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medievaldragon

Tomas Hernandez is owner of Blizzplanet.com since 2003. I post news about World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Diablo III, Hearthstone, Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm, Blizzard Careers, and the Warcraft film. Blizzplanet is a leading fansite covering news about upcoming Blizzard Entertainment licensed products. I also post previews and reviews. I have interviewed book writers and Blizzard game developers. I was previously an employee of the OGaming Network (2003), and IncGamers (2008-2010). I was a guest newsposter for GosuGamers (World of Warcraft) a few years ago and for Diablofans.com (formerly Diablo3.com) ***Fans who would love to watch Blizzard-related panels and appreciate our efforts can support Blizzplanet's patreon in a monthly-basis, or a one-time basis. Our staff are volunteer fans like you. Your donatives will help us travel to all the Blizzard events we attend year-round.

BlizzCon 2019: Diablo Immortal Gameplay Livestream

A chinese streamer was allowed by Blizzard Entertainment to livestream his Diablo Immortal gameplay for nearly two hours.

The game starts with the hero being rowed through the river by a ferryman.

Ferryman: This is it… the dock for Wortham. That whole village has gone to hell… You sure I can’t take you someplace else?

Demon Hunter: Yes, I am. Wortham is beyond the forest I take it?

Ferryman: Aye, follow the road and be on your guard. Unfortunate things happen to travelers in that forest…

Unofficial Confirmation that was Rathma in the Diablo IV Cinematic?

Personally, I haven’t heard any developer confirm that the character welcoming Lilith in the cinematic is in fact her son Rathma. I might have missed that if otherwise.

PiZZaPatriZZa shared in Reddit a link to a thread response by Customer Support Tyryndar where he “unofficially” confirms that was Rathma. I’d prefer a developer to confirm this, but this is what we got so far. So you should hold it cautiously for what it is.

Letter from David Kim: Diablo IV System Design (Part 1)

Diablo IV lead system designer David Kim posted a letter to the community today addressing feedback concerns and highlighting plans for the Diablo IV System Design ranging Itemization, Elective Mode, Ancient Items, the end-game progression system, sources of power, and keyed dungeons.

Recently, we were told fans would get a quarterly update on Diablo IV. It’s great to have two letters from the developers barely two weeks after BlizzCon. Hopefully, we will continue to have this openness in between those quarterly updates. That’s the right path.

I have learned over years of experience that the player community is an incredibly valuable resource to draw upon when designing and refining a game. By working together, we can achieve great things. The biggest challenge with parsing community feedback is that with so many opinions, the takeaways are rarely unanimous. Diablo IV is still very much in active development, but we plan to keep you in the loop as we continue to design and iterate so that you can be a part of what we’re building. I am so incredibly appreciative for all the feedback we’ve received so far and I’m eager to dive into some of the most talked about topics.

Itemization

We’re still working through all the feedback that came in regarding itemization and we’re actively discussing ways to add more depth and complexity to base items (including Rares), ways to add greater variety to item affixes to make those powers interesting and your choices meaningful, and ways to give players more freedom to choose how to customize items, so you can have fun exploring a wide range of effective gameplay possibilities instead of just looking up “the optimal build” online.

We’ll go into way more depth regarding itemization in a separate post soon, but we don’t want to leave you hanging until then—so we’re going to update you on a few other topics now.

These are some of the topics that we’re seeing come up most often, but if we’re missing something, please let us know and we will try to share our thoughts on those subjects as well in future updates.

Elective Mode in Diablo IV

There’s a misconception that Diablo IV will lock skills to specific slots because of the BlizzCon demo user interface. Like many other things in the demo, the UI is not final and we will support Elective Mode-style skill selection. Skill selection and assignment will always be completely open for all players.

Ancient Items

We completely agree with the community sentiment—Ancients as they are don’t really serve a clear purpose in Diablo IV. We should have done a better job of explaining the role of Ancient Items in Diablo IV. We had a preliminary direction to share, but you’ve brought up some great points, so we’re revisiting our designs with your feedback in mind. We hope to have more details to share in the follow-up itemization update.

Endgame Progression System

We haven’t decided whether the character leveling and experience system should be finite or infinite. We’ve been discussing the pros and cons of both and would love to hear your thoughts. There seems to be some concern around infinite being worse because it will eventually overshadow all the power granted by other sources. However, we can control how much power each system gives, whether it’s infinite or finite.

For example, say we’re talking about thousands of hours of gameplay . . . within those thousands of hours, we could choose to create a finite system that grants 1,000,000 times more power than an infinite system, making it practically impossible for the infinite system to catch up in power.

Also, power increase doesn’t need to be linear throughout the ranks—it can slow down as players reach higher levels. We believe the more important question is what experience feels best for players, and we can playtest various approaches to tuning to find the power curve that makes the most sense.

We have a couple reasons for having a different experience system in addition to a level cap. A level cap gives us the ability to grant players a sense of completion. But for players who want to go deeper into the game, a second experience system allows us to capture the fun of achieving those really difficult endgame goals and ranks. We can also introduce additional depth through this system, because players will be more experienced with the game at this point. Ultimately, our goal is to create a meaningful system that provides clear choices depending on your preferred playstyle in the endgame.

Sources of Power

The community has shared many good points on the topic of power sources and we’re reevaluating how much power comes from each source at any given time.

However, we want to clarify that in Diablo IV, power doesn’t come mostly from items. We want to have a good mix of power sources: characters naturally get stronger as they level up, skills have ranks that increase power, talents provide specific playstyle choices and additional character power, and of course items grant power and meaningful choices as well.

Something else to keep in mind is Legendary powers are just one part of an item’s power, and they won’t invalidate all other Affixes due to how powerful they are. For example, two to three normal Affixes are currently equivalent in power to a Legendary power on most items.

Keyed Dungeons

A big question that’s come up is exactly how Keyed Dungeons are different from Rifts. Keyed Dungeons introduce greater challenges as their tiers increase through Dungeon Affixes. The majority of dungeons are real places in the world, and players will know some information about them including what types of monsters, events, and layouts to expect. With this information, as well as the specific Dungeon Affixes being displayed on the key, players will be able to strategize their approach before going into the dungeon. We believe this is the biggest change from Diablo III Rifts: the added planning and strategizing that takes place before you decide to run a Keyed Dungeon.

Please continue to share your thoughts—we want you to be involved in the Diablo IV design process. I personally believe in making the best decisions for the game based on the strongest design ideas, no matter where they come from. My biggest hope is for us to be able to constructively discuss and iterate on the topics that are most important to the community—so keep the feedback coming!

See you in Hell,

David Kim
Lead Systems Designer
The Diablo IV Team — source

 

Elements I Would Like To See in Diablo IV

Diablo IV is ripe with potential for new systems, lore, returning features from previous games, and new content. I have many expectations. Some which I know, and others yet to be explored in the deepest corners of my mind.

 

DIABLO LORE

In terms of Lore, I would like to see quests, and special events based on things we have read before in the Diablo novels and comic books. For example, now that we get to explore Scosglen — how about finding characters like Barbarian Renit, Necromancer Cairo, the Zakarum Paladin Hale and Bay, the spirit of Druid Azgar the werebear and the ghost of Naz. One of the loot items could be the Hand of Naz — after following a series of quests.

Tales of Sanctuary

BlizzCon 2019 Diablo IV Systems and Features Panel Transcript

Welcome to the Diablo IV Systems and Features panel. I hope everybody is here to hear about our systems and features. That is the only deck we have. So that’s what you get. My name is Tim Ismay. I am a senior producer on the Diablo IV team. I have a moderate amount of knowledge about all the things we work on. Not to worry. I have a collection here of experts that have deep knowledge of all the things that we work on. So they will be talking more than I will.

A Letter from Diablo 4 Game Director Luis Barriga

Diablo 4 game director Luis Barriga has issued his first post-BlizzCon letter to the fans. The essence of the letter is to expect quaterly updates from the Diablo IV team which includes behind-the-scenes looks at the progress made in its development.

Luis Barriga teases there is a cool update coming in February 2020. Hopefully, we get to learn whether the Horadric Cube is back, as that system has not been mentioned at all at BlizzCon 2019. There are many systems that were not revealed for Diablo IV yet such as: Transmog, Enchanting, Jewelcrafting, Blacksmithing, Gambling Vendors, and many others.

It is a big departure to have updates every 4-months right after BlizzCon, compared with Diablo Immortal which went completely silent for a whole year. Very good sign, but that means only 3 Diablo IV updates per year.

If you missed the BlizzCon 2019 virtual ticket VODs, feel free to read our full Diablo IV panel transcripts.

BlizzCon 2019 Diablo IV: World and Lore Panel Transcript

Elizabeth: Hello, everyone. I have been waiting a long time to say this, but: Hello, BlizzCon! Hey, guys! Thank you so much. I am Elizabeth Seminario. I’m a producer in the Diablo team, and this is Diablo IV: World and Lore. Are you guys excited? Awesome.

We are excited too. We are excited because we finally get to talk to you about some of the things that make this such an amazing game. So that could be the places that you travel, or the friends and foes that you meet along the way, and the stories that you collect during your adventures. So I ask you to play along a little bit longer with my extended metaphor. Grab your dusty Barbarian pelt, or maybe it is a Sorceress cloak, and stay awhile and listen.

Speculation: Diablo Immortal might arrive by BlizzCon 2020

With lack of Diablo Immortal spotlight at BlizzCon 2019, and through observation, I think we can now discard what NetEase said back on February 29, 2019 about their side of development been wrapped up.

BlizzCon 2019 showed that the developers are polishing the game in-house to meet their quality standards. While Diablo Immortal did not get a spotlight at BlizzCon 2019 with its own panel, there was activity in the form of a Diablo Immortal press kit and a new gameplay video featuring the Demon Hunter.

So when exactly is Diablo Immortal going to ship? Blizzard Entertainment hasn’t set a date for release date, nor for beta testing at the moment of this posting.

However, I think it is safe to gauge at this moment based on some trends.

Diablo Immortal was unveiled at BlizzCon 2018 with three playable Classes: Barbarian, Wizard, and Monk. The website was silent for a full year until BlizzCon 2019 when the Demon Hunter’s abilities were updated. However, for a full year of no news and showcasing only the Demon Hunter instead of two Classes or the remaining three… that’s telling upon itself. Reveals are now been gated as “one Class per event” — and before BlizzCon 2019 there were three remaining classes’ abilities not yet featured: the Demon Hunter, Crusader, and Necromancer.

So if we use BlizzCon 2019 as a gauge to measure when the game is going to be released, I might dare to say that we might hear about the next Class at PAX East on February 27; or at GamesCom on August 25. Then final Class’ abilities might be revealed at BlizzCon 2020, then.

Or PAX East and GamesCom as the reveals with beta starting shortly after August 25 with a release date near October-November range. That would leave BlizzCon 2020 to focus on post-launch content.

So I am using my sham magic ball to predict the game might release a short time before or after BlizzCon 2020.

At the moment, and this is concerning, the Diablo Immortal beta registration Android app is only accessible to those with Android 8 (Oreo) or above. I can tell because I have two Android devices: One runs Android 5 and the tablet runs Android 7. My Android PC emulator runs with a Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus profile with Android 8. That’s the only one that can see the Diablo Immmortal registration app in the Google Play.

Concerning because as of August 2019, the latest Android version available is Android 9 (Pie) — which leaves a lot of phones out there in the dark unable to register. To me that says that Blizzard has not yet readied to support older phones. I assume that when beta testing is nearing we might see older versions of Android become able to load the Diablo Immortal registration app in the Google Play store. At least, I hope.

In the meantime, if you don’t own an Android phone or tablet, I suggest checking out my recent article about installing an Android PC emulator (which also works in Mac computers). You can register to participate in the Diablo Immortal beta through your PC emulator which thankfully emulates a Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus phone at 1080HD.

BlizzCon 2019: Inarius in Diablo IV

What do you think about Inarius being in the Diablo IV Cinematic? Wait… Inarius was in the cinematic?! Yes, indeed. Well, technically in a blink and you miss him moment. When Lilith was breaching the veil of the bloody gateway, between her eternal prison and Sanctuary, there were fractions-of-a-second flashes in unison with the creepy music strokes.

In three of those flashes, if you pause at the right frame, you will see Inarius chained in what we know is the Chamber of Mirrors deep in the Burning Hells.

These flashes tell me that Inarius immediately sensed Lilith’s return. Kinda like a spider-sense of terror.

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