The big news for MOBA fans this week is the release of Bloodline Champions' colossal Dawn of the Relics update, which has breathed new life into the impressive indie title. Rise of Immortals reveals details of its first post-launch Immortal Trovoc this week, and he's a great big freakin' dragon. In addition to releasing a champion spotlight on Riven, Riot Games this week published new information on how minions will feature in League of Legends: Dominion's point-capturing gameplay.
Blizzard revealed this week that PayPal will be handling sales in Diablo III's controversial real-money auction house. In preparation for opening the D3 beta to the public, Blizzard also released a series of new class pages and a Diablo III skill calculator. Fans of the Tribes series will be glad to know that its online multiplayer sequel Tribes: Ascend has officially started accepting applications to join the upcoming closed beta.
Skip past the cut for details of this week's biggest news from the world of MOBAs and other online games that aren't quite MMOs.
Riot Games published a look at how minions will be implemented in a capture point style of gameplay. Minions will be buffed in combat effectiveness to make them a real threat to players, switching the focus from farming minions for cash to pushing them for a defensive combat advantage. This follows news that a limited beta for the Dominion game mode is due to start soon ahead of its impending launch.
In a new League of Legends Champion Spotlight this week, Riot gave the lowdown on Riven, a highly mobile melee character specialised in attack combos. By adding basic attacks in between abilities, Riven can stack up a damage buff and use it to seriously harass enemy champions. Riven's high mobility makes it incredibly hard to chase her down or to escape if she's chasing you. If you're interested in playing Riven and want to see how she performs in a game, check out the champion spotlight video below.
Blizzard first announced Diablo III's real-money auction house, a number of questions and concerns were raised. It was mentioned that the payments would be funneled through a third party who would take a small fee for the service, but we weren't told who that third-party handler would be. This week Blizzard announced that popular service PayPal will be handling the transactions.
Based on feedback from the current friends and family beta stage, the Demon Hunter is due for some big changes to address resource management problems and key skills not being unlocked early enough. To help players prepare for beta, Blizzard updated the official Diablo III website with tons of new information this week. New class pages display background information and class details on the Barbarian, Demon Hunter, Monk, Witch Doctor and Wizard. As Diablo III's skill system differs a little from other online games, Blizzard has also released a skill calculator page that lets prospective players explore the system.
Each class has a selection of offensive, defensive and utility powers that are unlocked at various levels, in addition to three passive skills that function like talents. The biggest difference between abilities in Diablo II and those in Diablo III seems to be in cooldown duration; many of the spells D2 fans would expect to be spammable (such as teleport) have long cooldowns to make their use more tactical.
Dawn of Relics update officially went live this week, bringing in the new traits and medallions progression systems, a new combined matchmaking system, and a new arena map. Account levels have been adjusted to fit into the new progression system, with a new level cap of 25. Traits can be unlocked at level 5 for a small number of blood coins, offering small buffs to your character's movement speed, damage healing or other stats. Medallion slots are unlocked at levels 8, 10, 12, and 14 and can be equipped with either a passive buff or a new active ability with a long cooldown.
Dawn of Relics is the single biggest update to Bloodline Champions since launch, and its release coincides with the start of the game's third competitive tournament season. We gave our first impressions of Bloodline Champions last week before the patch hit, and this week I revisited the game to find it much improved. The initial learning curve and clunky user interface are still there, but it was much easier to find matches. There were over a thousand players online when I logged in, and 3v3 teams are now matched up very quickly.
Rise of Immortals, this week Petroglyph revealed the first initial details on its first post-release immortal Trovoc, the Dragon Warlord. Petroglyph is keeping the details of Trovoc's abilities a secret for now but has released the names of all five abilities along with a piece of concept art.
the Tribes series of games will be glad to know that Tribes 2 is getting an online sequel. The multiplayer-only Tribes: Ascend is currently under development by Global Agenda developer Hi-Rez Studios. Registrations for the game's closed beta officially opened to the public last week. If you're interested in giving Tribes: Ascend a try, check out the gameplay teaser video below and head over to the official website to register your interest in the upcoming beta.
Join us every Monday for Not So Massively, our roundup of the top news from popular online games that aren't quite MMOs. If you think there's a game we should be covering in Not So Massively or you've found some interesting news you think deserves attention in the next roundup, please mail the details to firstname.lastname@example.org.