December 31 marks the 20th anniversary of the iconic hack-and-slash Blizzard game ‘Diablo.’ Long time players who have followed the game through its three iterations, expansion packs, glitch-filled launches, dropped connections and waves of hacked online games were hoping for big announcements about the game at this year’s Blizzcon. Because Diablo III was released in 2012 and hasn’t seen a major upgrade since the release of it’s expansion pack, Diablo III: Reaper of Souls, in 2014, some in the industry were hoping for the announcement of Diablo IV.
Instead, Blizzard announced a few upgrades to the existing game, which were met with mixed feelings on the Blizzard fan forums.
Diablo III will soon change the way players switch between equipment and active/passive skill sets. The new ‘armory’ feature will allow five separate equipment loadouts per character to make switching things up for different missions much faster and easier. Users on Diablo III and Blizzard forums point out that this feature has been available in one of Blizzard’s other major franchises, World of Warcraft, for several years and are not particularly impressed with the addition.
“I don’t know what to think about this. I think a lot of people are highly disappointed,” posted user Thandrend, adding that it is ridiculous that this feature was something presenters at Blizzcon seemed to be pretty excited about. Whether you think it’s an interesting feature or not, the armory will roll out sometime in 2017, though a specific date has not yet been announced.
Also being added to the game is a new character class called the Necromancer. Blizzard says the new character is “a master of the dark arts, you draw your magic from the power of death itself, and command mighty armies of risen warriors! Oh, and you can make corpses explode.” Some users drew parallels between the necromancer character and previous character classes, the druid and the witch doctor, but Blizzard says this is something different. The Necromancer character will be available to purchase as Downloadable Content, or DLC. The release date, also in 2017, will be announced soon.
The most interesting thing about the Blizzcon update comes in the form of nostalgia. A recreation of dungeons from the original town of Tristram will be added to the game in January, allowing players to explore the old levels with shiny new graphics. Those of us who were around and playing Diablo in its first iteration back in 1996 will probably be interested in the nostalgia, assuming we don’t have to pay for it, but players who started with Diablo II or III will likely see this as a bit of a let down. It also looks like these new old maps will only be available for the month of January in celebration of the game’s anniversary. For those who have been watching the company, it seems the anniversary snuck up on them as they were putting the focus on newer games in their arsenal.