Blizzard Entertainment recently revealed that all class abilities in Diablo III will deal damage based on weapon damage, with cast speed also coupled to weapon speed. The inspired move will make balancing weapons across all classes much easier. We also found out that the collector's edition will come with free in-game vanity perks like wings and armour dyes. Diablo-esque online action RPG Path of Exile releases its huge 0.9.3 beta patch today, providing new game areas and major gameplay system revamps. Finally, it's a massive news week for Rise of Immortals as it releases new European servers, a new immortal spotlight, and a developer video podcast about upcoming development.
Read on for this week's top news stories from popular MOBAs and other online games that aren't quite MMOs.
Last week we introduced some major changes coming to League of Legends' summoner spells with the next patch, including some much-needed nerfs to flash and clairvoyance. Riot Games continued with the changes this week with the release of a new Inside Design feature on mastery tree changes for competitive season two. The current mastery trees each have a few obvious optimum paths per champion role, and Riot wants to expand this to provide more viable options for players.
The new offense trees will provide more options for melee champions, the new Defense tree will give more options for initiators, and the new utility tree will remain support-oriented. Each point in the new system will have a greater impact than before, and all three trees will contain a tier-1 ability that affects a set of summoner spells.
Firefall dev team are at G*Star 2011 in Korea right now to show off the upcoming online FPS. Developer Red 5 Studios has released a brand-new trailer specially for the event, showing off several minutes of high-action gameplay. If you're a fan of the Unreal Tournament-style gameplay and dubstep beats, check out the new trailer below.
Diablo III collector's edition will come with some free in-game perks, including a set of togglable wings and infinite-use armour dyes.
With beta testing still in progress, the delicate process of balancing classes and items is well underway. In an interesting move, Blizzard recently changed all abilities to be based on weapon damage and speed. Mages with a high-damage warhammer, for example, would deal a lot of damage with spells. Cast speed is also based on weapon speed, however, and the stats on wizard-specific staves are sure to make them the obvious choice. Scaling skills by weapon damage makes balancing items across all classes significantly easier and makes comparing different skills a much simpler task.
AMT Games showed its massive fandom of Heroes of Newerth this week by launching the massive HoNWars League in conjunction with S2 Games. Players can sign up to the league as a group or solo and compete for a total prize fund of $20,000 US, 800,000 silver coins and 200,000 gold coins. Players of all skill levels can compete on a ladder for small prizes, and even casual players have a good chance of winning a prize. Bonuses can be won by completing achievement-style quests, such as killing eight players in a round, placing eight wards or denying 25 creeps. Registration is open and public, with the first season already underway and further seasons hopefully planned for the coming months.
Path of Exile beta, bringing a whole series of balance and gameplay changes to the upcoming online action RPG. The early game gets a huge revamp, with a series of new quests for act two and a pair of brand-new world areas for act one. Seven completely new skills have been released, including the interesting Lightning Warp delayed teleport spell. Several new currency orbs have been introduced to fill gaps in the current market, each allowing players to re-roll particular attributes on an item. These currencies are analogous to perfect gems in Diablo II, which became the game's primary trading currency as players could use them to re-roll magic items.
Rare monsters can now spawn with auras, making it difficult to take them down if multiple rare monsters stack up on each other. Monsters will now walk around more randomly and disengage if they lose sight of you, making it much easier to skip monsters if you're rushing toward a quest objective. Support for unique items has been introduced, and boss loot has been significantly improved. A major update also comes to attributes, which now grant players bonuses that make specialising in one core attribute more desirable. The changes described above barely scratch the surface of this huge patch; if you're in the Path of Exile closed beta, head over to the official patch note page to read the full list of updates.
BioWare announced this week over Facebook that its upcoming MOBA Wrath of Heroes will enter its third beta this Thanksgiving as part of the Dreamhack Winter 2011 weekend. BioWare hasn't confirmed whether this beta stage is open to the public or closed to select invitees, but anyone interested can sign up on the official website to get more information. Beta three will run continuously from the 24th right through to the 27th, and more details will be released on the Wrath of Heroes official facebook page.
Rise of Immortals as the rapidly-growing MOBA has expanded into Europe. Thanks to a spotlight on Steam's free-to-play game section, popularity of the game in Europe has risen so high that Petroglyph has installed new servers in London to reduce lag for the new players. North American and European players will still be able to participate in the same games, but by default every player will be routed to the lowest-ping server in the list when starting games.
In a new developer diary, Petroglyph gives us details on the new steam achievements, social hub, and upcoming Immortal Pycon, a tank designed to be easy to play. The folks at Petroglyph really take Halloween seriously, having released both a new social hub and a new 5v5 map specially for the occasion. This is a trend developers plan on continuing, with a Christmas-themed map coming this winter and more.
A new RoI immortal spotlight video was released this week, delving into the background story and abilities of support tank Aislynn. As with the Balak spotlight, Aislynn's tale is told in first person by the character herself. Petroglyph has clearly been refining its spotlight style, as this latest video is short, concise, and of a higher production quality than previous videos. Check out the Aislynn spotlight video below for more details.
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.