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A Guide to Diablo: IncGamers site changes – Here’s what we’ve done

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.

change view

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.

hardrock

Trophies

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.

Threads

Thread StarterThread Starter -Points: 15 -You have started 5 Threads
Topic RaiserTopic Raiser – Points: 45 -You have started 20 Threads
Town CryerTown Cryer – Points: 90 -You have started 50 Threads
ConfabulatorConfabulator – Points: 91 -You have started 80 Threads

Setting the Agenda Setting the Agenda – Points: 120 -You have started 120 Threads

Likes

Primary Source Primary Source – Points: 1 – Somebody out there liked one of your posts.

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A Total Guide to Greater Rifts

Greater Rifts (GRs, initially known as Tiered Rifts) are a higher level of Nephalem Rift, meant to provide a greater challenge and greater rewards for players geared well enough to take them on. Greater Rifts are timed, and *must* be completed within 15 minutes to earn rewards. All treasure in Greater Rifts, with usually a legendary item or two, comes from the DiabloWikiGreater Rift Guardian (GRG) which is an upgraded version of the regular DiabloWikiRift Guardians.

Greater Rift CompletionDifficulty: Greater Rifts are numbered as a measure of their difficulty. A level 1 Greater Rift is very easy, equivalent to Normal difficulty (or less.) Greater Rifts scale up quickly though, and will become challenging for any player ability. Level 8 is equivalent to about Torment 1, Level 15 is equivalent to about [Torment 3, and Level 25 is approximately the same as Torment 6. There should be an infinite number or Greater Rift levels since each one merely increases the hit points and damage of the monsters by some percentage.

Shrines: There are virtually no DiabloWikishrines or DiabloWikipylons in Greater Rifts. Pylons are seen occasionally, but their bonuses last only 15 seconds (instead of the usual 30) and Blizzard specifically said that DiabloWikiConduit Pylons would not be found in Greater Rifts since they are so powerful they would skew the entire rift DiabloWikiLeaderboard system.

Dying in Greater Rifts

Revive at Corpse. No.

No Respecs: Characters can reallocate their Paragon Points while in a Rift, but can not access their inventory or skill menus (DiabloWikirespec) while in a Greater Rift. It is possible to return to town mid-GR, and players can respec and make repairs then, though it’s not recommended since the GR is a timed race. This is a feature designed to limit exploits via equipment or skill changes, so players can’t change gear or skills to be more effective against a single target before they reach the Greater Rift Guardian for instance.

Rewards: Items and gold do not drop in Greater Rifts, and there are no chests or other clickables. All treasure comes from defeating the Greater Rift Guardian, who drops a huge amount of stuff, about double that of a normal Rift Guardian, and has a very high probability of dropping at least one legendary item. (Note that the lack of gold and chests hurts the effectiveness of legendary items such as DiabloWikiGoldwrap and DiabloWikiHarrington Waistguard that proc up in effectiveness via gold pickups or chest/clickables opening.)

Progress Bar: The progress bar in a Greater Rift increases gradually from killing trash mobs, but jumps up by larger amounts for Elite kills. (Elites drop objects that look a bit like gooey health orbs, which count for big boosts in the progress bar when collected.) This is a feature designed to keep players from simply rushing past Elites to more quickly finish the rift by killing trash mobs, as can be done in normal Nephalem Rifts, and players will fill their progress bar more quickly by killing Elites than by skipping them, except in very rare long Elite battles.

Accessing and Process

  1. # Get a Greater Rift Keystone level 1 from completing a Nephalem Rift. – Drop rate still being determined.
  2. Use the GR Keystone to open a portal to a Greater Rift at the regular Nephalem Obelisk next to DiabloWikiOrek.
  3. Kill all the mobs in the Greater Rift before the timer runs out.
  4. No regular or champion mobs drop loot in Greater Rifts.
  5. The Rift Guardian will drop loot regardless if the timer has run out or not.
  6. If the Rift Guardian is killed before the timer runs out he will drop a Greater Rift Keystone.
  7. The Keystone’s level is determined by how quickly the Greater Rift was cleared. The quicker, the higher the GR key fragment.

Progress Bar and Rift Speed

The progress bar in a Greater Rift looks the same as the bar in a normal Nephalem Rift, with two added slider needles, displayed above and below the bar. The total bar coloured in orange, and the icon above it show your current progress towards completing the rift. The icon below it and any colour in blue shows how fast you need to progress to complete the rift in time.

greater rift progress bar

Ahead of the progress time

When players are battling through a Rift that’s just at the limit of their killing power, they will often see their progress dropping behind and the bar showing blue, before they kill a couple of Elites in a row and see the bonus from Elites shoot them back up ahead of schedule.

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Blizzard Audio, Music, and Voices Interviewed

Posted 5 Mar 2014 by

Thanks to Fmulder for pointing us to The Frontliner, which has posted a multi-part interview with several key creators on the Blizzard Audio Team. Answering questions are Russell Brower – Senior Director Of Audio, Derek Duke – Project Music Director/Composer, Joseph Lawrence – Lead Sound Designer, and Andrea Toyias – Casting & Voice Director. Many of the questions to Derek and Joseph are specifically about Diablo 3 and Reaper of Souls, and the whole thing provides interesting insight into the voice, music, and sound effects of Blizzard games.

Here’s one Derek Duke talking about the Reaper of Souls music, which most fans feel is an improvement over the always-too-subtle music of Diablo 3.

You’ve stated in the past that you played most of your Diablo III’s music live. Does this mean you’re only dealing with audio? How do you feel about sequencing things through MIDI? Do you accomplish anything with that?
Derek: Yes, it was about capturing that realtime-performance musicality in the audio, to really bring the “organic” out in the music. We’ve taken that a lot further in “Reaper of Souls“. The majority of its score being orchestral, it was recorded without click tracks in order to maximize the musicality and get the organic tempos and dynamics from the players.

We recorded choir together with orchestra in order to better capture the energy of all the musicians. We also tried using some more specialized contemporary music techniques to invite random and controlled chaos into the score, where individual players could make certain musical choices in reaction to other players’ choices, though always to a very specific musical end. All this trying to maximize the organic musical energy that comes from a live/real performance. There are always sequencers and midi involved at some point, but that’s not where most of the editing happens.

Seems the Reaper of Souls publicity is starting to crank up, with this piece, than PCGamer interview last week, and no doubt many more on the way.

I found this bit about casting and recording the audio interesting.

How do you go about deciding which actors to cast for monster/creature roles? Do you have to listen to hours of audition tape of people making grunting noises?
Andrea: I’m so glad you asked this question. I don’t think people generally realize what goes into bringing our monsters and creatures to life. This is an art form unto itself, one that doesn’t get near the appreciation it deserves. Being a voice actor in general takes amazing talent and an unbelievable ability to play and create uninhibitedly in front of others. But creature actors are a whole other story. In a moment’s notice during a recording session, a creature actor has to come up with the craziest sounds you can possibly imagine. For example, during a creature session for Diablo III, I had to tell an actor to pretend he was — direct quote — a “demon goat warrior speaking faux Latin”. Huh? What? Yes, that was the direction. And that was exactly what the actor did and sounded like. It was amazing to experience that live. To this day, I have no idea how he did it.

Finding actors who can make such sounds is no easy task. I generally do open casting for our speaking, non-creature roles, meaning I send a casting call out to the voice acting community asking for auditions. I don’t tend to do that for creatures because it is such a unique “muscle” I am looking for. A lot of actors will give it their best shot and work really hard to create monster sounds, but it’s a unique breed of person who can come up with out-of-this world sounds and make them sound believable, cool, and scary.

Generally, I will find my creature actors simply working with them on other speaking roles, and suddenly hear something in session that tells me they secretly spend hours in front of the mirror or driving in their car making funny sounds—and sure enough, I’m generally right. I’ll pull them aside on break and ask if they’ve thought about doing creature sounds, and their face will light up because they do indeed have a secret passion for making crazy sounds. That’s how I find a majority of my “new” monsters — but of course there is a small cadre of amazing actors who really specialize in making unusual sounds and effects with only their voices.

Two actors who I am still to this day so humbled that I got to work with are Frank Welker and Dee Bradley Baker. Frank can have two completely separate sounds come out of his vocal cords at once. And Dee can make sounds that you would bet your life are absolutely not human in any way, shape, or form. And honestly, I’m not even sure if Frank or Dee are human . . . they’re that good.

So that’s Gharbad’s Ghost, right? The “demon goat warrior speaking faux Latin”. Either that or another flashback to my first marriage.


Tagged As: | Categories: Interviews, Media Coverage, Music, Reaper of Souls