Weekly Roundup: Happy Birthday Diablo!

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Diablo 3 came out two years ago! Two years! That’s time gone by so quickly it’s unbelievable. To celebrate, Blizzard have increased legendary drop rate by 100% and will earn double rift fragments on their bounties from 15th-22nd May. Take a wild guess as to where the majority of my gaming time has been this week… If you guessed it was Hello Kitty: Island Adventure I’ll have to disappoint.

I’ve actually spent a lot less time than I’ve wanted the past few days starting the anniversary holiday in Diablo, but I’d still say a sizable chunk of my online time has been on there. I’ve managed to get new boots, new shoulders and my first Tal Rasha’s piece on my Wizard so far. I’m also certainly enjoying the increased drop rate of the worse legendaries just to get more Forgotten Souls to get better reforges and whatnot.

With news of patch 5.4.8 on the horizon, and gear upgrades going up another 8 item levels for SoO gear, we decided on halting progression on Blackfuse for the time being, to get some more gear improvements through either gearing alts/bench players, getting Warforged gear or generally getting upgrades through other means (still no Immerseus trinket though, QQ). When the patch drops, we can upgrade 8 items in the first week if they’re already 2/2 upgrades to 4/4, so hopefully on next Sunday’s raid we can get a bigger dent into Blackfuse by being able to take care of the belt or mines or whatever just that little bit easier. Sure, we’re struggling on mechanics, but getting rid of those mechanics faster might be that push we need to get onto Paragons, and then Garrosh himself.

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It’s good that Blizz are looking at new ways of nerfing content: In ICC we saw the zone-wide buff to players’ health, healing and damage; in Dragon Soul, tier 14 and Throne of Thunder bosses received health and damage reductions in a zonewide debuff on them all; and now Blizzard are looking to buff players again, but in a new fashion of us being able to choose where we upgrade our gear to do more damage or healing, or get more health. Over time, it will act similar to the 5/10/15/etc% stacking (de)buffs, but the immediate punch to those of us with 3k valor already will notice a significant difference straight away.

I know instanced PvP has an item level cap, but I wonder if world PvP will be impacted by those that will end up having full 588 HCWF gear, against those Prideful PVPers with only 550 iLvl. Is this Blizzard preparing for perhaps another PvP season before Warlords is out? I’m certainly hoping for more expansion details soon, as I’m pretty sure it won’t be a happy BlizzCon if there’s no Warlords out by then… Though having said that, even a month before BlizzCon would be awkward for the race to world first – unless we end up having a live raid between Method and Blood Legion or whatever at BlizzCon to watch them attempt new bosses right in front of us.

Weekly Roundup: Diablo IV

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So last week the latest installment of the Diablo series was released, and honestly it feels like an entirely new game in comparison to what I played when Diablo III was first released. Massive improvements all around, and in all honesty, I haven’t really been up to much this week other than checking out Reaper of Souls and getting completely absorbed into it. I’ve played a little bit of WoW, hitting up some previous-tier LFR and levelling up a new Paladin alt on Emerald Dream. I already talked extensively about Loot 2.0 and how much it has effectively brought me back into the Diablo franchise since D2 (though even then I rarely played it), so today I’ll talk a little more about what the expansion itself brought and my experiences in the first week of it.

The original plan was for me to grind out my Witch Doctor, as I’d been having a lot of fun levelling him up when 2.0 hit that I’d continue with him into RoS. However, because I was playing around on my Wizard, trying to get a Diablo kill in before the switch was flipped. Then about 10mins early the system message was announced, during my Diablo kill, that I ended up going straight into the cutscene for Act V. Feeling too lazy to switch toons, I buddied up and spent the next 5 hours grinding to 70. And that time went by quickly! I didn’t even notice it was 4am until I dinged 70 and looked at the clock… Realising I had to be at work a few hours later I didn’t get to spend much time at 70 itself, other than finishing the campaign.

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Needless to say though, I’m having a lot of fun with the Wizard, firing off Black Holes to suck mobs in, and then firing off a few trusty Frozen Orbs to finish them off. So much so, that I ended up spending more time than I originally intended in this first week on my Wizard, than levelling the Witch Doctor or even checking out to see what the Crusader malarkey is about (though I am pretty interested in their playstyle of using shields offensively, which is a whole new level of badassery). However, what I have levelled of those, I’ve done it in the new adventure mode which rocks like hell! For those that don’t know what it is, it’s essentially this mode where you complete certain quests without having to follow the storyline of the game.

When you complete these quests, such as killing particular rares, completing chest/shrine events, or killing bosses, you’re rewarded with exp, gold and occasionally Nephalem Rift Shards. With these shards, you can go into a special instance where you go on a murderous rampage, killing hundreds of mobs before finishing up with a boss, and you get loot at the end of it. It’s seriously a lot of fun, especially with friends, and certainly beats the previous model of grinding out a certain questing route over and over again.

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Seriously, Blizzard have made such a turnaround with Diablo, it feels like it’s Diablo 4 instead of just an expansion. Plus, the new Mystic artisan to match the Blacksmith and Jeweler brings the ability to swap around stats on items through enchanting, as well as an amazing version of transmog that I wish WoW will adopt one day. Essentially, you only need to have looted the item in order to be able to use it in transmog – no need to keep hold of it in void storage or anything, plus you can use that skin on your other characters! With the dyes, you can quite easily make a decent looking set in no time at all.

In other games for me this week… Erm… I think I summed it up in the first paragraph unfortunately – as I said in my previous post, I’ve been working pretty much all of this week, and then my only day off was filled with Mother’s Day celebrations. So I’ve pretty much only been on Diablo this week other than about two or three hours on WoW in LFR. I’m still not brave enough to go into SoO LFR after the character boosts came out a few weeks ago…