Blizzard invited out a few fansites this past Friday and I was lucky enough to be one of them. It was really nice finally seeing the Blizzard headquarters and meeting some of the Community Managers and developers of the game. I'm going to spend a little time and outline my experiences for the day, what we saw and talked about.
What it was about
The primary reason that we went out to visit Blizzard was so that they could get feedback from us, which was kind of a surprise. Normally you see interviews with developers, not the other way around. Blizzard really wanted to get our thoughts and opinions about the current state of the game, and what we think could happen to improve it. It was really nice to see Blizzard going this far to see what the people want out of the game, and what we think could be changed to improve the overall state of the game.
The other fansites that were in attendance were DiabloFans, IncGamers, Diablo Somepage and r/Diablo. It was a blast meeting the other guys from fansites, they were all really cool and fun to hang out with. You could tell that the entire group of us were very passionate about Diablo and enjoy what we do for the game and the community. If you haven't had a chance to look at their postings of this experience, make sure to check out the links above (after you're done reading this of course, haha).
If you've never seen the Blizzard headquarters (which I'm sure 99.9% of you haven't), just let me tell you, it is gorgeous. It was also a lot bigger than I expected, and we didn't even get to see all of it!
We arrived around 9am on Friday morning and had to do the initial sign-in / NDA signing while waiting for everybody to arrive. One of my favorite moments was when we got to actually meet the three Community Managers of Diablo (Lylirra, Grimiku & Vaeflare). They always had a smile on their face and were super fun to hang out with. The overall "feeling" of Blizzard was really relaxed and casual, which was surprisingly nice. They didn't make you feel like you were sitting at some giant corporation, it felt like you were just hanging out with some of your friends having a good time.
The first thing on our list for the day was breakfast while we all got to meet each other more formally and go over a couple of things. Lylirra mainly wanted to know what kind of help the fansites could use to help boost traffic and get the community a little more "excited" about things. One idea that came to mind were developer interviews, perhaps a developer will be given an exclusive interview with a certain fansite every month or two. We also had some great ideas floating around about how we could get some more interesting blog posts and "behind the scenes" type stuff in between patches to keep people coming back to the sites.
Diablo on PlayStation 3 & Xbox 360
Next on our list of activities was trying out Diablo 3 on the consoles. I was kind of skeptical at first, as to whether or not I would like playing on anything other than a PC. But after about 5-10 minutes, I was starting to get the hang of it and actually found it quite enjoyable. The combat is a lot slower paced than on PC, but the increased loot drops made up for it. It was nice meeting some of the console developers and have them there to answer any questions that we had.
I'm not much of a console player myself, so I don't think I'll be buying Diablo 3 for PlayStation or Xbox, but I would recommend it for anybody that loves the game and wants a new way to save Sanctuary from the depths of Hell. The combat was solid, you get use to all of the new mechanics and menus fairly quick and it's a good way for those of you who want a "non-auction-house-self-found" experience to fully get that.
Lunch and town hall
Lunch soon came and we found ourselves sitting back in the main building in one of the conference rooms along side quite a few of the lead developers of Diablo 3. This (and the next couple of hours) was my favorite part of the entire trip. Lunch was a blast and it was fun listening to the developers joke around with each other and and talk about some of the stuff they've done in the game.
We then had a "town hall" (meeting) with Josh Mosqueira and the other developers that were there for lunch (with virtually almost all of the leads from the development team). Josh had a list of about 8 questions for us, but only managed to get through the very first one before we ran out of time. I think we surprised the team on how long we were able to talk about just that one subject, which was really nice for them because they got a lot more feedback than expected (was cool seeing Josh actually take notes of what we were saying). The one question he did get to ask us was something along the lines of "What do you want to see in Diablo 3 that we don't have already?".
The developers really care about the game, you could tell from their enthusiasm and the way they would reply to you or ask you questions. They do know that there are things wrong with the game, they've never denied that. But they are working hard to give us updates that we enjoy and want to see. The group of people in that room were some of the most dedicated and passionate people I've ever met, and it really shows.
One thing that we did talk about was how hard it is to break the "you MUST be efficient or you're doing it wrong" kind of mentality. Basically, how could they make it so people are rewarded for doing less-efficient things to overall become more efficient. When you find a random dungeon in the game, how often do you explore all of it? How often do you do that little random event? Stuff like that, is what we would like to see improved on and give greater rewards (even if it isn't loot-based rewards).
Endless Dungeons were also brought up as a way to give players some content that will never run out. As good as it sounds though, it would still have it's flaws. Eventually people will get tired of doing it (those of us who play quite a lot), so how would they make it so the players are always wanting to and enjoying doing these dungeons.
You can also take note that Blizzard is not working on any major patch right now, and that patch 1.0.9 has never been announced or confirmed. So all of you waiting for a patch 1.0.9 or the itemization patch, might be disappointed. We'll eventually get the item remake, but nobody ever said it was going to be patch 1.0.9 or in this version at all (for all we know, it could be the expansion, who knows).
We also got to test out Blizzard's latest game, HearthStone. The game itself was pretty fun once you got the hang of things. There is a slight learning curve when you begin, but you quickly figure it out after a couple of test games. I had a lucky opportunity to play against Blizzard employees the entire time (I don't know who or where they were, just that they were employees), which resulted in me losing every single game. It was pretty fun though, things seemed smooth and were visually appealing.
I will definitely be trying out HearthStone when the beta is release (Blizzard didn't tell us a time frame for when that will happen). If you've ever been a fan of trading card games, World of Warcraft or simple little games to play while you're on the shitter, check out HearthStone when you get a chance!
Wrapping up the day
After HearthStone, we all got hooked up with a nice little swag bag while waiting for our cabs to take us to dinner. We ended up meeting up with the HearthStone fansite group and all went out for dinner together, which was really fun. It was cool to hear all of those guys "geek out" about HearthStone, then ask us and listen to us "geek out" about Diablo 3. We even had some World of Warcraft talk in there as well.
We got to meet a couple additional people who work at Blizzard (*cough* Error 37 *cough*), which was nice. The main thing I picked up on was that everybody I saw who worked for Blizzard just seemed really happy and down to Earth. It made the experience way more enjoyable by just being able to relax and be yourself.
Well, that is it everyone. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures to share with you. I forgot my phone charger at home and my phone died on me the night I got to California. So I wasn't able to take any pictures of Blizzard while I was there. /cry
Thanks for reading though, feel free to post any questions or comments you might have in the section below. I'd just like to thank Blizzard again for inviting me out there, can't wait to see you guys at Blizzcon!
Diablo 3 Coming to PS3 & Xbox 360 Sept 3rd
Hmmm, interesting. It looks like Diablo 3 WILL be porting over to the Xbox 360 in additiona to the PlayStation 3 & 4. Release date is September 3rd, so start saving up for your favorite hack 'n' slash on console!
IRVINE, Calif.—June 6, 2013—A new legion of heroes will soon rise up and take a stand against the Lord of Terror. On September 3, Diablo® III will make its console debut on the Sony PlayStation® 3 computer entertainment system and the Xbox 360® games and entertainment system from Microsoft in the U.S., Canada, Spanish-speaking Latin America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.
In preparation for the upcoming launch, select retailers in these regions are now taking preorders for the PS3™ and Xbox 360 versions of the game, which will be available at a suggested retail price of $59.99. Both console versions of Diablo III will be fully localized in English, German, French, Latin American Spanish, European Spanish, Russian, Italian, Polish, and Brazilian Portuguese. Further release details, including retail availability in Brazil, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Southeast Asia, will be announced at a later date.
The console versions of Diablo III have been custom-tailored for gamepad-driven action, with a dynamic camera perspective that puts your hero front and center, as well as an all-new user interface and an intuitive control system that make vanquishing evil feel like second nature. Players can take on the vile denizens of the Burning Hells alone or in a party of up to four via same-screen local cooperative play or online over PlayStation® Network™ or the Xbox Live® online entertainment network from Microsoft. In addition, the game supports parties composed of both local and online players. Once gamers experience the rush of Diablo III’s unique brand of hack-and-slash gameplay from the comfort of their couch, Sanctuary will never be the same.
Players who preorder either console version of Diablo III will receive an exclusive in-game item: the Infernal Helm, which grants an experience point boost to any character who wears it, accelerating their progression as they rise in power. Certain retailers will also offer limited-edition preorder bonuses—check with your local retailer for further information.
“Playing Diablo III on a big screen with your friends brings a whole new level of intensity to the game, and with all of the control and interface adaptations we’ve made, it’s extremely fun to play on PS3™ and Xbox 360,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. “In addition to the fine-tuning we’ve done for the console versions, we’re also including major content and design updates we’ve made to the PC version over the past year, so players can expect an epic Diablo gaming experience when the PS3™ and Xbox 360 versions launch in September.”
In Diablo III, players take on the role of one of five heroic characters—barbarian, witch doctor, wizard, monk, or demon hunter—and embark on a perilous quest to save the world of Sanctuary from the corrupting forces of the Burning Hells. As players make their way from the demon-besieged town of New Tristram to the Diamond Gates of the High Heavens, they’ll engage in pulse-pounding combat with hordes of monsters and challenging bosses, grow in experience and ability, acquire artifacts of incredible power, and meet key characters who’ll join them in battle or aid them along the way.
Diablo III was originally released for Windows® and Macintosh® PC on May 15, 2012 and within 24 hours became the fastest-selling PC game of all time. As of December 31, 2012, Diablo III had sold through more than 12 million copies worldwide.* To learn more about Diablo III, including a list of participating retailers, please visit the official website at http://www.diablo3.com.
With multiple games in development, Blizzard Entertainment has numerous positions currently available—visit http://jobs.blizzard.com for more information and to learn how to apply.
* According to The NPD Group, GfK Chart-Track, and internal company estimates.
PlayStation is a registered trademark of Sony Computer Entertainment, Inc.
Diablo III: Book of Tyrael Coming This October
Diablo III: Book of Tyrael takes players even further into the events in Sanctuary with a detailed and beautifully crafted book of lore as seen through the eyes of Tyrael, a former archangel of the High Heavens. Here, in this illustrated and comprehensive tome, he reveals never-before-known secrets about the history of the world, the dark threats that yet face mankind, and his decision to join the ranks of humanity as a mortal.
This 148 page hardcover book is set to release this October, and it features never-before-known stunning original art and writings from iconic Diablo series characters such as Leah and Deckard Cain, as well as a fully removable family tree.
Catch a first glimpse of the newly-revealed cover below, and keep an eye out for future updates on how you can pre-order this secret-filled tome!
One of the most exciting and visceral action role-playing franchises in history, Diablo has become a worldwide gaming phenomenon. Diablo III: Book of Tyrael takes players even further into the universe with a detailed and beautifully crafted book of lore as seen through the eyes of Tyrael. As a former archangel of the High Heavens, Tyrael ranks among the most important and influential characters in the Diablo franchise. Here, in this illustrated and comprehensive tome, he reveals never-before-known secrets about the history of the world, the dark threats that yet face mankind, and his decision to join the ranks of humanity as a mortal. In Tyrael’s own words, “Forevermore we shall stand together, angels and men, in the light of this glorious new dawn.”
About Blizzard Entertainment: Known for blockbuster hits including the Warcraft®, StarCraft®, and Diablo® franchises, Blizzard Entertainment, Inc., is a premier developer and publisher of entertainment software renowned for creating some of the industry’s most critically acclaimed games.
Insight Editions is a publisher focused on creating superlative illustrated books on photography, music, and popular culture. Lavishly produced and visually stimulating, every volume from Insight is dedicated to the skillful interplay of word and image. The books produced are unique works that combine the highest quality print production values with time-honored publishing traditions and rich subject matter. Elegant and informative, books from Insight showcase the best of art and photography in exquisite presentations of the bookmaker’s craft. (www.insighteditions.com)
Diablo III’s One-Year Anniversary Infographic
I just want to take a minute real quick to let all of you know that I haven't forgotten about you! I've just been really swamped with work the past couple of months, and haven't had a lot of time to keep up-to-date with news posting here on D3Sanc. It was kind of unprofessional and I want to appologize. Now that work has lightend up, I will get back to posting the latest news and blue posts for all of you.
Thank you for continueing to come back to D3Sanc. It means a lot to me, for real! If you haven't yet, you should consider checking out http://www.ManaPot.com, it's the other site I've been busy working away on. =)
It's been one hell of a year. Heroes have risen, angels have fallen, and the mortal realm of Sanctuary has once again been saved from the brink of despair. As Nephalem, your accomplishments are innumerable. You’ve saved a village from the risen dead, laid to rest the tortured soul of a dishonored king, solved the mystery of the Fallen Star, avenged the death of a powerful Horadrim, unlocked the secrets of the Black Soulstone, cast Belial from his throne of deceit, stopped a demonic invasion almost single-handedly, restored Hope, and vanquished the Prime Evil, preserving the sanctity of the High Heavens and ushering in a new age for the world as we know it.
But have you ever wondered how your deeds measure up in the real world? To showcase the strength of the Diablo III community and how awesome you all are, we've put together some interesting statistics.
How many heroes have been created? How many demons have been slaughtered in pursuit of treasure? And just how many times has the Lord of
Players have discovered a way to duplicate their gold via the Real Money Auction House. This allowed them to spend unheard of amounts of gold on items, most noticeably, gems. Hours after the servers came back up from the patch being deployed, everybody noticed how Radiant Star gems increased to over 100m gold each. Armor and weapons were also quickly bought out, nearly emptying out the Gold Auction House. Items that wouldn't have been worth 1,000 gold yesterday, were being bought up for 2b gold today.
The dupe happened when a player would list an amount of gold on the RMAH, then quickly cancel the auction house. They would get their gold back + extra, allowing them to create billions upon billions of gold in mere seconds.
Blizzard has taken the Auction House offline for now to prevent further exploitation. We are unsure whether or not a rollback will be issued, but we sure hope so...