Friday, December 11, 2009

Diablo II Patch 1.13 released

Patch 1.13

A new Mystery has been revealed!
- Players of Hell Difficulty Realm games are hereby warned once again,
that a series of new and challenging tests await you! The answer lies
within Diablo's Bosses, which span across the world from the Den of Evil
to the Throne of Destruction...

Major Bugs
- Fixed an item dupe bug.
- Video improvements for Intel Mac machines with OS 10.5 or greater.

Minor Bugs
- Uber Mephisto now checks for both Uber Baal and Uber Diablo to be killed before spawning summoned minions (Before he would only check for Uber Baal).
- The game will no longer stop and then restart the game music after the window loses and then regains focus.
- Fixed an issue where the game window would minimize when running in windowed mode when it lost focus.
- Fixed an issue where the game window wouldn't center properly when it was created.

Specific changes/improvements
- Respecialization is now possible! Completing the 'Den of Evil' quest will now additionally reward 1 free respec which can be saved. Players who have already completed this quest should receive 1 free respec in Hell difficulty.
- Increased the drop rate of high runes.
- Support for blit scaling in windowed mode. The game can now be maximized to the largest 4:3 resolution supported (hooray widescreen users).
- Some rare drop items now have an orange color. i.e. Runes and items required for Uber Tristam.
- Modified the gold bank limit to be a flat cap not bound by level.
- Nightmare/Hell WilloWisps champions/uniques have had their damage greatly reduced.
- Removed the requirements to create a hardcore character.
- Greatly reduced the explosion damage dealt by Fire Enchanted monsters.
- Uber Mephisto and Uber Baal's summoned minions no longer give experience.
- Removed Oblivion Knight's Iron Maiden curse.
- Hellfire Torch Firestorm proc rate has been reduced to 5%.
- Users can now toggle the display of text over the Health and Mana globes by clicking on the bottom area of each orb.
- Updated two Act 5 mercenary names to Klar and Tryneus.
- When creating a single player game, pressing the 'Enter' key now automatically creates a Hell difficulty game if possible.
- When creating a game, each difficulty button is now bound to a unique key: Normal 'R', Nightmare 'N', and Hell 'H'.
- The 'Enter Chat' Button in the waiting room is now bound to the 'Enter' key.
- Added the windows system buttons to the game window (MIN, MAX, CLOSE).
- Added new command line parameter '-nofixaspect' which allows users to not fix the aspect ratio to 4:3 when maximizing windowed mode. This lets the game 'stretch' to fill your monitor.
- Added support for '-sndbkg' command line switch. This enables sound in background.
- Added support for '-nosound', '-window', and '-windowed' command line options.

Revised Skill balance for Player Character classes

-Immolation Arrow - Increased radius of Explosion effect by 33% and Immolation effect by 50%.
-Immolation Arrow - Explosion effect damage increased by 20%.
-Immolation Arrow - Increased base duration by 33%.

-Shadow Master - Increased resistance range per point from 5-80 to 5-90.

-Whirlwind - Reduced initial mana cost by 50%.
-Masteries - Changed critical strike chance from 0-25 to 0-35.

-Blessed Hammer - No longer ignores resistances of undead and demons.

-Werebear - Damage bonus increased by 15% across all ranks.
-Werebear - Increased health by 25% and armor by 1% per point.
-Shockwave - Synergy from Maul adds 5% damage per point.

-Blood Golem - Removed negative shared life effect (player no longer loses life when golem takes damage).
-Corpse Explosion - Increased base damage dealt from 60% - 100% to 70% - 120% of corpses health.
-Poison Nova - Increased base damage by 15%.

-Firewall - Synergy receives 1% damage per point of Inferno and Blaze and 4% per point of Warmth.
-Blaze - Synergy receives 2% damage per point of Firewall and 4% per point of Warmth.
-Hydra - Increased base damage by 15% per rank.
-Hydra - Increased base speed of Hydra projectile.
-Hydra - Reduced cooldown by 25%.
-Lightning Mastery - Reduced overall effect by 15%.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Auras to Return in Diablo III?

There was recently an interview with Jay Wilson  regarding the Monk and his as-of-yet unrevealed skills, as well as some other paradoxes that might not have been anticipated.

Official Blizzard Quote:

Most of the Monks skills will focus on combat skills and attacks, along with his various escape skills. And we talked at Blizzcon that we`re likely to put some defensive and supportive abilities on him. Possibly Auras. We`ve not done the next round of skills on him yet so we`re not exactly sure.

The idea of auras returning in Diablo III from Diablo II (whose Paladin used them excessively and exclusively) has sparked some conversation and controversy on our very site, raising concerns about their distribution among the Diablo III characters, as opposed to the solitary character distribution in Diablo II, to their functionality being unchecked. If they will function exactly the same in Diablo III has yet to be announced, but since there's only so many ways you can possibly have them, it is most likely that they will be very similar.

In spite of the previous claims of some Blizzard representatives about not having a single support character, however, things are starting to look like a bit of change is on the horizon:

Official Blizzard Quote:

We definitely want to do that with one class. Whether or not it`s the Monk hasn`t yet been decided. The Monk does seem to be the logical choice. The only reason we might not do with him is that he`s too logical.

And, of course, they are absolutely right. Fans have been anticipating this for some time since this character is so obviously related to the Paladin of Diablo II, who functioned in a very similar way. But, is this too predictable for the game? Should we be seeing something more original and less archetypical in Diablo III?

When asked specifically about the Monk's armor type, since it has been heavily discussed that it would not be normal for the Monk to be using heavy armor, Wilson responded with an echo from Diablo's past, where all characters were able to wear any kind of armor regardless of their class:

Official Blizzard Quote:

We`re an item based game. The idea of a character that doesn`t use items is foreign to our basic game philosophy. So one of the things we decided when we were creating the Monk was that we were not going to explore that aspect of the character. We`re going to make a Diablo Monk, and the Diablo Monk uses items.

Is this hold-off from Diablo II a good idea? Although the equipment will not physically appear heavy:

Official Blizzard Quote:

[...]the Monks armor isn`t going to look like heavy plate armor. It`s going to look like a shirt, what our imagination of what the Monks armor could be. It`s definitely going to be equipment, but he`s not going to look like he`s covered in metal[...]

The interview also hinted passingly at the possibility of the Monk being able to dual-wield fist weapons, much like the Assassin of Diablo II, and the possibility of the Monk's tattoos developing through the story line, which Wilson said "[they are] tied to the story arcs we create for the game."

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Female Monk to be revealed later

Many fans wondered why the female Monk was not available in the Diablo III demo at Blizzcon 2009. There have been a few speculations that there would be only a monk male. We do know that a female monk was planned. Ever since Diablo III was announced the developers said there would be two genders per class, but Jay Wilson reinstated what was obvious and confirmed at the press-only Q&A in room 208a that there would be a female monk.

At that point they were still discussing how they would handle her. The monk is bald, so one of the questions among the team was if the female monk would be bald. The night after the Monk class announcement, Flux and I were talking a bit about the monk class, and he laughed while joking ... how’s the female monk going to be called? A nun?

Next day at the press-only Q&A, I asked the same to Jay Wilson, is the female monk going to be known as the Nun?. The whole room laughed.

Don’t worry guys. The female monk will be unveiled at some point. It’s not just a matter of putting together a model and some textures. There is much more to it. Months of work. Bashiok mentions some of the process to create a custom female class. The female monk was not ready for the demo, thus we only saw the male Monk.

Blizzard quote:

- It requires a new model and new texture. And our class models/textures are very carefully crafted. 
- It requires a new rigging and all new animations. Everything from idle animations to a complex skill to how they hold a sword. 

- It requires custom armor sets and alterations to fit weapons and other item types. 
- Skills may be the same in general appearance but all of them have to be altered or customized in some way to fit each gender. Sometimes dramatically. 
- Every gender requires it’s own voice actor and full dialogue recording.

Those could potentially sound trivial until you realize that any one of those things would be weeks to months of work. In some cases the work never stops on ensuring things adapt to fit all classes, and then separately each gender.

To answer the OP, the only big question I think we ever had on creating genders for all classes was how to best handle the female monk. And that’s been solved.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Diablo 3 news on Twitter

Twitter is a free social networking service that enables its users to send and read messages known as tweets. The site is ranked as one of the 50 most popular websites worldwide by Alexa's web traffic analysis.

You can check the latest Diablo 3 news there. You just need to be my follower, here`s my Twitter -

Diablo 3 - Witch Doctor Voodoo Skills Detailed

Blizzard moved some cool skills to this tree in the latest build, and now has both Skull of Flame and Firebats in it. I don't think anyone cares that the other very cool Zombie Wall was moved as it all makes much more sense now! Signature skills should be treated right, and now it seems more like a proper witch doctor.

Voodoo Skill Tree

The Voodoo skill tree comprises most of the Witch Doctor's offensive skills, in addition to a few summoning skills.

Tier I 
Skull of Flame - Lob a skull filled with fire dealing 4-5 fire damage to all enemies caught in the explosion.
Jungle Fortitude - Increase your Vitality by 5% of your Strength, 5% of your Dexterity, and 5% of your Willpower.
Tier II 
Hex - Summon a Fetish caster to cast hexes on enemies for 6 seconds.
Corpse Spiders Summon 3 spiders to attack nearby enemies for 8-13 poison damage per hit.
Tier III 
Locust Swarm - Assault nearby foes with a swarm of locusts that spread to additional, nearby targets.
Plague of Toads - Release a handful of toads that deal poison damage to anybody who steps on them.
Tier IV 
Pit of Fire - Call up to 4 Fetishes to bathe a region in fire.
Firebats - Launch a swarm of bats, saturated in a fiery blaze to burn targeted enemies.
Tier V 
Acid Cloud - Detonate a bottle of acid in the air to damage enemies with the initial explosion and, over time for enemies who remain in it's area of effect.
Blood Rites - Increase your spell damage by consuming health globes.
Tier VI 
Fetish Army - Summon an army of Fetishes to fight by your side.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Diablo 3 Monk Skill Trees

Diablo 3 Monk Skill Trees is ready for presentation, there is currently 8 known monk skills from BlizzCon 2009.

Monk Skill Tree I

Tier 1 
None yet

Tier 2
Force Without Thought
Passive skill
Rank: 1/5.

Description: Counteract enemies without interrupting the normal flow of your attacks. When you dodge you automatically counter act the attacker for 10% of your normal weapon damage.

Tier 3
Seven Sided Strike
Mana cost: 30
Rank: 1/5.

Description: Dash at your enemies, striking six times in succession for 50% of your weapon damage.

Tier 4
Inner Sanctuary
Mana cost: 24
Rank: 1/5

Description: Creates a protected region on the ground for 6 seconds that can not be bypassed by enemies.

Way of the Hundred Fists
Rank: 1/5
First hit: A short range dashing attack that deals 100% weapon damage.
Second hit: Attack rapidly 6 times for 8% of weapon damage.
Third hit: Attack all enemies near the monk for 85% of weapon damage.

Monk Skill Tree II

Tier 1
Crippling Wave
Combo skill. Light attacks that apply a series of increasingly debilitating debuffs.
Rank: 1
First hit: Deals 50% of weapon damage. Enemy movement speed reduced 50% for 2 seconds.
Second hit: Deals 50% weapon damage. Enemy damage reduced 25% and they take 25% more damage from attacks.
Third hit: Deals 60% weapon damage. Debuffs refreshed on all targets.

Tier 2
Exploding Palm
Combo Skill. A quick succession of attacks ending with the deadly Exploding Palm.
Rank: 1/5
First hit: 35% of weapon damage.
Second hit: 50% of weapon damage.
Third hit: Target bleeds for 60 damage over 7 seconds. Moving causes 200% more bleeding damage. If target dies it explodes dealing 60-100% of its maximum life in damage to all enemies nearby.

Monk Skill Tree III

Tier 1
Impenetrable Defense
Mana cost: 5
Rank: 1/1
Description: Momentarily turn your weapons into an impenetrable wall that rebounds enemy ranged attacks and grants 100% dodge against weapon attacks.

Tier 2
Radiant Visage
Mana cost: 15
Rank: 1/5
Description: A flash of light sears the eyes of all enemies within 20 feet, blinding them for 2-4 seconds. If attacked they will fight back with a 40% reduced chance to hit.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Blizzard on Binding Items in Diablo 3.

A Blizzard announcer provided some nice details in the forums on the subject of binding items (both "bind on equip" and "bind on pickup") to your characters in Diablo 3. Here's what he had to say:

"Yes, true, as Jay said at BlizzCon we are planning to have some amount of items that will bind to a character upon equipping them.

We absolutely won't have items that bind when picked up, except for the obvious things like quest items and other character-specific items that wouldn't/shouldn't be tradable anyway.

That alone, I think, should dissuade the most severe concerns with binding items. And before I go on just understand that while a lot of this is very stable in its concepts, the details aren't final.

For Bind on Equip (BoE), the idea right now is that it would only be applied to "end game" items of specific quality levels. So to start, it's not every item, and it's not even every item above a certain level. For the BoE items that will exist, you can pick them up, if you don't want it you can still trade it, or give it to another character, a friend, vendor it, whatever you like. But, if you make the commitment to keeping the item and equipping it, yes, it's yours now.

The reasoning is that in reality we need a solid way to keep the economy stable at the end game. With items building up over a potentially infinite amount of time there's no way to have any measure of control over worth of items. While an item may be the rarest and best in the game, over four or five years a stockpile has built up and those items are now commonplace and hold little value as compared to their rarity. The gold being earned by players stays the same or likely increases as players become more proficient at playing the game while they spend less as items lose their value. Gold value drops, and we're skirting into a familiar cycle.

By ensuring we can rely on some amount of "consumption" of items, their relative worth stays high, the market is predictable and both sellers and buyers enjoy a stable marketplace for (hopefully) many years.

Diablo II has an inconsistent approach which is the somewhat stable Ladder economy, since it's quite literally flushed out every so often. But it's a very intrusive approach to a problem that could be solved through other means that don't require making everyone start over.

As a quasi-aside: There's an idea being thrown around, and this is really not guaranteed in any way, that some or potentially all items that are bound to you could be bound to your entire account. So if you yourself "own" an item from it being bound, you can trade it between all the characters on your account freely. Feed alts your old-but-still-very-nice items, etc. That's just an idea, it may not take shape, but it's a possibility."