The BlizzCon 2019 dates have been announced as 1st-2nd November, and the show will take place at the usual Anaheim Convention Centre spot just over the road from Disneyland.
No particular content has been announced for BlizzCon 2019, beyond the usual assortment of tournaments for Blizzard games, but the hope is 2019 will be the year of Diablo 4 (and not Diablo Immortal - shh Bertie, don't bring it up).
"BlizzCon has served as a home away from home for the Blizzard community, a place where online friends can meet up in real life and new friendships are formed," Blizzard's newish president J. Allen Brack said. "We're looking forward to welcoming everyone to the show this year, reconnecting, celebrating, and sharing some of our latest developments."
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".
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.
Which version sticks more closely to the target 4K?
Cited as an example of ultra HD gaming on Microsoft's list of Xbox One X enhanced titles, Diablo 3 is an evolution of Blizzard's good work on the PlayStation 4 Pro version of the game. The same principles are in place: the game targets a native 2160p presentation, but utilises a dynamic scaler to lock to the target 60 frames per second, adjusting the pixel count on the fly to ensure consistent performance. And just like the PS4 Pro version, Xbox One X benefits from a smattering of visual enhancements too. But the question is, just how close are the two versions? And to what extent does Xbox One X's higher spec translate into a closer lock to a native 4K?
What's clear is that as good an upgrade as the PS4 Pro version is, Xbox One X goes one better, with a much closer lock on the target 4K resolution. In PS4 Pro's case, a full 3840x2160 is only hit around interior areas, like the bar at New Tristram, or small dungeons. But in practice, Sony's machine tends to run at lower numbers in the town itself - while Xbox One X hits 4K almost perfectly throughout.
To put some hard figures to this, overlooking New Tristram right at the start with a new character, sees Xbox One X delivering 3840x2160 - the full 4K experience - while PS4 Pro kicks off at 2880x1620. In like-for-like situations, that's a 77 per cent increase in resolution in favour of the Microsoft console, before even touching a button. Things start to change as we head towards New Tristram's gates, and the resolution adapts on both sides.
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.
Plus a new, complete Eternal Collection for consoles.
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.
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.
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.
"I won't lie - it's going to be really hard stepping away."
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.
Digital Foundry follows up on community reports of unstable performance from the latest update.
Blizzard's latest Diablo 3 console patch 2.4 is understood to cause frame-rate issues not seen in the previous version. The update adds a range of compelling extras, like a new Greyhollow Island area, expanded zones, and a catalogue of tweaks per class and weapon. But reports on the game's official forums suggest performance has taken a serious a hit in the meantime, and controls are now laggier as a consequence - while menus suffer input delays. Also worrying are reports of more frequent in-game crashing.
With thanks to Eurogamer's Oli Welsh and his up-to-speed PS4 save, we've managed to isolate some of the challenges players are experiencing in the video below. In particular, the issue manifests as a stutter when travelling the game world, even while uncontested by enemies. And surprisingly, these frustrating hitches remain even when the game is installed to a nippy SSD, strongly suggesting it has little to do with data streaming from a PS4's stock HDD.
Though most interior areas run at a clean 60fps as expected, larger outdoor spots like Southern Highlands, or Dreadjudge Approach show frames dropping in clusters without any real provocation. Simply moving quickly - whether that's via a Barbarian's leap move, or being knocked back by an enemy - is one of the easier ways to see the stutter in action. Even simply walking across a bridge, without an enemy in sight, produces the issue, as demonstrated in our video below.
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.
"Impale deals an additional 40,000% weapon damage to..."
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!
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.
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.
And how Blizzard fixed its dungeon-crawler by breaking 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 outlines its plans to improve Diablo 3's end-game.
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.
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.126.96.36.199396, 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.
Could there be a better way to start a Bank Holiday weekend than a co-op Diablo 3 sesh? Not if you ask me - but then, as commenters on all the articles I write about Blizzard like to point out, I am biased.
Full HD confirmed, but what about the locked 60fps?
We were hoping to bring you a full Face-Off for Diablo 3 on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 in time for today's launch, but the definitive word on Blizzard's latest console release will have to wait owing to game-changing day one patches deployed for both consoles.
As promised, Xbox One sees a boost to resolution from 900p to full 1080p, while updates for both systems address a bizarre dual frame-rate bug we uncovered last week that the developer has pledged to fix.
Xbox One saw this 1080p patch released yesterday, allowing us to bring you this quick update. We were initially disappointed to see that while the PS4 version was also subject to a new patch, the same dual frame-rate issue was still in effect, albeit to a lesser degree. However, upon testing, the PS4 discretely updated again to C188.8.131.52396 later that day, with the patch notes listing "improved gameplay performance throughout title" - and yes, a quick test in the problem area outside the New Tristram gates reveals the issue has been resolved. Further testing still needs to be carried out in the game's more packed areas, but so far, the PS4's render-side stuttering looks to be fully fixed.
I expect Deranged Cultists and Accursed Hellions whenever I wander into the Sundered Canyon, but this guy was clearly something else entirely. He looked like Giger's Alien for starters, and he warped in accompanied by too much fanfare and a sprightly burst of red mist. As he lunged at me, I sensed that in amongst the echoing grandeur that accompanies a war between heaven and hell, this particular brawl was personal. So personal, in fact, that I had better pay full attention to it and stop checking my email.
I've fought plenty of monsters in Diablo - and by fought I mean I've clicked on them or jabbed away at a face button until they were dead. My latest foe wasn't an ordinary monster, though. He was a nemesis. He'd already killed Digital Foundry contributor Tom Morgan in Tom's own game, and now he was here for me.
Spoilers: he killed me too. Then he warped back and killed Tom again, I gather, and then had a final go at me as I neared the boss at the end of the second act. That nemesis had grown in power each time, and although the whole thing's a pretty simple viral trick - a packet of monster, essentially, that pings around your friends list - it's a really good trick when you see it in action. A familiar face in amidst the procedural hordes Blizzard's so good at conjuring. A reminder that your hero, decked out in whatever armour you've found, dialled into whichever skills you've selected, is part of a wider community, and that we're all hacking and slashing through this together.
UPDATE: Blizzard confirms a single-language install only occupies 16GB.
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.
If you played the already-released Diablo 3 game on PS3 or Xbox 360 then good news: you can transfer your characters' progress into the new game - Diablo 3: Ultimate Evil Edition - when it comes out later this month (19th).
UPDATE: And Shadow of the Colossus transmogrify armour.
UPDATE: In addition to The Last of Us-themed Nephalem Rift, buyers of The Ultimate Evil Edition of Diablo 3 on PS3 and PS4 will get another treat: a Shadow of the Colossus-themed transmogrification set called Guise of the Colossi.
Supports character transfers from older console game.
Diablo 3: Ultimate Evil Edition - Diablo 3 plus Reaper of Souls expansion - has been confirmed for Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS3 and, as we knew, PS4.
It's coming out 19th August - a Tuesday (that's a worldwide date by the way).
Crucially, you will be able to transfer your PS3 or Xbox 360 Diablo 3 character into the new game to carry on your adventure. What's more, you can choose to transfer to PS4 from PS3, and to Xbox One from Xbox 360.
Prepare for a new artisan and a new class - and a new end-game that's too good to leave until the end.
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.
Activision reckons Destiny will be the "best-selling new video game IP in history".
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.
Oli reports on the best thing in the expansion pack's beta test.
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.
When is a control scheme more than just a control scheme?
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.
Adds "Avenger Kills," lets you import PS3 characters.
The PS4 version of Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls will get a few new features in addition to its spruced up 1080p visuals (that allegedly run at 60 fps), touchpad support and shorter load times.
As reported by Polygon, perhaps the most exciting new addition to the PS4 version is something called "Avenger Kills," a feature in which certain monsters can kill a player, level up, hop into their friend's game, then try to kill them too.
These monsters will spawn during special events where the skies darken and an announcement will tell the player that "[Insert friend's name here]'s Bane" has arrived. If you manage to defeat your friend's killer, both you and your friend it most recently slayed will get a piece of loot. If the monster kills you, it will level up further and find a friend of yours to hunt. Think of it like a sentient, demonic chain letter. Blizzard is still deciding how to deal with Avenger monsters that get too powerful.
Kill bounties, unlock all waypoints, and enchant weapons.
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.
Jeffrey plays the PS3 game at PAX and finds that one man's loot is another man's soot.
Diablo 3 on PS3 and PS4 is a pretty big deal for Blizzard, as it marks the first time in two decades that the wildly popular strategy and MMO developer has made a game for consoles (not counting a couple of ports made by third parties). As such, it seems to be targeting a different market: one that prefers a more action-focused, one-to-one, button-to-attack approach over the more distant experience of lording it over your avatar with a mouse.
"I'm not directly managing third-party relations," says Shuhei Yoshida, when I ask him a question that pretty much has nothing to do with the area of Sony Computer Entertainment for which he is responsible.
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