Blizzard has detailed some of the major changes coming to Diablo III in patch 2.0.1, which is currently still in development and available for testing on the Public Test Realm. Highlights include the ability to form Clans, Cursed Chests events, changes to item stats and drops, and a completely revamped difficulty system.
Diablo 3 beta
Here's 20 minutes of whacking we've taken straight from the latest build of the Diablo 3 beta. See a barbarian carve a path through the opening dungeons, picking up oodles of gold and powerful weaponry as she goes. Blizzard have been talking a lot about changes they're making to the classic formula, but it's still Diablo alright, albeit bigger and considerably prettier. It looks a lot better in motion than screenshots tend to suggest, and monsters have a satisfying tendency to fly absolutely miles when you thwack them. The fights aren't especially tough at the very start, which is why they tend to fall over at the slightest touch. Still, it provides a lengthy insight into how Diablo 3 is shaping up. It's due out spring this year.
If you're playing Skyrim and have an Nvidia card, you'll definitely want to grab the latest driver update. The Nvidia site boasts of significant improvements to Skyrim framerates. Indoor scenes should run 45% faster and Skyrim's grand outdoor vistas will see a 16% boost. The drivers also come with an improved version of the ambient occlusion effect added by the last set of drivers. This adds a subtle layer of extra shadowing and darken the deep cracks in Skyrim's rocky landscapes, boosting their cragginess factor by about 14%.
Modern Warfare 3 gets the same ambient occlusion treatment, boosting war torn grittiness by 32%. Additional AO for the Diablo 3 beta applies a chunky 35.2% hike to lingering sense of dread levels and PhysX fixes improve Batman: Arkham City's bat-punchiness with 10% extra Pow! 4% extra Zam! and a minor increase to overall levels of Biff! You can download it now from the Nvidia site, where they also have some fancy interactive screenshots that show off these Ambient Occlusion updates quite nicely.
Confession: I’ve completed the public(ish) Diablo 3 beta six or seven times. I really, really like Diablo 3. I also thought, as I’ve played, that the game is basically done - that the systems are cool, fun and exciting to play. And, weirdly, the more I played, the more I enjoyed. Mastering each of the classes was a project in itself, simply grinding each of the classes up to the level cap was a pointless but endearing little exercise. I’ve even been playing the real-money auction house a little bit, with my theoretical “beta bucks”.
The latest update then adds onto an already great game. Yet when I read the latest notes for the beta, I was worried: it appeared that the developers were removing complexity by altering the way runes: subtle (or not so) alterations to how each of your skills performed, were presented to the player. Previously they’d drop like loot. Now they’re earned at level up points.
Turns out, Blizzard were right. And I was wrong.