Dreamhack 2013, news from E3, and Path of Exile battles RMT

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This week saw the world’s largest annual LAN party get underway as Sweden played host to DreamHack Summer 2013 and a series of live cash-prize competitive game tournaments. League of Legends had the biggest showing, with a dedicated 1,200-person stage for its $30,000 DreamHack Championship tournament. Heroes of Newerth presented the $30,000 HoNTour grand finals with livestreaming and commentary from the Honcast crew. Dota 2 launched its own huge $46,600 tournament for the event, but fans have been up in arms about the tiny seating area reserved for their game.

Blizzard revealed more details on its upcoming console release of Diablo III, from skill and runes to transferring your co-op characters between consoles. Path of Exile tackled the issue of RMT head-on by locking currency items to new players’ accounts until one of their characters hits level 25 and revealed that thousands of players are being banned each week for botting and RMT spam. Indie MOBA Skara also dropped a gameplay trailer this week and was at E3 to show the game off, but things aren’t looking good for its kickstarter campaign.

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E3 2013: Infinite Crisis super-punches MOBA flaws
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E3 2013: Hands-on with Zynga’s Solstice Arena MOBA
I wasn’t sure what to expect from Solstice Arena when I walked into Zynga/A Bit Lucky’s meeting room. I’d heard about the whole “speed MOBA” thing, but I love playing as Nasus in League of Legends, so having no mobs was a bit conflicting.
E3 2013: Prime World tones down gender issues
The MOBA-slash-city builder known as Prime World was an important stop during our grand E3 tour this year. We’ve been interested in hearing Nival’s been preparing this Russian hit for a larger audience since seeing it in action in March.
Diablo III console port was almost a twin-stick shooter
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Infinite Crisis shows off the Coast City map
Turbine has released a brand new trailer for its closed beta MOBA, Infinite Crisis. This trailer shows off the game’s Coast City map, featuring a two-lane-style layout with a top and bottom lane crammed with turrets and an important middle area known as The Wastes.
Star Citizen tops $10 million, mocap studio a go
It’s a good day to be Chris Roberts or one of the Cloud Imperium game developers working on Star Citizen. The upcoming space sim sandbox finally conquered the $10 million crowdfunding summit earlier this afternoon, and as a result, CIG will build its own motion capture studio.

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League of Legends kicked things off this week with over a thousand people attending its $30,000 DreamHack Championship tournament. The event was so big it packed out the largest seating area in the venue and the crowd’s cheers could be heard throughout the building. Patch 3.8 is set to land after the tournament, bringing in a series of tweaks to champions and items. The patch also delays the first spawn of many jungle camps and decreases their experience gain. This was one of the most highly requested changes from competitive teams, which had found clearing the first jungle spawn to be far too great an experience advantage.

This week also saw the release of new melee initiator champion Aatrox, the Darkin Blade. Aatrox features a unique mechanic that lets him recover from a fatal blow by becoming untargettable on death and healing for an amount based on his Blood Well. Blood is added to the Blood Well every time Aatrox casts an ability, and abilities cost him health to use rather than mana. This pairs well with his Blood Thirst ability that applies a small heal to every third basic attack.

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Heroes of Newerth’s latest foray into the competitive gaming scene was the very successful HoN Tour league, which provided competition and prizes for players of all ability levels. The grand final of the HoN Tour Diamond Division took place at DreamHack this week, pitching the league’s top teams against each other for a slice of a $30,000 pie.

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The $46,600 Dota 2 ASUS ROG Tournament took place this weekend at DreamHack, but fans were less than impressed with the event arrangements. Despite having a larger prize pool than any other tournament at the event, this year Dota 2 was relegated to a small seating area with a less-than-impressive projector. Attendees noted that the area was under the bleachers of the huge stage being used for the League of Legends tournament and that the music and cheering from that room frequently drowned out the Dota 2 stream commentary.

This has left a bitter taste in the mouths of Dota 2 fans, as the tournament was built up to be a huge and DreamHack themselves advertised it with footage of a previous event on massive stage with seating for hundreds of people. The tiny Dota 2 seating area was packed all throughout the tournament, with people standing, stealing chairs from other areas, and sitting on parts of the backdrop. So many people came to watch Dota 2 that the crowd literally blocked the corridor and spilled over into the StarCraft II area. In the video below, the first area looked at is the Dota 2 tournament corner.
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Blizzard was at E3 recently to demonstrate Diablo III running live on consoles. We learned that the skills and runes will be the same on the console version, so the same builds should work. Characters in offline mode will also be downloadable to a USB pen drive, which may allow you to transfer them to a friend’s console for co-op play. Little is known about the quality of items available on console and how the inventory system will work, but spells appear to auto-lock onto targets if you aim roughly in their direction. Livestreamer Archon produced a video summary of the Diablo III news E3 news and shared his thoughts on the control scheme.
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In an ongoing effort to battle Real Money Trading in Path of Exile, Grinding Gear Games added a minimum level restriction of 25 to trading currency items. This restriction also applies to drop-trading by permanently allocating currency items found by low-level characters. The new rule applies to currency items rather than equipment, and restrictions permanently lift for the entire account once any character on it reaches level 25. Players wishing to create mule characters to store currency will now have to play at least one character on the account to level 25.

Developers also revealed this week that they’ve been banning thousands of accounts per week for exploiting game bugs, running bots, or spamming RMT links in chat. “It’s easy for us to create a list of who abused an exploit,” explained Chris, adding that the team’s policy is to eradicate items gained from exploits and permanently ban the offending player.

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The developers of arena-based online fighting game Skara ran a booth E3 recently to drum up some interest for the title, but it looks as if it’s much too late to make a difference. With less than two weeks to go on the game’s Kickstarter campaign, funding for the project has flatlined at just 9% of its lofty £150,000 goal. The London-based studio behind the game describes it as having “the action of Street Fighter inside a story and land like World of Warcraft, all blended into a fast-paced Call of Duty style arena.” The latest development video shows the combat system developers have been working on for the past five months; the game itself has been in production for four years.