Blizzard are celebrating the new millennium with a relaunch of one of its favorite events for Season 19; The Darkening of Tristram released for the PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC.
The Darkening of Tristram has been around since 2016 and has become something of a Blizzard favorite. It's popular with fans alike because it allows players to explore the original cathedral in Diablo III.
With the launch scheduled for Jan 4th the season will be a short-lived one ending on January 31st or Feb 1st depending on where you live.
For those of you who are new to Diablo or for those looking for a refresher, we've compiled this review of the 2020 anniversary dungeon and its unique rewards.
Season 19 starts with the hunt for a group of enigmatic cultists raising hell in Sanctuary. Hunt them down in Adventure Mode and you will pick up vital clues that will lead you to a portal in Tristam's origin and the terrifying darkness that took hold of the town in ancient times. . . .
Follow the clues laid for you and once again you will discover the realm of glorious RetroVision &tm;, where an in iconic cathedral await. Explore some more and you'll come across old enemies and iconic items, all brought to life in the Diablo III engine. Ominously, in the catacombs below the cathedral, the Dark Lord himself is ready to destroy anyone who dares to confront him. . . .
No Diablo III Season would be complete without polished new loot to grab for yourself. Each activity completed in the Darkening of Tristram event leads to unique transmogrification effects, achievements, portraits, pets, and more.
You'll find that some of these rewards are easy to discover, whereas others will require you to unlock every achievement to seize them. It's up to you to find them all!
Relive The Darkening of Tristram in 2020! Unspoiled rewards and formidable enemies are waiting for you, but they won't last forever! The cultists have already started appearing since December 31st but the portal opened on January 4th 2020.
Let us know how you get on and give us your feedback.
We recently looked at some of the concepts that will be present in Diablo IV and we would recommend you check this article out if you haven't done so already.
As mentioned already in Part I of this article, Itemization is a huge core part of any Action role playing game (RPG). Before we do anything else we want to explain what Itemization is.
Itemization is the process of creating items, applying modifiers to them in an appropriate manner, getting their damage ranges balanced, and so forth.
Blizzard would be the first to agree that adding depth and customization to your character through itemization is vital to Diablo III. In fact it has been the hottest item of feedback since the concept of Diablo IV was announced and has been cited by Blizzard as one of its top priorities.
Another important philosophy from the Diablo IV team is the idea of "Easy to learn, difficult to master." This core philosophy steered Blizzard fans to become the hardcore gamers they are today, the design team are keen to embrace throughout the Diablo IV development process.
Another important take out from Zlizzard's request for comments is the idea that Diablo IV shouldn't just mimic the itemization in Diablo III. Their declared aim is to take the best parts of previous versions and improve on them wbut at the same improving them and making Diablo IV unique. Blizzard says it doesn't want to create a verbatim copy of Diablo II Diablo III. That said, Blizzard does acknowledge differing viewpoints in the feedback it received on itemization in Diablo
Affixes superceded prefixes and suffixes that were previously known as Bonuses and Modifiers. Blizzard a great deal of conflicting feedback on affixes from the community, and clain to have spent hours of discussion on them. Blizzard conluded that first, item affixes should be a meaningful part of character power. Second, affixes must offer engaging options when ot comes to deciding which items to equip. Blizzard earlier objective was was to make each affix tailored towards specific builds, so that the "perfect item" would vary depending on the build you were pursuing.
What the key differences in Diablo IV?
These new stats can appear as affixes, such as +15 Angelic Power. In addition to providing the above-stated benefit, Blizzard wants these new stats to also act as pre-requisites for empowering other established affixes. This will mean that eveb if you do not have enough of a specific power, you can still equip the item, but you may not benefit from an affix linked to that power.
Blizzard cites a couple of work-in-progress examples to explain how affixes might work in Diablo IV but are at pains to point out these could change:
Each of the three Powers will have a list of affixes that are attuned to it, so depending on which stats you care about, you might want to focus on Angelic, Demonic, or Ancestral Power. In the examples above, you would need 50 Demonic Power to get an additional rank in the Devastation skill, 55 Demonic Power for 25% Fire Resistance, or 60 Demonic power for an additional 2 ranks in the Char to Ash skill. If you wanted to build around Crushing Blow, you'd need to stack at least 55 Ancestral Power instead, while 40 Angelic Power would be required to gain 25% Cold Resistance.
Blizzard believes these changes will address those two main takeaways pretty well. Legendary powers should no longer completely dwarf the strength of your affixes, and the affixes themselves provide more interesting choices because their strength depends on how much of the relevant Powers you've accumulated on the rest of your gear. Blizzard feels that you might find an amulet with the perfect stats for your build, but some of its Affixes may require Demonic Power when you've previously focused on Ancestral. Maybe your current amulet is the primary source of your Ancestral Power, so equipping a new amulet would mean potentially making sacrifices elsewhere.
With this system, it will be easy to identify items with good stats, but it will take some thought and planning to decide whether the item is good for your build. The best items for your character will really depend on what you currently have and how you've built that character, making it more difficult to just look up the right answer online.
At the same time, Blizzard feels that this system keeps items approachable, even if you make suboptimal itemization decisions. You may be weaker, but doing so won't completely break your character. We can also introduce this mechanic gradually and naturally as you level, rather than making it a requirement to understand at the beginning.
Based on player feedback, Blizzard have changed Attack to only be found on weapons, Defense to being only on armor, and we've removed both Attack and Defense from jewelry entirely. The goal here is to better embrace the fantasy of each type of item.
Blizzard is hoping the Attack and Defense stats as a way to convey power progression on items. A core part of any ARPG is the quest for more power. Just as we have skill ranks, talent trees, character levels, and so forth, Attack and Defense allows players to reflect your power growth in items as well.
To be clear, Attack/Defense is not the end of the story of an item's power, but it does fulfill the "easy to learn, difficult to master” design philosophy by giving players a broad sense of whether the item is an upgrade. Players who are optimizing their character will still need to take the additional affixes on an item into account, as their benefit to your build can outweigh the raw Attack or Defense of an item. Solely picking your items based on Attack and Defense will almost never be the optimal way to play, but it does provide a good starting point for newer players.
It's important to reiterate here that items are just one part of a character's overall power. Our goal is to spread out power across different sources, including skill ranks, your character's level, talent trees, items, and the endgame character progression system (which, like everything else, is still in development).
In our last post, we mentioned that we were looking at some potential changes to Ancient items based on your feedback. We are going to remove Ancient Legendaries from the game in their current form entirely.
Our newest proposal hits a couple different feedback points: addressing the usefulness of Rare (Yellow) items as well as increasing the depth and complexity of player gear choices in the endgame.
We will be introducing a new type of consumable item (which we haven't yet named). This item would be earned by killing monsters, just like other items. It would have one random Legendary affix on it, drops only in the late endgame, and can be used to apply that affix to any non-Legendary item.
This means a few things:
Blizzard wants gain to remind fans that none of these previews and concepts are final and they haven't even tried most of these ideas in a working build yet! They's love to get constructive feedback on these approaches, as well as the general direction they're headed for itemization and affixes in Diablo IV. David Kims says that they've never shared this level of detail this early before, but they are looking forward to reading what we have to say.
David Kim, Lead Developer at the Diablo IV design team has been discussing how he has been drawing from the Diablo player community when designing and developing Diablo IV. In a recent post, he discussing how the latest version is progressing.
Lee says he's still going through the feedback he's received on Itemization but he's been busy working out ways to add more depth and complexity to base items, including Rares) and methods to add more variation to item affixes to add a little more spice to these powers and make the choices more meaningful. At the same time the team has been looking at giving players more options on customizing items, so that we can enjoy trying out a wider range of effective Diablo opportunities rather than looking online for the optimal build.
In a Part I article, Lee promises to go into more detail regarding Itemization , but did update on other topics in the meantime.
Many people who saw the BlizzCon demo interface think that Diablo IV will lock skills to specific slots. Like a lot of features in the demo, the UI is not final and Lee promises to support Elective Mode-style skill selection. Lee promises that skill selection and assignment will always be completely open for all players.
Everyone at Blizzard is backing the community view that Ancients as they are now don't fit in with Diablo IV and need more work. Lee thinks that Blizzard could have communicated the new role of Ancient Items in Diablo IV better. He argues that he was only sharing first draft features, but is revisiting Diablo IV designs with player feedback in mind and is confident he will be able to share more details of Ancient Items in the next update.
Blizzard hasn't decided on a choice the option of character leveling and experience system and whether it should be finite or infinite, and are still reaching out for feedback. Lee acknowledged some concerns around "infinite being worse because it will eventually overshadow all the power granted by other sources". At the end of the day though, players can control for themselved how much power each system gives and whether it's infinite or finite.
Lee also points out that power increase doesn't need to be linear throughout the ranks as it can slow down as players reach higher levels. For the Diablo IV design team, the more important question is what experience feels best for players, and the team can test Endgame variatons and etsablish the power curve that makes the most sense.
We have a couple reasons for having a different experience system in addition to a level cap. A level cap gives us the ability to grant players a sense of completion. But for players who want to go deeper into the game, a second experience system allows us to capture the fun of achieving those really difficult endgame goals and ranks. We can also introduce additional depth through this system, because players will be more experienced with the game at this point. Ultimately, our goal is to create a meaningful system that provides clear choices depending on your preferred playstyle in the endgame.
After player feedback on player sources and the design team are reevaluating how much power comes from each source at any given time.
In a strong statement, Leee explained that in Diablo IV, power doesn't come mainly from items. The team wants to have a strong blend of power sources: characters naturally get stronger as they increase their levels, skills have ranks that increase power, talents provide specific playstyle choices and additional character power, and of course items grant power and meaningful choices as well.
Another to bear in mind is that Legendary powers are just one part of an item's power, and that they don't invalidate all other Affixes due to how powerful they are. For example, two to three normal Affixes are currently equivalent in power to a Legendary power on most items.
A key question that came up in player feedback was exactly how the new Keyed Dungeons in Diablo IV are different from Rifts. Keyed Dungeons will introduce greater challenges as their tiers increase through Dungeon Affixes. The majority of dungeons are real places in the world, and players will learn some information about them including what types of monsters, events, and layouts to expect. With this information, as well as the specific Dungeon Affixes being displayed on the key, players will be able to strategize their strategy before going into the dungeon. Blizzard believes this is the biggest change from Diablo III Rifts: the added planning and strategizing that takes place before you decide to run a Keyed Dungeon.
Blizzard have launched a patch update, Patch 2.6.7a. Here are the details.
Note: PLease note that the changes listed here apply to all versions of Diablo III, including PS4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC unless otherwise indicated.
Here are the the patch notes for the most recent update for Diablo III, Patch 2.6.7. Changes from the PTR have been highlighted in RED.
NB: These updates apply to all versions of Diablo III, including PS4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC except where indicated. Please note that PTR is only available for PC and Mac users.