League of Legends released a spotlight video on new champion Yasuo, who features an insane critical hit chance, a spammable knock-up ability, and a wind wall that blocks all projectiles and spells. Dota 2's annual Frostivus celebrations were taken over this year by the interesting new Wraith Night co-op horde game mode. SMITE developer Hi-Rez Studios offered to help players hit by YouTube's recent automated copyright sweep by providing written permission to use its game footage, and old character Kali got a complete revamp.
Mobile MOBA Arena of Heroes is now officially out of beta with the release of its first version for the iPad. Diablo III's Reaper of Souls closed beta has now officially begun and test versions of the new loot system and paragon patch are now on the public test realm. And Path of Exile fans won't have long to wait for the big PvP update, as it should be starting after content update 1.0.4 on December 22nd.
EVE Online and thought, "Damn, that would be amazing if it were an RTS," you will absolutely lose your mind over upcoming MMORTS Novus AEterno. This space sandbox from developer Taitell Studios boasts visuals often on par with EVE Online and aims to have a similarly in-depth tactical and political metagame. Thousands of player-run empires will coexist in solar systems on one seamless online 2-D map, where they'll research and build hordes of ships and then smash them into each other.
Novus AEterno promises a single-shard persistent universe and calls itself "the largest strategy game ever built," though gameplay videos released so far have shown interaction with players only in an empire's immediate vicinity. The game was shown off at PAX Prime 2012 and came to Kickstarter with a steep $200,000 goal last month but has since attracted the attention of angel investors.
Taitale closed and relaunched its Kickstarter this week with a more modest goal of $75,000 and smashed that target in just a few days with the help of its previous backers. The new studio has also revealed that it's been allowed to skip Steam's Greenlight process, which Valve has previously said is the only way for a new developer without an established publisher to get its game sold on Steam. The game is now heading for a Q1 2014 release on PC.
Elite: Dangerous officially entered alpha testing this week with the release of its singleplayer combat test client. This alpha phase is designed to gather focused feedback on the controls by pitting the player against eight singleplayer scenarios, and it's the first time fans have been able to get their hands on the game. Further alpha builds will be released as development continues to gather more feedback on other areas of the game, such as multiplayer combat and trading.
League of Legends released a champion spotlight video this week on new character Yasuo, a highly mobile melee fighter with extremely low cooldown abilities and no mana costs. Players have been complaining about the strength of Yasuo's passive ability, which doubles his critical strike chance and means you can make every hit critical by building 50% critical strike chance from runes and items.
Yasuo's passive ability also recharges his resource bar (named "flow") as he moves and activates a shield if the bar is full when he's attacked. His other abilities include a dash, a short-range blade swipe that pierces enemies and can crit, a wind wall that blocks incoming projectiles and spells, and an ultimate ability that deals massive damage on enemies in the air.
Dota 2's annual Christmas holiday event is off to an awesome start this year, with the boring old Frostivus celebrations taking a back seat to yet another inventive game mode. Wraith Night is a new co-op game mode that puts all players in the centre of the map with hordes of spiders and other monsters charging in from four corner lanes. Completing rounds of Wraith Night awards players Phantom Fragments that can be spent on new holiday rewards. The new game mode has proven so popular that players are requesting that it be kept as a permanent addition to the game.
SMITE was among those affected by the new system, and developer Hi-Rez Studios is now offering those hit with copyright notices written permission to create and monetise videos of its game.
Developers also released newly re-designed god Kali this week with updated graphics and a revamped lineup of abilities. While Kali may not be the tankiest of characters, her life-stealing abilities make her deceptively resilient in the right hands. Kali's new ultimate ability creates a swirling vortex of damage around her for a few seconds, and Kali cannot die for the duration of the spell. If dealt enough damage to kill her, she will simply remain at one hitpoint.
Arena of Heroes has now been officially released worldwide, and beta has ended. The game is currently available for the iPad and will soon be coming to the iPhone, Android devices, PC, Mac, and web browsers.
Diablo III Reaper of Souls closed beta has officially begun, and invites are now starting to be sent out. If you're interested in giving the new expansion a try and providing feedback, head over to your Beta Profile Settings page and opt in. Many of the features that will be coming to the non-expanded game have also now been released on the public test realm, giving players hands-on experience with the new loot system, paragon changes, and the overhaul of all character classes and difficulty levels. The response from players in the beta and those testing the upcoming changes on the public test realm has been largely positive so far.
Path of Exile released content update 1.0.3 this week, introducing the new Barrage skill that charges up a ranged weapon before unleashing a rapid barrage of attacks. This pairs well with the new Physical Projectile Attack Damage support gem, and both gems are quest rewards for the Shadow, Ranger, Duelest, and Witch. The patch also added several new unique items and vendor recipes and included the usual balance changes and bug fixes.
Early details on content update 1.0.4 have also now been released, and it looks as if this won't be the PvP update we've been waiting for. The patch will go live on December 22nd and will introduce a new fire skill named Charged Blast and possibly buff several fire skills and support gems.