• published the article Top Changes We Saw From the Season 18 PTR

     

    The Season 18 PTR has come and gone, but there is still plenty of discussion to be had! Because of the shorter PTR, not everything was tested to its fullest; however, we have a lead on some of the bigger changes coming in the Season of the Triune.

     

    Flavor of Time

     

    Without a doubt, the single biggest game changer is the newly updated Flavor of Time amulet. The new and improved amulet doubles the duration of all pylons, which greatly improves the capabilities of high end group play that are very dependent on pylon placements and timing. More casual players could also see great mileage out of this item as its power for even a solo player makes it an excellent choice for any build that doesn't have a mandatory amulet slot.

     

    Captain Crimson's Trimmings

     

    The newly buffed Captain Crimson's crafted set offers more optimized stats to a multitude of support builds. With the doubled cooldown reduction and new damage reduction mechanic that scales with Resource Cost Reduction (that the set already provides, or from something like a double duration Channeling Pylon), support builds will have even more of the stats that they want. There are also some combinations that can be made with other class sets; although nothing looked meta breaking, it will be interesting to see where the full potential of this set lands once more testing is available when Patch 2.6.6 launches.

     

    Necromancers

     

    While there were no class balance changes on the PTR, Necromancers still came out with new build potentials and farming options. The Sage's Journey set was given a new belt piece which will allow Necromancers to use both the Sage's set and a 6-piece class set for the first time. Neromancers traditionally were not able to make great use out of Legacy of Nightmare builds due to how dependent they were on their ring slots, but with the new legendary gem they'll finally make full use of 'LoN' builds after Season 17 ends.

     

    Legacy of Dreams

     

    This is the first new legendary gem in years. The Legacy of Dreams allows players to unlock the same potential as the current Legacy of Nightmares set without taking up ring slots. Season 17 has proven to be one of the most popular Seasons in a long time, and people have been calling for Blizzard to implement the LoN buff permanently and apparently Blizzard listened. This new gem scales with any legendary item equipped instead of just ancient items, and will give players the wide swath of choices and playstyles they've been used to for the last couple of months. The bonus of the gem perfectly matches the 'LoN' set once it's fully leveled up to Rank 99.

     

    Honorable Mention - Triune's Will

     

    The new buff for Season 18 is a great step forward for the potential of future Themed Seasons. This new buff grants the following ability:

     

    The buff for Season 18, the Season of the Triune, has been added

    • Triune's Will: All abilities have a chance when hitting an enemy to spawn a circle that gives a power. Only one circle can be active at a time.
      • Power: Players in the circle receive a 100% damage bonus while active
      • Resource Reduction: Players in the circle receive a 50% discount on resources spent while active
      • Cooldown Reduction: While standing in an active circle, any skills currently on cooldown come off of cooldown more quickly

     

    This buff is the first time we've had a wholly unique buff given for the season instead of using a preexisting set/item bonus or community buff. While the Triune's Will itself is an amazing buff (the buff along with some of the new items allowed a fresh seasonal group on the PTR to clear a GR150 within the short testing time), the fact that Blizzard is still taking the time to create whole new effects for the game means that Diablo 3 isn't quite done yet and there may be more surprises coming our way in future seasons.

     

    What's the change you're most excited about? Do you feel we overvalued any of the changes? Let us know in the forums, our discord, or the comments below.

     

    Posted in: Top Changes We Saw From the Season 18 PTR
  • published the article Art of Diablo Book: Updates

    The Art of Diablo Book: Updates

    Earlier this year, Blizzard announced a new art book "The Art of Diablo" that will be releasing later this year. While there hasn't been any official updates from Blizzard since then, the Amazon listing for the book has undergone a couple of changes. Previously the release date for the book had been listed as October 31st, but now it has been moved back to Nov. 3rd. While this new date is far from final, it does ensure the book won't be out until after BlizzCon. It should be noted that this book encompasses the art of the entire Diablo series and not just Diablo III, even though all currently shown art is from Diablo III. While I doubt that it will contain art from any of the unannounced Diablo titles, it could have some interesting insights into the current art direction Blizzard is setting for the future of the franchise.

     

    This past week we've also had a collection of new preview images from the book added to the listing:

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Posted in: Art of Diablo Book: Updates
  • published the article Diablo Netflix: Everything We Know

     

    Although DiabloFans was closed for a few months, the Diablo news didn't come to a halt. Further information has recently come to light that the Diablo Netflix series is continuing to move forward. While we've reported on this in the past, here's a quick recap to catch everyone up on what we know:

     

    In August 2018, the movie and nerd review site Revenge of the Fans originally reported they had come across a credible rumor that Blizzard was talking with Netflix to produce an animated TV series based on the Diablo franchise, with Andrew Cosby tapped to write the show. This rumor was later substantiated by Cosby himself on twitter.

     

    I guess I can confirm I am indeed in final talks to write and show-run the new DIABLO animated series for Activision and Netflix. It's very exciting and I hope to the High Heavens it all works out.

    — Andy Cosby (@andycosby) September 20, 2018

    However, that tweet was quickly deleted, but not before being picked up and passed around the internet. While the tweet itself did make it clear that the deal had not yet been reached, it's evidence enough that it is indeed a project actively being pursued by Blizzard. We also learned from this that Cosby would not only be writing for the series but acting as showrunner as well. For those not familiar with the term, a showrunner is the person with creative control for a TV program, sometimes credited as executive producer. 

     

    Cosby has worked on and created a variety of TV and film projects ranging from writing the recent Hellboy reboot to being co-creator of the TV show Eureka. Cosby is also the co-founder of BOOM! Studios, a comic book publisher that has worked on the comic book adaptions for a number of popular series such as Toy Story, Warhammer 40k, and numerous other film tie-ins. Cosby has the background for writing mature content as well as experience in working with adaptations of preexisting properties, which adds a lot of credibility behind the rumors that he was selected to head up the Diablo Netflix project.

     

    It appears that those behind the scenes talks did eventually go somewhere, because on March 8th Blizzard filed a new trademark for Diablo in regards to a film or movie for a video-on-demand service.

     

     

    Adding even more fuel to the rumors, Cosby himself tweeted a rather cryptic hint that he's working on something big:

     

     

    Netflix has contributed further to the speculation around the possible Diablo series by acquiring and producing a growing number of video game adaptations, including shows for The Witcher, The Division, Resident Evil, Devil May Cry, and an all-new season for its hit Castlevania series. Diablo fits right in with these other series, building a collection of mature, adult-themed shows to add to Netflix's catalog of content.

     

    With the annual San Diego Comic Con coming next week, do you think a formal announcement of the series could be at our doorstep? Or are you not yet convinced that Blizzard will actually go through with the series? We've had our own thoughts on what a Diablo TV show could look like, but let us know your thoughts in the comments below or stop by our forums to share your ideas of the shape a Diablo TV series could take.

    Posted in: Diablo Netflix: Everything We Know
  • published the article Diablo II's Anniversary

     

    The last week in June always brings a couple of very important days to long time fans of Diablo. June 26th was the 18th anniversary of Diablo II's expansion, Lord of Destruction, and today, June 29th, marks 19 years since the release of Diablo II. It's been almost 20 years since we got our hands on these titles and the ARPG genre has never been the same since. If you're looking to celebrate the classics, now is the perfect time. Ladder Season 24 just started on June 14th and the Diablo II player base is still very active for a title of its age.

     

    Don't forget to stop by our Diablo II Legacy Forum, and you can also find other players to slay demons with in our official Discord Server!

     

     

    Posted in: Diablo II's Anniversary
  • published the article Mike Morhaime Discusses Diablo

     

    Yesterday, Mike Morhaime was given the Gamelab Honor Award during the Gamelab Conference held in Barcelona. During the conference Morhaime also took part in a round-table discussion hosted by GamesBeat's Dean Takahashi and covered by Tom Phillips of Eurogamer that centered around his career at Blizzard. While the talk featured topics spanning from Blizzard's beginnings to what Morhaime's future plans are, he did spend some time talking about the history of Diablo and many of the challenges Blizzard has faced with the franchise.

     

    The Dreaded Real Money Auction House

     

    As Diablo players, we know there were a lot of hardships involved with the launch of Diablo III. One of the most divisive features being the inclusion of the Real Money Auction House (RMAH) and it was this feature that gave Blizzard some of the biggest design hurdles. The RMAH affected gameplay and player behavior in ways they didn't expect.

     

    "People are going to do this anyway - why don't we provide them a safe and secure way to trade items?" Morhaime said. "But the problem was that we didn't design the loot model with that in mind. We designed it without an auction house initially, and when you have an auction house in a game that's dropping tonnes and tons of loot, it's way cheaper and easier to get second-hand items from the auction house."

     

    This created a very skewed structure of play where players acquired their gear primarily from the RMAH instead from within the game and the item reward loop that is the core of most ARPGs was "completely destroyed".

     

     

    Morhaime would go to to approach the team and ask "If you could do what you wanted and snap your fingers to make it happen, would you remove the auction house?" "They said yes, that's what we'd do." There was no obvious way of justifying this to management on paper, Morhaime said, but it proved the right call.

     

    Reaper of Souls brought in the cancellation of the RMAH and it was met with a far more positive reaction from the fan-base than the original launch of Diablo III. The coined 'Loot 2.0' that put more emphasis on self found gear helped to put the reward loop back in line, but at the cost of the almost complete removal of trading.

     

    Diablo Immortal and Managing Expectations

     

    Morhaime also talked about Diablo Immortal's announcement at BlizzCon 2018 and the back lash Blizzard received from the fans. 

     

    "It's sort of like when you have a group that's really passionate about a franchise like Diablo, really excited about a project that hasn't been announced - Blizzard tried to manage expectations that they weren't going to announce Diablo 4 at Blizzcon, but I'm not sure that got through," Morhaime recalled. Morhaime also added, "Most of the audience did not get that memo. Maybe there should have been more discussion around: Blizzard is not abandoning the PC."

     

     

    This mirrors Blizzard's current president J. Allen Brack's comments back in May where he responded to a question about what Blizzard learned from the fans reaction to the Immortal announcement. Brack said "A huge number of lessons. I think that one of the things that we failed to do was to really help articulate that we are a PC gaming company and that we’re going to continue to be a PC gaming company." 

    Posted in: Mike Morhaime Discusses Diablo
  • published the article Rumors: Diablo 4 Development Ramping Up

     

    Diablo 4 Development Ramping Up

     

    Over the past month we've been seeing an increase in rumors surrounding the much anticipated Diablo 4. Earlier in June, we saw Kotaku post another bombshell of an article stating that a previously unknown Starcraft FPS game had been cancelled and that the team developing that game had been split to help with Diablo 4 and Overwatch 2. While it shouldn't come as any surprise that Blizzard is working on the next Diablo, it is telling if they're starting to move more and more developers to the project.

     

     

    When games are early in production, they only require a small group of senior developers to tackle the big 'pillars' of design. Things like the game engine, lighting, concept art, etc. are usually figured out first and then mid-level and associate-level developers are brought in later to help take the game from concepts to functioning. As a game gets closer and closer to alpha/beta testing the development team can swell. Blizzard has been known to do this in the past and has temporarily funneled developers from different teams in order to get games ready for release. This may be what's happening now. According to Kotaku, the Starcraft FPS game was specifically cancelled so that Blizzard could increase the team sizes for Diablo 4 and Overwatch 2. These types of rumors make a major announcement at BlizzCon 2019 seem more likely.

     

     

    In addition to this announcement of internal team movements, there was recently another article from the French news site Le Monde that stated that an early version of Diablo 4 had been shown to staff at the Versailles branch of Blizzard. This is an indicator that Blizzard is happy with the current iteration of Diablo 4 and has begun showing it internally across the globe to give employees an idea of what the future title will look like. Compare this to the rumors that last year Blizzard was showing Diablo 4 internal, but only to staff at Irvine, it is building the case that this year's BlizzCon will finally deliver the announcement Diablo fans have been waiting for since the launch of Reaper of Souls.

    Posted in: Rumors: Diablo 4 Development Ramping Up
  • published the article Lore Loose Ends: Imperius, Archangel of Valor

    With Imperius recently entering the Nexus we thought it would be the perfect opportunity to dive into the history of the one the more adversarial members of the Angiris Council. Here's what we know about the Archangel of Valor.


    Imperius, Archangel of Valor

    The Archangel of Valor & Wrath

    Like the other Archangels of the Angiris Council, Imperius embodies an aspect of creation that defines the Heavenly Host, in this case valor. As the aspect of Valor on the Council, Imperius is a brave, if not zealous, fighter and defender of the High Heavens. He approaches all things with a military leaning, from the order he keeps within his realm, the Halls of Valor, to his combative personality, and his rigid, unquestioning loyalty to the Angiris Council and the Heavens they rule. Imperius is one of the greatest warriors in all of Creation and leads Heaven's armies in battle from the forefront, often times to an almost reckless extent. It would be hard for any being in Creation to match Imperius' lust for battle, as he is always the first to lead a charge in the defense of the Diamond Gates  at Heaven's doorstep, and he would also be the first to turn an advantage in the Eternal Conflict into an excuse to lead an attack into the depths of the Burning Hells. This yearning for battle was turned against Imperius at one point before the creation of Sanctuary.

     

    It was during a battle in Pandemonium that Diablo was able to bait Imperius into a trap. Diablo had the demons under his command retreat,knowing that Imperius would follow blindly. Diablo trapped Imperius and taunted him, saying that Imperius' "valor" was little more than "rage" and that the Archangel was just afraid to show his true nature to the other angels. Diablo's ploy worked, and an enraged Imperius continue to lash out at the Prime Evil. Imperius was almost bested by Diablo in single combat, but the timely intervention of the other Archangels saved him. With Diablo defeated the Council voted to keep the Lord of Terror alive, knowing that if Diablo was slain he'd eventually resurrect again, but if imprisoned he could be held indefinitely and truly turn the tides of battle in the Eternal Conflict. Letting his anger get the best of him, Imperius brazenly went against the Council's wished and slew Diablo. With one last breath Diablo taunted Imperius a final time stating that the trap had been sprung, as one of the signs of the End of Days had been fulfilled — "Valor shall turn to Wrath."

    Vote against Sanctuary

    After Inarius and Lilith stole the Worldstone and created Sanctuary, the Eternal Conflict eventually found its way to this safe haven during the Sin War. Imperius saw the budding power of the Nephalem as a threat and demanded a vote of the Council to determine their action. He voted to destroy the nascent human race and their world. Imperius was counting on Auriel and Itherial to vote to save the humans, Malthael to abstain, and Tyrael, his brother-in-arms to vote with him, a stalemate that would eventually end in the destruction of Sanctuary in order to keep it from falling into the hands of the Burning Hells. Imperius was the most shocked on the Council when Tyrael voted to save Sanctuary and humanity instead. This began a schism between the two brothers that would never fully heal. In the years since the Sin War, Imperius has argued against what he views as the Council's inaction to properly deal with the Nephalem and has continued to call for the destruction of Sanctuary. However, he has kept his rage in check and continues to abide by the Council's ruling of non-interference in the development of humans.

     

    Imperius vs the Prime Evil

    The Coming of the Prime Evil & Death

    After completing the Black Soulstone, Diablo would again face Imperius in single combat, this time with the full might of all of the Seven Evils as the Prime Evil. Diablo would make short work of Imperius and move on to bring about the destruction of the High Heavens. Imperius would begin to lead the defense of Heaven, despite his recent injuries, in an attempt to fight back the forces of Hell that were overrunning the angelic defenders. Imperius, yet again giving into his anger, was enraged by the presence of the Nephalem hero that had been chasing Diablo through Heaven. At the Crystal Arch, Imperius threatened to destroy the hero before he would take on Diablo again, but his challenge was cut short when the Prime Evil began to corrupt the Crystal Arch and incapacitated the entirety of the Heavenly Hosts in the process. Despite the Nephalem's triumphant victory over the Prime Evil, Imperius still held the hero and the rest of humanity in little regard. 

     

    It was only when Malthael turned on his angelic brothers and sisters and attacked Heaven in an attempt to seal the portals to Pandemonium that Imperius begrudgingly agreed to help the Nephalem stop the Angel of Death. Imperius helped the Nephalem fight against hordes of demons and ancient seals that we barring the path the Pandemonium Fortress that Malthael was hiding in. Imperius was there to witness the Nephalem stand against and defeated Malthael and watched silently as Tyrael pondered the power and nature of the near godlike Nephalem.

     

    Imperius

    The Future of Valor

    If Tyrael can question the motivations of the Nephalem after witnessing Death's fall, what would Imperius say? Now that there are only three members left on the Angiris Council and Imperius is still acting as leader, he holds more sway than ever and trying to change the Council's vote on the future of Sanctuary.  We know nothing of how the Archangels might elect a new member to the Council, but it is highly likely that many other angels hold his view on the Nephalem. If not viewing humanity as a scourge upon Creation, no one in the High Heavens could doubt that reality of the threat that humans represent. The angels were lucky that the Nephalem hero was on their side, but it easily could have been someone like Zoltun Kulle that had unlocked such tremendous power and just as quickly waged war on Heaven as they did Hell.

     

    Imperius' silence during the death of his brother, Malthael, could also represent a change taking place in him. Tyrael originally thought to destroy humanity when he first encountered them, but was swayed from his opinion upon seeing their potential for good. Imperius could have seen the fall of Malthael into madness as a sign that even the angels themselves are not exempt from temptation, especially given Imperius' incident where he let his own anger get the better of him and defied the Council. While likely still not to be friendly towards humanity, Imperius could begin to come around to seeing their potential and help to guide their further development into Nephalem for the forces of Order and the Light. Whatever Imperius may feel, none can deny that the scope of the Eternal Conflict has changed. Sanctuary and its inhabitants are now, more than ever before, an important part of the eternal power struggle between Heaven and Hell.

     

    The future has yet to be told and the threat of the End of Days still looms large over Creation. How do you think Imperius will react to the new danger facing Heaven and the new power dynamics of the Eternal Conflict? 


    Neinball (@NeinballGamer) is a content creator for Diablo Fans and a horadrim in training. Whether he's relaxing on Zegema Beach, fighting servants of the Corpse-God in the 41st millennium, or quelling Rebellions in the Outer Rim, his passion always brings him back to slaying Demons in Sanctuary. 

    Posted in: Lore Loose Ends: Imperius, Archangel of Valor
  • published the article Diablo: Immortal — The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

    I know this article is coming late, being over a month since BlizzCon, but I felt that it was almost impossible to discuss Diablo: Immortal immediately following the announcement. Since then, outright anger has condensed into solid criticisms and vitriolic comments have made way for thought out concerns. I feel there are some actual good points to Immortal and there are things we could be excited for, but there are obviously many issues to be concerned about as well.

     

    The Good

    There are some positives when it comes to Immortal. The feeling from people who had the chance to play the game at BlizzCon seemed largely positive, and demo exit poll discussions with the devs at the show were encouraging.

     

    Personally, I found the game to be fun as the Monk and Barbarian, but the Wizard needed a lot of work. The flow of gameplay is quick-paced, faster than D2 while not as frantic as D3. The "cooldown resource" overall felt okay once I had adapted to it. There was some discussion with devs about maybe adding a function to certain skills that would reduce the cooldowns on other skills as a kind of "generator" mechanic. I like the idea of this approach as most end game builds in any ARPG are largely disconnected from its resource system, whereas in other styles of RPG resource mechanics play more into specific timing or rotation than what we've seen in other Diablo titles.

     

    I also wanted to touch briefly on the controls for Immortal. One issue I see that has come up again and again about Immortal is the controls. Plenty of other content creators have weighed in on it already and the only thing I have to add to the discussion is that it took me about 5-6 playthroughs before I started getting a feel for them. By the 10th playthrough the button placements were second nature and the game felt a lot more refined. There will definitely be a learning curve and not just for skill interactions or class mechanics, but each skill had its own targeting or aiming mechanic and learning all of those will take time in figuring out different builds once we actually get our hands on the finished game. I feel most people I've heard that criticized the control scheme just didn't have enough time with the demo, because if I had only played it once with each class (especially in the case of the Wizard), I would have walked away with a negative take on the controls, too.

     

    Outside of the gameplay, the concept art for the game looks amazing, with hints of some major lore reveals like The Resurrection Chamber. Could we finally learn how demons are resurrected and why Diablo and his brothers are always coming back? It's a great example of how there is definitely stuff to get excited about when it comes to Diablo: Immortal, as the game is being promoted to include almost everything we've ever wanted in a Diablo game, including:

     

    • Varied end game content
    • In-depth gameplay via skill interactions
    • Continual updates and content
    • Expanded lore and story
    • Gameplay tailored to different playstyles (10min bites or hours long grind sessions)
    • Persistent online world with city hubs

    All of these are things we would love in Diablo 3 or Diablo 4. It's a shame that the negatives surrounding Immortal have overshadowed these attributes as everything they're aiming for would stack up to be amazing for an ARPG, it's just that we weren't expecting these features to debut first in a mobile game.

     

    The Bad

    ARPGs have dealt with a lot of issues over the years, with botting and item buying being some of the top complaints among the respective communities of almost every major ARPG out there. Even looking back at vanilla Diablo 3, the real money auction house was one of, if not THE, most controversial feature of that game. The vast majority of ARPG players despise pay-to-win mechanics, so when Blizzard announces a Diablo title for mobile, where there is a huge stigma of pay-to-win practices, you can see where this goes wrong. While I still trust Blizzard to make an amazing mobile game, the fact they've partnered with NetEase, a company that is famous for its microstransaction heavy titles, still leaves me with some major reservations. The Diablo community, and the ARPG playerbase as a whole, doesn't have issues with mircotransactions so long as they don't unbalance player power. Path of Exile is supported completely by cosmetic mircotransactions for example and is widely beloved, but if there are any ways to just out right buy powerful items in Diablo Immortal, it will further sour the relationship between the core Diablo fanbase and Blizzard. It's understandable that there is some hesitation from fans who are worried that the game could potentially offer people the ability to buy power rather than earn, in the process being forced to pay into the system in order to compete. Especially since Blizzard hasn't decided (or at least isn't saying) how the game will be monetized just yet.

     

    Another red-flag topic I heard from developers regarding Immortal was a question about "auto-play". Many eastern mobile games feature an auto-play mechanic where the game plays for you; moving to zones, talking to NPCs, fighting monsters, and completing quests. While not as completely automated as botting, this would be a huge sticking point for western ARPG fans that have been against botting for decades. The issue here is that auto-play is a staple for games in the eastern markets and Blizzard wants to create just a single, global game and not have to localize it for different regions. This is just one of those issues where there is no real right answer. Western players don't want an auto-play mechanic, but eastern players would be left questioning why it isn't in the game, and Blizzard wants everyone to play in the same shared space. Thankfully, decisions about auto-play were still very far away as the developers were still focused on core design of Immortal and it sounded like the developers were well aware of how western players would react to such a feature. I hope Blizzard fully understands that if they truly intend for Immortal to be targeted towards "core Diablo players" that this type of feature is a make-or-break decision for the majority of the Diablo community. Anything that resembled botting being a core feature of the game would be completely tone-deaf to a core issue we, as players, have been rallying against since the early days of the franchise.

     

    The Ugly

    This one isn't necessarily about the game itself, but it's still important — how the whole announcement of Diablo: Immortal was handled. Diablo players are primarily PC players, with a growing console base as well. When we're told to be excited about this year's BlizzCon, we expected something for PC. The Immortal announcement came out of left field and when there was nothing else mentioned for Diablo 3 or the next iteration in the series beyond "multiple teams, working on multiple projects", it's understandable that the fans got upset. That isn't to say that Blizzard and the developers shouldn't be excited about Immortal — they genuinely care about the game and they should be excited for their passion project. But, at the same time, the people in control of these marketing decisions should understand that we're not going to be the demographic that's going to be excited for that style of game. There are multiple examples from earlier this year of other developers announcing mobile titles to lukewarm response at best or outright hostility at worse. We fans felt as if Blizzard didn't understand what we wanted or what we get excited about. It felt like they were out of touch.

     

    Will PC players play a mobile game? Of course, but it's not going to be a primary focus. We needed something else, hard evidence from Blizzard to saying "hey here's something else we're working on to show that we haven't forgotten about you, the core audience." It's commonly accepted by most that one of the multiple projects is Diablo 4 and it will be on PC, but at this point the community needs to hear Blizzard say that.

     

    But as we've seen, Blizzard will not budge when it comes to keeping everything hidden until it's ready to show. Even after the bombshell Kotaku article, which contained numerous details about a second, cancelled expansion for Diablo 3 and multiple versions of Diablo 4, Blizzard still refuses to comment, which honestly is only furthering the divide between the community and the company.

     

    The cancellations of projects like Titan and Starcraft: Ghost have burned Blizzard in the past, which makes it somewhat understandable why Blizzard doesn't want to reveal their hand. However, in this scenario, it seems Blizzard could have take a play from game publisher Bethesda Softworks, who earlier this year announced a mobile game based on its beloved RPG series The Elder Scrolls and then followed it up by immediately confirming development of a new core game entry in the form of The Elder Scrolls VI. They even released a teaser trailer. Bethesda knew its fanbase wouldn't be satisfied with just a mobile game announcement, so they gave them a little tease of what was to come. And it worked.

     

    Turns out people can get mighty excited about 20 seconds of mountains and rocks followed by a logo. It's a gesture like that which shows the developers still have their core audience in mind. Maybe one day, AAA+ titles will exist for mobile and it'll be something BlizzCon goers will be expecting, but we're not there yet. Diablo: Immortal could be that first mind-blowing mobile game that really draws in the hardcore crowd, but no one will believe that until they get the game in their hands, and Blizzard should have approached it as such.


    We can all agree that Immortal got off to a bad start, but there is some potential for the title. There are also some aspects to be very wary of. Blizzard will need to put in a lot of effort to recoup lost faith among the fanbase, and they'll also need to be more open in communicating about where Immortal is headed and what kind of monetization system the game will feature.

     

    Diablo fans are upset because they're passionate about the franchise. They have decades of fond memories, and a mobile title, with all of the stigmas that go along with that, just seems anathema to those memories. For many Immortal will be a great side game, but they'll just want something more to go along with it. Maybe, just maybe, Blizzard can take a little risk and openly acknowledge that they're working on a PC Diablo title as the next iteration in the series and ease people's fears. If not, it might be a long wait for fans when it comes to learning what's next.


    Neinball (@NeinballGamer) is a content creator for Diablo Fans and a horadrim in training. Whether he's relaxing on Zegema Beach, fighting servants of the Corpse-God in the 41st millennium, or quelling Rebellions in the Outer Rim, his passion always brings him back to slaying Demons in Sanctuary.

    Posted in: Diablo: Immortal — The Good, The Bad, The Ugly
  • published the article Review: Book of Adria

    If you've been dismayed by the delay of the Book of Adria: A Diablo Bestiary, fear not! We've got you covered. I recently received a review copy courtesy of Blizzard, and suffice to say, if you enjoyed previous Diablo source books like the Book of Tyrael or the Book of Cain, you'll love this one. Read on for the full review.

     

    Premise

    The Book of Adria is written as an in-universe guide and collection of records helping to detail the denizens of the world of Sanctuary, the High Heavens, the Burning Hells, and beyond. The book spans a wide time frame, with it being started by Adria before the events of Diablo I during her time in the Coven, with later entries and footnotes being added during the events leading up to the Reaper of Souls. Adria's original intent for the book was to be a record of knowledge that the members of the Coven could use to further the goals of the Burning Hells and throughout it she constantly reinforces the mantra that knowledge is power, and power is the key to victory in the Eternal Conflict. Every page is dripping with details; tips for organs to use during summoning rituals, how to best harvest the stomach acid of a dune thresher, or which season is best for harvesting poisons of local fauna. Adria also added notes to her older entries with knowledge she gained after leaving the Coven and becoming a direct agent for the Lord of Terror, Diablo himself.

    Materials and Construction

    Like the other books in the series, no expense was spared in the construction of the Book of Adria. From the embossed cover to the heavy, high quality stock used for each page, the book is amazing from beginning to end. The book is a more coherent collection of thoughts than the Book of Cain before it and, fittingly, lacks its predecessors roughened edges. Adria also forgoes the gilded filigree that adorned the Book of Tyrael. This book serves a simple purpose; it's a collection of knowledge. A collection of power. Despite this (very fitting) pragmatic approach to the design of the book, the quality of the construction and printing of the book lives up to standards set by the Book of Cain and Book of Tyrael and will fit right along these previous entries.

    Art Design and Production

    Almost every single page in the Book of Adria is adorned with magnificent drawings, rough sketches, scribbled notes, or diagrams for magical formula to summon forth the Lords of the Burning Hells. The book is designed as an ever growing catalog of the creatures Adria has encountered during her travels roaming Sanctuary and notes on how to use, or avoid, all of them. Continuing in a theme set by the Book of Tyrael, this book is more cohesive than the Book of Cain and is divided into logical categories, such as the nature of the Coven itself, the undead, the native creatures of Sanctuary and of the realms beyond, her limited knowledge of the angels, and a very in-depth look at the minions and rulers of the Burning Hells. One of my favorite touches is Adria's constant notes on how best to make use of the information contained within. For example, an entry on ghosts and possessions notes that a mild poison will weaken the body of the host and allow you bring the possessing spirit to the forefront. It's little touches like this that really draw you in and for just the briefest of moments allow you picture what it must be like living the world of Sanctuary. 

     

    The Lore

    Whether you're a new fan to Diablo or long time lore nerd, this book has something to offer for everyone. It felt like many entries in the book started from the in-game journals detailing the beasts within Diablo III, but were further fleshed out from there. The beginning starts off before the events of Diablo I with Adria's notes on the history of the Coven, detailing its origins during the Sin Wars. She continues with notes on how best to use the information contained in the book to acquire power and to prepare the Coven for the coming of the End of Days and the final battles of the Eternal Conflict. Adria also offers warnings that the reader must always be cautious. It's complacency, she writes, that spelled the doom for the prior leaders of the Coven. Should she ever fail in her duties, she expects the next in line for her position to kill her, just as had been done in the past. Spread throughout are also notes from Adria many decades later, having left the Coven and now working for Diablo directly. She offers insight into the shortsightedness of the Coven and why she took her findings with her. It is also in these sections we get our first hints at the rituals needed to cast spells, the protections used for communing with those not of our realm, and how to harvest reagents. One of my favorite parts of the book is within this first chapter, detailing the months of Sanctuary. In that same section is the only retcon I noticed within the book. An included map of Sanctuary has shifted the placements of some of the cities and geography of Sanctuary, most notably the moving of Westmarch and Bramwell.

     

    Next comes the "Dead and the Damned", a look at the undead that inhabit Sanctuary and those that control them. This section touches on one of the focal points of Reaper of Souls, the power of the human soul. Described as an almost infinite power source, the constant struggle of the human soul to simply survive after its mortal body has passed away drives souls to replenish themselves and explains why they are so sought after by demons or used to power occult rituals. This need to continue on is also used as an explanation for ghosts and possessions, as the souls of the wrongfully dead feel an overpowering need to return to the places they once lived. Brief accounts of Witch Doctors and Necromancers are also given, alongside some insights into their worldviews. Adria notes that various cultural beliefs are shaped by the Eternal Conflict, whether they know it or not. 

     

    Next is the "Creatures of Sanctuary and the Realms Beyond". This section details the more natural denizens of the world, such as spiders or Khazra, as well as creatures not from our world, Heaven, or Hell. These pages are littered with helpful tips from Adria on how to best make use of everything to their fullest. Whether it's noting you can substitute goatman blood for human blood or how you can prepare Lucani eyes for a ritual to see into the future, every page prepares the reader for the obstacles they may face if they truly intend to take part in the Eternal Conflict between Heaven and Hell. I found the details on the realms of Creation scattered throughout this section some of the most interesting aspects of the whole book. While realms beyond Heaven and Hell have been hinted at before, dating back to Diablo II and the Sin War Trilogy, these "other realms" have never been covered in any detail. While Adria's understandings of the working of Creation are limited, it's tantalizing to see hints that there might be more to the universe of Diablo than we originally thought and what that might mean for the future of the franchise. 

     

     

    The shortest section of the book is that on the "Angels of the High Heavens". This makes sense from the context of the book, as the Angiris Council had forbid any angel from interfering in the affairs of humanity, with Tyrael being a notable exception. As such, Adria could find little information on them. While she states she originally hated the Angels because of their opposition to the Burning Hells, as she learned more about Creation and the Eternal Conflict, she came to at least respect the Hosts of the High Heavens as they are bound by fate to their actions and see to their duties honorably. Adria expands slightly on our understanding of events during Diablo II and what Baal's ultimate goal at the Worldstone Keep truly was, as well as what affect his corruption of the Worldstone had on Sanctuary. She also makes notes of Malthael's transformation during the events of the Reaper of Souls and how his actions have changed the power dynamics in the High Heavens.

     

    The final, and longest, section of the book, "Demon of the Burning Hells", takes up almost half of the entire page count. Great detail is taken in every section on how to prepare the reader for summoning or contacting each and every demon contained within. Special notes on what to look out for, how to draw your summoning circles, and even the days on which to attempt contact with the Burning Hells. As Adria was incredibly familiar with demonology and regularly consorted with demons, this level of detail makes perfect sense. This is the driving power behind the Coven and later her own plots to bind the Seven Evils into the Black Soulstone and create the Prime Evil. She carefully details her time in Tristram, her contact with Diablo, and her quest to better understand Zoltun Kulle's techniques of marking demons to bind within the Soulstone. It is within these pages Adria gives very detailed instructions on the creation of the summoning circles she used to capture the souls of the Lesser and Prime Evils and bind them within the Black Soulstone. If you ever wondered how exactly all the previous Demon Lords got trapped within the Soulstone instantly upon its completion, this section tells you. This section also concludes one of the themes throughout the book, Adria's relationship with her daughter Leah. It is a bit saddening to see Adria constantly refer to her own daughter as 'the vessel', but fitting with her character. The book drives home how Adria was ruthless in pursuit of her goals, in the process shedding any traces of her humanity.

     

    Final Thoughts

    The final section of the Book of Adria really out does anything in the Book of Cain or the Book of Tyrael. Blizzard has taken the concept of these source books and brought it to the next level. This isn't just a collection of notes, it's a history lesson and guidebook all in one. The attention to detail and level of care that went into fleshing out such minor details is a testament to just how much Blizzard cares about the future of the Diablo franchise. If you're like me, you'll finish this book in a single sitting because you won't be able to put it down. Every page not only gives you a more in-depth look at the world within the game, it also sheds light on the thought processes and motivations of the characters within the setting.

     

    If you enjoyed the previous two source books, you will LOVE this book. If you're looking for a good jumping in point and ready to immerse yourself in the setting of Diablo, this is a the perfect place to start as it acts as a great companion to Diablo III and its connection to the previous games. The only things I would have liked to have seen included in this book are some insight from Adria as to what happened to Leah's soul after Diablo took over and maybe some thoughts from whomever found the book after Adria's defeat as to what awaits Adria's own soul in the Burning Hells.

     

    Even for those who aren't fans of the lore, the Book of Adria is an amazing treat that deserves a place in the collection of every diehard Diablo fan. From the quality of the production, to the art that is just spilling off the page, this book makes for a wonderful coffee table piece — provided your guests don't mind the summoning circles for calling forth the Prime Evils, that is.

     

    If you're eagerly awaiting getting your hands on a copy of the Book of Adria, don't worry, you'll be able to get one soon. The Book of Adria: A Diablo Bestiary is currently scheduled to be released later this year in December.


    Neinball (@NeinballGamer) is a content creator for Diablo Fans and a horadrim in training. Whether he's relaxing on Zegema Beach, fighting servants of the Corpse-God in the 41st millennium, or quelling Rebellions in the Outer Rim, his passion always brings him back to slaying Demons in Sanctuary.

    Posted in: Review: Book of Adria
  • published the article Diablo Hopes, Rumors, and Predictions for BlizzCon 2018

    As is tradition, the period right before BlizzCon is rife with hopes, dreams, and speculation about what Diablo news will be revealed at this year's show. Every single bit of media from Blizzard is being heavily scrutinized in search of hints regarding what might be announced, but the truth is right now all we have to go on is chiefly rumors and speculation. That being said, I've made a list of Diablo related announcements that could pop up at BlizzCon 2018, as well as my thoughts on how likely they are to happen.

     

    Diablo Netflix Series

    Rumors have been circulating for a while now about a potential deal with Netflix to produce a series based within the world of Diablo. The lore nerd within me would love a follow up series based around Wrath that would help flesh out the history of Sanctuary, the High Heavens, and Burning Hells. But how likely is it?

    Realistic Prediction:

    We saw just a few weeks ago that apparently the rumors are true and that Blizzard is actively in talks with industry professionals to explore a potential Diablo series. We can look back at 2006 when Universal and Blizzard announced the Warcraft movie, but didn't discuss any details until BlizzCon 2007, where they featured a single piece of concept art. This lends a tiny bit of precedent in that if Blizzard is comfortable with moving forward on a deal with Netflix, BlizzCon would be the perfect time to announce it. On the other hand, if we're looking to the Warcraft movie as an example, the initial press release for the film was made jointly with the studio. Trying to line that up with BlizzCon may be harder than we give credit to. I'm not going to hold my breath on this one.

    Diablo Mobile

    This rumor started a few years ago and continues to be brought up as a joke response in threads speculating on what shape the future of the franchise will take. But does it have any basis?

    Realistic Prediction:

    Despite the persistence of this rumor, there has been no evidence to support it at all. No credible rumors or leaks have ever been seen about it, and scrutiny over the multitude of Unannounced Diablo Project postings also haven't lent themselves to suggest any kind of mobile project in the works. While I'd be presently surprised by a mobile game set within Sanctuary, I don't see this happening in 2018.

    Diablo III Updates

    There have been rumors that earlier this year the primary responsibilities for Diablo III were handed from Team 3 over to Classic Games. With the press tours of the Switch port being headed by Pete Stilwell, Senior Producer of Classic Games, it lends a lit more evidence that this is true. What does this mean for the game itself? That means that Blizzard can have Team 3 focus on the Unannounced Project(s) while still providing a level of support for Diablo III. By the time BlizzCon rolls around, it'll have been over a year since the last the time the game received any meaningful updates (Patch 2.6.1), and it's likely time for some quality of life changes for the game. We've seen with Season 14 & 15 that Blizzard has been using some of the past community buffs, with the final ones to be reused simply being EXP increases or Legendary drop rate boosts. If Blizzard were to change it up and create something entirely new, Season 16 would be the perfect time for it and any announcements at BlizzCon would still give a little over a month for a PTR and testing before the proposed ending of Season 15 in December.

    Realistic Prediction:

    I expect at least a roadmap of what Blizzard intends for the future of Diablo III and what we can expect in terms of continued patch support (or lack thereof). At a minimum I could see a minor patch with something new for Season 16, as a season of 2000% Legendary drop rates sounds like it'd be fun for a bit but get stale fast.

     

    Diablo I/Diablo II Remaster/Remake

    Now this is where things begin to get interesting. There have been rumors of a Diablo remaster since before the announcement of the Starcraft remaster. Back towards the end of 2015, Blizzard started hiring for an Art Outsource Supervisor with the description of: "Classic games is seeking a skilled artist to help revitalize StarCraft, Warcraft III, Diablo II, and our catalogue of other classics." The community started to wonder if Blizzard was actively looking to bring back their some of their older titles. Last year's release of the Starcraft remastered edition was proof that they have been working towards this end. Now the question is, will Blizzard bring this treatment to Sanctuary? And if so, which title? While most fans think of Diablo II when they think of "Diablo" as a whole, that one may be a bit trickery to pull off.

    Realistic Prediction:

    We've heard from David Brevik, one of the original creators of Diablo, that the original source code for Diablo II is likely lost. That would nix any plans of remastering the title. This doesn't rule out a remake however, but it would require a lot more work to reverse engineer the game. To me, the more likely scenario will be a remake/remaster of the original Diablo. We've also seen a lot of Diablo I imagery in the BlizzCon goodie bag, the 'leaked' thumbnail of the Starcraft Vinyl Virtual Ticket video, and the BlizzCon 2018 Key Art featuring an old-school Diablo design. Also, if either title would have to be remade from the ground up, Diablo I would be the easier title to develop. Out of all of the possibilities for this year's announcements, I'm placing a remake or remaster of Diablo I or II as the most probable.

     

    Diablo IV

    Diablo IV is probably Blizzard's worst kept secret. While they haven't official announced what any of the multiple unannounced projects are, this has to be one of them. It's the secret no one talks about, but everyone just kind of knows anyways. The question is, will Blizzard officially announce it this year? And if so, will it mimic 2008's announcement of Diablo III and have a preview of gameplay, but no actual playable demo? Or will it follow suit with all of Blizzard's announcements since then and have a demo to coincide with the announcement? We had our first inkling Diablo IV was development back in Dec. 2015 when Blizzard posted their first job for an Unannounced Diablo Project. While it's been almost three years, we have to remember that development started for Diablo III back in 2001 immediately following the release of Lord of Destruction. I don't expect another 11 year development cycle, but Blizzard is likely to take their time with this title and try their best to not only live up to the expectations set by Diablo III but also live up to the nostalgia many in the community still hold for Diablo II.

    Realist Prediction:

    It's really hard to say with this one. I almost feel that just announcing that it's in development with no further information, a la WoW: Classic, would actually be beneficial for them, as it'll at least deliver on all the hype that has been building since the Future of Diablo video that was release this summer. At the same time, Blizzard has been burned in the past with Project Titan, Starcraft: Ghost, and, to an extent, the long development cycle of Diablo III as well. This is has caused them to be far more conservative with game announcements and I feel that might hold back Diablo IV's unveiling until "it's ready". I'll give this one a coin flip. We all know they're working on it, they know we know they're working on it, they know we really, really want it, but Blizzard does things their way and it might not always make sense to us.

     

    (P.S.  D4 won't be called Reign of Terror)

     

    We won't have to wait much longer to learn what all Blizzard has in store. BlizzCon 2018 starts November 2.


    Neinball (@NeinballGamer) is a content creator for Diablo Fans and a horadrim in training. Whether he's relaxing on Zegema Beach, fighting servants of the Corpse-God in the 41st millennium, or quelling Rebellions in the Outer Rim, his passion always brings him back to slaying Demons in Sanctuary.

    Posted in: Diablo Hopes, Rumors, and Predictions for BlizzCon 2018
  • published the article What Could the Rumored Netflix Diablo Series Look Like?

    With the recent rumors of a potential Netflix Diablo series in the works, many have been wondering what exactly a series based on the game franchise might look like. Assuming the show would be an animated series rather than live-action, we actually might already have a good idea of what a Diablo show could look like thanks to the 2012 short, Diablo III: Wrath.

     

    Valor Shall Turn to Wrath

    Wrath was released shortly before the launch of Diablo III and used as an introduction to some of the new faces players were about to encounter in the game. Anyone who hadn't read the novels would have never heard of Auriel, Itherael, Imperius, or Malthael, and this animated short gave some quick insights into the characters and their motivations. This short also served as a back drop to the beginnings of the Prophecy of the End of Days that foretold many of the events of Diablo III.

     

    Wrath itself takes place at some point thousands of years in the past during the Eternal Conflict. The forces of Heaven are assaulting the Pandemonium Fortress that is currently held by the minions of Hell. Little did the Angiris Council realize that they had fallen into a trapped laid by the Prime Evils to try and break the unity of the Council by preying upon Imperius' rage and cause him to fall to wrath. This was a perfect way to introduce new characters, personalities, and motivations. Blizzard has since gone on to frequently use non-game media like comics, shorts and more for storytelling purposes throughout their game properties, most notably for Overwatch, a game in which the narrative is told almost entirely in out-of-game fiction.

    What's Next?

    I don't expect Blizzard to shy away from storytelling within the game and completely following Overwatch's model, but the rumored Diablo series could very much be a way to take an expanded look at the history of the universe. Whether it takes place during the Eternal Conflict, the Sin War, the creation of Sanctuary, or even as the Hunt for the Three, it could give potential insight as to where Blizzard will be taking the story for the future of the franchise. I don't expect it to fill the gap between Reaper of Souls and what comes next, but to be used more as an introduction to characters or events that will be utilized in the future, much like how Wrath or the Overwatch shorts are used. We could then make some guesses as to where the future will go for Diablo IV or any of the announced multiple projects may be. Finally, I would also expect this to be more of a mini-series than an actual fully fledged show, this would be setting the stage for next part in the storyline rather than being an actual entry in the main story itself. 

     

    Of course, it's always possible the show could be a loose adaptation of previous game storylines themselves, much like the Netflix Castlevania animated series which is soon to be in its second season. Or this rumor might simply be just that — a rumor, and there's no show to look forward to at all. Regardless, it's still fun to think about what a Diablo Netflix series could look like. If it turned out to be anything like Diablo III: Wrath, fans would be in for a real treat.


    Neinball (@NeinballGamer) is a content creator for Diablo Fans and a horadrim in training. Whether he's relaxing on Zegema Beach, fighting servants of the Corpse-God in the 41st millennium, or quelling Rebellions in the Outer Rim, his passion always brings him back to slaying Demons in Sanctuary.

    Posted in: What Could the Rumored Netflix Diablo Series Look Like?
  • published the article Lore Loose Ends: Mephisto, Lord of Hatred

    There are many figures in Diablo lore that have helped shape the world of Sanctuary and all those who dwell within it, but few have had as large an impact on it as the forces of the High Heavens and the Burning Hells.

     

    This series will take a closer look at the leaders of these factions and where they stand in the current Diablo timeline. In this article, we'll take a look at Mephisto, Lord of Hatred.

    Lord of Hatred, The First Brother, Ruler of Hell

    Mephisto is the Eldest of the three Prime Evils, making him one of the oldest beings in all of Creation. A master manipulator and schemer, Mephisto was the defacto ruler of Hell through his many machinations that kept his rivals, and allies, at war with one so that none could challenge him. In the end though, even Mephisto was tricked by Diablo and made a pawn in the Lord of Terror's scheme to become the Prime Evil. But is this truly the last we have seen of the Lord of Hatred?

     

    Dul'Mephistos

     

    Mephisto is one of the few Lords of Hell known to have children and befitting his status in Hell, his children have also held positions of power that have helped shape Sanctuary. It was Mephisto's daughter Lilith that conspired with Inarius to steal the Worldstone and create Sanctuary itself. It was also Lilith that recognized the power of the offspring of angels and demons, the nephalem, and tried to turn them into an army to subjugate both Heaven and Hell. Later, during the Sin War, it was Mephisto's son Lucian who would lead the forces of Hell that were trying to corrupt all of humanity while challenging Inarius' rule of Sanctuary. When the Lucian ultimately failed and the Sin War came to it's climax, it was Mephisto who bargained with the Angiris Council as the representative of Hell.

    The Dark Exile

    After the Three Prime Evils captured Izual during his ill-fated raid on the Hellforge and pried the secrets of the soulstones from the angel's tortured form, they began planning the end of the Eternal Conflict. Mephisto lead his brothers in plotting how to fake their own exile to Sanctuary, fooling the Angelic Hosts, and giving them ample opportunity to corrupt all of mankind. They would then use the latent nephalem powers within humans as a weapon against the High Heavens and swing the Eternal Conflict in favor of Hell. The Three would manipulate the Lesser Evils into overthrowing the Primes and orchestrate their banishment to Sanctuary as a form of punishment. Armed with the secrets provided by Izual, Mephisto and his brothers knew that Tyrael would likely intervene and try to use the soulstones to capture and imprison their souls. Little did Mephisto know that Diablo had already started plotting his own ascension to become the sole Prime Evil.

     

    Lord of Hatred

    The Rise of the Three

    Mephisto was the first of the Three to be captured, but with his skills of manipulation and corruption he was also the first free himself. After centuries of slowly corrupting generation after generation of the leaders of the Zakarum Church, he was finally able to overcome to the prison of the soulstone and lead the priests in a ritual that shattered his soulstone into seven fragments and freed his essence from within. The sole high priest of the Zakarum to remain uncorrupted, the Que-Hegan (leader) Khalim, was turned on by his fellows and was dismembered so that he could not interfere with the release of Mephisto. The next priest to be promoted to Que-Hegan, Sankekur, was used as Mephisto's physical vessel on Sanctuary. Using Sankekur, Mephisto would tighten his control of the rest of the Zakarum Faith and set about long laid plans to free his brothers. The heroes of Diablo II would eventually come to face-to-face with the Lord of Hatred on their quest to hunt down and stop Diablo, defeating Mephisto and shattering his soulstone.

     

    While his soulstone was shattered, Mephisto's soul survived and was left in some form of limbo for 20 years until Diablo's servant, Adria, trapped the Lord of Hatred's essence within the Black Soulstone in order to form the Prime Evil. Upon the completion of the Black Soulstone, all the power of the seven Great Evils were merged into the singular being known as the Prime Evil, with Diablo in control. But could that really be the end of Mephisto?

     

    In the final battle with Malthael during Reaper of Souls, the Angel of Death shattered the Black Soulstone and absorbed it within himself to try and combat the Nephalem hero. Even with all of that power, Malthael was still laid low by the Nephalem, but what happened to the Black Soulstone and the souls trapped within it were left wide open at the end of the Reaper of Souls.

     

    Unending Hatred

    Some of the writers of Reaper of Souls have commented in the past that if (they haven't definitely said this is the case) Diablo was released following Malthael's destruction, it would be Diablo's Prime Evil form released and not the individual Prime Evils. But this isn't canon, at least not yet. Blizzard could easily walk back those comments in Diablo IV or whatever comes next. A being as powerful and manipulative as Mephisto would surely be raging at his bonds within the Black Soulstone and fighting against whatever magics Diablo used to enslave his soul.

     

    What if the Black Soulstone was still functioning even after being shattered? Could Diablo have lost control over the Prime Evil? Having a Prime Evil that changed personalities or tactics throughout a story could be a very interesting antagonist. No longer were you facing the Prime Evil as a singular monolithic Evil, but as an ever changing enemy as the different Lords of Hell fought one another to assume temporary control of the Prime Evil. The Prime Evil was able to corrupt angels and the High Heaven's themselves by its mere presence while Diablo was using its power in a full frontal attack. What if Mephisto had been in control? Imagine the horrors that could have been unleashed if that kind of corrupting influence was used across all of Sanctuary instead? The Prime Evil could have been infesting Sanctuary by tapping into the demonic nature within all humans and raising an army of potential nephalem. A Prime Evil controlled by Mephisto would be a far more sinister opponent to face than the one we defeated in Diablo III.

     

    What if Mephisto was able to escape the confines of the Black Soulstone and regain his free will? Malthael had changed the Black Soulstone and had been using it to absorb the power of human/nephalem souls from all across the world. The Lords of Hell that had also been trapped within could easily have been infused with some portion of that power. A lesser lord of Hell, a minion of Azmodan known as Vidian, effectively used the blood of humans to infuse himself with a small portion of a nephalem's power. It would not be a far stretch to see a being of Mephisto's talents being able to harness the power of all those souls he was trapped alongside within the Black Soulstone. Whether Mephisto would turn that power on Sanctuary and the High Heavens or his own brethren in retaliation for using him as a tool is anyone's guess.

     

    Mephisto may be MIA in Diablo itself as of late, but the Lord of Hatred is now playable in Heroes of the Storm


    Neinball (@NeinballGamer) is a content creator for Diablo Fans and a horadrim in training. Whether he's relaxing on Zegema Beach, fighting servants of the Corpse-God in the 41st millennium, or quelling Rebellions in the Outer Rim, his passion always brings him back to slaying Demons in Sanctuary.

    Posted in: Lore Loose Ends: Mephisto, Lord of Hatred
  • published the article Lore Loose Ends: Where is Hope?

    There are many figures in Diablo lore that have helped shape the world of Sanctuary and all those who dwell within it, but few have had as large an impact on it as the forces of the High Heavens and the Burning Hells.

     

    This series will take a closer look at the leaders of these factions and where they stand in the current Diablo timeline. In this first article, we'll take a look at Auriel, Archangel of Hope.

    Auriel, Archangel of Hope
    Auriel, Archangel of Hope

    Auriel is a member of the ruling council of the High Heavens, which is known as the Angiris Council. Not only is she revered by the Angels for her placement on the council, but her standing as the embodiment of Hope itself has led her to become the most beloved of all Angels. She is a benevolent being who shows compassion for humanity, instead of the contempt or hatred that many other Angels harbor. Auriel was one of the members of the Angiris Council that voted to save humanity at the culmination of the Sin War, and has continued to support the human race ever since. While she supports humanity, she's unable to interfere due to the pact the Council made with the Prime Evils of Hell at the end of the Sin War, which preserved Sanctuary as neutral ground. We know that up until the events of Reaper of Souls that Auriel continued to support humans and nephalem indirectly, but she is noticeably absent during Malthael's attack on Sanctuary.

    The Fate of the Black Soulstone is Decided

     

    Shortly before Reaper of Souls, in the novel Storm of Light, Tyrael's newly reformed Horadrim undertake a perilous mission to steal the Black Soulstone from Heaven and hide it in the Ruins of Corvus. At the end of the story, Auriel uncovers Tyrael's plan and ambushes him and the Horadrim during their escape through the abandoned Halls of Wisdom. During her confrontation with Tyrael, she ultimately lets him escape without interfering, seeing that Tyrael's intentions are what he thinks is best for the safety of all of Creation. It's only after this that we see that Malthael had tricked Tyrael into bringing the Black Soulstone to Sanctuary so that the he could steal it and enact his plans to destroy all of humanity.

     

    Auriel doesn't intervene during Malthael's attack, when even Imperius lends a hand in helping to defeat the Angel of Death. The pact with Hell is obviously over and she is no longer bound to not interfere, so why doesn't she help? Could it be that she began to regret her decision to aid Tyrael? Might she have second thoughts about the power of the Nephalem and the creations of humanity, like the Black Soulstone?

     

    Even Tyrael began to question the power of the Nephalem after the detruction of Malthael — and he was humanity's most ardent supporter, so it is possible that Auriel's faith has been shaken, too. The balance of the Angiris Council's vote on Sanctuary threatens to swing in favor of war against the Nephalem, with Imperius' stance likely remaining on the side of their destruction and Tyrael's position within the Council in question after Storm of Light. With Itherael being an unknown, Imperius witnessing the true power and threat of the Nephalem, and Tyrael potentially being removed from the Council, even if Auriel simply abstained from voting on the issue of the Nephalem, it could lead to all-out war with the High Heavens and the destruction of Sanctuary. 

     

    All this being said, Auriel may still have unwavering faith in the Nephalem. She could still champion their continued existence and attempt to stave off any action from the High Heavens against the denizens of Sanctuary. Hope is her defining characteristic, and with the population of Sanctuary slaughtered in the wake of Malthael's attack, that's exactly what humanity needs in the next Diablo game. 


    Neinball (@NeinballGamer) is a content creator for Diablo Fans and a horadrim in training. Whether he's relaxing on Zegema Beach, fighting servants of the Corpse-God in the 41st millennium, or quelling Rebellions in the Outer Rim, his passion always brings him back to slaying Demons in Sanctuary.

    Posted in: Lore Loose Ends: Where is Hope?
  • published the article Community Highlights: Epic Cosplays & Original Concept Art

    While all eyes are on BlizzCon 2018 for any news about the future of the Diablo franchise, there are still plenty of awesome creations being put together from fans throughout the community. Take a look!

    Auriel Cosplay

    This amazing cosplay was created by Tiffany Gordon. It took two months to create and you can find videos of the wings in-action and more behind-the-scenes photos on her Instagram.

     

    Wei Wang Diablo III Concept Artist

    Wei Wang, one of the original Diablo III artists, has recently joined Twitter and has been showing off many of his concept pieces from the earlier days of Diablo III's development. You can find art from him about Diablo, Warcraft, and more on his Art Station account.

     

    Barbarian Cosplay

    The official Diablo Twitter account has shown off an awesome Barbarian cosplay by Anhyra Cosplay

     

    Deckard Cain Coming to the Nexus

    And just in case you missed it, Deckard Cain will be entering Heroes of the Storm's Nexus soon, and the husband and wife duo of Steel Barrel Cosplay made an epic Deckard Cain to help celebrate the announcement.

     


    Neinball (@NeinballGamer) is a content creator for Diablo Fans and a horadrim in training. Whether he's relaxing on Zegema Beach, fighting servants of the Corpse-God in the 41st millennium, or quelling Rebellions in the Outer Rim, his passion always brings him back to slaying Demons in Sanctuary.

    Posted in: Community Highlights: Epic Cosplays & Original Concept Art
  • published the article Is Diablo 3 Coming to Switch? If So, Here Are New Features We'd Love to See

    Diablo 3 on the Switch?

    One of the biggest rumors buzzing around the Diablo community at the moment is the possibility of Diablo 3 coming to the Nintendo Switch. The rumor has been shared around the web across various news sites and even got a response from Blizzard in the form of a cryptic tweet. But Blizzard has since gone on record to say that they did not mean the tweet as an acknowledgement of a Switch version in development and that they have no official announcements for Diablo 3 at this time. A few days later, a report from Eurogamer seems to confirm that the game is indeed in production, though a official announcement appears to be several months away.

     

    This back and forth has, naturally, sparked lots of conversation. With that in mind I wanted to dive in and give my thoughts on what features I’d like to see included if Diablo 3 does ever arrive for the Switch.

     

    The Necromancer and Eternal Collection

    Currently, new copies of Diablo 3 available for the PS4 and Xbox One come in the form of the "Eternal Collection", which contains the base game, Reaper of Souls, and the Rise of the Necromancer pack. I would expect nothing less from the Switch Version, so no extra DLC here: just one purchase for all of the currently available Diablo 3 content.

    Nintendo Easter Eggs?

    When Diablo 3 was originally announced for consoles, Blizzard had a load of special pre-order bonus items exclusively for the Playstation 3 based off of popular Sony IPs, namely Journey and Uncharted.

    Blizzard would later go on to release more exclusives for the launch of the Ultimate Evil Edition for the PS4 with the Shadow of the Colossus transmog and the chance of encountering a special Last of Us themed ‘Clicker’ Rift.

     

     

    Could we see Blizzard repeat this pattern for the Switch? There are certainly tons of possibilities.

    A Legend of Zelda themed transmog of Link’s tunic?

    A Chain Chomp cosmetic pet?

    Samus inspired shoulders and helm to go alongside the Starcraft transmogs?

    A chance for Whimsydale/Whimsyshire to spawn with Koopas and Goombas?

    A Master Sword legendary drop?

    With so many iconic IPs a version of Diablo on a Nintendo console would have an incredible selection of transmog, cosmetic, or thematic items to offer.

     

    Diablo On The Go

    All console versions of Diablo 3 offer an offline mode of play. If the Switch rumor does come true, Diablo 3 would be the first in the series to go mobile and be able to be played anywhere. Running a rift while waiting between classes, finishing some bounties while on your lunch break from work, or you could even play while flying.

     

    Local Wireless Play - The Next Level of Couch Co-Op

    The portable nature of the Switch would make this feature a sure bet. One of the original intentions for the console port of Diablo 3 was the idea of the couch co-op. Couch co-op, aka local multiplayer, is simply having multiple players all play on the same screen in the same room. Blizzard’s commitment to couch co-op lead to many changes in the game, from Necromancer corpse usage on consoles, the ability for multiple players to enter Set Dungeons, and even for the multiplayer Challenge Rifts. The Switch’s local wireless play feature is the next logical step for couch co-op. Rather than every player playing on the same screen, a player could play on their individual Switch while still being linked in a party with players playing nearby on their own Switches. Any place with a wifi connection could be an instant group to play with friends. Local play would combine all the best aspects of the Switch’s mobile nature and Blizzard’s commitment to the multiplayer experience. Imagine putting together Bounty runs or Rift groups while hanging out at BlizzCon.

    Gameplay Improvements

    The Ultimate Evil Edition launched in 2014 and there hasn’t been any major mechanical overhauls to the console version of the game since then. A Switch version would be the perfect opportunity for Blizzard to revisit the game and make improvements.

     

    One of the biggest weaknesses of the console versions of Diablo 3 are the controls. Many of the best builds on PC don’t translate well to console due to many skills having fixed targeting. As an example, very few Wizards on console use any type of Meteor build due to the awkwardness of targeting the skill when surrounded by enemies, while easier to use skills like Energy Twister dominate the Wizard leaderboards. The simplified targeting system on consoles make Diablo 3 feel like an almost completely different game at higher level Greater Rifts. The Switch version could bring the higher level experiences closer to one another through an overhaul of the control scheme of the game.

    Parting Thoughts: A Sign of Things to Come?

    Diablo 3 on consoles seemed like a huge risk for Blizzard. It was their first console game in over a decade and it was a litmus test of sorts to see if there was any interest for Blizzard titles on platforms other than PC. With the success of Diablo 3 and then Overwatch on the Playstation and Xbox, a Switch version of Diablo 3 is definitely in the realm of possibility. A Switch version of Diablo 3 could be a good way to gauge consumer interest in Blizzard titles on the Switch as well. If the game sold well, Blizzard might look to bring over Overwatch or other future titles to the Switch.

     

    What do you think about the possibility of Diablo 3 on the the Switch? What new features would you like to see included? Let us know in the comments below.


    Neinball (@NeinballGamer) is a content creator for Diablo Fans and a horadrim in training. Whether he's relaxing on Zegema Beach, fighting servants of the Corpse-God in the 41st millennium, or quelling Rebellions in the Outer Rim, his passion always brings him back to slaying Demons in Sanctuary.

    Posted in: Is Diablo 3 Coming to Switch? If So, Here Are New Features We'd Love to See