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In this episode we take a look at the some contest winners, more Facebook Like updates, some Treasure Seeker information, more art controversy, PvE & PvP Balance, Weapon Types & More!

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Diablo 3 Logo White

Diablo III ‘Technically Complete’

In some pretty interesting and in my opinion extremely exciting news, Mike Morhaime and Frank Pearce recently commented on Diablo III’s progress saying that the “development is technically complete”, with only internal testing and feedback left to work on. Now, all of this needs to be taken with a grain of salt, as people often over think things like this. Firstly, this quote, and all the information being talked about here, was taken from an interview that the Blizzard head honchos had with French site, Liberation.fr. So all said, information had to be translated, and, as you all well know, things are often misinterpreted and lost in the translation process. But anyway, even the crudest form of the translated information does give us some hope and what I’d call good news.

Now first, let us have a look at the question asked and answer given. (Bare in mind, the translation might well be a little off!)

Q: I suppose that you do not have a world-hysteria scoop to offer the readers of Liberation concerning the official and definitive release date of Diablo 3?
A: Alas, no. Just to confirm to you that we are full at work for the game to release this year. The development is technically completed. We are in a internal-testing and feedback-gathering phase. Yes, there are good chances of releasing before the end of 2011, but it is impossible to us, at this time, to guarantee you that.

With the help of a few, ever keen, forum members, they came to the conclusion that Mike and Frank were referring to the core engine of the game that had been completed. Now, the team can apparently focus on the content, the game world, the game rules and obviously the polish of the game. They say that to sum things up, we actually learn nothing new here and Diablo INC Gamers feels that this does seem to contradict a lot of what we’ve been hearing recently from Blizzard themselves, with the Male Demon Hunter not being complete, some runes still rough drafts and the Demon Hunter’s dual resource being more of a concept than final product. 

I guess this information and these quotes mean varying amounts to everyone out there. Sure, it’s great that they once again said that they want to release the game in 2011, but one thing I will say is that if the Diablo III team does in fact have the world complete, the story in tact, the quests where they need to be, the skills, mostly at least, working as intended, and have no plans to suddenly add another act or class to the game, then, well, that does shine some hope on our Diablo III beta plight. If all that is true the game may well be ready for us to test it sooner, rather than later, as most of the polish, balancing and all that other goodness would probably be done during the closed beta. What is also worth keeping in mind is what I spoke about a couple of episodes ago, where during the Quarter 1 Activision / Blizzard Conference Call, Mike Morhaime actually mentioned that we might well be hearing more about the Diablo III beta during their next call, happening in May. All of this does sound good and I guess we should all just hold thumbs and hope to hear more, or some clarification on all of this, soon.

Check the links below to read the full stories and let me know what you think.

Diablo III’s “development is technically completed” – Diablo INC Gamers

Diablo III Development “Technically Completed” – Diablofans

Exploiting The Magic Find Stat In Groups

A  fan recently asked a question that has, apparently, come up quite a lot over the past few months on the official Diablo III forums in discussions of Diablo III item hunting.  In short, said fan asked the following – ‘With every character getting their own drops, what’s to to prevent some players from standing in the back row and doing very little, if they’re going to share in the experience and get items anyway?’ The example provided was, what if there is one very powerful level 60 character in hell and he has 3 friends that are following him around doing relatively little work because they are in fact stacked up with Magic Find on their gear, LOTS of magic find. Will the three Magic Find characters be able to leech the drops from the powerful level 60? This is assuming that they are level 60 as well. So, said fan feels that this mechanic might well be abused, and abused hard.

Bashiok replied and he had quite a bit to say about it, starting off by saying that sure, it could be a problem, but… he claims that the entire Magic Find system, the way loot drops and all that entails in co-op play will be fairly heavily restricted to specific sources and amounts. He gave the following example, which is completely hypothetical, of course. Let’s say that the only magic find available is from placing a diamond gem in a head slot. It’s useful because of the amount it provides, but maybe other gems in a head slot provide things like bonus XP, bonus gold, etc. Then it’s not a choice of power vs. MF and building characters around the system, but a choice between interesting bonuses that will probably change through the career of a character. He then says that’s just a thought on how it could work and that it is still under consideration. Blizzard apparently likes the idea of having some way to improve your chances to find magic items, but not as a driving statistic for characters.

Lastly, Bashiok just mentions that it is definitely worth noting in this case that enemies in Diablo III are more sophisticated. You’ll find them targeting characters in your group they perceive as weaker, keeping distance, and cooperating to try to kill you and your group. So having one person run ahead to face pull everything, let alone be able to solo everything in a multiplayer game, probably isn’t going to work out too well. We can also just assume that said monsters will in fact scale, become more powerful, with each extra character in the game, so  that said having one character do most of the work just doesn’t seem that likely.

If you want to read all about this fan’s interactions with Bashiok regarding Magic Find In Groups you can check the post linked below!

Blue on MF Exploits in Groups – Diablo INC Gamers

Tyreal

Win Tyreals Hylt!

The guys and girls over at the Diablo Database have decided that it has been far too long since their last giveaway and oohh does that mean good things for us! So, to slake our thirst, for a little while at least, they just wanted to give us a little reward for being as patient as we are. At the same time, though, this will help us stay even more up-to-date with all the Diablo III happenings out there right now. So, what is this reward, you ask? (Yes, you Diablo guys might not appreciate this quite as much as the WoW guys out there, sorry!)

They’re giving away all 5 of the World of Warcraft digital pets to 3 lucky winners. All you have to do to enter is ‘like’ the Diablo Fan Page on Facebook and follow D3DB on Twitter! But wait, that’s not all! One incredibly lucky winner will also receive the highly sought out, extremely rare and nearly impossible to obtain Tyrael’s Hylt pet code! This pet code was a gift for attending the 2008 Worldwide Invitational in Paris and awards a Feat of Strength in-game along with the amazingly cool pet. Woah. So yes, that is in fact why this is Diablo related. For all you Blizzard fans out there, this is a must enter and you can find the full details, and links to enter, below. Good luck!

1) ‘Like’ the official Diablo page on Facebook – http://facebook.com/Diablo

2) Follow D3DB on Twitter – http://twitter.com/D3DB

3) Email contest@d3db.com with a link to your Facebook & Twitter pages, after this you’ll be entered!.

They let us know that they will randomly select 3 winners on March 15th, 2011. Winners will be contacted via their Facebook or Twitter accounts to confirm ownership and emailed the pet codes afterwards. Rest assured your Facebook and Twitter profile pages will not ever be published publicly for this contest. Lastly, the pet codes are good for European and North American players only.

Diablo 3 Database – D3DB

Diablo Fan Art

More delicious Fan Art! Yes, and there is indeed quite a load of it to look at today. First up we have Diablo INC Gamers Fan Art Watch #78. This post has two really cool pieces, one of a female monk that looks to have taken more than a bit of inspiration from the famous monk cosplayer, Christina Estrada, and secondly a really great speed-painting of an Amazon that seems to have just been in a bit of scrap. In Fan Art Watch #79 we get a look at a few pieces that were actually added to the official Blizzard gallery. Three incredibly detailed barbarians and The Butcher, which is one of my personal favourites, as it brings back a few pretty vivid memories, can be found below.

Diablo Fan Art Watch #78: Amazons and Monks – Diablo INC Gamers

Diablo Fan Art Watch #79: Barbs and the Butcher – Diablo INC Gamers

In some semi-related news it seems like that Limited Edition Diablo III Barbarian Overthrown Statue that was all the rage a while back is going on sale once more over at SideShow Toys, so, if any of you were looking to get your hands on that $300 masterpiece, now’s your chance.

Diablo III Barbarian Statue Back In-Stock – Diablo INC Gamers

Ranger_NKD_09_small

Ranger Class In Diablo III? Concept Art & More!

In what I see as quite an amazing find and an even more set of images, here are a few early concepts for the Ranger which eventually lead to the Demonhunter class in Diablo III. Yes, all those guessers from a couple of months back that thought the fifth class would in fact be a ranger were right, sort of. I have to say it is really great seeing these early concepts of how the class could have looked, compared to what it looks like now. These were all taken from the blog of Phroilan Gardner, a fantasy artist who worked for Blizzard Entertainment for quite a few years a while back. He contributed a lot Diablo III concept art as well as creating a great deal of World of Warcraft stuff, too. He has since parted ways with Blizzard Entertainment and has been posting tons of cool artwork on his blog.

He lets us know that he is happy with the way that the Demon Hunter turned out and that he absolutely can’t wait to play the class, saying that in his opinion it’s the closest thing to a Gothic-fantasy styled character in the current Diablo III hero lineup. These six images are most definitely worth looking at, along with all the other amazingly well done pieces on his blog. You can find the link below, enjoy

Phroilan’s Stuff – blogspot

Skill Trees / Tiers

Bashiok recently got involved in a thread about the skill trees and tiers in Diablo III and provided a nice explanation of how they work and why they’re set up the way they are.

He starts off by saying that skills are tiered out for progression. They serve not only as a reward as you level up, but also to ensure Blizzard is not dumping the entire game on a new player. Early tier skills tend to be cheap or free to cast, and have fairly straight forward mechanics and uses, like dealing damage to enemies. As the tiers progress, though, more complex systems are introduced, avoidance, mobility, maybe skills that cost a little more, or require a bit more finesse to pull off well. Then, the end of the tiers and these are usually the biggest, most expensive, and visually impressive. The tiers do start out simply and progress toward the bigger and ‘cooler’ spells. As they should. He says that Blizzard can also design and tune the beginning of the game with the skills available in mind, which really helps to ensure those first few hours aren’t frustrating.

I guess, while all of that really does make sense, and none of it is really anything new, it is good to hear the reasoning behind them setting it up the way they do. Bashiok then carries on by saying that while he’s sure there will be builds that take all the end tier skills, people will still need to pick skills throughout the tree to create a solid character, and they’re designing the skills to ensure they can continue to be as viable as possible regardless of character level. Some first and second tier skills will scale really well and will most likely be the bread and butter skills for a number of builds.

Bashiok concluded this all by giving us a bit of repeat information – The leveling progression is designed that you’d have all your skill tiers unlocked before you finish Normal. I guess this is the kind of information that players interested in the leveling process would really want to hear. You can have a look at all the full quote and other information included below. And yes, there are even a few images of the previously revealed traits and skill trees, courtesy of Diablo INC Gamers.

Blue on Skill Tiers and Clvl Requirements – Diablo INC Gamers

tristram-cathedral-fb-mar2011

Facebook ‘Like’ Updates

The ever entertaining Diablo Facebook Like Campaign has just yielded what is, in my opinion, some of the best artwork thus far. The Diablo Facebook Page hit and passed the 625,000 mark a day or two ago and we have been gifted a brand new piece of concept art and another screenshot!

The screenshot was previously released via the BlizzCon 2010 Diablo III Presskit, but it is still worth a look for those that have not seen it. The good part of this update, though, is definitely this amazing piece of the Tristram Cathedral and much of ‘New Tristram’ laid out in the distance. By far one of my favourite pieces of concept art to date and I absolutely can’t wait for more! Check both of these images out, in full size, below, and if you haven’t already, head on over to the Diablo III facebook page and give it a like!

Below is also a link to Diablo INC Gamers’ post of this update where a few questions about this new and exciting artwork are answered. Check that out, too, if you’re interested.

Diablo Facebook Page – Facebook

The Diablo Facebook Ransom is Paid: Part IV – Diablo INC Gamers

Diablo 3 Smalls

Diablo III Smalls:

Forum Watch #64: Y’all Wanna Debate? – Diablo INC Gamers

Vote: Will you play Hardcore Diablo III? – Diablo INC Gamers

Diablo III Weekly Wallpaper #84: Diablo with Light and Darkness – Diablo INC Gamers

The Dark Library #32 – Diablo INC Gamers

Blizzard’s “Anti-Modding” Stance: Another Look – Diablofans

Diablo II Season 7 Length Poll – Diablofans

ForceD3 – Purgatory Episode 5 – YouTube

Questions & Answers

Q: In game mic chat support? Will there be a Special Edition game with some extras included? Thank you for your time. – IceMan20k
A: Voice chat is a base feature of the new Battle.net platform, so it’s likely. We’ve not announced a collector’s edition. – Diablo

Q: Will gems give the same bonuses they did in Diablo 2? – illthegreat
A: No, they’re all pretty much different. Elemental damage comes from enchantments now, for instance. – Diablo

Q: Zoom. How much will we be able to zoom in D3 compared to SC2? – kiowa81
A: There’s no zoom feature planned beyond a slight perspective shift when engaged in conversations. – Diablo

Q: No zoom? then why there’s zoom in first gameplay trailer? (watch 1:27-2:23) – spareribs17
A: We did have a zoom function back in 2008. It was removed shortly after. – Diablo

Q: Has allowing 8 or 10 skills instead of 7 ever been seriously considered? 7 just seems so few to me… – yovargas
A: Of course. Everything is seriously considered. – Diablo

Q: Can runes be swapped when ever or do you need an artisan to equip/swap out runes? – Scyberdragon
A: Restrictions are likely for when/where you can change them. – Diablo

Q: Since you reworked stats to benefit all classes will gems be treated in the same manner? bc D2 gems in weapons didnt benefit casters – illthegreat
A: There is a “caster gem” for weapons. Potentially two depending on your build. – Diablo

Q: Hi, I’ve noticed two screenshots, on each of them the Barbarian looks different, In one he got warpaint in the other he doesn’t? Is it a new feature that allows you to add warpaint and/or tattoos to your character? Or has the skin of his model been changed? Personally I like the warpaint much more.
A: The barbarian will see a throwback to the classic blue war paint when equipping a specific gear set.

Q: Is it something similar to say, wearing Aldur’s on a Druid and the other class-specific sets for other classes?
A: No, it’s just the effect from the chest piece of one ‘tier’ set. Class specific items are still planned, but this would not be what it is, no.

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Patch 1.3.0

StarCraft II: Wings of Libery – Patch 1.3.0

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty patch 1.3.0 is currently in development and available for testing on the PTR. Blizzard tells us that the early test-version of the patch contains notable improvements to the Join Custom Game interface, a preview of the new Grandmaster League, several balance adjustments, bug fixes, and more. Now, those are the official highlights, but us, as StarCraft II players, see different things as highlights. In what has got to be my favourite addition, Blizzard have added a customizable observer and replay UI to the game. These new ‘overlays’ as they have come to be called, do everything from show player names and colors, track supply and unit counts to even keeping an eye on both players’ resources and their collection rates. It really is something that is going to make my life as a shoutcaster a lot easier and definitely going to improve things for players opting to spectate games instead of play them.

But now, on to the dreaded balance changes. In the general changes, players can no longer hide units by setting them in a close proximity patrol. (Like that silly Viking flower!) Of the three races, most players seem to think that protoss was hit the hardest with the removal of the Khaydarin Amulet upgrade. (+25 starting energy) Others would say terran were the most damaged in this patch, with a bunker build time increase of 5 seconds and stim pack research time increase of 30 seconds, too. I would probably have to agree with them there. Lastly, the zerg changes, which are exclusively to Infestors. Their health was increased from 90 to 110 and their Fungal Growth ability now fires a missile instead of bein instant cast. The stun duration has also been decreased from 8 seconds to 4 seconds. That does mean that there was a double in damage per second.

Other than all of those changes there were just the normal bug fixes and editor improvements, which you can read all about below!

Patch 1.3 in development – StarCraft II Community Site

Patch 1.3.0 Extras

As a few extras related to Patch 1.3.0 you can also see the new observer mode in action, courtesy TheGunRun. I have to say I can’t wait to use it. I wasn’t even aware of all the cool, and useful, options that you could enable or of the fact that you can entirely hide the bottom bar of the UI, thereby increasing your viewing pleasure by multitudes. I just hope they set it up that we can hide everything except the minimap, that would be perfect. Check that video out, you won’t regret it and you won’t be able to contain your excitement! If you are interested you can also check the new and most definitely improved league icons out below, courtesy of the TeamLiquid forums. These are the same icons that were shown during BlizzCon 2010, but, it’s great to see them finally implemented. Read about, and check out, all those extras below!

New Observer Mode Features (Patch 1.3.0) – YouTube

New League Icons (Patch 1.3) – TeamLiquid

Ladder Map Pool Changes

To improve overall map balance and keep StarCraft II ladder play fresh and engaging, Blizzard recently made several changes to the ladder map pool. Below you can find a list that comprises of all the maps currently available, separated by bracket. You will be able to see the maps that were removed, the new maps that were added and the ones that stayed exactly where they were. If you are the kind of person that prefers not to read too much, you can in fact see all the aforementioned information in video form, too. There was a lot of information given with these changes, additions and removals and I suggest you watch the video for that extra bit of insight. While some may not like them, I find that the new maps are a lot of fun and definitely worth additions to the ladder map pool!

Patch 1.3 Map Changes – StarCraft II Community Site

Ladder Map Changes – StarCraft II Community Site

New Ladder Maps – YouTube

Masters Icon

Masters League For Teams

In some more official news, Blizzard are happy to share that they’ve been working to implement an oft-requested feature in secret; laboring over small brass pins and cogs in the humid bioluminescent mines deep beneath the Blizzard campus top-soil to bring you Master League for teams! So if you didn’t realise, Blizzard have deployed a hotfix to implement Master League for arranged and random 2v2, 3v3, and 4v4 teams. For a refresher on what the Master League is, how it functions, and what it takes to get into it, refer back to their previous post about the Master League, which you can find in the links below. They also just give us a quick reminder that the Grandmaster League is coming very, very soon for 1v1 and everyone had better start preparing for that!

Master League for 2v2, 3v3 and 4v4 – StarCraft II Community Site

Top 200 Starcraft 2

Top 200 Lists

The Top 200 lists have been updated and, as usual, you can find the links to the North American, European, South East Asian and Korean Lists below. Check those out and see if your favourite players are still at the top! 😀

EU Top 200 – StarCraft II Community Site

US Top 200 – StarCraft II Community Site

SEA Top 200 – StarCraft II Community Site

KR Top 200 – StarCraft II Community Site

Speculation About BlizzCon 2011

BlizzPlanet has a really interesting, if slightly far fetched article up concerning all the rumors and speculation about this years BlizzCon event. In past years, Blizzard has rented the Anaheim Convention Center to celebrate this massive convention, this year, though, strange things are happening and needless to say, people have noticed them! Firstly, I have to say, I don’t even know how these guys figure this stuff out, find it or manage to make sense if it all, it really is some crazy spy-movie-detective-investigating stuff.

Here we go, according to the Anaheim Convention Center, Blizzard has acquired the entire facility for this years event. Why is that strange? Well, for all their previous events, yes, every single one, they only rented Halls A, B, C, D, & The Meeting Rooms. This year, though, those are joined by Hall E and the Arena. So, BlizzPlanet asks this question: What if Blizzard are planning on announcing, or revealing a new game? I guess it really could make sense that they would need more space, especially if they wanted to dedicate an entire one of those halls to it, which, let’s face it, is the least they can do! Could it be for their Next-Gen MMO? Heart of the Swarm? Perhaps WarCraft IV? Who knows, but these conspiracy theories are always a good read and there is still a lot of time for the rumors to spread and the plot to thicken. Check the full thing out below!

New Blizzard Game At BlizzCon 2011? – BlizzPlanet

Tournament & Event News

Tournament & Event Smalls:

E-stars Seoul pulls out Blizzard games – TeamLiquid

Blizzard’s IP rights war against Korean broadcast companies has claimed yet another victim. E-Stars Seoul, in a show of solidarity with KeSPA, is removing Blizzard games from its tournament in August.

[TSL] Qualifier #8 Recap – TeamLiquid

[Q&A] Official NASL Thread – TeamLiquid

[NASL] Deadlines and Process – TeamLiquid

[TSL] Bracket Show! – TeamLiquid

Blizzard Excluded From WCG 2011?

In our second last piece of big tournament news, apparently, according to Thisisgame.com, due to the legal happenings regarding Blizzard’s IP rights, BroodWar, WarCraft 3 and even StarCraft 2 might be excluded from the World Cyber Games 2011 grand finals. This is not final and there is still no official statement by the World Cyber Games but one is probably soon to be issued. I won’t go into any more detail about it here, but I just thought you guys would want to know. Read more about it below!

Blizzard Excluded From WCG 2011? – SK Gaming

 FXOpen eSports Announcements

After the success of FXOpen’s past events and the establishment of the FXOpen Invitational Series, they are proud to make the following announcements: FXOpen e-Sports has begun programming for an e-Sports TV platform, their tournament Ladder is now released, they are setting a new, weekly, KOTH series up, they are planning a new invitational titled ‘Destination Korea’, the first prize of which will be a ticket to South Korea and it seems like a talk show, team house and website are all coming soon, too. There was more than just that, yes, I know, how is that even possible? But wow, all I can say is this is some really great news. FXOpen are really trying their hardest to help eSports grow and, well, I have to say they are most definitely succeeding. if you want to read all about those FXOpen eSports Announcements you will just have to check the post linked below.

[FXO] FXOpen e-Sports Announcements – TeamLiquid

GSL Banner

GSL Updates

Time for a few GSL updates! The Code-S and Code-A have both moved into their respective rounds of 16 and both are steadily progressing and both have their fair share of entertaining and saddening upsets.

First up, the Code-A. The first play-day of the Round of 16 has already been completed with HuK, Losira, Virus and  Leenock winning their games and moving on to the round of 8.

Players that made it to the Code-S Round of 16 include July and MC, both of which have already won their games in said round, NaDa, Lyn and Jinro also made it to the round of 16, but, sadly, Jinro was knocked out by HongUnPrime.  There are a few others that I obviously didn’t mention here, but hey, I will leave some of it for you to read.

Players that were knocked out of the Code-S, or rather down to the up/down matches thus far are the following – IdrA, by forfeit, Zenio, BoxeR, Genius, MarineKing and, even three of our former champions MVP, FruitDealer and NesTea. That is quite crazy and it is really weird to see big name players like that being knocked out this early.

As usual you can read all about the going-ons at the GSL, the results and all the drama that ensued in the links below and do remember to keep checking back here for more!

[R&S] GOM Code S/Code A March 2011 – TeamLiquid

[GSL March] Code A Ro16 Day 1 – TeamLiquid

[GSL March] Code S Ro16 Day 1 – TeamLiquid 

GSL Extras

What would GSL news be without a few extras? In todays extras we have the Code-S Nominations, dubbed in English, for all us foreigners that want to enjoy every possible bit of GSL goodness, a HuK, Ret, Jinro and Moonglade Foreigner Special, courtesy of TeamLiquid and lastly, a pretty interesting post about the map stats on the GSL March, thus far at least. Check all of that out in the links below!

GOMtv.net Releases Code S Nominations Dubbed in English – TeamLiquid

[GSL] Liquid`HuK Code A Ro16 Foreigner Special – TeamLiquid

[GSL] Jinro, Moonglade, Ret Foreigner Specials – TeamLiquid

[GSL March] The map statistics thus far – TeamLiquid

MLG – MLG Dallas

In a few small MLG related updates, the MLG Dallas event, set to take place from April the 1st to the 3rd have put their passes on sale for the event. So, if you were keen to attend the event you’d better head on over to their site and get yours booked and payed right now. (The StarCraft 2 Schedule has not yet been released, though.) Next up they have also released the maps they are using for the event, 7 maps will make up the map pool for the 2011 StarCraft II pro circuit. Four standard maps are included, but they have been slightly revised for use in the MLG competitions. Shattered Temple will replace Lost Temple, and the two other maps are ICCup Testbug and one of the GSL’s new maps, Crossfire SE. You can check the links below for the complete list of included maps, players and everything else MLG related.

MLG Dallas 2011-Passes on sale tonight at 7 PM ET – TeamLiquid

MLG announces StarCraft 2 map pool – ESFI World

MLG 2011 : North America be ready! – GosuGamers

IEM

IEM World Championship Updates

The group stage of the Intel Extreme Masters just kicked off, a day or two ago, at CeBIT in Hannover, Germany in hall 23, for those that were wondering. Twelve players started fighting tooth and nail for the title of StarCraft II World Champion and $30,000 in prize money.

Our hosts for this amazing event, Kevin ‘RotterdaM’ van der Kooi, Dario ‘TheLittleOne’ Wünsch and Sean ‘Day[9]’ Plott have been treating us exceptionally well and keeping us more than entertained during, and between, the matches. If you want to watch the rest of the action you can check the schedule in order to attend the matches or follow the live streaming on ESL TV.

 With the first couple of play-days already completed, the number of players still in contention has significantly decreased, but with that, the quality of the games has also significantly increased. First up I have to mention that there are absolutely no European or US players left in the tournament. The top 4 players, and the only ones left, are ACE, mOOnGlaDe, Moon and Squirtle. Big name such as IdrA, Socke, Fenix, qxc, SjoW and MorroW were knocked out by those top 4 and, well, that just makes the fact that they are there even more impressive.

The next few games are set to happen tomorrow and should not be missed. Check the links below for all the information you could ever need! 😀

IEM Season 5 World Championship at CeBIT kicks off! – Blizzard Entertainment

IEM Season 5 World Championship – Group stage is over! – Blizzard Entertainment

[IEM] Semifinals – TeamLiquid 

[IEM] Day 3 – TeamLiquid

[IEM] Day 2 – TeamLiquid

ESL Season 5 Schedule – ESL

IEM Extras

As a few extras from the IEM you can check a bunch of interesting interviews out with the players and casters from the event courtesy of ESFI World and MyM. There are also various sites that have a ton of the replays from the event up already, worth checking out too!

Moon discusses IEM results, WarCraft 3 vs. StarCraft 2 – ESFI World

Audio: IdrA predicts himself vs. Ace in grand final – ESFI World

Day 1’s big group A winner Ace interviewed – ESFI World

mOOnGLaDe: “not entirely confident vs. MorroW” – ESFI World

Socke: “Stamina wise, I was doing ok [in the tiebreaker]” – ESFI World

IEM: Video-Interview with Fenix – MyM

IEM: Video-Interview with qxc – MyM

IEM: Video-Interview with Tarson – MyM

IEM: Video-Interview with IdrA – MyM

IEM: Video-Interview with Socke – MyM

The Gathering Map Pool & Dreamhack Prize Pool

In two more slightly smaller tournament announcements, we see the The Gathering include the iCCup Testbug and iCCup Pawn Re maps which were made popular in the ESL Go4SC2 tournaments. These, and the five original Blizzard maps are what the players at the offline tournament will be battling on. Next up, after DreamHack’s earlier announcement of their Summer event, the organizers released detailed information regarding their StarCraft II tournament. The tournament will feature 800,000 SEK (about $125,000) and is also supported by sponsors SteelSeries and Eizo. Read more about both those smalls below, courtesy of GosuGamers and ESFI World.

DreamHack’s 2011 SC2 tour features $125,000 – ESFI World

Pawn Re, Testbug in The Gathering map pool – GosuGamers

Community News

Community Smalls:

Poll: My Other Car Is A – StarCraft II Community Site

The Academy: Meet the Underdog – StarCraft II Community Site

Poll: Who will win the IEM World Championship in Hannover? – StarCraft II Community Site

The Academy: It’s all about having fun – StarCraft II Community Site

MVP Launch Detected – StarCraft II Community Site

Custom Map Spotlight – StarCraft II Community Site

Destiny Joins ROOT Gaming – TeamLiquid

March KR roster changes – TeamLiquid 

Naama Leaves Mousesports For Virus – GosuGamers

Artosis parts ways with MeetYourMakers – GosuGamers

LucifroN Leaves Fnatic.MSI and Joins Spanish Team, APSC2 – GosuGamers

Satiini: “The GSL maps seem to be really great” – Competo

DieStar: “ToD will be legendary!” – Competo

Grubby interview from Assembly – SK Gaming

Artosis Departs From MyM – SK Gaming

Blizzard Careers At GDC 2011 San Francisco – BlizzPlanet

11 Minute mOOnGLaDe Video Interview – rakakaworld

John posts a response to Huk’s troll allegations – reddit

Zerg and Terran talking about balance in StarCraft 2 – YouTube

Tasteless, Artosis & Day[9] At WCG USA 2005

Some footage recently surfaced of some of the big names in today’s StarCraft II scene from back before they were in fact big names, while they were growing up, learning to be a better gamer, one step at a time. The footage is from the USA World Cyber Games 2005 where some names you may well know, Tasteless, Artosis and Day[9], participated. The video is full of arrogance, drama, heartache, bitter sweetness and even a few good laughs to boot. Yes, this was in fact the WCG that Day[9] won. It really is amazing seeing these guys and how they were back then, which is, strikingly similar to how they are today. But anyway, check the video out and big thanks to BNice for digging this up and finally uploading it to YouTube.

WCG 2005 Footage – Artosis, Day9 and Tasteless – TeamLiquid

Cellabrella?

I absolutely had to feature this video because it may well, quite possibly be, the most brilliant thing ever. You all know Cella, formerly of clan Werra, now in clan SlayerS. And you all probably know he loves his wine, cheese and, well, singing! So here is his latest piece of work, while on air with ROOTdestiny he performs his own version of Rihanna’s Umbrella, not to be missed!

Cella singing ‘Rihanna – Umbrella’ – Starcraft 2 – YouTube

What’s This? StarCraft II Edition

Yet another StarCraft II themed song, The Nightmare Before Christmas’ – What’s This, StarCraft Edition. This was created by the guys from over at AKAmazingness and, well, what can I say, it’s pretty funny. It was apparently requested by Day[9] during one of his dailies and, being the keen fans that they are, they decided to whip it up. You can find the music video and .mp3 of the song in the links below.

What’s This? StarCraft 2 Edition – The Nightmare Before Christmas! – YouTube

Bronze League Hero

Did I just talk about a Starcraft II theme song? Oh, well, here’s another one and this one has slightly higher production value it seems. The song is titled Bronze League Hero and is amazingly well performed. It is apparently a cover of a song I’ve personally never heard before. The artist claims that this is the next Banelings and, well, it is pretty good, that much is sure, but I don’t know if it as good as Kurts and Huskies Banelings. What do you think? Listen to it and let me know! 

Bronze League Hero – 3OH!3 Parody – YouTube

The Liquid Weekly #29

The next Liquid Weekly is out, #29. This weekly has a look at Jinro and HuK, the driver and conductor of the Liquid Pain Train, some more TSL related stuff, which includes mini-interviews with all the Liquid players and you can even pick up some TLO, HuK and Haypro ladder replay packs. Check all of that and more out below, obviously courtesy of TeamLiquid!

Liquid Weekly #29 – TeamLiquid

Artosis Tours The Prime.WE Team House

Artosis has put up the next of his seemingly endless series of pro-team-house tours. This time around we get a look, a pretty detailed look, at the Prime.WE team house and even a couple of interviews with the players residing there. So if you want to take a look at where and how a Korean Pro Team practices and lives, what they have to say about the GSL, their team house and everything else, check the series of videos in the links below or just head on over to ArtosisTV for the lot of it.

Prime.WE Team house tour and interviews! – TeamLiquid

ss1259

Fan Art Updates

In some art updates, the official StarCraft II Fan art section has been updated with a few pretty impressive pieces, and quite funny pieces. If you’re interested, need a new wallpaper or just love everything StarCraft related, you’d better check these out. My personal favourite can be seen on your screen right now!

New StarCraft Fan Art – Blizzard Entertainment

Art Extas

In a few extra, if slightly smaller, art updates, we get a look at a cute StarCraft II themed birthday cake and a fan-made, zerg and IdrA themed wallpaper. Find the full size versions of both of those in the links below!

StarCraft II Birthday Cake – Imgur

IdrA / Zerg Wallpaper – Imgur

TotalBiscuit Audio Interview By Reddit

The guys over at reddit have a pretty lengthy and indeed quite informative interview up with none other than TotalBiscuit himself. TotalBiscuit talks about, well, everything. From StarCraft II eSports and his involvement in it, the current state of the game, the NASL and Jinro vs IdrA showmatch, his own gaming background and lastly, some talk about his future projects and what we can expect from the one and only CynicalBrit in the coming months. It really is a great listen well worth checking out. You can even download the whole thing in .mp3 format to make it a little easier to listen to!

TotalBiscuit Audio Interview by Reddit – TeamLiquid

Why Does Brother Mack Pray For StarCraft II?

Brother Mack is back and this time he is answering a question that is apparently often asked: Why does he pray for StarCraft? Pretty entertaining, he talks about a few of the reasons he chose to pray for the game and its community. In usual Brother Mack style it does go a little off track at one point… but I think I’ll leave that for you to discover. Check the video out above!

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Demon Hunter Male

More On The Male Demon Hunter

So with the big reveal of the Male Demon Hunter out-of-the-way, Blizzard decided it was finally time to update their official site with the artwork, animations and a couple of screenshots of this most badass of classes. On the site he boasts a pair of pistol crossbows, a nice new outfit that is, to many fans happiness, quite a bit different from the female version. But yes, while some say that metro sexual goatee and mustache is slightly Orlando Bloom in Pirates of the Caribean’ish, others are saying that it looks like a Necromancers bone armor and others yet can’t get over those boots. All I can say is that I’m glad we finally know what all the classes look like and, more importantly, know that all of them are in the game and working. (At least partially!) Last thing worth mention is that the male Demon Hunter is also sporting two glowing orbs, as its female counterpart does.

If you’re keen for more screenshots, artwork of just want to see that newly clad and animated bad boy in action, you can do so in the links below or over at the official site, Diablo3.com.

Diablo III Official Site

Male Demon Hunter Animation is Live – Diablo INC Gamers

Demon Hunter Extras

As a few extras, the guys and girls over at Diablo INC Gamers have been tallying the votes to see what the public things about this new, different from the female, look. Around 43 percent of the voters said that they loved the new look, which is a much better reaction than the one the concept art received. 36 percent of the voters said that the new, animated, version of the class was okay, but could be better. That said, the reactions are still a lot more positive, so that’s great! Check the polls and all the fans reactions out below, too, as I said, courtesy of Diablo INC Gamers. Diablofans also has a few follow-up questions up concerning some of the more complex, or misunderstood, questions about skill trees and rune combinations that were asked during their interview with Christian Litchner and Jason Bender. All of that and more can be found below. Enjoy!

Poll: The Male Demon Hunter’s Look – Diablo INC Gamers

Male Demon Hunter Follow-up – Diablofans

600k_1

Facebook Like Updates

Then third set of Diablo Facebook ‘like’ updates has been posted. As of typing this the Facebook page is sitting on a pretty decent 615k ‘likes’ and going up fast! First up we got a look at another piece of concept art that was, sadly, also not new. The artwork, which is of an unnamed and unknown demon, was done by Josh Tallman, the Senior Concept Artist working on Diablo III. Diablofans and Diablo INC Gamers both report that we did in fact see this back in 2008, which is quite a pity. To make up for it, though, we do have what has got to be one of my personal favourite screenshots to date. The shot is of a female monk wielding dual fist weapons interrupting a ritual being performed by Dark Vessels. What makes it so great is that, if you check the middle of the screenshot, where all the action is, you can see that one of the Dark Vessels has actually been cut clean in half by the monk, it is quite a sight. All that said, I would recommend you all check the full size screenshot out, you can do so below.

Diablo Fanpage – Facebook

The Diablo Facebook Ransom is Paid: Part III – Diablo INC Gamers

Third Batch of Screenshots and Art -Diablofans

facebook-feb22-cultist-circle

The next batch of content is no doubt just around the corner so keep checking back here for that! 😀

Zooming & Hardcore Deaths

In a few smalls which I will turn into, well, non-smalls, by talking about them here, we get a bit more information about zooming, or the lack-thereof, in Diablo III, aswell as death in hardcore mode. I suppose neither of these are really new pieces of news, it does give us a little to think about. A fan recently asked how much, or how far in, we would be able to zoom in Diablo III, compared to Starcraft II. The answer provided by @Diablo was a pretty simple one, though – There’s no zoom feature planned beyond a slight perspective shift when engaged in conversations. How do you feel about this? I think the fact that they are locking the perspective of the game will probably give them a little more creative freedom with the environments, it will be easier to balance the skills and classes and, the chances are also good that it will help them keep the performance, and the monitoring of it, more stable. (As if you zoom out further the chances are you will lose performance) Either way, it is interesting and I’d like to know how that ‘slight perspective change’ looks now, as we know the old side-view dialogue system was removed. Ultimately, I don’t see anyone really getting bent out of shape because of the lack of a zoom function, though!

Q: Zoom. How much will we be able to zoom in D3 compared to SC2? – kiowa81
A: There’s no zoom feature planned beyond a slight perspective shift when engaged in conversations. – @Diablo

Next up a fan asked about dying in hardcore mode, the mode I probably wouldn’t set foot in for quite some time after launch. The fan asked a pretty simple question and, well, received a pretty simple answer in response! The question was, what if your character is hardcore and dies. Can it be resurrected by your teammates? The answer, you ask? Well we all know this one! Nope. In hardcore dead is dead. I know, I know, old news, but still, it is still just so scary to think about. For those that have already read the post, yes, I did in fact fix the typo of doom in the question. If you want to know what the real, slightly more entertaining question was, you’re gonna have to check it out for yourself below!

Q: What if your character is hardcore and dies. Can he be redirected by your teammates? – koolgam3r
A: Nope. In hardcore dead is dead. – @Diablo 

If you want to read more about these two smalls, and the guys over at Diablo INC Gamers thoughts on them, check the links below!

@Diablo on Not-Zooming and Hardcore… something – Diablo INC Gamers

witch_doctor_by_freelancerart-d33v63e

Fan Art Watch

The next two Fan Art Watch posts are up over at Diablo INC Gamers and man, is there some impressive stuff to be seen. In Fan Art Watch # 76 we get a look at a piece by Ratzgoblin called Worldstone: An end is a new start. This piece shows off the Worldstone as it is being corrupted by Baal. Next up we have a piece by Freelancerart, which is definitely my personal favourite. This one is called Witch Doctor and, well, shows the witch doctor doing some of his crazy magic by a fire in the jungles of Kurast. Absolutely stunning. In Fan Art Watch #77 we take a look at a Diablo II themed pieces featuring the necromancer and his minions, quite humorous!

The guys over at Diablo INC Gamers, who do indeed keep posting these most amazing of pieces, say that if you enjoy the fac art and want to contribute to the growing community, be sure to stop by the Fan Creations Forum. There are many artists that frequent the forums, posting works in progress and completed pieces looking for feedback and conversation. They stress that you absolutely don’t have to be ‘arty’ in any way to join in. Sounds like a good deal to me and with art like this, who wouldn’t want to show some appreciation. Check both those fan art watch posts out below and enjoy!

Diablo Fan Art Watch #77: Weekend Necromancers – Diablo INC Gamers

Diablo Fan Art Watch #76: From the Worldstone Chamber to the Jungles of Kurast – Diablo INC Gamers

A Little Help Entering The Diablo III Beta

Need a little help entering the Diablo III beta? Well, Bashiok has been pretty quiet as of late, but, he did reply to a question recently regarding how one goes about entering Blizzard Betas, or I guess, the Diablo Beta specifically. Bashiok says that the most ‘consistent’ way is probably going to be just opting in through Battle.net, but, I will add that although that might be consistent, you are no doubt competing with 15 million others for a select few spots in the beta. Just make sure, if you do in fact have a Battle.net account, that you have created a beta profile and selected the Diablo Universe as one you’d like to test for. Lucky for us, though, that won’t be the only way to get in. The chances are good that there will be tons of websites offering keys in competitions or giveaways and things like the pre-order deals that some stores did for Starcraft II. Diablo INC Gamers took this time to assure us that they will be compiling a page for the Diablo III beta when the time comes that will include all the details we could ever need, with the aim of getting as many of us into the test as possible. Now that really warms the heart. So if you want to see Bashiok’s full interactions or just want to read more from Diablo INC Gamers, you can do so below!

How to Enter the Diablo III Beta – Diablo INC Gamers

Right, so the most consistent method is going to be to opt-in through Battle.net. There’s actually still a guide available for StarCraft II, and much of the info is still accurate for the process to opt-in for the Diablo III beta.

Aside from the normal opt-in there will undoubtedly be contests and promotions, such as the keys given away at BlizzCon. As we have info about additional ways you could potentially get a beta key we’ll of course let you know.

He pretty much just goes about saying that the same method we used to apply for the Starcraft II beta will apply for Diablo III.

PvP Balance In Diablo III

PvP. The PvP in Diablo III is no doubt one of the biggest selling points of a game of this type and also no doubt one of the most difficult things to balance. Bashiok made that pretty clear recently when jumping into a forum post to answer a few questions regarding what Blizzard are doing to balance the PvP, specifically for 1v1, by saying that PvP will be balanced, sure, but not that balanced. He pretty much just went on to tell the fact, who was quite adamant about getting answers, that they intend to get PvP balanced, yes, but want it to be fun and have meaning to it. What was, to me at least, the best part of this entire conversation was that Bashiok also said that PvP balance is not an integral goal to releasing the game and not something that they are going to hold the game for. (If they did, it might never come out!) The fan persisted, though, and next up he said that the real issue, which Bashiok was apparently dodging, was the whole A > B > C > D > A thing where the game comes down to just selecting a class or a spec that would work well against a different class or spec in order to win. Needless to say, Bashiok also shot that one down saying that he really doesn’t see it happening. Not with the amount of options out there, the breadth of customization and, well, the fun to be had!

So yes, there is a lot to think about when it comes to PvP balance, but really, will you be rolling a class and spec just because you think it will own in arena, just because you think it will counter a different class or spec? I doubt that. Well, not for quite some time at least. The chances are good players will play the classes they WANT to play, the classes they would enjoy playing, instead. Sure, later in the game’s lifespan issues like this may well arise, but hey, that’s what patching is for, right? 😀

If you want to read all about PvP balance and what Bashiok has to say about it, check the post linked below. Enjoy!

Blue on PvP Balance – Diablo INC Gamers

Diablo 3 Smalls

 

Diablo III Smalls:

Diablo Cosplay Updates – Diablo INC Gamers

The Diablo Chronicles: Socketables – Diablofans

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Ladder Map Changes

Along with the release of Starcraft II: Wings of Libery Patch 3.1 on the PTR, which I will be covering extensively in my next Pulse Episode, there were a few changes made to the ladder map pool. Let’s have a look at them!

Blizzard adds and subtracts multiplayer ladder maps – Shacknews

Patch 1.3.0 Now Available on PTR – Starcraft II Community Site

These stealth changes removed quite a number of maps from the ladder map pool, but, there were also quite a few fun looking additions. It is worth noting that the ladder maps that were removed can still be played via custom games, the maps are there, just not in the ladder map pool. Blizzard also says that they plan to add “a couple more new maps to the official ladder rotation in the coming weeks, including a user-made 1v1 map that is currently being featured in the Global StarCraft League.” I am rather curious to see which of the GSL maps they are thinking of adding, but I guess any of them would be a great asset! Rather than leave us asking why certain maps were removed, Shacknews posted a detailed listing of the changes with included commentary on each decision, which can be found below, courtesy of Shacknews.

Not keen to read it all? No problem! 😀

Firstly, let’s have the quick and dirty version. I will be looking at the added 1v1 and 2v2 maps extensively below, so check that out too!

 Changes to 1v1:

1v1 Maps Carrying Over:

  • (1) Scrap Station
  • (2)Xel’Naga Caverns
  • (4)Delta Quadrant
  • (4)Metalopolis


1v1 Maps Removed:

  • (2)Blistering Sands
  • (2)Jungle Basin
  • (2)Steppes of War
  • (4)Lost Temple
  • (4)Shakuras Plateau

1v1 Maps Added:

  • (4)Backwater Gulch
  • (4)Slag Pits
  • (4)The Shattered Temple
  • (4)Typhon Peaks

Changes To 2v2:

2v2 Maps Carrying Over:

  • (4)High Orbit
  • (4)Monlyth Ridge
  • (4)Red Stone Gulch
  • (4)Scorched Haven
  • (8)Tempest

2v2 Maps Removed:

  •  (4)Arid Wastes
  • (4)Tarsonis Assault
  • (4)Twilight Fortress
  • (4)War Zone

2v2 Maps Added:

  • (4)Gutterhulk
  • (4)Khaydarin Depths
  • (4)Omega Sector
  • (4)Ruins of Tarsonis

That may well suffice for many of you, but those that want the reasoning behind the additions and removals, the full details can be found below! I am only going to be posting / talking about the 1v1 changes as that is what the general populace cares about the most, you can ‘read more’ below to see the details behind the 2v2 / 4v4 and FFA changes, too.

Detailed Changes To 1v1

1v1 Maps Removed:

(2)Blistering Sands

We wanted to reduce the number of rush maps in general, and Blistering Sands was one of them. On top of that, Blistering Sands matches resulted in too many all-in games due to the rocks into the main base. The frequency of all-in roach/speedling, 4 warpgate push, or even mass marine/marauder stimpack push by breaking the rocks was a bit too high, so we decided to pull this map from the ladder.

(2)Jungle Basin

Jungle Basin has a few traits that make it extremely favorable for Terran, so we decided to remove it from the ladder. These include:

  • It’s possible to set up siege tanks right below the main base of your opponent and harass his natural expansion while preventing his forces from leaving his base.
  • Too many choke points everywhere on the map made it difficult for Zerg to deal with marines, marauders, or siege tank-based skirmishes.
  • Difficult access to second expansion

High ground right in from of the ramp leading down to main. Setting up units at both this high ground as well as part of the low ground was too powerful, especially for Terrans that use siege tanks.

(2)Steppes of War

Again, we wanted to reduce the number of rush maps, and Steppes was the most rush-friendly rush map we decided to cut. It’s not that we don’t like rush maps, but we have learned over the course of season 1 that two-player rush maps are generally more one-sided than four-player rush maps. For the ladder map changes, the rush possible maps we’ll have will be four-player maps only.

(4)Lost Temple

Problems of Lost Temple:

  • If one side controls one of the center watch towers, there’s no alternate ground-based route to half of the map, meaning it’s too easy for the game to become a stalemate with each side taking half of the map.
  • Small islands in the corners were problematic in that they were difficult to assault as each of the three races. We noticed it’s possible to hold out at one or both of these islands and drag on a game for longer than needed. It was also problematic in that in some matchups, these islands were just free expansions that almost never get attacked, which is not what we wanted in an expansion.
  • The choke point by the natural expansions were too small; it was possible to block them off easily using only a few buildings.

(4)Shakuras Plateau

This map we decided to remove for a different reason. There isn’t a huge problem with this map, but we felt there aren’t enough interesting features of this map. The natural expansion is easy to take and defend; there are only two possible attack paths only one of which is generally used, and main bases aren’t easy to harass. For a change, we wanted to replace this relatively plain map with something new. 

1v1 Maps Added:

(4)Backwater Gulch

Backwater Gultch

Backwater Gulch has a familiar main to first expansion layout. Early game play on this map should feel familiar and there probably aren’t too many early game threats or difficulties in terms of gimmicky strategies you need to worry about. The second expansion, however, features a high ground area that is accessible by two ramps, meaning it can be easily harassed. The center area has two watch towers as well as two high yield expansions that will be difficult to maintain, and the key to victory in some games could come down to how long you hold one or both of these center expansions.

(4)Slag Pits

Slag Pits
Metalopolis was one of two favorite maps across the different skill levels of players. We decided to introduce a very similar map, but slightly more macro heavy. We took out Shakuras Plateau, which was a very plain macro map, and added this map instead. Some of the key features of this map are the low ground high yield expansions, the 2 lines of shrub area that can be used to position units, as well as the low ground watch tower that watches over all of the low ground center.

(4)The Shattered Temple

Shattered Temple

The Shattered Temple is a newer version of Lost Temple that’s more balanced. Improvements to Lost Temple found in this map include:

  • Wider center area
  • Watch tower changed to only cover a part of the center of the map. It’s possible to sneak units around the corners of the central area without getting detected by the watch tower.
  • Rocked off islands. This creates an alternate attack route, and reduces stalemate situations that islands cause.
  • Larger choke point by the expansion makes it more difficult to block off. 

(4)Typhon Peaks

Typhon Peaks

  • This map has a lot of the fun traits of previous maps. Rocks by on the sides of the map are positioned similarly to Scrap Station to reduce rush distance in vertical start locations. The center has two watch towers and provides the main attack path like in Shakuras Plateau, and the second expansion is similar to the setup of Xel’Naga Caverns. Even though this map is brand new, players will be able to utilize some of their existing strategies that have been used on other maps, and potentially combine them to fit the unique play style of this new map.

Phew, that’s the 1v1 out of the way. As I said before, no word yet on which GSL map Blizzard were thinking of using, but hey, a little mystery is always fun! Let’s check the 2v2 changes out. (Once again, remember, if you want to see the full size images, check the gallery out over at Shacknews!)

Detailed Changes To 2v2

2v2 Maps Removed:

(4)Arid Wastes

Team play maps where your base is too far from your ally tend to favor race compositions that can use mobile armies. This is the reason why we will avoid having maps like Arid Wastes in the team play ladder in the future.

(4)Tarsonis Assault

This map has a similar feel to Scorched Haven or Monlyth Ridge. The main difference is that distance to future expansions are very far. We wanted to remove 1 of these 3 maps since they’re similar in style, and Tarsonis Assault was the worst one out of the three.

(4)Twilight Fortress

This map is an extremely macro heavy map we wanted to try. The game play on this map is very different, and the average length of games on this map was too long so it is being taken out of ladder play.

(4)War Zone

War Zone suffers from similar problems as Arid Wastes. It’s near impossible for certain team setups to help each other, and in team games, we want to have maps that are more team play based.

2v2 Maps Added:

(4)Gutterhulk

Gutterhulk

Like Scorched Haven or Monlyth Ridge, this map has a center area between the two allies where each player can safely expand. However, the main difference is that there are rocks blocking off the back of the main bases, meaning harassing either players’ main base is possible. In terms of main attack routes, there are 5 different attack paths to your opponents, meaning that control of the two watch towers is key to success on this map.

(4)Khaydarin Depths

Khaydarin Depths

This map was first showcased during Blizzcon 2009 even before the retail game launched. This map features an easily defendable high yield expansion in between you and your ally. However, this expansion is blocked off by destructible rocks, meaning you have to choose when to break this rock vs. when to attack or defend vs. the opposing team. Controlling the center of the map gains you access to most of the center of the map, but there are still back door routes around to the opponents’ bases by breaking one set of destructible rocks.

(4)Omega Sector

Omega Sector

Omega Sector is a two-player version of the popular 3v3 map Arakan Citadel. The start locations are very similar on both maps, and side expansion areas are a bit more easily accessible by the opposing players. This map has a possible three paths to attack, and although the center is the fastest route, the other two routes will be used very frequently because there are no watch towers overlooking them. As with Arakan Citadel, your ally is slightly far away from your base, so consider this when placing your first production structures.

(4)Ruins of Tarsonis

Ruins of Tarsonis

Ruins of Tarsonis is a more-balanced version of War Zone, which is being removed from the map pool. The biggest downside of War Zone was that it was near impossible to assist your ally if you didn’t have a mobile army. However, with the shared choke points on this map, it’s now possible to play as any race combination without obvious disadvantages. In the mid/late game however, there are back door attack paths leading to your second expansion areas, so be sure to defend those locations as well.

Well, I can totally understand why some of these were removed or changed because, as an avid 2v2 player myself, I can tell you that I have had quite a few problems on quite a few of the maps. But hey, I can’t wait to get in there and try these new maps!

I don’t really see the need to cover the 4v4 or FFA map changes, additions or removals, so if you feel you need to know what happened there, check the post linked below. Remember, instead of reading all of this, you can watch it all in video form above. Remember to like it, favourite it, share it and subscribe! 😀

Blizzard adds and subtracts multiplayer ladder maps – Shacknews

Patch 1.3.0 Now Available on PTR – Starcraft II Community Site

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Patch 1.2.1

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty patch 1.2.1 is now live! So if you’re on the SEA, or US servers, you are probably playing this version already. There wasn’t really anything major in this patch, though, and the saddest part is that we didn’t even get the new ladder maps. A few matchmaking optimizations were made, that silly  bug that caused the zerg creep to kill the foliage on certain maps has been fixed and a couple of other, slightly random changes are fixes were made too. But, as I always say, a patch is a patch and I’m happy for it. If you’re interested in all the fixes and changes made be sure to check out the full patch notes below and enjoy Starcraft II, minus a few bugs!

Patch 1.2.1 Now Live – Starcraft II Community Site

‘Read more’ to see the full patch notes!

(more…)

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Male Demon Hunter

Male Demon Hunter Coming… Soon?

In some surprising and pretty sad news @Diablo let us know that the male demon hunter was sent back to animation, some of his moves weren’t gelling quite right. Awww, they let us know that we won’t see the male version of this most fierce of classes before February and didn’t really say much other than that. So yeah, your guess is as good as mine! All we currently know is that the male demon hunter reveal is going to be ‘bad ass’ according to Bashiok and that they may well have something big planned for it. Why would anything in-game, such as the animations, matter?  It really does seem like they have planned to show us more than just still images or the character on the selection screen. Who knows, a gameplay movie, perhaps? I guess we can all just hold thumbs and hope for the best. Read the full interactions below and follow the link for all Diablo INC Gamers speculations, too.

Male Demon Hunter Coming…. Next Month. Maybe – Diablo INC Gamers

Q: Can we expect to see the male Demon Hunter before February? – Lytus
A: Unlikely. He went back to animation, some of his moves weren’t gelling quite right. – Diablo

Cross Gender Skills?

In some more demon hunter new, and I guess other class news, that is fully related to what I just spoke about before, a fan recently asked for some clarification on why the demon hunter needed that animation work done. The reply was pretty informative and quite expected, I guess. Diablo pretty much just let us know that all the animations are unique for each gender. Men don’t move quite the same as woman, even when shooting demons. I know, pretty minor news, but still, any demon hunter news is good news. Read the full thing over at Diablo INC Gamers or just follow the link below!

Gender Bender Animations – Diablo INC Gamers

Q: All of the same skill Graphics don’t work for the opposite genders? Or was it the way he looked when casted? – PBrokaw90
A: All animations are unique for each gender. Men don’t move quite the same as women, even when shooting demons. – Diablo

Diablo 3 Critters

Critters

We recently received a little bit of information about critters and how much of a showing they will have in Diablo III! Sure, not really big game news, but hey, everyone loves crushing those critters! It seems like the critters will in fact be making a comeback, and, they’ll be brining friends too! Apparently a ‘ton more’, sounds good to me! Read the full interactions below.

Q: Will there be little critters on the ground that you can splash with your boots? I loved it in D2. – Venator
A: Yes! And there are a ton more. – Diablo

In related news, sort of, a fan also asked if we were going to get a look at the witch doctors ‘Gargantuan’ skill any time soon. The answer to that was that we probably won’t see it ‘super soon’ but the model was recently completed, at least.

Q: I was also wondering if we’ll get a look at the WD’s Gargantuan anytime soon. – Hakuro93
A: Probably not super soon, but the model was recently completed. – Diablo

@Diablo and Blue on… Not Too Much – Diablo INC Gamers

Diablo 3 Smalls

Diablo III Smalls

In the Diablo III smalls today we have a couple of questions and answers to look at containing some pretty interesting information and a bit of fan art from the Diablo INC Gamers community.

Q: At Blizzcon i saw some cool skill runes effects, but nothing about the skill runes for the monk class. How is the monk progressing? – Lytus
A: Really well. All skills and runes are at least at first pass implementation for all classes. – Diablo

Q: What’s next for you guys? – Scyberdragon
A: Well the dev team is churning along. *I’m* trying to figure out some fun ways to release artwork I’ve procured. Hrm… – Diablo

Q: When can we expect to lay our eyes on the Diablo III Battle.net interface? I’m dying to see what it looks like! – AcidReign87
A: Me too! – Diablo

Q: Will Diablo III run natively on a Mac? – BartimaeusvUruk
A: It does indeed! – Diablo

Q: Fun question: Will I be able to explode my opponents guts and body parts all over in PvP arenas? Or will they stay whole? – AcidReign
A: You frighten me. – Diablo

Diablo Fan Art Watch #70: Weekend Amazons –  Diablo INC Gamers

Diablo Fan Art Watch #69 The Barbarian Effect 3 – Diablo INC Gamers

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