• 1

    posted a message on Diablo III Open Q&A
    After the massive lore panel, it was time to get some feedback from the diehard fans that managed to pilgrimage to this year's convention. Here are the highlights from the Open Q&A; just keep in mind that this isn't meant to be a transcript, so all of it is paraphrased.

    Caution: The following may contain spoilers.

    Q: You made the followers more powerful for end game content. Will they be viable all the way through Inferno?

    Blizzard representatives responded positively, saying that companions will be able to fight adequately alongside heroes through each difficulty. They have done some testing with companions through the difficulties, and although this is a very recent change, they do believe that changes they have incorporated into the hirelings will make then viable in the endgame.

    Q: Is Diablo a girl?

    The cover art for the event booklet made Diablo look anything but the usual muscular, bulky monster we've seen in his more animal incarnations in the previous games. While nothing was confirmed on why Diablo looked so distinctly female, with the sleekness of the abdomen and the wide hips, they did acknowledge that it was done. So it was on purpose. Maybe there's something to the popular Leah-possession lore speculation prevalent in our lore discussion forum.

    Q: Can you elaborate on hardcore mode and how it's different from the previous games?

    They mostly confirmed what is already known about Diablo III's hardcore mode: it will have its own Auction House that does not interact with normal, softcore players, said Auction House will use only gold as a currency (not real money), and so on. However, it was mentioned that if a player is killed, other players will not be able to pick the gear from the fallen character. In Diablo II, players were able to set their hardcore characters to "lootable" to other, trusted party members in the event of an untimely death. Unless misspoken, this is a marked change from the previous games. When you die, your gear is gone. Period.

    Q: Can fresh sixty players succeed in Inferno, and will Inferno ever be nerfed for newer players?

    In step with sentiments spoken yesterday about the difficulty of Inferno mode at the tail end of the Gameplay and Auction House panel the other day, it was confirmed that newly max-leveled characters (sixty is Diablo III's cap) will not be able to succeed easily, if at all, in Inferno mode. It's meant to be a challenge in every sense of the word, no matter what level characters are at.

    While they were vehement about not nerfing it for the newbie's sake, they did add a caveat: as they address hardcore, there may be some balancing to account for hardcore players in Inferno mode. But they will not be simplifying Inferno mode for casual players.

    Q: Why is light radius not in the game?

    Light radius is not entirely gone, and it still works well in some contexts, like deep dungeons, but they found that using the new 3D engine really looked lack-luster when limiting light sources to only that of the player. They really want to utilize different light points to add interest to the 3D environment, so it's no longer a major element throughout the game.

    Q: What's being done to protect against botting?

    Probably a topic near and dear to any players getting ready to compete in Diablo II's upcoming ladder reset, botting has always been a controversial and annoying issue. Bots served as everything from farmers to level grinders, making the ladder ranking system essentially a hopeless, pointless list of bots outstripping human players. It was argued that the actual gameplay of the game renders botting more difficult to achieve, but that they will be policing it well, likely actively and with more robust security measures. It is also important to them to address spam bots, likely by watching join/leave events.

    Q: Will WASD control be available?

    While it had been played around with, they ultimately felt that non-analog controls didn't work well with Diablo's very analog-focused gameplay.

    Q: Will runewords ever be added to the newest game?

    They stated that the new gameplay mechanics and customization options account for what was previously done with runewords. The new, more robust crafting system allows for vast player-generated gear, runestones allow for heavy skill customization, and any other number of mechanics compensate or surpass what was accomplished with runewords in Diablo II.

    Q: Can you confirm a console version?

    They did not want to officially confirm a console version because they want to be completely sure it's something that will work and work well. They have been hiring console developers to work internally on console ideas, and they feel that it plays very well with the kind of game Diablo is, but they don't want to announce anything until they're entirely sure everything will work out.

    Of primary concern is not wanting to compromise the PC version, likely in playability or release (as stated any number of times over the last months.) For now, they're focusing on filling out a console team.

    Q: Attuned runes essentially allow for a ton of specialized runes for each character skill, creating a huge inventory problem with storage. What's being done to address this?

    They acknowledged that they are aware of the issue and are thinking of ways to fix it. They believe that attuned runes add an interesting new facet to skill selection, customization, and build commitment, so they don't foresee removing them, but there is definitely an inventory issue that needs to be addressed.

    Q: What are some of the issues seen in developing a console version?

    Targetting skills becomes more difficult when using a controller and not a mouse and keyboard although they feel that player movement is greatly improved. Monster AI seems somewhat different when interacting with the game in a new way. They found that they spend the most time working with controls with a console iteration. They don't want a potential console version to feel like a port of the PC version, but a quality version that plays well as it is.

    Q: Can we get more beta keys?

    They have more waves coming out after the BlizzCon and are very happy with the feedback that they've received so far. In addition to more beta access sweeping across Battle.net accounts, they also said that a major patch is coming for the beta version of Diablo III very soon. We can guess that this will likely include the skill updates and other changes seen in the beta iteration seen in the PvM demo here at BlizzCon.

    Q: What comes after Inferno?

    While the team feels that Inferno mode will pose huge challenges for players for a long time to come, they have said that they will add more endgame content should they find that players demand more. There's also secret content, which they have confirmed to be in the game, so perhaps we'll see content similar to the Cow Level for endgame enjoyment. At the moment, they are more focused on just getting the game as-is out to the public.

    Q: With the Wizard's cast rate announced as being based on weapon speed, what is being done to reward opting for other items besides cast rate-oriented equipment?

    They believe that choosing cast rate-centric gear versus more obscure equipment is entirely based on the build a player opts for. If a player decides to use skills that benefit more from faster cast rates, it will be logical to use weapons that allow for faster cast rates, while skills which do not focus on cast rates, like Meteor, will allow players to focus on more damage-centric weapons.

    Q: Will there be more skill slots?

    The team believes that allowing more skill slots removes choices and, by extension, build diversity across a playerbase, so they will not be adding more skill slots.

    Q: How will RMAH PvP players be matched with PvP players that do not spend real money on the Auction House for gear?

    Buying higher gear will cause a player to be matched with peers of a like power level through the hidden ranking system, so purchasing gear with real money will only cause players to be matched against more experienced or more powerful characters. The actual outcomes of PvP games will not be affected.

    Q: Will there be more PvP modes besides arena mode?
    The developers found that PvP in Diablo II mostly split players up for fear of getting ganked, meaning more players were playing in private games than playing together in public ones. This led to a focus on on a dedicated PvP mode with dedicated PvP support, the arena, and a PvP progression system. However, more PvP modes are being considered, and Jay Wilson even said that they are looking into a dueling option similar to Diablo II, although nothing concrete is yet known and they aren't sure if such a mode will make the initial release.

    Q: Will there be guild support?

    Guilds and clans in Diablo II were often organized using chat bots and out-of-game online communities. Hope had arisen that this would mean the developers saw this need as enough to implement guild support in Diablo III, but the idea was shot down. They will not have guild functionality available for release, but something may be implemented after release. They saw a lot of guild ideas that didn't get implemented in Diablo II as great mechanics that they want to work on in the future, but they want to make sure that if they do implement guild functionality, they will do it right.

    Q: Will boss AI be scaled with difficulty to allow for more interesting and less repetitive battles at different difficulty levels??

    They're looking across the major bosses for the game and tuning their AI to be refreshing and challenging according to difficulty mode, but they aren't sure if the changes will be really drastic from difficulty to difficulty or only minor, although they want such differences to be big. It seems to be another question of what will make it into the initial release.

    Q: Will players be able to use their skills together in combination attacks?

    They have seen many players using strategic implementation of skills, like a Wizard freezing enemies and then melee characters shattering frozen enemies. They think that more sophisticated team play would be fantastic, but they don't want payers choosing not to play with other players because of class choices in certain situations, which they view as adverse to encouraging group play.

    Q: Will there be an API for the Auction House?

    They have talked about it at length, but it will not make the launch version of the game. It may be added after release. They seemed positive about such an implementation.

    Q: With the 12-month account for WoW players allowing a free digital purchase of Diablo III, will there be any compensation for purchasing a collector's edition of Diablo III?

    Buying a collector's edition of Diablo III will count as credit towards a 12-month account.

    Those were most of the more interesting questions asked, but we encourage you to stay tuned as we upload video versions of each of the panels and keep your eyes peeled for full transcriptions. There may be things that you will find more interesting on a personal level, and with so much up in the air with Diablo III, there are a lot of questions that didn't get answered very directly and were cut from this report.
    Posted in: News & Announcements
  • 4

    posted a message on Final Fantasy 7 Still Holds Up in 2011
    Sephiroth is predictable? I seriously doubt that many more people can agree with that. He killed a main character halfway through the game, creating one of the most tragic moments in video game history. Aeris knew he would at least try this. She sacrificed herself for the common good of mankind, for the very people that imprisoned her. Then she goes through all kinds of relationship development with all the main characters. And then she's killed. We have a female Jesus figure, basically. That's a first, at least by video game standards.

    Sephiroth as a character isn't always portrayed well, but he has clear and distinct motives for what he does. An excellent examination of the mother-son relationship in a very bizarre way.

    And the music? I cry to this day when I hear any variation on Aerith's theme. It's a musical masterpiece. It was inspired by classical composers, and it works as a conveyer of story, emotion, and character. Sacrifice, love, and rebirth can easily be felt and heard throughout.

    Anyone who discredits it as a vital component of, at the very least, the JRPG, isn't observing it objectively. But it's so much more than that. It's a landmark and a benchmark. It conveys the culture of the time it was created, albeit amplified and concentrated. It responds to post-modern concerns and has clear messages.
    Posted in: General Discussion (non-Diablo)
  • 1

    posted a message on Cinematic Preview
    Quote from Xerlane

    wow... the first picture is really mind-blowing seeing the amount of detail they put into it!

    I know! I had a double-take. You can see every pore on her face, and the hair looks amazing. The detail around her eyes... Geeze.
    Posted in: News & Announcements
  • 2

    posted a message on Beta Participant Numbers
    What are you basing the 10% on? What you feel to be accurate?

    I agree that there's probably more than we think in the beta, but I also believe that you're overshooting by a wide margin.
    Posted in: Diablo III General Discussion
  • 2

    posted a message on Is Blizzard getting it wrong with the Diablo III beta test?
    Quote from snared04drummer

    Honestly it feels like a short demo, and a teaser just to keep the rabid dogs at bay. IF those were its purposes, then I would say "yes, it has backfired." After ten years time, a few measly hours and a magical level 13 hard cap with a CONGRATS YOU ROCKZORZ, BETA DEFEATED! Flashing on my screen after I down the first mini-boss... it's just not enough. I know the Blizzard employees are smart enough to know that it's not enough, but on the other hand, they never promised anything more.

    That's the thing, when you work so hard as a company to be continuously cryptic and never get straight answers about ANYTHING until the absolute last possible minute, things like this will always happen. I've never had less than complete faith that Blizzard will make great games (And often awful patches), but they have never, ever learned the lesson of what a time table is, deadlines, etc. It's only because of their virtually endless resources that they can get away with this. Diablo III just proved to be a little bit of a different animal for them, because they have literally put off its release for over a decade. I don't know of any other game that transcends that sort of time frame.

    Honestly, the delay is almost certainly not technically based, but about some aspect of their business as a whole. Fans have a right to be, and should be pissed about that, especially considering how ultimately unfulfilling the beta is. But as always, being treated like children by Blizzard, are only real option is to be pissed off and wait, or be pissed off and not buy the game. Just realize that they don't care either way.

    The problem is that you misinterprated the purpose of the beta, which was cleary stated by Blizzard on any number of occasions before it even began.

    They never advertised it or even hyped it as you described. If anything, the advent of beta was downplayed by Blizzard (although through fansites, such as DiabloFans, it is obviously our responsibility to hype it.) Remember all the fiscal meeting let-downs? Remember all those opportunities they had to talk beta and didn't? They didn't hype the beta. They didn't want to.

    Seeing responses from fans everywhere, they didn't even have to. We created our own hype, our own unreachable goals for a two-hour session that was not maximized for enjoyment. I hesitate to even call it a demo, because calling it a demo would imply that they were hyping it as a demo. They weren't. It's a beta.

    I could quote any number of direct Blizzard representative sources stating that the beta is a beta. No, it's not a demo. It's a beta. To test for bugs. To test infrastructure. It's not supposed to be a demo. Not a demo. Not. A. Demo.

    This is why I think that article is pretty much pointless. I could see a reason for controversy if Blizzard had given us mixed messages, but they didn't. Anyone that's disappointed has only one person to blame: his or herself.

    So, when you say that they're purposefully being cryptic, perish the thought. They clearly stated what beta would be long beforehand. They clearly stated that they can't give us a release date because they didn't know when it would be, but they did their best to give us a range because they felt an obligation to their fanbase. Would we have them lie? No, I think not, because then we'd have even more bullshit hitting the fan.
    Posted in: Diablo III General Discussion
  • 3

    posted a message on Wear It Proud, Son!

    In the old days, Diablo II characters were about as unique as an DiabloWiki.com - Arctic BindingArctic Binding (Diablo_II) belt. The prevalence of cookie-cutter builds only compounded the limited amount of visual differentiation between equipment, and cosmetic distinction ended where player biographies did.
    Enter Diablo III.

    To speak nothing of the tons of l33t loot our characters will gather as they transverse the demon-ridden landscape of DiabloWiki.com - Sanctuary Sanctuary and beyond, player banners add as much customization as you have patience. In this article, we'll explore the components, limitations, and uses of banners, and discover how they will let you leave your mark on Sanctuary.

    Every banner has three essential components: the base banner, the sigil, and dyes. These three parts each have even more options of their own, lending more player choice to the mix.

    If we think of the banner as the bread and butter of your character's identity, then the base banner, itself, would be the bread. But do we cut that bread into triangles? Perhaps squares? Diagonal strips? Rhombuses? Tetrahedrons? After all, geometry is fun!

    A screenshot of the
    banner GUI
    No. Every banner has a variety of cloth shapes, ranging from battered to suave and everything in between; meaning, Blizzard has gone through the trouble of pre-defining shapes and designs for every banner. Selecting any one of these causes selected banner colors to morph with the new design, at which we'll get a closer look when we discuss dyes.

    For more hardcore players, we have option number nine, looking something like a flag that's taken a ride in Hell's dryer. For the more whimsical player, we have option number four, featuring a delicate (-ly whimsical) array of tassels.

    Whether you're trying to be the baddassiest Barbarian on Battle.net or want to treat your online persona like a meme, it all begins with the banner shape. Whatever you choose, you will be influencing how other players see you, including your attitude and playstyle.

    Think of your sigil like your signature. It's the backbone of your Diablo III identity, your stamp of approval on every action you carry out in the game world. The sum epicness of all your adventures, all your daring feats, and all your accomplishments is symbolized in this monochromatic, two-dimensional seal.

    Or it could be something completely stupid and meaningless, like a unicorn. Your choice.

    Sigil options

    In addition to symbols representing each of Diablo III's character classes, ones that appear to personify iconic Diablo factions, two demons, and a fanciful unicorn, there are even options for the Alliance and the Horde, as well as representations of each of Starcraft II's races.

    Just below the sigil selection list, there is also a tickable box called Variant. For many of the sigil designs, there are two options: the variant and the original. The variants often have additional flourishes or other graphical elements that make the sigil even more unique. Example:

    Variants on select sigils

    What if the sigil just doesn't look classy enough? In addition to the sigil, itself, there is a further do-dad that you can stamp on your banner: an accent. (If you're overwhelmed at this point, take a look at this diagram.) Accents appear just under the sigil, a bit of nonsense to make your personal sigil all the more personal:

    Accent options

    But there's more to a sigil than its appearance.

    In addition to the rather boring, front-and-center default position, sigils may also be moved around on the banner and duplicated by predetermined options.

    As pictured on the left, a sigil can appear as a big, fat version in the absolute center, or in a miniature version in any of the four corners or the center. Miniature versions can also be duplicated so that one is in the top-left and another is in the bottom-right. You can even have four miniature versions in all four corners.

    Diablo III gives you
    the power to make your banner
    as ugly as you like
    Last but certainly not least, we have dyes. You can stain three components of your banner: the pattern, the sigil, and the base banner. Often times, the color for the base banner will come through as the borders of the cloth, but this isn't always the case.

    It should be noted that banner dyes are the not same as the dyes that we see in-game. At this point, we have no reason to believe that dyes you gather for your equipment can be applied to your banner, as there is currently no inventory correlation. This may change during or after the beta, but it looks safe to say that the two are entirely separate.

    While there are a number of awesome features that help make each banner unique, there are some things you just can't do. As far as Diablo III is concerned, what you see is often what you get.

    For instance, don't hope to position your sigil at any (x,y) coordinate beyond the choices presented to you. Your sigil goes where Blizzard says it goes, end of story. You also can't layer sigils over each other or choose more than one, as seen in the layering feature of Call of Duty: Black Ops' player card emblem designing interface.

    Furthermore, the colors you have are what you can use. No fancy color wheels, hexadecimal color code boxes, or any of that modern nonsense is present here. Of course, the twenty-two dye options seem to cover the bases well.

    But enough about the details. What does the banner actually do?

    Banner: pocket edition
    Banners appear in a number of places, but they don't always look like waving standards. In banner creation mode, you will notice that in the lower, right-hand corner of the banner interface there is a little square that mimics the sigil area of the banner. This little guy is what I like to call the "banner thumb," much like images often have a thumb version which represents the larger one.

    The most obvious usage of banners is to represent characters in a party. In Diablo III, parties remain persistent, whether you're in a game or just hanging around chatting between games. The party leader has the privilege of banner representation in this instance; it billows just behind the party leader, with party members gathered around it. Outside of games, the banner thumb of each party member is also shown on the right-hand side of the screen in a neat column.

    The social interface
    The social interface makes heavy usage of the banner thumb. Here, as in the out-of-game party screen, friends are represented by a number of data bits, including Battle.net account, character name, level, class, and so forth, but the most visual element in the left-hand list is the banner thumb. The "recent" tab, which shows a list of players that you recently stomped the forces of Hell with, shows player information in a likewise fashion.

    Banners gathered around
    the DiabloWiki.com - New Tristram New Tristram waypoint
    In-game, banners play several roles. Pressing the G hotkey will drop your banner from the heavens into the earth, there to be adored by any nearby players. For the life of me, I can't figure out what good this really does, except to serve as some kind of primeval testament to territorial ownership (much like a dog pissing on a fire hydrant.) Some have speculated that it might be some manner of call-to-arms for PvP, although that would seem to require entrance in a separate arena game.

    UPDATE: Negropotamus has confirmed that the place-able banner allows team players to define where their other team members appear when using the banner near the waypoint. Useful for those tricky moments when you know waves of angry Undead will be spawning all over you during, say, the DiabloWiki.com - Jar of Souls Jar of Souls quest in the DiabloWiki.com - Defiled Crypt Defiled Crypt.

    But far more interesting than that is pictured at the left: Banners serve as portkeys to the player represented. A feature inline with Blizzard's focus on getting players into the action as soon as possible, clicking any companion's banner will send you hurtling through the DiabloWiki.com - Ether Ether to where ever that player currently is. No consumable items required, and the process takes only as long as your crappy computer needs to load the next area.

    Banner Stuff Not in the Beta

    From an article at EuroGamer
    There are also a number of banner features that have not yet been implemented in the beta, features that we will likely not get a hands-on preview until the game actually releases. Among these are various adornments to your banner in your character's profile.

    A Throne of Bones: Hardcore players get to show off their status with a special pile of ghastly ruin at the foot of their banners. This grizzly marker helps distinguish the regulars from the sadistic thrill-seekers.

    Banners for Your Banners: In a redundancy scandal similar to NeoPets' PetPets (pets for our pets? really?), your character's advancements further specialize his or her banner with streamers hanging from the crossbeam at the top.

    Whether you're a gear-hording hermit or a player-assassinating homicidal maniac, images speak volumes louder than actions. Your banner represents the core of your character, your online persona, and will go before you as a precedent to future relationships.

    And any way to distinguish yourself from clamoring hordes of n00bs isn't such a bad thing, either.
    Posted in: News & Announcements
  • 3

    posted a message on Wizzin' It Up with the Wizard

    The bad news is that everything "news" about the beta was covered during the Friends and Family testing period, before we were even allowed in. The good news is that I finally had the time to sit down and write about my experiences playing with the DiabloWiki.com - Wizard Wizard, the casting archetype of Diablo III. Along the way, we'll explore some interesting aspects of this decade's iteration of the series, up to the epic battle with the DiabloWiki.com - Skeleton King Skeleton King and including skills ranging from the powerful to the mundane.

    Disclaimer: If you decide to read further than this line, you accept that I may divulge certain bits of information that some may view as spoilers. Beyond this line, I will make no effort, whatsoever, to hide this information, since that is counterproductive to the intent of an informative article.

    The Wizard approaches
    New Tristram
    The beginning has always carried a certain sentimental value to me as a Diablo player. Your character wanders onto the screen, wearing naught but minimum grade armor, a crappy weapon, and a single skill. It's only up from here!

    Not much has changed in that regard except, perhaps, that our characters now have motives. Yes, my friends, our heroes have reasons to be where they are! Hoping to find the Fallen Star that landed in the ruins of DiabloWiki.com - Old Tristram Old Tristram, my male Wizard strode boldly down the path towards DiabloWiki.com - New Tristram New Tristram, with nothing but DiabloWiki.com - Magic Missile Magic Missile and DiabloWiki.com - Frost NovaFrost Nova (Diablo III) at his disposal, ready to take on the hordes of the Undead and the legions of the Burning Hells. How very bold of him.

    The Carnage!
    One of the cooler changes from Diablo III's predecessors is that it's not long before you're in the heat of battle. My Wizard took not ten steps before a DiabloWiki.com - Risen Risen appeared, feasting on a festering pile of human carrion (take that you Diablo-III-isn't-gory-enough crazies!). Body parts flew in majestic arcs through the night air as I slammed the unwitting zombie with Magic Missile, trailing the purple light indicative of arcane-elemental spells. Before I had entered the village proper, a veritable pile of the Undead was mounded before the gate. Diablo magic, I'd say.

    Here I would like to note something of ghastly interest: Frequently enough, the Risen, as their name implies, rise again after they are slaughtered. Crawling forward with bloodthirsty intent, they drag their abdomens through the earth as their severed spines leak out vital fluids, nearing the unaware adventurer handhold by handhold. Moral of the story: When you kill a zombie, make sure it's dead.

    News of the dead rising from their graves has not made every denizen of Sanctuary hop out of bed in the middle of the night and sprint out the door with an axe at the ready. Entering the village of Old Tristram, another neat new feature of Diablo III comes to light: DiabloWiki.com - Brother Malachi the Healer Brother Malachi the Healer, a pious, fire-and-brimstone preaching ex-zealot of the DiabloWiki.com - Zakarum Zakarum faith, is already screaming damnation for the world before I even had the presence of mind to click on him.

    The sky is falling! The
    sky is falling!
    Gossip in the game manifests itself in two primary mediums: the player opting for various discussion topics when interfacing an NPC, much like in the older games, and when passing NPC's. Some even have discussions with each other. While not necessarily a breakthrough in storytelling (games have had this kind of thing for years), it is new to the series and adds a certain level of authenticity to the social vibe.

    Waypoints: Functional and
    Reaching town center, a welcome design change is present: no more wandering all over creation trying to find that accursed waypoint! (DiabloWiki.com - Kurast Docks Kurast Docks, anyone?) Located in scenic downtown New Tristram, the waypoint is surrounded by all the most useful features of the fledgling village: the DiabloWiki.com - Blacksmith Blacksmith, a merchant to the upper right (not pictured), the location to hire your hireling, the entrance to the tavern (whose proprietor peddles potions and other odds and ends), and, eventually, the man himself: DiabloWiki.com - Deckard Cain Deckard Cain.

    The waypoint interface is also more useful, if somewhat cluttered. Collapsible menus now offer categorized destinations, as well as recent destinations. And, if you for some reason can't read your location off your mini-map in the upper right-hand corner of your screen, it even tells you where you are! Nifty.

    Not every NPC in
    Sanctuary stands outside all
    day waiting to dish out quests.
    But not all the action is outside. Indeed, one of the great new aspects of Diablo III that, in my opinion, is a bit down-played is that you can actually go inside multiple structures in towns, with even more NPC's to interact with. While in Diablo II this was evidenced rather minimally, in Diablo III we see full-blown quest points and NPC interaction. The moment my Wizard walked into the inn, the injured gathered there immediately began to rise as the Undead. Leah and myself had to jump into the fray to smooth the situation over. These aren't simply buildings with their roofs fading away, as we saw in Diablo II, but entire new mini-dungeons stuffed with homeliness and NPC goodies. In New Tristram, enterable buildings include the DiabloWiki.com - Slaughtered Calf Inn Slaughtered Calf Inn and Deckard Cain's home.

    Nearly all of the NPC's in New Tristram share one trait that makes them an improvement over the previous games: they don't just stand there all day waiting to give out a quest to whatever lucky adventurer wanders along the road. One can only wonder how much smithing DiabloWiki.com - Griswold Griswold actually did.

    But enough of New Tristram. What about the rest of the game?

    Despite all the cool things there are to take in when visiting the barely-hanging-on village of New Tristram, I was sent on my way nearly the instant I walked into the Slaughtered Calf Inn. Zombie syndrome seemed to spread like a disease, even among those in the village, and one impromptu battle later I was on my way from the inn and down the eerie DiabloWiki.com - Old Tristram Road Old Tristram Road. Murders of crows flapping dramatically off into the night? Check. Creaking wagon wheels moving all on their own? Check. Ruined homes with a murderous history? Check.

    And some of them have nice little dungeons underneath. Oh, and Blizzard wasn't kidding when they said their random dungeons would be cool.

    I must have been through ten random dungeons (sorry folks, I have other time commitments, too) in my various play-throughs of the beta, and each time they feel new and exciting. Entering one Musty Cellar below the ghostly ruins of an old farm home, I see a DiabloWiki.com - Quill Fiend Quill Fiend poking around near the steps. Approaching it, and readying my Wizard to blast it to Hells with my l33t Adventuring Oak Wand of the Oracle, the little critters scuttled off into the darkness. I ran after him, spamming all kinds of flashy stuff, wondering where the rest of the monsters were, until the little guy scurried under a pile of debris in the center of a room down a hall.

    The junk exploded and out poured the entire mob of the dungeon in one instant. Quill Fiends ran everywhere, doing that thing they do (shooting quills, if you haven't figured that part out yet.) One Frost Nova and a quick recovery later, I realized that the @#$%er had tricked me into following him to a whole nest of ravenous, twitchy little scoundrels.

    Of course, there are other variations of the dungeon. Several times, my Wizard entered one such cellar, openly wondering where all the loot was. Rounding a corner, I saw that the Quill Fiends--those fiends!--had already broken open my chest and sacked the place. However, killing their leader dropped the loot that would have generated in the chest. And it gave me a sense of accomplishment. Two birds with one stone.

    Trivia: Zombies reproduce with
    their vomitus!
    Further along the Old Tristram Road, zombie hordes were made even more annoying (but awesome, since zombies are awesome) with the addition of DiabloWiki.com - Wretched Mother Wretched Mothers. These puketastic baddies seem to be stuck on a perpetual hangover, vomiting their guts out--maybe in a literal sense. Not only is it disgusting, but the vomitus propagates another zombie. Until the Wretched Mother is killed, the process continues. TLDR: Kill the Wretched Mother first and save yourself some time and effort.

    A little family gossip...
    A few dead (well, re-dead) Wretched Mothers later, I was heading out with DiabloWiki.com - Leah Leah in pursuit of her mother's old hut. Yes, Diablo I's witch, DiabloWiki.com - Adria Adria, returns. Or at least her house does. And she's got a nice little piece of real estate out in that forsaken sixteenth of an acre of no-man's land. But one of the coolest things about this encounter is that Leah follows you, chats with you, kills monsters with you, and interacts with game world objects. Some of the Wizard's characteristic scholarly mindset sparks up here and other places. It's amazing how fixated the guy is on the Fallen Star.

    The journey from here on out is something of a trip down memory lane.

    (Note: The Wizard likes to point out the obvious.)

    Ah, the DiabloWiki.com - Cathedral Cathedral, how I've missed thee! DiabloWiki.com - Kael Rills Kael Rills is long gone, of course, and I do miss the blood-red light knifing through the dark. But maybe the deceptive serenity surrounding the Cathedral is what makes it most unsettling. Its depths are anything but serene.

    The Fallen Star finally makes its reappearance. In its wake, it's left a tell-tale trail of otherwordly blue flames and a crater big enough to stuff over nine thousand McDonald's regulars. The journey down the old DiabloWiki.com - Horadrim Horadrim bastion is crawling with the Undead. DiabloWiki.com - Ravenous Dead Ravenous Dead prowl the halls, often in groups. DiabloWiki.com - Carrion Bat Carrion Bats stalk in clouds, swarming my Wizard with their annoying little zaps (reminiscent of Diablo II's DiabloWiki.com - Bat DemonBat Demon (Diablo II)s.) And, of course, the DiabloWiki.com - GrotesqueGrotesque (Diablo III).

    While not particularly the most dangerous of enemies, the Grotesque sported a few elements that might prove tricky, especially in later difficulties: a reasonably large amount of health, a corpse explosion guaranteed on death, and a mobile army inside its stomach. Okay, a handful of killer DiabloWiki.com - Lamprey Lampreys (eels) wasn't really that dangerous, either, but it was just freakin' weird. Later in the game, the Grotesque was more likely to expel a number of DiabloWiki.com - Imp Imps, though these, for the most part, ran off in random directions until I sniped them down with DiabloWiki.com - Electrocute Electrocute.

    Oh, the ceiling caves in just in time to kill Cain's pursuers! How convenient for him.

    Eventually--inevitably--Cain popped up. Uncle Deckard had decided to go dumpster diving in the Cathedral for some esoteric lore in his never-ending battle against the forces of the Burning Hells. What a harmless idea.

    Cain's addition to the mix brings another cool feature with Diablo III's take on story-telling: NPC's that talk with each other. Back in town, Cain and Leah catch up on old times: doomsday prophecy, demonic lore, the usual. Their interaction occasionally mixed in the haughty attitude of the Wizard. Were any other character to be the hero in the discussion, he, too, would add his character's flavor to the discussion.

    But Diablo III isn't all idle chatter and zombie pounding. The climax of the beta culminates in the battle with the DiabloWiki.com - Skeleton King Skeleton King, a point which Bashiok has specified as a third of the way through the first act.

    While the battle was not really that difficult (this is, basically, "easy" mode for testing purposes), King Leoric's ghostly remains had a few tricks up its sleeves.

    The battle is initiated by clicking on the King. I started every battle by popping a few DiabloWiki.com - potionsDiablo III Potions to boost my resistances, attack, and defense. The buffs are minimal and last only several minutes, but every little bit helped.

    Leoric has three primary modes: a whirlwind attack similar to the DiabloWiki.com - Barbarian Barbarian crossed with a I-don't-know-how-to-swing-my-weapon frenzy mode, a teleportation spell, and a simple swing attack with his massive mace. Periodically, he disappears from the fray, leaving a rabble of Undead minions in his wake. Of particular use during the skeleton waves was the Wizard's DiabloWiki.com - Wave of Force Wave of Force.

    Wave of Force works great in mobs due to its large area of effect and massive knockback. The damage isn't bad, either, often decimating low-level mobs in a single hit. For my purposes, the wave blew gathering swarms of DiabloWiki.com - Returned Returned and DiabloWiki.com - Forgotten Soldier Forgotten Soldiers away from me, the fragile caster, and off into my patient comrades. Oh, and did I mention the +50% speed impediment?

    Defensively, the battle can be fought with two skills: either DiabloWiki.com - Ice Armor Ice Armor or DiabloWiki.com - Diamond Skin Diamond Skin (we're not even going to talk about DiabloWiki.com - Storm Armor Storm Armor, since it lacks any defensive buffs.) While Diamond Skin is better for straight damage reduction, its relatively short duration (five seconds) makes it more of a cast-in-the-moment-of-need spell. Frozen Armor, while not a big damage absorber, does increase the Wizard's armor significantly (50%), lasts for two glorious minutes, and chills every enemy that attacks you--including the Skeleton King! This also works great in mobs, allowing the unwary Wizard to escape with his skin intact in certain sticky situations.

    From a safe distance, I could then spam them with Electrocute, which works exactly like Diablo II's DiabloWiki.com - Chain Lightning Chain Lightning, or DiabloWiki.com - Energy Twister Energy Twister. (Oh, clever hint: Energy Twister is perfect for kiting. Cast and run, baby!)

    And that about wraps things up. If any of you were fortunate enough to have played the beta yet, we'd love to hear about your experiences playing with the Wizard--any crafty spell tips, survival scenarios, or witty lines the Wizard is so prone to imparting.

    And, if you still can't get enough Wizard (*cough sign of addict cough*), we prescribe Force Gaming Strategy's excellent Wizard playthrough videos on YouTube. Here's one to get you started:

    Posted in: News & Announcements
  • 1

    posted a message on D3 Story Fact List
    Quote from Ajnc

    I found this in the database:
    A1_LeahReining_Encounter_Name : The End of the Horadrim Event
    A1_LeahReining_Taunt_Text : You may already be too late...
    A1_LeahReining_Join_Instruction : is about to witness

    Rein is probably code like the rest of the pony/horse codes they seems to have put in to cover spoilers.
    My guess is that this is Leah Turning at the end of act 1.

    A1_C6_SpiderCave_01_Main Caverns of Araneae

    Looks like Araneae the Spider Queen might be the boss of Act 1, or another mini boss.


    A3_AdriaBetrayal_Encounter_Name : Triumph Event
    A3_AdriaBetrayal_Taunt_Text : Fetlock is dead. Celebrate your victory!

    Appears Adria will betray us after we kill Fetlock(Azmodan, Lord of Sin).

    Noooooo! Adria, my love--why?
    Posted in: Lore & Storyline
  • 1

    posted a message on Having to constantly sign in.
    Quote from Molsterr

    Quote from Magistrate

    Quote from Molsterr

    it has to have something to do with your browser and your cookies for sure.

    I believe that some years ago we stopped using cookies to store auto-login data. Instead, it's all handled by databases and the server.
    rofl. All logins are handled by the database and the server. Im not sure what your trying to say? Cookies are used to remember your login when you come back to the site at another time. [Sessions cant do this].
    Plus im looking at the cookie right now =P

    I know. I write such applications all the time. But the site should no longer use the cookies. It should store your IP address and do a lookup whenever a non-logged in user accesses a page, then auto-log you in based on a correlated boolean value assuming a match.

    No need for the rofl :/ I certainly didn't laugh in your face.


    Regardless of whether or not this is the case, this was discussed several years ago--a little bit after the ownership switch. This happened back when we still had vBulletin, but I guess the change didn't get carried over to the (more recent and what you'd be used to) IPBoard.
    Posted in: Site Feedback
  • 1

    posted a message on Sin War Books
    The books are, for me, only there for lore supplementary material, for that which wasn't revealed or elaborated upon in the games. Overall, I don't think most of them are very entertaining and the style and dialogue are shoddy, at best. I don't like the Sin War trilogy much at all; my favorite is the Black Road.
    Posted in: Lore & Storyline
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