The Kickstarter campaign for Elite: Dangerous blasted through its goal in the final two days thanks to a huge wave of last-minute pledges. Off the back of the popularity of its own crowdfunding campaign, action RPG Path of Exile upgraded and battle-tested its servers to handle over 50,000 concurrent players.
Upcoming MOBA Sins of a Dark Age aims to add a twist to the modern MOBA with randomly spawned Realm Quests that add another tactical level to the standard 5v5 gameplay. Finally, Blizzard highlighted several player-made videos this week showing some of the optimum Diablo III farming routes for players on the race to paragon level 100.
Riot Games is still in holiday mode this week, but that hasn't slowed down the League of Legends competitive gaming scene. The Season Three North American online qualifiers took place this weekend, pitting 32 teams against each other in a single-elimination knockout for a chance to enter the new League of Legends Championship Series. The final eight teams in the online qualifiers all won tickets to a second offline qualifying stage hosted live in Los Angeles, the winner of which will secure one of the five remaining seats in the league.
Several teams have already qualified for the offline tournament in Los Angeles by winning events at PAX or Gamescom or by doing well in Season Two. This week's online qualifiers saw the return of previously disbanded groups EPIK Gamer and Team MRN, both of which won their matches and claimed tickets to the Los Angeles games.
Dota 2 competitive scene saw an unexpected interruption this week when competitive gaming website joinDOTA's YouTube account and channel were terminated due to "repeated or severe violations" of the YouTube Terms of Service. Account holder TobiWanKenobi stated that the he's still trying to work out the exact reason for the closure but noted that channels posting game content are often closed if they don't have permission from the game's creator.
Although joinDOTA has written permission from Valve to host Dota 2 videos, the closure may still have been caused by an automated copyright claim program or false claims from a third party. All of the tournament videos have been backed up on other video services and so thankfully won't be lost.
Rise of Immortals' first official competitive tournament since its big Battle For Graxia update. The Frozen Battlegrounds tournament is open to all teams of five players who are at least level 20, but you can still help out with the tournament if you don't make the cut. Developers need volunteer commentators, promoters, and organisers to assist during the tournament. If you'd like to help out or sign up as a team, head over to the signup thread to register your interest by January 16th.
Guardians of Middle-Earth's first cash prize competitive tournament kicks off this month with a total of $5,000 up for grabs between now and March. The competition starts with an A-Series Championship ladder on XBox 360 and PS3 that will end in a final cup match for two $1,000 prizes. A series of four mini-cups will follow each month until the end of March, with a smaller $500 top prize for each.
Ironclad Games believes the genre is young and there's plenty of room for competition. Sins of a Dark Age is a fantasy MOBA with a twist, using a dynamic quest system to randomly spawn Realm Quests in every match. The Realm Quest system adds a tactical element that isn't present in most MOBAs, but it remains to be seen whether the competitive gaming scene will latch on to the additional randomness in matches.
Elite: Dangerous succeeded on Kickstarter with just under two days to go. The project ended with just under £1.58 million in pledges provided by 25,681 backers, over £250,000 higher than its original goal. The rush of last-minute pledges was due to an influx of fans from the 48-hour reminder email, good media coverage, and big pledges by several writers aiming to write novels in the Elite universe.
Path of Exile has been doing some major load testing this week in preparation for its upcoming open beta. The servers are now tested and rated for over 50,000 concurrent users, and based on the popularity of the game's crowdfunding campaign and beta, we suspect it's going to need all of that capacity at launch. If demand turns out to be vastly in excess of this capacity, Grinding Gear Games claims to be able to get new server hardware up and running in just six hours.
Diablo III, he revealed the extremely efficient act 3 farming run he used to maximise his experience gain per hour. The Alkaizer run has become the standard act 3 farming run for players grinding paragon levels, but in a game like Diablo III, there's always going to be a slightly more efficient route out there. This week Blizzard highlighted three such farming routes for act 3, each of which claims to be 20-30% faster than the Alkaizer run.
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