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    posted a message on Bashiok on "Encouraging People to Play Together"
    Bashiok recently posted quite a few responses to some questions that were raised by members on the Battle.net forums in regards to Blizzard encouraging people to play games together rather than going off on single-player missions.

    "The distance limitation you're speaking of in being considered an active participant already exists in the game.

    The item benefit of playing together is due partly to the per-player item drops, but also increase in items-per-minute ratio due to groups killing faster than a single player. The amount of items dropping with each additional player is slightly higher than if those players were to just play in their own games. Now, that's slightly deceiving because we're talking about the entire pool of drops, but actually each player sees and receives an equal portion, so in this case we're looking at the drops as if they were shared completely freely within the group. This may not be the case for all items or groups.

    Still, if you have three friends and you're all buddy-buddy with each other and sharing everything, the benefit of playing together for item drops is noticeable. If you're all being very stingy and not sharing anything, or just throwing out the crap, you'll still see a slight increase just from killing speed.

    But anyway, with all that in mind, there is already of course a distance limit in which you'll be considered an active participant in a monster kill to be able to receive a drop from it. If you're out of range and someone in your party kills something, you don't get a drop from it. It's a very obvious solution to deal with a very obvious issue. The range is fairly forgiving.

    So instead our focus turns to helping groups help themselves through various mechanics to keep everyone together. But those are specifics for another time though."
    He then went on to respond to more user questions:

    "By the sounds of it, being an "active participant" simply means you have to be within a close proximately of the monsters on death, but that does not mean that you will actually need to help in any way, shape, or form in killing it."

    "If you did need to damage every enemy in order to get a drop from it we would essentially be requiring all players who wanted to play in groups build their characters for AoE damage. It would then be enforcing the exact opposite of teamwork. Everyone would be going crazy trying to do as much damage to as much as possible so they could try to get a drop off of it.

    We could then rename the game to Antithesis of Fun."
    "Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that the exact same thing that is happening in Diablo II baal runs, where there are 1 or 2 Hammerdins killing everything and the rest of the players is composed of leechers doing nothing more than picking up the drops?"

    "There's nothing wrong with the idea of friends running other friends through the game. Have a friend with a higher level character? Cool, have him help you through the game if you want. That doesn't mean we won't have some limitations or slight impedances, for instance we probably wouldn't want it to figure out to be the best way to level, but the general idea of friends helping friends is a positive aspect and something we want to retain as best as possible."
    "The problem I personally have is just those that do nothing but leech, or the players that do absolutely nothing to contribute to the party but is shared equally in the rewards. Again, the example of baal runs in Diablo II comes to mind. In baal runs, we often see AFK naked characters wielding nothing but Ondal's Wisdom for the 5% to Experience Gained sitting in the corner or within that distance that you were talking about for Diablo III inorder to "earn" the rewards without actually doing anything. Sometimes they are not even AFK, so they run around and pick up the drops, and again, this sounds like it could be done in Diablo III, with or without bots. Maybe it's just me, but I have never thought that leeching or having leechers follow me around all day doing nothing but picking up the loot from my kills was a whole lot of fun."

    "Players joining your games that do something to annoy you will always be a problem as long as you allow them to. So really the simple solution here is to not play in publicly open games.

    But, from a game feature side, it sounds like what you're actually asking for are game moderation options. Such as the ability for the game creator or game participants to kick, ban, squelch, etc. And maybe those are some possibilities, maybe, but they themselves could easily be turned around and used as griefing tools themselves.

    There are solutions. I don't think it's a problem that warrants a lot of time at the moment though."
    So what do you guys think about all of these group play issues? Let's hear your opinions!
    Posted in: News & Announcements
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    posted a message on Win A Trip To BlizzCon!
    Those of you who weren't able to purchase tickets online for BlizzCon 2009 or win them in one of our contests now have yet another chance to attend the big event. And this time, they're not only giving out tickets, they're also paying for an entire trip for two to BlizzCon!

    "SteelSeries has joined forces with J!NX, Upper Deck, BradyGames, and SwagDog to offer you the chance to win an all-expenses-paid trip for two to Blizzcon 2009. Visit the official Blizzcon Sweepstakes website http://www.blizzconsweepstakes.com and fill out an entry form for a chance to win. Runner-up prizes include prize packs valued at $2000."
    It's an easy contest to enter (all you have to do is fill out an entry form) so if you're still hoping to attend BlizzCon, I highly recommend giving this contest a shot!

    Also, there will be fifteen (15) runner-up prize packs. Check out the prize list:
    Grand Prize (1 winner):
    Trip for 2 to BlizzCon including
    -2 Economy class flights from anywhere in Continental USA or Canada
    -2 nights hotel stay
    -$300 USD spending money
    -2 passes to BlizzCon 2009
    -Prize package

    First Prize (5 winners):
    -SteelSeries World of Warcraft MMO Gaming Mouse
    -Jinx $50.00 Gift Certificate
    -Brady Games World of Warcraft Atlas

    Second Prize (5 winners):
    -Swag Dog $25.00 Gift Certificate
    -7 Upper Deck World of Warcraft Trading Card Game "Fields of Honor" Booster Packs
    -SteelSeries 5C Frost Wyrm Exclusive

    Third Prize (5 winners):
    -Steel Series QcK Lich King Exclusive
    -Brady Games Burning Crusade Atlas
    -Upper Deck World of Warcraft Miniatures Game "Spoils of War" Booster Box
    -Swag Dog Custom Shirt $25.00 Gift Certificate
    Best of luck to all of you who enter! Be sure to let us know if any of you win!
    Posted in: News & Announcements
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    posted a message on Bashiok on "Dungeon Differences"
    In what might be a hint of what we can expect to see at BlizzCon next month, Bashiok recently chimed in on the Battle.net forums to explain about how dungeons will vary aesthetically depending on how important they are:

    "I think there's a nice juxtaposition between the larger more epic dungeons and the others that may be less epic but have very specific tones and themes associated with them. When you step inside one of the more epic dungeons, like the Tristram cathedral (and considering its past, shouldn't it be epic?) you immediately know you're somewhere important. Somewhere that looks and feels magical in its presentation and lighting, as opposed to, say... a cave. Still cool! Caves are still awesome, but you probably don't want magical purple and green lighting in a cave, it's probably going to have a much different feel.

    That type of theming adds a lot to keeping the scenery changing and interesting. If you're just fighting demons against a grey or brown backdrop for hours and hours, days and days, maybe years and years... it gets boring. Interesting, themed, and contrasting scenery all help ensure visual longevity.

    I think before too long we'll have shown a nice cross section of the dungeon types and looks. It's been too long staring at the one dungeon. Each one has a very unique look and feel, so it's really cool going in to each one and having a total change of scenery. It's all very exciting."
    Here's hoping we get to see that nice cross section of dungeon types at BlizzCon next month. Then again, all this really means is that the more epic a dungeon is, the more rainbows and unicorns we'll be seeing in them, right? ;)
    Posted in: News & Announcements
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    posted a message on Bashiok on "Diablo 3 Battle.net Fees"
    A member on the Battle.net forums recently inquired about whether or not people would have to pay fees in order to play Diablo 3 online. Bashiok responded with the following information:

    "Mike mentioned it in an Activision Blizzard investor meeting [paraphrased] "A player that buys Starcraft 2 at retail will have the ability to play on Battle.net with no additional fee."

    I'll point out that this is a very carefully worded statement."
    Bashiok then went on to discuss how some pay-for ideas could possibly work for the game.

    "One pay-for idea that specifically relates to Diablo that I thought was kind of interesting was the chance to resurrect a fallen hardcore character.

    I think this was mentioned by a fan, as far as I know we're not even thinking about these types of pay-for options yet. But, I think it's kind of interesting. I'm not sure if I like the idea or not, which is probably why I like thinking about it. There are some obvious pros and some obvious cons, but I'm not sure there's a clear cut answer as to whether it would work well or not."
    Obviously, none of us would like to have to pay additional fees in order to use Battle.net. If nothing else, I believe anybody who buys the inevitably pricier "Collector's Edition" of Diablo 3 when it comes out should never have to pay Battle.net fees to play the game.

    However, this does raise the question: What special features would you pay Battle.net fees for with Diablo 3 other than the chance to resurrect a fallen hardcore character? Is there anything that you feel would be worth spending a little extra cash on to make the online gameplay more interesting?
    Posted in: News & Announcements
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    posted a message on Diablo 3 Loading Screens
    As seen on our blue tracker, a Battle.net forum member just made a post inquiring about how loading screens would work on Diablo 3. Bashiok had some good news to deliver:
    There aren't any loading screens. Personally I think it's amazing and I don't understand the magic the programmers have worked, but the game is instant or near instant. The same is true for initial game load. Start up the game, create a character, click a button and the game world shows up. No waiting and no real discernible pause. Mileage may vary slightly of course, but it would (from what I've seen) be in the realm of a second or two second pause at most.
    Having played the demo at BlizzCon last year, I can tell you that he's not joking. The loading times from area to area are extremely impressive considering all that's going on in the game. We sure have come a long way since "insert disk #8" haven't we? ;)
    Posted in: News & Announcements
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    posted a message on Torchlight
    I saw Torchlight at E3. Pretty nice looking game and definitely something to pass the time with while waiting for the release of Diablo 3.

    Anyway, here's a link to Curse's article featuring the destroyer trailer, screenshots, and key features. Check it out!
    Posted in: Torchlight
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    posted a message on Diablo 3 "Overthrown" Diorama Available for Pre-order.
    Back in July of last year, we posted about Sideshow Collectibles' impressive "Overthrown" Diorama that was unveiled at San Diego Comic-Con 2008. All that was shown was a grey prototype at the time, but now they've unveiled the fully-painted version and it looks great!

    (click the above images to enlarge)

    "Sideshow Collectibles and Blizzard Entertainment are proud to introduce the Diablo III Collectible series with this epic first release. The OVERTHROWN Diorama depicts the warrior class in fine form, wielding dual-axes in the heat of battle. Each piece is individually painted and finished to exacting standards, each with its own unique quality and detail that is the trademark of a handcrafted Sideshow Collectibles product. Don't miss this opportunity to begin your Diablo III collection with the limited edition OVERTHROWN Diorama."

    The diorama is due for a Fall 2009 release and is currently available for pre-order on the Sideshow Collectibles web site for $299.

    I should also mention that there's a nice new desktop wallpaper of the diorama on the Sideshow Collectibles web site, so be sure to check it out.

    For more details on the Overthrown Diorama, visit:

    (thanks to Umpa65 for the tip!)
    Posted in: News & Announcements
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    posted a message on Julian Love & Bashiok on Lingering Graphics
    A user from Battle.net recently inquired about whether or not blood from battles could be kept on the ground indefinitely in Diablo 3. Bashiok was quick to respond with an initial explanation:

    "Even decals, which are textures, impact performance. So there has to be some limit on how many of them are allowed to linger and for how long. We have to try to strike a balance somewhere. Also, a ground literally covered with corpses or blood becomes less and less interesting, more and more confusing, and can actually create some frustration.

    Regarding visible markers, we put a lot of effort into building rooms and areas to ensure that the randomly generated dungeons are indeed random, but also not confusing and maze-like. We don't want everything to look the same. So in that respect a visual marker of a blood spot or corpse really shouldn't be necessary."
    After some Battle.net users pushed for more details, Bashiok brought in Lead Tech Artist, Julian Love, to give a more detailed answer to their questions:
    "Every independent thing that we show in the game has to be put into a special package that we call a "draw call," which is then delivered to the 3D card to be rendered on screen. It's not too different from preparing xmas gifts in that everything you want your relatives to receive must be packaged up in some way and then driven across the country in order to arrive there on time. Your CPU does this packaging and delivery and it takes a lot of bandwidth, so it ends up being one of the most crucial expenses to manage. Now, the truly horrible thing is that from a draw call cost perspective, each individual splattering of blood on the floor is every bit as expensive as a character or a dead body: they both cost one draw call. Beyond that, the differences tend to be somewhat trivial.

    So, that's a lot of words just to say that blood splats can be every bit as expensive as, and in some ways, more expensive than dead bodies. It's counter intuitive, but this is the way it actually works."
    Hopefully that clears things up a bit in regards to the issue of having graphics lingering on the screen indefinitely.
    Posted in: News & Announcements
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    posted a message on *ANNOUNCEMENT* Official BlizzCon Ticket Contest Questions Thread!
    The results have been posted!

    Congrats to the winners and thanks again to all of you who entered! :)
    Posted in: Diablo III General Discussion
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    posted a message on Diablofans BlizzCon Contest Winners Announced!
    WOW! That's pretty much the only word myself and the rest of the Diablofans staff can use to describe seeing all of your entries. If you're wondering why it took a few days after the contest ended before I made this post, it's because it really did take a long time for all of us to decide on the winning entries. There were just so many great entries in the Class Art, Class Lore, and Class Skills contests, and we really wanted to take this opportunity to thank you guys for putting so much effort into them. We expected some truly great entries here since three BlizzCon tickets were up for grabs, so it was really nice to see so many of you putting in some truly ticket-worthy efforts!

    If I had my say, I'd make sure every last one of you received tickets to BlizzCon. Alas, Blizzard supplied us with 3 tickets to the big convention, so we had to narrow it down to the top entries in each contest category. It was very hard to narrow down the winners and all three of the contests were extremely close! That being said, we'll also be sending out Diablofans.com t-shirts to the runner-ups of each category so they won't be going home empty-handed!

    Without further adieu, I now present you with our BlizzCon ticket contest winners!


    WINNER: Monks of Sanctuary by Shibblicious

    RUNNER-UP: Falconer by KQKyle

    HONORABLE MENTIONS: (all of these received several votes)
    -Dreamslayer by Voider
    -Revenant by Deadlyhazard
    -Inquisitor by Luckmann
    -Gypsy by Roskvape


    WINNER: Gypsy by Roskvape

    RUNNER-UP: Star Shooter by Palisade

    HONORABLE MENTIONS: (all of these received several votes)
    -Falconer by Moxjet200
    -Warlock by Guasti
    -Revenant by Deadlyhazerd
    -Dreamslayer by Voider


    WINNER: Eidolon by Shiramune

    Shiramune submitted two other excellent entries that also received several votes a piece, so be sure to check them out as well - Ranger and Dread Knight:

    RUNNER-UP: The Summoner by Odonthe1st

    HONORABLE MENTIONS: (all of these received several votes)
    -Bloodleech by Jig
    -Parapsychologist by Troive
    -Gypsy by Roskvape

    And that does it for all our contest winners! Again, many thanks to all of you who entered one (or all) of our contests! We really enjoyed reading and viewing your entries and hope everybody will check out the three contest threads to see all of the quality work that was submitted! Also, thanks again to Blizzard for supplying us with some extra tickets to give away to the fans!

    To those of you who won, please check your PM inboxes here on Diablofans.com soon, because we'll be sending you instructions that you'll need to respond to quickly!
    Posted in: News & Announcements
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    posted a message on Bashiok on "Barbarian Fury" and "Gore" in Diablo 3
    As seen in our blue tracker, Bashiok has responded to a variety of questions regarding Barbarian Fury in Diablo 3. Take a look:

    Okay. How much fury does each skill cost? As an example.
    "They require fury in amounts of full fury globes. So the most one can cost is 3."

    Does each ability cost a full globe?
    "Yes, currently abilities that do cost fury cost one or more full fury "globes". Don't get the term 'fury globe' too stuck in your brain though, there's going to be an official name for them and it may not be globe."

    Do abilities cost a portion of each globe?
    "There aren't and probably won't be abilities that cost a portion of a fury ... ball. I'm going to call them fury balls. Wait ... no ... that's a terrible idea."

    Are the globes valued numerically, similar to rage, and the abilities cost a "number" of Fury?
    "Right now they actually are, but that's because it's sort of mid-transition from an old fury system. They'll simply be shown and referred to in ability cost as full globes. At least that's the current thought.

    As I said it's still a system and game in development, and any of this can change entirely. This is just a peek into the current workings."

    Does fury deteriorate over time?

    Is fury cost affected by skill growth (adding more points to a skill).
    "I don't know of any abilities that do right now but it's always a possibility for balance later."

    When you use a fury skill, does the damage dealt serve to recharge your fury (meaning that you could theoretically have a net zero fury cost when attacking crowds)?
    "It does, but of course it's subject to change."

    How many dots of fury (dots, yes) does the ground stomp cost? If three, I can see people holding it for when they need it, and not using any other skills to conserve fury.
    "It doesn't cost any fury, but it does have a cooldown."

    On that note, is 3 the absolute maximum? Or can you go a little over 3, like 3.9 or something, so you'll get a full bubble soon after? If 3 is the hard max, then you'd have to use a 3 dot skill immediately before it decays to 2.999 or something.
    "Fury decay doesn't happen that quickly. There's a grace period in there before it starts ticking down."

    Appreciate the info on the system as it stands bash, and if my deductive skills are working properly one could assume that there will be skills that dont use the fury system, such as ground stomp. Could you give us an idea of one that would use fury? how powerful will these skills be?
    "Ground stomp is an exception mainly because of the nature of its use. A cooldown allows it to be used as an "oh crap I'm overwhelmed" ability without also requiring you to have fury built up. Most if not all straight attack abilities like cleave, leap attack, whirlwind, etc. have fury costs, in addition to most 'buff' abilities."

    So it looks like each fury ball has 5 ticks to charge up. So cleave, which seems to be the most basic attack will take 5 normal hits to charge up before it can be used assuming it takes one fury ball. And if Whirlwind required 3 fury balls, then there would potentially be 15 normal attacks in between each use? Ouch! Spamming normal attacks and using a special attack about 10% of the time doesn't seem very epic to me. It would also suck for PvP, because it will be hard enough to land a special attack in most situations let alone 15 normal attacks just to get to use a special attack.
    "Fury is also built from incoming attacks. If you're in a moderate sized scuffle you can unleash abilities pretty regularly. The animation that was shown in BlizzCast was made in a test environment, using a single weapon and attacking stationary (and non-attacking) zombies. So it built up fairly slowly, but nice and consistent for the video, which was the point. In a normal game, and as the barbarian especially, you're quite often surrounded and the balance of normal attacks/fury gen/special ability use feels quite nice."

    Bashiok also chimed in on somebody asking about the amount of gore that we can expect to see in Diablo 3. Here's what he had to say:

    "Heh, if people think there isn't enough gore... you ain't seen nothing yet. This is Sanctuary. Demons and evil cults still really like torture and putting bodies on pikes."
    This doesn't really come as any surprise to those of us who've been paying attention to Blizzard's updates for a while now, but you'd be amazed at how many people think that what Blizzard has shown them so far is the extent of how far they'll be taking things in Diablo 3.

    So what do you guys think about all this info on Barbarian Fury and the subject of gore in the game? Share your thoughts!
    Posted in: News & Announcements
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    posted a message on REMINDER! Diablofans' BlizzCon Ticket Contest Deadline is this Monday!!
    Soooooooo many fantastic entries. You guys certainly haven't made our jobs of judging the contest easy this year! We'll post the results as soon as the Diablofans staff members have cast their votes! Thanks again to all of you who took the time to enter!
    Posted in: News & Announcements
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    posted a message on REMINDER! Diablofans' BlizzCon Ticket Contest Deadline is this Monday!!
    Hey guys, just wanted to remind you that our THREE (3) CONTESTS for a chance to win BlizzCon 2009 tickets are ending this Monday, June 8th! If you've been waiting to get your entries turned in, time is almost up and this may be one of your last chances to win a ticket! Please make sure you've posted them no later than 11:59 PM PST come Monday. The contests are as follows:

    Class Art Contest:
    Have you ever wanted to design your own original character class? Well here's your chance! All you need to submit is the name of your own favorite imaginary class along with a newly created artistic design of the class created by yourself.

    Official Class Art Contest Entries Thread:

    Class Lore Contest:
    Have you ever wanted to write your own background story for a new character class? Well here's your chance! All you need to do is submit a story between 600 and 1000 words in length created by yourself along with the name of your class. Think of the character histories on the Diablo 3 site. Provide as many details as possible.

    Official Class Lore Contest Entries Thread:

    Class Skills Contest:
    Have you ever wanted to design the skill trees and play style of your very own character? Well here's your chance! All you need to do is submit a list of the THREE skill trees your class would have, describe the play style of your class and the name of your class. Provide as many details as possible.

    Official Class Skills Contest Entries Thread:

    Again, good luck to everybody!
    Posted in: News & Announcements
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    posted a message on Bashiok on Rune Swapping.
    In a recent post found in our blue tracker, Bashiok responded to a user's questions regarding the rune system. Here's what he had to say:

    The intent isn't for runes to be hot-swappable or interchangeable at any time. The ability to change the rune is the point of any comments made about switching them around, not that we want to allow easy and free interchangeable runes. What we do intend is for people to be able to try different runes without fear of losing the rune, or permanently changing the way a skill works.

    Early design thoughts on rune swapping are that there would be some sort of cost to remove them so a new one could be put in its place. Early in the character's life it would be inexpensive enough so it isn't prohibitive, as we want to encourage experimentation, but later on the cost would become more substantial.

    In addition, the high end runes are intended to be very rare. So while you're looking for them we want you to be able to use the runes you have without fear of losing them or using them incorrectly. Being able to experiment with different runes along the way to creating your perfect character is more fun, and potentially enlightening to the different ways your character can be used.

    He also went on to say that it hasn't yet been decided on if the "some sort of cost to remove them" will be entirely currency based or something else. I definitely like that they have it set up so you'll be able to experiment with the runes without worrying about using them improperly. What do you guys think?
    Posted in: News & Announcements
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    posted a message on BlizzCon Tickets Round 2. PLUS: Blizzard unveils new game... FAILOC-ALYPSE!
    Well, what can I say. I hope all of you guys who were trying to purchase BlizzCon tickets this morning had better luck than we did. Our own staff members were trying to purchase additional tickets since we didn't have enough for everyone and wanted more to be able to attend the big event, but no such luck. From the very get-go today, things weren't looking to good.

    This is the screen I saw after being in the queue for a little over a minute. An odd error which read an "Undefined" position in the queue and "NaN minutes" left to wait. 15 seconds later, I was booted out of the queue and sent back to the Blizzard homepage. From there, I had to re-enter the queue. Even with the glitches, I made it down to #659 in the queue with only a few minutes left to go. Unfortunately, before my turn came up, tickets had completely sold out.

    So again, I really hope you guys had much better luck than we did today. And hey, even if you didn't, there's still hope for three of you because we're currently holding a big Blizzcon 2009 Ticket Giveaway Contest. Be sure to read all about it and get your entries in before the June 8th deadline!

    On a lighter note, while the ticket queue process was clearly more glitchy this time around, there was some fun to be had. Blizzard unveiled a retro-style flash game called FAILOC-ALPYSE which you could play while you waited in the ticket queue to help pass the time. It even kept you up to date about your position in the ticket queue in the bottom right corner while you continued to play.

    Naturally, I selected the Witch Doctor from Diablo 3 as my playable character of choice and killed Failocs galore in front of the ever-growing crowd outside of the Anaheim Convention Center for BlizzCon. Managed to make it up to level 42 before BlizzCon tickets were sold out. Launched a nuke and scored some majors points for doing many rad double-jumps too. I also enjoyed seeing some familiar faces popping up in the background as the game went on. Good times.

    Of course, me being a web designer at heart, I always like to check into the details of a page. So when I checked out the background image that the game resided on top of, I got a good chuckle out of what the flash game had been hiding:

    Good ol' Blizzard. :P
    Posted in: News & Announcements
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