New details on Diablo III's upcoming Reaper of Souls expansion were revealed this week at BlizzCon 2013, including an Adventure Mode that makes the endgame a lot more like classic Diablo II. The expansion will also introduce the Nephalem Rift mode that creates randomised game maps for farming loot, and a hilarious console feature that sends deadly monsters to kill people on your friends list. Path of Exile will soon be coming to Asian regions thanks to a new partnership with Asian publisher Garena Online. And Star Citizen announced its plans to support AMD's proprietary Mantle graphics API, an alternative to OpenGL and Direct3D that's optimised for Radeon graphics cards.
BlizzCon 2013: Heroes of the Storm and Hearthstone betas
At BlizzCon, Blizzard gave an update on two of its titles in beta: Heroes of the Storm and Hearthstone.Heroes of the Storm will begin sign-ups for the MOBA's beta program today (opt-in is live right now on Battle.net).
SMITE introduces new playable god Ah Muzen Cab
Hi-Rez Studios' SMITE already has a formidable roster of gods and goddesses from around the world, but the devs have just revealed yet another addition: Ah Muzen Cab, Mayan god of -- get this -- bees.
DotA 2 pink war dog courier sells for $38,000
Pricey items aren't just for MMOs -- MOBAs are getting in on the action as well. DotA 2 secured its place in the ranks of titles where in-game items have sold for exorbitant real-life sums when an ethereal flame pink war dog sold for a whopping $38,000.
Infinite Crisis shows off Harley Quinn
Harley Quinn has gone from being a simple sidekick for the Joker to being a respected villain in her own right, albeit one that's generally seen as something of an airhead.
Firefall update talks quest system, bug squashing
It's time for a Firefall development update direct from Red 5. The most interesting tidbit has to do with a new content creation tool that the devs hope will provide quest-like missions.
Riot Games expanded the League of Legends universe in 2009 with its Dominion capture-point game mode. Now it looks as if developers are planning something even bigger, with a variety of new experimental game modes due for release in the coming months. Each new game mode will be featured for a short time, after which developers will delve into player feedback to see how it was received and what needs to be improved.
The first experiment will introduce the aptly named One For All mode, which pitches two teams of five players against each other using duplicates of the same champion. This is similar to the "Pink vs Blue" games that have become popular among the Heroes of Newerth's community, in which both teams elect a leader to pick a hero and then each member of the team picks the same hero. It's not clear whether LoL's version gives all members of both teams the same champion or gives each team a separate pick.
Dota 2 Diretide fiasco, Valve has released a detailed breakdown of what happened and why. Developers clarified that the game had changed significantly since last year's Diretide and that running the event again wasn't a simple matter of just flicking a switch. Valve said that it underestimated how much players were looking forward to the event and opted to cancel it in favour of working on a huge gameplay update that "looked like it would be finished in time for Halloween."
Most of the Diretide outrage focused on the lack of communication from Valve during the Halloween period, a position that Valve hasn't apologised for. The company defended its decision to stay quiet, arguing that "by the time we'd realized we'd made a bad decision, the pitchforks were out" and that "telling you that you weren't getting it at all wouldn't have really helped much." Diretide will be added to the next update, which has been in development for the last few months and is due to be released soon. This has gone a long way toward calming down players, but the damage to Dota 2's Metacritic score may never be repaired.
went live this week in Patch 3.2.7. The game mode spawns players with a random set of abilities every time they die, leading to some interesting and potentially hilarious combinations. Every player in the game mode also has access to new Amulet of Rebirth ability that rerolls their other abilities while in their team's base in exchange for a small number of Goblin Coins. Players can also earn free uses of the amulet by playing Rift Wars games. Rift Wars is now accessible through the matchmaking system and takes place on an updated version of the Grimm's Crossing map.
Diablo III's upcoming Reaper of Souls expansion were revealed this week at Blizzcon 2013. Console players will get a hilarious new Avenger Kills feature that allows monsters that kill you to teleport into a friend's game and try to kill him too, creating a potentially hilarious cycle of deadly elite monsters hopping between games. The upshot of the feature is that if the second player kills the monster, then both he and the first player get a piece of loot.
The expansion will also include an Adventure Mode that removes all story-driven elements, unlocks all waypoints, and allows players to seamlessly move between waypoints in separate acts. This makes the game more like Diablo II and will open up more options for efficient farming runs. For those who want to be given a little more direction, a new Bounty feature will create randomised objectives for Adventure Mode two show up on the map for each act. Objectives include killing certain elites or bosses, or clearing certain dungeons, and completing all of the bounties in an act will give you a large XP and gold reward.
The Loot Run feature discussed in previous devblogs has been reimagined as a new Nephalem Rift system that creates completely randomised maps featuring tilesets and content from all acts of the game. Each rift will contain random sets of monsters and end with a random boss encounter, and some will intentionally overwhelm the players with hordes of summoned creatures. This system is similar to Path of Exile's endgame map gameplay and should provide endless replayability without getting boring. Developers have also hinted that there might be unique legendary items only accessible through the bounty system.
Grinding Gear Games has always intended to release a dedicated Asian server to service countries like South Korea and China, but both countries require that a local company handles a game's publishing. This week developers announced a new partnership with Garena Online to publish Path of Exile in the Malaysia/Singapore region, with plans for further rollout later. The new server will be a completely separate realm to the existing worldwide realm and will open for closed beta on November 14th.
Star Citizen slowed a little this week, but this particular crowdfunding train shows no signs of stopping any time soon. Cloud Imperium has produced another run of t-shirts, mousepads, and patches to add to the store but warns that stock is limited. The studio has also revealed that it plans to adopt AMD's new Mantle graphics API, a proprietary alternative to OpenGL and Direct3D that promises to squeeze extra performance out of Radeon graphics cards.
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