Here's the Diablo 3 trailer from the Blizzcon opening ceremony. It's another extraordinary bit of CGI work from Blizzard. Plot-wise, it sets up the hunt for the black soulstone, the true significance of which is as yet unknown. The giant evil toad chap is called Azmodan, he's one of the Lesser Evils. He rules half of hell. The other half is ruled by the tricksy Belial, who's also likely to make an appearance, as he and Azmodan have been at war for control of the underworld for centuries. Either way, it's nice that Azmodan decided to appear in a prophetic dream and tell us all his evil plans. We'll get to violently thwart them when Diablo 3 is finally released next year.
Yesterday, we brought you the first meaty chunk of a rather sizable conversation I had with Blizzard lore lord Chris Metzen during GDC Online. And today, we're bringing you part two, because that's how counting works.
In this installment, Metzen and I discuss the incredibly prevalent theme of fatherhood in recent videogames, the role of professional writers in the modern world, so-called "rockstar" game developers, and Metzen's mythical glasses.
Image credit: Lorehound
Whether you know him for his signature sunglasses and booming BlizzCon presence or a trio of obscure series by the names of Warcraft, StarCraft, and Diablo, you've almost certainly crossed paths with Chris Metzen. While he's definitely not a one-man show, Metzen's gained a reputation as the story guy at Blizzard. Let's put it this way: Without him, there'd be no “World.” The absurdly popular MMO would just be “Of Warcraft.” And it probably wouldn't be anywhere near as popular.
Without a doubt, Metzen's left an incredibly iconic mark over the course of his 17-year career. That said, a lot can change in nearly two decades, and you don't have to tell Metzen twice. And so, after Blizzard's GDC Online summit, I sat down with Metzen for an interview so mighty that one post cannot even hope to contain it. So, in the first of two installments, we discuss Metzen's evolution as a writer, Blizzard's approach to storytelling, inspiration, Star Wars, Avatar: The Last Airbender (seriously!), and more.
For our first-ever cover featuring a free-to-play game, it had to be the incredibly popular League of Legends. Our in-depth guide to LoL's upcoming new Dominion mode will ensure that you have the advantage on launch day by taking you through the ins and outs of the map, plus a look at the map creation process and upcoming champions in the works at Riot Games. As if that wasn't enough, you'll also find a code in every issue for an exclusive Caitlyn skin (good on North American servers only) which will also unlock the champion herself if you've yet to purchase the sultry sniper.
In other mega-news, our extensive Diablo III hands-on preview will tell you everything you need to know about the much-anticipated hack-'n'-slash ahead of the beta, and addresses your Auction House concerns. Meanwhile, we've the inside scoop on supernatural steampunk-style FPS thriller Dishonored and the verdict on the tropical zombie-bonanza that is Dead Island. Missing this issue is, in a word, inadvisable.
Yesterday we reported that Diablo 3 will let you buy and sell items for real money. During the event, the inevitable question about gold farmers came up: doesn't this just make it safer and easier for them?
Executive producer Rob Pardo replied: "Theoretically that’s true, but I mean there’s really nothing… what’s the difference between a player that plays the game a lot and a gold farmer? I mean they’re really doing the same activity."
Diablo's finally back, but has it sold its soul to a bonafide gaming devil? Not exactly. After the big unveiling of Diablo's new real money auction house, we sat down with online technologies VP Robert Bridenbecker to hear Blizzard's side of the story.
In the wake of the news that Diablo 3 will be online only, have a real-money auction house, and forbid mods, Tim, Tom F and Graham convene to discuss what this means. And, since they've all played the game now, how good it is.
Download the MP3, subscribe, or find our older podcasts here.
This is going to be interesting. On Tuesday, Blizzard invited us to their headquarters in Irvine, California to announce that Diablo 3 will feature an auction house that lets players buy and sell in-game items for real money.
At the same event, they revealed that Diablo 3 requires a constant internet connection to play - there's no offline mode at all.
This is not the same as the microtransaction model we've seen in other games: Blizzard themselves aren't selling any in-game items. The auction house will be entirely player driven: everything you see there was found by someone, and most of the money spent to buy it goes to the player who found or crafted it.
Read on for more details, and Blizzard's justifications for it.
When we were out at Blizzard on Tuesday, they told us players would be able to buy and sell items for real money, and the game will be online only. There's another part to that, closely related: not only will mods not be supported, they're specifically forbidden by Blizzard. Official quote below.
At an event in Irvine on Tuesday, Blizzard told us that Diablo 3 will be online only. Without an internet connection, you can't play the game at all.
Senior producer Alex Mayberry says there were many reasons for the decision, including the prevention of cheating. Since players can buy and sell items for real money, any way of cheating to make or acquire better ones would be very lucrative - and unfair.
We celebrated Blizzard's 20th anniversary with a massive cover story in our April issue that analyzed just how far-reaching their impact on gamers across the globe has been. In part one of our Blizzard story, we put our collective minds together to put together a list of the many and varied ways that Blizzard has affected the "real-world" through their games. Here they are presented for your viewing pleasure: the 20 ways that Blizzard Entertainment has altered the very fabric of life.
When Torchlight was released in 2009, it wore it's Diablo influence proudly on it's sleeve. It's success certainly kept fans of Blizzard's dungeon crawler happy, having been without a new title for nine years. But what do Blizzard think of Torchlight? "We play those and we generally love them," said art director Christian Lichtner when talking to Eurogamer. "Torchlight – we love it, we play it a lot."
Deathspank is a platform for creating jokes. It uses the framework of a Diablo-alike role-playing game to hang gags from, but that’s what you’re here for. The fact that Monkey Island developer Ron Gilbert’s name is attached to the whole thing is what’s going to make you pay attention, and because of that you expect a certain amount of humour. And it’s there, keeping you on a level of constant amusement that occasionally bubbles over into laughter.
There’s a nonsense story in there about Ancient Evil and Kidnapped Orphans that moves from Demon Mines to Enchanted Sinister Forests, and the look of the game is as much of a facade as the premise; all the buildings are just cardboard cutouts, and it looks like the sky is on a runner, but that’s part of the joke.