As usual, along the week we have been graced with little teaser-length tweets that have told us little insignificant glimpses of the development of Diablo III. Nothing to really warrant for their own news posts, though. This is a collection of such interesting glimpses with the necessary background provided to fit the tweets into the correct context. I purposefully omitted those containing little to none new information, but you can see them in our tracker.
The first tweets were posted already last week, where they continued to tell us details of the shared stash they told they had now implemented into the game:
@Diablo Even with a huge stash, wont we eventually fill it up across large amounts of characters? r the shared & normal stashs the same size
Diablo: @Jackzor24 I would never presume to underestimate someone's desire to amass large amounts of junk. Mules will happen. But not as much.[/BLIZZ]
This should delight all the pack rats out there. I personally don't really think that a stash could be too big. I also like that there will be in fact two stashes, a personal and a shared one.
In a reply to an another of our staff members, Ophion, Blizzard confirmed us that right now gems are the only items able to be inserted into sockets:
@Diablo Will we be able to socket our items with something other than gems? Jewels perhaps?
Diablo: @emilemil1 There's a potential for it, but as it stands now sockets have one item type that can be placed into them - gems.[/BLIZZ]
This follows in the footsteps of the earlier installment. In the original game gems were the only socketable just alike. This array of choices was expanded in the expansion pack, which introduced Jewels and Runes. You can see a DIII gem on the right, click for a bigger picture.
While it seems that runes won't be returning in the form they were back in Diablo II because runes are placed into skills now, Jewels might return, but probably in an expansion pack at earliest. There always exists other kinds of possible socketable systems Blizzard might implement, and only future alone knows. Right now I'm satisfied with a balanced Gem system, where collecting the highest gem levels is going to take some time.
Last week they told us about the Sentry, a new Demon Hunter skill, but remained mysterious about its workings. The name alone brought us memories of the Assassin and her various traps, called sentries just alike. This made many fans ponder whether this new DH skill shared some similarities with those traps. @Diablo shot those lines of thought down:
@Diablo So the Sentry was given to the Demon Hunter. Is this identical to the Assassin's sentry? I'm dying to know how runes change it.
Diablo: @NocturneGS The assassin sentries were more like stationary magic dispensers. The demon hunter sentry is more like something a spy would sap[/BLIZZ]
That was about all we could deduct from this tweet. It once again raised abundance of new questions. What is something a spy would sap? Perhaps this contraption isn't magical? Sapping brought debuffs instantly into my mind, while others thought of the Engineer's Sentry Gun in Team Fortress II. But on the other hand, the tweet lets us understand that this gadget might be a mobile... Valkyrie" class="wiki-link">Valkyrie"/> Valkyrie-equivalent?
We probably won't know before Blizzard tells us more.
Finally, @Diablo told us that Shrines" class="wiki-link">Shrines"/> Shrines are going to receive a new cohesive look:
[BLIZZ="http://www.diablofans.com/topic/23401-diablo-shrines-are-receiving-new-visuals-to-give-them-a-more-cohesive-look/"]Diablo: Shrines are receiving new visuals to give them a more cohesive look.[/BLIZZ]
this video, featuring a shrine. It's unclear whether they refer to the same shrine looking cohesive in different acts, shrines looking cohesive within the environment they are in or different shrines looking cohesive - or perhaps all of these. Can't wait to see the new shrines.
However, they have touched the shrine functionality a couple of times so it might be in place to recap the little we know, for example during BlizzCon 2008 press conference Jay Wilson had this to say:
[BLIZZ="http://diablo.incgamers.com/blog/comments/blizzcon-press-conference-with-jay-wilson/"]Question: Will there be shrines in Diablo 3?
Jay Wilson: We have not decided about it. We have ideas for shrines. The things is that only two shrines were actually interesting to the player: Experience Shrines and Monster Shrines. Other shrines where like “nah”. We want to bring some system in with this functionality. This is where the combo exp bonus comes from. It’s not replacing shrines, but it’s playing in to it.[/BLIZZ]
Side note: the combo exp bonus Jay is referring to means the system where you gain additional experience if you kill a large number of monsters in rapid succession.
The latest news we've got regarding shrines was featured in the BlizzCast 8:
[BLIZZ="http://us.blizzard.com/en-us/community/blizzcast/archive/episode8.html"]Bornakk: We have a couple Q&A questions for you today. The first one is from Daleks on USEast. Will shrines be making a return to the world of Sanctuary in Diablo 3?
Jay Wilson: Well there are some aspects of shrines that we liked, experience shrines I think are probably the prime example everyone uses. They're fun because they drive the player forward. Monster shrines are sometimes fun because they bring out a rare that you didn’t know or weren’t expecting that could come from any direction and that’s cool. But for the most part, the pure mechanic of shrines, a random powerup that just appears in the world for no reason, we don’t really want to litteraly bring that back. What we are going to try to do is integrate a lot of the best things of shrines into our quest and event systems so that when you encounter a random quest or random event that has a story context within the game it either rewards you like a shrine would reward you or something that is actually built into the gameplay of the quest. So while technically no shrines are not coming back verbatim, we are trying to bring back kind of the best things of them in a different form.
Bornakk: So you'll still have the randomness and spontanenity of it.
Jay Wilson: Exactly, and really they are kind of there to change up the gameplay and add a little factor of randomness, but we felt that very few of the shrines actually did that – accomplish that goal...
Bornakk: Stamina shrine?
Jay Wilson: Yeah, stamina shrine lets you run a long time. Skill shrine made you a little bit more powerful. We feel like we can take the best and put them within actual events that are a lot more fun and have a lot more gameplay to them.[/BLIZZ]
They have also told us, for example, that there will be a MF shrine. That sounds like a perfect one to fit their design philosophy. Nothing to get you in a flurry to kill as many monsters as possible like a temporary buff increasing your drop chances. I still like the sound of that.
Alright everyone, it's Tim Allen time again... Anyone still interested in Diablo I? I know I sure am. I like to boot up my game every so often to get that feeling of nostalgia back. This is what started everything, oh so many years ago... Today DiabloFans would like to take another leap into the past and introduce to you the Diablo I SpellBook Calculator.
Superceb and the rest of the DFans team have been hard at work with fine tuning this awesome new and unique (I've never seen one of these before :P) tool at our disposal. This tool, like the Diablo II Skill Calculator, boasts interactive skill point allotment and real-time statistics with your current build. The current version is fully up-to-date with the latest HellFire patch, so everything you might need to know in regards to spells for the classic game is there.
If anyone wants to share that feeling of nostalgia, I'd highly recommend cracking open our SpellBook Calculator, wiping the dust off that D1 disk, and start playing...
In addition, please be sure to report any feedback, including bug reports and suggestions, to the board counterpart, the Diablo Tools Discussion forum.
EDIT: If everything looks all funky and the menu's are messing up, hit CTRL+F5 to refresh and everything should look fine.
Chat Channels have finally been added into StarCraft 2 in the 1.2.0 patch, which means that it has been added into Battle.net 2.0 as well. Diablo III will also use Battle.net 2.0, so this feature will make its way there in some form. The chat channels have always played an important part in all of Blizzard's games as the primary way to communicate with people when you are in the Battle.net lobby. A lot has been changed about the channel interface since it was first introduced in the original Diablo" class="wiki-link">Diablo"/> Diablo, both in appearance and function.
Diablo was the first game to utilize Battle.net and the included chat channels. The layout was very simple: the chat is to the left and the player list is to the right. You also had access to simple commands for friend management and whispering. One notable feature is the ability to create clan channels where a player called the Operator had complete control over the other players in the channel.
The importance of the channels continued to grow as more Blizzard titles were released with the same basic layout. Both StarCraft and Warcraft II were almost identical in their design (seen here and here). However, change was coming.
Blizzard ended up redesigning the appearance of the Battle.net interface for Diablo II , but kept the basic functionality. Both graphics and layout received a huge update, including animated versions of the in-game characters or a predefined avatar, but the interface was still just as easy to understand as before. The first major update in functionality came with Blizzard's next release.
Warcraft III continued in the footsteps of the first three Battle.net games. The graphics are much better, but the only major layout change is that the controls are moved to the top instead of the left side. The features are still very much the same as in the previous games, but the clan channels were redesigned. The Chieftain (clan leader) was given additional moderation control and the ability to promote/demote players to give them access to more or less of the Chieftain commands. The clan channels of the previous games were renamed to User Operated (Op) channels to distinguish the old system from the new.
This was the end of the Chat Channels for quite a long time. Nothing happened in the world of Sanctuary. Azeroth turned massive with the arrival of World of Warcraft. There was only one game left to continue the chat channel tradition.
StarCraft 2 arrived and brought the first groundbreaking changes to the previously so simple channels. First is the seamless integration with Battle.net. It is now a tab at the bottom off the screen, it supports multiple channels at once, and it can be viewed regardless of what you are doing. The chat/participant layout remains unchanged from the old days of Diablo, but everything is considerably more compact thanks to the higher resolution.
The friends list is also given a separate module. Now there is a better interface and controls that are accessible from anywhere on Battle.net. You don't have to go back to the chat channel screen to see what your friends are doing, just simply open the utility to check their status or invite them. There are also some handy upgrades such as private chats.
On the more humorous side we have the addition of the secret "The Cow Level" channel by Blizzard, where every message you send is appended with a "...moo!" For any further questions on the current SC2 rendition of the Chat Channels, you can check Sixen's FAQ.
Now, the question we all want answered is what direction Diablo III will choose. Will it for example use a tabbed channel like in StarCraft 2? At first it might sound all good, but then you have to take the animated characters into consideration. How are animated characters, if they will make a return, supposed to fit into the little StarCraft 2 channel window? Perhaps D3 will follow more in the footsteps of Diablo II instead, with the chat covering the left side of the screen all the time.
I can't speak for everyone, but I want my character to be visible both in-game and in the chat channels, or in other words I do want my high quality animated character. I also want to be able to see other people and be able to quickly check out their characters as well. A big difference between Diablo and Warcraft/StarCraft is that your character is your identity, not your account name, which is why I think we may very well see some major differences from the StarCraft 2 layout.
This week we bring you a lot of additions to the wiki, so... I was almost going to say buckle-up there, but I seriously doubt it's going to be that exciting
Rejoice, for the Diablo II section of the wiki is almost done! I've now completed all areas (with some additional images" class="wiki-link">additional images"/> additional images uploaded as well, check that out). All we're missing are a few Super Unique monster pages, but other than that we now have all data: classes, skills, items, monsters, areas, quests, npcs. In short, everything Arreat Summit offers and more! Of course, there's still loads to be done. Guides have to be written, affix lists have to be created for item pages, game mechanis have to be more thouroughly explained. But the core is done.
Believe it or not, but some other people have in fact also been active these past two weeks in the wiki other than me! Don Guillotine has added some new trait information for all classes" class="wiki-link">classes"/> classes and Apoc has been filling out super unique pages faster than ever.
Surprisingly, we also have not only one, but three new contributors this last week. lMarcusl started it all off when he wrote his Elementalist Druid, who focuses on several elemental skills. Though very basic to begin with, he quickly grasped the basic wiki-structure and transformed it into a proper guide. And it is meant for singleplay, meaning it is capable of soloing Hell without any outside help. Useful for those of you who prefer singleplayer or playing on your own without depending on strong items.
On the other end of the spectrum, we have gaby de wilde" class="wiki-link">gaby de wilde"/> gaby de wilde, who shortly after Marcus created a guide of his own, the Amplify Damage Necro, an interesting build that focuses on high level Amplify Damage and Corpse Explosion in order to quickly devastate enemy monsters. This build however sacrifices all surviveability for damage and cheapness (in that it is not expensive). I don't know how well it works, but it is there, so feel free to try it.
Now I said three, and the last of our weekly contributors is Ombra" class="wiki-link">Ombra"/> Ombra who started expanding on some of our lore articles. Most of these articles do not have citations yet, but the general picture in them is definitely correct. Some of the finer details may be up for debate, but we'll sort that out eventually. So for a rundown on some of the characters in the Sin War, check out the Inarius, Oris, Gamuel, Edyrem and Lucion articles.
No spotlight this time. Partly because I'm lazy, and partly because we had such good contributions these past weeks.
Now it's time for Diablo I and whatever else people want to work with, but since I can't read minds I'll just put down what I know we'll be working on. Which is D1: classes, skills, levels etc.
To finish off a sweet week filled with juicy Diablo tidbits and to ease our wait for the next one, where we might expect perhaps the biggest announcement since BlizzCon, Blizzard informed us that they had a guest come by. And that guest was no other than currently one of the world's hottest acoustic guitar players, and the YouTube sensation, Andy McKee.
Here's his biggest YouTube hit, in case you haven't seen it:
His name and face was all over the Blizzard channels, this one is from Twitter:
Official Blizzard Quote:
Diablo: We'd like to thank Andy McKee for stopping by Blizzard campus and sharing a good time with us! @TheRealMcKee http://on.fb.me/hwHiZ7
These three from Blizzard's various Facebook accounts:
Official Blizzard Quote:
Blizzard It was our pleasure to host guitar virtuoso Andy McKee on the Blizzard campus this week! It's always gratifying to inspire those who have inspired us in the fields of art and entertainment.
Official Blizzard Quote:
Diablo To give Andy McKee a break from plucking, slapping, and strumming his guitar with the best of them, we figured we'd invite him to Blizzard campus for a little Diablo III play session. Thanks for stopping by, Andy! (He chose the monk for those wondering.)
Official Blizzard Quote:
Warcraft We'd like to thank guitarist extraordinaire Andy McKee for taking the time to stop by the Blizzard offices this week! While he may very well know his way around the axe, it's good to see him lift a sword once in a while.
So, to all of you Diablo fans, let me assure you that D3 kicks ass! I played the Monk character and he was killer. They dropped me in at around level 9 and I had some cool skills and was able to level up twice. The skill set looked cool and offered a good chance for customization. Plus, there are dyes in D3 allowing for further customization. The gameplay was there and I was hooked! Can't wait for the release!!!
And a similar on Twitter:
@TheRealMcKee Andy McKee
So, to all of you Diablo fans, let me assure you that D3 kicks ass! I played the Monk character and he was killer....
Accompanied with a number of images, one of them showed him doing what most of you would probably want to be doing as well: playing Diablo III. He seems to be enjoying it. Based on what he told us, he was probably playing the same demo that was present in BlizzCon 2010.
We don't know it, but all these updates about his visit combined with the fact that he seems quite the gamer and Blizzard openly admits that McKee has been inspirational to them makes me wonder about the possibility that he might record a track or two for the game. Remember however that this is purely speculation. We probably won't know for sure before we see the DIII credits rolling whether he's included in them or not.
While this post was probably less sensational news than others this week, it was still nice to hear yet another testimony from someone who has actually played the game.