League of Legends' World Championship got underway this weekend with its first series of 10 qualifying matches, and Riot Games is now trying a new strategy to battle antisocial behaviour. Third-person MOBA SMITE has also finally released the lightning-wielding uber-god Zeus as a playable character. On a less positive note, Guardians of Middle-Earth players on PC are now badly struggling to find other humans to play with as the average daily player count has dropped to around 50.
Red 5 Studios laid off 10% of its staff and announced that Firefall's PvP portion will be shut down soon pending a complete revamp at an unspecified point in the future. Diablo III fansite DiabloFans has been data-mining the latest game update for clues about what might be in store for the game's upcoming Reaper of Souls expansion, including a ton of changes coming to existing skills. And Path of Exile is celebrating its popular Skin Transfer microtransaction with a new Well-Dressed Exile fashion competition.
|Smashmuck Champions now on Steam Early Access
If you were intrigued by our hands-on with new MOBA Smashmuck Champions at PAX Prime last week, we've got good news. The title is now available via Steam's early access program, according to a Kiz press release.
|Mobile MOBA Fates Forever offers official trailer
Back in June we learned about a new MOBA that was being developed for tablets... and only tablets. Called Fates Forever, this self-proclaimed re-imagining of League of Legends utilizes gestures on the touchscreen for movement and activating attacks.
|Infinite Crisis introduces Arcane Green Lantern in new video
One thing you can count on with Infinite Crisis is the addition of new champions from alternate dimensions of the DC Multiverse. But the surprise always comes in exactly what hero is added to the ranks.
|Hi-Rez CEO: Without SMITE, Tribes would have 'closed down'
Hi-Rez co-founder and CEO Erez Goren took to Reddit yesterday to deliver a message about his studio's history and its plans for the future. Discussed in the post were challenges of making a profitable game (Global Agenda, for example, lost money throughout its lifespan) and some of the reasoning behind recent decisions made by Hi-Rez about its biggest titles.
|You should watch this Elite: Dangerous trailer
In space, no one can hear you scream, but funnily enough they can hear explosions, laser blasts, and engine noise. Which is fantastic, of course, particularly in the case of the latest Elite: Dangerous trailer.
Star Citizen have largely returned to normal following the convention season spike, with the project hitting its $19 million stretch goal. This week's Wingman's Hangar showcased several fan-made videos of existing Star Citizen ships in various planetary environments like beaches, jungles, and even a smuggler's cave rendered in the same engine the game itself uses. It's one thing to see the ships in the recently released hangar module but another entirely to see them on what appears to be the surface of a planet. It hasn't been confirmed whether Star Citizen's planets can be explored in this detail, but the fan-made videos are incredibly atmospheric.
Elite: Dangerous, prepare to rapidly change your mind and throw your money at the screen as you watch the latest game trailer. Frontier Developments' previous videos have all been engine tests and behind-the-scenes development diaries, but now a serious cinematic trailer has been released and it's nothing short of incredible. The video seems to have been created as a gameplay concept, and while the final game may not end up quite so impressive and immersive, the expectation of that level of quality has now been set in people's minds.
The development team will no doubt be using the video as a vision target for game design, artwork, sound design and immersion. The music for the trailer was produced by composer Erasmus Talbot and manages to blend epic Hollywood-style music with a bit of the classic Frontier vibe. If the finished product ends up even half as awesome as the trailer, it may just blow Star Citizen clean out of the water.
League of Legends world championship got underway last night with its first weekend of qualifiers. The top teams from around the world have fought hard for a place in the tournament, each winning a top place in its own regional tournament. The first day of the schedule saw 10 matches in total, with both GamingGear.eu and OMG facing off against North American favourite Team Solo Mid, and both SK Telecon T1 and GamingGear.eu taking on newcomer Lemondogs.
MOBAs have a knack for attracting antisocial behaviour, and League of Legends is no exception. Developers have managed to curb the negative aspects of the community significantly with the player-mediated banning tribunal and other initiatives, but this week they changed tactics and decided instead to release a few facts. According to the stats, players who are more sportsman-like win on average 10% more games, while players with a history of being reported for abuse win 35% less. The next time someone rages because he's losing a match, you can point out that according to Riot Games, it's probably his own fault.
SMITE from the beginning, chances are you've been waiting a very long time to get your hands on the very first revealed god, Zeus. Floating on a cloud and hurling lightning bolts at his enemies, Zeus is a ranged magical damage character with some serious firepower. Hitting enemies with basic lightning bolt attacks adds an electrical charge to the opponent that makes him more vulnerable to further attacks. With his Chain Lightning ability, Zeus can deal damage to multiple enemies at once and apply a charge to each of them, which is sure to come in handy in a teamfight.
Using his shield, Zeus can grant himself temporary immunity to slows and increased movement speed with which to chase down fleeing enemies. Enemy basic attacks that hit while the shield is active have a percentage of their damage reflected back to the attacker along with an additional electrical charge. Once charges are built up on an enemy, Zeus can detonate them to deal massive damage. Enemies with three charges on them are stunned for a short duration. This pairs extremely well with his ultimate ability, Lightning Storm, which creates a large area-effect storm that applies damage and electrical charges every second.
Diablo III's Reaper of Souls expansion, head over to DiabloFans, where the latest game updates have been datamined for clues. The site has extracted a huge list of changes for every class, details of many of the Crusader's abilities, and more. Many existing skills and runes have been redesigned, such as the Celestial Orb rune for Arcane Orb, which looks as if it will be replaced with a Diablo II-style Frozen Orb rune. Also in the datamined files are text strings and models from the new expansion areas, hints of an upcoming ladder system, lore journals, and artisan backstories. If you want to avoid spoilers, you might want to give this one a miss.
Path of Exile's new Skin Transfer microtransaction that lets players merge the visual appearance of one item with the stats of another, developers have noticed that a lot of players are spending time putting together awesome-looking gear sets. To celebrate, Grinding Gear Games has launched the Well-Dressed Exile Competition that challenges players to put together the visually best outfit they can. Prizes include a $270 Exalted Pack, four $110 Divine Packs, and four $20 sets of 200 microtransaction points.
Firefall was first pitched to the gaming community, it was sold as a competitive PvP game with special features to promote and support e-sports. Things didn't work out exactly as intended, however, as less than 3% of players actively engage in PvP. Red 5 Studios' final attempt to revive the game's PvP was to introduce Jetball as a pure PvP e-sport game mode, but it didn't really work. With so few players engaged in PvP, the team was also forced to shift development focus toward the PvE parts of the game that were actually popular.
CEO Mark Kern released an open letter to fans this week explaining how the PvP situation got to the way it is today and regretfully announcing that PvP will be shutting down in the near future. Mark promised that the team would step back and entirely rethink the game's PvP systems for a re-release at some point in the future, but that might not be enough, as earlier today the studio announced a reorganization and the layoffs of 10% of its staff.
Guardians of Middle-Earth have moved from gameplay concerns to the fact that there are literally no human opponents available to play against. Steamcharts reports a drop from the launch peak of 818 players to a daily average of around 50 and falling. Many of the remaining players have reported that they're being matched up against nine bots in almost every single game, and some are finding themselves along with four bots against a full team of humans. If the bot AI has the same problems I found when I tested the console version, this could be a serious problem. Developer Zombie Studios and publisher Warner Bros. Interactive have yet to accept or respond to requests for refunds.
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