Category Archives: Blizzcon

Esport Competition Instead of Blizzcon in 2012

Blizzcon logo, blizzard, diablo, d3, diablo 3, diablo iii

This year marks the second time since 2005 that Blizzcon will not be taking place in the Anaheim Convention Center. In fact, it will not be taking place at all, at least in the traditional sense.

However, unlike in 2006, there will be a massive Blizzard event taking place in 2012- the first ever Battle.net World Championship eSport event:

“Blizzard Entertainment is proud to announce the 2012 Battle.net World Championship, a major global eSports event featuring some of the best pro-gaming competition in the world. Slated to take place in Asia toward the end of 2012, the Battle.net World Championship will host this year’s StarCraft II and World of Warcraft Arena World Championship tournaments. Blizzard gamers and eSports fans from around the world will be invited to attend and witness some of the most skilled pro players on the planet battle it out for cash and glory.

We’re excited to be showcasing Blizzard eSports on a truly global stage this year. We’re also heavily focused on getting Diablo IIIMists of Pandaria, and Heart of the Swarm into players’ hands as soon as possibleIn light of our jam-packed schedule, we’ve decided to hold the next BlizzCon in 2013.

More details about the 2012 Battle.net World Championship and BlizzCon 2013, including specific dates and locations, will be coming in the months ahead.”

(source)

Like many of you, I’m rather sad that there won’t be a Blizzcon to attend this year but it is encouraging that despite canceling the intensive convention they will still be supporting the eSport community.

Blizzcon 2011 Arena PVP Recap

If there is one thing we can say about the arena PVP at Blizzcon 2011, it was fast-paced, frantic fun. And while Blizzard has been very clear that they don’t intend on supporting it at the e-sport level, it seems to be winning over hordes of players with every iteration.

All five of the classes were available in the Blizzcon demo, however, the highly anticipated customization was benched in order to prevent the already lengthy lines from becoming stagnant queues of die hard fans on the verge of rioting. Instead, the max level characters were given preset skills, runes, and items (though the items were stat-less placeholders, except for the rings which gave you all the stats to simulate gear at level 60). The preset abilities did a pretty good job of showcasing many amazing skills (and rune combinations), as well as changing our collective minds on some class roles.

Here is our breakdown of the performance of each class:

Barbarian: If you are within melee distance of a Fury-filled Barbarian, you’re probably already dead. With the amazing burst potential of Wrath of the Berserker and Hammer of the Ancients, many players felt themselves crumble in only a few hits. That kind of awe-inspiring damage coupled with Ignore Pain allowing them to live through just about any barrage thrown their way demanded a tactical encounter or you would be waiting to respawn before you knew what hit you. However, it was possible to escape their ferocity even though they had Leap Attack and Ancient Spear at their disposal- much to their dismay.

Demon Hunter: Easily the least played class at Blizzcon, the Demon Hunter lacked enough damage output to make it attractive to the masses as you generally had to have Shadow Power and Rapid Fire up to get killing blows. However, what it lacked in damage it more than made up for in survivability and support. With Evasive Fire, Vault, and Smoke Screen, killing a Demon Hunter was rare. Additionally, a well placed Caltrops often allowed you or your teammates to escape the grasp of your opponents.

Monk: Behind the Demon Hunter, the Monk was the second least represented class in the demo. Due to the somewhat awkwardness of Deadly Reach, generating Spirit could sometimes be difficult- limiting your options significantly. However, once you adjusted to the mechanics, Monks could handle their own rather well. With Mantra of Conviction and Seven Sided Strike, you could put out some impressive damage and prevent escapees with a stunning Lashing Tail Kick or Dashing Strike. Additionally, with the Crimson-runed Serenity, you could heal yourself significantly while being immune to damage and control impairing effects. While I would say the Monk was in the middle of the pack, the potential of the class was definitely apparent.

Witch Doctor: The WD really shone in this build. Surprising everyone with the damage output of Poison Dart and Soul Harvest, it was clear that even without pets you had to be careful around the Doctor. Additionally, landing a killing blow on them wasn’t easy due to what was probably the best survivability skill in the demo: Spirit Walk. To round out their repertoire was Grasp of the Dead providing great support with snares and Hex, a crowd control spell that allowed you and your team to gib an opponent before the little piggy could squeal. The strongest all-around character, the Witch Doctor is certainly a feared enemy for its synergy and solo abilities.

Wizard: A class that has always been strong in PVP, the Wizard was clearly the most feared character in the arena- especially when transformed into an Archon. With crazy amounts of damage from Magic Missle and Arcane Torrent (or Disintegrate in Archon form) and the ability to freeze entire teams with a damage-increasing Frost Nova, the Wizard was often at the top of the scoreboards. And because no Wizard build would be complete without Teleport, it was there as well acting as both an offensive and defensive spell. However, their true defensive cooldown was Diamond Skin- absorbing a large amount of incoming damage. Because of their very strong build/skills, many people often found themselves instinctively running from the Wizard in hopes of living a few seconds longer- oftentimes in vain.

To watch videos of some of the arena action, check out our Youtube channel.

Blizzcon 2011: Day 2 Recap

Day 2 of Blizzcon 2011 is officially over. Sadly, the only Diablo 3 panels from today were the Lore Panel and Open Q&A. Here are the highlights of the day:

  • Hirelings should be viable in all difficulties but not sure if there will be builds that allow them to be the main source of damage like in Diablo 2.
  • We’ve never seen Diablo’s true form and he can take on many different forms… male or female.
  • Hardcore mode is completely separate from Softcore, including its own gold-only AH. There may be Hardcore dueling, but corpses are not lootable at this time. Additionally, there aren’t any big loading areas in dangerous places to help prevent deaths from slow loads.
  • Fresh level 60 characters will likely fail miserably in Inferno.
  • Light Radius is still around, just not how it used to be in previous games due to the new engine.
  • Botting will be taken very seriously.
  • Non-analog controls (WASD) will not be available.
  • The new gameplay mechanics replaced things like Runewords so they will likely not be added in the future.
  • A console release is still a possibility, if they can get it to feel right and not compromise the PC version. Character control is great, but targeting can be difficult.
  • Attuned Runes may cause inventory space issues and they’re currently thinking of ways to resolve it.
  • More beta invites are coming, as is a major patch.
  • More endgame content will be added when the demand is there.
  • In regards to the Wizard’s cast rate being effected by the speed of your equipped weapon, they feel that people will choose different weapons based on their builds.
  • They do not plan on adding anymore skill slots.
  • In regards to the Real Money Auction House and PVP, there will be a hidden gear-based ranking system for matchmaking. However, there is no ladder or visible ranking system.
  • Other PVP modes, besides the arena, are being considered- including the possibility of dueling.
  • Guild/clan support will not be available at release but it is something they would like to have, if they can get it implemented correctly.
  • There is no set number of quests and there are lots of random quests to add variety.
  • They want the AI of bosses to differ in each of the difficulties but not sure on the details yet.
  • Combination attacks between players are not likely as it may encourage only specific class groupings.
  • An API for the Auction House will not be available at release but could be added later.
  • If you want to take advantage of the WoW annual pass but also want the Collector’s Edition of Diablo 3 (instead of the free normal version you get as part of the deal), you will get an undetermined amount of time credited towards your year commitment.
  • There will not be any Oceanic servers for Diablo 3, at least at launch.
  • Aside from dyes, they are also trying to allow for more individuality in appearances with at least 3 tiers and hundreds of unique items that are designed to be visually memorable.
  • Dungeons will be the same size regardless of difficulty level.
  • They think it would be cool to have different interactions for skills in PVP (having Disintegrate bounce off Impenetrable Shield, etc.) but they don’t feel as though it would work out.
  • There may be some restrictions on Rune switching but they want players to have the freedom to experiment.

Blizzcon 2011: Day 1 Recap

With the first day of Blizzcon 2011 wrapping up, here are the Diablo-related highlights that got us all excited in the pants.

Videos:

Black Soulstone Cinematic
Diablo Retrospective

News:

PVP:

  • New crests for your banner will be unlocked through PVP.
  • The playable demo is a 4 vs. 4, team deathmatch game that lasts 10 minutes. If you die, you respawn 3 seconds later. The team with the most wins at the end of the time limit wins. The available characters are level 60 with around 9,000 health.
  • There is no item or skill swapping in the arena.

Gameplay:

  • Higher difficulties are hard, unlike the beta.
  • Monsters receive additional skills and abilities in higher difficulty levels.
  • At least 70% of available items appear past normal difficulty.
  • Followers will now accompany the player through all difficulty levels, making them a viable strategy at end-game.
  • Skills will be locked upon leaving town. This change is expected to be implemented during the next beta update.
  • The Barbarian will receive a new passive ability entitled “Nerves of Steel”, which increases defense by 25 percent of the character’s available vitality.
  • The Development Team’s goal is to make unusual builds as viable as possible.

Auction House:

  • You will be able to buy gold (and other stackable items).
  • Characters will not be able to be sold initially, but it may be possible after release.

 

More to come as the convention continues! Stay tuned!

Diablo 3 anticipation: A retrospective on Blizzcons and waiting an hour in line to play 10 minutes of a game. Twice.

Diablo 3 was first announced on June 28th 2008 at the Blizzard Worldwide Invitational in Paris, France, but that wasn’t the beginning of my anticipation. I, like many others had been waiting for this announcement since Diablo 2 hit shelves in the year 2000.

My good buddy Canker and I were lucky enough to attend both Blizzcon 2008 and 2009, 2008 happened to be the first time that Diablo 3 was playable in America outside the Blizzard offices themselves. We got in line, it was a long line, but at the end of it were about 50 shiny new computers all loaded with the Blizzcon build of Diablo 3. An hour later it was our turn. One of the staff members herded us to a row of computers, we sat down, gave the poor bastards still waiting in line the smuggest look we could muster,  and created our first characters.  The wizard class had just been announced earlier in the morning and the venue was rife with videos of her prowess. What can I say? They won me over, and so that’s the class I picked.  Canker picked witchdoctor, and our two other companions choose another wizard, and a barbarian respectively.

As you may know the current beta contains about a quarter of Act 1, and climaxes with the defeat of Leoric the Skeleton King. The build we played dropped us into the middle of the Cathedral already armed and with a few talent points to pop into the (now defunct) talent tree. Whilst Canker ran around with flaming zombie dogs, I chose to focus on disintegrate because… well come on, its disintegrate. Even at this early stage, with only a cursory number of skills available the classes felt incredibly unique and polished, it was a fully satisfying experience. Unfortunately, due to every one’s fault but mine our time elapsed before we reached Leoric. His comeuppance would have to wait, for 3 years actually. Sheesh.

The next year we were back, at Blizzcon and in a not quite as long line. Only 3 of us were herded to our computer this time to face the minions of evil. I picked the Witch Doctor, and there started my obsession with the class. Canker and our other friend were both swayed by the new shininess of the just announced Monk.  Dropped into the middle of a desert this time, I mostly remember watching the monks place glowing circles on the ground before annihilating anything nearby, whilst I spammed swarm of locus because the death animation it caused was really cool. The game was even more polished at this point and playing again only served to set my anticipation into overdrive, where it’s been since.

We unfortunately could not make it out to Blizzcon 2010 where the Demon Hunter and Arena were announced, but right away the Arena piqued our interest. You may have guessed that, as well, we created this site! The both of us loved PvP in Diablo 2 (guided arrow is bullshit) and plan to jump headfirst into the scene once Diablo 3 is released.  You can check out the videos of the Arena from this build in our video section.

Which brings us back to the current day and the Blizzcon that only a few days away! From all reports, it seem like the major thing that will come out of this Blizzcon (Diablo wise) is lore and backstory. Hopefully we’ll learn whats the deal with the falling star that features so prominently in the beta, how the lord of terror is going to rise for a third time, and maybe even find out what every one’s favorite angel Tyreal has been doing since destroying the worldstone.  They will also be releasing a new cinematic, which are just always  incredibly amazing so be sure to catch that!  We’ll be paying close attention to the gameplay panel on day 1 and the open Q&A panel on day 2 for any other juicy tidbits Blizzard might release (hopefully on the arena system!) So far my magic 8 ball is telling me that its unlikely that we’ll get an release date announcement, so don’t get your hopes up too much in that regard, but hey, even magic 8 balls have been known to be wrong occasionally.

Oh and if you didn’t know, blizzard is streaming the opening ceremonies for free at http://www.blizzcon.com/live-stream/ at 11am PST on friday.  This might be when they announce some stuff, so be sure to check it out!