Recent Features

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.

Read More & Comment >>
Ring of Royal Grandeur Farming Exploit?

You want? You take!

You want? You take!

The DiabloWikiRing 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 DiabloWikidifficulty 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.

    Read More & Comment >>

    Guest Article: Remembering Blizzard North and Diablo II

    Posted 16 Jul 2008 by

    Ex-Blizzard North employee Mike Huang wrote a guest article about his time at Blizzard North. We originally posted it in our guest articles section in 2006, and resurrected it into the new blogger format in mid-2008, when we reposted it to accompany an interview we conducted with Mike about the announcement of Diablo III.

    Click through to see Mike’s full take on the new game in the series he worked so long on.

    Remembering Blizzard North and Diablo II

    Guest Article by Mike Huang
    Originally posted: February 9, 2006.

    In August of 1997, I was a kid fresh out of the university heading off to what was then a dream job—working for Blizzard North, the development team behind Blizzard’s smash hit Diablo. I always knew I was going to work in games, but I thought that I would be working on console games rather than PC games.

    PC games in those days were so rife with problems before Diablo released—you had to make boot disks, load the right memory manager, make sure the graphic card had a VESA compliant chipset, else you were hosed. Then along came DirectX, and most of that went away. Diablo was one of the first games to utilize DirectX, and what a difference it made. To this day I’m convinced that Diablo wouldn’t have sold as well as it did had Blizzard not been forward thinking enough to realize the usefulness of DirectX.

    When I arrived at Blizzard North, development of Diablo II had just begun. The character classes and a rough list of their abilities had been drafted out, as had the basic story structure. The programmers had been prototyping a voxel-based engine prior to my arrival, which was thrown out in favor of the more traditional sprite based system. Art was converted over and production on Diablo II truly began.

    When I started, I was given 3 T-shirts and a couple of copies of Diablo. For those curious, the three t-shirts were the standard black t-shirt with blizzard logo on the front and back, and 2 Blizzard North exclusive shirts—one in black with the Winged Demon on the back, and one in white with the black knight on the back. It wouldn’t be long before these Blizzard T-shirts became a sort of uniform for me, and by the time I left Blizzard 6 years later, I had enough T-shirts to go into to work for a month and never wear the same T-shirt twice.

    Blizzard North’s office building was situated next to a boat marina. There was a cafe downstairs and several smaller companies scattered throughout the office park. Rumor had it that Hotmail (who happened to be above our office before they got bought by Microsoft) had wanted to sublease some of Blizzard North’s office space, and Blizzard North had refused on account of us losing our ping pong and foosball room.

    Being in the Marina had it’s share of good and bad—walking under the freeway (where the homeless would sometime sleep) was a fast way to get to Toys R’Us and the fast food restaurants on that side of the freeway, but it also meant that every so often, for no apparent reason than being where we were, we’d have a blackout. It was always on the office building side of the freeway—our suspicion was that a tall truck coming down the two-lane road that led to our little office hit a electrical pole or snagged the cable, leaving us in darkness. Depending on the time of the outage, this either meant an early lunch, some time at the mini-golf arcade down the street, or an early dismissal. Or people would break out the playing cards and the MTG decks.

    The Diablo II team grew quickly after my arrival. I had expected to be the new employee for a while, but artist Phil Shenk would start just a week or two after me. Almost 18 months later, what had been a mostly empty office space with plenty of room to expand would be filled to the point where supply closets were being converted into offices. It was late ‘98 when it was decided that Blizzard North was going to make a Diablo II expansion pack concurrently with the game and we were going to split into two separate development groups within the same office, and in January of ‘99, the search began for a new larger office space which could house both the Diablo II and Diablo II Expansion teams. By the middle of March, we had moved into a new office in San Mateo. A large creative space, it would not be long before solutions for walking the long corridors between offices would be found. The Razor scooters became the new method of transportation for the lazy—crashes at a blind turn near the kitchen were relatively common.

    Making the rounds in news this week are the pictures of Google’s snack room. I tell you this—they don’t compare to Blizzard North’s 2 kitchens which were kept as wonderfully stocked as a convenience store. Soda? Check. Beef Jerky? Check. Instant Ramen? Check. Oatmeal and Granola Bars? check. Fresh Fruits? Check. Chocolate, Candy, Snacks and Chips in no less than 20 different varieties? Check. If that wasn’t enough, appearances of waiters on wheels and pizza for dinner became commonplace as well. Were it not for the Blizzard North offices not having a shower, I imagine that some employees might have never gone home.

    I need to point out at this time that 1999 and 2000 were the Years of Hell, so while we were enjoying our new office space as well as our fabulously stocked kitchens, we had also entered into “Crunchtime Hell”. With a hopeful internal release date set at December of 1999, and a hopeful beta date set for November of 1999, most of the Blizzard North Diablo II team was pulling double-time, working weekends and occasionally sleeping under their desks in order to finish the game in time. Sleeping bags were issued to members of the Night Crew. Sometime during this year of crunch, we hired Peter Hu, a fan with plenty of ideas and suggestions about Diablo II and improving it, and he developed several things to keep the player interested in the long-term, including most of the patches (up until he left to work for Flagship in Fall of 2003). Synergy? Peter. Runewords? Peter. Perfect Gem Activation? Peter. Ethereals? Peter. Patch 1.10? All Peter.

    But I get ahead of myself. That last struggle of a push ended with the first master candidates for Diablo II being made at the end of April, to be sent to Dublin to be localized (translated in other languages and fixed for country specific graphics) in time for an almost worldwide simultaneous release (there were some languages that took more time).

    During the Development process of Diablo II, however, there were fans helping us build and refine the game—many of the new developers on Diablo II were fans of the first game (including myself) so we knew what we wanted to see in the game. We listened to the fans on the forums and from e-mails sent in (in the early days of the Diablo II website, I answered all of them personally). We listened and answered fansites’ questions during the regularly held fansite chats. Our goal was not to make a game that sold 5 million copies, but to create a game that was better than Diablo I, and all the imitations that would come between Diablo I and Diablo II. We wanted to make a game that could satisfy the casual gamer, and one that could satisfy the most hardcore gamer. We made that game. The proof is in the fact that Diablo II is still played on battle.net, almost 6 years after its release. The proof is in the fact that Diabloii.net still exists—8 years after its launch.

    Some of you feel that Blizzard has given up on the Diablo franchise. Some of you think there’s a Diablo III in the works. I don’t know. I don’t work for Blizzard anymore, and I haven’t been there for years. I do notice that they continue to patch Diablo II with new features and items, so the Diablo universe just doesn’t seem very dead to me at all. There’s a very small amount of people at Blizzard now who actually worked on Diablo I or Diablo II or D2X. From D1 and D2, I count less than a half dozen.

    A significant number of those developers responsible for Diablo and Diablo II have moved on to other places and other things. While it saddens me to know that Blizzard North is closed and gone forever, I take heart in knowing that the knowledge of how to make really great games at Blizzard is spreading to other game companies. Gamers of the future should have an even larger selection of high quality titles to choose from.

    Some of you may want to know where some of these Diablo developers have gone so that you can know what products to support and watch out for if you’re giving up on the Diablo franchise.

    I once asked former Blizzard North President David Brevik why it wasn’t “David Brevik’s Diablo II” when so many other developers at the time were prefixing game titles with their names. He told me: “The game is not just me. It’s the whole team. That’s why the Blizzard North logo is there”. Even so, David Brevik is the person I associate as being the heart and soul of Diablo, which is why I’m happy that he’s there at Flagship Studios with Bill Roper and lots of other Blizzard North alumni building Hellgate:London. If I started naming all of the employees and all their contributions to Diablo and Diablo II, this article would easily double in length. Let it suffice to say that you know these people, and they’re doing great work. I looked at Hellgate: London just a few months ago, there’s a lot there that the Diablo player will enjoy, and I’m really looking forward to playing it.

    Michio Okamura, Eric Sexton and Steven Woo very recently started a game company called Hyboreal Games. Michio and Eric are Diablo 1 veterans, and Steven Woo is a programmer extraordinaire. They’re currently working with Jon Morin and FlipSideGames in developing a project. They haven’t released very much information yet, but I have great confidence in their abilities to make a really fun game.

    At Castaway Entertainment, brothers Michael & Stefan Scandizzo, along with Rick Seis and the rest of his crew are also working on something that’s unannounced.

    Battle.net was made for the fans of Blizzard—a free service to help connect with other game players. This was during a time when other companies were charging for multiplayer over the internet. This past December was battle.net’s 9th birthday, and there are still players playing Diablo 1 on it. I think that’s pretty cool. Two of Blizzard HQ’s programmers who worked on battle.net started a company a few years ago called Arena.net. They are the ones behind NCSoft’s Guild Wars (which you can play now, which also has good appeal to Diablo players).

    Lastly, there’s also a number of people from Blizzard North who migrated down to Irvine and whose contributions will be found in World of Warcraft and future Blizzard products.

    Whether Blizzard chooses to continue the Diablo franchise or not, Blizzard owns that property. They can do whatever they wish to it. The gamer has many choices out there—and thanks to the developers of Diablo and Diablo II, there will be a lot more games out there with a little bit of Diablo in them.

    Disclaimer: This guest article is hosted by Dii.net.  The views expressed in this article are those of its author, and not necessarily those of Diii.net.


    Tagged As: | Categories: Blizzard North, Ex-Blizzard, Guest Articles