Thứ Ba, 12 tháng 7, 2011

Not So Massively: Dota 2 is going to be freaking awesome

Welcome to Not So Massively, our weekly roundup of the top news from popular multiplayer online battle arenas (MOBAs) and other multiplayer online games that aren't quite MMOs. Published every Saturday, the column covers games such as League of Legends, Heroes of Newerth, Rise of Immortals, Bloodline Champions, and more.

In the last few years, the PC game market has seen a resurgence of competitive and co-operative online games. Some fit neatly into the category of MMO and others are traditional multiplayer match-based games, but the lines between the two have begun to blur. MOBAs and similar online games offer ongoing development a level of persistence that's closer to Guild Wars than Counterstrike, putting them firmly in the gray area we love to talk about in Not So Massively.

Last week we brought news of an ongoing legal battle between FireFall developer Red 5 and its publisher Webzen. Both Heroes of Newerth and Bloodline Champions announced details of upcoming sponsored competitive tournaments for players with cash prizes. New details were revealed for League of Legends' female tank champion Leona, Heroes of Newerth's ranged anti-juking hero Emerald Warden and Rise of Immortals ranged damage-dealing immortal Balak.

In this week's Not So Massively, we look forward to Dota 2 gameplay being showcased at next month's Gamescom convention and tell you how you could be in with a chance to win one of five Heroes of Newerth account keys worth $30 US. We also finally get to see LoL champion Leona in action this week, and enjoy two helpings of LoL fanart, cosplay and original music in Summoner Showcases 35 and 36. Finally, we find out that the Aida Arenas closed beta has been postponed indefinitely, and we get some hands-on time with the Rise of Immortals open beta.

  With the Not So Massively column now moved to a Monday slot, this week we've been treated to two editions of the League of Legends Summoner Showcase. In addition to some incredible Morgana and Trundle fanart, there's more LoL cosplays from Anime Expo 2011 and an adorable Caitlyn ragdoll. The highlights of this week's showcase are definitely the catchy Shaco rap "Why so serious?" and the fantastic parody song "Everyone gets Nerfed."

Riot Games released a new champion spotlight video this week for League of Legends' first female tank champion Leona the radiant dawn. The video starts by describing Leona's role as a pure tank who specialises in disrupting enemies and soaking up damage for teammates. While she has several disruptive stuns and slows, Leona doesn't actually have any abilities that redirect or absorb damage headed for teammates. The gameplay footage attached to the spotlight also shows her being played as a heavy damage-dealer for teamfights and a highly mobile ganker rather than a support tank. Check out the spotlight video embedded below for more details:

In an unexpected announcement this week delivered entirely in bold capital letters on the Aida Arenas webpage, Gamerkraft stated that the second round of the game's closed beta would be delayed indefinitely. After winning a beta key and participating in what appeared to be a successful first closed beta event last week, fans of the upcoming multiplayer brawler are understandably disappointed. No official reason has been given for the sudden change of plans, and no schedule for the beta to resume has been posted.

With the growing number of free-to-play MOBAs on the market, Heroes of Newerth's initial purchase price can be enough to put players off signing up. While the game does feature a free trial and S2 hasn't ruled out converting to a free-to-play system in the future, not everyone is currently willing to shell out cash for a full account.

If you've ever wanted to get your hands on a HoN account but were put off by the purchase price, check out the latest MOBA Champions contest. From today until Thursday 14th July, anyone who likes the MOBA Champions Facebook page will be entered for a chance to win one of five account keys worth $30 US each.

Upcoming MOBA Rise of Immortals officially entered open beta this week, so if you've been wanting to give the game a try now is your chance. The game will be free-to-play on release but it's definitely worth taking part in the open beta. Not only will your feedback help to improve the game for release but you'll also get some of the game's microtransaction currency to test with and anyone taking part in the open beta will automatically unlock the "King of Bling" alternate skin for Psychozen.

New players to RoI will find some key differences between it and the typical MOBA template, including some elements more typical of MMOs. Rather than selecting a new hero at the start of each match, you create a persistent character of a certain Immortal much like you'd make a character of a certain class in an MMO. While you start each new match back at level of 1 and with no items, your persistent character gains XP after each match that can be invested into talent-like discipline trees.

Points invested here add small bonuses in future matches, and as your character levels up you'll unlock several persistent talisman slots that give similar tiny bonuses to various stats. Talismans can be bought with either the microtransaction currency or the in-game coins you get for playing matches.

Stay tuned today for a Not So Massively Extra in which Patrick Mackey, Matt Daniels and I give our impressions of RoI after a night spent playtesting the game.

When Valve first announced it had acquired the trademark to DotA and was working on a true sequel to the massively popular Warcraft III mod, you could almost see the fear from current MOBA developers. A true sequel to the father of the entire MOBA genre with Valve's massive development teams and budget behind it has the clear potential to become the most actively played online game of all time.

Apart from the initial announcement that Dota 2 is in the works and is aimed at 2011 release, Valve has yet to release many details on the game. The only information we have to go on is a Game Informer playtest from last October and two posts on the official Dota 2 blog from November. New information and even gameplay footage may soon be on its way, however, as the game is due for previewing at Gamescom 2011 from the 18th to the 21st of August.

MOBA Champions reports that Valve is putting together a private tournament at Gamescom to showcase the game, with 14 top DotA teams from around the world competing for cash prizes.

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