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PAX South 2015: Slaying giants in Motiga's Gigantic

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Video, Events (Real-World), New Titles, PvP, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, MMOFPS, First Impressions, Events (Massively's Coverage), MOBA

Motiga's Gigantic is one part Team Fortress, one part Dota, and one part Monster Hunter. The basic match structure will sound familiar to MOBA lovers -- two teams of five slug it out for superiority by controlling resources, leveling up, and killing one another -- but the skill-based mechanics, multiple maps, and shifting strategy priorities make the game more than a three-lane farm fest. Gigantic isn't about last-hitting or memorizing meta. Instead, it's about slaying giants and aiming true.

I hopped in on a quick Gigantic match with some other press folks this afternoon at PAX South 2015, and in the midst of delivering an absolute drubbing to the scrubs (kidding!) on the other side of the table, I was able to get a feel for the game's combat system, characters, and the way its massive guardians change the way battles play out.

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Not So Massively: Closed beta for HOTS; tourneys for Hearthstone and LoL

Betas, Trailers, Video, Business Models, Game Mechanics, PvP, News Items, Trading Card Games, Consoles, MMOFPS, MMORTS, World of Tanks, Miscellaneous, Not So Massively, MOBA, League of Legends, Diablo III, Crowdfunding, Destiny, Elite: Dangerous, Path of Exile, Buy-to-Play, Hearthstone, E-sports, OARPG

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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Heroes of the Storm is now in closed beta

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

Your play skills, when carefully examined, show a marked status below a standard deviation from those of your peers!  And your mother is considered overweight by medical professionals!
If you've paid attention to the people in the early testing for Heroes of the Storm, you likely saw a lot of feedback that amounted to surprise that the game was just in alpha. Of course, a game that feels polished and fun in alpha testing is in a good spot, which is why it should come as no huge surprise that the title moved into closed beta yesterday. Players who wish to test and have not already opted in should be sure to do so, as beta invitations are being sent out regularly.

The team behind the game also took a moment to explain a bit more going on behind the scenes with character design by looking at Thrall -- specifically, looking at top-down design for Thrall as he exists within Heroes of the Storm and bottom-up design using Thrall's Warcraft III abilities as a starting point. It's an interesting look at how the same basic character could wind up inspiring two different designs in the end and well worth a glance if you're crossing your fingers for that closed invitation.

[Thanks, Dengar.]

Not So Massively: SMITE's tourney, Shadow Realms' do-over, Heroes of the Storm's new mode

Betas, Video, Bugs, Business Models, Events (Real-World), Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, Previews, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, MMOFPS, Not So Massively, MOBA, Crowdfunding, Destiny, Elite: Dangerous, Infinite Crisis, Hearthstone, E-sports, OARPG

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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SMITE world champions receive million dollar prize, new character revealed

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

They clicked more things the best.
Tempted to proclaim yourself the best SMITE player in the world? Unless you are one of these five people, there is now demonstrable evidence that you are not on top. The first World Championship for SMITE is over, and the team known as Cognitive Prime has taken home the title and half of the $2.6 million prize pool. Worldwide viewers for the stream over the weekend came out to 78,000 people, which doesn't quite compare to the turnouts at better-known competitive gaming championships like League of Legends. But SMITE's prize pool was larger than the pools for any LoL tournament; in fact, it's the third largest e-sports prize pool ever, behind Dota 2's The International tourney's 2013 and 2014 pools.

Coinciding with tournament was the reveal of SMITE's newest god, Hou Yi, Defender of the Earth. He justifies this lofty title with a variety of ranged attacks, movement tricks, and a high resistance to critical hits. Check him out in action just past the break.

[Thanks to Sorenthaz for the tip!]

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Hawkgirl is coming to Infinite Crisis on January 21

Betas, Classes, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, MOBA, Infinite Crisis

Turbine continues to release new champions for its Infinite Crisis MOBA. The latest such is Hawkgirl, who is scheduled to debut on January 21st.

A new preview video characterizes Hawkgirl as "an aggressive bruiser who excels at isolating and disrupting her opponents." You can get all the specifics on her skills and abilities by watch the clip embedded after the cut.

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Guild Launch rebrands as Gamer Launch, targets MOBA players

Guilds, MMO Industry, News Items, MOBA

Remember Guild Launch? Sure, you do. Hasn't everyone signed up for the firm's instant-MMO-website services at one time or another? Anyway, Guild Launch is now Gamer Launch thanks to a scope expansion designed to "support additional game genres" and broaden the company's "appeal within the larger gaming community," according to a new press release.

"In recent years we've seen a significant influx of players from a variety of other gaming communities including MOBAs and Minecraft," president Stephen Johnston says. The firm currently services over four million gamers and now offers new features designed for League of Legends, Dota 2, SMITE, and Minecraft players.

[Source: Gamer Launch press release]

Another university is adding League of Legends scholarships

Culture, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, Humor, MOBA, League of Legends

Robert Morris University made waves last summer when it announced its intention to add e-sports -- and more specifically, League of Legends scholarships -- to its athletic department.

This week Kentucky's University of Pikeville followed suit when it publicized its offering of "at least 20 scholarships" to LoL players who will be treated like the school's other student-athletes. "There will be practice time and video time when they have to study other teams for upcoming competitions," said the university's new media director Bruce Parsons.

Riot is building a dedicated network for League of Legends

Fantasy, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, MOBA, League of Legends

How important is ping disparity to the makers of the world's biggest MOBA? Well, Riot is currently building a dedicated network specifically for League of Legends, so it must be pretty important.

The firm explains why in a Q&A posted this week, and the short version is that your ISP is focused primarily on moving large amounts of data in seconds or minutes, which is fine for streaming video but not so fine for real-time gaming. To make matters worse, your internet connection "might bounce all over the country instead of running directly to where it needs to go," Riot says, "which can impact your network quality and ping whether the game server is across the country or right down the street."

The solution is a direct network for LoL traffic as well as some sort of partnership with US and Canadian ISPs to facilitate player access.

SMITE's cinematic trailer on the eve of the World Championships

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, News Items, Free-to-Play, MOBA

SMITE is hosting championships (with its gigantic and record-setting prize pool) very soon, and the team behind the game wants players excited. What's the best way to get players excited? Why, with a three-minute cinematic trailer in which a bunch of characters beat one another up, naturally. Look, it's not as if there's a whole lot of additional lore here that hasn't been chronicled in various mythological texts anyway.

The rivalry between Thor and Guan Yi isn't usually acknowledged by mythology experts, but that's doubtlessly an oversight.

The point is that if you want to watch an improbably busty goddess tap about in heals while fighting a wolf-beast, now is your chance. Click on past the break to watch the full trailer. It may not give you a whole lot of insight into mythology, but it will give you an idea of the game, at least.

[Source: Hi-Rez Studios press release]

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Not So Massively: Destiny's rumored DLC, Elite's server blip, Hearthstone's new season

Video, Bugs, Business Models, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, Consoles, Miscellaneous, Not So Massively, MOBA, Crowdfunding, Destiny, Elite: Dangerous, Path of Exile, Buy-to-Play, Hearthstone, E-sports

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: Elite's launch, Transformers' sunset, and SMITE's $2M prize pool

Betas, Super-hero, Trailers, Video, Business Models, Classes, Events (Real-World), Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, Launches, Patches, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, Marvel Heroes, Mobile, Consoles, Crime, MMOFPS, Miscellaneous, Not So Massively, MechWarrior Online, MOBA, League of Legends, Crowdfunding, Destiny, Star Citizen, Elite: Dangerous, Infinite Crisis, Hearthstone, E-sports, OARPG

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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MechWarrior Online patches in 64-bit client

Sci-Fi, Patches, PvP, Free-to-Play, MechWarrior Online, MOBA

If you want to hang with the cool kids, you're going to want to ditch that creaky 32-bit client and get with the sleek 64-bit crowd! It worked for the Nintendo 64, and it's now working for MechWarrior Online.

As part of the big patch rolling out today, MechWarrior Online is offering an "experimental release" of its new 64-bit client. This client supposedly uses all available RAM for better performance, but can be only handled by 64-bit versions of Windows.

Other changes with the patch include several UI improvements that will make it easier to see who is queueing up for matches and which side is winning certain territories.

The Transformers Universe MOBA is shutting down

Betas, Business Models, MMO Industry, News Items, Miscellaneous, Transformers Universe, MOBA, Sunsets

Bad news today, folks: MOBA Transformers Universe will close before it even leaves beta as part of Jagex's and Hasbro's efforts to "realign their plans and focuses for 2015." UK developer Jagex had posted about impending layoffs for the TU team back in November, but it appears that it's really game over now:
The shutdown period will begin from today. As part of the winding down we will be refunding all those that have purchased a Founders Pack, as well as anyone that has purchased relic bundles and starter packs. These refunds should be all processed in the next 30 days. In addition we will be closing the ability for new players to make accounts, those of you that already have accounts will continue to be able to use them until the closure date. [...] We will also be pushing an update live today that will switch off the ability for players to buy any more relic packs, or starter bundles.

[O]n 31st Jan 2015 @ 10am GMT we will be shutting down all servers and forums and will freeze all Transformers Universe related accounts. These accounts will then be live for another 60 days (approx.) for any final queries before deletion on 31st March 2015. Between now and the date of closure the Jagex CM team will continue to operate on the forums and we will provide relevant updates on the website as necessary.
Jagex asks players to contact the customer services team if they have not received their refunds by January 16th. Our hearts go out to the players and developers who hoped to see the title succeed.

Not So Massively: HEX gets new cards, Dota 2 cancels Christmas, and Hearthstone lands on Android (sorta)

Betas, Trailers, Video, Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, MMOFPS, MOBA, Crowdfunding, Destiny, Elite: Dangerous, Path of Exile, HEX, Hearthstone, E-sports, OARPG

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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