On March 24th, Diablo III lead producer Alex Mayberry signed copies of the game and met hundreds of fans in London during the Diablo III: Reaper of Souls Launch Party.
Blizzplanet writer Benjamin Vogt was there to interview Alex Mayberry to ask a few questions about the new Diablo III expansion.
Benjamin: Sir, good evening and welcome to London.
Mayberry: Thank you.
Benjamin: Sir, thank you again. So what are you plans into the future of end-game content after the launch?
Mayberry: We are launching Reaper tonight, so we are not really giving out what features we are doing. However, we are currently — at the end of every game, there is always some features that didn’t quite make it in. So some of those things that didn’t quite make the launch, we are already planning a content patch.
We have hinted at a few things. I would say follow Josh Mosqueira on Facebook, and on Twitter; and you will probably get a hint.
So we are planning the next content update for post launch. Beyond that, though, we really want to kind of watch what the community, watch how the game does, listen to players, find out how well-received Reaper is, hear what they like and what they want more of. Then based on that feedback, we are going to carve out our long term plan for Diablo III.
Benjamin: Has the team discussed daily challenge-mode objectives? This could add another huge amount of replayability in the game, and would make it even more compelling to users.
Mayberry: What feature was that?
Benjamin: Challenge-mode objectives.
Mayberry: Oh! Well. So with Reaper, we are introducing adventure-mode and that is kind of laying the foundation for more features that will be more not tied to the story, more re-playable. So that is something we are actually talking about. I can’t really give you real answers; but absolutely, it is something we are interested in.
Benjamin: A few days ago, a teasing image hit Twitter. What can you tell us about all those ladders the developers were researching?
Mayberry: Well, that is why I say to follow Josh Mosqueira, he is hinting at some things, and I think he is trying to figure out how to get really high up and unscrew a light bulb, or something. I am not sure; but honestly that is Josh foreshadowing things that might come.
Benjamin: How do you feel about the closing of the Auction House and how it might affect the game?
Mayberry: We are happy about it actually. you know the auction house– it was an experiment. It was a technical success. We made a very complex system. You know, the auction house did what it is supposed to do; but what it wasn’t supposed to do was to harm gameplay; and as we set up to make Reaper of Souls, lots of the community saw how the auction house was being used.
We just found it was interfering with the gameplay, and we found it was actually impeding with the actual gameplay; and what we really want– if they get the best weapon of the game, we want it to be because they had a great fight and slayed the monster. Not because they outbid someone, right?, and with as much work as we put into the auction house, at the end of the day … you know what? This is not helping gameplay. This is hurting design. Let’s shut it down.
Benjamin: Reaper of Souls beta testing closed about a month ago. Were there any new content or system changes included for release that players don’t know about yet?
Mayberry: I think probably the biggest thing that hasn’t been seen yet is the boss fight with Malthael.
Benjamin: Alex, thank you very much for this time with us.
Mayberry: Absolutely, thank you. Hi I am Alex Mayberry, lead game producer on Diablo III, Blizzard Entertainment. Watch Blizzplanet.com
Sideshow Collectibles is proud to bring you the Diablo statue, from Blizzard Entertainment’s hugely popular action RPG Diablo III. In a brilliant collaboration between the award-winning Sideshow Design and Development and Blizzard Cinematics teams, led by Sideshow Collectibles Creative Director Tom Gilliland and Blizzard Cinematics Creative Director Nick Carpenter, the Prime Evil’s chosen form comes to life, crafted in high quality polystone. The Diablo statue measures over 20 inches tall, hand painted and finished with painstaking attention to detail. Possess it now, before it possesses you.
Brian Fay (Sculpt), Dave Cortes (Sculpt), Blizzard Cinematics Team (Sculpt), Nick Carpenter (Creative Direction), Tom Gilliland (Creative Direction), Anthony Mestas (Paint), Rick Cantu (Paint)
Back on October 12, 2013, at the New York Comic Con — Micky Neilson told me there were plans for a novella based on Morbed. Today Pocket Star released the new digital book Diablo III: Morbed by Micky Neilson (Blizzard publishing lead & New York Times best selling author). This character was first revealed within the pages of Diablo III: Book of Tyrael, foreshadowing things to come.
Details of this digital book were kept in shadows until barely four days ago when I stumbled upon it at Amazon. I check Amazon.com nigh daily in search of upcoming Blizzard books, and Diablo III: Morbed wasn’t in Amazon days ago. The digital book is now available today and can be read. I started reading it sometime around midnight.
**Note: There might be spoiler elements beneath this line. Be warned.**
What is Morbed, and where is it based on in the timeline? The story seems to happen a few months before the events of Diablo III: Reaper of Souls. The King of Westmarch was still alive, and it had not been invaded yet by Malthael’s forces. Here are a few details to share.
Morbed was a former thief. A band of adventurers defeated the King of bandits in Aranoch; and word quickly spread about their feat and reached the ears of Justinian the king of Westmarch.
Justinian summoned this band of adventurers to find a hooded vagabond who was seen entering some of the ruins hidden beneath the Bloodmarch. It’s said this vagabond collected relics from the catacombs and possibly pillaging the Tomb of Rakkis.
The band is composed of Morbed, Jaharra (wizard), Aedus (druid), Clovis (crusader), and Vorik (necromancer). Clovis the crusader was in this mission because he wished to find the bones of Akarat to renew the faith of his religious order. The crusader thought this mission would help his quest.
Now what most catches my attention about this story is the inclusion of, both, a druid and a necromancer to a story that took place sometime before Reaper of Souls. At one point, Jay Wilson said to MTV Multiplayer some of the previous classes might return in future Diablo III expansions.
Jay Wilson: “There’s a lot of people on our team who aren’t happy with our class choices,” he admitted. “But after we’ve established ‘Diablo III’ as its own game with its own type of gameplay and experiences, I wouldn’t be opposed to looking at old classes. We are trying to design [the Witch Doctor] class so that if we did bring back the Necromancer, there’s room for him. We’re looking out ahead of time at what our expansions are going to be, so we’ve got to keep room open for some of those other classes down the road.”
We have seen a necromancer NPC in Diablo III already, and most recently Zayl the Necromancer was among the five heroes recruited by mortal Tyrael to steal the Black Soulstone from the High Heavens (as seen in Diablo III: Storm of Light); but we had not heard of a druid in a very long time in-game or in the printed media based on Diablo.
Like in comic books, some characters are heroes — like Superman (DC Comics), Captain America (Marvel Comics) — while others are anti-Heroes with traits of heroism such as Wolverine, Ghost Rider, Daredevil, even Batman. They are not 100% noble or moral. They have shades of grey. Willing to kill, or to follow their own personal agendas.
I think this is the first time I see a Diablo character such as Morbed. The only other Blizzard character I can compare him with is Prince Arthas (at Stratholme and Dragonblight).
Prince Arthas and even Kael’Thas were formerly noble, and righteous in their own way. Then their lives changed drastically. Dramatically. The scars were deep. Their emotions a maelstrom. Eventually, their morals shifted, and they turned to evil.
Morbed comes from a different background. He was a former thief. He is changed his old ways, but other non-heroic traits have stuck around. The way he is pictured in this story he is going from a scumbag to someone seeking redemption for his past deeds. That gives Morbed some depth as a character. As well as bringing up controversy. Why should we care about the character? Well, look at how Wolverine has boomed the Marvel Comics and films. It has been proven that Anti-Heroes, well written, are a formula that do work. Especially, if you as an author craft a good complex story with twists and drama. The reader becomes entangled into the story, and starts to care about the anti-hero, and wishes to learn more. The reader gets hooked to the anti-hero.
I have no doubt Morbed eventually becomes a hero, but in the first half of this story, Morbed is anything but a hero. He is selfish, he betrays, he won’t risk his life for his own band; and above all else… he is a survivor. He knows his way out of trouble. He uses all the abilities he learned as a former thief. He is no hero. The problem with Morbed is that he won’t risk his hide to help his own teammates in the battlefield. He is willing to leave behind his platoon. Yet, he is filled with guilt.
That element on its own can be exploited by the author. There is a potential way lingering in the air to redeem his past mistakes with this guilt element roaming his mind.
The question is … what is Micky Neilson planning to do with this new anti-hero? Diablo III: Reaper of Souls launched barely a month ago, and there is no trace of this character as a new NPC. Is he slated to appear in a future content patch? Or the next expansion? That is something to ponder about.
More questions inbound. Are we going to see more of Morbed in a full-fleshed novel in 2015? A graphic novel based on him? Otherwise, why write about a nobody character if you have no plans to expand? Makes no sense right? So, one must assume there are plans for this character.
Those characters birthed through the Diablo III short stories came to life in Diablo III: Storm of Light, and they assisted Tyrael — a central figure in the Diablo universe.
Hopefully, we will hear more from Micky Neilson on what plans he has for Morbed, when he is ready to share details.
I do recommend Diablo fans to read Diablo III: Morbed. If this story is foreshadowing things to come either in printed media or in-game at some point, then it is a must-read. We not only learn about a dark anti-hero who gains strange power through this enigmatic lantern, the reader also learns about an ancient history.
In Warcraft, we know the Amani Trolls lived in the region we know now as Quel’Thalas. The High Elves traveled there, decimated the trolls, and usurped their sacred lands to build Quel’Thalas.
In the Diablo universe, on the other hand, we have heard for years how Rakkis fought his way into the west lands and founded the city of Westmarch. However, have we ever learned who Rakkis fought and who originally lived in what we now know as Westmarch and Bloodmarch?
Indeed, Blizzard did never delved into that. Diablo III: Morbed gives us a glimpse into this when the hooded vagabond faces Morbed, and the vagabond reveals to Morbed his motives to pillage ancient artifacts from the Tomb of Rakkis and adjacent underground ruins.
What if this people — exiled from the former Blooming Moors (now known as Westmarch) — became a new class in the next Diablo III expansion? That’s another one to ponder. This short story would then be the prelude to that. Would you dare not to read even out of curiosity?
Diablo III: Morbed Giveaway
I will giveaway 10 copies of Diablo III: Morbed (via an Amazon Gift eCard). You must be a follower of Blizzplanetcom Twitter or Facebook.
Winners will be contacted through Facebook or Twitter. Winners will be listed beneath this line of text so check back. Make sure to check out your social account inbox. Giveaway ends Wednesday, April 23 at 11:59pm EST (New York).
The fisherman – a merchant, posing as a fisherman, who brought the band to the isle.
The vagabond – descendant of the original inhabitants of the Blooming Moor (now known as Westmarch) who were exiled by Rakkis.
Kasha, Roshan and Ishkara (spirit wolfs summoned by the druid)
House of Bulkhan
Pocket Star will publish a brand-new story based on the Diablo universe which is written by New York Times best selling author and Blizzard publishing lead Micky Neilson.
I am amazed at how quick this book is coming and how it utterly bypassed my long-range radar. All the more welcome. I already pre-ordered and it will be delivered to my Kindle PC software right on my computer desktop. Feel free to download the Kindle app for PC/Mac or for your favorite mobile device before pre-ordering, to sync the app with your Amazon account.
Diablo III: Morbed will be published on April 21, 2014. Contains 64 pages.
An original e-novella based on the bestselling video game!
Morbed is a thief and a survivor, and his skills in both roles are about to be put to the ultimate test. Joining together with a wizard, a druid, a necromancer, and a crusader, Morbed has arrived at a remote island to track down an elusive vagabond and reclaim valuable items pilfered from the city of Westmarch.
But there is something loose on the island, something that has killed and is very close to killing again. In order to leave the island alive, Morbed will be forced to confront not only the terrifying creature that stalks the forests, but the darkest corners of his own spirit as well.
This past weekend, Blizzard Entertainment showcased the Diablo III: Reaper of Souls Ultimate Evil Edition for the PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system. PAX East attendees were able to play the game at the demo stations.
Read the details about the Ultimate Evil Edition, and view the screenshots at the bottom of the page.
PlayStation®4 gamers can now experience the full adventure of Blizzard’s epic action RPG, Diablo® III, and the expansion, Reaper of Souls™, from the comfort of their couch with Diablo III: Reaper of Souls – Ultimate Evil Edition! Take on the role of one of six powerful character classes—Barbarian, Demon Hunter, Monk, Witch Doctor, Wizard, or the all-new Crusader—and embark on a dark journey to save the world of Sanctuary from ancient and sinister forces. With the new DUALSHOCK®4 wireless controller and a custom-designed console interface, players will be outfitted with touch pad functionality and new social features as they engage in pulse-pounding combat with hordes of demons, acquire items of incredible power, and visit justice upon the Angel of Death.
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.
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.
It 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.
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.
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.
Greatly increased the survivability of pets summoned by several items and skills, including:
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
More 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.
A new guide to welcome everyone to Diablo III: 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
– 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.
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.
– 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 Avalanche, Vengeance, Epiphany, Piranhas, 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.
SteelSeries is running a killer promo through March 25-26 to celebrate the launch of the new Diablo III expansion pack. SteelSeries is offering 40% off all Diablo III gear until Wednesday at Midnight. Use coupon code REAPER at checkout. http://shop.steelseries.com/us/diablo