Blizzard Pegs SC II: HOTS For 2013, Outs Diablo Expansion

By Nathan Grayson on November 8th, 2012 at 12:00 pm.

Today, Blizzard got on a phone and opened its collective mouth, and as so often tends to happen when these factors combine, words came out. Instead of glorious operatic ovations or beat poetry, however, the words somewhat surprisingly took the form of videogame announcements. And the games in question? Warcraft, StarCraft, and Diablo. Madness, right? What a world we live in! What a world. Ride the break down into the frightful depths of uncertainty for the full blow-by-blow.

First up, StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm. It’s still in beta, of course, and odds are, it’ll stay that way into the early reaches of next year. Blizzard president Mike Morhaime noted that the team’s “working hard” to gear up for launch in the first half of 2013. And thus, Blizzard’s prediction from the beginning of the year remains correct: two releases in 2012.

One of those, of course, was Diablo III. And while it’s been criticized to hell and back, Activision CEO Bobby Kotick announced that the long-awaited threequel has sold 10 million units. Morhaime later confirmed that an expansion’s in development, and – as per usual – its eventual release date will be determined by a commitment to quality and polish above all else. He did not, however, reply to my question (which, oddly enough, no one ever asked) about whether or not Bobby Kotick himself would be the final boss.

Lastly, Morhaime noted that World of Warcraft was hoisted on the shoulders of pandas and carried back across the 10 million subscriber line. Will it last? If I had to guess, I’d say probably not, but Blizzard’s all about faster WoW updates now, so who knows what the future holds?

So then, what does everyone want from a Diablo III expansion? I think I want a pony. A pony with hard-hitting and visceral gameplay.

, , , .

62 Comments »

Sponsored links by Taboola
  1. Shezo says:

    “So then, what does everyone want from a Diablo III expansion?”

    To be less auction simulator and more clicky-click game.
    Fun clicky-click game, not what we have right now.

    • KauhuK says:

      Fun clicky-click in a jungle setting would be nice. While Diablo 3 was a dissappointment It’s not a bad game in my eyes. The auction house was a bad idea though.

      • Keilnoth says:

        The auction house was an idea of Bobby Kotick…

      • skittles says:

        A bad idea that makes money eh. Not sure whether you can really call that a bad idea, an exploitative idea, definitely.

        My friend who played the game barely at all, still managed to make about $100 through the RMAH, and the things he sold weren’t even that good. It constantly surprised me how much people waste money. So I am sure those that were actually interested in the RMAH made a lot, which means Blizzard made A LOT. Bad idea? Given how well it worked out probably a good idea.

      • Sic says:

        It’s a pretty bad game in comparison to the ten year old prequel.

        Which makes it pretty irrelevant in my eyes.

    • derbefrier says:

      more interesting loot, a whole new skill system(I miss distributing stat points and leveling spells), drop rates not influenced by the auction house, leagues with different rulesets(cutthroat leagues, race leagues etc..) , not to focus so much on making the game a grind but actually fun at high level play. The map system both PoE and TL2 uses or something in between, uhhh basically all the things D3s competitors did right minus all the things D3 did wrong and I’d buy it. hey, I can dream cant I?

      • RandomGameR says:

        You lost me at stat points. Honestly I love their skill system but I do wish there was some way to upgrade the runes. Torchlight 2 proved to me once and for all that I hate stat points and a lack of a respec option.

        I do think that removing the stat points/leveling spells system did take one thing out of the game that I wish they could get back by some other means. That being: there is no reason to play a second version of any of the classes. I’d love to want to level a new wizard, but why bother doing that?

        The thing that lost me from Diablo 3 was the loot. It’s just nonsensically generic. I found one legendary in the myriad of hours that I played the game and it sucked.

        So yeah, what I want is more reason to play through the leveling up experience, loot that is worthwhile and interesting at all levels dropped at a reasonably fast rate, a rune upgrade system. That and a pony.

    • shovelface88 says:

      Have you played since 1.0.5? They have taken some good steps toward making it a much better and more enjoyable experience.

      • soundofsatellites says:

        “Have you played since 1.0.5? They have taken ONE BABY step toward making it a much better and more enjoyable experience.”

        I don’t play that much diablo now, but I checked 1.05 this week and the only thing to mildly reduce the grind is monster power levels. You still got to grind your fingers away to compete in inferno. There is a wider range of prices for legendaries in the auction house because the increase of drop rates, but they still can be quite shitty. I got a orange monk fist with 600 dps that not only I could not use but I couldn’t sell for any competitive price. They also removed some useful filters for the auction house, so now you’ve gotta wade trough masses of items again (I really hate using the AH, but I don’t grind a lot and it’s the only way to get the necessary items). There are the key guardians, but I can’t still pass act 2 inferno so I wouldn’t knwo, maps are still largely the same -check torchlight 2 for random maps done right. bla bla bla yada yada yada

        Worst most hyped game of 2012

    • Ny24 says:

      Is it really a simulator if you lose real money?

    • Lord Byte says:

      Yeah while I wasn’t against the AH to begin with (and I’m talking even BEFORE RMT, splitting up the AH was the worst), it took away the drive for better stuff. There’s also, due to the ridiculous increases in monster numbers (and with that I mean stats), not much choice in how to diversify your character on higher difficulties. Because everything now depends on getting higher numbers so you can deal with the higher numbers, trying out something new and different or building up a different combination of items and skills that rewarded a different play-style is all but impossible now. Only the best numbers can continue, and that’s a bad thing.
      In D2 there were certain items that could change your entire playstyle, in D3 it’s just bigger numbers. Dungeon Siege 2 and 3 tried this too, and failed. There’s no magic in your drops, there’s no magic in D3.

      • Premium User Badge

        drewski says:

        DS3 is really all about the clicky clicky and the story, not the loot. Rightly or wrongly.

        • Hmm-Hmm. says:

          Er.. wasn’t it about both? Clicky-clicky.. loot! Clicky-clicky.. cinematic!

    • malkav11 says:

      For them to remove the server requirement so that I can justify actually buying the game.

    • Gnoupi says:

      So, in short, you want it to be Torchlight 2?

    • ScubaMonster says:

      Diablo 3 has many faults, but at the end of the day I do think it’s a pretty enjoyable game even if it deviated a heck of a lot from Diablo 2.

  2. Spengbab says:

    “Blizzard in non-shocker – Even the expansions will take 5 years from announcement to release. More at 2018″.

    I’m kind of pas the whole Blizzard “thing” (whatever it was/is) for now. I waited eagerly for D3, but they clearly lost something in it’s absurd development cycle. I wonder how it will work out for HotS.

    • woodsey says:

      Well, didn’t they lose pretty much the entire original development team?

    • Teovald says:

      I feel very lucky to do not be attracted by Blizzard games. They are masterly polished but not a single risk is taken in any of the gameplay mechanisms.

      • lordfrikk says:

        No risks, like doing away with the whole skill tree that so many people ardently defend? Yeeah… While it lacks in some areas, Diablo III took quite a few new paths in comparison to, let’s say Torchlight II. Mind you, I am not ragging on T2 for that decision, it’s their whole shtick and they do it well.

    • Emeraude says:

      I’m kind of past the whole Blizzard “thing” (whatever it was/is) for now.

      Yes, Between the way they dealt with SC2, D3 and Bnet2.0, there’s very little trust or enthusiasm I have left for the company. Which saddens me.

      • Jenks says:

        I’m in the same boat, but for me it started a little earlier. I was on the hype train from WC2 through WoW, and my confidence was first shaken with WoW:TBC. SC2 was the end for me, and I didn’t even buy D3.

        • vasek45 says:

          oh why? I haven’t played vanilla, but TBC always seemed awesome to me. WoTLK brought the perfect (imho) balance between casual vs. hardcore, leaving room for everybody, then dungeon finder came out and I stopped playing.

      • Noise says:

        I can understand being unhappy with D3 and and Battle.net, but Starcraft 2 is a great game. Blizzard-hating is now a “thing” too, by the way.

        • Hmm-Hmm. says:

          Possibly, but personally, I dislike Blizzard now because of things they have done since sometime in the development of WoW. Microtransactions up the wazoo, real money auction house, Battle.net 2.0 (oh yeah, Real ID is a great idea!), and an overall lack of care for the worlds/stories which make up the background for their games. It’s possible more people dislike one or more of these things and the more they see Blizzard veering off in a different direction than they are used to from Blizzard, the more likely they are to start disliking Blizzard. Potentially moreso because they liked earlier Blizzard products.

  3. Spoon Of Doom says:

    Basically, I want more Diablo 2 or Torchlight 2 from a Diablo 3 expansion.

    • Spengbab says:

      Yes, this. I want Torchlight 2’s vibe in D3. While I gave up on D3 after 1 month, I’m still playing T2 daily.

      D3 is technical perfection, T2 is a great monstermash. Combine the two and I’ll never see the sun again.

      • Hahaha says:

        How is T2? cause torchlight was so very crap

        • zeroskill says:

          It is pretty much the same as Torchlight 1 just more of it. There is no endgame to speak of (just like any other Diablo game or clone) and you are done after 2 playthoughs. It plays really well though. But there is nothing to keep you really after you finished the game. Hopefully there will be a healthy modding scene for the game, which will draw me back in probably. But judging from the Steam Stats, at this point, the game is still being played, but the playerbase isn’t really super huge.

          I read a lot of “opinions” about Diablo 3, and non are really well articulated what is so bad about Diablo 3 other then the obvious Auction House/DRM rant. Most commonly is the opinion that people want Diablo 3 to be more like Diablo 2, that Diablo 3 is too grindy and all about the loot. Well no shit Sherlock, what do you think Diablo 2 was?

          Diablo 2 was even a much bigger hellhole considering it’s grindyness, since if you wanted to change your skillbuild you basically would have to start over from Level1. (Unless you cheated and would use some 3rd party programm to change around your skills and whatnot, but that would get you banned from Battlenet so pretty insiginficant to playing legitly). Most of these rants seem to be coming from people that never really played the original beyond one playthrough, if even that.

          • theoriginaled says:

            The fact that you had to make those choices in D2 and the potential for failure is what makes you care about the character you are building though. In D3 everything is fed to you, there is no potential for error, it makes the whole process apathetic.

            The main difference between D2 and D3 is the difference between the excitement of putting a quarter into a slotmachine pulling the lever and hoping a million dollars comes out, and and the excitement of going to work every day until you get enough money to buy a better job.

          • zeroskill says:

            It’s a legit point to bring up. I would have preferred it too that way. But that was not my point I was making about most of the rants about Diablo 3 on the internet.

            Also:

            Can you really blame Blizzard for the skill system it uses? Imagine if they stuck with the original way of Diablo 2, imagine the rage from 14 year olds that would hit a brick wall at the start of nightmare, forced to reroll from level 1. I don’t know how may Assassins I deleted until I got the Trapsin build done correctly, do you think today’s gaming kids are still willing to just reroll and start from scratch. I don’t think so. Gaming has become much more consumable and easily digestible over the years, and that change in Diablo just reflects that fact.

            I still would have preferred it how it used to be.

          • Emeraude says:

            Imagine the rage from 14 year olds that would hit a brick wall at the start of nightmare, forced to reroll from level 1.

            In a way, I think that’s kind of the point. Blizzard used to have that mystique (deservedly or not) of being a bastion of PC gaming and all the “hardcore” attitude it entails. Then the illusion shattered for many. They just want to be a convenience store. With all the good and bad it entails.

        • malkav11 says:

          Way better. I got tired of Torchlight pretty quickly, but the area and enemy design are top notch in Torchlight II (better, frankly, than pretty nearly every other ARPG I’ve played including both of the original Diablos). Irritations have been smoothed out: there are separate spell and consumable inventories, items will automatically be identified as you level if you’re willing to wait (and only rarer items seem to start unidentified to begin with), there’s no more incremental combining of tiny fragments of gems towards a useful size that never seems to come (though you can transmute baseline gems into smaller numbers of rarer gems), items can be equipped either by level or stat requirement instead of both, enchantments are useful but capped heavily and not as strong as they were. The classes are significantly more interesting and have powers that are both spectacular and (so far, at least) genuinely useful, and they scale both with level and point investment. Additionally, every five points they hit a new tier with a bonus that’s usually more significant than just damage/percents going up. For example, as an embermage, my baseline attack spell is called Magma Spears. It’s a rapid-fire piercing fire blast that has a chance of lighting enemies on fire briefly (and a passive can let me do an additional several hundred fire damage on every hit on a burning enemy). At tier I, it gains another 6 meters of range. Tier 2 doubles the length of the burning. Tier 3 makes the blasts ricochet. And, of course, it also has coop.

  4. Premium User Badge

    RedViv says:

    AZFACE

    Nothing surprising here, I’d say.

  5. Phanox says:

    I want more Diablo 1, with more atmosphere and survival, but that’s not going to happen. ;)

    What could happen though would be an option to remove all the annoying cutscenes midplay. Or just not do them all together. They’ve done nothing good to the story and removed a ton of atmosphere. It’s horrible I have to sit and hear trashtalk from Diablo like it’s a Saturday morning cartoon. It’s the same way the other villains keeps revealing their plans and how to stop them.

    It’s rather silly in a game that’s trying to get you to play it again and again you have to sit and spam the spacebar to skip all the annoying stuff.

    • MrMud says:

      Press escape to skip the cutscenes.
      However I agree that we should not have to do even that and I would be very happy if there were less non interactive parts of that game.

      • affront says:

        It’s inconceivable to me how a game that’s so heavily based on repetition of content STILL hasn’t an option to “auto-skip all cut-scenes”.
        It was already baffling at release, as elementary a feature as it should be, but now? Still?
        There are no words.

        • MrMud says:

          I agree, just saying that you dont have to listen to them every time if you dont want to (since you can press esc)

    • Rhuhuhuhu says:

      What you say.

      I wonder how Diablo 3 would be if it had more focus on survival, with permanent choices for your characters and more random dangers and experiences.

      Imagine a game where the game gets more difficult after sun down, where a full moon gives you more luck but also increased the amount of werewolfs, where weapons provide different combat advantages, rather then just looking at the DPS. Diablo 1 was based on such a game; Nethack.

  6. caddyB says:

    Pandaria is fun. Raids are actually difficult this time on normal (and heroic is even harder ) so there’s a lot of fun to be had while progressing. Only best of the best will clear everything anytime soon, and with 5.1 adding a new reputation and some new dailies and two factions I think WoW will keep its subs for quite some time.

    I’m looking at three more months of raiding this tier to clear everything on heroic and get everyone geared for our own little guild at least. I bet we’ll have the 5.2 on ptr by then to look forward to the new raids.

  7. RandomEsa says:

    So is there any doubt that SC II: HOTS will not cost anything else than 60$? Unless blizzard really do remember their old promise that the 2 SC II expansions will cost less than the main game.

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      They’ve only ever said the game will be expansion-priced.

      • Milky1985 says:

        From memory their expansions have been rising in price over the past years , absed ont eh wow expansions, so expect minimum of £30 for HOTS :/

        • malkav11 says:

          They haven’t been going up in price (at least, not in a decade or more), they’re just higher than anyone else’s expansion prices have ever been.

  8. Premium User Badge

    drewski says:

    …there’s nothing I want from Diablo 3 or Starcraft 2.

  9. Jamesworkshop says:

    For Diablo 3 i think bringing back some missed items like Charms and Jewels for socketing. On the environment side I would like to see something more like an alternate dimension like the unformed lands, im sure their is something you could do with a 3D engine like how the Arcane Sanctuary worked with the isometric D2 engine.
    http://www.otakia.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/diablo_sanctuaire_arcane.jpg

    Or maybe something with more verticality, most environments have been very flat so far in the diablo series, why not make a mountain like a mountain, twice we have been on or around Mount Arreat.

    A new character that crosses the throwing weapon based amazon with the animal summons of the druid

    A few quests that have rewards other than money and XP, Diablo 2 had quests give you bonus resistances or extra health this would help them feel more unique, obviously you would need the rewards to be a one time only thing per difficulty, knowing that you can redo the den of evil (extra skill point) once a difficulty level really added incentive over just having more difficult enemies and better drops, due to the way skills work you would need a more D3 suited reward than an extra skill point.

    if extra levels or skills are added try making them more cross class, I haven’t quite got the same feeling that say being a necromancer in D2 by lowering the resistances of the enemies with a curse made a team mate sorceress do more damage, there are some buffs and de-buffs but they are not enough to scratch the same itch in D3 currently.

    I hated how items with barbarian skills gave everybody the Battle Orders skill, ruining the joy that I got from knowing people actually appreciated me joining a game as a Barb and having dropped what was for a long time permant in D2, skill points to get it only to be invalidated by a cheap weapon switch anyone could carry, so don’t ruin it with stuff like that if you do.

    Make companions usable in multiplayer games, we have better hardware and better internet connections but have only half the maximum number of players that D2 had and can’t bring along followers, 8 players plus 8 mercenaries, plus any summons was too crowded in D2 so either raise the player cap, or stick to four and add followers.

    Either would add more encoragment to online play, at the moment it feels a waste to gear followers when they disappear the moment a human joins me in a game, it also felt kind of cool to have them as a showoff able pet.

    that’s stuff i would like to see

    • Ruffian says:

      God, D2 was so much better than D3 is now. Agree on pretty much every point. Also no build diversity is going to equal shitty pvp, if that ever comes around, that is…..I’m just sad cause D2 used to be my go-to pvp game I guess. Alas, I’ve moved on to the brighter pastures of Dark Souls, for those kind of thrills, and I don’t think I’ll even be tempted to look back for quite a while.

      • D3xter says:

        But there is build diversity! The more you pay Blizzard on the Auction House, the better you’ll do!

  10. D3xter says:

    I’d love it if Nathan could sound less PR-y in these types or articles :/

    And they announced BOTH Diablo III Expansions back in 2010 (although involuntarily), not sure where the news is here: http://www.mmogamesite.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/blizzard-product-slate-leaked.jpg

    • SkittleDiddler says:

      If he sounded less PR-y, and went for the more honest route instead, the Blizztards would complain about “bias” in the article.

  11. Minsc_N_Boo says:

    What do you think will come out first – PvP for D3, or the expansion?

    :-)

  12. pkt-zer0 says:

    I’m really looking forward to HotS, actually. The recently unveiled changes are all large steps in the right direction. You could argue that they’re way late, I suppose. Still, it’s an improved version of a game I already enjoyed immensely, so I’m not going to complain.

  13. Premium User Badge

    BathroomCitizen says:

    I don’t know, Blizzard lost its charm to me. Starcraft 2 felt a bit too soulless and artificial to me—can’t guess what the missing ingredient is, but it didn’t leave nice gaming memories to me— and Diablo 3 sealed the coffin. I did like mis-spending points on weird builds.

    My point is? Well, I don’t know, but Blizzard just doesn’t feel fresh or interesting anymore.

    • DeathBunny says:

      I agree. Starcraft 2 is not a bad game, but it told a worse story and was a lot more dull over all. It was way to safe so i don’t think i will buy HOTS day 1.

      I am not a big multiplayer guy when it comes to Starcraft (CoH is my poison) so most of there changes are uninteresting to me.

  14. N9ne Galoo.com says:

    Not sure if want. I find myself playing Torchlight 2 a lot more than Diablo 3 these days. They’d have to do something really different to grab my attention…

  15. Beelzebud says:

    Diablo 3 sold as well as it did based on the merits of Diablo 2. An expansion will be bought over the merits of Diablo 3. It will be interesting to see how it plays out. Personally I won’t sink another dime into Diablo 3. Hell they still haven’t added PVP to the game, and a lot of people assumed that would have happened by now.

  16. Brilhasti says:

    “Blizzard’s all about faster WoW updates now”? Well they’ve said that since pretty much day one and it never happened. Are updates actually coming at a reasonable pace now?

    Blizzard’s slow patch cycle was such a joke at one point it spawned the greatness of http://patchtimer.org/

  17. aliksy says:

    Diablo3 had a few important things wrong with it. The story was really, really bad. I know some of you are already typing “you dont play diablo” for the story, and that’s mostly true. But Diablo3 isn’t just a bad story. It’s a bad story that won’t shut up and get out of the way.

    The loot is also really boring. Look at Torchlight2 for a contemporary comparison. There you’ve got weapons with high % chance to do extra things like stun or burn, you find unique and set items all the time, and there are even special gems other than the usual +stats snoozefest. What does Diablo3 have? I can’t remember a single exciting item from that game.

    I think they might’ve addressed this since I stopped playing, but the difficulty in diablo3 is all screwy. It starts off really easy. Insultingly easy. 20 hours later when you finish Normal, nightmare can be a little more engaging. Hell is when it starts to shift from hard to stupid-hard. Frustrating champions with asstastic combinations of super powers. I don’t even remember what they were anymore, but they stunk and I didn’t like fighting them. Things that lock you in place and then do insane damage. No thank you. Inferno just gets worse.

    Some diablo1 bosses were interesting because they were unique. Like that goatman with the leap attack. Diablo2 had a few unique guys, but introduced a bigger random factor. Mostly wasn’t annoying, outside triple immune lightning enchanted things. Most of the time you could live from chugging potions or sprinting away, though.

    Which brings up the other problem with difficulty: Long cooldown on potions, and no sprinting. Not only can you not sprint to escape, dodging is severely limited by wonky to-hit detection and built-in lag. As far as I’m concerned, running away while chugging potions is a diablo tradition, but diablo3 threw that out. Every fight in Diablo3 is pretty much do-or-die. Remember in diablo1 that time you killed the butcher with your mage by running around the entire level, frantically shooting him with a bow you found every chance you got? Things like that are memorable, exciting, not an option in Diablo3.

    Since the auction house is such a big component of the game, I feel like it influenced these decisions. They probably determined it’s in their financial best interest if players can’t progress without better loot. And as soon as that idea takes root, trust starts to die.

    And this got rambly.

  18. Grover says:

    I think we can agree Diablo 3 probably won’t be winning any Game of the Year awards from the gaming community.

    • zeroskill says:

      Not that Game of the Year awards mather, but I know a few (unbiased) people who would gladly disagree with you. Such is the nature of opinion.

      The expansion will sell in the millions (again, not that it would be relevant to how “good” a game is) I don’t think there is any doubt about that, is there.