Blizzard has unveiled Diablo 3's Season 16, which launches today on PC, and tomorrow on Xbox One, PS4, and Switch, bringing with it new buffs, new cosmetics, and more.
On the buff front, Blizzard says all players will benefit from The Ring of Royal Grandeur for the duration of Season 16. Notably, as well as offering various stat adjustments, this reduces the number of items needed to benefit from your chosen class' set bonuses by one, handily opening up a gear slot. "For the uninitiated," explains Blizzard, "this means many classes may be able to combine different Class Set bonuses in new ways - or squeeze yet another Legendary power into their favorite builds."
Elsewhere, players that opt to progress through Diablo 3's latest Season Journey will be able to obtain a selection of new cosmetic rewards. There's the Conqueror Set, consisting of Helm and Shoulder pieces, a new series of portrait frames "themed around the clarion call of adventure", plus The Wings of Lempo. The latter is described as being "a cosmically rare drop".
The developer Iron Galaxy Studios is fast carving out a niche for itself as a specialist in porting modern classics to the Nintendo Switch. Last year it partnered with Bethesda on the excellent Switch version of Skyrim, and this year it has joined forces with Blizzard to bring Diablo 3 to Nintendo's hybrid system. This is the first time a Blizzard game has graced a Nintendo platform in 15 years - since the Californian studio brought its classic games Rock n' Roll Racing and Blackthorne to Game Boy Advance, and before that improbably put StarCraft on Nintendo 64 - so there's quite a lot resting on Iron Galaxy's work.
UPDATE: "We can say that we didn't pull any announcements."
UPDATE 6/11/18: Blizzard has dismissed the claim it intended to announce Diablo 4 at BlizzCon 2018 last weekend - an event which ended up being overshadowed by Diablo's sole appearance as a much-maligned mobile spin-off.
UPDATE: Lead designer delivers personal message, reiterates "multiple projects".
UPDATE 1AM GMT 4TH NOVEMBER: Wyatt Cheng, the lead designer of Diablo Immortal, just stepped on stage at BlizzCon 2018 and issued a personal message about the brouhaha surrounding the mobile game's announcement and Diablo 4 no-show. It was he who fended off some harsh questions on stage shortly after Immortal's reveal.
Diablo 3 launches on Nintendo Switch this week, and good Lord it is a lovely thing. Blizzard's opulent action RPG has been on a long journey since a difficult launch on PC in 2012, but it has been a genuine classic since 2014's Reaper of Souls expansion blew the doors off the original game's stodgy structure and balancing and introduced the endless Adventure Mode. Some of the groundwork for Reaper of Souls was laid by an impeccable console conversion in 2013, which had a generous feature set, a crisp interface and cleverly adapted controls. This console game has gathered up all Diablo 3's expansions and content updates since as it has rolled from one console generation to the next, and arrives on Switch with one hell of an added bonus: you can now play Diablo on the train, which is one of the better inventions of my lifetime.
UPDATE 1/11/18: Following reports that dataminers had uncovered references to several upcoming Diablo-themed amiibo in Diablo 3 for Switch, Blizzard has now confirmed that at least one of those discoveries is true.
Blizzard has announced that Nintendo Switch owners will finally be able to get their hands on dungeon-crawling compilation Diablo 3: Eternal Collection on November 2nd.
Eternal Collection, if you haven't been following along in your book, bundles up Diablo 3's base game, its Reaper of Souls and Rise of the Necromancer expansions, and a few Switch-exclusive features to boot. The latter are predominantly inspired by The Legend of Zelda, and include a cosmetic armour set modelled on Ganondorf, a cucco pet, a Triforce portrait frame, and wings that players can strap to their characters.
The Switch version supports four players locally on a single console, as well as online play. The latter includes access to Diablo's Seasons mode, which features additional objectives and rewards and a competitive, laddered levelling experience. You will, unsurprisingly, need to be a member of Nintendo's new paid subscription service if you intend to play online - and Diablo 3 will also support Switch's new membership-only cloud saves.
Nintendo's Gamescom line-up confirms once again that Switch is a superb handheld games machine with a growing range of impressive titles. During the show, Digital Foundry got the chance to go hands-on with both the Diablo 3 Eternal Collection and Dark Souls Remastered running in handheld mode - and there's off-screen footage on this page showing how well these games are shaping up.
Initially, we made a beeline for Dark Souls Remastered, principally because so little of the project has been revealed to date. In fact, in terms of assets, we've had a few snatches of direct feed capture several months back and little more. The game is present and playable at Gamescom, but it remains something of a mystery - Nintendo limited access to the title by restricting visitors to the very first tutorial level, cutting demos short after vanquishing the Asylum Demon boss.
With that in mind, our impressions are obviously limited. The presentation when playing in handheld mode is certainly crisp, and in line with the publisher's website, which states that users should expect a native 720p pixel-count for mobile play, rising to 1080p when docked. It's also confirmed that Dark Souls Remastered opts for the original release's 30fps, as opposed to the double frame-rate seen in the other remastered editions. We noted a touch of slowdown during alpha-heavy scenes in the boss battle, but overall, while the sample of gameplay we had was limited to say the least, Dark Souls Remastered is looking good.
Diablo 3 has come a long way since its launch in 2012. It's skipped from PC to consoles to next-generation consoles, shedding its universally despised Auction House feature and gaining new expansions, new modes, new hero classes and, crucially, new monsters to kill and new loot to scoop up and hoard away. Six years on, can yet another release on the Nintendo Switch - the Diablo 3: Eternal Collection - tempt players to pay for the same game a third or even fourth time? Well, it's Diablo 3, and all the ultra-satisfying demon-smashing and loot-hoovering that entails, available online or offline on your commute, so - yeah, almost definitely.
Will it be cross-platform - and what about that tweet?
Blizzard has confirmed that it is bringing Diablo 3 to Nintendo Switch, as Eurogamer reported earlier this year. The news was shared with press this week under an embargo which was broken by one outlet yesterday, though we can now reveal some additional details - and we'll be able to bring you hands-on impressions from Gamescom next week.