rate, Mo will be back next week. Until then, here’s this week’s comic…

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The Saga of Lucimia focuses on ‘group-based emergent gameplay’

The days of coddling solo players through a massively multiplayer experience are over — at least according to one upstart indie MMO.

Meet The Saga of Lucimia, an in-development sandbox that eschews solo content for 100% “group-based emergent gameplay” in a dangerous and hostile environment. Players will need at least three other friends and a whole lot of supplies to head out into the wild to look for adventures, progress through the epic story, and find trainers for the skill-based character system.

The team says that it’s intentionally returning to the era of early EverQuest to reintroduce true danger and group cooperation into the MMO genre. Players will have to contend with multiple languages, corpse runs, and a lack of healing magic in their journeys.

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DUST 514 adds EVE Online-themed armor skins

It’s no small understatement to say that DUST 514 has failed to achieve the same following and numbers that its big sibling, EVE Online, has. So perhaps you can’t blame CCP when it attempts to leech off of EVE by creating, say, EVE-themed armor skins for DUST 514.

Coming tomorrow, the first dozen DUST 514 SKINs will give players a way to dress up their soldiers in the fashion of their favorite battleships. No, that is not a sentence we thought we’d be writing when we got up this morning. The armor skins draw inspiration from the colors and patterns of popular EVE Online ships, and will be purchasable both in the cash shop and through in-game ISK.

This may be the start of a trend for DUST 514, as CCP said that it has many more SKINs in the works for future updates.

[Source: Introducing DUST 514 SKIN Modules]

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Wisdom of Nym: How to catch up in Final Fantasy XIV (before Heavensward arrives)

Let’s assume you’ve just recently gotten to the level cap in Final Fantasy XIV and you’re ready to start in on catching up to the main scenario before Heavensward drops. Where do you start?

I don’t really agree with the official decision to gate people out of Ishgard if they haven’t cleared the story up through the 2.55 patch, but it was made and I didn’t get a vote there, so it’s kind of academic. The point is that if you’re hitting that level for the first time, you have five major patches of stuff between you and getting to Ishgard in June. So how do you make sure that your fresh character can get all the way up there? Is it even possible?

The answer is most definitely yes, but you’re going to have to put some time in. Most of the gating you’ll have to deal with, though, is a matter of getting the gear you need to take on the later challenges that the story throws at you.

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