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Randomization and level design in the future of Diablo 3
Creating good random map generators is a difficult task in video games, and something we’ve seen done with relative success in all of the Diablo games. Diablo 1 had four dungeon types with quite different maps for each area, though all were just big squares with different arrangements of the pieces within them. (The Hellfire […]
The Diablo 3 Podcast #153: Co-Op, Clans, & Blizzcon
Diablo 3 Podcast conversation about multiplayer co-op issues in Diablo 3. What are the benefits of playing with others? Should there be more party skill bonuses? Why are the Diablo 3 clan tools so meh? The curse of the double-Unity requirement. Show features Aahzmodius, Wolfpaq, and Flux. Click through for approximate segment starting times:
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ArtificialFear’s Tristram Theme Metal


Posted 19 Oct 2014 by at 22:42 GMT

ArtificialFear made a video showing an amazing Tristram Theme Metal song he had created. You must watch it, it speaks for itself.

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Tagged As: , | Categories: Fan Stuff, Media, Videos | 16 Comments

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Play Your Way Thursday: Round 4 VOD


Posted 19 Oct 2014 by at 05:25 GMT

Blizzard made the VOD for the Thursday Livestream now available for viewing. There was much craziness and much almost death in their hardcore shenanigans.

Last Thursday, we hopped on Twitch and livestreamed a very special Hardcore edition of Play Your Way, featuring Majier’s “Sweeping Thunder” Crusader and special guest, deadmau5! If you missed the live broadcast, the VOD of our play session is now available on both Twitch and YouTube.

- – – – -

For our fourth Play Your Way livestream, associate game designer Don Vu convinced Majier#1230 and I into leveling up new Seasonal heroes to join himself and Joel “deadmau5” Zimmerman in Hardcore mode. The threat of permanent death was very real, and you better bet my heart was racing the entire stream!

We started out with Nephalem Rifts on Torment III and pushed our way past Torment VI. After our successes there, we challenged ourselves to Greater Rift levels 25-29! Want to see how we fared? Then check the video embedded video below or watch the VOD directly on Twitch or YouTube.

Curious about the builds we were running? Here’s what we were rolling with:

- – – – -

Thanks to those who joined us in chat, especially those demanding blood tribute.

Until next time, keep playing your way and don’t forget to send in your builds for a chance to join us on stream!


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Diablo Fan Art Watch #260: The Wizard IX


Posted 19 Oct 2014 by at 04:07 GMT

This week on the Diablo Fan Art Watch we feature 10 more pieces featuring the wielder of the arcane and students of the Yshari Sanctum; the Wizard.

This collection shows the Wizard as always in various styles capturing their magic.

Art by 949207, N647, nilzenmate89, Tigrsasha, GeimoAio, crysiblu, FirebladePrez, ameshin, yy6242, and ZennaX.




Click the thumbnail to see a larger version of the image.

If you enjoy Fan art and want to contribute to this growing community, please stop by the Fan Creations Forum. Many artists visit frequently, posting works in progress looking for feedback and conversation. You don’t have to be “arty” to join in. If you have any questions, comments or have some fan art related news on the web please send me a PM and I’ll get back to you. Also check out the wiki page for more art from the archives.

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9

First Greater Rift 50 Solo Clear: Demon Hunter


Posted 18 Oct 2014 by at 03:37 GMT

Hail to the master race.

Hail to the true master race.

We posted early this week about the first four-player clear of a Greater Rift 50 in Seasons, and looking now there are several other groups at 50 or 51 in non-seasons on the US and EU. There’s even a group up to 52 on the Asian server.

How about solo play? Has anyone beaten GR 50 yet by themselves? First Greater Rift 50 Solo Clear: Demon Hunter! A DH on the Korean server managed the feat Friday night, finishing GR50 in 14:09, making him the first person on any server to solo clear GR50. The GR50 DH’s account can be seen here, but there’s not much to learn from it if you don’t read Korean, since Google translation isn’t of much use.

The second character to beat 50 was also on the Korean Realm, a Barbarian who did it in 12:29 earlier today… but I’m assuming that the Barbs on Asia are cheating the same way US/EU Barbs are, so meh. (And yes, it’s possible some/all of the highest DHs are cheating the same way the Barbs are; by tricking the game into allowing four players in for the Guardian battle.)

Assuming the DHs are doing it legit, congrats to them. No one has managed a GR50 solo on the US or EU yet, but several Demon Hunters are very close. There’s a non-seasonal a GR49 DH on US and a 48 on EU. Hopefully the contestants are streaming or recording their games, and we’ll get a video for a solo GR50 to prove it was legit.

grift-50-solo-dh

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“Leave the Group” Diablo Parody about GRift Exploits


Posted 17 Oct 2014 by at 03:33 GMT

Archon posted a video of a Diablo Parody song he sang on the subject of Greater Rift Exploits. It’s a short video and a quick rap on the subject.

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Tagged As: , | Categories: Fan Stuff, Media, Videos | 2 Comments

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Transcript: Diablo 3 Live Stream with Don Vu and Deadmau5


Posted 17 Oct 2014 by at 00:03 GMT

life stream thursday Oct 16The Play Your Way Thursday live stream went off this afternoon with one fan, one CM, one D3 Dev, and one DJ. We watched live and banged out a transcript as things ran, and you can read it below.

This live stream didn’t get into so much game detail or interview style conversation as the last one with John Yang, so there’s not really any new info, if you’ve been keeping up with the news. It was a much more fun play session though, as Hardcore always is, since you’ve got the constant tension of someone maybe actually dying. Plus they were quite brave with the cameras rolling and worked up through Rifts to Torment 6, and then did GR25, GR28, and GR29, which is equivalent to more than Torment 7. (If T7 existed, and many players think T6-T10 should be implemented, that really well-geared chars can faceroll T6 and find no challenge except in higher GRs.)

Here’s the transcript. It’s mostly summary of events, since there was very little quotable material. The players (well 3 of them at least) were talking all the time, but it was mostly just conversation and joking about what they were playing, with almost no specific questions about Diablo 3 or game issues. (Deadmau5 was very joking and lively and often funny, but not up on recent news and not there to ask questions, and the other fan hardly spoke at all.)

The video is embedded at the end.

2:01 — Getting started with small talk and introductions. They’re playing Hardcore for this show, so much joking about who will die and if it’ll be better TV when they do.

Don Vu: Developer on Reaper of Souls. Playing a Crusader. Well-geared and able to do T6 solo, as this is his own account and his main character.

Deadmau5: Fan and famous DJ. Playing a Wizard who is also well-geared for T6+ playing on his own account. He talks the most throughout the stream and makes a lot of jokes throughout. He’s played with Don Vu before in Hardcore.

Maijer: Fan who submitted the Crusader build that was featured in a recent PYW Thursday. He died earlier this week so is in lower quality gear than he’s used to. He hardly talks at all during the Stream.

Nevalistis: Blizzard CM, playing a Wizard. She doesn’t usually play Hardcore, so her character is new and just P85ish, and not well geared at all. The stream broadcasts from her PoV.

One drawback of the stream showing everyone’s face in the webcam is the windows are shown along the left side of the screen, so you can’t see anything in left-side windows (like stash or Artisan interfaces) and you can’t see the player icons and their health bars. So it’s impossible to know if anyone is nearly dying during the show except when they call it out. (They call it out many times. There are at least a dozen procs saving someone from death during this play session.)

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Tagged As: | Categories: Diablo 3 Seasons, Don Vu, Live Stream, Nevalistis | 9 Comments

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6

Seasonal Greater Rift 50 (4 Players)


Posted 16 Oct 2014 by at 21:52 GMT

A full party of 4 lead by Joebo went and cleared a level 50 greater rift. With great coordination they cleared the rift with only a handful of deaths. You can check their video below on how it all went down.

Their team consisted of two Demon Hunters; Austerity and Uruu, with Joebo as the support Witch Doctor and their tank was a Monk named Barbalel. They finished the rift with 2 minutes and 12 seconds to spare and as of me writing this are #1 in the 4 player Greater Rift leaderboads.

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7

Legendary Gem Tutorial: Zei’s Stone of Vengeance


Posted 16 Oct 2014 by at 07:27 GMT

zeis-stone-rank40The DiabloWikiLegendary Gem, DiabloWikiZei’s Stone of Vengeance, boosts damage for every 10y distance the damage dealing object is from the target. On the PTR players were able to exploit this LGem by sticking a long DoT on the target and then leaving the level or portaling back to town, creating an infinite distance for infinite damage. That bug is no more, with a maximum distance of 50y (5x damage multiplier) and no more tricks for infinite distance.

That doesn’t answer all of the questions, though.

How does Zei’s Stone work?

Say i was to cast multishot about 10 yards away from a mob, what happens if there are mobs further away? will they receive the ’10 yard damage’ or will they receive more?
Grimiku: The short version is that Zei’s Stone of Vengeance calculates it’s damage bonus per monster hit. So, if a player casts Multishot just once, then monsters farther away take would more damage than those that are closer.

If you’d like a more detailed explanation then I also recommend checking out Mikhail’s guide on YouTube: Diablo 3 RoS – Legendary Gem – Zei’s Stone of Vengeance Explained.

This gem sounds really good in description, but it’s actually pretty junk for most builds, since it doesn’t work well with pets or minions. The Rank 25 special stun effect doesn’t trigger from attacks by pets, and the damage increase is from the source of the damage. Thus sentries or WD minions don’t get any damage increase if they’re right next to the target, and they won’t stun it either.

We’ve linked to some of Meathead Mikhael’s Legendary Gem tutorials before, and this one is useful as well. Click through for the embedded vid.

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Tagged As: | Categories: Blue Posts, Legendary Gems, Strategy News | 7 Comments

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Blizzard’s 2014 Halloween Pumpkin Carving Contest


Posted 15 Oct 2014 by at 20:26 GMT

halloween-pumpkin2012-hon2Blizzard’s started up their annual pumpkin carving contest once again. This time the top 5 winners get a Hallow’s End Nemesis: The Headless Horseman Action Figure. You have until October 29th to submit pics of your amazing carvings.


The Halloween season has finally arrived, and we’re ready to cut straight to the heart of the holiday. If you’re dying to pick up a knife and hack, gash, slash, and jab at something, then you might be excited to hear that as of October 14, Blizzard’s 2014 Halloween Pumpkin Carving Contest has officially begun! Unleash your magical axes, psi blades, chitinous claws, and other creative cutlery to carve up Blizzard-themed jack-o’-lanterns of epic awesomeness. If you’re unclear as to what epic awesomeness looks like in the flesh, you can check out previous pumpkins for some inspiration..

We’ll choose five of the grandest Cucurbita to earn one (1) Hallow’s End Nemesis: The Headless Horseman Action Figure. Don’t delay; start carving right away! The twelfth annual pumpkin carving contest ends on October 29, so be sure to check out the contest page for rules and eligibility and get straight to slicing.


You can also check out our gallery for past images of winners and honorable mentions.

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Tagged As: | Categories: Blue Posts, Contests, Fan Stuff | No Comments

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Diablo 3 Minor Improvement Suggestions


Posted 15 Oct 2014 by at 20:12 GMT

Not always so clean and clear.

Not always so clean and clear.

A fan made some quality of life suggestions, a Blue replied, and I thought several of them were good, so let’s discuss these Diablo 3 Minor Improvement Suggestions:

1. make it possible to lower paragorn attributes without resetting and spend them all just make an option to click something down so you get one (or more) points back and can spend it on another stat.

2. make an option to ignore normal potion drops, i got loads of legendary drops and i dont need the normal potions like EVER

3. sort the legendary gems on lvl so i know the ones i use most are first and the one i dont care for that much are last, it makes it easier to pick which ones i want to upgrade

4. followers should be same no matter which character you play on (season and HC excluded) so you only have to gear them once

5. i would VERY much like a extra chest TAB option but with the change that it is only usable with that class so its one chest TAB but for every class you can put in items so if i put some DH items in it it cant be seen by a crusader in the same TAB and he can put in stuff as well
Vaneras: Right you are, and there is nothing wrong with posting suggestions. Suggestions can be quite valuable feedback, because even though they may not always be feasible, they do serve as a great indication on where people would like to see quality of life improvements :-)

So, how about these?

#1: Yes. Kind of like how follower skills now just turn on or off when you click them, without the previous, unnecessary confirmation. Paragon Points window would need another button to remove a point from a given field.

#2: Meh. Now that potions stack to 1000 I don’t really notice or care about that one wasted inventory space.

#3: Very yes. Annoying when you’ve got duplicates of the same type at different levels. The system now sorts with the ones you have equipped shown first, and then the rest alphabetical, but you have to hover to see the gem level. And often I’m using say a Bane of the Powerful while carrying another one to level up for another character or for a replacement if my main dies. I don’t know if I agree with the OP’s sorting idea, but the whole Urshi interface definitely could be improved. Show all your gems at once, different background colors for ones you are using, etc.

#4: I vote no. It would be convenient, but there is, in theory, a skill or item hurdle to clear to find good follower equipment and put it on all of your followers.

#5: I’m honestly not sure what he’s asking, because that sentence is a disaster. But yes, everyone wants more storage tabs, to the point that not one person I’ve asked about buying them via microtransactions has balked for one second.

I have to insert my usual complaint. A small improvement to the UI, so you are not forced to bind a skill to the left mouse button. Just set that one to Force Move (or the same skill as you put on the right mouse button) so the left can just be used to open chests, doors, shrines, etc. The six skills are then assigned to the right click, and to 5 keyboard keys. And this is optional — if you like the current controls, you can keep using them.

What do you guys think of the OP’s 5, and do you have your own requests for minor game fixes? I can store them up and then scream them at the devs at Blizzcon, while they’re trying to get a bite to eat.

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Tagged As: | Categories: Blue Posts, Fan Stuff, Game Features | 28 Comments

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Azmodan Coming to Heroes of the Storm


Posted 15 Oct 2014 by at 07:21 GMT

Blizzard released a trailer showing off Azmodan as a new playable character in Heroes of the Storm. He’s got a fireball attack and lots of minion summoning, plus that lovely singing voice and nimble crab feet dance steps we all know and love.

The entirety of my HotS experience was one game at Blizzcon last year when a friend really wanted to try, and yes, of course I chose Diablo as my character. If I should wind up playing another game at the show this year, I can assure you that Azmodan will be the steed crab upon which I ride scuttle into battle. For what more could you ask?

Click through for a big pic of the newest “hero.”

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Tagged As: | Categories: BlizzCon 2014, Other Games | 3 Comments

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Thursday Live Stream with Deadmou5


Posted 15 Oct 2014 by at 07:11 GMT

deadmau5 Halcyons-ascent-iconBlizzard has announced the time and line up for the Play Your Way Thursday live stream, which will feature Nevalistis, a player, D3 dev Don Vu, and famous DJ Deadmau5, probably playing without his huge mouse headgear.

He’s a living Easter Egg in the form of the DiabloWikiHalcyon’s Ascent legendary amulet, and has been a Diablo 3 fan for years. He tweeted his battletag when talking about an old Barbarian last year, but his account now shows 2 hardcore Wizards, one seasonal and one not, both over P400. And as the blue says below, they’re going to be doing Hardcore this time on the live stream. Good luck with that, Nevalistis!

Here are the blue details about Thursday afternoon’s show:

While the master of magic, the Wizard, prevailed in our last Play Your Thursday community vote, we were unfortunately unable to sync up with V3dun#2884 for our upcoming livestream. Thankfully, runner-up Majier#1230 has raised his weapon in service and will be joining us this Thursday, October 16.

But that’s not all, nephalem. We’ll also be joined by a very special guest for this week’s show—deadmau5!

Here are all the juicy details:

  • What: Our fourth Play Your Way Thursday livestream
  • Where: http://www.twitch.tv/diablo
  • When: Thursday, October 16 @ 2:00 p.m. PT to 3:00 p.m. PT
  • Who: Brandy “Nevalistis” Camel, Majier#1230, Joel “deadmau5″ Zimmerman, and Don Vu
  • Why: To kill ghosts n’ stuff.
  • For this particular stream, associate game designer Don Vu raised the bar and challenged us to jump into the Hardcore Season with Halcyon himself, Joel Zimmerman. See just how long I’ll last running V3dun’s “Void Ray” Wizard and learn more about Majier’s “Sweeping Thunder” Crusader as we Rift our way to HC glory.

    May our deeds of valor be remembered!

    We’ll be pounding out a transcript as the show goes on, so check for that shortly after the run ends at 3pm, assuming they don’t all wipe at 2:30 and spend the last 30m sobbing inconsolably while staring at the Hall of Heroes window. If so, perhaps some music would cheer them up?

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    Tagged As: | Categories: Hardcore, Live Chats, Live Stream | 5 Comments

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    The Diablo 3 Podcast #154: Torment 7-10 and Grift Exploits


    Posted 14 Oct 2014 by at 12:12 GMT

    This episode of the Diablo Podcast covers Greater Rift exploits and their ramifications, fans opinions on the most-needed Gambling fixes, if the game needs Torment 7-10, and what keeps you playing when gear upgrades are done? Featuring Amedon, N3rdwards, and Flux

    Click through for approximate segment starting times:

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    Diablo 3 Strategy Guide: GR33 Tempest Rush Monk


    Posted 14 Oct 2014 by at 09:41 GMT

    strategy-monk-trBack in D3v I loved to use the Monk’s Tempest Rush skill, though it served mostly as a much less useful version of what Dashing Strike is today. Movement, escape from trouble, and a decent amount of damage along the way. Later on in D3v players found ways to gear so they could use TR full time, but it was not possible to gear up enough to make a full-TR build viable for higher DiabloWikiMonster Power (difficulty) levels.

    That’s no longer the case, and my old time Monk sentiment was aroused by this fun Monk build by Holy Hermit, which uses full time Tempest Rush. The author says it’s viable up through Greater Rift 33, which is nothing for most classes, but Monks are very limited in builds to get above GR30. Sadly, I’ll never use it since it’s much too dangerous for Hardcore (the player nearly dies half a dozen times just in the quick clips in the tutorial video), but it looks like a lot of fun and doesn’t have overly-rigid gear requirements. One drawback; ceaseless button clicking.

    Here’s the build and the tutorial video; click through for the full strategy write up, from the EU Bnet forums.

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    Tagged As: | Categories: Monk, Strategy News, Videos | 3 Comments

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    Greater Rift Changes Coming: Less RNG, No Conduit Pylons?


    Posted 14 Oct 2014 by at 01:33 GMT

    Like it's compensating for something.

    Like it’s compensating for something.

    Last week Blizzard replied to questions about the goal of Greater Rifts and how they are balanced. Here’s the meat of last week’s address:

    For the most part, DiabloWikiGreater Rifts are intended to act like a yardstick (or meter stick, if we’re waxing Metric) by which players can measure the power growth of their hero, as opposed to something that is meant to be completed. Part of the confusion about the intended role of Greater Rifts might come from the fact that, during the public test phase of patch 2.1.0, there was a temporary cap in place (for testing purposes), and some players were able to reach that limit while the PTR was running. However, we never intended to allow players to reach the maximum level of what Greater Rifts offer once the system went live. In fact, for all intents and purposes, the number of Greater Rift levels currently has no limit.

    Today he returned to that thread and added a couple of replies about what sort of changes we might see for the future of Greater Rifts. Greater Rift Changes Coming: Less RNG, No Conduit Pylons?

    GR is mostly luck.. at a certain level though, if your hero is strong then yeah, you dont need luck, but the top 10 of a class is, most certainly, luck based GR.
    Grimiku: In general, we use randomness in Diablo III to increase the replayability, Greater Rifts included. At the same time, we don’t want Greater Rifts to be so random that it feels like your success is completely at the mercy of a random number generator. Ideally, the randomness within Greater Rifts should keep each Rift level feeling fresh and provide for some unexpected moments of excitement, as well as test how well a player is able to adapt to controlled amounts of unpredictability (i.e. randomness).

    At the moment, though, we do feel randomness plays too heavy a role in Greater Rifts, and will be making improvements along those lines. No firm date on this, but just wanted to note that we’re on the same page. Valid feedback, and thanks!

    Conduit Pylon a very good measure of power growth, No?
    Pylons can be a hell of a lot of fun to encounter in game, and that’s one of the big reasons we added them to Greater Rifts.

    That said, we do agree that pylons, at least in their current form, have had negative effect on Greater Rifts for the top end. Ideally, we don’t want to remove pylons from Greater Rifts, since we like the variety they provide, but we also don’t like the current situation where certain classes and builds are able to defeat a Rift level multiple ranks higher than could normally thanks to a single pylon (in this case, a Conduit Pylon).

    As with other factors in Greater Rifts density, monster types, Rift Guardians, etc, finding a good balance between random vs. predictable is something we’re going to continue to iterate and improve upon for Greater Rifts, and that includes pylons too. Ultimately (as I noted in another post), randomness in Greater Rifts should create positive variety and a sense of excitement. We don’t think we’ve nailed that in all areas just yet, so we appreciate all the discussion and dialog on this topic in the meantime.

    On the podcast a couple of weeks ago I threw out a remark that I’ve seen a few people quote then, so I’ll QFT myself: “It’s not really a Diablo game if you’re not being screwed by RNG.”

    It can be said sarcastically whenever someone else is complaining about gambling all night without hitting a single Legendary, but it’s really just human psychology. No one makes a forum thread to celebrate when they hit six straight LGem upgrade rolls at 60%, since we all think our good luck is deserved and long overdue. But when the opposite happens, you get 10 page forum threads pushing anecdote as “broken” RNG data, all wrapped up in bright shiny tinfoil.

    That said, do people really want to attempt to remove luck/RNG from the game? From Greater Rifts? We don’t want unfair or broken luck, but competitions always have variance. Every sports event has lucky bounces, missed tackles, bad referee calls, shots that miss by an inch, etc. All of those things are “luck” to some extent, especially when far more of them land on one side than on the other, but that’s why people enjoy competitions. As the cliche goes, “that’s why they play the game” and it’s the element of luck that makes actually playing/racing in Grifts something more than just comparing character sheets and declaring the higher DPS the winner.

    That said, when one single element (like a Conduit Shrine) can sway outcomes so greatly, especially when leveraged by a cheat (like a HUD that works in a Grift) it goes beyond the level of “RNG makes things more fun.” So it’s probably good that Bliz is looking to smooth down the variance a bit, at least at the highest level of Grifts, where any tiny edge can make all the difference.

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