Reaper of Souls™ First Look: Storming Pandemonium
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
The last vestiges of an endless battle echo across the decimated terrain of an ancient crossroads. Once the epicenter of the Eternal Conflict, the war-torn fields that stretch before you now are eerily silent, save for the occasional scuffle of straggling soldiers and primordial scavengers that have made the best of this inhospitable expanse.
An abandoned fortress looms chillingly in the distance. Previously an outpost that stood as the last bastion of the Light before the Gates of the Burning Hells, it now houses a threat unlike any before.
Welcome to Pandemonium.
The Epitome of Endless Strife
Pandemonium is the scar of creation's birth, where angels and demons once fought fervently over control of the Worldstone. An ancient artifact with the power to shape reality, ownership of the Worldstone changed hands for eons—the High Heavens and Burning Hells trading blows, creating worlds, and then watching their inherently flawed creations wither away over and over again.
Those who are familiar with the events of the Sin War know that the renegade angel Inarius, along with the daughter of Mephisto, Lilith, stole away with the Worldstone, creating the world we now know as Sanctuary. With the artifact well hidden in this refuge, the battles in Pandemonium slowed over time and, eventually, ground to a halt.
Inarius and Lilith by Ziom05
Players will soon have the opportunity to revisit the estranged combat zone, but those who have previously walked the halls of Pandemonium Fortress will find it an entirely new experience. The battlefields have never before been traversed by Sanctuary's heroes, and though Pandemonium Fortress was once the base of operations in Act IV of Diablo II, the nephalem arriving now will find it much less hospitable.
Originally constructed by Tyrael to house and protect the Worldstone, one of the unique properties of the Pandemonium Fortress is that the structure takes on the appearance of those who control it. Though it's been conquered and reclaimed through the ages, without the ultimate prize that once lay within, the interest from both angels and demons in holding this keep has severely waned. However, such disinterest does prime the location for hiding away another artifact with the power to tip the scales in the Eternal Conflict forever.
Re-Imagining the Battlefield
Pandemonium has long been a locale our designers and writers have wished to explore to the fullest, and the previous excursion in Diablo II barely scratched the surface of what this realm has to offer. The concept of a nexus between the High Heavens and Burning Hells is a compelling one, but capturing the desired other-worldly feel without extending so far into the unknown as to be alien was a great challenge.
As Pandemonium was barely touched upon, there was a lot of room to draw outside inspiration. Everyone on the design and development team as well as any player who played Diablo II has an idea of what Pandemonium could be, and the idea of infinite possibilities remained strong among these concepts. This meant the best bet for fulfilling the fantasy of this location was to take all those ideas, mesh them together, and boil the resulting amalgamation down into a unified vision that makes you stop in your tracks and say, "Yes. That's Pandemonium."
Of course, it was important to make sure this zone felt like nothing else ever explored in Sanctuary, since it’s a place that the nephalem should find unfamiliar. It's a place where angels and demons have battled for eternity and so presented the question of what that would look like. What kind of inhabitants would remain in this land? Scavengers that live off the battlefield remnants, forgotten angels and demons that continue to fight forever, and unique creatures like the Realm Walker, an ancient beast burdened with the portal to an eternal prison, all resulted from these explorations in design.Ultimately, Pandemonium needed to epitomize the idea of "The Eternal Conflict." This was, and remains in some ways, the center for the war itself. As the literal crossroads between the domains of all beings, every feature needed to be carefully placed and considered to create the kind of chaotic balance that could not be found anywhere else.
Pushing Boundaries – Encompassing Eternity
External zones are always the most challenging, but Pandemonium takes this to an entirely new level. Both the battlefields and the Fortress itself needed to encompass the feelings of being ancient and infinite without losing players in a way that would distract from gameplay. In particular, our designers carefully avoided the perception of being displaced or wandering in outer space. The challenge was in ensuring a sense of grandeur that could house colossal enemies, evoke the excitement of the unexplored, and still sell the basic idea of plumbing the depths of a massive, ancient fortress.
This sort of dungeon delving is hardly new to the Diablo franchise, let alone in Act V. Pandemonium Fortress needed to be different from the Ruins of Corvus in the Blood Marsh or Bastion's Keep at the edge of Arreat Crater. Instead of finding an earthly construct, you'll find this eerie keep maintains the notion of a militant garrison while distinctly lacking the trappings of what one would expect from a human site.
Getting into the perfect balance of extra planar and relatable took fare more than the thoughts of an individual. In speaking to Lead Level Designer Dave Adams, he shared some insight on "ideation days," a process that the design team utilized in exploring this space. "We break up into groups and try and create single scene events that take place on 240 foot by 240 foot tiles. Seeing what each group comes up with and how different those ideas can be is really amazing. We often use this to steer the direction on an area. We had a lot of awesome events that came out of that, and you'll experience them in the game."
Knocking at Death’s Door: The Last Stand
The Pandemonium Fortress has become home to the starring villain of Diablo III: Reaper of Souls™. Malthael hopes to end the Eternal Conflict once and for all, regardless of what consequences and costs his actions might have. It is time now, heroes, to stretch beyond the limits of what you once believed possible and stop the Angel of Death from destroying all you know and love.We hope you've enjoyed our First Look series behind the scenes of Act V's locations. Can no one truly stop Death? Let us know in the comments below what you’re looking most forward to tackling on the Battlefields of Eternity or within Pandemonium Fortress, and we hope you join us in the fight to save Sanctuary on March 25.
Wings of Valor Delivery Update
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)Hey everyone!
Quick update on the Wings of Valor delivery.
Early this afternoon, we ran a special script to award eligible players who have digitally prepurchased Reaper of Souls their Wings of Valor. This script completed this afternoon around approximately 5:00 pm PT. Shortly after this script was run, we uncovered an issue that affected the delivery of the Wings of Valor for certain players. As a result, depending on when you digitally prepurchased the game, you may or may not have already received your wings.
Here's how everything breaks down:
- Players who prepurchased Reaper of Souls before the script completed this afternoon will experience a delay in the delivery of their Wings of Valor. We’ve already developed a fix for this delay; however, we anticipate that the secondary script we’ll need to run to get the wings delivered to everyone will not complete until tomorrow morning (Pacific Time) at the earliest. We don’ t yet have an exact ETA to share for when the wings for this groups of players will be delivered, but we’ll be sure to provide an update in this thread as soon as we do.
We sincerely apologize for this inconvenience and will be sure to keep everyone updated as we work to get you your sparkly spoils. Thank you to all those who submitted reports!
- Players who digitally prepurchased Reaper of Souls after the script completed should experience no delay in the delivery of their Wings of Valor and can immediately redeem the item in-game. Similarly, any player who prepurchases Reaper of Souls going forward or claims a retail game key on or before March 31, 2014 will also be able to redeem the wings right away.
Diablo III: RoS ANZ Launch Times
The Diablo III Australia and New Zealand servers are upon us! Finally a place where ping for the southern continent is in normal levels. And with that here are the hours for when Reaper of Souls will be available on ANZ.
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)The time is nearly upon us to defend the realm of Sanctuary once more. As any Crusader knows, preparation before battle is the key to success. While heroic adventurers hailing from Australia and New Zealand can purchase a copy of Diablo III: Reaper of Souls directly from www.diablo.com, they can also pick up the game at their favorite retailer on Tuesday, March 25.
For a handy reference, the Reaper of Souls game servers will go live at:
New Zealand Daylight Time: 5:00 PM
Australian Eastern Daylight Time: 3:00 PM
Australian Central Daylight Time: 2:30 PM
Australian Western Standard Time: 12:00 PM
So settle into a chair and pour yourself a flagon of mead before you set off on your journey to Westmarch.
Yes you can install the game and have it ready to go for when the servers go live. You should also be able to play vanilla up to the launch time. But keep in mind there may be some maintenance at some stage around the launch period to ensure the best game play experience possible.
Originally Posted by BlizzardResplendent Chests are getting buffed!
Good news about Resplendent chest! We're going to buff the treasure that they yield, so that they feel more resplendent. There's been a lot of feedback about this, and it's definitely something we've noticed while playing, too. I don't have a time frame to share on when we can expect this change to happen, though, but it's something we plan to address. (Source)
Versions of Set Items
Crafted items don't scale with your character, but some plans have multiple versions. For instance, lower level players can use a crafted a set of Caine's Fate, but then can swap to Cain's Destiny at 70. They are separate sets, though, and require you to discover more than one set of plans. In other words, finding a low level plan will not allow you to make the higher level version, but it won't stop you from finding those plans later on. (Source)
Reaper of Souls and 2.0 for Consoles
We want to release the Ultimate Evil Edition some time in 2014, but we don't have an exact date at the moment. We'll be bringing it to PAX East, though, and I definitely encourage you to stop by to check it out. You can also chat with the developers, and hang out with Nevalistis while you're there!
We don't have any additional news to share about Reaper of Souls on other platforms right now, but we're in heavy development for console, and we're really looking forward to sharing more info in the coming months. (Source)
We've got a lot of things in the works for Diablo III on console. We're very excited about bringing the Ultimate Evil Edition to PS4, and those of you going to PAX East should stop by to try it out, and hang out with the devs and Nevalistis! We're looking to release the Ultimate Evil Edition sometime in 2014, but we don't have an exact date yet. We don't have any plans to share about other platforms yet, but we're still heavy in development for RoS on console, and we're really looking forward to sharing more info in the coming months! (Source)