In MOBA news, League of Legends officially launched in Italy this week with a huge launch ceremony in Rome. Several professional players were unrelatedly banned for boosting other players' stats artificially, and one team was given its final warning for using a DDoS attack during a match. Heroes of Newerth received new melee strength hero Prisoner 945, and Guardians of Middle-Earth released a free map update along with a purchasable spider character DLC. Upcoming MOBA SMITE was given a loose launch window of summer 2013, and Russian MOBA Prime World took a big step toward European and US launches with the translation of much of its Russian website into English.
Blizzard was at PAX East this week to show off Diablo III running on the PS3. It was announced at the end of last month that the game will be coming to both the PS3 and PS4 this year, and at PAX developers confirmed that the game won't necessarily be exclusive to those platforms. The added news that the game will have no Real Money Auction House and that a offline play won't be making its way to the PC version has left a bitter taste in the mouths of PC gamers everywhere.
Early in Diablo III's life, players complained about poor item quality and drop rates. Good endgame items were incredibly rare, and players rarely found upgrades that they could actually use. Players claimed that this was because of the auction house forcing Blizzard to balance the loot drops across the entire game economy, which further fueled calls for a Diablo II style single-player mode with better loot. These complaints may have been well founded, as the console single-player version that doesn't have an auction house was also shown to have incredibly high item quality and drop rates. This could also potentially have been a temporary addition for the PAX demo that won't make it into the console release.
Monolith Studios released its latest DLC for Guardians of Middle-Earth this week, introducing a free three-lane map skin for all players and a new guardian for purchase. The Spiders of Mirkwood update introduces the monstrous spider Unglob as a playable character and adds the dark forests of Mirkwood as a free map.
Heroes of Newerth recently slowed down its release of new heroes to one every four weeks. This month's hero is Prisoner 945, a melee strength character who uses a ball and chain to grab enemies and deal massive damage. He can launch the ball at a target area and then drag it back to himself, pulling in and damaging any heroes struck on the ball's return trip. Using the ball and chain as a bludgeoning weapon, Prisoner can also greatly increase the damage of his basic attacks.
A smaller ball and chain can be attached to any enemy hero with the Shackled ability, applying a slow and damage over time. This skill is also reported to cancel enemy escape manoeuvres like Blink and Tablet of Command, making Prisoner a good counter for high-mobility heroes. Prisoner's ultimate ability attaches chains to enemy heroes in range and then pulls them in and damages them after a short delay. If any enemy runs out of range before the delay ends, his chain will break and he'll be safe.
Grinding Gear Games revealed details of Path of Exile's upcoming Patch 0.10.5 this week, including three new support gems that developers admit might be completely overpowered. The Melee Splash gem turns any single-target ability into an area-effect one by adding a percentage of its damage as a splash effect. Multistrike causes your character to attack three times very quickly with a melee weapon, selecting new targets if an enemy dies after the first or second hit.
Finally, the Power Charge on Critical support gem adds an effect to attached spells that gives them a chance to grant a power charge every time they get a critical hit. Developers are currently working out how to introduce these skills to the game without making them so overpowered that they become mandatory for all builds.
Firefall would have a strong focus on televised e-sports, but at PAX East this week developer Red 5 Studios revealed even grander plans to bolster the game's online presence. Red 5 aims to scale up its gaming-centric video channel Stage 5 with some awesome new shows. The channel has so far played host to the Firefall Live dev chat programme and a show called Project Cosplay featuring professional cosplay artist Crystal Graziano and Hollywood effects artist Steve Wang.
The channel has started expanding with a series called Game Changers, which tries out gaming tropes in the real world and busts the myths behind gaming. Future plans also include a show named Rise of the Indies that will talk with independent game developers and the teams behind indie projects on Kickstarter. The teaser shows for the new series' have been very well received on YouTube, and the channel boasts professional studio production values.
League of Legends players and one team coach were issued with 14 day suspensions this week as they were found to be playing on other people's accounts in order to boost their stats. The players in question have also had their Season Two competitive tournament rewards revoked. Tournament team Good Game University was given its first and final warning for executing a DDoS attack on a player in the opposing team during a match to cause him to disconnect. The match was streamed live and documented evidence proved that the team intentionally initiated the attack.
In less serious news, League of Legends officially launched in Italy with a huge launch show streamed live from an event centre in Rome. The event included a competitive tournament, a cosplay masquerade, and a huge prize giveaway.
SMITE was also at PAX East with its $10,000 competitive tournament. Developers in attendance revealed that they're aiming for an official launch window of summer 2013, adding that the game will likely release once the roster of playable gods reaches about 40 characters. Until then, the third-person MOBA will remain in open beta for anyone to play.
Prime World set its sights on the US and European market. The free-to-play MOBA took one step toward that goal this week as its website was updated with a ton of game information that has now been translated into English.
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