Blizzard has just released their eighth batch of screenshots (see here if you missed the seventh) for hitting the 725k 'Like' mark. Once again, we've got the high resolution versions at our disposal here on DiabloFans.
Click the images to bask in the glory of the high resolution versions that you likely won't see anywhere else!
The first image is a concept drawing of what looks to be the Witch Doctor's Horrify skill.
25,000 more likes to go until the 750k mark where we can get some more images, and 11 more milestones until we hit the 1 million 'Like' goal. Go visit facebook.com/Diablo and 'Like' the page to speed the war effort!
As with any product, video games take time and money to develop. Sometimes developers have grand ideas on how to make their game shine. Unfortunately, due to financial and time constraints, not all of their dreams can come to fruition. Diablo II is no exception. There were probably dozens of ideas that just never made it off of the drawing board for one reason or another. However, while many of these things may have been cut from the original release, expansions packs offer developers a chance to bring some of these ideas back and even possibly add a few new ideas. With Lord of Destruction (LoD), a fifth Act was added that offered a variety of many new mechanics and design to the game. Many of these ideas helped bring depth and more variety to Diablo.
The aim of this article is to not only highlight some of these changes, but most importantly, make notice of these features' influence on Diablo III. Many of the changes added to Act V of Diablo II can be seen in Diablo III. Having more time and money for this project, they were able to apply many of these changes to the whole game and even develop the ideas even further in many cases.
Starting off, there was some graphical advancement in Diablo II. In Act V, our heroes are taken to Harrogath where they will venture up Mt. Arreat to defeat Baal. In order to give this environment a look of grandeur and height, backgrounds were greatly improved upon. While standing on the mountain side, you could see villages and other peaks below you (pictured below on the left). This small but important detail helped add depth to the environment compared to the closed of dungeons and walls surrounding the previous areas.
(Click any image to enlarge)
With Diablo III, they have taken this idea and expanded upon it. Dungeon areas have been shown with multiple layers of depth to them. In the backgrounds players can see other floors, doorways, and other miscellaneous objects to help bring life to these concealed areas. Taking the idea even further, in Diablo III monsters will even interact with these backgrounds. Emerging from the depths of the dungeon, we have seen http://diablowiki.com/Ghouls" class="wiki-link">http://media-diablofans.cursecdn.com/attachments/16/736/wiki2.gif" alt="DiabloWiki.com - Ghouls"/> Ghouls crawling up these walls to attack our brave fighters (pictured above on the right). Even the foreground has become fair game for monsters to reside and attack you at their will. It is clear to see just how much depth is actually added by using this concept from Diablo II and taking it even further.
Another subtle feature that was added in LoD was the addition of breakable environments. Diablo II always had the numerous amounts of barrels and urns to break open but none of these were really part of the actual level. They were added into them to give players just one more chance to get some loot. However, in Act V, there were walls, doors, catapults, and towers added that could be destroyed. Not really monsters or random barrels, these objects included an element that helped add a perception of power to your character as you were actually able to break your surroundings with your skills. Sometimes it was even necessary, as a breakable wall would separate you from the other side of your destination.
With Diablo III, a multitude of breakable environments have been added. As seen in the first game play demo, almost every piece of furniture and decor is destructible, reflecting the pure power of your hero. There are also doors that cannot simply be clicked to open. Like the walls that closed off your hero from Diablo II, these doors can only be opened by smashing them into tiny pieces. In addition to destroying this environment, players can now take advantage of their surroundings. Crumbling walls, dangling chandeliers, swing axes, and numerous environmental additions have been made to smack down the monsters you battle against. A simple swing of an axe or blast of arcane power will send the environment crumbling around you and damaging all those in its path.
The next idea that was added to Diablo II through LoD was monsters with multiple stages. Some came in the form of http://diablowiki.com/Demon Imps" class="wiki-link">http://media-diablofans.cursecdn.com/attachments/16/736/wiki2.gif" alt="DiabloWiki.com - Demon Imps"/> Demon Imps jumping up and using either towers or http://diablowiki.com/Siege Beasts" class="wiki-link">http://media-diablofans.cursecdn.com/attachments/16/736/wiki2.gif" alt="DiabloWiki.com - Siege Beasts"/> Siege Beasts to do additional damage. After destroying their leverage, the player would still have to fight the imp itself. There were also the http://diablowiki.com/Putrid Defilers" class="wiki-link">http://media-diablofans.cursecdn.com/attachments/16/736/wiki2.gif" alt="DiabloWiki.com - Putrid Defilers"/> Putrid Defilers that would release parasitic worms into other monsters, adding another stage of fighting before these monsters would fall to the ground. These ideas helped to add more challenges to the fight and more depth to the monsters.
We have seen this influence in Diablo III as well. The first example was seen in the original game play trailer. http://diablowiki.com/Zombies" class="wiki-link">http://media-diablofans.cursecdn.com/attachments/16/736/wiki2.gif" alt="DiabloWiki.com - Zombies"/> Zombies had a chance to have their legs ripped from their torso. However, this is not always enough to kill. Some of them will continue to crawl their way towards you, relentlessly attacking you with the body parts they still have remaining. The Thousand Pounder was also shown with two stages. After taking so much damage, the brute would begin to glow and change his fighting technique. It has also been stated that many bosses would follow this mechanic and have multiple stages, each would bring a change to the battle. With the Hack N' Slash mentality of this game, adding some unique twists to the monsters will help add variety to these numerous foes.
Another influence that made its way into the expansion was the ideas of followers. With the original Diablo II, the only additional aid we would receive from the townsfolk, excluding hirelings, would be Flavie, who remained stationary and fired at monsters that strayed too near. The rest of the monster slaying was left up to you while the citizens sat calmly in their cozy towns. With the addition of LoD this would all change. At the beginning of the Act, brave Barbarian citizens of Mt. Arreat would join you in your battle. Covering the battlefield, players would watch as the brutish forces would take down many demons on their own.
Diablo III has adopted this idea of others aiding in the fight against Hell. While venturing into random dungeons, your hero may happen upon other brave fighters. After interacting with these people, they will follow you to their death in your fight. An example of this can be seen, once again, in the first game play video where the archers protecting Cain follow you through the dungeon until they met their ultimate demise. More of the followers have been promised to aid you like the weapon smith we saw in the Demon hunter video. While we do not know if hirelings will make a return, we do know that you will not be fighting the Denizens of Hell by yourself.
The last idea that was added to Diablo II was in the form of a quest. The Rite of Passage was a very unique quest that came towards the end of LoD. What made this quest so unique was that it was the first and only fight in the game where the player could not use Town Portals (TP) to escape death and refill their potions and come back to finish the battle. If a player used a TP to leave the area, the three Ancients would be reset and regain full life. This added, perhaps, the only change to the fighting design of Diablo II. With any other challenge, the player could quickly and easily leave the fight to regain their vigor. This quest made the fight a true fight to the finish without any chance of escape.
Diablo III has not only taken this idea for a few fights but has adopted the mechanic for the entire game. Town Portals have been officially removed from the game. Realizing the added challenge and immersion this previous quest offered, the developers deiced to add this challenge to every fight. Adding more mechanics to allow for this, players will only be stopping at town at the occasional waypoint. Boss fights will become more challenging and require some skill and technique to best these monsters while preserving your own life.
With LoD, many new ideas emerged to help make the game more fun. Taking simple ideas and using them to add depth, the last Act of Diablo introduced many unique experiences to the game play. Diablo III has taken these ideas and expanded upon them to add the same level of depth and increase the fun while playing the game. What other features that we glimpsed in LoD will we see in Diablo III?
Hey guys, here's the second episode of our DiabloCast. This time around I chose not to make popcorn during the show (haha), so the sound quality is much better. If you missed the first episode, you can check it out here. Otherwise, the second episode covered the following topics:
You have all heard the saying "get out the vote". This is something that is usually heard during the time of a Presidential election or when we need to vote in or out Congress members, Governors, House of Representatives or whatever. But voting on something in regards to the frequency of a ladder reset for a game that is now 10+ years old? Absurd! Or at least I thought so. But the people at Blizzard didn't think it to be as absurd.
Recently we saw the new 1.13 patch come out for D2 LoD and then shortly after, six months to be exact, the ladder was reset. The mad rush was on to be the first to reach level 99 no matter what class of character it was.
It is now nearing the 6 month mark for a ladder reset and I've seen people rushing to get their end game gear, trading and rushing and talking about the next reset and the first characters they will be making. But Blizzard held a voting poll and asked players how often they would like to see the ladder reset be it 6 months or a year. Here is the results:
Official Blizzard Quote:
1 year won by a wide margin for length of time between resets. That’s what we’re planning to do unless everyone wants to change their mind. I’m willing to hold another poll, or, alternatively just say we cut it down the middle and do a reset every 9 months.
To be honest, for someone such as myself who runs a gaming clan this is actually depressing. Having a reset once a year will, hopefully, keep members active on both B.net and on their private forums for their guild. But when it does get close to the reset members activity seems to decrease and you barely see them until the rumor of another reset.
All guilds go through this time of huge activity and a major influx of members joining right before or shortly after a ladder reset. Then the numbers drop when they think the reset may be a far ways off. My guild, Brotherhood of Destruction, isn't exempt from this roller coaster effect of member activity. Especially when rumors of a 1 year reset was going around.
After the last ladder reset we saw a huge flooding of new members, and before we knew it our numbers on all three realms were increasing. But when the thought of a 6 month ladder reset was talked about some literally were upset, some went inactive, but a lot have stuck around. The up and down of new members and full members activity will always be a roller coaster. It is a trend that can be seen and read like the stock market. But no matter what, whether the influx of new members is slow or booming, Clans/Guilds will always be there. I know the Brotherhood will be.
And we'll see it again soon. This was recently released by Bashiok:
Official Blizzard Quote:
While our original poll for reset length showed a little less than 150 people wanted a reset every year, our most recent follow up poll had over 1,000 votes for 6 months: http://forums.battle...569877&sid=3000
We've heard you, so this is a one week warning that the Diablo II ladder will reset next Monday, March 28. We generally prefer to provide a two week warning for the case of resets, but to hit the exact 6 month mark we feel one week is sufficient this time.
We anticipate all Diablo II realms to be down for approximately six hours during the reset. More specific information on realm availability on the day of the reset will be posted in the Battle.net Status forum. When the ladder is reset 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. For more information on ladder characters please visit the Arreat Summit Realm Character Types page at http://classic.battl...ctertypes.shtml
Quite honestly, if they had cut it down the middle and reset the ladder every 9 months it would have been their best choice and most beneficial to Guilds/Clans. 6 months is to soon and a year is to long. But if more people still want the reset to be every 6 months, I think that would work and people will still join them and maybe even at a faster pace. Keep it at a year and the member base for guilds will decrease yet pick back up shortly before the reset; the roller coaster effect. In my experience, members who join a Guild/Clan and have enjoyed the gaming experience with other members have stuck around no matter how frequently or infrequently the ladder is reset.
If you are looking for a guild to join, WE are always actively recruiting.
Escapist Magazine is holding their annual Developer Showdown that they have every March. Last year, Blizzard lost out to Bioware in round four. This year, Blizzard is holding strong in the third round against Irrational Games. If Blizzard can conquer this bracket, then they will face either Square Enix or Naguhty Dog for the North Division Champions. From there, Blizzard will attempt to take the position of top developer of 2011. While the road so far has not been to challenging for a company as great as Blizzard, the competition continues to grow as they progress through the brackets. Possibly going up against Bioware again, every vote counts and Blizzard can use every vote they can get.
To vote for Blizzard as the top developer, head over to Escapist Magazine and let your voice be heard. After all, we are all DiabloFans here so we must all love Blizzard.
A special thanks to airandius for helping spread the word and campaigning for Blizzard's ultimate domination.