It's that time again! On the morning of Tuesday, May 14, we'll be conducting maintenance in order to reset the Diablo II ladder. We anticipate the realms could be down for up to six hours, and during that time all existing ladder characters will be converted to non-ladder. All characters and items being converted to non-ladder will remain intact, but once converted these characters will no longer have access to ladder content such as creating ladder-only rune words.
This ladder reset, like all those before it, creates a clean slate where all ladder characters begin at level 1 with no previous items to help them. To participate, simply wait until the Diablo II realms return to service on May, log in to Battle.net, and tick the “Ladder Character” checkbox when creating a new character. You can track ladder character leveling progress by clicking on the Ladder button from the main Diablo II in-game Battle.net interface.
For more information on ladder characters please visit here.
Diablo III Hotfixes: April (Updated 4/30)
Another exploit has been hotfixed.
Thanks for the reports, guys! I bumped this up to QA and they're taking a look at it currently.
Your team does realize this isn't the first time this has happened? I can think of at least 2 other maintenance Tuesdays where the spam report has broken.....you would think the same exact thing would stop being broken once a month under the same circumstances.
Yup. It's something we're aware of and trying to troubleshoot. We're taking a look at previous reports, bug fix implementations, and maintenance processes to see if we can identify where the revert is happening/what's causing it.
No Controller Support for PC
Same goes for a mouse/keyboard combo on the console version.
In terms of allowing an analog controller hookup for the PC, we don’t have any plans for that kind of support right now. Similarly, since Diablo III for console was designed with a controller in mind, the PlayStation version of Diablo III will not support USB mice or keyboards.
The Watch Tower was changed because of how insanely good it was compared to most farming locations. It benefited from having an abnormally high Elite density, resplendent chest spawn, and was located conveniently close to a waypoint (a combination which made it an outlier in terms of efficiency as well as a go-to spot for a large number of players). While there's nothing wrong with a particular farming location being good or even better than other areas, it becomes an issue when one spot starts to eclipse everything else. We wanted to make sure players didn't feel like they had to farm that spot or else they'd be missing out, so in patch 1.0.5 we moved it from Northern Highlands to Southern Highlands with the idea that it would require spending some extra time to find it, since that was one of major reasons why the area was so OP. Initially we didn’t want to nerf the dungeon, but eventually the Elite density was toned down anyway, and the tower remains in Southern Highlands.
To answer your question, though, parts of the Watch Tower were nerfed, but the chances for it (and the merchant) to spawn have not changed. I wish you good luck in your search for the merchant, but it’ll probably take a few attempts!
"There is an effective area for finding loot in a loot finding game?!' "We will change that...."
I think this is a pretty simplistic way to view the situation, but I agree that having a favorite farming spot nerfed doesn't feel great. We get that. The alternative, though, (at least in situations like this, where that spot is way beyond the norm) is that people feel forced into playing one tiny section of the game, and that's arguably worse for the health of the game overall.
Weeping Hollow Density Restored
It appears Blizzard just wanted a reaction out of the players on the PTR with adjusting the density in the Weeping Hollow. It was mostly negative, so the change is reverted!
The changes we made to The Weeping Hollow in the most recent PTR patch were really just an experiment. Based on feedback we'd seen regarding density (in terms of monster spawn pacing), it wasn't totally clear what players preferred; some wanted more clumps, some wanted less, and some liked things just the way they were. There wasn't a clear-cut answer, so our designers made a change to see what would happen. Rapid iteration like that is one of the cool things we can do with the PTR.
Given the response from players since the change went live (thanks for all your posts, btw), we're going to be restoring monster density and spawn pacing in The Weeping Hollow to its earlier PTR levels, and that will most likely be what we stick with for 1.0.8.
The Process of Adding Changes to the Game
Grimiku has shed some light of Blizzard's process of adding new content or changes to the game. It is not an easy one.
I know there is a lot of criticism about sentences like "something we talk about in the office" or "it's something were working on", and the solution everyone wants are faster updates. I think we'd all love for the patching process to be quicker (that’s kind of like saying “who doesn’t want free stuff?”), but the fact is: patches aren’t created in a vacuum, and it’s really not as simple as you might think.
Seemingly simple changes usually have a lot of work associated with them, and it’s easy to underestimate the complicated nature of the work involved. New content has to be coded, implemented, assigned art assets (sometimes), have a test environment built for it, tested until its right, and then we rinse and repeat that process each time we iterate. After that, we need to coordinate a release on a global level, make sure everything is localized, and then deploy to the live game (which is not just a flick of a switch). That isn’t to say we can’t do better, and we’re always working on ways to improve, but my point is this shouldn’t be trivialized. It’s a disservice to your feedback and this discussion to do that.
We also tend to use flexible language when talking about changes that aren’t ironed out yet or have a timeline for when they’ll be implemented. That way, we can talk about what we’re working on and acknowledge ideas/issues even if we don’t have a lot of details to discuss (i.e. we may not always know when a particular change is going to make it into the game or how it will manifest, but that doesn’t mean we can’t talk about it). While that may not be your ideal scenario, we prefer it over staying quiet since it keeps the community more involved. Just some food for thought.
Game Devs Don't Work on the Website
Some players have speculated that developers are wasting their time by adding things to the Battle.net site. That is not the case however, as that's the Web Designers' job.
Web updates (like the new icons) are handled by our web team, not the game development team.
Similarly, polls that we post are handled by the community team, not the game development team.
These are small things we can do to improve the site and how different players use it; they do not impact game development.
So, my loquacious button enthusiastic...as much I enjoy great satire, I'm going to ask you to please stop trolling. ;)
Console and PC Teams are Different
On the same note as the previous article forum members fear that the development of the console version of Diablo 3 might be slowing down the PC version. Again, those are different teams.
We know there is a concern among some players that working on the console version of Diablo III takes away from PC development, but thankfully that's not the case. They are entirely separate teams with individual content cycles. Lylirra made some comments about this issue in this thread, and this one. I'll quote a few of her comments below.
Our plan is to continue using staggered development, which means the PC version and the console version will have their own separate development teams and cycles.
Beyond that, we actually have an independent team of designers, engineers, artists, and producers that are dedicated to adapting Diablo III to the PlayStation and creating an epic console experience. It's their job to take the PC game and translate it to the PS3, and in a way deal with all the considerations you're talking about. While our console team and PC team do collaborate (and have collaborated in the past), it's always to ensure that we’re staying true to D3 on the PlayStation platform.
Curse Weekly Roundup
In last week's Curse Weekly Roundup James talks about the new LOTRO DLC, Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, Battlefield 4's release date, Nintendo on E3 and much more!
That's an interesting idea. It is unfortunate when you see a legendary crossbow, pick it up, and realize its a Hellrack. I've got an alternate idea, what if we make all the legendary items good so that you can Actually get excited even if you know it's a Hellrack? ;)
On Gear Customization and Stats
Grimiku gave a reminder that Blizzard are working not only on itemization, but also visual enhancements for gear.
We’ve seen a number of post letting us know that there are a lot of players who want to be able to customize how a piece of armor appears, and the good news is that we agree. Being able to distinguish yourself from other players can be compelling, and it goes a long way to enrich Diablo III's experience. We don't have an estimate on when this feature will make it into the game, but it's something we're working on. Travis Day is one of the game designers on Diablo III, and this is what he had to say on the subject.
I agree, visual customization has a lot of value, people like to differentiate themselves from each other or sometimes just get bored of looking at the same thing all day every day. In fact we agree SO much that we have plans to add this feature in the future.
Back in March we posted a developer journal focused on itemization, and Travis made a brief reference to customizing the appearance of armor then, too. Here is a link to the entire blog, but the section I quoted below is towards the bottom of the Gold Sinks Should be Exciting section.
"Other avenues we want to explore include providing players with vanity options or potential ways to differentiate themselves from their friends or other characters (i.e. character customization options in terms of gear)."
We’re also exploring ways to customize gear that isn’t just aesthetic, like giving players the ability to augment stats and sockets:
Don: Giving players more control and customization of their item stats is something we talk about a lot in our office. There have been a lot of ideas thrown around here and some great suggestions from the community, but we have not finalized any systems yet.
To give you an idea of what direction we're heading toward, though, here are just a few ideas that we're considering right now:
The ability to change a portion of a particular stat on an item to another stat of your choice
The ability to augment an existing item with a stat bonus of your choice
The ability to create an item with one or several fixed affixes—similar to the Rare recipes introduced in 1.0.7
We've also discussed adding other types of "socketables" with a wide variety of possible affixes that you can put in your socketed items instead of gems
All of these systems have their positives and negatives, so we want to make sure we make the right choice and consider all other changes we plan on making before deciding which systems we want to implement.
As far as the Mystic goes, she's a cunning lady. I’m sure we haven't seen the last of her.
Wyatt: When the game was in development, the Blacksmith had the ability to add a socket to an item. Adding a socket makes the item better, so you pretty much always wanted to do it, and we found adding the socket felt like a small chore that didn’t actually increase the gameplay depth. You already need to insert gems to a socketed item, and felt having to add a socket as well would be a step too many.
With that in mind, there are still some gameplay benefits to adding a socket that we’d still like to capture. Although having to add a socket every time can feel like a chore, if there was a mechanic that made it a legitimate decision, that is something we could explore. Additionally, there’s something to be said for feeling more invested in an item—taking steps to improve an item increases your emotional bond with it, which is something we could definitely do better at.
So, to answer your question, it’s something that’s definitely on the table for the future, but it likely won’t be identical to the system that was in Diablo II or the early iterations of Diablo III.
Wearable at level 1, the Infernal Helm confers a +EXP bonus to help you whip your new PlayStation® characters into tip-top shape. Plus, it looks sweet as hell (pun intended) on all five mortal heroes of Sanctuary—Witch Doctor, Barbarian, Demon Hunter, Wizard, and Monk. Keep in mind that the redeemable key for the Infernal Helm, which you will find in your preordered copy of Diablo III on launch day, will apply to all of your PS3™ characters, but will not transfer to any PC characters.
We'll be announcing a launch date for Diablo III on the PS3™ as it gets closer. In the meantime, get your preorder lined up, and begin preparing your living room for the imminent arrival of your three closest demon-slaying friends.
PS3 Preorder Item Infernal Helm in Gamestop
A poster was spotted today in Gamestop from our forum member Finaj, that includes two bonuses for preordering Diablo 3 for the PS3. The first item is a two-sided poster and the second - a unique item called Infernal Helm that gives bonus experience! There may be more information about the helm, but the ** is not shown in the picture.
ChromeOnRust's RPM Barb Build Update: Some people have pointed out the mannercookie has very close to the exact same build showcased about 3 weeks ago. Here's a link to his topic.
ChromeOnRust has an answer to the inevitable Wrath of the Berserker nerf! He has made a good combination of high damage and mobility that is not entirely new, but is a refreshing new way to play your Barbarian and prepare for the change to WotB! He has created a topic on our forums to discuss the build with our other members, so don't hesitate to drop him some feedback!
Second Batch of BlizzCon Tickets Sold Out
The second batch of BlizzCon tickets has been sold out! All that's left now is the charity dinner.
The second batch of tickets for BlizzCon 2013 is now sold out. If you weren't able to get tickets in the first or second batches, tickets to an exclusive pre-BlizzCon dinner to benefit Children's Hospital of Orange County will be going on sale this Wednesday, May 1 at 7 p.m. PDT (BlizzCon admission included). Coverage of BlizzCon will also be available through the BlizzCon Virtual Ticket—stay tuned for more details.
Keep an eye on the BlizzCon website for updates on panels, exhibits, events, Virtual Ticket info, and more.
Fan Creation of the Week: The Art of Robert Maldonado
Whether you are a hero of Sanctuary, a Blacksmith in New Tristram, or an artist intent on illustrating the demonic invasion from the Burning Hells, you need to come prepared with the proper passion, tools, and vision to get the job done. But great art doesn’t make itself, and a lot of work goes into crafting a truly epic experience.
This week’s community spotlight showcases artist Robert Maldonado and his dramatic Blizzard fan art.
Robert’s artwork includes everything from concept work and 3d models to fantasy paintings and fan art inspired by Diablo, World of Warcraft, and Starcraft. We caught up with him to find out more about he and his art.
Q. How long have you been making art?
I would like to start off by thanking you for this opportunity!
I've been painting digital concept art since the beginning of 2011. I taught myself how to use the Wacom tablet with Photoshop, which was challenging. I'm so used to looking at where my pencil meets the paper and all that.
I taught myself how to paint traditionally back in mid/ late 2007, and at the beginning of 2008 I held my own solo art showing at an art gallery here in So Cal. However, I feel that drawing since I was 7 years old is where it all started.
Q. You created some amazing Blizzard fan art! Which piece was the most challenging for you?
I would have to say the traditional painting of Imperius vs. Diablo I did with the time lapse video.
Traditional paintings are always going to be harder because there is no Ctrl – Z with acrylic on canvas, and you only have 1 layer. I was nervous going into that painting but as soon as I started I knew I was at home.
Check out the time lapse video of Robert's Imperius vs. Diablo painting!
Q. Which is your favorite piece?
I love all my paintings. It’s hard to choose 1 child out of the bunch, but if I had to choose I would say the Imperius vs. Diablo painting.
I choose that one because that is the 1 painting that I can physically pick up and hang on my wall (like I already have it, haha).
Q. We know that a lot of time and love goes into creating epic fan art, so what’s your favorite detail of one of your pieces?
Well I really liked the teeth silhouette over the yellow glow on the dark Diablo painting. The lighting that comes off of Diablo’s fire onto the bone-like surface was also fun to paint.
Q. How long does it take you to create your art?
For my digital work it will usually take me between 4-8 hours a painting.
While teaching myself how to paint in Photoshop, I learned a lot of professional concept artists are usually on a deadline. So I try to give myself a deadline to work on my speed, but you can’t rush art.
My traditional paintings will take me longer, but since it’s acrylic and dries fast, it will take me anywhere from 10- 15 hours to complete.
Q. What is your artistic process for a piece?
I will go based off of digital.
Learning a lot from the pros, I see them either starting off using a grayscale beginning or switching to a desaturated view of their painting to make sure their value and lighting are spot on.
So I find it easier for me to start off in a greyscale mode and just slowly apply color to the painting as I progress. I focus mainly on the composition, lighting, perspective and make sure I get all the fundamentals down before I start on the easy part which is details.
I would say the first 30 minutes of a painting is the hardest part of the whole process, which requires the most amount of thinking than any other part of the piece.
Q. What materials or programs do you use?
I use a Wacom Intuos 4 medium tablet on Photoshop CS5. My main digital brush is the default chalk brush at a 40% roundness. I usually have my opacity at 75% and just adjust my flow accordingly. I tend to keep the majority of the painting done with the simple default brush because that’s how I learned traditional painting.
Q. Do you have any other Diablo-themed pieces in the works?
I currently do not have any in the works from the Diablo franchise. Since Blizzard just announced the Hearthstone title, I’ve started on a fan art painting for it that has been really fun.
In the future I would love to paint an epic battle with the Barbarian just tearing it up.
Q. We’ve got to ask: what is your favorite Diablo III hero class?
I'm a HUGE fan of pets so it’s not surprising that I went with the Witch Doctor. Slaying demons with my Zombie Dogs and my super awesome Gargantuan is just too much fun.
Q. What artists inspire you?
I have a library of artists that I turn to for artistic inspirational fuel.
There are also a ton of other artists I turn to for inspiration. I also love it when I find a new artist that’s just making awesome art that I’ve never heard of.
Q. What tips and advice do you have for aspiring artists out there, particularly those that are just getting started?
You need to know that art is what you want to do in life. I strayed away from art and went to school for welding and even got my welding license by the City of LA. I regret doing that because I knew art is what I was meant to do in life.
You must forget about the money and fame great art can bring and focus on the craft. Try to never stop learning because if you do, that will just take away a majority of what art is about. Never get discouraged from other artists who you feel are better than you. Instead, study their work and turn their work into a source of inspiration to someday be as good as them.
You will also need to grow a thick skin in taking criticism on your art. Even if someone who isn't an artist gives me harsh feedback, I always try and see it from their point of view. Put your ego aside and learn on what you need to improve no matter where the feedback is coming from.
Give yourself a path and a goal for your art. Like for mine, being an artist in the game industry is a dream job for me and my lifelong goal. In life you must work with your passion because if you love your job, you’ll never work a day in your life.
Of course you must practice, have self-discipline, be patient and NEVER give up.
Q. That's some great advice! Any closing thoughts?
Thank you for having me featured!