Blizzcon Canceled due to COVID-19

That’s right, folks, Blizzcon is closed for 2020!

Blizzard Entertainment, announced, amid the strife in the wake of the worldwide pandemic of COVID-19 a postponement of their yearly convention. That means there will be no goody bags, no exclusive releases that will be leaked on youtube hours later, and no “early play” of whatever Blizzision (Blizzard/Activision) will be releasing later in the year, or any of that fun stuff you’d be paying tickets and waiting in line to see.

Remember, you’ve got to wait in line to get in.

The Convention EP, Saralyn Smith, disclosed the following on the BlizzCon Website:
Several weeks ago, I shared an update about our uncertainty around holding BlizzCon this year. Since then, a lot has changed . . . and a lot also hasn’t changed. During this time, we’ve had many discussions about what holding a convention could look like in light of all the health and safety considerations we’d want to make. We’ve also talked about different paths we could take, and how each one could be complicated by fluctuations in national and local health guidelines in the months ahead. Ultimately, after considering our options, we’ve come to the very difficult decision to not have BlizzCon this year.

We’re feeling deeply disappointed about this decision, and imagine many of you will feel the same. I truly love BlizzCon, and I know that’s a sentiment shared by everyone at Blizzard. We will sorely miss connecting with so many of you at the convention and ‘recharging our geek batteries’ this fall

As per Blizzard Website there is “no refunds“. Ticket’s were not sold thus far so you should be ok.

They also reminded us of the “state standard procedure for COVID-19” and to remember the protocol for massive get-togethers: Avoid it till this thing is curved.

Diablo 2 Remake Class Speculation

It’s only a matter of time before we see Paladins “Zealing” everywhere all over again in Diablo 2’s remake.

Those Arcane Sanctuary runs were wild back in the day. Now imagine it on modern hardware, fullscreen, with modern rendering standards…

While the greater portion of the fans out there are seeing various snippets from Blizzard and screaming about how it’s “Not as dark as the original” we’re going to take a more constructive look at the upcoming remake. We must ask “What about the classes and mechanics from the old isometric 2.5D Experience and how will it work out on modern hardware?” to get the right answers.

Looks like the Barb didn’t select the right traits when leveling.

We’ve already seen how a modern version of the game plays out. Resource mitigation in place of mana and different resources for different classes. However a remake of Diablo II would have to cut it down to Mana and target priority management with only Mana and Health to manage across every class. In addition the players would have to work tirelessly on their specific play-style for their designated class.

Remember beating Normal with 15+ skeletons then you got to Nightmare and they evaporated? WE do!

We already know the Core Classes will all be included as per the original release but the question of “How will they change?” remain. 4 months ago Blizzard Entertianment were hiring “Testers for unnamed Project” along with designers, writers, scriptwriters, level designers, 3D modelers, QA Testers and a plethora of other specialists for Diablo 4. Heck, I even applied and got a “Thanks but we filled this position…” email despite having fully published my own Tabletop RPG and authoring dozens of pages of lore and content solo acting as Writer/Producer/Art Director but that’s a story for another time. Balance for the game took months if not years and the Lord of Destruction Expansion added more mechanics to the mix.

Get Ready for A2 all over again and poison. Lots and LOTS of poison.

We’ve got an Insider at Blizzard who’d not willingly spill the beans but what we have heard is the following:

If they were to “remake” Diablo II (2) they’d have to go from the ground up with a lot of the content. The assets are still there on multiple master file copies but we’d need to “upscale” everything due to the changes in technology. We’d need to use models, not sprites or isometric animated vector images and while there are assets we could use from Diablo 3 and Diablo Immortal or Diablo 4 much of the Diablo 2 content would need some TLC to be true to the game itself with mechanics, atmosphere, and presentation. If it happens, expect the whole “staircase firing down” or “using different levels to act as a barrier” so many people depend on in D3 to be gone and the frantic slaughter with hit and run tactics to be in full swing for D2 just as it was intended.

-Blizzard Insider
Fans remade some of Diablo 2 on the Starcraft 2 engine some time ago…

While that quote alone tells us a lot it still does not clear up what classes we’ll be having to re-adapt to. Will we be getting Diablo 2 + LOD with the Assassin and the Druid or just D2 with the Necro, Barb, Sorc, Pal, and Zon? We have some data that might help:

A Bow with Multishot and a LOT of arrows…

Amazons: Long-Range physical damage will be key, the mechanics are pretty basic. You’ll want to spec in Vitality, then Dex and lastly Strength for gear requirements. You’ll be taking up the old “Strafe or Multishot” with the piercing ability while working crowd control on your targets.

Those enchanted Ancient Axes carried my Barb all the way to Hell.

Barbarians: Will retain the age-old standard of the Tank and Spank with a high dependence on Strength, Vitality, and Dex. Whirlwind, Mana Mitigation and Life Leech will be the longstanding mainstay of the Class depending upon your build. Some prefer a “Throwing Barb” but the idea is you’re going to to toe with most of the enemies you come across.

Skeletons a plenty…

Necromancer: On modern Systems the Necromancer with Skeleton AI Pathing “nerfed for classic feel” may be a little janky at first. You’ll be focusing on Strength, Energy, then Vitality, and lastly Dex (You’ll need dex for some items). You’ll be depending upon your spells and mobs to smash through the glass wall beyond “Normal” difficulty.

ZEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL!

Paladin: Much like the Necromancer you’ll be filling your vitality, second you’ll be tapping Strength and lastly Dex. You’ll need to be able to soak some damage while landing every hit and smashing with those hits. The Classic version was very “Aura Heavy” when operating as a team but when soloing content you’d be pounding potions while plowing through crowds of mobs.

Everything can be on fire…or freezing. There is NO in-between. I mean, you could shock them a little…

Sorceress: The build like the other’s star’s with Strength so you can equip better gear later in the game but you’ll want to use your other points in Vitality and then thirdly Energy. The mechanics will be very much exactly like Classic D2 but you’ll want to remember you can’t “Lag Pull” like Classic so you’ll probably be running cold and chaining or dragging NPCs through it.

Official art of the Sorceress from Diablo II at Battle.net

While much of the mechanics will stay the same from classic people will have to unlearn what they have learned in Diablo 3 and as it seems to be a baseline “return to basics” the game itself could very well be the escape many have been looking for. You can hear more about what we think over at our last article.

Diablo II – Resurrected and Remastered

Remember this costing $65+ 3 years after release?

Do you remember Aidan’s Fall or the horrors that followed in his wake?

We do. Diablo, Hellfire, Diablo II and Lord of Destruction were formative experiences for many gamers in the 90s. Choosing a Class and sticking with it till you beat the big bad D-Man after whooping his brothers butt was nothing new after a few months of release. However, the scaled difficulties, regional ranking, and various PVP bamboozlements were to follow. The second sequel (not expansion) Diablo III and it’s expansion were, for a lack of better wording, disappointing. Gone was the dark tone and isometric ARPG and in it’s place an arcadey “3D-Shoot-em-up” with RPG elements and a heavy dependence on character specific loot that scaled in level and difficulty without a real learning curve beyond a min/max grind-fest and smashing of 4 different buttons and a right click here and there.

Rumor has it that Diablo II may be getting a re-mastered treatment. Hot on the heels of the nightmare that was Warcraft 3 reforged fans are skeptical of just unknown future. Blizzard insiders and purposeful leaks have led to speculation that rekindling the old feel of the age content won’t be as hard as portrayed. The thematically darker and harsh color palette along with realistically portrayed viscera and Gore has been featured in early looks for the upcoming sequel of Diablo 4. While the overall look of the game may be captured there are other factors in remaking this game from the late 90s.

We were given access to the Beta and we opted not to purchase “Warcraft III: Reforged”.

A “Remaster” though?

Such situations have been disclosed in interviews with former Blizzard game designers and programmers. Since the original release screens and visible ranges have vastly increased and have a lot to do with the old AI, triggers and pathing. All of this was in addition to the isometric standards of the game the contained a prohibitive amount of challenge back in the day compared to the arcade-style ease of play in the current iteration of Diablo III.

Take me home… country roaaads AH MOSQUITO!

Blizzard is still making a good amount of money off of resales of Diablo II and Lord of destruction keys with an entire Black market that exists and is substantiated by botters and gold farmers whom use VPNs and proxy clients to farm stuff for resale. Blizzard bans these bots when discovered which drives the exploiters to buy which then the money goes directly into Blizzard’s pockets. This creates a “Cycle of income” where the Farmers product while their bots do the work and when they are caught the cost of operating is simply switching their masked IP and purchasing more keys after making a few hundred dollars from the buy-in customers despite the ToS strictly prohibiting such action.

Despite this if Blizzard can manage a proper rebuild and a hard lock to battle.net netplay and soft lock on single player or Direct connect IP they may sell a few million copies. This may also be used to subvert the bot market and reinstate a standard market for use and application across the board for their property. That being said, programmers and bot-makers are always finding new ways to “Game the system”. If Blizzard puts in some genuine real work to “Remake” Diablo II it might be a worthwhile game to play but will they? We’ve talked about it before

-Loremaster

You need DooM: Eternal NOW!

There is so much RIP and TEARING the “Game Journos” at all the mainstream sources wept about the mechanics and lack of hand-holding despite in-game hand-holding…

Wired, Kotaku, and other “Review Sites” and “Game Journalists” Cower in the face of a superior game.

RIP AND TEAR!

That’s right, DooM ETERNAL is something you need to pick up. If it wasn’t for it being out for a little bit of time now we would have told you it’s necessary. The natural dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin released by pleasure receptors in the body increase your immunity and considering what’s going on in the world we need us some of that.

A learning curve, brutal, but fair with trial and error.

As disclosed in the headline, DooM Eternal made game “Journalists” weep and beg for easier incarnations or “Fixes” (nerfs). The mechanics terrified them and their smooth brains with the lack of cover-hiding, ammo overabundance, and AI that doesn’t cower under fire. Eternal gives us a much needed injection of the “rocketlauncher on rollerblades” feel that we got in Doom (2016) with some much needed nods to the original games.

Just remember: Shoot it till it dies.

While the game has much of the same content from DooM (2016) we also get some platforming, jump puzzles, mid air dash puzzles, and the occasional Jump, Dash, double jump, Land-on-wall-that-falls-oh-S@#%-JUPMP puzzles too which do act as an interruption to the flow (which game designer said this was a good idea and WHO greenlit this on the Dev team, we MUST know…) but all in all it’s an overall pleasing runthrough.

“Shortlists provided a few looks at “Favorite Monsters” however I highly doubt they ever played Doom and Doom II in the 90s.

The music, done by Mic Gordon, is amazing and Doom Eternal provides tons of replay value, a buggy 2-on-1 multiplayer mode (I played a demon a few times and the Slayer a few times and found myself enjoying the Demon more), and some “Master Levels” in addition to a re-release of DOOM 64 and includes a few lost levels. Is there bang for your buck? Yes indeed, these things have HUGE guts.

4 out of 5 stars isn’t bad. Considering the only other game that came out at the same time was Animal Crossing: New Horizons which was equally calming and very zen as opposed to the High Octane gorefest that was Doom: Eternal. If you’re looking for a game to put you at ease or one for the kids to play AC:NH is great but if you’re looking to get pumped up… DOOM ETERNAL is where to go.

We’d just like to say that DooM isn’t just for dudes and Animal Crossing isn’t just for ladies. Everyone can enjoy whatever they like…
Ooof…

In closing, we want to tell all the game Journos out there that said “DooM Eternal was too hard”:
We beat the game in the first 7 hours of the public release. If it’s “Too hard on the easiest setting” you obviously didn’t pay attention to the mechanics popups they give you through the whole game, and the codex, and the little animated in-game walkthroughs, and the whole thing about the chainsaw kills filling your ammo and the chainsaw auto-refills to 1 pip. Do you even play video games?

-Loremaster

Comic and Sci-Fi small Conventions are the FUTURE!

“CONSUME!”
-Image from SciFiBloggers

Smaller Trade and Fan Conventions are the way to go in the wake of Over-Commercialized “6 Hour Registration Lines”

As a fan of the industry, from Anime to Xenomorphs, we all have a craving for more. Not just the drive for getting gear that exclusive but meeting some of the content creators, actors and artists behind the works we love.

In the summer some places are sitting at 98+ Degrees Fahrenheit.

However, Conventions like “Anime Expo” and “Stan Lee’s Comikaze/Los Angeles Comic Con” have what we’d like to call “Commercial Burn Out” where a majority of the floor is big companies shoving their product down your throat. The lines, just to get in, take hours (We felt it at Power Morphicon, AX, and LA CC), with pre-registration the day before it starts included, small artist tables and booth space can costs as much as replacing the engine on your car (Comic Con LA- $3000/ Anime Expo- $2800).

Free to look but if they’re sitting at a table and you want an autograph be ready to pay!

If the waiting in the sun and cost to be a vendor isn’t enough then the “Celebrity Zoo” with autograph prices will be a shock to most of the uninitiated. Especially if you’re on a fixed budget or spent the $65+ to get in, $25 for parking, and the price-gouging costs of “Con Food”. So one ticket is going to run most folks a day worth of income. The whole event and costs of attending can eat a week of pay!

Enter: The Smaller Cons

This year we’ve already enjoyed 1 trip! Great job PCC!

Smaller Conventions have been on the rise. Retro Gaming Expos, Smaller City Comic Conventions, Anime Los Angels, and a slew of other ones out there have been stepping to the plate while more celebrities and artists are taking notice!

Michael Biehn, at Comic Con Pasadena, was just about to leave and we FORCED him to hold still so we could catch him with a picture in front of his banner. SORRY MIKE!

These conventions have drawn the attention of industry pros, artists and creators, and don’t allow for the “ALL-CONSUMING COMPANIES” to force burnout on the showroom floor. The “Table Space” is not nearly as expensive and locations are usually convenient for convention attendees and celebs alike for a more intimate interaction.

Matt McMuscles with Executive Writer’s son, “Ribi Gamesteak“, at Retro Expo!

Personally, the smaller conventions still do have the option for actors to require compensation for autographs while other content creators sell their merchandise and artists sell prints of the artwork and comics. It’s up to us, as fans, to support these smaller conventions to save our modern myths and culture! We’ve found a resource you can use. Click their icon to check it out:

-R. Rankin