Blizzplanet Preview – Garwulf’s Corner: An Odyssey into Diablo and the World Beyond the Video Game

A month ago, I reported that Robert B. Marks plans to launch a book titled: “Garwulf’s Corner: An Odyssey into Diablo and the World Beyond the Video Game”. It is slated to ship on October 2014. A couple days ago, Robert shipped to me a review copy with a signed dedicatory.

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Any veteran Diablo fan will no doubt remember the old good days when multiplayer games began to flourish. Players were still using 56Kbps dial-up internet connection services such as AOL, and CompuServe. Early DSL was running 128 to 256 Kbps and it was expensive. Diablo had become a success, and Blizzard Entertainment launched Diablo II on June 29, 2000.

diablo-demonsbaneIt was back then when a geeky gamer and writer age 24 managed to sell his first published story. Robert B. Marks wrote probably one of the first Video Game-based eBooks for Blizzard Entertainment based on the Diablo universe …. Diablo: Demonsbane. It was published on October 2000. Pocket Books published the first Blizzard eBook in an era where eBooks were a struggling experiment. The first eBook readers from 1997-2006 were not well-received. Not until the big boom when the first Amazon Kindle device shipped on 2007.

Back on 2000, Robert B. Marks also began to write a bi-weekly column titled Garwulf’s Corner for Diabloii.net (now found at diablo.incgamers.com).

He wrote about Diablo II, about gaming, literature, movies, hackers, AI, and other topics. In a time where there weren’t that many fansites or gaming websites with similar discussion topics other than news, reviews or strategy guides.

Garwulf’s Corner earned many readers over the few years it lasted. Even today, the archive can be read online. Those veteran Diablo fans can now get this piece of history in printed form.

The book contains a 3-page introduction written by Robert B. Marks, all 52 articles of Garwulf’s Corner, three articles that were never published in the Blurred Edge magazine, and an article the author wrote after Diablo III was announced.

Garwulf’s Corner: An Odyssey into Diablo and the World Beyond the Video Game will be published by Robert’s owned Legacy Books Press for a retail price of $19.99 US ($22.95 CAN/AU, €16.95, £ 15.95). Review copies are now available: contact(*)legacybookspress.com

If you haven’t read Diablo: Demonsbane, I recommend to get the Diablo Archive which reprinted it in physical form.

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At the dawn of the 21st Century, the video game industry experienced a period of wild creativity, fighting for recogniztion as an art form while making the transformation into a media juggernaut. And as it did, Garwulf’s Corner was there.

One of the earliest, if not the first, video game issues columns on the internet, Garwulf’s Corner ran every two weeks from 2000 to 2002 on Diabloii.net, Written by Robert B. Marks, author of Diablo: Demonsbane and The EverQuest Companion, it explored everything up to and including Diablo, the birth of artificial intelligence, hackers, literature and movies, and the video game’s struggle for legitimacy.

Collected here for the first time in print — whith new introductions and updates — are all 52 installments of Garwulf’s Corner, along with the three columns written years later for the unpublished Blurred Edge Magazine, the holiday issue that never was, and the author’s final word (so far) on Diablo III and Diablo in general. Insightful, controversial, witty, and thought-provoking, Garwulf’s Corner is a journey into the world of video games that is still relevant today.

Garwulf’s Corner also explores the following:

  • The video game’s struggle for recognition and legitimacy as an art form.
  • How we play video games and what it means for our lives and society.
  • The birth of serious video game journalism
  • The ethics and dimensions of video game hackers, DRM, and piracy.
  • Issues such as sexism in video games, and how we should face them.

“It was amazing to be there at the birth of serious video game journalism,” says Marks. “When the first installment was published, video game coverage basically consisted of reviews, previews, and strategy guides – writing about issues back then felt quite a lot like being a voice in the wilderness. When the last installment was published in 2002, video games were something that people gave serious thought to and were coming to recognize as art. It was an honour and a privilege to be even the smallest part of that.”


Robert B. Marks is an author, writer, editor, trained historian, and publisher. He is the author of Diablo: Demonsbane, The EverQuest Companion, The Traveler on the Road of Legends, and the co-author of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Agora. Since 2013 he has also worked in public relations and community outreach for Darksword Armory.

In his spare time, Robert makes mead, practices German Longsword, plays Magic: The Gathering, and very rarely (and very badly) plays the violin. He lives in Kingston, Ontario, with his wife Johanna.

Available on October 31, 2014 at bookstores and online.

ISBN: 9781927537107
Price: $19.99 US

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Diablo III: Reaper of Souls 2.0.4 – v2.0.2.23119 – Patch Notes

Blizzard Entertainment deployed a new patch to address several class changes, and some people might be glad to hear about elite monster’s poison-affix changes. Resplendent Chests will give better loot. Some crafting changes too.

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GENERAL

  • Greatly increased the survivability of pets summoned by several items and skills, including:
    • Skycutter
    • Maximus
    • The Gidbinn
    • Genzaniku
    • Litany of the Undaunted
    • Call of the Ancients
    • Falling Sword – Rise Brothers
  • All Town hubs have had the placement of the Nephalem Rift Obelisk, Orek, and Kadala adjusted to help reduce the chance of accidental clicking
  • The Blacksmith’s Belongings box in Act I no longer has collision

Death breaths new life into Sanctuary – 2.7 Million copies of Reaper of Souls Sold

Blizzard Entertainment deployed a press release to inform that over 2.7 million copies of Reaper of Souls were sold worldwide. By the way, the Diablo III: Reaper of Souls Collector’s Edition is still in Stock with FREE Shipping.

diablo-iii-reaper-of-souls-collectors-edition-boxMore than 2.7 million players join the crusade against the Angel of Death with the launch of Diablo® III: Reaper of Souls™

IRVINE, Calif. –(BUSINESS WIRE)— Malthael claimed that no one could stop Death . . . actually, Diablo® III players have already stopped Death more than 1.5 million times and counting. On March 25 , players the world over launched a crusade against the fallen angel with the release of Diablo III: Reaper of Souls™ for Windows® and Mac®. As of the first week of the expansion’s availability, more than 2.7 million copies have sold-through online and at retailers worldwide.*

Players, community personalities, and members of the press joined Blizzard to celebrate the expansion’s release on the evening of March 24 at launch parties in Seoul , Taipei , Warsaw , Stockholm , and Los Angeles . The icy grasp of the Angel of Death reached players around the world through live streams from several of the events, with total Diablo III views on Twitch on launch day alone exceeding 2.4 million.†

“With Reaper of Souls, we wanted to emphasize all the things that Diablo gamers have always loved about the series, from the dark gothic setting to the piles and piles of epic loot,” said Mike Morhaime , CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment . “We’re excited to see that players are enjoying the changes we’ve made to the game, and we look forward to achieving our Paragon levels alongside everyone else in the weeks and months ahead.”

Reaper of Souls continues the Diablo III story with a challenging new act that takes players from the legendary city of Westmarch to the unhallowed halls of the Pandemonium Fortress, culminating in an epic battle with Malthael, the Angel of Death. The expansion also adds the unstoppable Crusader class to Diablo III’s roster of heroes, and increases the game’s level cap to 70, adding several powerful spells and abilities for the original five hero classes.

Other new features in Reaper of Souls include Adventure Mode: a new game mode that allows players to choose their own path across Sanctuary in total freedom; Bounties: randomized objectives that award gold and experience; Nephalem Rifts: fast-paced randomized dungeons offering endless replayability and heaps of loot; and the Mystic: a powerful new artisan who provides gear-customization options.

Diablo III: Reaper of Souls is available for purchase in retail stores throughout the U.S., Canada , Europe , South Korea , Australia , New Zealand , Southeast Asia , Taiwan , Hong Kong , and Macau , as well as digitally around the world via the game’s official website (http://www.diablo3.com/reaperofsouls). The expansion will launch in Russia and the CIS, and at retail stores in Mexico , Chile , and Brazil , on April 15 . Reaper of Souls has been fully localized in English, German, French, Latin American Spanish, European Spanish, Korean, Traditional Chinese, Russian, Italian, Polish, and Brazilian Portuguese.

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.

 

Welcome to Reaper of Souls™

A new guide to welcome everyone to Diablo III: Reaper of Souls

Welcome to Reaper of Souls™

I do hope you have been making the best of your time, nephalem, because the sands in your hourglass have run out. The time has come for my master to sweep clean the streets of Westmarch, and your feeble efforts will mean little against our inevitable tide.

Today marks the arrival of Reaper of Souls™, and though there is much to explore and possibly aid you on your futile quest, I expect you to achieve little more than a swift and painful demise. Source


 

Fresh Blood

– The Crusader –

Taking on Death itself requires more than flashy spells, endless ammunition, and brute strength. If you are not confident in your current skills, perhaps you should look at other endeavors. Though I doubt the layers of armor and power of your feeble Light will stand against my blade, it is, perhaps, a good place to start.

The Crusader is the latest nephalem to challenge my lord. If you feel up to the task, you may consider taking up a flail and shield. But be advised—the path of the Crusader is a demanding one, and plotting out your skills and learning as much as possible about your Order would be wise. Catching you unawares would make my job far too easy.


 

Welcome to Death’s Lair

– Exploring Act V –

The siege has already begun, and you, my dear heroes, are late to the party. Challenge my brothers and sisters in Westmarch if you dare, but be aware—we will not fall easily.

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Doubtful as your success may be, Malthael lies far beyond the city’s walls and you will have to traverse the deadly Blood Marsh before catching even a glimpse of possible victory. If it comes to pass that you find yourself face to face with my master on forgotten and distant battlefields, well… I wish you the best of luck. You will need it.


 

Train Up

– Beyond Level 60 –

Fortunately for you, it seems the time has come to shed your current constraints and grow further in power. Though it matters not, reaching the exalted 70th level of experience offers powers beyond your wildest imaginations. New skills are available for each brave warrior who rises to the challenge, and I dare say these impressive feats might provide a smidgen of advantage.

    

But do not take my word alone, as you may wish to try AvalancheVengeanceEpiphanyPiranhas, andBlack Hole for yourselves. I wholeheartedly advise becoming intimately familiar with these skills before employing them—I do not require further reason to regard you as fools.


 

Beyond Death’s Grasp

– Adventure Mode –

Hypothetically speaking, let us imagine for a moment you surpass all odds and save the world. What is a hero who has defeated the embodiment of Death to do? An infinite wealth of challenges lie beyond my master’s defeat, should you prove worthy. That traitorous Tyrael might have the odd job or two for you, and ancient tales speak of challenges meant only for the most powerful of nephalem.

Of course, that would not be you, so I would not concern yourselves with such hearsay.


 

Get All the Help You Can Get

– The Mystic –

It is unavoidable that you will struggle along your journey. Somehow, fate has looked kindly upon your unfortunate soul and guided the powerful Mystic to cross your path. Myriam is a stubborn ant who will not be stomped, despite my best efforts. Find her, and she may be grateful enough to enchant your equipment with more powerful abilities.

Of course, arrogant nephalem like you may find little need for more power, and instead may partake in frivolities such as ensuring your boots match your shoulder pads. Luckily, the Mystic will humor you in such ridiculous endeavors… for the appropriate coin.


 

No One Can Stop Death

– But You’re Welcome to Try –

I do hope my insights have proven helpful, adventurers. Whilst it is fated we meet one another on the battlefield, understand that my advice comes not from a place of good will. You are, after all, standing in opposition to my dear Angel of Death, and I am nothing if not a devoted servant.

Fare thee well, nephalem. I look forward to claiming your soul.

 

Diablo III: Reaper of Souls Live Now

Diablo III: Reaper of Souls is finally on sale and players can now embark into an epic experience playing as the Crusader or engaging the Adventure Mode and Nephalem Rifts epic experience.

diablo-iii-reaper-of-souls-collectors-edition-boxEpic new chapter in Blizzard Entertainment’s critically acclaimed Diablo® series NOW LIVE

Take up the blessed arms and impenetrable shield of the mighty Crusader and explore the world of Sanctuary like never before

IRVINE, Calif. –(BUSINESS WIRE)– The time has come for the greatest heroes of the mortal realm to answer the call to arms and join the crusade against death itself. Diablo® III: Reaper of Souls™ is now live and ready to challenge Windows® and Mac® gamers around the world.

In Reaper of Souls, the five valiant heroes from Diablo III—Barbarian, Demon Hunter, Monk, Witch Doctor, and Wizard—are joined by a new champion: the Crusader. Clad head to toe in fortified armor, the Crusader is an unstoppable force of righteous destruction who channels the power of divine wrath to visit retribution upon his demonic quarry.

Reaper of Souls adds a challenging new act to Diablo III in which players will embark on a dark and perilous journey through terrifying landscapes; explore the legendary city of Westmarch; and slay countless minions, each hell-bent on bringing their heroic quest to a grisly end. The adventure culminates in a climactic confrontation with Malthael, the Angel of Death, whose twisted designs spell ruin for the innocent people of Sanctuary.

“Together with the new loot experience we added to the game, Reaper of Souls improves on Diablo III in countless ways,” said Mike Morhaime , CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment . “Players returning to Sanctuary will find a darker, more engaging, and much more rewarding experience awaiting them.”

A recent free update to Diablo III on Windows and Mac introduced a host of new game features, including a major revamp of the game’s loot system, an expanded Paragon progression system for max-level characters, and expanded social tools in the form of Clans and Communities. With the purchase of Reaper of Souls, players will gain access to game-changing new features and highly replayable content, including:

  • Act V: A dark and terrifying chapter sending players on a final confrontation with death itself
  • The Crusader: A new playable hero—a veritable war machine made human
  • Level Cap to 70: Formidable new spells and abilities that take players to new heights of power
  • Adventure Mode: A new game mode that gives players the freedom to go anywhere and slay anything
  • Bounties: Randomized objectives that reward players in new ways for exploring Sanctuary
  • Nephalem Rifts: Fully randomized dungeons offering endless replayability and heaps of loot
  • The Mystic: A powerful new artisan who provides heroes with loot-customization options

All of this new content comes with the Reaper of Souls Standard Edition (available in physical and digital versions), which players can purchase at a suggested retail price of $39.99 . Players also have the option to upgrade to the Digital Deluxe Edition (SRP $59.99 ), which contains a wealth of in-game bonuses:

  • Exclusive helm- and weapon-transmogrification recipes for players to distinguish their characters among the champions of Sanctuary
  • A Spectral Hound minion players can summon to keep their adventurers company on their epic journey
  • Three additional character slots to accommodate new heroes
  • A World of Warcraft® in-game companion pet, the Treasure Goblin, ready to compete in Pet Battles
  • A set of StarCraft® II Crusader-themed Battle.net® portraits and Malthael-themed decals

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The Reaper of Souls retail-exclusive Collector’s Edition comes fully-equipped with all of the bonus items from the Digital Deluxe Edition and also includes a gorgeous full-color hardcover art book, a behind-the-scenes Blu-ray/DVD two-disc set, and a mouse pad bearing the impenetrable visage of Malthael, the Angel of Death. The Collector’s Edition is available at select retailers for a suggested retail price of $79.99 . Players should check their local retailer for details and availability, as supplies are limited.

As an added bonus, anyone who buys Reaper of Souls will receive one or more Expert Card Packs (depending on which version of the expansion is purchased) for Blizzard Entertainment’s recently launched digital strategy card game, Hearthstone™: Heroes of Warcraft™. Read this blog post for further details.

Reaper of Souls is available for purchase in retail stores throughout the U.S., Canada , Europe , South Korea , Australia , New Zealand , Southeast Asia , Taiwan , Hong Kong , and Macau , as well as digitally around the world via the game’s official website (http://www.diablo3.com/reaperofsouls). The expansion will launch in Russia and the CIS, and at retail stores in Mexico , Chile , and Brazil , on April 15 . Reaper of Souls has been fully localized in English, German, French, Latin American Spanish, European Spanish, Korean, Traditional Chinese, Russian, Italian, Polish, and Brazilian Portuguese.

For more information on Reaper of Souls for Windows and Mac and to purchase your copy, visit http://www.diablo3.com/reaperofsouls. 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.

 

Complete Your Collection with a Funko POP! Vinyl

Complete Your Collection with a Funko POP! Vinyl

Have your eye on some Blizzard Gear goodies? Well, now’s the perfect time to stock up!

For a limited time only, anyone who snags $66.60 or more worth of loot from our official online store will also receive an adorable Funko POP! Vinyl Diablo or Tyrael gift with purchase. GLORIOUS!

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As with all hellacious offerings, some restrictions may apply, so be sure to check out our terms and conditions for more information. Don’t delay, though—this diabolical promotion ends Monday, March 31!

Cart must equal $66.60 before tax and shipping. Promotion begins on 03/21 and ends on 3/31, while supplies last.

 

Reaper of Souls™ Launch Day Preparation

Get ready for the Diablo III: Reaper of Souls Launching!

Reaper of Souls™ Launch Day Preparation

The launch of Diablo III: Reaper of Souls™ is just around corner! To make sure you’re ready to Leap right into the action on March 25, we’ve put together a launch day guide so you’ll know what to expect, how best to prepare, and when you’ll be able to jump in and start playing.


checkmark-features-bullet Purchase the Game

If you haven’t already picked up a copy of Reaper of Souls, you can purchase the Digital Standard Edition or Digital Deluxe Edition directly from the Battle.net Shop. Players who wish to own a physical copy of the game can also preorder Reaper of Souls at most major retailers and fine purveyors of high-quality gaming products worldwide.

If you’re interested in the Diablo® III: Reaper of Souls™ Collector’s Edition, please be aware that this physical, retail-only edition is printed in limited quantities and may already be sold out from your favorite brick-and-mortar or online retailer. Be sure to call around and check with local stores to see if they have the Collector’s Edition available!


checkmark-features-bullet Claim your Game Key

Players who have purchased (or will be purchasing) a physical copy of Reaper of Souls will need to redeem their game key in Battle.net Account Management before they can access any expansion content. If you’re looking to take advantage of our exclusive pre-order bonuses—including the Wings of Valor and the Heroes of the Storm unlock for Valla, the Demon Hunter—be sure to register your game key on or before 11:59 PDT on March 31, 2014.

If you purchased a digital copy of Reaper of Souls, no additional steps are required. Your game key was automatically added to your Battle.net account upon completion of the digital purchase.


checkmark-features-bullet Upgrade to the Battle.net Desktop App

In order to log into and play Reaper of Souls, you’ll first need to update your game launcher to the Battle.net desktop app. The great news is that if you’ve played Diablo III since Patch 2.0.1, you’re good to go!

For those who have not yet updated their launchers to the Battle.net desktop app, we recommendupgrading at your earliest convenience. This will help save you time on launch day and make sure you’re ready to storm the gates at Westmarch as soon as the expansion goes live!

To learn more about the Battle.net desktop app, click here.


checkmark-features-bullet Update Your Client

Please be aware that if you have not yet upgraded to the Battle.net desktop app, your installation may require optimization. This process can take 15-60 minutes, so we definitely recommend getting a head start!

For more information on this process and what to expect, click here.


checkmark-features-bullet Regional Launch Times

Reaper of Souls will launch at different times in each Diablo III gameplay region. Please see the below list to learn when the expansion will be available in your preferred region.

  • For Asia, the expansion will be available to play at 11:00 a.m. PDT on March 24.
    • 3:00 a.m. KST on March 25
    • 2:00 a.m. CST on March 25
  • For Europe, the expansion will be available to play at 4:00 p.m. PDT on March 24.
    • 23:00 GMT on March 24
    • 00:00 CET on March 25
    • 01:00 EET on March 25
    • 03:00 MSK on March 25
  • For the Americas, the expansion will be available to play on 9:00 p.m. PDT on March 24.
    • 10:00 p.m. MDT on March 24
    • 11:00 p.m. CDT on March 24
    • 12:00 a.m. EDT on March 25
    • 1:00 a.m. ADT on March 25
    • 1:30 a.m. NDT on March 25
    • 12:00 p.m. SGT on March 25
    • 3:00 p.m. AEDT on March 25

For time zone assistance, please visit: http://everytimezone.com


checkmark-features-bullet Launch Night Login

Diablo III will be available the night Reaper of Souls goes live and there will be no need to patch or exit the game once the clock strikes GO!

We advise logging in ahead of time to reduce potential queue times. Once you’re in-game and the Reaper of Souls has launched in your region, you’ll see a server broadcast message letting you know that the expansion is now available to play. This means you can continuously play Diablo III all night long and jump straight into Act V the moment it’s available!

Note: In order to access Act V once Reaper of Souls is live, you will need to exit your current game and select Act V from the Quest Select window. If you want to avoid having to recreate your game, we recommend that you set up your game so that you’re killing Diablo after your gameplay region’s launch time. This way, you can naturally transition into Act V without any additional effort.


checkmark-features-bullet Queues and You

Depending on how many people attempt to join the crusade against the Angel of Death on March 25, you may encounter a queue when logging into Diablo III as well when you create a game. These queues will be indicated by the following messages.

Login Queue:

  • “Queued position [number] – approx [X] minutes remaining…”

Game Queue:

  • “The Diablo III servers are busy.” Below this message, you should see a time estimate (if the estimate is < 1 minute) as well as pulsating ellipses.

If you receive either message, just be patient with the queue and you’ll be slaughtering reapers in Westmarch before you know it!


checkmark-features-bullet Contact Us

While we’ve worked hard to provide the best launch experience for all players heading into Reaper of Souls, even the wisest and most blessed of Vecin can’t foresee all ends. Should you require troubleshooting for any of the above steps or encounter issues on launch night, we’ll be on standby in the official Diablo III Forums and on @BlizzardCS, and Customer Support is just a few mouse clicks away.

We’ll see you in game, nephalem!

 

+100% Bonus XP – This Weekend Only

A few more days to go til the launch of the new Diablo III Expansion!

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This is it! We’re unleashing Diablo III: Reaper of Souls™ for Windows and Mac on March 25. To celebrate—this weekend only—we’re doubling down on the +50% Bonus XP that’s already available in Diablo III, and boosting it all the way to +100% Bonus XP.

This +100% Bonus XP period begins Friday, March 21 at 12:00 p.m. PT ends on Monday, March 24 at 12:01 a.m. PT. So, (if you need to) update your Diablo III game files here, log in this weekend, and rack up some last-minute Paragon Levels to aid you in your upcoming crusade against death itself.

Not sure what’s new in Patch 2.0.1? We’ve got you covered.

Good luck, have fun, and we’ll see you back here on Monday at 9:00 p.m. Pacific for the official launch of Reaper of Souls, an epic new chapter in the legendary Diablo series!