Publishing a video game globally is a monumental task, more so if it is a live online game such as what you’d find with MMORPGs. With different countries and regions come various traditions, prohibitions, language barriers, government restrictions, playstyle expectations, and financial models that must all be sorted out and overcome for these games to come out.
One of the most famous examples of adapting an MMO for use in another country is how World of Warcraft had to make significant graphical changes to its death-themed imagery (including its Forsaken race) in order to get approval to operate in China. Censorship aside, many studios have adjusted their games to include elements appealing to a certain country in order to get more fans (such as WildStar’s panda explosion).
Today we’re going to look at a short-term oddity in EverQuest II’s history, when SOE attempted to expand the game into the east — and how that rebounded back to impact the west.
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!).
From zombies to demons, game designer Harrison G. Pink is no stranger to bizarre apocalypses. Pink formerly worked on Telltale Games’ hit Walking Dead and Tales from the Borderlands titles, but nowadays he has a new address: Blizzard Entertainment.
Pink announced on Twitter this week that he was snapped up by the studio to work on Diablo III as a senior game designer. The action-MMO could certainly use a shot of new blood as it dealt with a shaky Patch 2.6 rollout and questions about the game’s future in the studio’s portfolio.
Meanwhile, Gamasutra reports that Blizzard’s in-house senior audio director has been let go by the studio after 12 years of service, apparently in favor of freelance contractors. Russell Brower explains that “as the company has grown, the topography of the Sound team has adjusted accordingly, and the last couple of years have been no exception. With the success of a ‘sound de-centralization’ initiative, my current position of overall Sr. Audio Director/Composer is no longer relevant and is being eliminated.”
While Diablo III fans have their shiny (decaying) Necromancer to play with, Grim Dawn players are still tapping impatiently as they wait for the first expansion for this action-RPG to arrive. There’s still no word as to its name or specific release date, but the expansion FAQ page has it listed as “Q2 or Q3 2017.”
The dev team isn’t being completely silent on the expansion, however. A new video takes players on an hour-and-a-half tour with the new Inquisitor class, and a blog post this week announced that every celestial proc in the game is scheduled to get five additional ranks when the expansion releases.
Go on a journey with the Inquisitor and hear what the devs do have to say about the expansion after the break!
A Diablo III exploit has caused some stress and rampant cheating within the community lately, leading to a hotfix, rollback, and bonus XP event on the part of Blizzard.
About a week ago, issues arose with Patch 2.6 that led the team to taking measures to make sure that the start of Season 11 would go smoothly. This has led to hotfixes and a wipe of the era leaderboards, as well as a rollback on legendary gem levels following a discovered exploit.
As an apology for the confusion and mess, the devs are activating a double XP weekend in the game that will run from July 14th through the morning of the 17th. This move hasn’t pleased “honest” players, who say this helps rather than punishes exploiters.
Imagine one day sitting down at your computer, firing up the Blizzard
launcher, and choosing to play World of Warcraft
or Diablo III
… offline. Yeah, it’ll probably never happen, but how weird would that be?
The Blizzard community is scratching its head this week off of some datamined commands in Hearthstone that allow the player to set his or her account to “appear offline” to friends. While this may indeed merely be a privacy toggle, it’s gotten some musing whether this indicates that Hearthstone — and any other Blizzard titles — might include an actual offline mode in the future.
While we ponder that, there is one thing we know for certain: You can use the Blizzard launcher today to link up with the Destiny 2 community prior to the game’s release this fall. By linking a Blizzard account with a Bungie one, Activision players can be eligible for giveaways and hook up with clans.
We’ve seen some odd Kickstarter projects come across our desk, but Global Adventures has to be up there in more ways than one.
This colorful Diablo clone sends player characters on a globe-hopping trek to find treasure while avoiding Indiana Jones-like traps and battling zombies, pyramid monsters, vampires, and the occasional ninja. Players will take the role of one of five classes, including the Shock Trooper and Biotechnician. There are also side-scrolling vehicle segments that will take you back to the 16-bit video game era, because why not.
Global Adventures is billing itself as an MMO, but from what we can tell, it looks to be more of a solo or multiplayer experience in the same vein of most action-RPGs.
But perhaps the weirdest part of this game is its new Kickstarter, which is attempting to raise a whopping $170. Which it already has. Why so little? Global Adventures already has full investment to complete the game, so the crowdfunding is to prove to those investors that there is a western audience interested in such a game. Most of the funds raised will go to localization, voice acting, and even an anime series.
How is Diablo III at 11 seasons already? Well it is and we must deal with it, probably by clicking furiously and mindlessly looting like the materialistic junkies we are.
Blizzard announced yesterday that Season 11 is scheduled to start on July 20th. For the first time, the newly introduced Necromancer will be joining the fun. There are some never-before seen rewards for this event, including an emerald dragon pet and treasure goblin portraits.
Of course, there are plenty of other standard seasonal rewards to work towards, including more stash tabs, Conquerer gear, and class sets.
Diablo III released its most recent class, the Necromancer, on June 27th, adding even more corpse explosions into the game than before.
The one thing that I thought we could all count on forever was that the MMO life cycle was pretty easy to understand. A game is launched, then it runs for a certain amount of time, then it shuts down. That last part kind of sucks, but the point is that you know when it’s time to move on. The life cycle is clearly one of creation, then life, then death, like a potted ficus or a cheap desk chair you get at Target.
But then sometimes you have a cheap desk chair that breaks in a crucial way, but you manage to screw the right sort of braces together so you can keep using it for another year after it should have been thrown out. And sometimes an MMO is born, and then it lives, and then it… doesn’t live, but it’s not actually shut down or in maintenance. Or it isn’t clear what’s going on with it, due to what seems to be total abandonment. Or it updates more than games which are supposedly live.
That’s what this column is all about. MMOs in a weird sort of limbo, where some facts are clear, but the results or the overall trajectory make no sense. Sometimes it’s not even clear if the game has actually launched or not. It’s weird.
Some MMOs seem to have no problem with tossing in new classes like candy, while others might see an addition roughly every time Halley’s Comet comes calling. I was thinking about this the other day, wondering what it is about some of these smaller games that allows them to keep throwing in more classes while other MMOs seem to act as if creating a class is such a herculean effort that if one is ever crafted, it would require the sacrifice of an entire orphanage of innocent souls.
Games like World of Warcraft and Lord of the Rings Online aren’t exactly well-known for chucking in new classes. On the other hand, this summer we’ve seen the Warden come to Elder Scrolls Online and both the Red Mage and Samurai arrive in Final Fantasy XIV. Even Diablo III just introduced an entire $15 DLC pack that was essentially the privilege of playing the first class since the game’s sole expansion.
How often should MMOs release new classes? Would you like to see them more often or should they be reserved for the rare expansion?
As a studio, Blizzard certainly isn’t against liberally “borrowing” others good ideas and making them its own, so it stands to reason that the studio has no problem with stealing from itself.
Icy Veins notes that datamining discoveries for World of Warcraft’s Patch 7.3 indicates that a Diablo III rift-type system is coming to the MMORPG. The datamining found references to items that allow players to enter “greater” and “lesser rifts,” which is certainly familiar to anyone who has engaged in that brand of solo content in Diablo III.
The site also pulled up data on the eight new world bosses that are going to be included with Argus. These Legion baddies are going to be worth hunting down for their item level 930 loot, which has been extracted and displayed for all to see.
If you’ve been waiting for the newest class in Diablo III to make you feel alive again, the good news is that it’s arriving today. The Necromancer is here with all of the corpse-bursting antics you could want, and after all sorts of lore posts, cinematic trailers, and mechanical discussions, you’re probably more than ready to stride into the world of spreading death and decay for fun and profit than you would have normally expected.
If you need to catch up on the details of the class, we’ve got a roundup for you just below the cut, along with the introduction cinematic for the lady Necromancer for those planning to roll one at home. The Necromancer DLC will run you $15, so budget that small expenditure and get ready to play a class so old-school it’s practically undead.
You may well not need the lore behind Diablo III’s Necromancer to enjoy the class. All you need to know is that it’s a class that revolves around dealing with the dead or dying, and since dead-or-dying organisms make up 90% of the population in any Diablo game, it’s kind of a given that you’ll have plenty to do. But if you do want that lore, you can find out all about what makes the Necromancer unique right here, whether you’re an old fan of the class from its original appearance or just love the idea of making corpses explode now.
Of course, the new areas coming with patch 2.6 will be relevant even if you’re not going to be getting on the corpse-exploding train, so you probably will want to read up on those and watch the video just below the cut. Players will be visiting the Shrouded Moors, the Temple of the Firstborn, and the ever-changing Realms of Fate. Of course, if you’re eager to play a Necromancer and explore the new areas, you’re in a perfect state.