Overwatch is turning one year this month, so bust out your hipster camera and baby confections for a cake smash! Just kidding. Actually Blizzard is kicking off a huge promotion next week starting with a free play period over Memorial Day weekend and ending with the conclusion of season 4:
“In addition to Overwatch Anniversary, we will be holding another free-weekend from May 26th-29th. For this free weekend, we’re making Overwatch’s full roster of heroes and maps available for play in a variety of modes, including Quick Play, Custom Games, and the latest Weekly Brawl. Players will also have the ability to level up, earn Loot Boxes, and unlock a variety of different customization options. If players decide to purchase a copy of Overwatch after the free-weekend they will get to keep any progress made during the weekend.”
Wanna buy it after that? Maybe hold out for the GOTY edition, which launches the same day as the promo event for PC, Xbox One, and PS4. In it, you’ll find 10 loot boxes, plus Overwatch skins, Tracer in Heroes of the Storm, Baby Winston in World of Warcraft, Mercy’s Wings in Diablo III, new portraits in StarCraft II, and a special card in Hearthstone. ALL the cross-promotions. The new anniversary trailer’s down below.
Confession time: I have spent an absurd amount of time in the Diablo universe over the years (ask me about that time a Best Buy dude was a jerk to me when I went in to buy Lord of Destruction because lol girls don’t play Diablo II! Grrr.). And I’ve played a ton of Diablo III, though I usually stop short of obsessive grinding. But I couldn’t really tell you the details of the lore. Playing ARPGs for the lore is really not what I do.
That’s what makes the LORE YouTube video on Diablo III’s lore so illuminating. I have played through this game half a dozen times and couldn’t have narrated this mess of a storyline. As the video itself notes, everybody’s clicking through the dialogue to get back to the game!
The LORE channel is pretty damn amusing overall; the channel’s done clips for World of Warcraft and Elder Scrolls Online too. Check it out below:
It seems that it really wasn’t too long ago that I was filling in the time between night classes by boning up on video game news. I was drinking up all of the hot up-and-comers, such as Age of Conan and Warhammer Online, when I caught word that the maker of Diablo was trying to do the same thing again, only more online, in 3-D, and with a cool modern-day/futuristic/horror vibe.
There’s no better way to put it than to say that from the start, Hellgate: London looked all kinds of cool. Oh sure, you can scoff now with your perfect 20/20 hindsight, but I’m betting that more than a few of you thought the same with me around that time. Diablo but with guns and an online persistence — how could we not be intrigued? One of my most vivid memories was being torn between the idea of buying a lifetime subscription deal for $150 or not (again, this was before the free-to-play era, but also before the era of us spending the same money on alpha access. I’m just saying that you can’t judge me.).
The Necromancer beta for Diablo III was around for a short time, then swiftly died off and went quiet as Blizzard tinkered with various aspects of the class behind the scenes. The good news is that it’s back again with the results of that tinkering on full display, although the bad news is that you can take part in the beta only if you’re invited. Reanimating the fallen is a special art and not everyone is prepared for it, you see.
Those of you who were already bored by testing the class will be happy to know that the latest beta build has redesigned and altered several Necromancer skills along with introducing Legendary items for the class. There are also set bonuses to play around with, various bug fixes, and of course the simple joy of summoning skeletons to do your dirty work. Let’s see if the beta lasts a wee bit longer this time around.
Massively OP reader Francois recently pointed us to IGN’s Top 100 RPGs of All Time, which we thought was worth a nod since unlike many such lists, it includes several early MMORPGs: including EverQuest (100), EVE Online (81), Phantasy Star Online (63), and of course, World of Warcraft (5), plus other multiplayer games we’ve covered in the past, like Diablo II, Titan Quest, Torchlight II, Stardew Valley, Neverwinter Nights, and more Ultima, Elder Scrolls, and Final Fantasy franchise games than you can shake an ancient console cartridge at.
But I can’t help but feel as if the MMOs that were included were added more for their saturation and fame and ubiquitousness during a certain time period than for their actual quality as RPGs, especially once you apply IGN’s rubic, which mentions requirements like story, combat, and presentation. I bet gamers with more experience in the breadth of MMOs could come up with a few more examples — maybe even a few made sometime after 2004 too, yeah?
Which MMOs would you include among the greatest RPGs of all time?
Had you forgotten about the Diablo III Q&A stream about the Necromancer? Because that happened. Not to worry, though; there’s a full summary available for those who missed it, going over all of the important questions. For example, Necromancers will not get 7-piece item sets, specifically because the developers want to retain the identity of sets and mixing and matching pieces eradicates that.
This is not, it seems, the answer many players wanted, but it is an answer.
Blood is Power and Bone Armor are both receiving changes as well, as it was possible for testers to more or less become wholly invulnerable with the right loadout. Players who jump between platforms for the game will also note that the Necromancer pack is not purchased cross-platform; you’ll have to buy it for every platform where you’d like to play a Necromancer. You also will not be able to increase the total amount of time your pets remain up and active. So that collection of answers may not give you the answers you’d really like to hear across the board.
Is there a Blizzard franchise you want to carry around in your pocket? Obviously, you can already play Hearthstone on your phone, but perhaps you’d like to play a version of Overwatch where you’re tracking down and shooting Omnics in the real world, or perhaps a version of Diablo allowing cross-client progression. Whatever the case may be, we don’t know that another mobile title is on the way, but considering the company is hiring for a new mobile software engineer, it seems likely.
While it’s unlikely to be a completely new title, there have been rumblings for a while that either Overwatch or StarCraft would lend themselves to mobile offerings. That could mean it’s one of those two, or it could be another crossover property like Heroes of the Storm. Or even a mobile port of the original StarCraft (stranger things have happened). It’s all speculative at the moment, but if you enjoy playing on your phone, it’s all positive speculation.
And lo, it did pass that a select group of players of Diablo III were invited to test the Necromancer in the beta version of the game’s next major patch. And those players did test, and they experimented, and there was much rejoicing. But then Blizzard did decree that the Necromancer would be removed from testing for an unspecified timeframe as of today, and Blizzard didst encourage its testers to continue testing, but without the new class.
Now there was time when those who had seen the message (and those who had not, for it could only be accessed by those in the test) didst debate why the Necromancer was removed. And one soul rose with a speculation, saying this: “Could it be that the Necromancer is going to undergo major changes and the developers don’t want us testing it until then?” And many did raise their voices in assent. But then one soul offered a different idea, saying this: “The developers want us to be testing the other parts of the patch and this is the only way to be sure that happens.” And many more did raise their voices in assent. And the speculation reigned, for all that was known for certain was that it would indeed be removed from testing for a time.
Are you a sucker for pixel art and retro JRPGs? Then here’s a nice little treat for you: Kingdom of Loot will launch tomorrow in early access on Steam. It’s expected to stay in early access for the next two-and-a-half years while development continues.
Self-described as “the love child of Secret of Mana and Diablo,” the ARPG Kingdom of Loot marries the 16-bit era to the MMORPG genre… and it actually looks pretty cute and fun. It’s divided up into social town hubs, an open world map, and private instances. Players will take up arms to do some Zelda-style hack-and-slashing while going on quests and hanging out with their guilds.
“Kingdom of Loot seeks to bring back the timeless feel of these classics while answering the question: How would they have been if based in a global mass multiplayer system?” the team describes. “An immersive persistent world to explore, tons of loot to collect, new friendships to forge and adventures to live and strongly focuses on collecting, crafting and sharing in-game loot. You decide whether doing it on your own, with a small group of friends, a guild or joining hundreds of other players on your quest for epic gear.”
It’s time to start dredging up corpses and making them do what you want in Diablo III, because the Necromancer closed beta has arrived. Of course, it is a closed beta, so if you haven’t been invited to test the new class you’ll have to just watch other people testing it. Still, you can look through the full list of Necromancer abilities to get an idea of what it’ll be capable of once you do get to play it in the future. It’s necromantic stuff, you know.
You can also test the rest of the patch as well; it might not contain any more corpse-animating weirdos, but it does contain new Challenge Rifts, new Adventure Zone maps, and various quality-of-life improvements and fixes. Obviously, those aren’t the things that will draw the most attention, but they’re all still there. And who doesn’t want more adventure zones to explore with the eventual and inevitable Necromancer? No one.
Ever since the addition of Necromancers to Diablo III was first announced, players have been eagerly anticipating the first chance to really try out the class. The good news is that people are going to get that chance soon; the bad news that it might not be you. But the good news again is that it might be you, and even if it’s not, you can still learn all about it. The closed beta for the new class is coming soon, in other words.
Players who opt in to the beta on Blizzard’s account management page will have a chance to be invited to test the class; there are no promises about the number of testers, however, and most people who opt in will likely not get to test it. There will not be an NDA in place, however, so you can read all about marching through the landscape while looking like a Hot Topic display mannequin circa 1997 with more corpse explosions. It’s the next best thing to detonating cadavers yourself.
German bot company Bossland has lost another battle in its war with Blizzard, though that’s to be expected since it didn’t even show up for the fight.
Bossland creates, distributes, and sells bots for World of Warcraft, Overwatch, HearthStone, Heroes of the Storm, and Diablo III, which Blizz argues violates its copyrights and costs it exorbitant amounts of money to fight in-game and out. In May of 2015, Bossland convinced a German court to deny Blizzard’s request for an injunction against it, which prompted Blizzard to sue Bossland’s American contractor in a California federal court. That led Bossland to absurdly accuse Blizzard of copyright infringement for its acquisition of the Heroes of the Storm bot’s source code. Last year, Blizzard sued Bossland again in a California court over its many hacks, as of March seeking the minimum $8.5M in damages, and this past January, Blizzard scored a win against the botmakers in a German Supreme Court ruling, which overturned lower court rulings to determine that Bossland’s HonorBuddy bot program for World of Warcraft is in fact in violation of anti-competition laws.
Diablo III’s 10th season is officially live as of this weekend, capping off last week’s 2.5.0 patch by welcoming console players to the seasonal fun.
If you’ve never played through the seasons before, know that they’re an epic way to play the game for the first time, zip through a class you’ve always wanted to try, or rack up a ton of loot on a rebirthed toon, even if you don’t finish every last achievement.
“Seasons are an optional, recurring game mode that offers players the opportunity to periodically start fresh, leveling new Normal or Hardcore heroes from level 1 without any currency, resources, items, or previously earned Paragon experience. Similar to the separation between Normal and Hardcore game modes, Seasonal heroes will also have their own shared stash and Artisan progression. Any currency, materials, recipes, items, Paragon experience, and Artisan progression earned during a Season will be rolled over to a player’s non-Seasonal profile once the Season concludes.”