Hearthstone

Read All About It: August 16, 2015

LEAGUE OF LEGENDS RECONSIDERING SANDBOX MODE

A little more than a week ago, Riot Games stated in its community outreach blog “Riot Pls” that a League of Legends sandbox mode would not become a thing. However, a recent backlash from the community might have changed Riot’s mind. The main argument was that Riot didn’t want another barrier to new players and that a sandbox mode would create a higher expectation in real games.

“We never want to see a day when a player wants to improve at League and their first obligation is to hop into a Sandbox. We do want to support your ability to grow in mastery, and there may be other avenues to do so, but not this.”

In response to this, the community exploded and criticized Riot on a number of fronts. One of the greatest, and most valid, complaints was that almost every other major MOBA is already offering a sandbox or practice style mode and the feedback has been nothing but positive. Dota 2 has had custom lobby games that can be manipulated through console cheats for years and Valve introduced a Source 2 version of a sandbox mode in Dota2 Reborn. Furthermore, even Heroes of the Storm has a practice mode where players can test out new heroes while having complete control over a single lane.

League of Legends

Stating that a practice mode would create a greater barrier of entry for new players shows just how out of touch Riot is with its community. MOBAs already have an extremely difficult learning curve and a safe area where anything can be tested out would be a benefit to everyone. There’s already an expectation for higher level players to know skill/item builds and a sandbox mode would give them a better area to test them out.

After all the negative comments, Design Director for League of Legends Greg “Ghostcrawler” Street was asked if Riot would reconsider doing sandbox mode. His answer was simply “yes.”

This doesn’t confirm that Riot will actually deliver a sandbox mode, but it does give a little bit of hope for the community and shows that the design team is still willing to listen.

WORLD OF WARSHIPS ADDS RANKED PLAY

A major update for World of Warships has been rolled out and it adds a slew of important updates. The first, and one of the most sought after, is the addition of ranked play. Wargaming seems to have taken a note from Hearthstone and has done a good job to mimic its ranked mode. Each season players will battle it out in their tier VI-VII ships and for every win they’ll earn a star. Earn enough stars and you’ll advance to the next rank and earn experience, credits and additional rewards.

Additional World of Warships updates include new maps, skillshots, matchmaking improvements, and ship balancing. The Strait and Solomon Islands are the two newest maps to hit World of Warships. The Strait is inspired by Mediterranean theaters and will take place near the Italian coast. The Solomon Islands, however, was inspired by the famous Battle of Guadalcanal. Fighter planes are no longer “launch and forget,” and now can be ordered to fire barrages at enemy targets for more effective damage. This gives additional functionality to carrier players. Speaking of carrier players, matchmaking is now being balanced to include equal number of carriers on each side and ranked play will be limited to one carrier and two battleships.

Additional updates can be found on the World of Warships Developer Bulletin.

world of warships

ALBION ONLINE FOLLOWS EVE ONLINE’S PLAYER-DRIVEN MECHANICS

It’s clear just by looking at Albion Online that it’s a throwback to the older generation of MMORPGs, however, with modern day technological advances. In an interview with The Videogame Backlog, Sandbox Interactive’s Christian Ziegert explains the path he wants Ablion Online to take.

“The idea here was to revive some of the elements that made the older (pre-WoW) MMOs, such as Ultima Online, great and take them into the modern times of gaming – e.g. with the multi-platform approach. From the very beginning, it was our aim to develop a game that is not just casual but offers real depth for players to get into and still enjoy after years of playing.”

Albion Online will be completely dependent on its players to shape the environment and will feature a player-driven economy. Everything from villages to trade routes will be constructed by players in the game. The idea is that there is no one way to play Albion Online and that every player will experience the game in a different way. This is completely opposite from most theme park MMORPGs that direct every single player through the exact same experience. While this diminishes story-telling capabilities, it allows for a much more unique experience. The hope is that this freedom will keep players interested for much longer than simply running through content and grinding an endgame.

Sticking with that idea in mind, there are no classes or specified roles in Albion Online. Character stats are based on what they’re wearing or how they’ve been trained, so no one is locked into a specific class. Furthermore, roles will be based on how someone wants to play whether it’s a farmer or an honor-bound knight.

Albion Online offers a lot of opportunities and roles to play, so that all players can find something that they find interesting and worth spending their time on. No matter if you’re a farmer, crafter, trader, spy or warrior – the world of Albion can provide fun for anyone!”

HEARTHSTONE’S GRAND TOURNAMENT REVEALED

As of last week, the entirety of The Grand Tournament has been revealed to the public. Hearthstone’s newest expansion will feature 132 cards with two new mechanics: Inspire and Joust. Each class will gain 9 new specific cards, with the exception of the Hunter who gets 10, including one legendary (except the Hunter with two), two epic, three rare and three commons. The reason for multiple Hunter legendaries is due to the fact that they synergize together, however, the community already has speculations that only one out of the two will even be viable.

Hearthstone

Before the reveal of the final 54 cards last Friday, the community was very skeptical about The Grand Tournament. Many of the initial cards were lackluster and a few classes, specifically the Rogue and Warlock, did not receive very good treatment. However, the last few reveals did raise community support and the number of potentially viable decks skyrocketed due to increased synergy. Everything is still in the theory crafting stage, however, and we won’t know what actually works until the set is released.

A major patch is scheduled for Hearthstone next week and of course there are a number of speculations. The most likely scenario is that the new cards will be added to the game client and arena mode but won’t be available until the week after, similar to the Goblins vs Gnomes expansion.

The entire list of The Grand Tournament cards is available on Hearthpwn.

For more on MMOs, stay tuned to MMOGames.com.

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About Nick Shively

Nick is an eSports and RPG enthusiast. He can normally be found in the deepest parts of a dungeon or in the arena slaying opponents. Nick has been a gamer since an early age and involved in the industry since 2011. He obtained a degree in journalism from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in 2015.