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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

Article of the Week: “Man Plays Civ II Game for 10 Years” or “A Vision For the Future”

June 13, 2012 1 comment

Reddit user Lycerius posted about his decade-long game of Civilization II, in the year 3991. Only three factions remain: the Americans, the Vikings and the Celtic, earth is a nuclear wasteland, humanity is malnourished and harrowed by the ravages of war, and perpetual conflict plagues the land along territorial boundaries.

This is simply one of the coolest stories I have come across in a long time, in part because I feel that with ever-dwindling resources, it may actually be a bleak window into the future. Nearly 200 thousand years from now, when we have drilled the last oil, and harvested the last mineral veins, and burnt the last coals, and wildlife, forests and related professions like ranging and agriculture are dead, what will we do then? Will we look to the stars for our salvation? Will we mine the Moon, or other planets and their satellites? Or, and this is highly unlikely, we realize early on that we are being colossal idiots with our finite resources, that we need to conserve and preserve, and be more prudent with our fuel efficiencies and resource management.

“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

“Mists of Pandaria Beta” or “Jelly?”

June 11, 2012 Leave a comment

“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

“Assassinations Galore” or “Trailers for Four Games I am Looking Forward to”

June 6, 2012 Leave a comment

E3 was all about the assassinations and sabotage. From Crysis 3’s Prophet blowing up an entire dam in a breathtaking action set piece, to Assassin’s Creed 3’s Connor Kenway slaughtering redcoats by the dozens, there were some fantastic trailers out of E3 this week. These included the forthcoming sequels to the Splinter Cell, Assassin’s Creed and Crysis series, as well as a very intriguing new gameplay trailer from Bethesda’s upcoming new IP, Dishonored. Enjoy!

“Can We Please Be Adults About Leaks?” or “Gamers Aren’t Idiots You Know”

May 31, 2012 Leave a comment

I need to get the following thought off of my chest: please stop referring to glossy, high-resolution screenshots, official documents, and trailers as “leaked” materials. Us gamers are not idiots, we know most of the time it is the developer trying to generate hype while maintain the (foolish) facade of not “sharing any crucial information until we are ready”. It seems every time I turn around, there is some new piece of news one of the gaming sites, claiming that the dozen or so 1600×1200, 300 DPI screenshots were leaked. For the love of god!

Here is an example: Leaked Copernicus Screens Look Like a Futuristic World of Warcraft

Are you kidding me? For those of you who are not aware of the Curt Schilling/38 Studios fiasco, here is a brief primer. 38 Studios was formed (originally as Green Monster Games) back in 2006 by former baseball player Curt Schilling. In 2009, 38 Studios even acquired Big Huge Games. Big Huge Games released one of my favorite RPGs this year: Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. This helped further establish the groundwork for their ultimate project, codenamed Copernicus, a AAA MMO. Rhode Island promised $75 million dollars to lure 38 Studios to Providence, in exchange for creating jobs. The company defaulted on their latest loan payment, due on May 1. 38 Studios employees were stiffed on their salaries, and now apparently laid off. Harsh words were changed left, right and center, and the future of Copernicus seems bleak indeed.

Please understand that I loved Kingdoms, and I would really like to see Copernicus made and be successful. But this is not a leak. 38 Studios employees should be on mountain tops, screaming about Copernicus, sharing every image, beta video, and juicy morsel of information they can on the MMO. Calling it a leak is just annoying.

So, can we please be adults about this?

“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

“And now, For Something Completely Random!” or “Elder Scroll Online World Map”

May 24, 2012 2 comments

GameInformer has been bleeding The Elder Scrolls Online information over the last few days. Their preview for the three playable factions included maps of their native zones.

I thought it would be nice to superimpose those maps over one another and figure out what the world of The Elder Scrolls Online might look like, and this is what I came up with. Enjoy!

The Elder Scrolls Online Map

click to enlarge

“The Elder Scrolls Online Announced!” or “Captain Obvious in the Hizzouse!”

Tracey Thompson, the PR Lady Extraordinaire (probably not her real title) over at Bethesda Softworks sent out a blast email this afternoon, officially announcing an Elder Scrolls MMO. I know some think this was inevitable and this email almost seems like a sneak attack by Captain Obvious, but I am tingly all over!

The game is being developed for both Mac and PC (/points at consoles, /laughs), under the leadership of one Matt Firor. Further details will be revealed in GameInformer (what is with this magazine and exclusives?) cover story for their June 2012 issue.

For those keeping score, the last Elder Scrolls game, Skyrim, was released less than six months ago, and has sold over 10 million copies worldwide.

“Meet Mark: Publisher Critic” or “Finally Someone Says it Out Loud!”

May 3, 2012 2 comments

No pin intended!

I don’t hate publishers. I think hate is a very strong word. But I think the larger a publisher grows, the more it feels it can interfere, influence or even dictate developer decisions, features and timelines. I am probably wrong, but I don’t think a developer has just come out and said it point blank.

Mark Cern, the CEO over at Red 5 Studios, developers of the upcoming F2P MMO Firefall said that the pressures put on the developers by the publishers is death to the video game industry. He cites the very valid example of Riot Games, whose smash hit MOBA game, League of Legends, has no publisher, but has more concurrent users playing it than World of Warcraft. Yes Mark, that is kind of bananas!

I for one salute the man. It takes courage to state in no uncertain terms: “Who needs publishers any more? I certainly don’t. I couldn’t care less about them at this stage”.

Categories: Controversy

“What is my Definition of an MMO” or “MMO Existentialism”

May 2, 2012 1 comment

I am an MMO player. I have been an avid MMO players for some time, going on nearly 10 years now. I love this genre of video gaming. There is just something very natural and recognizable about a world where unlikely heroes coalesce and cooperate to defeat the larger threat. A world that goes on when you have logged off and gone to sleep. A world which has it’s own heartbeat.

Lately though, I have struggled to try and define for myself what playing an MMO means to me. Is it that you get to play with more than 30 people? Is it that there is a deeper sense of community through guilds/corporations/forces? Is it the ability to meet random people from around the globe with similar interests in gaming? Or is it something deeper?

The MMO genre has grown almost exponentially in the last decade or so. As the genre expanded, it has also evolved and the qualifications for what makes an MMO has also morphed significantly over time. These days almost anything that features a substantially large number of players playing together is called an MMO. The browser-based MMO reared its head, and today MMOs like Battlestar Galactica are approaching 10 million subscribed users.

I think for me an MMO is all about the people playing it, it is about the community, and the connections and relationships you make along the way.

It is the difference between the dread you feeling logging into Team Fortress 2, not knowing what batch of colossal idiots you might be randomly paired with on your team, vs. logging into a group of dedicated individuals that you trust to have your back in that battleground or that dungeon.

It is the difference between 14-year olds getting high on superior reflexes and calling your mother a orge vs. people that genuinely care for your well-being both in-game and in real life.

It is the difference between RNG screwing you over vs. RNG’s attempts foiled by a well-coordinated team of individuals that strive together for a common objective.

It is the difference between knowing that you won the game for your idiot team vs. knowing that unless you had your friends and guildmates sweating and bleeding next to you, you would never have accomplished that particular objective.

For a casual gamer like me, an MMO is a community, a band of brothers from other mothers and sisters from other misters (I had to!). For me, an MMO is about being able to log in, have fun, play to your heart’s content and have a team that backs you up.

For me, MMOs are all about people.

Categories: Bronte, Guild

“Cryptic’s Kerfuffle” or “O Hai, We Were Hacked!”

April 30, 2012 4 comments

So Cryptic, the studio behind Champions Online and Start Trek Online, got hacked. These stories about major game developers getting hacked may be a dime a dozen now, but this one is so special I feel like I should give these guys a helmet and some crayons. You see, Cryptic was hacked back in December 2010, well over 16 months ago, but they just realized that now.

As an MMO player who has tried both their products and hasn’t been particularly thrilled by them, I don’t hold Cryptic in a very high regard. They try hard, and I am certain there are a few people who are genuinely committed to making games that people will play and want to enjoy. But somewhere along the production cycle, someone gets lazy, or a good idea is implemented awfully, or a feature that could make or break the game is screwed up, and you just cannot bring yourself to trust the studio again. Champions Online launched two different versions on launch day. The first one was close to the final beta. A launch day patch completely revamped everything though, a faux pas that I never really got past. As usual I am digressing.

My point is that I don’t trust Cryptic and believe that they prioritize profits over customer satisfaction and “fun”. But even this, this is just ridiculous. Come on guys, for 16 months your loyal customers have been playing your games, only to be told today that their information may have been compromised well over a year ago because you electronic locks had an expiry date of, well, 16 months ago? Disgraceful!

Categories: Facepalm of the Day

“Uncharted: The Movie(s)” or “Now I Don’t Have to Buy a PlayStation 3!”

April 23, 2012 1 comment

Someone, bless their heart, actually took the trouble of playing through all three Uncharted games, capturing footage, and barring unnecessary firefights, created feature length movies out of all three games in the series. As someone who owns most consoles, except the PlayStation 3 now, I have always wondered what the Uncharted experience may have been like. Thanks to YouTube user morphinapg, I no longer have to wonder! Enjoy!

Categories: Uncharted

Thought of the Day: “FPS: First Person Spectacle” or “Spectacular Setpieces Suck”

April 22, 2012 Leave a comment

NOT THE FACE!

Modern Warfare was a great game. It took an aging concept, put it in a modern setting, gave it some very memorable characters, an redefined reinvention. Modern Warfare 2 was a decent follow-up, but it seemed to me that the set pieces were more frequent, the situations were more dire, the settings were more hazardous, and most helicopters that flew or tried to rescue someone crashed in a fantastic cacophony of churning metal, flying debris and a giant ball of fire. Modern Warfare 3, frankly, was ridiculous. The set pieces seemed to outnumber the amount of time players actually had control of their character, and this time, every rescuing helicopter crashed, and the passengers always survived unscathed.

I am using the series as an example, but it seems to be that first person shooters (single-player obviously, not multi-player) are more about the fantastic spectacle and less about the challenge. At first it was some form of explosion or crash or ambush. Then it morphed into larger set pieces with collapsing structures and manic car chase sequences. Battlefield 3 took it up several notches by collapsing skyscrapers during a devastating earthquake, and oh-so-shockingly, the protagonist survives the building crashing on him. I can go off on a tangent here and talk about why every first person shooter hero seems to have skin made out of Adamantium, but that is a topic for another post.

Maybe I am using a frame of reference limited to the FPS titles I have been exposed to in the last year, but the pattern is pretty apparent to me: make a massive spectacle, a sequence so insanely improbable and outlandish that one can’t help but marvel at their screen. I think the only time that a set piece actually gave me goosebumps and fit very well into the story arc was *SPOLER ALERT* in Crysis, when the mountain slowly deteriorates in the distance, shaking off skyscrapers-sized boulders and the colossal alien ship encased within rears its extraterrestrial head. /*SPOLER ALERT* Outside of that, every time I lose control of my character because they need to narrowly escape death in one fashion or another, is a nuisance and hindrance more than anything else. But then again, perhaps the worst type of spectacle is the one when you actually do have control of your character during a spectacle sequence, because you don’t know if dodging bullets and dispatching baddies in a meticulous fashion should be your top priority or watching the insanity of the spectacle unfold.

This was supposed to be a “thought of the day” post, so allow me to be succinct: the fact of the matter is that first person shooters are increasingly more about the spectacle, and less about the challenge/story/experience. And with the never-ending race for creating the next best engine, that is not likely to change any time soon.

“Prey 2 Falls Prey 2 Developer-Publisher Debacle” or “A Lackadaisical PR Effort”

April 20, 2012 Leave a comment

Via Kotaku, Shacknews got the inside scoop on the rumors that Prey 2 was cancelled. The good news is that it is not cancelled. The bad news is that it has been delayed to 2013. Allegedly, the developers, Human Head, was not satisfied with the terms of contract with publisher ZeniMax. Work on the title stopped in November 2012, apparently so that human Head could coax ZeniMax into a better, more favorable deal. This seems very shady, and it is a little troublesome that someone at Human Head came forth anonymously to share this with the video gaming news media. It could be because people at Human Head are eager to get cracking at the title again, or it could be a leak from the ZeniMax side, to bring the issue to the public, to try and force Human Head to be complaint with the original terms of engagement.

The following email was sent out by Bethesda yesterday

Development of Prey 2 has not been cancelled but the game will not be released in 2012 as planned. The delay is due to the fact that game development has not progressed satisfactorily this past year, and the game does not currently meet our quality standards. Prey 2 has shown great promise and we regret disappointing our fans. We have made a substantial investment in game development to deliver the experience fans want. We are determined only to release the AAA game that fans rightfully expect, and are unwilling to compromise our quality standards to meet a release schedule.

This is what I would consider a very poor PR effort. First, none of the allegations in the Shacknews story were addressed, let alone refuted. Second, the email cites a completely different and seemingly unrelated reason for the delay. Third, unless I missed something, this email is the only official response from either side since this story broke out.

Prey was a great title, it would be a pity to see the sequel scrapped because mommy and daddy had irreconcilable differences. At the very least, whatever the root cause, I hope the two parties are mature enough to understand that we are not idiots, and share the actual cause of the delay, regardless of the outcome.

Categories: Controversy, Prey 2

“Algalnon Expansion Delayed” or “This Abomination Still Alive?”

April 19, 2012 2 comments

Looks about right!

Anyone still remember the whole Alganon fiasco? Allow me to refresh your memory. After management changes, two separate launches, completely ignoring accusations of how it was a shameless WoW clone, and one of the worst PR campaigns in the history of video gaming, Alganon still stands. And apparently, an expansion was supposed to be released in the near future. What is it called? The Cruning Brusade?

Massively now reports that the team over at QOL is citing “unforeseen circumstances” for why the expansion has been delayed to the fourth quarter. The devs wrote the following in the April newsletter:

“After evaluation of the project, it was decided that more time was needed in order to do some critical bug fixes as well as to spend more time on certain areas and features of the expansion in order to do the best work possible.”

With me so far? But that is not the fun part. The fun part is that one player actually decided to give a blunt, and admittedly bleak evaluation of the state of affairs in Alganon.

First John4 says:

I swear at this point Derek is feeding you these news bites.

Anyway, Alganon, has a long and inglorious history. The problems (other than the current “the expansion is still due Winter 2011 as that runs into March 2012” quote that i *love* from DS) are tantamount to a few things that have been hashed, re-hashed, and microwaved over time.

Derek will mention all the stuff *he’s* done without really giving credit to Padreic and the people actually keeping Alganon a possibly-respectable game. As a current player and payer of MicroTransactions, and as a guild leader of one of the (maybe) three guilds still in game, we play despite Derek, not because of him. The team deserves the credit, not him. Regardless of his “i kept the company afloat” rhetoric.

I also recently learned he hired a PR firm for this new MMO-thing he is developing, and can say with unending confidence they aren’t doing their job. When the guy no one likes is making the majority of statements online about the game, you have failed as a PR company.

Go ahead. Look it up. It’s in the textbook. Page 126. I’ll wait…

At this point, Derek must realize how polarizing a figure he is. Most of my posts on the Alganon forums have been deleted despite me trying to support the game and being one of about 6 people still trying. When you censor your player base from any communication with the devs at all, it won’t end well. I *really* wish Alganon woudl have left itself in Padreic and the team’s hands instead of the dictator, but alas, we all can’t get want we want.

Thus, i’ve been off to another game of late. Good luck, and thanks for all the fish.

John4

Then Derek actually responds:

One day, it is my hope that you will grow tired of posting this same rubbish everywhere you find me posting or talking about Alganon.

As to the giving credit, you must think that the people who developed the game did that in an isolated environment all on their own and with no direction, no planning, no funding. That’s particularly hilarious in and of itself. Especially when you consider the fact that for three years before I even got there, the game was an absolutely mess – as evidenced by the 2009 release. To where the game is now – more than two years later – what do you think changed? That’s right – me taking over the team, leading  it – and FUNDING it.

Stupid internet comments are just that. Stupid.

Yes Derek, stupid internet comments are pretty stupid. Head on over, grab some popcorn, and watch Derek (Not-So) Smart dig a hole that seems to have no finite depth!

Categories: Alganon