You! Yeah, you! I am enraged in you general direction. Are you manly enough to fight me? Yeah? Crap. I thought you might back down and run away. Erm. Can I interest you – OW! – please stop, and I’ll pay you – NOTTHEFACE – I have money! Take my watch! It’s my birthday and I’ve just wet myself. Just please stop pummeling me… Man, did I just learn a lesson: real-world violence solves nothing, causes bruising and pain, and might even result in soiled underwear. From now on I’ll be doing all my fighting online, and Blizzard will soon make it possible to do so in Diablo III. The next patch will deliver a basic PvP structure to their game. Finally!
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Posts Tagged ‘Diablo III’
Well, that didn’t take long. Hackers sneaked past Blizzard’s hyper-sophisticated security system – presumably by cinematically lowering themselves from a cyber-ceiling to avoid all the e-lasers – and people weren’t too terribly happy about that. Unsurprisingly, a couple of them decided to sue. Unsurprisingly-er, Blizzard’s replied not by groveling and begging for heartfelt forgiveness, but instead by whipping out its fightin’ words pistols and shooting down the whole thing.
I suppose it had to happen eventually. Blizzard‘s done a rather miraculous job of keeping hackers at bay for quite some time, but this year saw a few too many blemishes muddy its track record. So naturally, it’s lawsuit time. Specifically, the two plaintiffs target a May admission of an increase in account compromises on Blizzard’s part and August’s rather messy Battle.net breach. Then they take aim at what they believe to be the all-too-achey-breaky heart of the matter: authenticators.
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.
It’s been a long time since Blizzard added a new string to its bow o’universes, but not so long ago a fourth franchise was on the cards. In the time-honoured tradition of fantasying up Warcraft into Starcraft, so at one point was Diablo to be sent to space, in a game that never quite made it past the unfortunate portmanteau working title ‘Starblo.’
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All in all, I’m pretty happy not being The Devil Himself. It’s a sentiment that’s followed me through each day – from dusk ’til dawn – for quite some time, but Diablo III gave me renewed appreciation for my frail, non-red flesh and lack of dominion over the most miserable location ever conceived. I mean, it’s bad enough having every righteous hero’s target on your back, but when they start Paragon leveling and optimizing builds, well, why even get out of your bed assembled from the twisted, eternally weeping faces of ten thousand racists who constantly insist they aren’t racist? Blizzard, though, is hoping to put some challenge back into not only the Big Bad himself, but every single zone in its exceedingly beaten and battered hack ‘n’ slash.
Modern videogames may present their share of annoyances (insert obvious reference to online requirements here), but I’ve got to admit, it’s pretty neat to live in a world where someone can announce a massive free revamp one day and have it in the grasp of our arthritis-stricken click-click-clicking fingers the next. Such is the case with Diablo III‘s 1.0.4 update, which includes all sorts of balancing tweaks, upgrades to a smattering of underused class skills, buffs to legendary weapons, and of course, 100 “Paragon” levels to extend your endgame until time’s cyclical nature brings you right back around to the day before Diablo III came out.
If nothing else, it’s been intensely fascinating to watch Blizzard do its damndest to rapidly evolve its Lord-of-the-Damned-damning ARPG’s endgame. Whether the intentions underlying it all are misguided or not, Diablo III’s certainly taken some interesting twists in the past few months. And now, Blizzard’s announced what is by far the biggest addition yet: an entire new system of progression for folks who are currently busting their blades on the level cap. Specifically, that means 100 new “Paragon” levels that imbue you with improved Magic Find, better base stats, and – most importantly of all – a “distinctive increasingly-impressive border” on your character portrait.
Time for another round of good news/utterly mystifying news. First up, Blizzard’s detailed Diablo III update 1.0.4, and it sounds like – at the very least – its heart is in the right place. The rather hefty patch is meant to stitch up some of the hell-themed hack ‘n’ slash’s biggest trouble spots – for instance, the snooze-inducing weakness of normal enemies, a lack of excitement in item identification, and certain wimpy, underused skills. So that’s the good. And the utterly mystifying? That award goes to the part where Blizzard’s Wyatt Cheng outright states that solo play is the “clear choice” of Diablo players, which is apparently a problem. [Note: this post has been visited by the update fairy! Go past the break for details.]
I, like many of the highly evolved, vaguely human terminal cyborgs that we otherwise refer to as “Internet users,” perhaps somewhat unwisely use the same few passwords for, well, a lot of things. But damn it, I crafted those passwords. I didn’t use wars or stars, but they’re mine – forged through years of slight tweaks and realizations that my birthday and number sequences I’d learned in pre-school, in fact, presented sort of crackable codes. So I really wish videogame companies would stop losing track of them. But alas, it keeps happening. The most recent victim? Blizzard. Fortunately, it sounds like our most important info (credit card, address, real name, etc) is still safe and sound, but you’ll probably want to toss your password masterworks and start anew all the same. Same with mobile Authenticators – which Blizzard notes “could potentially” be compromised. Ruh-roh.
World of Warcraft had 10.2 million subscribers in February and now it has 9.1 million. Blizzard have been quick to point out that their ageing behemoth is still the most popular subscription MMO in existence and also to reiterate the cyclical nature of peak subscriptions. They fell before Cataclysm and the fall before Pandaria was expected. It makes sense that people would drop out when they’ve experienced all the content on offer but MMOData.net’s tracking doesn’t show sub levels below 10 million since 2008, at which point growth had been continuous. While subs will most likely recover with the release of the pandas on Sept 25, the returns may continue to diminish. During the earning call there were words about Diablo III as well.
The entire internet* is besieged by outrage** today*** by the news**** that an exploit in Blizzard’s Diablo III can allow some folk playing as Wizards to become invincible.***** No doubt it’s being patched out at a desperate rate, but personally-speaking it exemplifies just why Diablolikes, WoWlikes and games using similar progression mechanics will often lose their appeal to me relatively quickly. It’s all about the invisible numbers, forever escalating, forever having the ceiling above them raised, and our being tricked into thinking we have any real control over those numbers. Something can go wrong with the equations, and the numbers can then dictate something like invincibility – the state that we essentially seek from our endless quest for better gear. With info on how to achieve this now widely available, Wizards are currently drowning in risk-free loot.
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Blizzard have finally admitted that their useless always-on DRM in Diablo III is partly to prevent piracy. Despite having previously insisted that it was purely to improve gamer experience (oops), in a post spotted by Eurogamer, Blizzard boss Mike Morhaime has pointed out that it does “help us battle” such issues. But then goes on to say that it’s still the best solution, that it’s essential, and while there are “some downsides”, it was “the best long-term decision for the game.”
I don’t imagine it’s easy managing an economy in which many of your customers are both wizards and basically The Matrix. You may, for instance, think you have everything locked up tight, but then hackers storm your walls, or you remember that fraud exists, or bot farmers see gold in them there hills. So, how do you fight back? Well, if you’re a member of the Blizzard school of thought, the answer is to add more locks, then put locks on your locks, then tell those locks the cautionary tale of both gold and locks that is Goldilocks. At the very least, however, the latest Diablo III restriction shouldn’t affect most of you – at least, in theory.
RPS Feature This is the game that never ends
Man cannot live on loot alone. Well, I’ve never actually tried, but I assume so, anyway. Blizzard, however, speaks with the experience of a developer that’s feasted on gold coins (that weren’t made of chocolate) and wiped the sweat from its brow with gleaming, mythril-infused hauberks (that, regrettably, also weren’t made of chocolate). It knows loot, is what I’m saying. So when it says that forcing Diablo III players to subsist solely on the stuff just isn’t doing the job, you know it means it. Once upon a time, though, this wasn’t even a concern. People hacked, slashed, and looted until they got their fill, and then they moved on to a different game. So why are players suddenly demanding that an entirely different sort of experience be duct-taped onto the end of Diablo’s?
A few readers emailed us claiming they had been banned from Diablo III while playing on Linux. The complaints about this were being voiced in a lengthy forum thread on the official forums, too. Blizzard replied to us, and on the forums, claiming that people were only being banned for cheating, not for simply playing Diablo III on the open operating system: “Playing the game on Linux (although not officially supported) and/or using Wine will not result in being banned, but cheating will. We’ve extensively tested various scenarios related to this situation, including replicating system setups for those who have posted claiming they were banned unfairly, and have not found any situations where players were banned solely for using Linux or Wine.”
They seem to regard that as the final word on the topic.
Sometimes, videogames are confusing. Except with Diablo III, in which case they’re always confusing. Most recently, Blizzard’s opus – made up of one part hack, one part slash, and one part commerce – introduced a baffling up-to-72-hour set of restrictions for new players. Among those, however, two – a halt to all progress beyond Act One and a demon-tickling level cap of 13 – basically turned the full price product into a glorified demo. Fortunately, however, a new patch has looted those items and put them up for sale on the auction house of non-existence.
The never-ending soap opera that is Diablo’s online strategy continues. First there were connectivity issues, then claims of hacking, and, yesterday, new buyers began getting slapped with up-to-72-hour restrictions to Diablo III’s Starter Edition – aka, its demo. Next up, we’ll probably find out that Torchlight’s been Diablo’s son all along, but both of them got amnesia and the paternity test exploded. It turns out, however, that the credits haven’t quite rolled on this week’s episode. Apparently, new players actually aren’t supposed to be thrown into demonic demo dungeons. They are, however, still subject to roughly a gazillion other baffling restrictions.
We’ve written and spoken about our concerns and frustrations regarding Diablo III’s relationship with the internet, but Kotaku notice that patch 1.0.3 introduces yet another baffling aspect to what I reckon is an increasingly indefensible strategy. People who purchase the game digitally are now being told that their copy of the game will actually be a starter edition for up to 72 hours. Why? A support agent says “…it is a necessary step to combat fraud and other malicious activities that can weaken everyone’s play experience.” What I’m gathering from all of this is that “everyone’s” play experience seems to be a lot more important than anyone’s play experience.
One of the frontiers of gaming has been conquered! Unlike real frontiers, in gaming we get to just make more when they run out, so cheer up, there’s going to be a new Antarctica for you to perish in before long. Anyway, the latest greatest in gameworld is the completion of Diablo III on Inferno with a hardcore character. So that’s completing it on “very hard” with a character who is permanently dead if he gets his plug pulled by netherworld bullies. VG247 pointed out that Blizzard community manager Bashiok was able to verify the claim via the unmagic of their stat collecting tech. There’s a video below, but it’s a bit spoilery if you’ve not finished D3, obviously.
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