Diablo IV – What We Know So Far

You all have phones, right? Thankfully, unless you’re reading this on one, you can set it down. To uproarious applause, Blizzard-Activision released a darker, grittier, more visceral update to the franchise in it’s long awaited fourth entry. Diablo IV was announced earlier this month at Blizzcon, with steady streams of information trickling out as the days have rolled on. With three panels to summon from, and a trove of information released through tertiary interviews, we can finally and safely talk about what to expect out of the darker return to Sanctuary.

The announcement kicked off famously at the company’s trade show in a BIG way. Featuring a ten-minute cinematic of some of the darkest, most gore-drenched detail Blizzard has ever displayed. Invoking an ancient rite in the pursuit of wealth and knowledge, three treasure hunters manage to birth Lilith, the demonic child of Mephisto and Daughter of Hatred, into the world. Unleashed upon a bleak world lost after the fall of Sanctuary, everything is ripe for a new age of hell to rise up from the dark depths.

It cannot be understated how much people have been looking forward to Diablo IV. Since an announcement during Diablo III’s season 14 production, alluding to multiple Diablo projects under work in, “Blizzard’s forges,” speculation has been rampant. This wasn’t teased well with the announcement of Diablo Immortal last year, as well as the PR mismanagement both during and long after Blizzcon 2018. It would later be discussed in a report by Jason Schreier of Kotaku that Blizzard had cancelled a Diablo IV announcement at the last possible moment, and further internal reports on it had been quashed company-wide. To say that applause at Blizzcon was deafening might be a mild understatement.


Diablo IV returns to it’s isometric routes as it has with previous installments in the RPG franchise. Instead of linear, chapter-based progression like previous installments, the team behind the dark dungeon despoiler instead promised an ‘open world.’ Following along the progression patterns of World of Warcraft: Legion, the game’s storylines can reportedly be completed in any order potential players desire. As seen in trailers, the open world can be traversed on foot, on horseback, and with friends.

While five classes are promised to ship with the base game, similar to the series’ previous entry. The barbarian returns from their rampage to save a defenseless Sanctuary in Diablo III, focusing on brutallistic melee combat. Relying on swirling steel and devastating power, his powers were showcased as ones returning fans will recognize; waves of damage from powerful blasts of his weapons. Roars of fury that increase his power and speed, even blazing runic armor to smite his foes.

Fresh from her adventures in Immortal, the Sorceress was the second announced class. With similar demoed playstyle to III’s Wizard, the Sorceress focuses on range and control to devastating effect. More tactical than her brutal brother, the Sorceress excels away from combat using elemental magic to deter and tactically destroy her opponents. From homing bolts of lightning to freezing icicle arrows and detonating fireballs.


Returning to the franchise with much fervor and cheers from Blizzcon attendees, the Druid was the final class to be announced at Blizzcon 2019. While sporting a more feral, ancient nordic design, his spell repertoire has been massively altered to fit the motif. Unlike his Diablo 2 counterpart, this Druid relies more on the feral and fearful aspects of nature. Doing away with elemental attacks, he instead relies on powerful shapeshifting magic. Showcased in the trailer with both a werewolf and werebear form, it’s more than likely this shapeshifting will become the central design point of the revamped class.

Together, these three will explore a far more open Sanctuary than ever before. Leaning heavier into its predecessors MMO-lite elements, Diablo IV will feature an always online persistent world. A constant internet connection will be required for it, though no solutions for a single-player or couch co-op experience have been detailed yet by Blizzard. While details are still vague, the company is intending to have the world littered with random player encounters, more in the vein of Dark Souls than World of Warcraft. As such, Blizzard has also confirmed Player vs. Player content for this new title after it being sorely missing from the previous entry. While details are still vague on the concept as a whole, the team confessed to restricting it to particular zones for players to slug it out.

What isn’t vague in Diablo IV is the confirmation of microtransactions. With each flagship Blizzard-Activision title currently including them in some form or another, it’s not surprising. In an interview with Quin69 lead game designer Joe Shely confirmed their inclusion. Initially trying to pass them off as additional expansions, he then confirmed, “you will also be able to acquire cosmetics in the game… It’s very early, but yes.”


But that really seems to be the theme to Diablo IV’s presentation at Blizzcon. It’s very early yet. Despite promises of cross-platform play between PS4, Xbox One and PC, Blizzard recanted to say that while it’s a goal its still VERY early yet. When questioned about a release date, the company promised quarterly updates in February 2020 but it was still too early yet to confirm anything solid. When asked about other features and classes the mantra became, “It’s very early yet.”

So what can we see for a projected launch window for Diablo IV? The answer, confusingly, is both ‘sooner,’ and ‘later.’

As most industry enthusiasts know: the next console generation IS coming. The Xbox Scorpio is well into its development cycle and leaks from Sony-America have cited a potential Holiday 2020 release window. In talking with indie developers at the Enthusiast Gaming Live Expo I was able to confirm that PS5 development kits are already being widely distributed to prop up the console’s launch. As we saw with Diablo III, however, Blizzard managed to launch their title for the Playstation 3, and later touched up a ‘Battlechest’ version for the PS4. It’s likely they could do the same again.

The best projection we have, currently, is an early 2021 launch. With rumors of Diablo IV having only been in moderate prototype status during its blockade of Blizzcon 2018, and now a limited announcement for 2019, an additional year-and-a-half window would be the optimal bare-minimum for the company. More than likely we’ll see Lilith return in March 2021, the start of the fiscal year and the year of Hatred in Sanctuary.

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Last Oasis Early Access to Begin October 1st

Last Oasis was one of the few new MMOs that were shown during E3 this year and now players are just a month away from getting to try it for themselves as the Last Oasis Early Access will begin on October 1st.

Last Oasis is set on Earth thousands of years in the future after the Earth has stopped rotating. This has created two extreme environments, one of razor-sharp ice and darkness, the other an arid desert wasteland. Between these two there is a thin strip of habitable land. To stay alive humanity has built a large walking city. Clans clash over resources and territory in this hellish future.

It is a woodpunk inspired open-world MMO being created by Donkey Crew, an indie studio from Poland. It first got attention in a big way during E3 2019 when it was one of the games featured in the PC Gaming Show Press Conference. It was also met with an impressive reception at Gamescom last week.

If you’d like to know more about Last Oasis you can find it on Steam where you can already add it to your Wishlist. This is a great option if you’re interested in the game because you’ll be alerted when it is made available on October 10th.

They’ve also released a new trailer for the game which features a deadly giant worm called the Legendary Sandworm. These sandworms are massive and have claimed the lives of many captains in the past.


Source: Press Release

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Genshin Impact – More Than a Chinese Breath of the Wild Clone

Appearing from out of nowhere, Genshin Impact made quite an impact and is now one of my most anticipated games of the year. At the risk of sounding like a pubescent girl at a Justin Bieber concert, excuse me for the outdated comparison, Genshin Impact is the kind of exciting game that just won’t disappoint. It transpires quality through every pore and nothing about it feels shallow or out of place.

It’s not a happy coincidence that Genshin Impact invites so many comparisons, most of them laudable. The announcement trailer got many players comparing it to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, while others were reminded of Ni No Kuni. Pick any other great looking anime game and you are on the right track. Genshin Impact looks stunning, but that is just one of its many qualities.

Genshin Impact characters

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Waifu

Genshin Impact is the work of a studio at the top of its game. Developer miHoYo is on a personal mission to show the world that the Chinese developers’ reputation for putting out low-quality knockoffs of popular games is a thing of the past. The studio’s previous game, Honkai Impact 3rd showed its talent and keen eye for flashy combat. It remains impressive despite its restraining mobile roots, and every anime fan should give it a try.

Genshin Impact isn’t a sequel to Honkai Impact 3rd; instead, it’s an entirely new game based on a manga that is available on Crunchyroll. There are several chapters published, in case you’ll want to get acquainted with the world and characters in anticipation for the game. This isn’t mandatory though, as Genshin Impact will make sure that you feel at home in its world.

The true nature of Genshin Impact’s online component is one of the things that cast a shadow of doubt on many players. Is it a full-fledged MMORPG, a solo adventure or a co-op game? Don’t expect to see many players roaming the striking world of Teyvat, but you can invite a few friends into your world to explore the land and fight together. This is an entirely optional mechanic, since you can go on adventures alone and peacefully enjoy the wonderful sights and life-threatening foes. If you’d rather have a couple of friends by your side, you can rest assured that their world will remain untouched and entirely safe until their return. Genshin Impact doesn’t mix things up and it’s all the better for it.

Genshin Impact open world

Unlike other action RPGs where your class selection is limited to a handful of choices, Genshin Impact already offers 11 playable characters. If this number sounds impressive, brace yourselves for what is coming: a roster of over 30 unique characters is promised! Obviously, no schedule was given for such an ambitious plan, but the thought alone is enticing, especially considering the high quality and depth of each one of the currently available characters.

Don’t think that trying each character will be a straightforward experience though. After choosing your main character you must then unlock the rest of them by progressing in the adventure. The cast isn’t entirely female, unlike Honkai Impact 3rd, but women are clearly in the majority, with eight characters (EienYuki, Amber, Lisa, Barbara, Jean, Xiangling, Venti and Kamisato Ayaka) versus three male characters (Kaeya, Diluc and Razor). Outfit customization is a feature that is being internally debated by miHoYo, but I’m betting this will be a part of the game in the foreseeable future considering the potential for costume microtransactions is just too big to ignore.

Genshin Impact borrows the on-the-fly character switch system from Honkai Impact 3rd. You can freely pick one of your four distinctive characters and use their unique skills to overcome different challenges. Multiple classes and character switching will be a recurrent theme for the various dungeons that await you.

Genshin Impact city

The Anime World Is Yours

Teyvat is a striking open world that you can freely explore by running, climbing and swimming but there are no underwater treasures to find, that much was already clarified. You have freeform movement at your disposal, with a fast travel system to spare you the pains of running to a distant region. The world will feature seven huge city-states to discover and contemplate, each with an inimitable and extraordinary architecture style. The first closed beta featured the region of Mondstadt, and a second very different region was already teased: the Liyue Harbor.

With such a lovely world to explore, it would be a shame if you couldn’t purchase or build your very own cozy house. Thankfully, a housing system is in the works, although it is unclear when it will be available.

Combat may happen anytime and there is an exhaustive action combat system with many combos to take advantage of. An elemental system is also included, allowing for some interesting chain reactions based on seven natural elements, Cryo, Dendro, Pyro, Hydro, Anemo, Electro, and Geo. This system allows for some in-depth interactions that can be used in combat or to solve some puzzle-based challenges.

Genshin Impact dragon

Mounts and pets are not guaranteed in the game, but it’s not unlikely that they show up in the future. For now, you only have Paimon at your side, the adorable and friendly companion that will help you out during your journey.

Genshin Impact has several life activities planned such as fishing, chess and card mini games. Musical instruments are another one of the possibilities and I can see this happening in the wake of thatgamecompany’s Sky: Children of the Light iOS release.

Speaking about what Genshin Impact is shaping up to be is underestimating what it already is; a fantastic-looking, cheerful anime RPG with a great selection of characters and an in-depth skill-based combat system. With a sprawling open world filled with things to see and do, and hopefully a captivating story to keep you on your toes, Genshin Impact is way more than a Chinese Breath of the Wild clone. It is a beautiful anime with its own identity and style.

Genshin Impact is in development for PC, Android, iOS and PlayStation 4, with a release scheduled for 2020.

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Three New Dune Video Games on the Way

Its been a while since the last Dune video games were released, 18 years in fact. The last one was Frank Herbert’s Dune in 2001 and was based on the 2000 Sci-Fi Channel miniseries. The game was such a failure that the studio that created it, Cryo Interactive Entertainment went bankrupt after its release. But, that was the early 2000s. Now, nearly 20 years on we’re getting a new Dune movie (with names like Dave Bautista, Oscar Issac, Josh Brolin, and Jason Momoa) and three new Dune video games as well.

These games will be made by a studio that has had a lot of success with older IPs, Age of Conan creators, Funcom. Legendary Entertainment and Funcom have entered into a six-year-long agreement that will see three Dune games being made at the very least. The games will be for both PC and consoles and at least one of them will be an Open World Multiplayer game.

So, if we look back at the Q3 2018 report Funcom gave when we saw six games in the pipeline for the company we can see things a little more clearly. Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden launched on December 4th and currently has a 79% positive rating on Steam, plus a Metascore on Metacritic of 78.

The top-secret Conan game being made with Petroglyph is a strategy game called Conan Unconquered which will be released Q2 2019 for PC.

The Funcom IP game being made by Rock Pocket Games that is set to release on Halloween is still a mystery. Though looking at the studio’s official site you see that they’re working on a story-driven first-person horror game that draws elements from H.P. Lovecraft called Moons of Madness. This may not be the game they’re working on with Funcom, but it sounds like it would be right at home in the universe of The Secret World.

The top-secret Heroic Signatures game being developed in house is still a mystery. Though in the Q3 report it didn’t have a release date, now in the Q4 report it has been given a release date of 2020.

The top-secret Conan single player game is still top secret, but it has also been given a release date of 2020, so there has been some progress there.

Finally, from the Q3 2018 report, there was the top secret open world multiplayer game. We now know that this is the Dune multiplayer.

We also now know that Funcom has 13 total active projects that include 5 new projects plus 8 existing or prototype games. Which, according to my math…tells me we have some games that haven’t made it in the quarterly reports yet and haven’t been announced.

 

Please excuse the non-Dune images, we don’t have any of the new Dune games yet so we used Conan instead. That’s practically the same thing…right?

 

Source: Funcom Quarterly Report

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