Despite fairly positive reviews, when Blizzard’s Diablo III launched in 2012, there were problems. Between server login issues, pacing hiccups, and the dreaded auction house, a lot of fans were underwhelmed. This is what Blizzard gave us after Diablo II? It had been almost nine years since the last Diablo game, and the genre had matured. Why were we slogging through three difficulties to get to the actual game? What happened to the Stones of Jordan? Why was this damn auction house even here? Jason Schreier of Kotaku has a fascinating look at how Josh Mosqueira was brought on to the development team and how his early work on the console version of Diablo III formed the basis for the way the company would eventually revamp the game into the juggernaut we know now.
“And in some ways, looking back at it… there’s a level of being very naive. We’ve been mucking around with this game for about six months, not knowing all the history behind all the decisions leading up to this moment, just walking in like kids and pushing buttons.”
The article is an excerpt from Jason Schreier’s upcoming book “Blood, Sweat, and Pixels” and it’s a great reminder that what started as a bit of a disappointment to many, is now considered the genre leader.
The Rise of the Necromancer pack is coming for Diablo III in just a few days. The $14.99 DLC adds the necromancer character class, two more character slots, and some cosmetic bits for players to fawn over. The necromancer is built around generating and directing mobs of undead minions. Also, they make corpses explode. The pack will arrive alongside the free 2.6.0 update which features Challenge Rifts, a weekly community throw-down based on selected character builds.
The Rise of the Necromancer will be available for PC, PlayStation 45, and Xbox One on June 27th. You must have either Diablo III: Reaper of Souls, or the Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition to add the necromancer pack to your game. Alternately, a Diablo III: Eternal Collection bundle with all Diablo III expansions and DLC will be available as well.
The Necromancer is coming to Diablo III. Blizzard has announced the Rise of the Necromancer DLC pack for Diablo III: Reaper of Souls which is scheduled for launch in 2017. Fans of exploding corpses and black leather can rejoice once again. But wait! Doesn’t the Witch Doctor control zombies? Won’t there be an overlap in undead abilities? According to Blizzard, the Necromancer differs in some important ways beyond his metal album fashion sense.
Necromancers can expect darker, more controlled gameplay centered around the raw materials of life: blood and bone. Grounded in a philosophical, pragmatic approach to life and death, they’re more like a calculated conductor of the darkest arts. Deadly serious in their practice, they are the experts of curses and reanimation – and their pets obey their every command.
The price and a specific launch date have not been revealed yet. Players who wish to purchase the Rise of the Necromancer pack will need to own Diablo III: Reaper of Souls on PC, or Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition on Xbox One or PlayStation 4.
As if the return of the Necromancer weren’t enough for nostalgia buffs, Blizzard also announced that they will be recreating the first Diablo game in Diablo III as part of an upcoming free update. The Darkening of Tristram content will include graphics filters to make the game look more like the older title.
By most players’ accounts, The Taken King expansion for Destiny and the updates to the main game are a success. The game at launch was criticized for its core loot cycle and level progression being obtuse, unfair, and just too grindy. With the 2.0 revamp, Bungie took a hard look at all the systems and addressed many of the complaints people had. In short, a loot-based action game launched with a screwy drop system and level progression that was unsatisfying, but the developers ditched core mechanics that proved troublesome and made the game better. If that story sounds familiar, it’s because it is.
Kotaku reports that in December of last year, members of the Diablo III: Reaper of Souls team met with Bungie to discuss what they had learned after Blizzard launched their loot-driven game. Namely, that people wanted the illusion of random chance, but that rewards needed to be skewed in favor of the players.
People who were at the presentation say it was extraordinarily helpful for Bungie’s team. One source called it “invaluable.” Others said it drove some of the decisions they made for The Taken King. In previous interviews with Kotaku and other sites, director Luke Smith has talked openly about avoiding randomness and designing quests with guaranteed rewards, an approach that has served Destiny well throughout year two so far. Destiny’s meta-narrative has followed the same path as Diablo III’s: It had a rocky launch, then the developers found redemption.
The turnaround on Destiny was successful enough that Bungie was able to approach Activision with the idea that future content could be supported through in-game purchases of optional content like emotes and cosmetic skins.
“There was a bet that was, ‘Hey if we did microtransactions, I bet you we could generate enough revenue to make up for the loss of DLCs,'” said a source. “Instead of it going Destiny, DLC1, DLC2, Comet, DLC1, DLC2, they’re actually just gonna go [big] release and then incremental release. So it’ll just be Destiny, Comet, Destiny, Comet every year. It’s basically just switching the game to an annual model.”
A little loot distribution from Diablo III and a page taken from buy-to-play MMOs gets you the current strategy for Destiny.
The Eternal Conflict updates for Heroes of the Storm is live, adding a new Diablo III-themed map into a newly stunted rotation. For the next week, the catalog of nine maps has been reduced to just four maps to make sure you see the new heaven vs. hell map more often. Be prepared to have your team run off after treasure goblins and waste their time killing fallen who are just going to be resurrected by their shaman. The Butcher is now available as the first of the three Diablo III-themed characters, to be followed shortly by the Skeleton King and then the monk. For some reason, you don’t see a lot of people cosplaying The Butcher.
Today’s update also changes a whole mess of things. For instance, if you thought you knew The Lost Vikings, Brightwing, Malfurion, or Rehgar, better check the patch notes. The healing column in the score screen, which was useless for anyone who didn’t use a healing support character, is now called the role column. It also shows how much damage your warrior soaked up.
Patch 2.2.0 is bringing a lot of good stuff to Diablo III, but something bad must come with every good. In this case, it’s a new “platinum” in-game currency that players can purchase with real-world money which can be used to buy cosmetic items and boosts. In other words, Diablo III is getting microtransactions. Blizzard was quick to point out that this was experimental and not coming to the North American or European regions for now.
We recognize that many players have expressed an interest in microtransactions being added to Diablo III. While we may explore this model in some regions, we have no immediate plans to implement such purchases or the aforementioned features anytime soon for the Americas region.
That discontinued real-money auction house is going to start looking really good once platinum trading shows up in Battle.net chat.
All you snooty PC gamers have recently had cause to claim that Diablo III is superior on the PC because the latest patch gave you cool stuff not in the console version. “We get treasure vaults,” you crowed. “And legendary gems. And greater rifts.”
Those of us playing Diablo III on console systems were reduced to the ineffectual rejoinder of “oh yeah, well, we get a roll manuever on the left stick.” You seemed unfazed.
Blizzard and I are here now to tell you that you can shut up already. The latest patch for the console versions gives us everything you PC people have had. And you still can’t roll out of a poison well or molten lava.
When I used to regularly play videogames on a LAN, Diablo and Diablo II were cornerstones of our LAN gaming. I’d have a single copy spawned across as many as six computers. We’d each have characters we were leveling, and I often had to shuffle character files around to different computers.
“I’m the level 30 amazon who is on that computer that he’s using, so I need her over here on this computer.”
“Okay, what was the character name and I’ll find the file.”
“Uh, I don’t know.”
It was part of the charm of gathering locally to play videogames, along with maintaining six computers. It was another era. But the Diablo was a big part of what made it worthwhile. These days, we play boardgames when we gather locally. These days, you have to use the adverb “locally” when you talk about physically gathering. These days, get off my lawn.
After the jump, wait, come back! I was about to talk about Diablo III on the PS4!Continue reading →
One of the odder announcements during Sony’s pre-E3 press briefing was that the Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition for PlayStation consoles would have content from Last of Us embedded in it. While Ellie and Joel may not be a good fit for Blizzard’s hack and slash loot-a-thon, the Clickers, Stalkers, and Bloaters should look right at home in the catacombs of the undead. According to Sony, the fungi-infected monsters from Last of Us will inhabit a special Nephalem Rift that features content created in partnership with Naughty Dog.
The game honors don’t stop there! Ultimate Evil Edition players on PlayStation will also get the “Guise of the Colossi.” It’s a set of transmogrification plans that will allow their characters to take on the fearsome aspect of the titular bad (good?) guy from the PlayStation 2 hit Shadow of the Colossus.
No announcements have been made regarding any special content for the Xbox One or Xbox 360 versions of the Ultimate Evil Edition.
Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition will launch on August 19th on the Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 3. The title includes all the content from Diablo III as well as the Reaper of Souls expansion, balanced and adjusted for console controllers. The pre-order bonus is a set of “Infernal Pauldrons” that provide bonuses to vitality, life per second, and cooldown reduction, as well as supplying fodder for transmogrification with the appearance of flaming shoulderpads. They’re all the rage this season!
Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition will retail for $59.99 on the PS4 or Xbox One and $39.99 for the PS3 or Xbox 360. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear at this time that characters from the regular console version of Diablo III for the Xbox 360 and PS3 will transfer over the Ultimate Evil edition, nor does it seem that Blizzard will be offering a way to upgrade the old version to the newest.
Diablo III’s auction house system shut down today. The controversial real-money trading floor and the in-game gold auction systems are gone. According to the recently updated auction house FAQ, players have until the 24th of June to retrieve their items and gold. Anything not claimed by then will disappear into the void.
Doing away with the auction house is seen by many as the final step to rebalancing the PC version of Diablo III before the Reaper of Souls expansion launches. In September, Blizzard’s John Hight admitted that the auction house had caused unintended balance issues to the game. Loot drops and gameplay had to be adjusted to account for the ability that any player could just use the auction house to kit their character. With the February release of the Loot 2.0 update, Blizzard re-tuned the game so the auction house could be shut down.
Blizzard is offering Diablo III players a temporary 50% boost to experience. According to the Battle.net post, the bonus is meant to help players level their demon-slayers in preparation for the Reaper of Souls expansion. The new Paragon Leveling System introduced in the recent 2.0 patch lets every hero on an account share their bonus ability points gained through end-game play. Take advantage of the extra XP and buff those characters before the level cap gets raised to 70!
The 50% bonus to XP in Diablo III will last until March 24th. Reaper of Souls will launch on March 25th.
In preparation for the release of Diablo III expansion, Reaper of Souls, Blizzard put out a giant update that changed much of the way the game plays. Gone are the real money auction house, loot scheme and standard difficulty levels. In the new patch, you can join a clan, adjust your difficulty on the fly, and count on getting loot that is more tailored to your character. But here at Quarter to Three, we got our hands on the original update list. The following is the top 10 noticeable omissions from our original list and the one that launched just recently. Pretty sneaky, Blizzard.
As if Diablo III wasn’t already unrecognizable from the state of its release, Blizzard has given it another dramatic update, paving the way for next month’s Reaper of Souls add-on. The latest patch doesn’t just rework every character, which is sort of what you expect in patches for action RPGs. It even reworks the basic character stats, which are the building blocks for your character builds. In addition, it has completely overhauled the economy. New uses for gold, a phased out auction house, a new currency, hooks for the upcoming new adventure mode, a new role for crafting, gems reworked and expanded, and new ways to adjust the difficulty to level up faster and get better loot. The oddest thing is that I’m now picking up every single thing that gets dropped, even if the text is white. And in about an hour or so of playing, I’ve found three legendary items, which is as many as I’ve found in my entire time with the game before the patch. Suddenly, Diablo III on the PC looks suspiciously like a game with a meaningful economy.
Blizzard has released details of their Diablo III expansion pre-order offer. Players that pre-order Reaper of Souls on or before March 31st will be able to claim a code for Valla the Demon Hunter in the upcoming free-to-play Heroes of the Storm. (Shown in the top center of the image above.) According to the blog post, players may be waiting a while to actually make use of Valla.
Note that Heroes of the Storm is still deep in development and does not have an announced release date, but you can stay tuned to the official game site for future updates. Note also that pre-purchasing Reaper of Souls does not guarantee a spot in the eventual Heroes of the Storm alpha or beta tests.
Pre-order customers will also be able to claim a nifty set of angelic wings for their Diablo III character, so they can show everyone that they gave Blizzard their money early.
Diablo III: Reaper of Souls will launch on March 25th. Patch 2.0.1 for Diablo III should go live today in preparation for the expansion.