This week we learned that Diablo III beta testers will soon be getting a taste of the real money auction house, and fansite DiabloFans has been digging inside the game files to unearth details of the Mystic follower and her array of equipment enchantments. Blacklight: Retribution opened its closed beta on Thursday 1st December, and Path of Exile received a huge patch as it draws closer to release. Bloodline Champions launched a charity pack containing a limited-edition avatar and title, with all the proceeds going to gaming charity Child's Play. Rise of Immortals reveals upcoming lion immortal Kavashiir and shows off its new crystalline creep models.
Skip past the cut for details of this week's biggest news from the world of MOBAs and other big online games that aren't quite MMOs.
Land of Chaos Online officially launched, with a huge content patch introducing countless new features. Developer alaplaya doesn't seem to be able to make up its mind regarding what genre LOCO is, having called it a MOBA-RPG, a Tactical Online Action RPG and an MMORPG. News on the game talks about quests, missions, and persistent towns, but gameplay is match-based with teams and heroes. Keep an eye out for our first impressions of LOCO as we give this contradiction of a game a try this week to shed some light on the issue.
Hi-Rez Studios released an awesome trailer this morning for its upcoming online FPS Tribes: Ascend. The trailer is composed entirely of gameplay footage and shows off some of the epic maneuvers you can pull off in the game. The fast-paced gameplay has a distinctly Unreal Tournament feel to it, except infinitely better because it has goddamn jetpacks.
Tribes: Ascend's competitive scene will be kick-started on release as the featured promotional title for season three of the North American Star League. This will be the first time an FPS has made its way into NASL's ranks.
League of Legends' latest champion spotlight on Volibear, who is literally a lightning bear equipped to maul you to death with electricity, this week Riot Games revisits an old champion in need of some attention with a spotlight on Cho'Gath, the Terror of the Void. With his recent balance changes, this melee tank really needed a spotlight to give new players tips on how to use him effectively. Check out the video below for details of Cho'gath's abilities and tips on using him in a game.
With competitive season two live and a massive $5,000,000 US prize fund looming, Riot has stepped up its in-house coverage of competitive tournaments with its weekly feature "This week in eSports." This edition looks into competitive team roster changes, the IEM Kiev tournament qualifiers, and the ESL Pro League Finals that took place last weekend.
Two teams withdrew from the North American qualifier of the IEM Kiev tournament unexpectedly, possibly as they had been matched up against professional giant Counter Logic Gaming. CLG and the infamous Team Solo Mid have both entered the tournament and have already been assured a spot in the finals. The North American teams will face off against Chinese team World Elite and several European groups in a bid to win the $100,000 US top prize.
Diablo III's controversial real-money auction house has raised quite a few eyebrows in gaming circles, but until now beta testers haven't been able to try it out. The feature will soon be live on the test server, and all testers will be given 50 Beta Bucks to spend testing the system out. Although hardcore mode hasn't been implemented in the beta, developers reminded players that those playing on hardcore when the game goes live won't have access to the real money auction house. As is the case with eBay, listing items for sale will incur a listing fee and successful sales will be charged a transaction fee. Players will get a certain number of free listings per week but will still be charged a transaction fee if those sales go through.
Following last week's unofficial Jeweler preview at DiabloFans, this week Boubouile digs around in the beta game files for details on the Mystic. This follower enchants your items with some pretty awesome stats for a price. It's been confirmed that the actual value of the stats you get will be randomised, so to get the perfect item in Diablo III, not only do you need to find one with perfect base stats, but you also need to roll enchantments on it to get the perfect enchantment stats. This is sure to be a massive gold sink when the game comes out, and a welcome one for long-time Diablo fans. The Mystic also replaces Deckard Cain in identifying your items.
Blacklight: Retribution has been teasing fans with details of a third for several weeks. The time has now arrived as the third closed beta period officially opened on Thursday, December 1st. This third beta phase will last for two weeks, ending on December 15th, and those with access to the previous beta tests will be happy to know they'll have free access to this one.
Bloodline Champions team is using that momentum to launch a new charity pack. Players can buy the charity pack for 240 Funcom points, and all proceeds will be donated directly to gaming charity Child's Play. The pack contains a Child's Play avatar and a title to show off the fact that you helped make a difference.
North American Star League took place this weekend, pitting world champions Fnatic.MSI against contenders LION eSportsklubb, Trademark eSports and Fallen Kingdom. Interestingly, Fnatic.MSI suffered an embarrassing upset in the very first round, losing 2-0 to Fallen Kingdom. The matches were all streamed live this weekend, and you can catch recordings online.
Rise of Immortals developer Petroglyph Games has been pushing out new immortals at a competitive pace with other MOBAs, this week treating us to a first glimpse of Kavashiir, the Champion of the Tau'Khan. Few details of his abilities have yet been revealed, but we do know he is a lion in massive gold armour and wields a golden staff. With ability names like Piercing Ray, Solar Eclipse and Light of Judgment, the sun theme is evident.
Some time ago, Petroglyph revealed concept art for new crystalline creeps and mage NPCs. This week we got to see the finished product, with a final render of the impressive-looking creeps that will be entering the game soon.
Path of Exile released patch 0.9.4 to the test realm this week; it overhauls the entire passive skill tree system. New Keystone abilities have been added that help players specialise in one area by providing massive buffs to one playstyle while nerfing others. One such ability reduces the player's maximum life to 1 but increases his energy shield by 20% and makes him immune to poison, and two others cause you to use life instead of mana and convert all energy shield into mana.
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