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Filed under: Diablo 3

Diablo III: Reaper of Souls Release Date: March 25, 2014


The Blizzard Store has updated with the digital pre-order version of Diablo 3's first expansion, Reaper of Souls. On the store page the release date is listed as March 25, 2014.

The beta for RoS is going on right now, and if you haven't already, you should opt-in to the beta via your Battle.net account page. The impressions of the new expansion have generally been favorable. Keep in mind that while this is a paid expansion, there will be a pre-expansion patch that will deliver many new systems to non-RoS buyers.

Check out our additional coverage of Diablo 3 for more information.

Update: Blizzard is investigating some issues with preordering the expansion. Apparently some live accounts are being affected.

Filed under: Diablo 3

Diablo III: Reaper of Souls closed beta has begun

The closed beta for Diablo III: Reaper of Souls has officially begun. Players that have opted in to the beta should begin checking their email for beta invites. Reaper of Souls, the first expansion for Diablo III, features all-new content as well as the new Crusader class, enchanting, transmogrification and of course, lots and lots of frantic mouse clicking. Players that have received a beta invite can check their Battle.net accounts to verify that the license has been added -- or if you've received a Closed Beta key, you can add it to your account by logging in to your Battle.net page.

For players that have yet to receive an invitation to the closed beta, make sure you've opted in on your Battle.net Beta Profile Settings page -- and while you're at it, make sure the page has the latest system specifications for your computer. Keep in mind that with the closed beta, you must have an active Diablo III license attached to your account -- and that license needs to be in good standing in order to be eligible. No banned or suspended accounts.

Also, as with any beta test, the risk of phishing attempts runs a little higher. If you receive an email that states you're in the beta, be sure you don't click any links in the email itself. Instead, log into your Battle.net account to check that the license has been added, or to manually add a game code. For more information on the Diablo III: Reaper of Souls closed beta, take a look at Blizzard's official page -- and good luck to all those that have opted in!


Filed under: Blizzard, News items, Diablo 3

BlizzCon 2013: Reaper of Souls Hands-on gameplay impressions

The Crusader battles a giant beast in the streets of Westmarch.
At BlizzCon 2013, I was lucky enough to sit down at one of Blizzard's demo machines and play through the first part of the new Diablo 3 Reaper of Souls expansion as the new class, the Crusader. This article will have some spoilers for the new content, so if you're trying to avoid that, beware.

Crusading

The demo character was a male Crusader, set at level 33. He came with a few powers preset, which I used for the demo. For the left mouse button, a single target Slash attack struck the enemy with holy power. For the right button, Fist of the Heavens sent a huge beam of Holy Energy from the heavens around the Crusader, followed up by electric bolts that split off and attacked any enemies still standing. This right click, of course, cost Wrath, which is the Crusader's resource and regenerates like a combination of a rogue's energy and a death knight's runic power from WoW.

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Filed under: BlizzCon, Diablo 3

Blizzcon 2013: Diablo III Reaper of Souls class and systems panel

On the second day of BlizzCon 2013, the Diablo 3 team hosted a gameplay systems panel in which they covered some of the new systems coming to the Reaper of Souls expansion, including not only the Crusader class, but information on changes for the existing classes and some of the new itemization tweaks we can expect to see in Loot 2.0.

Crusading for a new class

The first section of the panel introduced the new class, the Crusader. Designing a new class is one of the most complex tasks in an RPG, but it starts with a simple concept. In this case, the team wanted a righteous paladin type, which would work as a good answer to Malthael, the angel of death and main villain of Reaper of Souls. The idea came together of having a dark paladin, full of righteous wrath, a "knight in battle-scarred armor" to stand for humanity in its darkest hour. This lead to concept art. They knew they wanted the Crusader to be bulky and blocky, but it took many weeks of reiterations before they settled on the look of today, with the shield, the flail, and the tabard.

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Filed under: BlizzCon, Diablo 3

BlizzCon 2013: Reaper of Souls preview panel

One of the Panels at the first day of BlizzCon 2013 focused on Reaper of Souls, the new expansion for Diablo 3. While no new features were announced, we did get an overview of the game that revealed some interesting and intriguing tidbits about Adventure mode, the philosophy of the new expansion, and how the way we play will change when the expansion is released.

What is Diablo and where is it going?

Josh Mosquiera, Game Director for Diablo 3, opened the panel with a reflection on what makes the Diablo franchise Diablo. It is, he said, a game series about epic, larger than life heroes who are bigger than life, with a dark gothic undertone. Reaper of Souls looks to honor that. The panel itself focused on new monsters, new environments, and the new Adventure Mode.

It's Adventure (mode) time

Adventure Mode was crated to solve some problems with the base game. The main game makes you play the same game 4 times in a row with the same tilesets and similar layouts. Adventure Mode aims to break that by allowing you to go Anywhere and Slay anything. You don't have to feel restricted to linear gameplay and completely specific quests in quick sucession. You can play whenn and where you want, and level your character.

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Filed under: BlizzCon, Diablo 3

How Diablo 3 has improved transmog and why WoW should steal it

Yesterday our Adam K (who I picture as a cyborg mutant from the future) posted about Diablo 3's incoming Mystic and the services she will provide. This post isn't adding any new information, it's just making a point - everything about Diablo 3's transmogrification is better than that of the game it was stolen from, World of Warcraft. When Reaper of Souls comes out, I will be drooling in envy over how that game handles transmogrification. Why is it better, you ask? Let's compare the two games.
  • All items including legendaries and set items are eligible for transmog in D3. In WoW, there are item restrictions that include not allowing legendaries.
  • D3 uses item appearances - once an item's appearance is unlocked, it's bound to your account and any character on that account can use that appearance in transmogrification. So if you have two barbarians and one has Unending War, the other can use its appearance in transmog. In WoW, if you have a warrior with Ashkandi, your death knight still has to farm BWL to get it if she wants to use that item for transmog.
  • In World of Warcraft, if you want to use an item for transmog, you have to have that item - it's in your bank or void storage tab, taking up space. In D3, once you've unlocked an item's appearance, you do not have to keep that item.
You can also dye items that you've transmogged in D3, but since you can't do that at all in WoW, it's not a fair comparison. Reading over the way transmogrification will work in Reaper of Souls just makes me convinced that WoW has an archaic transmog system that needs to be revamped, and handily for Blizzard, they just developed the perfect system to replace it.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Transmogrification, Diablo 3

Diablo 3 adding transmogrification and enchanting

Diablo 3 Enchanting
The upcoming Reaper of Souls expansion will add a new artisan, known as The Mystic, who is capable of transmogrification and enchanting. Enchanting is similar to WoW's reforging in that it will allow you to reroll a single item property. The Mystic progresses from level 1 to 10 like the Blacksmith and Jeweler.

Enchanting
  • Most item properties can be rerolled, but some can't (no details yet).
  • You can reroll that one property as many times as you want, but once you choose one you can only reroll that property.
  • Before you replace a property, you can see the possible replacements. One of these will be randomly chosen once you complete the enchant.
  • If you don't like your rerolled property, you will have the option of reverting it to the item's original property.
  • Enchanting costs crafting materials and gold.
  • Enchanting an item makes it bound to your account and it can no longer be traded to other players.

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Filed under: Diablo 3

Blizzard to shut down Diablo III auction house

The auction house in Diablo III has been plagued by various issues basically since the game's release, however, Blizzard's announcement today that they are going to close both the gold and real money auction houses entirely still comes as a bit of shock. In the video embedded above -- and echoed in a Diablo official blog post -- Diablo III's Production Director John Hight and Game Director Josh Mosqueira state that Blizzard has come to the conclusion that the auction house system in Diablo III undermines the game's core gameplay, which is to kill monsters and get loot. This is ostensibly the driving factor behind axing the systems entirely.

A new system, coyly referred to as "Loot 2.0," is in the works for Diablo III: Reaper of Souls, and they hope that the changes will result in a much more rewarding experience for Diablo players. If you're an avid auction house user you don't have to scramble just yet to get all your ducks in a row before the shut down. We've been given six months' notice, so mark your calenders. The Diablo III auction houses will close their doors for good on March 18, 2014. Until then, it's business as usual.

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Filed under: Economy, Diablo 3

Hands on with Diablo III: It's perfect for consoles

Diablo III is perfect for consoles
Diablo III launched on console yesterday, and I was lucky enough to be invited down to London by Blizzard Europe to attend an opening shindig for the game's new home. And as part of heading down there, we all got to have a very thorough play-test of the PS3 version of Diablo III. It wasn't the first time I'd had a go, as I had fifteen minutes of the console version, again on PS3 at Gamescom in Germany, so I had an idea of what to expect, but fifteen minutes isn't enough time to really form a firm opinion on a game. I left last night's event with a t-shirt and a copy of Diablo III in my hand, went home and put it straight in the PS3.

This should be praise enough, that after an evening of playing a game I wasn't hugely enamored with on the PC, I rushed home to play it even more on the PS3. But there's something about DIII on the console that just works.

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Filed under: Diablo 3

Diablo III now available for console

Tyrael Diablo 3
One of the more interesting announcements from Blizzard this year was their intended return to console gaming after a long absence, with the re-release of Diablo III for Playstation 3 and Xbox360. Well, that day has now arrived, and if you so wish you can now go pick up a console copy of Diablo III. Even if you've already played it on the PC, you might consider it worth your time to try out the console version. I've heard very good things about its gameplay, and a some of the WoW Insider staff tell me they even prefer it over the PC original. It might be enough to switch you over -- and just in time for the Reaper of Souls expansion, too!

Filed under: Blizzard, News items, Diablo 3

Watch Blizzard's Gamescom 2013 Diablo 3 presentation


Recorded by someone up nice and close to the stage at Gamescom 2013, you can watch the entirety of Blizzard's Diablo 3 presentation on YouTube. This is not an official Blizzard video, so there's a chance it'll be taken down (although this isn't an official Blizzard event either, so who knows -- either way watch I'd watch it soon).

One of the big things that stood out for me was when they were talking about the end-game; Blizzard wants there to be something for everyone in the end-game of Diablo 3, not just for the hard core players. This feels like a departure, somewhat, from previous paradigms; and is certainly an echo of what WoW's end-game has become.

You can watch the trailer for Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls over yonder, and also read up about what we heard will be coming in a pre-expansion patch to Diablo 3.

Filed under: Diablo 3

Diablo 3 to get new features, for free, in pre-expansion patch


Following in the footsteps of WoW's pre-expansion patch, Diablo 3 will give the community quite a bit of stuff for free. Blizzard Community Manager Grimiku explains:

Grimuku
We want to implement a lot of the new systems and features in a pre-expansion patch for free. That should include Paragon 2.0, Loot 2.0, Loot Runs, and Nephalem Trials. For now, you'll need to purchase the expansion to play as the Crusader, explore Act V, unlock the Mystic, and level up to 70. These details may change as development moves along, but we want some of the core gameplay improvements to be available for everyone.

The new Paragon system will remove the Paragon level cap (meaning you'll be able to, well, infinitely level your toon), which is good news for the few and proud that have reached the max paragon level. There'll also be other changes Paragon 2.0 will bring, and we'll get those then too.

The Loot 2.0 vision for Diablo 3 will be especially important for those that want to get characters ready for the expansion. Loot 2.0 means that the gear drops you get will be more focused on your current character, which means that in general, gearing up should be easier; and that there should be more 'reward' for playing the game.

The other features Grimuku talks about, the Loot Runs and the Nephalem Trials, are end-game modes/activities.

Blizzard seems to be taking a new direction with Diablo 3, addressing some of the fan complaints. No matter what your feelings on Diablo 3 are, this will certainly be interesting to watch.

Filed under: Diablo 3

Diablo III: Reaper of Souls expansion and cinematic


It looks like Leah is coming back and is gonna cause some trouble. Today at Gamescom Blizzard announced the Diablo III expansion, Reaper of Souls. The first expansion to the game will focus on Malthael, the fallen Archangel of Wisdom, and his possession of the Black Soulstone, which contains the remaining essence of Leah (Diablo).

Notable expansion features include:
  • A new Crusader class, wears heavy armor as a tank, buffs/debuffs friends and enemies, not unlike Diablo II's Paladin
  • Reaper of Souls will officially by Act V of Diablo III
  • Level cap raised to 70
  • Paragon level cap removed
  • All classes will get new spells as they progress to level 70
  • Something called a "multilevel Legendary item"
  • Substantial updates to the loot experience, "Loot 2.0" as named by Blizzard -- you're more likely to pick up items tailored to your current class
  • Overall loot reduced, not picking up as many items not needed by your current class
  • New Crafter: Mystic -- re-roll stats on items, gives chance to create better gear
  • Two new endgame modes/activities: loot runs and Nephalem Trials
Check out the cinematic above for some Diablo goodness. More information is available over at our sister site Joystiq.


Filed under: Diablo 3

Diablo III: Reaper of Souls?

Diablo III Reaper of Souls
After yesterday's furore over the rumored Blizzard trademark, "The Dark Below", with every man and his dog confidently asserting that this was the name of the next Diablo III expansion, Blizzard has played a decisive card.

A new subcategory of the Diablo III website was added very early this morning, titled Reaper of Souls. The above image is all the site holds for now, and if you're unable to read the writing it is ostensibly a quote from the Book of Tyrael, saying "Death, at last, shall spread its wings over all".

Now, while this is by no means a complete, firm confirmation that Reaper of Souls is the title of the next expansion, it's certainly looking that way. So that leaves the question of The Dark Below -- what could it be, if it is even a trademark? It did show up eventually on the US trademark registration site, but it's certainly not conclusive. So that adds to the recently registered "Cute But Deadly" trademark in the list of marks of mystery. What's your take?

Filed under: Diablo 3

Congressional report says you 'may' owe taxes on your WoW income

Image
If you're a World of Warcraft or Diablo 3 player, the federal government would like to have a word with you. Congress's U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), at the request of Senators Max Baucus (D-MT) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT), just wrote and filed a 23-page report on the tax implications of earning gold in MMORPGs. Seriously.

The report, titled "Virtual Economies and Currencies," focuses on buying, using, and selling virtual currencies like WoW gold. The key takeaway for World of Warcraft players is that the in-game economy is a "closed-flow system" -- because you can't exchange your gold for U.S. dollars, you don't need to worry about claiming those 26 gold pieces from completing a quest on your 2013 income taxes. If, however, you decide to sell your accumulated WoW items through a third-party exchange (Don't do it! It's against the Terms of Service and could get you hacked!), then you "may have earned taxable income from the sale of these virtual goods."

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Economy, Gold Capped, Diablo 3

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