• published the article New Battle.net Has Arrived
    Blizzard has unveiled a new design for Battle.net complete with new features and functionality. The development of a "new Battle.net" has been hinted at for a long time in anticipation for the upcoming releases of both Starcraft II and Diablo III.

    The new Battle.net is an upgrade to all preexisting Blizzard Accounts tied to Starcraft, Diablo 2, and Warcraft 3. Owners of World of Warcraft have an option to merge all of their accounts to the new service.

    Be sure to check out the new Battle.net Account FAQ too, as it may answer many of your questions regarding the new system.
    Posted in: New Battle.net Has Arrived
  • published the article New Witch Doctor Art
    Blizzard's Sons of the Storm have released some new Diablo III artwork, this time featuring the female Witch Doctor. Some of you may have seen this piece of art before in gaming magazines, but this is the first time that we've seen it online with a fully detailed background.

    What a lovely holiday treat from Blizzard! Thanks Sp3tSnAz @ Hellforge.
    Posted in: New Witch Doctor Art
  • published the article Environmental Damage vs Players A Possibility
    Official Blizzard poster Bashiok has mentioned the possibility of monsters using the environment against players, in addition to the other way around.

    In PvP, can a player utilize the interactive environment to cause harm to another player? Can certain Mobs be able to use the interactive environment against you?

    Bashiok: Right now if you knock down a wall on top of, or drop a chandelier on the head of someone in your party, it does damage/"daze" them. There's some potential issues with it, right now it's sort of just there because of the way those object interact with player characters as a whole. It's possible that due to exploitative or griefing potential they just can't continue to work that way. We'll see.

    Enemies will destroy some/most destructible objects if they're in their way. Whether that may include actual damage dealing destructibles or not is probably more of a design decision on a case by case basis. We sort of want to reserve that for the player too I think, being able to damage enemies with the destructbles, but specific creatures that use the environment to their advantage are always cool.

    I'd take the post with a grain of salt, because it sounds more along the lines of something that would be cool to put in, but not necessarily a priority for the developers.

    Honestly speaking, how much do you think such an addition to gameplay would add to the overall experience? I'm fairly content with the fact that players will be able to interact with the environment without having monsters have a go at it, too. Put it this way: it might even be annoying to be constantly stunned by enemies who drop rocks on players, and that could get pretty old.
    Posted in: Environmental Damage vs Players A Possibility
  • published the article Echoes of War - The Blizzard Music Compilation
    Blizzard has announced a cooperative effort with the Eminence Symphony Orchestra to release two CD music set featuring newly orchestrated music from Blizzard games entitled Echoes of War.

    The fully orchestrated music on the two CDs pay tribute to titles such as Warcraft, Diablo and Starcraft, as well as music based on the new Starcraft II, WOW: Wrath of the Lich King and Diablo III. One of the new Diablo III tracks features a special composition by the critically acclaimed Kō Ōtani, who is most well known for his soundtrack to Shadow of the Colossus, as well as many anime series.

    There will be two editions of the package. The standard edition, which will come with just the music CDs and will cost US $29.95 and a Legendary Edition for US $49.95. The Legendary edition will be a limited offer and will feature a making of DVD as well as 9 art cards based on the games as can be seen below.

    The tracklist is as follows:

    From Warcraft III
    The Third War Symphony

    1. Journey to Kalimdor
    2. Eternity’s End

    From World of Warcraft and World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade
    The Shadow of the Legion Symphony

    3. A Tenuous Pact
    4. Anar’alah Belore
    5. The Betrayer and The Sun King From World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King 6. The Visions of the Lich King Overture


    From StarCraft and StarCraft: Ghost
    The Koprulu Symphony

    7. No Matter the Cost
    8. En Taro Adun
    9. Eradicate and Evolve
    10. Victorious but not unscarred From Starcraft II
    11. The Hyperion Overture

    From Diablo, Diablo II, Diablo II: Lord of Destruction and Diablo III
    The Symphony of Sanctuary

    12. The Eternal Conflict
    13. Legacy of Terror
    14. Children of the Worldstone
    15: BONUS: Last Angel

    The Legendary Edition will be released on the 1st of November, the Standard Edition on the 22nd of November, and both editions can be pre-ordered currently on the Eminence website.

    Rock on, Diablo Fans! I just placed an order for the Legendary Edition, which will only have a single limited production run. FYI, I'm pretty hyped about this.
    Posted in: Echoes of War - The Blizzard Music Compilation
  • published the article Learning from Mistakes: Top Ten Dumbest Features in Diablo 2
    Project XII of Hellforge has compiled a quick list of top ten of the dumbest features that made it into Diablo II, including the terrible nerfing of the Barbarian's Whirlwind skill (despite community uproar) to the horribly unimaginable but barely remembered Golden Axe-inspired "Thief" monster ability that all but lasted a single patch. There was nothing worse than losing your hard earned Windforce to an imp.

    Here's hoping that current team has learned from the mistakes of Blizzard North, Diablo's original creators (which became the now-defunct Flagship Studios) and listen to their community for it most certainly be watching closely.
    Posted in: Learning from Mistakes: Top Ten Dumbest Features in Diablo 2
  • published the article Blizzard's Diablo III Pumpkin Carving Contest
    Bashiok has posted a thread on the official Diablo III forum with a Pumpkin Carving Contest for Halloween in this thread.

    Here are the details:

    The Royal Photographic Society of Azeroth is renewing its competition in celebration of Halloween. In a longstanding Blizzard Entertainment tradition, this year we’re proud to announce our sixth annual pumpkin-carving contest.

    Between 12:00 a.m. PDT on October 8 and 11:59 p.m. PDT on October 28, the RPSA will be accepting submissions for the pumpkin contest. The shutterbugs who submit the most outstanding photos of their work will have their pictures proudly displayed on WorldofWarcraft.com and Blizzard.com on Halloween. In addition, the five most interesting, original, and well-carved pumpkin designs will be recognized for their merits with a Logitech G51 Surround Sound Speaker System designed specifically for gamers. Special thanks go out to Logitech for these prizes!

    Pumpkin submission tips:

    The winning entries will display high levels of originality, craftsmanship, and humor.
    Your pumpkin must be lit up by a candle or other light source in your photo entry. You can show another photo of the pumpkin unlit if you wish.
    Pumpkins must be related to World of Warcraft or another Blizzard Entertainment title.
    Try to take the best picture possible, as picture quality helps make a good impression on the judges.
    Make sure you tell us what the pumpkin is supposed to be in the caption, just in case it’s not clear.

    If you want to view some past pumpkin-carving contest winners, you can see them here:


    Let's show those WoW carvers what-for and take top honors with Diablo inspired pumpkins!
    Posted in: Blizzard's Diablo III Pumpkin Carving Contest
  • published the article Joystiq: In-Depth Hands-On at BlizzCon
    Joystiq posted their in-depth hands on with Diablo III at BlizzCon about a week back with a crazy breakdown of the three known classes, as well as extreme close-up photographs of the game's gorgeous looking interface.

    Here's a breakdown of the classes in point by point format. Be sure to check out the rest of the article for further information on the game's interface, character creation, inventory, the skill and rune system, quests and the rest of their experience.

    Tough, big, powerful
    • Has skills like Battle Rage, which increases damage 100%, and Iron Skin, increases his/her armor by 20%, and a slew of other melee-based skills
    • Can dual wield weapons
    • Makes a perfect tank
    • Wasn't too different than the Barbarian from D2, although it sure looks a heck of a lot better, so we didn't spend too much time with the big brute. Still, when you just need someone to kick ass, you can't go wrong with this one.

    Witch Doctor
    • Incredibly creepy and cool, and has a nifty Cajun dialect
    • Extremely fun and imaginative spells like Zombie Wall, where a wall of undead rise from the ground and both blocks and attacks your enemies.
    • Uses toads, locusts, and even spiders to swarm and vivisect enemies
    • The Skull of Flame spell makes an excellent ranged attack, and does area damage. Plus, it just looks cool. In the videos they showed us (but not in the demo), when you slot the Multistrike Rune in this spell, the skull bounces, and does big area damage with each bounce.

    • The Wizard was the only class that had the Rune system working, and we put it to extensive use. It truly changes your spell, and you'll be mixing and matching a lot.
    • Make sure you select Disintegrate early on, because it's an extremely powerful spell. Your character locks in place while you hold down the mouse button, and you mouse around in circles to aim at your enemies and melt them.
    • Can use items like Wands and Orbs
    • Has melee and ranged spells
    Posted in: Joystiq: In-Depth Hands-On at BlizzCon
  • published the article Top 10 Most Wanted and Unwanted Environments in Diablo 3
    With BlizzCon over and news slowing down, Project XII has decided to write a new blog entry, this time covering the Top 10 Most Wanted and Unwanted Environments to see in Diablo 3, total total of 20. A snippet:

    We may be playing a game that encompasses a hellish theme of death and destruction, but that doesn’t mean we want to see wrecked streets and mouldy sewers in every single act… and nothing else. We need variety! We need colour! We don’t want to spend half a game waist deep in poopy!

    Of course, that doesn’t mean we want our devastation to be littered with daffodils and rainbows either: the reaction to Diablo 3’s gameplay video proved this. When it comes to choosing appropriate medieval environments to explore, Diablo players have very high expectations. Too dark, things get as monotonous as heck. Too bright and we might as well be playing “Hello Kitty: Dungeon Adventure” (a.k.a Mythos).

    Posted in: Top 10 Most Wanted and Unwanted Environments in Diablo 3
  • published the article Diablo III Release "still a long way to go"
    In a recent interview with the Wired blog, VP Rob Pardo revealed some of the following details about Diablo III's release date and the state of its development.

    "I don't know how far out it is, but it's still fairly early in development. I think when people see it, it feels so polished and so finished, but the reality is we have a very small portion of the game done right now," Pardo explained.

    He added: "A lot of the way we develop is: We wanna make sure the game is really fun and the visual fidelity we want ... we wanna make sure we have a small area that feels really done so we know what to build. So even though it looks really complete a lot of the content is just not there. We have a long ways to go to build each of the different acts in the game and put in all the quests and all the different monsters. We have a lot of development ahead of us before it will be something ... It will definitely be out after StarCraft II."

    It looks like we'll be waiting for Diablo III for awhile yet. Let's just pray that Starcraft II comes out within the next few months.

    Thanks gyrextt for spotting this in an interview I'd read but kinda skimmed over.
    Posted in: Diablo III Release "still a long way to go"
  • published the article New Class Announced: The Wizard
    BlizzCon is well under way, and the moment that every Diablo fan has been waiting for since the game was announced barely three months ago has finally arrived: the announcement of the new class.



    Thanks to Lipton for feeding me with the liveblogging info.

    The video can be viewed here.
    Posted in: New Class Announced: The Wizard
  • published the article Diablo III Journals: A Nostalgic Return to Tristram

    Tristram is like a second home to many of us who played the original Diablo.

    Within this article, entitled "A Nostalgic Return to Tristram" I write about a return to the iconic, but ill-fated town of Tristram. The town that defined the world of Diablo and what we, as players of Diablo III can hope to expect when we step foot back into the town with which we grew familiar so long ago.

    This is the first of many Journal entries to come of my forays into Diablo's place and setting, which hopefully serves to compliment our growing anticipation for Diablo III.
    Posted in: Diablo III Journals: A Nostalgic Return to Tristram
  • published the article Bashiok: Monsters Against Monsters
    Bashiok has been a busy bee lately. With BlizzCon coming up and anticipation for new Diablo III information pouring in, he's somehow found the time to respond to a couple of threads over at the official forum.

    First up, a response to a question regarding Monsters:

    It would be naive to think that with all of the creatures, demons, and monsters in the world of Sanctuary that they'd all purely be concerned with killing you and you alone.

    Hinting that the player may discover monsters who fight each other in the wilderness!

    Concerning the inventory, Bashiok had this to share:
    We have an awesome UI guy (Mike Nicholson) who is constantly iterating on the interface. Right now it has a lot of the core pieces of what we want, but it's still being worked on fairly heavily. Specifically regarding item images and being able to see the artwork - being able to reach a happy medium between single slot and having nice big item images is something we're striving for.
    Posted in: Bashiok: Monsters Against Monsters
  • published the article No Spellbooks in Diablo 3
    Spellbooks featured strongly in the original Diablo as being the only way for a character to learn new skills. Each character, regardless of class, was limited in his spellcasting abilities simply by the amount of spellbooks he or she discovered in the course of the game. This of course resulted in much imbalance and added not a small amount of tedium to the game as a whole. In short, it wasn’t very well implemented; more suited to its roguelike predecessors rather than action RPGs of which Diablo was the first of its kind. Bashiok speaks:

    That came back in Diablo II too eventually in the form of rune words, and I don't think it really worked out too well in the end. I do think it actually could be designed and implemented properly; balanced, etc. but...

    For me the more important question though is what impact does it have on the class you're playing and also our knowledge of the Diablo world? Is a class nothing more than someone who read from a book, or is holding a specific item? No, they're very specific and very iconic figures (heroes even) from very distinct styles and backgrounds. The characters we play are these concentrated images of their cultures, beliefs, etc. Everything they do resembles who they are and where they're from, and what does it mean to then piecemeal that out to any one who just happens to throw a couple runes in to an item.

    It worked better in Diablo (1) I think. Conceptually it was a bit easier to digest just because of the basic pen and paper underpinnings, and the heroes were far more generic. It was also far less obtrusive.

    In Diablo II though, for me anyway, it always undermined the uniqueness of playing a specific class, and also what it meant to be that character. Aside from everything else it caused.
    Posted in: No Spellbooks in Diablo 3
  • published the article Sexuality and Gender in Diablo III: Beauty or Brawn?
    Project XII has written a great article on Hellforge entitled "Beauty or Brawn - Have You Got the Baals?". It's an article on sexuality and gender in role-playing games, and how it relates to Diablo III.
    It’s the question asked since the beginning of time; even before Abraham turned to Jesus and said “Dude, if you could be a chick, who would you be?” (to which Jesus replied “Angelina Jolie of course. Duh.”). It’s the reason Shakespeare wrote “the Tempest”, and went on to direct “The Crying Game”. The ultimate in X and Y bending enigmas: Why do gamers choose the genders they do?
    Posted in: Sexuality and Gender in Diablo III: Beauty or Brawn?
  • published the article Bashiok Discusses Inventory Systems
    Diablo III's community manager Bashiok has posted a response to the suggestion that a weight system be implemented in Diablo III in the Official Forums.

    A weight system is simply a different approach to inventory restrictions, and it's actually fairly similar to a grid based system except that weight systems are generally augmented by a character stat instead of being item based upgrades.

    The main issue with these systems as they relate to Diablo III is they add an additional value to items. That secondary value works to complicate and thus slow down the inventory management of a player, drawing their attention away from the action, which is of course the main focus for us with Diablo III.

    I've played a few RPGs with weight systems, and they're among my favorite games of all time, but it's a case of choosing which systems works best for each game.
    Reading his response, it seems unlikely that they will be implementing weight, as these would add an additional value to items, which bogs down inventory management almost as much as the 'tetris inventory'.

    I wouldn't be surprised if they used World of Warcraft's system, perhaps with a few interface tweaks that allow for simpler management of equipment, as some player-created mods for World of Warcraft offer.
    Posted in: Bashiok Discusses Inventory Systems