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MOBA

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.

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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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Heroes of the Storm launches interactive battleground page

Fantasy, Previews, News Items, Free-to-Play, MOBA

Percival J. Ogre and his companion discuss the comparative merits of oligarchy compared to tyranny.  And farting.
Looking forward to exploring the maps in Heroes of the Storm? The good news is that you can do so right now, even if you aren't currently in the test pool. The game's interactive battleground maps are now available, showing off the fields of battle and allowing you to zoom in or out, highlight important points, and scroll around to see all of the neat stuff that's there to be seen.

Each of the maps has numerous different mechanics as well as additional routes for players to take, including aboveground and underground routes or enemies that spawn during the night. The page outlines how all five maps will work and should help players start plotting strategies even without getting your hands on the game. If you feel like a bit of surveying, go check out the maps now.

Not So Massively: Hellgate's resurrection, Path of Exile's expansion, and Destiny's launch trailer

Betas, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Patches, Previews, PvP, News Items, Hellgate: London, Free-to-Play, Mobile, Trading Card Games, Consoles, Crime, MMOFPS, Miscellaneous, Not So Massively, World of Warplanes, MOBA, Crowdfunding, Destiny, Elite: Dangerous, Path of Exile, Buy-to-Play, Hearthstone

Hellgate
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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Transformers Universe introduces Macro and Firebreaker

Betas, Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, Classes, Game Mechanics, Previews, PvP, News Items, Transformers Universe, MOBA

Transformers Universe
Jagex hopes to add "diversity" to Transformers Universe's character roster with the addition of two new warriors announced today: Macro and Firebreaker.
Macro, in his warrior form, carries a heavy broadsword for up close melee combat which he wields like a chivalrous knight. In addition, his shield dome cloaks all allies within its boundaries, removing them from enemy line of sight for a limited time.

At the other end of the spectrum, Firebreaker is the first Decepticon in Transformers Universe to feature cloaking capabilities. Sacrificing his shield meter he can extend the duration of the cloak, and can also unleash a computer virus on himself that will devastate the first Autobot he comes into contact with.
The studio says over 700,000 players have participated in beta so far. Videos for both characters are embedded below.

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SMITE raises money for world championship pot by selling items

Fantasy, Video, Classes, Economy, Free-to-Play, MOBA

smite
SMITE has a new plan to raise money for its World Championship prize pool called The Odyssey. Basically, the Odyssey program allows players a limited-time window to purchase exclusive items and sets for the game that will never be sold again. Part of the proceeds from those sales will go into the prize pool for the championship.

In other SMITE news, the game has added a new Mayan god. Cabrakan is a "destroyer of mountains," which is a good thing if you have a mountain coming at you down a lane. He's good at crowd control, protecting allies, and blocking enemy progress.

We've got videos on both Cabrakan and the Odyssey program for you to watch after the break.

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Not So Massively: Path of Exiles' Master of the Hunt, Destiny's expansion, and BioWare's Shadow Realms

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, Patches, Previews, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, MMOFPS, Miscellaneous, Not So Massively, MOBA, League of Legends, Crowdfunding, Destiny, Elite: Dangerous, Path of Exile

POE
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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Riot Games starting programs to help support retired e-sports players

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

Some day you could be appearing in a mattress commercial as a former player of League of Legends, and at that point it's time to just clock out of the future of the species because it no longer makes much sense.
So what do you do when you're too old to play e-sports on a professional level? Do you accept that you had a good run being treated like a rock star for playing a lot of games and move on with your life? Heck no. You need to start worrying about leveraging your brand and your media training. That's the sort of material covered by a new program headed by Riot Games, guiding professional League of Legends players on the path from the start of their career to their expected retirement at around age 27.

The accepted retirement age for professional players is due to a decrease in fine motor control and reflexes, which means that as in physical sports, it's impossible to continue playing as you get older. While the symposia Riot is offering don't yet go into detail about what players can do after playing, they are meant to help keep professionals in the spotlight and support them when they can no longer keep up with the events. It's useful training for professional e-sports players looking to move through their career and have some direction for after the game.

League of Legends spotlights Gnar in a new video

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

Furry!Hulk
So you've heard a lot about the newest League of Legends champion, Gnar. You've read about his abilities. But do you know how to play him? Have you seen him in action? Then perhaps you should watch the newest spotlight video, which sheds some light on how to play the angry little guy -- which is good, since Gnar is currently the only champion whose transformation doesn't lie under the direct control of the player.

The video gives an overview of Gnar's abilities in both forms, then runs through a quick guide to handling combat situations with the hoppy little bundle of rage. Essentially, it's all about keeping an eye on when you'll transform and making the most of the situation, hopping in and out as the change takes you and wears off. Take a look at the video just past the break for a more visual demonstration of how to make the most of the character.

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Gamescom 2014: SMITE heading for the Xbox One

Fantasy, MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play, Consoles, MOBA

Allowing you to play a scowling dude with a beard, except he's fat instead of muscular.  Groundbreaking.
Has your purchase of a next-gen console been reliant on finding out which one of them will get a MOBA on it? Your wait is now over. SMITE is set to launch on the Xbox One via the platform's ID@Xbox program at some point in 2015, as announced today during the Xbox Gamescom event. No specific dates have yet been announced for the port.

COO Todd Harris stated that the game's third-person viewpoint makes it a natural fit to control with a console gamepad rather than a mouse and keyboard, leading to an easy conversion. Details of how the program will work with online connectivity and the possibility of requiring an Xbox Live subscription have not yet been revealed (unsurprisingly, since the program was only just announced). Keep your eyes peeled for more information through the tail end of the year, since the launch won't be happening until 2015.

[Thanks to Sorenthaz for the tip!]

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