US Gamer has an amazing read posted yesterday entitled In Their Own Words: An Oral History of Diablo II. Interviews conducted with the original Blizzard North/Condor team that developed the original Diablo including David Brevik, Max Schaefer, and Erich Schaefer describe the team mentality, the lessons learned, and the development process of the first two games.
David Brevik Wrote:There was no definitive design document [for Diablo II]. There was a loose structure. "Hey, I know we wanted to go here for Diablo 1, this is kind of the first act. This is kind of the story we're telling there." And then we get to the second act, and "Hey, where do we want to go," and then, "Oh, I got this idea for this level, it's going to be in space, it's going to be awesome." And we'd mock it up. "Yeah, that's great. Doesn't make any sense in the story, but what the hell, it's kind of cool."
Rob Pardo, Chief Creative Officer at Blizzard Entertainment for 17 years, announced he is leaving the company today. Rob was a designer on Diablo II and Diablo III amongst other Blizzard games.
Quote:Every ending is a beginning and today marks a new beginning for me.
After 17 years at Blizzard, with long and careful contemplation, I have made a difficult and bittersweet but ultimately exciting decision to pursue the next chapter in my life and career.
Before I even joined Blizzard, I was already a huge fan of the company and its games. In particular, I was extremely passionate about the emerging genre of real-time strategy games. It was a dream come true when I was given the opportunity to work on StarCraft, which at the time was being created by a very small team by today’s standards. It was tremendously fulfilling to get to know everyone on the team personally and to contribute our energies toward a shared goal in such a creative and engaging environment.
Blizzard Entertainment has been simply the best place in the world to be a game designer. The best aspect of designing games at Blizzard is that the entire company is passionate about the gameplay within each and every product. From the executive team to customer service to our global offices, every single person is a player and contributes to making the best possible games. It’s for very good reason that the first credit on every Blizzard game is “Game Design by Blizzard Entertainment.”
I’m really proud of the contributions I was able to make to Blizzard’s accomplishments. From building lasting games, to supporting the growth of eSports, to extending the Warcraft world into a feature film, and of course to being able to celebrate our shared passions with the Blizzard community online and at BlizzCon.
The Blizzard community is ultimately the reason why we come to work every day and pour our souls into every world and experience we create. Blizzard’s players are the most passionate in the world and your commitment and dedication are truly awesome to behold. Creating entertainment for you has been an incredible opportunity, and I know that you will continue to grow and become even stronger as a community over the years to come. It has been so meaningful on a personal level to help create joy for all of you.
I’m looking forward to new challenges in my career, but I will always cherish the time I spent with you all and the amazing and collaborative teams at Blizzard. It was both satisfying and humbling, and it made me a better developer and a better person. I look forward to playing Blizzard games as a player for many years to come. Most important, now I have plenty of time to learn how to build a competitive Hearthstone deck.
As to what I will be doing next, I don’t have an answer for you yet . . . but I will “when it’s ready.” My priorities are to enjoy the summer with my family, play plenty of games, and think about what’s next. The game industry is such an exciting place right now with PC gaming thriving, the new consoles, mobile games, and virtual reality becoming an actual reality. It’s like having an empty quest log and going into a new zone for the first time.
In the past, I haven’t been the most avid Twitter user, but I’ll strive to do better and keep you updated there—@Rob_Pardo. Please stay in touch!
Posted by: shoju - 01-30-2014 07:04 PM
- No Replies
The new patch is upon us, and it is heavily summoner themed. As I did with the last patch, here are the notes, with a little commentary.
Major Features/Content: Added a new Intelligence skill - Summon Raging Spirit:
Summons a short-lived flaming skull that rushes at nearby enemies and attacks them rapidly. Enemies cannot directly engage these spirits and can pass through them.
---This is a welcome addition to a summoner's toolbox. After playing a summoner up to level 73, it got to a point where I felt like a curse bot. This will add a little more "gameplay" to the toolbox.
Added a new Dexterity/Intelligence skill - Desecrate:
Desecrates the ground, summoning corpses and dealing chaos damage to all enemies in the area.
----I'm pretty interested in this one as well. The wording leaves me curious about a few things, but it could be a lot of fun for a "new" type of summoner.
Added a new Intelligence skill - Flesh Offering:
Consumes a corpse, temporarily empowering your minions with swiftness (attack, cast and movement speed). The skill consumes other nearby corpses, increasing the duration for each corpse consumed.
----This is nice. Finally, a way to actively buff your existing minions. and fits really nice with:
Added a new Intelligence skill - Bone Offering:
Consumes a corpse, temporarily granting all of your minions the power to block both attacks and spells. The skill consumes other nearby corpses, increasing the duration for each corpse consumed.
----YES. YES. YES. One of the hardest parts about playing a summoner, is that your minions can get squishy. This is great for those scenarios where you are facing large packs, and need a way to beef the defenses of your minions.
Summon Raging Spirit is first available to the Templar and Witch from the "Breaking some Eggs" quest on Normal Difficulty.
Desecrate is available to the Templar, Shadow and Witch from the "Delving Into Sin" quest and to the Ranger from the "Lost in Love" quest on Normal Difficulty.
Flesh Offering and Bone Offering are first available to the Witch and Templar from the "Lost in Love" quest on Normal Difficulty and to the Shadow and Scion from the "A Caged Brute" quest on Cruel difficulty.
Added five new Unique items, two of which were designed by supporters. Dying Breath A new unique Staff, that increases cast speed, mana, radius of curses and auras, and the effectiveness of curses on nearby enemies, at the cost of increasing damage taken by 18%.
Solaris Lorica Or the Poor man's Shavronne's Wrappings as it will be called.
A lot of people are already panning this as a bad unique, since it's an armor only item that gives you the "Chaos Damage doesn't bypass ES" But, it has a few bonuses for it.
1.) It's an armor based item, so rolling melee colors should be a little easier.
2.) It's low level, so you can start using it sooner.
being the big two. While I don't think it will ever be seen as an equal to Shav's, it is a nice unique not to be overlooked. Even on my badly geared witch, I can achieve 5K ES, and I'm not even in "good" gear. Definitely, a worthwhile addition to the game IMO.
+10% block for minions
+armour for minions
Life Regen for minions.
This is an AR / EV helm, so it will be a little tricky to use for some, but it offers a nice alternative to going with the +2 Minion to helm headpiece.
Frenzy Charge gloves, that increase attack speed, and accuracy per frenzy charge, reduce the duration per frenzy charge, and when you are at max frenzy charges, your attacks will poison enemies.
These are ES/EV gloves, and make for an interesting combo with some of the chaos damage changes that have come about recently.
These are really interesting boots. The + to number of skeletons leaves me a little confused, but they should be an interesting piece to try out.
Added two new cosmetic microtransactions: Lightning Skull Helmet Skin and Arctic Skull Helmet Skin.
Added two new Achievements: Band Together and Full Clear: Ship Graveyard Cave.
Added two new vendor recipes.
Minor Features/Content: You can now add notes to people on your friends list. Right click the contact and select "Edit Note". By default, new friends now have a note saying what their character name was when you added them.
This is an absolutely fantastic change. No more trying to keep a notepad of people I'm trying to trade with.
You can now only run a maximum of two copies of Path of Exile simultaneously on one computer.
Interesting change. I understand why they would do this to an extent, but I'm not sure that it will curb the behavior that they are intending to curb.
I do hope, that if they are able to achieve what they are after, it might open up the idea of "unfixing" the portal bug that they previously fixed, to save those of us who dc.
Hillock now uses the same triggered effect that the Blacksmith does, in Cruel and Merciless difficulties. The damage of the poison cloud produced by his zombies has been reduced in all instances (including Maps).
Good. I like this idea. I'm also, all in favor of reducing the damage from the poison cloud.
The Blood Weta Pet has been renamed to the Gore Weta Pet.
The client now fetches the next Daily Deal when the current one ends.
(I said this was the summoner patch right?)
The life progression of all player summoned minions and totems has been changed. Minions and totems now have more life at lower levels (+50% at level one) and around the same life by approximately gem level 21.
The damage of Raised Zombies has been increased by around 50%.
The additional damage bonuses at higher levels of the gem have been removed.
The mana cost of the Summon Skeletons skill has been reduced at all levels. Summoned skeletons now do around 40% more damage at all levels.
The Animate Weapon skill now adds a flat physical damage to the weapon. The animated weapon has had its innate elemental resistance values increased.
Added five new minion passive skills, added additional stats to existing notables, and updated many minion passives to include Minion Attack and Cast Speed, Minion Life Regeneration, Minion Life Leech, Minion Elemental Resistances, Minion Chaos Resistances and Minion Block Chance.
All of this is a great step in the right direction. Some of the changes towards the end of Closed beta really hurt summoners until they were in truly end game quality gear. I'm hoping that this will make some of the changes more palatable.
Duration Balance: The Increased Duration support gem duration bonus has been reduced from 50-83% (depending on level) to 45-64%. Its quality bonus has been halved.
Understandable, based on some of the things that were achieved with the gem, that were unintended.
Immortal Call, Blood Rage, Conversion Trap, Animate Weapon and Frost Wall have had their base duration increased by 25%.
Seems reasonable given the changes.
Firestorm, Poison Arrow, Ice Shot, Arctic Armour, Arctic Breath, Curses and Smoke Mine have had their base duration increased by 10%.
again, in light of the changes to the support, seems reasonable.
General Balance: Poison Arrow's damage has been increased at higher levels. It now does roughly 35% more damage at gem level 15.
This should make the gem more viable, given the added support of chaos damage.
Desecrated Ground, created by the unique Lightbane Raiment and the new skill Desecrate, now deals flat chaos damage per minute rather than a percentage of life as chaos damage.
The damage of the bombs of the Undying Incinerators and Undying Alchemists has been increased.
Not sure that I approve of this change.
Fixed some issues with the DPS display on attacks linked to offensive trigger gems.
Fixed some optional dialogues required for the All Ears achievement.
Fixed a bug where Necromantic Aegis did not correctly give base block chance to minions.
Fixed a bug where the drop audio for Wheel of the Stormsail was for metal rather than wood.
Fixed crashes with some skills when they were echoed by the Echoing Shrine.
Fixed a bug where Righteous Fire was not correctly supported by the Item Quantity or Item Rarity support gems.
Fixed a bug where monsters that use Puncture would not use it if the target was cursed.
Fixed a bug where no icon would be displayed if Conversion Trap was used on you.
All in all, another high quality patch. I really am pleased with the direction that the game is going, and I think that the 1.1 release in March is going to be a very interesting time, as they have previewed a new monster type, and also the new short form leagues.
Added support for the Fracturing mod in races.
And a thousand voices were suddenly silenced. This mod can be brutal. I'm unsure of what to think.
The Cast On Death Support Gem no longer supports minion skills.
This change, while I understand it's intent in fixing what has been dubbed an exploit, really leaves Cast on Death as the single most worthless gem in the game. And with Animate Guardian still floating out there, that is truly saying something.
Trigger Support Gems no longer support Trapped or Remote Mined skills.
I don't quite understand what the intention was here. But then, I don't play traps and mines. Anyone able to elaborate why?
Storm Call and Ethereal Knives have been added to the provisions chest in the Endless Ledge.
YES YES YES YES YES YES YES
Storm Call just became my go to in Endless Ledge.
Flameblast has been added as a chest reward for Witches in Descent: Champions.
Very Cool change as well. This skill takes some finesse and time to learn, but is a lot of fun.
Fixed an issue where portals were not closed when logging out of a character via the character selection screen.
Worst Bug Fix Ever. I had hoped that this behavior was a precursor to fixing the "OH HEY I JUST CRASHED And now I lost my portal."
Fixed an issue where degeneration damage of other players would not display correctly.
Fixed an issue where Auras and Tempest Shield could be applied without the reservation succeeding.
That's a problem I'm glad they fixed.
Fixed a bug where the Raise the Bar achievement could be completed incorrectly by using resistance flasks multiple times.
HUh. Never thought to try that. I just tossed on a Kaltenhalt, a cold flask, walked into the slums, and hit the flask.
Now, for the upcoming 1.0.6
Summon Raging Spirit: Summons a short-lived flaming skull that rushes at nearby enemies and attacks them rapidly. Enemies cannot directly engage these spirits and can pass through them.
Very interesting Skill, from the video they had posted, this could be a lot of fun.
Desecrate: Desecrates the ground, summoning corpses and dealing chaos damage to all enemies in the area.
Very interested to see if it only gets the corpses in the area, or if you will be summoning skelly type corpses.
Flesh Offering: Consumes a corpse, temporarily empowering your minions with swiftness (attack, cast and movement speed). The skill consumes other nearby corpses, increasing the duration for each corpse consumed.
This, could be a lot of fun. I could see this being a staple in many summoner builds.
Bone Offering: Consumes a corpse, temporarily granting all of your minions the power to block both attacks and spells. The skill consumes other nearby corpses, increasing the duration for each corpse consumed.
I see this going hand in hand with the flesh offering, one for offense, one for defense. I do have a couple of reservations about the whole "consumes other corpses" thing. That can get hairy at times in some places.
So what say you lounge? Good patch and preview? Or is this content not as enticing to you as previous GGG patches?
Posted by: shoju - 01-09-2014 02:43 PM
- No Replies
I trust that the new year is treating you all well!
Last night, Patch 1.05 was deployed, as well as the schedule, and rewards for Race Season 6.
I'm going to do something different with the patch notes this time. I'm copy pasting / the patch notes, and I'm going to add in what I have found out about the items in the notes, as well as some commentary. We'll give it a whirl.
The Patch Major Features/Content:
Intelligence support gem - Enlighten: This is a world-drop-only gem with three levels that only performs its function at level two and above. It increases the experience gained by active skills that it supports.
This is probably my favorite of the new gems that they have introduced in the empower / enhance / enlighten line. This is the type of gem that could really be of use to people with alts, or with playing catch up after a passive reset / respec. I will be looking for one.
Added four new Unique items, two of which were designed by supporters. The Screaming Eagle - A low level unique 1h'd axe. It's interesting, in that it is another unique weapon with +life, and it also comes with movement speed. I'm sure that it will be mostly a low level twinking unique, but I'm sure some people will find uses for it with weapon swapping.
DUsktoe Wow. This is... a pretty powerful unique. It gives all of your flasks +50% Chaos Resistance during flask effect. These are sure to be popular for a lot of people, including melee builds, as a "spot use" piece in later maps, when dealing with Chaos mobs.
Shackles of the Wretched This was previewed in the 1.05 content video that GGG released, and are very interesting. Status effect immunity, curse reflection, all in all, a pretty powerful unique, albeit in a very niche way. (the way I like my power)
Romira's Banquest (No Wiki Page as of writing this). A Unique DIamond RIng, that is pretty interesting. A large swath of accuracy, Critical Strike Multiplier, mana, physical mana leech, power charges on non criticals, and lose all power charges on critical. Discharge builds could be interested in this? I'll be honest, I'm a little unsure about just how to use this one.
Added two new cosmetic microtransactions: Medusa Snakes Helmet Skin and Bell Lizard Pet.
I'm curious. Do lurkers purchase any of the cosmetic transactions and pets? I have the ivory weapon effect (I like the subtle glow), and I purchased some of the skin transfers, but I haven't purchased any of the helmet skins, and pets have never interested me in any game to a point where I would pay for them.
Added two new Achievements: Raise the Bar and Full Clear: Archives.
Raise the bar requires you to have at least 90% resistance to an element at a given time. There are a few ways to do this, the easiest one to do would be cold resistance. Kaltenhalt is a unique, and fairly inexpensive unique shield that raises your cold resist max by 5. Equip, + Sapphire flask, and BLAM! Achieved.
Added one new vendor recipe.
This is teh Map + 20% Stone Hammer = Cartographer's CHisel recipe that was spoiled in the release video. Interesting recipe, not sure if I will use it much yet, but I'm sure there will come a time when I will.
Minor Features/Content: Trade chat has been rate-limited to prevent message flooding. The speed that it is set to (3 seconds per message) is still faster than the amount that is classified as abusive. If this reduces the amount of repeated messages in trade chat then we may be able to make the trade channels larger, so that messages get more exposure.
YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. Though, I'm not really excited about making the channels larger, as it will swap out massive spam, for just and endless barrage. IMO, it's a good step to cut down the spam, but still does very little to address the abysmal state of trading in game.
Added race rewards for Race Season Six.
And they are as follows!
Gotta say, the rewards this season are a mixed bag for me. I wouldn't mind an andavarius, but the rest are a little underwhelming for me personally. They just don't fit my style of play. Good uniques, don't get me wrong, just nothing that makes me say OH MY GOD I GOTTA MAKE SURE I GET THEM ALL.
Added alternate Demigod's Touch art for special race rewards. The art for Exalted Orbs has been updated.
I'm curious to see what they look like now.
The art for the Empower skill gem has been updated.
Added a buff icon for being under the effects of Proximity Shield.
Added some new slashing sounds.
The buff name and description for Flameblast has been updated.
Microtransaction helmet effects have had some names and descriptions updated to be consistent.
Various improvements have been made to monster death animations.
Balance: Freeze Mine now deals damage, increasing as it goes up in levels. It always freezes and the freeze duration is longer than the damage would normally cause.
Punishment has had its base damage reflection increased by a flat 6%. Damage reflection against higher rarity monsters has been also been increased. For example, damage reflection against unique monsters has been increased by a flat 11%.
Flame Totem has had its cast duration slowed from 80ms to 200ms. Its damage has been increased by 270% at level 1 of the gem, increasing to 294% at level 15 of the gem.
Searing bond no longer stacks damage from multiple beams. The damage of Searing Bond has been increased by around 400%.
Cast on Critical Strike now has a 10 millisecond cooldown. The chance to cast supported skills has been increased by a flat 20%.
If Multiple Traps supports a skill gem that can raise minions and those minions use traps, those traps are now supported by Multiple Traps.
Bug Fixes: Fixed a bug where not all Flame Totem attacks would deal damage.
Physical percentage based damage reduction and Immortal Call now correctly mitigate damage from physical degeneration damage.
Fixed more issues related to having an unarmed main hand with other offhand weapons.
Fixed various issues with skill gem and skill bar descriptions.
Fixed an issue with overlapping resistance auras where maximum resistance benefits were prioritised after resistance gains, and characters did not get the maximum resistance they could get from those auras.
Fixed some issues with visual clipping with the Templar and some armours.
Fixed an issue where you were unable to leave the Torture Chamber's boss room.
Fixed an issue where Undying Incinerators with Soul Conduit did not correctly grant experience and loot when self-exploding.
Fixed a bug where monsters could spawn in an inaccessible area in the Hedge Maze.
Fixed a crash related to the Shock and Horror beam.
Fixed a crash related to casting Portals.
Fixed a crash related to Cyclone.
Fixed a crash in the Courtyard map.
Fixed an instance crash related to Proximity Shield.
All in all, I'm pleased with the patch, and I don't know what they did, but this patch downloaded, and installed faster than previous patches. I'm more happy about that than most of the changes.
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanakuh, Happy New Year, and all that stuff!
Even with the holiday season in full tilt, GGG didn't take a break from dropping patches. Patch 1.04 dropped this week, sorry it's taken me a few days to make a post up.
This patch, brought us:
That's right folks, you can now duel single player, and groups.
A new, channeled AoE Fire Skill. Channel it to build it up, and then after a short time, or another spell is cast, it explodes. Seems like it is an interesting skill that could use some testing.
FIVE NEW UNIQUES
4 of which are known, the other seems to be associated with the new fishing pole that drops.
Fencoil - a new trap staff, that also seriously buffs your damage, life, and mana.
Wheel of the Rotten Stormsail - It's a very interesting IIR Low Level shield, that also buffs curse duration, both by, and on, you.
Bino's Kitchen Knife. Tailor made for the Poison Daggers passives, and Criticial Strikes.
Veil of the Night. I uh... Well... I'm sure there is a use for it. I'm just not sure what that use may be yet. Increased block and stun recovery, reduced light radius , lightning thorns, increased global defenses, but your resists are set to ZERO.
NEW COSMETIC TRANSACTIONS
A new totem skin
Tribal Storm Call
and the Bloody Holiday Present Sack
Full Clear Catacombs - I'm assuming these are coming for all the random zones.
And Specialist - Allocate a fourth keystone on a character.
You can now see your uncapped resists in parenthesis. This, is my personal favorite "incremental" improvement.
Heavy Strike now looks different when you are using a 2h'd sword with a marauder
Scions have new block animations
And awesome new RMT protection for general and trade chat
Most of the "added X Damage" gems have been buffed.
Fire gems have been buffed.
A couple of map boss changes
A couple of new gems added to descent leagues.
and a few bug fixes.
All in all, another high quality patch for the game. I'm pleased.