Tag - diablo iii

Diablo III: Reaper of Souls Review (PC)

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After a very extended break from Diablo III, and a feeling of lingering disappointment in the longevity of the title, I have returned to reintroduce demons and angels into my life. Given that I originally reviewed the title, it is only fitting that I give it another go for the release of Diablo III: Reaper of Souls expansion pack. First off, my original review was not very hard on the game, mostly due to the fact that the vast majority of its issues were presented at endgame, and revolved around the auction house. If I had gone back for a second review, post-leveling, I would have painted a much more bleak picture of the new world of Sanctuary – a world filled with poor uninspired items, abysmal drop rates to support the auction house, an unbalanced and untested final playmode, and more. Given all that, you can imagine my skepticism when this expansion was announced – many months after everyone I know had stopped playing the title.

You can find my original review here, for those interested in prefacing this review with some history:
http://gamingshogun.com/2012/05/30/diablo-iii-review-pc/

Now on to Reaper of Souls, and on to what is, in my humble opinion, an absolute near-perfect redemption of the title. Gone are the days of uninspired gameplay systems. Gone are the days of uninteresting loot drops with frequency designed around playing the auction house instead of bashing demons. Gone are the days of unbalanced classes, with limited effective skill loadouts and homogenized gameplay.

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Reaper of Souls is downright BADASS and boatloads of fun. There, I said it.

It is clear that the developers went back to the drawing board on this expansion, ripping the guts (along with both auction houses) right out of the game and making killing demons and collecting loot fun again. They even seemed to have smoothed out the engine in the process, eliminating the bouts of micro-stuttering and sluggishness, leaving smooth-as-glass gameplay remaining. There are a few exceptions to this, such as specific areas of act 3 and the new act 5 where fire and smoke effects cause a bit of performance loss on all systems. Outside of this though, the game feels far more slick and responsive than ever. The classes have been re-balanced thoroughly, and though there are bound to be things that are too strong or too weak still, many more build variations are viable in this new Sanctuary. The Paragon end-game leveling system is far better, allowing for a player to continue to level up and improve attributes across all characters on their account seemingly forever (no Paragon level cap, and levels are account-wide now).

The addition of more useful stats, and the removal or readjustment of bad ones, is also of note, as well as some additional monster affix abilities that deepen the type of elite packs you can encounter when exploring. Music in the new Act 5 is extremely satisfying, at many times subtle yet just creepy enough, and the atmosphere of the new zones is dark, foreboding, and ominous in a way that a good Castlevania title or a good Resident Evil title might grab you. The story picks up where the previous one left off, with a fallen angel named Malthael deciding that he would take matters of the eternal struggle between the angels and demons of Sanctuary into his own hands. Though very polished, the story is just to wet your appetite for Adventure Mode and Nephalem Rifts, the true new gameplay focus of this expansion. No longer are you confined to a single act within a game – you can travel the entirety of act 1-5 through any waypoints, and explore zones marked with quests to gain experience, gold, and loot caches (which spill out random items in glorious fashion). While doing this, you will collect items which can be used to active Nephalem Rifts, randomized zones of between 1 and 10 maps that can be of any tileset from the game, with any monster combinations from the game. TRUE RANDOMIZATION! Some of the maps I have encountered were literally littered every 10 feet with elite packs, leading to total mayhem.

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Blizzard has recently announced that they will be adding “Seasons” to the game (similar to ladders from Diablo II), as well as some form of scaling Nephalem Rifts with leader boards for progress potentially. This should be coming in the first major patch to the expansion, and shows a commitment to continue to grow it – despite it being a 40$ game with no continued monetization. This harkens back to the days of Warcraft 3, Diablo II, and the like, and makes me excited to continue to play this now GREAT title and see what Blizzard has in store for it. All-in-all, I cannot recommend a revisit to this title enough for ARPG fans out there. I know the original launch burned many of us. I know many will scoff and continue to put time into Path of Exile, Torchlight 2, and other titles in the genre – content to write this one off and remember all the bad things about its launch. Please, PLEASE, do your self a favor and give it another chance. It might just be the best 40 bucks you spend this year, or for some time to come.

Can’t write any more. Must play more Reaper of Souls…

Diablo III: Reaper of Souls Review Score
Overall Score (out of 5)www.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
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Diablo III Coming to Consoles on September 3rd

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IRVINE, Calif.—June 6, 2013—A new legion of heroes will soon rise up and take a stand against the Lord of Terror. On September 3, Diablo® III will make its console debut on the Sony PlayStation® 3 computer entertainment system and the Xbox 360® games and entertainment system from Microsoft in the U.S., Canada, Spanish-speaking Latin America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.

In preparation for the upcoming launch, select retailers in these regions are now taking preorders for the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of the game, which will be available at a suggested retail price of $59.99. Both console versions of Diablo III will be fully localized in English, German, French, Latin American Spanish, European Spanish, Russian, Italian, Polish, and Brazilian Portuguese. Further release details, including retail availability in Brazil, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Southeast Asia, will be announced at a later date.

The console versions of Diablo III have been custom-tailored for gamepad-driven action, with a dynamic camera perspective that puts your hero front and center, as well as an all-new user interface and an intuitive control system that make vanquishing evil feel like second nature. Players can take on the vile denizens of the Burning Hells alone or in a party of up to four via same-screen local cooperative play or online over PlayStation® Network or the Xbox Live® online entertainment network from Microsoft. In addition, the game supports parties composed of both local and online players. Once gamers experience the rush of Diablo III’s unique brand of hack-and-slash gameplay from the comfort of their couch, Sanctuary will never be the same.

[quote_box author=”” profession=””]“Playing Diablo III on a big screen with your friends brings a whole new level of intensity to the game, and with all of the control and interface adaptations we’ve made, it’s extremely fun to play on PS3™ and Xbox 360,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. “In addition to the fine-tuning we’ve done for the console versions, we’re also including major content and design updates we’ve made to the PC version over the past year, so players can expect an epic Diablo gaming experience when the PS3™ and Xbox 360 versions launch in September.”[/quote_box]

Players who preorder either console version of Diablo III will receive an exclusive in-game item: the Infernal Helm, which grants an experience point boost to any character who wears it, accelerating their progression as they rise in power. Certain retailers will also offer limited-edition preorder bonuses—check with your local retailer for further information.

In Diablo III, players take on the role of one of five heroic characters—barbarian, witch doctor, wizard, monk, or demon hunter—and embark on a perilous quest to save the world of Sanctuary from the corrupting forces of the Burning Hells. As players make their way from the demon-besieged town of New Tristram to the Diamond Gates of the High Heavens, they’ll engage in pulse-pounding combat with hordes of monsters and challenging bosses, grow in experience and ability, acquire artifacts of incredible power, and meet key characters who’ll join them in battle or aid them along the way.

Diablo III was originally released for Windows® and Macintosh® PC on May 15, 2012 and within 24 hours became the fastest-selling PC game of all time. As of December 31, 2012, Diablo III had sold through more than 12 million copies worldwide.*To learn more about Diablo III, including a list of participating retailers, please visit the official website at http://www.diablo3.com.

With multiple games in development, Blizzard Entertainment has numerous positions currently available—visit http://jobs.blizzard.com for more information and to learn how to apply.

* According to The NPD Group, GfK Chart-Track, and internal company estimates.

PlayStation is a registered trademark of Sony Computer Entertainment, Inc.

Diablo III Game Director Steps Down

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Diablo III game director, Jay Wilson, has announced that he is leaving his position as Diablo III game director and will be “transitioning elsewhere within Blizzard”. Does this mean he is moving on to their upcoming MMO code-named “Titan” or some other, unannounced title? Time will tell. As an aside, I should mention we got to briefly talk with Jay Wilson at last year’s Spike Video Game Awards.

Letter from Jay Wilson

Hey everyone, 

I wanted all of you to be some of the first to know that I’ve made an important decision about my future, and how that decision will affect the future of Diablo.

I recently celebrated my seven-year anniversary working on Diablo III, and while it’s been one of the most challenging and rewarding periods of my life, I’ve reached a point creatively where I’m looking forward to working on something new. The powers that be at Blizzard have been gracious enough to give me that opportunity. Over the course of the next several weeks, I will be moving off of the Diablo III project and transitioning elsewhere within Blizzard. This decision was not an easy one for me, and not one I made quickly, but ultimately it’s what I feel is right.

The first thing I want to assure you all is that this will not negatively impact our ongoing support of Diablo III. The game was not made by one person, far from it, and the team that poured their passion and considerable talent into it isn’t going anywhere. We have lots of things planned for the future, and those plans will carry forward as normal. I also won’t be abandoning the team, and will remain available to them during the transition period while we determine who will take over duties as game director.

To that point, you shouldn’t be surprised if you see a job posting for a game director on Diablo III, as we want to make sure we explore every opportunity to find the best possible leadership for the project. We’re looking forward to finding this person and hearing what kind of fresh ideas they can bring to the table.

I’m proud of Diablo III, and despite our differences at times I will miss the community that has formed around it. I feel I have made many mistakes in managing that relationship, but my intent was always to provide a great gaming experience, and be as open and receptive as possible, while still sticking true to the vision the Diablo team has for the game.

I know some of you feel we fell short of our promise to release the game “when it’s ready.” While we’re not perfect, we try to make the best decisions we can with the information and knowledge we have at the time. That doesn’t mean we always make the right decisions, but if we made a mistake then I feel we’ve made an exceptional effort to correct it. 

This is what you can always count on from Blizzard: that we will stand by our games and make every effort to continually improve them over time. We heard the feedback and suggestions from the community. For example, we agreed that Diablo III’s itemization at launch was not good enough, so the team made numerous changes, including changing drop rates, re-tuning legendaries, and adding scores of new items to the game. We also agreed that the end game needed more depth, so the team added new events, and new systems like Monster Power and Paragon levels. 

Our commitment to making our games as good as they can be is what has always defined Blizzard as a game studio, and that commitment never ends for us at a ship date. With your help, we’ll continue to play, debate, and improve Diablo III, as we’ve done with every Blizzard game.

To that end, patch 1.0.7 is underway, the PTR is live, and there are many other great things brewing for Diablo in 2013. I’m leaving Diablo III in good hands, and my departure will not jeopardize the progress of the game as we continue to do what we do: listen, play, and improve.

You are the most passionate, dedicated group of gamers a designer could hope to have. I wish you all the best, and want to thank you for making this an amazing experience for me. Keep your axes sharp, your spell books handy, and that crafty devil in check.

–Jay

Diablo III Free Starter Edition Now Available

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The demonically-besieged world of Sanctuary needs heroes. Now you can join in the apocalyptic battle for FREE via the all-new Diablo III Starter Edition.  Available exclusively via Battle.net, the Starter Edition allows you to fight your way up to the Skeleton King boss in Act I, and advance all the way to level 13, without having to purchase a copy of Diablo III.

You can get the FREE Starter Edition in any of the following ways:

· Log in to your existing Battle.net account at http://www.battle.net, and sign up for the Diablo III Starter Edition through the “Your Game Accounts” section.

· Create a new Battle.net account here and the Diablo III Starter Edition license will be added to your account automatically.

· Grab the Diablo III game disc from a friend, install the game, and then log in with your Battle.net account. The Diablo III Starter Edition will be added to your account automatically.

Note that certain game features are restricted on Starter Edition accounts. Any progress and achievements you earn while playing the Starter Edition will automatically carry over if you decide to upgrade to the full version of Diablo III, and the Starter Edition restrictions will be removed.

Diablo III Hero Profiles Now Live

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Players can log in with their Battle.net account (look for the login box in the upper-right hand corner of your screen) to access hero profiles from any page on the Diablo III community site. Profiles give you the power to:

Track your game progress. How many acts have you cleared?  What bosses have you shredded in each difficulty?  How far have you leveled up your hardcore and normal artisans?  Find out in the career tab.  You can also check your play time (by class) throughout your entire Diablo III career, and learn how many monsters and elites you’ve slain.

View your heroes’ gear, stats, and skills.  How high have you raised your characters’ attributes?  What are they wielding in each slot?  What are your most prominent gear bonuses?  What skills comprise their current build?  Nuance awaits you in the heroes tab.

Share with your BattleTag friends.  The friends tab lets you check out your BattleTag friends’ characters, so that you can quickly compare notes on gear, skill & rune choices, and everything in between.

The profiles allow easy sharing, comparing, and refining of heroes as players pursue monster-slaying mastery.  We plan to add even more functionality to them as Diablo III evolves, including detailed statistics and tabs for achievements and artisans.

Diablo III Review (PC)

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Diablo 3 is a title that has been in the works at Blizzard for quite some time now, with Diablo 2, and particularly the first Diablo, stretching back into the distant and fond memories of my childhood. One of the originators of top-down hack and slash RPG combat, Diablo 3 enters with big shoes to fill for the millions of fans who likely have elevated expectations for this title. I will begin by saying that I am generally a fan of what Blizzard does, as all of their titles over the years have ranged from “amazing” to meerly “good”, and pretty much no failures under their belt. This is partially due to staying very true to what they do (while polishing and itterating like mad-men).

Right out the gate, Diablo 3 feels like an extremely polished version of Diablo 2, much in the way that Starcraft 2 became a highly polished Starcraft. The menus are some of the slickest I have seen in PC gaming, with smooth and accurate functionality that is as easy to learn as tying ones shoelace. The music is moody and drives immediate nostalgia of my time with Diablo 2. It keeps a dark yet colorful visual style, and animations, cinematics, and art blend into a visual feast, that really no one can argue is not an amazing work of art and beauty.

The story begins in the old town of Tristram – with a strange meteor striking the town, and takes the player through both familiar and unfamiliar settings as the plot unfolds and twists in uprising ways. Blizzard has done an excellent job of making the story elements minimal enough that players with little interest can skip through fairly easily and get back to the action, while players that are enjoying it get short but manageable breaks in the action to view interesting dialog, hand drawn pages of Deckard Cain’s notebook, and cinematics between acts (some of the best I have seen from Blizzard, and that is saying a lot given their history of great cinematic work).

Gameplay is fast and exciting and, even though Blizzard has given players very minimal ability to adjust characters stats this time around (the lack of placing points is a bit sad), the skill system is varied and the player is always being presented with new skill options as they progress through the experience levels (by level 30 you gain all base skills, and by 60 you have all skill “variations”). The normal difficulty seemed to be aimed more at presenting the story, and had a very low level of difficulty – allowing all players of varying skills to experience it all. Nightmare and, in particular, Hell difficulty ramp up quite a bit – and players may become frustrated at times with the kiting and trickery required to defeat some rare mobs with particularly annoying combinations of abilities. As of writing this I am almost 60, and so cannot review the “end game” or Inferno difficulty, but I don’t really consider that required to review this particular game, as I can easily predict that if you are already enjoying the game all the way to cap, you will likely spend some time farming Inferno with friends for gear.

Itemization seems varied, and follows traditional Diablo patterns (prefixes, suffixes, and various other stat modifiers generated randomly on rare, and even rarer gear). As of level 55, I have not yet personally found a Unique or Set item, though some people I know have found a few uniques. Either the drop rates are very low, or I am simply very unlucky. Some items have unusual mods such as bleed damage, fear chance, stun chance, and the like, but I have not encountered anything outrageous as of yet. Gear aimed at specific classes can have modifiers unique to that class, such as a bonus to that classes resource generation, or specific abilities.

As of launch, the PvP is not included (said to be small arena matches), so I cannot review that aspect of the game, but I will say balance will become difficult with the introduction of supported PvP, and currently balance feels somewhat off (fine for a PvE setting, but Blizzard will have to monitor this closely for PvP to have any purpose at all). Hardcore mode is also something I have not tried yet (and I remember playing 8-9 months of hardcore fondly in Diablo 2 – ending with a highlight of a mid 80s hardcore Necromancer). I can say that Dying is pretty common at the moment in Nightmare and particularly Hell, so players will likely have to build very “tanky” to even have a shot at not dying. Hardcore will likely be much harder in this outing of Diablo than ever before.

The biggest problems with Diablo 3 are two-fold: First, the addition of an auction house which trivializes the social interaction and trading that takes place within games – also making twinking FAR too easy given how cheap people sell overpowering items for. Secondly the game suffers from a lack of REAL innovation. This second one I will need to explain a bit, as it has to do with playing it safe on Blizzard’s part. This game feels more like Diablo 2.5 than Diablo 3. Diablo 2 was a huge innovation over Diablo, and went from a small town with a single randomized dungeon to a huge world spanning multiple acts and storylines. Diablo 3 feels very much like Diablo 2 in every way (other than the game technology, of course). Systems are much the same, gameplay is very similar, and all of this adds up to a very “safe” iteration, without anything new that makes the game pop in the way Diablo 2 did. This same mentality applies to Starcraft 2, and it feeling more like a Starcraft 1.5. I can’t say whether this shortcoming came along by accident or was very intentionally thought out to cater to the established market/brand.

Given all of the above, and my time with the game, Diablo III is a very worthy purchase for fans of this genre. You will get anywhere from 10 to 20 hours out of the initial play-through (depending on how much story you skip and how much optional exploration / farming you do). Beyond this, you will likely get many more hours out of nightmare and hell play-throughs (with or without buddies), and if you are still enjoying the game potentially endless farming out of Inferno. With the coming additions of PvP and likely more items over time, there should be more to do. I’m not sure if Blizzard’s more recent outings into Diablo and Starcraft will have the same lasting impact that the prior editions have (gigantic shoes to fill), but Diablo 3 is certainly a beautiful and enjoyable game that will be worth the price of admission for most people that pick it up.

Blizzard Apologizes for Diablo III Issues

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Blizzard Entertainment has sent out a letter of apology on the forums for its newly-released Diablo III – which has been plagued with connection problems since launch.

Official Letter to the Gamers

Diablo Players:

We’d like to extend a very sincere thank you to everyone who joined the global Diablo III launch celebrations this week, as well as to everyone who was ready to jump into Sanctuary the moment the game went live.

To that end, we’d also like to say that we’ve been humbled by your enthusiasm — and we sincerely regret that your crusade to bring down the Lord of Terror was thwarted not by mobs of demons, but by mortal infrastructure. As many of you are aware, technical issues occurring within hours after the game’s launch led to players experiencing error messages and difficulty logging in. These issues cropped up again last night for the Americas and Europe servers. Despite very aggressive projections, our preparations for the launch of the game did not go far enough.

We’ve been monitoring the game 24/7 and have applied several optimizations to help our systems better weather the global rush. As of late last night, specifically 11:50 PM PDT on May 15, all systems have been online and running relatively smoothly. We’re continuing to monitor performance globally and will be taking further measures as needed to ensure a positive experience for everyone. This includes some maintenance to implement additional improvements for each region.

In order to make sure everything is continuing to run as it should, we’ve decided to move out our target launch for the real-money auction house beyond our original estimated date of May 22. We’ll post further updates on that in the near future.

Aside from the tremendous number of players simultaneously logging in to the game, one of the launch-day service issues was linked to the achievement system. Some players began to notice early on that achievements were either not being earned properly, or not being saved between multiple logins. We’re investigating this issue and will provide a specific update as soon as possible.

We greatly appreciate everyone’s support, and we want to sincerely apologize for the difficulties many of you encountered on day one. Please visit the Battle.net Support site or Support forums for the latest service-related updates or for help in troubleshooting any technical issues you may be having downloading, installing, or while playing the game.

Thank you again for your patience while we reinforce the gates of Sanctuary and further strengthen it for your onslaught.

Respectfully,
Blizzard Entertainment