Hail and welcome everyone! Great news today, the Heroes of the Storm team have announced that the game is now entering Technical Alpha. What is a technical alpha you may ask, well the team have a solid answer to that and much more for you, consistent with their excellent community interaction so far. Heroes is a much anticipated title that has MOBA fans excited, curious, skeptical, and irritated, depending on who you ask. One thing is for certain, the game will garner a ton of attention, and you can be sure it will be a ton of fun.
Technical Alpha is largely about infrastructure and tech testing, as the name suggests, and as such, is limited in scope of those invited, and limited to the USA. Over time, we can expect to see inboxes everywhere light up with invites to the expected upcoming alpha/beta stages. It will be great to finally see some hands on and organic gameplay, and for the Heroes team to use that feedback to get the game into a state they are happy with.
As with all things alpha/beta, keep in mind the game will be in an unfinished state, it will have bugs, missing features, broken skills, placeholder artwork etc. Take it all with a grain of salt, as it is certain, things will change before release. Do enjoy the process and seeing the game grow, and share constructive feedback. Overall, stay cool and classy.
Congratulations to the Heroes team, and we wish them every success in the months ahead.
Source: Heroes of the Storm Official
Some people might be surprised to know that the original Diablo 3 title has now sold over 15 million copies across all of its platforms. The game gets a heavy dose of criticism, some even dropped by your’s truly. We know about 10 million copies went out over initial release, but we also know this 15 million does not include the Reaper of Souls pre-order numbers. It seems entirely likely that the Diablo 3 title could have a massive lifetime sales number in the years ahead.
So why does a game that has blown away the numbers so well, get such hate and criticism from the very players who earned it these accolades? It often feels like some kind of Pandora’s Box to see the forums, the YouTube videos, the tweets, and more complaining about the nature of the design, the loot, monsters, graphics, sound, you name it, it is bashed pretty hard. I can imagine it must be difficult for the development team to hear the useful feedback from the noise. That all being said, there is much validity to the cry’s of the players. A good example, Nephalem Rifts, are deeply underwhelming, and are as of today, the only form of “end game” available. The development team seem fixated on lengthening the progression curve for legendary and set item gains, and are hiding much of that progress behind artificial currency grinds, such as Blood Shards and Rift Key Shards. It would have been much more compelling and exciting for players to know that certain Rift bosses have a loot table for set items/legendary items, and that in farming random Rifts they can build up the gear they need to craft builds. This kind of logic seems lost on the Diablo 3 team, who are forcing players to explore random game elements, in the hopes of finding random loot, with a random chance of building random sets. Way too much random. Players need a level of control. When we cried foul that Kadala the Blood Shard merchant was giving out waaaay too many legendary items, the response was to nerf her into oblivion. What of “measured responses?”
I laugh, because here we are bashing this game, again, in the thread about it selling 15 million copies – how does this happen? I believe the Diablo 3 community are one of the most impassioned gaming communities around. They represent a sub-section of gamers that played the original Diablo I and Diablo II, which defined a genre and changed gaming forever. When you love something so fiercely you tend to expect greater things from it, you demand more, and you are disappointed more easily. Players take a deeper ownership in games that have defined sections of their gaming life historically, such as growing up with late weekend gaming binges of mad Diablo II loot runs. It defined some of our gaming experiences, and we look back longingly on the nostalgia.
Those times have come and gone, and we are presented with a new incarnation of the dream, and often we find that in the face of perfect nostalgia, that new incarnation will be blasphemous, it will rile us, and engender our cynicism and ire. There is a thin line in allowing that passion to cross over into spite and hate, to become toxic and unproductive. I hope we as players, with a deep passion for this game and the world it created, can step back and see the flowers among the weeds, and appreciate the new creation for all of it’s “badassery” and awesomeness. The game is fun, there is no doubt, and the often touted chant among gamer’s today: “vote with your wallet,” does indeed reveal the reality that Diablo 3 is a raging success, and we can expect great things, and more of them, in the years ahead. For the developers, we hope that the same success from the first 15 million copies does not close their mind to new ideas, to criticism, and to exploring the best ways to at least try and appease the nostalgia demons, for in Sanctuary, we are all Nephalem.
Source: IGN Report
Image Source: Diablo 3 Official
One of the most compelling and rumor generating aspects of almost any game comes from the “secrets” and “facts” that are shared between players about the statistics of the game. You have not lived until you have spent some of your time in World of Warcraft “Vanilla Barrens” chat. Likewise, the forums, Reddit, and guild chat run amok from “dev news heard on the grapevine” and “leaked information.” Blizzard have finally stepped in to answer some of these burning questions and reveal their own “secrets,” in the form of an awesome Official infographic from the World of Warcraft team. The funny thing is, I predict the infographic itself will spawn more rumors than ever before. Check it out and see if your rumor is squashed or your secret revealed.
Story and Image Source: Official World of Warcraft news
As development of Diablo 3 steams ahead towards the March 25th 2014 release date, changes have come pretty quickly to the game PTR and Closed Beta this past week. After major changes to drop rates, and hotfixes to everything from monster difficulty to Rift rewards, CM Nevalistis updated the Official Forums with information about changes to the Bounty system.
The changes essentially accomplish the following:
- Remove split farming
- Decrease the multiplayer bonus range to 100 yards
- No longer awards any bounty completion reward to players not in the vicinity of its completion
These are simple but far reaching changes to the game. Split farming was the process of joining a full group, but having each player go to a different Act to begin finishing all the Bounty rewards. In doing so, players maximized the number of blood shards, which were shared to each player, rift keys, and Horadric Cache rewards. It essentially ruined the grouping system, as no groups wanted players who were not speed farming Bounty rewards. It created a horrible and “un-fun,” grinding play experience that had to go. Gladly, it has gone, and Bounty mode should be more enjoyable for everyone.
The Bounty system will likely see a few more changes as we head into release, but this change is certainly welcome, at least by those of us looking forward to enjoying the game, and not the grind.
Image Source: Official Beta Site
Blue Post: Official Blue Post
Great News for Diablo 3 players! The High heavens have handed down a great blessing to all Nephalim in the fight against the hordes of Hell and Malthael’s army. The Legendary drop rates have been doubled -hooray! With these new items of great power, Nephalim will once again feel the rush of progression in the endless battle – we hope.
Some of the new changes that went live via hotfix in addition to the drop rates change are:
- Legendary drop rates from monsters have been doubled.
- Legendary drop rates from Kadala have been decreased.
- Rift Guardians now drop Blood Shards and have a chance to drop Forgotten Souls for level 61+ players.
- Monster damage has been increased across all levels.
You can read all about the changes to the PTR and Beta Clients on the Official Diablo 3 Forums
What’s that noise? Oh yes, that is the sound of a hundred hundred thousand voices echoing in thanks that the Diablo 3 development team are doubling legendary drop rates on the PTR and Closed Beta clients. And there was much rejoicing…
Yes indeed and you can read all the juicy details at the Blizzard Diablo 3 Official Forums. Travis Day, designer from Diablo 3 Reaper of Souls has been active in the forums the past couple of days and stopped by the let the players know yesterday that they were aware of the issues, listening to the feedback, and planning changes. Among the changes it is awesome to note that we can expect to see some of the following changes as hot fixes soon:
- Changes to Rifts to promote playing them – Forgotten Souls dropping, better overall rewards in Rifts. They should be THE place to farm
- Changes to experience gain for Paragon, focusing on reducing the amount required
- Reduction in Gambling vendor legendary drop rates to promote killing monsters as the primary loot drop process
- Doubling of Legendary drop rates in the game world
This is great news, but almost more important is the fact that Travis is out among the community, reading, understanding, and interacting. I think this support is long overdue, and the Community Managers, who do an amazing job, sometimes need the big guns to support them in the great work they do. We can only hope this kind of community interaction continues.
Overall, this is great news for the Diablo 3 Reaper of Souls expansion, and while there is much work to be done, much of that work is clouded by drop rates that make progression like wading through mud. With this resolution in process, the game is looking better everyday, if only now we can get goblin rifts and cow rifts back… No one should ever doubt the importance and value of player equity and the reward felt in progression.
Story Source: Official Diablo 3 Forums Blue Post