As the lead content designer on Diablo III, Kevin Martens has learned a lot over the past two years. He’s learned about disastrous online launches and failed real-money auction houses and what gamers really love about Diablo. He admits that the team made more than a few miscalculations leading up to the 2012 launch. Upcoming expansion Reaper of Souls, releasing on March 25, takes big steps to fix those miscalculations. I talked to Martens and senior level designer Larra Paolilli for their thoughts on the auction house, the internet connection requirement, and PvP, as well as the Loot 2.0 patch and Reaper of Souls’ new Adventure Mode.
Diablo 3 historians will probably mark the time after patch 2.0.1's sweeping changes as "post 2.0.1." The upcoming update's major systems revamp—such as the removal of the real-money and gold auction houses, scaling difficulty, and the implementation of clans—marks a divide between the old (and dubiously designed) Diablo and a new Diablo far more in tune with what players want. Its end-game Paragon system will get a complete rework as well, and in an official blog post, Blizzard explains how the new system will work in Reaper of Souls.
With patch 2.0.1 now on the horizon, it should soon become easier to find and form parties in Diablo 3 with the addition of clans and communities. The features have been available for testing on the game's Public Test Realm, but Blizzard has now published a handy summary for anyone else curious about the upcoming changes.
March 25 2014 is Westmarch's day of reckoning. That's when the angel of death, Malthael, unleashes his hideous hordes to overrun the once-secure Paladin haven, adding a new act to Diablo 3 in the process. How nice of him to give us a bit of advance notice. Diablo 3's first expansion pack also adds a new class, The Crusader, and adventure mode, which opens up the whole world map and fills existing zones with new challenges, like Nephalem rifts: combat dimensions swarming with foes that must be defeated to tempt loot-filled boss out of hiding.
While the much-maligned auction house will soon be banished from Diablo 3, Blizzard remains staunchly committed to its ARPG's other controversial feature, the always-online requirement. In a recent interview with Rock Paper Shotgun, lead designer Kevin Martens went as far as to say that it "was the wrong choice to allow people to play offline [in Diablo II]."
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.
In the dark depths of Blizzard's forums, the Senior Technical Game Designer of Diablo III, Wyatt Cheng, suspended his soul-reaping rampage to answer few questions players had regarding Diablo III's soon-to-be slower combat. His main point: A combat system emphasizing shallow health pools and high DPS is toxic to strategy.
Blizzard has announced a plan to close Diablo 3's real-money and gold auction houses next year, according to an announcement today by game director Josh Mosqueira and production director John Hight. Hight called the auction houses, where players could pick up hard-to-find, in-game items for real money or in-game currency, "a double-edged sword."
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.
This week, Evan, Tyler, T.J., and Cory recap news from Gamescom: Diablo, XCOM, Elder Scrolls, and more. We compare notes on our current adventures in Saints Row IV, and T.J. vastly exceeds the legal limit for Bohemian Rhapsody lyric puns in a single podcast.
True* Gamescom fact: to cope with the hordes of heroic reporters, all furiously typing about the show's latest news and announcements, the governments of the world were forced to cordon off 12% of the internet. As a result, those cat gifs you love are loading around three seconds slower than usual. Has it been worth such a high price? To find out, have a browse through our collected round-up of news from the second day.
After months of meticulous gestation, Blizzard's new desktop launcher is finally available to the general public in the form of an open beta. The new launcher congregates the StarCraft II, Diablo III, and World of Warcraft game launchers into a single hub, allowing players to download, patch or launch those games from one client.
Update: A new Diablo 3 teaser site has emerged, titled Reaper of Souls. The site quotes 'The Book of Tyrael', saying "Death, at last, shall spread its wings over all". We'll find out more at Gamescom, but if Reaper of Souls is the name of the new expansion, what's 'The Dark Below'? Possibly something WoW related?
Original: We've known for a couple weeks that Blizzard will be making an announcement "sure to capture the attention of the Heavens, Burning Hells and all the shadowed places that lie between" at Gamescom later this month. That's about as on-the-nose as it could possibly get without sending out a press release saying "Hey guys, Diablo 3 expansion!" Considering the timing, Blizzard's newly-filed trademark for "The Dark Below" is likely to be the title of said expansion.
Stieg Hedlund’s list of credits are varied. He’s had a hand in Rainbow Six, Ghost Recon, an Oddworld sequel, the original StarCraft and beloved cult games like Comix Zone. Prominently, Hedlund was lead designer on Diablo and Diablo II, so when I had the opportunity to speak with him recently I had to ask what he thought about Diablo III.
Lately Hedlund is working with Grand Theft Auto creator Dave Jones on ChronoBlade, an action-RPG available on Facebook. Look for more interview excerpts from Hedlund and Jones in the coming days.
We used the only viable fuel source with the world's only time machine to visit E3 2014, and bring back the gaming news of the future for you, our loyal readers. The haters will say we could have done something more beneficial for humanity with this singular opportunity, but we usually just ban people like that. What new boxes will you be able to plug into your TV? Will everyone own a Rift? Do your emotional scars from Game of Thrones Season 3 ever heal? We have the 100 percent accurate, non-speculative answers to all this and more.
Diablo 3 's new game director, Josh Mosqueira, got his start at Blizzard working to convert the popular and controversial action-RPG for console play, according to a new blog post. Mosqueira writes that some possible upcoming tweaks include changes to character customization and loot drops, as well as a reduction of the auction house's effect of the game.
Diablo 3 has been out for just a little over a year, and Blizzard has burned the cooldown on its Infernal Horadric Ring of Visualizing Statistics to bring us the infographic inside this post. Among the notable figures: Players have spent over 930 years of play time in D3 collectively, the average number of daily players is over two million, and about 67 million characters have been created in total.
Blizzard announced yesterday that Diablo 3's auction houses had been put back online, after a gold-duplication exploit introduced by a recent patch caused them to temporarily shut up shop. The bug has now been fixed and gold trading is once again possible, according to Production Director John Hight in the accompanying forum post, which goes on to explain exactly what happened with the bug, and how Blizzard have responded over the last few days. Long story short: 85% of the illicit gold has been recovered, and all proceeds from auctions conducted by now-banned or suspended players has been given to charity.
Blizzard's annual fan convention, Blizzcon, is November 8 and 9 this year. As you might expect for a gathering focused on such monoliths of PC gaming as Starcraft and Warcraft, tickets tend to go pretty fast, so if you're looking to join in the scramble, you should know that tickets go on sale next Wednesday, April 24, at 7 p.m. Pacific. A second batch will become available Saturday, April 27 at 10 a.m. Pacific. The cost this year is $175 per person.