Blizzard

September 21, 2013

Diablo III Planned Auction House Closure

D3 Auction House Image

Earlier this week Blizzard announced the news that it would be closing the Diablo III Auction House after strong pressure from the community had made it clear that the auction house was in fact undermining the core gameplay. Many players felt that the ability to log in and buy upgraded items both in the gold and real money auction houses had killed the essence of the game, leaving you unable to upgrade your character without using the AH facility, after all what was the point in grinding away and working at a profession when it didn’t actually pay off, you could make more gold selling items, and you could get better upgrades in the AH. Also, when you do reach a challenging level, all you had to do is buy some more gear in the AH and then blitz through it, but that misses an essential part of the game, learning how to exploit your abilities and working out the tactics required for success. Not to mention the feeling you get when you get that drop from a mob. To be honest, the AH has made it less enjoyable for me to play Diablo III and so I’m personally looking forward to the shutdown date of March 18, 2014.

There are of course players whose gameplay is based on the AH integration and feel that Blizzard are taking away a part of the game that means that their style of play will be affected and feel that this will reduce the number of players once the AH is removed since that is what some players signed up for when they bought the game. Although I don’t agree with this sentiment, I do understand it, and understand that the removal of the AH will have an effect on trading perhaps leading to an increase in scamming. But I hope that the majority of gamers will play the game for the features that make it the great game that I know it to be and will get the most out of the experience by fighting for every level and gear upgrade. Also, the planned roll out the new Loot 2.0 system, being developed concurrently with Reaper of Souls, should mean that drops will be that much better and go some way to offset the loss of the AH.

Blizzard is currently working out the details of how the auction house system will be shut down and have said that they will keep us informed as they work through the process, the video clip below provides more information from Blizzard on the reasoning behind their decision. Blizzard have also stated that “We do not have plans to implement an offline mode. While the always-online requirement made the auction house possible, the auction house was never the driving factor in our decision to make the PC version of Diablo III require an Internet connection. The game was built from the ground up to take full advantage of Battle.net, which provides a number of important benefits, including persistent server-side character saves, a seamless PC multiplayer experience, cheat prevention, and Real ID and BattleTag social features.” RPS.

June 7, 2013

MMO Update: Levelling up and getting set for ESO beta

TK MMORPG Update PictureMay has been an extremely busy month, but there is always time of course for some warcraft and I’ve been smiting my way to 90 with my priest, not far to go now 88 and counting. Also in a bold move, our 5-man dungeon team have decided to strike out on our own and set-up a brand new guild! Never ones to be afraid of a bit of hard work we realise we’ve got quite a way to go to make level 25 but we’re going to have fun trying, it gives us a chance to do the things we always wanted: to make a guild that is fun and social attracting like-minded people, using our professions to help our fellow guildmates and stocking our guild bank and especially knowing who to go to by actually having a guild website as well as plenty of officers who are online regularly. We acknowledge that we’re not epic, we’re all about the learning experience, and encourage others to come learn with us and not feel that they’ll be letting anyone down… we do that for ourselves mosts instances! So, it’s time for us to run some of those classic dungeons, grab a tabard and grind that rep, I see good times ahead. So it’s great news that Blizzard have released their in-game events page to the World of Warcraft Game Guide, the page lists all the different types of regular contests and celebrations in one place.

Also on my radar is the new Elder Scrolls Online developed by ZeniMax Online Studios which is currently scheduled for a 2013 release, but you can now sign-up for beta access here: http://elderscrollsonline.com/en/. If you loved Skyrim and you love MMO’s then this is one not to be missed. Set 1000 years before the events of Skyrim, Tamriel is in the midst of a struggle for the emperorís seat. The world has broken off into three alliances, each alliance contains in itself a triumvirate of races. There is the Daggerfall Covenant in the west (Breton, Redguard and Orc), the Ebonheart Pact of the north and eest (Nord, Argonian and Dark Elf), and the Aldmeri Dominion of the south and south-west (High Elf, Wood Elf and Khajit).

You’ll see that it shares it’s fighting style in part with World of Warcraft in that there is an action bar with six abilities and the associated cooldown timers but this is combined with swordplay which means you’ll be doing a lot of left and right clicking for certain abilities. But unlike Warcraft you weapons will also gain XP, level up and be granted skills. In lots of ways I compare the Elder Scrolls Online to the best parts of my favourite MMOs, World of Warcraft and Guild Wars 2, as with GW2 Zenimax are emphasising that sense of exploration which is something that I know will be a big bonus to a lot of players.

Confirmed features to pique your interest:

  • Player vs Player (available after Level 10)
  • Available in three different languages: English, French, and German.
  • Time-travel will be featured in the game.
  • Mundus Stones will be used to give characters special abilities.
  • Fast Traveling will be available through unlocked Wayshrines.
  • Mounts will be included.
  • Classes will be used, including Dragonknight, Templar, Sorcerer, Warden, and Nightblade. Classes will only define the special abilities of the characters, not the weapon choices.
  • Synergy abilities are those that naturally blend players’ abilities together to bring down tougher enemies.
  • Players will be rewarded for successfully attacking, blocking and dodging through the “Finesse” system. Once significant finesse points are earned, players are able to use a designated Finesse attack, called Ultimate Abilities, which level up the more it is used.
  • Ultimate Abilities are Class-based, meaning that each class will have different Ultimate Abilities.
  • Crafting elements can be done in cities as well as in the wilderness.
  • Players will be able to own a pet, which they can use in combat.
  • Daedric Artifacts will exist in the game, and will be tied to the Fighters Guild storyline.
  • Only 5 Abilities will be available at once, however these can be changed.
  • Abilities can be leveled up to become more powerful the more they are used.
  • 6 Skills can be used at any one time: The first two are weapons skills. The next three are class skills. The final skill is the Ultimate Ability.
  • PVP: In Cyrodiil, combat will revolve around the capturing of Keeps and its surrounding buildings. It is designed for 10-15 players to take a keep, 10 for an Outpost, and 4-6 for a support structure such as a farm or Lumber Mill.
  • Fast Travel in Cyrodiil will be different from the rest of the game. Instead of the Wayshrines, players will travel to the Keeps that they control (Other than those currently under attack).
  • Siege Weapons will not only be in the game, but will be craftable and customisable.
  • Alliance Points: An Alternative advancement system, with 23 ranks at launch. A “lifetime alliance point tally”, each rank will give a new title and alliance icon. (Similar to faction ranks in Morrowind and Oblivion).
  • Guilds will exist in the game.
  • Guilds will be specific to a Faction’s campaign.
  • Public Dungeons will be instanced. That is to say, once you reach Level 50, new areas of the dungeon will open up, and you will be able to see the results of your actions previously in that dungeon. These are known as Adventure Zones.
  • Morality and Criminality will be added to the game after launch.
  • Emotes will be available, as will flags for the Megaserver to group players in.
  • Dragon Shrines will be in the game.
  • A list of wieldable abilities so far includes: Two-Handed, One-Hand and Shield, Dual Wield, Bow, Fire Staff, Ice Staff, Lightning Staff, Heal Staff, or One-Hand and Rune.
  • There are a total of eight ranks for increased character weapon proficiency.
  • Daedric Ruins are confirmed to be appearing in the game.
  • Crouching (Sneaking) will use Stamina, as will sprinting and blocking.

May 15, 2013

Diablo III – The First Birthday Continues

Diablo III Wallpaper

www.diablo3.com

Yesterday we looked forward to D3’s first birthday today and more was posted today regarding free stuff as well as game discounts and special anniversary streams. Here are some of the things that you can look forward to this week!

Free Buffs

Players who log in between May 15 and May 21 2013 will receive a 25% boost to their Magic Find and EXP stats. The buff is only available while logged in to the game, but it will apply to all characters as well as stack with other similar bonuses – the EXP bonus will stack multiplicatively and the Magic Find bonus will stack above the 300% cap.

Save 20% on Diablo III

Until May 21 2013, you can save $20/€20(or £12) when you get Diablo III for the PC/Mac in the Blizzard Online store. That means that this week you can get the game for only $39.99/€39.99 instead of the usual $59.99/€59.99.

Download Four New Wallpapers

Choose any of the four new wallpapers specially created for Diablo III’s first birthday, they come in a variety of resolutions and can be downloaded from the Diablo III website. Visit @gamersblogbytes on Twitter to see which wallpaper I’m currently sporting!

Competitions, Free Gifts and More

Join the Diablo III community party! Fansites from around the world are organizing various events to celebrate the Lord of Terror’s birthday. There will also be a variety of streams that you can tune into via the Diablo website where you can win some awesome prizes.

For more information about these events please visit the Diablo III website at: www.diablo3.com.

May 14, 2013

Diablo III celebrates it’s first birthday

“Only by defeating us can you return to your own realm, but none have ever crawled from the depths of their own terror! How tastes your fear, Nephalem?” The Realm of Terror

The Gamers Blog celebrates Diablo III’s first birthday alongside Blizzard and the rest of the Diablo III community.

diablo III logo

Diablo III celebrates it’s first birthday on May 15th 2013, after setting a new record for fastest-selling PC game by selling over 3.5 million copies in the first day of its release, it was also the top selling PC game of 2012, selling over 12 million copies. Now with a new patch released, Patch 1.0.8, and the upcoming welcome to the console market when Diablo III hits Playstation 3 and 4, things are definitely hotting up with this game. Of course there has always been a fair amount of backlash against the games flaws, but in my opinion this game has been worth every penny and it’s always great fun to play.

d3 birthday greeting white backgroundSo, in the spirit of the occasion Blizzard are getting the Diablo III community to celebrate with them by sending a birthday greeting, all you have to do to get involved is print out one of the birthday images here (or create a greeting of your own), take a photo of you and/or your friends, and then tweet the picture to @Diablo using the hashtag #D3BDAY – alternatively you can email it to BlizzardContest@Blizzard.com. You could find your entry being retweeted or shown off on the Diablo facebook page or on the battle.net site.

I sense there is definitely more to come from Blizzard for Diablo III’s first birthday, keep one eye on diablo3.com for more information.

May 1, 2013

Diablo III for PS3 now available for pre-order

“We’ve poured blood, sweat, and hellfire into creating an epic Diablo III experience for PlayStation gamers” Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment

Select retailers worldwide have now begun taking pre-orders for the upcoming PlayStation 3 system version of Diablo III — see the official website for a list of participating retailers.

Diablo III was originally released for PC and Mac on 15th May 2012 and within 24 hours became the fastest-selling PC game of all time. Now console gamers can pre-order the PS3 version which has been tailored especially for the console, with updates to the game’s thrilling boss battles, an all-new user interface featuring an intuitive control system, and a dynamic camera perspective that will make vanquishing evil feel like second nature on the PlayStation. Players can take on the vile denizens of the Burning Hells alone or in a party of up to four via same-screen local cooperative play, online play over the PlayStation Network, or any combination of online or local players.

Players who pre-order the PS3 version of Diablo III will receive an exclusive in-game item: the Infernal Helm, which grants an experience point boost to any character who wears it, accelerating their progression as they rise in power. Certain retailers will also offer limited-edition pre-order bonuses.

Diablo III continues the epic Diablo storyline, with players taking on the role of one of five heroic characters: barbarian, witch doctor, wizard, monk, or demon hunter, embarking on a perilous quest to save the world of Sanctuary from the corrupting forces of the Burning Hells.

The game will go on sale later this year for a suggested retail price of $59.99/£39.99, more information about the release will be announced closer to the time.

April 5, 2013

BlizzCon 2013 Ticket Dates Announced

blizzcon image

“We love having the opportunity to hang out with our players at BlizzCon, and it’s always awesome to see the greatest gaming community on earth swarm Anaheim. We look forward to delivering two full days of gaming, activities, and other entertainment, and we can’t wait to show some of the exciting projects we’ve been working on.” Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment.

Are you planning on attending this year’s BlizzCon? If the answer is yes then you need to know that BlizzCon 2013 tickets will be going on sale in two batches this year:

First Batch: Wednesday 24th April at 7pm PT
Second Batch: Saturday 27th April at 10am PT

Tickets will be priced at $175.00 and are available from www.blizzcon.com. In addition there will also be a small number of tickets to the pre-BlizzCon dinner in aid of the Children’s Hospital of Orange County, which not only allows you to rub shoulders with the Blizzard Staff but also gives you full access to the main two-day event – these tickets will be on sale from Wednesday 1st May at 7pm PT, also available from www.blizzcon.com. The event will be held this year at the Anaheim Convention Center on the 8th and 9th of November.

If like me you’re not fortunate enough to be able to attend in person, Blizzard haven’t forgotten you, there is also going to be the option to purchase a BlizzCon Virtual Ticket which will give you full live coverage of the event. Details of this virtual ticket have not yet been announced, but we’ll be posting more information as it becomes available.

For more information visit: www.blizzcon.com.

March 25, 2013

MMORPG Update: PAX East 2013 Round-up

TK MMORPG Update PictureLast weekend saw the spectacle that is PAX East 2013 in Boston. If you were lucky enough to go we hope you had a fantastic time, if like me you watched from afar, perhaps not as far as the UK though, I thought I’d do a quick update on the MMO side of things at this years event. Blizzard Entertainment promised us something new would be announced and they didn’t disappoint, there was plenty of speculation before hand about them perhaps revealing more information about Titan or some new content relating to Diablo III, but instead they gave us Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft which is billed to be a new digital card game where players build card decks based around one of nine WoW character classes. With all the excitement it definitely warranted a bigger piece on the blog and you can find the full story about Hearthstone here: http://www.thegamersblog.com/hearthstone-heroes-of-warcraft/. If you were at PAX East you would have been able to try out the game now and reports coming back are positive from gamers – although they don’t see anything particularly groundbreaking it’s perfect for your ‘off-wow time’. For the rest of us the beta should be coming soon – there is currently no set date at present.

PAX East Logo

On the MMO expansions side a few interesting ones were announced: CCP Games announced EVE Online’s next expansion, Odyssey, due for release on June 4th 2013; and Cryptic announced the first expansion for Star Trek Online, Legacy of Romulus, due for release on May 21st, this gives players the ability to play as a Romulan and captain a Warbird-class vessel. On the flip side ArenaNet confirmed that we won’t be getting an expansion for Guild Wars 2 anytime soon, the game’s developers are focusing instead on more immediate content releases to make the game as good as it can be.

We recently also had a piece on the blog about Runescape and Jagex announced Runescape 3 at PAX East 2013 which improves on the last 12 years of the original game’s development. You can check out why you might want to play Runescape in our MMORPG Update piece titled ‘Discovering Runescape’: http://www.thegamersblog.com/mmorpg-update-discovering-runescape/. The release takes advantage of a new game engine and will run faster and look better, although you will still be able to use the old Java client if you want.

Newcomer to my world of MMOs was F2P MMO City of Steam from Mechanist Games, described as an “industrial age fantasy in a fallen world” the game mixes fantasy with industrialism. Good reports are coming out from the PAX East weekend about this game and it will be going into beta sometime soon, the developers tell us that they are hoping to launch sometime in the next few months.

Blizzard were also showcasing their Diablo III’s console edition and hinted that it might not stop at just the PlayStation 3 and 4. Check out the trailer shown to gamers at the Blizzard booth here:

There was of course tons more information available over the weekend and if you are interested in what else happened or other PAX events a good starting point is the website here at: http://east.paxsite.com/.

March 22, 2013

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

hearthstone wallpaper

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft wallpaper available at: http://eu.battle.net/hearthstone/en/media/#wallpaper

Blizzard Entertainment has announced the the upcoming release of a new free-to-play strategy card game for PC, Mac and iPad which will be called Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft. There will be a hands-on demo at PAX East this weekend, but beta testing is coming soon. To make sure you are ready for the beta just make sure that you sign up for this in your beta profile settings on battle.net.

In the game, players build card decks baed around one of nine WoW character classes (we don’t know what the nine will be as yet out of the available classes here: warrior, paladin, hunter, rogue, priest, death knight, shaman, mage, warlock, monk or druid) and play each other for the chance to win new cards… oh, and for the win, we can’t forget about that! The game is designed so that all players, even if they have never played WoW before, will be able to pick it up and start playing straight away. You will be able to play against the computer in practice matches, pitting your wits against some of the great strategists of Azeroth, and take on your friends via your battle.net friends list. You will also be able to play in two competitive game modes:

Play Mode
A typical head-to-head with a chance to increase your ranking and earn new cards.

The Forge
Players start with a new deck of cards and use that to play other Forge challengers. Players will not only be able to win new cards but add to their collections by buying new card packs or disenchanting existing cards to craft ones that they might be missing.

There will be hundreds of different cards to choose from featuring all your favourite characters from WoW, their spells and weapons, but it will be up to you to build your deck and create winning strategies.

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