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Aug
26
2014

Diablo III: Reaper of Souls – Ultimate Evil Edition Review

The Diablo franchise has been absent on consoles since the first incarnation on the original PlayStation. Since then, it has been PC only. Diablo III released to the previous generation of consoles last year. And so, Diablo III: Reaper of Souls – Ultimate Evil Edition is mouthful to say, but contains a compilation of an original game and its recent expansion, with a whole host of changes exclusive to the console that PC players will be begging for.
…continue reading » Diablo III: Reaper of Souls – Ultimate Evil Edition Review

Apr
04
2014

Diablo III: Reaper of Souls Review

Reaper of Souls may have taken Blizzard two years to develop and release, but it comes like a bat out of hell to get you straight into the action. This, along with the recent “Loot 2.0” patch that is available to all make Diablo III the game we’ve wanted all along.

…continue reading » Diablo III: Reaper of Souls Review

Aug
21
2013

Diablo III: Reaper of Souls revealed at Gamescom 2013


The defeat of Diablo, Lord of Terror, should have given rise to an age of hope. Instead, it has drawn out a shadowy being of immense power, whose malevolent purpose is yet to be revealed. Announced today at gamescom, Diablo® III: Reaper of Souls,the upcoming expansion toDiablo III, opens a dark and terrifying new chapter in the ongoing conflict over the mortal realm of Sanctuary.

Malthael, the fallen Archangel of Wisdom, vanished after the events depicted at the end of Diablo II: Lord of Destruction®. In Reaper of Souls, he returns as the Angel of Death and seizes the Black Soulstone, which contains the essence of the Prime Evil. It now falls to the players to track down Malthael and stop him before he unleashes irreversible havoc on the world.

Fortunately, a new hero is ready to join the cause and bring Malthael to justice—the Crusader. Driven by a centuries-long quest to cleanse the corruption blighting their beloved Zakarum faith, Crusaders are warriors of righteousness who have been hardened through relentless, brutal combat with the foul evils plaguing eastern Sanctuary. In addition to wearing immensely heavy armor and wielding a wide range of cruel and punishing weapons, this new playable class in Reaper of Souls uses battle magic to strengthen allies and weaken foes. A natural walking tank, the Crusader adds power and versatility to any party of adventurers.

“From the beginning, Diablohas always been about the struggle between good and evil, and Reaper of Soulsexplores the darker notes of that conflict,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. “This expansion also represents a big milestone in the ongoing evolution of Diablo III, with key enhancements to the core gameplay, along with a new act to experience, a powerful new character class, tons of new loot, and even more end-game options. We think players will love playing Reaper of Souls,and we can’t wait to get it into their hands.”

In addition to taking the story of Diablo III from the legendary city of Westmarch to the unhallowed halls of the Pandemonium Fortress in Act V and introducing the incorruptible Crusader class, Diablo III: Reaper of Souls increases the game’s level cap to 70. Players continuing on with their existing Barbarian, Witch Doctor, Demon Hunter, Wizard, and Monk characters will benefit from an array of fearsome new spells and abilities as they advance in level.

The expansion also accentuates the key features of the Diablo franchise, with a greater emphasis on randomized environments to explore; epic new quests; horrificnew monsters to defeat; and substantial updates to the loot experience, enabling players to further customize their characters with new and improved multilevel Legendary items, new Blacksmith and Jeweler item-crafting options, and more.

Diablo III’s Paragon progression system is also being majorly upgraded for the expansion, adding even more end-game character advancement and replayability. Two new game modes—Loot Runs and Nephalem Trials—are being added as well, providing fun and rewarding challenges for players to tackle when they’re not busy saving the world.

Apr
29
2013

Diablo III is up for Pre-Order on PlayStation 3

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PlayStation gamers, the time has come to prepare for your confrontation with the Lord of Terror. Select retailers around the world have now begun taking preorders for the upcoming PlayStation 3 system version of Diablo III—see the official website for a list of participating retailers. Fully reimagined for couch-based gaming, Diablo III for PS3 will go on sale later this year for a suggested retail price of $59.99. Further release details, including region-specific availability, will be announced at a later date.

Players who preorder 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 preorder bonuses—check with your local retailer for further information. The PS3 version of Diablo III will be available fully localized in English, German, French, Spanish, Russian, Italian, Polish, and Brazilian Portuguese.

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“We’ve poured blood, sweat, and hellfire into creating an epic Diablo III experience for PlayStation gamers,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. “In addition to including all the improvements from the PC version over the past year, we’ve made several updates to Diablo III for play on the PS3. We got a ton of positive feedback from players who tried the game at PAX East, and we can’t wait to get it into everyone’s hands later this year.”

The PS3 version of Diablo III has been custom-tailored for PlayStation gamers, 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. Once gamers experience the rush of Diablo III’s unique brand of hack-and-slash gameplay from the comfort of their couch, Sanctuary will never be the same.

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. As players make their way from the demon-besieged town of New Tristram to the Diamond Gates of the High Heavens, they’ll engage in pulse-pounding combat with hordes of monsters and challenging bosses, grow in experience and ability, acquire artifacts of incredible power, and meet key characters who’ll join them in battle or aid them along the way.

Aug
15
2012

Diablo III FREE Starter Edition Now Available

The demonically-besieged world of Sanctuary needs heroes. Now you can join in the apocalyptic battle for FREE via the all-new Diablo®  III Starter Edition.  Available exclusively via Battle.net®, the Starter Edition allows you to fight your way up to the Skeleton King boss in Act I, and advance all the way to level 13, without having to purchase a copy of Diablo III.

…continue reading » Diablo III FREE Starter Edition Now Available

Aug
06
2012

Diablo III Hero Profiles Now Available via Battle.net


Players can log in with their Battle.net account (look for the login box in the upper-right hand corner of your screen) to access hero profiles from any page on the Diablo III community site. Profiles give you the power to:

– Track your game progress. How many acts have you cleared? What bosses have you shredded in each difficulty? How far have you leveled up your hardcore and normal artisans? Find out in the career tab. You can also check your play time (by class) throughout your entire Diablo III career, and learn how many monsters and elites you’ve slain.

– View your heroes’ gear, stats, and skills. How high have you raised your characters’ attributes? What are they wielding in each slot? What are your most prominent gear bonuses? What skills comprise their current build? Nuance awaits you in the heroes tab.

– Share with your BattleTag friends. The friends tab lets you check out your BattleTag friends’ characters, so that you can quickly compare notes on gear, skill & rune choices, and everything in between. …continue reading » Diablo III Hero Profiles Now Available via Battle.net

Jun
23
2012

The Dialog Box: Diablo III and Blizzard’s “DRM”

[tweet http://twitter.com/EdAcosta/status/215855595159437312]

@EdAcosta

To my small twitterverse, what’s your thoughts on this? Is this fair and something we must get used too in the new digital download age?

@Hawk_SE

Calm down, it’s only 72 hours. I like how people keep referencing “single player” when there’s more than that. Narrow focus!

@EdAcosta

To us no, it’s not an issue. But to those who don’t play with others or use the auction house, the online only aspect is killing them. But then lets not forget the fact that for a new player, you just paid your $60 to only be told to be patient for 72 hours.

@Hawk_SE

It’s a dick move for sure, but early adopters get the reward and late adopters get punished. It’s nothing new (see: Online Passes)

@EdAcosta 

Well how late is a late adopter? It’s only been a few weeks. Online passes wouldn’t really effect someone till a year or two later.

@Hawk_SE

I guess it’s been a month now, just under. I don’t know, it’s strange and anti-customer facing. Despite it all, sales don’t lie.

@EdAcosta

oh exactly, In spite of the “anti-consumer” practices some are claiming, Acti-Blizz are still rolling in the dough-ablo.

@Hawk_SE

That was well done. It doesn’t dissuade me much. I wish I had local saves to depend on. I just don’t see it changing.

@EdAcosta

This is where I see developers & publishers wanting to go. It sticks home the point that you don’t “own” the game, just permission to play it.

@Hawk_SE

Which I don’t agree with. You should “own” your own copy of the game. Like if Steam goes down, they’re gonna find a way to release them to you without DRM because you bought and paid for them. They know you “own” those games.

@EdAcosta

Things will be interesting when cloud gaming & digital purchases become the norm for all platforms to see what rights consumers get.

The Dialog Box is a series where real-time conversations between our staff, our readers, or both occur.  A wide variety of topics get raised over Social Networking sites, Instant Messaging, and Text Messages that sometimes get lost before anyone can actually read or comment on them.  We’ve decided to take those conversations and give everyone a chance to chime in with their voice.

May
28
2012

Diablo III Review

By: Scott Ellison II

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Genre: Action, RPG
Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
Release Date: May 15, 2012
Available for: PC and Mac
Reviewed on: PC

Blizzard’s Battle.net issues have all been resolved by the time of this posting with several stability patches and constant up-time with minor maintenance.

The gates of hell have reopened, releasing the dark terrors across the lands after a 20-year absence. New Tristram is attacked first, by what the locals are calling “A Fallen Star”, reawakening the dead and causing them to rise from the grave and making it difficult for the citizens to deal with. Diablo’s return is looming over the land. New warriors rise up to answer the call.

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Been in an endless dungeon all these years and don’t know what Diablo is? Well fear not, you really don’t need to know any of it because during installation, there is a text-based story for you to read that will catch you up. Outside of story elements, Diablo is the quintessential Action-RPG, the game that all other games emulate with their own twists. While that has been the comparison for the 10 years since Diablo II’s release – it is now a little less so with the changes Blizzard has made to streamline the experience to keep you in the fight rather than staring a skill trees and attribute numbers. This is a game that doesn’t rest on its laurels and decides to do something a bit more…modern.

“Okay so I click, right? And I press hotkeys to execute powers that use the mana pool? So what’s different then?” Well besides basic attacks utilizing the left and right mouse buttons, and the four hotkeys for unleashing devastating special attacks, spells, and buffs are Runes. Runes are modifiers to skills. As you level up, you’ll gain access to more powerful ones, improving on the previous – negating the need to keep using the current.

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To say that Diablo III is anything but beautifully artistic, would be underselling the graphical nature of the game. Each of the four Acts in the game have a distinct look to them. Act I is dark and grim favoring on oranges and blues to set the deathly overtones. Act II moves to the desert under the searing, bright sun. Act III heads to the mountains dealing as night falls with heavy snow. Act IV, is a surprise I’ll leave to you. Each area is unique and beautifully rendered. There are some ugly textures with Act II looking to a town below as if it were a painted backdrop. Lack of traditional anti-aliasing shows off some less than stellar edges. But is a fantastically beautiful game that runs at 60fps with some interesting physics with decapitated demons.

Music takes a bit of a backseat as it takes a lot of the cues from Diablo II with some soft acoustic guitar strumming, but when the battles intensify you’ll get some bombastic orchestra driving your battle forward. Though the music is present, they aren’t there as much as you’d think and feel empty and desolate as you explore dank caves and dark dungeons.

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Quests are lengthy, expansive, and detailed affairs. Though are almost meaningless as you always have only one quest at a time, and aren’t ever juggling more than one at a time. All the quests that come along are relate to or are supplemental in progressing the main story. A neat little side-adventure are instanced Events that are essentially quick quests that don’t appear on your quest log, but involve defending a treasure from onslaught of enemies. Once defeated, the treasure is yours to claim. These are some hair-raising events and are random each time.

It’s quite unfortunate that due to the way that Battle.net and Diablo III work eliminates the possibility of saving anywhere. No quick save and no hard save. The game checkpoints, but in places of its choosing and can be to your detriment where you leave off, because the place you quit the game at, may not be the place you return to due to the randomization of the game.

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Your first runthrough of Diablo III will not be very challenging. There is a seemingly gradual increase in difficulty, but it certainly won’t upset you. Act I is clearly tutorial for you to level up and start building up your character for what’s to come. Act II is about testing that character build. Act III goes hard, fast and challenges you on your character build. Luckily, there is a constant feedback loop of rewards as you’re slaying monsters left and right to remove what would be tedium ad nauseum.

There are five character classes: Barbarian, Demon Hunter, Monk, Witch Doctor, and Wizard. Each of the character classes are diverse and have special skills and abilities exclusive to the class. But no matter which you choose, they all are accessible and can solo the game without much interference. All characters are built the same in some basic ways – they all have an escape move, melee, and area-of-effect in some form or another. Though, once you dive in deeper to the customization that’s where the similarities end.

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Of course with a game that has an “always-on” requirement, it is a must to have Co-op. The game supports up to 4 players at time, smaller than that of Diablo II. When you defeat monsters together, unique loot drops for you only – no stealing among party members. But it is easy to drop items for other party members or do a quick trade.

Blizzard Achievements are nothing new, but are now the third game Blizzard has made to include them – following World of Warcraft and StarCraft II. When you have the notifications turned on, you will be seeing consistent popups early on as you unlock achievements during progress and in the chat you’ll see the achievements friends are unlock. It’s never-ending stream of notifications you can thankfully turn off.

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Diablo III is the pinnacle of Action RPGs, it’s a must-own game. However, if you have spotty internet or just don’t like the “always-on” requirement, this will be a huge frustration or turn off for you and your experience with the game. The server issues have been fixed, but that doesn’t mean that there won’t be issues. It would be nice if Blizzard there was an “Offline Mode”. Though, once you get past the first few levels, you’ll be hooked and there are endless possibilities and playthroughs that await you as when you look up at the clock and see that it’s 3am but still want to keep going.

5

Retails for: $59.99, recommended purchase price: $59.99

A PC digital code of the game was provided by Blizzard Entertainment for Review purposes

May
15
2012

Diablo III – Day 1 Experience

We were lucky to receive a review copy of Diablo III from Blizzard Entertainment. In doing so, I stayed up until midnight for the launch of one of my and the world’s most anticipated games of all-time.

Typical error seen at sign-in for launch

Error 37

Unfortunately though, the launch was plagued by errors and massive amounts of players jumping online once the servers were flipped on at 12:01am Pacific Time. In trying to login with seemingly the rest of the world resulted in a myriad of error messages: Error 37, 300008, and 3005. Blizzard has compiled a list of all the error messages seen, what they mean, and how to fix them – depending.

While I waited, I began watching Twitter and Facebook and saw the complaints pouring it, forums were filling up pages every minute and you still couldn’t login. Around 12:30am I was able to get authenticated At 1:22am I was finally able to get in proper. Of course I was displeased at staying up and doing a bunch of clicking that wasn’t slaying monsters. It was really unfortunate this historic and monumental launch was marred by many connection issues. I did get to play until about 4am and was happy with my time as I didn’t get disconnected or lag out.

My character at the end of my time before going to bed

Playing Diablo III

Most of Act I is familiar territory for those like me who played the Beta. Nothing has changed there except the inclusion of achievements. I had a couple of friends online playing, but decidedly chose to play solo to not incur any unnecessary disconnects, issues, or lag. If you didn’t know, Diablo III uses an “always-on” DRM system that has left many fans angry. And the issues that were present all related to login to Battle.net and could have been avoided if singleplayer didn’t require it. Even when you’re playing the campaign solo, you have a latency to the server and could leave your game open for people to jump in.

As seen in the screenshots, I chose the close-range melee, one-man army known as The Barbarian. One of the easiest and powerful classes of the game. I was able to make my way past where the Beta ended and started to see some new areas for a change. Though, the game is designed for multiple playthroughs over increasing difficulties. You can even choose which quests to go back and replay rather than whole Acts. The cinematic interludes that cap the big quests are exciting to watch and almost unreal to believe you’re actually playing Diablo III.

As the night wore on, my energy drink expired it’s resource and I began to feel the energy fade. So I fought the last boss and it dropped some really powerful loot for my Barbarian to wield. A pair of enchanted sickles that did massive damage. I was satisfied, immediately feeling that through all the waiting and errors, it was worth it.

A rainbow of hope to fix server issues

Server Updates

All throughout the day today, Blizzard has been hard at work on fixing the issues that have hurt Battle.net and Diablo III. Repeatedly taking down the servers for maintenance, disgruntling even more people as they are being prevented from playing the game. But they are communicating as best they can to give time periods of how long the downtime will be.

Blizzard is well known for not releasing products until they’re ready, and the purpose of the Beta was to stress test the network in preparation for this day. But I guess nothing could have prepared them even with an MMO launch and subsequent expansion packs under their belt. How did this happen? Well, now is not the time to be asking.

I suggest you be patient and allow Blizzard to do what they have to do to ensure a smooth playing experience for all involved. I know that it interrupts your game-time for a product that you paid for, but give them time to clean-up the mess. There are many years ahead of playing Diablo III to come.

Expect a review as soon as possible – “when it’s done”, if you will.

Apr
29
2012

Watch the 30-second Diablo III TV Spot

Here is the TV Spot we were promised, what do you think?

On Sunday, April 29, a new Diablo III television commercial will debut on FOX during Family Guy (9 p.m. / 8 p.m. Central). The spot includes a few juicy bits of never-before-seen Diablo III cinematic footage and sets a nightmarish tone as we count down the days to the end of days.