Diablo III revealed details of its upcoming loot overhaul that will make legendary items a little more legendary and rare items and good bit rarer. Path of Exile's patch 1.10.2 was deployed successfully, adding a few item mods and significantly improving the Duelist class area of the passive skill tree.
League of Legends celebrated its 100th Summoner Showcase with a look back at the community's best creative output and announced a brand-new comic contest that will see players voting for the winner. SMITE announced its $10,000 PAX East invitational tournament, and Guardians of Middle-Earth tempted players back with 75,000 free in-game gold in a new weekend event.
Rise of Immortals developer Petroglyph launched a Kickstarter campaign this week for its upcoming online RTS Victory. The studio was originally contracted to develop MMORTS End of Nations and hopes to use its expertise from working on that game to develop its own multiplayer RTS in a World War II setting. The campaign raised $19,576 US in its first five days but has only 25 days remaining to hit its lofty goal of $700,000.
Developers have posted a full video walkthrough of the current gameplay prototype, which looks surprisingly far along in development, if a little unpolished. Players will design a company of tanks and infantry using a point-based system and face off against other players in a control-point style map. Matches typically last around 15-20 minutes and can be played by individual armies or teams of players working together, and there will be no unit-building mechanics. Victory is slated for PC release and will not be free-to-play at launch.
SimCity in this week's roundup of news from games that aren't quite MMOs. The game's predecessors have always been focused on singleplayer, but the newest title combines persistent online servers and city-to-city social and trade interaction in a way that's distinctly like an MMO. Unfortunately, it seems developers weren't quite ready for another thing that goes hand-in-hand with MMOs: server trouble.
Despite initial promises that the always-online DRM wouldn't impact gameplay, SimCity launched this week to long login queues and frequent disconnections. Players found themselves unable to play even a basic singleplayer game without logging into the service, and developer Maxis revealed that this is because much of the gameplay is calculated server-side. EA was forced to disable features like the game's fastest speed mode Cheetah Speed to keep server load under control and has been deploying extra servers to cope with demand.
Players took to the net with their rage following the botched launch, plunging SimCity's metacritic user score to an abysmal 1.6 and leaving over 1,000 one-star reviews for the game on Amazon. In response, EA asked all affiliates to stop actively promoting the game, and Amazon has since de-listed the product from sale. The company has since increased server capacity by 120% and will be offering every player a free game from the Origin portfolio as compensation.
Blizzard revealed plans for major loot overhauls in Diablo III this week, which are scheduled to arrive in a future patch. Players have complained since launch that legendary items weren't up to scratch, and post-launch efforts to improve them have yielded mixed results. The item level system means that lower-level legendary items will roll inherently lower stats, making low-level legendaries pointless to anyone at the endgame.
The first part of the loot overhaul is to make the item level of all legendaries roll based on the item level of the monster that dropped it. A level 17 legendary item dropped by a level 63 monster in Inferno will now roll stats in the level 63 range. The hope is that legendaries will now be chosen based on their unique properties rather than just stats, but the vastly increased range of stats that each item can roll with may make trading them a lot more complicated.
Developers are also considering new legendary items that give interesting bonuses to specific class abilities, like a Wizard orb that lets you have two hydras out at once instead of being limited to one. Players who are sick of farming inventories full of garbage rare items will be happy to know that the stats on rare items will be improved but the number of them that drop will be decreased. A new "identify all" option will also be added to speed up the tedious identification process.
Path of Exile's patch 1.10.2 was successfully deployed this week, introducing the new incinerate skill and significantly buffing the Duelist class area of the passive skill tree. The patch has also introduced new item level 78 and 79 modifiers available exclusively on items dropped inside high-end endgame dungeons. Players who use energy shield builds will be happy to know that boots and gloves can now roll the Seething and Pulsing attributes, and the vendor recipes for selling full sets of gear can now drop Regal Orbs if the gear used is sufficiently high item level.
League of Legends celebrated its 100th Summoner Showcase this week with a look back at some of the best original artwork, videos, cosplay and music created by the LoL community. Head over to the official Summoner Showcase page for an absolute deluge of creative fan content.
If that inspires you to get creative this week, be sure to enter the new League of Legends Off the Clock Comic contest. To enter, all you have to do is submit a comic showing what crazy things you think League of Legends champions get up to when they aren't killing each other on the battlefield. The contest uses an all-new contest submission website that lets players vote on submissions. The deadline for submissions is March 21st, at which point the public voting phase begins.
SMITE developer Hi-Rez studios announced its upcoming $10,000 invitational tournament to be played live at PAX East. Seven professional MOBA teams were invited to join the event based on their performance in previous competitive games, joined by an eighth team decided in last night's wildcard qualifier.
Guardians of Middle-Earth has been out for three months so far, and developers have been working hard to incorporate player feedback into the game. This weekend developers ran a special welcome-back weekend event to get previous players to come back and see what's changed. The event will continue next weekend with a free 50,000 gold reward for playing your first game on Saturday, March 16th, and 25,000 for your first game on Sunday, March 17th.
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.