Uh-oh, we appear to have lost Tom to the siren song of gold and loot. Ever since the release of Diablo 3's latest patch, he's been furiously wizarding, reaping the benefits of targeted loot drops and an improved paragon levelling system. The patch, released in preparation for this month's Reaper of Souls expansion, has been further boosted with a limited time XP bonus event. Until March 24th, players will get a 50% boost to all earned XP.
It's not quite Reaper of Souls - the Diablo 3 expansion that's bringing Act V and Adventure Mode - but the unassumingly named patch 2.0.1 will still significantly change the game. There's a revamped Paragon system, clan and community features, and the big Loot 2.0 - which paves the way for the Auction House's destruction. And while the expansion is still a month away, Blizzard plan to equip patch 2.0.1 later today.
Sometimes, games are a gruelling trial of hardship, strife and the worst excesses of humanity. DayZ, for instance, or trying to get a working match of Battlefield 4. Luckily, games are all about variety. So when you're fed up of being fed up, you can play a game about punching goblins into mince. To help sate that urge, gib-friendly ARPG Torchlight II is currently doing the Free Weekend thing on Steam; tempting you to pay its discounted price by giving a brief taste of the clicking, punching and thwacking it does so well.
The battle may never end. More than 13 years after its initial release, Diablo 2 remains a reference point for the games we play today. It helps that the action RPG still gets some tender loving care from Blizzard, like the upcoming ladder system maintenance. New players will be able to jump into the competitive hunt for loot with minimal fuss, even after all this time.
Bloom: Memories is an ambitious action RPG that’s going to try to marry the exploration of Zelda, the stealth of Thief, and the living world of Harvest Moon. With a big emphasis on clever solutions beyond violence and a really beautiful batch of concept art, I’m not surprised that Bloom is already halfway to its $40,000 funding goal after only a couple of days on Kickstarter.
Action RPG Path of Exile sees its first post-launch patch go live this Wednesday, the first update of seven planned before Grinding Gears releases an expansion in March 2014. While the 1.0.1 update includes its share of mysterious new items to try out, it's also set to kick off the free-to-play game's fifth season of competitive events, according to lead designer Chris Wilson.
Adventure! Transmogrification! UI pop-ups! Menu screens! Operatic goth metal! This leaked features trailer for Diablo 3's Reaper of Souls expansion has a little bit of everything; at least, a little bit of everything relating to steady improvements and updates to Blizzard's action RPG. Well okay, a little bit of everything, with the exception of the auction house closure, which is probably not something they want to trumpet in a celebratory trailer.
Free-to-play action RPG Path of Exile will emerge blinking from the beta dungeon later today, its bugs slain and features looted. With the game levelling up to v1.0, developers Grinding Gear will be dramatically expanding the game, adding a new class, areas and enemies, and new challenge leagues for those players looking for some advanced mouse-driven biffing.
Diablo 3 is removing its auction houses! That's a pretty significant about-turn for a game that's generated a lot of controversy from its extraneous features and requirements. So now, given that these trading posts are being removed, and given that the recent console version proves that an offline Diablo won't herald the rise of the Prime Evil, will Blizzard scrap the game's always-online requirement? Spoiler: no.
When Tom talked to Blizzard at Gamescom, he was told that Diablo 3 expansion Reaper of Souls' new loot system was designed to "cut the legs out" from the controversial real-money auction house. But, with the game's console version recently releasing without an always-online requirement, is there any chance that the ARPG will one day allow for offline on PC? Can you guess the answer? You can probably guess the answer. Because it's no.
Diablo III's controversial in-game gold and real-money auction house has been such a point of contention that even the game's former lead designer admitted that it "really hurt the game". While it will remain for upcoming expansion Reaper of Souls, an updated loot system - which will go live for all players via a free patch just before the expansion launches - has been created specifically to draw players away from the trading post, and back towards the streets and corridors of gib-prone monsters.
Even if you're not planning to peer inside Malthael mysteriously masked face-hole with Diablo III's Reaper of Souls expansion, the fallen angel's appearance will still have an effect on the base game. Much like World of Warcraft expansions, Reaper of Souls will be pre-empted by a huge "2.0" patch that will overhaul Diablo III in preparation for new items, abilities and areas.
The next game to haul itself onboard the Twitch livestream bandwagon is Path of Exile. The ARPG will allow streaming from within the client, Twitch chat—the whole shebang.
American McGee latest fairytale mashup—in this case, a cocktail of Red Riding Hood infused with a feudal Japan flavor—is now playable on Steam through its Early Access program. With the free-to-play Akaneiro: Demon Hunters having undergone a successful Kickstarter campaign, it may seem weird to pay $10 for the privilege of playing the Steam beta, but Spicy Horse swears you'll get some cool stuff out of this deal.
Ah, E3. Do we love you or hate you? On one hand, that single week of June is filled with so much flashy marketing it makes our eyes ache, but on the other, we get to learn awesome new things about video games. Even now, a full week before E3, we're learning stuff. For instance: a massive banner slapped on the LA Convention Center has today confirmed the release date for masochism-simulator Dark Souls 2.
One day, a more interesting patch naming format will be agreed upon. Until then, we'll have to make do with the current numerical Wild West of marking important development milestones with arbitrary numbers. Path of Exile is about to begin the second phase of its open beta, so naturally the free-to-play MMO ARPG is calling this major revision 0.11.0. Just rolls off the tongue.
Whatever the patch is called, it will release this week, on June 5th, and introduce two new experimental leagues: Anarchy and Onslaught. They're due to run alongside the previous Standard and Hardcore leagues over the next four months.
I like to think that the story behind Dragon Nest's newest update is that the Sea Dragon, having scornfully watched the hyper-cute, anime-soaked denizens of Althea frolic about obliviously for too long, has finally decided to rise from the waters to show them what MMOs are really about. And so, with the latest patch introducing the Sea Dragon as a new boss, Dragon Nest's capacity for epicness now aligns approximately with that of a low-level WoW raid.
In a win for self-descriptive naming, here's Hellraid: a first-person co-op hack 'n slash RPG about raiding the armies of hell. It's being made by Techland, who have form with back-to-basics game naming, having previously brought us Dead Island: a game about an island full of dead people. This time, they're swapping shambling corpses for the similarly undead, but generally less putrefied, demonic hordes.