See: Diablo III

The BlizzCon schedule is out, and it sure has some World of Warcraft panels

Again, we caution our readers, as we did yesterday, that there is not any official announcement of an announcement regarding the next World of Warcraft expansion, except that you can expect one next month. But boy, there is a lot of World of Warcraft stuff on this year’s BlizzCon schedule. It’s up now, and while you’ll have to page through to November 3rd to see the actual schedule, you can see several WoW-themed panels that are also helpfully vague enough to not officially say there’s an expansion while also pretty strongly hinting at it.

Of course, those of you more concerned with Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm, or Hearthstone still have some panels to look forward to. Those of you more concerned with StarCraft II or Diablo III should just feel sad. Check out the full schedule if you want to get an idea of what’s coming; it’s a little too early to formally announce that we’ll be doing our usual liveblogs, but that does seem likely.


Blizzard is hiring for a production director for the Diablo franchise

Remember last week’s announcement that there would be no news for Diablo III or any other part of the Diablo franchise at this year’s BlizzCon? It remains to be seen when that will change, but something is definitely shifting with Blizzard’s latest hiring position. The developer is searching for a new Production Director for the Diablo franchise as a whole, helping to bring the games into the ambiguous future.

The ideal candidate listed will have experience with online gams, as well, which raises all sorts of questions. Is it something for a new expansion? A new title? An overhaul of Diablo III into a new service? It’s all impossible to say, but it should at least help mollify fans who see the franchise as being largely abandoned. And hey, if you’ve got the production experience and you’re a fan, this could be good for you on multiple levels.


Diablo III will get absolutely no announcements at this year’s BlizzCon

Blizzard really cares about the Diablo III fanbase and the overall Diablo franchise. So what if it gets less attention than other franchises? So what if it’s gotten an alarming lack of updates since its solitary expansion? So what if the game was once referred to in a press release as “that other game we run sometimes, Devin or Derrick, some D thing?” So what if the game is going to have no announcements whatsoever at this year’s BlizzCon?

Wait, that last one is actually kind of really bad. Like, this is a problem.

Yes, Blizzard has confirmed on the forums that there will be no announcements for the franchise this year. D3 itself will have a presence, but there are no announcements coming out, so you had best put that out of your mind right now. There’s also the promise that more is coming out in the future, but when all is said and done… well, it’s hard to get one’s hopes up.

We did get plenty of announcements and new content last year thanks to the game’s 20th anniversary, but it appears we’re now retreating to the pattern from the years before that.


Blizzard releases a proper Battle.net mobile app for Android and iOS

What is going on with Battle.net these days — if it is still being called that this week, that is? (It is.) It turns out that Blizzard’s game platform is growing legs and strutting out into the world.

The studio released a new Battle.net mobile app that ties into players’ accounts. While it won’t let you actually play any of the titles (for obvious reasons), you can use the app to access your friends list and bug them while they’re in-game. Blizzard also promoted the fact that you can “see what your friends are playing,” which smacks of stalker-talk, am I right?

“The Blizzard Battle.net Mobile App lets you stay connected with your friends wherever you are. Chat with friends, see what game they’re playing, and add new ones — right from your mobile device,” the studio said.

The free app is available on both iOS and Android.

Source: Wowhead


Happy 20th birthday, Ultima Online! Here’s how to get caught up on the OG MMORPG

Just about 20 years ago, my boyfriend and I were wandering through Media Play (heh) when he picked up this box for some new online subscription video game with a cheesy Hildebrandt cover. I was skeptical. He bought it anyway. The next morning, after I’d played all night and totally bogarted his new game, we figured we should probably get a second account. And so we did, in spite of being clueless teenagers who could barely afford one sub, let alone two.

That game was Ultima Online, and it’s the game that birthed the term MMORPG and quite literally dragged me into the realm of virtual worlds. Without it, I wouldn’t be right here where I am talking to you today, having married that dude in the interim. And as of yesterday, that game is 20 years old.

Last autumn, when the game was turning 19, I did a fairly in-depth video on the coolest parts of UO, the parts you can still play today, as I do frequently dive back in and am playing this month too! It’s Massively OP’s best-performing video to date, proving that the game is very much not dead and done. Pretty much everything in the video is still accurate, except for the part on the business model (spoiler: UO is kinda going free-to-play), so I’m going to include it below, but then I’ll recap some of the important bits from the last year and answer a few questions anybody reading is sure to have.

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Diablo III seeks smoothness and balance with Patch 2.6.1

It may not be as sexy as a new expansion or class, but sometimes it’s a worthwhile thing for developers to sit down with a determination to polish and shine a game until it feels and plays better better than before.

This is the two-part goal of Diablo III’s Patch 2.6.1 according to the devs: “We wanted each class to have multiple builds with different styles that can play in similar difficulties. […] Secondly, we want to smooth out the overall endgame experience. This means making sure each build plays well in high-density situations and group play.”

To accomplish these tasks, the devs are buffing up some neglected skills and evaluating a whole bunch of player feedback. Some of the specific tune-ups include the Barbarian’s Whirlwind build, improvements to the Necromancer’s Dayntee’s Binding, a better Jade Harvester for the Witch Doctor, and buffs all around for Wizards.

The team said that it has “locked down” the big changes from now on to allow for more polish and testing prior to the patch’s rollout at an undetermined future date.

Source: Diablo III


The MOP Up: Skyforge gets a dark rush with the Revenant (September 10, 2017)

The MMO industry moves along at the speed of information, and sometimes we’re deluged with so much news here at Massively Overpowered that some of it gets backlogged. That’s why there’s The MOP Up: a weekly compilation of smaller MMO stories and videos that you won’t want to miss. Seen any good MMO news? Hit us up through our tips line!

Maybe you’ll discover a new game in this space — or be reminded of an old favorite! This week we have stories and videos from Master X MasterBlade and SoulEVE OnlineRoboManiacHearthstoneHyper UniverseThe Black DeathPokemon GoRuneScapeTERA MChampions OnlineWurm OnlineFinal Fantasy XIGiganticAllods OnlineHellionLeague of LegendsDiablo III, and Path of Exile, all waiting for you after the break!

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Xbox One X announces ‘select enhanced titles’ that include many online games

At its pre-Gamescom press conference this Sunday, Microsoft revealed more about its upcoming Xbox One X and its glorious 4K gaming capabilities. As part of the conference, the company listed several games that would benefit from the enhanced performance and power of the console when it arrives this November.

MMO players should take note, because this list contains many games in our sphere of interest. The select enhanced titles include BioWare’s Anthem, ARK: Survival Evolved, Astroneer, Black Desert, Conan Exiles, Dark and Light, Diablo III, Elite: Dangerous, Path of Exile, Portal Knights, Roblox, Sea of Thieves, SMITE, State of Decay 2, The Crew 2, Elder Scrolls Online, The Division, Warframe, and World of Tanks.

The Xbox One X boasts six teraflops of processing power, 4K Ultra Blu-Ray, and 12GB GDDR5 graphics memory, and will retail for $500. Interested players can pre-order the Project Scropio edition right now for as long as supplies last.


The MOP Up: Black Desert shows pet love (August 20, 2017)

The MMO industry moves along at the speed of information, and sometimes we’re deluged with so much news here at Massively Overpowered that some of it gets backlogged. That’s why there’s The MOP Up: a weekly compilation of smaller MMO stories and videos that you won’t want to miss. Seen any good MMO news? Hit us up through our tips line!

Maybe you’ll discover a new game in this space — or be reminded of an old favorite! This week we have stories and videos from NeverwinterElder Scrolls LegendsElite DangerousSWTORMapleStoryHyper UniverseSMITETravian OnlineDiablo IIIFigureheadsPokemon GoHeroes and GeneralsRappelzUltima OnlineSoulworker OnlineBlack Desert, and Gigantic, all waiting for you after the break!

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Diablo III is testing item changes and no XP support for its next patch

Look, we realize that you can’t really test for abandoning Windows Vista and Windows XP support for Diablo III patch 2.6.1. But that change is coming for this patch, and it’s noted right at the start of the patch notes. The patch is also bringing a huge pile of new item changes, including changed drop rates, changed set effects, and changed abilities on individual items. If you have a spreadsheet for comparing the values of your various class armor sets, said spreadsheet will get more complicated on the test realm.

A few ability changes are also coming with the patch, most notably for the Necromancer, and players can purchase legendary set bags for Blood Shards on the test realm only. Further changes are possible and even likely, so more testing is probably a good idea; just make sure you’re not testing on a computer still running Windows XP.


Massively Overthinking: Is the popularity of small-scale co-op games hurting MMORPGs?

Gamasutra has an unusual piece from an Ubisoft developer this week arguing that co-op gameplay is the industry’s rising midcore trend, one that he believes will ultimately outstrip team competitive games. “It’s all about all the big data and stats that are finally available and can be mined,” author Andrii Goncharuk says, “and no surprise that it’s showing that players who played co-op mode have much more play hours, and players who played co-op with friends have even more play hours.”

He may be right, though first you’d have to believe co-op ever went anywhere to begin with (and console players would probably tell you nope!). But as I read the article, I couldn’t help but see MMOs in most of the arguments he’s making about what makes co-op games sticky, and yet MMOs are being edged out all the same. And while I don’t like to think of the MMO genre’s space in the industry as a zero-sum situation, the reality is that when people tire of MMORPG baggage but still want social play, co-op is exactly the sort of game they retreat to.

For this week’s Massively Overthinking, I asked our writers to reflect on the rise of co-op PvE games outside the MMO label. Do we play them? Do we prefer them, and when? How can we learn from them? Is the popularity of smaller-scale co-op hurting MMORPGs?

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Relive Diablo III’s disastrous launch from Blizzard’s perspective

Anyone who was around for Diablo III’s launch in May 2012 will no doubt have traumatic memories of “Error 37” and not being able to get into the game to play for days following release. But what was this whole disaster like from Blizzard’s side?

A book excerpt posted over on Kotaku recalls the disastrous launch week and how the overwhelming demand caught Blizzard by surprise. “You have such an anticipated game—how can it catch anybody by surprise?” recalled Josh Mosqueira. “But I remember being in the meetings leading up to that, people saying, ‘Are we really ready for this? OK, let’s double the predictions, let’s triple the predictions.’ And even those ended up being super conservative.'”

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Diablo III’s 11th season is now live with new class gear for the Necro

Season 11 is now live in Diablo III, which means a brand-new opportunity to start a fresh grind for loot and expies. In its release blog last night, Blizzard touted new minipets, new portraits, new stash tab unlocks, and a new rotation of Conquests. The main prize, however, is the class sets players can earn for completing this season’s journey requirements, including a class set for the still relatively fresh Necromancer class.

“Now that the Priests of Rathma are active in Sanctuary, you can play through the Season Journey as the Necromancer and complete the free Class Set: the Bones of Rathma. Of course, this prize isn’t just for Necromancers. Every class will receive Haedrig’s Gift—a free Class Set—for completing the Season Journey Chapters 2, 3, and 4. Barbarians can earn the Wrath of the Wastes set, Crusaders can earn Roland’s Legacy, Demon Hunters can earn the Unhallowed Essence set, Monks can earn the Raiment of a Thousand Storms set, Witch Doctors can earn the Helltooth Harness set, and Wizards can earn Tal Rasha’s Elements.”

To get started, either create a seasonal hero or rebirth an older toon to start him or her from scratch (but don’t worry – you won’t lose loot permanently!).

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