Regular readers will have noticed quite a few changes on Diablo: IncGamers since the launch of Reaper of Souls which was the motivation for us to make some of the changes we had been thinking about for a while.
When RoS launched we pushed the first stage of front page layout changes live. We know everyone likes to read their content in different ways so the site was changed to a similar layout to the main IncGamers site. Of course not every one will love that format so in the past week we set to work on the second phase which was giving you the option to read the content in the old format if you so desired.
In case you hadn’t spotted it, there are a couple of buttons above the news that allow you to switch to your preferred format.
Probably the toughest job we had to undertake was the forums. We have used the same forum system for around a decade and there were millions of posts to port over. It was important to us to make sure that threads from the old forum were not lost, we’d have hell to pay from you guys if they went missing Remember the great forum crash of 2003? That was not pretty.
So why the change? There were numerous reasons, the next version of the same forum was bloated with features that were useless to the community here. Spammers were also a consideration and the previous software was starting to struggle with the rise in spammers over the last couple of years. We needed a system that could pro- actively catch them and then make life easier for IncGamers moderators to deal with anything that managed to slip through.
The end results once we switched were good. The forums are now easier to use, faster and more robust. It’s taken some time to iron out issues with posts moved over from the old system but I would say we are 95% there with most things now. The forum is now easier to use and has more features to track new content additions.
One of the main issues we had during the change was with your logins. We have a custom login system that ties your forum account to the main site. When we moved forums that obviously broke down and had to be recreated. One of the issues we came up against was the inability for guests to post in the news and members who were logged in seeing a captcha. This was not acceptable so it took a few days for me to sort out but thankfully it now all works.
Regarding commenting on news, originally we had the news post into the community forum but as things move quite quickly here as far as content is concerned, we thought it best to create a separate forum for the news discussions. This reorganisation prevents any community forum discussion being lost in a pile of news. Your discussions are important after all.
Regarding accounts. Some of you have been registered here for over a decade and we have been helping members who have had login issues since the switch because they no longer have access to the email they originally registered with. If there are any of you still caught in that trap then we can sort it for you. Send an email here and we will deal with it.
With the new forums came new features, and something we’ve wanted to do for some time is highlight pro-active members and also award trophies for actions by the community. Elly sat down over a few days to come up with the points and reward system. You may have spotted the icons on threads but so you know how it works I have posted all of the trophies below for reference.
There are still a few things to do but the core updates are now in place. Your feedback on anything we do is much appreciated and a special thanks to the PALS who have helped make all the changes possible with their contributions.
Thread Starter -Points: 15 -You have started 5 Threads
Topic Raiser – Points: 45 -You have started 20 Threads
Town Cryer – Points: 90 -You have started 50 Threads
Confabulator – Points: 91 -You have started 80 Threads
Primary Source – Points: 1 – Somebody out there liked one of your posts.
The Ring of Royal Grandeur (armory) has become the most sought after item in Diablo 3, as its legendary affix is basically mandatory for all end game gearing decisions, given the power of partial Item Set bonuses. The hard part is finding one, as it’s one of the five legendary items that can only be obtained from Act One Horadric Caches. This is good in a way, as it’s the sole remaining item/profit-based reason players have to do *anything* other than RiftRiftRift. (Given the game’s design direction in recent months, I’m frankly surprised the RoRG hasn’t been turned into a Greater Rift Guardian drop.)
Most players hunt RoRGs with brute force, by grinding hundreds of Act One bounties as quickly as possible, which usually means split-farming on Normal difficulty. That’ll work, eventually, but is there a better way? A user in our Diablo 3 community forum named Horadrimm says yes, there’s a trick to it, by following a method players are calling the “Junger Rules.” Quote:
I got 5 RORGS with very minimal effort and so can you!!
How it works: The game has a pity timer, meaning that if you don’t get a legendary within an hour or so it drops one for you automatically. The goal the aforementioned method of farming is to ensure that pity drop is in your horadric cache and not in the world.
What to do:
Do not kill any mobs except those required for objectives. Do not kill goblins. Do not open chests including resplendent chests. Do not destroy breakables (pots, barrels, looting bodies etc). Do not pop fortune shrines. Do not kill mobs from required cursed chest and shrine event objectives until the timer has run out.
Avoiding a legendary drop in the world increases the chance the pity timer drops one in your cache.
First off, the guy who invented this was apparently named Junger, so now it’s called the “Junger Rules.” Which is fine, but how the hell did they avoid the obvious pun and call it the “Junger Games?” So that’s what I’m calling it, since I’m all about obvious puns.
As for the technique, the theory is that since the game has a “pity timer” that increases your chances of finding a legendary item the longer you go without finding one, you can exploit this by obtaining a Horadric Cache after not finding any Legendaries for some time. Hence not killing Goblins, not opening golden chests, avoiding random Elites, etc. This is a sacrifice since it’ll lower your total legendaries found, but boost your chances of finding that all-important RoRG.
Does it work? Some players swear it does, others say it doesn’t. And thus we’re plunged back into the conspiracy theories that are inevitably spawned by item hunting in a game where we don’t know exactly how item drops work. I think the principle is sound, as the pity timer is real, but I’m not at all sure the stated rules are how it should be done.
First of all, we don’t know when items in a Horadric Cache are determined. The Junger Gamers say the legendary pity timer works when you find the Cache, but that seems contrary to what we know about how Horadric Caches determine their item drops. Remember early in RoS, when players were storing Caches up in Normal and opening them on Torment 6? That was a real exploit, easily observed since it caused Imperial Gems to drop from Caches found in Normal. (Which made it seem that items in Caches were determined when the Cache was opened. NOT when it was found.)
Blizzard confirmed that exploit by hotfixing it and adding an internal tag to unopened Caches that tracked what difficulty level they were found on, and the level of the character that farmed them. (So if you find bags with a lvl 70 and open with a lvl 60, all the items will be lvl 70.) Bliz later expanded on that in Patch 2.0.5 when they boosted the chances for legendary items to drop from Caches found on Torment 2 and higher.
Furthermore, Bliz recently confirmed that items from Caches roll their smart drop according to the class of the character that opens the cache. It doesn’t matter who farms the cache in terms of what items drop. That matches my experience and testing as well, as I once farmed a bunch of caches with my DH and my Barb, and then opened them with a WD and got almost all INT gear, plus several Witch Doctor-restricted items.
- 1.07 News, Info and Gossip
- Diablo 3 Strategy: Gearing Up for the New and Poor
- Etdlahq Memorial Bar - your shelter from forum…
- Matron's Den Succubi - what type of damage?
- What Was Your Best Drop Today?
- RoS: How are you Monks doing?
- Diablo walks the earth
- Post and discuss your pets
- The Very Vanilla Homemade Mafia Game - Signups
- Most certainly not the last thing i'll ever wish for…
- Anyone playing Diablo 1?
- Blizzard Makes Greater Rift Changes
15 Years of Diablo: IncGamers Serving the CommunityPosted 15 Mar 2012 by
We recently saw the fifteenth anniversary of the Diablo franchise, and join Blizzard in celebrating this series of computer games that have shown such amazing lasting power, and have carved out such an important place in many of our lives. More than just the video games though, it’s the Diablo Community that’s had such an impact on so many of us, none more-so than the team here at Diablo: IncGamers who in February passed an important milestone celebrating its 15 year anniversary.
It’s been more than ten years since the last title in the Diablo series was released, but Diablo II remains a hugely-popular game, in no small part due to the large fan base that continues to play it together, fight to the death through it, and engage in conversation and debate about it, while anticipation steadily builds for Diablo III.
We’ve been here, serving as an anchor of the Diablo community, for nearly as long as the games themselves have existed, and as we gear up for Diablo III, we’re more engaged with the community and busier than ever. It’s been a long road to this point though, so let’s take a quick stroll down it, back to the early days. Read on to find out how it all began for Diablo: IncGamers and take a trip down memory lane. Pictures, videos and competition all inside…
In the beginning…
Diablo IncGamers was founded in February 1997 under the unwieldy name of, diablo.reality-x.co.uk. Why the strange URL? In 1994 site founders Elly Davis and Paul Younger had embarked on a new venture, setting up the world’s first dedicated videogaming café, a place where like-minded gamers could go to play what were some of the first LAN titles together. Internet gaming at that point had yet to catch-on and with Elly and Paul both being mad gamers it was an exciting venture into the unknown.
That early venture had its fits and starts, and as the Internet grew in popularity, the concept of creating websites devoted to particular video game titles became a realistic idea. Elly was one of the first into that field, and by 1996 she was getting to grips with HTML and working on small projects for the gaming café. She created various early sites, but her interest was truly piqued by an upcoming title by the name of Diablo. When Blizzard released the game in late 1996, the café visitors were soon waiting in line for their chance to play the revolutionary RPG. Intrigued by the game’s features and design, Elly began to document the items, monsters, shrines, and other key aspects of the game, and compiled that information into a rudimentary website, intending it purely for the use of the players inside the cafe. At that time the site was hosted on a very small server inside the café’s office on a 64K leased line. Yes, you read that right, 64K!
Elly continued to update the website, and during the early months of 1997, an increasing number of Internet visitors began viewing the Diablo pages. These were the very early days of the Internet, long before Google, but early search engines and word of mouth via gaming discussion forums and newsgroup conversations were making the site known as a resource for Diablo players. Elly began to work more and more on the site and eventually one keen reader caught her attention. Flux was knowledgeable about Diablo and Hellfire and very eager for Diablo II, and despite initially knowing nothing about running a website, he was soon learning on the job and assisting in the day-to-day operations of the growing community resource.
It would be hard for users of modern websites to believe the sorts of technological issues we faced in those early days. Something as simple as forum software that worked through a browser was hi-tech, and Elly used to facilitate community discussions by pasting reader emails into a threaded format! Other site features included a massive collection of reader suggestions for improvements to be made in Diablo II; these were regularly updated on the site, all compiled one at a time from emails, and a massive print out of these were eventually hand-delivered to Max Schaefer.
In 1997 as Elly’s web skills improved, amazing features such as an automated forum appeared on the site, and the Diablo community started to grow. At that point Elly and Flux were intently following all the Diablo 1 news, and as they passed that information on to the appreciative fans, Blizzard began to take notice of the site and the community forming around it.
Both Elly and Rush’s time was now divided between the Diablo community and working with the UK gaming scene on numerous titles. They also organised the UK’s first ever large scale LAN party which was held in Leeds two years in a row with around 400+gamers turning up for three days of gaming madness with every game possible being played, including Diablo. As part of the gaming cafe they also organised special launch events for publishers working on titles such as Half Life, Quake 2 and X-Wing vs Tie Fighter to name a few.
Around that time, Rush was involved with the videogame industry via the Scottish Games Alliance, a Scottish Enterprise funded body to help Scottish Game developers in the global market, these included companies such DMA (now Rockstar), Inner Working and Viz Interactive. Through its auspices, Elly and Rush attended the ECTS in London in September of 1997, and it was there that they first hooked up with the Blizzard North development team and saw Diablo II in person. It was great to finally meet the game creators, and very gratifying to see them happily devote extra time to running a demo for Elly, and to answer long lists of reader questions she’d brought along. Elly remembers being escorted into the closed booth by Blizzard PR who asked a few of the magazines to move aside from the demo machine so Elly could play and ask questions. In those early days, Blizzard PR understood the importance of the community and also as a tool to promote what they hoped was going to be a massive hit sequel.
It was also 1997 when Rush and Elly were commissioned to go to Atlanta for E3 , they were there to assess the state of the multiplayer gaming market for the Scottish Games Alliance, and it’s here they really got a taste of the games industry on a large scale for the first time. ECTS was pretty big but nothing quite like E3.
The Hellfire expansion pack for Diablo 1 was the next title in the series and Elly still remembers when she deleted the entire Hellfire section of the site by accident on the tiny café server. It was 23 December 1997 when disaster struck, so not wanting to disappoint the readers she pieced the site back together from files on her HD working through the night in the unheated Edinburgh café to get the site back online as fast as possible. It was a 32 hour stint working through the night to get things back up and running.
Flux first saw Diablo II in person the first morning of E3, in 1998. He was nervous and excited to see the game and meet the developers, but when he reached the booth he was surprised to discover that the Blizzard North developers were just as eager to meet their fans. Flux and Gaile were warmly-greeted and immediately ushered to demo machines where they could watch the action and speak with developers (not PR people; the actual developers) who were happy to answer anything and everything they had to ask. Flux was shocked too when he found that he’d gone through his entire seven pages of printed out questions by lunchtime.
Welcome to Diabloii.Net
DiabloII.Net was born in 1998, as the site got a new domain name and a total makeover. The site design changed dramatically to what many of the long-time readers will remember as the red site with the wooden borders. Web tech had improved quite a lot by 1998, and fancy features such as news scripts and forums made running the site easier, while giving the ever-growing community a much more interactive experience.
Another contributor joined the site around this time, as Gaile Gray, a newsletter writer and huge Blizzard fan from the Seattle area, joined the crew. Her timing was excellent, since in mid-1999 Blizzard North invited Elly, Flux, and Gaile to visit Blizzard North for a private weekend of Diablo II testing. Diabloii.net was the first site (fan or otherwise) so honored, and it wasn’t just a media event, as the Blizzard North developers were very eager for feedback and critiques by knowledgeable outsiders (Visit Report and Blizzard North office tour).
In those days, Blizzard North enjoyed considerable independence in their operations, and as such, the Diabloii.net crew were in the offices for three days straight, during which they were granted almost full access to the developers and the studio, including the awesomely-stocked kitchen. Only one wing of the studio was off limits, as a secret project was under development. (It was revealed to be Diablo II: Lord of Destruction, just a few months after Diablo 2′s launch.)
Blizzard North continued to show their appreciation of the site, by including the names of Elly, Gaile, and Flux as in-game mercenaries.
Diabloii.Net was always keen to work with the community and as far back as 1999 started taking on hosted sites, the first being the Holy Knights of Westmarch (HKW) guild site which has to be one of the longest running guilds around for the Diablo series. HKW is still going strong today and is still hosted on the Diablo: IncGamers site. Other long-time community features include the Player Suggestions (which began as ideas for Diablo I, and continue in forum form), the largest collection of Diablo fan art online (now curated by HolyKnight3000), Scorch’s Darkness (monster encyclopedia) ran by Scorch, the original Dark Library fan fiction site (now the Fan Fiction Forum), and who can forget the original Diablo 2 trading site (the Marketplace) which helped players trade items legitimately in an eBay style fashion before all trading was moved into the extremely popular trade forums (still going strong).
The Beast that is Diabloii.Net
Elly soon realized that the site was becoming a bit of a monster and when IGN approached her in 1999 to join the IGN network of game sites she jumped at the chance, IGN were busy building communities and expanding into the community site market. IGN were incredibly supportive of all the work on the site helping Rush with more of the tech side of the web hosting and of course revenue through advertising to help keep the site afloat. Hosting bills were becoming rather large and the site was becoming a real strain on Elly’s pocket.
Each year IGN would run videogame website awards for sites that were not only hosted by IGN but other networks too and DiabloII.Net scooped the best fansite award multiple times while the awards were running which was a great reward for the hard work the news crew and forum moderators had put into the site.
When IGN had a bit of a financial shake-up they decided that they would no longer continue to host sites and concentrate on their core business, it was at this point the future of the site became uncertain. The dot.com bubble was bursting and ad revenue was harder to come by. With the site being such an important part of the Diablo community, Elly and Rush decided that it was worth fighting for and Elly put her personal savings into the site hosting to keep the site online and wait for things to pick up in the ad market. 2002/2003 were a tough couple of years for DiabloII.Net.
A site supporter service (Site Pals) was put into place to help generate funds and the community have consistently subscribed to the service since, gaining perks and benefits. Elly remembers when the service was first put into place, in those austere days, receiving sizeable donations from a number of the Diablo 2 development team which went a long way to keeping the site online.
Riding the dot.com crash storm, the site was still continuing to grow and Elly and Rush decided to go it alone and not look for another network partnership but instead keep everything in-house. Rush had already started up a World of Warcraft section after WoW was announced at ECTS and there was of course the Loadedinc.com main website which was the general gaming news side of things.
Things were also changing at Blizzard. We had already seen the release of the Diablo 2 expansion pack Lord of Destruction in 2001. No additional products were announced by Blizzard North, though it was widely-rumoured that Diablo III was under development. The next big news to come from Blizzard North emerged in early-2003, when the gaming world was shocked to learn that the “Big Four,” which included the three founders of Blizzard North and the Diablo franchise, Dave Brevik, Erich Schaefer, and Max Schaefer, plus Diablo executive producer Bill Roper, all left the company. Not long after their departure Flux paid his last official visit to Blizzard North, as one of a handful of testers to get a trial run with Diablo II’s legendary v1.10 patch, thanks to an invite from producer and programmer Peter Hu. (Flux also got a preview of the very early version of Diablo III at that time, though he was never able to speak of it until the game was officially announced in 2008.)
Though Blizzard North remained in operation for a couple of years longer, constant staff losses hobbled production, and the studio was finally shuttered in mid-2005 without ever revealing any additional projects.
Despite the aging Diablo II and a lack of word on Diablo III, DiabloII.Net remained active and the hub of a busy community of gaming fans. With all Blizzard contact moving to Blizzard in Irvine there was definitely a change in mood on how Blizzard would interact with their communities. Blizzard had a hit on their hands with WoW and things were starting to tighten up when it came to talking with their fansites and the press. It was time for lock-down.
The Quiet Years
Undeterred with the thought of contact drying up with the developers, Diabloii.Net remained the only community voice of any size during the long, quiet years from 2004-2008. Even without a Diablo III announcement, fans remained hungry for more Diablo and so Diabloii.Net’s task was to keep interest in the franchise alive. Blizzard itself seemed disinterested in the franchise; there was no sign of it at the first BlizzCon in 2005, other than a banner or two featuring cinematic artwork of Baal.
In retrospect it’s easy to see why not; Blizzard North had just been closed under fairly acrimonious terms, and everyone responsible for the creation of the Diablo games had long since departed. Furthermore, Blizzard’s new hit, World of Warcraft, was growing ever more popular and profitable, and requiring all of the company’s resources. As a result, there was essentially nothing about Diablo, either from Blizzard or their PR department, from 2004-2008.
Even during these quiet years, Diabloii.net remained an active centre of the die hard community. There were bumps in the road, of course; to this day long time forum members recall “The Great Forum Crash of 2003”, a black day in the site’s history where the forums were simply erased due to a database problem. Rush remembers doing his utmost to bring it all back but ultimately, after many long nights, he succumbed to the fact they were gone forever. The upside was a new forum system was put in place so at least the community had new toys to play with. A black day indeed.
During the slow news years, the Off Topic forum flourished with the community debating all sorts of topics and an “Other Games” forum was also launched while Diablo gamers waited patiently for some sort of reveal. The forums have always been busy and there is even a thread with over 1.2 million posts in it tucked away in the ever-popular single player forum.
In 2006 Elly and Rush formed IncGamers to bring all the sites together, the Diablo, Guild Wars, WoW, Warcraft 3 and StarCraft communities would all come under one single network umbrella. There was a lot of ground to cover for all these games and it was thanks to their extremely pro-active communities, admins and dedicated moderators that the sites flourished.
The Big Day Arrives
After so many years of World of Warcraft as Blizzard’s flagship product, it felt like Diablo 3 might never come. Rumours swirled around BlizzCon 2007, but that show passed without a trace of Diablo. Finally, in mid-2008, Blizzard invited DiabloII.Net to attend the World Wide Invitational in Paris. Rush and Elly headed off with their ears perked, and after hearing numerous rumours during the days before the show, they felt sure now was the time Diablo III was about to be revealed.
Many readers can still recall our news post, the night before the WWI 2008, that Diablo III was to be revealed the next day. This news electrified the community, though it came as something of a shock to the Blizzard PR team, as Rush and Elly found out the next morning when they were approached by a rather irate Blizzard individual who said, loudly, “I am so disappointed!”
Elly explained that the news had only been posted after it had been leaked by a general gaming site, a fact that had eluded the Blizzard PR department since they hadn’t checked other websites.
Though that reveal produced some tense relations, things were smoothed over and relations with Blizzard PR went smooth during 2008 and 2009, as IncGamers was provided with press passes to BlizzCon 2008 and 2009, as well as invites to Blizzard Irvine for various Starcraft and World of Warcraft press events.
Relations with Blizzard took an unexpected turn for the worse in 2010, when a non-native English speaker writing on the network’s Starcraft 2 site referred to a bug in the beta test as “an exploit.” His meaning was more akin to, “a trick,” but the E-word apparently upset some at Blizzard PR dept., though the wording of the post was promptly adjusted when Blizzard PR registered a complaint.
A subsequent news report linking to a website that had posted leaked images of a Starcraft 2 Collector’s Edition lead Blizzard to blackball all Blizzard sites on the network “as punishment for a while”. It also became apparent during conversations with Blizzard that they did not want sites being critical of any aspects of their games.
Subsequent attempts to open up lines of communication with Blizzard PR went nowhere, and given the content and commentary limitations Blizzard was placing on their “official” fansites, Elly, Flux and Rush decided ultimately that IncGamers could better serve the community without any leashes or muzzles from Blizzard PR.
All that said, the staff at IncGamers retains the highest appreciation for Blizzard’s games and we get along very well with all of the developers when we see them at BlizzCon or communicate online. Any disagreements with Blizzard are purely political issues with the PR department, and we do not rule out once again being a member in good-standing of the Blizzard Fansite Program.
The Big Day is Coming
Following the Diablo 3 announcement there was a massive buzz around the site once again. Old faces started to reappear on the forums and the whole team had found a new vigor and passion for the series. It’s amazing to hear from gamers who were teenagers (or younger) when they first visited the site, who are still big fans, and who are now playing the Diablo games with their own children.
We believe Diablo 3 will ensure the Diablo franchise continues to be the benchmark by which all action RPGs are measured and we’re excited about continuing to provide the community with the best information and resources possible.
The original team also extends a massive thanks to all those involved in contributing to and running parts of the website over the years. The existing team of forum moderators and those who have come before them who play such a huge role in keeping the forums a friendly, informative and welcoming place for fans to chat – they are the unsung heroes of most online communities.
Finally, thanks to the community. It’s the community on Diablo: IncGamers that plays such an important part in its 15 year history and we hope through our continued efforts we can carry on right through Diablo 3′s lifespan.
In celebration we will be running competitions next week where each day we will give away a copy of Diablo 3 and other assorted Diablo 2 memorabilia we have collected over the years courtesy of IncGamers. Keep your eye on the news.