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      Diablo 4 review: Off to a hell of a good start

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 30 May, 2023 - 16:00

    Diablo 4 review: Off to a hell of a good start


    When Diablo 3 released 11 years ago, it was a mess.

    Put aside the action role-playing game’s infamous server problems at launch—a product of the series going online-only for the first time—the game itself had fundamental issues. At core was its ill-conceived and universally reviled real-money auction house , which changed the thrust of the series’ loot hunt from “look at this badass helm I got from killing an elite demon” to “look at these practical pants I bought from an in-game spreadsheet for $2.99 USD.” Difficulty and balance were all over the place, and, perhaps worst of all to long-time Diablo fans, the previous games’ dark horror aesthetic was replaced with a more colorful, cartoony vibe.

    Two years and a management shakeup later, we got the Reaper of Souls expansion, which completely revamped Diablo 3 ’s loot and endgame, giving us the game we should have had from the beginning . Art direction notwithstanding, Diablo 3 ended up in a good place, and I played a ton of it, largely due to its genre-leading combat. (Lest we forget, Diablo 2 also had a game-changing expansion in Lord of Destruction .)

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      Diablo II Resurrected tops BlizzCon announcement flurry

      Sam Machkovech · news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Friday, 19 February, 2021 - 22:59 · 1 minute

    Long rumored, finally confirmed.

    Enlarge / Long rumored, finally confirmed. (credit: Blizzard)

    Blizzard's latest BlizzCon event sees the longtime PC game maker at perhaps its most beleaguered yet. Game delays , notable departures , botched remakes , smartphone-gaming backlash , and an anti-protester reputation have weighed down what was once a sterling RTS/RPG reputation. That led us to wonder: Can today's streaming-only BlizzCon showcase of games and plans show that the company's recent hires and behind-the-scenes reshuffling are paying off?

    In at least one respect, the outlook is optimistic, thanks to an impressive reveal of Diablo II: Resurrected . This long-rumored remake includes everything from both the base 2000 game and its 2001 expansion, Lord of Destruction . At first glimpse, this top-to-bottom remake seems to get everything right that WarCraft III: Reforged got so very, very wrong—and we won't have to wait very long to come up with our own impressions. Sign-ups for D2:R 's technical alpha are now live ahead of the game's launch on PC and consoles "in 2021."

    The right balance between preservation and polish?

    We've grown increasingly skeptical of Blizzard's sales pitches in recent years, but everything about D2:R strikes us as the right kind of " Blizzard Classic " approach, including the following sales pitches:

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      Blizzard absorbs acclaimed Activision studio as a dedicated “support” team

      Sam Machkovech · news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Friday, 22 January, 2021 - 21:33 · 1 minute

    Blizzard absorbs acclaimed Activision studio as a dedicated “support” team

    Enlarge (credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

    The corporate-behemoth organism that is Blizzard Entertainment, which exists in a symbiotic state next to megaton game publisher Activision, became blurrier on Friday with a surprise announcement: It has absorbed a game studio within the Activision family, effective immediately.

    Vicarious Visions, a longtime game studio that was acquired by Activision in 2005, has been shuffled out of the Activision ecosystem and pumped directly into Blizzard's veins. In a statement offered to GamesIndustry.biz , Blizzard confirmed that the 200+ staff at Vicarious Vision has been shifted to a "long-term support" team focused entirely on "existing Blizzard games and initiatives." The news also includes a mild shuffle of leadership, sending current Vicarious studio head Jen Oneal to the Blizzard leadership board as executive vice president of development.

    The statement did not clarify exactly when this arrangement began, nor which of Blizzard's "existing" projects would receive Vicarious staff support in particular. (Blizzard representatives did not immediately respond to Ars Technica's questions about the deal.) As of press time, neither Blizzard nor Vicarious have published details or terms about the deal on their respective blogs or social media channels. In fact, Vicarious Visions' website is currently offline altogether.

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