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Several Diablo III players have recently been caught abusing the votekick feature to kill other players in public games. Undeterred, Blizzard announced details of upcoming patch 1.0.7's new Demonic Essence and PvP duelling system. Path of Exile called last orders on its crowdfunding campaign and revealed that 150 people have already bought the $1,000 diamond supporter's pack.

We interviewed Ironclad on upcoming MOBA Sins of a Dark Age, its new Realm Quest feature, and plans to support competitive gaming. Dota 2 completitive tournament website joinDOTA has had its YouTube channel restored following last week's unexpected and still unexplained shutdown. To add a bit more of a competitive spirit to its own game, Hi-Rez Studios published a list of SMITE's top 200 players and revealed new character Hercules.

With the League of Legends North American championship qualifiers underway, this week Riot Games revealed its new digital artwork contest and displayed the five gingerbread masterpieces that won its recent sculpture contest. Bloodline Champions celebrated its second birthday yesterday with a free gift for all players, but developers admitted that updates will be much less frequent from now on. Last but certainly not least, a new video has been making the rounds recently showing an upcoming 10-player World of Warcraft battleground suspiciously named Defense of the Alehouse

Diablo III title image
Another exploit reared its head in Diablo III this week as it became known that players were abusing the votekick feature in public games to get other people killed. A player who is kicked by vote in a public game is currently rooted in place for 10 seconds while logging out and can't cancel the process even if he's in the middle of a pack of monsters. This wouldn't ordinarily be such a big deal, but Diablo III features a hardcore mode in which characters who are killed die permanently.

Not deterred by the issue, this week Blizzard released a colossal blog on everything players can look forward to in upcoming Patch 1.0.7. In addition to the introduction of 1v1 PvP duels, players can look forward to balance tweaks for the Wizard and Monk, a new gem tier, and new account-bound craftable endgame gear. Players will be able to collect Demonic Essences from elite monsters in inferno mode and craft them into this new high-end archon gear, which can have higher stats than any rare gear that drops normally.

Demonic Essences will drop more on higher Monster Power levels, and the plans needed to craft the gear can drop from bosses throughout the game. The patch is also set to enable Monster Power in public games and multiply the experience gain bonus in the higher tiers. Players who are struggling to survive in higher Monster Power tiers will be glad for new changes to Reflect Damage and the removal of the resurrection timer increase for consecutive deaths.

Path of Exile title image
Path of Exile is due to enter open beta on January 23rd, when the game will be reset for the final time and sales of its crowdfunding supporter packs will come to an end. This week developers released a video explaining the various pack tiers that come with microtransaction currency, in-game kiwi pets, and unique perks. We knew that the crowdfunding campaign had managed to secure over a million dollars so far, but the video also reveals that over 150 people have paid for the expensive $1,000 diamond pack that lets you design a unique item in the game.


Sins of a Dark Age title image
Upcoming MOBA Sins of a Dark Age aims to evolve the MOBA genre with its new Realm Quest feature, which adds random quest elements to the standard MOBA gameplay. We interviewed Ironclad co-founder and producer Blair Fraser to find out exactly how Realm Quests work and what plans developers have for supporting competitive gameplay.

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Riot Games revealed the impressive winners of its Deck the Lanes with Gingerbread contest this week. The contest asked players to make League of Legends-themed gingerbread cakes and sculptures, and the five top entries revealed this week are guaranteed to make you hungry.

For those interested in more traditional artwork, a new digital artwork contest has also just been announced; it asks players to draw champions with one of the new Season Three items. The top seven entries will win their creators brand new Wacom Cintiq art tablet displays, and 10 more will win a Wacom Bamboo tablet.

The League of Legends North American championship qualifiers also took place this week in Los Angeles, with teams from around the country being flown in to compete.


Dota 2 title image
Dota 2 competitive gaming website joinDOTA has recovered from last week's shutdown of its YouTube channel. The channel was down for four days but has now been restored along with all subscribers and existing videos. The account owner has still not been given a reason why his channel was removed, but he did receive notification of its restoration from YouTube that admitted it was wrongfully closed.

Bloodline Champions title image
Bloodline Champions officially turned two years old yesterday, and as part of the celebration, every player who logged in during the day got a present. The game's developers also announced that they will no longer be publishing weekly news but will instead post updates only when there's something special to share. This news has been met with mixed reactions in the game's community, with some suggesting monthly updates instead and others noting that recent weekly updates have had little to no content.

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If you've been participating in the SMITE closed beta and are wondering where you rank next to other players, head over to the new leaderboard page to see if you're among the top 200 players. Stats have been tracked from ranked games, and anyone who has participated in at least 20 matches could be on the list.

Popular demigod Hercules was finally immortalised as a SMITE god this week, and it was definitely worth the wait. Hercules is a deadly melee fighter who gets more powerful as he takes damage, gaining bonus physical damage on his basic attacks depending on the proportion of health he's missing. His Diving Strike damage-dealing ability will also stun enemies struck if Hercules is below 50% health. Combined with an ability that heals him when struck, this makes Hercules a tanky and deadly character.


Blizzard DOTA title image
Blizzard DOTA may have been forced to change its name as part of a dispute with Valve, but it now looks as if Blizzard hasn't given up on the DotA acronym and gameplay just yet. A new video has been making the rounds recently featuring an upcoming World of Warcraft battleground named Defense of the Alehouse. The battleground seems to be designed for 5v5 matches and features three lanes and waves of NPCs. Sound familiar?


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This article was originally published on Massively.