Mike Morhaime, the boss of Blizzard Entertainment, has stepped down.
Plus a bunch of other things Blizzard just told us.
4th January 2017
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Last week, Blizzard set tongues wagging with an apparent tease for a Diablo game on Nintendo Switch. The image - of a Diablo night light being repeatedly switched on and off - felt fairly deliberate.
UPDATE: Blizzard has issued a statement addressing its tweet that heavily suggested Diablo was coming to Switch.
For nearly a year Blizzard has been threatening to change the name of its proprietary online multiplayer service Battle.net to the more on-brand Blizzard.net. That is the name of the company, after all, which would theoretically make things less confusing. However, after a scant few months under the new monicker Blizzard rethought this approach because the Battle.net name has been around for over 20 years (since the studio launched Diablo in 1996). Changing it now has led to bewilderment.
Blizzard says the Necromancer, which arrives as an add-on for Diablo 3 today, is one of the most-requested characters in any of its games. That's no surprise - it's an iconic player character and a fun class to play, and it was always very popular in Diablo 2. But perhaps there is something else going on behind the public demands for the Necromancer's apt resurrection, because the class is pure Diablo 2: none more Gothic, not so much dark as sepulchral, stitched together from sackcloth and bone, pentagrams and guttering candles. A dry, death-metal kind of fantasy horror.
Blizzard has announced that the Rise of the Necromancer pack for Diablo 3, which adds the much-loved Necromancer character class from Diablo 2 to the younger game, will be released next week on 27th June.
Blizzard has emerged victorious in a long-running lawsuit against Bossland, a German company that creates cheats for online games.
Diablo 3's long-awaited 20th anniversary patch goes live this week - and it's already got players talking.
For the month of January, a recreation of Diablo 1 can be played inside of Diablo 3. The Darkening of Tristram Event arrives with the release of Patch 2.4.3. Blizzard put out a video, below, to explain how to access the dungeon (it's through a portal in the town of Old Tristram) and what to expect from it. Through the portal you find a huge dungeon that's essentially all of Diablo 1 recreated with Diablo 3 assets. That's all 16 levels of the first game remade.
This retro dungeon comes complete with pixelated visuals, old-school animations and sound effects. The camera has moved. Everyone's locked to eight degrees of rotation. Your character walks everywhere. The sound is a little tinier and the sounds repeat more often - a classic mechanic of 90s PC games.
It's been a decent Blizzcon so far, hasn't it? Despite both Overwatch's new hero and Diablo 3's next character pack being leaked prematurely, there have still been a couple of surprises.
No Diablo 4, but a new Necromancer class and a recreation of Diablo 1 in Diablo 3 instead.
Could Diablo 3 be about to get a Necromancer playable class? That's the suggestion in the newest piece of leaked Blizzard concept art - which was found on the same Blizzard Gear servers as the secret Overwatch Sombra art earlier.
UPDATE 5PM BST: There's been a development and it may not be the one you're hoping for. David Brevik has said he's not working on Diablo now or in the near future.
Chris Metzen is retiring. He's leaving Blizzard Entertainment after more than 20 years' service. He, the overseer of story at arguably the world's most successful game maker. He, the earring-wearing cool guy on the BlizzCon stage. He, the voice of Thrall. Retiring. And he's only 42.
Blizzard is going to make another Diablo game, according to a new job listing.
Diablo 3 director Jay Wilson is leaving Blizzard Entertainment after a decade with the company.
A new limited time event has been discovered in Diablo 3 paying tribute to late Blizzard artist Kevin Kanai Griffith.
Diablo 3 makes an art of relentlessly gouging your time, but rarely your wallet. If the Auction House had persisted it would be a different story, but Blizzard's hectic smash-and-grab has maintained its flip-reversed trajectory to become one of the most lovingly-maintained games in recent memory.
Since the game's launch in 2012 a steady stream of updates have added layers of complex, compelling and mutually-amplifying processes and tools to refine and power up your character. The Paragon system alone will soak up thousands of hours of play, and the endless lottery of loot drops, the daily-style Bounties and options to burn your hard-earned materials crafting elusive, perfectly rolled gear in Kanai's Cube for all intents and purposes makes Diablo 3 a game you never need to stop playing.
So, why the latest patch? 2.4.0 feels like Blizzard showboating - a high profile demonstration of the team's creative resources, a firm handshake to the game's community and, I suspect, part of a shadowy PhD project studying behavioural psychology. It's also, if you look for it, a sign of Blizzard thinking about what comes next, about what a Diablo storyline should look like now that Adventure Mode is the new heart of the game.
UPDATE 13TH JANUARY: The patch is rolling out now in Europe on PC, PS4 and Xbox One. Full console patch notes and PC patch notes are available.
ORIGINAL STORY 8TH JANUARY: The expansion-like Diablo 3 patch, numbered 2.4, arrives simultaneously on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One before 15th January.
"The January 15th date is the start of the new season," said Diablo community official Brandy 'Nevalistis' Camel (in the comments) "We plan to release the patch prior to the start of [the new season].
I love that Blizzard still releases great fat patches for Diablo 3. With every one, the game gets crazier. And the freshly-detailed patch 2.4 - heading to the public testing server soon - is no exception. It's massive.
There's a whole new zone in 2.4 for Adventure mode only, which means it's not being shoehorned into the story. It's called Greyhallow Island and it's dark and mysterious and foresty, and wants to eat you; "the land itself is said to be hungry for blood", the game's website warned. Other areas have been expanded, again only in Adventure mode. You'll be able to go beyond the rubble in Leoric's Manor, and beyond the gates in the Ruins of Sescheron, into the Eternal Woods.
All - repeat, all - of the game's 24 sets of class armour (the ones with green writing) are being either revamped, revisited or revised. Thorns of the Invoker and the Shadow's Mantle are getting total overhauls. The six-piece Shadow's Mantle bonus is now, "Impale deals an additional 40,000 per cent weapon damage to the first enemy hit." That's enough to break a calculator!
Overwatch on console! New Hearthstone Adventure! Warcraft movie trailer debut! No Diablo. Sad face.
Blizzard has released a big update for Diablo 3 that adds some cool new features to the game.
The headline addition for patch 2.3, which is available for the PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of the game, is Kanai's Cube, a nod to Diablo 2's Horadric Cube. This lets you customise your character to an even greater degree. You'll find it in a new zone, called the Ruins of Sescheron. This is the Barbarian capital that fell to Baal in Diablo 2 expansion The Lord of Destruction.
Elsewhere, the patch sets up Season 4, which begins on 28th August. This adds Season Journeys, a new progression and reward system, as well as new difficulty levels. And there are important changes to the Adventure Mode, too, and Greater Rift Trials.
Blizzard has previewed a major new patch - 2.3.0 - for Diablo 3. This is "right around the corner" from the Public Test Realm apparently.
Broadly the patch continues the trend of allowing you to become even more powerful. Check out this new artifact, Kanai's Cube: it will allow you to break down Legendary items and equip their special effects as passive skills - separate to your other passive skills! It will also let you convert crafting materials from one type to another "and so much more".
You'll get that Cube, it sounds like, from the new zone arriving in the patch - Ruins of Sescheron. It's barbarian land, and the Kanai Cube is the Tomb of King Kanai's greatest treasure.
Diablo 3 is three years old! Its birthday present? A secret cow level.
The number of people who subscribe to massively multiplayer online role-playing game World of Warcraft fell to 7.1 million, Blizzard said - but the success of Hearthstone and Diablo is helping make up for it.
I lost my first character in Diablo 3's Hardcore mode - where death is permanent - to a puddle of acid excreted by an angry tree. The character was a level 17 wizard. I just wasn't watching where I was standing. That was a back before the console version, before the Reaper of Souls expansion - when the game was less fun, less pliable, less eager to please.
There's a really meaty new Diablo 3 patch out on PC and consoles (PS4 and Xbox One).
The main focus is adding new Legendary items as well as redesigning old ones. That includes class sets - and there are three new class sets (for wizard, barbarian, demon hunter) to collect.
Many items will have new Legendary powers, many others their powers drastically increased. One Monk set - Inna's Mantra - now has a six-pieces set bonus where your Mystic Ally clone now copies your special attacks whenever you perform them, effectively doubling them.
Blizzard may add microtransactions to Diablo 3 in some regions of the world - but there are no plans to include Europe or America yet.
Diablo 3 patch 2.2, coming soon to the Public Test Realm, will add new Legendary level 70 armour sets as well as redesign existing ones.
The new sets are Unhallowed Essence, Wrath of the Wastes, and Delsere's Magnum Opus, which appears to be missing a chest piece. In order they appear to be for the Demon Hunter, Barbarian and then Wizard character classes.
The Battle.net blurb previewing the patch mentioned you will "literally" take the Wrath of the Wastes armour for a spin. That makes me think it has bonuses to the Barbarian's Whirlwind ability.
Blizzard has announced a host of changes that will be made to Diablo 3 in the game's next major patch. The updates were revealed during the game's dedicated panel at the publisher's BlizzCon gathering in California.
Patch 2.1.2 addresses a number of issues identified since the launch of Patch 2.1 earlier this year, from a rebalancing of the Greater Rift system, to the addition of new creatures, weapons and armour.
Success in Greater Rifts is measured by the speed of completion, yet certain random elements can have a radical, random effect on your chances of success or failure. Conduit Pylons, which cause a character to temporarily fire devastating electrical damage around the scenery, often determine victory outright.
And that's a wrap!
The Diablo 3 patch 2.1.0 comes out in the Americas region this evening and should hit Europe shortly after, Blizzard has announced.
The patch enables the long-awaited Seasons feature, which begins this Friday, 29th August, Blizzard confirmed.
Seasons starts heroes fresh with no gold, no Artisans, no gear and no Paragon levels.
With a full 1080p full HD resolution now in place for Diablo 3 on both PS4 and Xbox One, the time has come to investigate each in their fully updated states. After all, we've seen performance drops on Microsoft's platform since its bump from 900p to 1080p, but does Sony's hardware suffer similar issues at the same stress points? And from a visual perspective, does Blizzard keep all the bells and whistles of a maxed-out PC playthrough for each?
Arriving just a few days ahead of the European launch, both platforms are prepped for a day one patch to resolve separate issues. On the PS4 side (and to a lesser extent Xbox One), a bug that once caused frame-rate dips
to animation and effects rendering is now entirely fixed (as of patch C.184.108.40.206396, seen on its splash screen). The net result? We no longer see drops to the low 40fps range on PS4, and instead, we're thrilled to see a perfect 60fps during all our test sections.
UPDATE 2 13/08/2014 4.24pm: Blizzard has confirmed the inaccuracy of the Sony listing to Eurogamer and provided us with file sizes for the European PlayStation Store version of Diablo 3: Ultimate Evil Edition on PS4. An installation of the game with audio in a single language will only occupy around 16GB of space.
Diablo 3 has sold more than 20 million copies worldwide as of 30th June, publisher Activision Blizzard announced in its latest financial report.
Blizzard has detailed the first major content patch for Diablo 3 Reaper of Souls.
Patch 2.1.0, which is "right around the corner", adds seasons, greater rifts, leaderboards, combat changes and The Cesspools to the action role-playing game.
Seasons work similarly to ladders from Diablo 2, Blizzard wrote on Battle.net.
Log into Diablo 3 this week and you'll receive an automatic 100 per cent boost to your chance of finding Legendary loot. You'll also get double Rift fragments.
Infinity Ward's first-person shooter Call of Duty: Ghosts is the best-selling PlayStation 4 and Xbox One game, Activision has said.
BlizzCon, Blizzard's gargantuan get together, returns this year, the company has announced.
Diablo 3 expansion Reaper of Souls sold 2.7m copies in its first week on sale, Blizzard has announced.
PS4-exclusive InFamous: Second Son holds the UK games-chart top spot for a second week, keeping Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes, Titanfall and new entry Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls at bay.
Chart-track's data won't include Battle.net sales of Blizzard's new game, however, which presumably tell a different story. Reaper of Souls enters sixth.
It's an InFamous, MGS, Titanfall first, second, third, then, with FIFA 14 fourth and the Lego Movie video game fifth.
With the exception of Firaxis, there's no-one left that makes expansion packs like Blizzard. In an age of bite-sized downloadable add-ons, their premium price tags raise eyebrows, even with the generous supply of new content - but that content is usually less than half the story. In these expansions, the new ideas and hard graft that have been poured into the renewal, rebalancing and restructuring of the original game usually exceeds what goes into your average blockbuster sequel.
So Blizzard expansions are a big deal, and few have been more crucial than Reaper of Souls. Its headline additions are a new campaign act, a new character class, a raised level cap and a new gameplay mode. But it has bigger fish to fry than what's listed on the back of the box. It has an audience to win back and a reputation to save. Diablo 3 sold extremely well but left a sour taste for its community, and for once not just among the vocal minority. The always-online requirement was unpopular even before it led to a painful launch, when log-in servers crumbled under the immense demand. Soon that was just a bad memory, but another decision taken by Blizzard had a longer-term and arguably more damaging impact.
The game's auction house was pitched as a way for players to trade items in complete security. But its legacy was to angle the all-important acquisition of loot hard - far too hard - toward trading and away from gameplay. Although reviewers didn't realise it after a week's play - myself included, regretfully - the result was that Diablo 3's later stages and endgame became a dour, parsimonious grind, rarely rewarded with useful items and knocked out of shape by brutal balancing. Diablo's mantra of "kill monsters, get loot" had become "grind monsters ad infinitum, browse fantasy eBay". It didn't help that by then you would be on your umpteenth run through the overblown campaign. It was built for the long term, but in the long term, it just wasn't that much fun.
You asked, Blizzard apparently listened: seasons with a ladder-like system are coming to Diablo 3.
Diablo 3's first expansion, Reaper of Souls, launches at midnight tonight - in fact, if you're in the UK, a bit earlier at 11pm GMT - and the mood among players is upbeat. A month ago, Blizzard released the 2.0.1 patch which introduced many of the base changes of the expansion; it's been well received, while last week the decidedly less popular auction house for trading items was turned off.
But some are still wary that, come tomorrow, they may not be able to play the game at all. Diablo 3 is an always online game and its launch in May 2012 was marked by stellar sales and disastrous service, as the famous Error 37 denied many players access. Is there a chance that the influx of players brought by the expansion will cause history to repeat?
"I think it'll be fine," lead producer Alex Mayberry told me in a London hotel today, sounding confident. The reason for his confidence? That patch, which means that players have effectively been playing the expansion, and Blizzard testing its performance, for four weeks now.
Diablo 3's controversial Auction House today goes offline.
Eurogamer's Oli Welsh has never been afraid of courting controversy, and in this Let's Replay video he sends it flowers and makes it a mixtape before bombarding it with a stream of increasingly graphic erotic texts.
I went to Paris last week to meddle with ultimate evil - or rather, to play Diablo 3: Ultimate Evil Edition. This is the PS4 strain of Blizzard's colourful and divisive action RPG, and it's a game that may actually earn that foolhardy "Ultimate" in its title. It has couch (and online) co-op and all the erupting fireworks you should expect if you've been playing the PS3 or 360 installments - and if you've been playing PS3 version, incidentally, you can look forward to importing your character. Beyond that, the particles seem to be scattered more lavishly, the frame-rate is consistently glorious, and I struggled to see any screen-tearing. Oh yes, and it bundles the forthcoming expansion Reaper of Souls in there too. That really is pretty Ultimate, then - for the time being, at least.
The long-awaited Diablo 3 patch 2.0.1 has arrived - and it's already causing players a problem.
The patch, released today ahead of the Reaper of Souls expansion, makes significant changes to the game and adds the Loot 2.0 system. While it's still being rolled out in Europe, the post-patch servers are live in the US, and there players have discovered a new bug that Blizzard will do well to address as quickly as possible.
Here's the background: the new patch introduces Bind on Account status to legendary items, which means only the person who looted it or one of the other party members present at the time of the kill can use it.
If you pre-purchase Diablo 3 expansion Reaper of Souls you'll get a character for upcoming MOBA Heroes of the Storm, Blizzard has announced.
Sales of action role-playing game Diablo 3 have now reached 15m, Activision Blizzard has announced.
The impressive figure, which came as part of the company's latest financial report, include sales of versions across all platforms. Activision Blizzard chief Bobby Kotick said it bodes well for the upcoming launch of expansion pack Reaper of Souls in March.
In other good news for Blizzard, World of Warcraft ended the year with 7.8m subscribers, a slight increase on the last reported figure. Blizzard boss Mike Morhaime put this down to excitement generated by BlizzCon (more than 4.5m people tuned in), Christmas and new promotions designed to get lapsed players back into the game.
Is Diablo 3 coming to Xbox One? Some shops seem to think so.
Blizzard has made a change to parental account controls that, by default, set kids' accounts to 'not allowed to buy stuff'.
Diablo 3 expansion Reaper of Souls launches for PC and Mac on 25th March 2014, Blizzard has announced.
You can pre-purchase the expansion digitally on Battle.net now.
The Digital Deluxe Edition (£49.99) includes an exclusive helm, weapon-transmogrification recipes and the Spectral Hound minion. You also get three additional character slots, an in-game Treasure Goblin companion pet for World of Warcraft, Crusader-themed Battle.net portraits and Malthael-themed decals for StarCraft 2. Phew!
I've had access to the beta test for Diablo 3's first expansion, Reaper of Souls, for over a week now, yet I've barely touched the new fifth Act in the campaign and only scratched the surface of the Crusader class. The reason? Adventure mode, which is absolutely the best and biggest addition in an expansion which changes almost everything. It's nothing less than a new way to play the game.
Glancing at preview coverage of the crusader - Diablo 3's new class, who will arrive with the Reaper of Souls expansion - initially had me a little confused. A brooding hard-nut with a melee focus? Isn't that what the barbarian's for?
There's been a great response from players of the console version of Diablo 3 - yours truly included - to the more immediate feel of its pad control scheme. This has naturally led the game's PC fanbase to ask if controller support could be patched into their version of the game.
At a panel at its BlizzCon convention in Anaheim, California, Blizzard revealed new features of Diablo 3's Reaper of Souls expansion that heavily ramp up the randomisation of the game and remove the need for players to endlessly retread the game's heavily scripted campaign acts.
A new trailer for Diablo 3's first major expansion, Reaper of Souls, shows off a number of the upcoming add-on's new features.
First up there's an Adventure Mode where players can hunt bounties for XP and hop into Nephalem Rifts where they must kill enemies until a Nephalem Rift Guardian appears. The DLC also unlocks all waypoints for quick bounty-hunting action.
There also new game systems such as enchanting, transmogrification, an updated Paragon system, and a new Artisan called the Mystic.
Action role-playing game Diablo 3 has sold over 14 million copies, Blizzard Entertainment has announced.
Diablo 3's much derided Auction House - a system that enables players to purchase loot with either real world currency or in-game gold - will cease to exist after 18th March 2014.
"The Auction House is a very complicated conversation..."
Blizzard has announced Reaper of Souls, the first expansion for Diablo 3, at Gamescom in Cologne, Germany.
Reaper of Souls introduces a new hero class, the Crusader melee fighter, as well as a new campaign act that pits you against the Angel of Death in the new setting of Westmarch.
The level cap is raised to 70, the game's loot drops have been rebalanced, and the endgame has been extensively revised, with the addition of randomised "Loot Run" dungeons.