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.
The big story this week is that the ongoing drama surrounding Star Citizen has now reached boiling point as Cloud Imperium Games is now threatening to sue The Escapist Magazine unless its demands are met. Dota 2 players are up in arms over details of the new Fall digital compendium, and player activity has dropped by 16%. We also have some awesome new characters from SMITE and Heroes of the Storm, a hacking rumour from Splatoon, a $70,000 prize pool for mobile MOBA Vainglory, and Jagex’s Block N Load is now free-to-play!
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.
Which team in the North American region is best at playing Heroes of the Storm? You can find out this weekend with the American championships for the game. Eight teams enter as competitors, but only one will emerge victorious. If you can’t make it to Las Vegas to watch the events live on Saturday and Sunday, you can watch the official stream on the game’s Twitch channel, with streams starting at 1:00 p.m. EDT both days.
This championship serves as the prelude to the BlizzCon world championships, which will be kicking off for HotS as well as Hearthstone, StarCraft II, and World of Warcraft during the week of October 28th. The best teams from this competition are the ones that will be representing the region in the final contest of skill, so there’s all the more reason to keep your eyes peeled this weekend.
Heroes of the Storm players are going to have quite a bit to look forward to in the near future. The game’s newest map, Infernal Shrines, continues the Diablo theme of recent months with three lanes and a summoned hero-killing demon; players can also look forward to the new monk hero, Kharazim, who can swap between healing and melee damage. Rexxar and Artanis from Warcraft III and StarCraft will also be making their way into the game, although that’s a bit less diabolical.
Overwatch isn’t being left out of the reveal train, though, with its newest hero Lucio debuting in a trailer. Lucio is swift, agile, and able to evade and disorient enemies whilst healing his allies. Two new maps for the as-yet-unreleased game have also been demonstrated at the show, the escort-based Numbani map and the capture point Volskaya Industries map.
Tychus is now on the nicotine patch.
Blizzard has removed the cigar from its depiction of the Starcraft II character in its upcoming Hereoes of the Storm, setting off a minor internet conniption. “We know smoking is bad, everybody does,” one Reddit poster wailed. “BUT! It’s not Blizzard’s job to make sure we don’t do it anyway. It’s an iconic part of the Tychus character. BRING BACK HIS CIGAR!”
In response, the studio said that some regions wouldn’t allow a teen rating if the cigar remained and that making two versions would be too time- and work-intensive. “These scenarios emerge frequently, and the cigar-removal was a impulsive fix because we want as many people as possible to experience the same content,” Blizzard responded.
In a bizarre coincidence, four separate MOBAs announced new champions this week. SMITE revealed an adorable Norse squirrel god named Ratatoskr and officially launched its XBox One closed beta. League of Legends put new champion Ekko on its public test server and pushed Patch 5.9 live with major changes to Ashe and a small change to the game’s Attack Move function. Infinite Crisis released DC Comics villain Solomon Grundy, a resurrected corpse who returns to life after being killed. Heroes of the Storm showed off Warcraft’s famous Blood Elf fire mage Kael’thas and announced a $200,000 top prize in a new $1.2 million tournament series to be held at this year’s BlizzCon.
Online RTS Grey Goo released nine new symmetrical maps designed for competitive online play, and Path of Exile showed off its new Ice Crash melee skill gem. Dota 2‘s compendium sales broke the $27 million revenue mark, and develoeprs added several new ways to gain compendium points. Elite: Dangerous released a Mac version that will play online seamlessly with the PC client and announced the release date for its upcoming Powerplay update. Star Citizen released Alpha patch 1.1.3 to fix an exploit and several bugs, opening the game to free play over the weekend. And X-Wing may be getting a spiritual successor as the series’ Lead Designer David Wessman is attempting to Kickstart a new space shooter named Starfighter Inc.
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, and don’t forget to subscribe to the RSS feed for weekly updates!
Within a few minutes of going on sale yesterday, the first round of $199 BlizzCon tickets completely sold out. The good news is that a second round of tickets will be put up for grabs on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. EDT, giving those who missed out another chance to get in on Blizzard’s fan convention.
BlizzCon 2015 will take place on November 6th and 7th at the Anaheim Convention Center. Players who buy tickets can transfer the name on the ticket up until August 14th, meaning that there could be a busy secondary market selling tickets between fans.
For many gamers, the hardest ticket to get this year is to November’s BlizzCon 2015, as you have to be fast and a little lucky on the draw to snag one when they go on sale. Consider this your heads-up then if you want to make the attempt: BlizzCon tickets are going on sale this week in two batches.
The first batch of tickets will be put up for sale for $199 each on Wednesday, April 15th at 10:00 p.m. EDT, with the second batch following on Saturday, April 18th at 1:00 p.m. EDT. If you can’t make one of those times, you could ask a friend to buy it for you and then transfer the ticket over to you. Fans have until August 14th to change the names associated with their ticket.
BlizzCon 2015 will take place at the Anaheim Convention Center on November 6th and 7th.