Tag Archives: Diablo 3

#488 Heroes of the Storm First Impressions

Over the weekend, due to a combination of some free time, watching various PAX South Streams, and remembering that I actually had the game in my inventory, I booted up Blizzard’s second Free to Play game, the A.R.T.S/MOBA game Heroes of the Storm for the first time to play a few rounds.

I played between the two free ranged and support heroes of that week, Malfurion and Falstad, for a few matches in the Raven and Haunted mines map. I did have a fun time playing the game, winning my fair share of matches and even scoring a few killstreaks here or there, I contribute that to my months of Twitch training.

 Its weird starting fresh in new MOBA/ARTS game, relaying on the free champs that week instead of the handful of champs you know so well.

Its weird starting fresh in new MOBA/ARTS game, relaying on the free champs that week instead of the handful of champs you know so well.

My first impressions is that it is a fun game with more of a focus on map objectives than player kills, and the objectives are fun to partake in. from collecting skulls to power up your bulldozer of a Grave Golem as it marches from one side of the map to the other to claiming capture points to ensure that your team gets the highly prized buff or inflicting a powerful curse or attack on the enemy’s defenses.

I have only played for a handful of matches, so I do not know how I feel about Heroes of the Storm choosing a heavy focus on Talents and upgrading and side-grading the hero’s abilities over the item approach for character improvement. I definitely know that I am not a fan of Blizzard’s gameplay choice to let players pick their champions first and then enter the queue.

I lost quite a few solo-queue matches because our team was comprised of two supports and no damage and that was because there was no time to communicate to the other players and and change our team competition before rolling out.

I do not know how those two complaints will might work with the competitive scene of the game when it comes to the staple pick/ban phase and counting other champion’s play style we see in other games, that is if there is a community interest to move towards a competitive or metagame route.

of course it will, we have competitive Hearthstone tournaments

of course it will, we have competitive Hearthstone tournaments why wouldn’t we have a competitive HoTs scene

Those two complaints are not enough to deter me from the game all together, and I will still plan to play it but recreationally, I know that if I play Heroes of the Storm any more than casually I end up losing money, fast.

I know that if I lose money it will not be because of HoTs’s microtransactions or colorful unicorn mounts but by resubbing to World of Warcraft. It was the same problem I had with Hearthstone. While Heroes of the Storm uses assets from their Diablo and Starcraft games the game is heavily designed with the World of Warcraft Universe in mind, taking a bit of priority over the other Blizzard intellectual properties, with maps, building designs, heroes, mounts, sound effects, and the inclusion of Hearthstones as the item used for recalling back to base.

Even now, after playing a few games, I can feel the itch, the Warcraft itch to resubscribe to reenter the world of Azeroth to revisit those lands and important characters. The itch is especially bad with that new expansion that involves New Outland and time travel. I left World of Warcraft more than a year ago and I know that if I go back I will be lost forever giving $15 a month to Blizzard for the access to a game that I will hardly play.

I wish I could go back to World of Warcraft again, but I just do not have the time, thanks to my current schedule to to allow the time investment for the hours of preparing and committing to a guild that raids end game content continuously and progressively as I would have want.

The kicker is if Blizzard added a special champion costume exclusive to the World of Warcraft subscribers

The kicker is if Blizzard added a special champion costume exclusive to the World of Warcraft subscribers

Another reason that HoTs will not be played anymore than casually is because I already have a main A.R.T.S/MOBA game that I play,on a scheduled basis. A.R.T.S are like MMOs, you can only really choose one to sink enough time into to get the best benefits and I already have one and it’s not this one.


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#357 Heroes I want to see in Heroes of the Storm

Blizzard had a busy week, with the launching of their first expansion for Diablo 3, Reaper of Souls. On top of their impressive launch party but Blizzard also announced that Tyrael will be one of the playable heroes in the their newest game Heroes of the Storm.

This is great news because not only are Blizzard taking a leaf out of Nintendo’s book, Building hype for Super Smash Brawl, by announcing segments of their new game in line with a major release of one of their other gaming titles. But it also means I was completely called it two weeks ago when I  exposed Blizzard’s “No game is an Island” marketing plan (Be MOP #350)

Nothing makes a blogger happy than correctly calling out a multi million dollar entertainment company's marketing plan.

Nothing makes a blogger happy than correctly calling out a multi million dollar entertainment company’s marketing plan.

 

I could go into more marketing material but today, this Friday, I want to create a list for some of the Heroes I want to see in the game. Because the best thing about this game than say any of it’s other competition in the A.R.T.S/Moba genre is that Blizzard already has three expansive universe that they could continuously harvest from for years to come.

One (or all of the) Dragon Aspects from World of Warcraft.

These were my favorite characters from the Warcraft universe, they were there from the beginning with the creation of the Well of Eternity and they fought besides the players against Deathwing at the end of Cataclysm.

Plus how cool it would be incorporating powers like time manipulation into the game.

Plus how cool it would be incorporating powers like time manipulation into the game.

Deckard Cain from Diablo

This character has been an established character since the original Diablo and while playing through Diablo 3 for the first time I felt a bit anticlimactic killing him off in the first Act, it would be cool seeing an old fragile man going 1v1 against Diablo himself on the battlefield.

I could totally see him play as a support/specialist

I could totally see him play as a support/specialist

 

A heroes from Blizzard’s still super secret T.I.T.A.N MMO

We know this project is eventually coming and even someone with no background in marketing can tell you that the moment project T.I.T.A.N is announced or hits the beta that Blizzard will be releasing a special HotS hero from that series. We now the game is in the works, it is better just to get it out of the way now.

 

An Innkeeper from World of Warcraft

I want something like an Inn Keeper in Heroes of the Storm, because it would be hilarious to see a game full of powerful heroes and villains to see one normal NPC in the heroes roster and fighting besides aliens, demons and important world leaders.

If they really wanted to connect it to a franchise they could have it be a new Hearthstone character.

If they really wanted to connect it to a franchise they could have it be a new Hearthstone character.

 

Those are just my pick for additional heroes to add to the game, but I want to know what you think, What characters from Blizzards games do you want to see in Heroes of the Storm? Leave a comment down below I would love to hear want other people want from this game.

And Blizzard, if you are reading this, I can not wait to see you at this year’s PAX East.

 

 


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#350 Blizzard’s ‘No Game is an Island’ Marketing Plan

Blizzard is back in my sights with their recent announcement that their newest game, Hearthstone, has moved out of the Beta stage and have officially released to the public.

A game that was first relieved at Pax East last year, which is surprising in terms of game development cycle.

A game that was first relieved at Pax East last year, which is surprising in terms of game development cycle.

I played the game when it was in Beta a while ago but for one reason or another I dropped it for various reasons that I have now forgotten. As of writing the final game is for PCs and Macs with an iOS version in the works with no work on the Android version.

What caught my eye from the Hearthstone release was the promotional World of Warcraft Hearthstone mount that you can get when three games. I do like this line of thinking with this promotion not only because I am a former mount collector in WoW but because it looks like it is Blizzard’s new long-term marketing plan. A marketing plan that I now will be calling ‘No Game is an Island’ with Blizzard using all of their existing games to offer a promotional in game prizes as incentive for players to buy their new Intellectual Property.

 I like to imagine that this long-term plan was started in a Blizzard executive meeting when they saw the signs that World of Warcraft was not going to last forever.

I like to imagine that this long-term plan was started in a Blizzard executive meeting when they saw the signs that World of Warcraft was not going to last forever.

 

This have been in the works for a while, it started with StarCraft II and Diablo 3 with the announcement to add exclusive non-combat no more pets in the collector editions to try to get existing WoW players to buy the more expensive versions of the game.

we saw that idea expanded with the StarCraft II's and Diablo 3's collector edition of their expansion packs with both of theme offering exclusive portraits and banners sigils for each other

we saw that idea expanded with the StarCraft II’s and Diablo 3’s collector edition of their expansion packs with both of theme offering exclusive portraits and banners sigils for each other

 

Then now that long-term plan evolved into the creation of the Free to Play Heathstone and Heroes of the Storm games which advertise the other paid games and the merger of their various game launchers into one meta Blizzard launcher.

It is a brilliant move, and it reminds me of Valve's introduction of Team Fortress 2's hats that you can only get by preordering other games that you bought through their Steam service.

It is a brilliant move, and it reminds me of Valve’s introduction of Team Fortress 2’s hats that you can only get by preordering other games that you bought through their Steam service.

 

Blizzard’s plan only works with active Intellectual Property, which might be the reason why we saw the release of StarCraft II and Diablo 3 in the past few years after an extremely long hiatus of the games. I am also excited to see what this might mean for Blizzard with for the future, especially with their Hero of the Storm starting to be prepped for a beta release.

With a free constantly updating Action Real Time strategy game like Heroes of the Storm this is an open invitation for Blizzard to start pumping out executive cosmetic items or hero skins for HotS as rewards, incentives for buying certain paid games or participating in time limited in games events or attending video game conventions like BlizzCon and possibly the upcoming PAX East.

I have not had much interest in Blizzard games ever since I stopped playing World of Warcraft but I hope that this and more importantly the Heroes of the Storm will get me back in to playing their games and from there who knows I might even pick Starcraft II or Diablo again.


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#299 Blizzard Returning to their Roots

One of the other bit of news that came out from last week’s BlizzCon was the announcement that Blizzard is working on adapting the first two Warcraft games for the modern operating systems

I wonder if they will follow the way of Steam and port it to Linux while their at it

I wonder if they will follow the way of Steam and port it to Linux while they’re at it

Between that, the reveal of their newest game, Heroes of the Storm, the launching of the Hearthstone trading card game and the release of Starcraft II and Diablo 3 (each with their own expansion packs) from the past few years it looks like Blizzard is trying to go back to its roots.

If you need to look any further just look at the new Battlenet launcher. Its an all in one stop for all your Blizzard games

If you need to look any further just look at the new Battlenet launcher. It’s an all in one stop for all your Blizzard games

One of the complaints that I heard people had with Blizzard was that since they launched their MMO in 2004, it was slowly becoming a World of Warcraft company while ignoring their other projects.  It looks like Blizzard heard those comments and are willing to make a change in direction by supporting all of their three well established games and at the same time put effort in creating new games as well.

Twelve years between the newest addition Diablo and Starcraft games. What is this Valve?

Twelve years between the newest addition Diablo and Starcraft games, why would they start now?

If I was a cynical person, I would say this change in company behavior is because they saw the number of players leaving World of Warcraft and this is their attempt to stay afloat after WoW eventually sinks below the point where it can not fund the entire company.

I do wonder if this means if we will be getting Starcraft III and Diablo 4 sooner rather than later and possibility some band new independent IPs to boot.

What do you think; Do you think Blizzard is changing their business ways for the new decade or am I just reading too much into it? and if so, what are you hoping for from Blizzard in the future?


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#275 Blizzard Backing off from their Auction House

Yesterday Blizzard dropped the bombshell that the company will be phasing out both the Real Money Auction House AND the in-game Gold Auction House at the beginning of 2014.

Ouch, announced by way of a "Dear John" email.

Ouch, announced by way of a “Dear John” email.

This announcement came as a bit of a surprise to me because the auction house was the biggest and newest edition to the third Diablo installment and was the go to reason for Blizzard to justify the always on-line DRM that was also added in the game.

While I have not played Diablo III ever since I finished my first play through of the story campaign  (not because of anything wrong with the game itself, I just can’t find entertainment in replaying a game, but that is a blog post for another time) I have talked to proper Diablo fans and one of their major complaints with Diablo III was the Diablo Auction house changed how players obtained and viewed gear and weapons dropped during their dungeon runs.

Over all the web I am hearing that ending of the Auction House is considered a major win for the Diablo community by the fans but I am curious on what was the behind the major change in gaming direction.

My best guest is that Blizzard is letting the Auction House project time out because of the combination of the complaints from  the PC player base from day one and the critically acclaimed change to leave out the player run action house on the console edition of Diablo III, which I always thought it was because Blizzard did not want deal with the two companies online subscription fees.

But my own tin foil hat theory is that Blizzard is pulling the plug in-part because they can not risk another unexpected gold duping glitch that crippled the gamer economy for a few weeks. (The whole event can be read in Be MOP #222 where I also asked if Blizzard should consider regulating the gold economy as a response to the economic disaster)

 

But I want to know what you think, what was your initial reaction to the announcement of an Auction House in Diablo III? What do you think about Blizzard ending this project? and What do you think this will affect the game as it is preparing for its first expansion pack?

 


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#222 Should Blizzard Regulate Diablo’s Economy?

diablo3

If you have been paying attention to anything related to Diablo III, you know that two weeks ago Blizzard launched patch 1.0.8 on the North American servers. What makes this news worthy is that players soon discovered a bug that allowed them to dupe or duplicate any amount of gold that was placed on the Auction House. In a matter of hours the player economy experienced a fit of hyperinflation, the type which has not been seen since Post-World-War-I Germany leaving the value of gold completely worthless.

While Blizzard did temporarily freeze the player auction houses and issued bans left and right to the players who exploited the bug, the damage to the player economy has already been done, with unknown amount of gold, some estimate in the billions or trillions, suddenly forced in circulation.

In light of all of this, a question does emerges, “Does Blizzard, and other game companies, have an obligation to the players to monitor and regulate the in-game player economy?”

In all other games the player economy follows a purely capitalist free market model, with players putting their items up on the Auction House and then the player community collectively decides how much they would be willing to spend on the item.

In the past other game companies have been perfectly fine leaving the player-run economy alone leaving players to gamble their gold by working the auction house, but Diablo’s market is not like other player economy.  Blizzard decided to introduce a Real Money Auction House (RMAH) to run alongside Diablo’s in-game auction house.

This allowed players to buy items with gold on the gold auction house and then re-list that item on the RMAH and end up with net-profit of real currency. The process could work in reverse allowing players to place bids on items on the RMAH and sell it on the player auction house for gold.

As a result of two different auction houses that ran on two different types of currency, but with goods that could easily be sold to either type of players (the people who use the AH and the ones who use the RMAH) the Diablo community decided how much gold you could get with one U.S dollar. (Fun Fact: This is how we decide the currency rates between two different nations).

If a person starts playing the market, with real money on the line that person expects some stability with the economy, an occasional bump or hit to the wallet is understandable when trying to play against the needs and desires of other people with disposable income.

When a market becomes unstable the people starts demanding for the government to step in and place regulations to prevent that certain economical disaster from happening again. In American history we the avocation of government regulation in the Great Depression in the 30’s and right after the housing and banking meltdown in the late 2000’s

In real life most of nation’s economy has some government intervention to try to make sure their market does not crash from any tricky trades, this type of economic intervention involves placing regulations how companies can conduct business. More importantly, though, the government has the power to decides the value of the currency in the world market by changing how much money is printed, and in circulation, for that year.

While unable to place regulations on the trades players can make in-game, Blizzard can change the global drop rate of gold in the game from day-to-day, thanks to Diablo’s always on DRM.

Which brings me back to my question of should Blizzard monitor the player market  to (not prevent, because no one can a foresee a glitch) but set in place government-esque policies and protocol and regulate the dollar value of gold in the game?

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#65 This post is NOT about Diablo 3

The title’s correct, I am not going to mention anything about Blizzard’s newest game that was released yesterday, I just put it in the title to get some extra traffic.

This picture is here just to further my point

By the way, the picture on the right is my Battletag. Feel free to add me, I will be actively playing  over the summer

Instead I’m going to talk about solo end game content that will be present in Mist of Pandaria.

One of the criticisms that Cataclysm had been that there was nothing to do, by yourself, once you hit level 85.

The Cata quests were designed that you would reach the appropriate level requirement once you complete the main, and in some zones, the only story of that area. The problem was occurred when you finished Twilight Highlands, hit level 85 and there was no more level 84-85 quests to complete (going back and questing in the other Cata starting zone does not count)

While in Wrath, when I hit level cap there was still several quest chains that I didn’t even know about. I only completed the Lich King’s heart and half of the boat quests when I went back there for the Loremaster Achievement. Plus I chose Ice Crown over Storm Peaks for my questing experience, so I also had ¾ of Storm Peaks to explore as well.

Blizzard learned from Cata when building Mist of Pandaria. There’s not one main story, but several other quest chains

It seems that the zones are saturated with quests (which is never a bad thing) When I quested through the Jade Forest I tried to get through all of the quests before moving on. Even though all the quests before moving on, but even through I ended the main story there was still a few quest chains that I didn’t get to

I still have a quest chain in the lower right hand corner.

In the Valley of the Four winds, I focused more on the Chen Stormstout and LiLi quests, because it was the main quests. As I received the breadcrumb to go to the next zone I had even more uncompleted quests than in the Jade Forest.

There was a whole bunch of quests at Halfhill that I completely ingored

At the rate that I’m leveling, once I hit level 90, there will be plenty of solo-able quests to complete when I want to kill time or want some extra gold at max level.

Which is great because now I do not have to rely on archaeology or the repetitive dailies to burn time in Heroic Dungeon queues….Atleast for the first few weeks of max level

 


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