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Diablo III auction house photo
Yeah, no sh*t
At a GDC talk today, Jay Wilson, director behind Diablo III, mentioned that both of the Auction Houses "really hurt the games," reports Joystiq. According to Mr. Wilson, almost every single one of the players in Diablo III&nb...

Heroes of Warcraft photo
Heroes of Warcraft

PAX: Hands-on with Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft


Easy to pick up, engaging for all
Mar 24
// Caitlin Cooke
Being a huge Magic: The Gathering fan, I was super excited for Blizzard's Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft announcement on Friday. However, I was a bit wary on how they would approach the game. Collectible card games...
MLG Winter Championship photo
MLG Winter Championship

First MLG competition of the year begins next week


StarCraft II, League of Legends, and....Black Ops II?
Mar 06
// Patrick Hancock
MLG's Winter Championship will begin on March 15 and run until the 17, with $170,000 worth of prize money up for grabs. The featured games are StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, League of Legends, and Black Ops II. MLG sure is...
HotS video photo
HotS video

Heart of the Swarm introduces global play, groups & clans


Destructoid StarCraft II group imminent
Jan 31
// Patrick Hancock
In a new video on the social features of StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, community manager Kevin Johnson goes over many of the anticipated features included in the new expansion. Perhaps the most anticipated addition is th...
HotS tournament photo
HotS tournament

Heart of the Swarm to be featured in MLG winter season


New StarCraft II expansion in action
Jan 31
// Patrick Hancock
Though the Heart of the Swarm expansion for StarCraft II is still over a month away, MLG will be featuring the game in its Online Winter Season Showdown beginning on February 4, 2013. Broadcasts will take place eac...
StarCraft II update photo
Blizzard has finally set a date
Kerrigan is back, baby! Come this March 12th, you'll be able to rip apart your enemies and spread the swarm: StarCraft II: Heart of Swarm finally has a release date. This kinda-sorta expansion comes with an all new Zerg singl...

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MLG vs. Proleague playoffs begin tonight


The fight for the top eight spots begins!
Oct 19
// Patrick Hancock
For the past month, StarCraft II players have been competing in the MvP, or MLG versus Proleague, a coordinated effort between MLG, KeSPA, and the IEG. Today marks the first day of playoffs, where the top 16 players will...
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MLG announces fall schedule with SCII and LoL aplenty


Sep 25
// Patrick Hancock
The fall season of MLG is about to get underway! Tomorrow will start a non-stop schedule all the way through November, featuring both StarCraft II and League of Legends. Here's a quick breakdown: Tuesdays and Thursdays ...
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MLG Summer Championship is live soon


Aug 24
// Patrick Hancock
Tune in here! MLG Summer Championship will be live very soon with competitions for StarCraft II, Mortal Kombat, SoulCalibur V, and Leage of Legends. Here's a quick rundown of the competition times (EDT) for the weekend:...
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Red Bull LAN lets players mess with StarCraft II matches


Aug 21
// Patrick Hancock
The Red Bull LAN Seattle StarCraft II tournament is going to begin on August 30 and run until September 1 at PAX Prime, and holy cow do they have something genuinely hysterical up their sleeve. For the first t...
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Red Bull Battlegrounds kicks off in Austin this weekend


May 24
// Patrick Hancock
What better way to spend your Memorial Day weekend than with some StarCraft II? Red Bull, who is no stranger to eSports, is hosting a 16-player tournament with some incredibly strong players competing for $41,000 in prizes. V...
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Violet battles Zerg, sickness to take first at MLG


May 21
// Patrick Hancock
MLG Spring Arena 2 was this past weekend and saw the first Zerg vs. Zerg (ZvZ) finals in a long time. In fact, the top three players all played Zerg. One of the matches in the championship match even went past 30 minutes, a r...
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Slew of new StarCraft II features headed to Battle.net


May 07
// Patrick Hancock
Blizzard has just come out with a blog post detailing some new features to hit StarCraft II "at or around" the launch of the upcoming expansion, Heart of the Swarm. Here's the rundown: Multiplayer resume from replay Glo...
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Heart of the Swarm playable at MLG Spring Championship


Apr 27
// Patrick Hancock
During MLG's Spring Championship on June 8-10, attendees will get a special preview of the upcoming StarCraft II expansion, Heart of the Swarm. For those who will actually be in Anaheim for the event, there will be a ton...
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MLG StarCraft II Spring Arena I airs [Updated] now!


Apr 20
// Patrick Hancock
Is DreamHack not enough for you? Do you need another big StarCraft II tournament this weekend to satiate your yearning eyeballs? Fret not, fellow eSports fan, as Major League Gaming has you covered. Starting today a...
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Fans chant 'We want LAN!' at recent StarCraft II tourney


Apr 17
// Brett Zeidler
A couple weekends ago, there was quite a bit of controversy. Besides the stir at PAX East, something went down at the IGN sponsored Starcraft II IPL 4 tournament in Las Vegas on the weekend of April 7-9. MarineKing won the Gl...
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Blizzard hosting a Starcraft II World Championship Series


Apr 09
// Patrick Hancock
StarCraft II is growing in popularity over here in the West and I think most of us know just how big it is over in Korea. For those who live in other countries, however, the eSports scene is not quite up to par. Well, wi...
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Diablo III closed beta is underway now!


Sep 20
// Alasdair Duncan
If you're in the mood for early access to some of 2011's hottest games, then today's your lucky day; not only was the Battlefield 3 beta announced for September 29th, but Blizzard has revealed that the Diablo III closed beta ...

Blizzard is bringing real-money auctions to Diablo III

Aug 01 // Aerox
According to Executive Vice President of Game Design Rob Pardo, Blizzard is well aware that players will trade items and gold for real cash in virtually all of their games. From the shady loot-for-cash websites that plagued Diablo in the mid-90s to the Chinese gold farmers we see in WoW today, making money off videogames has been a simple reality for years. Given that it's going to happen anyway, Pardo and the Blizzard team figured they might as well create an official place for players to sell their items and gold without fear of being ripped off. To do that, they're giving you this auction house. For the most part, it operates similarly to the World of Warcraft auction house: the major difference being that real money is involved. Items can be listed directly from your stash, which is now shared between every character on your account. (In Diablo II, every character's stash was only accessible by that character, and transferring items between your own characters was a massive pain in the ass.) Sellers can set a minimum starting bid and sell the item like a true auction, set a buyout price and skip the auction , or both. One other, smaller difference is that buyers and sellers will be completely anonymous; this makes sense to me, given the presence of real money. Once you successfully sell an item, you have a choice to make. The money you made from that sale can go to one of two places: it can be deposited into your Blizzard account, or it can be cashed out through a third-party service. If you deposit it into your Blizzard account, only basic listing and sales fees apply. You get the full value of your item, and that money can be used for anything Blizzard-related: other auctions, your WoW subscription fee, and even merchandise from the Blizzard store. Money deposited into a Blizzard account, however, cannot be later cashed out into real money -- this would invoke a whole host of legal issues, with Blizzard essentially acting as a bank. If you choose to cash out through the third-party service, that company will take a small percentage of your cashout, but your money will be available to you as real cash, either added to your credit card or deposited into a PayPal or bank account. To reduce the risk of people cornering the market or artificially driving up prices (like we see on WoW servers), there will only be one auction house for each currency -- if your country is in the eurozone, your auction house is shared with all other euro-using countries. The typical WoW server only has around 5,000 players, making it easy for players there to fix prices and damage the economy. It will be much harder for that to occur in Diablo, simply because of the sheer volume of users. It's important to note what this auction house won't be. It's not a store -- Blizzard is selling nothing directly. Everything on the auction house will be weapons, armor, and items that other players have actually found in-game and have put up for trade. Pardo said that, barring some serious unanticipated problem that would require them to get involved, Blizzard plans to be completely hands-off once the auction house is running. The economy will be entirely determined by the players, and Blizzard has no intention of stepping in to regulate it. Additionally, Blizzard has stated that "99.9%" of the items in the game won't be soulbound -- in essence, if it's not part of a quest or a plot device, you can toss it up for sale. Blizzard has also stated that Hardcore characters will not be able to use items purchased through the real-money auction house, as they think that would take away from a significant portion of the Hardcore experience. Softcore characters will have access to these items in PvP. Blizzard has to make money off this somehow, though. When you want to list an item, you pay a 'nominal' (actual numbers were not given to us, as they're still being decided on) listing fee, and when your item is sold you pay a small sales fee. As of now, the listing and sales fees are both a flat rate -- they won't scale if you sell a really valuable item. The listing fee was decided to prevent people from dumping their entire inventory into the auction system -- people should decide what's crap and what isn't, and only list items people are actually going to be interested in. Blizzard also wants to prevent people from setting wildly unrealistic buyout/bid prices, and having to put up a small amount of real cash to list an item will hopefully keep the economy reasonable. That said, to encourage people to participate and try out the auction house, accounts will likely be given a certain amount of free listings every week. Overall, Blizzard says that this (real) cash auction house is simply them giving players what they want. It also makes a lot of sense financially, particularly for regions like Asia where players don't purchase the game itself, but tend to play in PC cafes and LAN centers. If it doesn't seem like your thing, the standard gold-based auction house will still be available for players who are unwilling or unable to put up real cash, and I suspect a fair amount of players will be using it. I'm personally hoping the cash-based auction house takes off though -- I'd love to be able to make back the money I spent buying the game just by playing it.
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Probably the biggest and most unexpected news that came out of Blizzard's Diablo III press event last week was the announcement that players will be able to buy and sell items in-game for real currency. In addition to having ...

Preview: Diablo III beta

Aug 01 // Aerox
At Blizzard's recent press event for Diablo III, we were able to play through the upcoming beta. The beta encompasses roughly the first half of Act 1, starting with your arrival in New Tristram and ending with a fight with the Skeleton King Leoric down in the depths of the old cathedral. All of this should bump your hero to around level 10. Rest assured, Diablo III still feels exactly like a Diablo game, but with a number of significant changes. First and foremost, storytelling is taking center stage in Diablo III. The Diablo series has always had a decent story, but it was usually background. The playable characters had no backstories, and you had very little interaction with NPCs other than the occasional bit of gossip or quest text. That's changing in Diablo III. Each of the five character classes now has a full backstory, told through an intro cinematic that explains their reason for being in New Tristram and why they've been driven to fight. As you work your way through the game, you'll find lore books containing background narrative. Some pertain directly to the main questline, others just provide you with some information and lore about the area you're currently in. Deckard Cain will even chime in from time to time to tell you about a monster you just killed or an area you've just arrived at. Questing is a much bigger part of Diablo III, and the quests extend far beyond the six overarching Act quests we saw in Diablo II. Some of the quests we saw in the beta included the investigation of Adria's old house, helping a townsperson kill his possessed wife, and rescuing Cain from a group of skeletons that had trapped him. A number of NPCs will also join you as you move through the game and provide dialogue that again helps to further the story. Many are temporary NPCs who will only be with you until the completion of a quest, but there are also three permanent followers you can obtain, train, and equip. Unlike the followers of the past Diablo games, these three followers have names, complete backstories, and unique personalities. As you move through the world, you'll hear different dialogue and get new pieces of information depending on which follower is with you at the time. The skill and attribute system has also seen a huge overhaul, and is different than anything you've seen in a Diablo game before. Skill points and attribute points are gone completely. Instead, skills are gained in a set order as you level up. To use these skills, though, they need to be set in one of your skill slots. You start the game with two active skill slots, with an additional slot opening every six levels to a maximum of six active slots. There are also three passive skill slots, which open at levels 10, 20, and 30. As it's planned right now, levels 1 through 30 will be spent earning new skills and figuring out your build, and levels 30 through 60 (the official level cap) will be the traditional gear gathering phase that every Diablo player knows and loves. Skills can be slotted and unslotted at any time without penalty, but it's very difficult to do in the middle of a fight. Generally speaking, you'll find six actives and three passives that work well together, and that will be your primary build. When I spoke to Wyatt Cheng, Technical Game Designer, he said that they wanted to avoid the issue they saw in Diablo II where every character really only used one or two skills. Generally speaking, players would hoard skill points, unwilling to "waste" them in earlier skills, and in Diablo III Blizzard wants to encourage more experimentation. Based on playtesting, they found that the current skill system in place combined with the runestone system that has already been revealed gave rise to the most experimentation and several viable build options. In terms of the skills themselves, there are three very general categories that most of the skills in the game fall into. Spammables are primary attacks that can be used to build your character classes' resource meter. Breakout attacks are higher damage skills -- or skills with powerful and unique effects -- that require a lot of resources and generally need time to recharge. Escape-type abilites are generally defensive moves that allow you to get out of nasty situations and keep the battlefield under control. You'll need to utilize all three types of skills to be effective -- the game is difficult enough now that you won't get by just spamming a single skill over and over again. Even regular monsters can require some significant strategy to beat, and encounters have been designed to require much more battlefield management than in prior games. Boss monsters are their own special fights unto themselves, and bosses have unique attacks and strategies you must master in order to defeat them. Cheng described the boss fights as being somewhat inspired by World of Warcraft raid bosses, where you have to do much more than just run in and spam attacks until they die. Battle.net is also seeing a significant overhaul, designed to make Diablo more social and easier to use. In addition to the new real-currency auction house, there will be a number of new features available to make the multiplayer experience as smooth as possible. Like most of Blizzard's games, Diablo supports the RealID system and cross-game chat, allowing you to invite your friends to games even if they're playing StarCraft or World of Warcraft. Or, if you don't have any friends (sad!), a public game finder and PvP matchmaking system are in place that will allow you to easily find people close to your skill level. There will be some solid incentives to party up, first and foremost being that drops are now unique for every character. You don't have to worry about that guy in your party stealing that unique he can't even use, because what drops on his screen will be entirely different from the loot you get. Your friends will be able to easily jump in and out of your games -- they'll spawn in town, where they can easily join your party by clicking on your character's banner, a customizable icon that gives your character some added personality. As you progress through the game, defeating certain bosses and accomplishing certain achievements give you access to new banner icons and styles. At the start of the game, your banner will just be a colored piece of cloth with a simple icon on it. By the time you finish the game on Hell difficulty, it may have a pile of skulls in front of it and all sorts of vicious accessories like spikes and swords attached to it. Those looking forward to gathering their seven Diablo II friends and plowing through the game may be disappointed -- the maximum party size for Diablo III is four people. Additionally, like StarCraft, Diablo III will require you to always be connected to Battle.net to play, even if you are soloing, and you will not be able to play with friends in other countries. Having completed the beta, I have to say I'm insanely pumped for Diablo III. The game still feels exactly like a Diablo title, while introducing a ton of new skills, systems, and concepts into the series. While I'm a little concerned about the level cap being 60, Wyatt Cheng told me they were still in the process of designing and implementing enough end-game content to keep people from getting bored. Sadly, we don't have a release date yet for either the full game or the beta itself, but I was told that the team was hopeful that we'd see a release by the very end of this year. Keep your fingers crossed!
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It's been about twenty years since the events of Diablo II. The destruction of the Worldstone reduced Mount Arreat to nothing more than a crater, but the world has, for the most part, seen peace. Tristram has been rebuilt and...

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Blizzard 'committed' to finishing Battle.net Marketplace


Feb 21
// Jordan Devore
StarCraft II lead designer Dustin Browder has given Eurogamer a status update on the Battle.net Marketplace. Citing an "immense number of challenges" which need to be overcome, he says that "It's going to be some distance bef...
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Blizzard deleting 'inappropriate' StarCraft 2 user maps


Aug 05
// Conrad Zimmerman
If you've been toiling away on your custom StarCraft II map, "Assault on the Phalluspire," you may want to reconsider the effort. There are pretty good odds that it won't spend a lot of time on Blizzard's servers.  Some&...
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Blizzard will require real names for forums going forward


Jul 06
// Jordan Devore
I swear Blizzard touched upon this topic (as in, the consequences) back when its Real ID system was first mentioned, but apparently everyone forgot or I made the whole thing up. Essentially, its main purpose is to let players...
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Facebook/Battle.net integration revealed


May 05
// Nick Chester
Battle.net and Facebook, sitting in a tree…Activision Blizzard has announced today that it will be officially linking its Battle.net service to social platform Facebook. As an example of the functionality, StarCraft II...
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StarCraft II Mac beta client available for download


Apr 29
// Nick Chester
Here's a story that's short and sweet if you're a Mac user: the Mac client for StarCraft II beta is now available for download. Blizzard promised it would be coming in April, and here it is, with only a few days left. As a ne...
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No cross-server play for StarCraft II out of the box


Apr 23
// Aerox
American StarCraft fans looking for a chance to take on their Asian counterparts will have to wait a bit, as StarCraft II is not going to be supporting cross-server play on day one. While considered for initial conclusion, an...
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Digital download StarCraft II released after retail box, is $59.99


Apr 08
// Nick Chester
Nope, we don't yet know when StarCraft II will be released; Blizzard says it will finally spill its guts in the coming weeks. But we now know that the digital download version of the game -- which will be available via Battle...
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Macintosh Battle.Net client could come this April


Mar 16
// Brad Nicholson
It's no secret that Blizzard hopes to support the Cupertino crowd with its revision of the Battle.Net service. But when exactly the developed planned to open up a beta of that version of the service was unknown -- until recen...
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Preview: The new Battle.net


Feb 23
// Aerox
The Starcraft II beta has been out for a few days now, and if the beta forums are any indication a lot of people are still trying to wrap their heads around the new strategies. Sitting down to play for the first time, it feel...

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