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Battle.net Launches Diablo III: Reaper of Souls Pre-Orders and Release Date is March 25, 2014

Battle.net has launched the Diablo III: Reaper of Souls Pre-Orders page, and reveals the official release date: March 25, 2014.

The Standard Edition costs $39.99, while the Digital Edition (which includes the digital goodies found in the Collector’s Edition) available for $59.99.

Thanks to awesome contributor Kuangtu for sharing the find.

Update: Blizzard Entertainment has now posted the official announcement.

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Diablo III: Reaper of Souls Closed Beta Has Begun

Diablo III: Reaper of Souls closed beta has launched. It is no longer Friends & Family-only. Several invites will be issued over the next weeks in waves. In the meantime, double-check your Battle.net account to see if you got an invite or make sure your opt-in is set to participate.

Reapers, and Westmarch, and Crusaders, oh my—the Diablo® III: Reaper of Souls™ Closed Beta has begun!

Invitations to this next phase of our public test are now being delivered to nephalem worldwide. If you’ve been invited to the Closed Beta, we’d love to hear all about your adventures on the forums, watch your live streams, and see screenshots and videos of your experiences in Sanctuary. Please keep in mind that Reaper of Souls is still in development, which means that all content in the Closed Beta is subject to change and isn’t necessarily representative of the final game.

For additional information about the Closed Beta including how to participate, copy over characters, and provide feedback, read on below!

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BlizzCon 2013 – Diablo III Lore and Story Q&A Panel Transcript

Presenter: Welcome to the Diablo III Lore and Story Q&A panel. The panelists are: Leonard Boyarski (senior designer), Michael Chu (game designer/writer), Brian Kindreagan (lead writer), Valerie Watrous (game designer/writer) and Justin Parker (historian)

Kindreagan: Hey, BlizzCon! I’m Brian Kindreagan and I’m the lead writer on Diablo III: Reaper of Souls. And I’m gonna ask everyone on our panel to introduce themselves before we get to the questions. So let’s start with Leonard.

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Boyarski: I’m Leonard Boyarski, and I’m senior world designer.

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Chu: Hey, I’m Michael Chu and I’m game designer and writer. And you can probably blame me for some characters like the Monk, Witch Doctor Covetous Shen and Zoltun Kulle.

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Watrous: Hi, I’m Valerie Watrous and I’m a writer on Diablo. I work mostly on dialogue and characterization.

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Parker: Hello, I’m Justin Parker. I’m the historian or one of the historians. We mostly work with the world that’s gone before and trying to keep continuity as best we can.

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Kindreagan: So, Justin is the surprise last minute addition to our panel. So that he can help with the some of the really deep Diablo history if we get into that. So, OK, let’s open it right up for some questions. If you have any questions, call me up.

BlizzCon 2013 – Diablo III: Gameplay Systems + Crusader Panel Transcript

Presenter: Welcome to the Diablo III: Gameplay Systems and Crusader panel. Your panelists are: Josh Mosqueira (game director), Kevin Martens (lead game designer), Paul David (senior artist), Nicholas Chilano (lead animator), Andrew Chambers (senior game designer), Nicholas Eberle (senior technical artist), Wyatt Cheng (senior technical game designer), Travis Day (game designer), and Steve Shimizu (lead gameplay programmer).

Mosqueira: Good morning Blizzcon, How you guys doing?

[People scream with happiness]

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I brought the whole gang with me today, because there is a lot of you guys out there. I mean I have lot of really cool things for your guys today. So what are we covering today? This is the gameplay panel.

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So yesterday we talked a lot about some of the big new features that you are gonna expect with Reaper of Soul’s adventure mode . But today we are doing a deep dive on the few of the very core things that are at the heart of Diablo.

And those start with epic heroes. So the guys here are gonna talk to you guys about “The Crusader”. Our knight in battlestar armor. What was our process behind, how we come with his skills, his look and how we are fulfilling that fantasy. But “The Crusader” may be the star of Reaper Souls but all of the five classes are getting brand new skills. And why here we are gonna talk to you guys about what you are gonna expect.

Diablo III: Reaper of Souls – Crusader Skills (Videos)

This is a list of all the Crusader class’ skills: Primary, Secondary, Defensive, Utility, Laws, Conviction and Passive Skills. Added video clips of how each skill looks along with any of the five different runes.

Note: These skills are from the Friends & Family beta build, and might change throughout multiple iterations. These skills, visual effects and animations are not representative of what you might see in the final product.

Skills:PrimarySecondaryDefensiveUtilityLawsConvictionPassive


Primary

Diablo III: Reaper of Souls – Bounty: Rewards Change

A few days ago, a hotfix was deployed to alter the Bounty rewards system. There are 25 bounties throughout Sanctuary. 5 Bounties per Act. Before this hotfix, you would get a Horadric Cache per Bounty (25 caches for all 5 Acts).

This was awesome, because you got a whole lot of loot. However, there were several problems I quickly noticed. I would spend a lot of time emptying my bags, and clicking caches, and collecting them from the ground, and then emptying again my bags, and so on.

Add to the equation that Diablo III: Reaper of Souls is meant to be a cool experience playing with four friends. Each of them were going through these 25 bounties and each of them emptying their bags, and clicking their caches, etc.

You want to play and kill monsters. You don’t want to spend that much time emptying bags and doing all that process. Another problem I noticed was that I wouldn’t use Blood Shards for gambling or for Greater Horadric Caches. Nephalem Rifts were sort of meaningless. I heard people say they would rather do bounties than to do a Nephalem Rift. I agreed.

So the Diablo III team heard the feedback, and this was the hotfix applied:

  • Completing individual bounties will no longer reward a Horadric Cache.
  • Completing all five Bounties in an Act now also provides Blood Shards.

Now you only get a Horadric Cache when you complete all 5 bounties in an Act — instead of 5 Horadric Caches as it was before. You are still getting Blood Shards on each Bounty, though. So now Blood Shards are more abundant than the Horadric Caches, giving them a bit of a more value as a currency to buy Greater Horadric Caches (which cost 100 Blood Shards); or to gamble.

With Nephaelm Rifts, they had no reward. They didn’t have as much value other than a challenge. I had piled up over 60 Rift Keystones. With the hotfix, Nephalem Rifts now grant a Greater Horadric Cache. When you click those, a bunch of loot falls to the ground. There’s a chance for a Legendary to pop, some yellow items, and materials for the Blacksmith, Jeweler, and Mystic.

I had stopped playing Diablo III a long time ago. Mostly helping with beta testing or PTR testing, adding content to the website for each of those. I missed many new features introduced in past patches. Playing Diablo III: Reaper of Souls, it feels like the Diablo III team has brought new breath and life to the gameplay experience.

To keep track of the latest hotfixes, visit the official forum to read Nevalistis’ latest updates.

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BlizzCon 2013 – Diablo III: Reaper of Souls Preview Panel Transcript

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Presenter: Welcome to the Diablo III: Reaper of Souls Preview Panel. Your panelists are: Josh Mosqueira (game director), Kevin Martens (lead designer), Stephen Wong (senior gameplay programmer), Jesse Maccree (senior level designer), Joe Shely (senior game designer), Julian Love (lead technical artist), Tim Linn (lead interior environment artist), and Zaven Haroutunian (level designer).

Mosqueira: Hey, how you guys doing?

[People scream with happiness]

Mosqueira: Are you guys ready to face Death? Awesome isn’t that cinematic just awesome, we’re really excited to be here, umm my name is Josh Mosqueira, I’m the game director, and it’s a great honor to be here with you guys today, we’re going to show you some of the cool new things we have in store for you guys for the ”Reapers of Souls” .

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We got a great panel for you guys today, but before we get in to meat and potatoes of Reapers of Souls, I want to take a few moments to talk to you guys about what Reapers of Souls means to us.

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What of our high level goals we had when we started the project; and for us it all starts with epic heroes, where you are the Barbarian or Demon Hunter or the Monk or the brand new Crusader, You’re a knight in a battlestar armor, you guys are playing heroes which are bigger than life and you are facing the forces of darkness.

In “Reaper Souls”, we’re celebrating the dark gothic hearts. It is at the root of Diablo, and we have a sleuth of new monsters for you guys to kill and loot; and Joe and Julian, up here, are gonna talk to you about how our monsters are designed to live to die, and we’re not only introducing new monsters we’re also introducing brand new villain to the world of Diablo in the form of Malthael — the angel of death, and Tim and Zaven are going to talk to you guys about Pandemonium — the final battleground where you guys are going to be confronting Malthael, and trying to stop death; but we’re not just stopping there, one of the most important goals for us is we wanna make sure that there was, an end game for everyone.

Diablo III: Reaper of Souls – Adventure Mode Gameplay as Crusader lvl 35-42

Two hours of raw gameplay playing Adventure Mode in a Crusader class level 35-42. Adventure Mode for me is very fluid and enjoyable. I feel the campaign mode is long and less fluid. Campaign mode can be monotonous long before the 1000th time going through it.

Adventure Mode on the other hand is completing a random Bounty at a time. You choose which Bounty to tackle, and which area of Sanctuary or High Heavens you want that Bounty to be at.

Some are short, others even shorter. It feels like the perfect gameplay experience for someone who doesn’t have 2 hours to play, but 20 minutes or 40 minutes. You complete as many bounties as you wish in the time-frame you wish, and you know you will be done before the time you need to go take a shower to go to college or to your job, or to the movies with a friend.

Best yet is the rewards. Every bounty you gain a Horadric Cache, monsters might drop them too. The bigger ones are sold by the Horadrim for 100 Blood Shards. Some have a chance to drop a Legendary item. The way this new mode is designed will likely make players level 70 go this route to gear up. It’s so fun to open the Horadric Cache and see this bunch of loot come out. Even if your leet Legendary didn’t drop, lots of Blacksmith materials pop for you to craft stuff.

Watch the 2 hours video below. (720HD available with full screen)

Note: On Tuesday or earlier, I’ll take video of the Crusader at level 70. I am level 61 right now. Working hard on it. I’m also going to gather all the Crusader skills in a list and add short videos of each skill+rune variant. Stay tuned.

Disclaimer: This video shows gameplay in the Friends & Family beta testing. It doesn’t represent the content to be seen in the final product as things might change or be removed.

Diablo III: Reaper of Souls – Nephalem Rift on Crusader lvl 26

When playing in Adventure Mode, you will have the opportunity to loot a Rift Keystone from an elite monster.

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These can be used at the Nephalem Obelisk near the Main Camp. Usually you can see it on the mini-map at the town or main camp as a obelisk icon.

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A yellow portal opens. Click it and your character will be teleported to a random dungeon.

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A progress bar will appear on the right side, just beneath the mini-map. It goes from 0% to 100%. As you kill monsters, that bar increases. At 100% the Rift Guardian will spawn near you.

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Below is a video I took of my Crusader level 26 entering a Nephaelm Rift. The video is about an hour long. You can skip everything after I kill the Rift Guardian. I stayed a while to clear all the five dungeon floors. If you see me smashing monsters with Fist of Heavens, I heard a few hours later that the ability is bugged. Supposedly hits 10 times harder than intended. If you are playing beta, I don’t recommend exploiting bugs. Might get banned.

The feedback I have heard so far is that Bounties look more appealing and rewarding than a Nephalem Rift. As usual, the developers listen to fan feedback, and chances are there will be significant changes. Remember, this is still Friends & Family beta. Nothing seen in this video is final.

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