Error: Only up to 6 widgets are supported in this layout. If you need more add your own layout.

Account-Wide Death Knight Creation Updated

Nethaera has informed us of an update to the recent Account-wide Death Knight Creation issue alert posted at the official forums. Some players are able to still create Death Knights, but other players can’t. Blizzard is trying to isolate what is causing this seemingly random bug.  As of later tonight, the problem will be resolved after the restarts. We have below a FAQ to Account-wide Death Knight Creation provided by Blizzard.

Blizzard Quote:
Update – 1/21 11:30 AM PST

We are continuing to work on allowing death knight creation on all eligible realms per the creation rules for death knights and will provide further updates as soon as they are available.

Update – 1/20 5:20pm PST

We will be bringing all realms down at 5am PDT (Oceanic realms will be brought down at 12pm PDT) on January 21 to address an issue with Death Knight creation. The restarts should only take approximately 15 minutes to complete. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Update- 1/20 3:30 PM PST

Please be aware that select players are currently able to create death knights on realms other than the one they currently have a level 55+ character on while others are still unable to do so at this time. We are currently working to address this issue and anticipate this to be corrected as of tonight

ModDB: Diablo II Mod Median XL Nominated for Best Mod of the Year

The ModDB site is encouraging fans to vote for the best Mod of the Year. On the Blizzard games end, Diablo II has a nomination with the Median XL mod.

The main attraction of Median XL is the brand new skill trees, 30 skills per class, providing a whole new experience. The mod also offers a new base item setup with 7 quality tiers, 471 uniques, 235 runewords, a new affix pool and gem/jewel stats, honorific items and many new and powerful crafting recipes.

All this would be for nothing without the monster AI modifications and new abilities, elite and heroic monsters with even more powerful skills, and for advanced players there are 27 new uberquests based on Diablo lore and the challenges, which reward you for killing bosses at a low level or two of them at once.

Starcraft 2 Beta Date Set in Stone?

Our sister network site, StarcraftWire.net, reports (german-to-english translation) that Blizzard slipped at the ESL in Vienna, Austria the Starcraft II Beta has an internal release date.  The date was not revealed, and it is not certain if the date is set in stone. However, to hear Blizzard confirm they have an internal date means CLOSED BETA is imminent. Starcraft anniversary (April 1) is coincidentially very close, barely 2 months away. It could happen any time between February and April range. Crosses fingers. By the way … GIMME BETA !!!!

Sorry, I had to.

Diii.net - Possible Death Knight Class and Ureh

I posted an article over at Diii.net to discuss a possible paladin-like class based on some concept art shown within Cain’s Journal. It wouldn’t completely be like the original Paladin class however, but a darker version of it with other class traits.

When I played the Diablo III demo at Blizzcon, the Wizard felt very much like a merge of the Sorceress and the Assassin classes. The Wizard can melee and you can even assign points to the dagger’s abilities in the talent trees.

The Witch Doctor has some traits of the Necromancer merged with traits of the Druid class, summoning pets.

So, would it be too far-fetched to think the Paladin will have traits from another class? The Amazon, or even the Necromancer? One of the concept arts shows a warrior/paladin like class wearing skeletal shoulderpads. A Death Knight or Darker Zealot?

Here is the article in question. Any thoughts on the possible Paladin-like class or Ureh are welcome. Discuss.
http://www.n4g.com/NewsPendingCom-262562.aspx?CT=1&Page=1&Page2=1#C1956553

Lore: The Heart of the Lich King

Recently, I transcribed the first pages of World of Warcraft: Arthas, Rise of the Lich King by Christie Golden. The book to be published on April 21 introduces a very key feature of the Wrath of the Lich King expansion’s storyline that reveals Arthas was wounded in the duel against Illidan, and after he merged with Ner’zhul, Arthas went into a long sleep where the orc, the prince and the boy (Matthias Lehner) brewed an inner-turmoil during his long dark dream.  The answer to end this long dreamscape was to cast his own heart out to strip away his weakness.

If you read the book preview, and experience the Icecrown quests with Matthias Lehner you will see a big tie-in between the book and the in-game quests. Probably a connection with what might happen in the Lich King dungeon encounter. Some fans do not have yet the Wrath of the Lich King expansion or don’t play WoW at all. If you don’t mind heavy spoilers, watch the two videos below showing you the quests given by the child Matthias Lehner (Arthas Menethil anagram).  You get to control Arthas and use his abilities in two quests.  You fight Illidan too.  More interesting is what happens when Tirion Fordring—wielding the Ashbringer—faces Arthas the LIch King at the Cathedral of Darkness in Icecrown.

At the bottom of this page, you may read the transcript of all the questline.

Video 1: Army of the Damned

Video 2: The Hunter and the Prince

Opportunity (Horde)—Exploiting an Opening (Alliance)

Koltira Deathweaver: We recently came upon schematics that indicate a weakness in Icecrown Citadel. An opening in its defenses, both figuratively and literally.

The captured diagrams show an orifice leading several hundred feet into the ground. We’re unsure of its purpose, but our scouting has revealed it to be of high importance to the Scourge.

Speak to Sergeant Kregga below Icecrown Citadel, she’s leading the attack on the site.

End
Seargeant Kregga: Just in time, (name). Koltira spoke highly of you. Perhaps you’ll be able to push the scales in our favor.

Establishing Superiority (Horde)—Securing the Perimeter (Alliance)

Sergeant Kregga: We’ve one shot at dealing some damage to this place—let’s make sure we get it right.

We’ve acquired potent, Scourge-made, saronite bombs. But we must secure this area before we can set them off.

We’re going to need to get the Scourge defenses under control quickly, before reinforcements arrive.

Help my men out and come back when you’re ready for some fireworks.

End
Sergeant Kregga: You made quick work of the Scourge, (name). Let’s finish what we came to do here.

Blow it up! (Horde)—Set it off! (Alliance)

Seargent Kregga: This is probably as under-control as this situation is going to get. Let’s do this, (Name).

I need someone to light the fuse on those bombs and it looks like you’re the one to do it.

Yourself: These bombs look pretty potent. They should at least put a dent in the surrounding structure.

A Short Fuse

Yourself: As you light the fuse, you notice that it is consumed by fire far quicker than you would expect.

The bombs are about to go off and your best chance at surviving is to lean towards the pit and hope the fall doesn’t kill you.

Note: Once the bomb explodes, your character is catapulted into the pit landing into a pool within the Forgotten Depths. A pulsing ice crystal floats inside the pool.

End
Object: This pulsing object is covered in a thick layer of ice. It shimmers strangely beneath the water.

A Voice in the Dark

The object is not a crystal at all, but some form of organ, encased in ice.

As you touch it, your hand reels in horrible pain. You feel as if your hand has been cut, yet there is no visible wound.

As you collect your thoughts, you hear a young boy’s voice nearby.

“You really shouldn’t have done that.”

Time to Hide

Matthias Lehner: You shouldn’t have touched it. But now that you did, he’s going to come looking for you.

And he’ll find you. Unless you hide yourself from him.

Bring me blood from the faceless ones if you want to live!

End
Matthias Lehner: Did you get the blood? What are you waiting for? You have to rub it on you!

Quick! Or he’ll see you!

Return to the Surface

Matthias Lehner: You should leave now. You’ll find a portal behind me. It’ll take you to the surface.

We’ll meet again. He’ll be looking for you.

It’s only a matter of time until he finds you.

End
Koltira Deathweaver: (Name)! We thought you were dead!

We lost a few men in that explosion… but we sure put a hurt on the Scourge. They’re scrambling their forces back to the citadel and leaving big gaps in their defenses. It’s time to push forward.

Field Repairs (Horde)—Field Repairs (Alliance)

Koltira Deathweaver: The Scourge is still reeling from our attack, (name). Now is the time to capitalize on our momentum.

The strategically important valley below us is wide open. We’ve located a disassembled demolisher vehicle in what we believe is working condition in the southeastern corner of the Valley of Lost Hope area.

If you can get the remaining parts from the Scourge scavengers, you should be able to get it running again. A single working demolisher can wreak havoc on the enemy’s ground units.

Object: The demolisher has suffered much damage.

The Demolisher has seen better days, but the structure hasn’t suffered any permanent damage. The parts you obtained should be enough to get it running again, at least temporarily.

Do your Worst

Matthias Lehner: You’re going to use this machine against the Scourge? You’re not going to win against them like that.

You can destroy hundreds… even thousands of them. But you won’t win. Not out here.

When you’re done playing with your machine, meet me to the north. There is an old army encampment. What I will show you will teach you a little bit about who you’re up against.

Use the Refurbished Demolisher to destroy 150 Decomposed Ghouls, 20 Frostskull Mages and 2 Bone Giants in the Valley of Lost Hope. Speak to Matthias Lehner at the First Legion Forward Camp when you’ve completed this task.

Matthias Lehner: You see? You killed your fair share, but for every one you destroyed, another rose from the dirt to take its place.

You don’t know what you’re up against, (name). Let me show you.

Army of the Damned

Matthias Lehner: You probably think you’re quite strong—fighting these undead and crushing their bones beneath your war machines.

That is nothing compared to the strength it took to create them.

I saw the prince do it himself. I can show you how it happened… if you’d like.

Matthias Lehner at the First Legion Forward Camp wants you to raise an army of 100 Ghoulish Minions

Matthias Lehner: The prince’s true power wasn’t his ability to make armies out of corpses… that was easy

But killing his own men, with whom he’d shared many battles… the prince’s true power was his ability to do what had to be done.

Futility (Horde)—- Futility (Alliance)

Matthias Lehner: Do you see now? Sending your men against the prince’s armies just swells their numbers.

I don’t expect you to understand… you’ll probably just end like the others. You’d best return to whoever sent you. They might be worried.

End
Koltira Deathweaver: There you are. Nice work down in the valley. The carnage was visible all the way up here.

Are you ok? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.

Cradle of the Frostbrood (Horde)—- Sindragosa’s Fall (Alliance)

Koltira Deathweaver: We need to keep our momentum going. Let’s not give the Scourge forces any respite.

Sindragosa’s Fall lies east just beyond the Valley of Lost Hope. The Cult of the Damned operate there, under close supervision of the Lich King’s undead Vrykul lackeys.

It is a place of great power, possibly a blue dragonflight graveyard. The feared Frostbrood are raised there from the bones of blue dragons.

An attack there would have great impact on the enemy’s access to Frost Wyrms. Are you up to it, (name)?

Koltira Deathweaver aboard Orgrim’s Hammer wants you to slay 5 Wyrm Reanimators, 8 Cultist Corrupters and 3 Vrykul Necrolords at Sindragosa’s Fall.

Koltira Deathweaver: Hail, (name).

You’ve done well, (name). You might want to rest for a while. You look a little pale.

Where Dragons Fell (Horde)

Matthias Lehner: A whole brood of blue dragons fell here. And now, one by one, they’re being raised by his servants.

He raised the biggest of them all himself. Bring me some bone dust from the whelps and I’ll show you exactly how he did it.

End
Matthias Lehner: Did you get the dust, (name)?

Note: Before you, Arthas the Lich King phases in replicating the Wrath of the Lich King cinematic intro where he rises Sindragosa from the ice ground.

End
Matthias Lehner: Even the mighty wyrms had to heed his call. How is a simple mortal like you going to resist him?

Time for Answers

Matthias Lehner: You have a lot of questions, (name). You’re the only one who can see me because you touched something that once belonged to him… don’t you remember?

You don’t know what it is? Well I can’t just tell you… that would make him really mad. He’s not just a prince anymore… he’s the king!

Meet me at the Court of Bones, north of Icecrown Citadel and you can see for yourself.

End
Matthias Lehner: There you are. I started to wonder whether you’d show up.

The Hunter and the Prince

Matthias Lehner: Before the prince became a king, he fought many battles… but only one where he came close to dying.

It was fought right here. After you let me show you what happened, you’ll understand everything.

Find a bloodstained stone and pick it up from the floor. You’ll see what happened.

Note: You become Arthas the Death Knight and you fight Illidan the Betrayer, reliving the duel from Warcraft III: Frozen Throne.

End
Matthias Lehner: After that fight, the prince realized what was holding him back was that he was still human… he could still feel… he could still bleed. He still had a heart.

The first thing he did when he became king was to rid of himself of it. He threw it down the pit where we first met. And you, (name), were the first person to touch it since.

Knowledge is a Terrible Burden (Horde)—- Knowledge is a Terrible Burden (Alliance)

Matthias Lehner: Now you know what you’re up against, (name). An opponent who no longer knows pain… remorse… or humanity. An opponent who will do anything to get what he wants.

The heart was his weakness and now he knows you’ve found it.

If you’re going to go back for it, you’d best bring help. He will not leave it unguarded again.

End
Koltira Deathweaver: Little kid’s ghost… Arthas’s heart… you’d better slow down… you’re making my head spin.

Argent Aid (Horde)—- Tirion’s Help (Alliance)

Koltira Deathweaver: There were rumors about the events you speak of among the Death Knights. I always expected the story to be more… symbolic.

We must warn others, but we must be discrete. As soon as the Lich King knows we’re making our move, he’ll move the location of the heart—we’ll never get a chance like this again.

The Horde and the Alliance have been infiltrated by the Cult of the Damned before. The Ebon Blade operates too close to the Scourge.

We have to speak to Tirion Fordring and his Argent Crusade.

End
Tirion Fordring: Heavy words, (name). If it were somebody else saying them, I’d be likely to judge them insane.

Tirion’s Gambit

Tirion Fordring: Just this morning, my scouts informed me of a Cult of the Damned procession leaving from Icecrown Citadel to the Cathedral of Darkness, bearing an artifact.

And now I learn that it might be Arthas’s own heart… a thing containing the last bit of his remaining humanity.

This is a sign of the Light. As long as such an artifact exists, there is a chance that Arthas Menethil can become a man again!

Meet me at the cathedral’s entrance. Be sure to bring a cultist’s hood—we’re going incognito.

Tirion Fordring, at the Crusader’s Pinnacle, wants you to obtain and wear a Cultist Acolyte’s Hood and meet him at the entrance of the Cathedral of Darkness, northwest of Icecrown Citadel

Note: At the Cathedral of Darkness, once you acquire the Cultist Acolyte’s Hood, walk to the bonefire on the right side of the door. There is Tirion Fordring disguised with other Argent Dawn agents.

Tirion Fordring: There you are.  Are you ready then? Once we start, there is no turning back.

You: I’m ready, Highlord.

Tirion Fordring: It’s time. May the Light give us strength.

Note: Tirion and the Argent Crusade agents walk slowly into the Cathedral of Darkness, and stand near a table close to the altar where the Heart of Arthas has been brought by the Cult of the Damned.  Arthas the Lich King walks in.

Tirion Fordring: Keep yours head down and follow my lead.

(Shortly after)

Tirion Fordring: Here it comes. Stand ready.

The Lich King is here. May the light guide our blades.

Arthas the Lich King: Uninvited guests? Did you think you’d go unnoticed inside my dominion?

I must confess—you were not altogether unexpected. I hope you find your final resting place … to your liking.

Tirion Fordring: You sound a little too confident. Especially considering the way our last encounter ended.

Arthas the Lich King: Last time we met, you had the advantage of fighting on holy ground. You’ll find that our situation has been … reversed.

Tirion Fordring: That might be, but I don’t need to stand on holy ground to run that disembodied heart of yours with the Ashbringer.

Arthas the Lich King: I call your bluff.  You’re a paladin after all.  Your obsession with redemption goes beyond the inane.

You surely wouldn’t destroy humanity’s only chance to redeem its most wayward son. You’d sooner die!

Tirion Fordring: The heart … the last remaining vestige of your humanity.  I had to stop it from being destroyed.  I had to see for myself.  And at last I’m sure …

Only shadows from the past remain.  There’s nothing left to redeem.

Note: Tirion Fordring charges with blazing-speed toward Arthas’ ice-encased heart … and destroys it. An immense flash of light blinds everyone. Tirion is knocked unconscious by this, while Arthas the Lich King is badly hurt, falling to his knees … barely holding himself with Frostmourne.

Arthas the Lich King: Arrrrrrrrgggggghhhhhh !!!!!!

Disguised Crusader: Tirion’s down. Defend him with your lives !

Arthas the Lich King: You … will pay for that, old man. Slay them all !

Note: The Cult of the Damned surrounds the Argent Crusade agents and clash in combat.  The Cult of the Damned is decimated with the sudden assistance of Highlord Darion Mograine and his Ebon Blade Knights. Darion opens a death gate to facilitate everyone’s escape from the Cathedral of Darkness back to the Crusader

Exclusive: Warcraft: Day of the Dragon Audiobook Sample

Dick Hill provided us with a 4-minutes Mp3 sample of the upcoming Warcraft: Day of the Dragon audiobook slated to be on sale near the end of December 2008 at the Tantor Media Audiobooks store. Pre-orders are already available. The audio sample provided to us is from the scene where Elven Ranger Vereesa, dwarf warrior Falstad, and Kryll (the goblin) discuss going to Grim Batol. You can listen to the sample at our recent interview with Dick Hill.

Let us know if you liked his voice performance and if you look forward for Warcraft: Lord of the Clans (Feb 2009) and Warcraft: The Last Guardian (April 2009) Audiobooks too.

World of Warcraft Wolfrider Statue At Child’s Play 2008 Charity Auction

The Child’s Play 2008 Charity Dinner Auction ticket sales will close on December 5th. Attendees will have the opportunity to bid on the World of Warcraft Wolfrider bronze statue at the auction. This is the same bronze statue I saw at the Blizzard Entertainment main office’s entrance. A huge replica of this statue will be brought from Asia to be placed at the center of the Blizzard Campus.

Those smaller bronze statues are limited editions that only Blizzard employees have, so if you want a chance at bidding on this one and be helpful to the charity feel free to get your tickets while they last. Let us know your impressions of the event and share your photos. Child’s Play takes place on Tuesday, December 9 at 6:30pm, on the 4th Floor of the Washington Convention Center (Skybridge). Dinner and the live auction will commence at 7:30pm.

SEATTLE – Dec. 1, 2008 – Hurry before it’s too late! Tickets are selling faster than the proverbial MMO on launch day for the 2008 Child’s Play Charity dinner auction to be held on Dec. 9 in the Washington State Convention and Trade Center’s skybridge; ticket sales will close this Friday, Dec. 5 (unless sold out prior). The event annually hosts over 400 videogame industry professionals and community members for an evening of drinks and silent bidding, followed by a plated banquet and live auction to benefit sick children in over 50 hospitals around the world. Contributions to the charity already exceed $450,000, passing the halfway mark for this year’s goal of $750,000.

Notable silent and live auction items will include:
- A microwave from Harmonix
- A Halo 3 Master Chief helmet signed by Bungie, Roosterteeth and Penny Arcade staff
- A bronze-cast World of Warcraft statue of an orc and wolf mount, given exclusively to Blizzard Entertainment employees
- A mint-condition, limited edition Black Dreamcast autographed by former Sega President Peter Moore

Dinner auction tickets may be purchased at http://www.childsplaycharity.org/cpdinner.php for $125 per person, $60 of which is tax deductible. Corporate table sponsorships (seats 10) are still available. Contact klindsay@penny-arcade.com for further information.

Breaking News: Jim Raynor and Kerrigan Auditions

We have received heads up from a couple of agencies informing us that the voice acting role of Jim Raynor and Kerrigan the Queen of Blades are now up for grabs. It seems the Jim Raynor voice actor used in the Starcraft II cinematic and in the in-game single player demonstrations was a placeholder; or the creative team decided at last minute to change the actor.

Overall, this is an indication that Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty is on crunch mode. Voice acting is one of the few steps of development when the single-player dialogues are set in stone. As many of us witnessed, the developers revealed they were a third done with the Single Player (at the Starcraft Panels during the 2008 Blizzard Worldwide Invitationals in Paris back on June 28-29).

This was roughly five months ago. After Blizzcon, now we know that Starcraft II will be a trilogy. In short, fans could speculate they meant they were one third done with the Wings of Liberty episode.

Are we looking at an anniversary release date? (April 1); or the usual RTS release date (July 1)? We will have to wait and see.

We wish to gather feedback from the entire Starcraft Community. Do you wish Blizzard to hire the original Starcraft voice actors: Glynnis Talken (Kerrigan) and Robert Clotworthy (Jim Raynor)? Please, write up good reasons to wish these voice actors back in Starcraft II. Spread the word around your favorite forum communities.

Post your comments here. We will forward this petition to the Starcraft II team. This is your chance to get the former and loved Jim Raynor and Kerrigan voice actors back into Starcraft II!

 

BlizzCon 2008 - Diablo III Hands-On Gameplay Impressions

I am fortunate to be one of the lucky people who played the Diablo III demo showcased at Blizzcon 2008 in Anaheim. Not only was it a pleasure to play it, but left me craving for more. I decided to create a female Wizard. She spawns in the outskirts of the Tristram Woods where Captain Rumford and an armored warrior are piling up a bonfire of corpses. The warrior can be seen transporting the corpses off a wagon and into the bonfire.

Captain Rumford says they are burning the corpses to prevent them from rising as undead. NPCs that have something to say have a black oval with dots hovering above them when you place the cursor over them.  A popup window displays the “introduction” option, feature that remains a constant from Diablo II. However, not only does each NPC talk to you.  Your very own character talks back, interacting with the NPCs.  By saying talk, I mean both: the NPC and your character have voice over actors adding emotion and life to the Action / RPG.

Read below a lengthy preview on various features observed in the Diablo III hands-on demo

I started pressing keys to see what options were available.  Pressing (C) opens the Character window, Inventory (I), Quest (Q), Skill trees (S), and mini-map toogle (N), Game Menu (ESCAPE button)

CHARACTER STATS

At level 5, these were the stats I found on my Wizard character. Hope these stats offer you a better scope of how the Wizard stats and abilities work:

Melee damage: 2-8 |  Spell damage: 12-23 |  Armor: 34

  • 16 Strength – Physical damage bonus: 16%  |  Armor Bonus 26%

  • 28 Dexterity – Crit chance 7.0%  |  Dodge chance: 7.0
  • 18 Vitality – Life: 56 |  Mana Regen: 0.9 sec.
  • 94 Willpower – Spell damage bonus: 52.8%  |  Health globe bonus: 0.0%

In Diablo II, you get points after leveling to spend on these four stats. In Diablo III, thus far, these stats increase automatically. You no longer have control over where these points are spent into. At the bottom of the Character (C) window, you can find a table with two columns displaying the following data:

Physical Offense Defense
1.20 Attacks per second
70% Physical crit chance
150.0% Physical crit damage
0.0% Block amount
6.0% Block chance
34.0 Armor
2.5% Physical damage reduction

At the bottom left of the Character (C) window you will find your character resistances. These can be determined by icons:

Blue snowflake = Frost
Red Flame = Fire
Purple Thunder = Lightning
Green Skull = Poison
Yellow icon = Arcane

INVENTORY

The Inventory window shows a lot of visual information. It has a simple and intuitive UI frame with colorful gradients of orange and dark brown, and stylized symbols that highlight a gothic-like feeling. You can see your character model viewer which allows you to rotate your character. Around the viewer, you have 12 gear slots: helm, medallion, chest, sash, 2 rings, weapon, shield, boots, pants, gloves, and shoulder. Between the weapon and the shield is a strange circle. When clicking it, a new window pops forward. Based on the demo observation and loot, this window with 9 circles resembles the Glyphs window from World of Warcraft. In the case of Diablo 3, these 9 circles are reserved for Runes.  Thus far in the Blizzcon demo, only the Wizard can equip runes. (i.e. certain monsters may randomly drop a minor power rune).

Beneath the character viewer and gear slots can be seen the bag inventory—all in the same window.  There are 30 slots, but only a few are enabled. You can expand to the full 30 slots by adding bags into the bag slots.  On the bottom-right you can see four slots. There is where you drag the bags into. By dropping the bag item into that slot, you increase the amount of slots enabled.  Eventually your goal is to enable all 30 slots.  Each slot is thin and tall, and certain items can stack in the same slot. Doesn’t look like there is a special slot bar for potions, but mini-health potions have been seen, as well as elixir of dexterity and elixir of vitality which may have durations of up to 300 seconds (5 minutes).

RUNES

Not much was revealed about [WIKI]Runes[/WIKI]. [WIKI]Barbarian[/WIKI] and [WIKI]Witchdoctor[/WIKI] classes don’t have runes enabled in the Blizzcon demo, so it looks like it is something still in the works. In a press panel, [WIKI]Jay Wilson[/WIKI] revealed these runes will change the visual effects of your character and its spells/abilities. Imagine your lightning spell increasing its glow making it look more powerful and actually increasing your damage output.

MINI-MAP

You may toggle the mini-map by pressing (N).  It is more effective than the old Diablo II map overlay (tab). The mini-map is located on the upper-right corner.  It has no frame like the World of Warcraft circle framed mini-map.  It has an unframed tall rectangular area. By pressing the arrow keys you can move the mini-map in any direction. To reset simply press (N) twice, or escape.

How is this new mini-map more effective?  Diablo II’s overlay map would take the whole screen, and would interfere your line of sight affecting what you could see on-screen.  By placing the overlay map to the upper-right corner, your whole screen is visible for gameplay purposes.  Each [WIKI]NPC[/WIKI] is displayed as a tiny yellow dot. Place your mouse cursor over the yellow dots, and automatically a window pops up above the dot displaying the name of the NPC.  You can see and identify NPCs ahead of you, not yet within visual range. Update: Monsters are not displayed by the mini-map. You will still have the element of surprise. The mini-map helps you locate NPCs that might have a quest for you, or some interaction options to learn some lore.

RARE MONSTERS /  BOSS

In Diablo II, it was hard sometimes to notice a rare [WIKI]monster[/WIKI] among a bunch of mobs. Sometimes you would even get killed before noticing a rare was behind that bunch of mobs. In Diablo III, before the rare monster or boss enters into view, a name tag pops at the top-center with a health bar.  The health bar is divided into a few rectangles.  The health bar / name tag window displays the special attributes of the monster (i.e. a rare named Head of Grief had three attributes beneath its name tag: Vampiric, Froze, Fast.

QUESTS

While exploring the world, you will find NPCs with a yellow exclamation sign floating above their head.  When you accept the [WIKI]quest[/WIKI], the title and objectives are displayed onscreen at the right-center for few seconds, then fades out.  You can access the quest window by pressing (Q). It’s very similar to World of Warcraft.  After walking away from the bonefire of corpses at the Tristram Woods, you enter the Ruins of Tristram. There are a few destroyed buildings. You can see the Physix engine in action when randomly some debris of the ruins crumble down. Placing your mouse cursor over some of the door signs you will find Griswold’s Blacksmith Shop. While exploring, you find a well. It can be highlighted if you place your cursor on.  A quest starts and it is automatically displayed onscreen to the right: Little Girl Lost. Objective: Find a way to free the little girl’s spirit from the old well in Tristram.

When you stand near the well you can hear the girl’s voice over and weeping. She is trapped inside the well. Something funny … some of her quotes resemble that of the girl in the Poltergeist film.  Exploring further into the Tristram ruins you find a female ghost and listen to her voice over which is repeated over and over randomly: Where has gone my girl?  She must be so lonely.  She never goes away without her doll.  She’s lost without it!

Not far from the ghost you will find a chest on the ground. Within lies the doll. Loot it and return to the well. The quest is completed as you return the doll.  The spirit of the girl ascends from within the deep well and thank you. A reward is automatically placed in your inventory.  You will read a message onscreen saying how much XP (experience) you gained, and the name of the looted item. In my case, a Socketed Boots of Brawn (+9 armor, 1 socket, + 2 strength).

Before reaching the Cathedral of Tristram entrance, you will find [WIKI]zombies[/WIKI] kneeled on the ground as if eating from a body. Once you kill them, the body on the ground – tagged Dying Adventurer – automatically highlights a yellow exclamation sign enabling a new quest: The Return of the Skeleton King.

The voice over says something along these lines: “Please … listen to me!  The fire, somehow … it awoke him. The Skeleton King’s evil haunts the cathedral once more.”

Your character’s voice over says: “Skeleton King, huh?  Sounds interesting. Rest easy. I will show him the err of his ways.”

Enter the cathedral. Eventually you will find an NPC with a yellow sign on his head. Take the quest. Guess who the NPC is? If you have played Diablo 1 or have visited DiabloWiki.net the name Lachdanan will ring a bell. He was the loyal friend of King Leoric in Diablo 1.  Lachdanan killed King Leoric, who cursed him on his last dying breath.

SCROLLS & BOOKS

This is probably the most lovely lore source feature for players who decide to immerse themselves into the world of Sanctuary.  Let’s say you enter a dungeon, and find a pedestal. When you highlight the pedestal, by moving your mouse cursor over it and clicking it, you loot the book.  Open your Inventory (I) and click the book or scroll.  A sound clip pops up at the bottom-right of the screen. Underneath the clip are three buttons: play, stop, close. It is a voice over recording telling the story within the book.

For example, in the Cathedral of Tristram, the Journal of King Leoric tells his story during the time Diablo possessed his son Albrecht (Diablo I).

BUTTONS

The three buttons to the right of the main UI correspond to the Left Mouse button, Right Mouse button and an alternate Right button that switches those last two by pressing TAB button.

  • Click the left mouse button to move and attack enemies.

  • Click right mouse button to use the assigned skill
  • Press the alt key to show all dropped items
  • Use the 1-4 keys to activate assigned hot bar skills
  • Right-click on a hot bar, or mouse button slot to assign a new skill.
  • Press TAB or scroll the mouse wheel to swap between right mouse and alternate right mouse skills.

SKELETON KING

The Skeleton King appears at the third level of the Tristram Cathedral. Former King Leoric has a large axe. As told by Jay Wilson in the past, boss events can feel epic without the town portal escape trick or the heal potion spam mechanic. Once the Skeleton King engages in combat, dozens of zombies enter the room to attack you. The boss has an animation that alerts you when he is about to slam his long axe toward you. The idea here is to attack him a few times, and run away before he slams the axe in front of him. It can be avoided. Kill a few mobs for health orbs, and attack the Skeleton King again. Rinse and repeat. I was able to kill King Leoric without dying by doing these steps. Sadly, the Diablo III demo finished after killing this first boss, with a message from Blizzard congratulating me for killing the Skeleton King in this BlizzCon 2008 demo.

THOUGHTS

After playing the demo at Blizzcon, I can only say—hopefully not sounding heretic – that I loved Diablo III, and look forward for the announcement of the remaining two classes. No release date for Diablo III unfortunately, but personally I wish this game was on stores around October 2009. Gameplay mechanics are very similar to Diablo II,  except much better. The graphics are vibrant and colorful, without taking away the epic and dark feel of the previous games. The Physix engine honors the [WIKI]Barbarian[/WIKI] class pretty well, smashing stuff and debris in all directions.

You can click emblems on the walls, that activate a mechanism that drops a candelabrum. If timed correctly, it could smash onto a group of mobs. If you move your character quickly into the area the candelabrum drops on, your character gains daze effect for a few seconds (funny). It would be cool to interact more with objects and traps using the Physix engine to benefit you on bosses and monster encounters. For those who asked me recently if [WIKI]Stashes[/WIKI] and [WIKI]Waypoints[/WIKI] are returning in Diablo III, I asked [WIKI]Jay Wilson[/WIKI] and the answer is yes.  Waypoints however will play a different function this time around.  Upon death you respawn at the [WIKI]check point[/WIKI].  Check points I observed in the BlizzCon demo happen by the door toward the next catacomb (for example).  Some objects spawn near you at the check point. You need to equip them again.  This means no more running back to your corpse which is surrounded by 15 monsters. Diablo III is enhancing everything that was broken in Diablo II.

WotLK Beta 8982 - Lady Sylvanas & Varian Wrynn New Model … Again

Blizzard is really demonstrating a lot of detail and change in Wrath of the Lich King expansion. Not only do we get inscription tradeskill, a new hero class, phasing quest system, achievements, calendars, and other bunch of features.  Blizzard is also caring for the lore aspect, and wrapping up past unfinished models.

Alexstrasza got a new model to show the difference between the dragonflight and the Dragon Aspect.  Which means Nozdormu and Ysera (which are in Northrend) are on queue for a model update. Varian Wrynn got a model update last patch, and this time it was Lady Sylvanas’ turn. She had been given a blood elf model with crazed red eyes a few patches ago. However, that was a placeholder. Now we are introduced the new Lady Sylvanas (Banshee Queen) with the true Dark Ranger model and texture.

The King of Stormwind Varian Wrynn got a second model and texture update in less than two weeks. This time Varian matches his World of Warcraft Comic book’s look. The new model even has the scar across his nose. The armor now has Lothar’s belt. The shoulders: one is in shape of an eagle, the other a lion. I am loving the new updates.

An image is worth a thousand words, and I am just … speechless, as many lore fans will. Shouts to the lore buffs over at ScrollsofLore. Watch the two short videos below.

World of Warcraft® and Blizzard Entertainment® are all trademarks or registered trademarks of Blizzard Entertainment in the United States and/or other countries. These terms and all related materials, logos, and images are copyright © Blizzard Entertainment. This site is in no way associated with or endorsed by Blizzard Entertainment®.

Copyright © Blizzplanet.com All Rights Reserved

DMCA.com