Friends and Family Beta Test Underway

Posted by Anuiran on November 19th, 2013 at 6:15 pm
Blizzard Quote [source]

The Diablo® III: Reaper of Souls™ Friends and Family Beta is now underway!

In the past, participants in this particular phase of public testing usually only include friends and relatives of Blizzard employees. With Reaper of Souls, however, we've decided to buck that trend and extend invites to valued media contacts and key members of the Blizzard community. We're also inviting 3,000 of our most active Diablo III players from around the world who've opted in for beta testing—something we've never done for any Friends and Family Beta test before!

Participants in the Reaper of Souls Friends and Family Beta are not required to abide by a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). As a result, you may see coverage in the form of articles, videos, streams, and forum posts appear over the next few weeks regarding various features and changes in the expansion. When reviewing this coverage, please keep in mind that the Friends and Family Beta is still an early glimpse at Reaper of Souls, which means that all content is subject to change before release. We also encourage you to be mindful of story spoilers, as the Friends and Family Beta includes the entire expansion, excluding the final boss fight. 


Reaper of Souls Closed Beta Coming Soon

Our Friends and Family Beta is just the first step of public testing, and by the end of the year we will be moving into Closed Beta. Since our Reaper of Souls Closed Beta test will also feature all content in the expansion (again, excluding the final boss fight), invitations will be extremely limited. However, we’ll continue handpicking community members to invite to the Closed Beta and bringing in additional players through opt-ins to ensure that all of our features like the Crusader, Mystic, and Adventure Mode get the testing they deserve.

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If you’re interested in participating in the Reaper of Souls Closed Beta, please make sure you’ve opted-in for beta testing. You can do this by adjusting your Beta Profile Settings under the Account Management section of your Battle.net Account. Please note that opting in to the Reaper of Souls Closed Beta will not guarantee you access, but it will at least give you a chance at joining our beta test.


Public Test Region Access Also Coming Soon

Around the same time we begin our Reaper of Souls Closed Beta, we will also be launching our Public Test Region (PTR) for Patch 2.0.1! This patch will feature updates including Paragon 2.0, Loot 2.0, our new difficulty system, the addition of Clans and Communities, as well as balancing and tuning for all five Diablo III classes.

Anyone with the Battle.net Desktop App and Diablo III license will be able to participate in PTR testing. If don't already have the Battle.net App, you can download and install it by clicking the button below.

Download the Battle.net App

We'll have more information on how to access the Public Test Region when it launches. In the meantime, if you'd like more information on the Battle.net App, check out our FAQ and be sure to send us your feedback using the Battle.net App Open Beta Forum.


We're incredibly excited about kicking off our public tests for Reaper of Souls, and look forward to collecting your feedback. The End of Days is coming!

Design a Legendary, Part 2: "Choose Your Theme" Results

Posted by Anuiran on November 15th, 2013 at 12:32 pm
Blizzard Quote [source]

Last week, over 20,000 Diablo III players world-wide participated in our "Choose Your Theme" poll. This was the second poll we held for the "Design a Legendary" project, and it was one that would ultimately determine the visual look and theme of the Legendary one-handed sword we're designing.

Here are the results:

  • Caldeum: 1.7%
  • Westmarch: 9.2%
  • Serpent: 2.8%
  • Ancient Culture: 21.3%
  • Mephisto: 32.5%
  • Duriel: 7.6%
  • Diablo: 24.9%

As you can see, taking nearly 33% of the global vote, our winning theme is: Mephisto


Mephisto

"This blade would be styled to connect thematically to the wispy, skeletal Lord of Hatred. In addition to being a favorite character of the art team, Mephisto has a unique appearance among the Great Evils, and a blade associated with him would need to find a way to echo his character."


Now that we've locked down the two critical components of this particular Legendary item's visual design (type and theme), we can start bringing it to life. Our next step is to have 3D character artist, Aaron Gaines, begin concepting, modeling, and implementing our one-handed sword into the game. Stay tuned to diablo3.com for in-progress shots as well as a quick Q&A with the artist himself!

Also, as with our last vote, thanks to each and every nephalem who've participated in some shape, way, or form in this project so far. We hope you're enjoying it as much as we are. <3

Diablo® III: Reaper of Souls ™ - BlizzCon® 2013 Round-Up

Posted by Anuiran on November 11th, 2013 at 2:13 pm
Blizzard Quote [source]

Malthael has descended on BlizzCon® 2013 and the chill of death is already creeping its way through the convention halls, carrying whispers of Adventure Mode, Pandemonium, Crusaders, and more.

Whether you're following along at home, tuning in with the Virtual Ticket, or happen to be on-site bustling between panels and demos, you definitely won't want to miss any of the juicy recaps, interviews, or behind-the-scenes previews of Reaper of Souls™.

To help you stay up-to-date on all the latest expansion news, we'll be compiling media and fan site coverage from BlizzCon 2013 and posting it for you here! Be sure to check back regularly over the weekend for updates as they become available. If you find something we missed, add it in the comments below!

Blogs & Panel Recaps


Interviews & Hands-On Reviews


Videos


Photos & Screenshots

Reaper of Souls™ First Look: Adventure Mode

Posted by Anuiran on November 8th, 2013 at 4:34 pm
Blizzard Quote [source]

The world of Sanctuary is about to get a whole lot bigger. . .

Introducing: Adventure Mode

In Diablo® III's upcoming expansion, Reaper of Souls™, players will have the opportunity to choose between two different modes whenever creating a new game: Campaign Mode and Adventure Mode

Campaign Mode

In Campaign Mode, players reprise their pivotal roles as the heroes of Sanctuary. With a greater focus on story, all of the quests, cut-scenes, and in-game movies will remain available to you in this mode. Progression through the game's five thrilling Acts is intentionally linear. Campaign Mode is very similar to the current Diablo III experience.


Adventure Mode

In Adventure Mode, the majority of these story-driven elements have been removed and all waypoints have been unlocked, allowing players the freedom to explore and play the game however they like. The world itself is your battlefield. Go anywhere, slay anything! 

These modes can be accessed at any time, and you're welcome to switch between them whenever you please. In addition, we've unlocked all difficulty levels, giving you even more control over your in-game experience. Don't want to play through the story four times on each of your characters? Done. Looking to farm in Adventure Mode at one difficulty, then switch over to Campaign Mode at a different difficulty? You've got it.

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But that's just the tip of the iceberg. Adventure Mode also includes two brand new, incredibly entertaining gameplay features: Bounties and Nephalem Rifts.


Bounties:

Having the ability to go wherever you want whenever you want is certainly compelling. But, what if you're not in the mood to choose your own adventure and would instead prefer a little direction? Enter Bounties.

Bounties are optional, randomized objectives available only in Adventure Mode. In addition to providing players with a guided experience within a specific Act, Bounties are also intended to showcase all the different content Diablo III has to offer. Some example of Bounties you can pick up include slaying a unique monster (like Mira Eamon), killing a boss (like Queen Aranae), clearing a dungeon (like the Khazra Den), and completing an event (like Last Stand of the Ancients).

Each Act will have its own set of randomized Bounties for players to explore and conquer, and you'll receive new Bounties each time you start a new Adventure Mode game. 

Adventure_Act1_thumb.pngAdventure_Act3_thumb.png

For completing a set of Bounties, players will receive gold and experience. We also want Bounties to provide access to powerful Legendary items unique to the system, but we're still experimenting with how that reward mechanic will work. Definitely stay tuned!

Adventure_BountyComplete.png

Bounty hunters are also rewarded with a new item, Rift Keystones. Rift Keystones grant access to another feature we're introducing in Adventure Mode: Nephalem Rifts.


Nephalem Rifts:

Nephalem Rifts (previously called "Loot Runs") are randomized dungeons that are designed to be completed within 10-15 minutes. The goal of Nephalem Rifts is to provide players with a rewarding, endlessly replayable experience, one that continually offers new and exciting moment-to-moment gameplay. . .as well as heaps of loot. They're also what senior level designer Jesse McCree likes to describe as an opportunity to "break all the rules."

So, what does this mean in terms of actual gameplay?

First off, it means that Nephalem Rifts are completely randomized—random interior and exterior tile sets, random layouts, random lighting and weather, random monsters, and (of course) a random boss encounter to cap it all off.  Each Nephalem Rift dungeon can be up to 10 levels deep, but even that's random too!

Here's just a peek at some of the crazy combinations you can experience as a result of this design:

Adventure_Bosses_thumb.pngAdventure_NephalemRifts_thumb.pngAdventure_RandomDungeon2_thumb.pngAdventure_RandomDungeon1_thum.png

In the spirit of breaking all the rules, Nephalem Rifts also include new shrines that will provide players with some pretty insane temporary buffs when activated, things like invulnerability, massive movement speed boosts, and a lightning aura that will one-shot any enemies who get within range. While these shrines would be overpowered in the campaign, they fit well within the self-contained environment of Nephalem Rifts.

We've had fun experimenting with monster density as well, which means there's always a chance your Nephalem Rift (or even one of the levels within a specific Rift you've opened) might suddenly get a little. . .crowded. For example, what would happen if we paired Skeleton Summoners from Act I and Morlu Incinerators from Act IV? Well, it'd look a little something like this:

Adventure_MonsterDensity_thumb2.png
 

(Pretty cool, right?)

To access Nephalem Rifts, simply bring a Rift Keystone to any town hub and click on the nearest Nephalem Obelisk. Step through the portal and get ready to kill ALL the things. As noted above, Rift Keystones can be earned by completing Bounties; however, they can also drop randomly anywhere in the world while in Adventure Mode.

Happy hunting!


BlizzCon 2013 Sneak Peek:

As a special treat, we've put together a short video featuring Nephalem Rifts in all their random, chaotic glory. Please enjoy this first look at Diablo III: Reaper of Souls!


If you're at BlizzCon® this weekend, you can try out Adventure Mode first-hand at the Diablo III: Reaper of Souls PC demo area in Hall A of the Anaheim Convention Center. Just queue for the "Adventure Mode" line and get ready to explore!

For those of you at home or tuning in with a Virtual Ticket, be sure to stay tuned to diablo3.com for all the latest new and updates, including panel recaps, interviews, photos and links to coverage from media and fan sites in attendance.

Design a Legendary, Part 2: Choose Your Theme

Posted by Anuiran on November 7th, 2013 at 2:23 pm
Blizzard Quote [source]

Now that we've decided what kind of Legendary weapon we're creating (a one-handed sword), it's time to move onto the next stage of design: visual theming.

What do we mean by visual theming? In Diablo III, we love to give hero armor and weapons a specific signature, or theme. This theme is the aesthetic thread that connects and ties all the different parts (color, texture, shape, etc) of the items together. In a way, it gives the item its identity and helps inform not only its art, but its name, associated lore, and in many situations (in the case of Legendary items, at least) its stats and unique power as well.

For this particular stage of the Design a Legendary project, I sat down with art producer Nathan Lutsock and 3D character artist Aaron Gaines to discuss possible themes for our fledgling Legendary sword. Excited and intrigued by the idea, they quickly selected seven different options they felt would be fun to explore alongside the community, all of which I've detailed below (epic theme descriptions courtesy of Nathan):


 Caldeum

"This blade would be styled to connect thematically to the desert city of Caldeum. An item with this theme could draw from the desert locale, a distinct architectural kit, the opulence of the Emperor’s palace, or even the Lord of Lies. Caldeum provides ample recognizable features for creative inspiration."

 Westmarch

"This blade would be styled to connect thematically to the city of Westmarch. The capital of King Rakkis's empire demonstrates dark medieval visual cues that are very much in line with the motifs of the first Diablo game. A weapon in this theme will be benefit from the months of development that the Diablo art team invested when creating the characters and environs Westmarch. "

   Serpent

"This blade would have a visual connection to snakes and reptiles. Some of our most successful Legendary items sprang out of such humble beginnings. We start with a simple motif and asked ourselves, ‘What would I want out of a weapon in this style? What is the game fantasy of the player who wants this kind of item?' A classic fantasy theme like 'Serpent’ provides our artists with many avenues of interpretation."

  Ancient Culture

"This blade would be styled to represent an ancient culture no longer found on Sanctuary, or one that we've yet to fully flesh out in a game (Skovos, for example). Ancient culture motifs are exciting springboards for our artists, giving them the opportunity to expand the visual definition of the Diablo universe while keying off of visual hooks that they haven't yet dug into. Some of our most interesting item designs come out of explorations into the technology and designs of Sanctuary's lost peoples."

  Mephisto

"This blade would be styled to connect thematically to the wispy, skeletal Lord of Hatred. In addition to being a favorite character of the art team, Mephisto has a unique appearance among the Great Evils, and a blade associated with him would need to find a way to echo his character."

  Duriel

"This blade would be styled to connect thematically to the massive Lord of Pain. Bulky, brutal, and grotesque, interpreting this theme as a sword may prove something of a challenge. However, sometimes the most inventive legendary item designs come out of an unexpected pairing."

  Diablo

"This blade would be styled to connect thematically to the Lord of Terror himself. Capturing a design familiar to the character (a character that changes his appearance in every game, no less!) that still adds something fresh and makes a compelling player reward- this design might be the most challenging of the bunch."


Pretty cool, huh? But which theme should we use? That's up to you! Pick your favorite by using the voting options below, and be sure to spread the word. As with our previous vote, whichever theme gets the most votes globally wins!

After the poll has closed, we'll tabulate player votes from all our different Diablo III communities around the world to determine the winner and share the results next week. Don't delay, though—this poll will close Wednesday, November 13.

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