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“Tom Hanks is the New Deckard Cain?” or “Stay a While, and Listen Maybe”

November 6, 2012 2 comments

Hey I just met you,

And this is crazy,

But stay a while,

And listen maybe?

 

Categories: Diablo 3

“Blizzard Bans Iranian Players” or “Here is a Question Blue”

August 30, 2012 2 comments

Via Joystiq, Blizzard confirms that players in Iran have been denied access to Blizzard servers to play any of their games. This is allegedly part of a larger strategy to make the company, based in the US, more compliant with US laws and regulations. The US currently imposes various economic and political sanctions on Iran because of its controversial nuclear program. As such, Blizzard is refraining from engaging in any trade or economic activity with residents of the country.

Can you imagine how many WoW players just put their fists through their monitors?

This is probably  smart move, but there is a part that really annoyed me. Big Blue is unable to provide “refunds, credits, transfers, or other service options to accounts”. For a company that made a hundred billion and stupid thousand dollars from its games, it seems strange to me that it was OK to take money from people when they were buying your games. Was that not engaging in economic trade with Iran and its residents? If that too was wrong, shouldn’t you return said money? Note that I am not trying to support the dickhead regime that believes the holocaust didn’t happen, just saying it isn’t really the players’ fault.

D3 Achievements Guides: “Challenges: Act I” or “A Brief Butchering”

July 3, 2012 Leave a comment

The Achievement

A Brief Butchering

Kill the Butcher in under 2 minutes on Inferno difficulty.

This achievement is more of a gear check than anything else, although you can bypass it with help from your better geared friends. Remember though, all enemies gain additional health as you add more players to the game, so unless you know they have decent DPS, adding additional players may actually work against you.

The Strategy

First thing is first. You need gear to beat this fight in two minutes. The Butcher on Inferno is no joke.

The Butcher has a few abilities, and regardless of your class, if you can avoid all of them (aside from the melee swings – but that too only applies to melee classes), and thus maximize your DPS time, this achievement is actually a lot easier than you think. The Ancient Spear and Charge can both be side-stepped. The Massive swing has a massive tell animation, so you can avoid that as well. As melee, you need to be able to take the normal melee swings and the fan of knives attack. As ranged, you just need to be able to take the fan of knives every once in a while – it is harder to avoid because it is instantly cast.

The final problem, of course, are the floor fires. I would suggest that you stand on the boundary between several floor tiles to give you some good options.

One last tip: blow your cooldowns as he starts his Charge animations, and position yourself so you can maximize your DPS while he is incapacitated.

Categories: Diablo 3

D3 Achievements Guides: “Challenges: Act I” or “Don’t Stand in the Fire”

June 28, 2012 Leave a comment

The Achievement

Don’t Stand in the Fire

Kill the Butcher without being burned by floor fires or being grabbed by Ancient Spear on Hell difficulty or higher.

There are two things you need to avoid here. The Butcher’s playground is divided into 6-7 sections, and any of the sections can be on fire at any point, dealing a ridiculous amount of damage to you if you stand in it. Part of the achievement is to avoid this fire. The Butcher has several signature abilities as well. Ancient Spear involves pointing at a party member (or you, if you are playing solo) with his massive axe, and a split second later, sending out a hooked spear that pulls you to him. This is the other part of the achievement.

The Strategy

Once again, if you are an Inferno player, you can go back to Hell difficulty and get this achievement without any trouble. However, if you are a crazy purist, you can do this on Hell difficulty, as long as you have good reaction time and positioning.

Floor Fires

The best thing you can do to avoid these is to stand at the border between two or more floor sections. This way, you will only need to move a teeny bit if one of them gets caught on fire. This strategy works even better if you have the choice of side stepping onto two sections instead of one. Other than that, always keep an eye on the floor. It takes 2 seconds for the floor fires to start hurting, and that is plenty of time for you to get your butt to safety.

Ancient Spear

This ability can be avoided in two, and possibly a third, untested way.

First, you can outrange it, so Demon Hunters can stand a full screen’s length away and even if the spear is hurled right at them, they will avoid it.

Second, you can sidestep. The Butcher points to the spot where he will throw the spear, and regardless of how the player is moving, once he has pointed (unless interrupted) he will toss the spear in that direction only. All you need to do it simply move 2-5 feet prependicular to the path of the Ancient Spear. If you are smart, you will position so that this movement moves you along the boundary between floor panels to avoid teh floor fires.

The third, and as yet untested method is to use a class ability. As a Witch Doctor, if The Butcher points at me, I activate Spirit Walk a second later. The hurled spear harmlessly passes through my spirit state and I bypass the mechanic entirely. However, from an achievement viewpoint, I am not sure if this counts as “not being grabbed by the Ancient Spear”.

All in all, this is a fairly easy achievement, and the only reason you will need multiple attempts is RNG if you are only geared for Hell difficulty.

Pro Tip for Melee

If you can take a beating, avoid the Butcher until his first charge. Have him charge into the entrance wall. Then stand there (effectively avoiding floor fires) and tank him (effectively avoiding Ancient Spear) and take him out! Just watch for his big swing and charge.

Categories: Diablo 3

D3 Achievements Guides: “Challenges: Act I” or “Instant Karma”

June 28, 2012 Leave a comment

The Achievement

Instant Karma

Have the Skeleton King kill 15 of his own Forgotten skeletons before killing him.

The Skeleton King has a few abilities, but the one you need is his whirlwind melee attack. It creates a circular blue effect around the Skeleton King, so it’s kind of hard to miss. This ability can also hit his minions, and you need him to kill 15 minions in the same kill run to get this achievement.

The Strategy

The strategy can vary depending on which route you take.

If you decide to do it on normal as you are leveling (you should be around level 7-9), then it will be a hectic fight. Remember, you don’t need the 15 minions dead in the same whirlwind attack. He can kill a few at a time and you will still get the achievement as long as they add up to 15 over the course of a single kill. I would suggest kill a few skeletons yourself because they drop health globes which you will need to stay alive, and generally steer clear of The Skeleton King. There is no reason for you to soak his damage. When you are ready to have the adds killed, position yourself between the minions and The Skeleton King. He will either move or teleport over to you, and you can then move out of the way when he starts whirlwind.

The easier way is to get to a higher difficulty level. My Witch Doctor is on Act II Inferno. I can just stand at The Skeleton King, and without so much as moving, I can get the achievement. This is because the spawned enemies and The Skeleton King will stack up on you, they won’t be able to hurt you, and every time The Skeleton King swings, he will continue to kill his own minions. However, you should be careful about thorns though, as thorns will essentially kill everything that hits you.

The Reward

Banner Sigil – Leroic’s Crown

Categories: Diablo 3

“10 Big Changes for me in Patch 1.03″ or “Build me up, Buttercup Baby, Only to Let me Down”

June 21, 2012 5 comments

1. RMAH

This one requires the least amount of time. The Real-Money Auction House went live with this patch, and while some people have allegedly made $400+ already, certain others have managed to sell items for up to $237, it seems the RMAH has kicked off fairly successfully.

2. Friends List Improvements

  • Friends will now sort alphabetically by name within the Friends List, first by Real ID and then by BattleTag.
  • The Quick Join menu will now also sort alphabetically by name, first by Real ID and then by BattleTag.

This may not seem like much of a change if you have a few people on your RealID list. But with someone who has nearly 60 people on their list, this was a huge sigh of relief. I would have imagined that sorting alphabetically would be a no-brainer, but I guess I was wrong!

3. Witch Doctor Changes (there were none)

I play a Witch Doctor. It is my first character that I managed to get to level 60 and into Inferno. There were literally no changes made to this class, which is a big deal for me. When you have abilities like Zombie Bears that are completely broken on any kind of slope, this seems like an odd decision. Don’t balance the classes, but at least fix the game-breaking bugs guys!

4. IAS nerfed by 50%

Thankfully, I had not invested any gold into getting some Increased Attack Speed gear, because this was one of the biggest nerfs to the game mechanics.

5. Drop Changes

Drops changed drastically. The following are the major changes:

    • High-end items (items level 61-63) will now drop in all Acts of Inferno and Acts III and IV of Hell difficulty
      • The new approximate drop rates are as follows:
        • Hell – Act III and Act IV
          • iLvl 61: 9%
          • iLvl 62: 1.9%
          • iLvl 63: 0%
        • Inferno – Act I
          • iLvl 61: 17.7%
          • iLvl 62: 7.9%
          • iLvl 63: 2.0%
        • Inferno – Act II
          • iLvl 61: 18.6%
          • iLvl 62: 12.4%
          • iLvl 63: 4.1%
        • Inferno – Act III and Act IV
          • iLvl 61: 24.1%
          • iLvl 62: 16.1%
          • iLvl 63: 8.0%

There are four other changes, but we will get to those in just a second. This change is fairly massive. This implies that farming Act I Inferno, while not optimal, is at least very viable, especially with five stacks and a shrine buff (stacking magic find on top of that will likely result in even greater results).

    • Unique monsters in Hell and Inferno difficulty are no longer guaranteed to drop two Magic items when slain

This is a bit of a nerf, and I am not entirely sure why this change was made.

    • Weapon racks will no longer drop weapons 100% of the time
    • Destructible objects no longer have a chance to drop items, and will only have a small chance to drop gold when destroyed
    • Magic Find will no longer be considered when looting objects in the environment such as chests, barrels, vases, pots, and corpses

These changes were put in place to discourage people from “putting on their magic find gear before breaking or opening objects before switching back”. I am not sure if this was an actual epidemic, but what’s done is done I suppose!

6. Repair Costs

Yeah. Ouch, this one will hurt, especially if you are grouped with a less than ideal group.

7. Crafting

General

  • The gold and material crafting costs for all items level 1-59 have been reduced by 50% to 75%
  • Blacksmith
    • The gold cost to level the Blacksmith has been reduced by 50%
    • The number of Pages of Blacksmithing, Tomes of Blacksmithing, or Tomes of Secrets required to level the Blacksmith has been reduced
      • Base levels now require 1 page/tome, down from 5
      • Milestone levels now require 2 pages/tomes, down from 5
    • The number of Pages of Blacksmithing and Tomes of Blacksmithing required to craft items level 1-59 has been reduced
    • Items with 3 affixes no longer require Pages of Blacksmithing or Tomes of Blacksmithing to craft
    • The gold cost of crafting items with 4 affixes and 5 affixes (including items in Inferno difficulty) has been reduced
    • Weapon crafting costs have been reduced
    • The chance for level 60 items to produce Legendary crafting materials when salvaged has been reduced
  • Jeweler
    • The gold and material cost to combine gems ranks 2-8 has been reduced
      • Combinations for these ranks now only require 2 gems, down from 3
        • The gold cost to combine each rank of gems is now as follows:
          • Rank 2: Flawed: 10 gold (down from 500 gold)
          • Rank 3: Regular: 25 gold (down from 750 gold)
          • Rank 4: Flawless: 40 gold (down from 1250 gold)
          • Rank 5: Perfect: 55 gold (down from 2000 gold)
          • Rank 6: Radiant: 70 gold (down from 3500 gold)
          • Rank 7: Square: 85 gold (down from 7500 gold)
          • Rank 8: Flawless Square: 100 gold (down from 20,000 gold)

These are fairly comprehensive changes, specifically for players who are around the mark for starting inferno. The prior costs for these levels were such that I wouldn’t dare try to combine gems. Yesterday, I combined everything and threw away the spare materials below square. The overall cost reduction for items up to level 59 is also fairly sweeping, as well as the costs for training your artisans. Since I refuse to farm earlier acts, I imagined the best solution would be to wait until I leveled up some other classes. Fortunately I won’t need to do that now.

8. Bosses – Buffs and Nerfs

  • General
    • Bosses have had their pathing improved
    • The quality of the item for the fourth stack of Nephalem Valor from bosses has been slightly reduced
  • Skeleton King
    • Abilities
      • Will now summon Skeletal Archers in Hell and Inferno difficulties
  • The Warden (mini-boss)
    • General
      • Now has Fast and Molten affixes, in addition to Jailer
      • In Inferno difficulty, the Warden will also gain the Desecrator affix
  • Butcher
    • Bug Fixes
      • Fixed an issue where the corner panel fires in the Chamber of Suffering were doing twice as much damage as intended
  • Ghom
    • Abilities
      • Gas Cloud
        • Radius of Gas Cloud has been slightly reduced
        • Slowing effect has been removed
        • The amount of damage dealt by Gas Cloud when first entering the cloud has been reduced, but the amount of damage incurred for remaining in the cloud has been increased
        • In Inferno difficulty, Gas Clouds will last longer, spawn 2 at a time, and (after 4 minutes) spawn more quickly
  • Maghda
    • Bug Fixes
      • Punish Dust projectiles can no longer be reflected
  • Zoltun Kulle
    • General
      • Zoltun Kulle will now enrage in Inferno difficulty after 3 minutes, using his Ceiling Collapse ability more often and for much higher damage
    • Abilities
      • Ceiling Collapse
        • Can now be cast at a player from any range
      • Fireball
        • Fireball attack now moves slower
        • Can now be cast at a player from any range
      • Teleport
        • Will now Teleport and run away from the player less often
        • Will now occasionally Teleport to the player
  • Belial
    • General
      • Belial will now enrage in Inferno difficulty after 3 minutes in his final phase, increasing the number of green pools dropped across the entire encounter platform
    • Bug Fixes
      • Fixed a bug that was causing Belial to use his breath attack away from the player rather than towards the player under certain circumstances
  • Siegebreaker
    • General
      • Overall damage has been reduced
      • No longer vulnerable to Confuse and Charm effects
      • Will now drop a health globe every 25% health mark (i.e. at 75%, 50%, and 25% health)
      • Now enrages after 4 minutes
      • In Inferno difficulty, Siegebreaker will now gain the Reflects Damage affix
  • Cydaea
    • Abilities
      • Spiderlings
        • Spiderlings will now have an easier time hitting players, but their damage has been reduced by 20% to compensate
        • In Inferno difficulty, Spiderlings will now live longer, be more spread out, and (after 4 minutes) spawn more often
  • Rakanoth
    • General
      • In Inferno difficulty, Rakanoth will now become much more aggressive after 3 minutes
  • Izual
    • General
      • Health pool has been increased
      • The number of Oppressors that join the fight has been reduced from 4 to 2
      • Will no longer target Followers or Tyrael as frequently
    • Abilities
      • Base Attacks
        • Base attack damage has been lowered
        • No longer does Cold damage on top of base attacks
      • Charge
        • Charge damage has been reduced
        • Knockback has been removed
        • Will Charge slightly more often, but will only target players
      • Frozen Bombs
        • Frozen Bomb damage has been reduced
        • Bombs will now explode faster
        • Only 8 Bombs will now spawn around the player rather than 12
        • Bombs will spawn at Izual’s feet less often
      • Frost Explosion
        • Frost Explosion damage has been reduced by 70%
        • Duration of freeze has been increased
        • Damage dealt to players while frozen will now break the effect
        • Players can now use defensive cooldown while frozen
        • Players can no longer avoid being frozen by doing high amounts of amount to Izual
    • Bug Fixes
      • Izual will no longer spawn twice if a player skips his introductory cut-scene
  • Diablo
    • Bug Fixes
      • Damage Over Time (DoT) effects will now be properly cancelled when Diablo becomes invisible and casts Shadow Clones in Phase Two
      • Diablo “Stomp” ability is now correctly classified as a debuff instead of a buff
      • Fixed a bug that was causing pets to not attack Shadow Clones

The changes to boss mechanics can be categories in three categories. First, it seems that a lot of bosses received enrages (or at least soft enrages), e.g., Ghom’s gas clouds will spawn faster after four minutes, Zoltun Kulle will enrage after 3 minutes, Belial will enrage after 3 minutes in his final phase, Siegebreaker will enrage after four minutes, etc. Second, the fights will be tougher, e.g., Shadow Diablo will remove DoTs when he vanishes, Siegebreaker will reflect damage on Inferno setting, and Zoltun Kulle can cast Ceiling Collapse on a player from any range. Third, believe it or not, there have been a few nerfs as well, e.g., only 8 bombs will spawn from Izual instead of 12 and only two Oppressors will spawn, instead of four, etc.

Also: Azmodan is apparently fucking perfect!

9. Damage Reduction

  • Damage from monsters in Acts II, III, and IV in Inferno difficulty has been reduced
  • Colossal Golgor base damage has been reduced
  • Herald of Pestilence tentacle attack damage has been reduced
  • Soul Ripper and Soul Lasher damage has been reduced and both monsters will now run away less often
  • Wasps in Act II, Mage Constructs in Act II, and Winged Mollocks in Acts III and IV will now run away less
  • Succubus monsters will now run away less and for a shorter distance
  • The health pools of Woodwraiths in the Highlands now match the health pools of Woodwraiths in the Fields of Misery
  • Morlu no longer have the Invulnerable Minions, Health Link, or Fire Chains affixes
  • Plagued, Arcane Enchanted, and Electrified monsters no longer have resistance to Poison, Arcane, and Lightning damage (respectively)
  • Leaders of Invulnerable Minions packs have had their health pools reduced

These are great changes, to be sure, but I have not touched Act II+ much yet, and with only one night of testing, feedback on this is pending. That being said, fuck those wasps!

10. Mortar Change

  • Mortar monsters can now hurl projectiles farther, but their minimum range has also been increased by 100%

This may not seem like a big enough change to warrant a point of its own, but as a ranged player, this was a huge change. I can now stand in the “null” zone where the mortar doesn’t hit me as I kite, and the monster isn’t close enough to swing. Brilliant!

Categories: Diablo 3

“Comprehensive List of Changes in Patch 1.03″ or “Patch 1.03 Notes”

June 20, 2012 Leave a comment

Diablo III Patch 1.0.3 – v.1.0.3.10057

General

  • To prevent monsters from being unintentionally kited into town from other areas of the game, portals have been placed at both ends of the bridge from New Tristram to The Weeping Willow. Towns have always been intended to be a safe haven from combat, and this change will help keep the denizens of New Tristram safe from the dangers that lurk beyond its walls.
  • The real-money auction house is now available for Chilean, Argentinian, and Brazilian currencies

Battle.net

  • General
    • Friends will now sort alphabetically by name within the Friends List, first by Real ID and then by BattleTag
    • The Quick Join menu will now also sort alphabetically by name, first by Real ID and then by BattleTag
    • Chat settings and preferences will now be saved whenever you log out
    • Reporting another player using the Report > Spam option will now mute that player for the duration of your gaming session
  • Bug Fixes
    • Using the /who command in a heavily populated chat channel should no longer cause the client to crash
    • The “Invite to Party” button should no longer become grayed-out if a player:
      • Declines a party invite
      • Requests a party invite and then declines it
      • Accepts a party invite, but immediately then leaves the party
    • The character screen should now always display the display the correct act and quest information
    • If Real ID has been disabled for a Battle.net account, attempting to add a Real ID friend in Diablo III will now prompt the player with the following error message: “Battle.net is unable to add friends because you have Real ID disabled.”

Classes

  • Barbarian
    • Active Skills
      • Ignore Pain
        • Skill Rune – Contempt for Weakness
          • The amount of damage reflected will now cap at the player’s maximum Life
      • Overpower
        • Skill Rune – Crushing Advance
          • The amount of damage reflected will now cap at the player’s maximum Life
          • The tooltip has been updated to represent that both melee and ranged damage are reflected
      • Weapon Throw
        • Tooltip now displays the correct duration for how long a target will be slowed: “Hurl a throwing weapon at any enemy for 100% weapon damage and Slow the movement of the enemy by 60% for 1.5 seconds.” (The functionality of the skill has not changed.)
    • Passive Skills
      • Relentless
        • Now reduces the Fury cost of all skill by 75%, down from 100% (the 50% damage reduction remains unchanged)
  • Demon Hunter
    • Active Skills
      • Cluster Arrow
        • Skill Rune – Dazzling Arrow
          • Tooltip now displays the correct type of weapon damage dealt by Dazzling Arrow: “Enemies hit by grenades have a 55% chance to be stunned for 2 seconds and changes the damage to Physical.” (The functionality of the skill has not changed.)
      • Grenades
        • Skill Rune – Stun Grenades
          • Tooltip now displays the correct duration for how long a target will be stunned: “Hurl grenades that have a 25% chance to Stun enemies for 1.5 seconds.” (The functionality of the skill has not changed.)
    • Bug Fixes
      • Caltrops
        • Skill Rune – Jagged Spikes
          • Effect will now only stack up to 10 times on a single target
      • Elemental Arrow
        • Skill Rune – Nether Tentacles
          • Tentacles will now only hit each target once
  • Monk
    • General
      • Monks can now use spears, two-handed weapons, and two-handed swords
    • Active Skills
      • Serenity
        • Skill Rune – Instant Karma
          • The amount of damage reflected will now cap at the player’s maximum Life
      • Seven-Sided Strike
        • Skill Rune – Sustained Attack
          • Tooltip has been updated for clarity: “Reduces the cooldown of Seven-Sided Strike to 23 seconds.” (The functionality of the skill has not changed.)
      • Mantra of Retribution
        • Damage will now cap based on the maximum Life of the target
    • Bug Fixes
  • Witch Doctor
    • Active Skills
      • Summon Zombie Dogs
        • Skill Rune – Leeching Beasts
          • Tooltip has been updated for clarity: “Your Zombie Dogs heal 50% of the damage they deal as Life divided evenly between themselves and you.” (The functionality of the skill has not changed.)
  • Wizard
    • Active Skills
      • Diamond Skill
        • Skill Rune – Mirror Skin
          • The amount of damage reflected will now cap at the amount of damage absorbed by Diamond Skin
      • Magic Weapon
        • When activated, a buff icon will now appear that displays the amount of time remaining
      • Meteor
        • Skill Rune – Star Pact
          • Now deals damage as Arcane instead of Fire
      • Passive Skills
        • Paralysis
          • Tooltip now displays the correct duration for how long a target will be stunned: “Lightning damage dealt to enemies has up to a 8% chance to Stun the target for 1.5 seconds.” (The functionality of the skill has not changed.)

Items

  • General
    • + Attack Speed bonus values on weapons and armor have been reduced by 50%
      • This change does not apply to quivers
    • High-end items (items level 61-63) will now drop in all Acts of Inferno and Acts III and IV of Hell difficulty
      • The new approximate drop rates are as follows:
        • Hell – Act III and Act IV
          • iLvl 61: 9%
          • iLvl 62: 1.9%
          • iLvl 63: 0%
        • Inferno – Act I
          • iLvl 61: 17.7%
          • iLvl 62: 7.9%
          • iLvl 63: 2.0%
        • Inferno – Act II
          • iLvl 61: 18.6%
          • iLvl 62: 12.4%
          • iLvl 63: 4.1%
        • Inferno – Act III and Act IV
          • iLvl 61: 24.1%
          • iLvl 62: 16.1%
          • iLvl 63: 8.0%
      • Please see the Patch 1.0.3 Design Preview for more information and specific details
    • Repair costs have been increased for item levels between 53 and 63
    • Magic Find will no longer be considered when looting objects in the environment such as chests, barrels, vases, pots, and corpses
    • The item quality of all components needed to craft the Staff of Herding, as well as the Staff of Herding itself, have been changed from Common to Legendary (i.e. their item names will appear orange in color)
    • The Staff of Herding can no longer be salvaged or dropped
    • Crafted items that are dropped on the ground due to a player’s inventory being full can no longer be seen or picked up by other players
    • Unique monsters in Hell and Inferno difficulty are no longer guaranteed to drop two Magic items when slain
    • Weapon racks will no longer drop weapons 100% of the time
    • Destructible objects no longer have a chance to drop items, and will only have a small chance to drop gold when destroyed
  • Weapons and Armor
    • “Balanced” superior items (i.e. Balanced Short Sword) will now grant a percent attack speed increase that only affects the weapon itself, rather than a flat increase to attacks per second that affected both equipped weapons when dual-wielding
    • Crowd Control Reduction from items and skills will now reduce the percentage value of Slow, Chill, and Attack Speed debuffs rather than reducing how long the debuff lasts
      • For example: previously, if you were debuffed by a 60% slow that lasted for 2 seconds while wearing gear that provides 20% Crowd Control Reduction, your movement speed would be reduced by 60%, but only for 1.6 seconds. Now, the same amount of Crowd Control Reduction will reduce the Slow effect to 48%, but the effect will remain for the full 2 second duration.
    • Manticore now has one additional bonus affix
  • User Interface
    • Minimum damage and Maximum damage values will now display separately in an item’s tooltip (i.e. “+2-4 Damage” will now display as “+2 Minimum Damage” and “+2 Maximum Damage”)
    • Tooltips for items on the ground will now show comparison stats
    • Resist values will now be taken into effect when calculating the Protection comparison stat (the Protection value is an average protection estimate of all your resists)
    • When comparing a two-handed weapon against two currently-equipped one-handed weapons, the game will now simulate the removal of both one-handed weapons (instead of simply removing the main-hand weapon, which resulted in an inaccurate comparison)
    • When selling items to a vendor, the most recently sold items will now always display at the bottom of the Buyback tab
  • Bug Fixes
    • Items level 50 and above will now display their item level in the tooltip
    • Damage Over Time (DoT) skills will now properly benefit from items with the +Critical Chance affix
    • Legendary items with the +Attack Speed bonus will now correctly provide a bonus to attack speed
      • Please note that this fix will only affect new Legendary drops. Existing Legendary items will be addressed in future patch.
    • Players wearing +Life on Kill items should no longer receive a benefit from this affix when “killing” friendly monsters (e.g. when a witch doctor re-summons a Spider Queen while another Spider Queen is still active)
    • Fixed a bug with linking items with socketed gems in chat
    • Fixed a bug where vendors would occasionally not have any items for sale
    • Fixed a bug where selling more than 12 items to a vendor and then buying back 1 of those items could cause multiple items to disappear from the Buyback tab
    • Fixed a bug where swapping a 1-slot item (i.e. a ring) with 2-slot item (i.e. a weapon) in the second or third tab of a player’s stash would sometimes cause the 2-slot item to be filtered incorrectly to the first tab
    • Fixed a bug that was causing Collector’s Edition dyes to sell for the same price regardless of stack size…

Crafting

  • General
    • The gold and material crafting costs for all items level 1-59 have been reduced by 50% to 75%
  • Blacksmith
    • The gold cost to level the Blacksmith has been reduced by 50%
    • The number of Pages of Blacksmithing, Tomes of Blacksmithing, or Tomes of Secrets required to level the Blacksmith has been reduced
      • Base levels now require 1 page/tome, down from 5
      • Milestone levels now require 2 pages/tomes, down from 5
    • The number of Pages of Blacksmithing and Tomes of Blacksmithing required to craft items level 1-59 has been reduced
    • Items with 3 affixes no longer require Pages of Blacksmithing or Tomes of Blacksmithing to craft
    • The gold cost of crafting items with 4 affixes and 5 affixes (including items in Inferno difficulty) has been reduced
    • Weapon crafting costs have been reduced
    • The chance for level 60 items to produce Legendary crafting materials when salvaged has been reduced
  • Jeweler
    • The gold and material cost to combine gems ranks 2-8 has been reduced
      • Combinations for these ranks now only require 2 gems, down from 3
        • The gold cost to combine each rank of gems is now as follows:
          • Rank 2: Flawed: 10 gold (down from 500 gold)
          • Rank 3: Regular: 25 gold (down from 750 gold)
          • Rank 4: Flawless: 40 gold (down from 1250 gold)
          • Rank 5: Perfect: 55 gold (down from 2000 gold)
          • Rank 6: Radiant: 70 gold (down from 3500 gold)
          • Rank 7: Square: 85 gold (down from 7500 gold)
          • Rank 8: Flawless Square: 100 gold (down from 20,000 gold)

Followers

  • General
    • Bug Fixes
      • Fixed a bug where the maximum Life of your followers was being displayed as different values in different parts of the game UI
  • Enchantress
    • Skills
      • Mass Control
        • Radius reduced from 15 yards to 8 yards
        • If Enchantress also has Reflect Missiles trained, Mass Control will no longer accidentally hex the player when both skills are activated
        • Skill will now correctly target enemies in all circumstances

Bosses

  • General
    • Bosses have had their pathing improved
    • The quality of the item for the fourth stack of Nephalem Valor from bosses has been slightly reduced
  • Skeleton King
    • Abilities
      • Will now summon Skeletal Archers in Hell and Inferno difficulties
  • The Warden (mini-boss)
    • General
      • Now has Fast and Molten affixes, in addition to Jailer
      • In Inferno difficulty, the Warden will also gain the Desecrator affix
  • Butcher
    • Bug Fixes
      • Fixed an issue where the corner panel fires in the Chamber of Suffering were doing twice as much damage as intended
  • Ghom
    • Abilities
      • Gas Cloud
        • Radius of Gas Cloud has been slightly reduced
        • Slowing effect has been removed
        • The amount of damage dealt by Gas Cloud when first entering the cloud has been reduced, but the amount of damage incurred for remaining in the cloud has been increased
        • In Inferno difficulty, Gas Clouds will last longer, spawn 2 at a time, and (after 4 minutes) spawn more quickly
  • Maghda
    • Bug Fixes
      • Punish Dust projectiles can no longer be reflected
  • Zoltun Kulle
    • General
      • Zoltun Kulle will now enrage in Inferno difficulty after 3 minutes, using his Ceiling Collapse ability more often and for much higher damage
    • Abilities
      • Ceiling Collapse
        • Can now be cast at a player from any range
      • Fireball
        • Fireball attack now moves slower
        • Can now be cast at a player from any range
      • Teleport
        • Will now Teleport and run away from the player less often
        • Will now occasionally Teleport to the player
  • Belial
    • General
      • Belial will now enrage in Inferno difficulty after 3 minutes in his final phase, increasing the number of green pools dropped across the entire encounter platform
    • Bug Fixes
      • Fixed a bug that was causing Belial to use his breath attack away from the player rather than towards the player under certain circumstances
  • Siegebreaker
    • General
      • Overall damage has been reduced
      • No longer vulnerable to Confuse and Charm effects
      • Will now drop a health globe every 25% health mark (i.e. at 75%, 50%, and 25% health)
      • Now enrages after 4 minutes
      • In Inferno difficulty, Siegebreaker will now gain the Reflects Damage affix
  • Cydaea
    • Abilities
      • Spiderlings
        • Spiderlings will now have an easier time hitting players, but their damage has been reduced by 20% to compensate
        • In Inferno difficulty, Spiderlings will now live longer, be more spread out, and (after 4 minutes) spawn more often
  • Rakanoth
    • General
      • In Inferno difficulty, Rakanoth will now become much more aggressive after 3 minutes
  • Izual
    • General
      • Health pool has been increased
      • The number of Oppressors that join the fight has been reduced from 4 to 2
      • Will no longer target Followers or Tyrael as frequently
    • Abilities
      • Base Attacks
        • Base attack damage has been lowered
        • No longer does Cold damage on top of base attacks
      • Charge
        • Charge damage has been reduced
        • Knockback has been removed
        • Will Charge slightly more often, but will only target players
      • Frozen Bombs
        • Frozen Bomb damage has been reduced
        • Bombs will now explode faster
        • Only 8 Bombs will now spawn around the player rather than 12
        • Bombs will spawn at Izual’s feet less often
      • Frost Explosion
        • Frost Explosion damage has been reduced by 70%
        • Duration of freeze has been increased
        • Damage dealt to players while frozen will now break the effect
        • Players can now use defensive cooldown while frozen
        • Players can no longer avoid being frozen by doing high amounts of amount to Izual
    • Bug Fixes
      • Izual will no longer spawn twice if a player skips his introductory cut-scene
  • Diablo
    • Bug Fixes
      • Damage Over Time (DoT) effects will now be properly cancelled when Diablo becomes invisible and casts Shadow Clones in Phase Two
      • Diablo “Stomp” ability is now correctly classified as a debuff instead of a buff
      • Fixed a bug that was causing pets to not attack Shadow Clones

Monsters

  • General
    • Champions, Rares, and Uniques have had their pathing improved
    • Elite packs (Champion/Rare) now drop an additional item for players with 5 stacks of Nephalem Valor, which is guaranteed to be of Rare quality
    • Damage from monsters in Acts II, III, and IV in Inferno difficulty has been reduced
    • Colossal Golgor base damage has been reduced
    • Herald of Pestilence tentacle attack damage has been reduced
    • Soul Ripper and Soul Lasher damage has been reduced and both monsters will now run away less often
    • Wasps in Act II, Mage Constructs in Act II, and Winged Mollocks in Acts III and IV will now run away less
    • Succubus monsters will now run away less and for a shorter distance
    • The health pools of Woodwraiths in the Highlands now match the health pools of Woodwraiths in the Fields of Misery
    • Lacuni and Scavenger Rares and and Champions will now un-burrow when called by their allies
    • Bloodclan Warriors no longer knockback when buffed and attack slightly slower
    • Morlu no longer have the Invulnerable Minions, Health Link, or Fire Chains affixes
    • Plagued, Arcane Enchanted, and Electrified monsters no longer have resistance to Poison, Arcane, and Lightning damage (respectively)
    • Leaders of Invulnerable Minions packs have had their health pools reduced
    • Mortar monsters can now hurl projectiles farther, but their minimum range has also been increased by 100%
  • Bug Fixes
    • Interrupting a monster attack before it lands will now properly trigger its cooldown
    • Treasure Goblins will now drop gold piles for all nearby players
    • Lacuni Warrior Rares and Champions will now reset their enrage timer correctly in Inferno difficulty
    • The Succubus “Blood Star” debuff will no longer affect the player if the damage from the projectile is dodged/blocked/etc
    • The damage from the Succubus “Blood Star” debuff will now scale based on the current cost of a player’s skill, even if the cost is reduced by items or skill runes
    • Monsters with the Extra Health affix should no longer gain more health every time players leave and join the game
    • Monsters with the Reflects Damage affix will no longer reflect Follower damage back to the player
    • Monsters with the Health Link and Knockback affixes will no longer knockback friendly monsters
    • Fixed a bug that was causing Champion Wallers to occasionally create walls at their location rather than the player’s location
    • Fixed a bug where Sandwasp projectiles could sometimes become invisible

Bug Fixes

  • General
    • The experience bar for characters at level cap on a Guest Pass account will now display 0-0 experience. If the account holder upgrades to the full game, their characters will be at 0/41000 experience towards the next level.
    • The speed of the animation that plays when resurrecting another players should no longer scale with your attack speed
    • Attempting to cast a skill while spamming the Town Portal hot key will now correctly interrupt the Town Portal cast and animation
    • Players who use Town Portal while in a tar pit will no longer keep the tar pit debuff after being teleported
    • It is no longer possible for players in Hell difficulty to skip to Inferno difficulty by creating and leaving Public Games
    • It is no longer possible to prevent character death in a single-player game by pausing the game in one game client and then logging into the same account from a different game client
    • Fixed a bug where The Lyceum in the Southern Highlands was not appearing
    • Fixed a bug where players could switch their offerings in the Trade window right before clicking “Accept” and, due to high latency, the game would not always be able to verify that both players were accepting the same offerings
    • Fixed a bug that was allowing players to temporarily pick up items that belonged to another account
    • Fixed a bug that was causing players to become stuck when using a banner to port to another player that was in an “un-walkable” location (i.e. to a barbarian in the middle of performing Leap)
    • Fixed a position desync bug ,aka “rubberbanding”, that could happen when some movement skills (Strafe, Whirlwind, Tempest Rush) ended because the player ran out of the appropriate resource
    • Fixed several issues where a player’s character would get stuck or “rubberband” while moving if their movement speed was slowed in any way
    • Several performance improvements have been made to both the PC and Mac client
  • Auction House
    • Item tooltips in the auction house will now correctly reflect stat bonuses provided by socketed gems
    • Items with class-specific affixes should now display the class restriction properly
    • It should no longer be possible for players to purchase a stack of items so large that it cannot be sent to their stash
    • The data displayed in each auction house tab should now properly reset when logging out

If you are experiencing technical issues with the patching process, connecting to Battle.net after installing the patch, or errors while playing a newly-patched game, please visit our support site or post in the Technical Support forum for assistance.

Categories: Diablo 3

“My Current State of Affairs in Diablo 3″ or “Endgame Has a Whole New Meaning!”

June 12, 2012 4 comments

Diablo 3 is a very easy game in normal. You blast through most of everything that you come across. I don’t think there was a single boss fight where I wiped more than once (except Belial – took a while to learn him because of the many phases of the fight), and you can complete the whole experience very quickly and rather heroically. Nightmare was also quite easy, I didn’t have too much trouble beating back much of anything at all. Hell Act 2 was where things got complicated. By the third quest, I realized that I was death-zerging elites, and occasionally dying to white monsters. The situation got so dire, I played around with nearly eight different build setups, and tried to upgrade my gear as much as I could.

And then I discovered the joy of Zombie Bears.

Then I hit level 60, and got myself a 600 DPS Ceremonial Knife and some other minor upgrades. My in-town DPS was 10,476.3. But with that much, I absolutely tore through the rest of Hell difficulty, literally ripping apart anything that came my way. Only a few fights gave me pause. These included Belial: Stage 3, the “lickers” in Act 3, and any combination of “Fast Vampiric” or “Invulnerable Minions”. Hell, in short was a blast.

Then I got to Inferno, and the bulk of Act I, I played very prudently, only going after my primary objectives, never veering from the beaten path, and managed to get to the Halls of Agony without too much trouble. The Spider Queen was problematic, and I wiped a good dozen times before I took her down, but I still managed to get through it with the same gear.

And then I entered Halls of Agony, and realized that it was a very aptly named place. I couldn’t survive anything above the normal monsters, and even those, especially the fast ones, would kick my ass. I had recently spent all my gold on fully upgrading my stash and training my JC and BS, so I was down to literally 30K gold, so I couldn’t exactly upgrade anything either. So at this stage I am just reduced to gold-farming. And in that regard, any tips?

Categories: Diablo 3

“Invulnerable Minions are Ridiculous” or “A List of Suggested Changes to Diablo 3″

June 8, 2012 6 comments

I am in Act 3 of Hell right now. My Witch Doctor has nearly 39,000 health, and despite a Zombie Bear build that tears through monsters, still seems to be a glass cannon! Couple that with some of the craziest combinations for rare and elite mobs (Vortex, Electrified, Mortar anyone), and the fact that they regenerate their health after you die, makes for a very frustrating experience. Just when I thought this game could not get any tougher, I came across invulnerable minions. What the hell are those things?! Invulnerable minions? Are you kidding me? The pack was an “Arcane Enchanted, Frozen, Invulnerable Minions” pack. So they spawned frost orbs that exploded for massive frost damage and froze you for a few seconds, purple orbs that spun lasers of doom that could decapitate you in a few seconds, and the main elite’s minions were completely impervious to any damage!

My solution, 9 times out of 10, has been to restart that part of the game. Why? Because Invulnerable Minions are bullshit!

Here is a short list of changes I would like to see made to Diablo 3. It is an evolving list, that I will eventually post on the Blizzard forums hoping for a response. Please let me know if you feel there are others that should be added:

  1. As a Witch Doctor, it is very frustrating to see my pet (or even followers) to charge into battle. If I see a rare or elite mob off screen, I would ideally want some preparation time to deal with its unique set of abilities. However, this preparation is completely negated by the fact that I have no control over my pets, followers or minions.
  2. Invulnerable minions are ridiculous. I am still able to combat a few of them because of my AoE abilities as a Witch Doctor, but I’d imagine they are hell to deal with for projectile based classes such as Demon Hunter or Wizard. I don’t know how to fix them, but if my first instinct is to just reload, something went wrong somewhere.
  3. There should be a “Spec Manager” or “Build Saver”. I find switching out frequently. It would be very helpful if we had an option to save a fe of our favorite build templates.
  4. On the Auction House, we should be able to search for an item (regardless of quality) by name.
  5. On the Auction House, with the search results, there should be more than five pages to scroll through at the bottom. There is plenty of space to do so.
  6. On the Auction House, the auctions and bids should be in separate tabs. The top portion is easy to scroll through, because the limit is 10 auctions. But you could have hundreds of bids.
  7. On the Auction House, we should get more options to filter items by sorting them by tables.
  8. On the Auction House, there should be filters to “not have” some stats. So if you wanted to search for gear with intel and vit, but no dex or str, you could.

Thoughts?

Categories: Diablo 3

“How WoW Influenced Diablo 3″ or “The Previous Title is Misleading”

May 30, 2012 6 comments

My Witch Doctor died a lot in Nightmare. It took some time and painful calibration to figure out how to help him survive, and so I also read a lot of opinion on the class. Interestingly, the one piece of advice I found to be pretty consistent is: “Don’t be lazy, grind. If you are dying a lot, it is not your abilities, play-style, or curve, it is your gear. Don’t be lazy, grind.”

I want to say that WoW has influenced this grind subtext, and that the “Everything Must Take Longer (TM)” has permeated into the core of Diablo 3, but Diablo has always been about the grind. The major change is that you don’t grind to level-cap, you level-cap and then grind to endgame, but the basic structure stays the same. I feel that the grind of WoW may have influenced it a little, as one form of grind influencing another results in a more grind-oriented approach to game design.

For example, I am constantly short on gold in Diablo 3. I have to spend it on repairs, buying new items that are an upgrade for my incredibly squishy Witch Doctor, to upgrade my jeweler and my blacksmith artisans, combining or removing gems, and I have to buy more stash space. I understand that your stash space is permanently unlocked, as are your Artisan abilities for all characters (on the same regional server and not hardcore). But it still means all of that has to be unlocked once, and so (at least) the first character is extremely grind oriented.

Then again, the AH flipper in my tells me I should just play the AH, make a ton of gold, and do whatever the hell I want to after.

What has your experience been?

Categories: Diablo 3

“Diablo 3 Rare/Elite Mobs Abilities” or “Vortex, Nightmarish, Mortar, Illusionist, What?”

May 29, 2012 10 comments

Struggling through the rares and elites in Diablo on my hyper-squishy Witch-Doctor has been complicated by the fact that these mobs can spawn with any combination of lethal abilities. After some search, I found a very useful post on D3DB.com, which clearly details all the abilities that rare and elite mobs may possess. This is invaluable information, so I thought I should share it as well. Thanks for putting it together Everamilli!

Here are the abilities that any given unique mob will have. They often come in groups of three and some of them can be rather tricky:

Nightmarish – Will drop a fear bomb and will send you and your companions running in fear for ~3 seconds.

Molten – Will leave a path of lava wherever they go; it will cause a small amount of damage continuously while you stand in the fire. Can cause a floor full of hurt if in a confined area. Also, upon death, the mob will explode causing a large amount of AoE damage.

Teleport – Will randomly teleport to an area in close vicinity. Try to keep them stunned. If they do teleport, best to use your gap closers here.

Vortex – Will suck you in toward them at random times. If you are a ranged, use knock backs and speed boosts naow.

Mortar – Will run from you and fire a barrage of ~5 or 6 fireballs in an arcing path. They can be avoided rather easily if you don’t get tunnel vision.

Knockback – Will knock you back randomly. Nothing you can really do but use a gap closer here as well.

Plagued – Will drop pools of green poison. Just kite them out of the pools and don’t stand in them.

Frozen – Will spawn up to five frozen orbs that will explode after a few seconds, causing damage to anyone in close proximity and freezing you in place for ~3 seconds.

Waller – Creates walls that can often trap you and your companion if you don’t move.

Jailer – Similar to Freezer (see above), will conjure a red circle that will root you for ~2 seconds.

Electric - Will continuously emit electrical pulses that crawl along the ground in 360 degrees.

Fast – Increased movement and attack speed. You can’t really outrun them, better to use knockback / stun.

Illusionist – Create copies of themselves with about 20% of their original HP. Really dangerous if they are in pack, as if they all use illusion at the same time, you’ll get circled by the copy and unable to escape.

Invulnerable Minions – Must kill the champion mob, minions take no damage (hence the invulnerable). Once the champion mob is killed, the minions die instantly. First Seen in Hell mode.

Arcane Enchanted – Mobs will spawn an orb that shoots out an arcane laser that will spin in one full circle before going away.

Shielding – Casts a shield around one of your enemies.

Vampiric – Every landed hit (including projectiles) will heal the mob.

Fire Chains – Will cause the champion mobs to connect via a fiery chain that will damage you if you cross it.

Health Link – When pack of mobs is near each other they share incoming damage from the party and every mob take only a % of total damage done. If mobs are away health link is broken. Can be seen as a dark red chain between mobs. Animation in flashing every few seconds only.

Avenger – When one of the mobs die, others in the pack become stronger. Last mob in the pack is going to enrage (becomes much bigger and gain red colors in his texture). Enraged mob is much faster and stronger.

Desecrator – Mobs create fire circle under party members that starts to burn you with fire damage 1 second after its creation.

Horde – The mob summons additional minions.

Missile Dampening – Slows all projectiles and spells around the mob.

Suicide Bomber – Will kamikaze you and explode, causing massive amounts of damage, while dropping no loot.

Categories: Diablo 3

“Will Torchlight 2 be Out Before Diablo III?” or “Just Let Me Hack-n-Slash Something!”

February 20, 2012 1 comment

There are some new screenshots for Torchlight 2 out. They are at the bottom of this post if that is all you came here for. Click after the jump.

Torchlight was a sleeper hit, and rightly so. It came out of a small studio, it wasn’t a “AAA” title, and no one expected it to be so damn addictive. But at the end of the day, Torchlight was a great hack-n-slash game that presumed very little, and delivered tremendously. When Torchlight 2 was announced, people joked that Torchlight 2 could be out before Diablo III. Given the silence from the Blizzard camp about their dungeon crawler’s release date, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised.

Lately though I am beginning to feel a little trepidation regarding Diablo III. The game is designed to be a grind-fest, where you run dungeons over and over again for better loot, higher levels, and more gold. With the addition of the RMT Auction House, the game actually encourages this gameplay, and from a designer’s perspective, why shouldn’t it? It implies players will spend more time in the game. But consider the fact that Blizzard most popular game of all time is an MMO, and I am beginning to wonder how much of the MMO grind may have permeated into the development mantra for Diablo III.

Look, I understand that the two games have separate development teams and that they are different genres and different universes, but at the end of the day there is an omnipotent authority over at Blue that directs all endeavors of the studio at the macro-level. I don’t think it would be unreasonable to assume that when faced with the question: “How do we keep players coming back to the game?”, someone with over a decade of experience with WoW would (in)advertently suggest an MMO grind concept, which would then would bleed into Diablo III. Because as much as I love MMOs, I hate the quintessential concept that exists in all of them: Everything. Takes. Longer. ™.

I know Diablo is a grind-y game by nature, but I hope elements in the game don’t get as bad as having to run Arathi Basin over three thousand times to get from neutral to exalted. Just sayin’.

“I’ve Got Good News” or “I’ve Also Got Bad News”

September 29, 2011 2 comments

I’ve Got Good News

Via WoW Insider, this is an incredible video of World of Warcraft recreated in MineCraft, and appropriately titled: Mine of WorldCraft. It hits closer to the heart because the player transmorgifies into a T2 Judgement Paladin, and the starting zone is Northshire. Brilliant!

I’ve Also Got Bad News

Blizzard will not announce it’s MMO at Blizzcon, so M2 Research senior analyst Billy Pidgeon, who predicted that this would happen, can suck it.

They will likely announce a Diablo 3 release date though!

“Why I am Glad Diablo 3 is Delayed” or “EA Won’t Let Me Play SW:TOR”

September 25, 2011 6 comments

Why I am Glad Diablo 3 is Delayed

There are a lot of high-profile titles coming in the next few months that will keep me quite occupied. Dead Island and Gears of War 3, two titles that I’d like to play, are already out. I just haven’t had the time to play anything else, so I have not bothered purchasing these titles yet. I am still working through my second run through Deus Ex: Human Revolution, still leveling my scantily clad made in WoW, and tinkering with the stupidly cute Shakes and Fidget browser game.

Game of Thrones: Genesis also comes out in four days. But I am not sure about that one. I am a hardcore fan of the excellent series by George R.R. Martin, and from what I have seen in the trailers, I have a bad feeling about this in my gut. Over the course of time, I have learned to trust my gut.

October will bring id Software’s latest foray into first person shooters in the form of Rage, the much-anticipated and pre-ordered Battlefield 3, and Batman: Arkham City. Rage is exciting because the studio is finally going for a new IP after so long. Battlefield 3 just looks sick, and Batman: Arkham Asylum was too good to pass up City.

In addition, one of the MMOs that I have always wanted to play extensively but the monthly subscription cost kept me away was Fallen Earth. The MMO is going free-to-play on October 12, so I will definitely be checking it out.

November will be hell month. We have Modern Warfare 3, Assassin’s Creed: Revelations and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim will release within the span of about a week. This, coupled with the releases in September and October (along with Champions Online, WoW and Fallen Earth) will keep me quite busy through the holiday season.

Hence, I am glad Diablo 3 has been delayed!

EA Won’t Let Me Play SW:TOR

“Hi EA, would you like my money?”

“No, we don’t like where you live.”

QQ, etc.

“Se7en Tidbits: Diablo 3 Edition!” or “Actually it’s More like Th13teen Tidbits!”

August 6, 2011 2 comments

Diablo 3’s latest announcements seem to be all the rage these days. To recap Diablo 3 will:

  • require a persistent online connection to play (more details here).
  • feature a player-to-player auction house in which you can sell in-game items for both gold and real world doubloons.
  • not allow any modding whatsoever.
  • be released at the end of 2011, maybe; most likely in the first quarter of 2012.

The reactions to this news have been largely negative. I don’t agree with that sentiment largely because as an MMO player, I don’t have a problem with a persistent online connection, and also because is Blizzard wants to legitimize the eBay selling of items for real money and cash in on the action themselves, I don’t really have an issue with it. It’s a shrewd sales decision, and doesn’t bother me in the least bit. The lack of mods, however, is a little ill-informed.

The same, however, cannot be said for everyone else:

  • Duncan Geere of Wired UK calls the legitimizing of in-game auction “ugly”, and that the lack of modding is “utterly baffling”. For some reasons, she believes it won’t launch until the end of 2012 though. Not sure where she got that bit of info.
  • Ian Hamilton over at The Orange County Register feels that this new auction house system will turn a hobby into a part-time job as all players will fee pressured to sell items on the AH, hoping to make a quick buck. He is also greatly concerned over the IRS’s reaction, as many now claim that the sale of virtual goods should be considered income.
  • Chris Morris at Gamasutra feels that the fanbase is either overreacting, or really isn’t all that upset in the first place, just blowing smoke. Blizzard isn’t a dumb company, he says, and it didn’t get to become the behemoth it is today by not catering to it’s loyalists.
  • Blessing of Kings‘ Rohan had the first legitimate argument I read against the system. It will legalize and even encourage farming, and I agree.
  • Anjin from Bullet Points isn’t all too happy though. I think. Look at his screenshot and decide for yourself!
  • Screaming Monkey‘s lonomonkey is screaming all monkey-like about being really uncertain about this move. He’s exercising the prudent option of waiting and seeing how this pans out.
  • Klepsakovic from Troll Racials plans to wait a few days for everyone to forget about this and find something else to complain about. Fair enough!
  • Player Versus Developer‘s Green Armadillo doesn’t place much faith in the “pay to win” gripe. Citing Runes of Magic as an example of players upgrading their gear through frequent content patches, he is more concerned about the indirect effects of putting the developer in the business of making money when players replace their gear.
  • Spinks over at Spinksville feels that involving real money will give a very tangible shape to the opportunity cost associated with playing MMOs or persistent online games, and isn’t too excited about the utter lack of mods.
  • Big ol’ bear Wilhelm Arcturus, The Ancient Gaming Noob, had his vacation interrupted, so he isn’t a happy camper to begin with But he feels that the signs for this move were all around us, such as lack of LAN for StarCraft II and the implementation of the Real ID system. His sentiments on Blizzard cashing in on the item trade action is the same as mine: it is a smart business decision and it puts the control directly in their hands.
  • Tobold cites Eve Online as an example of the auction house system already underway, and calls the tribal mentality of fan-bases hypocritical.
  • Ceraphus at Variant Avatar has an intelligent argument for why we could see this system (if successful) in WoW or the upcoming “Titan”.
  • Ferrel at Epic Slant doesn’t feel this will really make that much of a difference at any level, but he calls shenanigans on the blizzard argument that this system allows players with less time and more money to advance their characters.
  • Finally, Scott Jennings over at Broken Toys, a game developer himself, sees the logic behind the auction house move. He predicts, and I agree, that World of Warcraft and StarCraft II were the last Blizzard titles without a built-in RMT system.
Categories: Controversy, Diablo 3, DRM

“Dastardly Diablo 3 Drama” or “Ostensibly (and Sensibly) Online”

August 5, 2011 Leave a comment

There seems to be a lot of drama over DRM. Ubisoft, of course, took it a step further by saying that their persistently online DRM solution was a stellar success, leaving a lot of confused fans in this statement’s wake.

Blizzard recently also announced that their upcoming Diablo III will also require players to be consistently online to be able to play, but this resulted in a very odd backlash, particularly from my peers in the MMO blogging community. I can understand people who primarily play single-player games to be upset about this. After all, they just pop the DVD in, and online or not, they can play to their heart’s content.

Blizzard in their defense, offers the following points:

  • A persistent friends list (debatable, especially if you like playing solo).
  • Cross-game chat via the RealID system (again debatable).
  • Persistent characters that are stored server-side (no more having to play online once every 90 days, nor item duplication cheats) (valid, it does ensure almost no client-side hacks or item-duping. I say almost because every time you make a system hacker-proof, groups like Lulsec and Anonymous feel a disturbance in the force).
  • Persistent party system (debatable).
  • Player-versus-player and public game matchmaking (valid, you would need to be online for PvP).
  • Dynamic drop-in/out for co-op (valid, if you have friends playing with you, it would be stellar if you could drop in an out of a friend’s game world as needed, much like Borderlands).
  • Larger item stash that gets shared among all of your characters (at the moment, up to 10) (nonsensical, they could easily increase offline storage, this is more of a ploy to justify the DRM).
  • The auction house (valid, you would need to be online to play the Auction House with potentially hundreds of thousands of other sellers/buyers).
  • The Achievement system and detailed stat-tracking, both of which feed into the final point (valid):
  • The Banner system, a visual way to display your prowess in the game. Banners start out like emblems, where you can choose from an array of symbols, patterns, and overall shape/design. Then, you can tweak its appearance through Achievements and other accomplishments. Examples Pardo cites include whether the character is in Hardcore mode, how many Achievements have been earned, how many PVP victories, and so forth. Additionally, the Banners also have gameplay features; in-game, rather than use Town Portal, you can click on a player’s Banner to instantly teleport over to said player (debatable if you don’t play with others, limited use if you do).

As an MMO player and a Star Craft II player (which also requires you to be online for achievement tracking and, of course, PvP), these seem like perfectly valid reasons.

My point is that as MMO players, for years now, we are used to playing persistent worlds that require a highly stable and reliable connections. In fact, our favorite genre of gaming would not exist without the ability to stay online consistently. Yet there is this angst over ‘being made to’ stay online to play the single-player version. In principle, I do feel that if you are a player who enjoys playing solo, you shouldn’t have to worry about a consistent online connection. But at least the MMO players should have no issue with this. We do this on a daily basis, with the dozens of MMOs that grace our screens for hours on end.

Thoughts?

Categories: Diablo 3, DRM

“Titanic Leaks” or “That was a Double Entendre”

December 2, 2010 2 comments

MMO-Champion yesterday revealed a leaked document from Blizzard detailing their release schedule through 2015. At the risk of re-iterating something which has already been summarized quite nicely by Boubouille, allow me to list the highlights (just listing the main IPs and their expansion):

Starcraft

  • Q4, 2011 – Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm
  • Q4, 2011 – Pheonix (no idea what this is)
  • Q1, 2013 – Starcraft II: Legacy of the Void

Diablo

  • Q4, 2011 – Diablo III
  • Q2, 2013 – Diablo III: First Expansion
  • Q4, 2014 – Diablo III: Second Expansion

World of Warcraft

  • Q4, 2010 – Third Expansion: Cataclysm
  • Q2, 2012 – Fourth Expansion
  • Q4, 2013 – Fifth Expansion

Titan

  • Q4, 2013 – Possible New IP

Chronologically we will get:

  • Q4, 2010 – Third Expansion: Cataclysm
  • Q4, 2011 – Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm
  • Q4, 2011 – Diablo III
  • Q4, 2011 – Pheonix
  • Q2, 2012 – Fourth Expansion
  • Q1, 2013 – Starcraft II: Legacy of the Void
  • Q2, 2013 – Diablo III: First Expansion
  • Q4, 2013 – Fifth Expansion
  • Q4, 2014 – Diablo III: Second Expansion
  • Q4, 2013 – Titan

We’ve known for a while that Blizzard is hard at work on a new MMO, one that has nothing to do with any of their primary, and existing IPs. The Q4, 2013 date is approximately three years away. So it makes sense that in the next three years the game will be teased, announced, trailer’d, beta’d and launched. Knowing Blizzard’s normal release schedules I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if this was actually pushed into 2014 or even 2015, but my point is that it is entirely possible. According to this schedule, the next few years are going to be quite exciting for people who have played and loved all three of Blizzard’s flagship IPs, and may, in fact, be able to get their hands on the brand new MMO.

Three possibilities exist.

1. It is this a clever ploy by Blizzard. Why? Well, to generate some buzz for Titan, or perhaps to save themselves from the perpetually asked “when will it get released” question for the next five years. Possible, but unlikely. One thing Blizzard is notorious for, is remaining tight-lipped about information, and releasing it in the smallest possible morsels, just enough to salivate the fans, but not to be their salvation. So why start now?

2. It is an actual leak. That is more likely, but they haven’t had such a major leak in, well, actually I can’t remember if they’ve ever really had a leak! So how did they slip up now? Additionally, it seems, at least to me, that it is highly unlikely that someone would create a document of this nature and freely float it with in the organization.

3. It is a fake. Most likely scenario. Someone is pulling our leg, peppering the document it with near-authentic information to make it seem like it is real. For example, the Q4 release date for Cataclysm (that’s accurate), and the Q4, 2011 release date for  Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm. Here is a statement released on October 24, 2010:

“According to Blizzard’s Chris Sigaty, the second chapter int he SC2 trilogy “probably” won’t be ready until 2012.”

Starcraft 2: Heart Of The Swarm a 2012 release – Blizzard, CVG.com

This is just after Q4, 2011, and since the document itself is 8 months old, it can be argued that initially they were aiming for Q4, 2011, but since then they have revised the dates. Heart of the Swarm “probably won’t be ready before 2012 now”.

Then again, the same evidence and argument could be made for the document being authentic. Geekyleaks indeed!

On to Titan though. Blizzard has the futuristic genre covered, the fantasy and goth horror genre covered, so where/when will “Titan” be set? Some rumors indicate it will be an MMOFPS, which might imply the game is set in modern times, or at least in the ballpark. Blizzard is working hard at it, and I honestly, sincerely doubt we will get any additional information any time soon, but as ScaryBooster says, one way or another, we’ll know soon enough. Till then, salivate your Titan hunger with this tiniest morsel of rumored and in-all-likelihood-completely-fake information!

Edit: Did you know there already is a Titan Online?

Quote of the Day: “Irony Personified” or “Practice What You Preach”

November 29, 2010 1 comment

 

Via Digg, I came across this little gem, Ten Games That Were Derivative But Still Rocked, from GamingBolt.com.

Torchlight (Derivative of the Diablo games)

Torchlight is Diablo through and through,with some minor changes. It even looks the same. If Torchlight was released under the name of DiabloIII, it wouldn’t be hard to pass of as it. Yet still- who known anything about Torchlight? Most of you might not have even known a game called Torchlight existed before reading this- Torchlight surely deserves more. It is a really good, qualitative, addictive game, that deserves much more than just a “Diablo rip-off” tag.

Let me clarify a few things. First, I don’t have anything against GamingBolt.com. I actually enjoy the content on the website. They actually seem to get selected for Digg top stories quite frequently, and they seem to be doing quite well, grammatical and structural errors notwithstanding. Kudos! Second, had it been any title other than Torchlight, (Werit can back me up on this), I probably would have ignored the redundant irony. But it is Torchlight, a gem of a game from the little studio that could. And I can’t just stay quiet about that now, can I?

Exhibit A:

  • The Title: “Torchlight (Derivative of the Diablo games)”
  • “Torchlight is Diablo through and through,with some minor changes.”
  • “If Torchlight was released under the name of DiabloIII, it wouldn’t be hard to pass [it] of[f] as [Diablo 3].”

Exhibit B:

  • “It is a really good, qualitative, addictive game, that deserves much more than just a “Diablo rip-off” tag.”

Uh… you know where you can stop this madness? Just a couple of lines up, you know, where you essentially call Torchlight a “Diablo rip-off!”

Categories: Diablo 3, Torchlight
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