Breaking up with Blizzard? Here are 36 Games to Replace your Library

Blizzard means something different to everyone. For some it could mean a war between orcs and humans carried out from a bird’s eye view, and for others it could be an intergalactic battle between the humans and the Zerg. Still for other players it might be the magical adventures of sword and sorcery curated by the World of Warcraft team. Maybe you recently got into Blizzard games and found them appealing, or maybe they’ve been a constant for the entirety of your life.

I remember my first foray into one of Blizzard’s universes; it was a CDROM version of Starcraft that I purchased at Best Buy and installed on a junk PowerMac that I dug out of the wreckage of an abandoned school. No, I’m not joking, my childhood was weird. Those were some great memories but I have to admit, things have soured over the years. Apart from subpar expansions to World of Warcraft, Blizzard has rocked the political stage and alienated many players by banning player Blitzchung from Hearthstone and revoking thousands of dollars in prize money over his pro-Hong Kong statements.

Where there are some who fall on the other side of the issue, many agree that this is a threat to free speech and a condemnation of Hong Kong’s people by Blizzard. Whether or not Blizzard meant it that way, it chose money over people, and chose to quash free speech. I’m not sure if an apology will even dig them out of the hole they’ve dug themselves but that does leave an interesting question: where are players going to go if they leave Blizzard and Battle.net behind? How are they going to get their hack and slash fix? What world will they move on to after Azeroth? Here’s some great news: we’re not living in 1996 anymore; we have access to a massive library of games, many of which are just as good or even better than the digital buffet that Blizzard has served up over the years. In this article we take a look at some of the options and explore just where you might go on your next digital adventure.

Diablo

1996 was a decent year for video gaming, especially given everyone’s favorite Hack N’ Slash, Diablo hit PC’s, Macs, and eventually the Playstation. It featured a beautiful dungeon crawling experience that allowed you to play through many of the same elements that you’d encounter in D&D without forcing you to move along at a crawl in order to gain the most miniscule amount of experience. Quite frankly, it’s a great game to come home to after work. The years were pretty good to Diablo; while the first installment featured only a multi-level dungeon and town, the second included more of an overworld, with the third finally bringing us an expansive world to explore and multiple dungeons combined with an epic storyline. Most importantly, like all Blizzard games, it features multiplayer whether you want to travel through the dungeons with a friend or go head to head in multiplayer. Diablo is a great series, but if you’re looking to ditch Blizzard for good, there are some decent alternatives out there that will scratch the itch.

Fate

For a game released by Wild Tangent in 2005, it certainly has picked up some steam. With three sequels and randomly generated dungeons, Fate is much closer to the original Diablo concept than some of the others on this list. There are some off-putting elements, the first being that the game is a bit cartoony. If you can get past that however, you have a great Diablo clone that allows you to descend infinite floors, at least until you get bored of it. Fate differs from Diablo in a few ways, the most important being that you now have a pet that will fight alongside you, and will carry items back to town for sale.

 

 

Multiplayer: No
Buy It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/246840/FATE/

Torchlight

This game is very similar to Fate, though the first multi-level dungeon in the game is not randomly generated. There is a campaign with a decent but highly predictable storyline and only 30’ish main dungeon floors. Once you beat the game you will be able to unlock a randomly generated dungeon, giving you the ability to play and replay as much as you like. Just as with Fate, Torchlight features a pet system with the same functionality. i.e., sending the pet back to town for item sales, and fish that will transform it into different types of monsters. Torchlight II changes it up to create a game more dependent upon the overworld and plays more like an isometric World of Warcraft with the quests visible on the right pane rather than in a Quest Journal that you need to pull up every single time. The interface for Torchlight 2 is more streamlined and will remind you a bit more of Diablo III rather than the previous installments in Blizzard’s series. In addition to having a more expansive world, Torchlight II improves on the inventory systems by giving you more slots and storing consumables in a different tab.

 

Multiplayer: Torchlight 2, LAN, Internet
Buy It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/41500/Torchlight/
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/200710/Torchlight_II/
GOG: https://www.gog.com/game/torchlight
GOG: https://www.gog.com/game/torchlight_ii

Titan Quest

If the open world Hack and Slash model calls to you, then Titan Quest is probably what you’re looking for. Released in 2006 it’s a little older, but it does feature a vast world that is based upon Greek mythology. While it is old, it has been re-released as Titan Quest Anniversary on Steam with new expansions currently being released. For mobile users, a mere $7.99 can get you a version for your tablet, phone, or even your Chromebook.

Mutiplayer: Yes
Buy It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/475150/Titan_Quest_Anniversary_Edition/
GOG: https://www.gog.com/game/titan_quest_anniversary_edition
Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.dotemu.titanquest&hl=en_US

Sacred

The original Sacred is a 2D open world Hack and Slash RPG with brings it closer to Diablo III, but really makes it a hybrid of Diablo and Diablo III. It takes place in the world of Ancaria and features multiple questlines. The start of the game will depend on the character class you choose, for example the Gladiator begins in an arena and is forced to fight for his freedom while other classes may simply start in town. Like Diablo, Sacred features hordes of monsters and tons of abilities to help you explore Ancaria in the most violent way possible. Sacred 2 continues the tradition and Sacred 3 takes it into an unexpected nosedive from which the franchise will never recover.

Multiplayer: Yes
Buy It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/12320/Sacred_Gold/
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/225640/Sacred_2_Gold/
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/247950/Sacred_3/
GOG: https://www.gog.com/game/sacred_gold
GOG: https://www.gog.com/game/sacred_2_gold

Grim Dawn

Like Diablo III, Grim Dawn is a dark fantasy Hack and Slash game with fast paced action and a crafting system much like in the original DOTA mod. The story takes place in the world of Cairn where humanity is on the brink of extinction and the story itself is much more involved than Torchlight. It is often compared to Titan Quest but it improves on it in many ways with better physics and even a dismemberment system, allowing you to specify just how you want your enemies to die. Grim Dawn does feature factions, meaning you’ll have far more to worry about than hacking through thousands of monsters, though that’s always going to be a defining part of these games.

Multiplayer: Yes
Buy It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/219990/Grim_Dawn/
GOG: https://www.gog.com/game/grim_dawn

 

Path of Exile

Released around the same time as Diablo III in 2013, Path of Exile strives to recreate the general awesomeness of hack and slash games while rejecting some of the poorer decisions made by the Diablo III developers. A full featured online game, it is completely free and allows you to team up with your friends to discover the secrets of Wraeclast. The story for the game is intriguing in that you are an exile sent to live out your days on the continent of Wraeclast where the entirety of the game takes place. The game spans three platforms, PC, XBOX One, and Playstation 4, making it a great experience no matter which side of the console war you come down on.

Multiplayer: Yes
Get It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/238960/Path_of_Exile/

 

Kingsroad

Okay, admittedly it’s odd to include a browser game on here, but why not? Kingsroad was released in 2013 and it’s very much a Diablo style game. I played it on Facebook initially but these days it plays on an external site and it can even be downloaded for mobile. Most importantly, it includes multiplayer and even a clan system, making for a more dynamic experience than most browser games. If you have an itch to scratch and need a low spec multiplayer experience, Kingsroad is the way to go.

 

Multiplayer: Yes
Play It:
Browser: https://www.rumblegames.com/kingsroad
Mobile: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.rumbleentertainment.kingsroad&hl=en_US

Starcraft

Real Time Strategy games were nothing new in 1998, but with Starcraft Blizzard really managed to redefine the genre. The game was released for PC, Mac, and even Nintendo 64, making it one of the only console RTS games available. Alongside Command and Conquer 64, it really was a giant in its day. Unlike C&C however, Starcraft was still a 2D game. On the surface it appears to be extremely simple, but it is complex enough to have lasted through several decades and has been used as the foundation for countless video game tournaments. As one of the most popular games in South Korea and the world over, it is no surprise that it received a sequel that easily rode upon the success of the original. But, even if you have enjoyed the game over the years, where do you go next?

Warhammer 40k: Dawn of War

Released in 2004 and based on the Games Workshop tabletop universe, this game featured multiple expansions and in the beginning, Starcraft itself was slated to be a Warhammer game anyway. Set in a dark future, you can choose from multiple factions including the technologically advanced Eldar, the deeply religious space marines, the forces of Chaos, or even the near-invincible orcs. All the entries in this franchise feature the unit building that you came to love in Starcraft, but it also features a morale system and a terrain system that can completely change the outcome of a match if they are not properly taken advantage of. Dawn of War and its expansions mirror Starcraft in many ways, but Dawn of War II tends to take the path of a MOBA with limited building construction options and a focus on smaller squad incursions.

 

Multiplayer: Yes
Buy It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/4570/
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/15620/
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/285190/Warhammer_40000_Dawn_of_War_III/

 

Supreme Commander

This is considered the spiritual successor to Total Annihilation and TA: Kingdoms, featuring a larger scale battlefield and the ability to deploy thousands of units. The combat is faster, the strategy more complex, and the multiplayer amazing. It throws out the resource rules of other real time strategy games by limiting you to two: Power and Mass. Mass is extracted from the ground while power is generated from a number of different sources. Typical power plants serve as a good start but you will move on to geothermal plants and other options that will serve to help you expand your base. The centers around the ‘Commander’ who serves as a mobile base, capable of creating basic structures. From there you will create more advanced structures and units, eventually moving forward to attack your opponent. The nature of the resource system forces you to keep a careful balance between Power and Mass, forcing you to think ahead and carefully consider the placement of each building. It’s a thinking person’s game but deeply rewarding.

Multiplayer: Yes
Buy It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/9350/Supreme_Commander/
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/40100/Supreme_Commander_2/
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/9420/Supreme_Commander_Forged_Alliance/

Planetary Annihilation

If this game looks similar to Supreme Commander and TA, you aren’t imagining things. It was designed by some of the same team members who worked on both and it completely expands the gameplay presented by Supreme Commander. Rather than focusing on a single battlefield, the game allows you to develop multiple plants and engage in interplanetary warfare. You can even destroy the celestial bodies that your enemies inhabit if you don’t want to fight them on the ground. It’s a far more advanced version of Supreme Commander and definitely not for the faint of heart.

Multiplayer: Yes
Buy It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/386070/Planetary_Annihilation_TITANS/

 

Act of Aggression

Real Time Strategy games have grown more and more complex over the years and one of the reasons players loved Starcraft 2 was its ability to be fresh while staying true to its roots. Granted, games like RUSE and Wargame are fun, but sometimes it’s good to return to the source. Act of Aggression is considered to be the spiritual successor to Act of War and combines classic RTS gameplay with modern graphics and multiplayer functionality. If you’re pining for the good old days but want a veritable feast for the senses, you have to pick up Act of Aggression.

Multiplayer: Yes
Buy It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/318020/Act_of_Aggression__Reboot_Edition/?l=latam&t=1441522800

Command and Conquer

The original C&C was released in 1995, long before Westwood Studios made complete fools of themselves and were subjected to an EA takeover. The first installment, later to be known as C&C Gold was a monumental success following Dune and Dune 2. It featured simplistic gameplay that was revolutionary for the time and found itself leaping onto several consoles. Most notably, it was ported to the Nintendo 64 where it became the very first 3D iteration of Command and Conquer, even preceding Generals itself. There have been multiple sequels spanning three different universes, but today you may want to check out either C&C 3 or C&C 4. In my opinion, 3 is one of the better options if you want to relive the glory days and get as close to Starcraft as possible. C&C 4 features a mobile base and works okay if you just pretend it’s not a C&C game.

Multiplayer: LAN

Buy It:

Origin: https://www.origin.com/usa/en-us/store/command-and-conquer/command-and-conquer-the-ultimate-collection

Company of Heroes

If you like your RTS to have a World War II theme, then this might just be right up your alley. The game runs on the same engine as Dawn of War and uses many of the same resource gathering techniques. Fuel, for example, can be harvested from what would otherwise be requisition points. Thanks to the physics of the DOW engine, you can expect to see an extremely gritty representation of World War II combat including advanced vehicle destruction, terrain usage, and much more. Company of Heroes 2 is a bit different in its base construction but still fun if you want to check it out.

Multiplayer: Yes
Buy It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/228200/Company_of_Heroes/
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/231430/

Halo Wars

First released in 2009, Halo Wars has finally made the long journey from the XBOX 360 in the form of Halo Wars: Definitive Edition. Halo Wars serves as a prequel to the original FPS series and allows you to duke it out with the covenant from a bird’s eye view. The base building is tight, but the ground combat is a lot of fun and kind of has the Starcraft vibe you might be looking for. If you want to take it even further then you might have a look at Halo Wars 2 which is available on the Microsoft Store right now.

Multiplayer: Yes
Buy It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/459220/Halo_Wars_Definitive_Edition/
Microsoft Store: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/p/halo-wars-definitive-edition/9nblggh52xvl
Microsoft Store: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/p/halo-wars-2-standard-edition/c42kcjclx6mx

8 Bit Armies/8-Bit Hordes

Following the success of Star Wars: Empire at War and the absolute flop of Universe at War, Petroglyph, formed from the ashes of Westwood Studios released 8-Bit Armies which has a sort of ‘Lego’ feel to it. It’s a very basic RTS but it has one very important thing going for it: it brings back the feel of the classic Command and Conquer without the burden of a story. This game exists for skirmish and multiplayer, and if you want, you can also purchase 8-Bit Hordes to add a bit of sorcery to your military RTS. If you want to be spoon fed a raw RTS experience that will awaken the nostalgia centers of your brain, then here you are.

Multiplayer: Yes
Buy It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/427250/8Bit_Armies/
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/497850/8Bit_Hordes/

Warcraft

in 1994 Blizzard threw its hat into the RTS arena bringing us a game that would define many lives over the years. Eventually, the franchise morphed into the 3D: Reign of Chaos, and of course the famous World of Warcraft, but that’s another story. What’s important here is that you find something to give you that Warcraft fix. We have five great games here that will whet the appetite and give you that medieval experience.

Age of Empires

The original Age of Empires came out in 1997 alongside many other amazing RTS games and it was quickly followed by Age of Empires 2 which improved on it in every way possible. Tech upgrades in Age of Empires 1, 2, and 3 are dependent upon you progressing through ‘ages’. To simplify this, in AOE 2 you start in the Dark Ages, progress to the Feudal Age, and eventually the Imperial Age. Each age brings new technologies and new building designs which can give you a significant advantage over your opponent. While Age of Empires III does feature great online connectivity, AOE 1 and 2 have recently been remastered on the Microsoft Store and Steam. If you want to go back in time at optimal resolution, now would be the time.

Multiplayer: Yes
Buy It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1017900/Age_of_Empires_Definitive_Edition/
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/221380/Age_of_Empires_II_2013/
Microsoft Store: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/p/age-of-empires-definitive-edition/9njwtjsvgvlj
Microsoft Store: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/p/age-of-empires-ii-definitive-edition/9njdd0jgpp2q

Stronghold

Firefly Studios brought us Stronghold in 1997 and along with its sequels, it brings us far more than an RTS. The game gives you the classic birds eye view of combat, but there are also many castle building elements. If you have ever wanted to design your own kingdom, this definitely gives you the chance but there are many other resources that you will need to manage. The building of troops for example requires blacksmithing and leatherworking. Fletching is also required if you want to build archers. Stronghold Crusader 2 takes the burden off of you to an extent by allowing you to recruit mercenaries rather than making you harvest the raw materials yourself. Each of these games features a robust single player campaign, among which Stronghold 2 was my favorite.

Multiplayer: Yes
Buy It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/40950/Stronghold_HD/
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/901735/The_Stronghold_Collection/
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/47400/Stronghold_3_Gold/
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/232890/Stronghold_Crusader_2/
GOG: https://www.gog.com/game/stronghold
GOG: https://www.gog.com/game/stronghold_crusader
GOG: https://www.gog.com/game/stronghold_crusader_2

Empire Earth

From 2001 to 2007 the Empire Earth franchise has provided us sufficient carnage and empire building in the medieval era. It is similar to many medieval RTS games of the era but it has two hooks:

-Advancement from the Dark Ages to the Nanotech Age
-Space Battles

Another thing I absolutely love about Empire Earth is the use of Priests which are similar to the monks from Age of Empires. The difference between them is that priests are always extremists of a sort and capable of literally bringing down plagues or volcanos upon the enemy. As you progress through the ages the priest takes on different forms, eventually becoming a homeless fanatic wearing a cardboard sign stating: ‘The End is Near’. Empire Earth is a unique take on a tried and true genre and one you want in your library.

Multiplayer: Yes
Buy It:
GOG: https://www.gog.com/game/empire_earth_gold_edition
GOG: https://www.gog.com/game/empire_earth_2_gold
GOG: https://www.gog.com/game/empire_earth_3

Spellforce

The first entry to the Spellforce series came in 2003 and the latest in 2017. Under the guidance of JoWood and THQ Nordic, Spellforce has brought us an experience more like Warcraft 3 than anything else. The game centers around heroes that you directly control, though you can use WSAD and zoom all the way to ground level if you wish. Once you finish character centric quests you return to a birds eye view and the game turns into a standard RTS. The direct control element makes it unique and you can continue to take control of those characters during the RTS portions. There is nothing quite like being able to explore the town you build on foot, and it’s something you would never find in Warcraft.

Multiplayer: Yes

Buy It:

Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/39540/SpellForce__Platinum_Edition/

Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/39550/SpellForce_2__Anniversary_Edition/

Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/311290/SpellForce_3/

Overwatch

For FPS players the world over, Overwatch has been the center of attention for several years and with good reason. Like a few other games in the genre it breaks the typical shooter mold by introducing classes, each of which have their own unique purpose on the battlefield. The thirty characters in the roster all featured their own backstories, some of which have drawn controversy over the years. Overwatch set itself apart from other shooters by requiring teamwork and forging friendships. Competitive and casual gamers alike have been enjoying the game, but now that many are stepping away from Blizzard, there are still a few other class based shooters to turn to.

Paladins

Paladins is a free to play team-based shooter from 2018 that brings some serious magic to the table. Overall, the game is skill based but your characters can be augmented with cards and other upgrades that change the way they traverse the battlefield and perform. If I had to describe it, I would call it a steampunk fantasy game. The game can be downloaded for free via Steam or Discord as well as other platforms including the PS3, Switch, and XBOX One. With frequent updates, it’s going to keep you interested for years. Plus, as a free game, it requires zero commitment on your part.

Multiplayer: Yes
Get It:
Steam: https://www.paladins.com/play-for-free

Team Fortress 2

Team Fortress started out in 1996 as a mods for Quake, but in 1999 it was released as a standalone product titled ‘Team Fortress Classic’. Finally, Team Fortress 2 was released and while it was once a buy to play game, it is now entirely free and brings a lot to the table. Like Overwatch it features several character classes including a sniper, the Heavy, Medic, and Spy. The game appears simple on the surface but each character brings different abilities that will hinder the enemy in varying ways. Getting to know the functions of each class will be vital to procuring victory for your team, but don’t expect to be an expert right out of the gate. The game is available via Steam, as would be expected from Valve.

 

Multiplayer: Yes
Get It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/440/Team_Fortress_2/

Dirty Bomb

You may remember this game as ‘Extraction’. Renamed to ‘Dirty Bomb’, this game is a free to play multiplayer shooter set against the backdrop of London following a radiological attack. Of all the shooters I mention, this is the most modern looking and probably one of the prettiest. It has more of a modern vibe and 23 different classes to choose from once you unlock them. No matter which you have unlocked, they will fall into a specific category which will include: Objective Specialist, Fire Support, Medic, Assault, or Recon.

Multiplayer: Yes
Get It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/333930/Dirty_Bomb/

 

Heroes of the Storm

Everyone like HoTS because it took the best characters and settings from the Blizzard game franchise and turned them into an online arena. If you’re not too overly attached to Blizzard at this point however, then you probably won’t mind playing with some other heroes. There are three great MOBAS listed here that you can use to easily replace your HoTS addiction, starting with the tried and true League of Legends.

League of Legends

This 2009 game wasn’t the first MOBA by far; it followed Demigod and DOTA but somehow launched the genre to even greater heights. League of Legends has long stood beside DOTA and DOTA 2 as a competitive title for tournaments and more. If features a slew of heroes including many free ones, which allows free players to fully enjoy the game. If you have the extra cash to burn you can invest in different heroes and skins, making it a more customized experience. The game itself has been considered toxic, especially as far as chat is concerned, but players above a certain level are allowed to participate in a tribunal which gives it some self-policing.

Multiplayer: Yes
Get It:
Homepage: https://signup.na.leagueoflegends.com/en/a2/signup/redownload?page_referrer=index

Smite

This is a bit of a different take on the MOBA franchise in that it is not presented in an isometric view. Instead, 2014’s ‘Smite’ brings you the action from a third person perspective while allowing oyu to select among a roster of 106 characters. Each character will belong to one of the fourteen pantheons including: Arthurian, Celtic, Chinese, Egyptian, Greek, Hindu, Japanese, Mayan, Norse, Polynesian, Roman, Slavic, Voodoo, and Yoruba. While the goal of the game is certainly to eliminate the enemy team, you will need to traverse the ‘jungle’ in between which is teeming with computer controlled monsters. Cyclops and Furies will make their play on you and keep you from progressing if you do not work as a team. Killing these monsters brings a substantial reward in the form of buffs that can be picked up by the player and used against the opposing team. The third person perspective of the game changes it as a MOBA entirely as fighting from ground level is an entirely different situation. Try something different; you might just like it.

Multiplayer: Yes
Get It:
Homepage: https://www.smitegame.com/download/

 

Hearthstone

Competitive online card games have always been a thing. This trend even started offline with the likes of Pokemon and Magic the Gathering. In the online world, one of the original collectable trading card games happened to be Legends of Norrath which was an intrinsic part of both Everquest and Everquest 2. Hearthstone was much the same, originally titled ‘Heroes of Warcraft’. Today it is both a highly popular CCG and an enemy of democracy, so where do you turn when you want to get competitive online?

Elder Scrolls Legends

If you like The Elder Scrolls then you’re in luck: Legends is a competitive card game set entirely in-universe. You have the opportunity to build a deck comprised of allies from all over the continent and you will get to embark on extensive campaign, all teeming with lore. You do, of course, get to take on other players which makes it even more fun. As a multiplatform game it can be enjoyed on PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Android, iOS, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, and Macintosh operating systems.

Multiplayer: Yes
Get It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/364470/The_Elder_Scrolls_Legends/
Play Store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.bethsoft.theelderscrollslegends&hl=en_US
Apple App Store: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/the-elder-scrolls-legends-ccg/id1084019358

Magic the Gathering: Arena

Do you remember Magic the Gathering from your days in elementary school? You may have been one of those kids who had a massive portfolio of cards that you played with at recess. Then again, you might have been one of those kids all ticked off that your parents wouldn’t let you buy a deck. Don’t worry: you can play now. Arena is probably the third online iteration of the game and while it’s not available on mobile as of yet, you can play it on Mac OS and Windows.

Multiplayer: Yes
Get It:
Home Page: https://magic.wizards.com/en/mtgarena

Shadowverse

If you want to jump into some new territory and play it on your mobile, then why not give Shadowverse a try? This is an anime themed CCG published by Gygames, and it is undoubtedly one of the most popular in Japan. In 2017 the game made its way to the United States and we’ve seen it released on multiple platforms including Windows PC. If you played the developer’s previous game, Rage of Bahamut then you might recognize some of the assets but that doesn’t take away from the fun in the least. As someone looking to split with Blizzard, a fresh start is always welcome, and Shadowverse may be a game unconnected to any franchises you currently know.

Multiplayer: Yes
Get It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/453480/Shadowverse_CCG/
Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.cygames.Shadowverse&hl=en_US
iOS: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/shadowverse-ccg/id1091512762

 

World of Warcraft

We’re finally approaching the elephant in the room; the one that nearly everyone has at least dabbled in during the course of their lives. WoW has had an insurmountable impact on the gaming world, insomuch that even if you aren’t a gamer, you’ve heard of it. Celebrities and mortals alike have entered the world of Azeroth and fought against the Murlocks, cleared out the infested gold mines, and walked through the Dark Portal. The memories that have been forged in the town of Goldshire and the Horde lands beyond can never be replaced whether they are fresh in your mind from the last few years, or an intrinsic part of your childhood, but if it’s time to leave, then you have a few places you can land. There are plenty of MMORPG’s out there but we’ve handpicked a few that you might want to look at.

Final Fantasy XIV

Many who flee from the world of Azeroth often find themselves on the shores of Eozrea and it’s not a bad alternative if you can handle an MMO on rails. The game itself is amazing but one of the problems I’ve always had with it is that the content is locked behind story. In WoW you can travel wherever you please as long as you can handle the mobs, but in FFXIV you need to finish the main quest to progress through the world. That’s a little irritating for those who want to run around in a pseudo sandbox but it doesn’t take away from what the game is meant to be. It’s designed to be an engaging story with the ability to bring your friends along, and that’s exactly what it is. Though it’s from 2010 the game is beautiful, plays well, has multiple expansions, and dungeons that are second to none. To top all that off, it’s cross platform. Now, the problem with the cross platform play is that everything is platform specific, so if you purchase the game or an expansion on one platform you have to buy it on another. This also applies to the Steam and PC versions – if you buy an expansion as a standalone, not on Steam, then you cannot use the key on steam. Try not to make mistakes with purchases, but do enjoy the game!

Multiplayer: Yes
Buy It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/39210/
Home Page: https://www.finalfantasyxiv.com/

Guild Wars 2

Guild Wars 2 takes us pretty far away from the original and into a world where the Charr have overtaken Ascalon and the majority of humans live in Divinity’s reach and the outlying settlements. The world is expansive and there are many beautiful environments to traverse as you progress through the main storyline. One of the most interesting features is the exclusion of a traditional quest system; the only thing even roughly similar to it is the personal story that carries you through a winding campaign, first culminating in the death of the elder dragon, Zhaitan, and then moving into a jungle based expansion. The game is action heavy and features an extensive crafting system that will satisfy every player looking to take a break from the combat. The game is more action heavy than WoW and it is driven by world events that include boss monsters and NPC driven gathering quests that will keep you busy for some time. With new content coming out regularly, it’s unlikely that the game will wind down anytime soon.

Guild Wars 2 - Ley line anomalies

Multiplayer: Yes
Get It:
Home Page: https://welcome.guildwars2.com/en/play-for-free

Rift

In 2011 Rift was created to compete with World of Warcraft and while it fell flat on many fronts there is still quite a bit to like about it. Particularly, if you are a WoW player looking for a similar experience then Rift is extremely alike in controls and combat. The class system is also a little more complicated and gives you far more to play with than WoW ever did, so get ready to create a custom character. My biggest complaint about Rift is that the world itself isn’t very convincing; many of the major cities are simply buildings or platforms with NPC’s standing around offering services; it is in no way as immersive as WoW, so keep that in mind going in. As a free game today, much of it seems to be locked behind a paywall unless you want to pay the monthly fee, but it kind of looks like a used car lot if you don’t want to fork any money over.

Multiplayer: Yes
Get it:
Glyph: https://www.trionworlds.com/rift/en/

Elder Scrolls Online

Set a thousand years before the Elder Scrolls universe as we know it, TESO shows us a Tamriel where Vivec City is still under construction and one where we can finally see the entire continent in all its glory. Do you want to cross the border from Morrowind into Vvardenfell? Actually, do you want to see mainland Morrowind for the first time? Activision finally made it possible and the game is worth checking out. The housing options are superb and some of the storylines are extremely deep. If you aren’t familiar with the TES style of storytelling then you might be in for a bit of a shock as you realize just how much darker this MMO is from WoW, Guild Wars 2, or pretty much any other out there. Still, it’s well worth the price of entry and there is plenty of more content to come.

Multiplayer: Yes
Buy It:
Home Page: https://www.elderscrollsonline.com/en-us/freeplay

Archeage

This 2014 title from Trion brings with it many of the elements that made up classic MMORPGs including the action bar system but it also turns the entire thing into a sandbox. The premise of archeage is to create a world where every single person matters, with their contributions to the world being more than significant. A blacksmith for example could forge the swords used by the largest guilds in the game to defeat the latest raid boss, but you could also become a real estate mogul if you’re into that sort of thing. The game came out a while ago but if you want to start fresh then you might want to have a look at Archeage unchained, the new Buy to Play version of the game that forces everyone to start fresh and removes the pay wall that had previously inhibited many players. Starting at just $25, Archage Unchained is a great gateway into the remastered version of the game, especially as a new player. Still, if you want to try it out for free, you can always try the F2P version before you make a commitment.

Multiplayer: Yes
Get It:
Home Page: https://www.trionworlds.com/archeage/en/
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1147660/ArcheAge_Unchained/

Aion

Admittedly, this one is a bit older but it’s still active and it’s still very fun. A very standard, action bar based MMO, this one adds flight mechanics and beautiful graphics. In addition to that there are massive raids that go far beyond the 25 players events we saw in WoW. The game is free to play now, giving you good enough reason to jump in and give it a try. As I said, it’s a bit older but if you’re looking for some mid-2000’s nostalgia to remedy the hole WoW left in your heart then you might as well give it a try.

Aion

Multipayer: Yes
Get It: https://www.aiononline.com/

For many of us, Blizzard has been a part of our lives for as long as we can remember whether we fought the Zerg under the guidance of Jim Raynor, or descended deep into the dungeons below New Tristram to defeat evil itself. Then there are those who lost many years of their lives building a new one in the lands of Azeroth. If you have decided that it’s time to move on, then the memories will always be there, but you will find that there are greener pastures elsewhere. If you still feel the need to play, however, I would go so far as to say that enjoying their older titles won’t net Blizzard any revenue. You’ve already paied for Diablo and Starcraft, and even Warcraft, so continuing to have a blast with them really isn’t going to hurt anyone. At the end of the day it’s your decision, but I hope that this list has given you some ideas and can help you to continue to get your fix whether you are ready to move on, or want to linger a little while longer in the worlds that defined your childhood and your early gaming career. Perhaps it’s time to make some new memories and explore a new generation of games.

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WoW Wednesday: Your Guide to Blizzcon 2019

The best weekend of the year now dawns upon us! Blizzcon 2019 has finally arrived and with it comes a smattering of panels, showings, demos our loot this year begins with a wide spread of content from World of Warcraft cosmetic armor to unique Overwatch skins. This week we’ll be giving you the best tips and directions to make the most out of your Warcraft experience at Blizzcon this year!

Like last year, virtual ticket holders already have a wide host of content prior to the launch of the convention on Friday, including content released last year. Starting on October 31st we’ll have the beginnings of the Overwatch World Cup to begin parsing through, lasting over 12 hours! This will be where the online preliminaries begin for the fabled e-sports tournament and will feature competitors from all about the world.

Blizzcon opens up live on Friday, November 1st, with the Opening Ceremony being streamed from all available stages at 2 PM EST! This will feature planned action from all of this year’s competitions as well as several previews of what’s to come that day on each stage. Immediately afterwards the major world tournaments will begin in Halls A, B, C, and the main Arena. Viewers can grab access to the continuation of the OWCs in Hall A, as well as the lower brackets for the Mythic Dungeon Invitational in Hall C. The Hearthstone Global Finals begin in Hall B, while the Starcraft 2 Global Finals begin with the Quarterfinal in the Arena. These events will continue throughout the weekend until the final brackets of the Overwatch World Cup on Sunday morning.

Some of the leaked “exclusive prints” from the Blizzard Website, featuring “Warcraft: Shadowlands.”

On the Mythic Stage in Hall D, where major announcements were hosted last year, are a set of secret panels. Featuring 4 panels over the course of the Friday, there’s enough for each of Blizzard’s main development games, with side-panels for Heroes of the Storm and Hearthstone being hosted later in the day. With rumours of a potential new World of Warcraft expansion, featuring Bolvar Fordragon the Lich King, as well as the potential leaks of an Overwatch and Diablo sequel this will be the stage to watch all day Friday.

The first major Warcraft panel begins at 3:30 PM EDT. Quarter Century of Warcraft Audio hallmarks the anniversary of the titular game and brings the Sound Team to the stage to discuss developments throughout the series’ life cycle. Discussing not just sound effect development, but composition and scoring of tracks, the team will discuss this avidly and openly in the North Hall.

Starting up on the North Hall on the Epic Stage, players will get to enjoy a Heroes of the Storm update at 6:15 PM, one that is sorely needed after the fallout from the close of the Heroes e-sports scene this year. Blizzard Animation: The Art of Setting the Scene will follow at 7:15 PM, featuring members of the Story and Franchise Development team and how they created the Overwatch cutscenes that have earned the company critical acclaim. Hearthstone will have its own update at 8:15 PM after the Mythic Stage closes for the Cosplay Exhibition. Here, it’s been teased that the company will launch a new Expansion for the collectible card game, with advertisements across the internet pointing towards the date specifically.

Beginning Saturday at 12:30 pm, the 2019 Hearthstone Global Finals will take off in Hall B, beginning with the quarter finals decider’s matchups. The tournament will run throughout the day up until the finals at 6 PM on the stage. The World of Warcraft Arena World Championships will launch alongside it, beginning with their lower quarterfinals and ramping up to the Grand Final beginning at 9:45 PM.

The rest of the day is largely filled with a foray of very interesting developer driven panels largely centering around Diablo and Warcraft. At 1 PM begins the Voices of Azeroth: A Hero’s Journey, involving several voices behind the heroes of Azeroth. Joined by members of the developer team, they’ll discuss vital narrative moments over the years and how they were created.

Running simultaneously alongside the panel is the Watchpoint Season Preview for the 2020 Overwatch League, as well as the Artists at Work series for Diablo. This particular panel will focus about environment design, bringing the world of Sanctuary to life! An additional Art of Diablo panel will go on later during the day at 7:15 PM, featuring other members of the team.

At 2:15 PM Blizzard will begin their Update panel for World of Warcraft. Here is where, undoubtedly, we’ll see two certain things. With the announcement of a new expansion coming the day before attendees will more-than-likely be hearing details about Patch 8.3, ‘Visions of Ny’Alotha.’ Projections have 8.3 launching in early to mid-January of 2020, with a potential expansion launch perhaps a year and a half later.


In a surprising move, there are quite a multitude of Blizzard life panels throughout the weekend, featuring discussions about working on campus at Anaheim. Beginning at 6:15 PM, Artists at Work: World of Warcraft will run alongside the Warcraft 3: Reforged panel, discussing the process of art development from demonstrations and prototypes to a final finished product. The development team also takes the stage to discuss their personal stories during World of Warcraft: Developer’s Tales at 7:15 PM. New to the convention this year is CodeCraft: Exploring Blizzard Engineering. This panel, kicking off at 8:15 PM, features members of the company’s engineering team on how games and systems are coded for consumption.

On top of additional update panels and The Writers Room: Building the Worlds of Blizzard, the convention as always is set to go out with a bang. Beginning with some remarks at 9:45, every stage will come to life with the always titanic Closing Ceremonies. Featuring leagues of performers taking to the stage, this year the entertainment has been kept tightly under wraps. Even on their website, nothing has yet been announced to close out the company showcase.

Blizzard Entertainment opens its doors to the world in Anaheim this weekend, from November 1st to the 2nd.

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Torchlight Frontiers – I Like the Way You Loot

A Torchlight MMO is something that has been rumored for a long time. The idea harkens back to the days before the first Torchlight game was released by Runic Games, serving as an introduction to this fantasy world before development on an MMO was started.

Fast-forward a decade or so and here we are: Runic Games is no more. However, it lives in spirit within Echtra Games, a new studio that is finally developing the long-desired Torchlight MMO, or Torchlight Frontiers, as it was blissfully introduced to the gaming world. It has all the makings of an MMO and feels like a natural evolution for the series: from the single-player thrills of the first game to the co-op riot of the sequel, and now the next step is the MMO enterprise of the third game. Sounds like the perfect plan… that is, if we choose to ignore the substantial setbacks that reared their ugly faces along the way.

Torchlight Frontiers Preview Boss Battle Strongtusk

Looting Is My Business… and Business Is Good!

I’ll start off by mentioning one of the latest features to be introduced during the Torchlight Frontiers alpha: the Contracts system. This is a system akin to the battle-passes that you usually see in Battle Royale games. You have two reward tracks, with one of them unlocked and the other one being a premium reward track. Completing contracts will increase your Fame experience level and unlock all kinds of rewards. This is the place where you should go for unpredictable missions that deviate from the straightforward story-based campaign – although there is nothing linear about Torchlight Frontiers’ bold approach to progression.

Instead of pushing you through a linear progression system such as the ones seen in countless other MMORPGs, Torchlight Frontiers offers you a choice right at the start: the Goblin Frontier or the Hyvid Frontier. Your hero, chosen from the two classes currently on offer (Dusk Mage and Forged), will see his experience level increasing independently, according to the path that you take. As an example, this way you can be a level 15 character in the Goblin Frontier and level 5 in the Hyvid Frontier. This dichotomy opens a range of possibilities and freedom that is severely lacking in other games of the genre.

The twist is that the gear you collect is aligned with the frontier where you earned it. So, your frontier level determines the level of the gear that you may use, with the caveat that the Goblin Frontier gear won’t be suited to other biomes, and the same works for the opposite as well. If you insist in doing so, this results in severely underperforming gear, ensuring that the early levels of other frontiers remain somewhat challenging and worthwhile. As you progress, it’s inevitable to steadily switch to gear from your current frontier, as the challenge intensifies, and you must adapt to survive.

Torchlight Frontiers Preview Hyvid Frontier Retch the Regurgitator

In practice, this frontier system can provide variety and optional routes for you to evolve in case things get particularly tough in one place or another. But it is also a much-coveted escape path in case you want to discover new enemies, new gear or just complete a series of contracts to clear your mind from a given obstacle. So far, I haven’t stumbled across any insurmountable challenges, but there were a couple of occasions when the opposing forces were so numerous that I found myself trapped amidst a barrage of gnarly netherling teeth and goblin clubbing, with no chance of escape. I’m not ashamed to admit that making a run for it when the going gets tough is a valuable strategy. Live to fight another day and all that.

Don’t get too comfy with all the loot coming your way. Your inventory isn’t too skimpy, but the amount of loot left in the battlefield during your average daily journey is probably enough to make a pile as tall as the Empire State Building. Your loyal pet serves as a secondary inventory and you can send him to town to sell unnecessary loot and earn a few coins in the process.

Changing gear sets is made easier with the help the Wardrobe system. A couple of clicks should take you to your Fort, where you have access to a multitude of options such as this one. Serving as the housing system of Torchlight Frontiers, your Fort has a shared stash, the Mapworks device (used to access additional missions and possibly new endgame content) and the structure where you can unlock new skills and upgrade them, among several other functional or cosmetic options.

Torchlight Frontiers Preview Goblin Dungeon Battle

What Lies Beneath

Were it not for the looming shadow of the frightful progress wipe, Torchlight Frontiers would already be one of my action RPGs of choice. It doesn’t break any new ground in terms of gameplay, but it is designed to addict in a way that only the best loot-driven hack and slash games can do. It’s compelling to the point where you begin wondering if you should give your wrist some much-deserved rest or suck it up as you stride on, eager to complete a couple more missions.

WASD control would be a godsend for Torchlight Frontiers, providing a vital alternate control scheme for many players. I, for one, would undoubtedly favor it over the current click-to-move option where it’s not unusual to find yourself attacking an enemy close-by when you only wanted to take a step back. This control method is allegedly being worked on and it is in my opinion crucially important to the ambitions of Torchlight Frontiers. Another upcoming action RPG, Wargaming’s Pagan Online, is straight up going for WASD as its main control scheme.

The randomized dungeons will always provide a different set of challenges, although I have a couple of quibbles about it. The first one concerns the length of the dungeons, something that could turn out to be a slight problem when you don’t want to give up halfway through. It’s not easy to determine whether you should venture forth or hold on for the next day, and a previous patch already reduced the length of a handful of dungeons, which means that I am not alone in this regard.

The other annoying aspect is based on the randomization system itself. It’s not unusual to find yourself threading familiar ground and wondering if you’re not going in circles. Sometimes the layout feels too coldly engineered and could use an additional human touch to avoid severe repetition. After several hours exploring the same seemingly bottomless caves and infested toxic forests, it can get exhausting.

Torchlight Frontiers Preview Champion Goblin

But those are pretty much all the complaints that I have for now. There is a disconcerting lack of good free-to-play hack and slash games and we’re yet to see if Diablo Immortal will ever find its spot as a proper Diablo-like game for longtime fans of the series. Quite a paradox, to say the least, but it couldn’t be more accurate.

As for Torchlight Frontiers, it’s shaping up to be the logical evolution for the series and the perfect embodiment of everything that makes a good hack and slash game. It has tons of loot, boss battles, crafting, an innovative progression system and an irrefutable potential to cause carpal tunnel syndrome. If that’s not a sign of a promising action RPG, then I don’t know what is.

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Activision-Blizzard Stock Takes a Hit after Diablo Immortal Reveal

The negative reaction to the Diablo Immortal reveal has hit the company in the place where it arguably matters the most: the stock market. After the game’s maligned unveiling at BlizzCon, Activision-Blizzard’s shares started to trend downwards by the end of the trading day yesterday.

diablo immortal reveal

By the end of Monday at the NASDAQ stock exchange, ActiBlizz’s shares dropped 7.2%, bringing the company on track for its lowest close since January. The game continues to receive backlash from Diablo fans, yet its reveal has gotten praise from financial analysts, with one quoted as calling the game’s announcement “Blizzard’s first shot on goal into the big global mobile game market.”

Blizzard reps at the floor of BlizzCon appeared ready to press against common player accusations. One such accusation is that Diablo Immortal is a reskinned Crusaders of Light, which was refuted by one rep. “Blizzard, in partnership with NetEase, has built ‘Diablo Immortal’ from the ground up for iOS/Android,” says the rep.

Another response from Blizzard is related to early mutterings that a proper Diablo 4 reveal was on deck to be unveiled at BlizzCon but was removed from the show at the last second — a report that was flatly denied by the company.

“We can say that we didn’t pull any announcements from BlizzCon this year or have plans for other announcements,” reads the official response. “We do continue to have different teams working on multiple unannounced Diablo projects, and we look forward to announcing when the time is right.”

Our Thoughts

We suspect this stock price hit is a correction more than a regular trend, but it’s impossible to ignore that Diablo Immortal has incensed a whole lot of fans. While there are a couple of us that are certainly intrigued by the game, we also have to agree that a mobile title being introduced at Blizzard’s biggest fan convention was, at the absolute least, pretty tone deaf.

Sources: Bloomberg via PCGamesN, Variety, Venture Beat

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Diablo Immortal: Mobile’s Demonic Destroyer

BlizzCon 2018 has hit the ground running this year, with its opening ceremony absolutely devastating onlookers with a slew of announcements across the board. Heading the convention was a slew of massive announcements for every single one of the major brands including Diablo. Heading the mainline stage Wyatt Cheng, the lead designer for the Diablo Series, unveiled the newest and most demonic edition of the franchise yet. Following the devastating conclusion of Diablo 2: Lord of Destruction and the corruption of the World Stone, Blizzard has now set the stage for Diablo Immortal. Entering the mobile marketplace for its first gaming release, Diablo Immortal is intended to be a mobile exclusive Action-RPG, covering the twenty-year gap between Lord of Destruction and Diablo 3.

The game will feature six hero classes at launch including: the Necromancer, Barbarian, Wizard, Monk, Crusader, and the newly established Demon Hunter order. Intended to possess the same MMO functionality found across the franchise, Diablo Immortal will also feature massive co-op gameplay throughout its dungeons, allowing up to six players to join up at any time. The game is being co-developed by Chinese internet titan NetEase, a company that is certainly no stranger to Blizzard’s products. In the past they’ve covered both the open beta distribution for Diablo 3, as well as development for Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm and handling the distribution for numerous other games including World of Warcraft’s relaunch in 2009 and several world sites for Hearthstone.

Picking up 5 years after Lord of Destruction, Immortal is intended to answer those questions left unanswered after the destruction of the World Stone. Following the scattering of the World Stone’s corrupted remnants, players will have 8 playable zones available at launch, with promises of additional content post-launch.

At the What’s Next panel for Diablo, the senior development team behind Immortal previewed several of the new zones; the twisted remains of the Bilefen, a newer jungle-grown marshland that has seen darkness take route with the shards of the World Stone. Players will also return to the Frozen Tundra, the homeland of the Barbarians with promises that the land has become even harsher with Bael’s corruption. Zoltun Kulle’s Library returns for Immortal from Diablo 3. This particular lair birthed deep in the heart of the desert like a “magical hoarder” as the panel described. They then demoed the persistent player world to be found in Immortal, displaying the shared-outdoor zones players will find; using famous Warcraft enemy Hogger as an analogy, they described how players may happen upon each other as they play, battling monsters together for greater loot and rewards than one could find playing solo otherwise.

Jumping off from that, Immortal will also feature the same style of instanced randomly-generated dungeon the Diablo series is known for, with distinctly greater challenges than one could find in the open world. Opening up with the Kikuras Rapids found deep in the heart of the Bilefen, the Rapids are home to some of the most vicious fetish-monsters of the zone. As players avoid having, “swords donated to them, pointy end first,” they’ll also be sailing down river in a similar manner to famous Hollywood film, Apocalypse Now, bound to a dingy raft that slowly begins to float players along to either great rewards, or potential doom over the edge of a waterfall. Changing tone entirely the panel then revealed the Tomb of Fahir, a silent desert ruin drawing more on the aesthetics the series is known for. This was quickly followed by the Forgotten Tower, an ancient sanctuary now overrun with cultists of every caliber undergoing dark rituals for their demonic lords. The panel then revealed Westmarch, Immortal’s capital city in its golden age of existence but didn’t demo any concept art or in-game work.

Continuing onward, Blizzard then demoed the launch classes which all appear to contain not only the main design concepts inherit to each class from its parent game, but hosts of new moves and abilities to make each feel remarkably distinct. Panelists then went on to talk about how future classes are being planned for post-launch, intending for Immortal to be live-updated in a similar manner to how Diablo 3 was up until the last few seasons, teasing both the Witch Doctor and Assassin classes while maintaining that the community will have the greatest say in which Classes meet release.

Control for Immortal is rather standard for how most mobile devices handle, featuring a virtual control stick in the bottom left corner of the play-screen. The user interface now also includes the various button abilities found traditionally on the controller. Movement and aiming finally come into harmony in Immortal, generating a second control stick after ability activation to determine target. Immortal will also feature an Intuitive Aiming mechanic, allowing the computer to generate relevant targets for ability usage. This will essentially allow users to point and click where necessary, while still maintaining control of their abilities. Immortal is intended to be more social-heavy than previous Battle.net games, integrated from day one with the social platform so players may engage across games.

In the Q+A period Blizzard would later confirm, much to the crowd’s displeasure, that Immortal would exclusively be developed for Android and iOS systems with no future plan for PC or console development. I, for one, am actually looking forward to an exclusively mobile game; after picking up Reaper of Souls for my Playstation 4 several years ago, I still haven’t gotten past Tristram simply for not having the time. I fully intend on picking up Diablo 3 for my Nintendo Switch for the promise of portability, as that’s where I can make the best use of my dungeon delving time effectively.

Players also inquired into Hardcore mode’s potential return to Immortal and was sadly disappointed. Citing issues with mobile connectivity, Blizzard currently does not seem to have plans on pursuing a traditional version of Hardcore but instead wants to carry those principles into other areas. Cheng briefly talked about a potential system reminiscent of Warcraft’s Mythic Dungeons.

Ultimately we’ll see more of Diablo Immortal hitting the BlizzCon stage later this weekend, but for now I am thoroughly impressed. All-in-all Immortal looks at first glance to be a refreshing take on the franchise on technology finally best-suited for it. While some players may be incredibly bitter about a mobile-exclusive release, with one questioner asking, “Is this some off-season April Fool’s Joke?” I for one look forward to Immortal. While I do think it could potentially succeed better on the Switch and PC, one cannot deny that Blizzard is reaching for a more viable and successful long term market. However with a slew of ARPGs already saturating the mobile marketplace, and the mass negative reaction from attendees at BlizzCon its clear that Blizzard will need to bank on more than just nostalgia to make Immortal perform well in the long-run.

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Torchlight Frontiers’ Horizontal Progression System is a Potential Game Changer

The first couple of Torchlight games were some of the best examples shaped by the Diablo school of action RPGs. As far as hack-and-slash titles go, you can’t go wrong with this series if you want a game that is easy to pick up, a blast to play, offers hours on end of content and plenty of exciting loot.

When Perfect World Entertainment announced the closure of Runic Games, I died a little inside. The developer of the acclaimed series was no more, and while there was some vague reassurance about future titles in this franchise, who would eventually carry the torch? As it turns out, Torchlight Frontiers was announced as the first game developed by a new studio, Echtra Games, founded by Max Schaefer, former co-founder of Runic Games. It all seems to come full circle.

Torchlight Frontiers represents the next step in the series, learning from the previous games while venturing deeper into online territory. Torchlight 2 had amazing multiplayer co-op, and it’s no secret that, for years, Runic Games sought to take the series into MMO territory. The plan was eventually put on the back burner, but clearly it was never forgotten.

There is a fundamental reason for all the excitement surrounding Torchlight Frontiers. It’s not the accomplished art style, nor the exciting combat that it luckily has inherited from past titles; the real reason lies on the Torchlight Frontiers’ horizontal progression system that aims to change the way that players delve through content in an MMO.

In most MMOs, your challenge consists of going through the game in the customary means, a vertical system, let’s put it that way. You level up your character, become stronger and ultimately reach the endgame, the place where you belong from then on. Past content soon becomes obsolete, irrelevant, leaving you with no reason at all to return to old dungeons or raids and one-shot hordes of poor, defenseless enemies. Echtra Games wants to give you a good motive to go back to previously explored locations and have fun doing it, while still finding it somewhat challenging and, above all, picking up some valuable loot and gold along the way. As the developers said it, it’s not about sitting on top of a powerful mountain, but more about building different kinds of power that will have a purpose through the entire game and not just endgame.

Torchlight Frontiers horizontal progression system

But how will they achieve this? Through a system that focuses on each specific area – the Frontiers from the title – and the tools that are best suited to succeed in these areas. Dynamic gear scaling is the name of the ‘magic trick,’ and Guild Wars 2 players may be able to identify its inner workings. To put it simply, your gear is temporarily scaled down accordingly to the lower level zone that you will be tackling. This is made in a way that retains some sort of challenge as to not feel like a boring task, and you won’t be wasting your time as you can still earn some precious rewards such as gold and skill points – don’t expect any rare gear or materials, but there will be enough to keep you coming back for more.

Not only that, but this system is also a great way to team up with a friend that joined the game late and is still going through the earlier areas. This way, you can join your friend in zones where your characters behave in similar ways, despite you being way more powerful when all is said and done. Your friend levels up, you get some nice extra rewards – it’s a win-win situation.

However, it wouldn’t be fair if your superior character was reduced to the level of any other new Torchlight Frontiers player, and this is where the dynamic gear scaling system plays another interesting card. Each zone drops specific equipment and it is up to you to use it in your favor. For example, the gear that you earned playing in the Goblin Frontier is aligned to that frontier, so you will be scaled favorably against the creatures in that area. On the other hand, use that same gear in the Hyvid Frontier and it will scale worse, as the monsters in the area are aligned to a different set of equipment. The scaling differences are slight, but as you surely know by now they can make all the difference when you are facing a powerful boss. Changing gear is extremely simple, with the press of a button taking you through the various sets at your disposal.

Torchlight Frontiers horizontal progression system - classes

Torchlight Frontiers is a game with no levels, so your power relies on your equipment sets, your pet’s abilities, your active and passive skills and a couple of other things that Echtra Games is keeping close to its chest.

There are a few other things that the Torchlight Frontiers developers are keeping secret, including the highly anticipated character classes. Apart from some glimpses from the announcement trailer, there is very little to no info on the classes apart from the two that were officially shown: Dusk Mage and Forged. Fingers crossed for a reasonable number of classes at launch, as the meager four from Torchlight 2 simply won’t cut it in a game with MMO ambitions.

The Dusk Mage (apparently classes aren’t gender-locked, thankfully) is a magic-based character with powers split between light and dark. The former is comprised of accurate and sharp shots, while the latter lean towards a disordered area-of-effect style of attacks. As for the Forged, this is an inventive four-legged automaton and the first fully robotic class in the series. It is capable of firing missiles as well as using a sword to swipe enemies up close, and is able to change its parts just like the other classes change their equipment. The interesting bit comes with the heat gauge, which replaces the mana sphere from other classes. Using skills increases heat, and when it is full, you must vent steam with a scorching area-of-effect attack. It’s a curious mix of regular skills and releasing steam that needs to be carefully balanced to obtain the best results.

Torchlight Frontiers horizontal progression system - goblin with mount

With its resolute goal of finding a place in the ever tough MMO market, Torchlight Frontiers tries its best to bring something new to the genre. However, you can expect to find some tried-and-tested mechanics as well, including instanced dungeons where you will find the precious loot and deadly enemies. The definitive number of players that will compose a party is yet to be revealed, but four is the figure that is currently thrown around for good measure and to keep the playfield from becoming too cluttered. While in the persistent towns, the number of players radically increases in pure MMO fashion, with all the interactions that you can expect, including shopping around, gathering and crafting.

Perfect World Entertainment has a catalogue where free-to-play games abound, but also operates some buy-to-play games such as Livelock. When asked about the business model for Torchlight Frontiers, the publisher wasn’t ready to reveal any details, postponing such info for a later date. I can see Torchlight Frontiers working with any of the business models, if the inevitable cash shop is faultlessly tailored to each scenario.

Torchlight Frontiers is scheduled for 2019 on PC first and soon followed by PS4 and Xbox One releases.

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Blizzard Tries to Tamp Down Expectations for Diablo’s BlizzCon

The excitement over what Diablo at BlizzCon is lining up definitely has stirred up, with help from a couple of teases to be sure. However, it would appear that the devs are trying to fling a little bit of cold water on that hype and temper expectations.

diablo at blizzcon

In a quick post on the game’s official site, the Diablo devs told fans to perhaps not expect everything at BlizzCon to be full of the reveals they’re hoping:

“These are very exciting times—we currently have multiple teams working on different Diablo projects and we can’t wait to tell you all about them . . . when the time is right. We know what many of you are hoping for and we can only say that ‘good things come to those who wait,; but evil things often take longer.”

The post does make a direct mention of the game’s arrival to Nintendo Switch, which will officially release on November 2nd to the system, so the game’s time on the main stage will certainly have some focus on that.

That said, the post also mentions that fans will get something new from this year’s event, saying “While we won’t be ready to announce all of our projects, we do intend to share some Diablo-related news with you at the show.”

Our Thoughts

So Diablo 4 this will not be. All things considered, it’s good that Blizzard stepped forward and tried to talk people down a bit, but somehow we also can’t really say for certain that people won’t be let down or upset regardless of this forewarning. Also, they did claim that their marketing wasn’t clever but ended up being exactly that once before, so who knows.

Source: official site

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Diablo: Reign of Terror Teased by Blizzard Gear Store

Cat out of the bag? Another clever bit of marketing like the Diablo light switch teaser? Complete and utter mistake? In any case, fans are intrigued by a new Diablo: Reign of Terror teaser posted on – of all places – Blizzard’s own storefront.

diablo: reign of terror teaser

The BlizzCon section of the Blizzard Gear merch store has a number of exclusive items for Virtual Ticket holders, which is pretty par for the course. What’s new is that there are a number of new items – t-shirts and a poster specifically – that bear Diablo: Reign of Terror branding.

This new game shovels more coal into the Diablo 4 rumor engine, with other speculation spawned by job listings made by Blizzard over the past couple of years.

With three weeks to go before the start of BlizzCon and Diablo getting first billing during the opening keynotes, something entirely new set in the Diablo universe is looking even more likely than ever. Of course, what sort of new thing is up to the imagination.

Our Thoughts

if you hear what sounds like the rumbling of thousands of hooves, that’s the speculation running rampant. “Reign of Terror” doesn’t give us a huge clue, but the mind most definitely wanders. What kind of new Diablo thing would you want to see?

Source: Blizzard Gear Store via ResetEra

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Diablo Netflix Series Accidentally Confirmed by Show Writer

As we reported earlier, there were rumors of a Diablo Netflix series fluttering about. We now have a bit more confirmation of this show’s existence, though that confirmation appears to have been done in error. Woopsie.

diablo netflix series

Andrew Crosby, the screenwriter for the Hellboy remake and rumored leader of the project, tweeted out earlier this week that he was tapped to write and run an animated series based on the IP:

“I guess I can confirm I am indeed in final talks to write and show-run the new Diablo animated series for Activision and Netflix. It’s very exciting and I hope to the High Heavens it all works out.”

Shortly after the tweet was made, Crosby deleted it, presumably because he wasn’t apparently given confirmation to let the cat out of the bag. Holy Mother Internet never forgets, however, and the tweet has since been cached.

It’s important to bear in mind that “final talks” don’t necessarily mean a done deal, though it is heartening to know that the series’ development has come that far along. The timing also seems to sync up with an official reveal of the series at this year’s BlizzCon. In any case, we still recommend a few salt grains to take with this news. Just in case.

Our Thoughts

We sincerely hope that this accidental leak doesn’t jeopardize the Diablo animated series from becoming a reality. In all honesty, we’d be very interested to see just what sort of things Mr. Crosby and his team will put together for the show.

Source: PCGamesN

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RUMOR: Netflix Developing a Diablo TV Series

Perhaps this is what the devs meant when they said the forges are burning hot? An admittedly nebulous rumor of a Diablo TV series being developed by Netflix has crossed my notice, so allow me to report in with what is currently known.

diablo tv series

All that we’ve got is the word of an editor-in-chief of the source website, but the anonymous scuttlebutt is that Netflix is interested in making Diablo a series for its platform and has tapped writer Andrew Cosby to develop it.

If the name Andrew Cosby is unfamiliar to you, then allow us to elaborate. Cosby is one of the current writers of the upcoming Hellboy film reboot, as well as a co-founder of comics publisher Boom! Studios. Cosby also has some TV writing credits to his name, writing for the Syfy original series Eureka and the short-lived UPN series Haunted.

Netflix is clearly very eager to continue cranking out its own originals and has seen some success adapting video game properties to television, most notably the animated series Castlevania, which has confirmed a second season. Bearing that in mind, a Diablo series doesn’t seem beyond the pale. Of course, if firmer details arise we’ll be sure to share them.

Our Thoughts

There’s most definitely a lot of story to be had in the Diablo universe that would make for some compelling television. Just as long as the writing team that Cosby puts together doesn’t take the source material too terribly seriously. After all, a lot of the Diablo charm is that it’s the more cheese-flavored form of grimdark fantasy.

Source: Revenge of the Fans

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