• published the article Diablo III Beta Key Sweepstakes
    Blizzard posted information about a sweepstakes on Facebook today that puts fans in a position to win one of two hundred beta invitations each week, in addition to a second key to every fourth winner.

    For those of you that weren't fortunate enough to get into the beta yet, it's simple: All you have to do is sign up for the drawing through Facebook.

    The drawing is running today through December 12, so get to it!

    Official Blizzard Quote:

    Want to lead the charge against the minions of the Burning Hells before the game releases? Then join the fight for the fate of Sanctuary by entering the Diablo III Beta Key Sweepstakes!

    Starting October 17, we'll be randomly selecting 200 winners each week to receive a key to our exclusive Diablo III beta test. In addition, every fourth winner chosen will receive a second key to share with a friend! Drawings will occur every Monday for eight weeks for a total 2,000 keys.

    Interested? Good! Signing up is easy. Simply follow Diablo on Facebook and complete our official entry form between now and December 12 for your chance to win. For more information about how to participate, check out the sweepstakes rules and eligibility page. Good luck!
    Thanks to Molster for posting this in his status!

    UPDATE: For those of you wondering why your country or province was left out of these sweepstakes, Zhydaris was able to provide an official reply to those concerned. Apparently sweepstakes such as these are classified differently in different places, which fortunately provides an explanation, but unfortunately means that the countries allowed in the sweepstakes is unlikely to change because it is a legal issue.

    However, every country is still able to participate in the Beta Opt-in, so if you don't have that set up on your Battle.net account, be sure to update your settings!

    Official Blizzard Quote:

    Hey Aice, I can perfectly understand your point here. You're correct, some countries are usually not able to take part in some of our promotions / offers / deals / sweepstakes.

    First of all, I would like to point out that there is no benefit to us to not offering these promotions in all European countries. We always try to reach out to all of our players and we definitely don't want to keep countries out of the loop. Unfortunately, this isn't always our call.

    Every country has different legal restrictions, and this restrictions will determine if a particular offer or initiative will be available to a specific country.
    I cannot go into details because there are just too many examples, it's impossible to examine them on a case by case basis.

    Long story short, some of our initiatives are classified as "gambling" in some countries, as "pyramid schemes" in others, and so on. Some laws just state that any promotion, deal, or offer that allows additional benefits to be gained as a result of bringing further people to the game would be classed as unacceptable.

    As you can imagine, it's a difficult situation, but we're definitely aware of the fact that all of our players would like to have the opportunity of taking part in our initiatives.

    We don't care about the number of players we have in a specific country, we just want to involve as many people as possible.

    If you believe that we may be missing out a country that would indeed allow this kind of scheme without issue then you’re welcome to contact our legal team purely to draw their attention to the situation.
    Posted in: Diablo III Beta Key Sweepstakes
  • published the article Skill Swapping and Rune Changes
    With the release of the item page on the Diablo III official site, questions were raised about how the rune system will work once the game is released. The presence of unattuned runes on the item page seemed to suggest that the team was going ahead with the implementation of the system Jay Wilson explained at the late July press event (be sure to check out Force's video of the explanation, along with many questions on the system from our own Sixen here). However, in response to a thread on the Diablo III forums, Bashiok was sure to point out that the system is not fully implemented yet, and is still very much up in the air.

    Official Blizzard Quote:

    We have no idea how the unattuned system is going to work. Or if it'll end up working at all. We're trying out some different options, but we're not likely to reveal much until we're more certain. Maybe it'll be something we feel comfortable discussing at BlizzCon? ... maybe not.
    So fingers crossed for a full on explanation at the upcoming BlizzCon. If there are any updates on the runestone system at Blizzard's annual convention you can be sure we'll let you know.

    In the same post, Bashiok went on to explain a potential change to the skill swapping system currently in place that would prevent people from swapping skills in the middle of combat.

    Official Blizzard Quote:

    On a slightly related (?) note we're playing around with having skill swapping locked to being in-town only. We're definitely not sold on it, but it could appear at some time in a beta patch, so FYI. Just be aware it's only something we're trying, and not a permanent solution.
    Obviously this town-only restriction, if implemented, would still allow people to switch skills before a boss fight, which has been a point of much contention. However, it would still force players to be bound to a certain build during their time in a dungeon, unless they wanted to go back and forth from town in order to switch skills.

    The second half of Bashiok's post caused a shift in the discussion occurring in the topic towards Diablo III's skill swapping system. Many people asked why the team simply would make it impossible to switch skills in combat, which led to this response from Bashiok:

    Official Blizzard Quote:

    As a follow up, there's no concept of 'in combat' or 'out of combat' in the game, so that's not something we can just hook in to. There could be. We could take programming time dedicated to other features and design and build out a 'combat state' system, but that's programming time away from something else.
    As a result, it seems as though restricting skill swapping to town may be the simplest option. However, this obviously leads to some problems with experimentation seeing as in order to test out a skill after leveling you'd have to go back to town, and if you don't like the skill you'd have to switch it back in town once more. However, some people may see this restriction on the current ease of skill swapping as a good thing, and I think we can all agree that there needs to be a solution to swapping skills while in combat.
    Posted in: Skill Swapping and Rune Changes
  • published the article Mantra Changes
    Alongside recent changes about the DiabloWiki.com - Demon Hunter Demon Hunter's Hatred regeneration and how damage is calculated across all classes, Bashiok recently responded to a question about the DiabloWiki.com - Monk Monk's Mantras, specifically why they need to be refreshed instead of simply toggled.

    In order to give players an incentive to refresh their Mantras (which, if you didn't know, currently function almost identically to Auras), there has been talk of implementing short term bonuses to Mantras when the player first activates them.

    Official Blizzard Quote:

    I thought one of us had already posted on this but I'm having trouble locating it... NO MATTER!

    We're toying around with making mantras more of an active ability currently. Right now it's just a really short duration buff, which isn't very cool, as stated. What we think will be cool, is that when hitting the button to cast a mantra you get a super-mega buff (or effect) for a short time, and then the buff would lower to its normal levels after.

    You can see that design currently on a couple skill descriptions on the site, they're just not reflected in-game.

    Keep in mind it's still all of course in testing.

    This gives mantras a more 'use oriented' flavor. So while it's a short duration that's OK because you want to hit the mantra button more than once every two minutes, it becomes an active skill. So far we think it's working pretty well.

    What we don't want is to have long duration buffs or toggles, because then it may as well be a passive. We want our active skills to be active, and so hopefully this change achieves that.
    As with the reworking of the Demon Hunter's Hatred regeneration, the Mantra changes are up on the Monk's official skill page, but the change has not been implemented in the current build of the beta. If they were implemented, the skill descriptions would be changed to match the current ones on the Diablo III site:

    Mantra of Evasion - Recite a Mantra that grants you and all allies within 40 yards a 30% chance to dodge attacks. Lasts 120 seconds. Dodge chance is doubled in the first 3 seconds.

    Mantra of Healing - Recite a Mantra that causes you and all allies within 40 yards to gain increased Life regeneration by 106.4 Life per second. Lasts 120 seconds. Life regeneration is doubled in the first 3 seconds.

    Mantra of Conviction - Recite a Mantra that causes all enemies within 20 yards of you to take 20% additional damage. Lasts 120 seconds. Additional damage is doubled in the first 3 seconds.

    Previously the sections about the first three seconds weren't included in the skill description, and the change to the other mantra, Mantra of Retribution, is currently unknown. Each skill currently has a cooldown of 30 seconds, so this change would most likely make it advantageous to simply use the Mantra every thirty seconds.

    These changes have also raised questions about the DiabloWiki.com - Wizard Wizard's Armors and the DiabloWiki.com - Barbarian Barbarian's Shouts. Although the Barbarian gains fury from some of his shouts, the Wizard currently gains no bonus from refreshing her armors, and it seems as though a similar incentive could be used for both classes. If that happens, and when the Mantra change is implemented, you can be sure we'll let you know.

    So what do you think about the Monk's Mantras? Should they just be passive skills? Should you just toggle them on and off? Or do these changes provide enough of an incentive to refresh the Mantra every 30 seconds? Be sure to discuss your opinion in the topic below.
    Posted in: Mantra Changes
  • published the article Skills and Guns
    @Diablo and Bashiok broke a period of silence to give us some useful and interesting information today.

    In regards to skills, @Diablo had this to say in response to a question about the available number of active skills per character.

    Official Blizzard Quote:

    Diablo: @crafty_deluxe Wizard has the most with 25, the rest have either 21 or 22. Currently. Abilities will likely change before release.
    Whether or not this will mean different skills, a different number of skills, or only different rune effects is unknown. Chances are that no skills will be removed, and seeing as this comment is in response to a question about the number of active skills, chances are that not all skills have been revealed or there are skills still in development. As soon as there is any elaboration on the subject we'll be sure to let you know.

    Yesterday, when the class pages went up on the Diablo III official site, some people noticed that the DiabloWiki.com - Demon Hunter Demon Hunter's page seemed to suggest that they were able to use guns. Although skills such as DiabloWiki.com - Evasive Fire Evasive Fire's crimson rune effect mention the use of bullets, Bashiok cleared up the issue completely and let us know that guns will not appear in Diablo III.

    Official Blizzard Quote:

    Demon hunters are able to pepper the battlefield with scores of arrows and projectiles, or snipe distant enemies with a precision undreamt of by other heroes. Their arsenal includes longbows, guns, grenades, hand-thrown weapons, and even dual-wielded crossbows.
    Today, Bashiok cleared up the confusion that resulted, breaking a stretch of silence from the blues other than replies to technical issues.

    Official Blizzard Quote:

    There are no guns in Diablo. Shame on anyone who wants otherwise! SHAME.

    It's an error in the text, and will be corrected.
    So fortunately for some (hopefully most) and unfortunately for others, the Diablo III team has reaffirmed its view that guns don't fit in Diablo. Are you disappointed or happy that whole scare is over? Let us know in the thread below.
    Posted in: Skills and Guns
  • published the article Official Diablo III Site Gets Updated
    Today, the DiabloWiki.com - Diablo III Diablo III website got an upgrade in the form of an official skill calculator. No longer will you have to go back and forth between lists of skills and their rune effects to plan your characters! The skill calculator itself looks very similar, if not identical, to the skill UI seen in the beta, and has three groups of skills for each class. To use it, simply head over to the Skill Calculator page found on the Diablo III site, select your class, and the rest is pretty much self explanatory. You should keep in mind that the numbers inserted into skill descriptions are based on level 60 characters with level 7 runes.

    The skill calculator also provides a very convenient way to see the description of each skill and its rune effects, along with the icon for each skill. If you're starting from the home page instead of the link above, select the Game tab, look under Tools, and you'll find the link to the skill calculator there. The Game tab also provides an interesting look at future updates to the official page.

    Another update on the official site is a new page on Diablo III's shared stash. Although its not anything new, it does provide a nice overview of the stash's functions in the upcoming game. The article about the shared stash also reveals that Hardcore characters will have access to a different stash and Auction House than Normal characters. The wording of the section on the Hardcore stash also seems to hint that there could be some items available only to Hardcore characters that you can't find on Normal, or possibly the other way around.

    Other than that, the site was also updated with a What's New in Diablo III page. It provides short paragraphs on Runestones, Followers, Crafting & Artisans, the Auction House, and other major parts of Diablo III that were previously unseen in the series or have been improved upon for the third installment. For the sections that have pages on the site, there are links to click through to. However, for features such as Artisans and Followers, there are no official pages yet, but we'll be sure to let you know when those pages get updated.
    Posted in: Official Diablo III Site Gets Updated
  • published the article New Class Pages
    Alongside the update that added a skill calculator to the official Diablo III site, Blizzard also added in depth character pages to give you a better idea of how each class works. Although they obviously share some features with the class pages on the old site, there are some nice new features that show off the main differences between each class. Be sure to check out each page through the links below.

    The first noticeable difference between these new pages and the ones on the old site has to be the Key Features bar on the side of each class page. It essentially compresses the reasons to play each class into a few short paragraphs, which also gives a very good idea of the playstyle of each class. For example, the DiabloWiki.com - Barbarian Barbarian's page brings attention to the shouts that they can utilize to buff themselves and their allies, while the DiabloWiki.com - Witch Doctor Witch Doctor page gives a short description of how pets add to the flavor of the class. Right beneath the Key Features is an in depth look at the resource used by each character, which brings attention to both the lore and functions of Fury, Hatred/Discipline, Spirit, Mana, and Arcane Power.

    Each class page also provides the character's background. In a brief overview of the lore behind the classes, a short paragraph tells the motivations and objectives of each class to explain why they risk their lives fighting the Burning Hells, from the DiabloWiki.com - Wizard Wizard's quest for fame to the DiabloWiki.com - Monk Monk's desire to embody the will of their one thousand and one gods. For anyone who read the old character pages, there might not be anything new, but the background section could provide a welcome refresher nonetheless.

    Shortly after the backgrounds, there are two extremely interesting sections. The first is the Unique Equipment section, which goes over the items that can be used by that class and no other. The Monk has the ability to use not only fist weapons, but also daibos that can be used to attack and deflect incoming projectiles. The DiabloWiki.com - Demon Hunter Demon Hunter page describes the ability to use and dual wield small, fast firing pistol crossbows. The Barbarians are able to use their immense strength to wield massive weapons, enormously big two handed weapons that can be used to pulverize enemies. Barbarians also are able to use nearly every weapon available in the game. The Wizard uses orbs to augment their powers and wands to project their abilities through enchanted lengths of wood. Finally, the Witch Doctor can use ceremonial daggers that are normally used in human sacrifices and mojos, which are off-hand items that seem functionally similar to the Wizard's orbs.

    After going over the weapons each class can use, the character pages also give us a glimpse at what armor progression will look like through 3D models at the bottom of each page. While we have seen progression concept art before, seeing the armor sets in 3D more accurately depicts how the look of your character will change as you progress from act to act and difficulty to difficulty.

    Each character page also has a link directly to their skill calculator located at the top, sitting right next to tabs for active and passive skills. While the skill calculator might be all you need for exploring the skills for each class, these tabs do provide an excellent side by side look at each skill and rune effect without limiting you to looking at six active and three passive skills at a time. In these tabs, you are also allowed to search for a skill by name, and can click on filters to only view one type of skill at a time, such as discipline skills for the Demon Hunter or signature skills for the Wizard.

    Although I'm sure reading that description was enjoyable, I can assure you that these new character pages are an extremely fun read for any Diablo fan. So as I said before, be sure to check out each page in its full glory through the links at the top of this article.
    Posted in: New Class Pages
  • published the article Much Ado About Colors
    Since the resource page went up on the official Diablo III site, there has been quite a bit of discussion about the DiabloWiki.com - Demon Hunter Demon Hunter's Hatred and Discipline globe. Many people have criticized its colors as being too close to the red and blue of Life and Mana, while other people have come to its defense and noted that red and blue are simply easily distinguishable colors.

    In a thread started by our own Sixen, Zarhym made a lengthy response describing the reasoning behind the color choices for Hatred and Discipline.

    Official Blizzard Quote:

    White and black, for example, would be bad. One purpose of the color scheme is to ensure it's very readable when your focus is on the game world and not the UI. Given the dark vibe of Sanctuary and the way the UI fits in with that feel, black simply wouldn't pop out at all. It'd be much more difficult to track your Hatred (which is the resource you'll be managing most frequently) peripherally when background colors are so frequently on the darker end of the color spectrum. Just the same, the suggestion of white for Discipline seems only to stand in contrast to black which, again, just wouldn't work.

    Hatred was given a deep red color to give it plenty of distinction from barbarian Fury, plus red is just an angry color (refer to my avatar and personality). We also mixed in a bit of black with the red to further push Hatred toward the demon hunter's color kit.

    Now, given that both resources are displayed in a single globe, it's really important to us that the colors effectively oppose one another. Unlike the color red thematically fitting Hatred, Discipline isn't a concept that has such a universal color representation. As such, the most important thing becomes readability. And the best way to make sure Discipline stands apart from Hatred is to make it color opposite, which is blue. White could have been used, but it would overpower the red-colored Hatred due its value strength (we want the values to be close together) and white doesn’t support the notion of these concepts being opposed to one another. And once again we mixed in some black with the blue to fit with the demon hunter color kit.
    As Zarhym points out, its important to remember that you're only really going to be looking at this, or really any, resource globe with your peripheral vision. Otherwise you'll have to be constantly taking your eye off of the action occurring on screen. As a result, the colors have to be extremely distinguishable, which limits the choices more than one might think at first.

    Zarhym's response also caused people to point out that red and green, not blue, are complimentary colors. Zarhym was quick to point out that there were other problems with using green.

    Official Blizzard Quote:

    It's not that we overlooked green, we just definitely didn't want to go with that. It's way too tied to poison in Diablo. It wouldn't feel right.
    The same reasoning was also provided for why Blizzard didn't use a green 'voodoo' or 'mojo' resource for the DiabloWiki.com - Witch Doctor Witch Doctor, which was a popular suggestion. Some mock-ups were even made in this forums thread, and although they look cool, it also looks very similar to your health globe when you are poisoned in DiabloWiki.com - Diablo II Diablo II.

    Not only would a green resource globe look a bit too close to a poisoned health globe, but red and blue are actually farther apart on the color spectrum than red and green. By pointing out a post on theSkaBoss, Zarhym pointed us all to a small lesson on the color spectrum, which actually matters more than placement on the color wheel when distinguishing colors.

    Blue and red, however... step away from your color wheels and look at a map of the spectrum. You seeing what I'm seeing? The thing about blue and red is that as far as the visible spectrum goes, they sit on opposite edges of the map. (Don't talk to me about violet, violet doesn't get to participate in this conversation.) Blue and red take on a lot of roles as opposites when you start talking to astronomers, astrophysicists, and all those smart people. The simplest example: redshift and blueshift. Basically, if something producing light is moving away from you, it looks more red, and if something producing light is moving toward you, it looks more blue. This happens because of the wavelength of the light emitted is "shortened" or "lengthened" (not really, but that's what it looks like from your frame of reference,) by the object moving toward or away from you, respectively.

    Look, the point is that the colors fit together in that ONE orb for the same reason that the colors fit together in two different orbs in the last two games. The colors are just good design opposites.

    Many games (including the previous Diablo games) use red and blue as opposites, because what matters most is how far apart they are on the color spectrum, not whether or not they sit across from each other on the color wheel. As a result, if you want to make them as distinguishable as possible, blue and red is really the only choice. For the same reason that they didn't go for a 'yin-yang' design as suggested by some members, red and blue allow you to get a good idea of how much of each resource you have while still keeping your attention on the action.

    So, after those lengthy and sometimes sarcastic explanations, what do you think about the Demon Hunter's resource globe? Has your opinion changed or does it remain the same? Feel free to discuss your views in the topic below.
    Posted in: Much Ado About Colors
  • published the article Item Progression and the Cube
    Bashiok emerged from nearly a week of silence to finally give us some DiabloWiki.com - Diablo III Diablo III stuff to talk about. While most of his posts are short on new information, there are some nice clarifications on item progression in the game and visual item progression throughout Diablo III's difficulties.

    While responding to a few questions, Bashiok made clear that the eighteen tiers of items are purely visual.

    Official Blizzard Quote:

    Without being able to upgrade the item to the next tier, does that mean the lesser tier item is salvage garbage?

    Right, going back to the tier thing which I believe was a misunderstanding of me referring to the visual sets. It doesn't have to do with item stats at all really, just cohesive armor looks.

    There are better and better items as your progress through the difficulties and they can roll out more affixes as they go higher. So to answer your question, yes, worse items would be sold for gold, salvaged for crafting materials, or otherwise 'traded' away.
    However, his explanation does seem to imply that there could be an overlap between the last items in one tier and the first items in the next. As Bashiok later explained, these visual tiers are also divided amongst the difficulties, which means that your character look will be continuously changing throughout Normal, Nightmare, and Hell, as opposed to revisiting old item looks each time you advance a difficulty like in DiabloWiki.com - Diablo II Diablo II

    Official Blizzard Quote:

    [The item tiers] are distributed through difficulties with each difficulty dropping items of a specific number of visual sets. So, for instance, in Normal you may see set looks one through five dropping. In Nightmare you may see the visual sets six through ten. etc. Just an example, I'm not sure how exactly they were decided to be broken out.
    After this explanation, some concerns were raised about whether or not eighteen tiers, which translates into six tiers per difficulty, would feel like enough progression throughout the game, and Bashiok continued to elaborate on exactly how item progression works.

    Official Blizzard Quote:

    So yeah, this was more or less how I thought you guys had made the system... as you have played the game, does 5/6 set visuals per difficulty feel progression enough?

    I think it feels really good. You're not getting whole sets dropping for you so it's a pretty constant upgrading process. You're probably not running around with a complete looking set for long unless you're denying yourself upgrades to make a cohesive look, or just getting bad drops.
    Even though thinking of item progression as being divided into tiers may make it seem as though you are only upgrading your look six times per difficulty, it is important to keep in mind that you will most likely spend most of your time in gear comprised of items from different tiers. So while there are technically only eighteen different item looks, your character's look will be changing many more times than that number implies.

    In another equipment related topic, Bashiok also had some interesting input about the game's salvage mechanic.

    Official Blizzard Quote:

    It has a name. It is not Salvage Cube. The name does include Cube, though. The name is sort of a spoiler, which is why we haven't revealed it yet.

    Although Bashiok does not divulge the current name of the cube, some of you may remember Jay Wilson called it the Nephalem Cube at the last BlizzCon, which is a name that could certainly be considered something of a spoiler. Bashiok may have simply forgotten the name was already revealed, or the name could have changed since then. If any of you are unclear on the lore implications of the Nephalem, be sure to check out PhrozenDragon's Cosmology of Diablo articles or the first part of Force's Diablo Lore video series.
    Posted in: Item Progression and the Cube
  • published the article BlizzCon Ticket Prices
    When Blizzard started hosting their annual BlizzCon in 2005, the ticket price was $100, where it remained until 2009. That year, Blizzard increased the price to $125, and every year since then the price has increased, to $150 in 2010, and now $175 in 2011. However, despite these increasing prices, Blizzard still apparently takes a loss in order to host BlizzCon, and all available tickets get sold within a few moments.

    As we all know, all of the information announced at BlizzCon quickly becomes available online. However, for the ticket price, along with travel and hotel expenses, attendees are allowed exclusive access to upcoming game demos and are able to attend tournaments and panels on Blizzard's games that occur during the convention. During the event, attendees are also given a goodie bag, which, at recent BlizzCons, has contained everything from beta keys to WoW pets and more. Obviously, whether or not all of those perks are worth $175 is up to you, so do what do you think about BlizzCon ticket prices? Are they overpriced by a lot? Only a little? Do you think they're reasonable? Vote in the poll above and discuss your opinion in the topic below.

    During last week's poll, most people voted that the beta would start in July (the earliest possible option), followed closely by August, and the popularity of each option was less and less popular. If you would still like to discuss the beta and its start date, or just want to contribute to the vote, head over to the poll through the link above.
    Posted in: BlizzCon Ticket Prices
  • published the article Trait Update
    Recently, through both the Battle.net forums and Twitter, we have gotten a few updates about how DiabloWiki.com - traits traits will work in DiabloWiki.com - Diablo III Diablo III. When asked about conditional traits, Bashiok had this to say:

    Official Blizzard Quote:

    There are a number of traits which are too situational to be deemed worthwhile to invest in. A few examples are:
    • Increases damage against beasts.
    • Increases damage against demons.
    • Increases damage against undead.
    We agree, and they were removed from Traits a while back. (not that you could have known that) So yay!

    We don't want traits (passives) to be boring. Even the ones that are pretty bland stat increase type passives, we try to make them feel weighty. Trait points are fairly rare, so that lets us make each point feel a lot sexier to spend. Even if they're just standard +% stat passives, they're BIG +% increases. But, there's also a lot of traits that are fairly intricate in what they provide, and to no small degree can be game changers. Either way they'll be a crucial component to any character build.
    Although the first part of this quote is rather self-explanatory, the rest is considerably more interesting. It appears as though the percentages associated with traits have been boosted since we saw them at the Blizzcon demo, and as a result they have a bigger impact on the build of your character, leading to even more customization possibilities. However, that does not mean traits have become all that much more powerful than the last time we saw them in action. Although the percentages gained from traits has increased, the Diablo III team has also drastically decreased the amount of trait points a character will have at the maximum level.

    Official Blizzard Quote:

    @spiri7walker We give them out every 3 levels, the first one at level 3, so 19 trait points are available to spend at level 60.
    When they were announced at Blizzcon, traits were given out every other level, and the Diablo III team quickly pointed out that they weren't quite satisfied with that setup. In a change that seems comparable to the decision to put the level cap at 60, Blizzard has decided to make trait points more valuable and less common. As a result, characters will probably end up more focused around certain traits instead of being spread out across large amounts of passives.

    Despite this more focused approach, it does appear as though there are plenty of choices, including ones that wouldn't initially appear to have a place in a viable combat build.

    Official Blizzard Quote:

    I'm very happy to hear this, but what of lucky and intimidation? They are also fairly controversial traits that increase noncombat related stats.
    Lucky increases gold find by 10%. It's tough to say how that kind of thing will balance out. It wouldn't be worth taking until at least Nightmare, IMO, and even then a trait point is a fairly powerful thing. I don't know if I'd spend it on gold find. But, that's kind of a cool choice then, right?
    This is not the first time Bashiok has used gold find as an example of an "interesting choice," so it would appear as though gold is actually important and as a result gold find is something to consider. However, as Bashiok points out, that does not mean theres much room for it, especially if we are only awarded nineteen trait points. In the end, we'll just have to wait for the beta to really see what traits remain and how the trait system as a whole functions.

    Update to the update:

    Official Blizzard Quote:

    @Diablo And will there be any quests, which are not required for main story progression, that will award you additional trait/skill points?
    @spiri7walker Currently all skill and trait points are metered out purely through gaining levels." class="blizzsource">

    @Diablo And will there be any quests, which are not required for main story progression, that will award you additional trait/skill points?
    @spiri7walker Currently all skill and trait points are metered out purely through gaining levels.
    So it appears that, at least for the moment, we won't be getting traits as rewards from anything other than leveling, unlike in DiabloWiki.com - Diablo II Diablo II where a select few quests rewarded the player with extra skill points.
    Posted in: Trait Update
  • published the article This Week's Poll: Diablo III Locations
    Throughout the original http://diablowiki.com/Diablo" class="wiki-link">http://media-diablofans.cursecdn.com/attachments/16/736/wiki2.gif" alt="DiabloWiki.com - Diablo"/> Diablo and DiabloWiki.com - Diablo II Diablo II we only visited a select few areas in the sprawling world of Sanctuary. Diablo I took place in DiabloWiki.com - Tristram Tristram and the dungeon below the Cathedral, and Diablo II took us to a Rogue Monastery near Tristram, Lut Gholein, Kurast, Hell, and finally the DiabloWiki.com - Barbarian Barbarian homeland surrounding Harrogath. However, as you can see after a quick look at the world map on the official site, Sanctuary contains many more locations that we haven't seen. Fortunately, through the Sin War books and the backstories of new and old characters, we know the lore behind some of the locations on the world map. Below is a short summary of the locations we could see in DiabloWiki.com - Diablo III Diablo III and its expansions, along with a few pictures. If you would like to view the high-res version of any image in this article, simply click on it. For more information on confirmed and potential locations in Diablo III, be sure to check out Don_guillotine's editorial on the topic. If you still aren't satisfied with your knowledge of Sanctuary's locations, be sure to click on any wiki links and check out the official site.

    So far in the Diablo series, we have yet to venture to the High Heavens, despite repeated journeys to the Burning Hells. Early in development, Diablo III was supposed to take place in the Heavens, which appeared to be much lighter than most areas we've seen, and most of the architecture was composed of white pillars. If it appeared in the final game, it could end up looking similar to these screenshots. Obviously Heaven could also provide a good contrast to Hell, which is another self explanatory potential location.

    Another potential location is the once proud city of Ureh. Featured in DiabloWiki.com - The Kingdom of Shadow The Kingdom of Shadow, Ureh is now trapped between the mortal and immortal planes after Diablo twisted the mind of the city's leader Juris Khan into opening a passage to Hell, only to be foiled at the last second, forcing the city into a state of limbo. Although the city was featured in the announcement cinematic, Ureh has since been removed from the game. However, it is an obvious choice for an expansion location, and its presence at any point in Diablo III would most likely also give the player access to the swamp area surrounding the city.

    The Skovos Isles, home to the DiabloWiki.com - Amazon Amazons, are yet another location that was shown and then removed from Diablo III. From the concept art we've seen, these islands appear to be tropical locations, which would make for some interesting flora and fauna. If an expansion included these isles, it would be interesting to see if Blizzard was able to implement a reasonable way to get from island to island, or if we would only get access to the main island. Either way, exploring the Amazon's homeland would be extremely interesting.

    Another interesting homeland to explore could be the DiabloWiki.com - Druid Druid homeland of Scosglen. Although we have no idea what Scosglen and the Druid college of Tur Dulra would look like, it appears as though it is an arctic environment. Scosglen is also close to the semi-confirmed Xiansai, the Wizard homeland.

    Official Blizzard Quote:

    Jay Wilson: Well, our story tends to focus a lot more on the two major demons and the impending invasion of Sanctuary. So the character classes tend to follow those events and not so much their homelands. I think the only character who actually goes through their homeland is, I believe, the wizard, Leonard [Boyarsky] knows more about this than me, sometimes I get this wrong. But I'm pretty sure it's the wizard. The monk's land we're not going to, but there are likely to be other monk characters and details about the religious group and the culture that he comes from.
    It should be noted that this quote is from an interview in 2009, and Jay Wilson seems less than certain that we will go to Xiansai in Diablo III. However, if it is a location in the final game, a trip to nearby Scosglen could make sense. Both environments would most likely be similar, although Xiansai, judging by its color on the world map, does seem to be effected by the same plague as the Dreadlands despite the island's distance from the Arreat Crater.

    A more familiar location could be the Sharval Wilds and Ivgorod. Located to the north of Tristram, the Sharval Wilds are home to the Monks of Ivgorod. This region, along with Westmarch, would most likely feel very similar to the area surrounding Tristram and the Rogue Monastery in the previous Diablo games. However, exploring Ivgorod could be more focused on the mountains in the area, while Westmarch is much closer to a port town than anywhere we've gone to in the area.

    Mentioned in the Witch Doctor's entry on the official site, the Torajan Jungles surround familiar places like Kurast, but in Diablo II we only explored a small portion of the area. Depending on whether or not you liked Act III in Diablo II, a journey to the Torajan Jungles could be a very appealing or cringe inducing idea, but any Witch Doctor fan would probably enjoy a visit with the Tribe of the Five Hills. The towns in this area could also prove intriguing, seeing as other than Kurast the world map shows no centers of civilization. Small, unprotected villages instead of walled of cities and towns could lead to a lot more dangerous of a feel in the dense jungles.

    The only other location on this list that is at all confirmed is the previously mentioned Dreadlands surrounding the Arreat Crater. During the Blizzcon 2010 Crafting Sanctuary panel, we got a short look at the concept art and interior of Bastion's Keep, a Barbarian stronghold located near the Arreat Crater. A short time later, Bashiok told us that we had actually seen a small portion of Act III. Seeing as all other footage was labeled as part of the first two acts, that would appear to imply that we venture to Bastion's Keep during Act III, which would then seem to suggest that Act III takes place in the Dreadlands. However, at this point in time that is pure speculation, so technically the only confirmed locations are the forests around Tristram and the deserts surrounding Caldeum.

    So now that you've gotten a short overview of each of the choices, which locale do you want to see in Diablo III and its expansions? Do you have any other locations in mind? Vote in the poll above and discuss your favorite choices in the topic below.

    During last week's poll, most people (37%) agreed that a follower system that is similar to what we saw in Lord of Destruction, with the addition of skill choices, would be ideal. The next most popular option was the system Leonard Boyarsky explained in a 2009 interview (28%), and the temporary followers option trailed behind with 18% of the vote. If you would still like to vote in last week's poll, or if you just want to talk about followers and hirelings in Diablo III, be sure to head over to the topic through the link above.
    Posted in: This Week's Poll: Diablo III Locations
  • published the article This Week's Poll: Followers
    A few days ago, we received what seems to be a hint from @Diablo that there will be some form of follower system in DiabloWiki.com - Diablo III Diablo III, and after that DiabloWiki.com - Bashiok Bashiok let us know that followers have been a part of the game since before it was announced:

    Official Blizzard Quote:

    We're not quite ready to talk about our approach, but I will say it's something that's been a part of the game since before announcement. We have a very solid direction for them.
    However, even though we know followers will be present in the final product, there are still plenty of unanswered questions about the follower system, and you certainly don't have to agree with their implementation. Below is a summary of how hirelings worked in DiabloWiki.com - Diablo II Diablo II and what we know about the follower system in Diablo III.

    In Diablo II, there was a different type of hireling for each act, with the exception of Act IV. The first act gave you access to a ranged DiabloWiki.com - Rouge Rouge mercenary after defeating Blood Raven. Once you progressed to Act II you were allowed to enlist the help of a Desert Mercenary. After that, Act III gave you access to the Iron Wolf mercenaries. Without the Lord of Destruction expansion, hirelings could not equip items, did not level up, and were only available during the Act they were bought in, but all of that was changed with the expansion. Lord of Destruction also added a Barbarian mercenary in Act V. Hirelings could be selected from long lists of many different options, for example the Rouge could fire arrows imbued with different elements depending on your selection. However, despite these options the only noticeable differences were between hirelings from different acts.

    In Diablo III, the hireling system has gone through an overhaul. They are now called followers, and they have been split up into two different groups. The first type, as seen in the announcement video, are temporary followers.

    Official Blizzard Quote:

    As you saw in the demo, if you got the quest where you could rescue the adventurers or their leader, those guys are a light level, where they are just along for the quest or they are just cannon fodder. You can't really control them or have anything to do with them at all.
    Clearly these followers clearly aren't full replacements to the hirelings of Diablo II, but they are the only ones that we've seen in action. Temporary followers could surely prove valuable during hard quests or dungeons, but they offer very little in the form of interaction.

    The second type of follower seems to be closer to the hirelings we know from Diablo II.

    Official Blizzard Quote:

    When you have what we are calling followers, they are the guys you can equip, give them different weapons, you can give them different armor. They will probably have some quests that involve them. Much more than in Diablo II, you could equip them but they were more like a game mechanic in a body of an NPC. Where this time, were making them much more individuals with their own back story and their own reason for being in the world.

    [There will be different types to hire but this time they will be] much more specific. They were very interchangeable in Diablo II, they just had different skills. These ones are going to be much more geared toward certain gameplay types you'd say. Depending on how you play your class...I might be a barbarian, so I don't want another tank, I want a range or, I might want another tank.
    Clearly Blizzard has ideas for a more expanded system than what we saw in Diablo II, and hopefully there will be good backstories to go along with these more permanent followers. As Boyarsky explains, these followers seem to be something of a replacement for another player at your side. From this description, it seems as if they are capable of filling in as a tank for a character that has to avoid damage, and the choices will go beyond small skill changes. However, it should be noted that these quotes are from 2009, and as a result the system could have changed by the time it is revealed, but as of now it is the only information we have on followers.

    So now that you know how hirelings worked in Diablo II, and how they are expected to work in Diablo III, which system do you like more? Would you like Diablo III to feature a system similar to the previous game? Do you just want temporary followers, or do you not want followers in Diablo III at all? Vote in the poll above and express your opinion in the topic below

    Last week's poll was essentially a split decision between people who will strike a balance between PvE and PvP (29%), those who will PvP once in a while (27%), and the most popular choice was "Maybe once I'm done with PvE" (31%). If you would still like to vote in that poll, or just want to talk about PvP, head over to the thread in the link above.
    Posted in: This Week's Poll: Followers
  • published the article Diablo III in the New York Times
    Yesterday's New York Times contained a preview of DiabloWiki.com - Diablo III Diablo III that focused mainly on the importance of trade in the game. The majority of the article is a nice overview of the reasons trade is so important in Diablo, and how the randomized loot system makes it different from the economy in a game with loot tables like World of Warcraft. The preview a very nice read, and the author seems to be genuinely enthusiastic about the upcoming game. If you've been dying for something to read about Diablo even if there's nothing new, be sure to check out the article in the link above. If not, here's an excerpt.

    This [random loot system] is far different from a persistent online game like Blizzard’s World of Warcraft, where each item must be individually, meticulously designed and fixed in its attributes so that it is properly balanced for its location in the game universe and the difficulty of obtaining it. Players there want to know that if they get together with 10 or 20 people and spend four hours conquering a certain dungeon, they will certainly reap specific rewards.

    Diablo, by contrast, is about jumping in and seeing what fate brings. But what if you uncover that great halberd, and you happen to be a physically feeble wizard who can’t use big, two-handed weapons at all?

    That’s where the trading comes in. Now, out of millions of other players, you want to find a magic-fearing barbarian who has come across, say, an enchanted staff that inflicts extra damage to wilderness beasts, increases the bearer’s willpower, leaches magic from enemies and increases the holder’s chance of finding additional magic items (also a potent combination). But how do you find that guy and make the trade?

    Once Diablo III arrives, millions of players will generate items of randomized treasure every day. That can make eBay look like a flea market. Keeping track of it all online and designing trading tools that can handle that kind of volume is a gargantuan programming and design challenge. It is one big reason Blizzard has been working on the game for so long. And it may also be why the company hasn’t detailed or demonstrated Diablo III’s trading systems yet.

    In Diablo II, released in 2000, you had to sit in any of hundreds of chat channels for hours, advertising the deal you sought. If your prospective partner was in another channel, you might never find him (or, far less likely, her).

    Blizzard knows that just won’t cut it anymore. Today’s players will demand simple yet powerful tools to create their own bustling virtual economy without the tedium. Call it an advanced sort of auction house.
    This kind of language does seem to point to an auction system that most of us can probably see working quite well in Diablo III. Although there is no exact information on how Diablo III's trading system will work, the article does emphasize that Blizzard is well aware of a need to drastically improve upon DiabloWiki.com - Diablo II Diablo II's chat channels that drove people to trade through community forums.

    Because Blizzard has not revealed anything official about the trading system, there are still plenty of questions that have yet to be answered. How easy will it be to barter? Will auction houses only be accessibile in certain areas, or will it just be a window that can be opened at any time and in any place? Fortunately, before the upcoming beta every system will be revealed and all of our questions about trade, followers, and any other currently unannounced system will be answered. Unfortunately, that time is not now, but that does mean you can discuss and debate how you think Diablo III's trade system should work in the topic below.

    The article ends in what seems to be good news about the game's development from Jay Wilson.

    Official Blizzard Quote:

    “We’re definitely in the home stretch. We’re crunching. This is when the magic happens.”
    Hopefully this means the beta will be here soon.
    Posted in: Diablo III in the New York Times
  • published the article This Week's Poll: Will You PvP?
    As most of you probably know, PvP combat has changed drastically in DiabloWiki.com - Diablo III Diablo III. The hostility system we all know from DiabloWiki.com - Diablo II Diablo II has been scrapped in favor of the more controlled DiabloWiki.com - Battle Arena Battle Arena. Below is a short summary of the Arena, and for additional information and screenshots, you can visit the Battle Arena wiki link, or check out the PvP page on the Diablo III official site. If you're looking for some videos of the Battle Arena, be sure to check out Force's Diablo III YouTube page or his video and discussion thread here on DiabloFans.

    Before the description begins, it should also be noted that PvP will not yield any rewards in the form of gear. Although there does appear to be plans for some kind of ranking system, PvP will only yield bragging rights and cosmetic rewards, nothing more. As such, even if you plan on battling in the Arena more than fighting demons, you will still have to gear your character through PvE in order to be as competitive as possible.

    The Arena is the designated PvP area in Diablo III. As a result, it will no longer be possible to engage in PvP combat in the open world of Sanctuary, and instead you will have to queue for and enter an Arena in order to battle other characters. However, this separation of PvP and PvE also means that the Diablo III team can tune certain skills to be more balanced in PvP instead of implementing some form of "PvP stat" similar to World of Warcraft's Resilience. For example, if a skill stuns monsters for six seconds, it will have a lesser effect on a player character in order to avoid a crowd control intensive PvP expirience. However, as Bashiok has explained, that does not mean that all skills will function differently in PvP and PvE. Whenever possible, skills will remain the same in both the Arena and Sanctuary, and similar effects with crowd control will be applied to champion, unique, and boss monsters.

    In order to keep the pace of combat in the Arena fast, many skills counter any crowd control effects. For example, if a Barbarian is caught in a Wizard's Slow Time, Whirlwind can be utilized to gain immunity to the slowing effect. As such, the Arena seems to be shaping up to be an interesting balance between counters and crowd control, not to mention a whole lot of damage. If you know that your opponent has used all his counters, that means its a perfect time to slow him down, but if you time it wrong, you might end up just wasting your skill. Considering the incredibly fast pace of the Arena (most matches at BlizzCon 2010 lasted only 30 to 45 seconds), those kinds of mistakes could very well hand a victory to the other team.

    DiabloWiki.com - Health Globes Health Globes also play an important role in the Arena. As you can see in the screenshot above, there are four markings where Health Globes appear on a set timer. As a result, learning how often Health Globes appear, which could very well be different in each arena, and acting quickly when they show up will probably be extremely important for anyone who takes PvP seriously. Not only will knowing the timer allow you to get close to the Health Globes' spawn points at the right time, but it will also be important to use any crowd control skills to stop the enemy players from grabbing the globe. Considering the previously mentioned balance between crowd control and counters, things could get even more intense as players learn to force usage of enemy counters so that they are able to slow or stun the enemy just as a Health Globe spawns. If you can learn to play around the Health Globe timer, chances are you will gain a huge tactical advantage over any less practiced teams.

    Blizzard has also hinted at the possibility of one-on-one duels and mutually chosen team battles, where two teams choose to fight against each other, and there is a potential for other PvP modes after the game's release, but right now we only know about the Battle Arena. So now that you know all about Diablo III's Battle Arenas, how often do you think you'll engage in PvP combat? Vote in the poll above and feel free to discuss your opinion in the topic below.

    Last week's poll was yet another lopsided one, as most people (67%) agreed that the gem leveling process needed to be cut down, but that it should still be a long term goal. However, after this huge gap, there was a close race between people who thought it should be considerably less of a process (12%), and those who thought it should have stayed as it was before the recently announced change (11%). If you would still like to vote in that poll, or just want to talk about gems, feel free to discuss it some more through the above link.
    Posted in: This Week's Poll: Will You PvP?
  • published the article The Gem Leveling Process in Diablo III
    DiabloWiki.com - Gems Gems are returning in DiabloWiki.com - Diablo III Diablo III as the game's only socketable item. Gems come in a variety of six types and fourteen levels, and when they were announced, we were informed that only the first five levels would actually drop in the game, and the rest would have to be gained through combinations preformed by the DiabloWiki.com - Jeweler Jeweler artisan. This old system would make it so that you would need to gather over 19,000 level five gems in order to gain one level fourteen, or Radiant Star, gem. This incredibly large number was the subject of many debates, and Blizzard's response to the matter is that gaining a Radiant Star gem is supposed to be a long term achievement. Despite this, many people still had concerns, and for good reason. After all, if gaining only one Radiant Star gem is a long term achievement, won't filling out your gear with them be an insanely long task?

    However, Bashiok has recently told us that there are plans to have gems drop past level five, which could drastically decrease the number of dropped gems required. Even though this bit of information makes it clear that it will be considerably less of a process, as simply allowing level six gems to drop would decrease the number to around 6,500 level six gems required for a Radiant Star, and you would only need 2,000 level seven gems to create a gem of the highest level. Unfortunately, as with so many things, we must wait for more information until we know exactly what Blizzard's plans are for collecting gems, but fortunately we get to discuss how long-term getting a Radiant Star should be. So all that being said, are you glad they are making it easier to get higher level gems? If so, how much less of a process do you think it should be? Feel free to discuss your opinion in the topic above after voting in this week's poll.

    Last week's poll was a resounding victory for the grinders as the vast majority of you voted that you would level all of your artisans to the maximum level. Hopefully leveling up artisans will be as interesting a goal as the last poll makes it seem. If you still want to engage in that discussion, or just want to vote in the previous poll, click the link above.
    Posted in: The Gem Leveling Process in Diablo III