During last weekend's BlizzCon, the titular PC gaming giant unveiled the latest addition to its world of strife, backstabbing, and apocalypse dragons: Pandas. Now bears, of course, are generally horrifying creatures. We are thankful for our right to bear arms primarily because we fear bear arms. Pandas, though? They're generally associated with cuddles, rainbows, and Jack Black. Surely, Warcraft's finally jumped the shark, right? No more junk, no more soul – just heaping dollops of d'aaaaaw? Not so, says Blizzard. Apparently, pandas can be badasses too.
Online communities need an outrageous outrage every once in a while to give the forum jockeys some opportunity to vent. The latest tempest in an A-cup is Blizzard's decision to give Diablo III an "always online" DRM system, meaning you need a live Internet connection to play the game. People were reacting to this with the kind of disbelief, betrayal, and fury usually reserved for something like Neville Chamberlain signing away Czechoslovakia.
The launch of Diablo 3’s closed beta test does more than help Blizzard iron out bugs for the upcoming release of the game; it also wet the taste of gamers who have been waiting for a true Diablo 2 sequel for ten years and counting. (Um, even if the crappy always-online DRM did give cause some headaches.) Turns out it was just a tease; today, Blizzard officially announced that the release date for the game has slipped back into “early 2012.”
The mere announcement of Diablo III's always on DRM had many players putting down their socketed swords of the bedazzled alligator to pick up their pitchforks and torches, but now the moment of reckoning has arrived. And the verdict? Not so hot. Now, this is still a beta, mind you, so some issues could get ironed out. Most of the issues RPS zeroed-in on, though, stem from the hack 'n' slash genre's inability to cope with a constant connection.
Ooooh, it’s getting closer! Even though the whole “Always online DRM” limitations kind of suck – something that many of you agree with – there’s no denying the fact that Diablo 3 is, well, Diablo 3. You know, the sequel to the super successful and super awesome Diablo 2 (and Diablo before that). It’s been ten years since Diablo 2 blew away gamers across the world, but now – finally! – Diablo 3 is rolling out in closed beta stage.
The rumors of our humble Greatest Platform in the World's death may have been greatly exaggerated, but the causes of its recent “resurrection” are a bit muddled. Typically, though, we get a repetitive song-and-dance composed of echoing praises for social gaming and a slide-to-jazz-hands flourish that's somehow supposed to represent casual titles and simpler interfaces. That's a double-edged sword if we've ever seen one. World of Warcraft lead developer Tom Chilton, however, isn't ready to let the Farmvilles of the world turn PC into their infinitely milkable cash cow just yet. Complexity, he says, is actually a selling point.
Ask a PC gamer about Diablo III's recently announced “always connected” requirement, and they're liable to start hurling old CRT monitors at you and barking furiously. Yeah. To say that Blizzard's decision was an unpopular one is a bit of an understatement. So then, united we stand, divided we find creative new uses for our old monitors, right? Not entirely, it seems. RAGE creative director Tim Willits isn't just putting up with Diablo's potentially diabolical DRM; he's embracing it.
We've seen quite a wide range of opinions concerning Diablo III's newly revealed auction house, but it came part-and-parcel with another dark cloud that completely lacks a silver lining. See, plenty of games get released sans official mod support, but Diablo's devil is in the details. Diablo III mods, says Blizzard, are “expressly prohibited.”
Blizzard Entertainment, World of Warcraft, Starcraft II…are you interested yet? With their consistent string of blockbuster titles and enduring hits, Blizzard is one of the biggest names in computer gaming. As one of the first social gaming platforms, Battle.net was ahead of its time, and helped turn Blizzard into the monster it is now. But with all of the time and money you put into your Battle.net account there’s nothing worse than finding out your account got hacked or your roommate sold that item you spent the last three weeks acquiring. Enter the Battle.net Authenticator for Windows Phone 7.
Goodness. This is frighteningly impressive. Sure, people dream up ambitious mod ideas every day, but rarely do they ever lock horns with Blizzard, dust themsleves off, and emerge with a product worthy of tears from most pros' ducts. StarCraft Universe – perhaps better remembered by its former name, “World of StarCraft” – is a mod that aims to transform StarCraft II into a fully featured multiplayer RPG. Earlier this year, the project was certainly coming along nicely, but now... damn. Can we give someone money for this? Or at least a slightly discounted hug? Gawk at the full thing yourself after the break.