Heroes of Newerth pulled out the big guns with a massive $32,000 US top prize for its DreamHoN tournament and also revealed its new stealthy assassin hero, Grinex. Blizzard conceded that it has no plans to develop a Diablo III e-sports scene despite plans to introduce PvP arenas by the end of the year, and livestreamer Athene shocked fans when he managed to kill Diablo in the game's toughest difficulty setting with a naked character. Path of Exile continued its own competitive ladders this week and delivered a huge progress update on the development of the game's third act.
Console gamers who are looking for something new will probably want to get their hands on the first console MOBA, Guardians of Middle-Earth, but they may not be familiar with MOBA gameplay. Developers released the fourth video in a new series designed to explain the genre's gameplay to console players, delving into the game's potion and item system. If mobile gaming is more your thing, mobile MMO Order & Chaos Online produced a brand-new spinoff game this week: Heroes of Order & Chaos, set to become the world's first mobile MOBA when it releases for free on Android and iOS.
League of Legends ran its usual tournament at DreamHack Winter 2012, pitting some of the best competitive teams in Europe against each other and qualifying attendees. In a tense final, Fnatic.RaidCall faced off against Counter Logic Gaming's European division and took home the top prize of around $19,000 US.
Riot Games also revealed its newest champion this week, the supportive water mage Nami. Known as The Tidecaller, Nami heals and buffs her allies while setting up enemies to be killed by her teammates. She can send out a water spray that bounces between enemies and allies, damaging enemies it hits and healing allies. Nami can also trap enemies in an Aqua prison, add a slow and bonus damage to her allies' attacks, and launch a massive tidal wave that slows and damages every enemy it hits.
Dota 2 Vengeance Cup at DreamHack Winter was won by a newly formed team named NoTidehunter, which is composed of mostly Swedish players. In possibly the most impressive baiting strategy ever seen in Dota 2 competitive play, NoTidehunter started the grand final by sacrificing a player to Roshan to draw the enemy team there. Having spent all of his starting gold, the sacrificed player lost nothing on death while the baiting strategy bagged his team two early kills. It's the first time this strategy has ever been used in competitive Dota, and it probably won't be the last.
Heroes of Newerth's DreamHoN tournament was a massive hit at DreamHack Winter, with some tense matches and a huge prize fund to play for. Trademark eSports rode a clear path to victory, taking home the $32,000 US top prize. S2 Games also revealed its latest hero this week with a hero spotlight on stealthy melee assassin Grinex.
Grinex's first ability, Shadow Step, allows him to leap toward the target enemy and fling himself in the chosen direction, stunning him if he collides with another hero, a cliff, or a tree. Using his Rift Stalk ability, Grinex can go invisible and get a movement speed buff for a few seconds. The ability runs on a charged system, so you can stay invisible for longer periods if you let it recharge fully between uses. His ultimate ability sends out a shadow to track each nearby enemy hero and grants Grinex bonus movement speed while he stays in the wake of the shadow.
Guardians of Middle-Earth is being released exclusively on consoles, players may not be familiar with core MOBA gameplay. In its MOBA Mastery series, Monolith Studios is doing a great job of introducing the new gameplay to a console audience. This week's fourth episode deals with item loadouts and goes into detail on the game's potions, commands, and the unique belt system.
Potions are consumable buff items that you'll use throughout the match, but you can bring only four with you into the battlefield. Commands are powerful active spells similar to LoL's summoner spells, but some activate only during the game when you hit the appropriate level. The belt can be socketed with gems and relics that add small passive bonuses, but those bonuses unlock during the match. This simplifies the item-building process and makes it something you do between matches rather than something that interrupts the game's fast-paced action.
this week Blizzard admitted that it doesn't intend for Diablo III to have an e-sports scene. Developers are also considering letting players salvage Hellfire Rings into Brimstones despite early worries that this would flood the market. Players currently have to farm hundreds of the rings from the new uber boss minigame before they'll get one perfectly suited to their characters, and the unused rings can't be traded.
If you think the boss fights on Monster Power 10 are difficult without mountains of gear, prepare to be amazed. In the video below, famous livestreamer Athene did the impossible and killed Diablo on Inferno difficulty with Monster Power set to 10 and a completely naked character. He used a Demon Hunter sentry build and had only a weapon and offhand, relying on clever positioning, good reflexes and a lot of patience to pull off the kill.
Grinding Gear Games took time out of its hectic development schedule to reveal further details on Path of Exile's upcoming third act. According to Lead Game Designer Chris Wilson, act three is complete and fully playable in the latest alpha version. Developers are now focusing on polishing the environments, balancing quest rewards, and finishing up the unique monster abilities. In an interesting twist, developers actually plan to add more content to act three a few months into open beta.
Order & Chaos Online has seen some big changes in recent months, dropping its subscription fee and releasing a whole PvP arena update. Developer Gameloft seems to have taken a liking to the free-to-play model, as this week it announced the release of and then the delay of its new free-to-play MOBA spinoff, Heroes of Order & Chaos. The game will ultimately be available for download for free on Android, iPhone, and iPad, and Gameloft claims that it will be the first ever mobile MOBA. Players can pick from 30 unique heroes and fight in 3v3 and 5v5 maps.
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