Partially-hatched plans for a better weapon system balance greeted our Blizz Tracker late yesterday as Bashiok chimed in on possible solutions to the ill-conceived balance in Diablo II's differentiation between two-handed weapons and one-handed weapons. Though scant on the details, perhaps both Blizzard's tentative plans and fan feedback will combine for a better balance the first time around with Diablo III.
The initial thought, aimed at the loss of block when wielding two-handed weapons, evolved in to something slightly different as Bashiok responded. He addressed the failing of Diablo II's take on larger weapons and states hopes that Diablo III will remedy this shortcoming in some way, offering a few ideas from the team:
Official Blizzard Quote:
Funny enough right now two-handers on the barbarian are much stronger than dual-wielding because most of his skills are based on weapon damage and the game doesn't add up the damage on both weapons while dual-wielding (yet). So actually we're trying to make dual-wielding better right now, but, that of course means two-handers will probably then fall by the wayside and we're back in Diablo II's shoes.
Off the top of Wyatt's head there's a few ways it could be addressed. [highlight]One potential way would be to have passive skills that allow someone to specialize in two-handers or dual wielding, and we can stat and tweak those however we need to make them effective. We could also make special affixes that can only be rolled up by two-handers that overcome the innate issue of it only being one item.[/highlight]
Special weapon affixes? What could that mean? Thankfully, he did not, as Blizzard often does, fully leave us grasping at straws:
Official Blizzard Quote:
[...]the affix idea was more along the lines of having something like the highest strength affix a two-hander could roll would be 100 points, and the highest a one-hander could roll would be 50. So everything would even out. Of course that doesn't offset things like block, but it's just sort of a half-hatched solution anyway.
However the balance is achieved, Blizzard is working hard at finding suitable means to achieve such an end, as they "intend for two handers to be as viable as any other weapon choice and [will] do what [they] need to to make sure that happens" (source).
See the full track on our Blizz Trackerhere and drop some ideas if you can spare them.
Yet again, after an enormous delay in any manner of update, Diablo II's patch 1.13 may soon be seeing some real news, perhaps even as soon as this week. Staff-begotten hopes, have fallen through the cracks before, however, as many unfortunate incidents have arisen through the patch's development history this year.
Back in September, Bashiok made the hopeful proclamation that we would be seeing a tangible update on the patch within a week's time. As the days, and weeks, rolled by, he eventually made another statement, which excluded the week-hopeful but unfortunately contained no new information (see Diablo II Patch 1.13- More Delays, Hopefully a Brighter Future).
As a long month has passed since any substantial updates, concerns shifted to the patch emerging as a myth in gaming history and essential vaporware. The clock has come full circle finally, however, and there is a slightly different demeanor that Bashiok bares in his latest response to patch news:
Official Blizzard Quote:
It has been a while since the last update, and I'm sorry about that, but we haven't had any new developments until recently. As much as some people want daily affirmations, they aren't helpful. We'll give updates when they matter, and [highlight]we have a meaningful one going up this week[/highlight].
As opposed to the nebulous hope he had stated more than a month ago, it seems that we may be nigh on the edge of real news, perhaps even a date, considering how long this patch has been in development. Take it as you will, this provides some semblance of hope in the growing disinterest in an elusive patch.
UPDATE November 18, 2009:
Official Blizzard Quote:
Update - 11/18
We've recently completed a revised version of the Diablo II 1.13 patch that removes the increased stash size. A larger stash will unfortunately no longer be a feature included in patch 1.13 due to the previously mentioned concerns. As higher priority work continues on Warcraft III we're hoping to complete our quality assurance tests for the 1.13 patch in the next few weeks. But as always, the types of issues that may appear and take higher priority are rarely foreseeable. We continue to plan a release based on our best intentions.
It's been a pretty rough month so far: news is dwindling, Bashiok is more tight-lipped than ever, and we're still waiting on the next patch for Diablo II. Yet, our forum still soldiers on, scraping every bit of discussion we can out of the tidbits of news we're given. Not everyone wishes to crawl through the forums to see everything that is going on, however.
So now, to serve as a torch for those people, and those who just want to see the best of the best, we have...
Community Spotlight, Chapter I!
Thats right, community spotlight. Where the chosen of the forums come to showcase their discussions, their contributions, and their forum-spirit.
Anyways, flashy introduction aside, let's get down to business.
It's been a relatively quiet month on the forums thus far, yet we've still had some amazing discussions flowing from our users.
First off is waelsj's Pirate idea. The thread began with little thought or proof (sorry waelsj), but users really began to discuss it in depth, and it seemed more and more at-home in the world of Sanctuary. Fifteen pages of discussion later, the thread was closed. Definitely an interesting read for anyone wanting to learn about what we could be getting for our fifth class.
Next on the list, is Entropy's Starcraft II find. It consisted of a screenshot, and sparked much debate over what it would be. Users decided that it was in fact, a Zerg unit. But what unit, is another question. At the moment, the general consensus is that it's either an Ultralisk, or a Queen. Check it out and share your thoughts, or if Starcraft isn't your thing, avoid it like the plague. Your choice.
Finally, we've got DarkMagicc's "New name instead of Noobs" thread. Discussion has flowed for seventeen pages so far about what word could replace the tried and true insult "Noob". To save you from searching out each one mentioned, I'll mention some of the best: Dewb, Bish, Derp, Durry, Flayers, Bhok and Kunk. If none of those suit your tastes, get in there and share your ideas, maybe your insult could replace Noob some day.
It seems creativity is slowing down 'round here, but we've still got some great submissions being posted, as well as some great Roleplays happening at the moment.
For art, we've got Holyknight3000's wallpapers. This month, he's made a wallpaper of the Stinging Sands, a location within the Borderlands (the area in Diablo III, not the game). Once more, he's worked his magic to create another outstanding wallpaper for users to put on their desktops, check it out if you're in need of a new one.
For fan fiction, there is a story posted up by Number1SuperGuy, called Adflict, Lord of Torment. It was posted long before November began, but seeing as this is our first community spotlight article, I thought I'd include it. For anyone wanting a quick and interesting read, give it a go.
This brings us to the Roleplaying forum, which, at the moment, is being dominated by The Dark Abyss, created by Junction3, and scyberdragon. It's a roleplay set in outer space, following the story of the Revenants, a group of bounty hunters trying to get rich quick. Thus far, they've gathered their group together, hunted down a gang leader, got caught in a swarm of zombies, murdered a giant T-Rex, and have drank their earnings away on a paradise planet. The RP is still running, and the creators may still have room for more users, so if you're in a creative mood, get in there. Or, if it doesn't float your boat, try your hand at running an RP yourself.
Oh, the wiki. A source of knowledge many of us have yet to contribute to. Nevertheless, the staff and a select few users have been filling it with quality articles covering almost every facet of the Diablo universe.
Recently, the staff behind it has finished writing out the skill pages for Diablo II within 5 weeks. When they began, they needed to reformat 210 pages of skills, 180 of which did not even exist. It was obviously a massive task, made even larger by the fact that it was finished mainly by five people. Of these five contributors, three were Wiki staff (zhuge, Lt. Venom, and Phrozendragon), the other two were normal users.
Blood-doll helped with the Assassin skill pages, and finished the majority of them, all the while keeping the quality of the pages intact. Sebastian helped with the Necromancer pages, and provided the basis for the Wiki staff to work with. A thanks to both of these users, pass them some rep if you can!
This month in particular, we've had two name changes. The first, was Elyk, now known as Azriel. Next came Turmobil, who is now known as Entropy. I briefly changed my name to Fuzojix, then changed back to Zhar (Sorry Sixen).
Thus ends our first community spotlight article, hopefully it was informative enough for you. If you have any suggestions, feel free to voice them, we still need to refine this to make it better for the users.
After all, the users is what this article is all about.
We've changed the structure of some of the forums here at DiabloFans.com! The idea is to make it easier to get to the information and forum you're looking for.
We've moved several topics that were previously spread out and in unpopular forums into the new Off-Topic Forum. We've also added prefixes to that forum which allow you to, when making a new thread, select a prefix (Art, Movies, TV, music, Blizzard, etc.). Using prefixes will also allow you to fine tune your searches.
We've also consolidated the Diablo 3 forum and made sub-forums for each of the new Diablo 3 Classes! We hope you enjoy these changes and find the site easier to navigate as we strive to bring you the best experience possible here at the #1 source for Diablo information on the web! If you have any suggestions, please let us know.
The twitter tracker strikes again, this time with an interesting snippet about the environments to come.
Official Blizzard Quote:
Diablo: Bubbling tar effect in early implementation state. Watch where you step.
Thus far, we've been shown deserts ( The Borderlands), dreary forests and hills ( New Tristram), an urban type area ( Caldeum), and various dungeons ( Tristram Cathedral). All of which have had a significant amount of concept art tied with them, along with screenshots for a select few.
But unless the streets of Caldeum are without any type of waste-management, where do tar pits fit into the mix?
The first environment that jumps to mind is of course, Hell. Now, we've mainly gotten bubbling lava for the other versions of it in both Diablo I & II, but I can easily imagine a tar pit, complete with unfortunate human souls trapped forever within its grasp, making a cameo in the Diablo III version of Hell.
Next up, is the Borderlands. This environment screams desolation through a megaphone. No doubt a pit of tar would go well with the tone set by the endless deserts, ruins, and dying vegetation. Also to take into consideration, is how these two elements have gone together in previous Blizzard games. Take Starcraft: Brood War, for example. The levels that took place on Korhal had their water replaced with tar, as well as the grass replaced with sand, ruins, and dying vegetation. It's a bit of a stretch, but connections can be made between the two.
Of course, there are many other possibilities aside from the two mentioned, but I'll leave the rest of the speculation up to you.