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Not So Massively: Elite's refund controversy, Civ Online's closed beta, and Ghost in the Shell's G-Star debut

Betas, Trailers, Video, Business Models, Game Mechanics, Launches, New Titles, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, Mobile, Consoles, MMOFPS, World of Tanks, Not So Massively, MOBA, League of Legends, Crowdfunding, Destiny, Hearthstone, E-sports

NSM - Ghost in the Shell
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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Not So Massively: Destiny's patch, Hearthstone's lawsuit, and Lost Ark's reveal

Betas, Video, Business Models, Game Mechanics, Patches, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, Mobile, Consoles, MMOFPS, Dev Diaries, Miscellaneous, Not So Massively, World of Warplanes, MOBA, League of Legends, Crowdfunding, Destiny, Star Citizen, Elite: Dangerous, Infinite Crisis, Buy-to-Play, Hearthstone, E-sports, OARPG

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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Blizzard issues thousands (more) Hearthstone bot bans

Fantasy, Culture, News Items, Free-to-Play, Mobile, Trading Card Games, Casual, Miscellaneous, Hearthstone

Not just for using bots.  The first expansion is all about goblins and gnomes.  Come on.
Good news, Hearthstone players. If you've been using a bot to automate your gameplay, you'll log in today to find a shiny new prize! Specifically, that shiny new prize is not being able to log in because you've been banned. Your prize was being banned. Blizzard has awarded this prize to "several thousand" Hearthstone accounts using third-party tools to automate gameplay; the bans are permanent, so no need to worry about losing them at the end of the season.

Players who have not been botting and violating the game's TOS will also log in to find a shiny new prize, which is a play environment with far fewer bots. Isn't that nice? The official post reminds players to report suspicious behavior by emailing the development team so that in the future another group of cheaters can wake up to find a brand-new lifetime ban locking them out of the game.

Those of you who can still log in may also want to take the opportunity to vote on the next teaser for the Goblins vs. Gnomes expansion.

[Thanks to Dengar for the tip!]

Blizzard wins lawsuit and shuts down Hearthstone clone

Fantasy, MMO Industry, Free-to-Play, Trading Card Games, Legal, Hearthstone

hearthstone
Back in January we reported that Blizzard levied a lawsuit against Unico Interactive for its game, Legend of Crouching Dragon, which Blizzard claimed was a reskinned clone of Hearthstone.

It looks as though the courts agreed, awarding Blizzard and its Chinese partner NetEase $1.6 million due to copyright infringement. Legend of Crouching Dragon has been removed from app stores, and Unico said that it will be reimbursing players for money spent on it to date.

Even with the ruling, Unico remains defiant against "false stories" in the press and claims that it hasn't seen any official order to pay compensation to Blizzard.

Not So Massively: Overwatch's reveal, Hearthstone's expansion, and Dawngate's sunset

Betas, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Super-hero, Trailers, Video, Business Models, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, Lore, New Titles, Patches, Previews, PvP, News Items, War, Free-to-Play, Mobile, Trading Card Games, Consoles, MMOFPS, Miscellaneous, Not So Massively, MOBA, League of Legends, Diablo III, Destiny, Elite: Dangerous, HEX, Hearthstone, The Division, OARPG, Overwatch

NSM - Overwatch
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.
  • Blizzard announced online team-shooter Overwatch at BlizzCon. Chris Metzen says Blizzard is trying to build a more representative game with less hypersexualization.
  • Hearthstone is launching in December and getting a new expansion: Goblins vs. Gnomes.
  • EA's MOBA Dawngate is shutting down in three months.
  • League of Legends introduced Kalista, the Spear of Vengeance.
  • MMOTCG HEX dropped its beta key requirement but denied that it is in open beta.
  • Heroes of the Storm's closed beta starts January 13th. It's also getting a sweet Diablo III-themed map.
  • Diablo III previewed its upcoming season. According to content designer Kevin Martens, Diablo was once considered for an MMO, but no longer.
  • David Braben says Elite: Dangerous' December 16th launch date is "sensible."
  • Star Citizen passed $60 million in fundraising.
  • Quirky indie MMOFPS Hunternet boasts 700-player battles.
  • World of Tanks' 9.4 patch added Stalingrad map and tweaked strongholds.
  • The Crew hinted at a new "PvP mode" and season passes.
  • MechWarrior Online's latest dev vlog covered inner sphere quirks and faction switching.
  • Ubisoft said that The Division's PC experience won't suffer because of consoles.
  • Some jerk swatted a Bungie/Destiny exec; the internet demands prison time for said jerk.
  • The latest World of Speed vid features nearly four minutes of gameplay.
  • Bigpoint's Shards of War introduced a new sentinel, Vox.
  • Undead Labs discussed balance in Moonrise.
  • Dota is now the subject of a course at Chongqing Energy College in China.

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BlizzCon 2014: Hearthstone: Goblins vs. Gnomes expansion announced

Fantasy, Events (Real-World), Expansions, Free-to-Play, Trading Card Games, Hearthstone

hearthstone
It's about to get all funky and explosive up in Hearthstone. At BlizzCon today, the team announced that the upcoming expansion is called Gobins vs. Gnomes and will be releasing next month.

Hearthstone: Goblins vs. Gnomes will contain over 120 new cards that draw upon the innovations of these clever and mad inventors. Two of the cards mentioned were the Explosive Sheep and the Annoy-O-Tron. Currently, the expansion is "in a final balance pass" prior to its December launch.

Hearthstone will also be coming out on Android devices next month.

Liveblogging the opening ceremonies of BlizzCon 2014

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Video, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play, Trading Card Games, Events (Massively's Coverage), Miscellaneous, Diablo III, Subscription, Hearthstone, E-sports

You call it snark, I call it a healthy dose of world-weary cynicism.
Dear readers, I am going to be wholly honest with you. When I was asked if I could do this liveblog for BlizzCon, I thought I was being asked if I was capable. Like asking "can you ride your bike with no handlebars" or "can you sing to a cat until it leaves the room in disgust." But here I am now, so apparently the question was significantly less rhetorical than I had originally assumed and now I need to actually do this.

You can watch the standard definition feed of the convention's opening ceremonies on the official site for free. I'll be liveblogging the important announcements in the comments if you're in a place where you can't watch along (at work, misplaced your headphones, hiding in an Amish barn and fearing discovery should your phone give away even the slightest beep); highlights will be collected past the break. There will probably be announcements about Blizzard games! Like World of Warcraft and Hearthstone and maybe, if it's very lucky, StarCraft II.

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BlizzCon kicks off on Friday, virtual tickets still available

World of Warcraft, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, News Items, Miscellaneous, Diablo III, Hearthstone

Same venue as last year, then?
If you've been waiting patiently for the next big convention focused entirely around Blizzard's game catalogue, your wait is almost over. BlizzCon 2014 kicks off on Friday, November 7th, with the opening ceremonies starting at 2:00 p.m. EST. There's no chance of attending in person if you don't already have a ticket, but you can still pick up a virtual ticket, and DirecTV customers can also grab a pay-per-view stream that includes a virtual ticket and the associated benefits.

The convention will host a variety of tournaments, including the Hearthstone championships, the StarCraft II championships, and the World of Warcraft Arena championship. There will also be the usual assortment of lore panels, development previews, and reveals for the various games under the Blizzard banner, included the much-anticipated Warlords of Draenor expansion. If you've been on the fence about getting a stream, take a look at the list of festivities and get ready to see what's coming from the studio this weekend.

Trademark filings hint at possible Hearthstone expansions

Fantasy, Expansions, News Items, Free-to-Play, Mobile, Miscellaneous, Hearthstone

Technically, there has never been expansion which mentions chickens in the title.  Worth noting.
Gamers love to speculate about expansion titles, and with good cause. If an expansion is titled The Battle for the Southern Ridge, well, you can be pretty sure there will be some fighting and you'll be on the southern ridge. If it's titled Steve Gets a Subpoena, you look for a character named steve. This is why particular attention has been paid to two new trademark filings by Blizzard, both of which seem like perfect titles for an upcoming Hearthstone expansion.

The names in question are "Eye of Azshara" and "Overwatch." While the latter could apply to many games, the former seems quite clearly aimed at either World of Warcraft or Hearthstone, and it seems even more unlikely that the company would announce the next expansion for World of Warcraft as players are still waiting for Warlords of Draenor. Is it a red herring or harbinger of things to come? We'll know more when BlizzCon takes place later this week.

Turns out Blizzard found more Hearthstone cheaters to ban

Fantasy, Bugs, Business Models, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, News Items, Free-to-Play, Trading Card Games, Hearthstone

Hearthstone
Earlier this week, Blizzard banned "several thousand" botter accounts in MMOTCG Hearthstone for the crime of botting. But the bans were only temporary, and the problem players will be back in the game by the turn of the year.

The subjects of a new wave of bans, says Blizzard, won't be let off so easily. Community Manager Whirthun told forumgoers last night that win traders have and will continue to be banned -- permanently:
We've recently banned Hearthstone accounts that were found to be participating in win trading. Win trading at any rank is something that we do not take lightly, and is in violation of our Terms of Use. As we mentioned in our previous statement regarding fair play in Hearthstone, instances of cheating will not be tolerated. Accounts that were discovered participating in win trading have received permanent account closure and disqualification from events where ranking is used as a method of qualification.
Win trading is an exploit of the matchmaking system to position accounts for easy ladder climbing. PC Gamer reports that several big-name Hearthstone players have already fallen to the ban, including a grey hat player who went public with the exploit nearly a year ago in the hopes of provoking Blizzard to fix it.

Blizzard mass-bans Hearthstone cheaters

Betas, Fantasy, Events (Real-World), PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, Trading Card Games, Hearthstone

Last night, Blizzard announced that it's brought the banhammer down on cheaters in its MMOTCG, Hearthstone. "Several thousand" botter accounts have been banned for the next two months, though the studio warns it won't be so lenient next time:
We've recently banned several thousand Hearthstone accounts that were associated with the use of third-party programs that automate gameplay, otherwise known as "bots" or "botting." These accounts will be banned until 2015. As we've stated, fair play is at the core of the Hearthstone experience, and cheating and botting will not be tolerated.

We're committed to creating a fun and rewarding environment for our players, and we will continue to closely monitor activities within Hearthstone and take appropriate action against cheating in any form, as outlined in our Terms of Use. From this point on, accounts found to be cheating will be permanently closed without warning.
Blizzard encourages players who encounter exploits to contact the hacks team; those who believe they've been wrongly banned can appeal their ban through the customer service department. [We've corrected our original story, which directed folks to the hacks team for all issues.]

Not So Massively: LoL's billion, SOTA's Steam debut, and Hearthstone's smartphone plans

Betas, Trailers, Video, Business Models, Classes, Culture, MMO Industry, Patches, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, Marvel Heroes, Consoles, Casual, MMOFPS, Miscellaneous, Not So Massively, MOBA, League of Legends, Crowdfunding, Path of Exile, Hearthstone, E-sports, OARPG

NSM - Infinite Crisis
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

Not So Massively: Star Citizen's Guinness record, Dota 2's mega patch, and GTAO's last team standing

Betas, Trailers, Video, Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, PvP, News Items, Crime, World of Tanks, Not So Massively, MOBA, Crowdfunding, Destiny, Star Citizen, Shroud of the Avatar, Elite: Dangerous, Path of Exile, Hearthstone, E-sports, OARPG

NSM - Dota 2
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

Hearthstone set for an expansion with over 100 new cards

Fantasy, Expansions, Patches, Previews, News Items, Free-to-Play, Trading Card Games, Hearthstone

Like Magic, only in slow motion.
Hearthstone's little trip to Naxxramas went pretty well, but the game is headed for something bigger. An expansion has been confirmed to be in the works for the game, as we first reported during PAX Prime this year. Production Director Jason Chayes has now revealed that the expansion will add over 100 new cards with a central theme tying all of the additions together, far more than the 30-odd cards added to the game during the Curse of Naxxramas adventure series.

Chayes told Polygon that one of the big concerns for the team is making sure that the pace of new content for the game neither bores veteran players nor overwhelms new arrivals, making an expansion something of a challenging prospect. If the expansion goes well, the plan will be to mix up full expansions and single-player challenges over the course of a year, giving players more things to look forward to. No hard and fast details have been announced yet, but expected them in the near future.

Perfect Ten: What Titan's death means for the industry and you

World of Warcraft, Sci-Fi, MMO Industry, Opinion, Perfect Ten, Miscellaneous, Diablo III, Hearthstone

titan
Blizzard's fans are in mourning this weekend and its competition is no doubt rejoicing after the World of Warcraft developer finally cancelled its seven-years-in-the-making Titan MMO. Word on the street is that Titan was a little too similar to what Bungie came up with in Destiny, although all the studio itself will say is that it ultimately wasn't fun.

So Titan joins Starcraft Ghost and Warcraft Adventures in the Blizzard graveyard. It's a loss for those who were hoping to see what Blizz could do outside of World of Warcraft in the MMO space. But what does this cancellation mean for Blizzard, the industry, and us as MMO gamers? I have a few thoughts, although I'll pre-empt them by predicting that your life will most likely go on just the same it did before this momentous announcement.

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