Dota 2 announced that a limited number of tickets to watch its upcoming tournament The International will go on sale tomorrow for $49.99 each. Heroes of Newerth revealed its new tanky melee initiator Ravenor, and Rise of Immortals released new immortal Kreed along with some much-needed gameplay overhauls. League of Legends' European password database was hacked this week; Riot Games reccomends that all players reset their passwords. The Draven patch also went live this week, adding the new champion to the game and bringing nerfs for Ahri, Darius, Graves and Urgot. Finally, we got our first taste of upcoming MOBA Guardians of Middle Earth's gameplay at E3.
Dota 2's annual tournament The International will be taking place in Seattle's Benaroya hall from August 31st to September 12th, but if you're lucky enough to be able to attend, you won't get through the door without a ticket. Priced at $49.99, tickets will go on sale in limited quantities Tuesday at 1:00 p.m. EDT, and Valve expects them to sell quickly. Once purchased, the ticket will be added to your Dota 2 Steam inventory as a virtual item and will be tradeable with other players. And once you've got a ticket, you can activate it to flag your account as attending the event.
Blizzard began addressing gameplay issues in Diablo III this week by bringing back full auction house functionality and announcing some major changes coming in patch 1.0.3. Players felt that to progress through an act of Inferno they would need to buy gear from the auction house that dropped in later acts. This will be rectified by adjusting the drop rates so that players can farm for good gear in the hardest act they can manage.
The best items (item level 63) will still drop only in Inferno mode but will now have a small chance to drop from acts 1 and 2 rather than being limited to act 3 and 4. Hell act 3 and 4 will also have a small chance of dropping item level 61 and 62 gear. The upcoming Legendary item buff will have to wait for a future patch, but 1.0.3 will be fixing the currently broken Increased Attack Speed stat on some legendary items.
Part of the 1.0.3 changes have already gone live, with a hotfix this week nerfing Tyreal's damage in Act 4 and nerfing several prime gold-farming spots that were being heavily botted. Monster damage will no longer scale up with the number of players in a game, making group Inferno runs finally feasible as intended. Monster hitpoints still scale up to maintain the challenge, but players will no longer find themselves being so easily one-shot in cooperative games.
Path of Exile released beta patch 0.9.10 this week, and it seems developers are taking cues from player feedback on Diablo III. In multiplayer games, magic items, gems, and currency dropped by monsters will be assigned to a particular player for a few seconds plus additional time based on how long it would take the player to run over to the item to pick it up. This is a clever iteration on Diablo III's loot system, which drops separate loot for all players in a multiplayer game, and it should add to the loot piñata effect that makes action RPGs so addictive.
Players can now make their multiplayer games public, but rather than limiting users to selecting a particular quest, Path of Exile uses a more free-form system. Players name their games whatever they like and can browse a list of public games, which is sure to lead to emergent behaviour like the public trade games and PvP matches. The patch also added new unique items designed by players and a whole host of balance changes and bug fixes.
Heroes of Newerth unveiled its newest hero this week, the melee strength initiator Ravenor. With his Ball Lightning ability, Ravenor sends a small nuke in the target direction that passes through creeps and latches onto the first hero it touches. Ravenor can activate the ability a second time to teleport to the target his lightning has attached to and deal an area-effect stun. As he's a Strength hero and will end up pretty tanky by the late game stage, this is a powerful initiation move.
Ravenor's other abilities add a chain lightning effect to his basic attacks, conjuring up a shocking shield that damages attackers. Ravenor's ultimate ability is a passive that charges up every time he deals magic damage, adding bonus movement speed and magic damage per charge. When fully charged and at maximum level, this ability gives Ravenor 120 bonus movement speed and adds 120 magic damage to every basic attack.
Rise of Immortals deployed a major gameplay patch this week, adding new Immortal Kreed and updating some of the game's more clunky gameplay mechanics. Players used to need direct line of sight to use abilities on an enemy immortal, even if a friendly creep or a teammate had sight of the target. After the update, players will be able to fire abilities at targets through sight-blocking obstacles as long as they have sight of the target through other means.
The three-player PvE map has also had its difficulty lowered at the bottom skill level to help new players get into the game. Future changes will include a major rebalance pass of all immortals based on player feedback, reworked boss and sub-boss encounters, and map changes that should make matches shorter but more fun to play.
League of Legends EU password database was hacked this week, and Riot Games quickly reset all affected passwords. Statements that "more than half of the passwords were simple enough to be at risk of easy cracking" have led to suspicions that the stored passwords weren't encrypted or that unsalted password hashes were stored.
LoL's latest hero Draven also went live this week, adding an interesting ranged attack damage carry to the game who relies on careful positioning to maximise his damage output. Draven throws his huge axes at targets to deal bonus damage and make them bleed for a few seconds, and he can catch each axe when it bounces back to reset some of his abilities. Draven was released this week alongside a raft of gameplay changes and balance fixes.
Ahri was found to be so powerful that she was dominating the team picks and bans in competitive games, so her damage was nerfed slightly. Graves' smokescreen duration was reduced by one second, and his buckshot's base damage has been nerfed. Urgot's shield and resistance abilities have been decreased in strength to make him less tanky in a lane and easier to counter. Darius was picking up pentakills far too easily with his ultimate, which has been nerfed to refresh only if it deals the killing blow. The patch wasn't all nerfs, though, as Swain received a sizeable range buff and a cooldown reduction on his ultimate.
Guardians of Middle Earth was announced last week, all we had to go on was a cinematic trailer with pre-rendered action scenes and a single spoken word (for reference, it's "Legolas!"). This week at E3, Lord of the Rings fans got their first taste of GoME's gameplay at a live demonstration. Check out the video below for a first look at the upcoming title:
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