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MOBA

Not So Massively: Hellgate's return, HEX's beta, and Elite's pricing

Betas, Trailers, Video, Business Models, New Titles, PvP, News Items, Mobile, Consoles, MMOFPS, Not So Massively, MOBA, Diablo III, Crowdfunding, Destiny, Star Citizen, Buy-to-Play, HEX, Hearthstone

NSM
Welcome back to No So Massively, where every Monday we round up the highlights from the past week in the world of MOBAs, roguelikes, MMOTCGs, and other games that aren't quite MMOs.

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Here's a League of Legends Ascension gameplay preview vid

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, MOBA, League of Legends

The League of Legends YouTube channel dropped a new gameplay preview video earlier today. It's called Ascension - Gameplay Preview, naturally, and it's one-minute-and-48-seconds worth of footage from LoL's latest featured game mode.

You can view the clip after the cut and you can learn more about the game mode at the official website.

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Kukulkan, Serpent of the Nine Winds slithers into SMITE

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Classes, Patches, Free-to-Play, MOBA

smite
We really wish that the Mayans were around today to ask why they would worship a giant flying snake instead of freaking out because, well, giant flying snake. It's probably a good thing that Mr. Kukulkan, Serpent of the Nine Winds, is on the side of the playerbase in SMITE as the newest god in the game's pantheon.

Kukulkan isn't actually a new character for the game but a reworked Ao Kuang (who has been temporarily retired). While Kukulkan enjoys a new look, the abilities transferred over from Ao Kuang remain the same. Players who previously owned Ao Kuang will see that character transform into Kukulkan instead.

We've got the full god reveal video after the break, so welcome in your newest nightmare and ally!

[Thanks to Sorenthaz for the tip!]

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Hear snippets of Chance Thomas' Dota 2 score

Fantasy, Video, Free-to-Play, MOBA, Music

dota 2
Composer Chance Thomas has revealed his latest project: creating a Compendium score for Dota 2. In a new behind-the-scenes video, you can see Thomas conducting a choir and orchestra as they perform snippets of various tracks for the popular MOBA.

Thomas previously worked on MMOs such as Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeons and Dragons Online. You can watch the Dota 2 soundtrack video after the jump!

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Riot Games kicks off e-sports documentary

Fantasy, Video, Culture, News Items, Free-to-Play, MOBA, League of Legends

I guess no eSports player has ever savagely beaten another human being or started a dog-fighting ring.  That's something.
Want to know more about e-sports without all of the "watching e-sports" that it would otherwise entail? That's the purpose behind a new documentary being assembled by Riot Games. Road to Worlds is all about tracking the path of professional League of Legends players as they fight through the championships, culminating in a shot at the top prize at Worlds.

The first episode is available past the cut and runs for about 25 minutes, exploring the origins of several competitive teams and how players first broke into the industry. If you want a deeper look at the culture, or if you're already a big fan of e-sports and want to watch more about them, jump on past the break. The remaining portions of the documentary will be posted later this month, on September 12th and 15th.

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Not So Massively: LoL's lore reboot, Destiny's launch, and Firefly Online's beta

Betas, Video, Business Models, Patches, Previews, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, Mobile, MMOFPS, Miscellaneous, Not So Massively, MOBA, Crowdfunding, Destiny, Elite: Dangerous, Path of Exile, Buy-to-Play, Hearthstone

NSM - Destiny
Welcome back to No So Massively, where every Monday we round up the highlights from the past week in the world of MOBAs, roguelikes, MMOTCGs, and other games that aren't quite MMOs.

Continue Reading

That Witcher MOBA is now in closed beta on Android

Fantasy, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Free-to-Play, MOBA

You know, a Witcher MOBA ranks right up there with Upset Stomach Simulator 2015 on the list of games I'll never play. Your mileage may vary, though, so if you're into MOBAs and you're into all things Geralt, you should know that The Witcher Battle Arena has launched its Android closed beta.

"Designed with fairness in mind, the game features no pay-to-win elements and allows players to unlock every piece of in-game content via gameplay," says a developer posting sussed out by Joystiq. "Closed Beta focuses on balancing gameplay, fixing potential netcode issues, and further refining in-game features."

League of Legends moves beyond its own lore

Fantasy, Lore, News Items, Free-to-Play, MOBA, League of Legends

We look forward to the day in which the storytelling is defined by it actually being there at all.
What are your current thoughts about the storytelling in League of Legends? Yes, it's entirely acceptable to respond to that question with a cocked eyebrow and a confused expression. A new developer blog by Tommy Gnox addresses precisely that, explaining that from the beginning, the narrative side of the game has always focused around creating a justification for how the game works. That's all well and good, but it winds up not creating a great deal of space for any exploration of stories beyond the game itself.

Gnox goes on to lay out a new plan for the game's storytelling in the future, explaining that there will no longer be a perfect one-to-one correspondence between the game and the lore. While older elements will remain in place, some of them will be allowed to fall by the wayside in favor of more interesting stories and character perspectives. If you've got an investment in the game's world and characters, check out the full blog for more information.

The Stream Team: Seeking chaos with Dota 2's ability draft

Fantasy, Video, Game Mechanics, PvP, Free-to-Play, Massively Meta, Hands-On, Livestream, MOBA, The Stream Team

Dota 2 Ability Draft
One of the most important steps in mastering a MOBA like Dota 2 is developing a deep understanding of every hero's skills. When you know what a hero can and cannot do, you can play effectively both as that hero and against him/her. But what happens when you take hero abilities, stick them in a blender, and force players to fight using whatever skills they can grab? Ability Draft, that's what.

Join Massively's Mike Foster at 7:00 p.m. EDT as he investigates Dota 2's Ability Draft mode (by viewer request!), where skills are picked up à la carte and chaos reigns supreme. He may win, or he may lose, but in Ability Draft, it's more about the journey than the destination.

Game: Dota 2
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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PAX Prime 2014: World of Warships balances historical accuracy with big boat fun

Betas, Historical, Interviews, Previews, Free-to-Play, Events (Massively's Coverage), World of Warships, MOBA

wows
A warship is understandably larger and more complicated than a tank or plane, which is why Wargaming is diverging slightly with its third online title. At PAX Prime, I sat down with the dev team for World of Warships to see how the alpha is progressing and what a fleet of ships looks like with all guns blazing.

There are four types of ships from which players can choose when they step into a match. Destroyers are smaller and faster with torpedoes, battleships are hulking gun platforms, and cruisers are straddling the line between the two. Then there are carriers (which we did not get to see) that eschew big guns for a squadron of planes to send out. Unfortunately, submarines aren't part of the mix, as the team decided that they wouldn't be fun for this type of game.

Each ship is as historically accurate in its looks and is hideously detailed, with up to 500 parts and 270,000 polygons. This detail comes into play when ships are damaged in certain sections, disabling features and abilities. The team is planning on launching with around 75 ships between the starting nations of the United States and Japan.

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PAX Prime 2014: Tome makes for a more aggressive MOBA

Betas, Fantasy, Previews, Free-to-Play, Events (Massively's Coverage), MOBA

tome
One interesting trend that I noticed among the up-and-coming MOBAs that I previewed at PAX Prime this past weekend was how there's this real desire to challenge the status quo and cut out what's hurting rather than helping the genre.

Tome may not look much different than its contemporaries, with a grounded fantasy setting and typical setup, but underneath the hood it's sporting a few ideas that should make it more friendly and convenient to a larger audience. The team's decided against including last hitting while putting in handy features such as healing quickly and buying items anywhere while not in combat.

Another core principle of Tome is that it embraces aggressive gameplay. Matches should take 12 minutes or less to complete, with design elements such as hardier minions and limited ammunition towers making turtling an undesirable option.

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Not So Massively: The MOBAs and pseudo-MMOs of PAX Prime 2014

Betas, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, Classes, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, Patches, PvP, News Items, War, Free-to-Play, Marvel Heroes, MMOFPS, Miscellaneous, Not So Massively, MOBA, Diablo III, Destiny, Star Citizen, Shroud of the Avatar, Elite: Dangerous, Buy-to-Play, Hearthstone

Moonrise
Welcome back to No So Massively, where every Monday we round up the highlights from the past week in the world of MOBAs, roguelikes, MMOTCGs, and other games that aren't quite MMOs.

Continue Reading

PAX Prime 2014: Strife learns from the past

Betas, Fantasy, Free-to-Play, Events (Massively's Coverage), MOBA

strife
S2 Games is a big believer in learning from the past. Whereas many other MOBA developers are creating their very first such title, S2 already has a MOBA -- Heroes of Newerth -- under its belt. Taking key lessons from that experience, the devs are creating what they call the next generation of MOBA: Strife.

Strife was definitely in full force around PAX Prime this weekend. The team had not only a prime spot by the show doors (complete with a mechanical dragon that players could ride) but a spot at a local grill where prizes and cosplay repairs took place.

My key question for the devs was, "What makes Strife any different from the dozens of other MOBAs on the market?" This question led into a discussion of how the team has been pulling the best elements from the genre while discarding what didn't work -- denying, for example, is not a part of Strife in the least, nor is the commonplace "last hit" mechanic.

Instead, Strife seeks to be enjoyable both as a MOBA and as a single-player experience. The solo content was put in to flesh out the story of the world (MOBAs have story?) and give players a different kind of experience between matches. I was also interested in the pets that characters can acquire and wield for their special abilities.

Strife went into open beta this past weekend, so give it a whirl and let us know what you think!

Massively's on the ground in Seattle during the weekend of August 29th to September 1st, bringing you all the best news from PAX Prime 2014. Whether you're dying to know more about Warlords of Draenor, The Elder Scrolls Online, Landmark, or any MMO in between, you can bet we'll have it covered!

PAX Prime 2014: Heroes of the Storm is friendly, zany fun

Betas, Fantasy, Interviews, Previews, Free-to-Play, Events (Massively's Coverage), MOBA

heroes of the storm
Heroes of the Storm's beginnings are rooted in a mod that Blizzard made in 2010 to encourage StarCraft II players to get into the modding scene. Not only was this unnecessary (the StarCraft II comunity took to modding like fish to water) but the mod gradually became so well-liked internally that proper development began in 2012 to make it a full-fledged MOBA.

At PAX Prime, I asked the team what was going to make Heroes of the Storm stand out from the rest of the MOBA pack -- or whether it was merely content to ride the Blizzard name to big sales. The response was that this game is shaping up to be one of the most friendly and welcoming MOBAs on the market. Gone are mechanics like denying and last hits and in are new concepts like shared team levels. The devs said that the root of the toxic atmosphere seen in many MOBAs is game design that focuses more in individual selfishness and potential ways to hurt your own team. There also won't be any chatting with the opposing team in HotS to cut down on potential sass-mouth.

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The Stream Team: Random drafting in Dota 2

Fantasy, Video, Game Mechanics, PvP, Free-to-Play, Massively Meta, Hands-On, Livestream, MOBA, The Stream Team

Dota 2
Newcomers to Dota 2 often stick to the game's All-Pick mode when searching for matches. In All-Pick, every hero currently in the game's hero pool is available for selection. This makes character selection more manageable for new players (since you can pick heroes you know), but it also leads to an All-Pick All-Stars syndrome in which the same few heroes show up time and again to crush teams and bust ancients.

Tonight, Massively's Mike Foster is exploring a different game mode known as Random Draft. In Random Draft, players take turns choosing from a pool of randomly selected heroes. There's still flexibility in terms of individual hero choice, but the full pool isn't available, and thus teams must get creative using the heroes that appear. Sometimes this goes well; sometimes it doesn't.

Tune in at 7:00 p.m. EDT to see how it turns out for Mike.

Game: Dota 2
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Thursday, August 28th, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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