Tag Archives: Blizzard

Blizzard Previews Patch 1.0.7 for Diablo III, Patch to Introduce PvP

Since the launch of Diablo III, fans have been vociferously asking when Diablo III will get Player-versus-Player or PvP combat mechanic. PvP is an integral part of multiplayer RPGs and often the main driving force for player to grind for better items.

 

After much waiting, Blizzard has finally announced that Patch 1.0.7 will bring in the PvP system. The patch is still under development and is yet to hit the Public Test Realm(PTR) indicating that we’re still a few weeks off till it lands in the game. Blizzard, however, has detailed the mechanics of the PvP system, called “Dueling”, in their latest blog post.

Here’s how the Dueling system works:

  • Dueling is completely opt-in. Unlike Diablo 2, for the current Dueling system, there will be a separate area for PvP
  • Players can opt to duel by speaking to Nek the Brawler at the Inn in New Tristram
  • As mentioned above, Dueling will take place in a completely new zone, the “Scorched Chapel”
  • Dueling supports up to four players in a Free-For-All format
  • As of now, there’s scoring or objective system – so it’ll be just a big, fat bash-’em-up area.

Blizzard also mentions that death is not permanent, even for Hardcore characters. While the dueling system is very minimalistic for now, knowing Blizzard and how they’ve built the game mechanics such as the Infernal Machine over the past few patches, I think it’s safe to assume that there are grand plans for Dueling.

Besides dueling, Blizzard’s bringing a bunch of changes for the Wizard and Monk classes

  • Skills like Arcane Orb, Blizzard, Shock Pulse will get a damage buff
  • Monk’s Spirit Spender skills will get a damage buff

From an item hunting/finding point of view, Blizzard will add new set of Rare crafting recipes which will create account-bound items — much like the Hellfire ring. The Monster Power mechanic, introduced in the previous patch also gets a buff with all Monster Powers giving an increased experience percent in Inferno difficulty, up from it’s base limit. In addition, Monster Power can also be applied to public games.

These are just a sampler of the changes that 1.0.7 is set to bring in. I believe 1.0.7 should give many Diablo players who’ve stoped playing an incentive to get back into the game.

Battle.net outs Blizzard’s Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm Release Date

While Starcraft II fans have been eagerly waiting for the announcement of StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm’s Release date, Eurogamer managed to go one step ahead and grab a screenshot of Battle.net offering StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm up for presale.

Starcraft II

StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm will be released on March 12, 2013 and you can proceed with pre-ordering either the Standard version or the Digital Deluxe edition right now. Battle.net mentions that grabbing the Digital Deluxe edition gets you the original expansion, Wings of Liberty, along with in-game items for World of Warcraft and Diablo III.

The bonus items include:

  • Three StarCraft II Swarm-themed Battle.net portraits
  • StarCraft II Zerg Ultralisk “Torrasque” skin
  • World of Warcraft Baneling Battle Pet
  • Diablo III “Blade Wings” item – Queen of Blades-styled wings for Diablo III heroes
  • Diablo III Zerg banner sigil

Purchasing the Digital Deluxe lets you use Diablo III and World of Warcraft  in-game items right away, while StarCraft II items will have to wait till the game gets released. StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm is available for purchase from Battle.net.

Blizzard Rolling Out Patch 1.0.5 For Diablo III, Brings in Two New Events

Nearly two months after rolling out the previous patch which brought in a new leveling mechanism, Blizzard is rolling out Patch 1.0.5 across all regions. Along with lots of bug fixes, the patch brings in two new types of Gameplay events – the Infernal Machine and Monster Power. The gameplay mechanics of these events should bring few people back to playing Diablo III, if they had stopped. So what’re these events? Let’s take a look.

Monster Power

Back in the days of Diablo II, joining an open multiplayer game would result in the monsters getting tougher and consequently, the loot would be greater. Soon it was discovered that even in single player mode, entering “/players n” in the chat console, they were able to simulate more players joining the game.

Similar to this, Monster Power enables Diablo III players to increase the Monster Power level independently, across all the four difficulty levels. What does this mean? For me, who finds Hell relatively easy and Inferno nigh impossible, it offers me a chance to play without getting bored from the lack of challenge that Hell provides and at the same time, doesn’t make me flip tables in frustration.

Monster Power in Diablo III

Monster Power starts at zero (which means no power applied) and goes all the way up to Monster Power 10. So how does Monster Power reward you? Apart from the increased challenge, increased Monster Power will result in bonuses to experience, Magic Find and Gold Find – and the Magic/Gold Find bonus will let the character go stack beyond the 300% cap.

Monster Power Scaling

For those playing in Inferno, not only does bumping up the Monster Power increase Monster Health and Damage tremendously, there’s also a chance that the monster will drop a bonus item, with each bump in the monster level.

Monster Power Health And Damage Scaling in Inferno

 

 

Infernal Machine

While Monster Power ramps up the monster health and damage, Infernal Machine gives a unique twist to the game. Essentially, you kill preselected monsters(called Keywardens) to pick up keys and Infernal Machine blacksmith plan. Once the components have been collected, the player will be able to assemble the Infernal Machine.

Activating the Infernal Machine will summon a portal which will transport you to one of three realms consisting of not one, but two Boss creatures. The Boss pair is predetermined and can be one of

  • The Skeleton King Leoric and Maghda in the Realm of Discord
  • Ghom and Rakanoth in the Realm of Chaos
  • Siege Breaker and Zoltun Kulle in the Realm of Turmoil

Blizzard mentions that each of these Uber bosses will be as challenging as Diablo on Inferno difficulty, It should also be noted that Monster Power can be applied to the Infernal Machine event as well. The rewards? Killing each Boss pair gives the player a chance to harvest demonic organs  to create the Hellfire Ring with the following stats:

  • Primary stat with a set value range of 170–200.
  • +35% Experience
  • +4 Random Magical Properties
  • No Level Requirement
  • Bind on Account
  • Chance to launch an explosive Hellfire ball when you attack

With these 2 events, Blizzard is hoping that the players who took a break from the game will return to try out these.

In addition to the these, the patch is also expected to bring in fixes such as

  • Two new shrines
    • Empowered shrine to increase resource regen and reduce cooldowns
    • Fleeting Shrine to increase movement speed and pickup radius
  • Experience shrines will now appear in Inferno
  • Resplendent Chests will now grant a stack of Nephalem Valor
  • Legendary items are now marked as a column of light as well as a ping on the mini map.
  • Lots of bug fixes and changes to each of the characters

I’ve been playing Diablo III for nearly every day since it’s launch in May and with these changes, it seems unlikely that I’m going to give up my Diablo addiction any time soon.

Blizzard Rolling out Massive Patch for Diablo III, PvP Still Not in Sight

If you pay a casual trip to Blizzard’s Diablo III forums, you’ll find whole lot of people whining about lack of things to do once they’ve hit the level cap. In an attempt to address this and to encourage people to try out more diverse character builds, Blizzard is currently rolling out Patch 1.0.4 — quite probably the biggest patch yet in terms of adding new features and balancing various characters.

One of the biggest complaints has been the level cap — beyond 60, your character stops growing and for a RPG game, character growth is quite possibly one of the biggest motivators in keeping you hooked onto the game. To combat this, Blizzard has unveiled what they term as the “Paragon” system.

Diablo III Installer

With the Paragon system, players level up to 60. Post that

  • Any further experience earned killing monsters will begin to count toward Paragon levels
  • There are 100 Paragon levels
  • Every Paragon level results will reward the character with:
    • Core stats such as Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence, and Vitality in amounts similar to what you’d gain from a normal level
    • 3% Magic Find and 3% Gold Find
  • A border will surround the character portrait in the in-game party frame to denote the Paragon progression. A new frame will be earned after every ten levels

Diablo III Paragon system

Besides the Paragon system, the patch brings in a lot more changes including:

  • Magic Find and Gold Find is now capped at 300%
  • Health of normal monsters is increased by approximately 5%-10% in Inferno. Health of Champions and Rares is reduced by 10-25%
  • The likelihood that normal monsters drop magic or rare items is increased by a factor of four
  • Minion monsters are no longer invulnerable
  • Legendary items are improved, both in terms of damage done and bonuses offerered as well as their ingame animations
  • Lot of changes for all characters — Barbarian, Wizard, Monk, Demon Hunter and the Witch Doctor
  • Auction house improvements: Auctions can now be cancelled at any time, provided there are no active bids on them, allowed number of “Preferred Stats” per search is increased from 3 to 6.
  • Nephalem Valor now grants +15% Bonus Experience per stack, as well as +15% to Magic Find and Gold Find
  • Magic Find is no longer averaged among all players in a multiplayer game

You can review all the changes the patch brings in from the patch notes. Patch will be applied at approximately following times, across different server regions:

  • The Americas: 3:00 a.m. PDT to 1:00 p.m. PDT (8/21)
  • Europe: 8:00 p.m. PDT (8/21) to 6:00 a.m. PDT (8/22)
  • Asia: 11:00 a.m. PDT to 11:00 p.m. PDT (8/22)

Despite all these much welcome changes, the PvP system is yet to come, and is expected to arrive in Patch 1.1, whenever that gets released. We’ll keep you posted on other major patch changes as and when they occur. Drop a comment  if you think the patch changes will improve your Diablo III experience.

Diablo III Starter Edition Now Available to All

If you always wanted to check out Diablo III to see how the game looks and plays like, Blizzard has offered Diablo III Starter Edition. However, the Starter Edition could be checked out only with a Guest Pass – which was available to only those who had purchased the boxed pack in retail.

Diablo III Installer

That was until now. Starting from today, however, Blizzard has made available Starter Edition as downloadable by all. To download the Starter Edition, you’ll need to create a Battle.net account, or login to Battle.net if you already have an account. Once you’ve logged in,

  1. Click on the  Click the Play for Free link for Diablo III Starter Edition on the account summary page
  2. Enter the BattleTag of your choice, then click Create your BattleTag.
  3. Click Get Starter Edition.
  4. On the Diablo III License page, click Download Game Client for Windows or Mac.
  5. Once the game is fully installed, you may log in with your Battle.net email and password to access the Starter Edition

You’ll have to remember that the Starter edition comes with restrictions

  • Content wise, Act I up to the Skeleton King is available
  • Characters have a level cap of upto Level 13
  • Matchmaking available only with other Starter Edition players
  • No Auction House access (Real Money or Gold)
A word of advice: the Starter edition content may be small but probably is enough to get you hooked on to Diablo.

 

Blizzard Addresses Diablo III Account Hack Complaints

It’s not been a good launch week for Blizzard’s newest game, Diablo III. First, the servers melted completely with the onslaught of users trying to release 12-years worth of click-click-clicking. Then, there was a game breaking bug involving the Demon Hunter and Templar early on into the game, which left many users kicked out of the game and unable to enter. Then, there were problems with the game not being able to recognize quest  trigger points, leaving users(including me) losing achievements.

The latest egg in the face quite possibly be the most serious one – Blizzard forums are full of complaints from users about their accounts being hacked into, the items and loot being stolen. Rock Paper Shotgun mentions that Eurogamer’s Christian Donlan had a first-hand experience of this hack. The reason for this is not very clear, but some speculation on Reddit suggests that the battle.net sessions are being hijacked, giving the hacker full control of the accounts.

Diablo III

Even though Blizzard had two-factor authentication for Battle.net logins, reports around the forums suggest that even people with two-factor authentication enabled have had their accounts broken into. I took a quick glance into my account this morning and thankfully, as of now, there has been no break-in.

Bashiok makes it clear that there have been no session-hijacking exploits that are in the wild:

We’ve been taking the situation extremely seriously from the start, and have done everything possible to verify how and in what circumstances these compromises are occurring. Despite the claims and theories being made, we have yet to find any situations in which a person’s account was not compromised through traditional means of someone else logging into their account through the use of their password.

Though that still doesn’t say about how people with two-factor authentication have had their accounts accessed. Another speculation is that the two-factor authentication was enabled after the break-in.

Blizzard’s response has been fairly generic, attributing it to new game release. Quoting Lylirra, the community manager:

Historically, the release of a new game — such as a World of Warcraft® expansion — will result in an increase in reports of individual account compromises, and that’s exactly what we’re seeing now with Diablo III. We know how frustrating it can be to become the victim of account theft, and as always, we’re dedicated to doing everything we can to help our players keep their Battle.net accounts safe — and we appreciate everyone who’s doing their part to help protect their accounts as well.

We also wanted to reassure you that the Battle.net Authenticator and Battle.net Mobile Authenticator (a free app for iPhone and Android devices) continue to be some of the most effective measures we offer to help players protect themselves against account compromises, and we encourage everyone to take advantage of them. In addition, we also recently introduced a new service called Battle.net SMS Protect, which allows you to use your text-enabled cell phone to unlock a locked Battle.net account, recover your account name, approve a password reset, or remove a lost Authenticator. Optionally, you can set up the Battle.net SMS Protect system to send you a text message whenever unusual activity is detected on your account, keeping you aware of important (and possibly unwanted) changes.

For more information on the Authenticator, visit http://us.battle.net/support/en/article/battle-net-authenticator-faq

For more on the Battle.net Mobile Authenticator, visit http://us.battle.net/support/en/article/battle-net-mobile-authenticator-faq

For more on Battle.net SMS Protect, visit http://us.battle.net/support/en/article/battlenet-sms-protect

Blizzard also mentioned that users may be prompted with additional security questions, if the user is logging in from a previously unknown location

We also have other measures built into Battle.net to help protect players. Occasionally, when Battle.net detects unusual login activity that differs from your normal behavior — such as logging in from an unfamiliar location — we may prompt you for additional information (such as the answer to one of your security questions) and/or require you to perform a password reset through the Battle.net website. World of Warcraft players might be familiar with this security method already, and Diablo III players may begin to encounter it as well.

Blizzard has asked the users to contact them via their “I’ve Been Hacked!” tool, if the user believes they have been a victim of an account compromise.

If you have had an account compromise in Diablo III, do leave a comment mentioning the details and the extent of losses.

Blizzard Prepares For Diablo III Release, Entertains Fans with an Animated Short

Blizzard has been revealing small bits of about the Lore of the Diablo III universe, the playable classes, skills and developer diaries on their Darkness Falls, Heroes Rise portal since the past few weeks. And now, with just under a week to go for the game’s release – all content on the Diablo III has been completely unlocked on their portal. The last big reveal: a six-minute animated short film directed by Peter Chung and animated by the animation studio Titmouse.

Diablo III

Titled “Wrath”, the video shows Deckard Cain chronicling the battle between Angels of High Heavens and Demons of Burning Hells, well before creation of the sanctuary. Without further ado, check out the video and let me know your thoughts on it!

And oh, if you’re new to the Diablo series, Gamespot has a video unraveling the story of the Diablo universe – go check it out!

Diablo III Beta Becomes Open For All This Weekend

With less than a month to go for Diablo III to be released worldwide, Blizzard threw in a real surprise earlier today by announcing that Diablo III beta will be open for all Battle.net account holders.

The open beta will run from Friday, April 20 12:01 p.m. PDT till Monday, April 23 10:00 a.m. and will allow you to play co-op with your friends, with each of the five available classes, limited to a level cap of 13.

Diablo III Installer

So to get into the open beta, this is what you’ll have to do:

That’s it!

Blizzard calls this as a stress test to ensure that their servers are in order just before the big launch event. Korean players, however, won’t be able to participate in this stress. Blizzard has mentioned that players from Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau will be involved in a separate invite-only test. The closed beta will run in parallel to this stress test. While the stress test ends on Monday, the closed beta players will be able to play till the First of May, after which the beta ends.

Mac owners will be pleased to know that they aren’t left out this time, and Blizzard has separate Windows and Mac clients. So, what are you waiting for! Headover to Battle.net & download the client!

Blizzard Takes a Dig at EA, Ubisoft This April Fools With “Mobile Adventure Game”

EA (specifically its subsidiary Bioware’s game Mass Effect 3) is fair game these days it seems – what with the extremely unsatisfying ending, obvious greed with Day 1 DLC as well as numerous reports of Bioware blocking legitimate customers from Origin for allegedly trying to mod the single player (which is precisely the point of owning a game on the PC). Many of the gaming industry’s terrible policies originate from EA, Activision and Ubisoft. However currently EA is leading in the douche-race by a large margin.

supplydepot

So Blizzard, the developers of Starcraft and World of Warcraft (and, ironically, partners of Activision in the publishing business) have put up an entire mobile-game website for a game called Starcraft: Supply Depot 2 with the following description:-

It is a dark time for the galaxy. The alien forces of the savage insectoid Zerg and ancient, militant Protoss have threatened the Terrans for years – but the threat is finally over, and we have lost the war. The time of the descendants of Earth is at an end.

The Terrans pin all of their hopes on a champion – a pillar of war unlike any other before or since. He is all that stands between the advancing hordes and a safer tomorrow, and he will defend the future with his very existence.

Sounds familiar? Yep, that sounds almost but not quite unlike the plot of Mass Effect 3. It is also adorned with many “features” such as “Ridiculous Amounts of Action” and “Fascinating Dialog” and more. Notably these stand out:

Multiple color coded and unfulfilling endings!

Even more endings via revolutionary Democratic DLC™!

Hilarious. Play the game (apparently Android and iPhone versions will be out soon!) here.

mobileblizz

They also have some other games “in development” such as Blackthorne 2: Thorne Harder which is a dig at either the Modern Warfare series or the Battlefield series (probably the latter as Activision owns Call of Duty) and Queen’s Quest which features, among other things, a sweeping orchestral soundtrack and this rather simple DRM protection:-

  • Sweeping saxophone soundtrack
  • Literary consultation from “A Couple of Dudes from Mar Sara”
  • Comes on 17 floppy disks
  • A revolutionary Digital Rights Management (DRM) scheme in 5 easy steps:
    • Open the Spin-A-Spacer DRM application on any smart phone*
    • Line up the spacer faces to reveal the page/word matrix value
    • Consult your player guide / lore manual, and turn to the appropriate page
    • Use the special 3d lenticular glasses to decode the margin text and find the keyword passphrase
    • Enter the special passphrase into the on-screen prompt
    • Speak “OK” clearly and audibly into the device’s audio input
    • ENJOY! (Occassionally, you may be asked to call a toll-free 800 number to verify your identity)

A++ will buy again!

Diablo III Gets A Release Date(No Really!)

It’s the moment that all Diablo fans have been waiting for with bated breath, since it was first announced almost 4 years ago. Yes, people, Blizzard has finally announced the release date for Diablo III. The D-Day: May 15, 2012.

Diablo III

Blizzard, along with Valve, are famously known for releasing their games “when they’re ready” – and Diablo III is no exception. It was widely speculated that Diablo III would arrive somewhere around end of 2011. Rumours of the launch were raised earlier in January when Best Buy put up a countdown for the release of Diablo III. Blizzard denied that the release was to happen in February, which was implied by the countdown.

Diablo III can be purchased digitally from their Battle.net online store and upon pre-purchase, you’ll be able to download the game immediately. However, the game will be encrypted and unlocked only on May 15.

Diablo III will be available at a suggested price of $59.99 USD for both the retail DVD-ROM version and the digital version sold directly from Blizzard. The alabaster-white Collector’s Edition will be available on retail stores at a suggested retail price of $99.99 USD.

The Collector’s Edition will include the full game on DVD, a behind-the-scenes Blu-ray/DVD two-disc set, the Diablo III soundtrack CD, a 208-page Art of Diablo III book, and a 4 GB USB soulstone (including full versions of Diablo II and Diablo II: Lord of Destruction) and corresponding Diablo skull base, as well as exclusive in-game content for Diablo III, World of Warcraft, and StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty.

So, till you wait for May 15 to come, have a look at the opening cinematic. Also, do remember that if you purchase a year’s subscription of World of Warcraft, you’ll get Diablo III for free.

Meanwhile, I’ll go purchase some extra mice that I know I’ll need, as my existing ones will die click-click-clicking.