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Hearthstone on phones photo
Hearthstone on phones

Hearthstone's availability on smartphones is bad for my health

Custom deck building at red traffic lights
Apr 22
// Chris Carter
When Hearthstone made its way to the iPad, I may or may not have played it for two weeks straight. My wife and I would sit down by the fire (or hearth, if you will) with our iPad and laptop in-hand and play for hours whi...
Heroes of the Storm photo
Heroes of the Storm

Blizzard's Heroes of the Storm MOBA will officially launch on June 2

Open beta on May 19
Apr 20
// Chris Carter
Heroes of the Storm, the newest major MOBA on the block, will launch June 2, Blizzard has confirmed. The launch will precede an open beta phase that will start on May 19, which precedes its lengthy alpha and closed beta phas...
WoW photo

World of Warcraft's latest patch sends you back to old dungeons

You'll Never (Time)Walk Alone
Apr 17
// Brett Makedonski
Blizzard's giving World of Warcraft players the opportunity to return to their old stomping grounds. Some of the dungeons that they honed their skills in will once again be playable thanks to the game's latest update. Ac...
Hearthstone photo

No escape: Hearthstone is now playable on phones

iPhone 4S and newer
Apr 14
// Jordan Devore
Blizzard's digital collectible card game Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft (that's harthstone, not herthstone) will be available as a free download on iPhone and Android phones beginning today. If you mispronounce the name, Kyle will break into your home, drop your phone in the toilet, and steal all of your rice. He told me that and whispered while saying it so he means business here.
Hearthstone photo

Hearthstone's Blackrock Mountain expansion is out now

New content weekly for four weeks
Apr 03
// Laura Kate Dale
The time for celebration is upon us Hearthstone fans, the new Blackrock Mountain expansion is available worldwide right now.  Starting with today's Blackrock Depths wing, new content will be available weekly for the next...
Adoriablo photo

Diablo III's Big Head Mode is too cute

...And it begins
Mar 31
// Brett Makedonski
Season 3 in Diablo III is almost upon us, but before we delve into something that serious, let's pull back a bit and use the adorable as a palate cleanser. (Who would've ever thought that "adorable" would be an adjectiv...
Blizzard photo

Blizzard announces 'Heroes of the Dorm' college tournament

Mar 26
// Chris Carter
Heroes of the Storm manages to keep my attention week after week, and Blizzard is going to new methods to promote the still-in-beta MOBA. On April 26 in Los Angeles, they'll host a "Heroes of the Dorm" tournament, featur...
Blizzard photo

Blizzard provides more details for WoW Tokens, the currency that can purchase game time

They'll be rolling out soon
Mar 25
// Chris Carter
In the near future, Blizzard will be rolling out a new item that allows players to purchase 30 days of game time. What's so special about that? Well, you can either purchase it for real-world dollars or in-game on the Auction...
Hearthstone world record photo
Hearthstone world record

Someone rigged their Hearthstone turn to take over 40 hours

Live now
Mar 23
// Steven Hansen
Hearthstone player Mamytwink is going for a world record: longest turn taken. Setting up a match against a friend, Mamytwink has rigged Blizzard's card game to do a 40+ hour turn, which is slightly longer than the typical 90 ...

StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void seeks to conclude the trilogy with an exciting finale

Mar 18 // Alessandro Fillari
StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void (Mac, PC [previewed])Developer: Blizzard EntertainmentPublisher: Blizzard EntertainmentRelease date: TBA 2015 "Not only is this the conclusion of the StarCraft II trilogy, but also the conclusion to the StarCraft story," said lead game producer Tim Morten. "It really ties together the storylines we've had over the years, and this particular installation will focus on the Protoss." With the previous campaigns focusing on the exploits of the Jim Raynor and Sarah Kerrigan of the Terran and Zerg factions, Legacy of the Void shifts the point of view to the Protoss and its leader Artanis. With the looming threat of the fallen one, Amon, the Protoss and the other factions must ready for battle as the malevolent being seeks to corrupt the galaxy with its powers. As the conclusion to the StarCraft II trilogy, everything has come to this moment, and the upcoming battles will decide the fate of the entire universe. Much like the previous installments, Legacy of the Void is a standalone release that won't require the other entries to play. Though players who've invested time in everything that is StarCraft II thus far will surely have a greater experience, Legacy is a title the developers at Blizzard hope will be accessible for newcomers as well. Though rest assured, Legacy of the Void has every intention of maintaining the high-level play and nuance the series is known for. However, the developers wish to offer newcomers a way to ease into the experience rather than take the trial-by-fire approach. With the new expansion, there's a larger focus on team and cooperative play this time around. Debuting in the expansion are two new gameplay modes called Archon and Allied Commander. For the former, two players will work together to build a base and defend it against enemies. This is essentially co-op mode for the standard competitive mode. While it's exciting for high-level play -- there's twice the efficiency and output -- the developers also hope it'll prove to be an effective learning tool for new players. With an experienced player working as a helping hand alongside a newcomer, they'll be able to learn the ropes much faster. In Allied Commander, players will be able to control the various heroes of the StarCraft universe including Jim Raynor to Sarah Kerrigan. The mode, which lets you take them on a unique campaign as they level up and boost their forces, seems to pull in the best parts of the story mode with the hectic action found in multiplayer battles. Of course, with the new expansion Blizzard has added a whole slew of tweaks and additions. Given such a sizable time between releases, the team was able to gather a lot of player data and make necessary changes. For instance, each faction has new units and upgrades to existing stats and attributes. As the community manages to push the game to its limits, the developers have to try and experiment with new upgrades and tweaks to gameplay. The in-game economy has been altered to encourage expansion and movement, for example, which will yield greater rewards for your base. Moreover, attack damage and range have been tweaked a bit to allow players to use existing and new units in different ways. And speaking of the new units, the folks at Blizzard went all out with upgrades for the factions. The Terran now have access to the Cyclone tank, which can link up with other like units to deal bonus damage. The Zerg has a long-range unit called the Ravager that can deal poisonous area-of-effect damage and disable Protoss shields. And finally, the Protoss can now call forth the Adept, which focuses on close-range combat. The unique thing about the Adept is its shade ability, as it allows the unit to summon a player-controlled ghost of itself to move around the battlefield. After a set amount of time, the Adept will teleport to the position that the shade was in previously. There's impressive potential for these units, and it'll be interesting to see how players experiment with new strategies. Admittedly, I'm a novice when it comes to StarCraft, but I've been an admirer of the series for a long time. I've found a lot to like with this brief taste of the expansion, which will have some of the biggest additions the series has seen in a long time. The changes I've mentioned only scratch the surface for what's been added, such as movable Siege Tanks, new abilities for the existing units, and tweaks to movement and attack damage to name a few. With the upcoming beta, Blizzard hopes to test the waters with these new changes in order to get player feedback on what they would like to see happen in the expansion. Obviously, the series owes much to its fanbase, so it's great as always to see the developers open up with invites to the beta on March 31 to give them a deep and thorough look. Although the official release date is still unknown at this point, it'll be exciting to see how the game evolves from here.
StarCraft II finale photo
Invites for beta on March 31
Where were you when that debut trailer for StarCraft II popped up online? It made its announcement all the way back in 2007 at the Blizzard Worldwide Invitational in South Korea. Much has changed since then. With the release ...

Warcraft in StarCraft photo
Warcraft in StarCraft

Oh my god, yes! Modders are remaking Warcraft III

Thanks for the warm fuzzies
Mar 11
// Jordan Devore
"Off I go then!" "Yes, m'lord!" "Job's done!" These soundbites send my mind back to all of those magical summers spent obsessively playing Warcraft III as a teenager. The creators of Warcraft: Armies of Azeroth, a remake of ...
Overwatch photo

Blizzard's multiplayer FPS Overwatch adds a gunslinger and a bodybuilder

Sign up for the beta coming this fall
Mar 06
// Jordan Devore
I keep forgetting that Blizzard is off working on a team-based shooter called Overwatch. Maybe part of the problem is the name? It's definitely not the characters -- there's a spacesuit-wearing gorilla with glasses named Win...
World of Warcraft photo
World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft players will be able to pay for their subscription with gold soon

Pricing details to be determined
Mar 02
// Jordan Devore
In an upcoming World of Warcraft patch, Blizzard will introduce the WoW Token, an in-game item purchasable with real money that facilitates the exchange of gold for 30 days of game time. "The WoW Token was created to give pla...
Warcraft in StarCraft photo
Warcraft in StarCraft

These pointy Warcraft III models sure bring me back

New (old) assets now usable in the StarCraft II map editor
Feb 03
// Jordan Devore
Blizzard is giving custom-game creators access to thousands of Warcraft III assets for use in the StarCraft II Arcade, including character and structure models, music, sound effects, and user interfaces for each race. What wi...
Blizzard Founders Pack photo
Blizzard Founders Pack

Forty dollars will get you instant access to the Heroes of the Storm beta

The new Founder's Pack has all the skins
Jan 21
// Rob Morrow
Having any luck getting into the closed beta for Blizzard Entertainment's new MOBA Heroes of the Storm? If the answer's no, and you've got a little spare cash burning a hole in your pocket, then...
World of Warcraft photo
World of Warcraft

Blizzard's sending a seriously cool gift to World of Warcraft's ten-year subscribers

A replica of its headquarters' statue
Jan 19
// Brett Makedonski
A decade is a decent stretch of time by any account, but it's an especially long time to routinely play an MMO. Blizzard wants to recognize the dedication of the select few players that have stuck by World of Warcraft si...
Heroes of the Storm photo
Heroes of the Storm

Heroes of the Storm entering into closed beta this week

From alpha to beta
Jan 14
// Chris Carter
Heroes of the Storm is feeling pretty great so far, and it's only in alpha form. Well, it was in alpha, as Blizzard has just sent word over that it has entered the beta phase. A patch is ringing in the change, which adds...
Hearthstone photo

Hearthstone is now available everywhere on Android

Dec 18
// Chris Carter
After a soft launch in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is now available worldwide. You'll need to sport a 6" (or larger) Android device to run it though, so don't try and squint on you...
Hearthstone photo

Hearthstone is out on Android in select territories

Canada, Australia, and New Zealand
Dec 16
// Chris Carter
Hearthstone is now in its testing period for Android tablets in select territories. If you happen to live in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand (or have an account in any of those regions), you can download the game now on yo...

Did Blizzard kill my dreams for a City of Heroes successor?

Nov 19 // Nic Rowen
If you never played CoH, it might be difficult to understand what all the fuss is about. It was a superhero MMO that came out juuuust before WoW stormed into the market and salted the land for every other MMO looking to grab a slice, which is probably why it was able to survive as long as it did. I've been a comic book nerd since childhood, and the idea of flying around a persistent city busting criminals and fighting arch-villains alongside hundreds of other superheroes sounded like just the ticket. CoH took a kitchen-sink approach to the genre. Drawing inspiration from everything from the goofy trappings of the '70s Silver Age, to the embarrassing grimdark of the mid-'90s Dork Age (pouches and bandoliers as far as the eye could see). There was something for every kind of player, and the level of customization and creativity available was staggering. You could make a four-foot-tall weather-controlling fairy princess as easily as you could a machine gun-slinging Punisher knock-off. I just don't get the same joy from putting on a slightly different leather tunic and choosing between pre-determined ability trees. CoH put a huge emphasis on player identity. An incredible number of costume parts was a given, but there were also a ton of little touches. Titles and honorifics could be unlocked, so you could be "The Incredible xXWolverineFanXx" if that was your bag. Badges could be set under you character name if you wanted to show off a particular accomplishment or just add a little flavor to your hero. If you were so inclined, you could even write a small biography or backstory for your character that would be viewable to anyone with a simple right-click. The "quality" of these bios drastically varied, and it was as much fun to sit around a busy area and throw shade on crappy bios as it was to actually get out there and fight evil.  And the game just kept getting better and better. Great quality-of-life tools like the sidekick system and super groups made it easy to play with friends, even if you were at different experience levels, so you could always convince a buddy to join. More content was being added on a fairly regular basis, both tiny little quest lines and huge releases like the amazing City of Villains expansion. Old areas and quest lines were revamped and given a facelift as the dev team learned from past mistakes. Even the oft-requested feature of player-created quest lines was eventually released. And then it suddenly died. In September of 2012, players were notified that NCSoft was sun-setting the game. They would have a little less than a scant three months to get in their last heroic hurrah's before the servers shut down. I haven't seriously played an MMO since. CoH was perfect for what I look for in that kind of game mechanically and aesthetically. I have Skyrim and Dark Souls if I want to run around in a suit of armor and mess up goblins; doing that with a bunch of other people doesn't appeal. But there was something special about linking up in a super team to take down a Godzilla-sized robot or invade a knock-off Dr. Doom's island laboratory. Sure, there have been other attempts at the superhero MMO, but like failed clones none of them have lived up to the original. Champions Online is still around under the F2P model, but I never liked it. Jack Emmert, the original lead designer of CoH who "left" the company early on (it's speculated that he was encouraged to leave) was the brains behind Champions and it showed. Jack was always accused by the CoH fanbase of standing in the way of obvious improvements and being unresponsive to feedback, and in this rare instance, the mob might have been right. Champions seemed to embrace all of CoH's flaws and few of its virtues. Big DC itself got into the action with DC: Universe Online, which I played for about a week before banishing to the phantom zone. After all the freedom CoH provided and its emphasis on the player's identity, it was bizarre to play DC: UO with its heavily constricted power-sets and being constantly up-staged by the DC cast (although maybe that was to be expected). It's still around, also on the F2P scheme, and I hear they've made improvements since release but I just can't be assed to give it another go. Maybe I'm just a picky jerk who's overly nostalgic for his pet game. Or maybe it's impossible to catch lightning in a bottle twice. But man, if there was anyone I'd trust to be able to pull it off, it would be Blizzard. Blizzard has the experience, the budget, and the brains to make a fantastic MMO. Say what you want about WoW, it knows what players are looking for and what kind of content works. If you had told me Titan was a superhero MMO, I would have been over the moon because I'd have known I was going to get a shot at reliving my CoH glory days. But Blizzard killed it in its cradle. After working on it for seven years, the company said it "didn't find the fun" and pulled the plug, stitching together Overwatch as some kind of Frankenstein consolation prize. [embed]284044:56375:0[/embed] There is no way of knowing for certain that Titan was going to be a superhero MMO or how much Overwatch reflects whatever state of development that game was in. We'll probably never know -- I can't see Blizzard going around talking about its seven-year money pit any time soon. This is all conjecture and speculation, but I think it fits, and it bums me the hell out. If you watch Overwatch's cinematic trailer while thinking about it in terms of an MMO it makes a lot of sense. It sets up a broad conflict and a super group that's seen better days, shows off a few mascot characters, and makes a literal call to arms that "the world needs more heroes!" at the end. It looks like it should just drop you into a character creation screen! Speaking of characters, look at them! So many sizes and shapes and interesting doo-dads, very cool. I can see them as a colorful cast for a shooter, sure. But I can see them even more as the colorful mascots of an MMO showing off what the character creator can do. They all look so crazy and anachronistic, from robots and cyber-knights to dwarfs and samurai, like the kind of crap you'd see in an MMO trying to be all things to all people. Then we have the various powers and abilities the characters demonstrate in the gameplay trailer. Lots of them seem right at home in an FPS, are genre standards, or were lifted straight out of TF2, but there are some oddballs here and there that make me think. Look at Reaper's (ugh, what a name) "death blossom" move and tell me that isn't just an AoE attack straight out of CoH or WoW. Whipping out into third-person and spinning around guns blazing looks silly in an FPS context, but it's run of the mill for an MMO attack. Hanzo's giant-twin-dragon shot straddles the line between looking cool and chintzy. On one hand, giant-twin-dragons are badical. On the other hand, look at it clip right through walls and stuff, ugh. They seem to justify it by showing that its meant to work with his sonar powers to get enemies hiding behind cover, but doesn't it look more like a top-tier power in an MMO? That "cool but kinda broken" look of the end-game stuff in CoH? The list goes on. Pharah's chest missiles look like they'd be more at home in an action-MMO than a twitch based FPS, Zenyatta is laying down party buffs, and Reinhart looks like a cyber-orc from WoW: 2099. Maybe (probably) I'm reading too much into this stuff, but to me at least it seems like Blizzard had these characters and powers in mind for an MMO and found a way to work them into a team-based FPS. What has me bummed out about Blizzard shutting the door on Titan isn't just what we might have missed out on from that project, but what it says about the industry and genre in a broader sense. If Blizzard with all its money and experience can't think of a way to make a superhero MMO fun and (presumably) profitable after seven years of effort, that might be the final nail in the coffin for the sub-genre. [embed]284044:56376:0[/embed] It's infuriating because there has never been a better time to get out there with a superhero MMO! With Disney/Marvel scheduling superhero movies out to 2030 and my own great-aunt wearing a Rocket Raccoon t-shirt, it seems like NOW is when you'd want to rush your mutants and cape-wearing aliens to the shelves. If Blizzard ran the numbers and figured it couldn't make it work, I can't imagine it will be a better climate for a superhero MMO five or ten years down the road when we're all jaded and burned out on truth, justice, and the American way. And who else is left to make one? The MMO bubble burst a long time ago; all the studios who got burned by it have learned their lessons (or are off throwing more money into the furnace trying to make the next big MOBA). DC already took its kick at the can; it won't try again. Disney/Marvel could make their own, but they've already got Infinity milking kids out of lunch money so why bother? Blizzard is probably the last big name left that could have done it right, and the company decided to pick up its kryptonite and go home.  So pour one out for all us CoH fans. Pour one out for what we lost, for what might have been, and what we'll never see again. The closest thing we're ever going to get to another superhero MMO is making whooshing thruster noises with our mouths while trying on ski-boots. Or maybe that's just me again.
Superhero MMOs photo
But I thought heroes never really died!
Spending the last week hearing how great Warlords of Draenor is has put me in a funk. I fondly remember my MMO days, but I've never been able to love another one since City of Heroes was shut down. It left a death-ray-shaped ...

WoW photo

World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor is worth subscribing for again

Better than Mists
Nov 17
// Chris Carter
I've been playing World of Warcraft off and on since it launched in 2004, but the Burning Crusade expansion came at the perfect time in my life. Throughout the years I've been dabbling in the other expansions, ...
Lost Vikings photo
Lost Vikings

The Lost Vikings are in Heroes of the Storm!

Nov 10
// Chris Carter
Lost Vikings was a big part of my childhood. It taught me a lot of crucial problem solving skills, and while I initially attempted to kill everything in sight with Baleog, I quickly realized that I needed to use every vi...
Rock and Roll Racing 2 photo
Rock and Roll Racing 2

Blizzard fails to announce Rock & Roll Racing 2

The world isn't ready yet
Nov 07
// Nic Rowen
Over at Blizzcon today, Blizzard announced its first new IP in 17 years, Overwatch. However, the studio also failed to announce any tentative plans to release Rock & Roll Racing 2, a cartoonish adversarial racing game fea...
Hearthstone photo

Hearthstone expansion Goblins vs Gnomes coming this December

120+ new cards for PC, Mac, and iPad
Nov 07
// Jordan Devore
This trailer for Goblins vs Gnomes, an expansion for Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft hitting next month, sure is fun. I like it when videogame trailers are basically just songs. The expansion will add more than 120 cards, in...

Blizzard announces first new franchise in 17 years, Overwatch

Nov 07 // Steven Hansen
Here's the fun cinematic. [embed]283590:56243:0[/embed] Here's some gameplay. [embed]283590:56242:0[/embed] And the individual character trailers. [embed]283590:56244:0[/embed] [embed]283590:56245:0[/embed] [embed]283590:56246:0[/embed] [embed]283590:56247:0[/embed] [embed]283590:56248:0[/embed] [embed]283590:56249:0[/embed] [embed]283590:56250:0[/embed] [embed]283590:56251:0[/embed] [embed]283590:56252:0[/embed] [embed]283590:56253:0[/embed] [embed]283590:56254:0[/embed] [embed]283590:56255:0[/embed]
New Blizzard game photo
Is it an aquarium building sim? No, it is a shooter game
Over at Blizzcon today, Blizzard has announced Overwatch. This is named similarly to Insomniac's original name for Fuse, which was Overstrike, and is also a cartoonish, team-based first-person shooter.  There is a fighti...

Gunnar Optiks photo
Gunnar Optiks

These Heroes of the Storm Gunnars are awesomely gaudy and I love them

Collect them all!
Nov 06
// Brittany Vincent
Gunnar Optiks has announced an exclusive partnership with Blizzard to manufacture computer and gaming eyewear related to the upcoming MOBA Heroes of the Storm. In layman's terms, that company that creates all of those awesome...
Hearthstone photo

Justice brought: Hearthstone fraught with bots, caught a lot

All for naught, naughty bots
Oct 28
// Brett Makedonski
Blizzard's doing its best to keep Hearthstone players on a level playing field, and that has resulted in action against a significant number of users. Recently announced in a post, "several thousand" accounts ...

100% Series Retrospective: Diablo

Oct 24 // Chris Carter
Why Diablo? Diablo has a special place in my heart for numerous reasons. It was one of the first co-op games I ever played with my pal Joey, who would end up being one of my go-to friends for gaming to this day, nearly two decades later. It was the first game I played over a [dial-up] internet connection. It was also one of the first games I really started theorycrafting for -- or for those who aren't aware of the term, basically obsessing over item values and statlines. Diablo II came at a specific time in my life when I was going through some major family troubles. It also "clicked" with my group like wildfire. Slowly but surely Joey and I recruited tons of people into a massive collective, where we'd share secrets and tips, as well as loot farm together. I saw people go from "I don't know what Diablo even is" to playing it for entire weekends. You know that feeling when you're playing a cool game none of your friends are in on? This was the antithesis of that. I'll never forget a hilarious quote from a newlywed couple that was twice our age and started gaming with us when they said "dying in Hardcore Mode (where your character is deleted instantly after death) is like dying in real life." Diablo II was one of the biggest group experiences I've ever had outside of the original StarCraft and the first Halo. I'll never forget it. Diablo III wasn't nearly as life-changing as the first two, but it allowed my wife to get into the series, and we've enjoyed many hours of co-op together. However you slice it, Diablo has gotten me through a lot of tough times and created lasting memories. Diablo - Mac, PC [owned], PlayStation [owned] Although I had played a lot of dungeon crawlers as a kid, there was nothing quite like Diablo. I still remember the day I unassumingly booted it up for the first time, in the early afternoon, asking my parents to play it late into the night. My first character was a Rogue, the agility-inspired female character that was playable alongside the male Warrior and Sorcerer. I recall the first time I became hooked, very early into the game. The town of Tristram was sprawling, with a decent amount of secrets and a lot of character. The really cool thing about Diablo is that it takes place in one zone, with one giant dungeon at your disposal that you slowly progress through. The first major quest deals with killing The Butcher, who was an immensely satisfying kill after hearing those level-up sounds and seeing all the rewards that came with it. This was essentially Positive Reinforcement: The Game. Diablo was an open-ended dungeon crawler in that it didn't prescribe to a heavy-duty build limitation system. Although it was "best" to min-max, you could freely distribute your stats upon leveling up, and everyone could earn from generally the same pool of spells and abilities. If you played online outside of a circle of friends, mods, trainers, and hacks were rampant, unfortunately. I avoided them wholesale, but one day my friend showed me a hacked item called "The Hair of Coolio," an elaborate mace-like weapon, and I tolerated them after that just due to the sheer comedic value of the items. Plus it extended my playtime for a few months. Since the PC version is so difficult to run on modern hardware I opted for the PlayStation version of the game for this Quest, which runs just fine, even if it's quite dated. I know you're probably wondering about Hellfire, the official-but-kind-of-not-official expansion, which was only available on PC. I wasn't able to play it here, but I distinctly remember it. It was a strange game that wasn't quite up to par with most other PC expansions at the time. Hellfire was actually developed by a company called Synergistic Software, and published by Sierra On-Line. It was authorized by Blizzard but wasn't playable on or offered in the physical Battle Chest package. It featured a new class, the Monk, as well as a few new floors of the game's dungeon, and a few extras like traps. While it was an odd duck, it augmented the game in a modest way. I still found it enjoyable. Diablo II - Mac, PC [owned] If Diablo was elementary, Diablo II was university. Here's a small picture of how hardcore some people treated the game. I had a friend who created a Paladin, and wanted to invest into a selection of skills that crafted a "Hammerdin" build. In Diablo II, you couldn't re-invest points at launch (re-spec), and he was off by just a few points, having made a mistake after reaching max level. He deleted the character and re-rolled a new one a few days later. It's sounds crazy, but he loved every second of it. This is DII. It was insane how many elements of the Diablo series were expanded. People created PVP characters, maxed out with specific skillsets and gear just to participate in unofficial PVP matches and ganking online. I had friends who had "chatroom garb," which showed off particularly cool cosmetic gear when you were in's chatrooms. It garnered a crazy level of dedication, and there are few games like it today -- even in the MMO space. Speaking of, the service was completely overhauled into the powerhouse we know and play on currently. Blizzard cracked down on (but didn't completely solve) hacks, and "closed" was generally a safe place where you could play with friends or strangers. I spent endless nights at LAN parties with friends on, staying over at their houses sometimes for the entire weekend. It's one of my most-played games of all time -- no other Diablo game even comes close. Personally, I stuck with the Necromancer through and through -- I was known for it within my group of friends, and luckily I had the class on lockdown. As for how it plays today, Diablo II absolutely holds up. The visuals are a bit dated of course, but the updates Blizzard provided over the years streamlined a few aspects while keeping the hardcore spirit intact. If you've never played it, get a few friends together and take the plunge. You can even use a number of popular mods to change the game to your liking -- I know people who still play Diablo II, and every few years or so I still get that itch. Diablo II: Lord of Destruction - Mac, PC [owned] Lords of Destruction was everything an expansion should be and more. The major additions to the base game included an entirely new act to farm, new mechanics like runes, and two incredibly deep classes -- the Assassin and Druid. Like all of the other classes in the game, the aforementioned two newcomers had a multitude of build options available. At this point in the game's lifespan almost no two creations were the same. Some people preferred an elemental Druid, some preferred a Bear build or a wolf build, and others did a mix. This level of customization is nearly impossible today with the amount of streamlining in games. All too often you'll see people resorting to "cookie-cutter builds" or specific types of gear so that everyone looks the same, but in Diablo II, I don't think I ever saw two characters that were exactly alike. Now that Act V was in the picture, our group had a brand new act to farm, new bosses to fight, and new items to look for. It expanded the game's lifespan for a number of years, and Blizzard had a long-term plan that it hasn't replicated outside of World of Warcraft. Diablo II is a near-perfect example of how to build and support a game. Diablo III - Mac, PC [owned], PS3 [owned], Xbox 360 Ah, Diablo III. A sore spot for many, a source of rekindled addiction for me for a number of months after its launch. Look, Diablo III had problems -- the auction house in general, the always-on DRM, the lack of loot, the limited builds. They were all very real issues. But that didn't stop me from leveling up every class in the game to 30 in the first few weeks. It was fun on a different level, because let's face it, I don't think Blizzard will ever make a game like Diablo II again. Diablo III was streamlined, easy to pick up, and still thoroughly addicting if you view it as more of an action romp than an in-depth RPG. I remember getting to Act III in Inferno Mode before it was nerfed, and it was one of the most exciting experiences I've ever had with the franchise. Some people thought it was too punishing, but before all the fixes and updates, Diablo III was one of the most difficult games in that space. Diablo III didn't have the longevity of Diablo II at launch, but Blizzard eventually got wise and started supporting the game with what fans wanted, not what it thought they wanted. The result was the Loot 2.0 patch and Reaper of Souls, which was almost universally liked. Playing Diablo III again recently was still enjoyable, even if I found myself wanting to play Reaper of Souls right after one playthrough. I used the PS3 version of the game for this writeup, since it wasn't fully updated with the newest patch and could be played offline. Diablo III: Reaper of Souls - Mac, PC [owned], PS3, PS4 [owned], Xbox 360, Xbox One Reaper of Souls was the fix that Diablo III sorely needed. It brought disenfranchised fans back into the fold, and ushered in an entirely new audience. The level cap was raised, a new character was added (which was a great mix of old and new Diablo sensibilities), portals added a newly minted random element to the game, and quality-of-life updates like the item-modifying Mystic were all good design choices. You also don't have to beat the game three times to get to the "good stuff," as players can instantly switch on harder difficulties from the start. Even better, the console versions had no always-on DRM and could be played by four people offline. It also takes place in an era without the taint of an auction house. While it wasn't nearly as groundbreaking as Lords of Destruction, which offered the depth of nearly three Reaper of Souls expansions, it demonstrated that Blizzard isn't entirely reliant on Activision's business practices, and still has a heart of its own. I hope that the free updates continue to flow, and the next expansion makes things even better. Final thoughts: Playing through the Diablo franchise was bittersweet, because I mostly did it alone outside of the local co-op offered in the original Diablo and Diablo III's console versions. It reminded me of all the great times I had with friends, and also made me realize that said times will likely never happen again in the same way. The videogame market has changed immensely, and you can see that shift through the history of Diablo. From humble beginnings marred by technical limitations, to the extremely deep and hardcore number crunching, to the streamlining we know today, this journey was an interesting way to see how the ideologies of both gamers and developers change over time. I'm mostly just glad that Blizzard was able to salvage Diablo III. I grew up with the franchise and want as many people as possible to feel the same things I did, even if they're in different ways.
Diablo Carter's Quest photo
Carter's Quest
Things have been crazy at Destructoid since I became the Reviews Director. On my first week, I had to tackle a new Ratchet & Clank, Super Mario 3D World, and three other games. It hasn't let up after that, and as a result...

Hearthstone photo

Hearthstone will finally come to Android, iPhones in 2015

'Early 2015'
Oct 22
// Chris Carter
First Hearthstone hit the PC, then it was available on iPads some time after that. But it still hasn't hit Android at all, and the iPhone release never really had a clear release date outside of "TBA 2014."Thankfully Bli...

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