Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Keeping Diablo III Alive with Seasons

While keeping Diablo III fresh with new content and maybe an additional add-on or two has turned out to be a path Blizzard did not deem worthy of following, it is still keeping the game alive through a system called Seasons. Seasons represent new beginnings for players. Season 7 has kicked off on August 5 and it is currently in full swing.

What is it though that makes Seasons so attractive for veteran players? To begin with, Seasonal characters are completely distinct from what someone has developed in the game. They are a clean slate, without weapons stashes, gems, gold or legendary items, but they are wonderfully suited to acquiring brand new unique items. The objectives and the rewards within a season are unique and new as well.

With Season 7, the challenges have been upped through a patch (2.4.2) which seriously tweaked the stakes for veterans.  The patch delivered three new levels of Torment difficulty (a feature that was indeed sorely needed) and that makes the earning of progressively better loot possible. New items have also been introduced for all levels of difficulty and the rewards have been increased for Adventure Mode. Other, more subtle tweaks landed too through patch 2.4.2, like the possibility to hide the UI when taking screenshots.

Many of the areas of the Season 7 reward system have been tweaked as well. Haedrig's gift is unlocked differently now: instead of completing specific goals, players can now simply complete game chapters to get their hands on this bundle of goodies. Completing Act IV of the Season will unlock the cosmetic and the new portrait.
The cosmetic pet that players can earn this season is a hell unicorn type of creature. Only one set of rewards can be claimed per account. 

Philip Thalberg has been working with esports one way or another, since 2004. 

Monday, 22 August 2016

My proof Diablo 4 is being announced at BlizzCon

I have 7 pieces of proof for you.

1) Reaper of Souls was released in 2014. It's been 2 years. Diablo 3 itself was released in 2012. Both were two year intervals, so let's add up this nonsense information and we get 4. Clearly there will be another major Diablo release this year.

2) So, in 2004, I started playing World of Warcraft, which as we know, is becoming more and more like Diablo as of late. 2016 - 2004 = 12 / 3 diablo games = 4. More Diablo. Diablo 4. It fits, like when I try to take my wizard without any gear into Torment 13 and run behind everyone trying to get the fast XP but die like a filthy casual.

3) But wait, there's more! Diablo 1 was released in 1996. 2016 - 1996 = 20. There will be 6 expansions released for WoW by the end of this month. 20 / 6 = 3.333~. If you take a random number, say, 0.7, 20 / 6 + 0.7 = 4. This is probably the best proof because random numbers along with fabulous information are always correct but there is more if you aren't convinced yet. (I couldn't make this work, as I pulled this proof out of my ass, so I had to chose a very specific random number, hence 0.7.)

4) Blizzard has 4 major triple-A games out right now: Diablo 3, Starcraft II, Overwatch and WoW. I really don't know where I'm going with this but it's another 4 so fuck you, Diablo 4. There's three more.

5) In 11 days from now, BlizzCon will be in 64 days. Remember the 16 from earlier? That's right, I'm going to divide. Also, your processor has precisely 64 bits. 64 is a magic number. 64 / 16 = 4. Diablo 4. Just two more. I'm getting good at this.

6) There is no 6. That's the number of the beast. You would know this if you played Diablo instead of trolling the forums.

7) I've picked up 4 legendary staves on my wizard that have fucking strength instead of int. We won't speak of this ever again.

8) Bonus. 8 / 2 = 4. Why? Fuck you, that's why.

And finally, let's link it all together. If you take all the proof I have above, 6, and divide it by the real number of proofs I have minus 2 because Diablo 2 was our favorite, 6, you get 1. Then, take the latest Diablo 2 patch number, 1.14, multiply it by 100 (mostly because I don't like decimals), 114, add those two together, 115, subtract a random number like 3, 112, then divide by all the crack people are smoking in hopes to actually have a new major Diablo announcement since RoS was released, a number which is precisely 28, you get 4.

DIABLO 4 GUYS! (Also, Half-Life 3 will be announced at BlizzCon and then delayed another 10 years.)

(Or maybe people should stop putting words in Blizzard's mouth and calm down about BlizzCon.)


Oh shit, my first gold. Thank you!

[Edit 2]

9) If you take Starcraft 2 - Overwatch 1 and multiply it by four oh holy SHIT IT'S ANOTHER FOUR!!!!!!111!1!1!11!4!!1!

Thursday, 18 August 2016

I don't want Diablo 4, I want a Diablo 3 expansion. The game is really fun now, please capitalize on that!

I'm sure Diablo 4 will be fantastic, but I'm really digging Diablo 3.

I'm guessing my positive view of the game is because I play it a lot more casually than others. I started a few months after RoS came out, and I'm still under paragon 600. I will play for a month or two, maybe eight hours a week. I'd finish a build, play around with it doing grifts, maybe do a new seasonal character, etc. Then I'll just stop playing for a few months and move on.

Then when I come back the game seems pretty fresh and fun, I will play the latest season, try out a different class or build, etc. Right now I am in the midst of my return to D3 and just finished getting the newer items for my main characters. Now I'm playing a seasonal Witch Doctor and trying out the Jade Harvester build.

So I guess if I kept playing longer than I usually do, I'd probably start to dislike it and see how everything really is. People keep asking me if I am some anti-meta person because I like to use various skills and items that I find enjoyable. I'd probably suck if I actually tried pushing into the higher GR's that everyone else is on, and realize that all my characters builds are bad.

Anyways, just thought I'd give some insight on my point of view

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Need a Fantasy Fix? Try These Slot Machines!

Players had to wait over a decade for Diablo III, which was followed by an expansion two years later. But now work on the third installment of the game has stopped, and Blizzard has barely even started to look for a game director for the fourth episode of the epic saga. Which means that it could once again be years until the new game is released. If we are lucky, we might see it before the end of the decade. This is a very long wait, even in the Diablo universe. So, let's see what other games - more casual in nature - can help us through the years to come.

Dragon's Myth

Here be dragons! This game, available for free play at the All Slots Casino, has everything a fantasy fan might need for a quick fix: a fantastic scenery, a fearless heroine, and dragons - lots of dragons! The game was built by Rabcat, a game designer known for its contributions to titles like Silent Hill: Origin, Cursed Mountain. Which means that its visuals are as amazing as they can be. Try slot machines here. The game takes players on a quest to capture four dragons among the mystic mountains, and fight the Legendary Dragon itself. To this end, they need to land a Dragon symbol in the bottom right corner of the screen. When all four of them are caught, players proceed to the mountaintop to fight the beast - and win massive bonuses. A simple quest where you have to be lucky to proceed - but the game's visuals will make up for its shortcomings. Dragon's Myth is one of the funnier games at the All Slots Casino. It is a Flash game, built to run on virtually any desktop computer despite its high-quality visuals.

Hot as Hades

This game takes players into a different world, inspired by the myths of the Greeks. The protagonist of the game is Hades, the fearsome ruler of the underworld - who is a surprisingly entertaining guy. Hades sends All Slots Casino players on a quest to recover the Crystal Helm. Players need to pass through the seas, outwitting Poseidon in the process, defeat Medusa, and reach Zeus' chamber where they can play for the Helm itself. All this in the funniest way possible. The All Slots Casino is a trusted gaming destination with a respectable age. Founded over 10 years ago, it offers its players not only the most secure environment to play in, but also an amazing variety of games, both on desktop and mobile devices. Its games can be tried for free, or played for real on any platform.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Diablo III's Problems: Shallowness and Bad Writing

Diablo III and its expansion, Reaper of Souls, were without a doubt massive hits, both of them living up to their Blizzard pedigree. Despite that though, the game seems to have fallen out of favor with its creators - who are currently focused on other projects - and with its player-base too lately. While the former of those two problems is part of a sort of natural progression within the life-span of an IP, the latter is much more alarming, given how it calls the IP's very viability into question. Obviously, the lack of player interest has been driven by the lack of significant content-additions lately, but there are deeper-reaching problems at work here too, problems which some players had pointed out way back when the game was first released. These problems are mostly anchored in the shallowness of the story most people playing the game simply ignore. The mechanics are enjoyable but at the end of the day quite repetitive as well...the game still gets some hooked on its peculiar brand of bubble-wrap popping charm, and that's pretty much all it has  left going these days.

Beyond the silly fantasy names and the excruciatingly cliche story-line of some sort of demons being fought by angels over control of an imaginary realm, the actual story behind the game has no personality and no presence whatsoever. Marred by hilariously bad writing here and there, Diablo III's story is more of a nuisance than an asset for most players, leading some of the bloggers still roaming the Diablo III realm to proclaim that the game works best when one simply doesn't think about it.

The visuals are great obviously, as are the physics-based elements of combat, but there have been complaints in this respect as well, claiming that the game simply lacked the dark atmosphere of its predecessor and that it was way too cartoony to properly suck an old fan in.

At the end of the day, the game is a hack and slash and it stays true to those roots. When comparing it to Diablo II, one also can't ignore the possibility that those who had played that game too are now grown up and on to just how simplistic and mindless the Diablo brand of fun has always been.

Philip Thalberg has been involved in eSports coverage since 2004, as a member of GosuTeam.

Monday, 1 August 2016

Without a new Diablo game Blizzcon 2016 will be lackluster.

So I was thinking of getting the Blizzcon Virtual Ticket and mentally going through Blizzard's games to guess what there might be news on. As I went through the list I came to the conclusion that without a new Diablo game there won't be much at Blizzcon worthwhile.

WoW: Legion comes out next month. Won't be much to talk about in November beyond maybe the next raid tier.

Hearthstone: New adventure likely to be announced Friday in China. It's likely that the adventure will have come out recently by November so not much to talk about here either.

HotS: Sure they'll talk about a couple new heroes but nothing big here either.

Starcraft: Legacy of the Void will have been out for only a year so it's a bit too early for any big announcements in the Starcraft universe.

Overwatch: The game will have only been out for about 6 months so outside of a new character or something there won't be much big here either.

So that just leaves us with Diablo unless they have something completely out of the ordinary like a new IP or something planned.


Sunday, 31 July 2016

Patch 2.4.2 Brings Increased Difficulty, Better Loot

For some people, grinding away in Diablo III is an aggravating activity leading up to the onset of boredom fast - hence all the complaints about the lack of new content lately and about how the game has been reduced to a senseless grind for many. Then, there are those for whom Torment X is a piece of cake. Such players have already reached "end game" so to speak, so things have become rather stale for them too lately. While the former, above mentioned category won't gain much in the way of revived interest through patch 2.4.2 of the game, for the latter category, hours upon hours of more top-level grinding are in the books thanks to it. Patch 2.4.2 accomplishes a lot: it delivers the usual medley of tweaks and improvements, but its  main appeal is the fact that it adds Torment XI through XIII, reigniting the fire in the hearts of hardcore Diablo III grinders. The increase in difficulty comes hand-in-hand with much better loot, including legendary powers and exciting new items.

The Adventure Mode rewards have also been upped with the new patch, and the Nephalem Rifts are the targets of most of these improvements. Upon the completion of any Rift, players are now guaranteed a Greater Rift Key and they may even get a second or a third such key as the difficulty is ramped up. The drop rate for Infernal Machines has been tinkered with as well, in the sense that in Torment IV, the drop chance is now 100%. As with the Greater Rift Keys, players can get a second Infernal Machine as the difficulty goes up.

The bottom line: patch 2.4.2 delivers for diehard Diablo III players, giving them a little bit more to do as they await the official announcement regarding another expansion or Diablo IV even.

Philip Thalberg covers the International 6 for the world's top eSports spot, GosuGamers.

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Archbishop Lazarus cheats

I was feeling nostalgic so I decided to do a play-through of D1 for the first time in years. Got to the end of the game, opened the red portal to face Lazarus and stepped through... only for the game to freeze. Thinking maybe the cd had somehow misaligned, I opened the drive to check and discovered this treachery:

The disc was my original copy from the 90s that I've had since it released and it has seen more hours of play than I'd like to admit... rest in pieces, old friend.

You've won this time, Diablo.......

edit: on a whim I contacted Blizzard CS to let them know what happened and on the off chance they had a replacement policy for a game old enough to vote. here's the response I got:

Pretty much the reply I expected, but I can't fault their fast turn-around on tickets or friendly CS. :)

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Major Diablo III Announcement to be Made at Gamescom?

The question on every player's mind who has for some reason still stuck it out with Diablo III these days is: will Gamescom revive Blizzard's dungeon-crawler? Why would Gamescom do that? Because it looks like Blizzard have a major Diablo announcement up their sleeves and they're looking to deliver it in style at Gamescom. To that end, they have apparently secured the presence of streamer Quin, whom they officially invited at first, and then, after he said he wouldn't go, offered him a deal he couldn't refuse. So it looks like Quin will be at Gamescom after all, all expenses paid and probably with an appearance fee in his pocket, helping pull the veil back on something big.

Indeed, Gamescom has traditionally been the scene of some major Blizzard announcements: last year, they announced WOW's Legion expansion there and that's where Reaper of Souls was first unveiled too. While lately there has been little going on around the title, certain facts are indeed lining up to potentially lead to a major announcement regarding either the beginning of work on Diablo 4, or a new expansion for Diablo III. Besides the above detailed invitation to streamer Quin, Diablo III's Josh Mosquierra recently left the company and a job announcement was placed for the position of Director of an unannounced project.

While Diablo III has indeed received what many would argue was its fair share of updates and expansions, things have been growing increasingly stale around the title lately. The recent patches brought little content-wise and seasons game-play has grown increasingly dull. Players just don't really have reasons to stick around these days, and with Blizzard focusing on its more revenue-earning titles, things seem settled in a rut. This is what might change come Gamescom in August and the shakeup may indeed be one of massive proportions...

Philip Thalberg has been involved with the eSports news section of GosuGamers since 2004.

Monday, 18 July 2016

Comparison of meta by the end of PTR and end of season.

Season 1
  • PTR: Tiklandian WD, Serenity monk, cold DH, fire DH
  • Final: Tiklandian WD, pull crusader, 2x lightning DH
Season 2
  • PTR: Tiklandian WD, pull crusader, 2x lightning DH
  • Final: Tiklandian WD, pull crusader, EP monk, fire/mark DH
Season 3
  • PTR: Tiklandian WD, pull crusader, 2x lightning DH
  • Final: Tiklandian WD, perma-stun crusader, 2x Hydra wizard (1x DH + 1x wizard was more common but double wizard was best)
Season 4
  • PTR: Pull barb, heal monk, HotA barb, gen/U6 monk
  • Final: Pull barb, heal monk, support crusader, SC monk
Season 5
  • PTR: Pull barb, LoN crusader, WD/DH, Twister DMO wizard
  • Final: Pull/globes barb, globes monk, support WD, STICKY Twister DMO wizard
Season 6
  • PTR: Pull barb, support monk, support WD, Twister Tal Rasha wizard
  • Final: Pull barb, support monk, support WD, Twister+Archon Tal+Vyr wizard

(All of this is just from memory, so there might be small mistakes, please point out if you find any)

The correct DPS class combination was predicted two times: S1 and S6. NEVER was the correct top DPS spec publicly known by the end of PTR!

The correct support class combination was predicted three times: S2, S3, and S6. Note that those were the seasons in which the support classes stayed the same as in the previous one; NEVER was a change in support classes completely predicted by PTR leaderboards.

I hope this sheds some light on how utterly useless it is to look at PTR leaderboards. Also, there has literally been zero testing on high level GRs on PTR; all the top players who have the knowledge and ability to pull off even semi-accurate meta predictions that could top PTR leaderboards are pushing on live. So please stop asking "WHAT IS THE S7 META". You might as well ask if we're gonna have snow on Christmas and get more accurate "predictions" now.

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Thank you Blizzard Developers

I've been taking a tiny break from Diablo and playing XCOM2 and It allowed me to step out of the Diablo communities and world a little bit and get some much needed perspective. Most games are put in a box, or downloaded, and that's the end of the story. Then the game dies. With Diablo, among other games, you buy a product, and that product is worked on and adjusted constantly. The community complains or points something out, they work on it. Community complains again, they work on it. They have done so much work for us. They are so committed to Diablo and all they get is shit. From me included.

So, with some additional perspective, thank you Blizzard and the developers for constantly working on this game. Yeah, there is always something else I'd love you to work on. But you're getting there, and its amazing that you continue to listen and work on this stuff.

Saturday, 16 July 2016

If Blizzard did a HD remake of Diablo 2: LOD what would you realistically want in an updated version?

Assuming it was possible to HD remake of the game what would you want to see updated and if any new features added to the game?

At the top of my head
  • Shared stash across your account
  • Bigger Stash
  • Auto pick up on gold
  • Improve Str, Dex, Energy
  • Customizable Loot table
  • Buff weaker skills across all classes to make other builds viable
  • Remove Stamina
  • More monster affixes

Friday, 8 July 2016

Diablo 2 Commercial

I remember finding this accidentally while looking through the Diablo 2 install files waaayyy back in the day. Love this commercial.

This was always funny, and was hidden inside the Diablo 2 CD. For those who don't know what a CD is, it's a compact disc and looks similar to a DVD.

Friday, 1 July 2016

With the stream of new content completely dried up for their favorite game, Diablo III fans are apparently looking for new ways through which they can express their creative urges inspired and generated by the Diablo III universe. One such creative expression is the recreation of the first besieged town of the Diablo III campaign, New Tristram, through the use of Lego bricks. The one who built the "set" is experienced Lego builder Sam Wright, who has used a bunch of tiny plastic bricks and thousands upon thousands of one-piece studs, to bring the starting town hub of the game to life the Lego way.

Wright's creation is based on the Adventure Mode version of New Tristram. The Story Mode version of the town is a little different in that it's indeed a little larger. Wright's town isn't a lifeless sort of 3D blueprint of New Tristram either: it is populated with some of the main characters of the game. Tyrael is present with his flaming sword, as is the ghost of Zoltan Khule. Even the central waypoint of the town has been included in the representation.

Apparently, the beginning of the end of the doomed town is included in the model as well: the first monster encounter, which has the undead hordes rushing the gates and murdering some of the remaining guards of the town. Those interested in feasting their eyes on the model will find some high resolution shots of it on Sam Wright's Flickr.

Philip Thalberg works for the best destination for eSports odds comparison,