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  1. System Design in Diablo IV (Part I) As was promised last week, Lead Systems Designer David Kim has posted the first in a series of blogs detailing systems design within Diablo IV. This first post focuses mainly on addressing the massive amounts of fan feedback the developers have received following the announcement of Diablo IV and offering a hint of things to come, like useful rares. We can expect more in-depth posts in the coming weeks and this level of communication is a great step forward for the relationship between the development team and the community. Since last year's BlizzCon the community has wanted more open communication from Blizzard in regards to the direction the franchise was taking. Now that the secret that was Diablo IV is out in the open, the developers seem more than happy to embrace those calls for communication and share with us a little bit of the thought processes going on in the creation of the next iteration of the Diablo franchise. You can find David Kim's full post below. Originally Posted by David Kim (Official Post) I have learned over years of experience that the player community is an incredibly valuable resource to draw upon when designing and refining a game. By working together, we can achieve great things. The biggest challenge with parsing community feedback is that with so many opinions, the takeaways are rarely unanimous. Diablo IV is still very much in active development, but we plan to keep you in the loop as we continue to design and iterate so that you can be a part of what we’re building. I am so incredibly appreciative for all the feedback we’ve received so far and I’m eager to dive into some of the most talked about topics. Itemization We’re still working through all the feedback that came in regarding itemization and we’re actively discussing ways to add more depth and complexity to base items (including Rares), ways to add greater variety to item affixes to make those powers interesting and your choices meaningful, and ways to give players more freedom to choose how to customize items, so you can have fun exploring a wide range of effective gameplay possibilities instead of just looking up “the optimal build” online. We’ll go into way more depth regarding itemization in a separate post soon, but we don’t want to leave you hanging until then—so we’re going to update you on a few other topics now. These are some of the topics that we’re seeing come up most often, but if we’re missing something, please let us know and we will try to share our thoughts on those subjects as well in future updates. Elective Mode in Diablo IV There’s a misconception that Diablo IV will lock skills to specific slots because of the BlizzCon demo user interface. Like many other things in the demo, the UI is not final and we will support Elective Mode-style skill selection. Skill selection and assignment will always be completely open for all players. Ancient Items We completely agree with the community sentiment—Ancients as they are don’t really serve a clear purpose in Diablo IV. We should have done a better job of explaining the role of Ancient Items in Diablo IV. We had a preliminary direction to share, but you’ve brought up some great points, so we’re revisiting our designs with your feedback in mind. We hope to have more details to share in the follow-up itemization update. Endgame Progression System We haven’t decided whether the character leveling and experience system should be finite or infinite. We’ve been discussing the pros and cons of both and would love to hear your thoughts. There seems to be some concern around infinite being worse because it will eventually overshadow all the power granted by other sources. However, we can control how much power each system gives, whether it’s infinite or finite. For example, say we’re talking about thousands of hours of gameplay . . . within those thousands of hours, we could choose to create a finite system that grants 1,000,000 times more power than an infinite system, making it practically impossible for the infinite system to catch up in power. Also, power increase doesn’t need to be linear throughout the ranks—it can slow down as players reach higher levels. We believe the more important question is what experience feels best for players, and we can playtest various approaches to tuning to find the power curve that makes the most sense. We have a couple reasons for having a different experience system in addition to a level cap. A level cap gives us the ability to grant players a sense of completion. But for players who want to go deeper into the game, a second experience system allows us to capture the fun of achieving those really difficult endgame goals and ranks. We can also introduce additional depth through this system, because players will be more experienced with the game at this point. Ultimately, our goal is to create a meaningful system that provides clear choices depending on your preferred playstyle in the endgame. Sources of Power The community has shared many good points on the topic of power sources and we’re reevaluating how much power comes from each source at any given time. However, we want to clarify that in Diablo IV, power doesn’t come mostly from items. We want to have a good mix of power sources: characters naturally get stronger as they level up, skills have ranks that increase power, talents provide specific playstyle choices and additional character power, and of course items grant power and meaningful choices as well. Something else to keep in mind is Legendary powers are just one part of an item’s power, and they won’t invalidate all other Affixes due to how powerful they are. For example, two to three normal Affixes are currently equivalent in power to a Legendary power on most items. Keyed Dungeons A big question that’s come up is exactly how Keyed Dungeons are different from Rifts. Keyed Dungeons introduce greater challenges as their tiers increase through Dungeon Affixes. The majority of dungeons are real places in the world, and players will know some information about them including what types of monsters, events, and layouts to expect. With this information, as well as the specific Dungeon Affixes being displayed on the key, players will be able to strategize their approach before going into the dungeon. We believe this is the biggest change from Diablo III Rifts: the added planning and strategizing that takes place before you decide to run a Keyed Dungeon. Please continue to share your thoughts—we want you to be involved in the Diablo IV design process. I personally believe in making the best decisions for the game based on the strongest design ideas, no matter where they come from. My biggest hope is for us to be able to constructively discuss and iterate on the topics that are most important to the community—so keep the feedback coming! See you in Hell, David Kim Lead Systems Designer The Diablo IV Team View the full article
  2. Challenge Rift - Week 126 Challenge Rift Week 126 is live! Because Season 19 begins this Friday, we advise that you DO NOT complete the challenge rift until after you've made your seasonal character! This week the Challenge Rift features three different Crusader builds, two of which focus on the new Valor set! If you are curious how Challenge Rift builds are chosen each week, you can view this official blog post! Challenge Rift 126 - NA by OSW_Zenkiki Blessed Shield Combust Iron Skin Flash Steed Charge Endurance Akarat's Champion Prophet Provoke Hit Me Laws of Valor Critical Iron Maiden Lord Commander Hold Your Ground Fervor Challenge Rift 126 - EU by OSW_Zenkiki Shield Glare Divine Verdict Heaven's Fury Blessed Ground Laws of Valor Unstoppable Force Fist of the Heavens Heaven's Tempest Smite Shackle Akarat's Champion Prophet Heavenly Strength Vigilant Finery Long Arm of the Law Challenge Rift 126 - Asia by OSW_Zenkiki Iron Skin Charged Up Fist of the Heavens Reverberation Akarat's Champion Prophet Steed Charge Endurance Laws of Valor Heaven's Fury Fires of Heaven Fervor Holy Cause Long Arm of the Law Finery View the full article
  3. Diablo III Season 19 Begins On November 22! Patch 2.6.7a Update Brandy has once again taken to the official forums to post an upcoming update to patch 2.6.7! This update reintroduces the Rend damage modifier on Lamentation, and also implements a damage nerf to the new crusader set by placing a cap of 20 on the Shield of Fury! Originally Posted by Nevalistis (Official Post) Hey all, So as you may have seen elsewhere, we’ll be issuing a small update to 2.6.7 between now and the start of Season 19 to address some balance issues prior to the start of the Season of Eternal Conflict. This patch isn’t going to resolve every balance issue; there’s simply not enough time between the need for QA verification and patch submission for all our platforms to address everything. That said, we’re committed to continuing to balance with community feedback in mind as we release additional patches throughout 2020. For Season 19, though, here’s what you can look forward to (these Patch Notes are currently pending through Localization for official release, so please take unofficial translations you read with a grain of salt): Items Lamentation 52 Now increases the damage of Rend by [100-150%] Developer's Note: As we've indicated in forum posts, we overshot on Lamentation's original implementation during the 2.6.7 PTR. However, we also very much undershot the overall balance of Rend/Whirlwind's adjustments by removing this bonus completely. After reading a ton of your feedback and completing our own internal testing, we've settled on a middle ground we believe reaches the balance level we were shooting for. Shield of Fury 98 The benefit of this item now stacks up to a cap of 20 Developer's Note: As many of you noted coming out of our 2.6.7 update, we also overshot on Crusader with the live patch. We love to see Crusader performing much better with it's new set, and this cap should reign in damage to a more reasonable level Bugs Patterns of Justice Fixed an issue where the Tempest Rush Flurry rune attack did not benefit from the 6-Piece bonus when cancelling Tempest Rush (PC Only) Developer's Note: We were unable to resolve this for 2.6.7a for Console; however, it is slated to be fixed on Console in a future patch. Fjord Cutter 9 Fixed an issue where Fjord Cutter was increasing all damage to slowed or chilled enemies instead of just Seismic Slam damage Won Khim Lau 6 Fixed a bug where Epiphany would trigger teleporting while channeling Tempest Rush (Electric Field) when Won Khim Lau was equipped We know there are still other things to address, including Rathma Necromancer, Bazooka Wizard, and general Demon Hunter performance (among other concerns for other classes that we have slated for future patches). We’re not ready to deploy changes on these fronts, but we are continuing to pore through feedback, experiment, and iterate on potential solutions, so please keep making your voice heard in a constructive manner! We’re also discussing extending future PTRs for patches that include additional set items; one week was simply not enough for the iteration process, and we’re adjusting accordingly. It’s taken time to get communication to a more mobile and agile place, and I appreciate your patience while we’ve worked to get new processes in place. Hopefully it shows that we’re working on addressing as much as we can, as timely as we can; we are passionate about Sanctuary and its inhabitants, and we’re doing our best to make Diablo III as awesome as it can possibly be. Thanks for reading, and we’ll see you in Patch 2.6.7a and Season 19! View the full article
  4. Diablo III Season 19 Begins On November 22! Patch 2.6.7 - Incoming Balance Changes Brandy has posted on the official forums regarding some balance issues that have surfaced in patch 2.6.7, and mentions that a small balance patch will release between now and the start of Season 19 to address some of these concerns. Originally Posted by Nevalistis (Official Post) Whew, okay, let’s see if I can address these. Bazooka - we definitely consider this an issue (as I’m sure you can see from our last change), but it’s proving trickier to address than we anticipated. While Bazooka is harder to execute now, we don’t like that a build more or less requires macros to use effectively. This is something we want to address, but it’s looking like that will be a longer term process beyond 2.6.7. We did make a change to Blighter for this reason in 2.6.7. If this wasn’t enough, we’ll continue to re-evaluate. We’ll be releasing a small balance patch between now and the start of Season 19 to address some of the balance concerns the community has brought to us. Still getting the final details on exactly what this entails. Stay tuned. Because we’ll be releasing a small balance patch, we’ll be resetting the Era again. We’re just waiting for that to happen first. See point #3. This is also one of our areas of concern. We don’t want to “nerf it to the ground,” but we do want to pull it back. If AoV continues to need adjustments afterwards in either direction, we’ll keep looking at it in the long run, too. Sometimes finding the right balance takes us a few tries, and we appreciate your patience with us while work to get things where they need to be. I know it doesn’t always look like we listen or act immediately on feedback, and we can’t always act this fast; we’ve had a lot of conversations over the past couple of days regarding 2.6.7 and the areas where we could improve. Having a larger gap between patch and Season launch is serving us well in this regard. Lastly, I want to mention I’m working with the development team on a blog that focuses on Greater Rift Level Cap and our philosophy/approach around game balance. I think there’s some context the community is missing in our approach, and we want to explain this better and more clearly—it’s just going to take some time for me to put that communication together. I’m not trying to be mysterious; I just want to make sure we’re taking the time necessary to make things clear. View the full article
  5. Season 19: The Season of the Eternal Conflict Begins Nov. 22nd After keeping the community guessing for a couple of days since the launch of patch 2.6.7 as to when the new season would start, Blizzard has official announced the beginning of Season 19 as November 22nd. Alongside the typical seasonal rewards there will be two all new rewards for achieving the rank of Guardian as you'll see below. Originally Posted by Nevalistis (Official Post) Season 19 begins November 22, alongside our next Diablo III patch. Read on to learn more about the brand-new Season of Eternal Conflict buff, two divinely inspired new class sets, and a handful of old and new item reworks coming in Patch 2.6.7! New Season Theme Season 19 is the Season of Eternal Conflict and with it come an awesome array of killstreak rewards! Inspired by the war waged between the High Heavens and the Burning Hells, you‘ll earn increasingly powerful effects as you unleash destruction upon your foes. So rack up those kills and clear the battlefields in the name of Sanctuary! All players will benefit from the Pandemonium buff during Season 19. For each stack of this buff, you’ll receive a small boost to movement speed and bonus damage, ultimately capping out at 50% movement speed and 100% damage at 1000 stacks. In addition, reaching certain killstreak goals will trigger a special effect and cause even more mayhem on the battlefield: 15 Kills: Exploding Chickens seek and destroy 30 Kills: A wide Frost Nova freezes enemies 50 Kills: Corpses rain from the sky 100 Kills: Five massive Energy Twisters are unleashed 150 Kills: Dark Geysers form beneath enemies 200 Kills: Treasure chests fall from the sky 300 Kills: A ring of fire engulfs everything 400 Kills: Meteors hail from above 500 Kills: Angels descend upon the battlefield to fight for your cause 1000 Kills: ????? This Season, we’re taking action on the great feedback we received from the community about Season 18’s Triune buff. With the killstreak mechanic, we can make sure the benefit is always traveling with you and something you won’t have to constantly reposition for. There’s still more room for exploration and innovation in the future, and in the meantime, we challenge you to push these killstreaks to their limits and discover its ultimate reward! We think you’ll find it devilishly delightful. Season 19 Cosmetic Rewards Beginning with Season 17, we began re-introducing previous Seasonal rewards to make them available to players who may have missed them the first time around. For Season 19, this means awards originally available from Season 7 are returning to the Season Journey. However, we know it’s nice to have something new to aim for if you’ve participated in previous Seasons. We’re bringing back End of Journey rewards as introduced in Season 17, with not one, but two new cosmetic rewards for those who complete the entirety of the Season journey. Feast your eyes upon the Valor Portrait Frame and Angelic Treasure Goblin pet! In addition to the Helm and Shoulders slots of the exclusive Conqueror Set, you’ll be able to earn a series of portrait frames that embody the snowy, foreboding aura of the Eternal Woods. If you need a warm little pal to keep you cozy through your cold journeys, the Dream of Piers fiery nature should do the trick—when he’s not instilling night terrors in the local fauna. Season Journey Rewards If you’ve been diligently slaying demons for the past few Seasons and reached Conqueror in the Season Journey each time, you’ve surely accrued a few extra stash tabs. You’ll earn one additional tab each Season by finishing the Conqueror tier, up to a maximum of five: Guardian of Sanctuary: Finish a level 70 Nephalem Rift on Torment XIII within five minutes Gem of My Life: Level three Legendary Gems to level 55 All I Do IS Win: Complete two Conquests this Season Kill You: Kill Ghom at level 70 in under 30 seconds on Torment XIII difficulty Money Ain’t A Thang: Slay Greed on Torment XIII difficulty Take U There: Reach Greater Rift level 60 Solo Power Amplification: Use Kanai’s Cube to augment an Ancient Legendary item with a level 50+ gem Cubic Reconfiguration: Use Kanai’s Cube to reforge a Legendary item Seasonal Conquests Want to prepare your Conquest plan for Season 19? Here are the challenges you’ll face! Returning for Season 19 is Sprinter/Speed Racer, where you’re challenged to complete the entire Diablo III campaign from Act I to Act V at level 70 in under 1 hour! Next is Avarice/Avaritia, where all that glitters is gold—that is, if you can complete a 50 million gold streak outside of The Vault or its Inner Sanctum. On a Good Day/I Can’t Stop encourages you to upgrade your Legendary Gems; level three Legendary Gems to 65 to complete this challenge! Push your way to Greater Rift level 75 to complete Divinity/Lionhearted. Lastly, a fan-favorite for those who enjoy unconventional builds, The Thrill/Superhuman requires completion of a Greater Rift level 45—solo and without any Set items equipped. Haedrig’s Gift Finally, the Class Sets rewarded for completing certain chapters in the Season Journey courtesy of Haedrig’s Gift have rotated once more. We’ve listed the available Sets below. For those new to Seasons, here’s how it works: Completing Chapters 2, 3, and 4 of the Season Journey will reward you with three of Haedrig’s Gifts. Each Gift contains a few pieces from one of your Class Sets. Players can only unlock one Class Set in this manner per Season across Hardcore and Non-Hardcore, so choose wisely! The set you receive depends on the class of the character you’re playing when you open each Haedrig’s Gift. To collect a full Class Set, you’ll need to open all three on the same character. Here are the sets granted by Haedrig’s Gift in Season 19: Barbarian – Wrath of the Wastes Crusader – Roland’s Legacy Demon Hunter – Unhallowed Essence Monk – Raiment of a Thousand Storms Necromancer – Bones of Rathma Witch Doctor – Helltooth Harness Wizard – Tal Rasha’s Elements Patch Notes Below you will find the patch notes for the most recent update for Diablo III, Patch 2.6.7. Changes from the PTR have been highlighted in RED. Last updated November 12 @ 10:00 a.m. PST. PATCH 2.6.7 Note: All changes apply to all versions of Diablo III, including PS4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC unless otherwise indicated. Please note that PTR is only available for PC and Mac users. General Greater Rift Keystones are now subject to vacuum pick-up A note regarding the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) has been added to the Options -> Privacy menu, clearly stating we do not sell account information. For more information regarding the CCPA, please see here (Console Only). Return to Top Seasons Developer Note: One of the biggest pieces of feedback from Season 18's buff was that the Triune bonus didn't stick with your character while you adventured. With Season 19, we've altered course as well as upped the ante by experimenting with new mechanics to add an element of both chaos and power to the battlefield. It should feel a bit like Pandemonium, and it may be a consideration whether or not you want to reset your total kill streak for a particular killstreak bonus versus continuously maintain the overall effect (especially as the highest level killstreak rewards will be harder to leverage in situations like Greater Rifts). Killstreaks with higher kill count requirements are more powerful, and we're looking forward to seeing what players think of and do with them! The buff for Season 19, the Season of Eternal Conflict, has been added Pandemonium For the duration of the Season, all players will have a stacking buff that that persists as long as you have hit or killed a monster within the last 5 seconds Each stack gives .005 movement speed and .001% bonus damage. This bonus caps at 50% movement and 100% damage (1000 stacks) In addition, after reaching a certain number of kills in a row, a power is unleashed, dealing an amount of scaling damage based on player level and difficulty or Greater Rift level: 15 Kills: Exploding Chickens seek and destroy 30 Kills: A wide Frost Nova freezes enemies 50 Kills: Corpses rain from the sky 100 Kills: Five massive energy twisters are unleashed 150 Kills: Dark Geysers form beneath enemies 200 Kills: Treasure chests fall from the sky 300 Kills: A ring of fire engulfs everything 400 Kills: Meteors hail from above 500 Kills: Angels descend upon the battlefield to fight for your cause Angels should no longer one-shot Rift Guardians. 1000 Kills: ??? Powers are tracked at a group level; this means only one power can be active in play at a time, regardless of the number of players in a group Two new Seasonal rewards are available for players who fully complete the Season 19 Journey: the Valor Portrait Frame and the Angelic Treasure Goblin pet Lilith's Embrace: This exclusive pair of cosmetic wings are now available for all players who purchased a Virtual Ticket. Hail Lilith. (PC Only) Items Developer Note: With Patch 2.6.7, we are beginning to roll out new class sets for every class in Diablo III. For the Season of Valor, we're focusing on the two classes that embody the Light and wield some form of Holy elemental damage: Crusader and Monk. You'll also find a handful of retuned or newly added Legendary powers intended to synergize with the new class sets. We did a lot of community research into which skills were most requested by players as well as most underrepresented in current builds, and we hope you're as excited as we are for these new gameplay options. The other class sets will be coming in later patches, so if your class isn't represented this time around, fret not—they're coming in a future patch! You'll also notice a significant number of Barbarian item changes in this patch. While the Barbarian class set will be coming at a later date, we have very much heard the War Cry from our dedicated Barbarian community and implemented a number of changes heavily inspired by extremely thorough feedback. While not every suggestion has been taken at a 1:1 parity, the thoughtful analysis helped guide us to changes we could implement in this patch. Thanks very much to the community members who expressed their concerns in a respectful, constructive manner. It's very helpful, and we greatly appreciate the thought and effort that went into making your voices heard! New Crusader Set: Aegis of Valor 2-Piece Bonus: <s>The charged bolts from Fist of the Heavens has a chance to cast another Fist of the Heavens</s> Attacking with Fist of the Heavens empowers you, allowing Heaven's Fury to deal 100% increased damage for 5 seconds. Stacks up to 3 times (multiplicative). 4-Piece Bonus: Hitting with Fist of the Heavens generates 5 Wrath and reduces damage taken by 1% for 5 seconds. Stacks up to 50 times 6-Piece Bonus: Increase the damage of Fist of the Heavens and Heaven's Fury by <s>10,000%</s> 20,000% Developer's Note: Thank you so much for your thorough feedback and testing on the 2.6.7 PTR! We decided to add Heaven's Fury to the mix based on popular request as well as because we agree that it matches the theme and adds more gameplay complexity. There is also still room for tweaks and additional iteration in the future, and we're glad we were able to introduce a set so many of you are excited to use! New Monk Set: Patterns of Justice 2-Piece Bonus: Sweeping Wind gains the effect of every rune and movement speed is increased by 5% for each stack of Sweeping Wind. 4-Piece Bonus: <s>Each enemy within Sweeping Wind increases your movement speed by 5%. Stacks up to 10 times.</s> Attacking with Tempest Rush reduces your damage taken by 50% and increases Spirit Regeneration by 50. 6-Piece Bonus: Hitting with Tempest Rush while Sweeping Wind is active will temporarily increase the size of Sweeping Wind after hitting over 30 times within a short period. Sweeping Wind damage is increased by <s>10,000%</s> 15,000% Developer's Note: Thank you so much for your thorough feedback and testing on the 2.6.7 PTR! We heard Monk requests for additional damage reduction and to better integrate Tempest Rush as a skill. We hope the result makes for a more survivable and engaging build that still captures that rush of Holy Justice sweeping through crowds of dastardly demons. Darklight Fist of the Heavens has a <s>[45-60%]</s> 100% chance to be cast twice. Additional Legendary Power: Increases the damage of Fist of the Heavens by <s>[200-250%]</s>[800-1000%]. <s>Eye of the Storm</s> <s>New Legendary Power: When Sweeping Wind hits exactly 1 enemy, its damage is increased by 100%.</s> Developer's Note: With the redesign of Patterns of Justice, there was less need for this item's introduction. We've removed it for now and may consider adding it (or possibly a different Legendary power) at a later date. Vengeful Wind Increases the maximum stack count of Sweeping Wind by <s>[6-7]</s> 10 Additional Legendary Power: Increases the damage of Sweeping Wind by <s>[250-300%]</s> [600-800%]. Won Khim Lau New Legendary Power: Hitting with Tempest Rush will activate Cyclone Strike, and both skills deal [500-600%] increased damage. Chantodo's Resolve The scaled attack speed damage bonus to Wave of Destruction has been reduced Developer Note: This is a reactive adjustment from an earlier change to how Wave of Destruction receives a bonus from Attack Speed. The buff that resulted from that change was more than we expected, so we're reigning it in. Wrath of the Wastes 6-Piece Bonus: The damage bonus now also applies to Rend <s>Lamentation</s> <s>Additional Legendary Power: Increases the damage of Rend by [150-200%]</s> Developer Note: While we were very happy with how much better Barbarians are performing, we are concerned we may have overshot it. By removing just one silo'd addition, we can observe how the class performance goes for Season 19 and consider re-adding this change in the future. Remember we still have a patch coming up where Barb will be one of the focused classes, so there will be plenty of time to revisit if necessary! Ambo's Pride New Legendary Power: Attacking with Whirlwind also applies Rend and the total damage of Rend is dealt over 1 second Remorseless <s>Hammer of the Ancients has a [25-30%] chance to summon an Ancient for 20 seconds</s> New Legendary Power: While both Wrath of the Berserker and Call of the Ancients are active, Hammer of the Ancients deals [200-250%] more damage. Fjord Cutter <s>You are surrounded by a Chilling Aura when attacking.</s> New Legendary Power: Seismic Slam attacks 50% faster and also deals 100-150% increased damage against Slowed or Chilled enemies Bracers of Destruction Seismic Slam deals [400-500%] increased damage to the first <s>5</s> 10 enemies it hits. Fury of the Ancients Call of the Ancients gains the effect of the Ancients' Fury rune and your Ancients attack 100% faster Bone Ringer Now has a cap of 60 stacks. Developer Note: We never intended for this item to be used in a way where you farm stacks for an egregious amount of time (5+ minutes) and then watch all their health disappear in less than a second. It's not an engaging style of gameplay, and we don't want that experience to be the best way to play the Necromancer. Legacy of Dreams This gem is now more likely to drop from a Greater Rift Guardian Monsters Blighter Blighter's Poison Tentacles' Area of Effect now hits less frequently, but at higher damage, when attacking players Bug Fixes Wizard Archon Fixed an issue where certain item bonuses (such as from the item Deathwish) would persist between changing forms to/from Archon Developer's Note: A few patches ago, we stated we were going to continue to observe Bazooka Wizard to see its performance over time. Back then, we thought it would require a high level of skill to execute that would make it relatively less utilized as a hard, but rewarding, gameplay option. That hasn't been the case, as many feel it's too mandatory. In the context of this and other changes (like Bone Ringer and Chantodo's), we think it makes sense to make this change now. Spite Fixed an issue where casting Restless Giant would cause the 200% physical bonus damage to fail to apply when the Gargantuan enraged Squirt's Necklace Fixed an issue where some ground effects were causing the Squirt's Necklace buff to fall off despite being shielded FAQ Q: When does Season 19 start? A: Season 19 begins Friday, November 22 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 zone conversions, see this site. Q: When do Seasons go live for players on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch? A: Seasons go live for all console players globally Friday, November 22 at 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time, regardless of which regional version of the game you may have. Please note that Seasonal Leaderboards for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch are still separate by hardware platform. Q: When will Season 19 end? A: We are no longer providing anticipated end dates for Seasons. However, we are committed to keeping Seasons roughly three months in length (give or take a few weeks based on development needs) and will continue to provide a minimum of two weeks advance notice for when the Season will be ending. Q: When are the non-Seasonal Leaderboards being wiped? A: Non-Seasonal Leaderboards are tied to what we call “Eras,” each of which lasts about 6–12 months. The most recent era began November 12. For more information on Eras, please see this post. Q: What will happen to older Seasonal and Era records? A: Starting with Season 10, we removed old personal bests from Season 1. When Season 19 arrives, we will remove old personal bests from Season 10, and so on. We will be doing the same for personal bests from the previous Era when the next one goes live. Seasonal Leaderboard records are not being cleared and will remain archived both in game and on our website. Themed Seasons are continuing to evolve as we venture into the future, and we’re quite excited to see where this one leads. Are you looking forward to the Season of Eternal Conflict? Are you going to try one of the two new Class Sets? Gear up and get ready; we’ll see you in Season 19! Note: Beginning next week, comments on Diablo III blog entries will be disabled. This is part of our website migration for GDPR compliance. We apologize for the inconvenience; please continue your conversation over on our General Forum. View the full article
  6. A Letter From Game Director Luis Barriga - BlizzCon 2019 An official blog post from Luis Barriga (Diablo IV Game Director) has been posted as a response and follow up to BlizzCon 2019. Luis Barriga also mentions that they know there is a discussion surrounding items and stats, and reassures the Diablo community that their team is having the same conversations while reading everyone's feedback. Originally Posted by Luis Barriga (Official Post) Dear Diablo family, Thank you all for a great BlizzCon. We unveiled Diablo IV with our announce cinematic, establishing the tone for our overall creative vision moving forward. We hope you all dug that. We also showed you our gameplay trailer, showcasing our classes, monsters, and open world, and invited you to take the first step in this journey toward Diablo IV together. We can tell from all the questions and excitement we’ve seen online and in-person that you are eager to find out more. The lines to our demo stations and Dark Gallery were packed all weekend long and we were floored by the overall reception—especially from long-time Diablo players. We were blown away by how often we met people who came back to play the demo again and again. The stories you shared with us about Diablo and what this series means to you moved us and inspire us to do our best. We’ve been taking this week to assess and discuss our takeaways from BlizzCon, and we love all the deep discussions happening around the art, features, systems, and world of Diablo IV. We’re also excited about a cool update we’re planning for you in February of next year. It will be the first in a series of quarterly updates where we’ll share behind-the-scenes looks at our progress going forward. We also know that one topic is burning hotter than the rest. We want you to know that we are having the same conversations about items and stats that you are having—whether on the official discussion threads or external sites, we read it all! Getting this right is at the top of our minds, and in the coming weeks our lead systems designer David Kim will provide a few clarifications, share some of his thoughts, and address some of your open questions. We hope you check it out and let us know what you think. Once again, on behalf of the entire team, from the bottom of our hearts we want to thank you all for a fantastic and unforgettable BlizzCon 2019. Hail Lilith and see you in Hell! Luis Barriga, Game Director, Diablo IV View the full article
  7. Diablo III Patch 2.6.7 Patch Notes The patch notes for the upcoming Diablo III patch 2.6.7 have been published ahead of a currently unknown start time for Season 19, and they include developer notes on many of the changes made since the PTR! Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment(Official Post) Below you will find the patch notes for the most recent update for Diablo III, Patch 2.6.7. Changes from the PTR have been highlighted in RED. Last updated November 12 @ 10:00 a.m. PST. Below you will find the patch notes for the most recent update for Diablo III, Patch 2.6.7. PATCH 2.6.7 Table of Contents: General Seasons Items Monsters Bug Fixes Note: All changes apply to all versions of Diablo III, including PS4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC unless otherwise indicated. Please note that PTR is only available for PC and Mac users. General Greater Rift Keystones are now subject to vacuum pick-up A note regarding the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) has been added to the Options -> Privacy menu, clearly stating we do not sell account information. For more information regarding the CCPA, please see here (Console Only). Seasons Developer Note: One of the biggest pieces of feedback from Season 18's buff was that the Triune bonus didn't stick with your character while you adventured. With Season 19, we've altered course as well as upped the ante by experimenting with new mechanics to add an element of both chaos and power to the battlefield. It should feel a bit like Pandemonium, and it may be a consideration whether or not you want to reset your total kill streak for a particular killstreak bonus versus continuously maintain the overall effect (especially as the highest level killstreak rewards will be harder to leverage in situations like Greater Rifts). Killstreaks with higher kill count requirements are more powerful, and we're looking forward to seeing what players think of and do with them! The buff for Season 19, the Season of Eternal Conflict, has been added Pandemonium For the duration of the Season, all players will have a stacking buff that that persists as long as you have hit or killed a monster within the last 5 seconds Each stack gives .005 movement speed and .001% bonus damage. This bonus caps at 50% movement and 100% damage (1000 stacks) In addition, after reaching a certain number of kills in a row, a power is unleashed, dealing an amount of scaling damage based on player level and difficulty or Greater Rift level: 15 Kills: Exploding Chickens seek and destroy 30 Kills: A wide Frost Nova freezes enemies 50 Kills: Corpses rain from the sky 100 Kills: Five massive energy twisters are unleashed 150 Kills: Dark Geysers form beneath enemies 200 Kills: Treasure chests fall from the sky 300 Kills: A ring of fire engulfs everything 400 Kills: Meteors hail from above 500 Kills: Angels descend upon the battlefield to fight for your cause Angels should no longer one-shot Rift Guardians. 1000 Kills: ??? Powers are tracked at a group level; this means only one power can be active in play at a time, regardless of the number of players in a group Two new Seasonal rewards are available for players who fully complete the Season 19 Journey: the Valor Portrait Frame and the Angelic Treasure Goblin pet Lilith's Embrace: This exclusive pair of cosmetic wings are now available for all players who purchased a Virtual Ticket. Hail Lilith. (PC Only) Items Developer Note: With Patch 2.6.7, we are beginning to roll out new class sets for every class in Diablo III. For the Season of Valor, we're focusing on the two classes that embody the Light and wield some form of Holy elemental damage: Crusader and Monk. You'll also find a handful of retuned or newly added Legendary powers intended to synergize with the new class sets. We did a lot of community research into which skills were most requested by players as well as most underrepresented in current builds, and we hope you're as excited as we are for these new gameplay options. The other class sets will be coming in later patches, so if your class isn't represented this time around, fret not—they're coming in a future patch! You'll also notice a significant number of Barbarian item changes in this patch. While the Barbarian class set will be coming at a later date, we have very much heard the War Cry from our dedicated Barbarian community and implemented a number of changes heavily inspired by extremely thorough feedback. While not every suggestion has been taken at a 1:1 parity, the thoughtful analysis helped guide us to changes we could implement in this patch. Thanks very much to the community members who expressed their concerns in a respectful, constructive manner. It's very helpful, and we greatly appreciate the thought and effort that went into making your voices heard! New Crusader Set: Aegis of Valor 2-Piece Bonus: <s>The charged bolts from Fist of the Heavens has a chance to cast another Fist of the Heavens</s> Attacking with Fist of the Heavens empowers you, allowing Heaven's Fury to deal 100% increased damage for 5 seconds. Stacks up to 3 times (multiplicative). 4-Piece Bonus: Hitting with Fist of the Heavens generates 5 Wrath and reduces damage taken by 1% for 5 seconds. Stacks up to 50 times 6-Piece Bonus: Increase the damage of Fist of the Heavens and Heaven's Fury by <s>10,000%</s> 20,000% Developer's Note: Thank you so much for your thorough feedback and testing on the 2.6.7 PTR! We decided to add Heaven's Fury to the mix based on popular request as well as because we agree that it matches the theme and adds more gameplay complexity. There is also still room for tweaks and additional iteration in the future, and we're glad we were able to introduce a set so many of you are excited to use! New Monk Set: Patterns of Justice 2-Piece Bonus: Sweeping Wind gains the effect of every rune and movement speed is increased by 5% for each stack of Sweeping Wind. 4-Piece Bonus: <s>Each enemy within Sweeping Wind increases your movement speed by 5%. Stacks up to 10 times.</s> Attacking with Tempest Rush reduces your damage taken by 50% and increases Spirit Regeneration by 50. 6-Piece Bonus: Hitting with Tempest Rush while Sweeping Wind is active will temporarily increase the size of Sweeping Wind after hitting over 30 times within a short period. Sweeping Wind damage is increased by <s>10,000%</s> 15,000% Developer's Note: Thank you so much for your thorough feedback and testing on the 2.6.7 PTR! We heard Monk requests for additional damage reduction and to better integrate Tempest Rush as a skill. We hope the result makes for a more survivable and engaging build that still captures that rush of Holy Justice sweeping through crowds of dastardly demons. Darklight Fist of the Heavens has a <s>[45-60%]</s> 100% chance to be cast twice. Additional Legendary Power: Increases the damage of Fist of the Heavens by <s>[200-250%]</s>[800-1000%]. <s>Eye of the Storm </s> <s>New Legendary Power: When Sweeping Wind hits exactly 1 enemy, its damage is increased by 100%.</s> Developer's Note: With the redesign of Patterns of Justice, there was less need for this item's introduction. We've removed it for now and may consider adding it (or possibly a different Legendary power) at a later date. Vengeful Wind Increases the maximum stack count of Sweeping Wind by <s>[6-7]</s> 10 Additional Legendary Power: Increases the damage of Sweeping Wind by <s>[250-300%]</s> [600-800%]. Won Khim Lau New Legendary Power: Hitting with Tempest Rush will activate Cyclone Strike, and both skills deal [500-600%] increased damage. Chantodo's Resolve The scaled attack speed damage bonus to Wave of Destruction has been reduced Developer Note: This is a reactive adjustment from an earlier change to how Wave of Destruction receives a bonus from Attack Speed. The buff that resulted from that change was more than we expected, so we're reigning it in. Wrath of the Wastes 6-Piece Bonus: The damage bonus now also applies to Rend <s>Lamentation </s> <s>Additional Legendary Power: Increases the damage of Rend by [150-200%]</s> Developer Note: While we were very happy with how much better Barbarians are performing, we are concerned we may have overshot it. By removing just one silo'd addition, we can observe how the class performance goes for Season 19 and consider re-adding this change in the future. Remember we still have a patch coming up where Barb will be one of the focused classes, so there will be plenty of time to revisit if necessary! Ambo's Pride New Legendary Power: Attacking with Whirlwind also applies Rend and the total damage of Rend is dealt over 1 second Remorseless <s>Hammer of the Ancients has a [25-30%] chance to summon an Ancient for 20 seconds</s> New Legendary Power: While both Wrath of the Berserker and Call of the Ancients are active, Hammer of the Ancients deals [200-250%] more damage. Fjord Cutter <s>You are surrounded by a Chilling Aura when attacking.</s> New Legendary Power: Seismic Slam attacks 50% faster and also deals 100-150% increased damage against Slowed or Chilled enemies Bracers of Destruction Seismic Slam deals [400-500%] increased damage to the first <s>5</s> 10 enemies it hits. Fury of the Ancients Call of the Ancients gains the effect of the Ancients' Fury rune and your Ancients attack 100% faster Bone Ringer Now has a cap of 60 stacks. Developer Note: We never intended for this item to be used in a way where you farm stacks for an egregious amount of time (5+ minutes) and then watch all their health disappear in less than a second. It's not an engaging style of gameplay, and we don't want that experience to be the best way to play the Necromancer. Legacy of Dreams This gem is now more likely to drop from a Greater Rift Guardian Monsters Blighter Blighter's Poison Tentacles' Area of Effect now hits less frequently, but at higher damage, when attacking players Bug Fixes Wizard Archon Fixed an issue where certain item bonuses (such as from the item Deathwish) would persist between changing forms to/from Archon Developer's Note: A few patches ago, we stated we were going to continue to observe Bazooka Wizard to see its performance over time. Back then, we thought it would require a high level of skill to execute that would make it relatively less utilized as a hard, but rewarding, gameplay option. That hasn't been the case, as many feel it's too mandatory. In the context of this and other changes (like Bone Ringer and Chantodo's), we think it makes sense to make this change now. Spite Fixed an issue where casting Restless Giant would cause the 200% physical bonus damage to fail to apply when the Gargantuan enraged Squirt's Necklace Fixed an issue where some ground effects were causing the Squirt's Necklace buff to fall off despite being shielded View the full article
  8. Diablo IV's End Game Players were teased multiple times on the proposed end game of Diablo IV throughout several panels at BlizzCon, and it's possible to piece the information together to get a sense for how Blizzard envisions the end game playing out. It's important to note that Diablo IV is still early in development, and it's likely that these systems will change through iteration and redesign. While speculating on these systems can be fun and exciting, remember to be constructive and respectful when presenting feedback. Dungeons Dungeons appear to be the primary end game activity in Diablo IV. Dungeons are randomly generated and come with pre-defined objectives and random events. Some examples of dungeon objectives might be to kill all enemies in the dungeon, or kill a specific enemy; however, these objectives aren't as uninspired as they may initially appear. While killing all enemies to complete the objective in the Domhainne Tunnels, players will have to defeat powerful elites that are sent to stop players as they make progress. Each dungeon has it's own custom objective which provides a sense of identity to every dungeon in the game. While playing Diablo IV at end game, players will often find Keys to specific dungeons, and these Keys will have different difficulty ranks. The higher the difficulty of the Dungeon Key, the better the quality of loot that will drop--note that item drop rates don't change. Dungeon Keys also come with random affixes on them which change how that dungeon will play. Some examples of these random affixes might be that all of the enemies in the dungeon are invisible unless they are in combat, or that the dungeon has a lightning pulse which follows players around until the objective has been completed. Players familiar with Mythic+ dungeons in World of Warcraft may find that this system sounds familiar and iterative. Because multiple affixes can be on a single Dungeon Key, and the combination of those affixes may greatly change how a dungeon plays, Diablo IV--in theory--looks to be offering a large amount of player agency when choosing what end-game dungeons complete. There are some obvious concerns with how this system may play out in a live setting, but we're excited for the potential replay value this could add to the end game in Diablo IV. Loot One of the most important parts of any Diablo game is what kind of loot you get, especially at end game. Having a compelling loot-chase can keep players engaged for months on a single character, and can also provide an immense amount of player agency in regards to how they build their character. Diablo IV has a similar item qualities as Diablo III, but with the important new addition of Mythic items--which are the strongest items in the game. The stats and affixes found on items increases in quantity with the quality of an item, but the main goal of affixes on items in Diablo IV is to provide players with the greatest amount of choices for their individual playstyle. A notable item affix in Diablo IV is +rank which adds ranks to specific talents, and can allow access to unavailable talents or additional ranks beyond the maximum of a specific talent you've already invested points into. The goal of legendary items in Diablo IV is to be equal-to-or-more powerful than set items, unlike the set-dominated end game of Diablo III. This provides players with a greater variety of items to use since they aren't locked into using an entire set of gear all the time. Mythic items are the most powerful items that player's will find, but only one can be equipped at any given time. Mythic items have four legendary affixes on them but finding the right Mythic item for your build may require a large time investment. Seasons We know that seasons are making a return to Diablo IV after their success in Diablo III. This is a feature that will be available at or near launch, and will provide players with reasons to return to the game on a regular basis. Seasons in Diablo IV will add new legendary items in addition to focusing on a set of specific legendary items each season. From what we have learned, it sounds like the Diablo IV team want to make sure that each season will change up the end game meta on a regular basis so that players aren't stuck playing a single build for several seasons. If they continue the traditions of the Diablo III seasons, we may also see exclusive cosmetic items be tied to completing various seasonal objectives. What are your thoughts on Diablo IV's end game dungeon and loot system? What additions or changes would you like to see? Let us know in the comments! View the full article
  9. Last week, our team had the opportunity to play Diablo IV extensively at BlizzCon! Neinball recently published his thoughts on the demo, and while we both generally agree on the promise that Diablo IV shows, we do disagree on which class we preferred to play in the demo. Below, you can find additional observations about the systems in the game which weren't mentioned in Neinball's write-up in addition to my thoughts on the Diablo IV demo! Demo Impressions Overall, I walked away from BlizzCon with extremely positive impressions of Diablo IV. The combat felt incredibly impactful, and each of the three classes had skills which made me grin in utter delight each time I used them. The feel of combat is especially important to get right in an action RPG seeing as it's the action you're doing the most within this genre of games, and Blizzard has nailed it with Diablo IV. In many ways, the combat in Diablo IV feels like a better but slightly slower iteration of the Diablo III combat--which has always been one of the core strengths of that game. Slowing the combat down gives animators more breathing room when creating spell effects, and the result is that each skill feels like it has substantial weight and power behind it. Additionally, the gameplay felt smooth and responsive, and there was never a point in which I felt like I didn't have absolute control over my character. Aesthetically, the game was substantially darker and more creepy than it's predecessor Diablo III, and felt more like what I would imagine Diablo and Diablo II might look like running on a modern engine. Enemies, such as the Fallen, have been re-designed to appear as frightening minions of hell rather than their more stylized counterparts in Diablo III, and entering into a dungeon gave me a sense of terror while exploring around the dark procedurally-generated tile-sets. Each room had a sense of danger, and hallways/caves felt claustrophobic in a good way. The gothic style seen in the cinematic announcement trailer translates well into the new engine which they developed for Diablo IV, and I'm particularly interested in how dark the story may get throughout the campaign. These visual and narrative changes may cause angelic characters like Imperius to seem intimidating and powerful rather than a cheesy super-hero, and enemies like Lilith may be absolutely terrifying to face when we finally meet them in game. Diablo IV, as it existed within the BlizzCon demo, is my new favorite Diablo game from an aesthetic and game-play perspective; however, many questions still remain as to the longevity and quality of its end-game. The game is still quite early in development, and I'm very much looking forward to seeing more of what the game has to offer once the game launches sometime in the distant future. Classes Before I begin diving into the individual classes, I want to be clear about two things. First, the power and balance of these classes from the demo is completely irrelevant. Because the game is still early in development, getting the fantasy and feel of the classes correct is a larger priority than number tuning. Second, my own thoughts on the classes come with personal biases, and I may be more inclined to like specific classes verses what our readers may enjoy. My favorite class from the entire Diablo franchise is the Assassin, and I enjoy the Monk, Crusader, and Demon Hunter equally from Diablo III. Hopefully that should give our readers a sense of what class-fantasies and gameplay styles I enjoy the most. Sorceress The Sorceress was my least favorite of the three available classes to play in the Diablo IV demo. While the abilities looked cool and were fun to use, I felt like I was just playing a better looking version of the Diablo III Wizard. The Sorceress was the class that felt like it had the least amount of improvement from previous games; however, if you're someone who loves the Wizard, than this may very well be the perfect class for you. The best thing I can say about the Sorceress is that each of the skills created lovely lighting effects in dark dungeons, and Lightning Spear was one of my favorite skills due to its "cool" factor. Simply put, you cast a spear of lighting that seeks out nearby enemies and destructables, zipping across the screen rapidly as it does so. I loved the feel and fantasy of that ability, and it made me feel like I was truly playing a magic-based class. Druid The Druid was the class I was most excited to jump in and play since the Druid is making its first appearance since Diablo II, and it seemed the most unique of the three. Shred and Pulverize were your two main abilities, with Shred shapeshifting you into Werewolf form whenever you would use it. Shred generated Spirit, the Druid's primary resource, and also had a high chance to hit twice. Pulverize was your primary spender, and would shapeshift you into a Werebear. Pulverize was a large AoE slam that cost spirit, so swapping between the two abilities was key to the Druid's rotation. In addition to these two abilities, the Druid could use Boulder to knock back enemies (which could even knock enemies off cliffs), Trample to charge and stun enemies, Cataclysm to create a massive storm which obliterated enemies, and Wolves which you could command to attack targets--much like Command Skeletons from the Diablo III Necromancer. The Druid certainly plays differently than it did in Diablo II, but that's not a bad thing. Switching rapidly between Werebear, Werewolf, and your caster form felt incredibly powerful, especially when you consider that the Druid can gain passive buffs for doing so. Combat with the Druid felt very fluid, and I'm very interested in seeing the other abilities in action. Something else to consider is that the Talent Tree for the Druid contained two paths to venture down, one for spells and one for shapeshifting. While this would be quite concerning regarding end-game builds for the Druid, a conversation I had with Lead Systems Designer David Kim put those fears to rest. David Kim mentioned that an eternal version of Diablo IV currently has several horizontal paths that connect the two different Talent Tree's, allowing Druid players to swap over and create hybrid builds. Although, with the game being so early in development, it's possible we won't see that once it finally launches. Barbarian The first time I played the Diablo IV demo, I decided to try the Barbarian. My reasoning was that it had the highest potential to be the most boring and standard of the three classes, and I wanted to start with the worst of the three experiences. I'm ecstatic to report that this couldn't have been further from the truth. The Barbarian was easily my favorite of the three classes, and the one I played the most times. Every single skill felt great to use, and the synergy of the Barbarian's skills meant that when players got into a rhythm, they would absolutely devastate enemies. Losing that rhythm would cause you to feel like you were Fury-starved, and unable to use your powerful skills. Upheaval was the Barbarian's big Fury spender, and was hands-down the most satisfying ability to use in the whole demo! After a very brief delay, the Barbarian would essentially golf-swing the ground and hurl debris at his enemies in a small cone. Upheaval is a more epic version of Seismic Slam from Diablo III, and I praised the Lead VFX Artist Daniel Briggs and his team for creating an ability which felt so good to use that I loudly and audibly chuckled with absolute glee the first time I used it. The final thing that really sealed-the-deal with my love for the Barbarian is the class-specific ability which allows the Barbarian to equip two 1-handed and two 2-handed weapons at the same time. By doing so, the Barbarian is able to assign a skill to one of their equipped weapons, allowing the Barbarian to min-max which Skill is utilizing each of their weapons. It's not just a visual effect, but there are also gameplay implications since certain abilities require you to have specific types of weapons to be equipped. I'll be keeping a close eye on this specific system all throughout development, and I could foresee myself primarily playing a Barbarian once the game launches. Systems There are several gameplay systems which are key to Diablo IV that I want to also discuss. The first is the Rune and Runeword system, which is a returning system from Diablo II, but with very different design. As you play the game, you will collect Runes which can be placed into gear which have sockets. Runes come in two different varieties, a condition Rune and an effect Rune. Condition Runes might be something along the lines of "Whenever you freeze an enemy..." or "Whenever you use a healing potion..." followed by "activate the next socketed rune." Effect Runes often give very powerful buffs for a short duration, and should be paired with condition Runes that are easy to meet the condition on. An example of this system might be that you socket a condition Rune and an effect Rune into a piece of gear with two sockets, granting you the ability to reduce a cooldown on a random ability by 15% whenever you use a healing potion. Personally, I really enjoy the flexibility of this system, but I fear how easy it could be to min-max the best combination of Runes without providing any actual choice on the player's part. This could be fixed by the countless tuning nobs the developers have available to them, and there is a potential for some amazing character customization through this system. One of the more concerning aspects of Diablo IV to me is the flavor of multiplayer they have decided to use. While running around the open world, you will come across other random players. Certain regions will have restrictions on how many players you might see, and this changes dynamically depending on where you are. Campaign specific areas in the open world will be locked to you and your party until you finish that objective, but you will be able to see public players in those areas once you are done. My primary concern is with how one might perceive other random players they come across. For example, when doing World Quests in the retail version of World of Warcraft, players rarely ever interact with each other. Often times, they join a group to get a quest or world boss done, then immediately leave once their objective is complete without any form of communication or coordination. In an ideal system, the multiplayer in Diablo IV would create meaningful interactions with other players which would encourage players to communicate and coordinate to complete common goals, and in rare cases would lead to friendships. A game that discouraged these interactions through easy objectives and gameplay could very easily fracture a community before it ever had a chance to develop. Blizzard might take look at World of Warcraft: Classic as a source of inspiration for how to create meaningful multiplayer interactions in an open world to create a sense of community and cooperation between players. The final thing I wanted to discuss in regards to Diablo IV is how it shares some interesting design philosophies with Diablo: Immortal. Now that Diablo IV has finally been announced, we've observed that people are opening up to the idea of Immortal having its place within the Diablo franchise, and our opinions on Immortal haven't changed since we got our hands on it last year: It's a cool mobile game that has a lot of potential to bring countless new players to the Diablo series. Both Diablo IV and Immortal have persistent multiplayer experiences where it's possible to find random players exploring the world alongside you. Unlike my concerns for the multiplayer in Diablo IV that I mentioned above, I'm far less concerned about having meaningful interactions with players in Immortal where it's already difficult to communicate with others. In addition to similar multiplayer design, Immortal and Diablo IV also share the idea of a large world to explore; however, Immortal differs in the sense that there isn't one massive seamless world to explore like there is in Diablo IV. Either way, it's worth considering that these two games have similar approaches to world and multiplayer design, and the idea of that excites me. As I mentioned before, Diablo IV is already my favorite Diablo game. If they manage to tune the end-game in a compelling way, then there is no doubt in my mind that Diablo IV would also be a favorite among most other players as well. If your interested in my additional thoughts on Diablo IV, then you can check out my Deep Dive video which I've linked below. With that said, I'm anxious to hear your thoughts, and if you have any Diablo IV questions, be sure to ask them in our comments! View the full article
  10. While at BlizzCon, we had the opportunity to get hands-on experience with the Diablo IV demo and compile some of our thoughts and feedback on those play sessions. Below are my thoughts on the demo, and Zenkiki will contribute his later this week. General Thoughts and Experiences For being so early in development, I think it needs to be said how fluid the game felt. Skills felt powerful, combat was visceral, animations were flawless. The developers said this game is quite some time from release and to me that means it'll only get better from here. The game felt incredibly familiar, but different. The demo felt like it was the natural extension of Diablo III's combat system, but a tad bit slower which made positioning and skill animation lengths more meaningful. The Barbarian in particular had a skill with a minor wind-up, but had high damage that felt rewarding when you connected with it. The overall gameplay felt like it struck a great balance between Diablo III's fluidity of combat and Diablo II's speed and pacing. The demo itself was beautiful rendered, but maintained a muted, gritty feel that was missing in Diablo III. You start the demo on a cliff-side and have clear view of the surrounding areas to the north that really drive home how massive this game is going to be. You could spend the majority of your 20 minute play session just exploring the map and we saw in one of the panels that the demo area is tiny compared to the rest of the planned game. The world in Diablo IV is going to be massive. Hundreds of unique dungeons, hundreds of villages, landmarks from previous games will be explore-able. Classes Sorceress: The Sorceress was my least favorite of the three classes available in the demo. The class felt powerful and fun, but it felt like it hadn't evolved much from Diablo II or Diablo III's Wizard. The Sorceress was also the only class in the demo without a generator+spender skill setup and when you ran our of Arcane Power, you just had to stand there and spam the basic free Frost Bolt while waiting until you had enough resource to use one of your other abilities. I feel that the Sorceress would have played better if it had another cooldown based spell that didn't require Arcane Power or at least a way of on-demand resource generation. All-in-all, it felt very much like a non-max level class in the caster archetype. Barbarian: The Barbarian has undergone quite a few changes from it's Diablo III counterpart. In Diablo IV the Barbarian has access to four separate weapon slots that allow you can bind to different skills. While this feature was predetermined in the beta, from developer discussions they intend to allow the player full control over binding which weapons will be used by different skills. So while some skills may require a two-handed weapon or that you're dual wielding, you'll have free range to determine which specific sets of you four weapons can be used allowing tons of player customization. The Barbarian felt very smooth in practice and the skill selection showed some new mechanics. Rupture for instance was a cooldown based skill that did massive damage over a couple of seconds, but if it killed an enemy the cooldown was instantly reset. It made gameplay very rewarding if you could hit smaller enemies and elites/bosses at the same time as it allowed longer uptime of the damage on the nastier monsters. I think the Barbarian showed a lot of potential in future skill design by making things such as positioning or timing the use of skills more important. If this is a hint of things to come from this early in development, I think the players will feel far more rewarded when they master certain elements of gameplay than in any of the prior entries in the series. Druid: To me, the druid was far and away the best class in the beta. The shape-shifting animations were incredibly smooth and wonderfully showcased the possibilities of the new engine that was built from the ground up for Diablo IV. The druid had an excellent selection of skills with a couple of power skills on short cooldowns, a fast generator, an area of effect spender, with a little bit of crowd control thrown in. The druid really had that "Aha!" moment when you landed a Boulder skill into an elite that pushed them out of combat and gave you some breathing room to finish off other enemies around you. The druid also had the best legendary item in the demo that hit a random enemy with a lightning bolt every time you shape-shifted and you could shape-shift a lot. Bosses There were two bosses in the demo you could fight: Ashava, the world boss, and the Sea Witch that you encountered if you played through the questline offered in the demo. Ashava was a truly massive boss. The camera had to pull out to full show the scope of the encounter. This encounter felt akin to a raid boss in WoW, with telegraphed attacks that were absolutely devastating if you didn't dodge or position accordingly. Ashava also showcased a new mechanic referred to as the Stagger System that is represented by a second bar under the boss's health that filled as you used crowd control effects against it instead of actually subjecting the boss to the control effects. When the bar filled Ashava was briefly stunned and one of her giant talons broke off, drastically lowering the damage and range of her attacks made with that claw. The system basically made it so that bosses couldn't be cheesed by chaining crowd control effects, but still made control effects have meaning. All bosses will have different responses to the Stagger mechanic and it will be very interesting to see it in action against more bosses. The Sea Witch also had the interaction and feelings of a boss that would be at home in a MMO. She would spawn area of effect circles all over the ground that did damage and summoned smaller mobs to try and bury you under their numbers. Sadly the boss was tuned to be easy to defeat as she was the showcase of the demo story and I always killed her before being able to Stagger her to see what the effect was. I was told that her Stagger would clear the room of the damaging pools, but also stun the player briefly while any minions that were still alive would become enraged. This sounded awesome and I wish I could have experienced it because it would give players a real choice in fighting the boss. Deal with the damaging pools continually covering the area and summoning more and more mobs or Stagger the boss and risk the stun, but clear the pools. This demo's bosses are already a couple steps ahead of any rift guardian and will offer far more fulfilling gameplay for players if this is just the starting point. What are your thoughts on Diablo IV so far? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to ask us any burning questions you may have about the demo! View the full article
  11. Additional Diablo Immortal Update In case you missed it with all the Diablo IV excitement over the last couple of days, Blizzard posted a Diablo Immortal update on Friday, giving some insight into their progress and answering common questions. Today, Lead Game Designer Wyatt Cheng posted a follow-up on Reddit, further detailing how Ultimates work in Diablo Immortal, and clearing up a couple of other questions: Originally Posted by u/wyattcheng A lot of people have been asking me why we didn’t talk about Immortal on the main stage. Quite simply, we want to make sure we give Diablo 4 the space for a clear announcement. I am personally super happy for all my friends on the D4 team who worked so long towards this day. As a company, we didn’t want to risk any confusion regarding features, storylines, etc between D4 and Immortal. We had an updated demo for Diablo Immortal playable on the show floor that was played by thousands of people. The demo had a playable Demon Hunter to join the Monk, Barb and Wizard from last year. Hopefully a few people who had a chance to play the game at BlizzCon will be able to share their game experience. Our dev update mentions ultimates, so how do ultimates work? As you use your basic attack you charge up a meter that sits around the rim of your basic attack button. When the meter is full a new ultimate button becomes available. You can activate that button at any time of your choosing to activate an ultimate mode that transforms your basic attack into a new upgraded version. The exact details of your ultimate state change based on which basic attack you have assigned. Every class has two basic attacks each with a corresponding ultimate. We observed that some players did not notice their ultimate when it became available - something we’ll have to iterate on more. One of the top questions from the weekend was “When is it coming out? I heard the game was done and I was hoping to install it this weekend!” Regarding rumors, the rumor that the game is basically done was false. We are currently in full production and working hard on the game and we’re looking forward to sharing more information in the coming months. I know the rumors are fueled by excitement for the game and I assure you that when we are ready to talk about the next phase of development there will be clear messaging from Blizzard. Thank you for your patience as we take the time to get the game right. Another question I heard was, predictably, if I had a phone. Joking aside, last year’s announcement was rough, but it was nice to see people on this subreddit showing genuine support and interest in the game. The whole Diablo Immortal team loves to game on PC, console and mobile. We all want to make an authentic Diablo game for both the core Diablo audience as well as new players, and we are glad to have you on that journey with us. He also responded to a comment clarifying device support: Originally Posted by u/wyattcheng Switch is not currently planned but you're not alone in wanting that. This weekend I got a lot of requests for a Switch version. BlizzCon attendees also asked about iPad (Yes, definitely - and we actually had ~25 iPads on the show floor where people could try it out), controller support (we'll look into it but no promises), and support for casting the visual to a TV (we'll look into it). View the full article
  12. The Diablo IV World & Lore panel is a quick run down on the influences and goals for the tone of the game, as well as a quick recap of how we got to this point in the story and some little tidbits of workings of the world of Sanctuary. Influences The development team took influences from lots of sources. Comics, pop culture, and lots of tabletop roleplaying games. One of the talents of the team is to see something cute and through their lens turn into something dark and horrific. Like a cute little pig that becomes a massive, horned, demonic boar. In the development area they would blast heavy metal music and make it a part of the experience. 'Metal' became a common way to describe things in Diablo IV. Tone/Mood Diablo IV isn't just about darkness, it's about bringing back a very specific feeling from the earlier games. The developers wanted to take a more grounded approach to the development of Diablo IV compared to Diablo III. There will be more chances to interact with villagers and common folk, with over 100 villages or towns within the game. Diablo IV isn't about big heroes or politics or high fantasy, it's about the regular people and the evil that surrounds them. The essence of Diablo is being alone and wandering through the darkness, wondering what's out there looking back at you. Visual storytelling to reinforce that dark feel is very important to development. Lots of small details spread throughout the world will help build the mood of the game, but it's up to the player to notice those details or ignore them. It all depends on how much those things are important to the player. The end of every road ends in evil. They showed a new boss called the Blood Bishop. The Blood Bishop created many evil things and overtime became warped and twisted by those acts of evil and is now a monstrosity composed of bothing but blood and veins, The development team took lots of influences from the Middle Ages and a gnostic take on religion. General story game flow approach was you'd encounter a villager who has a problem, you'd take a journey to where the trouble was coming from, and finally encounter some great evil thing at the end. The game will be dark, gnostic, with a little bit of crazy and dark humor thrown in. And to reiterate: a grounded story is important to Diablo IV. Lore Diablo III recap: Diablo used the Black Soulstone to create the Prime Evil by merging the souls of all the Great Evils. Diablo then went on to devastate heaven, but was ultimately defated. Tyrael tried to hide the Black Soulstone, but it was taken by Malthael. Malthael then used the Black Soulstone's power to slaughter the population of Sanctuary. Malthael consumed the Black Soulstone and Evils contained within, but was defeated. With Malthael's defeat the essence of those Evils was freed and released back into the world. The history of Sanctuary: Lilith is the daughter of the Lord of Hatred, Mephisto. Lilith fell in love with the angel Inarius and together they created the world of Sanctuary and subsequently the Nephalem. The setup for Diablo IV: Malthael's campaign was a genocide across the entire face of Sanctuary. This genocide left a huge power vacuum that groups like the Zakarum or the Church of the Triune are vying the top spot. There's not a lot of hope left in the world. Worldbuilding The world of Sanctuary that we know was introduced as just Tristriam and the first Diablo game. Most of the story was in the manual, but not so much in the game. Things like Inarius, the Crystal Arch, the Sin War, etc were all introduced in the original Diablo. Diablo II gave us our first map of the world and started to show other places. We got see oceans and places with names we didn't understand, but inspired our imaginations. Waypoints were also introduced in Diablo II as a form of travel and later expanded upon in Diablo III. Reaper of Souls gave us adventure mode and added more maps of zones, but some places didn't fit or make sense. The Shrouded Moors, as an example, were just kind of thrown into a map without regards to where it actually existed in the world. In Diablo IV the maps are far better and areas will be more fleshed out and connected within the world. The demo area for Diablo IV is pretty big for demo, but is incredibly tiny compared to the rest of the planned game map. World In Diablo II when you switch acts the zone and pallet transitions were very stark. You could go back into the manual and find the world map to see how far apart they were and it was left to your imagination to fill in the rest of the journey. Now we will get to walk the entire path between those places and see everything in game. Scosglen: The home of the Druids. A wild, untamed place where beasts and monsters lurk everywhere waiting to pounce on you. Darkness is always closing in and the inhabitants of this area always live in fear, hoping that their numbers will keep them safe from the beastmen and other dangers lurking just outside of their village walls. Dry Steppes: Salt flats and deserts filled with pools of boiling water. A very difficult place to live where you are either predator or prey. Lots of wars are fought in this area vying for power of the region. With Lilith's return people here are giving into the darkness within them. All humans are half demon after all. Fractured Peaks: Gothic Victorian themed area. The people here always live with anxiety that something is always out there watching them from the shadows, waiting for them to drop their guard. When night falls in the Fracture Peaks, you better lock your doors as being outside at night is a death sentence. Blood suckers and other evil things lurk here while decadent priests sleep soundly, ignorant to the darkness continually drawing in around them. Hawezar: Southern swamplands. Lots of poison gases and delusions plague this area and the dreams of those who live here. People travel here to be forgotten, thieves, exiles, and the like. The area is home to swamp witches that worship gigantic snakes and can offer arcane knowledge, but at steep prices. Kehjistan: The remnants of the once massive empire.This is the last bastion of the Zakarum faith, which has suffered many setbacks in the few games. The Zakarum is decaying in it's own decadence. Kurast is here and that place has gotten even worse since we last saw it. This is an ancient area, the Sin Wars were fought here as well as the Mage Clan wars. The Church of Triune is also centered here, where they worship the Prime Evils and hope summon back their dead masters. The people of Kehjistan live in fear and are trapped by superstitions to try and keep the evil away. Monsters Monster design is about taking the lore and trying to have it kill you. Monsters tell a story by punching you in the face. There exist all these monster of legends, terrors in the night that have been forgotten or that people just refuse to believe are real. One of these are the Drowned. You've heard the tells of them stealing people away in the night and drowning them, sinking ships, and terrorizing the coasts. But they are real. With the light of the first full moon, they come ashore in droves and hunt their victims. Their approach is always heralded by the ever present ringing of a bell. But how do you tell this story in a monster? The Drowned Juggernaut is an example of using the lore to create a monster. He's a big heavy punisher that shambles out of the ocean to try and drag you back down to the depths. His concept art has him holding a giant flail, but how does that tell a story? The monster designers changed the massive flail into a broken shipmast to reinforce his themes, as well as making some of his attacks summon a spectral ocean wave to supplement that. Ashava is a world boss that exemplifies Diablo IV. Ashava is an always present threat, always lurking just below the surface and can appear anywhere in Sanctuary. She tougher than what you can fight on your own and reinforces that feeling of fighting against overwhelming odds. Duriel is back! Duriel is the Lord of Pain & Maggots and while he's returning in Diablo IV developers don't want to spoil his impact on the story. In Diablo II Duriel was a brutal close quarters fight that had the feel of a two men enter, one man leave kind of fight and they want to pay homage to that while expanding on his lore. He can burrow underground forcing you fight his maggots or impale you and throw you into his belly/mouth which acts as an iron maiden, reinforcing his status as the Lord of Pain. Q&A When asked if Inarius will return the devs reminded us that there were more angel/demon pairs that had children than just Lilith and Inarius. Inarius was last scene being tortured by Mephisto 3,000 years ago and as far as they know he's still there. Sanctuary will be a fixed world but will include outside dungeons with randomly generated areas. When Malthael was killed the essence of the Prime Evil was divided and the souls of the Evils were separated and loosed back into the world including Mephisto, Inarius' jailer. We've seen Duriel in the trailers and we know that the other Evils have been able to resurrect, so the threat of them returning is out there. But Lilith is here and active, the Evils may be a bigger threat on the horizon Lilith is in our face. When asked if Tyrael will return as the narrator for Diablo IV the devs asked "Does the game need a narrator?", but they're not ready to talk about Diablo IV's timeline and how long after Diablo III it takes place, so where Tyrael is at or what part he plays is something they're not ready to talk about. Remember: Heaven is closed, we're on our own. While it's awesome if fan favorites, like the Butcher, could return in Diablo IV their inclusion has to make sense. Those character have to fit, their lore has to matter to the game. The devs want to honor the legacy of older titles with monster that will murder you. View the full article
  13. Diablo IV: Systems & Features Panel Recap The Diablo IV systems and features panel was a deep-dive into the inner workings of the game that had a Q&A at the very end. This panel revealed a surprising amount about Diablo IV considering how early in development the game still is. Classes During the class section of the panel, we learned about the unique mechanics for each of the three revealed classes, and much more information on how the skill/talent system will work. Sorceress Whenever the Sorceress uses cold abilities on an enemy, they apply a stacking chill effect to the target. Once the chill stacks high enough, the enemy is frozen solid for a short time. Barbarian The Barbarian is able to equip 4 weapons at any given time, given that they are a weapon master. They may have two 1-handed and two 2-handed weapons to use, and they may even assign specific skills to use specific equipped weapons. Druid When the druid switches into a form, they gain a short buff. For example, changing into warebear will provide the druid with a short term damage reduction buff. Whenever players level up, they will gain 1 or more Skill Points to invest into their Skills. Players may use these Skill Points to either unlock new Skills or empower one of their existing skills. Players may find Skill Point Tomes in the world that will provide them with additional skill points. Each class has a unique talent tree that is filled out from top to bottom. There are super powerful abilities at the bottom of the trees, such as the Sorcerer's talent to change their freeze effect into a huge burst of damage. Sharing The Open World When it comes to the open world of Diablo IV, there are many questions regarding how the multiplayer and single player aspects of the game will work. Dungeons in the game are private, and you will not run into other players while dungeon-delving. The party size for dungeons is set to a maximum of 4 players. Certain areas of the open world have a maximum amount of players that will appear on your screen at any given time. The regular areas have a smaller player cap, but entering into a public event or boss area will significantly increase the amount of available players. This system works seamlessly. Campaign areas in public zones are private until after the campaign objective has been completed. Towns have a very large player cap. The entire game can be played completely solo. Clans are in the game, and include a Clan bank system. Emotes in chat were mentioned, but we are unsure if this will take the form of emotes like the ones found in Heroes of the Storm. Dungeons Dungeons have randomly generated interiors/exteriors and exist in the game for use in the campaign or as various areas to explore, but become re-playabe in the end game. Dungeons have seamless exploration with no loading screens. Dungeons transition from level to level in a natural way, which gives the sense of a sprawling dungeon to explore. Random events make a return, but are not restricted to specific places in the world. Random Events can even be found within Dungeons End game dungeons have varied content with an emphasis on strategic depth and player agency. Keys for specific dungeons drop in the end game, and these keys contain random affixes which greatly change how you may play a Dungeon--such as a lightning pulse that follows you throughout the dungeon until the objective has been completed. The higher the difficulty of the content, the better quality of items that drop. Drop rates remain unchanged. Players will get many dungeon keys, which gives them control over which dungeons are the dungeons they wish to run. Monsters Monsters belong to a set family. For example, the Fallen Lunatic belongs to the Fallen "family," which have a unified theme. Same with the Skeletal family, which work together through varied weapons to attempt to murder you horribly. The Skeletal Ballista is a group of skeletons working together to use a massive bow against you. Elite affixes make a return, such as Frozen and Mortar. Enhancing affixes are new, and change base on a monster's base power. For example, if the Skeletal Ballista has the Multi-shot affix, it will have a spread fire shot instead; however, if another monster has the Multi-shot affix, than the creature may summon more monsters if they typically only spawn one. Bosses are powerful, but thankfully Diablo IV re-introduces the evade mechanic seen within the console version of Diablo III. Using this evade allows you to dash a short distance in order to avoid damage, or even reposition yourself for a better attack. Certain spells can give you and your allies Unstoppable, allowing you to avoid stuns or break crowd-control effects. Bosses have a Stagger mechanic. By hitting bosses with crowd control abilities, you fill up their stagger bar. When the bar reaches max, the boss has suffers an effect that may make them easier to fight. For example, the world boss Ashava in the demo will lose one of its arm blades when you stagger it, making the sweep attack far less dangerous. Items In Diablo IV, the item progression is: normal, magic, rare, legendary/set, ancient legendary/set, and mythic. Mythic items are the most powerful items in the game, and contain four different effects on them; however, you can only equip one. Better quality items increase the amount of affixes on them, such as critical strike chance/damage. + Rank to a talent points is a returning affix found on items, and is capable of giving you talents that you don't have. You can also increase the rank of a talent past the regular cap in this way. The goal is to have legendary items equal to or greater than the power level of set items, giving players flexibility in their gearing choices. There are a bunch of legendaries with effects that change how your skills work. For example, the Sorcerer may get items that make Teleport give the caster a damage barrier, create a rift that increases critical hit chance, remove the cooldown but teleports randomly, or even give teleport a damaging nova. Runes and Runewords make a return, and work as a condition/effect. In other words, you may find one rune that has a condition (such as 'when you freeze an enemy, activate the next rune'), and one that has an effect ('reduce a random skill cooldown by 15%). They are investigating how to give progressions to runes. Q&A For monetization, they will sell the base game and expansions. They refuse to sell any kind of power. Customization of your character comes in the form of items, skills, and talents. There is no offline mode, but nothing in the game will require partying with other players. Trading is available, but the current strategy is to have 3 different types of trade-able items: Freely can be traded. Traded just one time. Cannot be traded. The plan for balancing PvP will be to tweak several nobs on specific skills that may cause problems. Certain skills are going to be better at PvP than PvE, and likewise. Affixes on items have random values within a range, and they want to add a way to customize affixes on items. The game will have seasons, with the goal to change up the player experience from season to season with new legendary items and spotlights on other legendaries. Yes, hardcore is in the game. View the full article
  14. Update on Diablo Immortal for BlizzCon 2019 While Diablo Immortal didn't make it into the packed Opening Ceremony showing, Blizzard did release an update on the game earlier today. We get some insight into their progress on the game, where it fits into the lore, and some brand new gameplay! Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment(Official Post) Across Blizzard, there is so much Diablo in the works that there will be a way for everyone to explore Sanctuary. For those of you eagerly awaiting an update on Diablo Immortal, the team has been hard at work on the game: honing our plan and vision, solidifying our goals, tightening mechanics and game systems, and laying the groundwork for what a Blizzard mobile MMO ARPG needs to flourish. Let’s review the basics before we look at what the future holds for this new adventure. What is Diablo Immortal? Diablo Immortal is a mobile MMO ARPG currently planned for iPhone and Android devices. We want it to include all the things you know and love about Diablo: multitudes of monsters to slay, troves of loot to collect and customize, and powerful classes to play with friends or on your own. What makes Diablo Immortal different? In addition to the new platform, the shift to mobile MMO ARPG embraces online multiplayer. While we still want players to be able to enjoy the game solo, Diablo Immortal will thrive with multiplayer features including persistent shared zones, 4-player instanced dungeons, full Guild support and social systems, and so much more. Where does Diablo Immortal fit into the overall story? Diablo Immortal takes place between the events of Diablo II and Diablo III. As Sanctuary recovers from the aftermath of Baal’s invasion and the destruction of Mount Arreat, powerful malevolent forces seek the remains of the Worldstone for their diabolical desires. Your character will be a unique, original hero who allies themselves with the remnants of the Horadrim, aiming to prevent the enemies of Sanctuary from reclaiming and controlling the Worldstone. Stand together with other mortal champions and defend your home from the corrupting evil of the Burning Hells! What classes will be playable in Diablo Immortal? Currently, we have six classes planned for players to select in Diablo Immortal: Barbarian, Crusader, Demon Hunter, Monk, Necromancer, and Wizard. What’s New for Diablo Immortal at BlizzCon 2019? Last year’s demo revealed the Barbarian, Monk, and Wizard, playable in a streamlined dungeon experience. This year, attendees will also be able to take the Demon Hunter for a spin (or Strafe) through a slice of open-world gameplay through the town of Wortham and the outdoor zone of Ashwold Cemetary. We’ve added a new base game mechanic: Ultimate Abilities. All classes gain charge for their chosen Ultimate by using basic attacks. Once this charge has been built up, players can choose to augment their basic attack for a short time in a face-meltingly powerful display of strength, guile, or raw magical potential. We’re also sharing a first look at our equipment system, including the first batch of skill-altering Legendary items. Turn your Scorch’s burning fireball into an icy Frozen Orb, change up how Exploding Palm targets foes and dishes out damage, or transform deadly arrows into grenades when using Strafe. There’s no better way to check it out than watching the action, so be sure to watch our latest gameplay trailer: You might spot a few other things we’re showing off that aren’t available in the demo, and even more we’ll be ready to share next year! QUESTIONS? We might not have an answer to all your questions, but we tackled a few of the more common ones below. If we don’t have an answer for you now, it’s very likely your topic is still in active development. We’ll have additional information to share as it becomes available. Q: When will I be able to play Diablo Immortal? A: We don’t have a release date to announce at this time. It takes significant time to meet the Blizzard quality level we’re aiming for, and we have a lot of ambitious goals for Diablo Immortal. Keep a close eye on Diablo channels for upcoming news and Pre-Register for testing opportunities here. Q: Will there be microtransactions in Diablo Immortal? How will Diablo Immortal be priced? A: We’re focused on building a great Diablo game first. That said, we know the business model is top of mind for lots of people out there and we’re taking the time to get it right. It’s too early to share details, but we want to make a Diablo game players love and to support it for years to come. We plan to achieve that by creating an ecosystem that accounts for and welcomes every type of player—from our most die-hard Diablo veterans to those who’ll be exploring Sanctuary for the first time. Q: What will support for Diablo Immortal look like after launch? A: Diablo Immortal is planned from the ground up for ongoing content and events. After launch, expect continued support and regular content updates including balance changes, new zones, dungeons, bosses, loot, additional stories, and even new classes! View the full article
  15. We were given the opportunity to take part in a group Q&A with Lead Game Designer Joe Shely and Senior Producer Tiffany Wat. Bellow is some notes we took from the Q&A for everyone see a little more into the developer's thought processes on the current development of Diablo IV. Diablo 4 Community Q&A with Lead Game Designer Joe Shely & Senior Producer Tiffany Wat While Blizzard has made it clear that the game is very, very early in development, Joe and Tiffany were very open with their answers and were excited to share as much as they could about Diablo IV. Story and Game Modes Hell is going to be an important part of the game and it will underlay all of Sanctuary, but the specifics of how we travel to Hell and Hell’s mechanics are still very early in development. Duriel is back! That was in fact Duriel in the gameplay footage. But what does that mean for the other Lesser and Prime Evils? We were told to watch the Lore & World panel tomorrow. With regards to zones having specific levels or how difficulty is handled: Scaling is an important feature to the team to allow exploration and players of varying levels to play with one another. The world zones will scale to the level of the party leader. But while scaling is important to have monsters increase in power with you, feeling the power level increase of getting awesome new items is equally important. The team is very aware of the fine balance between difficulty scaling and the player reward from finding new items. There will be a Hardcode mode Diablo 3 had a very wide playerbase and for many of those players this was their first Diablo game and for them, Diablo 3 is what it means to be a Diablo game. For many players Diablo 2 is what a Diablo game means. The devs are aware of all these different opinions on the game and hope to offer playstyles and content that will be fulfilling for everyone. There will be varied content for casual players and difficult content for those looking for challenges. Any player should be able to log on for any amount of time and feel as if they accomplished something or progressed in some way. How leveling ties into the game and how important max level is is still being worked on, but you’ll likely see the whole world well before max level. Crossplay between consoles is something the team is aware of and they’re currently exploring options, but can’t give any answers at this time. They will offer controller support for PC, but currently have no plans for keyboard support on console. 2 player local co-op will be supported on console. Diablo IV is being designed as a massive immersive world with partying and group in mind, so there are no plans for an offline only mode, but there will be options for those who only want to play solo or only play with friends. Trading and Crafting The developers are still early in developing trading systems, but the current philosophy is that crafting mats and consumables will always be tradeable. Powerful items will likely be bound on trade, meaning that can be traded, but only once. The most powerful items however will not be tradeable and likely stay bind on pickup. They want the primary source of items and power be from playing the game itself, so there are no current plans for auction houses, but there will be limited trading available through clan banks. Clans will be in the game and they will include clan banks to help with trading, but no other details were given. Loot drops will be individual to the character like Diablo III currently is, but if you drop an item on the ground, everyone will be able to see it. Crafting will be important to the game and they want to make it so you may go off course from completing quests to go grab a rare crafting material, but it’s still early in development and didn’t have more details at the moment. Skills, Classes, and Gameplay Skills will be bound to classes, you may have an item or two that procs another class’ skill, but still no plans for another enigma. They’ve no plans for cross class skill interactions or combos, but they liked the idea. The developers have been designing the monsters and skills so that they mesh well and interact with one another. Movement skills will be more moderate than they were in D3, the world is huge and the game will include mounts for traveling distances. You can highlight points of interest or quest in the world map to get a path indicator to help guide you towards those areas. There will be a new system called “Stagger” for bosses. Whenever you use a crowd control skill on bosses it won’t cc the boss but will add to it’s stagger meter. Once a boss’ stagger meter is full they will be stunned to offer a brief reprieve for the players but with additional unique effects on each boss. One of the demo bosses had a long range sweep attack with it’s massive claws, but once staggered the claws break and their range is greatly reduced. When World Events start they will notify everyone in the world and give its location on the world map for all players. If you can get to the events, you can participate. Currently no max player counts yet, they’re still testing out what feels good. The developers have lots of ideas for endgame systems and they want to offer a wide variety of things to do. We’ll get a preview of ‘Keyed Dungeons’ during tomorrow’s Systems & Features Panel. Sanctuary has hundreds of dungeons and you’ll be able to get ‘keys’ that unlock max level versions of those dungeons with special modifiers on them and better loot. Items and Character Customization Magic and Rare items are designed as stepping stones to help players familiarize themselves with gearing and itemization as they level. Sets are designed for fresh characters that reached max level and to act as a guide to how items interact and buff skills with very set play styles. Legendaries are designed as the next step past sets where you have free reign on developing item loadouts to suit your play style. There will be tons of options as they’re designing hundreds of Legendary items and they all affect your skills. Some will add damage, some will change functionality and all are designed to give the player another level of customization for their character. There are apparently more tiers of items played, but whether they’re just better legendaries or actually different types of items is unclear. Character customization has many avenues. In addition too items and runes there are skill and talent choices. While leveling or when ‘skill tomes’ you gain skill points that you can use to increase your skill ranks, unlocking new skills or empowering others. Skill point choices are permanent, but you will eventually be able to unlock and max all skill ranks. Talents are more playstyle choices and have effects on your skills, but will be respecable in the game. Runes will have prefix and suffix types that when combined together have bonus effects. Gems will also exist and can be used in runewords as well. The demo has pre-created characters but there will be a fully customization engine for creating your character. Face type, hair, skin color, eyes, scars, tattoos, and more will be available. They want it to have as many options as the WoW character creator. Miscellaneous Tidbits and Monetization Potions are an ever evolving system as they develop the game. Nothing really to share yet, but they don’t like how waiting 30-sec for your potion feels. Treasure goblins will return. The developers like the gameplay elements they add where chasing a goblins may put you into dangerous situations. Diablo IV has been developed from the ground up with PvP in mind. Diablo III had issues with balancing the game around PvP, but with Diablo IV PvP is factored into every development choice. The game will PvP. Diablo IV is using a brand new custom built engine that uses physical based rendering. The engine allows for things like transitional skill animations where one skill will flawless blend into the next. There will be dynamic weather and day/night cycles in the game. Certain skills like the Druid’s Cataclysm can change the weather. No support for UI mods are planned, but players familiar with Diablo III will be happy to know that elective mode style skill selection is the default. Freedom of choice is very important. The developers play a lot of other games and game development is a lot of interpreting what others do. They get a lot of ideas from other games. Monetization. Despite the early development the team has pretty much settled on a base game supported by expansions as the business model for Diablo IV. View the full article

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