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Diablo III Friends and Family Testing Begun

diablo3-logo-bashiok

According to Bashiok, September 7th — around 1am EST, Diablo III Family And Friends Internal Beta Testing has officially begun. Closed Beta will start very soon — which might mean any time within the next few days up to next two weeks considering Q3 ends September 30th.

Bashiok informs this Friends and Family testing has NO NDA which means all the leaks are official Non-NDA and encouraged public videos.

Bashiok: FYI, we’re getting very close to starting the closed public beta test for Diablo III. You might start seeing some new reports about the beta client as we’ve begun limited external testing with employees and their families, and there is no non-disclosure agreement (NDA) for that. We look forward to sharing more info about the beta test in the near future. Stay tuned.

If you have a beta license, you are free to show, share, or talk about any portion of the beta content to which you have access, as this beta test is not confidential. — source

BlizzCon 2010 Ticket Barcodes Available

blizzcon-logo

Blizzcon ticket barcodes are now available for printing (if you choose to use your printer) from the Blizzard Store account page. It speeds up your entry to the Anaheim Convention Center. Personnel will scan your ticket barcode and you can pick up your goody bag when and where directed. Give your luv-love to Bashiok here.

Blizzard Quote:

If you have not yet received an email with your ticket barcodes, you can now view and print your BlizzCon ticket by:

1. Ticket purchaser logs in to their account at http://www.blizzard.com/store
2. Then visit https://www.battle.net/account/management/orders.html
3. Select the order entry containing the BlizzCon tickets purchased
4. Click on View/Edit Attendee Details button
5. Below each ticket a PRINT TICKET button is now available

This will bring you to a printable ticket page which includes that ticket’s barcode. It’s important to bring this barcode with you as it will expedite your badge pickup once you’re at the event.

For those that have already received emails with barcodes this page has the same information as the email, and isn’t necessary to view or reprint them if you already have.

Cataclysm: Flexible Raid Lock System in 4.0.1

Blizzard has announced a new update to the Cataclysm raid dungeon lockout system which allows flexibility to guilds and PUGs. You can do a 25-man Marrowgar up to Saurfang attempt, and later a 10-man Blood Queen attempt and you will get the same loot in both type of raids. The way players are individually saved has changed too and you can check it out in your raid info tab.

Bashiok posted a very extensive explanation of how this dungeon lockout system works. More details after the break.

[BLUE]Almost six months ago we announced that Cataclysm raids were being redesigned to make both raid sizes the same difficulty, drop the same quality of loot, and exist in the same lockout. This evolution in raid philosophy is built on the belief that the size of your raiding group should be a choice based solely on what’s more fun and enjoyable for you, and that you should not have to complete the same raiding content twice in a week to maximize your character’s progression. These systems are the culmination of a great deal of design and player feedback from the last few years. With the release of the 4.0.1 patch, the new Flexible Raid Lock system will debut in Icecrown Citadel and The Ruby Sanctum.

With the Flexible Raid Lock system, instead of being locked to a specific raid size or raid group, each character will have the opportunity to defeat each raid encounter once a week. You could kill Lord Marrowgar and Lady Deathwhisper with a 10-player raid on Wednesday, join a 25-player raid to kill Festergut and Rotface on Thursday, and then lead a completely new 10-player raid to kill The Lich King on Friday. Every raid has a list of encounters associated with the zone. For example, Icecrown Citadel has twelve encounters. After you defeat Lord Marrowgar, you can open up your character’s raid information dialog and see the list of encounters in Icecrown Citadel with Marrowgar marked as defeated. You may no longer fight Lord Marrowgar with any raid size or difficulty until the weekly raid reset for your region occurs.

Another key change is that if you join someone else’s raid in progress, you are no longer locked to that raid after merely zoning in. Your raid status will only change when a boss is defeated, at which point it will be updated to reflect the state of the instance in which you are currently participating. So, let’s say you have killed the first four bosses of Icecrown Citadel, and you then join a raid that has defeated the first four encounters, as well as Festergut and Rotface. The dialog that displays upon entering Icecrown Citadel will show that the raid has defeated 6 of 12 encounters. If you help them defeat Professor Putricide, then you would be marked as having defeated not only Professor Putricide for the week, but also Festergut and Rotface. If instead after joining the raid you then proceeded to wipe ten times to Professor Putricide, you could leave the raid with only the first four bosses marked as completed.

To help communicate to players which bosses are dead in the raid leader’s raid, there is new functionality to link in chat a list of the encounters the raid has defeated. So before you join a raid, you can see what they’ve already defeated. If a raid leader advertises in chat that she needs another healer for an 8/12 Icecrown Citadel run, you can see precisely which bosses are still available to fight. If you were only looking for that one item from Queen Lana’thel that never drops for you and this raid already defeated her, you will know not to join that raid.

Let’s look at another example of the Flexible Raid Lock system. A guild schedules three nights for 25-player Icecrown Citadel raiding on Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday. On Wednesday, the raid defeats Lord Marrowgar, Lady Deathwhisper, Icecrown Gunship Battle, and Saurfang. On Thursday, five people cancel their raid attendance due to real life emergencies. The raid leader knows that if he cancels Thursday raiding, there’s little chance they’ll have enough time on Saturday to defeat the other eight bosses in Icecrown Citadel. So he splits the remaining 20 Thursday raiders into two 10-player raids. Each new raid enters Icecrown Citadel and defeats Rotface, Festergut, Blood Council, and Valithria Dreamwalker. The next Saturday with all 25 players online, they reform as a 25-player raid and enter Icecrown Citadel once more. Only Professor Putricide, Queen Lana’thel, Sindragosa, and The Lich King remain. After a tough fight, the Lich King falls and everybody celebrates. Without the Flexible Raid Lock system the entire raid probably would have missed out on a night of raiding, and likely would not have reached the Lich King.

While players can freely move between raids of different sizes in normal difficulty, there are some additional rules for Heroic difficulty. If a 10- or 25-player raid defeats a boss on Heroic difficulty, then those players may now only raid additional Heroic encounters with that specific raid. If your Heroic 25-player raid defeats the first four bosses of Icecrown Citadel on Heroic, then they may not split up into two 10-player raids and continue to fight in Heroic difficulty. You may also not join someone else’s raid if they have defeated a Heroic encounter.

But let’s say you are a member of a Heroic raid in Icecrown Citadel, and after killing Lord Marrowgar on Heroic you have Internet connection issues that prevent you from raiding for two nights. During those two nights, the rest of the raid kills everything. Without the Flexible Raid Lock system, you would be done with raiding Icecrown Citadel for the week. Ouch. With the Flexible Raid Lock system, you can join someone else’s raid as long as they are doing Normal difficulty. This would at least give you the opportunity to earn your Justice Points for the week. If this raid attempted to switch to Heroic difficulty for Icecrown Gunship Battle with you in the raid, the raid leader would receive an error message stating that she cannot change to Heroic, because someone in the raid (i.e., you) is already locked to a different Heroic instance.

All of the new Cataclysm raids will feature the Flexible Raid Lock and Dynamic Difficulty systems, and when the Cataclysm occurs the other Wrath of the Lich King raids will also have these features. It’s important to note that this system doesn’t affect Heroic dungeons, they will work as they always have. We look forward to feedback for this new system after 4.0.1 is released. As a reminder, Icecrown Citadel and The Ruby Sanctum are the only two raids that support the Flexible Raid Lock until the Cataclysm occurs.[/BLUE]

Diablo II Ladder Reset 3/23

Hey, folks. Bashiok announced today that the Diablo II: Lord of Destruction ladder will be reset on March 23, marking the release of Diablo II patch 1.13 into the live realms.

Blizzard Quote:
We will be resetting the Diablo II ladder on Tuesday, March 23 with the release of patch 1.13. We anticipate all Diablo II realms to be down for approximately six hours during the reset. More specific information on realm availability on the day of the reset will be posted in the Battle.net Status forum. When the ladder is reset, all existing ladder characters will be converted to non-ladder.

All characters and items being converted to non-ladder will remain intact, but once converted these characters will no longer have access to ladder content such as creating ladder-only rune words. For more information on ladder characters please visit the Arreat Summit Realm Character Types page

DIABLO II 1.13 Q&A

What’s the advantage to creating a Ladder Character?

This is similar to starting out on a brand new realm. Players will be able to experience Diablo II like when the game was first released. When the Ladder Season first begins, players start at Level 1 and do not have powerful items. They also cannot use powerful high-level items or other high-level characters to help them level up faster. Players create a character in a brand new world (Ladder Character world) where everything (economy, levels) starts from the beginning. The main advantage of creating a Ladder Character is being able to join in on a totally new economy where powerful items are very valuable.

What if I don’t play ladder or don’t want to compete on the ladder?

Although they are called Ladder Characters, players do not have to compete on the ladder to play. You can simply play at your own speed and not worry about how you are ranked on the ladder.

Can I convert existing characters to Ladder Characters?

No, you must flag a character as a Ladder character when it is first created.

How long will the ladder season last?

This has yet to be determined.

What happens when the ladder season is over?

All Ladder Characters become either Normal Core or Normal Hardcore Characters depending on what type of Ladder Characters they are. If you want to be a Ladder Character for the next Ladder season you must create a new character and flag it as a Ladder Character.

Do I get to keep my Ladder Only Items when the season is over?

Yes. Any Ladder Only Items will be converted over when your character is converted to a Core character. These items can now be traded with other Core characters. That is the only way for Core characters to get ladder only items, as leftovers after a season is over.

Do I have to beat the game with a Ladder Character to create a Ladder Hardcore Character?

No, you can finish the game with either a Normal character or a Ladder character to unlock Ladder Hardcore Characters.

Can you convert a Ladder Character to a Normal Character?

No. Blizzard does this automatically when the Ladder Season ends.

Does the ladder offer anything beyond a more stable economy?

Yes there are some items that can only be obtained with a ladder character such as some class specific and elite uniques. There are also some ladder-only rune words as well as cube recipes that can only be created by a ladder character. While these items can eventually make their way to non-ladder after a ladder reset, they can only be initially found or created by using a ladder character.

Diablo III: Siegebreaker Breaks Wall To Catch Merc Through Debris

There are two interesting posts from Bashiok today: one is a blooper in the gameplay video and the second is a very cool detail in the gameplay video that couldn’t be perceived as intended and most people missed. While critters usually die in one shot when doing AOE damage, the critters in Diablo III keep doing their thing as if they were tickled super-bunnies.

There is something the developers worked so hard to show in the gameplay video, and couldn’t get it right. Then the announcement of Diablo 3 was upon them, and it had to go out unpolished.  The Siegebreaker breaks through the wall and grabs the merc to kill him, adding an element of surprise using the physix engine as a tool to mimic such brutal action with the debris falling all over the place while his victim disappears into its clutches.

Blizzard Quote:

BLOOPER: SUPER-BUNNIES

Ladranas: The firebomb attack will annihilate anything, except the rabbit that it directly hit.  Haha, not trying to troll around, but if you look at the gameplay vid the WD targets a rabbit with the firebomb spell and it continues to sit there and eat grass haha.  I always knew critters were the most powerful part of any game! Will we be seeing an “Elixir of Critter Strength I ” ? =)

Bashiok: Heh, I think someone brought this up a long time ago and I replied to it then too. There was a bug in that build that caused critters to sometimes not be effected by direct damage. If you bombed them off to one side though they’d go flying. To put your mind at ease, bunnies will axplode!

ANTI-HYPER, BOO!

Frozen-wolf: Previously when beta tests were announced and sign-ups were launched, sign-ups that occur from the same household were disqualified. I was wondering if people who live in the same house, who apply for different battle.net accounts and both opt-in for betas will be disqualified?

Datth: Unfortunately we do not have information on beta signups or events. If you signed up for one, please check the details/fine print carefully to see what is eligible.

ME SMASH, PUNY HUMAN

2337: I’m sorry for a possibly useless thread, but even though I’ve watched the WWI Gameplay video MANY MANY times I’ve never noticed this before.  At the scene where Cain tells the merc to “Get away from the wall!” the walls breaks, fall down and the merc is dead (buried). This is what I thought until a few minutes ago when I watched the scene by stepping framewise through it to see how the wall buries him. I suddenly noticed a giant hand that grabbed the merc and pulled him off! It’s the siegebreaker who grabs the merc through the wall and smashes it by doing so .

Bashiok:  It is indeed the siegebreaker’s giant hand that grabs him. It was an extremely difficult and trying shot to create and capture. The way the interior and exterior sections were set up and shot it made it necessary to capture them uncut.

The hand shot just wasn’t working that well, so we’d tweak it, hope that the physics would move the debris properly. Shoot, it didn’t work right. Tweak it again, reshoot the entire interior run, something else might go wrong, etc. Over and over. In the end we had to settle with what would appear to most as a wall collapse simply because we didn’t have time before the announcement to keep tweaking it and reshooting everything to make it more clear that it was a hand busting through the wall and grabbing him. Especially when the one we went with had some very perfect moments in it (zombie corpse landing on railing).

I’m glad that someone caught it though, a lot of work went into those animations, and unfortunately we just ran out of time to showcase them.

Diablo 3 Wizard Orb and Unannounced Weapon Enchantment

Bashiok teased players with one of the Diablo III features that have not been announced yet: How to upgrade base weapons damage to make them more powerful? The answer is not former Diablo II runes. Say whoa? We will probably have to wait until Blizzcon 2009 this August to find out or one of the BlizzCasts? Additionally, we learn something about the Wizard.

Blizzard Quote:

Wizard

Bashiok: The sort of plate-like gauntlets shown on her are part of the armor set look she was wearing. I think the “focus” you’re talking about is actually an orb, which is a wizard-specific off hand item. You’ve got the idea right though, a lot of the wizard spell animations incorporate the orb into a sort of focusing element while casting. The electrocute and disintegrate videos show it pretty well.

Unannounced Weapon Enhancement

Bashiok: I think it’s important not to mistake the word used for a system (in this case rune) for what the systems are actually accomplishing.

In Diablo II runes were used to augment weapons and essentially add more stats to them, runes in certain combinations would create runewords which were in essence more powerful than the sum of each individual rune. But remove the word rune, and you’re looking at a system that simply upgrades items.

Similarly, runes in Diablo III, take away the word rune and we’re looking at a system where skills and abilities can be altered to behave differently, simply increased in effectiveness, or some combination thereof.

Essentially what your question comes down to then is, where is the system in Diablo III that allows us to make base weapons more powerful? And that’s a question that will have to be answered at a later time.

Diablo II Patch 1.13 Community Wish List

Bashiok invites all Diablo II players to share their ideas. It is probably the first time the Diablo II community has the opportunity to become involved in the development of a patch with plenty of heads up. What changes or features do you wish to see in patch 1.13 ?

Blizzard Quote:
We

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