- Barbarian – Immortal King’s Call
- Crusader – Seeker of the Light
- Demon Hunter – Natalya’s Vengeance
- Monk – Uliana’s Stratagem
- Necromancer – Trag’Oul’s Avatar
- Witch Doctor – Spirit of Arachyr
- Wizard – Vyr’s Amazing Arcana
- Five (5) additional Armory tabs have been added for all characters, bringing the total to 10
- Legendary Potions are no longer stored in player inventory and can be accessed or changed by right-clicking on the potion icon in the action bar
- Greater Rift Keystones are now stored in the Materials tab
- Any existing Greater Rift Keystones in both inventory and stash have been automatically moved
- Paragon points can no longer be swapped while a Greater Rift is open
- Players can now be matched into public games where a Greater Rift is open
- Players who join in this manner will not be able to enter the active Rift, and players inside the Rift will be able to continue with no additional difficulty scaling until the run has been completed
- Primal Legendaries are now marked by a red beam when they drop
- Primal Legendaries on the ground are now indicated by a red pentagram icon on the mini-map
- Primal Legendaries now have a red border and updated background on their icons
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The theme for Season 16 is the Season of Grandeur! For the duration of the season, all Seasonal characters will benefit from the legendary power of the Ring of Royal Grandeur. It should be noted that this buff does not stack with additional Rings of Royal Grandeur, whether they be equipped directly on your character or via the Jewelry slot in Kanai’s Cube. Also, this is the first season in which the seasonal buff will not affect non-seasonal characters.
Season 16 begins on Friday, January 18 at 5:00 p.m. PsT in North America, 5:00 p.m. CET in Europe, and 5:00 p.m. KST in Asia. For time conversion, see this site.
The starter sets awarded by Haedrig's Gift for Season 16 are listed below. Completing chapter 2, 3, and 4 of the Season Journey will reward you with three Haedrig's Gifts. Each gift contains a few pieces from one of your Class Sets. You may only unlock one Class Set in this manner per season across Hardcore and Non-Hardcore.
Patch 2.6.4 Changes
Patch 2.6.4 added many new quality of life changes, and the patch also makes sweeping balance changes to many of the existing class sets! You can view a complete list of changes here. See below for a highlight of the much requested quality of life changes:
Level With A Cause
#LevelWithACause (#LWAC), a coalition of streamers from both Twitch and YouTube, will be uniting once again for a 6th charity fundraising event during the first three days of the Season 16 in Diablo 3. These streams will be viewable on several Twitch and Youtube channels. Viewers will be directed to donate to Save The Children during these livestreams.
#LWAC was founded prior to the start of Season 11 of Diablo 3 and has been a mainstay of the opening weekend of each new season since. The LWAC team has raised over $40,000 to date for deserving charities such as St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Take This, and Save The Children. LWAC hopes to continue to grow and raise even more money for charities in the future. If you are a streamer looking to participate, more info can be found on the LWAC website.
In the U.S. and around the world, Save The Children gives children a healthy start in life, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. When crisis strikes, they are always among the first to respond and the last to leave. They do whatever it takes to save children, transforming their lives and the future we share.
During the Level With A Cause event, many participating streams will be featured below!
NIS America has announced that it is bringing over Nihon Falcom's The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III this fall, taking over as publisher from XSEED, who published the first two Trails of Cold Steel titles here in America.
The game takes place a year-and-half after Cold Steel II, following the continuing exploits of Rean Schwarzer.
NIS' involvement is not without reservation. The publisher handled the localization of Ys VIII after XSEED, and NIS did not do a great job.
If you're not familiar with this side series, be sure to read Kim's Grind Time column on why you shouldn't overlook it.
[Source: NIS America]
God of War is a really gigantic game. A really great, gigantic game that won our Game of the Year award, in fact. But even in the biggest games, some stuff has to get left on the cutting room floor and, in this case, boss fights were one of the the things that had to be pushed aside. While previous God of War games were known for their numerous and unique boss fights, the latest game leaned heavily on the same troll monsters to do the heavy lifting, leaving most of the spectacle to a few others scattered throughout the game.
In an interview for the NoClip documentary on the game, director Cory Barlog explained that it simply wasn't feasible to add more.Click here to watch embedded video
"We cut a lot of bosses – a lot," Barlog told NoClip's Danny O'Dwyer. "Y'know, we had so many more, it was a much more ambitious, crazier game. As you go through development, you start realizing, no, it's too big, we can't do this. One boss takes like 30 developers a year and a half. It's an absolutely massive scale when you really consider it."
Barlog went on to describe that there was a "boss team" working on bosses for the game, but they had to work on other things as well, making it more difficult to simply add in bosses.
The director also described how the trolls, which were plentiful boss fights throughout the game, were never actually meant to be bosses. The team had trouble figuring out where to put the health bar on the massive creatures and eventually decided it made the most sense to give them a boss health bar that is always on screen. Barlog wanted to do more with the lore of their names, as well, but couldn't fit it into the scope of the story. His explanation for how they fit into the game can be found in NoClip's documentary above.
How do you feel? Was it the right call to release God of War with the number of bosses it had?
Arriving This Fall—Four New Collectible Blizzard Books
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment (Official Post)
We’re pleased to announce four new books coming to stores this fall. Whether you’re into Hearthstone, Diablo, or World of Warcraft (or all the above), there’s something special waiting for you within the pages of these collectible volumes.
The Art of Hearthstone: Year of the Kraken
Something stirs in the dark . . .
The second volume of The Art of Hearthstone dives deep into the Year of the Kraken, the first year of Hearthstone’s standard format. Enjoy 144 pages consisting of hundreds of illustrations from the corruptive cults of Whispers of the Old Gods, the glamourous disco of One Night in Karazhan, and the turf wars of Means Streets of Gadgetzan. Year of the Kraken goes into detail on the Hearthstone team’s artistic process for card art, game boards, and other visual designs, while also exploring the challenges and triumphs of creating a game enjoyed by millions of players around the globe.
Purchase the first volume today on the Blizzard Gear Store or at your favorite local bookstore.
The Art of Diablo
For more than 20 years, the artists behind Diablo have conjured new visions of the High Heavens and the Burning Hells, built nightmarish corridors filled with monsters and demons, and unleashed swarms of malevolent creatures upon players worldwide. The Art of Diablo plunges into the concept, design, and environmental art that has defined the world of Sanctuary and the Eternal Conflict at the core of the Diablo series.
The Cinematic Art of World of Warcraft
The drums of war thunder once again . . .
Over the course of World of Warcraft’s 15-year history, each new chapter in the game’s story has been bolstered through an array of epic cinematics; The Cinematic Art of World of Warcraft goes behind the scenes with the team who built these movies. With never-before-seen concept art and accounts of the creative and technical process, this is the definitive visual gallery of how countless artists helped bring the world of Azeroth to life in incredible detail and motion.
World of Warcraft Pop-Up Book
Choose your faction, pick your weapon, and prepare for an astonishing vision of the world of Azeroth like you’ve never seen before!
Built by best-selling paper engineer Matthew Reinhart, the World of Warcraft Pop-Up Book brings the beloved locations of Warcraft to life, from the classic faction hubs of Orgrimmar and Stormwind, to the battle-scarred lands of Lordaeron and Teldrassil, and even the new capital cities of Kul Tiras and Zandalar!
Each page unfolds into an eye-popping treat, depicting iconic sites with brand-new art and interactive pieces.
Keep an eye on your local booksellers or online shops for when pre-sales go live.
A few days ago, Ubisoft released the newest chapter in their episodic Assassin's Creed Origins DLC, which was designed to not only tell the story of the first assassin, but provide significant story content for the game's protagonists. Some players are unhappy with the decisions made for the protagonists in the game and Ubisoft has admitted they missed the mark.
There are story spoilers for this DLC episode below, so if you don't want to know what happens and why Ubisoft is apologizing for it, stop here and circle back at a time when you're fine with it.
At the end of the episode, the player character, whether they be Alexios or Kassandra, ends up in a relationship with an opposite-sex character featured heavily in the DLC. Whether you choose to embrace or rebuff them does not matter, Alexios/Kassandra end up with them and produce a son. The only choice you get in the matter is whether they produce the child out of love or simply desire for an offspring.
Assassin's Creed has often had protagonists that eventually have children, due to the way that game's DNA memory setup works. Odyssey was intended to be a little different, however, playing with the mutability of DNA and using that for justification for why there were split protagonists playing the same in the first place. Ubisoft themselves emphasized that Kassandra and Alexios' personas were completely created by the player, from their do-gooder natures to their sexuality, thanks to the addition of dialogue options in the game. To the players who believed their characters to be homosexual through their own designs, the end of the DLC was a rather shocking punch to the gut.
"Reading through player responses of our new DLC for Legacy of the First Blade, Shadow Heritage, we want to extend an apology to players disappointed by a relationship your character partakes in," Odyssey's creative director Jonathan Dumont wrote in a forum post today. "The intention of this story was to explain how your character’s bloodline has a lasting impact on the Assassins, but looking through your responses it is clear that we missed the mark."
It is an interesting discussion, though perhaps one that should have occurred within Ubisoft rather than outside of it, about how the narrative of a game should be impacted by the player's choice. It was of course the developer who said at E3 that the game will be built around player choices and those should be respected, meaning they set the tone for that at the outset. If they wanted to write the character one way, they should have done so when the game was shown and released, not six months after the fact.
"Our goal was to let players choose between a utilitarian view of ensuring your bloodline lived on or forming a romantic relationship" Dumont added. "We attempted to distinguish between the two but could have done this more carefully as we were walking a narrow line between role-play choices and story, and the clarity and motivation for this decision was poorly executed. As you continue the adventure in next episode Bloodline, please know that you will not have to engage in a lasting romantic relationship if you do not desire to."
Assassin's Creed Odyssey is currently available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
Conquest Reward Updates
With PvP Season 2, we’ve fine-tuned the Conquest reward schedule to provide players with more variety and flexibility to get the kind of gear they’re looking for.
Players who earn 500 Conquest points in a given week will receive one Quartermaster’s Coin and a piece of gear from that week’s selection. Players might also earn an additional piece of gear or Quartermaster’s Coin each week by using a weekly bonus roll token in PvP. 10 Quartermaster’s Coins can be exchanged for a Warlord’s Trophy, which players can use to upgrade a piece of Sinister Gladiator’s gear to a higher item level (based on their current Rated PvP bracket).
During weeks when the Conquest reward is a head, shoulder, or chest item, players can choose from one of four different pieces of Azerite gear. For the weeks when the Conquest reward is not an Azerite piece, trinket, or weapon, players will be able to choose gear from one of two different slots such as legs and wrists, hands and back, or finger and feet.
The PvP reward UI will now show the criteria needed to receive your weekly chest. Elite sets (available to earn for a limited time only) can also be viewed in the Appearances interface under the Set tab.
Ranked PvP Rewards
We’ve also updated the naming conventions for the brackets. Now when players reach a 2400 rating in any bracket (2v2, 3v3, or 10v10 Rated Battlegrounds), they will be moved into the Elite bracket. Like other brackets, players will immediately be granted an achievement and title when reaching the bracket. Elite titles are class-specific, and players will receive a unique tabard for their collection.
Sinister Gladiator Title
The Gladiator title and achievement will now be earnable by winning 50 games above a 2400 rating in 3v3 Arena. Players in the top 0.1% at the end of the season in this bracket will earn the title Sinister Gladiator for Season 2.
Season 2 Mounts
During Battle for Azeroth Season 2, players can work toward claiming the Vicious Black Bonesteed or Vicious Black Warsaber. Once earned, players can fill the bar again to receive a Vicious Saddle, allowing them to purchase a mount from previous seasons.
Keep an eye on the Player vs. Player Leaderboards during the season to follow who’s making waves at the top.