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Diablo 3 - All News

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Box Art

Friday - October 31, 2014

Diablo 3 - 100% Bonus Gold & EXP

by Couchpotato, 05:06

Blizzard has news on Battle.net that Diablo III players will receive double experience, and gold this weekend in honor of Halloween. Here are some of the details.

Somewhere between the High Heavens and the Pandemonium Fortress linger spirits who hunger for the company of wandering nephalem. . . .

This weekend, we invite you to take part in a celebration honoring these ancient ghosts of the fallen. All mortals who log in to Diablo III this weekend on any platform will receive a +100% bonus to Gold Find and EXP! As with previous buffs, the bonuses provided will stack multiplicatively with existing in-game bonuses, including those provided by items, shrines, Pools of Reflection, and Paragon points.

This bonus Gold Find and Experience period begins in the Americas region on Friday, October 31 at 12:00 a.m. PDT and ends on Monday, November 3 at 11:59 p.m. PST.

Have a ghoulishly good time, heroes. If perchance you fall victim to the things that go bump in the night, be not afraid . . . you'll have plenty of company on the other side.

Sunday - October 26, 2014

Diablo 3 - The Ultimate Pavlovian Mechanism

by Couchpotato, 04:19

Indy Zoeller of Unreality Mag posted a new article for Diablo 3 that calls the game,"The Ultimate Pavlovian Mechanism". Here is a sample to get you all started.

I was a little hesitant to pick up Diablo III for my console – I’d played the first two games on a PC, and I had trouble seeing how some of the finer points of using skills would transfer over – but it turned out to be loads of fun.  Great interface, good pace, really fun skill progression/modification/customization.

Of course I was aware of the slightly insane logic of games like this: fight monsters that drop items that make your character more powerful, so you can fight harder monsters that drop better items that make your character even more powerful, so you can… fight harder monsters.  I’m sure there’s a word for it.  Pretty much any inventory-based RPG has this mechanic working to some extent.  And it’s certainly not a problem on its own – after all, with games like this, it’s about the journey, not the destination.

But the more I played Diablo III, the more I was slightly disturbed at how incredibly slick it all felt.  From the visible experience bar (just a liiiiiitle further) and the way your character lights up when you make a Paragon level, to the aesthetically pleasing orange column of light and special, unique sound that plays when a legendary item drops, the more I played, the more I felt like the game was playing me.

Tuesday - October 14, 2014

Diablo 3 - Interview @ Power Up Gaming

by Couchpotato, 04:19

Power Up Gaming posted a new interview for Diablo 3 with on the largest YouTube video expert called CJ Miozzi who goes by the name of Rhykker.

A tried and true veteran to the world of Diablo – starting when he was just 10 years old – and very knowledgable about its mechanics and gameplay, YouTube gamer CJ Miozzi, better known as Rhykker, is also very connected to the Diablo III community. His gameplay videos and live streams cover everything from basics for newbies like us, to hardcore tactics for the most seasoned players. We recently got the chance to sit down with the influential user to discuss Blizzard's ARPG series and the direction the franchise has been heading in.

Thursday - October 02, 2014

Diablo 3 - Patch 2.1.1 Hotfixes

by Couchpotato, 02:34

Blizzard released a few Hotfixes that corects some bugs introduced in Patch 2.1.1.

Below you will find a list of hotfixes recently applied or coming soon that address various bugs or mechanic tweaks.

These hotfixes should not require you to download a new patch. Some of the hotfixes below will go live the moment they are implemented while others may require restarting the game to go into effect. Please keep in mind that some issues cannot be addressed without a client-side patch. Also note that changes to certain abilities will not be reflected in its tooltip until a patch is issued.

Thursday - September 25, 2014

Diablo 3 - Patch 2.1.1 Released

by Couchpotato, 01:53

Battle.net announces that patch version 2.1.1 for Diablo III is now live.

Diablo III patch 2.1.1 is now live in the Americas for PC! Check out the full patch notes below to learn all about the latest changes.

Important: Please note that you will not be prompted to download patch 2.1.1 until the patch is live in your home region. If you are logging in from a European or Asian client, you will need to wait for this patch to release in that region before it can be installed. Additionally, if your home region is in the Americas, you will be unable to log into Europe or Asia using Global Play after patch 2.1.1 is live until those regions have also patched.

Thursday - September 11, 2014

Diablo 3 - Patch 2.1.0 Review

by Couchpotato, 02:21

PC Gamers Leif Johnson put together a short review of the latest patch for Diablo 3, and says it emphasizes speeding through content.

Diablo 3 normally isn't a particularly rushed game. The end of the world may be at hand, but it’s typically content to let you slice through the minions of Hell at your own pace, comparing loot and weighing stats as you go. That all changes with patch 2.1, which went live at the end of August. Both the new Greater Rifts and Seasons place an emphasis on speed, whether it’s in beating timed rifts for a chance at better loot or by competing against other players to reach the level cap anew (and pile up new weapons and transmog items in the process). Combine all that with powerful new legendary gems, and the result is a patch that injects Diablo 3 with a powerful shot of adrenaline.

Friday - September 05, 2014

Diablo 3 - Disabled Event Bounties

by Couchpotato, 04:10

Blizzard announces they are releasing a hotfix for Diablo 3 that will disable the bounties that allow some players to cheat, and move up the leaderboards.

One of our ongoing goals for Diablo III (and Seasons in particular) is to promote diversity in play styles and encourage a variety of experience whenever possible. In line with this goal, and as a direct result of your feedback from Season 1, we're in the process of implementing a series of hotfixes that will temporarily disable the following events as eligible bounties:

    The Matriarch's Bones
    The Jar of Souls
    The Miser's Will
    A Miner's Gold

This change will apply to both Seasonal and non-Seasonal games. Additionally, please note that these hotfixes will only remove the above events from the active bounty pool, not the game itself. The events can still spawn in-game and will provide rewards as normal.

We don't have an ETA at this time for when these events will be re-added to the bounty pool, but are working to have them available for Season 2.

Thursday - September 04, 2014

Diablo 3 - Co-op Games & SP Fans

by Couchpotato, 05:31

Monday - September 01, 2014

Diablo 3 - New Season Now Live

by Couchpotato, 05:14

Battle.net announces the first season is now live for Diablo III, and it offers the chance to compete for the best times to level up a newly made character.

Season Now Live

Diablo III Season 1 is now live in all gameplay regions! To create a Seasonal hero, select your class, gender, and name as usual, then select the "Seasonal Hero" checkbox on the lower left of the screen.

What Are Seasons?

Seasons are an optional, recurring game mode that offers PC players the opportunity to periodically start fresh, leveling new Normal or Hardcore heroes from level 1 without any currency, resources, items, or previously earned Paragon experience. Similar to the separation between Normal and Hardcore game modes, Seasonal heroes will also have their own shared stash and Artisan progression. Any currency, materials, recipes, items, Paragon experience, and Artisan progression earned during a Season will be rolled over to a player's non-Seasonal profile once the Season concludes.

Seasons offer unique rewards and new challenges for players, including new Legendaries, an exclusive Transmogrification set only available to those who compete in each Season, and new achievements called Conquests. Progress within a given Season will also be tracked in our new Leaderboard system.

Wednesday - August 27, 2014

Diablo 3 - Patch 2.1.0 Now Live

by Couchpotato, 06:09

Battle.net announces that patch version 2.1.0 for Diablo III is now live, and also announces a few additional bonuses for the coming week for PC players.

Diablo III patch 2.1.0 is now live in the Americas!

Important: Please note that you will not be prompted to download patch 2.1.0 until the patch is live in your home region. If you are logging in from a European or Asian client, you will need to wait for this patch to release in that region before it can be installed. Additionally, if your home region is in the Americas, you will be unable to log into Europe or Asia using Global Play after patch 2.1.0 is live until those regions have also patched.

Friday - August 22, 2014

Diablo 3 - 50% Boost to Gold Reward

by Couchpotato, 05:07

Battle.net announces Blizzard is giving away a 50% boost to gold in honor of the games upcoming patch. So is anyone on-site still playing the game?

Our first major content update for Reaper of Souls is almost here! In preparation for patch 2.1.0 and the new content it brings—including Seasons, Greater Rifts, and the mysterious Vault—all players who log into Diablo III this weekend on Windows or Mac will receive a +50% bonus to Gold Find.

Friday - August 15, 2014

Diablo 3 - Patch 2.1.0 Preview

by Couchpotato, 06:04

Blizzard has posted a preview of the next patch for Diablo 3 on Battle.net.

Amidst the chaos of battle, ragged opportunists sneer and scuttle to collect the loot of the fallen. Hunched over by the weight of their purloined wealth, these mischievous scavengers represent a more recent addition to Sanctuary's bestiary, with sightings increasing (perhaps unsurprisingly) shortly after the Fallen Star appeared. While not much is known about these so-called "treasure goblins," one thing is certain: they're not native.

As quickly as they enter our world, they depart—disappearing into mysterious portals and escaping with their misbegotten goods. But from where do these enigmatic visitors hail? And to where do their strange doorways lead? No mortal has ventured into nor even seen beyond their gilded veils to provide such answers. . . .Until now.

Sunday - May 18, 2014

Diablo 3 - New Livestream & Guide

by Couchpotato, 05:34

Blizzard Entertainment hosted a new Livestream video to celebrate the game's Anniversary, and posted the recorded video for those that missed the event.

On May 15th, several members of the Diablo III development team and I partied up with a handful of community influencers and rumbled our way through Reaper of Souls™. Brought together in celebration of Diablo III's second anniversary, we slaughtered demons, found amazing loot, and answered some of your questions!

If you weren't able to join us for the festivities, don't despair. Check out the VOD embedded below or click here to view the livestream directly on Twitch.

They also released a new guide that details the events of its Diablo games.

Thursday - May 15, 2014

Diablo 3 - Happy 2nd Birthday

by Couchpotato, 04:59

Blizzard Entertainment announces that Diablo III has turned two, and shares information about a few ingame gifts to celebrate the occasion.

And Then We Doubled It - Happy Birthday, Diablo III!

On May 15, 2012, the gates of the Burning Hells opened and Diablo III was unleashed onto the world. Since then, millions of heroes have been created, billions of hours have been spent in games, and trillions of demons have been slaughtered without mercy. We've even released an expansion!

To celebrate the game's second anniversary and the community that made it all possible, players who log in to defend Sanctuary this week will receive double Rift Fragments as well as a +100% boost to their chance to find Legendary items. This bonus birthday buff begins in the Americas on Thursday, May 15 at 12:00 a.m. PDT and ends on Thursday, May 22 at 5:00 a.m. PDT.

Friday - March 21, 2014

Diablo 3 - Editorial @ VentureBeat

by Couchpotato, 03:58

VentureBeat has a new article about the auction house closing for Diablo 3, and  interviews a few of the gamers who have managed to make a lot of money.

The idea of making money playing video games is something that appeals to most gamers but remains a dream to all but a few.

Diablo III’s real money auction house, however, enabled any player of the PC action role-playing game to legitimately buy and sell in-game items for actual cash. It inspired some creative traders, some of whom worked just 30 minutes a day turning virtual items into real dollars.

For a game built around collecting bigger and better gear, Diablo III’s auction house was a huge deal. Intended to disrupt any gray-market item trading and reduce fraud, while offering a service developer Blizzard Entertainment thought the community wanted, it courted controversy from the start.

With Blizzard pulling the auction house completely yesterday — less than two years after its launch — GamesBeat wanted to find out more about the gamers who earned big and the secrets of their success.

Sunday - March 16, 2014

Diablo 3 - Updated Auction House FAQ

by Couchpotato, 04:55

Blizzard has updated the Auction House FAQ on Battle.net to answer more questions anyone might have, and to remind players of the date when it will be shutdown.

We've updated our Diablo III Auction House Update FAQ with new information about the upcoming shutdown of the gold, and real-money auction houses on March 18. Please read below for these additionals details.

Saturday - March 08, 2014

Diablo 3 - Patch 2.0.1 Impression @ PC Gamer

by Couchpotato, 05:04

PC Gamer has a new article that takes a look at the new 2.0.1 patch for Diablo 3.

After 30 minutes with post-patch Diablo 3, Spyro the wizard is a new man. His new shoulder pads let him teleport back to town from the safety of an impenetrable energy bubble. The crotch slot of his new rare pants, called the "Bone Guard", is occupied by a radiant topaz that increases his intelligence. He'll be happiest with his new wand, though. The "Blackhand Key" boosts his arcane power, feeds him extra XP for every monster he melts, and looks like a glowing green animal spine. A coveted legendary spine, no less. Another juicy chunk of treasure, courtesy of the revamped loot system introduced by update 2.0.1.

The patch is great. This major update revamps the core loot systems on which the entire game runs, rejigs skills for every class, redesigns boss fights and adds new stuff, like cursed shrines and nephalem glory globes. The reams of changes are contained in lengthy patch notes on Battle.net, but the takeaway is simple. Diablo 3 is a much faster and more rewarding game than it was a week ago.

In the wake of 2.0.1 I've all but abandoned my level 60 Barbarian to plump up my wizard. Looking back, the pre-patch drip-feed of loot seems even more agonising. If you were lucky enough to see a legendary drop — almost unthinkable for those without plenty of Paragon levels and five stacks of Nephalem valour — it would probably be useless to your character. In a world connected by an auction house you can just sell it and buy what you need, right? But clicking through menus looking at items isn't what Spyro signed up for. He wants to wave his legendary spine at a mob and see it crushed by a volley of meteors. And then he wants to do it again and again until he's dressed from head to toe in glowing magical spines.

Saturday - March 01, 2014

Diablo 3 - Interview @ PC Gamer

by Couchpotato, 05:18

PC Gamer interviews the Lead Content Designer Kevin Martens were he reflect on his mistakes in Diablo III, and looks forward to Reaper of Souls.

PC Gamer: Diablo III obviously took kind of a beating out of the gate back at launch. How did you feel about that?

Martens: Well "bad" is the short answer. We felt terrible about the connection issue stuff. I know people that sent their families out of town on vacation so that they could sit down and play the game, and they couldn't connect. So that stuff was terrible and I think we've spent an incredible amount of time ensuring that kind of stuff doesn't happen again. We took that very seriously and certainly feel bad about that.

I think we did eight major patches on the game. We did many months of support, we added new content, we did big tuning passes. Like anything, best laid plans meeting 15 million people usually means that you're going to learn a few things... or a lot of things in this case. That's what I think I like about expansion development. It's kind of our second at-bat and we know a lot of things about what's actually fun about the game. And we don't have to fight against player instincts or make guesses. We can do what people do; we can see what people like to do, we can read on the forums, and we can interact with them at BlizzCon and other events, and we can make a game that closely matches what people want out of a Diablo game.

PC Gamer: Do you guys continue to stand by the decision to require an internet connection to play Diablo III? Is there any chance at all of that changing in the future?

Martens: Yes, we stand by it. Diablo III is a co-op game from the ground up, so having the social stuff be there at your fingertips whenever you want it is integral to the experience.

PC Gamer: Not too long ago, Blizzard announced that it was shutting down the auction house. Is it fair to characterize it as a failure at this point?

Martens: It did what it was intended to do in one way, which was to make trading a safe place to happen without trading scams and other ripoffs. However, it had a very bad unintended consequence of making trading the best way to get items in the game. The fact is that the most fun way for the vast majority of people is to kill monsters and take gears from their cold, dead claws. Trading became very easy. The auction house lowered the barrier of entry so much that it became the best way to get items, and ultimately players will do whatever is smartest. They will find the golden path and do what is most efficient.

You should play the game to get gear to kill the monsters. You shouldn't get gear to kill monsters because you will get bored too quickly. It stole people's reward curve is essentially what it did; it made it very easy for them to do it. So trading isn't a bad way to get items, but if it negates playing the game, then we've made a huge mistake. And we did, which is why we're shutting down the auction house.

Friday - February 28, 2014

Diablo 3 - Editorial @ PCGamesN

by Couchpotato, 04:20

According to a new article on PCGamesN Diablo III was going to have branching storylines, but Blizzard;s focus on multiplayer made it impossible.

Suddenly, it makes sense. Why, in the early days of Diablo III, did Blizzard hire Leonard Boyarsky - one of the originators of the Fallout series, and later lead developer on Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines - to head up story on a linear action RPG?

Here’s why: an early version of Diablo III had a branching narrative, and a sliding moral scale that opened up new player choices. But it was not to be.

Players would have had branching conversation choices - and a ‘corruption’ system would have seen players gain access to different conversation options as their characters fell from grace.

In the end, though, Boyarsky and his colleagues told a linear story that was easily skippable for the portion of Diablo’s playerbase who were solely interested in loot.

“I think eventually we came down too hard on the side of the players who didn’t really want a lot to do with the story,” said Boyarsky. “And that was very problematic because our story started out as something a lot more complex than we could probably tell in the context of what we were doing.

“And instead of us realising that soon enough and really stripping that down, we continued to try to tell that story.”

Thursday - January 23, 2014

Diablo 3 - Editorial @ Lewters Lounge

by Couchpotato, 01:54

Lewters Lounge talks about Diablo III in a new article. In their own words they call the story a tribute to a deeply flawed, and amazing game.

Naturally, I wanted to be part of Diablo 3 from the very start. To call it one of the most anticipated games ever is almost an understatement; after Blizzard released World of Warcraft in 2004, pretty much everything else got pushed back indefinitely. It was all WoW, all the time. Hardly unsurprising considering the money they were making on it, but it was a bit discouraging for those of us who were more drawn to the other Blizzard games. For a long time, people referred to Diablo 3 as the game that everyone wanted, but no one thought would ever be made. But finally it was, and I sat there with everyone else on May 15, 2012... And couldn't get in.

Not the best possible launch I have to admit, with worldwide server crashes from the traffic overload, but I thought like many other people did: "I've waited for this game for 12 years. I can wait another 24 hours." And that opening screen with the moon and the raven was pretty to look at, so there was that at least. But eventually we all got in, and Diablo 3 was finally reality.

Saturday - January 18, 2014

Diablo 3 - Patch 2.0.1 PTR Available

by Couchpotato, 01:36

Blizzard has a new post on the Battle.net page for Diablo 3  for a new patch.

Patch notes are listed below for the next phase of our PTR and Closed Beta for Diablo III: Reaper of Souls. Please note that changes that apply to the PTR environment also apply to the Closed Beta

Thursday - December 26, 2013

Diablo 3 - Games of 2013 @ Eurogamer

by Aries100, 14:40

Oli Welsh at Eurogamer has written an editorial about how he first fell out of love with Diablo 3 and then fell back in love with it again when it was released on console in 2013.

A quote, then:

Feeling like the game was now theirs, Diablo 3's console team added more of their own little modifications to it. The Nephalem Glory buff, which drops randomly from monsters and stacks, gives the game new momentum, amping up the already ridiculous power of your heroes the longer you can keep a monster massacre going. It showed the game was now governed less by balance and more by feel.

A another quote, then:

Perhaps it was just the right game at the right time, although I think there's something truly beautiful in co-op Diablo 3. It's odd, because if you go looking for explicit co-op mechanics in the game, you'll barely find any. Most of the character classes and their skills are built to work equally well in single- and multiplayer. The action is so busy and fast that there's barely time to think, let alone collaborate or plan.

 

Friday - December 13, 2013

Diablo 3 - Patch 2.0.1 Now Available

by Couchpotato, 04:37

Blizzard announces that Patch 2.0.1 is now available for anyone that wants to test it.

Patch 2.0.1 PTR Now Available

Patch 2.0.1 is currently in development and now available for testing on the PTR. To learn about major changes included in 2.0.1, please see the official PTR patch notes. For information on how to participate, copy over characters, and provide feedback, read on below!

How to Participate:

To participate in the public test, you must have a Diablo III game license attached your Battle.net account in good standing (i.e. it hasn't been suspended or banned). In addition, you will also need to download and install the Battle.net desktop app.

Saturday - November 16, 2013

Diablo 3 - Interview @ Rock, Paper, Shotgun

by Couchpotato, 03:18

Rock, Paper, Shotgun interviews Lead Designer Kevin Martens and Art Director Christian Lichtner. Allow me to post the most intresting part of the interview below.

RPS: OK, now the big one. The auction house is out, but the online requirement is still in. You’ve explained that it’s all about community and whatnot, but would adding in a simple option to play offline really hurt? I mean, the game’s already that way on console, and it’s not like your community would just up and disappear. Plus, if they did, I think that’d mean they never enjoyed being online with your game in the first place.

Martens: It’s interesting when you’re in the moment in gaming culture – when you’re playing the game right now – we see its flaws very well. When we look at the long history, it becomes sort of a rosy past. I don’t think people necessarily remember how mad they themselves were that they had an offline mode and online mode in Diablo II.

This will probably be controversial for me to say. People will be like, “I wasn’t mad!” But I was there at the time, and then I studied this for a living. It sucks when your friend or brother is online and he wants to join this game, but you realize you’re an offline character and he’s an online character, and there’s no way to transfer over because offline characters can be hacked and hex-edited to hell and back, right?

And then we had that split between expansion characters and normal ones as well [in Diablo II]. The community was inherently divided. And that’s what it boils down to. Long before any of this happened, we wanted to solve the trading problem. But before we even had the auction house, the always online thing was there.

The game is most fun when you can play with other people. To be ghetto-ed off to the side and not part of the real game, we didn’t want that to happen. This is an online game. We want people to play together. All of that predates the auction house. I can see how people would think otherwise, but the auction house was a salve we came up with in the last few months of the project. It was a six-year project.

RPS: Diablo III’s been out for a while, though. Don’t you think that changes the context a little? It’s not like people would be blindsided by this. They’d just have a new option, and so long as you explained the ramifications clearly – “This character won’t be able to go online, here is why” – I feel like most people would be OK. Better than them not being able to play the game at all, right?

Martens: Well, we have to remember that a lot of new players are still coming in regularly. You can have a solution that works really well for the most knowledgable people, but you can make it much worse for the people who want to join the community as well. We’re adding more community features as well. Clans and groups are coming too. You know, this is the game we made.

RPS: What if people don’t want to commit to a community? What if they just want to play the game?

Martens: We didn’t make that game. That’s the straight-up answer. We did not make that game, and we’re not going to turn this game into that game. We have the online mode because we learned a lot over the many, many years that Diablo II was in development.

That was the wrong choice to allow people to play offline, and we still stand by that. And we think Internet access is widespread. If someone has no Internet access, then yeah, Diablo III is not the game for them.

Thursday - October 31, 2013

Diablo 3 - Podcast @ IncGamers

by Couchpotato, 03:13

IncGamers has a new podcast for Diablo 3 with news from Blizzcon about  the Crusader demo, skill datamining discussion, and console loot finding without an Auction House.

I was really dragging from a cold during the recording of this show so excuse my leaden voice. Due to lack of energy I commented much less than usual — whether or not that is an improvement is open to debate.

1:20 — Recent play stuff and Xanth’s perpetual post-Paragon100 victory lap. Hearthstone beta testing?
4:50 — Rankil compares his Console character’s and their awesome gear. Xanth just started on the console play. Does he miss the Auction House? Long term limits of self-finding = can’t find the specialized gear? (Related article.)
17:10 — What will replace the Auction House?
22:20 — Blizzcon panels revealed. Five for Diablo 3. Excite? Will we get a RoS beta start date? RoS release date? Does PS4 playable RoS demo indicate greater progress than expected?
32:30 — Blizzcon attendance plans. Xanth watching virtual pass. Rankil and Flux are attending and eager for the RoS playable demo.
36:50 — Datamining analysis. Hard to theorycraft with any comprehension with such big changes to everything, and especially for the Crusader who most have not yet played.
46:50 — Westmarch and moar gothic. Improvement? Irrelevant?
50:20 — Halloween coming soon. Diablo costumes this year? Is the Diablo costume series held back by the absence of children characters in cute costumes? Emperor Hakan II does not count.

Sunday - October 06, 2013

Diablo 3 - Editorial @ Leviathyn

by Couchpotato, 00:07

Leviathyn has a new article about Diablo 3 in it's weekly feature called ,"Your Opinion is Wrong."

Since the days of the original Diablo, I’ve always been somewhat invested in the cooperative hack-and-slash RPG dungeon crawler genre. Filled to the brim with all manner of meaty loot, ludicrous quests, hellish monsters and over the top abilities, it’s a tough genre not to like. Unfortunately, Diablo III’s rough road contributed to a less than desirable reputation within the community and now with a newer, better version out on consoles, the popular series is even more polarizing. Wait, the console version is better than the PC one? You better believe it.

Friday - September 27, 2013

Diablo 3 - News Roundup

by Couchpotato, 00:08

Lorehound has a new article about Diablo 3's auction house shutdown, and why it’s happening.

Blizzard announced earlier this week that both the real money and gold auction houses for Diablo 3 would be shutting down soon, and the reactions have been mostly positive. Despite the groundbreaking features of the auction house, its negative effects on the game outweighed the benefits. Specifically, it made obtaining items useful for you pretty impossible and necessitated its use in order to play at any meaningful level.

But why? What about WoW and its auction house and microtransactions? What about Hearthstone; isn’t it also “pay-to-win”? I think the design flaw in Diablo 3’s auction house came down to not managing the following concepts correctly: “gameplay first” and “economy as gameplay”.

PC Gamer has Senior Technical Game Designer Wyatt Cheng making a case for slower combat.

In the dark depths of Blizzard’s forums, the Senior Technical Game Designer of Diablo III, Wyatt Cheng, suspended his soul-reaping rampage to answer few questions players had regarding Diablo III’s soon-to-be slower combat. His main point: A combat system emphasizing shallow health pools and high DPS is toxic to strategy.

“A health pool that quickly goes from full to nearly empty implies that there’s not a lot of room for variance in incoming damage,” Cheng wrote in his lengthy forum post. “When incoming damage is that high, a 15% increase in monster damage would result in death. This leads to comments like ‘As soon as I turn up the Monster Power I get 1-shot.’ I’d like to see a game where a clever player can handle a higher Monster Power by reducing incoming damage through good play.”

And for last Games.on.net says sorry pc gamers the console version is what Diablo 3 was meant to be.

I’ve spent three days playing this game now, on the couch, on my Xbox 360, and I’ve come to the following conclusion: this is the game I wanted to play. This is the game I wanted last year, the game I can switch off and enjoy like I used to when I shared a LAN with my younger brother and we hammered Diablo 2 for 100 hours a week instead of doing homework. This game is closer to Diablo than the original Diablo 3 on PC was, and the bitter irony of it all is that it took a completely different gaming environment — one derided by obnoxious PC elitists who look down on console games as simplistic — to pull it off. No, really.

Thursday - September 26, 2013

Diablo 3 - Editorial @ Brashgames

by Couchpotato, 00:17

Brashgames has a new article about Diablo 3 calling it heroin, but less damaging to players.

No videogame before has so brazenly played up to the addictive habits of gamers. Diablo III‘s focus is laser sharp, cutting away all of the unnecessary systems, road blocks, and to a large extent, story elements to ensure that nothing gets in the way of the gamer’s on-going quest to pick up all of the shiny things. Sure, there’s a story here, but it’s mostly mince, largely irrelevant and stripped almost to the bone. This is a game that wants to keep you moving, keep you killing enemies and smashing boxes, and as far as I’m concerned, is all the better for it.

Monday - September 23, 2013

Diablo 3 - PC vs Console Loot Comparison

by Couchpotato, 00:27

Gamespot has a new video where they play Diablo III on both PC, and Console to compare  the loot system.

Friday - September 20, 2013

Diablo 3 - Auction House Podcast

by Couchpotato, 00:15

IncGamers has a new podcast talking about the closure of the Auction House.

Flux, JrMint, and Xanth discuss the surprise announcement that the Diablo 3 Auction House is shutting down in a few months. Loot 2.0 and everyone going self found, D3 console test bed, economic shifts, BoA everything, the transition to RoS, and why gold will probably be worthless in the future?

Thursday - September 19, 2013

Diablo 3 - Online DRM Still Required

by Couchpotato, 01:01

Fresh off the announcement of  the Auction House being closed Rock, Paper, Shotgun asked Blizzard if the online requirement on the PC is next.

I got in touch with Blizzard shortly after the auction house news broke, and here’s what a rep told me:

“We do not have plans to implement an offline mode. While the always-online requirement made the auction house possible, the auction house was never the driving factor in our decision to make the PC version of Diablo III require an Internet connection. The game was built from the ground up to take full advantage of Battle.net, which provides a number of important benefits, including persistent server-side character saves, a seamless PC multiplayer experience, cheat prevention, and Real ID and BattleTag social features.”

So basically, same song, 572736528th verse. And while I understand Blizzard’s desire to enable a strong multiplayer environment, I don’t think that precludes them from giving people the option to play as they please – especially when the current requirement makes it downright impossible to play in many situations and environments. The online community won’t suddenly flee to the darkest corners of the Earth, hugging only the shadows of their reclusion, simply because they don’t have to play with other people all the time. Cases in point: a couple little games called Diablo I and II.

Wednesday - September 18, 2013

Diablo 3 - Auction House Closed in March

by Couchpotato, 01:05

Blizzard came out with a surprise that the much debated Auction House will be shut down permanently in March.

When we initially designed and implemented the auction houses, the driving goal was to provide a convenient and secure system for trades. But as we've mentioned on different occasions, it became increasingly clear that despite the benefits of the AH system and the fact that many players around the world use it, it ultimately undermines Diablo's core game play: kill monsters to get cool loot.With that in mind, we want to let everyone know that we've decided to remove the gold and real-money auction house system from Diablo III.

We feel that this move along with the Loot 2.0 system being developed concurrently with Reaper of Souls™ will result in a much more rewarding game experience for our players.

We're working out the details of how the auction house system will be shut down, but we wanted to share the news as soon as we made the decision in order to give everyone as much advance notice as possible. Please note that the shutdown will occur on March 18, 2014. We will keep everyone informed as we work through this process.

Wednesday - August 28, 2013

Diablo 3 - Auction House & Account Security

by Couchpotato, 00:40

PCGamesN has a short article were Blizzard says the auction house is a way to secure your account from being compromised.

It seems safe to say the Blizzard view Diablo 3’s auction house as a necessary evil, at least to judge from our conversation with game director Josh Mosqueira earlier today at Gamescom. But for players concerned about account security, it may be a worthwhile exchange.

“The auction house is a really complicated issue,” he said. “Like it or not our players, or some of our players, attribute real world value to the items. So [if you don’t have an] item auction house, you’re going to see a lot of account compromises.”

Friday - August 16, 2013

Diablo 3 Expansion - 5 Ways To Improve the Game

by Couchpotato, 01:07

Gamerhorizon has a new article were they give five ways the expansion could improve upon its predecessor.

I might be in the minority here, but I actually enjoyed Diablo III. Sure, it had its issues—hence this list—but overall I found a lot to enjoy about Blizzard’s third game in the Diablo series. Since the game’s launch I have played around 225 hours and I have a couple of level 60 characters. Granted, that’s not all that impressive compared to the elite of the Diablo III community that have managed not only to get multiple characters to level 60, but to also level up an additional 100 times through the Paragon system! Still, I think I’ve played my fair share of the game, so here are 5 ways I hope the Diablo III expansion pack will be an improvement upon its predecessor

I might be in the minority here, but I actually enjoyed Diablo III. Sure, it had its issues—hence this list—but overall I found a lot to enjoy about Blizzard’s third game in the Diablo series. Since the game’s launch I have played around 225 hours and I have a couple of level 60 characters. Granted, that’s not all that impressive compared to the elite of the Diablo III community that have managed not only to get multiple characters to level 60, but to also level up an additional 100 times through the Paragon system! Still, I think I’ve played my fair share of the game, so here are 5 ways I hope the Diablo III expansion pack will be an improvement upon its predecessor: - See more at: http://gamerhorizon.com/5-ways-the-diablo-iii-expansion-could-improve-upon-its-predecessor/#sthash.kG66ComS.dpuf

Thursday - August 15, 2013

Diablo 3 Expansion - Reaper of Souls

by Couchpotato, 00:57

Well it's official Blizzard launched a new teaser site for Reaper of Souls. It's the first expansion that will be released for Diablo 3.

So are you excited yet?Undecided

Monday - August 12, 2013

Diablo 3 - Past, Present, and Future

by Couchpotato, 00:20

Zero1Gaming has a new editorial for Diablo 3 talking about the games past, present, and future.

It’s been over a year since Diablo III was released. I got it on release day by default, since I had opted for the deal in which I subscribed to a year of WoW and got D3 at no extra cost. At the time, I had no intention of quitting WoW, so it was basically a free game for doing what I was doing already. Ever since its announcement, right the way through to the weeks leading up to release, I was really looking forward to D3. I had played through the first instalment a good few times – enough to know the story by heart – and was in the middle of an umpteenth playthrough of Diablo II when the day of release finally came around.

Like many fans, I ended up frustrated with the issues surrounding the login server – having to be constantly online, even to play the single player campaign, was a bad choice on Blizzard’s part. When I did get to play it, I ended up making a mistake that would further taint my impressions of the game: I decided to play it with a friend.

Thursday - August 01, 2013

Diablo 3 - Expansion Announcement?

by Couchpotato, 01:20

Diablo Incgamers has news that Blizzard might be announcing the Diablo 3 Expansion at this years Gamescom.

It was believed that the Diablo 3 Expansion announcement would appear at Blizzcon in November. But since the beginning of the week various emails have been dispatched from Blizzard in the run up to Gamescom next month that suggest otherwise.

“You are invited to join Blizzard Entertainment at a press conference on the first day of gamescom 2013. We’re making a special announcement that’s sure to capture the attention of the Heavens, Burning Hells and all the shadowed places that lie between.”

There has also been a tweet from Blizzard’s Nick Carpenter from the Cinematic Department saying that he has just “wrapped another amazing cinematic. Can’t wait to show the world!”

You wouldn’t hold a press conference for general press to announce some new game systems such as Ladders and itemisation changes. The conference is also scheduled to take place on the first day which means there is plenty of time to squeeze in the many individual interviews in the following days. The press conference is also in addition to the usual panels and Q&A sessions spread over the event. Again, if the announcement was system changes these would be discussed at the appropriate panels rather than convening a press conference for all press.

Wednesday - July 31, 2013

Diablo 3 - Interview @ PCGAMER

by Couchpotato, 00:35

PCGAMER interviews Diablo and Diablo II Lead Designer Stieg Hedlund on Diablo III.

PCG: What did you think of Diablo III?

Stieg Hedlund: It’s hard to separate personal feelings about something like that from how the game was perceived. I think the audience really didn’t react to it very well. A lot of the changes were things that they perceived as negative. Personally, I was just so deeply involved in the creation of the world and how everything worked in it… The direction a lot of things went was not something that I felt was where I would have gone. But I don’t want to Monday-morning quarterback them. It’s a tough thing to follow up on, the success of Diablo and Diablo II, and not encroach on the territory of World of Warcraft.

Is there something you would have done differently in creating Diablo III if you were involved in that project?

Hedlund: I think one of the things that I looked at was really… The low-level stuff. The dungeons didn’t feel random enough to me. They felt a little bit been-there-done-that very quickly. I think the way that people played in multiplayer games, they were pretty much just running for the exits and trying to figure out the quickest way to get there, rather than engaging with the minute-to-minute exploration of the world.

What’s something that Diablo taught you about game design?

Hedlund: The big difference between Diablo and Diablo II was character customization. That’s something that I’ve embraced for ChronoBlade. It totally fits with our vision for how the two halves—the minute to minute and the RPG—fit together. There’s very strong skill trees that allow you to customize the play of each of the characters to how you want to engage with it. We have passive skills, what we call traits, and active skills, what we call abilities. You can decide, “Hey, I just want to play a powered-up version of a fighting game. I don’t want to use abilities. I want to use traits. I’ll just do as much damage as I can with the core gameplay.” Or you can say, “Hey, I want to do all these abilities and cool things.” Or a hybrid of those two. There are different themes, as well, within each of those things. Obviously there’s the overlay of equipment that helps you continue to customize those character builds.

Thursday - July 18, 2013

Diablo 3 - Interview - Part 2 @ Diablo Incgamers

by Couchpotato, 02:02

Diablo Incgamers has the second podcast interview with Wyatt Cheng and Josh Mosqueira. Just like the first part the link provides a text summary also.

Part two of our Diablo 3 conversation with Wyatt Cheng and Josh Mosqueira. Topics include Ironborn mode, Demon Hunter squishiness, Itemization issues and affixes, PvP debate, and much more.

Tuesday - July 16, 2013

Diablo 3 - Interview @ Diablo.Incgamers

by Couchpotato, 01:20

Diablo.Incgamers has a new podcast interview with Josh Mosqueira, and Wyatt Cheng  about Diablo 3. Now if you don't want to watch the video the link also has a text summary.

Flux talks with Diablo 3 lead developers Wyatt Cheng and Josh Mosqueira. Topics include end game console testing, the potential removal of Hell difficulty, UI changes, economic issues, and much more.

Wednesday - July 03, 2013

Diablo 3 - Fansite Summit Mega-Report

by Couchpotato, 02:53

Diablo IncGamers has a a lengthy report on Diablo 3 from the fansite summit if your interested. Just be warned it's a wall of text.

This article covers all the doings and infos Blizzard shared with the attendees during the Diablo 3 Fan Site Summit at Blizzard Entertainment on June 28, 2013. Activities that day included Diablo 3 console play testing, Hearthstone play testing, a lengthy conversation with the entire Diablo 3 community team, lunch and a Diablo 3 roundtable with the entire Diablo 3 development team, and lots of miscellaneous conversation and insight from the CMs and other Blizzard employees.

Wednesday - June 12, 2013

Diablo 3 - Blizzard Delays Expansion Until 2014?

by Couchpotato, 04:00

GamesBeat has a small article about the expansion for Daiblo 3 and it's being delayed to 2014. Surprisingly this is nothing new as they delay every game if this is true.

LOS ANGELES — Blizzard Entertainment has delayed its expansion pack for the action-role-playing game Diablo III until next year, GamesBeat has learned.

A Blizzard spokesman declined to comment to GamesBeat.

The delay is a big deal because expansion packs can generate a lot of revenue for the company, which is a division of Activision Blizzard and the publisher of huge games like StarCraft II and World of Warcraft. When the StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm expansion pack launched in March, it quickly became the top-selling PC game for that month.

The Diablo III expansion was never announced with a specific launch date in mind, but many were expecting that it would arrive in 2013. We have learned from a source that it has definitely been delayed. And even with some reassigned employees who came over from another project, it’s clear that the expansion will not arrive until 2014.

 

Friday - June 07, 2013

Diablo 3 - New Game Director and Console Release

by Couchpotato, 01:43

Battle.net has a post on the future of Diablo III written by Josh Mosqueira, who is filling the game director position for the action/RPG sequel vacated by Jay Wilson in January.

In the year since Diablo III launched, we've made good strides, but there are still things we can improve and new surprises in store for everyone. As Travis mentioned earlier, itemization is one of our big focuses for Diablo III moving forward. We want items to feel more meaningful, and we want players to be excited about the next loot drop. Our goal is to make the loot experience more enjoyable for ALL players.

This includes reducing the amount of loot that drops while improving the overall quality, introducing targeted Legendaries, and giving players ways to directly customize their character's armor—both visually and mechanically. We're also looking into ways to reduce the impact of the Auction House. While we think the feature does provide a lot of value, it shouldn’t feel like the end-all-be-all force driving character progression.

We've built a solid foundation for the future of Diablo III and we're focused on staying true to the core essence of the game, while pushing boundaries to evolve gameplay in ways that will keep players like you excited. We hope you'll agree that with each update, the game keeps getting better and better, and we're only just getting started. In the future, we'll be focused on preserving the core fantasy by cultivating the roots of the Diablo storyline, fine-tuning the heroes for what lays ahead, and creating new monsters and demons that will once again plant the seed of fear in your hearts.

While some Diablo players out there are just looking for a fun single playthrough of the game, for many others, part of the appeal of the game is coming back again and again to test their mettle against challenging foes in an ongoing search for rare treasures, with the goal of making their heroes more and more powerful. We want to give those players, and really everyone, even more reasons to keep coming back to Sanctuary, and we have some great ideas brewing for ways to address randomization, what our endgame should offer, and how to make playing online with friends truly fulfilling.

Also On September 3 Diablo III will make its console debut on the PlayStation 3, and the Xbox 360 Worldwide.

Friday - May 31, 2013

Diablo 3 - Candid Chats with Wyatt Cheng and Travis Day

by Couchpotato, 00:14

As part of the recent Diablo III First Year Anniversary Celebration developers Wyatt Cheng, and Travis Day had a longchat with the Twitch.tv's ArchonTheWizard. Check the first link for all the information in text form as it's to long to post here.

Future Plans

What are you most excited about with Diablo 3 right now, that you guys are working on or talking about?

Wyatt: So this is a total tease, but the items stuff. I am excited about that. Travis is running point on that, and we have conversations about it pretty regularly. We also consult and talk to people on other teams all the time. We talk to people who are playing Diablo 3 all through the company, whether it's people on the Diablo 3 team or not on the Diablo 3 team. There are so many awesome designers at Blizzard, so we are constantly running our plans and ideas past other people to say: "Hey, is this good, is this good? No, it's not good - what would you change?" and trying to get it all together. So I'm pretty excited about that.

I'm also pretty excited about the other plans for the future. The multiplayer improvements actually consumed a lot of my time over the last couple of months. I think we can go farther. This week, I got this idea from our lead gameplay programmer, who was telling me this is what he does: he logs in, and he picks the Monster Power he wants to play on, and does Any Quest - Any Act and then just hits the Public Game button and drops into any public game at Any Quest - Any Act. It's almost like the game just rolls something for you, and it's pretty fun, to play with random new people.

The monster density was a big change, too. It's kind of the combination of multiplayer and monster density, that allows me to do a public game Any Quest - Any Act. Some areas are still not as good as others, and we can work on that a little bit, too. But the main point is that it's not horrible, you know.

 

Thursday - May 30, 2013

IGN - What We Want From the Diablo III Expansion

by Couchpotato, 00:22

IGN freelance writer Anthony Agnello wrote an article on Daiblo 3 , and what he would like to see in it's expansion.

An Auction House-free Diablo 3 on PC certainly sounds like the dream version of the game. Rather than a delicious, engaging adventure that yielded the best rewards as its difficulty scaled, the biggest problem with Diablo 3 was how the Auction House drove all of the game's long-term systems. The very best loot didn't drop regularly enough for even the most diligent player, so they were forced to farm gold or pay out actual cash for the gear they wanted. This reliance on the Auction House even crippled the game's campaign, and Blizzard's known it since the game released. While the new crafting system was brought in to “refocus players away from farming the Auction House and onto farming monsters,” it's still only a half step.

According to Blizzard, even though the upcoming PlayStation 3/4 version will skip the Auction House, it's staying in the PC game. Director Jay Wilson, who left the game to work on other projects in January, said at GDC that Auction House was a bad call all along. “It's not good for a game like Diablo,” said Wilson, “It doesn't feel good to get items for money, it feels good to get items by killing monsters.” But it can't do it since roughly a million players are still playing the game every day and there's no easy way to completely excise the Auction House from the game. An expansion like Lords of Destruction, essentially being a whole new version of the game, could fix the problem.

The same is true of removing Internet connection requirements. Sony actually confirmed back in February that its version of the game can be played offline and Blizzard backed up the claim shortly thereafter. Since the game won't be played via Blizzard's Battle.net network and won't have the Auction Houses to go along with it, it make sense that the consolized Diablo 3 can be played offline. There are plenty of unofficial ways to trick Diablo 3 into letting PC players take on the campaign offline as well. Solutions were showing up in the official forums within weeks of its release.

As with the Auction Houses, though, it seem that only a completely different version will bring offline play to Diablo 3 on PC. A message from Morhaime delivered to players last July put the kibosh on an offline solo mode through patch updates. “I fully understand the desire to play Diablo III offline,” said Morhaime, “However, Diablo III was designed from the beginning to be an online game that can be enjoyed with friends, and the always-online requirement is the best way for us to support that design.”

 

Thursday - May 23, 2013

Diablo 3 - Game Statistics

by Couchpotato, 00:16

To celebrate its anniversary Blizzard rounded up a whole bunch of statistics, and put them all into this neat little infographic.

14.5 million unique gamers have played Diablo III since launch, with 2.1 million logging in every day on average. Of the 67.1 million characters created, just 9% are using hardcore mode. Each of those characters kill an average of 49,595 monsters.

The three Battle.net regions are remarkably evenly represented in the global population, with 22.2 million players from the Americas, 22.1 from Europe, and 22.9 from Asia.

 

Wednesday - May 22, 2013

Diablo 3 - Stay Awhile and Listen

by Couchpotato, 00:31

NewGamerNation has an article about Diablo 3, and the topic is about the failure of it's story.

With its most famous legacy usurped, now may be a good time to assess Diablo III on a different criterion. I am not an expert on Action RPGs, and I’ve only played a few hours of Diablo II, so I don’t feel qualified to ruminate on the loot distribution and auction house. What I can talk about is the story and characters. Any RPG, even one where the conflict is literally as simple as ‘good versus evil,’ requires an engaging story and characters to be truly successful. Believable motives, interesting dialogue, and memorable villains are the hallmarks of a successful RPG. Of course, it’s nice to have these components in any game, but in a genre that boasts game features like  Alpha Protocol‘s dynamic dialogue system or  Mass Effect‘s famous characters, any RPG worth its salt needs to put in a strong showing.

This is where Diablo III disappoints the most. Sure, the loot is uninspired and the auction house is a painfully naked attempt for Blizzard to wring yet more profit out of a game that has already sold over twelve million copies, but what really hurts is that such a phenomenally successful game could have such mediocre writing. Players starting up this hugely-anticipated chapter in the series expected either a bare but serviceable story, like in the previous installments, or a dynamic world with genuinely fascinating characters. What they got was a mess with a lot of characters, lore, and words, but nothing that was fresh or sensible.

Sloppiness and blandness are the hallmarks of Diablo III‘s story, and yet there is a bright side. When I am listening to a podcast or have an hour to kill, I might still play a bit of the game, because its visuals, sound design, and action are so addictive and satisfying. It’s just a shame the writing can’t match their standard.

 

Saturday - May 18, 2013

Diablo 3 - Diablo Anniversary Specials

by Couchpotato, 00:14

Blizzard has two special promotions going on right now. The first one is for the one year anniversary of Diablo 3 by offering a 33% discount.

To celebrate an action-packed year of demon slaying, we're kicking off Diablo III’s first birthday with BIG savings. For a limited time, you can save $20 when you get Diablo III for the PC/Mac in the Blizzard Online store. That's 33% off the usual price, enabling you or a friend to adventure in the world of Sanctuary easier than ever before.

The other one is to celebrate the 15th anniversary for the whole series with a  soundtrack available on itunes.

The development team at Blizzard continues to celebrate the 15-year anniversary since the launch of the first Diablo video game by offering fans a chance to listen to the soundtrack and download it for free through iTunes.

The official page offers notes from the composers who worked on the music of Diablo and there are also classical music themes to sample.

 

Monday - May 13, 2013

Diablo 3 - Bug Profits Donated to Charity

by Couchpotato, 00:03

Blizzard announces that all profits made by Diablo 3 players who exploited the gold-multiplying bug will be donated to charity.

So, What Happened?

Shortly after we released patch 1.0.8 in the Americas on Tuesday, players discovered a bug that allowed gold to be duplicated via the real-money Auction House. The bug was the result of a coding error that was exposed when we increased the gold stack size from 1 million to 10 million. This resulted in an overflow on cancelled auctions that yielded a greater amount of gold in return. Only a relatively small number of players had the billions of gold necessary to exploit the bug, and only 415 of those players chose to use this exploit for personal gain.

So, What's Next?

Many people bought and sold items and gold on the Auction House on Tuesday. We're making sure that all legitimate transactions go through. This means that if your account was not involved in the exploit, you will get to keep your items and gold, as well as any money you received from sales on the real-money Auction House. We'll also be donating all proceeds from auctions conducted by the suspended or banned players—including all of THEIR sale proceeds that we intercepted as well as our transaction fee—to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

Saturday - May 11, 2013

Diablo 3 - Possible Lawsuit Against Blizzard

by Couchpotato, 00:15

Diablo 3 after it's latest patch caused literal hell as several individuals found an exploit that enables them to dupe gold.  Well some gamers are toying with the possibility to file a lawsuit over this.

Lawsuit Threat From Players

One player from this thread, which is now one of the hottest post from Diablo 3 forum, explained how the community can file a lawsuit charge against Blizzard. Just to give you a gist about the complaint, the player believes gamers will have a strong-case against Blizzard if they’ll file a lawsuit because D3 is concentrated with items, and these items have their own gold value which corresponds to real money. Since there was a dupe exploit, it also mean the company can be charged for negligence of not coding the game properly, letting its system hacked so other people can steal money’ out from gamers’ pockets.

For those unaware, this is not the first time Blizzard was threatened by a lawsuit charge. A few weeks when Diablo 3 debuted last May, players from South Korea and other countries from Europe have voiced out their concern and filed a formal lawsuit complaint of not being able to play the game because of Blizzard’s laggy servers. This forced the company to fix the situation or suffer the consequence of paying each players that will return the game due to this issue.

Gravity of the Problem

As for the problem itself, another player has voiced out his concern that by not rolling back the server (which was the original solution anticipated by the community), Blizzard is creating a huge mistake as there are a lot of hackers who managed to transfer these dupe golds into dummy accounts, some have even bought several hundreds of gems from the AH, then resell them again to make the gold appear ‘clean’ making it very difficult for Blizzard admins to spot the culprit.

Saturday - March 02, 2013

Diablo 3 - On the Future

by Dhruin, 23:02

Blizzard developer Travis Day responds on the Diablo III forums with a lengthy post as they thrash about looking for solutions to various problems:

The “problem” with trifecta items can’t be discussed without also pointing out that it is only a problem because the AH makes obtaining these items so easy. On a basic level, I have no problem with items existing that players highly desire, but when it is a forgone conclusion that you will have those items then we have problems. If the auction house never existed, players wouldn’t be upset that trifecta exists, they would be upset that they haven’t been lucky enough to find their own trifecta items. To summarize, I think the right solution to this problem isn’t cutting trifecta items from the game, but rather it’s about getting to a point where you want more things than you can fit on an item.

I think your affix ideas are cool, and we have spent a lot of time lately talking about what kind of awesome effects we could put on items that we don’t currently have. I’d even say that as cool as some of these ideas are, we can go even further. We are putting a lot of effort into coming up with really awesome item ideas for future content. I’ll give one quick example of my personal favorite so far before moving on and also to give context to the direction we are moving in. Imagine a pair of Legendary boots that read “Makes you ethereal, allowing you to freely move through enemies”. Whether or not that idea makes the final cut is hard to say, but we want to really push the boundaries as much as we can, so legendary items become things that players can get really excited about. 

Thursday - February 21, 2013

Diablo 3 - Announced for PS3 & PS4

by Gorath, 14:25

Blizzard will bring Diablo to the Playstation. Diablo 3 PS3 will be playable at PAX East. Here's the PR minus the company blurp:

 THE LORD OF TERROR TO UNLEASH THE FIRES OF THE BURNING HELLS ON PLAYSTATION® GAMERS WORLDWIDE
Blizzard Entertainment announces Diablo® III for PS3™, confirms franchise coming to PS4™
World-first hands-on set for PAX East, March 22–24


IRVINE, Calif.—February 20, 2013—The fate of Sanctuary will soon rest in the hands of PlayStation gamers around the world. Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. today announced that it is developing Diablo® III, the latest entry in its award-winning action–role-playing-game series, for the Sony PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system. The company also today confirmed plans to adapt the game for Sony’s newly announced PlayStation®4, its next-generation computer entertainment system.

The PS3™/PS4™ version of Diablo III will be based on the critically acclaimed core experience of the PC version, including all of the latest upgrades, such as the Paragon leveling system, customizable Monster Power, Brawling, and epic Legendary items. In addition, Blizzard is designing an all-new user interface, including an intuitive control scheme and a new dynamic camera perspective, that will make questing and combat in the world of Sanctuary feel like second nature on PlayStation platforms. Players will be able to battle their way through the story in single-player mode and also experience the hack-and-slash joy of destroying demons and collecting loot together with their friends via seamless four-player online and local co-op modes.

Blizzard also announced today that the PS3 version of Diablo III will be shown live at PAX East, taking place at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center from March 22–24. Attendees there will be the first in the world to pick up a controller and experience the fast-paced action and visceral gameplay of Diablo III via the new custom-designed interface.

“Diablo III looks and plays great on the PlayStation,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. “We put a lot of care and thought into the PlayStation version to make sure it would deliver an authentic Diablo gaming experience, and we’re really pleased with the results. We can’t wait for players to try it out at PAX East.”

Diablo III continues the epic Diablo storyline, with players taking on the role of one of five heroic characters—barbarian, witch doctor, wizard, monk, or demon hunter—and embarking on a perilous quest to save the world of Sanctuary from the corrupting forces of the Burning Hells. As players adventure through rich and varied settings, they’ll engage in pulse-pounding combat with hordes of monsters and challenging bosses, grow in experience and ability, acquire artifacts of incredible power, and meet key characters who’ll join them in battle or aid them along the way. Diablo III was originally released for Windows® and Macintosh® PC on May 15, 2012 and within 24 hours became the fastest-selling PC game of all time. As of December 31, 2012, Diablo III had sold through more than 12 million copies worldwide.

 

Monday - February 11, 2013

Diablo 3 - Ask the Devs, Round 1

by Dhruin, 20:57

Battle.net offers up the first of a new Ask the Devs feature, where Blizzard chooses a topic and the community asks related questions. The answers for Round 1 are online from the topic of Patch 1.07. A partial snip from a long answer:

Q. Has it been considered the addition of a point tracker mechanic for PvP, as well as perhaps the ability to wager or offer any kind of unique rewards to make PvP more interesting in 1.0.7? 

Kevin: Considered? Yeah, definitely. Not only did we debate the idea of having point systems and other forms of tracking for brawling during the initial development stage, but we also carefully revisited those points as we saw incoming feedback from the PTR. We know that, for many players, having some way of "showing off" your skills in battle either through a point tracker or reward system is very desirable, and we debated various different ways of doing that within the current design of brawling. We even discussed adding ears for players to collect after they'd slaughtered their opponents, and whether that type of "reward" could exist as items or as an ever-growing counter in the UI. 

After all those discussions, though, we always came back to the same principle: brawling is a simple, straightforward way to knock your friends and/or enemies into next week. That's it. No rewards, no objectives, no scores. The goal of the feature is to give players a way to fight each other in a no-holds-barred kind of environment, and we want to keep that environment as simple, straightforward, and "no-holds-barred" as possible. While we will remain open to player feedback on the idea of point trackers and rewards and may consider making adjustments based on that feedback in the future, we really feel that brawling will be at its best when it is just simply a free-for-all fight. We like that this allows players to sort of define what brawling means to them, as well as build their own "mini-games" around the feature (for example, there's this thread over on Reddit that's pretty cool, same for the rules streamer Inigo Montoya developed). 

Source: Blues News

Thursday - January 17, 2013

Diablo 3 - Projector Director Jay Wilson Stepping Down, Not Leaving Blizzard

by Aries100, 22:48

From Gamasutra and Kotaku come the news that Jay Wilson, Project Director for Diablo 3, steps down from his post at Blizzard. He is to move on to another project at Blizzard.
Here's a quote from his post at the Battle.net forums.

Over the course of the next several weeks, I will be moving off of the Diablo III project and transitioning elsewhere within Blizzard. This decision was not an easy one for me, and not one I made quickly, but ultimately it's what I feel is right......

To that point, you shouldn't be surprised if you see a job posting for a game director on Diablo III, as we want to make sure we explore every opportunity to find the best possible leadership for the project. We're looking forward to finding this person and hearing what kind of fresh ideas they can bring to the table.

Source: Gamasutra

Sunday - January 13, 2013

Diablo 3 - Patch 1.0.7 Preview

by Dhruin, 01:01

Blizzard has posted a preview of the upcoming 1.0.7 update for Diablo III:

Patch 1.0.7 is currently under development and many of the changes included in that update will soon be on the PTR. Before we hit you with patch notes, though (and a new client to download), here's a preview of what's coming. 

  • Dueling
  • Class Updates
  • Crafting Additions
  • Monster Power Changes
  • Monster Affix Changes
  • Quality of Life Improvements

Saturday - December 29, 2012

Diablo 3 - PvP Update

by Dhruin, 22:56

A few days back Jay Wilson updated Battle.net with progress on PvP for Diablo III. In summary, team deathmatches aren't working out and will be withheld but in-game dueling will make it for patch 1.07:

Of course, our goal has been to release our Team Deathmatch mode as soon as possible, but we don't want to put anything out there before it's ready. Right now, Team Deathmatch isn't yet where we want it to be, so I want to provide some insight into where we are at in the development process. [...]

For us it comes to a few issues, one of which is depth.  Simply fighting each other with no other objectives or choices to make gets old relatively quickly.  We've brought a lot of people in to try out Team Deathmatch and, while some found it entertaining, most of our testers didn't feel like it was something they'd want to do beyond a few hours. Without more varied objectives, or very lucrative rewards, few saw our current iteration as something they'd want spend a lot of time in.

Wednesday - November 28, 2012

Diablo 3 - PVP Details Coming

by Dhruin, 12:28

Looks like we might finally get to see some PvP details for Diablo III soon with Jay Wilson tweeting a blog update is due soon:

@scaryrobots We'll be doing a PVP blog update very soon. Sorry to keep you waiting.  

Source: Blues News

Friday - November 09, 2012

Diablo 3 - Getting an Expansion in 2013

by Aries100, 14:29

Mike Morhaine from Blizzard Entertainment confirmed that an expansion for Diablo 3 will be released in 2013.   It happened during a 2012 earnings call. Gamespy speculates:

Could the expansion alleviate many of the issues gamers had with Diablo 3? That's far too hard to tell at this point, but it is worth having a fun bit of speculation regarding what exactly will be in this particular expansion. I figure the story will revolve around Leah's mother, Adria, and we'll probably get one or two more playable characters. What do you think we'll see in this expansion and/or what would you like to see happen with Diablo 3?

Source: GameSpy

Tuesday - November 06, 2012

Diablo 3 - How the endgame failed @ PC Gamer

by Dhruin, 20:42

PC Gamer's Tom Senior writes How Diablo 3's endgame failed:

The auction house is all-consuming at high levels in Diablo 3. Drop rates have been modified upwards extensively since launch and the Paragon levels added in a recent patch lets players increase drop rates by 3% with every ding. Nonetheless, I can’t remember the last time a usable item dropped for my level 60 Barbarian. The odds that I’ll discover anything that I can directly equip seem absurdly small. At Inferno level, gear is everything. You’re as tough as the armour you’re wearing. To get precisely what you’ll need, the auction house is the only viable option.

Diablo 3 has become a game about gold. Its endgame, with the auction house at its heart, is about slow, incremental progression, cash runs and repeated boss raids. It relies on grind-heavy objectives that feel very different to the rush of new skills I enjoyed on the journey to level 60.

Saturday - October 20, 2012

Diablo 3 - Patch 1.05 Roundup and Hotfix

by Dhruin, 01:48

If you haven't kept up on Diablo III lately, the official site has a roundup on v1.0.5 information and a new Hotfix has been released.

Source: Blues News

Tuesday - October 16, 2012

Diablo 3 - v1.0.5 Being Released

by Dhruin, 21:45

A post on the Blizzard forums notes scheduled maintenance to roll out Diablo III v1.0.5:

We will be performing scheduled maintenance for Diablo III starting tomorrow at 3:00 a.m. PDT in order to deploy patch 1.0.5. We anticipate that maintenance will conclude and that all services will be available by approximately 1:00 p.m. PDT.  

Important: Please note that you will not be prompted to download patch 1.0.5 until the patch is live in your home region. If you are logging in from a European or Asian client, you will need to wait for this patch to release in that region before it can be installed. Additionally, if your home region is the Americas, you will be unable to log into Europe or Asia using Global Play after patch 1.0.5 is live until those regions have also patched. 

Source: Blues News

Friday - October 12, 2012

Diablo 3 - Monster Power, the Introduction

by Aries100, 20:37

The team at Blizzard has penned a blog post about monsters, the design philosophy as well as the mechanics system that is headed into the game with the 1.05 patch.

The armies of the Burning Hells are about to become a lot more hellacious. In patch 1.0.5, we'll be introducing Monster Power, a new system designed to give players more control over how challenging enemies are in each difficulty setting. Similar to the "Players X" command in Diablo II, Monster Power gives Diablo III players the option to increase the health and damage of monsters according to different "power levels" -- and in return, they'll receive scaling bonuses to their adventure stats (including experience, Magic Find, and Gold Find) as well as more drops.

To learn more about this, and to learn how to set monster power level, please go here.

Source: GameBanshee

Saturday - September 29, 2012

Diablo 3 - PTR Patch 1.0.5

by Dhruin, 01:52

Blizzard has posted updated 1.0.5 patch notes for the Diablo III Public Test Realm server - we've posted about this patch before but there are a number of changes to the notes. A small sample from he very lengthy changes:

New System: Monster Power

Similar to the "Players X" command in Diablo II, Monster Power is a system designed to give players more control over how challenging enemies are in each difficulty. With this system, players can choose to increase the health and damage of monsters according to different "power levels" and in return they'll receive scaling bonuses to experience (for heroes levels 1-60) as well as boosts to Magic Find and Gold Find (for heroes level 60 only) which will stack above the 300% cap. The option to increase Monster Power will be available to all players starting at level 1 in the Quest Selection window, and can be adjusted separately for Normal, Nightmare, Hell, and Inferno difficulties.

For more information on how to enable and use Monster Power, click here!

New Event: Infernal Machine

The Infernal Machine is a device that will allow level 60 players to battle "uber" versions of some of Sanctuary's most nefarious bosses. While the rewards for defeating these bosses will be great, some assembly is required. Only the most powerful Nephalem can unlock the secrets to building the Infernal Machine,  but once forged the device can be used to open portals to special encounters featuring not one, but two bosses which have been augmented from their original versions, both in terms of difficulty and appearance. Defeating each boss pair will provide players with extra items and gold, as well as a chance to find components for a new Legendary ring. 

Sunday - September 23, 2012

Diablo 3 - 1.05 Interview @ PC Gamer

by Dhruin, 01:15

Jay Wilson and Wyatt Cheng have spoken with PC Gamer about the changes to Diablo III in v1.05:

PC Gamer: You guys did a blog entry about the crowd control changes in 1.05 – what abilities that no one ever uses now are going to really shine the most after the patch?

Wyatt Cheng, Senior Technical Game Designer: I would say Blinding Flash would probably be a big one on the Monk. A lot of people use Blinding Flash, so I know I’m kind of cheating. But I think everyone uses Blinding Flash because there’s a secondary rune on it that adds to your damage. A lot of people don’t really use Blinding Flash for the CC so much as the damage, and that’s why I think it’s going to hit the most.

For [a counter-example], let’s take Ground Stomp. For a lot of people who took Ground Stomp off their bar, they’d have to go out of their way to try it out. But I think when the patch first goes live, all of the Monks who have Blinding Flash in their bar are going to hit it for the damage buff, then realize it’s actually doing a whole bunch of CC, too.

Saturday - September 22, 2012

Diablo 3 - Public Test Realms

by Dhruin, 00:41

Blizzard has announced Public Test Realms for Diablo III, with v1.05 coming soon:

Patch 1.0.5 will soon be available for testing on the PTR. Once the PTR is up and ready, we'll enable posting in this forum and the PTR Bug Report forum so you can share your feedback and report any issues you may experience while playing. 

In the meantime, be sure to check out the patch 1.0.5 PTR patch notes and the information below to find out how to set up your PTR account.

Thursday - September 13, 2012

Diablo 3 - Patch 1.05 Sneak Peek

by Dhruin, 22:39

Blizzard has outlined the changes for Diablo III v1.05:

Defensive Skill Changes

In our eternal quest to promote build diversity; we’ll be making changes to defensive skills across the board while simultaneously reducing incoming damage. The net result is a survivability buff for players, and an increase in build options as defensive abilities become less “mandatory.”

New Event: Infernal Machine

The Infernal Machine is a device that will allow level-60 players to battle “uber” versions of some of Sanctuary’s most nefarious bosses. While the rewards for defeating these bosses will be great, some assembly is required.

New System: Monster Power

Similar to the “Players 8” command in Diablo II, the Monster Power system is designed to give players more control over how challenging enemies are in each difficulty.

Thursday - September 06, 2012

Diablo 3 - Crowd Control Changes

by Dhruin, 22:41

A recent blog post from Blizzard discusses further changes to Diablo III for the v1.05 patch:

Shortly after Diablo III launched, I remember watching Jay play his barbarian. He was having a blast, killing monsters left and right, but something was bothering him. He was annoyed because Ground Stomp -- one of his favorite abilities -- got worse as he progressed to higher difficulty levels, and that his character felt weaker despite having better gear and more stat points.

We all agreed that the game needed to get harder at higher difficulty levels, but Jay didn't like this particular way that it was getting harder. Specifically, he didn't like that we diminished crowd control (CC) effects.  We had discussed CC effects many times during development, and we felt the system we had got the job done, but Jay felt we could do better.

Before release, we'd designed the game so that CC skills would have diminished durations at higher difficulties -- for example, most CC skills have their effectiveness reduced by 65% in Hell and Inferno. Jay has never been a fan of the way Ground Stomp and other CC skills become less powerful as a result of diminishing effects, but he also knew that a system to limit CC was required to add challenge at higher difficulties.  While we've wanted to improve CC for some time now, we had bigger fish to fry first (like adding the Paragon System and improving Legendary items), so we made a note to revisit CC effects in a future patch.

Wednesday - August 29, 2012

Diablo 3 - Plot Analysis @ Gamasutra

by Aries100, 22:44

Gamasutra has an editorial that analyzes the plot in Diablo 3.  In it Josh Bycer explores what he thinks is The Plot Holes of Diablo 3. Before the quote, fair warning, spoilers to follow in the following quote about what he sees as a retcon:

Diablo 3 features a very confusing retcon in the form of the Nephalem. According to the game, these are the children of angels and demons from a long time ago. They supposedly have super human powers and are set up as the game's version of the chosen one. This doesn't make sense, considering how the world of Diablo was set up. In previous games, the heroes have always been regular humans who were trained in supernatural professions, and they were able to save the world. Were they really Nephalem the entire time? And if so, why did no one mention this at all over the last two games? For all the buildup around this plot point, it never goes anywhere. The player is never given any special powers to show that they are Nephalem outside of the level 60 magic find buff. All this point is used for, is to make the player's connection to the story very dry. Every character refers to the player as a Nephalem, instead of by their profession.

Thanks RPG Codex and Gamebanshee

Source: RPG Codex

Thursday - August 23, 2012

Diablo 3 - A Message From Jay

by Dhruin, 22:43

Jay Wilson has taken to the Blizzard forums to apologise for his outburst on Dave Brevik and going on to explain how they are trying to improve Diablo III:

Part of the problem, however, is not just item drops, but the variety of things to do within the game. Many of you have stated that there needs to be more to the game than just the item hunt, and we agree completely. The Paragon system is a step in the right direction, giving meta-progress for your time in the game, but it does little to address the variety of activities you can do while playing. I don't think there’s a silver-bullet solution to this problem, but I do think we can make this aspect of the game better, and as such we're planning more than just PvP for the next major patch. Not trying to be coy, but we're still firming things up and will talk about this as soon as we can.

Difficulty has been a constant source of division when discussing the game. Some players believe Diablo has never been about crushing challenges, but more about efficiency and farming. Some players want a game that tests them to their limits. Neither player is wrong. As it stands, Diablo III simply does not provide the tools to allow players to scale the game challenge to something appropriate for them. We set Inferno as the high watermark and took a one-size-fits-all approach to game challenge. Later in the development of Diablo II, the 'players 8' command -- which let people set monster difficulty -- was added to address this issue, and we're considering something similar for the next major Diablo III patch to allow players to make up their own minds about how hard or how easy is right for them.

While we're on Diablo III, there have been some further patch notes for v1.04.

Wednesday - August 22, 2012

Diablo 3 - Patch 1.04 Released

by Aries100, 21:38

Blizzard has released patch 1.04 for this game.  A link to the full patch notes and changelog can be found here.

A quote, though, on the changes to the Legendary Items:

Legendary Item Improvements

 Significant changes have been made to Legendary items to make them more powerful, more memorable, and ultimately more fun to use. Through the addition of spell procs, many Legendary items now have a chance to activate rare and unique abilities, such as summoning an angel to fight with you, conjuring an icy projectile, or igniting the very ground you walk on. Legendary items in 1.0.4 are also far and away more powerful, possessing higher damage and affix values than their predecessors. In addition, many Legendary items have had visual effects added to their original models, giving them a distinct and detailed flair. (Please note that these changes will only impact Legendary items that drop after the patch 1.0.4.)

Source: GameBanshee

Diablo 3 - David Brevik Comments, part 2 - Interview @ Eurogamer

by Aries100, 21:32

Eurogamer has interviewed key developer for Diablo 1 and 2 ,David Brevik,  about Diablo 3 on the same subject we told you about a couple of days ago.  Here's a quote about the story:

What advancements?

 David Brevik: Some of the story stuff they did was much better than we'd ever done story before, and in that way it created a very different experience. Being able to be able to teleport to the other players and allow people to group up in a much easier fashion, those were some of the things that stood out to me as being much better than we had done before.

 What do you feel fell short?

 David Brevik: The skill system was very different than what we ever designed before. It played more like a load-out system from a shooter, which was a very different approach than we had ever even contemplated. I don't know if that necessarily works super well. Being able to change your build at any given time on the fly was a little bit too generous. So it fell down a little bit there. There are other specific things, especially with the items and your main weapon powering a lot of your skills that were choices I would have not made.

Monday - August 20, 2012

Diablo 3 - The Paragon System - 100 More "Levels"

by Dhruin, 22:50

Blizzard unveils the Paragon System - an additional 100 "levels" after the level 60 cap to enhance extended play. The post at Blizzard outlines the issues in detail but for the sake of a quote, here's the basic description:

The new Paragon system coming in patch 1.0.4 is designed to address Magic Find gear-swapping while providing players who’ve reached level 60 with an extended progression system.

Here’s how it works:

  • After you hit level 60, any further experience you earn from killing monsters will begin to count toward Paragon levels
  • There are 100 Paragon levels
  • Every Paragon level will reward you with:
    • Core stats such as Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence, and Vitality in amounts similar to what you’d gain from a normal level
    • 3% Magic Find and 3% Gold Find
  • In addition, a distinctive increasingly-impressive border will surround your character portrait in the in-game party frame to denote your Paragon progression, with a new frame earned after every ten levels. Your Paragon level will also be visible to other players wherever your normal level is shown

We know that a lot of you out there are level 60 -- maybe on multiple characters -- and this system provides a way to make progress every time you log in to the game.

Source: Rock, Paper, Shotgun

Diablo 3 - David Brevik Comments

by Dhruin, 22:26

IncGamers interviewed ex-Blizzard North alumnus David Brevik about his current title - which we don't cover - but they also asked him about Diablo III:

IncGamers: Do you think they bought the wrong people in? As we understand, Jay Wilson, for example, his background was RTS. From our point of view it looked like they misunderstood what kept people playing, The type of loot drops, which has been a big issues. One of the other issues is they have not listened to their community, and they have not analysed what makes up that addictive Diablo  experience. What are your thoughts on that?

David Brevik: Well, the loot system. They made some decisions with the loot system that were very different than the way that we did it in Diablo 2 and I think that obviously the community has been upset with some of the decisions they made. Having all of your powers work off your main weapon and things like that, to having blues that are more powerful than yellows. Eventually the auction house and how that worked, even something as simple as when you equip an item and it’s bound to your character permanently would  have totally changed the dynamic  of the game.

It seems odd that they have not really responded in a quick fashion to some of these things. I think they are very well aware of the problems at this point and are trying to fix some of this stuff. It’s a shame that they had to learn some of these painful lessons.

This apparently lead to current Blizzard staffers responding on Facebook, including an unhappy Jay Wilson. You can read about it that at Kotaku.

Saturday - August 18, 2012

Diablo 3 - Monk, Demon Hunter and Witch Doctor 1.0.4 Previews

by Dhruin, 00:36

Blizzard has kicked up the overviews for the 1.0.4 improvements for the Monk, Demon Hunter and Witch Doctor classes. As with the previous classes, Blizzard is looking to buff under utilised skills to encourage better build diversity. For example:

Out of the five Diablo III classes, witch doctors are receiving the most attention in patch 1.0.4. The goal for this patch, like for many of the other classes, was simple: identify the unpopular or hard-to-use skills, figure out what’s not working, and then make them better. In some cases, skills only needed slight tuning -- a little more damage here, or some increased durations there. In other cases, more significant changes were required. For the purpose of this preview, we'll focus on the bigger changes, which can be broken down into the following categories:

  • Pet survivability
  • Vision Quest design flaws
  • Splinters and Zombie Bears are way more appealing than most other skills

Thursday - August 16, 2012

Diablo 3 - 1.0.4 Barbarian and Wizard Previews

by Dhruin, 11:10

Blizzard has continued previewing the Diablo III changes in v1.0.4 with looks at the Barbarian:

One of our primary goals with class changes in patch 1.0.4 is to help improve build diversity. Of course, this has been a goal for the Diablo III development team since launch, but our approach this patch has been a little different. For 1.0.4, we're taking a good look at some of the most unpopular skills for each class, figuring out why they aren't being used in your builds, and then seeing how we can make them better -- either by redesigning how they work or just buffing the hell out of them.

For barbarians, we focused on improving the following areas:

  • Bash and Cleave are not very attractive compared to Frenzy
  • Many of the damage-oriented Fury Spenders don't do enough damage to justify the spot on your bar

...and the Wizard:

Like the other classes, the wizard is also seeing a lot of tuning improvements to help promote build diversity. Rather than focus on those minor adjustments, though (which you'll be able to learn more about in the 1.0.4 patch notes), I’m going focus the majority of this preview on Hydra.

Here are the major points I'll cover:

  • Skill design philosophy for Diablo as a whole
  • What makes Venom Hydra as strong as it is
  • Why, rather than nerfing Venom Hydra, we're simply going to buff all the other Hydra variants

Wednesday - August 15, 2012

Diablo 3 - 1.04 Legendary Item Improvements

by Dhruin, 22:28

Following up on previous posts about the improvements to Diablo III in v1.04, Blizzard has detailed some of the changes to Legendary Items, along with screens for examples and a video:

Many of you commented, rightly, that the Legendary items in the game didn’t feel unique enough. Something that Diablo II did really well was to create some very memorable items, and they were called “Uniques.” While we call them Legendaries now, the word “unique” was something we tried to keep in mind when making these changes. The rarity of Legendary items combined with their color means that when they drop you should feel like you’re getting something special, something that isn’t just another sword. A truly legendary item should have history behind it, something that you can imagine a powerful wizard imbuing with special magics from within the depths of his musty library.

Part of that feeling comes when you equip the item, and you see that it has special, custom artwork that sets it apart from every other item in the game. The artists already nailed this part of it, but with 1.0.4 they’ve gone the extra mile to ensure these items show off, visually, how truly epic they are. But we’ll cover that in a bit.

On my end, the design end, to get the uniqueness into Legendary items, we've added custom effects to over 50 of them. Here are just a few.

Sunday - August 12, 2012

Diablo 3 - 1.0.4 Systems Preview

by Dhruin, 03:00

Blizzard's Wyatt Cheng has written more about the upcoming 1.0.4 patch for Diablo III. Improving coop, the difficulty spikes of champion and rare packs, weapons, efficiency vs challenge, more legendary items changes and a raft of class updates are all on the agenda:

We're making a metric-ton of changes to classes, so we’re going to have separate blog posts for each. But in general we’re looking at unpopular skills and asking ourselves a few questions:

  • Does the skill have any control or readability issues that would make the skill less satisfying to use? If so – polish the skill more. A good example here is the Barbarian Rend ability – many people don’t use it because you can’t always tell which enemies are affected by the bleed and which aren’t.
  • Does the skill fill a similar role as an extremely popular skill? If so, buff the skill to be competitive with the popular skill. For example, Bola Shot could be a solid skill, but simply doesn’t have the raw damage when compared to Hungering Arrow, so we’re buffing Bola Shot to be competitive.
  • Does a skill have a dominant rune? If so, can we buff the underused runes to be more competitive? A good example here is the Wizard Hydra skill. The Venom Hydra is by far the most popular rune, and for good reason, so we are buffing the other runes to make them more competitive with Venom Hydra.
  • Is the skill a resource spender? In general we have found that many resource spenders just don’t do enough for their resource cost. Here I would use the example of Wave of Light, which is a fairly significant expenditure of Spirit that doesn’t always seem worthwhile. Many damage-oriented resource spenders are receiving buffs in 1.0.4
  • Would buffing the skill increase or decrease build diversity? Some skills when buffed cause other skills to become obsolete, so there’s a net decrease in build diversity - we’re more careful with those. Other skills, when buffed, add to the total pool of appealing skills, which increases build diversity. The most obvious example here is the Witch Doctor Zombie Dogs and Gargantuan, which are both receiving significant improvements in 1.0.4.
  • Thursday - August 09, 2012

    Diablo 3 - v1.04 Preview

    by Dhruin, 22:33

    Blizzard community manager Bashiok has posted a 1.04 update on the official forums as a preview of the planned changes:

    • System Changes, by Wyatt Cheng. Senior Technical Game Designer Wyatt Cheng is preparing a high-level summary of some of the system changes planned for 1.0.4. 
    • Legendary Item Improvements, by Andrew Chambers. Senior Game Designer Andrew Chambers is working on a blog detailing all the ways we’re making Legendary items stand out. 
    • Magic Find Update, by Jay Wilson. Following up on earlier discussions, Game Director Jay Wilson will be providing an update on how Magic Find is evolving in patch 1.0.4.
    • Class Changes, by Wyatt Cheng. Wyatt will also be providing a preview of the changes we’ll be making for each class in 1.0.4 (and the philosophy behind those changes).
    • Patch Notes, by Lylirra. Of course, this is all building up to the actual patch 1.0.4 release, and we’ll be releasing the full patch notes shortly before the update goes live. 

    Tuesday - August 07, 2012

    Diablo 3 - Character Profiles Released

    by Dhruin, 00:17

    If you're still playing Diablo III, Blizzard has released a new Character Profiles facility to view and show off your character:

    • View your heroes’ gear, stats, and skills. How high have you raised your characters’ attributes? What are they wielding in each slot? What are their most prominent gear bonuses? What skills comprise their current build? Nuance awaits you in the Heroes tab.
    • Track your game progress. How many acts have you cleared? What bosses have you shredded in each difficulty? How far have you leveled up your hardcore and normal artisans? Find out in the Career tab. You can also check your play time (by class) throughout your entire Diablo III career, and learn how many monsters and elites you’ve slain.
    • Share with your friends. The Friends tab lets you check out your BattleTag friends’ characters, so that you can quickly compare notes on gear, skill & rune choices, and everything in between. You can also click on a BattleTag in the Diablo III forums to go directly to that player’s profile.

    Friday - August 03, 2012

    Diablo 3 - Sells 10 Million Copies

    by Aries100, 20:01

    Activision has issued a statement announcing that Diablo 3 sold 10 million copies.

    Blizzard Entertainment's Diablo III, released on May 15, 2012, set a new industry launch record for PC games and was the #1 best-selling PC game for the first six months of 2012. Through July, more than 10 million players have entered the world of Sanctuary.

    Source: RPG Codex

    Saturday - July 28, 2012

    Diablo 3 - Long Term Planning Failures @ Joystiq

    by Dhruin, 01:14

    Joystiq's Rowan Kaiser writes that Blizzard has failed with Diablo III's long-term design:

    Our motivation when playing games can be viewed in two parts: short term (is the moment-to-moment gameplay interesting?) and long term (how is this going to end up?). This isn't an either/or; most games have aspects of both motivators. Diablo 3 succeeds marvelously at the shortest-term level. Its combat is refined, swift, and fun, keeping the game interesting for some time on its own.

    But "some time" isn't the goal, as Blizzard seems to want people playing into a longer "endgame." Most RPGs use story in combination with mechanics, but even if you enjoyed Diablo 3's story (and I did not), by the time you hit Inferno Difficulty you'll be on your fourth playthrough, at least. Instead, what Diablo 3 uses is loot. Kill a boss, get some random items, those random items may improve your character. This has worked well for Diablo in the past, alongside other games like Borderlands. But I feel that Diablo 3's auction house system ruins this by making every item in the game potentially available for purchase with in-game gold or real-world cash.

    Tuesday - July 24, 2012

    Diablo 3 - Editorial on the Ending @ Kotaku

    by Aries100, 22:02

    Kotaku's Kirk Hamilton has an editorial about the ending in Diablo 3. He didn't like it as you
    can see from this somewhat spoilerfree quote:

    That was all fine—I could see this being a decent fight, particularly in a big party on a higher difficulty. But after it ended… my little entourage of still-alive NPCs assembled where Diablo had fallen, and everyone stood still for a while. I gathered some loot from Diablo—I got a belt, and a staff, and a couple of archery things that I can't use. The belt wasn't that good, the staff was okay. And then it was time to end the game. A cutscene played (and not even a particularly cool one by Blizzard's very high cutscene standards). And then it was time to start all over again.

    Source: GameBanshee

    Thursday - July 19, 2012

    Diablo 3 - Mike Morhaime Open Letter

    by Dhruin, 22:35

    Blizzard President Mike Morhaime has posted an open letter to the Diablo III community, explaining some of the challenges they have faced and their future plans. It's a lengthy post, so here's a sample:

    You’ve seen some of that work already in patch 1.0.3, and you’ll see additional improvements with patch 1.0.4. On the game balance front, this update will contain changes designed to further deliver on the team’s goal of promoting “build diversity,” with buffs to many rarely used, underpowered class abilities. Another topic we’ve seen actively discussed is the fact that better, more distinct Legendary items are needed. We agree. Patch 1.0.4 will also include new and improved Legendary items that are more interesting, more powerful, and more epic in ways you probably won’t be expecting.

    We’re also working on a number of interface updates, including social improvements that will allow players to more easily view their friends’ achievements, more quickly join games, and more efficiently communicate with each other. In addition, we’ll be making updates to the auction house in the future to provide players with better information through tooltips and notices, offer improved search functionality, and more.

    Source: Blues News

    Wednesday - July 18, 2012

    Diablo 3 - Game Limits Re-Enabled

    by Dhruin, 00:17

    Blizzard will be re-enabling Diablo III game-limits to fight bots and cheating. From the Blizzard forums:

    In the near future, we'll be re-enabling the limit on how many games a player can create within a certain amount of time. We've further tuned and tested the conditions that trigger this limit to ensure, as much as possible, that it only affects those abusing the Diablo III game service in a way that violates the Terms of Use – for example, by using bots that create games in rapid succession.

    The use of bots not only impacts the stability of the game service, but it also has an impact on the player-driven economy. While we regularly take action against accounts for the use of unauthorized third-party programs and bots, this additional measure will help us further preserve and protect the integrity of the game and economy in between ban waves. 

    Once this change goes live, we're looking for your feedback to help ensure that the limit is working as intended. If you encounter the "Input limit reached"  message and feel you should not have, please let us know how many games you were creating and why. This information will help us ensure the limit minimally impacts legitimate players while still protecting the game against bots.

    We'll continue to tweak the game limit as necessary, as well as continue to go after the few cheaters and botters that are out there in other ways. Our goal is to help ensure that Diablo III continues to be a fun gaming environment for all of our players, and we're looking forward to hearing your feedback on this change once it goes live. 

    We will update this post and unlock the thread once game limits are re-enabled.

    Tuesday - July 10, 2012

    Diablo 3 - 1.0.3.b Released

    by Dhruin, 23:53

    Diablo 3 has been patched, adding Gems, Dyes and crafting materials to the Real Money Auction House, as well as a handful of bug fixes.

    Source: Blues News

    Thursday - July 05, 2012

    Diablo 3 - End-Game Comments

    by Dhruin, 00:06

    Blizzard Community Manager Bashiok has made some surprisingly frank comments about the Diablo III end-game, saying they will try to address them further with the 1.04 patch:

    We recognize that the item hunt is just not enough for a long-term sustainable end-game. There are still tons of people playing every day and week, and playing a lot, but eventually they're going to run out of stuff to do (if they haven't already). Killing enemies and finding items is a lot of fun, and we think we have a lot of the systems surrounding that right, or at least on the right path with a few corrections and tweaks. But honestly Diablo III is not World of Warcraft. We aren't going to be able to pump out tons of new systems and content every couple months. There needs to be something else that keeps people engaged, and we know it's not there right now.

    We're working toward 1.0.4, which we're really trying to pack with as many fixes and changes we can to help you guys out (and we'll have a bunch of articles posted with all the details as we get closer), and we're of course working on 1.1 with PvP arenas. I think both those patches will do a lot to give people things to do, and get them excited about playing, but they're not going to be a real end-game solution, at least not what we would expect out of a proper end-game. We have some ideas for progression systems, but honestly it's a huge feature if we want to try to do it right, and not something we could envision being possible until well after 1.1 which it itself still a ways out.

    Source: Blues News

    Friday - June 29, 2012

    Diablo 3 - Not an Action RPG @ GameSpy

    by Dhruin, 23:17

    GameSpy's Dan Stapleton argues Diablo III is a straight-up action game, not an action/RPG:

    Diablo 3 isn't an action-roleplaying game -- it's simply an action game. This doesn't mean I don't like Diablo 3 (because I do) or that I think the lack of roleplaying elements means that it's by definition inferior to Diablo 2, Titan Quest, or Torchlight (because I don't). It just means that it's a different beast that doesn't fit the criteria of the term. 

    So where is the line drawn? As I see it, an RPG is defined as a game in which players make choices that have permanent effects. There are two ways that most RPGs do this. The first is a story or quests whose outcomes are determined by player choice. Does Wrex live or die in Mass Effect? Do you go Light Side or Dark Side in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic? Does Megaton go up in smoke in Fallout 3? All those are simple examples of events that may or may not happen because of actions we decide to take.

    The second method is via a player character whose skills and stats progress according to the actions of the player. Is your character smart or strong? Is he good with a bow and arrow or magic? Is he charismatic or stealthy? Is he even a he? Those are means by which we make our unique marks on game worlds -- while it's certainly possible for another player to replicate every step of your journey through Skyrim or Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, in practice everybody in a group of friends is likely to end up with at least a subtly different experience, even if they started with the same character.

    Thursday - June 28, 2012

    Diablo 3 - More Hotfixes

    by Dhruin, 22:36

    Item drop rates have again been tweaked in the latest round of Diablo III hotfixes.

    Wednesday - June 27, 2012

    Diablo 3 - Why Fallout 1 Could be succesfull Today @ Pixelitis

    by Aries100, 18:06

    In an editorial on their website, Pixelitis argues that the success of Diablo III means that an old school isometric game like Fallout 1 could still be succesful today. Link to the editorial:
    http://www.pixelitis.net/features/
    staff-musings-diablo-iii-proves-old-school-fallout-can-do-well

    A quote from the beginning of the editorial:

    On the week of Diablo III’s release last month, I was one of the millions of gamers click, click, and clicking away through the first act of the game, bashing down many a skeleton and undead foe. As the hours passed and I spent more time in the game’s environments, glancing occasionally at the classic HUD at the bottom and an info box at the bottom-left corner, it hit me: “Wow, Fallout 3 could have been like this and it would have been awesome.” And then I felt bummed out, knowing that wasn’t the case.

    Source: GameBanshee

    Saturday - June 23, 2012

    Diablo 3 - v1.03 Released, 72 Hour Restrictions Snafu

    by Dhruin, 02:06

    Patch 1.03 for Diablo III has been released in most regions, introducing a range of balance changes and some other interesting consequences (below). As previously discussed, loot and drop rates have been tweaked to address criticism.

    Moving on, whatever your position on Blizzard's always-online design for Diablo III, they sure are working hard to turn players against them.

    During the week it became evident that, as of v1.03, newly purchased digital copies of Diablo III were locked into the "Starter Edition" for around 72 hours, restricting access to a range of content. From GameSpot:

    Gamers who pay to download Diablo III won't have full access to the game for up to three days, thanks to tweaks made in the game's latest patch. According to a post on Blizzard's forums, Diablo III downloaders will only be able to play the Starter Edition of the game for up to 72 hours after purchase. 

    The Starter Edition for the PC dungeon crawler caps character levels at 13 and progress through the end of Act I. It also prohibits auction house access and multiplayer matchmaking with anyone who is not also using a Starter Edition or in the same region.

    Though some of these posts have been removed by Blizzard, it seems this was to address credit card fraud - though I'd note much larger vendors seem to have no trouble providing online purchases without delay:

    A customer support article on Blizzard's site states that the restrictions remain in place until payment verification is completed, a process that can take up to three days. The change was made Wednesday along with several other modifications in the game's 1.03 patch. 

    "We apologize for the inconvenience, but it is a necessary step to combat fraud and other malicious activities that can weaken everyone's play experience," Blizzard support forum agent Kaltonis said in a forum thread about the issue. 

    At Kotaku, Blizzard responds by saying some of the restrictions are necessary but some were unintentional:

    However, as an unintended consequence of these security measures, players who purchase the game digitally after patch 1.0.3 are temporarily being capped at level 13 and not able to proceed beyond Act I. We are working to correct this as soon as possible and will provide another update when we have more details to share.

    Aside from the two unintended restrictions noted above, below are the standard security-related restrictions that will be in place for digital purchases until payment verification is complete:

    · No public game access for unverified digital purchasers

    · No auction house access (real-money or gold) for unverified digital purchasers

    · Unverified digital purchasers cannot trade items or drop items for other players to receive

    · Unverified digital purchasers are not able to chat in any public or game channels

    · Unverified digital purchasers cannot attach a custom message to friend requests, but they can send/accept friend requests, and play with their friends

    · Global Play is not available for unverified digital purchasers

    Again, we want to be perfectly clear that these are temporary restrictions (often lifted within a day and at most 72 hours) associated with digital purchases for the protection of players. We appreciate player feedback and will continue to evaluate the best methods for ensuring a positive game experience for everyone.

    Good job, Blizzard.

    Thursday - June 21, 2012

    Diablo 3 - German vzbv Sends Blizzard Cease&Desist

    by Gorath, 20:37

    Apparently the official German consumer advice centre (vzbv) was not amused by the stuff Blizzard printed on the Diablo 3 box. Or rather by the things they allegedly forgot to mention.

    The vzbv believes Blizzard breaks German law by either not mentioning the following points or not explaining them with sufficient clarity:

    • permanent internet connection required
    • Battle.net registration is not a one-time procedure to enter a key
    • D3 can only be used if the player creates a personalized account on Battle.net

    So the vzbv sent Blizzard a cease & desist letter for infringement of competition laws. Blizzard has time until July 13th to sign the C&D or risk a trial in front of a German court.

    Found at GamersGlobal.de, who also have additional infos in their column the games lawyer.

    Sunday - June 17, 2012

    Diablo 3 - Patch 1.0.3 Preview

    by Dhruin, 13:00

    IncGamers "datamines" the next patch for Diablo III by examining data on the servers to put together the changes players will see. According to the article, the patch is already on the servers but just not marked for live use.

    In other Diablo III news, the official site has an edited transcript of a recent Reddit Ask Me Almost Anything:

    It IS, however, reasonable that drop rates would be designed with the AH in mind, to avoid flooding the economy with powerful items. How did you approach this as a design challenge during development, especially without a working economy to test on? 3 weeks after launch, are the economy and player's gear roughly where you were expecting?purrp: There seem to be a lot of misunderstandings and conspiracy theories from people who believe drop rates are directly influenced by the AH (if an item is common on the AH its drop rates will be lowered in-game). That doesn't really make any sense, but maybe can you lay this notion to rest?

    Wyatt Cheng: The auction house has absolutely no effect on drop rates. There are conspiracy theories and misunderstandings, but I do want to re-iterate: there is NO interaction whatsoever. Bashiok mentioned earlier that we took the AH into account, so let me expand a little bit on that.

    The drop rates were tuned for a player who would never use the Auction House. For the majority of internal development, we didn't have an Auction House, and we all played using our own drops only. I've personally leveled multiple characters from 1 to 60 internally before the game came out using only drops that I found -- we all did.

    When we say we "took the AH into account," that means it's one of many factors -- i.e. some players will choose to play without trading, some players would play in a group of 4 where they share drops among each other, and some (as it turns out, many) players would use the AH. [...]

    Lastly, Gamasutra notes Diablo III has sold 1M copies at NA retail. Given that you can usually double NA sales for a rough international tally and that we know the total sales are 6.3M, that implies a lot of digital copies.

    Source: Blues News

    Wednesday - June 13, 2012

    Diablo 3 - RMAH Hits Europe on Friday

    by Dhruin, 22:11

    Eurogamer has confirmed Diablo III's Real Money Auction House will be enabled for Europe this Friday:

    The delayed European Diablo 3 Real-Money Auction House will finally arrive this Friday, 15th June, Eurogamer can confirm.

    Diablo 3 - Patch 1.0.2c, RMAH Launched in the Americas

    by Dhruin, 00:39

    A new patch has been released for Diablo III that primarily enables the Real Money Auction House, which is now open in the Americas. The patch also removes "Error 37", though only by dropping players back to the login automatically if the authenticators are busy as I understand it.

    The RMAH is the big news and a new blog entry describes the service, currencies available and the security measures in place:

    The Diablo® III real-money auction house is now available in the Americas game region for the U.S. dollar, Australian dollar, and Mexican peso. With the real-money auction house, players will be able to buy and sell the loot they find in the game using actual currency via approved third-party payment services or using their Battle.net® Balance.

    The real-money auction house for the Europe game region and the remaining Americas game region currencies (Chilean peso, Argentine peso, and Brazilian real) will launch in the near future. We are rolling out elements of the real-money auction house separately to ensure all of our players have the smoothest possible experience. We'll have more information on the availability of the European real-money auction house and the remaining Americas currencies soon.

    Wednesday - June 06, 2012

    Diablo 3 - Patch 1.0.2b Released, 1.03 Preview

    by Dhruin, 23:00

    Blizzard has released v1.0.2b for Diablo III and previewed upcoming expectations for 1.03:

    The ilvl (item level) of an item determines the statistical budget for its power. The way the game is currently set up in Inferno, Act I drops ilvl 61 gear and below, Act II drops ilvl 62 gear and below, and Act III and IV drop ilvl 63 and below.

    Unfortunately this has caused two main issues. The first is players who find an Act too difficult feel compelled to use the auction house in order to progress. The second is that certain classes, skills, and play styles are less gear dependent than others, so although great items are making their way into the game economy, people feel pigeonholed into a handful of viable strategies. For a lot of people they would rather do something frustrating or boring in Inferno Act IV (such as having Tyrael fight for them or breaking vases) for a chance at a "top-tier" upgrade, rather than fight hordes of monsters in Inferno Act I.

    We’re shifting to a philosophy where the best items in the game can drop from many different places, so a wider variety of play styles are viable.  If you would rather chain-pull elite packs in Act I than 3 minute cat-and-mouse in Act IV, we'd like you to be able to do that and know you can still find the best items in the game.

    Head over for an actual drop-rates table.

    Friday - June 01, 2012

    Diablo 3 - Patch 1.0.2a

    by Dhruin, 23:11

    A minor Diablo III patch is out addressing a handful of issues and balance tweaks - details at Battle.net.

    Wednesday - May 30, 2012

    Diablo 3 - Petition for Offline Single-Player

    by Dhruin, 23:13

    Nick writes in with a petition asking Blizzard to create an offline single-player mode for Diablo III. I respect the sentiment, but I assume D3 is essentially built like an MMO with a lot of the logic server-side, meaning this just isn't going to happen - but you can always try, I suppose.

    Monday - May 28, 2012

    Diablo 3 - Game Design Update

    by Dhruin, 23:02

    Blizzard posts on the official site about what they are seeing with Diablo 3, more information about the hotfix that changed some skills and their intent with upcoming patches. It's a long post but here's a small sample:

    Regarding the changes to Lingering Fog, Boon of Protection, and Force Armor: we determined these skills were simply more powerful than they should be, and we felt their impact on class balance and how each class was perceived warranted hotfixes as soon as we were able. However, we don't want you to be worried that a hotfix nerf is lurking around the corner every day. If a skill is strong, but isn't really breaking the game, we want you to have your fun. Part of the enjoyment of Diablo is finding those super-strong builds, and we want players to be excited to use something they discovered that feels overpowered. A good example of this is the monk Overawe rune, which many players have identified as being quite good. We agree it's good, but we don't think it's so far out of line that we're going to swoop in and hotfix it out of existence.

    When it comes to making game changes, in general, our intent is to react quickly to critical design and balance issues, bugs, and other problems that seriously conflict with our design intent through hotfixes. For issues which aren’t as severely out of line, we plan to react in a more measured fashion -- through client patches. We have a patch coming within the next week (patch 1.0.2) that has been in development since the game’s launch and is mainly aimed at addressing service issues. The first real game balance changes, outside of hotfixes, will be coming in patch 1.0.3. We expect that because the game is new, some other issues will arise that will need to be immediately addressed through hotfixes, but in general, most changes will arrive through patches.

    Source: Blues News

    Friday - May 25, 2012

    Diablo 3 - Hotfixes

    by Dhruin, 01:21

    Blizzard has released a list of hotfixes for Diablo III - although there are some spoilers in the notes and I haven't finished, so I haven't actually read them:

    Below you'll find a list of hotfixes which address various gameplay and service issues affecting Diablo III. Hotfixes are updates we make on our end without requiring you to download a new patch. Some of the hotfixes below will go live the moment they are implemented, while others may require your realm to be restarted to go into effect. Please keep in mind that some issues cannot be addressed without a client-side patch update. We will continue to update this thread in the days ahead as additional hotfixes are applied.

    Spoiler Warning: If you have not yet completed Diablo III on Normal, some hotfixes described in this list may include spoilers.

    Wednesday - May 23, 2012

    Diablo 3 - 3.5M Sold in 24 hours

    by Dhruin, 22:07

    Blizzard announces Diablo III is the fastest selling PC title in history, with 3.5M sales in the first 24 hours, a further 1.6M in the following week - added to the 1.2M from the WoW Annual Pass, that makes 6.3M players. The press release says "sold", not "sell-in", so these appear to be end-user sales.

    DIABLO® III SETS PC-GAME LAUNCH RECORD


    The forces of Sanctuary already stand more than 6.3-million strong and growing

    PARIS, France - 23 May, 2012 - Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. today announced that as of the first 24 hours of Diablo® III’srelease, more than 3.5 million copies had been sold, setting the new all-time record for fastest-selling PC game.* That number does not include the more than 1.2 million players who received Diablo III as part of signing up for the World of Warcraft® Annual Pass promotion.

    Altogether, more than 4.7 million gamers around the world were poised to storm Sanctuary on day 1 of Diablo III’ s release - representing the biggest PC-game launch in history.

    As of the first week of the game’s availability, that number had already grown to more than 6.3 million.* The above figures also do not include players in Korean Internet game rooms, where Diablo III has become the top-played game, achieving a record share of more than 39% as of May 22.

    “We’re definitely thrilled that so many people around the world were excited to pick up their copy of Diablo III and jump in the moment it went live,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. “We also regret that our preparations were not enough to ensure everyone had a seamless experience when they did so. I want to reaffirm our commitment to make sure the millions of Diablo III players out there have a great experience with the game moving forward, and I also want to thank them for their ongoing support.”

    “Regarding today’s announcement, we recognize that setting a new launch record is a big achievement,” Morhaime continued. “However, we’re especially proud of the gameplay feedback we’ve received from players worldwide. We’re pleased that Diablo III has lived up to players’ high expectations, and we’re looking forward to welcoming more players into Sanctuary in the days ahead.”

    Diablo 3 - Reviews and More

    by Dhruin, 10:58

    We need to catch up on all things Diablo 3 - starting with GameBanshee's detailed review by Eric Schwarz:

    Diablo III is a promise never fulfilled.

    That might sound a little bit grim, but I think it encapsulates both the end product, as well as the core gameplay that the franchise has built itself around. Diablo III is a colossally polished title, that much is clear upon even just a few minutes hacking and slashing through monsters, but it's also one which is never really able to live up to its potential, just as most players who ever pick it up will be able to fully conquer Inferno difficulty.

    So, while it might be an exceptionally pretty and expansive game, with more art assets, loot tiers, skill and stat combinations than most other titles on the market today, Diablo III is also unfulfilling, like a sugary snack - it never leaves you feeling satisfied, only wanting more, whether that's more loot, a more competently executed story, or a more interesting character system. For many players, it's that desire to run endlessly on the progress treadmill that will keep them going, and the experience will no doubt be flashy, pretty, and fun, but even so, Diablo III simply left wanting.  For a game with a decade in development, I have to wonder if it was ultimately harmed by so many years in the making - perhaps we'd be playing Diablo V by now, as well.

    I'll line-list a selection of other reviews here:

    Giant Bomb - 5/5

    GameSpy - 4/5

    ActionTrip - 9.6/10

    GameInformer - 9/10

    GameSpot - 8.5/10

    Joystiq - 5/5

    PC Gamer - 90%

    Gaming Blend - 4/5

    Moving on, after reports of accounts being hacked and items stolen, Blizzard has responded with assurances of their security measures:

    We'd like to take a moment to address the recent reports that suggested that Battle.net® and Diablo® III may have been compromised. Historically, the release of a new game -- such as a World of Warcraft® expansion -- will result in an increase in reports of individual account compromises, and that's exactly what we're seeing now with Diablo III. We know how frustrating it can be to become the victim of account theft, and as always, we're dedicated to doing everything we can to help our players keep their Battle.net accounts safe -- and we appreciate everyone who's doing their part to help protect their accounts as well. You can read about ways to help keep your account secure, along with some of the internal and external measures we have in place to help us achieve our security goals, at our account security website here: www.battle.net/security. 

    We also wanted to reassure you that the Battle.net Authenticator and Battle.net Mobile Authenticator (a free app for iPhone and Android devices) continue to be some of the most effective measures we offer to help players protect themselves against account compromises, and we encourage everyone to take advantage of them. In addition, we also recently introduced a new service called Battle.net SMS Protect, which allows you to use your text-enabled cell phone to unlock a locked Battle.net account, recover your account name, approve a password reset, or remove a lost Authenticator. Optionally, you can set up the Battle.net SMS Protect system to send you a text message whenever unusual activity is detected on your account, keeping you aware of important (and possibly unwanted) changes.

    Head over for the rest of the post and links to those apps.

    Gaming Blend argues Diablo 3's Launch Fiasco Proves Video Game Journalism Fails, though I'm not sure of their exact point given their own review. Likewise, The Escapist argues You Should Be Mad at Diablo III's Always On DRM, though apparently the score should still be 4/5.

    Rock, Paper, Shotgun continues their critical articles with Difficulty and Dumbness and Eurogamer argues why being always online can be good - and also bad.

    Finally, the soundtrack is now available on iTunes.

    Saturday - May 19, 2012

    Diablo 3 - Review Roundup

    by Dhruin, 23:38

    Time to look at some Diablo III reviews.

    Let's start with two opposing articles from well-known gaming journalists. This isn't technically a review but Rock, Paper, Shotgun's John Walker writes How Diablo III's Solo Experience Reveals A Hollow Game:

    As I explore Act II, I’m still bewildered as to how they could have taken so long to make a game that adds so little. The engine is pretty enough, lavishly detailed, it does the job, but remains extremely dated in concept – there’s no analogue zoom (you can uselessly zoom right in on your character, which is great for screenshots and not a lot else), you can’t rotate the camera, you can’t interact with the world while the map’s on screen, the inventory covers up the map, and the tool-tips for loot seem completely arbitrary as to whether they’ll show up or not. No, rotating cameras aren’t necessary. But it’s important to keep in mind how relatively primitive the game is, when then taking into account its failings.

    And they all come in the form of the always-on DRM. Yes, people are sick of the topic. But that doesn’t make it something that can be ignored. It was because the connection dropped in the solo game I’m playing that all those events in the first paragraph took place. Eventually, about fifteen minutes later, it admitted the connection was gone, and restarting yet again put me back at the last checkpoint, one dungeon and an entire map ago. And nothing – absolutely nothing – interesting lies between me and where I’ve reached twice before.

    On the other hand, Tom Chick at QuarterToThree loved it (4/5):

    But Diablo III instead pushes every character down the same rail, both geographically (this is an oppressively narrow world compared to Diablo II) and in terms of character development for each of the classes. A witch doctor, barbarian, demon hunter, monk, or wizard of any given level will have the exact same skills and attributes as any other witch doctor, barbarian, demon hunter, monk, or wizard of that level. Which seems like a terrible idea to those of us who sulked and booted up Diablo II for a while.

    But in Diablo III you will start to get it after about ten levels. You will wallow in it gleefully after about twenty levels. You might roll up your sleeves and start poring over wikis after thirty levels. I expect we’ll be arguing about it online after forty levels, discovering new options after fifty levels, and unable to let go even after hitting level 60. The simple fact of the matter is that Blizzard was right to unfurl class skills in a set order and to instead give us the option of equipping any six at a time (hello, Guild Wars!). And to furthermore let us modify each of those skills with runes to tweak how they work, and then passive skills to further tweak how they work. Diablo III is built for people who want to tinker rather than people who want to just cop out and decide. Tinkering can be every bit as effective a hook as deciding.

    RPGamer - 5/5

    Edge Online - 9/10

    Escapist Magazine - 4/5

    Video Gamer - 9/10

    Wednesday - May 16, 2012

    Diablo 3 - Interview @ RPS

    by Dhruin, 22:55

    This Diablo III pre-release interview at Rock, Paper, Shotgun is almost irrelevant now but it features Leonard Boyarsky and gives me the opportunity to link some Diablo III error gags. A snip:

    RPS: Just to go back to the world briefly, there was a shift from the first Diablo, which was very claustrophobic, a dungeon full of horrors, and then Diablo II planted a world on top of that. In the third game did you want to continue that progression?

    Boyarsky: Well, we tried to open up the world because we want it to feel like a place you’re inhabiting. But we did want to go back to…well, it’s very hard in an action game to get that horror feeling, but we wanted to try and invoke that and get back some of the Diablo I stuff. That’s one of the reasons we have you start in Tristram, besides the story itself. We thought it would be really cool to revisit that area and revisit the cathedral that you were in back then. We really wanted to touch on that and make it part of the experience.

    While you're looking at that error screen and waiting to play, you might enjoy (or not) IGN's Best Error 37 Jokes and  Qt3's Beginner's Guide:

    After the jump, I bring you the wisdom that can only come from first-hand experience

    Error 37 means the server is overloaded and you won’t be able to connect. Error 315300 means that you CTL-C’ed the password from the front end of Diablo III and have been CTL-V’ing in a series of asterisks as a password, and that’s not your password. Error 3006 means the game can’t retrieve the character list you haven’t even made yet because you’ve been getting errors 37 and 315300 for about an hour. Error 3005 is pretty self evident in that it tells you that you’ve been disconnected. Of all the errors, error 3005 is the most newbie friendly.

    Tuesday - May 15, 2012

    Diablo 3 - Miscellaneous Roundup

    by Dhruin, 22:19

    Here's a bunch of Diablo III stuff, starting with the official launch presser:

    DIABLO III NOW LIVE

    It’s a bad day for demons . . .

    PARIS, France. - May 15, 2012 - Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. today announced that Diablo® III, the highly anticipated next chapter in its award-winning action–role-playing-game series, is now available in retail stores throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, South Korea, Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and the regions of Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau. Gamers in the regions above as well as in Mexico, Argentina, Chile, and Brazil are also able to purchase Diablo III digitally via the game’s official website (http://www.diablo3.com).

    In the wake of a Blizzard record of more than 2 million preorders*, and following more than 8,000 midnight launch events earlier today at retail stores worldwide,gamers across the planet are now storming Sanctuary in hot pursuit of the Lord of Terror.

    Rock, Paper, Shotgun reports on an emergency fix for "Error 37-ing":

    “We are in the process of performing an emergency maintenance for all Diablo III servers to resolve several issues that are currently impacting the game. This maintenance may cause some interruption in communication, ability to log in, use of in-game features, and disconnections.”

    They also have a Three Hours With Diablo III impressions piece, and PC Gamer managed to get 6 hours in.

    Eurogamer has the full interview we mentioned yesterday, which covers "replayability and post-launch plans". VG247 says a NeoGAF user claims to have finished the game in 12.5 hours.

    CNET asks Is Diablo III Still Relevant? and The Rampant Coyote talks about the importance of the original game.

    Monday - May 14, 2012

    Diablo 3 - Now Installing

    by Dhruin, 22:54

    Those who pre-loaded Diablo III from Blizzard or have the box in their hand can now install the game in anticipation of the release tomorrow. I got as far as the main menu.

    Reviewers are apparently as restricted as the public - even IGN's Review in Progress isn't exactly making progress:

    As for the Diablo III review, well, I can’t even start playing it until it goes public, because Diablo III requires an online connection to the live battle.net servers. I want to write about what it’s like taking on bosses with my friends, as well as what the experience is like selling and buying items for real money in the auction house, but that's  not possible until after launch.

    Over at Eurogamer, lead technical artist Julian Love rejects "dumbing down" accusations, saying the beta isn't representative of the whole game:

    Some players claim Blizzard has reduced character customisation in an attempt to make Diablo 3 "casual friendly".

    But in an interview with Eurogamer ahead of Diablo 3's hotly anticipated midnight launch, Blizzard said opinions about the game have been skewed by the recent beta, which showcased early areas of the game and limited the level cap to 13.

    "I definitely don't see it as dumbing down," lead technical artist Julian Love said. "One of the disadvantages beta testers have is they only see the early portion of the game. That's the portion of the game that really does need to be simple and approachable in order to live up to our mantra of easy to learn and difficult to master. You only get that experience in the beta, and that's the place where we're really trying to get it to be as dead simple and approachable as we possibly can.

    "So it's not that we're dumbing the systems down, so much as we're changing the balance of when systems are introduced and how much information is thrown at the user. A lot of those things are just re-prioritised to flow into the proper portion of the game, where you've already gotton used to the early systems and early combat, and now you're ready for more. That's a big part of the process of just getting it to ramp up properly." 

    Tuesday - May 08, 2012

    Diablo 3 - News Tidbits

    Friday - May 04, 2012

    Diablo 3 - Class Skills Concluded

    Tuesday - May 01, 2012

    Diablo 3 - Wizard Video, Auction House Overview

    by Dhruin, 22:33

    The Diablo III site has been updated with a new Wizard video and an overview of the Auction House system:

    Which auction houses you have access to is determined by where you live -- specifically, the country of residence registered to your Battle.net® account. In general, players can access the gold auction house in every game region, but can only access real-money auction houses in their home game region.

    Each of Diablo III’s three game regions -- The Americas, Europe, and Asia -- has its own separate set of gold- and real-money auction houses (one for each supported currency in the region). See the table below for details. Each auction house is completely independent, meaning items listed on one do not appear on another.

    Diablo 3 - TV Spot

    by Dhruin, 00:00

    If you haven't seen the Diablo III TV ad that was launched over the weekend, you can check out the CGI video titled 'Evil is Back' via RPS.

    Thursday - April 26, 2012

    Diablo 3 - Launch Events

    by Dhruin, 00:44

    If you're the type to line up at a retail store for Diablo III, several launch events have been announced for Europe, US, Taiwan, SE Asia and Korea - head over for the details for your region:

    Be part of this clash of Worldstone-shattering proportions by attending the special launch events hosted by retailers around the world. Diablo III will go on sale at midnight on May 14/15, so be among the first to get your hands on the Collector’s Edition!

    Blizzard Entertainment developers will be present to meet players and sign copies of the game during the events in several locations throughout the world.

    Wednesday - April 25, 2012

    Diablo 3 - Witch Doctor Video

    by Dhruin, 00:33

    A new Witch Doctor video is on offer for Diablo III:

    The witch doctors. Sage conjurers, enchanters, and mystical warriors who are driven by a charge to maintain spiritual balance and harmony in the violent world of Sanctuary. They command ancient magics rooted in the primal powers of life and death, and are adept at summoning fearsome, shadowy creatures. A witch doctor is armed with simple talismans, fetishes, rough carvings... and endless ravening throngs of vengeful spirits set to bring destruction at their master's command.

    Learn more about the witch doctor and other Diablo III heroes here: http://reveal.diablo3.com/en_US/class_gathering/witch_doctor

    Joystiq also reports the recent stress test saw 300k concurrent players.

    Source: Blues News

    Friday - April 20, 2012

    Diablo 3 - Open Beta Weekend

    by Dhruin, 23:28

    Blizzard has opened up the Diablo III beta to anyone with an Battle.net account for this weekend:

    We're pleased to announce the Diablo III open beta weekend, which offers open access to all players with a valid Battle.net account! Beginning this Friday everyone is invited to log in and help us put the game and servers through their paces in this three day stress test as we march toward the game's release on May 15. You can begin downloading the Diablo III client right now!

    From Friday, April 20 at 12:01 p.m. PDT (noon), until Monday, April 23 at 10:00 a.m. PDT you'll be able to log in, team up with friends, and play each of the five heroic classes to level 13 as you fight to save the world from the impending demonic invasion.

    Spotted at VG247.

    Tuesday - April 17, 2012

    Diablo 3 - Monk Spotlight

    by Dhruin, 22:56

    Blizzard has a new Monk Spotlight video for Diablo III, which you can watch via RPS.

    Monday - April 16, 2012

    Diablo 3 - Video Dev Diary

    by Dhruin, 22:55

    Blizzard has released a new Diablo III video dev diary, which sees Jay Wilson, Christian Lichtner, and Jason Regier discussing their internal Alpha, where they release the game to other Blizzard employees for feedback. Thanks Zohaib, via DSO Gaming. 

    Wednesday - March 28, 2012

    Diablo 3 - Even More Class Videos

    by Dhruin, 23:58

    The Diablo III site has new Class videos on offer:

    Doing battle with the Burning Hells means fighting fire with fire, and this week’s videos are all about destruction. We’ve got skills to tear through demonic invaders with summoned zombies and locusts, pepper them with knives and arrows, warp their minds, blow their bodies apart, and more.

    Thursday - March 15, 2012

    Diablo 3 - May 15 Release Date

    by Dhruin, 20:41

    Diablo III is arriving faster than I expected with presales open now on Battle.net and the release on May 15th:

     

    Battle.net® presales for the hottest game of 2012 NOW LIVE


    World of Warcraft® Annual Pass Promotion Ends May 1

    PARIS, France - March 15, 2012 - The end is nigh! Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. today announced that Diablo® III, the next chapter in its critically acclaimed action role-playing game series, will be unleashed from the Burning Hells on May 15.

    Starting that day, gamers with a thirst for fast-paced action and adventure will be able to purchase Diablo III at retailers throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, South Korea, Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and the regions of Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau. In addition, gamers in the regions above as well as in Mexico, Argentina, Chile, and Brazil will be able to buy Diablo III digitally via Blizzard’s Battle.net® website.

    Players in the listed Latin American countries and in Russia will be able to purchase Diablo III at local retail locations starting June 7. Digital availability for the Russian version of the game will also begin June 7. In addition to the English version, Diablo III will be fully localised into Latin American Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, French, German, European Spanish, Italian, Polish, Russian, Korean, and Traditional Chinese.

    Blizzard also kicked off global digital presales for Diablo III today. Would-be wizards, witch doctors, demon hunters, barbarians, and monks throughout the world should head to http://www.blizzard.com/games/d3/ now to reserve their digital copies.

    “After many years of hard work by our development team and months of beta testing by hundreds of thousands of dedicated players around the world, we’re now in the homestretch,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. “We look forward to putting the final polish on Diablo III over the next two months and delivering the ultimate action-RPG experience to gamers worldwide starting on May 15.”

     

    Wednesday - March 14, 2012

    Diablo 3 - More Class Videos

    by Dhruin, 22:22

    As promised, the Diablo 3 site has new class skills videos:

    Some of these skills are previously unseen; others are familiar abilities that we’ve presented before; still others have been slightly tweaked from their original function. The videos listed below show skills that are unmodified by skill runes; they’re all depicted in their ‘basic’ form.

    Saturday - March 10, 2012

    Diablo 3 - No PvP on Release

    by Dhruin, 21:48

    Blizzard has announced they will hold back PvP from Diablo III to be patched back in the future. Apparently PvP isn't living up to their standards:

    While we work on making sure PvP lives up to its full potential, we hope you’ll find some consolation in the fact that soon, you’ll be having a blast leveling characters, finding items, learning the classes, and perfecting builds…and that when the Arenas do arrive, you’ll be all the better prepared for battle.

    As we’re counting down the days until we’re ready to announce a release date for Diablo III, we’ve come to realize that the PvP game and systems aren’t yet living up to our standards. Today, we wanted to let you know that we’ve made the difficult decision to hold back the PvP Arena system and release it in a patch following the game’s launch. After a lot of consideration and discussion, we ultimately felt that delaying the whole game purely for PvP would just be punishing to everyone who’s waiting to enjoy the campaign and core solo/co-op content, all of which is just about complete.

    Tuesday - February 28, 2012

    Diablo 3 - First 20 Minutes of Gameplay

    Diablo 3 - Videos and Class Skills @ Official Site

    Monday - February 27, 2012

    Diablo 3 - Updated Skill Calculator

    by Dhruin, 20:33

    Blizzard has released a new Skill Calculator for Diablo III, updated with the skill and rune changes recently outlined.

    Source: Blues News

    Saturday - February 25, 2012

    Diablo 3 - Class Skills Update

    by Dhruin, 21:46

    The Diablo 3 site has the start of a series of class skills udates:

    Starting today, we're going show off some new, some improved, and some previously unseen class skills that you'll use to slaughter your way through Diablo III's acts.

    The skills we’re spotlighting are drawn from a variety of classes and levels, and most of them aren't available in the Diablo III beta. We've decided to showcase only "base" skills, unaffected by runes, but their rune variants are no less explosive (there are just a few too many of them to display here).

    Friday - February 24, 2012

    Diablo 3 - "Launch-date announcement in the near future"

    by Dhruin, 21:21

    Diablo 3 Game Director Jay Wilson has posted a message on the Blizzard forums reassuring after a misunderstood comment but going further and saying the launch-date announcement isn't too far away:

    We get a lot of sympathy from the other teams because of the long hours of crunch our design team is putting in, but the secret is that playing through the game as we do final tuning, bug fixes, and optimizations is a real joy. We always know a Blizzard game is almost ready when we have to ask members of the team to stop playing so they can get their work done. That’s definitely been the case around here.

    We think you're going to love Diablo III when it's released, and speaking of release plans, you can seriously expect a launch-date announcement from us in the near future. See, I didn’t say “soon,” so I’m not taunting you. ;) You’ll know as soon as I know for sure the exact date.

    Source: Blues News

    Monday - February 20, 2012

    Diablo 3 - Skill and Rune Changes

    by Dhruin, 20:43

    Blizzard's Jay Wilson has written a blog post that explains recent changes to the Diablo III Skill and Rune system. If I understand correctly, the game now provides a "guide" to skill combinations to "maximise your build potential", though you can opt out of this system if you would prefer. It's a long post, so here's a snip:

    To fix these issues, we focused on two core changes: (1) exposing the skill design intent by categorizing the skills and (2) linking skill selection directly to the bottom-bar UI to make assigning skills a clearer process. When viewing the skill screen, you’ll be presented with your six skill selection slots; each of these correspond directly to your bottom bar, and each will provide a specific list of skills from which to choose. By providing a clear-cut guide on how to best maximize your build potential, we hope to cover that “easy to learn” half of the mantra.

    One of our other goals is to ensure our game controls and interfaces are easy to use so that players spend their time trying to master game mechanics rather than fighting an interface. Giving players complete freedom to choose “anything” with no direction as to how our systems are intended to work was a failure in our design. There was also a detached relationship between the bottom-bar UI and the skill system. We have six skill slots, and six spots to put skills, but the two interfaces didn't really interact, and stocking abilities in your interface felt awkward.

    You may already be fuming because you’re a “difficult to master” type of person, but before you run to the forums, we have you covered. In the Gameplay options, we’ve added an ‘Elective Mode’ for the skill system. With this checkbox ticked you’ll be able to place any skill in any skill slot, as freely as you could before. The Elective Mode option is available at any time with no requirements or need to unlock it. We hope the new, more guided interface will give you an in-game heads up as to the intent of each skill -- and maybe even be the way you play through the game in Normal -- but if you eventually have a build that simply can’t be accomplished the way we’ve laid things out, you’re free to pop on Elective Mode and take the skills you want.

    Friday - February 10, 2012

    Diablo 3 - Q2 Release, "You Will Die. We Promise."

    by Dhruin, 21:19

    A conference call on Activision's latest financial results, Blizzard's Mike Morhaime confirmed that Diablo 3 has been delayed into a Q2 release, according to IncGamers. The delay (previously "early" 2012) is a result of the recent changes, following beta testing. Here's a quote:

    Given the popularity of the action RPG genre, and the keen interest in Diablo III, we expect this launch to be a big opportunity for Blizzard. We can also confirm that we are targeting a Q2 launch for Diablo III. We expect to announce more details about the release schedule in the coming weeks.

    In other news, the Diablo 3 site promises Nightmare difficulty will be plenty hard and offers a video featuring developers answering that question at Blizzcon.

    Source: Blues News

    Thursday - February 02, 2012

    Diablo 3 - What's New in the Beta? @ IGN

    by Dhruin, 20:19

    IGN has an update on changes to the Diablo III beta:

    Blizzard still appears to be toying with how active skills are swapped in and out. In Diablo III, you'll eventually unlock six slots to assign active skills and three slots for passive skills. These function as your character build and are easily modified, letting adjust your class' strengths on-the-fly. Initially in the beta it was possible to swap out skills as often as you liked, though Blizzard was concerned this ease of switching encouraged you to play with the skill window open at all times. A later version required you to visit an altar in town to switch skills, locking out your ability to change skills in the field. In the current version of the beta, you can again swap skills whenever you like, though swapping triggers a 30 second cooldown during which swapping is blocked. 

    Thursday - January 19, 2012

    Diablo 3 - Systems Changes

    by Dhruin, 20:55

    Blizzard has revamped a number of Diablo 3 systems based on beta and internal feedback. The official site details the changes and the reasons, which include removing Scrolls of Indentification, some UI changes, removing the Mystic artisan, returning Town Portal and more. A sample:

    So we've decided to remove the Cauldron of Jordan and Nephalem Cube. They were implemented to allow for salvaging and selling items when there was no quick and easy way to return to town. Now that the Stone of Recall exists, we found that keeping the Cauldron and Cube in the game detracted from the benefits of returning to town to sell items, salvage, craft, and interact with the townsfolk. It’s a good idea to break up combat so that players have a moment to evaluate their gear and crafting options before venturing back out. In addition, we've decided to just call it what it is and the Stone of Recall is now Town Portal, and is integrated directly onto the skill bar UI.

    We're also looking at systems we’ve created and making sure that the rationale that brought us to these designs still makes sense. The Stone of Recall, for instance, has a short cast time and allows you to return to town. Early on we said we wouldn't have town portals, as they introduced too many combat exploits, but we were able to resolve them. Because we have the Stone of Recall, though, we began to evaluate systems that were originally implemented to deal with the exclusion of town portals.

    Wednesday - January 11, 2012

    Diablo 3 - Console release confirmed

    by Dhruin, 00:39

    I think this is so unsurprising that confirmation is hardly required. At any rate, Eurogamer noticed a tweet from Blizzard community manager Micah Whiple that confirms a console version of Diablo 3:

    Blizzard community manager Micah Whiple broke the news via his Twitter feed. No specific platforms were mentioned for the console version, or a release date.

    When asked if he could confirm or deny rumours the anticipated hack and slash was on the way for consoles, Whiple responded with the affirmative:

    "Yup. Josh Mosqueira is lead designer for the Diablo console project."

    Mosqueira previously worked as design director on Company of Heroes at Relic.  

    Tuesday - December 20, 2011

    Diablo 3 - Preview @ GameBanshee

    by Dhruin, 20:36

    Diablo III has been previewed in a meaty 6-page article at GameBanshee, complete with a gallery of over 100 screenshots:

    It really is a trade-off, with the new system encouraging smart selection of skills over simply min/maxing a key two or three, but it's also less involved, and once you find a few skills you like, chances are you won't feel the need to change them up, which potentially undermines the wide skill selection so emphasized by the "new skill every level" setup. Blizzard claim that Runestones will further enhance skills in different ways (turning a single strike into an area attack, or elemental damage bonuses), but they aren't included in the beta so it's impossible for me to draw conclusions as to whether it represents an improvement or not.

    Attributes are still there, as well - Attack, Dexterity, Vitality and Defense - but they're all pretty static, even more so than skills, only changing based on bonuses given by items. Whereas attributes were deterministic in Diablo II, with multiple effects and influences per attribute (such as critical chance, blocking chance, etc.), now they're down to single effects mostly just influencing damage output. Once again, the loss to customization is substantial, and while it means that respecs aren't necessary if you make a mistake, it also cuts into the feeling of ownership of your character. Save for your items, nothing about your character build, if it can even be called that, feels very substantial or significant.

    The net result of this is that Diablo III has a much more immediate feel than the prior games. Whereas much of Diablo II especially was about anticipating the next level-up, in Diablo III, those levels feel less like progress so much as they do expand your repertoire as the game's threats grow in number and complexity. I can't comment on the effects this might have on the game's longevity, but needless to say it can make Diablo III feel less like an RPG and more like a straight-up action game from time to time. 

    Monday - December 12, 2011

    Diablo 3 - Opening Cinematic Revealed

    by Dhruin, 20:21

    Blizzard has released the opening cinematic for Diablo III, which you can watch at the official site after it was unveiled at the Spike TV Awards.

    Thursday - November 17, 2011

    Diablo 3 - Interview @ IGN

    by Dhruin, 09:43

    Of Balance and Barbarians is an interview with Blizzard's Jay Wilson at IGN:

    IGN: We're excited for how balanced the five classes seem and how each of them delivers such a different experience. How did the team go about developing those five [classes]? They're all so different. They complement each other but they also work well solo.

    JW: Well, a lot of it goes back to the core Blizzard class design philosophy where we look at each class and [ask]: what makes this class special? Why do I want to play it in the first place? What's the fantasy? This is something we ask a lot. And then when we target the key signature [fantasies], we don't let the other classes have those things -- we'd even go so far as to not choose a particular class just based on the fact that its fantasy steps on the fantasy of an existing class.

    While we're at it, the Battle.net EU site points out they are still offering beta keys via Facebook.

    Monday - November 14, 2011

    Diablo 3 - Gameplay Video Preview @ G4

    by Aries100, 22:46

    A preview for this game can be found at G4. The gameplay preview is about 2 minutes long and it features art director Christian Lichtner talking about what he's doing in these late stages of the game's development. He's also talking about how the team has tried to keep the dark atmosphere of the first two games.

    Source: GameBanshee

    Monday - October 24, 2011

    Diablo 3 - Launch and Beyond @ IGN

    by Dhruin, 22:21

    IGN has an article titles Diablo III: Launch and Beyond, although it isn't so much about post-launch as the work Blizzard is doing during the beta:

    "We are making some changes to how [skills] are swapped in and out," said Mayberry. "I'm not going to reveal it, but it'll come out in the beta. We haven't completely locked it down. We're going to make incremental, minute changes and get player reaction."

    Working on the project up to this point, Mayberry says the most challenging aspect of creating the game is ensuring the randomness doesn't seem too random. "I often compare DIII, it's like a LEGO model of the Death Star. It's just a sphere, it's pretty simple. But when it's broken apart, Diablo III is just thousands and thousands of little pieces that the game engine puts together. That creates a real difficulty in tracking and tuning and balancing and fixing. Players don't realize how much is going on under the hood. The reality is, when you play the game, every time you play, it's never going to be exactly the same."

    Over at Gamasutra is an article on how the Auction House will provide a "dynamic" economy:

    Blizzard explained that players can not only sell loot, but can salvage armor and weapons and sell the various components to other players in the auction house. Buyers in turn can use those salvaged components with discovered blueprints to build entirely unique weapons that they can then use or, even better, sell back on the auction house and turn a profit, or they can trade them with friends. Based on what Blizzard showed off at the event, the options for acquiring the best loot seem to be easier and better than ever.

    Blizzard also clarified that there would be two different versions of the auction house in Diablo III. One will be based on in-game gold players acquire through their adventures, while the other will be based on real-world currency. Players will be free to participate in whichever they choose, so there will be no limits to getting one's hands on a preciously sought after piece of loot.

    Friday - October 21, 2011

    Diablo 3 - Free for WoW Pass Subscribers

    by Dhruin, 22:24

    I'm not up on World of Warcraft's pricing but Rock, Paper, Shotgun reports from Blizzcon that annual "Pass" subscribers will receive Diablo III for free:

    The big news from Blizzcon is starting to pour out of the holes in the internet, and the biggest news is that Diablo III is going to be free to annual World Of Warcraft subscribers. Signing up for the annual pass gets you Diablo III for nowt and new in-game mount for WoW, Tyrael’s Charger. And there we were thinking WoW subs were going to decline. Clever boys.

    You'll also find pics of the Collector's Edition over at IGN. It will contain:

    • Art of Diablo III artbook
    • Collector's Edition Soundtrack
    • Behind the scenes DVD and Blu-Ray two disc set
    • Diablo Skull and 4GB USB Touchstone
    • Exclusive in-game content including Diablo III aesthetic artifacts, World of Warcraft pet Fetish Shaman, Starcraft II Battle.net portraits

    Wednesday - October 12, 2011

    Diablo 3 - The Road to Hell @ GameBanshee

    by Dhruin, 23:00

    GameBanshee's Eric Schwarz has penned an article titled Diablo III and The Road to Hell, questioning a number of the design and implementation decisions. The value proposition, online-only and changes since Diablo 1 are discussed:

    From a gamer's perspective, especially in this tougher economic time, in terms of its raw value proposition... the simple fact is that Diablo III begins to look like a classic case of paying a premium price for a name brand, when the competition is bringing just as much if not more to the table, all for a much more reasonable price. I don't presume to speak for all gamers, but when I look at both games and then weigh the asking prices of each, it's hard not to feel Diablo III simply doesn't provide the same level of value - even were Torchlight II twice as much money, it'd still likely look like a better deal. In the end, you're paying for that Diablo image and entrance to its user community, but not necessarily much else.

    Tuesday - October 04, 2011

    Diablo 3 - Beta Preview @ Blues

    by Dhruin, 23:50

    Blue has kicked up a preview of the Diablo III beta. After covering off the changes, Blue offers some opinions on the experience:

    Each class is enjoyable in its own right. The Barbarian seems much more barbaric, as his powerful attacks often shake the earth and send enemies flying backwards. The Monk is quite badass in his ability to beat things senseless with his fists and he also has side skills that aid parties greatly, including the ability to blind mobs and to heal everyone. The Demon Hunter, Wizard, and Witch Doctor all have ranged attacks, with the latter being fun as his darts are poisoned, so enemies sometimes fall after appearing to survive being shot. The Witch Doctor starts off with a pack of zombie dogs, who effectively occupy opponents for the dart treatment. There is less of a need to concentrate on armor than in past games, making two-handed weapons and dual-wielding more useful than before.

    Saturday - October 01, 2011

    Diablo 3 - Preview @ StrategyInformer

    by Dhruin, 00:31

    Another day, another Diablo III preview - this time from StrategyInformer:

    Despite having the same level design (albeit modernised), and despite throwing us a very familiar looking locale, the great thing about this game is that - thanks to the new engine - the world is so much more alive. Enemies crawl out of the ground, jump out of pushes, emerge from old crypts and coffins. Further to that, you can drop chandeliers, knock over old walls, and use the environment itself to help defeat your enemies. There's so much more immersion and interaction, far more than any of the last games had. The trade-mark randomisation is back as well, to help keep things interesting - mini-dungeons are randomised, there are special 'events' that you can trigger too.

    Source: Blues News

    Thursday - September 29, 2011

    Diablo 3 - Preview @ Edge

    by Dhruin, 00:13

    Edge Online has a four-page look at Diablo III. Here's an excerpt on the new character system:

    And it’s no paradox, either. Blizzard has the resources to spend the best part of a decade working – and reworking – every last detail of a complex formula, yet it also has the design experience to ensure that such an enormity of interlocking systems and variable mechanics all end up channelled directly into a game that unfolds with no friction and no confusion. As the beta unfolds, every element in Diablo III bows down before the power of one simple click: the click that busts up zombies, vacuums loot, activates audiolog lore books and – now – even allows you to re-spec your character on the fly.

    And there lies one of the game’s two big ideas: a reshaping of the RPG progression system that does away with points and trees in favour of simply giving you a new skill – which will grow more powerful as you do – with each new level. Although Diablo III still forces you to focus yourself somewhat, offering at first only two and eventually just six active skill slots (along with three passives, an evolution of the series’ troubled traits system), within that you can then swap abilities in and out to your heart’s content, changing the fundamental nature of your character from one encounter to the next.

    Monday - September 26, 2011

    Diablo 3 - Previews @ ActionTrip, Worthplaying

    by Dhruin, 23:05

    More Diablo III previews from the beta. From ActionTrip:

    As I ran through the town I noticed flickering torches, trees swaying the breeze, rats running in the shadows, villagers standing in small groups discussing this plight and soft light glowing from the windows of buildings lining the streets. In short, environmental atmosphere was everywhere. While the graphics themselves were not the sharpest, most detailed to be found in a modern game (even though my resolution was set to max and I was running at 2650 x 1900 resolution) it did not matter as much because so much was going on as I moved about. The town felt alive and I found myself exploring each nook and cranny to see what visual or auditory surprises awaited me.

    ...and Worthplaying:

    The skill system seems built for high-level play, but with the beta limitations, it is harder to tell how it scales. At the beginning of the game with a new character, you only have two skill slots, and at level six, you gain a third. This continues onward to a total of six slots in the endgame. While you may have numerous skills unlocked, you have to equip them in one of your skill slots to use them, and you cannot use any that are not equipped in such a manner. At the beginning, this means that you can control all of your active skills with your left and right mouse buttons, and even at level six, you can play most of the game using nothing more than a two-button mouse and a couple of keyboard keys. If the leveling up changes could feel strange to series fans, the skill slot system feels like a massive departure in that its simplification doesn't always seem better.

    What remains to be seen is how the skill slot system scales in high-level play. Diablo 2 had more total skills per class and you could fill your action bar with them, but in actual gameplay, you only used a small handful of them. With six skill slots in Diablo III, the gameplay could come across intact, but that remains to be seen. In addition, there are many early abilities, such as auras, which add useful benefits, but in the early game, you wonder if you really want to "waste" a skill slot on them.

    Friday - September 23, 2011

    Diablo 3 - Official: "Early 2012"

    by Dhruin, 22:29

    Blizzard has always taken a "when it's done" approach but signs seemed to be pointing to a 2011 release for Diablo III. Now it's official, with a press release hitting our inbox announcing an "early 2012" release:

    HELL FREEZES OVER - DIABLO® III TO SHIP IN EARLY 2012


    Blizzard Entertainment extends beta test for hotly anticipated action role-playing game

    IRVINE, Calif. - Despite a sterling record of always hitting its release targets, Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. today announced that the expected launch window for Diablo® III, the next title in the company’s critically acclaimed series of action role-playing games, will be moving into early 2012.

    "With every game we make, the temptation is always very strong to launch as soon as possible. However, we didn't put so many years of work into Diablo III to release a game that was almost ready," said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. "The beta test is going very well, and we look forward to making the most of the extra time we're taking to deliver an experience that lives up to our vision for the game and the expectations of our players. Next year is going to be an incredibly busy one for Blizzard, and we hope an incredibly fun one for Blizzard gamers."

    Blizzard will use the additional time to extend the Diablo III closed beta test, which began September 20, potentially adding more testers than initially projected. Players who have an active Battle.net® account with any Blizzard game attached to it should visit Battle.net account management to opt in for a chance to participate in the beta test. Additional testing phases, as well as further details regarding the launch plans for the game, will be announced on the company’s Diablo III community website: www.Diablo3.com.

    Thanks to EvilManagedCare and Kris for similar submissions!

    Thursday - September 22, 2011

    Diablo 3 - Beta Tidbits

    by Dhruin, 23:14

    Diablo III is still the biggest news around the 'net and here are a few more items.

    Gaming Illustrated has some very early impressions of the beta, though there isn't much detail:

    The graphics of the game so far are pretty impressive. While we haven’t been super impressed with the actual character and monster graphics, the environment and spell effects look absolutely amazing. It’s a lot of fun to tactically kill something like a “Grotesque” creature that explodes and causes an AoE damage for enemies once he’s killed. One of the big things we noticed is how amazing the sound effects are. The music is good but the spell sound effects are amazing. Also, all dialog in the game is done via voice, even the lore that you find that gives you a background into characters and areas you visit.

    From the where-do-they-get-these-people department comes a GameSpy article that asks, should Diablo III be first-person?

    I'll admit it. My first ever hands-on time with any Diablo game occurred just 24 hours ago, when my inexperienced Demon Hunter took his first fumbling steps into the Diablo III beta's dark and ominous dungeons. It took just three hours before I'd hacked and slashed my way to the main storyline's satisfying conclusion, but in that short period of time my eyes were opened to an entirely new perspective on a gaming world. As a lover of first person games, the isometric camera system in Diablo III felt very unfamiliar, and I inevitably wondered why Blizzard didn't make the leap to first person like so many other developers. This led me to wonder - should Diablo III have been a first person game, and what are the pros and cons of this approach?

    For my money, he misses the whole point, by the way.

    Joystiq reports that Blizzard's Jay Wilson is posturing for the inevitable console release, saying it feels better with a controller:

    Blizzard has been conducting said experiments, Wilson said, because "we feel that the controls and the style of the game lend itself to a console." And the tests have been successful. "With some of our early experiments in putting a direct control scheme into the game via a 360-like analogue controller, I've been 'Oh this feels even better, with direct control...'"

    Lastly, IGN has a series of videos that show the entire Beta act from beginning to end.

    Diablo 3 - How the DRM Will Affect You

    by Dhruin, 15:01

    Rock, Paper, Shotgun's John Walker writes about playing Diablo III as a solo player, based on his beta experience, and his frustration with the always-on DRM. John acknowledges lots of players will enjoy the online elemens but believes the current setup is a mistake:

    My intention with Diablo III is to solo the game. I realise that’s not the way many will play it, it’s not what the Diablo series is most famous for, and it’s arguably not the primary way Blizzard intends the game to be played. However, crucially, it’s a mode of the game that’s deliberately programmed to work, with NPC story-based characters to join your party and interact with you, and a single-player plot to hack through. It is, undeniably, designed to be played as a single-player game.

    However, the always-on DRM makes this the most remarkably annoying process. During the beta, Blizzard’s servers have dropped a few times. Of course, that’s expected during a beta, but it’s also not unexpected once a game has gone live. And here, when the server goes down, you’re left with a ghost of the game until it eventually stops you from playing at all. I found that suddenly when I fired my bow no arrows came out – I could wander around, enemies were still there, but clearly something was wrong. And then it froze, a message popped up saying there were connection troubles, and I was dumped back to the main menu with no way to play. For no discernible reason. I still had the game installed, had no desire to be online or use any online functions, and yet still couldn’t play.

    Thanks, screeg!

    Wednesday - September 21, 2011

    Diablo 3 - Beta Videos

    by Dhruin, 23:35

    VoodooExtreme has a 50 minute video of Wizard gameplay from the Diablo III beta (they also have screens from that here). Over at sister site IGN, there are three videos covering the skill calculator released recently, the first two minutes and a pillaging monk.

    Diablo 3 - Incredibly Early Impressions @ RPS

    by Dhruin, 14:02

    John Walker gives some Incredibly Early Impressions of the Diablo III beta over at Rock, Paper, Shotgun:

    It’s a bit more of an RPG than my withered hack-n-slash brain was thinking it would be. That’s not to say it doesn’t get straight into the attacking – it certainly does. But it’s regularly interspersed by chats with the locals, all fully voiced of course, setting you your quests, or giving colour to the world. Things begin in the New Tristram, where after a star fell from the sky, the dead have started rising, and the villagers are understandably concerned. But you, whoever you are, have turned up and prove a surprisingly decent combatant to this attack. You seem the right person for everybody in the world to ask to do everything.

    Tuesday - September 20, 2011

    Diablo 3 - Closed Beta Begins

    by Dhruin, 23:59

    Gamasutra has news the Closed Beta for Diablo III has started:

    Blizzard Entertainment on Tuesday announced that closed beta testing for its highly-anticipated Diablo III action RPG has begun, as the title enters the "final stages of development."

    Not only will the closed beta plant the seed for future marketing buzz among the series' most loyal fan base, but it will also give Blizzard important player feedback on the game's development, including stability and hardware input.

    The English-only closed beta will allow players to play through Act I of the game in single-player or cooperatively as any of the five hero classes, which include barbarian, witch doctor, wizard, monk and demon hunter. The Act leads to an encounter with the Skeleton King.

    ...and IGN has an article on a "new easier raid mode".

    Tuesday - September 13, 2011

    Diablo 3 - The Shared Stash, Skills Calculator

    by Dhruin, 23:09

    A new blog entry on the Diablo III site explains the Shared Stash and related changes, such as Gold is automatically shared among characters:

    While players will start out with only a single tab in their shared stash with a limited number of slots, upgrades in the form of additional slots and tabs can be purchased for gold by any character you create. You'll be able to buy up to 5 tabs, each containing 70 slots of space, for a total of 350 slots of shared storage! Once bought, the upgraded storage space will be available to every character on your Diablo III account.

    Skill Calculators are also now available for each of the five classes if you'd like to play with builds.

    Friday - September 09, 2011

    Diablo 3 - System Requirements

    by Dhruin, 00:30

    Worthplaying has the system reqs for Diablo III:

    System Requirements:

    • Minimum :
      • Windows XP/Vista/Win7
      • CPU: Intel Pentium Core 2 Duo 2,8 Ghz or AMD Athlon 64 X2 4400+
      • 1 GB RAM (Win XP), 1.5 GB (Win7)
      • NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GT or ATI Radeon X1950 Pro
      • 12 GB Hard Drive Space
    • Recommended :
      • Windows XP/Vista/Win7
      • CPU: Intel Pentium Core 2 Duo 2,4 Ghz or AMD Athlon 64 X2 5600+
      • 1 GB RAM (Win XP), 1.5 GB (Win7)
      • NVIDIA GeForce 260 or ATI Radeon HD 4870
      • 12 GB Hard Drive Space

    Monday - September 05, 2011

    Diablo 3 - The Ten Commandments

    by Dhruin, 22:44

    I think the point of this IGN article is to cover the design pillars of Diablo III but it essentially ends up a standard preview:

    Diablo III's five strong class line-up is looking incredible, and each is even more unique than before. In previous games, for instance, each class utilised mana for powering various skills and spells. In Diablo III, each class has its own system. The Barbarian, for instance, utilises fury. Fury is generated by dishing out damage and taking damage, but it also ebbs away, so must be used as it accumulates, meaning that you're always looking for your next set of kills. A good player will choose a mix of fury-generating and fury-using abilities so they can make the most of this system.

    Thursday - August 25, 2011

    Diablo 3 - New Community Site, Forums

    by Dhruin, 00:39

    Blizzard has released a new community site and forums for Diablo III, although you'll need to use a StarCraft 2 Battle.net login or similar if you want to post prior to D3's release. Here's the announcement:

    Welcome to the new Diablo III community site! This will be your sanctuary for all the latest developments from New Tristram and beyond, featuring community forums and regular updates to this blog, where you can post comments and share news items via Twitter, Facebook, and other popular social media outlets. You'll want to check out our news feed regularly. We’ll use it to share everything about Diablo III and to highlight recent community activity, including your most entertaining videos, art, comics, fansites, and much more.

    Take the time to get acquainted with the site and be sure to come back often. We've got a lot in store leading up to the release of Diablo III, including the launch of the Game Guide section featuring lore, characters, classes, maps, and more. Additionally, you’ll see us on the new Diablo III forums. We look forward to sharing and discussing all the latest Diablo III news, content, and updates with you for a long time to come.

    Blog comments, forum posting, and profile management are only available to those with an active StarCraft II, World of Warcraft, or Diablo III beta license.

    Friday - August 19, 2011

    Diablo 3 - Coming to consoles?

    by Aries100, 18:00

    Eurogamer is reporting that Diablo 3 is heading for consoles. Lead Designer Josh Mosqueira
    said, during the press conference at Games Com that Blizzard

    "is very, very serious about bringing the Diablo 3 experience to the console."

    He added that, as reported earlier this year, Blizzard is currently in the process of recruiting a team to handle a potential console version of the action RPG sequel.

    "Today, we're trying to build the best console team at Blizzard. We're looking for programmers, designers, artists who think their dream job would be to bring Diablo to the console. Trust me, it is a dream job.

    Source: GameBanshee

    Thursday - August 18, 2011

    Diablo 3 - Video Preview @ GVTV

    by Aries100, 16:46

    A brief video preview for this game can be found at GVTV; it deals with the story and art style of the game.

    Wednesday - August 17, 2011

    Diablo 3 - New Inferno Difficulty

    by Myrthos, 22:29

    Kotaku has news that Diablo 3 will have a fourth difficulty level named 'Inferno', which is something only the very dedicated Diablo 3 players will ever use.

    Blizzard Entertainment game director Jay Wilson tells Kotaku that Diablo III's Inferno difficulty is aimed at players who have maxed out their character by reaching the level 60 player cap. Only then can they tackle Inferno difficulty, a challenge that will throw enemies at the player that are of even higher levels. Wilson says the level for every monster in Inferno will be, at minimum, level 61 making Diablo III's hardest difficulty setting an overwhelming, often uphill battle.

    (In Diablo II, players could level their characters up to 99, but the highest level monster was 85.)

    Monsters will see an increase in health, damage, damage resistances and aggression in Inferno. They'll also have access to a larger suite of powers in Inferno, making minions and boss monsters even tougher. Expect a tougher game across the board, with broader than ever challenges even for the most skilled demon hunters.

    "The idea was that we wanted a difficulty mode where the entire game was viable," Wilson says. "So you don't have to pick and choose key areas [to replay]." Diablo III's Inferno difficulty, he says, will be "very difficult, very challenging," presenting a "flattened" difficulty experience that Blizzard hopes will provide a more balanced, but more challenging end game for Diablo diehards.

    Thanks Kris.

    Saturday - August 13, 2011

    Diablo 3 - Leonard Boyarsky Interview @ Gamasutra

    by Dhruin, 01:33

    Gamasutra speaks with Blizzard's Leonard Boyarsky about "the process of expanding the Diablo universe significantly with the third installment of the series":

    Perhaps it sounds a bit cliché, but it's often said that adversity and strife build character. In past interviews, you've said that the writing was on the wall at Interplay and it was a major reason that you moved on to co-found Troika, which was undoubtedly quite the experience. What is Blizzard providing you?

    LB: A very creative atmosphere. You know, they've let us pretty much guide the development of the project. It very much has the kind of game development culture that we tried to create at Troika, and feels like old Interplay did, when Interplay was doing really well. It feels like the teams have control of their destiny, and they were making games because we think these are the games we want to play, we think these are the games our fans want to play. So, it's really a creative culture, and it's really just a great environment to work in.

    What are some specific challenges of building and designing a world that's versatile enough for one person and bots to play, and for a chaotic party that's sniffing around for stuff to break and exploit?

    LB: Well, as far as multiplayer goes, we tried at the beginning -- approaching this from the story angle -- we were really trying to make sure that the story came across, even in multiplayer.

    We've come to the conclusion that when you're playing multiplayer, the story of the game is more about the story you're playing with your friends as opposed to the actual quest line. Now, if you're playing with a bunch of people who are really interested in getting the story of the game and the quest lines, that's a different thing, but Diablo can be very frantic and fast-paced, so a lot of times, you're in there and you're just playing it... You know, it's all about the fun of just playing with your friends.

    So, the story and the story delivery is really focused on the single-player aspect. And the multiplayer, you can still get that, but we've tried to leave it open so you can have a great multiplayer experience, as opposed to forcing the story on people or forcing these things that are like, oh, you have to jump through these hoops to get the gameplay experience because of the nature of the game in itself.

    Thursday - August 11, 2011

    Diablo 3 - The Five Classes @ IGN

    by Dhruin, 23:44

    Blizzard's Jay Wilson talks to IGN in a series of video interviews about each character class in Diablo III. Here's their intro:

    IGN recently sat down with Diablo III's game director, Jay Wilson, who took us through the strengths and weaknesses of each of the five different character classes in Blizzard's upcoming epic. Rather than hit you with the full 10 minute video, we've broken it up into five separate chunks - each focusing on one of the classes. Enjoy!

    Thursday - August 04, 2011

    Diablo 3 - On Ditching Skill Points

    by Dhruin, 22:55

    IGN looks at the decision to remove Skill points in Diablo III and gets input on the change from Blizzard. Here's the intro, in case you don't know the issue:

    One of the biggest surprises during our recent hands-on with Diablo III was the changes that had been made to the game's skill system. In Diablo II, each character class had several skill trees, and players activated – then strengthened – their abilities by allocating points as they levelled up. No more. Instead, a new active skill is unlocked automatically with almost every level gained until players hit the high 20s. Players are free to try all the skills out, with the restriction being the number they can have hot-keyed at once. At the start of the game only two skills can be used, then a new hotkey opens up at level 6, 12, 18 and 24, so that players eventually have access to six skills simultaneously. Each skill can be modified with one of five runestones, and three passive skill slots also open up as players level, letting them choose from a number of additional perks.

    It's a massive overhaul and – as much as we liked the old system - hugely promising. We asked Jay Wilson, Diablo III's Game Director, to give us some insight on when and why the company decided to ditch the skill points system.

    Keeping some Diablo III stuff together, Eurogamer has an article on the Auction House:

    What this means is that, in the rarefied air of high-level Diablo play, advancement and customisation are almost limitless. The time you can pour into searching for the perfect equipment for your character is equally limitless - and there's no guarantee you'll ever get it. This naturally created a market for trading between players as they pooled resources to equip each other.

    But there was no trading function to speak of - players actually had to meet up in-game and drop items on the ground, like backstreet dealers - and cheating, griefing, item duping and stealing were rife. What's more, the games' economies were unstable, and players eventually turned to exchanging items for cash, sometimes resorting to unsafe transactions through third-party websites. Scams, including account theft, preyed on the unwary. It wasn't fun for players and it created customer service headaches for the developer.

    That, Pardo says, is how Blizzard came to decide that Diablo III needed an integrated item-trading system - and why it had to include the option to trade for real money. "Players really want it. This is something that we know players are going to do either way. We can either provide them a really safe, awesome, fun experience - or they'll find ways of doing it elsewhere."

    Monday - August 01, 2011

    Diablo 3 - More Coverage

    by Dhruin, 23:09

    Diablo 3 is the big news on the 'net today, so here's another group of previews, video footage and commentary.

    GameSpot has a preview:

    The presentation began with an overview of all the different character classes in Diablo III. No matter which character you choose, they will each have six slots for active skills and three for passive skills. Your first two active skill slots will be free, with additional slots opening at levels 6, 12, 18, and 24. Passive skill slots open at levels 10, 20, and 30. Each of your active skills also comes with a rune slot that lets you customize its effects. To help demonstrate the drastic changes runes can make, Jay Wilson, the game's lead designer, took us through his version of a battle mage--a wizard built for melee combat.

    IGN has spammed multiple articles - here's their preview:

    The core gameplay is still very similar – hit a bunch of stuff with magic and weapons to make it spill loot all over the ground – but the way classes are upgraded and modified is vastly different. There are no attribute or skill points in Diablo III. As you level, new skills unlock and your class' core attributes increase automatically. To power up skills, you don't dump in points like in Diablo II. Instead, some aspects will automatically increase upon leveling, but a lot of the customization has to do with Runestones.

    Then, IGN has When is Diablo III Coming Out (answer: when it's ready), Get Rich Playing Diablo III, Is Diablo III an eSports Title? and Diablo III to Require Constant Internet Connection.

    Gamasutra has an opinion piece on these revelations:

    As for the poor player who wants to play the game while flying coast to coast? Well the response from Blizzard is: "I want to play Diablo 3 on my laptop in a plane, but, well, there are other games to play for times like that." Which is basically a nice way of saying tough.

    Getting back to the actual game, VG247 has 7 minutes of gameplay footage from the beta.

    Diablo 3 - "No Mods, Online-Only, Cash Trades"

    by Dhruin, 14:09

    The embargo has lifted on a recent Blizzard press event and details on Diablo III are flowing as a result. The quote in the heading is from Rock, Paper, Shotgun, who obviously don't like some of the revelations:

    The morning brings a trio of horror-news about Diablo III. I’m outright bewildered about what Blizzard have done, and shuddering about the likely reaction in comments. I won’t muck around here, and instead shall just wade straight into the things that are probably going to end up being PC gaming’s biggest controversy of 2011.

    1) The game requires a constant internet connection. It cannot be played offline.
    2) Mods are “expressly prohibited.”
    3) Items in the auction house are bought and sold for real-life money.

    Uh-oh.

    Eurogamer has a full preview and the real-money-Auction-House is also a critical part of their coverage:

    The big shock is an officially sanctioned real money auction house - an in-game eBay - where players will be able to sell loot to each other in their local currency. This development is so daring, complex and potentially controversial, we'll discuss it separately in a full article soon. There'll be a separate but functionally identical auction house where players can trade using game gold.

    IncGamers has a summary and Diablo Fans also has a preview.

    Thanks, Kris!

    Friday - May 27, 2011

    Diablo 3 - Runestone System Revealed

    by Dhruin, 00:32

    The Diablo III site has details of the Runestone system, with several videos and a truckload of screens on offer:

    There are more than twenty skills per class, and a player can choose to access up to seven of those skills at any one time. Skills primarily allow characters to perform special attacks and cast spells, but they can also activate defensive abilities, summon minions, set traps, or allow the player to navigate the battlefield through quick travel and escape mechanics. While these skills always present players with plenty of tactical options for defending Sanctuary against the coming demonic invasion, runestones allow you to customize skills by changing the way they look and how they function.

    Friday - May 13, 2011

    Diablo 3 - Followers Revealed, Trailer, Interviews

    by Dhruin, 22:42

    Blizzard has revealed a new followers system in Diablo III, with information and a trailer at the official site (thanks Zohaib for a similar link).

    IGN follows (sorry) up with a preview on the topic:

    Blizzard lead content designer Kevin Martens says the Followers will be active participants during your journey, often commenting on quests and environments, conversing with townsfolk and offering up hints. You can bring one Follower with you outside of towns, and each will have access to 12 skills, four of which can be active at a time. Their armor will upgrade over time and change in appearance when it does, and you can slot in rings, amulets and weapons. Each Follower will also get a distinct special item slot that lets then equip gear nobody else, including you, can.

    ...and FZ.se and GamePlanet have interviews (thanks Blue's):

    Leonard Boyarsky: We're really excited to talk about the followers today, they really add a lot to gameplay, not only strategically, but also in really fleshing out the world as a living breathing place.

    There are many aspects to them that really enliven the gameplay experience. There's a templar that's going to take a lot of damage for you, but if you're a barbarian you can choose to have him healing because you don't need someone up-front taking a lot of damage for you. If you're playing more of a ranged class, a wizard or somebody like that, you're going to use him more up-front.

    We also have a scoundrel, which is the classic rogue archetype. Very humorous, very scoundrelly in his personality! He's a ranged character, and does a lot of damage such as poison multi-shots, things like that.

    And we have the enchantress, she's kind of a buffing follower: she'll amplify your damage, lower enemies’ resistance and charm your enemies so they fight on your side for a while.

    But basically the main thing we're getting across here is that you can pick and choose their skills as you level up and that changes their gameplay mechanics to sit better with your game style, how you're playing your character.

    So there's that aspect of them but they also really bring the game world to life. When you're running around the world they comment on what's going on and comment on places in the world, and really give you a lot of background. That way you don't have to sit down and read lore books or things like that if you're not inclined to do so.

    Tuesday - May 10, 2011

    Diablo 3 - Q3 Beta "Likely"

    by Dhruin, 22:23

    Gamasutra reports Blizzard are aiming for Diablo III beta testing in Q3 and are "working hard" for a 2011 release:

    Blizzard president Michael Morhaime is "pleased to report" the developer has begun internal testing of the upcoming dungeon crawler; external testing is targeted for the third quarter ahead of a possible late 2011 launch.

    In a Gamasutra-attended conference call, Morhaime said "I am pleased to report that we began internal company-wide testing last week. The game is looking great, and we are currently targeting a Q3 launch for external beta testing."

    Thanks, zohaib.

    Thursday - April 28, 2011

    Diablo 3 - "In the home stretch"

    by Dhruin, 23:57

    There's a hands-on preview of Diablo III at the NY Times, with the author playing the game for around an hour at Blizzard's offices. The most important takeaway from the article is Jay Wilson saying they are in crunch mode "in the home stretch". Of course, with Blizzard, that could still take a while:

    It appears distinctly possible that Diablo could be the first Blizzard franchise to make the leap from PCs to consoles like the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, but Blizzard isn’t talking about that. Blizzard has also not announced a release date — or year — for Diablo III. But as Mr. Wilson put it: “We’re definitely in the home stretch. We’re crunching. This is when the magic happens.”

    Source: Blues News

    Monday - April 18, 2011

    Diablo 3 - Interview @ AtomicGamer

    by Dhruin, 13:00

    Diablo III's Lead Content Designer Kevin Martens has been interviewed at AtomicGamer. Here's a snip that isn't about D3 but makes some interesting observations:

    AtomicGamer: So why do you think we haven’t seen many triple-A action RPGs this generation?

    Kevin Martens: Well, I think there’s a couple of things going on. Firstly, the action and RPG genres are bleeding together a lot more than they used to. You have games like The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion that’s a good example of a great RPG that also has good action systems. Furthermore, a lot of action games are adding RPG elements as well, like BioShock. One of my favorite RPG games of the previous generation was Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. That had really compelling RPG stuff, but was marketed and sold and seen as an action game. So that one element of it is that the two genres are sharing a lot more things together. RPGs are inherently compelling in their level-up systems and character customization ability, etc., so that stuff is coming into action play. Now, if we’re going to talk specifically about action-RPG, the genre mold of Diablo, I think it’s really a game that’s randomized like that, it has a bunch of different classes. Those games are just really hard to make. Diablo II was a king of that genre, and it’s still for sale everywhere over 10 years later.

    Source: Blues News

    Tuesday - April 12, 2011

    Diablo 3 - Dave Brevik @ PAX East

    by Woges, 12:30

    Not strictly Diablo 3 but Dave Brevik gave a lengthy speech at PAX East which his new company have put up on YouTube. Incgamers have an article which breaks down the talk and links all the videos.

    Media coverage of the talk was fairly scanty, and we’ve been after video or at least audio of the presentation ever since. Thankfully, Dave’s new company, Gazillion Entertainment, has posted the full presentation on YouTube. The forty-minute talk is broken up into three parts, and while the audio is kind of echo-y (turn up the volume) it’s quite watchable.

    Monday - April 11, 2011

    Diablo 3 - Screens @ Worthplaying

    Tuesday - February 22, 2011

    Diablo 3 - Inside the Demon Hunter

    by Dhruin, 23:01

    Diablo III art director Christian Lichtner and senior game designer Jason Bender chat with GameSpot about the Demon Hunter class in an interview from late last week:

    GS: What were your artistic inspirations for the design of the male hunter?

    CL: I think for us the inspiration was to make sure it really reads as a dark class. [The demon hunter] was one of those classes that really came across as being on the edgier side, and the way we did that is by basically looking at other influences, such as what you would expect to see in Van Hellsing where there are a lot of gadgetry and tools that they use to fight the demon hordes. Visually, it's not that much in that sense; visually, it's really sort of an amalgam of things that we feel really pushes him apart from the other classes. Even the most basic designs try to push him apart, such as [how] the runes and glyphs he uses are sharp and aggressive looking. His skills oftentimes have a lot of black, red, and dark purple in them. Things like that have a more ominous feel to them and contrast well against, say, the monk who is very rounded and focuses more on lighter colors, such as yellows and light oranges. There's a very, very distinct visual language here that we established for the male demon hunter to really push the idea that this is a badass.

    Friday - February 18, 2011

    Diablo 3 - Interview, Console Jobs

    by Dhruin, 21:20

    German site Gamestar.de has an English interview with Blizzard. Christian Leitner, the art director of Diablo 3, and Jason Bender, one of the senior game designers discuss Diablo III with particular focus on the origin of the different classes:

    Christian Leitner We want to give the player something to choose from instead of just having a class with a switch model between female and male. In that regard, the male demon hunter is more the Clint Eastwood type: He is a litte bit more wiry and not as big and muscular as some of the other classes. At the same time, he still got his cloak and very aggressive shapes in his armor, so you get the feeling that he is a little bit on the dark side. For players who like to play someone who does not know exactly where he stands, this is the class to play.

    GameStar He’s also got glowing eyes. Is there any background story to that?

    Christian Leitner The idea is that he dabbled so much into the demonic arts to understand his enemies, that this abyss has changed him.

    GameStar Will this influence gameplay? Is he a shape shifter?

    Jason Bender No, but he still has the most duality of all our classes. Our Designers developed this cool idea of hatred and discipline as the two aspects of the demon hunter. Those aspects balance out in his abilities. He’s got abilities that are very technical and take a lot of preparation to use, like setting traps or his dead-eye shot. On the other hand, some of his abilities are just pure rage, like firing a lot of arrows or throwing lots of grenades at once.

    Many sites are pointing to a new job ad for for a Senior Producer, Console, as confirmation Blizzard are working on a console version of Diablo III. VG247, however, received a statement from Blizzard to the effect that they are still just experimenting with the idea:

    "We’re exploring a Diablo-related concept for consoles and are currently looking to fill a few senior console-related positions on the Diablo III team,” said a spokesperson."

    “As we’ve said in the past, with proper care the gameplay could suit the console platform, and we’re interested in seeing what talent out there might be interested in such a project. If you’re passionate about all things Diablo and have the requisite skill and experience, then head over to our jobs site to check out the positions and apply."

    “Please note that this is not an announcement of a console title. We are first and foremost developing Diablo III for Windows and Mac PCs and don’t intend to allow any possibility of a console interpretation to delay or affect the release of the game."

    Source: Blues News

    Thursday - February 17, 2011

    Diablo 3 - The Original Design

    by Dhruin, 21:07

    This one is just for historical record. Kotaku has 17 screens from the original 2005 design of Diablo III from Blizzard North - before they were shut down and the development rebooted.  At a glance, the screens look very much like Diablo II, which might be as good or bad thing depending on your perspective.

    Wednesday - February 16, 2011

    Diablo 3 - Screen and Art

    by Dhruin, 22:51

    Blizzard's recent Facebook campaign has yielded results with a whole bunch of "likes", which means they have released a new Diablo III screen and concept art. They aren't the most interesting in my opinion but have a look at Blizzplanet.

    Wednesday - February 09, 2011

    Diablo 3 - PvP Preview @G4TV

    by Dhruin, 21:10

    G4TV has a preview and video looking at PvP in Diablo 3:

    So what is it? Arena is a place where you can battle other players without consequences. Your corpse won't get looted, and you won't drop a level. Developer Jason Bender said they may be supporting leaderboards and other ways to rank players in the Arena, but you won't be heading in there to find epic trinkets. "We don't want this to be the way you get loot," Bender said. In fact, the only real consequence of Arena is the hardcore mode, where if you fall in battle … your character gets erased forever. It's pretty much just for bragging rights, but Bender said they may explore some way to entire players into Hardcore Arena battles. With Battle.net and their love of decals, I imagine that's where something will appear.

    And I'll just add here that Blizzard's 20 year anniversary is coming soon and they've kicked up a page to host their celebrations.

    Source: Blues News

    Saturday - January 01, 2011

    Diablo 3 - Preview @ Cheat Code Central

    by Aries100, 21:03

    A preview for Diablo 3 can be found at Cheat Code Central. It seems to be based on what we know so far. Here's a snip about some of the strategy changes in Diablo 3:

    There are other changes, as well. A strategic difference Blizzard is employing here is downplaying the importance of potion. In previous games, as long as you had the necessary apothecary-related items, you would never be a complete disadvantage in a battle, so long as you had your wits about you. When surrounded by enemies, you could just keep using potions and spamming attacks until everything around you was dead. Not so in Diablo III—the importance of health items is replaced by the appearance of health globes, which enemies drop upon death. You know how these work: picking up globes will replenish your health little by little, meaning that you have to use a greater degree of strategy and skill in order to survive. The choice was made for the sake of balance, according to Blizzard, because it takes agency away from the player in terms of when they can choose to heal themselves. With the game governing that aspect of play, surviving is a much trickier ordeal.

    Source: GameBanshee

    Wednesday - December 22, 2010

    Diablo 3 - Encounters

    by Dhruin, 22:19

    Blizzard has updated the Diablo III site with information on the enemy encounters:

    One of our primary objectives for Diablo III is to make encounters with the grotesque beasts and demons of the Diablo universe even more tactically interesting than they've been in previous games. The challenge lies in doing that without removing the accessibility, speed, and forward momentum that the series is known for. Here's how we plan to accomplish that goal. [...]

    For example, when you first see the unnerving Vessels -- human cultists who've given their bodies over to demonic possession -- you'll notice that they stand numbly in place, tapping their staves on the ground and seemingly ignoring you. Yet that doesn't mean that you can ignore them. Within an indefinite amount of time, the monstrosities possessing the Vessels will tear through the flesh of their living hosts and emerge onto the battlefield, utterly consumed by rage and hell-bent on inflicting grievous harm. When encountering untransformed Vessels, it's in your best interest to kill them as fast as possible -- but trying to accomplish this can put you in the center of a melee, or take your focus off of other targets who'll savage you in the meantime. It may not seem very heroic to kill first and ask questions later, but the fate of Sanctuary is at stake - and demon-slaying is not for the faint of heart.

    Source: Blues News

    Monday - December 20, 2010

    Diablo 3 - Preview @ PC Gamer

    by Dhruin, 23:14

    PC Gamer has a late-ish preview of Diablo III from Blizzcon, although their screens seem over-saturated compared to what I've seen:

    The demo continues. As a team, we pass slicing and dicing traps. We lead hordes of zombies into a fire pit. We find a man caught in a guillotine. We all left click, hoping to rescue him. His head flops into the bucket. Oops.

    This is a dark, dark world. And to think the fans were worried that Diablo was going to be sucked into WoW’s sparkle-horse fantasy land.

    Away from the show floor, Christian talks about the art style – which to our eyes has deepened and darkened since the initial reveal. “Diablo II was ten years ago,” he says. “We’ve had a lot of opportunities to improve on the tech. Visually, it’s a bit more mature rated, and we use the 3D a lot. The Demon Hunter class, for instance, can bounce grenades off walls.”

    Thursday - December 02, 2010

    Diablo 3 - Hands-On @ Eurogamer

    by Dhruin, 20:02

    Eurogamer has some impressions of Diablo III from BlizzCon a while back:

    Either way, your Demon Hunter, just like the other classes, will be defined by her skills, not her motivation (there will be a male model, by the way, and the silhouette on the login screen suggests he'll be similarly svelte and sexy, like a World of Warcraft Blood Elf). The Demon Hunter shows all the flair for dramatic and engaging skill design we've already come to expect from Diablo III, with greater emphasis on timing, positioning and physicality than the previous games. Bola Shot wraps itself around an enemy and blows up after a short delay, and can be used with skill for multiple takedowns. Multi-shot sprays out a cone of arrows, turning your Demon Hunter into a strafing attack ship from a Treasure shmup.

    Wednesday - December 01, 2010

    Diablo 3 - Q4 2011 Release Date Rumours?

    by Dhruin, 21:26

    MMOGameSite (catchy name) has a "Product Slate" that supposedly shows Blizzard's release schedule, including Diablo III for Q4 next year (and addons for 2013 and 2014) .  It's completely unsubstantiated and comes from "a gamer, speaking on condition of anonymity", so take it as you will.

    Source: Blues News

    Thursday - November 11, 2010

    Diablo 3 - Preview Video @ G4TV

    by Dhruin, 21:17

    There's a Diablo III video over at G4TV with gameplay footage and comments from Blizzard's Jay Wilson.

    Tuesday - November 09, 2010

    Diablo 3 - PvP Hands-On @ IncGamers

    by Dhruin, 22:32

    Some lengthy hands-on experiences of Diablo III PvP from Blizzcon at IncGamers:

    The second time I played was Saturday morning, and everyone in the game seemed to have some experience. I took a Barbarian and enjoyed dealing out some catastrophic melee damage. I usually died, but I almost always gave out more than I took. The craftiest guy in the game was a Witch Doctor on my team, and most games ended with him nearly full health, while 1 or 2 of the other team remained with hardly a sliver. My team won most of those games, but the matches were longer and the final score was something like 8-4. Though “we” were winning, I wished my teammate were less crafty, since I didn’t really care which team won the games; I just wanted to play more and try more stuff out. Dying mid-way through a match and then spending 30 seconds as a ghost, watching my teammate creep around, throwing Firebombs and ducking behind pillars for cover was strategically interesting, but boring. “Just die and let’s start another round!” I kept urging him, whenever any match stretched on too long.

    Tuesday - November 02, 2010

    Diablo 3 - Interview @ Blizzplanet

    by Dhruin, 21:51

    Blizzplanet has interviewed Diablo 3 Art Director Christan Lichtner and Lead World Designer Leonard Boyarsky at the end of Blizzcon.  Here's a snip:

    Will Diablo 3′s pre-generated environments try to make the outdoor areas feel more interesting in scenary than they did in Diablo 2?

    Yeah, very much so. A resounding yes. That’s a huge improvement from D2 to D3. So we’re still having these random generated environments – but in some spots it might not be purely random but we’ll have these completely random instances within these set. Either way, the whole game is designed for replayablity. We really wanted to make it so even if you wanted to just wander sometimes you can, that was one of the big strengths in D2. We definitely want to make sure though there’s enough room to fight monsters. We take a lot of special care to maintain some level of randomness in there. There’s something we put in the game we call events, so let’s say you’re walking through kind of a swampy area and 50 zombies pop out or you meet up with someone who might give you some type of side quest – these are not static, they’re completely randomly rolled up each time for you. The game is definitely more colorful and we’ve done a lot of things to make it better.

    Thursday - October 28, 2010

    Diablo 3 - Hands-On @ Slashdot

    by Dhruin, 21:25

    Some hands-on impressions of Diablo III from Slashdot:

    The first class I tried out was the Witch Doctor. It's a caster class with voodoo- and necromancer-style magic. My main ranged attack was Poison Dart, which did some damage over time to monsters I hit. Adding a rune, it changed to a fire dart, which did more up-front damage at the expense of the DoT. I also had a skill that summoned pets to help me fight -- up to three Zombie Dogs at one time. They were actually powerful enough that I eventually let them die so I would have more to do. Runes affected them differently — one rune gave them a chance to drop a health orb when they died. Others modified how they did damage. The AI was pretty smart about having them attack the groups I wanted them to, and not go charging off on their own.

    Wednesday - October 27, 2010

    Diablo 3 - Almost 20 Minutes of Footage

    by Dhruin, 21:53

    I haven't had the chance to watch it but RPS is offering almost 20 minutes of Diablo III footage, apparently centred on the Demon Hunter.

    Tuesday - October 26, 2010

    Diablo 3 - "Gnarly" Demon Hunter @ Kotaku

    by Dhruin, 22:45

    Kotaku chats briefly with Blizzard art director Christian Lichtner and senior designer Jason Bender about the new Demo Hunter class:

    "We knew from the get go that we wanted to do a ranged class," Lichtner said. "Through coincidence we kept having to put it off. We'd introduce a new class, get excited by that, and we'd have to put it off. But when we got to the fifth class, we knew it was going to be ranged.

    Lichtner told me that the class was designed to serve as a counter to the holy Monk. "We really wanted to create a class that contrasted the Monk. We're looking at the lineup and we went 'Look, if you want to play a darker class, a little bit more mysterious, a little bit more on the scarier side, which one would you want to play?' There's the Witch Doctor, which is amazing, but we wanted to give you a little more choice with the Demon Hunter."

    Bender concurred. "She's pretty brutal; pretty angsty. We wanted to go double-dark with this character, to be really gnarly with it."

    Monday - October 25, 2010

    Diablo 3 - Design Disassembled @ GameSpot

    by Dhruin, 21:19

    Design Disassembled is the title of a GameSpot article that covers a BlizzCon panel lead by a bunch of senior Blizzard developers:

    The end result of this is a game that tries to tell a story in multiple ways, some more direct than others. For example, a level can tell a story based on its finer details whereas interacting with non-player characters during a dungeon sequence creates opportunities for smaller bits of story.

    What's more interesting is the addition of optional story elements in the form of lore books, which players can choose to ignore completely or track down every single one, depending on what they want out of the story. When used, these lore books play an audio file narrated by the character they're associated with, but the key is that the player can still fight and do other things while it's playing.

    Saturday - October 23, 2010

    Diablo 3 - Updates @ Official Site

    by Dhruin, 22:45

    Following up from yesterday's Diablo III BlizzCon updates, the official site now has the same material covered. There's a page on PvP, a recap on the forums from Bashiok called A Hero Emerges and a page for the new Demon Hunter.  A snip on PvP:

    Diablo III's PvP battles are fought in arenas spread out across the world of Sanctuary. These arenas aren't random -- they're all unique, designed with differing amounts of terrain and cover. You participate in PvP using the character of your choice, with access to all of the gear and skills you've accumulated playing the game in single-player or cooperative mode.

    In other news, Shack has some hands-on impressions of the Arena and VoodooExtreme has  large gallery of screens.

    Source: Blues News

    Friday - October 22, 2010

    Diablo 3 - BlizzCon Updates @ Kotaku

    by Dhruin, 19:55

    Kotaku is dribbling out a bunch of Diablo III updates from BlizzCon, so I'll list the articles here.

     

    Friday - October 08, 2010

    Diablo 3 - Interview @ Eurogamer

    by Dhruin, 20:07

    Blizzard's Jay Wilson has been interviewed at Eurogamer about Diablo III, with a chunk of the conversation dedicated to the Artisan crafting revealed a little while ago and  then branching into other territory.  A bit on developing the genre:

    Eurogamer: The action RPG is a genre that frankly hasn't changed a lot since Diablo II. There have been good games, Torchlight is a recent example, but it doesn't seem to have advanced much over the intervening years. Do you think you can do much with this game to change that?

    Jay Wilson: Yeah, I think we look at a couple of things as not good enough. Whenever we decide to make a game, especially if it's a sequel, it's always because we look at a game that we've made or a genre that we like that we see flaws and problems in. And we go, "We want to fix that. We love it, but it would be even better if it was like this."

    So when we looked at Diablo II, the main things that we really focused on were: the combat model doesn't have as much depth as we'd like; it can be a very simple, one-button game, and that can be good, but we'd kind of rather it be a mostly one-button game and occasionally a three- or four-button game. That's got more depth, it's more interesting, it's got more mechanics to it.

    And that funnels down into class design and monster design; when you've got more mechanics to play with, they can be deeper as well. That's why we changed the health system, that's why we created the skill hotbar, that motivates a lot of the changes we've made, right down to the resource mechanics also.

    The other side is story. This genre, even though half of its blood is RPG which is a story genre, most of these games are not very story-intensive or don't tell great stories. So that's something we really wanted to focus on: creating a world where story is pervasive, that felt like as you moved through it, even though it's randomised, there are events occurring that tell you what's happening in the game world.

    Monday - September 13, 2010

    Diablo 3 - Health Updates

    by Dhruin, 11:46

    Health is the subject of the latest update at the Diablo III site, where they describe the health globes setup.  Apparently potions will be "moderately rare", so health globes will be important:

    That's where health globes -- floating, crimson spheres that rise from the corpses of your defeated foes -- come in. These globes are the core means of regenerating your health in Diablo III, and all other methods of healing support them. When you pick up a health globe, your health (and the health of any allies in your party) is restored by a fixed percentage depending on the type of globe you've grabbed.

    Source: Voodoo Extreme

    Wednesday - September 01, 2010

    Diablo 3 - Status Update Preview @ IGN

    by Dhruin, 22:44

    IGN has a Diablo 3 preview with input from Jay Wilson that they've called a Status Update.  It covers a variety of subjects - obviously including the recent caravan/artisan updates.  Here's a snip on quests, which made me wonder if they've backed off on some of Leonard Boyarsky's influence a little:

    In terms of the actual questing, Wilson commented on how they'll be structured and how they'll tie into each other as you progress through the game. "It's a very linear quest line. We actually tried a much denser, more complex quest system and we found that players who played Diablo games just didn't really want that. They wanted a more focused game. They wanted to stay focused on killing monsters, they didn't want a lot of weird side quests. We do side quests but we don't put them in the quest log, they're events that occur within a zone that you can go "Oh, this Hell portal need to be closed." And then you can close it and it'll go, "there's three more portals in this zone." And you can decide if you want to close those portals but it's optional, you don't have to."

    Tuesday - August 31, 2010

    Diablo 3 - Crafting Page Update

    by Dhruin, 20:51

    Blue's points to updates at the Diablo 3 site, with a crafting page now online.  It links to the previously-released caravans and artisans video clip  but also provides screens and descriptions.

    Source: Blues News

    Wednesday - August 18, 2010

    Diablo 3 - GamesCom Updates

    by Dhruin, 21:56

    Santos writes in with some Diablo 3 updates from GamesCom, as reported at Diablofans.com.  From their summary:

    A quick note on what was revealed and talked about at gamesom.

    • New crafting system
    • New inventory layout
    • Hardcore mode officially confirmed
    • Town Portals officially gone

    This newsbit has extensive details on the new crafting system, as well as transcripts of the GamesCom Q&A with Jay Wilson.

    There's also an official video of the new Caravan and Artisans feature at the Diablo 3 Facebook page.

    Tuesday - July 27, 2010

    Diablo 3 - 5th Class Speculation @ 1Up

    by Dhruin, 22:32

    1Up looks over the announced classes for Diablo 3 to speculate on what the fifth and last character option might be:

    There's one archetype glaringly absent from Diablo 3: no traditional ranged physical attacker. The Wizard and Witch Doctor might have ranged spells they regularly use, but neither of them -- or either of the other classes -- uses a bow. This particular prediction seems to be the prevailing theory on the Internet, as the concept of a bow-wielding class seems like a necessity in a modern Diablo game. It fits so well, in fact, that I find it hard to believe that the last class isn't some sort of Hunter or Rogue that (at least sometimes) employs a bow.

    Tuesday - June 01, 2010

    Diablo 3 - Recent Forum Activity

    by Aries100, 13:48

    Bashiok, the community manager on the official forums discusses release dates, PvP systems, total party size as well as if the designers are limiting character builds:

    There are no skill trees any more. Skills are still tiered by when you can buy them (essentially a level requirement) but there aren't any trees, it's one big pool. 

    Before this game even reaches a beta state there will be hundreds of people playing it internally, and most likely there will be builds that are developed during that time. But the game is specifically being designed in a way that skill progression is as much of a choice as possible. There will always be builds determined to be 'the best' as long as there are choices and options. Making every skill and every pathway perfectly equal would mean watering down skills, making bland options, and overall homogenizing the classes and skill abilities. So it's a trick of balancing unique and interesting and fun skills while also ensuring that no matter which ones you pick you're not totally gimped.

    Source: GameBanshee

    Thursday - April 08, 2010

    Diablo 3 - Release Rumours

    by Dhruin, 21:26

    File this under "completely unsubstantiated rumour".  Omega notes that Diablo 3 Sanctuary says StarCraft 2 will be pushed back until after Diablo 3.  I'll put down cash to say no chance, but here's the rumour:

    Diablo 3 Release Date BEFORE StarCraft 2 (April 8, 2010)
    BattleForums spread the rumor that that development of StarCraft 2 will be postponed until Blizzard's Diablo III is ready for the market.

    An anonymous source from inside Blizzard released unintentionally this information through a casual conversation with one of BattleForums staff members.

    Saturday - April 03, 2010

    Diablo 3 - X-Treme Gamer Blanket

    by Dhruin, 21:45

    We're a little slow following up the "It's coming" tweet from Blizzard a couple of days ago.  Behold the X-Treme Gamer Blanket and don't miss the Deckard Cain GPS Voice Set.  Thanks to Omega for the reminder.

    Wednesday - March 31, 2010

    Diablo 3 - Fans Teased

    by Dhruin, 21:36

    Omega points out this tease from Blizzard on Twitter.  The message says "It's coming" but the image means nothing to me.

    Tuesday - March 23, 2010

    Diablo 3 - Update for Female Witch Doctor

    by Aries100, 12:29

    Diablo 3's website has been updated with some media for the female witch doctor. The update includes seven screenshots, two pieces of concept art, and the character's in game 3-d model.

    Source: GameBanshee

    Wednesday - March 17, 2010

    Diablo 3 - 7 Development Points

    by Dhruin, 20:59

    MMOSite has a summary of an interview with Blizzard's Jay Wilson, where he explains they identified seven key points for the development of Diablo III.  Here's an excerpt on RPG elements:

    Jay Wilson expressed, Diablo III is designed to redefine the gaming experience of Diablo series. Diablo I and Diablo II emphasized action scenes, but Diablo III intends to strengthen the game's depth so as to make it a better and more profound RPG. As the previous Diablo installments paid attention to action performance instead of role playing, the developers hope Diablo III can make progress in presenting the role-playing elements and absorb the essence of Diablo I and Diablo II at the same time.

    Wednesday - March 10, 2010

    Diablo 3 - New Screenshots @ Hooked Gamers

    by Aries100, 16:48

    You can find seven new screenshots for Diablo III at Hooked Gamers. They show the witch doctor and wizard in action. They were apparently handed during the Game Developer's Conference.

    Source: GameBanshee

    Monday - March 08, 2010

    Diablo 3 - Fans Upset Over Male Wizard

    by Dhruin, 19:44

    Omega writes that Diablo fans are up in arms (again?), this time over the "wimpy" male wizard.  Gamegrep and IncGamers both have articles summarising the uproar on Blizzard's forums.  From Gamegrep:

    Earlier this week, Blizzard revealed the in-game model of Diablo 3's male Wizard, and fans of the series were not happy. The official forums were flooded with complaints about the Wizard's appearance, calling him "wimpy," "effeminate," "gay," "a transvestite," and even compared his animation to a "belly dance."

    Tuesday - March 02, 2010

    Diablo 3 - Male Wizard Unveiled

    by Dhruin, 21:39

    Blizzard has kicked up material on Diablo III's Male Wizard.  Head over for details, screens, concepts and a trailer.

    Tuesday - February 09, 2010

    Diablo 3 - Female Monk Unveiled

    by Dhruin, 20:47

    Blizzard has officially unveiled the female Monk class from Diablo III, with a description, concept arts and two videos online.

    Saturday - January 30, 2010

    Diablo 3 - New Screens

    Thursday - January 14, 2010

    Diablo 3 - 10 Winning Features

    by Dhruin, 19:56

    Planet Diablo sends word of an article titled Ten Winning Features of Diablo III.  A sample:

    2. Destructible/Interactive Environments

    Never before seen in the series, though it's not a first in gaming, you can use your character's surroundings in battle. Topple a wall or column to crush enemies, or opt for that aged chandelier.

    The question remains: Will these elements really be useful or are they just for show?

    Don't get us wrong: So far the destructible environment elements we've seen demonstrated thus far in gameplay demos have been not only beautifully animated but also quite functional as a way to help rid Sanctuary of its demonic invaders. Just take a gander at the original gameplay trailer, where we see the Barbarian cruising through the Old Tristram Cathedral's catacombs. He smashes the wall, which comes tumbling down on top of a huge pack of zombies, taking most of them out in one go. Other elements in these dungeons crumble apart just for show once destroyed, such as Wraith generating traps and the tall obelisks that summon forth skeletons in the area preceding the Skeleton King's throne room.

    The article contains a bunch of trailers and screens to illustrate the points.

    Tuesday - November 24, 2009

    Diablo 3 - Skill Trees Gone

    by Dhruin, 21:06

    Hellforge reports on a tweet from Blizzard's official channel that says big revisions are underway on the skill tree system.  As you'd expect from a tweet, there's no other detail, so you'll need to speculate on the result:

    Diablo: The skill system revision is in full force. Trees begone! I think it might be a winner. Jay says hi.

    Source: Blues News

    Diablo 3 - Jay Wilson Interview @ DiabloFans

    by Woges, 01:13

    Skill trees out, possibly the biggest news for Diablo players in this Jay Wilson interview at DiabloFans.

    DiabloFans: On the topic of the DiabloWiki.com Monk, can you tell us if the skill trees have been named yet? So far they're listed as "Unnamed Skill Tree 1 - 3". Can we expect to see any more of his skills unveiled soon along with his female counterpart? Also, can tell me a little bit more about the new skill system?

    Jay Wilson: In regards to the female counterpart, she'll be released soon. As far as exact dates go, I really can't talk much about them. A little news about the Skill Tree system should actually go up on our Twitter page pretty soon. About that, we've decided to remove the tree-type architecture and we are moving into a purely skill-based system. This new system is still in the development stages and if it does not work, we still have plenty of options to fall back on. Right now, we're just trying different things and getting a feel for the few ideas in regards to the skill system that we have going on right now. It differs from the World of Warcraft/Diablo II type hierarchical styles and is more of a skill pool/path than a tree per se.

    Thursday - November 12, 2009

    Diablo 3 - Not Next Year

    by Woges, 19:20

    No real surprise here as Diablo 3 is marked for 2011 at the earliest by Activision Blizzard chief financial officer Thomas Tippl.

    While StarCraft II, an upgraded Battle.Net and World of Warcraft: Cataclysm are all firmly pinned down to 2010 releases, Diablo III, StarCraft II expansion packs and Blizzard's next MMO still show a release date of the "next few years".

    During a presentation in New York today, Thomas Tippl, Activision Blizzard chief financial officer, raved about the strong business done by Blizzard games. He said the division has a full pipeline of content, which he presented in the slide pictured here.

    While the lineup confirms continued World of Warcraft support and a Starcraft II launch in 2010 (with expansions to follow after), Diablo III was marked to be released in 2011 at the soonest.

    Source: Blues News

    Tuesday - November 10, 2009

    Diablo 3 - Preview @ Big Download

    by Aries100, 17:37

    Big Download has, in their latest All You Need to Know article, taken both a look at the world and mythos behind the game as well as having preview info about Diablo 3. Here's a snip about the story:

    The story for Diablo III expands greatly upon the mythos of the previous games, which arguably kills the gothic mood. Rather than having only what is directly relevant explained to the player, the world has been expanded into a planet called Sanctuary, with many of the details about races and history being revealed.

    Source: GameBanshee

    Sunday - November 01, 2009

    Diablo 3 - Jay Wilson Interview @ Game Hunters

    by Dhruin, 02:12

    USA Today's Gamer Hunters column chats to Jay Wilson about Diablo III.  Most of the questions are straight forward but here's a nice grab:

    What will gamers be most surprised at after playing Diablo III for the first time?
    How much more depth there is to combat than previous games. In the past there was depth to character creation and character building, and while combat was good, it was straightforward. Now we put more depth into that.

    How so?

    Well, for example, previous games relied heavily on potion buttons. And you keep hitting those buttons and it's the same for every class. That narrows down the skills a player would use. In Diablo III, though, there's a much greater diversity in skills and abilities, and in class diversity, whether you use the Barbarian character who is very tough or the Wizard who has an enormous amount of control, and so forth. Adding co-op, too, also adds a deeper combat element.

    Tuesday - October 20, 2009

    Diablo 3 - No More Mana

    by Myrthos, 20:30

    Omega pointed out that the twitter channel of Diablo 3 had a tweet today that the devs are considering to give each class its own resource system instead of everyone using mana, which would probably mean a big change to the Diablo community.

    Diablo 3 - Interview @ Hellforge

    by Myrthos, 20:21

    Sol Invictus interviewed Diablo III's Lead World Designer Leonard Boyarsky about Diablo's lore and the development of its setting.

    So I guess you guys end up cutting out certain things that don’t work out?

    Leonard Boyarsky: Yeah, but we also found a lot of stuff that’s struck a chord with people. The lore book that we’ve been putting in has been really popular. People like the ability to hear background stuff while they run around killing things as opposed to having to stop to read. So, we’re pretty surprised by that because people generally split into two different kinds of classes: the people who care about the lore and the people who could care less, but we’re finding that with the lore books that people have really responded to them. I’m assuming that’s because the audio portion of it where they don’t have to stop and sit and read it doesn’t cut into the action, basically.

    Like, we put in some background of Leoric, his journal and Lachdanan who are characters that you’ve heard about and didn’t really meet in their human forms in the first Diablo, so you get to hear their voices and their stories from their point of view. It’s just that I think people are really kind of interested in that especially if they’ve played the games all the way from the first one.

    Thanks Omega.

    Monday - October 19, 2009

    Diablo 3 - The Monk In-depth

    by Dhruin, 09:11

    Games Radar catches up on Diablo III's Monk class after some hands-on time:

    The monk is a melee combat specialist, less lumbering than the rippling mass of twitching muscle that’s the barbarian, but more physically able than the other two spellcasters, and potentially gorier than the rest combined. His main attack (at level 12 at least, the point at which we were allowed take up the reins) is the Exploding Palm, which we will now discuss in excruciating detail because honestly, we haven’t played anything like Diablo since completing Divine Divinity and, when it comes to clicking on things to make them dead, we’re feeling a little underqualified.

    Source: Blues News

    Wednesday - October 14, 2009

    Diablo 3 - Interview #5 @ Diii.net

    by Dhruin, 23:06

    Diii.net wraps up their quizzing of Jay Wilson on Diablo III with a quick-fire round of short questions:

    Diii.net: These are the lightning round questions. These are a bunch of quick topics that you’ll probably say no comment on. If you can’t give any new information on them just say pass and I’ll go on to the next one.
    Jay Wilson: Okay.

    Diii.net: Fifth character.
    Jay Wilson: Pass.

    Diii.net: PvP?
    Jay Wilson: Uh… we will have PvP in some form. And we’re working on it now, and it’s pretty awesome, and it’ll get announced at a future date.

    Tuesday - October 13, 2009

    Diablo 3 - Interview #5 @ Diii.net

    by Dhruin, 23:20

    The next interview segment with Jay Wilson at Diii.net looks at the variety of builds:

    Diii.net: Do you guys work and plan in advance to plan multiple potential builds for each character? Or do you just throw in as many cool skills as you can and see how players find ways to use them?

    Jay Wilson: A little bit of both. We try to anticipate what we think will be good builds. For example, there’s lots of things we put into the wizard, to try to make a battle mage more viable. But sometimes we put in skills that we’re not 100% sure is an awesome skill, but that we think somebody will find an awesome use for. We try to plan things ahead of time, but we’re not foolish enough to believe that the three of us who work on skills can come up with as many possibilities and variations as the millions of players who will take the work we’ve done and have fun building stuff with it. We mostly try to make sure they have the tools to have a lot of freedom and create a lot of cool stuff.

    Monday - October 12, 2009

    Diablo 3 - Jay Wilson Interview #4 @ Diii.net

    by Dhruin, 21:59

    Skills and stats is the subject of Part 4 of Diii'net's ongoing interview with Jay Wilson from Blizzard:

    Diii.net: We saw 30-35 skills for the Wizard (30), Barbarian (35), and Witch Doctor (34), at Blizzcon. Can you give us an idea how close to the final skill trees those are? Almost ready, or they’re still very preliminary and we’re still going to see lots more higher level skills?

    Jay Wilson: In terms of the number of skills, that’s about right. In terms of the skill tree we’re um… we’re still playing around with the actual layouts of skill trees and the working of the skill system. The skills for the Wizard and Barbarian their skill trees were very solid.  We like their skills, though there are a few still missing. Especially for the Wizard, there are skills we didn’t put into her tree that we’re still defining, especially at the high end. The same for the Barbarian; we’ve got a few skills on the way for him. But for the most part, the content of those trees is more or less correct.

    Saturday - October 10, 2009

    Diablo 3 - Jay Wilson Interview #3 @ Diii.net

    by Dhruin, 23:21

    In the third part of Diii.net's conversation with Jay Wilson from Blizzard, the topic is items:

    Diii.net: Skill runes?

    Jay Wilson: Yes. We will have skill runes.

    Diii.net: They’re still being reworked and you don’t have any further comment?

    Jay Wilson: They’re not being reworked, we had tons of skill runes on the Wizard and the Barbarian but they were so spotty across the entire class we thought it would be more confusing to show them off than to not. So we just disabled them all for the blizzcon build. But they’re all still there and they work just fine.


    Diii.net: Are we going to see returning set or unique items from Diablo 1 or Diablo 2?

    Jay Wilson: *pause*  Uh… probably. The game’s itemization is done fairly late in development. The itemization in general is done fairly late in development. So at that point we’ll be building unique items and looking all over the world for ideas and I’m sure we’ll look at the previous games.

    Thursday - October 08, 2009

    Diablo 3 - Jay Wilson Interview #2 @ Diii.net

    by Dhruin, 22:01

    This second part of Diii.net's interview with Blizzard's Jay Wilson focuses on the Monk class:

    Diii.net: We saw 8 Monk skills at BlizzCon. All were melee offensive or defensive. Can you give us some idea of what other skills the character will have at his disposal?

    Jay Wilson: Most of the Monk’s skills will focus on combat skills and attacks, along with his various escape skills. And we talked at Blizzcon that we’re likely to put some defensive and supportive abilities on him. Possibly Auras. We’ve not done the next round of skills on him yet so we’re not exactly sure.

    Diii.net: Really? That’s handy, since I was also going to ask if he’d have any co-op or party-boosting skills.

    Jay Wilson: We definitely want to do that with one class.  Whether or not it’s the Monk hasn’t yet been decided. The Monk does seem to be the logical choice. The only reason we might not do with him is that he’s too logical.

    Wednesday - October 07, 2009

    Diablo 3 - Jay Wilson Interview @ Diii.net

    by Dhruin, 21:33

    Diablo fansite Diii.net bails up Blizzard's Jay Wilson to discuss non-mana resource systems.  This is the first part of a 30 minute interview that they have divided into thematic sections.  So, a snip on resources:

    Diii.net: Everyone seems pretty happy with the function and form of the Barbarian’s Fury resource, but nothing has been revealed about the non-mana resources that the Wizard and Monk will use. Can you give us some insight into what kind of play style their resources are meant to encourage?

    Jay Wilson: Well for the Wizard we want to enforce the fact that she’s a glass cannon. I don’t think it’s fun to ever run out of mana. I’m not really interested in an extended resource for her. For the WD we’re okay with mana, since he’s got some pretty good skills to recover mana that also double as attacks. And he’s not defenseless when he’s out of mana. He’s got pets and ways to attack with them that aren’t mana intensive. For him that makes mana fairly interesting.

    For the wizard, when she’s out of mana she just dies. And that’s not fun.  So if anything, we want to encourage how she plays. So she’s the kind of character that blasts first and asks questions later.  Very vulnerable. So we want to implement a system that makes her more blasty, but even more vulnerable. We want to make that a choice for the player. “Do I want to make myself more vulnerable in exchange for being more blasty.” And that’s a cool gameplay pull there.

    For the Monk um… I’m not ready to talk about him yet since he’s just too early. We still haven’t decided exactly what we want to do with him. We’re still playing around with his resource system.

    Thursday - October 01, 2009

    Diablo 3 - New Website

    by Dhruin, 22:16

    Blizzard launched a new website a day or two back, which means a new Diablo III site, of course.  I haven't checked it out in full but fans may want to look for new content.

    Sunday - September 27, 2009

    Diablo 3 - Preview @ Games Radar

    by Dhruin, 11:55

    Games Radar has an enthusiastic hands-on preview of Diablo III with additional input from Jay Wilson:

    As one demon dies, another rushes in to take his place – it’s Whack-a-Mole played with two mouse buttons and a warrior of unholy fury. Every creature gets a slap, a tickle and a stomp. Unless you want to be really, really clever, which is where the bleed effect comes in. Use this attack, and as a creature bleeds, it takes damage, its health bar ticking away to nothing. And if they die with the bleed still effective, they explode. The destruction is vicious, hilarious – a tsunami of gore. If you set two, maybe three bleeds running, you can time a chain reaction. Bubble Bobble, played with bile and bones. Diablo III is already gloriously, stupidly violent. It’s already brilliant. But it won’t be out until at least 2011.

    Monday - September 21, 2009

    Diablo 3 - Screens @ Worthplaying

    by Dhruin, 22:13

    Eleven hopefully new Diablo III screens at Worthplaying.

    Sunday - September 20, 2009

    Diablo 3 - Interview @ Gamasutra

    by Dhruin, 01:11

    Gamasutra catches up with Blizzard's Kevin Martens to talk Diablo 3:

    Diablo III was announced last year; it's been playable twice at Blizzcon now. Mike Morhaime suggested it probably won't be out until 2011. Does it feel like the development time has been extended to a surprising degree? Do you ever think, "Oh God, this really will be a while longer now?"

    Kevin Martens: Here's the secret to Blizzard games, and this is a secret that won't help any of our competitors: endless iteration. We'll take something, we'll put it in the game. Maybe we'll like it when we put it in, maybe we won't. We'll leave it in there for a while, we'll let it percolate. We'll play it and play it and play it, and then we'll come back. We might throw it all out, or we'll throw half of that out and redo it.

    It can be a long time, but it is fun to work on as well. That's the thing that keeps you going. Multiplayer always works, and the builds are always playable. We've played them constantly, and it's fun. You actually look forward to the weekly play session even though the game is still in progress. That's what keeps us going, and that's also why it takes so long. We'll do it over and over again until it's just right.

    Source: Blues News

    Saturday - September 19, 2009

    Diablo 3 - Skill Tree Mockups

    by Dhruin, 00:28

    Diii.net has completed a project to mock up the Skill screens for four Diablo III classes, piecing them together from information they have.  They write that Blizzard has never released screens of the skills but these mock-ups are "exactly accurate for all the skill names, positions, and pre-reqs as of the BlizzCon 2009 demo build".

    Thursday - September 03, 2009

    Diablo 3 - Boyarsky & Wilson on Classes @ Eurogamer

    by Woges, 15:37

    Eurogamer have a lengthy interview on Diablo 3 classes.

    There are still many things we don't know about Diablo III: how the rune skill customisation system will work (it wasn't in the build of the game at BlizzCon, as the designers are still iterating on this terrifyingly flexible feature); how randomised events will spice up the more carefully-crafted "overworld"; what form player-versus-player combat will take; and what the Battle.net online feature set will be (although, after the example set by StarCraft II, expectations are very high indeed). But the game is defined by its classes, and all four were available to play over a very extensive demo at BlizzCon. So I hogged a terminal for as long as I dared to delve into each one, and discussed them in detail with lead world designer Leonard Boyarsky and lead designer Jay Wilson. This is what I found.

    Wednesday - September 02, 2009

    Diablo 3 - 10 Things About the Monk @ IGN

    by Dhruin, 22:30

    IGN has a list of "Ten things you absolutely need to know about the new character class" for Diablo III's Monk.  Here's a sample:

    2) The Monk Walks the Way of the Hundred Combos

    In action the monk feels like he's straight out of kung fu monastery in Shaolin. He's all about speed and agility, which makes him slightly more vulnerable than other classes, but he has a (not so) secret weapon – combos. Inspired by fighting games and looking to expand on the Assassin's combo system in Diablo II, the team has put together a no nonsense system that works really well. The basic idea is that many of the Monk's attacks are three stage moves – you click three times to move through the sequence. What this means is that if you have another three stage attack assigned to the right mouse button, you can mix and match between them. You might utilise the dash in and attack from Way of the Hundred Fists, then end on Exploding Palm, which literally results in your enemy's heart exploding (more on this in a sec). Cooler still, you can tab-swap the right click ability in the middle of a combo, which means you can create combos utilising attacks from three different skills.

    Thursday - August 27, 2009

    Diablo 3 - Monk Class Info @ Gamespot

    by Myrthos, 22:52

    Gamespot has some more info on the Monk class including an 18 minute video, based on questions asked to the panel ad BlizzCon.

    The next few questions--about player-vs.player (PVP) and Battle.net functionality--couldn't really be answered, but the team did its best. In regard to PVP, Blizzard doesn't support the idea of going hostile at any time, meaning that they don't want someone to join your game and then try to kill you. It hurts cooperative play and even discourages it. Still, Blizzard knows that PVP is important and that there are large communities surrounding such features, and they plan to support them.

     

    As for Battle.net, the team hasn't done a lot of designing around it since the service is mostly focused on Starcraft II for the time being, but they recognize that the original method for matchmaking wasn't the best. For Diablo III, they want to make sure that it's easier to play with friends or join games with similar players attempting to accomplish the same task.

    Thanks Sammy.

     

    Wednesday - August 26, 2009

    Diablo 3 - Interview @ G4TV

    by Dhruin, 00:02

    Diablo III Game Director Jay Wilson has been interviewed by G4TV at Blizzcon:

    G4: In my playtime, I noticed a lot more area-of-effect abilities in the game than compared to Diablo II. Why is that?

    Wilson: It’s because we like them. Diablo II was most fun when you were laying down these massive area-of-effect abilities. Really, every class came down to how it deals with multiple enemies so that has become a big focus for us: a lot of big attacks that hit in an area-of-effect. Or, fast attacks. That’s our other side. If you don’t attack a lot of enemies at once, you attack very quickly.

    G4: I noticed after leveling up in the demo, you are just required to make a skill selection. The stat progression is handled for you. What was the design decision behind this change?

    Wilson: Stat progression as a system is very difficult for a lot of players to understand because you get these 5 points, but you don’t exactly know where to put them or what benefit you’re getting with them. You might make some obvious choices, for example, with Diablo II’s Sorceress, you might put all of your points into energy because that’s the obvious choice, right? Except that for almost every build out there, you’ve just made the wrong choice.

    Any system where you have to go up onto the Internet to figure out what the right answer is, is not a good customization system. Any system where there’s a “right” answer is not a good system for customization. The truth is, with stat point systems, they are simple math. It’s not hard to figure out what the absolute best choice is so we decided we didn’t want that as a customization system. With that being said, we do have another system we’re working on. The specifics intent of it is to capture the imagination of what stat point spending was supposed to do, which is, “I want to be stronger. I want to be tougher.” These kind of simple ideas are not contextualized well within a skill system. The skill system is about what the player is doing, not higher ideals about what their character is. So, we’re going to work on a system that really satisfies that feeling, but is way easier to understand and also has some true customization to it.

    ...and in related news, an interview at Shack on Battle.net:.  From the intro:

    But following the official unveiling of the Battle.net feature list, Blizzard isn't mumbling anymore. On top of the Real ID system and other Xbox Live-esque features, the new Battle.net will also see Blizzard experimenting in radical areas of online service. A prime example is the post-launch StarCraft II Marketplace, which--in addition to supporting the upload of free maps--will allow users to sell high-quality maps and mods, a monetary incentive largely untested in the industry.

    Tuesday - August 25, 2009

    Diablo 3 - Censored in Germany [Update!]

    by Gorath, 23:52

    Wired reports Diablo 3 will definitely be cut in Germany. The relevant snippet from their interview with Blizzard's Jay Wilson:

    Wired.com: You’ll obviously have to edit content for regions like Germany and Australia, but what about China? Is that a more difficult case?

    Wilson: Definitely for regions like Germany and Australia, we will have to change blood if we’re going to sell there. And that’s fine. Those are the standards for those regions, and we don’t really have a problem with catering to what they need and what they want. But China’s going to be hard for us. Because a lot of the restrictions there are really… we may not be able to do them. It may not be possible. With our relationship with NetEase, we recently got new information about what China really wants, and it’s a lengthy list. It’s really hard for us to cater to. We’ll try. There’s no reason we wouldn’t want to go there, but there is a certain point where we’d have to redo so much of the game that it’s not viable anymore.

    Monday - August 24, 2009

    Diablo 3 - BlizzCon Preview @ Atomic Gamer

    by Magerette, 19:48

    Atomic Gamer adds thier impressions to the list from those who got a look at the BlizzCon demo of Diablo III, and has put up a two-page article on it here.  They go over each of the characters, examine loot and skills, exploration and quests, and conclude with some general observations.

    On the Monk:

    I also didn't have much luck with the Monk, but I eventually came around to how he's played. While he is a melee class, his ability to dash in, debuff monsters, and then finish up with a powerful burst was impressive, but also more difficult to manage than many other classes are. This is because the combo system is relatively new for Blizzard and I felt like the visual cues for it weren't quite there. Switching out armor on the Monk also didn't actually change his outfit, so that's a good sign just how early in the design he actually is. I think with the right amount of work on his look, feel, and role, the Monk will be up to speed and will be a very powerful class, but right now he's just lagging a little behind.

    Some of the conclusions:

    What astounded me in the first five minutes of play is that this game is still about two years out from release. Most games this far from release don't have any single part that looks or plays like this does; hell, many millions-selling games are started and completed in well under two years. But Diablo III is being developed through a slow, iterative process where ideas are bounced around incessantly and content is made and remade and changed because this one other thing changed and [was]rethought again, and so on....

    ...But what is clear is that while this is not the team that made Diablo II - many of those guys are scattered to the winds - the franchise is in very capable hands. After playing for over an hour, I can say that this feels exactly the way a new Diablo should: true to its roots, but not grasping to them in a pitiful attempt to be just like the last game...

    Source: Blues News

    Sunday - August 23, 2009

    Diablo 3 - Preview and Q&A

    by Dhruin, 10:55

    Shack has some hands-on impressions of Diablo III and the Monk class from BlizzCon:

    The recently announced Eastern fighter is like nothing seen in previous Diablo games. For the sake of Blizzard canon, the Monk from Diablo's Hellfire expansion must have been geriatric. He came to Tristram to live out his years in peace, but was forced out of his holy Lazyboy to get the demons of Hell off of his lawn, gosh darnit.

    The difference between the old and new Monks is like that of Obi-Wan and Ewan McGreggor. Things on the screen are dead before you hear the sound of the click. The Seven Strikes ability, which sees the Monk zipping across the screen to hit several surrounding enemies at once, is a good example of how Street Fighter-zany it feels. It's an absurdly kinetic class--moreso than Diablo II's Assassin--and makes for a nice addition to the cast. But then America always prefers a younger face.

    ...and VoodooExtreme has a transcript of a Q&A session from BlizzCon:

    How is the length of the game and replayability compared to D2?

    Randomized monsters, environments, events, items, etc. Biggest issues of D2, path of least resistance to the best items was a very short one. In D3 those issues will be resolved, Magic find will be less important in D3 so that replayability wont just be based on stacking magic find and going on mephisto runs constantly... spreading content out equally, praises WoW quest system in that it gets you to do more than grind one monster forever, working on systems that will remove the repetitiveness.

    Big fan of story and lore of Diablo Lore, love the books, necromancer is the most fleshed out faction in Diablo world, not going to get that class again, but will the faction still be active in the new game?

    Just because you wont see a certain class as a playable character in the game, doesn’t mean that they wont exist as NPC's, cant give anything away because they don’t know for sure what will or wont be in the final game, and there is a necromancer in the floor demo.

    Friday - August 21, 2009

    Diablo 3 - Monk Class Revealed [Updated]

    by Dhruin, 23:32

    The Monk has been revealed as the 4th and penultimate Diablo III class at Blizzcon, according to MTV Multiplayer.

    Update:  Blizzard has updated the official site with a comprehensive page on the Monk, offering a detailed description, concept art, screens, five combat move clips and some gameplay movies.

    Diablo 3 - Pre Blizzcon Impressions

    by Woges, 15:56

    Blue's News points out a few impression pieces that inform that the fourth class will not be appearing at Blizzcon.

    There's A Quick Diablo III Recap before Blizzcon on OS X Reality recalling what we've heard about Blizzard's action/RPG sequel. There's also a Blizzard Offices Diablo III Demo Report on Diii.net ahead of this weekend's BlizzCon. They offer extensive hands-on impressions of the game, and share indications that the game's fourth playable probably will not be revealed at BlizzCon as many have anticipated. They describe how the several game functions have evolved since Diablo II, including the inventory, quests, skills, skill trees, the lack of mana orbs, and more.

    Thursday - August 20, 2009

    Diablo 3 - Previews @ IGN, 1Up

    by Dhruin, 23:04

    IGN and 1Up both have hands-on previews with Diablo 3 from GamesCom.  IGN's intro from their time with the Witch Doctor class:

    Even though Diablo III is presumably over a year away from a release date, this game absolutely oozes polish. It runs at a silky smooth framerate (at least on the PCs Blizzard brought to Gamescom), the animations of your characters and magical effects and the deaths of enemies are smooth, detailed, and full of character, and the combat gives you a great sense of weight and impact. This was my first time getting to actually play Diablo III, and as a big fan of the previous games, it was very much along the lines of what I was hoping for.

    ...and 1Up, who chose a Wizard:

    As you'd expect, a variety of demons and creatures came out of the sand to attack me. Some, such as the Lacuni Warrior and Fallen Overseer, had a fairly traditional demonic look with a hunched over posture and flaming swords in each hand. Others were desert creatures, like the Sand Wasp that flittered around a little ways off while launching volleys of baby wasps at me. One of the more dramatic opponents was the Dune Dervish; it twirled and spun around, and used those spins to produce a vicious stun attack with a knockback effect.

    All this action looked familiarly enough like Diablo, but with all the polish of a modern game. Liberal use of special effects made a big impact on the presentation; the screen warped with the impact of spells and became obscured from dust swirling around the Dervish. And through it all, the unmistakable art style left no doubt what game I was playing.

    Wednesday - August 19, 2009

    Diablo 3 - Hands On Impressions @ Kotaku

    by Magerette, 15:56

    Kotaku  got their hands on the promotional demo of Diablo III being featured at GamesCon and BlizzCon, and give their impressions of the game and the Barbarian player character, including a quick rundown on some of the skills, equipment and quests they encountered.

    Here's a little of the more general feedback:

    We just played Diablo III. For fifteen painfully brief minutes, our lady Barbarian tore through hordes of Fallen, clicking them back to the Hell they came from. It was good.

    The Gamescom (and Blizzcon) demo of Diablo III featured at Blizzard's booth features the three announced classes: Wizard, Barbarian and Witchdoctor, with male and female options for both. I opted for the Barbarian, what I assumed would be the easiest, most familiar introduction to Diablo III. That assumption was correct. Blizzard doesn't seem to have mucked with the successful formula of click, kill and loot in the newest Diablo...

    ...From graphics to gameplay to interface adjustments, Blizzard seems to have delivered with Diablo III. The game looks fantastic, dripping with atmospheric detail and gorgeous visual effects. But honestly, it's the user interface changes that are most exciting. Blizzard has made the process of looting and equipping much more efficient, letting the player focus on the action.

    Source: Blues News

    Monday - August 10, 2009

    Diablo 3 - Questions Requested @ diii.net

    by Dhruin, 23:07

    Diii.net has some private time booked with Jay Wilson and Chris Metzen at Blizzcon and they are seeking questions to fire at the duo, so head over if you have some burning queries on Diablo III.

    Wednesday - July 22, 2009

    Diablo 3 - Forum Tidbits @ diii.net

    by Dhruin, 23:01

    Blizzard's Bashiok has provided a meaty response on the official forums on random dungeon maps in Diablo IIICourtesy of fansite diii.net:

    Bashiok: We definitely agree randomized levels have some key issues with them, but they are a big part of what makes a Diablo game, and how could we not have them? The Diablo franchise is built on randomization in all forms.

    You bring up some good points though, but I don’t think they’re issues that are insurmountable.

    Randomized levels can indeed create a very generic feeling if not done well. We’re working really hard to ensure that doesn’t happen though. It’s actually one of the reasons why our exterior layouts aren’t randomized. It’s extremely difficult to have wide open areas be randomized as well as interesting. Instead we have static exterior zones where the roads, towns, and edges are always in the same place. To keep some bits of random in there though we have a bunch of small, medium, and large pieces cut out of them. In those cut out pieces the game can then place the randomized “adventure” sets. They could be artistic in nature (a fountain, an abandoned cart), they could spawn extra enemies, or they could spawn quests.

    Our interiors are randomized, but we do some things differently that help make them more interesting. I think we accomplish this mostly by using our interior jigsaw pieces more intelligently, building more and different types of jigsaw pieces, and also because our artists are amazing. I don’t think anywhere in Diablo III are you going to think “This place is not visually interesting”. The types of interior pieces do make an enormous difference, and I think we’re pretty good at it now. In Diablo II for example you pretty much had a few standard square set pieces, and then a bunch of hallways. We still have those in Diablo III but we’re mixing it up a lot more with more intricate and interesting ‘showcase’ pieces that make it seem like they’re not even randomized levels.

    Anyway, that’s all just something you have to see to believe.

    Your other point was that randomization doesn’t really matter because you’re just essentially rushing from the start to the end. I think you’re mixing in some specific Diablo II issues with randomization issues. Without hacks (like maphack) and some unhindered mobility skills (teleport), being able to just rush through the dungeons would be considerably hindered. So I think those are really non-issues when we’re talking about a different game. They’re things we have to be prepared for of course, but they don’t mean that randomization is a waste of effort.

    All that said there are a lot of things that you can do to entice a player to be invested in each and every trip into a dungeon. Rewarding them for exploration and perseverance. It could be something as simple as having chests spawn that the player actually cares about finding! (gasp) or something as complex as an entire game-wide system based around dungeon exploration. Either way or somewhere in between, we aren’t looking to create a game where rushing from entrance to exit is the most rewarding way to play.

    Monday - July 06, 2009

    Diablo 3 - First Year in Review Parts 1-4 @ diii.net

    by Magerette, 17:11

    Fansite diii.net puts up a month by month summary of all the headlines and development news over the past year concerning Blizzard's long-anticipated arpg sequel, Diablo III, including numerous links to interviews and media. Part 1 covers June-August 2008.

    Here's a sample from the month of July, 2008:


    The “Too-Colorful” Controversy
    For most fans, their main activity in July wasn’t analyzing new content… it was arguing about what they’d seen thus far. The infamous, contentious, and apparently never-ending Art Controversy got started in July, just days (hours?) after D3’s announcement. Our first post on it was July 2nd, just 3 days after the WWI event, and even at that early stage there were dozens of forum threads debating the issue, and numerous fan-altered screenshots showing how they thought D3 *should* look...

    The Art Controversy took off like it had Tyrael’s wings, and in the days that followed there were numerous articles about it in the gaming media, interviews with defensive D3 team members, interviews about D3’s art design philosophy, comments on the “too colorful” player petition, and WoW design influences. And no, July 2008 wasn’t the last we saw of this issue.

    The D2 Team on D3
    One of the things I found most interesting in the early days of D3 was hearing what the D2 designers thought about it. Though most of them are no longer with Blizzard, they’re still working in the industry and could not be induced to say anything about D3. There was some lingering bitterness about the way Blizzard North crashed and their early work on D3 was discarded, and furthermore, most of them are still in the industry and no one wants to risk burning any bridges. Fortunately, we tracked down a few guys on the D2 Team who weren’t afraid to speak up, and while Max Schaefer (who must have been quite distracted by the ongoing collapse of Flagship Studios) had nothing but PR puffery to add, the comments by Mike Huang and Ben Boos provided some great inside info on the issue.

    You can check out  the rest of the series at these links: Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.

    Source: Blues News

    Friday - June 26, 2009

    Diablo 3 - Top Ten Most Wanted Features @ Hellforge

    by Magerette, 17:24

    Diablo III fansite Hellforge has posted an op-ed with their top ten list of requested features for Blizzard's upcoming action rpg in the Diablo series.

    Here's a snip:

    1. Make all skills worthwhile.  Diablo II benefited as much as it suffered from its abundant amount of skills, half of which were poorly balanced or given little thought. While I'm not expecting every skill and skill combination to be useful in every given circumstance, I'm hoping that Blizzard to puts some major thought into the design of these skills that will make each them worthwhile additions to a character's repertoire of talents...

    5. Don't skimp on the single player.  Single player felt quite a bit like an afterthought in the Blizzard North-developed Diablo II, and even more so in Hellgate: London. With consideration to the many roguelike enthusiasts who view the Diablo series as a culmination of the dungeon crawling genre and those who have a strong preference for offline gaming, it's hoped that these players are able to enjoy playing the game by themselves as much as the rest of us will in co-op online.

     

    Source: GameBanshee

    Wednesday - June 17, 2009

    Diablo 3 - Screens and Art

    by Dhruin, 22:32

    Hopefully these Diablo III screens and art at GameSpot are new.

    Source: GameBanshee

    Saturday - May 23, 2009

    Diablo 3 - Fallen Screens, Video

    by Dhruin, 01:18

    Shacknews has two screens and a video showing art and animations for the Fallen from Diablo III.

    Wednesday - May 13, 2009

    Diablo 3 - Skill Tree Iteration

    by Dhruin, 00:38

    Diablo III fansite diii.net has posted some forum comments from Blizzard's Bashiok, explaining changes to the skill trees:

    So, the system we have now… you’ll have to just picture it without any visual representation, sorry. They’re not radically different visually except that the trees are all viewable at the same time. Taking the barbarian trees for instance (berserker, battlemaster, juggernaut) they’re not tabbed now, but instead all viewable at the same time. Side by side.

    This is important due to how they are now a unified tier progression. Instead of spending 5 points in the berserker tree to then begin spending points in the second tier of the berserker tree, the new design allows you to spend wherever you like. As long as your points in the first tier of skills adds up to five, the next tier for all trees is unlocked.

    So, I could spend 2 points in Heightened Senses which is a berserker skill, and 3 points in Bash which is a Juggernaut skill, thus adding up to 5 points and granting me access to the second tier of skills for all of the trees. With this amount of freedom you can see how easy it is then to diversify yourself and your build. You’re no longer gaining abilities through investment, but instead more through choice and personal preference.

    Head over for the full post.

    Wednesday - April 15, 2009

    Diablo 3 - More Forum Tidbits

    by Dhruin, 00:28

    Diablo fansite diii.net again has some interesting forum quotes from Blizzard's Bashiok, this time hinting at unannounced archetypal classes:

    ... there are a few archetypes of classic fantasy characters. Expecting us to do something completely outside of those archetypes for the sake of trying to be original is unnecessary, and would probably lead to something that’s just ridiculous and not fun, or difficult to design - let alone balance. [...]

    Well, I’m not sure I can discuss much more without showing our hand. But! I think we’ll have at least one class in the game that will appeal to everyone. And that’s sort of the goal with the core game, hit those main archetypes that everyone can identify with. “Hey, a Wizard… I’m pretty sure I know what that’s all about without even seeing it.” Any potential expansions are probably where you’d try out something not of a core archetype like, say, an assassin or druid. ;P

    Monday - April 13, 2009

    Diablo 3 - Forum Tidbits @ diii.net

    by Dhruin, 22:00

    Also from last week, diii.net has a lengthy forum post by Blizzard's Bashiok, defending the recent glimpse of Diablo III's skill tree (see Blizzcast 8).  Apparently the design has come into criticism for being both too similar to Diablo II and, alternatively, World of Warcraft.  Here's a small snip:

    I should stress that what everyone was allowed to see was a behind the scenes glimpse at where the UI is now. BlizzCast specifically serves that purpose, and by showing unfinished work we take the risk of people critiquing our work before it’s done. To that same effect though it’s an amazing way of getting feedback, but that doesn’t change that it should be understood to be unfinished work. Moving on…

    The Diablo III skill tree is a skill tree and not a talent tree because you learn all of your skills from it.

    You aren’t given new abilities every other level from a trainer. There’s no expectation that you’ll have some specific ability at some level. There’s no role requirements that dictate where you have to spend points to hurt monsters. The points you spend determine exactly how the character is built, how it functions, and what it’s able to do.

    So, people are comparing the trees for a few reasons and using these reasons as negatives. I’ll try to cover them all.

     

    Wednesday - April 01, 2009

    Diablo 3 - Blizzcast 8

    by Dhruin, 00:28

    Blizzard has released Blizzcast 8, with the podcast featuring Jay Wilson and coverage of Diablo III.  Three new screens showing off the inventory have also been released.  Hit the link above to listen to the podcast and head to fansite diii.net for discussion of the podcast and analysis of the inventory screens.

    Wednesday - March 18, 2009

    Diablo 3 - Bill Roper on the Art Style

    by Dhruin, 10:27

    Heady stuff...VideoGamer has interviewed Bill Roper (now working on Champions Online with Cryptic) about the art style in Diablo 3:

    When asked if he was disappointed or pleased with Diablo's new art style, Roper, who is now design director and executive producer of Atari-owned Cryptic Studios, and in charge of Champions Online, a superhero MMO due out on PC this spring, said: "You know, I liked the darker grittier. I liked the differences in art style, to be honest. So, I think I would personally from a player standpoint prefer that.

    Source: Shack News

    Monday - March 09, 2009

    Diablo 3 - Release Date Rumor

    by Magerette, 18:46

    Gamebanshee posts a link to the latest Diablo III rumor over at Kaputik.com. They cite "associates working on a Diablo 3 game design" and give both a MP beta release date and a retail release date, along with system specs:

    The release date for the online beta multiplayer trial version is currently set to:
    11th September, 2009
    The final version, available for purchase is to be released before Christmas:
    24th December, 2009

    The system requirements are likely to be:

    PC:
    Operating System: Windows XP/ Vista
    Processor: 1.4GHz or higher CPU.
    RAM: 1Gb or more.
    Video:  128Mb video card Dx9
    Hard Drive Space: 4-8GB

    Mac:
    Operating System: MacOS X 10.3 (Panther) or better.
    Processor:1.6GHz or higher.
    RAM: 1Gb or higher, DDR RAM recommended.
    Video: 128mb ATI or NVIDIA video card
    Hard Drive Space: 4-8 GB

    Diablo III generates a lot of unsubstantiated talk, so only time will tell how correct this info is.

    Source: GameBanshee

    Saturday - February 28, 2009

    Diablo 3 - Updates @ Official Site

    by Magerette, 16:56

    Blizzard's official site for their long awaited action rpg sequel, Diablo 3, is sporting some new concept art, several new screens and a bestiary entry on the Unburied. If you haven't checked out the character classes announced so far, the first three out of five, Barbarian, Wizard, and Witch Doctor, are also on view.

    Source: GameBanshee

    Monday - February 02, 2009

    Diablo 3 - Video Interview @ Gamestar

    by Dhruin, 21:05

    German site Gamestar has interviewed Leonard Boyarsky on Diablo III.  You can watch the English video here or Diablo III fansite diii.net has a transcription:

    Leonard: The synergy is basically emphasized with more than just one skill. That’s what we are basically doing with the rune system. And basically what it is you get random drops which was kind of like in first Diablo. We really wanted to get that random skill feeling back, without actually doing random skills. So you get these random drops and you can slot them in different skills, different spells, and they’re removable so it’s not like you’re stuck with it. You know, the fun of just touching the different realms of what they do.

    Thursday - January 15, 2009

    Diablo 3 - Tidbits @ diii.net

    by Dhruin, 23:56

    Diablo III fansite diii.net has an interesting collection of tidbits collected from the official forums.  Bashiok defending the removal of character stats:

    Deliras @ Europe: If you were to build your uberpwnzor pvp bowazon for example, every single stat had to be allocated carefully.

    Bashiok: Ah, so then stat points were just a means to an end then, weren’t they? In almost all cases anyway. They were a requirement to the items, clicking a button to raise a number to a required value. The items and abilities chosen are really what created the character, not figuring out item requirements.

    You could argue about it forever if you wanted to. The stat points didn’t make the character, but little extra math problems are fun, but little extra math problems don’t really equate to fun or interesting character building, but I think that math problems are fun and interesting, but ... etc. etc. etc.

    And of course all I can attempt to do is assure you that there’s going to be plenty of build potential, plenty of customization, and plenty of math to dive into, if that’s your thing.

    Inventory UI and trading/the economy are also discussed.

    Friday - January 09, 2009

    Diablo 3 - Screens and Artwork

    by Myrthos, 00:47

    Four new pieces of artwork and five new screenshots can be found on the official Diablo III site.

    Tuesday - January 06, 2009

    Diablo 3 - Tidbits @ Diablo III.net

    by Magerette, 16:55

    Diabloiii.net has posted a full-length shot of concept art for the female witchdoctor character, as well as the news that the February 2009 issue of PC Gamer has Blizzard's still-in-development game as the subject of it's cover story:

    The February issue of PCGamer is sporting a Blizzard special front cover with “Diablo III Leads Top Games of 2009” as the headline.

    We have already talked a bit about Diablo 3 being released this year and I think most of us are of the opinion that the game will not see the light of day in 2009, regardless of what the mags say. According to site visitor Booner, there is no new info in the mag but it does have an interview with Rob Pardo who talks about all Blizzard games.

    Thursday - December 25, 2008

    Diablo 3 - Q & A @ 1Up

    by Magerette, 17:07

    1UP has  posted a 4 page preview of Blizzard's upcoming Diablo 3, featuring  a discussion with game director Jay Wilson on, among other things, combat, character creation and class differentiation:

    1UP: Someone could look at the new classes and make reductionist statements that compare them to the Diablo 2 classes. For those who claim the Wizard is just a reskinned Sorceress and that Witch Doctor is just a new name for Necromancer, what attributes would you point to that make these new classes different and not rehashes?

    JW: Well, for the Wizard versus the Sorceress, I would say that if someone makes the argument that the Wizard is just a reskinned Sorceress, I would respond, "Yeah, you're right; the Wizard is basically a reskinned Sorceress." What we couldn't do with the Sorceress very well was break into what I'd call the old-school pen-and-paper magic user. You know the old magic user who could do a variety of things, like conjure up animals out of midair or create clouds of fog and acid or control time or disintegrate things or use death spells. They had this wide variety of magic that they could use compared to the more traditional elementalist -- which is what the Sorceress is, meaning fire, ice, and lightning -- who was just more limited. What we really wanted to do is break into this area, while if we just did the Sorceress again, we'd be like, "OK, you have to do fire, ice, and lightning, but where does disintegrate fit? Where does slow time fit in?" So we decided [that we'd] just take the same class mechanics, and [that we'd] change the basic concept and name and just have a throwback to that old-school magic user to give ourselves a broader range of magic skills. But there was never a huge desire to go away from the basic gameplay of the Sorceress; there's a lot of repeated skills, and that's intentional.

    With the Witch Doctor, I'd say that the Witch Doctor is not a reskinned Necromancer. He has similarities, but I would say no more so than the Hunter and Warlock do in World of WarCraft. Sure, they're both pet classes, but they don't operate the same. For the Witch Doctor, we wanted to create a class whose pets were not his primary source of damage output. Sure, you can build a Necromancer that's not reliant on pets, but most Necromancer builds are very pet heavy. The pets do a lot of the damage, and a lot of mechanics are built around debuffing the enemy so your pets can be better against them or taking advantage of the bodies your pets create by blowing them up with corpse explosion.

    And on the progress of the classes in development:

    1UP: Can you talk about the state of the classes? For example, is every class -- even the two that you have yet to reveal -- playable in the game right now?

    JW: No. The fourth class is playable in game but is using a placeholder model -- one of an NPC, actually. And all of the skills are what we call "programmer art" because we haven't implemented actual skill effects. So that one is just in gameplay testing for us while we determine signature skills. The fifth class, we're just about finished concepting it and are about to start building it. We can't use placeholder art, so we're now just going to build a model and start working on the first series of skills for that one. We're actually spending more time on the Witch Doctor, Wizard, and Barbarian because of a big change we made to the skill system that we wanted to [integrate them] with -- so it's mostly just artwork that's going on for the other two classes.

    Tuesday - December 16, 2008

    Diablo 3 - Tyrael losing his Wings?

    by Woges, 17:04

    Diii.net noticed this transformation to the D3 site, speculation from playable character to the new Diablo is away.

    This could be an indicator of upcoming content additions or just a small graphics update but the “wings” of Tyrael on the official Diablo 3 site have transformed from elegant white “tentacles” to fiery, smoky tendrils. Seeing as how the Diablo 3 logo got some pulsating smoke emanating from behind it, it could very well just be a web graphics update, but it’s still interesting to speculate if it’s “just” that or possibly a major change coming up…

    Saturday - December 13, 2008

    Diablo 3 - Screens and Artwork

    by Dhruin, 22:26

    Blizzard has whipped up seven new screens and three pieces of artwork at the Diablo III site.

    Source: Blues News

    Monday - November 10, 2008

    Diablo 3 - Preset Attributes Editorial @ Diii.net

    by Dhruin, 22:27

    In the third of a series called On the Drawing Board, Diii.net examines Blizzard's decision to use preset attribute progression in Diablo III.  Here's the intro:

    The Blizzcon announcement that they’d removed player-customized attributes, and that D3 items would not have attribute requirements to equip, caused a huge stir of controversy. Blizzard said it made the game easier to balance and kept noobs from wrecking their characters. Angry players lamented the loss of character customization and the “training wheels” approach to D3. Approving players said they’d never liked attributes in the first place and pointed out that everyone on Battle.net has the same build anyway. There were more arguments than just those, of course, and they’re all summarized in this installment of On the Drawing Board.

    Thursday - November 06, 2008

    Diablo 3 - Wizard Impressions @ Diii.net

    by Dhruin, 21:02

    Diablo III fansite Diii.net kicks up a lengthy preview of the Wizard class gameplay from Blizzcon:

    The play style I found most effective with the Wizard was to basically treat her like a low level, twink-free, slightly more deadly version of the D2 Sorceress. The Wizard had a lot of destructive power, but was quite fragile and was more than able to kill herself. She’s got some pretty useful skills right off the bat, actives and passives, but they’re almost too useful, since they’re so fun to fire and they kill so effectively that you want to keep using them non-stop, and your mana pool is nowhere near deep enough to cash the checks your hunger for slaughter is writing.

    Thursday - October 23, 2008

    Diablo 3 - Fansite Kit Released

    by Dhruin, 23:56

    If you're thinking of starting a Diablo 3 fansite, Blizzard has released an official kit with the usual logos, screens and so on (35Mb):

    # Art assets including concept art, hi-res logos, and wallpapers

    #      Site design elements including borders, backgrounds, fonts, and stylesheets

    #      Exclusive content: Forum avatars / Messenger images

    #      Diablo III fact sheet and FAQ

    #      Sample Diablo III text content

    #      Site building tips

    Wednesday - October 22, 2008

    Diablo 3 - Blizzcon Preview @ GamingExcellence

    by Dhruin, 00:31

    Blizzon continues to generate Diablo III previews, with this one coming from GamingExcellence:

    Gameplay wise, Diablo III is building off what its predecessor did well, and not so well. Wilson said that their goal was to deliver “better gameplay, [and] slightly less carpal tunnel”. To go about this, they are taking a page out of World of Warcraft’s book, and introducing a hotbar into the user interface. Wilson said he didn’t want Diablo to turn into WoW by any means, and that they don’t plan to have dozens of icons littered all over the screen - just enough so that players don’t have to rely on the f keys or mouse wheel to do something as simple as buffing your party.

    If you're following D3 carefully, it's worth having a look at Diii.net's roundup of their comprehensive Blizzcon coverage.

    Source: Blues News

    Monday - October 20, 2008

    Diablo 3 - Barbarian Gameplay @ Diii.net

    by Dhruin, 21:44

    Diii.net serves up some impressions of the Barbarian class in Diablo III after playing the Blizzcon demo through again.  From the intro:

    Like most people at BlizzCon (at least everyone playing D3 on one of the in the press room), my first character was a Wizard. I wanted to see the newest of the new, and I did, and there will be a report on that character later this week. Today though, it’s all about the Barbarian. I’m not going to go into detail over the exact functions and my first impressions of the BlizzCon build, since MD did such a thorough job of that in his gameplay report, and since everyone reading this has seen the D3 gameplay movies and played D2. Not to reduce it too much, but D3 "feels" like D2, with a few tweaks. If you are familiar with D2 (or D1, or any other isometric view RPG) the controls, movement, speed, mouse fluidity, etc, all feel very natural. I was immediately comfortable at the controls, with only the altered hotkeys and skill interface giving me any pause.

    Thursday - October 16, 2008

    Diablo 3 - Rob Pardo Interview @ Joystiq

    by Dhruin, 22:09

    Rob Pardo continues his busy schedule talking to press at Blizzcon.  This latest interview is on Diablo III at Joystiq:

    When your character talks to an NPC, he or she will actually talk back now. How has that changed the design?

    I don't think that system is done yet. That's a system that we've definitely been iterating on quite a bit over the last year or so. We've gone through a lot of different stages with that. We went through a stage where we weren't even using in-game models for the conversation system, we used a system that didn't have your character talking, we have the system now where you go close and see both. That system's definitely still evolving, and it's probably going to evolve for awhile.

    One of our goals with Diablo 3 was to really to add a lot more role-playing game feel to it. I think that some of the knock on the previous games is that it's too action based, that you don't get enough story, that you don't have RPG choices. That's something we really want to add to Diablo 3, but we're not going to slow it down. We have to keep it fast paced, we don't want it to be a game where you're slogging it out through dialogue trees. This system is a great example, we're really evolving it a lot to make sure we make the right decision to make the game fast-paced.

    In other news, fansite Diii.ne has a bunch of monster art from Blizzcon.

    Diablo 3 - Hands On @ Eurogamer

    by Woges, 18:19

    Enthusiastic preview from James Lee.

    "When you get into something as popular as Diablo, you can't make everyone happy, and you just kind of have to accept that," says Jay Wilson, Diablo III's unassuming game director.

    Blizzard unveiled Diablo III at the World Wide Invitational in Paris nack in June, showcasing a lush woodland level. To a certain group of all-or-nothing, reactionary fans, this was an outrage. "What next," they cried, "unicorns and Care Bears?" It seems they spoke far too soon.

    Wednesday - October 15, 2008

    Diablo 3 - Rob Pardo Interview @ Wired

    by Dhruin, 21:46

    Wired speaks to Blizzard VP of Game Design Rob Pardo about Diablo III, although the conversation does meander.  Limited DRM will probably be a high point for many people:

    Wired: Along with that, there’s a huge segment of the fanbase and a huge segment of the media who came down on EA recently when they released Spore and it had that ridiculous DRM system that only allowed you to put it on three computers. There was a huge uproar. Obviously you need some kind of DRM otherwise people would just blatantly pirate your game over and over again. What kind of solutions are you guys looking at for Diablo III?

    Pardo: The thing that I think helps us, is that since our games have such a huge multiplayer component, Battle.net really is our most effective DRM.

    If you wanna play online on Battle.net with other players you’re going to have to have a legitimate copy. That’s really kinda been the thing that’s always saved us from a lot of the PC piracy that I think hurts a lot of other single-player-only games.

    Wired: You’re not going to have something where the game has to phone home every time you turn it on?

    Pardo: No, there’s no particular plans for that. We do now have the online store where we’re doing digital distribution on your account. In those particular cases you have to be online to actually download the game, but once you have it, you're fine.

    I think our approach -- if you want to use an analogy -- we take an approach that’s more similar to Steam than EA, let’s say.

    While we're talking about Diablo III, PlanetDiablo's Blizzcon video on a gameplay, classes and skills presentation is worth a look.

    Monday - October 13, 2008

    Diablo 3 - Preview & Video Interview @ Diii.net

    by Dhruin, 22:28

    Diablo III fansite has hands-on impressions from Blizzcon.  The preview is broken down into practical headings, so here's a bit on inventory:

    The Inventory window shows a lot of visual information. It has a simple and intuitive UI frame with colorful gradients of orange and dark brown, and stylized symbols that highlight a gothic-like feeling. You can see your character model viewer which allows you to rotate your character. Around the viewer, you have 12 gear slots: helm, medallion, chest, sash, 2 rings, weapon, shield, boots, pants, gloves, and shoulder. Between the weapon and the shield is a strange circle. When clicking it, a new window pops forward. Based on the demo observation and loot, this window with 9 circles resembles the Glyphs window from World of Warcraft. In the case of Diablo 3, these 9 circles are reserved for Runes.  Thus far in the Blizzcon demo, only the Wizard can equip runes. (i.e. certain monsters may randomly drop a minor power rune).

    They also have a video interview with Jay Wilson that includes discussion of the controversial decision to automatically allocate attribute points.

    Finally, duck over to Worthplaying for 20 screens.

    Sunday - October 12, 2008

    Diablo 3 - On Subscriptions and Modding

    by Dhruin, 23:21

    More tidbits from Blizzcon with Shacknews quoting Jay Wilson as not being keen to have a Battle.net subscription but monetising other aspects is likely:

    Diablo III director Jay Wilson said today that the company does not have a great desire to charge a subscription fee for the upcoming revision of its multiplayer client Battle.net. However, the developer did note that Blizzard will likely monetize unknown features of the game.

    "We are going to monetize features so that we get to make them," said Wilson. "We kind of have to."

    Wilson noted that whatever the content would be, it would have an appropriate value to users.

    He goes on to say they won't be supporting mods.

    Diablo 3 - More Blizzcon @ IGN & diablo.iii.net

    by Magerette, 20:08

    IGN has a Blizzcon Q & A up with Blizzard's Rob Pardo covering the  wizard class a bit, as well as the new rune system, among other things:

    With the big reveal of the third Diablo III character class yesterday—the wizard—we had a chance to talk to Pardo today to find out more.

    "She's kind of our most classic magic-using class," Pardo told us. "If you have a mage or a sorcerer or a wizard, she kind of fills that archetype. She's going to be great at ranged combat; she's going to be great at area-of-effect magic. She's also going to be the crazy special effects class."

    Pardo wouldn't say exactly when Blizzard would reveal the remaining two classes, and he joked that they'll reveal them when they figure out what those classes will be. But we should expect the last two to be revealed next year, and he repeated something that he told us yesterday when we talked about StarCraft II; Diablo III will ship after the first of the StarCraft II games ship.

    On the rune skill system:

    Specifically, there's a new rune system that is "definitely a departure from the Diablo II system."

    "One of the problems with the Diablo II system is that you kind of lock in with one or two skills. We really wanted to come up with a system that allows you to kind of experiment and try across different areas," he said. Runes are where the experimentation comes in. "You'll actually find drops that are runes out in the world that you can slot into a skill. That will not only augment a skill but it can change it complete... Depending on the type of rune that you got, you might take an ability and it might turn into a multi-shot ability, or it might turn into an area-of-effect ability."

    For more Blizzcon blow by blow coverage, fansite diablii.net has a liveblog transcript of the action as well as some highlights of the Arts and Lore Panel presentation.

     

    Saturday - October 11, 2008

    Diablo 3 - Blizzcon Previews @ GameSpot, GameSpy

    by Dhruin, 23:36

    Two majors have hands-on impressions of Diablo III from Blizzcon.  First, to GameSpot:

    En route to the King's tomb, we had to do battle with countless skeletons and other enemies who, unlike their counterparts in previous games, attacked us using a variety of different tactics. The skeleton shieldbearers, for example, behaved almost like MMO players in a tanking role; stepping up to the front line and soaking up damage to protect other enemies with ranged attacks who were positioned behind them. Skeleton summoners also made for some memorable encounters. These puny enemies are extremely easy to kill, but you have to get to them first, and that's not always easy when there are a dozen or so skeletons doing their best to stand between you. You can kill the skeletons, of course, but the summoners can replace them almost as quickly as you can kill them, so you really have to find a way to either create a path through the skeletons or to lead them away from the summoners that they're protecting.

    ...and GameSpy:

    Next we came upon a well, from which emanated the ghostly voice of a young girl, seemingly lost and searching for Miss Pretty. The voice work here was haunting, almost heartbreaking. Here we gained our first quest, added to our quest log automatically. Nearby we encountered the ghost of the young girl's mother, who, on the verge of tears, told us that her daughter was lost without her doll. We found Miss Pretty in a nearby chest, and returned to toss it down the well. How the little girl ended up in the well, left to die, we'd rather not dwell on. By returning the girl's doll to her spirit, she was able to find some peace, and rose up to hopefully join her family in the afterlife.

    Diablo 3 - Hands On, Videos @ Shacknews

    by Dhruin, 10:01

    Describing their lasting impression of Diablo III as one of "absolute pleasure", Shacknews has a writeup from some hands-on time at Blizzcon:

    Inside the ruined church, zombies of every sort rambled out of their holes, as is expected in a Diablo game. The difference now is that there is more variety to the combat, in every respect. Ogres wait inside small culverts, bursting forth in ambush. As you fight, the environment is destroyed all around you, providing a great sense of total carnage.

    In fact, as laser-focused as the original Diablo games were in the realm of combat, I dare say this sequel has appropriately been improved in that arena. Playing as the Barbarian, slamming zombies with crushing Bashes and axe strikes, the screen shakes violently. 3D zombies are hewn apart in a way that 2D sprites couldn't be, bloody spraying everywhere. Even leveling up causes a huge explosion, rocking the area.

    They've also got around 5 minutes of gameplay videos, showing off the newly revealed Wizard class (and check out the official site update, as well, with 5 streaming videos of Wizard spells).

    Thanks, Kris!

    Friday - October 10, 2008

    Diablo 3 - Wizard is third Class

    by Woges, 20:43

    Mike Morhaime announces Wizard for D3 at Blizzcon as read over at Gamespot.

    [11:20] "Do we have any Diablo players here?" The crowd responds with a resounding yes.

    [11:20] Diablo III will let you play as the witch doctor and barbarian...and a new playable class, the wizard.

    [11:21] A trailer rolls for Diablo III, with a bit more to see of this wizard.

    [11:21] A female wizard enters a mausoleum, much like the one seen in the barbarian demo from earlier this year.

    [11:22] She holds an orb of power in her hand; it looks a bit like a static electricity bauble.

    [11:22] The wizard appears to be of Asian descent. Gameplay footage rolls, showing she has a lot of area of effect spells, blowing up enemies in large groups.

    [11:23] More gameplay footage, more skeletons turned to dust, and the trailer wraps.

    I wonder if they're all going to be old Talisman characters...

    Friday - October 03, 2008

    Diablo 3 - Screens, Art, Interview

    by Dhruin, 00:46

    Blizzard has updated the official Diablo 3 site with a new Bestiary entry for the scavenger, as well as four new pieces of art and seven screens.

    We also missed an interview a few days back with Jay Wilson at AusGamers:

    AG: I know that in StarCraft 2, a lot of the development was focused around multiplayer - a lot of the game design and the development being done was on multiplayer first. Is that something that you guys do with Diablo as well, or is a bit more focused on the single-player or a bit of a mix?

    Jay: For us it's a little bit more focused on the singleplayer, it's not quite the same [as StarCraft]. I've played RTS' before and I've seen people do it both ways and I seem to prefer the method where you work on multiplayer first, because you're really establishing the core game mechanics.

    For us, a lot of the core game has actually come out of singleplayer, but what we've done along the way, is we've always had cooperative play enabled. So people play cooperatively all the time. Any time anything does work for cooperative play we fix it right away. So any mechanics that don't work, any kind of balancing or tuning that needs to be done, we try to do it simultaneously for both – but we do focus on single-player more.

    Monday - September 22, 2008

    Diablo 3 - Monster Roundup

    by Dhruin, 23:02

    Planet Diablo has profiled over 20 monsters from Diablo III, with a screen showing each and a small descriptive blurb.

    Source: GameBanshee

    Wednesday - September 17, 2008

    Diablo 3 - Interview @ VideoGamer

    by Dhruin, 09:44

    Jay Wilson from Blizzard pops up again for an interview, this time at VideoGamer.com.  The art and character controversies are central questions:

    VideoGamer.com: If you could single out one feature of D3 to convince someone to by the game, what would it be? What's the coolest feature?

    JW: The coolest announced feature? (laughter) There are a few we've not revealed yet! For me it would have to be the character classes. I know that's kind of an odd feature to pick, but one of the things that was a hallmark of D2, one of the thigns that made it a favourite game of mine, was that the character classes were extremely archetypal. They were the kind of characters that people inherently wanted to play - they were very visceral, very powerful, very satisfying. Running through the world and hitting stuff with an axe felt really good. So when we started on D3 one of our main objectives was not to match the game on that front, but to surpass it. And that's something I feel we've really accomplished when you look at the character classes, the skillset we've put on them is really imaginative, very over the top and original. We've really tried to go for classes that are not your standard warrior, rogue, mage. We're not trying to provide something that's unknown to the players, but rather classes that are not what you'd typically see.

    Sunday - September 14, 2008

    Diablo 3 - Interview @ IncGamers

    by Dhruin, 01:33

    IncGamers has an article style interview with Blizzard community manager Bashiok on Diablo III.  Character customisation, health orbs, Battle.net 2.0 and the controversial art style are all briefly touched on:

    Bashiok stated, with some amusement, that the controversial art style of the next Diablo game wasn't Diablo 3going to change.  Blizzard is actually very happy with the new, brighter art style of Diablo III.
    “It's not changing at all,” he said definitively.
    When asked about concerns among fanboys that DIII wouldn't be as grim as DI and DII, he indicated that the game was still very dark and grim in its overall feel.
    “The tone is a lot darker.  There are more grotesque creatures, and insane blood splatter.”

    Source: Blues News

    Thursday - September 11, 2008

    Diablo 3 - Dark and Light Art Video Comparison @ diablo.iii.net

    by Magerette, 17:54

    Fansite diabloo.iii.net has posted an interesting video by someone named Sozou, who's gone to the trouble of taking the WWI Diablo 3 intro movie and redoing it to show how the game would look in a desaturated, darker mode similar to the artwork in Diablo2. You can view the results here.

    Source: GameBanshee

    Sunday - September 07, 2008

    Diablo 3 - Interview @ CrispyGamer

    by Dhruin, 00:39

    Jay Wilson chats with Crispy Gamer about Diablo III, covering the art style controversy, pleasing the hardcore fan base and some of the design:

    Crispy Gamer: Are the dungeons still going to be randomly generated?

    Wilson: Yes, we have a ton of random generation in the game. All the dungeons' layouts are randomly generated. The exteriors are not. We have a new system of adventures that allows us to cut sections out of the terrain to put random -- whatever -- in there. We can put random terrain, we can put in scripted events -- we wanted to add a lot more scripted events into the game.

    Crispy Gamer: That's got to be pretty challenging for you as a designer…

    Wilson: Yeah. It's probably one of the biggest challenges we've made. But you got to take it on because it's Diablo! There's like seven things that we've identified -- replayability through randomness was one of them. Absolutely everything that we can do to improve the randomness. But we looked at the exteriors in Diablo II and realized, the fact that the layouts were random actually didn't improve the game that much. If anything, it hurt the look of the game, because organic environments don't lend themselves to being randomly generated.

    You end up generating an outdoor environment like you'd generate a dungeon. So you create a room-like outdoor environment that also has no permanence to it. The world feels very transient. We decided to change that but add in things like the adventure system. On top of all that, all of the monster encounters are randomly generated. The rares and champions -- which are the mini-bosses -- are randomly generated. The items, and attributes on the items, are randomly generated. Essentially we're trying to match the amount of randomness you see in Diablo II.

    Friday - September 05, 2008

    Diablo 3 - Screens @ VoodooExtreme

    by Dhruin, 23:40

    Four new Diablo 3 screens are available at VoodooExtreme.

    Thursday - September 04, 2008

    Diablo 3 - Interview @ GameBanshee

    by Dhruin, 23:21

    Diablo III World Designer Leonard Boyarsky has been interviewed at GameBanshee:

    GB: Tell us about a few of the more important ways you intend to expand Diablo III's RPG elements compared to the previous iterations. How do you ensure that expanding on the RPG aspect of Diablo III won't interfere with the core hack & slash experience?

    Leonard: The RPG elements we're focusing on developing more this time around are in the areas of story and character development. We really want you to feel like you can have an effect on the world -- and that the world can affect your character in turn. In the past, action-RPGs have either come down on the side of action or RPG, and we don't think that's a choice that necessarily has to be made. Our goal is to make the RPG-style story elements more engaging than they previously have been in the action-RPG genre. The main way we do this without interfering with the hack-and-slash gameplay is by making it opt-in -- if you don't care about the story, or if you’re replaying the game and have already seen the story elements, the game will still be fun, but if you do care about it, the story will bring a whole extra level of involvement to the game experience.

    A central feature of this philosophy is making as few quests as possible mandatory, but having a wide variety of interesting side quests and random quests to play through if you want to. We are also doing a lot with scripted sequences and books that you can read in the game, but once again, you can completely avoid these things if they don't interest you.

    Wednesday - September 03, 2008

    Diablo 3 - Video Interview @ TenTonHammer

    by Dhruin, 00:32

    MMO site TenTonHammer has a video interview with Blizzard's Jay Wilson from Leipzig:

    Learn how Blizzard hopes to capture the essence of Diablo & Diablo 2 and even take Diablo 3 beyond its predecessors in a variety of ways, not the least of which is an updated control scheme and an fast-paced approach to combat that can only be described as epic, even by Diablo terms. Get the skinny on the boss fights you saw in the D3 trailer, gather some hints on the changes in store for Blizzard's multiplayer portal, Battle.net, and see much more in this ten minute video!

    Saturday - August 30, 2008

    Diablo 3 - BlizzCast #5 Podcast

    by Dhruin, 01:15

    Blizzard has released their latest BlizzCast podcast, which includes an interview with Diablo III lead, Jay Wilson.  For those that would prefer to read, Eurogamer has a summary article up:

    A lot of the team is really production focused now and we're generating content for the most part; a lot of the tech and underlying engine is really solid," Wilson said.

    While the art team had moved on to building the game's second act, he revealed that "most of the design team is still on Act 1 because we're refining and improving the quests and flow, and some of the big game systems that we haven't really announced yet."

    There he goes again with the unannounced "big game systems". Wilson repeatedly referenced these after the game's unveiling at June's Worldwide Invitational in Paris and seems genuinely excited by them. Our bet is that they have something to do with skill trees, or runes, or both.

    Source: Blues News

    Monday - August 25, 2008

    Diablo 3 - Screens @ GameInfoWire

    by Dhruin, 22:18

    Four new Diablo III screens are up at GameInfoWire.

    Source: Blues News

    Friday - August 22, 2008

    Diablo 3 - Interview @ 4Players.de

    by Dhruin, 22:46

    4Players.de let us know they have a new interview with Jay Wilson on Diablo III:

    4Players: You want to stop the potion spamming with the new health orbs. But how do you want to realise long boss fights?

    Jay Wilson: Essentially when we are designing a boss, health recovery is built in the design. We could drop health orbs at some percentages of the creature's overall life and that's what we do with rares and champions, actually. So those guys (a sort of mini-bosses) get a chance to drop health orbs, when you're fighting them. In a bigger boss fight, which is more structured, we could provide some small creatures for health.

    We've considered out a fight, where we use the wells like in Diablo 2 that bubble up over times. So you might have multiple of those. Then you have to run over and hit them for health and for a certain amount of time you can't use them and then they come back. So there are a lot of different ways how to do this. And really, the idea is that, when we are a designing a boss, we should figure out how health recovery could be an interesting mechanic for this boss.

    Diablo 3 - Screens & FAQ @ CVG

    by Dhruin, 00:54

    CVG has reprinted a Diablo III FAQ presumably passed around at the Leipzig GC.  It doesn't have anything illuminating, so head over for the 26 screens, instead.

    Will there be a single-player component in addition to multiplayer?
    Yes. In addition to battling the hordes of the Burning Hells cooperatively with friends over Battle.net, players will be able to adventure through the world of Diablo III solo. More details on both the single-player and multiplayer experience will be revealed at a later date.

    What will questing be like in Diablo III? Will it be similar to Diablo II?
    Our plans for the story and quest mechanics are still under wraps. We'll go into detail on those elements of the game at a later date. We can say, however, that we expect to have class-based quests in addition to the main story-line quests.

    Thursday - August 21, 2008

    Diablo 3 - Jay Wilson Interviews

    by Woges, 16:33

    Jay Wilson talks to Oli Welsh (how many times have I typed this guys name now?) about Diablo's new direction.

    Eurogamer: I guess this is where the influences you've mentioned from enemy design in Zelda and World of Warcraft come into play...

    Jay Wilson: Or God of War. Games like that are some of my favourite games. It would be far more interesting if we could have a boss monster that wasn't just a giant sack of health that deals out ridiculous damage. We've got monsters that drop health at percentages of their damage, we also sometimes spawn monsters that are just there basically to drop health. Even there: if you have a boss that just walks around and hits you, and a bunch of smaller monsters that continually spawn and generate health, that's already a far more interesting fight than you ever got in Diablo. And that's just the bear minimum of what we can do.

    And then on the role-playing side, we've been focusing on more story. We want people to be able to ignore the story if they want, but we still want there to be a denser story, we want there to be a lot of scripted events that support the story, we want the story to be better formed and more interesting. Plus we want there to be some elements that allow players to feel like they're in a role-playing game. I think that one of the differences between Blizzard North and what we sometimes call Blizzard South is that Blizzard South, led by our creative director Chris Metzen, is just a little bit more story-focused. That's not a knock, but it can't help but be something that gets into the game now, because it's also a value that I have.

    Also, Gamespy have an interview but without many hard facts about the new battle.net and PVP.

    GameSpy: World of Warcraft essentially evolved out of Diablo II in many ways, but by its very nature never required a Battle.net-style system to keep its communities connected. Can you speak about how you plan to implement Diablo III into the upcoming version of Battle.net? Jay Wilson, Lead Designer: One thing you mentioned is [how WoW was an evolution of Diablo II]. One of the things that we have people comment on a lot is, they say, "Oh, you're doing that, just like World of Warcraft!" And we're like, "yeah, but they took all that stuff from Diablo." There is very much an evolution. We learn from every game. There's stuff we pull from StarCraft, and they pull from us as well. We tend to look at games in general that we think are good, and we just happen to like our own games as well. 

    In terms of Battle.net features, to answer your question... we're kind of waiting for a big unveiling to announce a lot of the new features. I don't want to steal their thunder by talking about those features, but what I can talk about is the intent behind them -- to create the best online experience that you will find in gaming, and really support the Blizzard community. We think we have the greatest community in the world. They're wonderful people, they're great gamers, and they really love the community. What we want is for it to be easier for them to be together. Easier for them to talk to one another, easier for them to play games together, easier for them to find each other, no matter what they're doing. That's really the core goal behind the new Battle.net.

    Wednesday - August 20, 2008

    Diablo 3 - Liepzig Artwork & Screens

    by Magerette, 15:44

    Diabloiii.net has an array of Diablo III artwork and 13 screenshots from the press CD for the Liepzig Game Conference. The site notes that most of this is new but may look familiar as it's part of the same batch of media out since the WWI.

    First the screenshots:

    And you can see the artwork here.

     

    Friday - August 15, 2008

    Diablo 3 - Media @ diabloiii.net

    by Magerette, 17:45

    Here's a media update  as of August 14th with 2 screenshots, three pieces of concept art and one wallpaper for Diablo 3 at diablo.iii.net. Hopefully we haven't posted these before.

    Thursday - August 14, 2008

    Diablo 3 - Keeping a Broad Audience

    by Dhruin, 22:44

    MTV dribbles more Diablo III tidbits out from their conversation with Jay Wilson, this time speaking about how the game will keep its broad audience:

    Keeping the game approachable is key for Wilson. “It’s one of the reasons why we made some of the choices we made, like when we pulled out the potion system,” he said. “When we wanted to add a hot bar we knew we had to pull the potion stuff out. Every time we add something, we have to pull something out to keep the game very simple and straightforward to play.”

    “One of the things that happened in ‘Diablo II’,” Wilson continued, “was the player was faster than most of the monsters and had pretty much infinite health because they would just pop as many potions as they wanted. So when you have a player who has more mobility, more health and endless power, essentially the only thing you can really do to challenge [the players] is to kill them… by just spiking the difficulty.”

    Wednesday - August 13, 2008

    Diablo 3 - Tidbits @ MTV

    by Dhruin, 00:36

    Continuing the annoying habit of splitting interviews into a dozen minor newsbits, MTV has two pieces on Diablo III from lead Jay Wilson.  The first is on having class gender choices:

    Despite the cost, the company is moving forward with gender choices for the character classes. For Wilson, it wasn’t even an option anyway. “For me it was always a no-brainer to have gender choice,” he said, having both male and female characters in “World of Warcraft.” “There’s so much interest as to guys who plays girls or girls who play guys. Sometimes it’s assumed that people play their own gender, but a lot of the times people don’t. It’s obviously a really important choice that we want people to be able to make on their own.”

    ...and the second on the storyline rounding out a trilogy (but not the end of  the franchise):

    Not much has been revealed about “Diablo III“’s storyline, but lead designer Jay Wilson did tell me that the game will round out the story arc set up by the previous two games.

    The plot behind “Diablo III” was developed with Blizzard’s VP of creative development Chris Metzen, who crafted the tales for the first two games. In the first “Diablo,” the player quests to kill the Lord of Terror.

     

    Sunday - August 10, 2008

    Diablo 3 - Can It Succeed Where Hellgate:London Failed?

    by Magerette, 17:17

    Daniel Nations at Examiner.com  speculates on whether the new entry from Blizzard in the Diablo franchise can avoid some of Flagship's mistakes with HG:L

    ...And then there was Hellgate: London. I thought this was for sure the spiritual successor to the Diablo series. After all, it shared many of the same developers and it has the same basic story: a hellgate opens up that spews forth a bunch of demons.

    I canceled my pre-order to Hellgate: London after a couple of weeks in the open beta. Part of it was that the developers were essentially charging for battle.net and -- worst -- charging for extra character slots. I know they tried to dress it up like MMO fees, but Hellgate: London is not an MMO. They also tried to dress it up like paying for expansions by the month, but why limit character slots so much on the basic account if you aren't trying to squeeze the players? After all, the charm of the Diablo series was their replayability.

    ...I'd have probably stuck around to see if they could patch it into a good game, but at the end of the day, my lack of being blown away played a big role in not going down that road.

    The truth be told, Diablo has a very simple formula: Take Gauntlet and mix in old Rogue-like games. For those not familiar with the Rogue-like genre, Rogue was an old text-based role-playing game that featured random dungeons. Because each game was different, you could play the game over and over again.

    That's where Diablo shines above the crowd of Diablo-clones. Replayability.

    And it certainly sounds like Blizzard is keeping that theme in the game. In fact, the developers hinted that not only would we get our random dungeons, but we also might be seeing some random quests and/or events. This is way overdue! Dynamic quests are something I've been wanting to see for a long time and could really add a whole new level to the idea of replayability.

    Source: GameBanshee

    Saturday - August 09, 2008

    Diablo 3 - Preview @ Vault Network

    by Dhruin, 10:49

    IGN's Vault Network has a preview of Diablo 3 with quite a bit of input from Jay Wilson.  There's nothing new but here's a clip on the prominence of multiplayer:

    From the developers’ point of view, the only difference between playing alone and playing with your friends is that the latter is more fun.

    As Jay puts it, “When you’re playing the game by yourself, we consider it a cooperative game with one person in it.”

    They don’t want to create a scenario where the player would have to go and find friends in order to get through the content. What they do want is to create an environment that adjusts itself to the number of players in the group. The more players there are, the tougher the monsters will be. They are also looking into adding content like puzzles that require several players to solve, although that’s proving to be quite a challenge given the dynamic group size.

    Source: Blues News

    Thursday - August 07, 2008

    Diablo 3 - Development Update @ UGO

    by Dhruin, 01:04

    UGO has a look at Diablo III that doesn't really offer much insight into the gameplay but summarises some of the known development decisions:

    One of the earliest questions faced by Diablo III’s development team focused on the ways the series could be updated for a new generation of PC hardware.  Obviously, the possibility of giving the game a new 3D look was considered… for the space of a meeting.  The team chose to stick with the series’ standard isometric perspective (rather, isometric-style) from day one; changing that, they feared, would ultimately change the nature of the core gameplay too much.

    Source: GameBanshee

    Wednesday - August 06, 2008

    Diablo 3 - Jay Wilson on Art Direction and Necromancers

    by Dhruin, 00:48

    A fascinating article at MTV sees Diablo 3 lead designer Jay Wilson commenting on a bunch of fan-modified screens preferred by the "change Diablo 3's art direction" lobby.  Not everyone will agree with his conclusions but I'd love to see more interaction with designers like this.  A sample:

    Wilson: I think one of the things that these lack is if you stuck every one of these re-done shots right next to each other you would not be able to tell that they’re in different areas. One of the things that’s key to “Diablo II” — and I’ve gone through and done timing on it — it changes environments every 15 minutes, and every 45 minutes they give you an environment that looks completely different than one you’ve ever seen before. And when they change environments, the contrast is huge. It’s like I’m in green lush fields, and now I’m in the darkest dungeon you’ve ever seen. I’m in a bright sandy desert, and now I’m in a completely dim mummy tomb. There are these vast shifts in look, and it’s one of the things that keeps people interested in playing the game.

    It’s a very simple game, and [you need to ] constantly vary what you throw at the player — big look changes in the environment, creature changes with different behavior. And not just behavior; we spent a lot of time trying to make creatures show up and die more interestingly. Because those are all the things that keep you going. Each one of those things is a reward. When you pull all the color out of the environment and you make it too homogeneous across the game, essentially what you’re doing is you’re pulling away the player’s reward of feeling like they’ve progressed because the area they’re in now looks like the area they were in 30 to 45 minutes ago.

    Also at MTV, Jay explains why the Necromancer class was dropped.  Apparently it was controversial internally:

    “There’s a lot of people on our team who aren’t happy with our class choices,” he admitted. “But after we’ve established ‘Diablo III’ as its own game with its own type of gameplay and experiences, I wouldn’t be opposed to looking at old classes. We are trying to design [the Witch Doctor] class so that if we did bring back the Necromancer, there’s room for him. We’re looking out ahead of time at what our expansions are going to be, so we’ve got to keep room open for some of those other classes down the road.”

    Wilson added, “It’s one of those things where, unless we put like 30 classes in the game, people are going to be unhappy. But if we put 30 classes in the game, we’d hurt the game. I think that of the classes that we’ve chosen, there will be something for everyone. I’m not worried that people won’t be able to find a class that they like to play.”

    Monday - August 04, 2008

    Diablo 3 - Preview @ Edge Online

    by Dhruin, 22:09

    Edge Online has a preview of Diablo 3 with input from Leonard Boyarsky and lead designer Jay Wilson, who says "gameplay is what matters":

    One vital aspect of the game that carries the essence of its predecessors is its camera angle. Although now fully 3D, it’s a direct progression from the isometric view of the previous games – and it’s this loyalty to the spirit of that old technology that has led so many to assume that the game has done little to update itself.

    “Camera is not technology,” says Wilson, clearly somewhat frustrated. “People associate the camera with isometric and say: ‘Oh, why didn’t you update the tech?’ Well, we did update the tech. The camera has nothing to do with tech, the camera is all about gameplay. Isometric gameplay is very different from FPS or over-the-shoulder thirdperson – which is pretty much what the entire industry is moving towards. But then some of the biggest hits of the last year were Guitar Hero and Rock Band, and those were not high-tech games. Gameplay is what matters; it’s what’s always mattered to us.”

    Diablo 3 - Art Direction Q & A @ Kotaku

    by Magerette, 17:00

    Kotaku has an interview up with lead designer Jay Wilson on the controversy surrounding the art direction in Blizzard's Diablo III:

    ...What about the complaint, then, that Diablo III may be "too much like WoW" in style and vibe?

    "There's a philosophy that goes across all of our games, and that philosophy stays true from game to game... so it probably draws some comparisons," Wilson said. "One philosophy is that our artists feel like if they're just using photorealism, not creating a unique look for the game, not stylizing so that it's uniquely Blizzard, then they're not doing their jobs."

    Color choices, he said, promote telling units apart and telling players apart from monsters, philosophies that cross all of Blizzard's titles. "If you do follow those rules, there's going to be some similarities."

     

    Source: GameBanshee

    Saturday - August 02, 2008

    Diablo 3 - Preview @ Games Radar

    by Dhruin, 10:43

    A lengthy Diablo 3 preview followed up with a short Q&A session can be found over at Games Radar.  It's divided into "what we know" and then more speculative "what we think" sections; here's a bit on the graphics:

    Diablo III is powered by a proprietary new 3D engine (with no catchy name as of yet), and the first screens and game footage offer a taste of what it’s been built to do. The world’s depth is immediately apparent: for instance, instead of simply spawning offscreen, ghouls scramble up the walls from the unseen depths of the Forgotten Tombs, only to fall off bridges back into the mist when they’re killed. And yet, even though the objects are built in a 3D space, many of the elements look painted, particularly in the autumnal Leoric Highlands. Ankle-deep water, hazy rain, fog, smoke, and swaying grass are all benefits of the modern tech beneath the gameplay - not to mention the splattery hunks of meat and gore that come from dispatched enemies. Diablo III will support both DirectX 9 and 10, so if you haven’t upgraded your rig in a year or two, you’re not completely sunk.

    ...and a grab from the Q&A:

    PCG: What do you think Diablo fans will be most excited about in the new game?

    JW: Our co-op focus is something that we’re really proud of. I think Diablo and Diablo II were always focused on co-op, but they unintentionally did things that harmed the co-op game. We’ve really learned from that and are getting rid of [those things]. How we do loot drops is a big change for us. It used to be in Diablo II that everyone fought over the loot - the Barbs and the Paladins usually managed to win that fight, and we changed that system completely so that essentially whatever drops, drops individually for each player. So, when a monster dies, if you’ve got three people in the game, it can actually drop three different things, one for each person, and then people just see their own drops, so if you see it on the ground, you can pick it up. Overall, not only is it more friendly to cooperative play, it also doesn’t encourage people to fight - it encourages people to work together. What we found is that it actually encourages a lot of trading.

    Friday - August 01, 2008

    Diablo 3 - Art Direction Stays

    by Woges, 16:50

    No going back now sayeth Jay Wilson.

    Don’t like “Diablo III“’s colorful art direction? Too bad. We were told today that it’s not going anywhere.

    Lead “Diablo III” designer Jay Wilson told me that even though 52,000 “Diablo” fans have signed a petition asking Blizzard to return to the darker, more gothic look of the old “Diablo” games, the new, vibrant art style is here to stay.

    It's all discussed at MTV.

    Thursday - July 31, 2008

    Diablo 3 - Screens @ GamersHell

    by Magerette, 16:52

    GamersHell has added five screens to their Diablo III gallery; I did a quick check and it looks like at least two of them are new since our last media post. They're viewable here

    Friday - July 25, 2008

    Diablo 3 - Boyarsky Interview @ IGN.AU

    by Dhruin, 22:47

    Leonard Boyarsky has been interviewed at IGN.AU about Diablo 3 and "the importance of lore and compelling character classes".  Let's start at the beginning:

    IGN: What do you do as the lead world designer, and what have you worked on in the past in that respect?

    Leonard Boyarsky:
    As lead world designer I'm responsible for the lore of the game, the history, the story. I work with a quest designer named Michael Chu, who's had a lot of experience in the RPG industry. We make sure that through the quests the story's being conveyed to the player. We also work very closely with the art department to make sure - y'know, they'll come to us and say to us 'what's going on with this civilisation or that civilisation, what's the history?' Because there's a lot of ruins and building up on cities that have been around for a long time. So, building a world – the way we're building this world – from the ground up and with a lot of history, really informs the art. And it's a back and forth thing too, the artists will sometimes come up with really cool concepts and we'll work that back into the lore. So that's basically what we do there.

    Diablo 3 - Media Update

    by Woges, 16:45

     A few pieces of media added to the Diablo 3 site.

    We have added three new pieces of artwork, two new screenshots, and one new wallpaper.

    Thursday - July 24, 2008

    Diablo 3 - Preview @ CVG

    by Dhruin, 12:44

    CVG has a straightforward preview of Diablo 3 from PC Zone UK:

    Another trick Blizzard have up their sleeves is a destructible, animated environment - even if much of the dungeon design will remain as randomly-generated as ever.

    Players can bring walls down upon enemies and smack them off bridges. Pots shake as you stomp the floor and explosions blow up furniture.

    "We're really hoping to push the interactive environments throughout the game as a true tactical motif. It's something we committed ourselves to early on in development, because we wanted to bring them to life and make them a core part of the experience," beams Morrisroe.

    Tuesday - July 22, 2008

    Diablo 3 - Tidbits @ Starcraft Legacy

    by Magerette, 18:35

    Gamebanshee posts a link to Blizzard fansite Starcraft Legacy where this factoid on a new game feature, randomly generated adventures, is mentioned in some of their WWI coverage:

    There is also a focus on maintaining the random aspect of the original Diablo games. This includes, in addition to random loot, dungeons and monsters, a new feature called "Adventures". This is a system in which the developers have managed, via a clever piece of programming wizardry, to create completely random scripted events within a game world. For instance, were you passing through a forest, you may happen upon a clearing where evil cultists had begun to summon particularly deadly foes. This wandering, and thus finding of these random events, encounters and delicious loot, will be assisted by an "opt-in" style of storyline, where a player can avoid or participate in the storyline as much as he wishes.

    Source: GameBanshee

    Wednesday - July 16, 2008

    Diablo 3 - Diablo II Team Comments on Diablo III

    by Magerette, 17:39

    Fansite daibloiii.net has gotten a hold of several Diablo II team members and asked them to comment on various aspects of Diablo III. This particular interview  is with Michael Huang, who spent six years at Blizzard North, and was the Technical Producer on Diablo II. Here are his observations about the artwork controversy:

    Diii.net: What do you think of the look of D3? Is it similar in tone/mood/theme to the game you envisioned and worked on at Blizzard North? There has been quite a bit of debate about the graphics with some players complaining that it's too bright cartoon/rainbow-colored.

    Michael Huang: I think the game looks great. Using Havok for physics should give a more realistic experience to the environment. When I left Blizzard North, the D3 team was still in the prototype stage, so the game has taken some rather substantial graphical leaps in the years since. People's memories of how dark and grim Diablo is largely dependent on their playing environment, and largely subjective...

    ...Diablo 3 definitely shows off the power of realtime 3D rendering of the environment; in some of the screenshots, you can see the same area, but from a different perspective. One of the things that we had to do with Diablo 2 was strike a balance between things fantastical, while at the same time remaining realistic, all while working within the style constraints of Diablo 2. If you look at the Act 3 Jungle, those trees look very realistic, but they also look like they belong inside our game. If you took those trees and put them in Warcraft III, it doesn't work; the style is too different. The outdoor foiliage of D3 feels very impressionistic to me, and while it's different than what we did in D2, I think it looks very good. I think the indoor environments fit the Diablo universe; I love all the stuff that the artists add in there like the cobwebs and cracked stone and such; it really makes the place feel alive.

    Since the Diablo series is largely a point and click game, it doesn't make a lot of gameplay sense to make things hard to see or interact with, because there are few things more frustrating than being hit by things that are invisible or hunting around for something hard to see and target. One thing people need to take into account is that Diablo 3 is a true 3D game, while Diablo I and Diablo II were sprite-based -- with 3D there's a lot more possibilities in lighting available to the developers, and it really feels like they want to take advantage of the technology. If a character throws a red fireball, it should cast a red glow in the area -- we have the technology now, and the graphics card can handle it, so why not?

    Sunday - July 13, 2008

    Diablo 3 - Forum Tidbits @ GameBanshee

    by Dhruin, 10:42

    GameBanshee has been keeping a close eye on the Diablo 3 forums, putting together a post with nice snippets of info.  Here's a sample on loot:

    Currently - while in a party each player will see their own drops from each kill.

    This could mean that after killing a zombie I see a sword drop, and you may see a shoulder slot item drop. Or I see nothing drop, while you got an axe.

    Obviously while in a group you're killing faster, and this could translate to an exponentially increasing number of drops with each additional player in your party. However, it's balanced in such a way that the drop % is pulled back a bit with each additional player (I'm simplifying it, but that's what it boils down to). This keeps it from being almost detrimental to not play with a full party, while still giving a nice increase to the amount of drops if you do.

    From this system it seems quite a few people got the impression that you'll never see items drop that you can't use. For instance, a Barbarian will never see a dagger that only a Witch Doctor can use. This isn't true. There is no effect, or at least no currently intended effect, to restrict which items which classes can or can't see for their respective drops. It's still intended that you could see an item that your class can't use. It's easy enough to drop the item, ask if anyone can use it, or just sell it off of course.

    Thursday - July 10, 2008

    Diablo 3 - Respec Forum Tidbit

    by Dhruin, 00:36

    I know at least one reader will appreciate this, because he emailed me on the subject.  Blizzard staffer "Bashiok" posted this about respeccing on the official forums:

    There will almost definitely be some sort of system to respec; however, it isn't likely to be as liberal as World of Warcraft. We don't want to lock a player into a system that punishes them for mistakes, experimenting, or lack of knowledge early on in the game. We also don't think a system that allows immediate, complete, and at-a-whim changes to a character spec matches the feel of Diablo. It's likely to be somewhere in between.

    That said we still feel like the desire to play the same class again that you may have played before is still a part of the game, and with some ability to respec could potentially require other incentives.

    Source: GameBanshee

    Wednesday - July 09, 2008

    Diablo 3 - Character Art Shots @ Diabloiii.net

    by Magerette, 17:09

    The unofficial Diablo III site, (which for the last decade or so has been the the unofficial Diablo II site) has taken the art trailer released for the WWI and made some .jpg images:

    I went through the Art Trailer released at the WWI and got busy with Fraps, taking shots of all the images displayed. Quite a few of them (about 50) are images that have not previously been seen in .jpg form, and you can now view them in HQ in our Character Art image gallery. The character/NPC art shots are up today, 15 artist depictions of male and female Barbarians, with a few NPCs (or 3rd character previews?) mixed in. The world art and monster art will be posted Thursday and Friday, respectively, with a gallery of shots from the cinematic posted next week.

    Tuesday - July 08, 2008

    Diablo 3 - Ben Boos on Graphics

    by Woges, 12:45

     The original D2 artist talks to Diii.net about the graphics that have some fans spooked.

    Diii.net: Did you pay attention to the D3 announcement, or is Diablo in the past and you're concentrating fully on your future gaming projects?

    Ben Boos: Oh heck yes, I paid attention. It was huge on several levels. Keeping a secret this big wears thin, for one! So to finally have the cat out of the bag is great. It was a milestone event to me. There are tons of strong emotions all wrapped into this franchise since the Diablo games were more than a mere hobby; they were my life for nearly 8 years.

    Also, I'll be honest: What really made me sit up and pay attention to the announcement was to see how beautiful D3 had become! I remember back at Blizzard North when Jason Regier was first designing a rough game engine, and how it was always so exciting to see the new features added, day by day. So imagine how I felt to see this stunning demo. I've been quietly writing and illustrating a book for the last few years since taking leave of Blizzard North (sometime back in 2004), and I haven't seen the game in AGES. It's come a loooong way since then, to say the least. It's an entirely different beast! I mean, holy smokes, destructible environments for instance! I love it! By the way, after laboring on the environments for d2, and d2x, I would have LOVED to smash those up. It would have been cathartic.

    Seriously though, the game looks great, and I not only paid close attention I wound up corresponding with old Blizzard friends throughout the day and into the night after that announcement. It had a huge impact on me.

    What a rush of memories!

    Friday - July 04, 2008

    Diablo 3 - Preview @ Eurogamer

    by Woges, 16:15

    'More' Diablo 3 news in the form of a 3 page preview at Eurogamer, by Oli Welsh.

    Diablo III is more. More action, more death, more skills, more colour, more story, more beauty, more top-down, click-hungry, loot-happy, fast-paced, over-the-top, randomly-generated, fantasy-horror slaughter. Eight years after the last instalment in Blizzard's classic action-RPG series - probably ten, by the time it comes out - Diablo III is more of the same. Beneath the waves of excitement generated by its return - in the form of twenty stunning minutes of game footage - there is the slightest undertow of anti-climax. Is 'more of the same' really all there is to it?

    Blizzard's chief design guru, Rob Pardo - formerly lead designer on World of Warcraft - argues that traditionalism can't really be a sin when no-one else is upholding the tradition. "If there were a ton of games out in the market that are the isometric action-RPG model, then we probably would have more seriously done a different approach," he says, pointing out that two Blizzard "splinter groups" - Flagship and ArenaNet - have already chosen to take "Diabloesque" gameplay in new directions with Hellgate: London and Guild Wars. "But it just always amazes me, with a game series that's as successful as Diablo's been, that I don't feel like there's a lot of great competing games in that same genre."

    Diablo 3 - Rob Pardo Interview @ 1Up

    by Dhruin, 00:48

    Having spoken to Leonard Boyarsky yesterday, 1Up tackles Rob Paro to talk about Diablo 3 today:

    1UP: On the subject of Diablo III being a more colorful game, there's already comments online about the color palette. Can you talk about how the team arrived at the decision for a wider color palette?

    RP: Yeah, so we've probably been through, I don't know, maybe three major art direction changes on the game. And the previous two were probably a little more similar to the Diablo II look. But it just didn't feel right anymore. It didn't feel like an interesting enough environment to play in anymore. So when we finally came up with this look, what we're really trying to do is add more color to the game, and we were very careful to not want to go to WOW. We don't want the game to look like WOW. We want it to look like Diablo. But we felt that there was an opportunity to add more color to the game but still keep the game feeling dark. And I think that's something a little tougher to see in a demo. I think when you're playing the game, people will fall in love with it, and will realize, "you know what? You can have reds and blues and a more painted look and still have a very dark, gothic feel to it all."

    Thursday - July 03, 2008

    Diablo 3 - Another Boyarsky Interview @ 1UP

    by Magerette, 17:07

    Not to overwhelm the site with Diablo III material, but some may find this  Q. & A. at 1UP   with Leonard Boyarsky of interest:

    1UP: Since you've worked on games like Fallout and Arcanum, can you talk about how your background in hardcore RPG design contributes to the design of the action-heavy Diablo III?

    LB: Since you didn't catch the world design panel, this isn't going to be information you heard already. But in the panel, we talked about how you can argue that an action game doesn't really need a story. I would then argue that even if you have an action game that concentrates on the action, if you have that story layer in there -- which is opt-in of course because a bunch of players won't care about the story in that type of game -- but if it's there for the people who do care, or if it informs all the art and the mood and the way people talk in the game, I think it comes across to the player. Even those who only peripherally encounter it through their quests, it gives them something to care about. They're not only caring about the next piece of armor or the next level, but if we're doing out job right, they're going to care about the next plot point. That's where I come in.

    Granted, there's not going to be any dialogue trees, but that just means I have to be inventive with the "how do I present this story" challenge. Another thing I talked about this in this morning's panel is adventures. These are random events we can switch in and out in the outdoor worlds. They're scripted; for example, I can follow a trail of dead bodies to this huge mound of decimated corpses, and there's this warrior in a zen-meditation on top, just kicking it. Immediately I know a lot about this guy. I don't have to get into a long conversation tree with him. So this system really helped me rethink and follow the "show, don't tell" motif. Look at my background, and you know where I'm coming from. I have to think, "Okay, how do I get the kinds of things I like to do into the hands of a player who just wants to kill Diablo and have them be satisfied with it." I think if we present it right, and we don't put it in their path in a "you can't go on until you read this lore book," but rather do things like drop in a little adventure that might give them a clue to how to play the game better, it may also tweak their interest a bit and make them look into the story a bit more.

    Diablo 3 - Sound Off @ Gamespot

    by Woges, 13:24

     The Gamespot editors sound off on the WWI (mostly D3) and express their gut reactions to Blizzard's weekend.

    Jon Miller: A new intellectual property. As much as I like discovering new loot, I find the hack-and-slash gameplay of Diablo too simple for my tastes. I'm excited for co-op play, I'm excited to see how Blizzard will improve upon Diablo II's formula, but I feel that the action RPG is evolving. Diablo was a seminal game, yes. But years later, action RPGs have a lot more diversity. For my money, I prefer Oblivion or the upcoming Fallout 3. I respect the Diablo franchise, but I was hoping that Blizzard would blow me away with something new it hasn't yet tried. Sadly, it didn't.

    Wednesday - July 02, 2008

    Diablo 3 - Deep in Hell with Leonard Boyarsky

    by Magerette, 16:19

    Gamespy has an interview up with Leonard Boyarsky(Troika Games) discussing his work on the storyline and lore aspects of Diablo 3, for which he is lead world designer. Here's a bit from some of his comments:

    "I wasn't a hardcore Diablo fan before joining Blizzard," Boyarsky says as we begin talking. "I played them, of course, and I really liked them, but I usually like a lot more story depth in my games." According to Boyarsky, what drew him to the project was what he sees as the franchise's untapped potential for storytelling. "A lot of people are afraid that we're going to slow the gameplay down by enriching the story parts of the game. We're not doing that at all." The idea is to use some simple cinematic techniques such as dialogue rather than monologue to convey quest information and crafting richer backstories for the main characters that will be reflected in their artwork and the way they view the central action of the story.

    ...Unlike the previous games in which the player's avatar was more archetype than actual character, the classes in Diablo III are designed with complete backstories including who they were before the story began, why they're interested in the events of Diablo III, and who they are as people.... Boyarsky also cites the new city of Caldeum that became the seat of government when Karast fell in Diablo II. How an open-trade city changes when its freewheeling style is co-opted by colorless government bureaucrats is something that informs everything from character development to artwork to the nature of quests.

    Thanks to Remus for posting this link in his forum thread on all things Diablo 3. 

    Diablo 3 - What We Know So Far @ Shacknews

    by Dhruin, 01:02

    Shacknews has a nicely constructed FAQ on Diablo 3, broken down into different categories.  Here's the general overview part:

    • Largely follows in the style of past Diablo games.
    • Controls and camera kept simple, but depth of combat enhanced.
    • The story takes place 20 years after the events of Diablo II.
    • Greater emphasis has been placed on a character-driven story.
    • Targeting a length similar to Diablo II, which ran four acts.
    • Uses a new in-house 3D engine and the Havok physics engine.
    • Has been in development for four or five years. Was rebooted after Blizzard North shut down in March 2005.
    • The game is "really far along," and is "really fun to play already." (Source: GameSpot)
    • Dev team now up to 50-55 employees.
    • Will ship simultaneously on Mac and PC.
    • No plans for a console version.
    • No decisions made on financial model.
    • Blizzard challenged themselves to add color to the art style while maintaining the dark, gothic feel of the previous titles.

    Looking at the last one, some fans have started a partition to express their disappointment on the artistic direction - an interesting counterpoint to the articles arguing Diablo 3 is a faithful sequel, while Fallout 3 has gone to the dogs.

    Monday - June 30, 2008

    Diablo 3 - Media @ Various Sites

    by Magerette, 16:31

    Obviously there's going to be a saturation level of Diablo 3 news in the near future, so forgive me if I've duplicated anything here in this collection of screenshots and videos.

    First off, GamersHell has a streaming Witch Doctor combat trailer , Barbarian Attack trailer, two other videos and 85 screenshots available on their Diablo 3 game page.

    PCGames has 22 of these screens in larger format here.

    Gametrailers has all of the above trailers and more here.

    Finally, here's a link to Gamespot's video library, where you can find some panel discussion trailers and a slew of interview and demonstration videos from the WWI, including this one on Lore and Environmental Art with Leonard Boyarsky.

     

    Thanks to woges for the Boyarsky heads-up.

    Sunday - June 29, 2008

    Diablo 3 - News Roundup

    by Dhruin, 23:02

    IGN has scored an interview with Blizzard's Rob Pardo, presented in article format.  Pardo claims Diablo III will offer deeper questing:

    Pardo cited what Blizzard did with real-time strategy design from StarCraft to Warcraft 3. "A lot of people in that time period were doing RTS missions where you just build up your base, slug it out against another base, do that 30 times and you're done with the campaign. With War 3 we tried to come up with interesting scenarios and I think that's the same thing with Diablo III. You guys may have been used to Diablo and Diablo II being really just kind of a point and click game…fun but not really immersive."

    Incorporating more involved questing and role-playing elements is something Blizzard is focusing on with Diablo III, but also make the gameplay more dynamic. "We had bosses in Diablo II but, again, they weren't really involved. We really want to try to implement bosses that are much more epic, there's much more gameplay to actually defeating them. We're taking cues from games like Zelda, God of War, games like that, bring that to the action-RPG genre. We want to have side quests and scenarios that are much more involved…like defend the town from attack or something like that."

    ...meanwhile GameSpot has a First Look:

    The Witch Doctor will have control over disease, can summon pets, and can even control the minds of his or her enemies. We saw a few examples of these different approaches in the game demo: Locust Swarm is a spell that summons a nasty horde of flying locusts that can overwhelm an opponent. Better yet, the locusts will automatically spawn to attack additional enemies in the area. We saw one pet in use too; the mongrel. This pet can attack enemies and can be buffed with other Witch Doctor spells; during the demo, the player cast Locust Swarm on his mongrel, giving the pet an attack bonus. We also briefly saw the Horrify spell, which causes enemies to temporarily flee in terror. By far his coolest ability was the Wall of Zombie which was truly terrifying. If you've seen a wall of fire or ice in a game before, you probably have a pretty good idea of what this skill is all about.

    ...and Destructoid hosts a blog by Solivagent, who writes that Blizzard has honoured the Diablo name with a faithful sequel, while Bethsoft has done something else with Fallout:

    And now we got D3. It looks the same as D2 and D1. Two orbs. Mouse clicking. Iconic classes. It looks gorgeous as well. Using the same isometric (sic) perspective. And from what I can see, people are lapping it up. People are loving it, me included. Why? Well I guess it's reassuring to see a team that is made up of several different members from D2's team (even though it's still Blizzard) behind the steering wheel of this game, and how they managed to make the game be like what Diablo III SHOULD be like, in the hearts of fans and gamers in general.

    All of this disturbs me. Why? Because I'm a fan of another franchise. One where action takes a sidestep into turn-based chaos, and dialog, options, different routes, take the center stage. A game whose setting was, and still is, unique.

    Saturday - June 28, 2008

    Diablo 3 - Confirmed in Paris

    by Woges, 12:07

    Splash screen updated and the game is currently being showed in Paris and via the live stream on Blizzards WWI page (not so easy to get on due to max users). Just waiting for diablo3.com to pop up some graphics so we can update that RPGWatch picture. Oli Welsh hastly writes his viewing up for Eurogamer.

    Updates:

    The EU Diablo 3 site just went online here.

    Lets add Remus' links to site confirms here and here.

    Gamespot have also confirmed here.

    Host of articles at Rock, Paper Shotgun.

    Video speech by Rob Pardo on Diablo 3 @ Gamespot.

    Hour long developer panel @ diabloii.net

    Somebody has been kind enough to post the Developer Panel on Design Fundamentals on YouTube that I missed this morning: Part1, Part2 and Part3.

    Here's the offical blurb:

    Twenty years have passed since the cataclysmic events of Diablo®II. Mephisto, Diablo, and Baal have been defeated, but the Worldstone, which once shielded the world of Sanctuary from the forces of both the High Heavens and the Burning Hells, has been destroyed, and evil once again stirs in Tristram....

    Following the unveiling of Diablo III today at the Blizzard Entertainment Worldwide Invitational, we've launched the game's official website, with information about the places, characters, monsters, and adventures awaiting you upon your return to the world of Sanctuary. Some of the site's highlights include:

    Visit the new Diablo III website now to learn more about the game, and make sure to check out the official FAQ and the announcement press release.

    Tuesday - June 24, 2008

    Diablo 3 - Rumours Intensify

    by Woges, 14:06

     Ok, what the hell, as sites like diabloii.net are starting to get excited this time round we may as well post something on this.

     With D3 rumors coming out of our ears, and the hidden runes in the WWI splash images Blizzard is posting, we decided to collect them all for easy viewing. Check out the Splash Images Article with analysis and comparisons, the massive Diablo III Rumors page, and the Splash Images Gallery, with the official shots and many enhanced versions created by players. Each of these pages will be constantly updated as more info is released, as we build up to the big moment this Saturday, when the WWI begins. Our whole UK office is attending the event, so expect heaps of eyewitness coverage of Starcraft II, World of Warcraft and Diablo III (?) this weekend.

    Friday - May 23, 2008

    Diablo 3 - Nope, not this time...

    by Dhruin, 12:03

    The rumour that Diablo 3 will be revealed in the next PC Gamer has been nixed the by the PCG editor according to VoodooExtreme:

    "We're officially squelching the Diablo rumor. We've got two big announcements coming in our August issue, but neither is from Blizzard."

    Until next time... 

    Wednesday - May 21, 2008

    Diablo 3 - Big Rumour

    by Woges, 16:01

    PC Gamer rumoured to have the exclusive announcement in it's August's issue, according to Blizzplanet.

    Another fan-fueled Diablo Rumor Mill has propelled out in full swing after PC Gamer's July edition wrapped up with the following text:

    "NEXT MONTH
    Have you ever had a secret that you're just dying to blurt out, but you can't for another month, and the stress of holding it in makes you want to do the pee-pee dance? That's what the PC Gamer staff is doing right now, because the August issue will be chock-full of exclusives, including a top-secret cover story so huge we had to go to [CENSORED] to get it. Just 30 days more ..."

    Here are a few thoughts to ponder on this brainstorming puzzle PC Gamer unleashed:

    - PC Gamer was probably among the Gaming press Magazines who visited Blizzard Entertainment early on May, a few weeks ago.

    - If you remember, PC Gamer knew about the Starcraft II announcement last May 2007. Blizzard Entertainment made the announcement at the Blizzard Worldwide Invitationals (WWI) at Seoul, South Korea.

    - PC Gamer can't talk about it for the next 30 days ... the 2008 Blizzard Worldwide Invitationals at Paris, France takes place on June 28-29.

    - June 29 is the date Diablo II shipped on USA (2000) and the same date the expansion Lord of Destruction shipped on Europe a year later (2001).

    - Notice how PC Gamer replaces a swearing with [CENSORED]? Could this be a clue as to what the game they refer to is? Because CENSORED really sounds like HELL ... as in ... Diablo?

    Source: Blues News

    Thursday - May 01, 2008

    Diablo 3 - Blizzard Acquires diablo3.com

    by Woges, 13:55

    I guess this was what that countdown was for?

    Well, there's no point in beating around the bush any longer, so let's get right down to it. A few months ago we were contacted by Blizzard in regards to the Diablo3.com domain name. While they appreciate all the work that's been put into running this big Diablo fan community over the years, they still want the domain name. Hmm, I wonder why? Now before you get all up in arms about it, allow me to explain a few things.

    First off, this fan site isn't going anywhere, it's just getting a new name: Diablofans.com! Blizzard is actually being really cool about it, giving us all the time we need to make it a smooth transition before we hand the old domain over to them. So be sure to update all of your bookmarks and point 'em to diablofans.com instead. Your user accounts will all still be perfectly functional and, along with this new site name, we'll soon have a big site redesign up and running as well. A new name, a new look. Huzzah!

    Friday - April 18, 2008

    Diablo 3 - Unofficial Countdown to ???

    by Magerette, 17:02

    Bluesnews has posted a short heads-up concerning the appearence of "mysterious countdown timers" at Diablo 3 fansites Diablo3.com and Blizzplanet Here's the Blues quote:

    Diablo3.com and related site Blizzplanet are offering mysterious countdown timers that currently stand at 13 days and counting. It is important to note that neither site is owned or operated by Blizzard, but of course they do have some contacts there, so it seems reasonable to trust that this is somewhat significant. They're keeping things close to the vest for now, as the countdown is accompanied by this blurb: "The number of days until half the web links to Diablo3.com. But why???" Presumably we'll know the answer on May 1.

    Source: Bluesnews

    Information about

    Diablo 3

    Developer: Blizzard

    SP/MP: Single + MP
    Setting: Fantasy
    Genre: Hack & Slash
    Combat: Real-time
    Play-time: Unlimited
    Voice-acting: Partially voiced

    Regions & platforms
    World
    · Homepage
    · Platform: PC
    · Released at 2012-05-15
    · Publisher: Unknown