Blizzard has now confirmed that the Nephalem Rifts feature coming to Diablo III will now be exclusive to Reaper of Souls expansion holders rather than the free update accompanying the game. Path of Exile developer Grinding Gear Games announced that its sixth race season will begin on January 10th, and players have recently discovered some odd stats spawning on fishing pole items originally thought to be worthless. And Firefall's ex-CEO Mark Kern defended himself on Twitter this week, stating that he wasn't fired but instead resigned after losing his status as CEO. Developers working under Mark have been writing about their discontentment with his command style this week on Glassdor and Reddit.
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Star Citizen, you have until tomorrow to put together a dev team and sign up to the Next Great Starship competition. The competition requires groups of up to three people to design, model, and rig a spaceship for use in the final game. A total of 198 teams have registered for the competition so far and will go head to head on January 31st, 2014, for a chance to win some great prizes.
For those worried about the state of Star Citizen's development following the recent delay of its dogfighting module, the recent two-hour Christmas dev livestream is now available on YouTube and should help put your mind at ease. The video gives fans a unique look behind the scenes at the new UK and California offices, visits with some of the artists working on the game, and early glimpses of ship combat.
League of Legends players have been hit with an odd bug this week that makes their opponents appear to teleport across the map. The bug was initially thought to be confined to dots on the minimap, but players have reported seeing enemy character models appear briefly right in front of them. The disruptive bug doesn't appear to be caused by normal latency as those with extremely low ping are still experiencing it. The developers who would normally be working on the issue are currently on holiday, but developer Yakaru promised on Reddit to have a look at the issue in his holiday downtime.
Diablo III's Reaper of Souls expansion was announced, players were told that certain features and game mechanic changes would also be released to existing players in a free patch. Players who aren't buying the expansion have been looking forward to features like the new never-ending paragon level system, the loot 2.0 item drop overhauls, and a new endgame Loot Run feature.
That feature was iterated on and eventually became known as Nephalem Rifts, but it was still assumed that players would be getting the feature for free even without the expansion. This week Blizzard confirmed that Nephalem Rifts will be exclusive to the Reaper of Souls expansion and so won't be part of a free patch to existing players. The feature is now so heavily integrated with Adventure Mode and Bounties that developers say they couldn't release it without other expansion-only features.
Path of Exile provides an interesting twist on classic action RPG gameplay with its periodic ladder races. Each event runs for a set amount of time, from few hours to several months, and players are required to create fresh characters for each of them. The result is a competitive race to become the first to complete certain challenges and to collect a set of achievements before the event ends. Race season five is now coming to an end, and Grinding Gear Games has revealed that season six will begin on January 10th. A special one-week race will run in the first week of the new year containing both the Domination and Nemesis properties.
The latest Path of Exile patch added several new unique items and vendor recipes, and it's taken players longer than usual to find one of the new additions. It now looks as if one fan of the game may have paid $1,000 to design a new hidden unique item with the aim of thoroughly trolling players. Worthless fishing rods have been dropping in the game, but players can roll them into rare items with Orbs of Alchemy and some interesting but so far completely useless stats appear. Stats like Increased Fishing Line Strength, Increased Fishing Range and Increased Rarity of Fish Found can spawn on the rare version, leading to speculation that the undiscovered unique will be a unique fishing rod.
Red 5 Studios fired Firefall lead and company CEO Mark Kern, and the internet is still seeing the aftermath. Kern took to Twitter and released statements to the media about his departure from the company, stating that he wasn't fired but instead resigned when he was demoted as CEO. Former employees who worked under Kern have continued to write about their experiences in the company on Glassdoor, and one confirmed employee summarised his view of the events on Reddit.
According to the insider on Reddit, Kern's attention frequently wandered from game development into video production, where he spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on camera equipment, production staff, and big-name actors to star in the unsuccessful Firefall Fest video series. Though Kern brought some big investors with him when he came on board, the insider claims that he quickly got bored of Firefall and used the studio to fund his hobby. He reportedly showed up to the office occasionally to make sweeping and destructive changes to Firefall.
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