Road to Whimsyshire: Diablo 3’s secret level

So, there is no cow level, but you can go to a land of ponies and bears in Diablo 3. However, unlike Diablo 2, the road to whimsyshire is not easy and is very expensive. You require five key ingredients to open the way to this whimsical land of cute creatures, namely:

  1. Leoric’s Shinbone  (Act I) : Found Inside of the fireplace in Leoric’s Manor (Click on the burnt logs)
  2. The Black Mushroom (Act I) – Found in the cathedral, most commonly floor 1 (Click on the mushroom pile
  3. Liquid Rainbow (Act II) : Inside of a mysterious cave in act 2 found in Path to Oasis
  4. Wirt’s Bell (Act  II) : Bought for 100,000 gold from Squirt the Peddler in the Act 2 in the middle of Caldeum Bazaar
  5. Gibbering Gemstone (Act III) : Drops from Chiltara in the Caves of Frost(Found after Bridge of Korsikk)
  6. Plans: Staff of Herding (Act IV) :  The recipe to craft the staff is a drop from Izual (Act 4 Boss)
Continue reading Road to Whimsyshire: Diablo 3’s secret level

Diablo 3 : Second Impressions

Finally had a chance to play Diablo 3 last night for a couple of hours. I created a wizard for the first run through the game, though from playing the Beta, I found monk, warrior and demon hunter interesting as well. I didn’t like the game play for witch doctor at least in the first 10 levels, when you only have fire bats and spider jars. The almost undying hounds are pretty neat to have, and it seems that witch doctor will be a pretty powerful character at higher levels, but something about throwing spiders at enemies just didn’t seem like fun.

Having already “played” diablo 3 in beta and multiplayer during the open beta, there are some new features that are now visible to the gamers, other than the fact that we can now actually log in 🙂 . Primarily, we now see cinematics for the story line and characters. Unlike its predecessor, Diablo 3 has unique story lines for all classes. There are  short cinematics between major plot points in the game pertaining to the characters life and the next goals related to the story arc. Another difference was that you now start with a lot of sigils and patterns to create a custom banner. Also, achievements now unlock new sigils in game.

I played with two friends who had already leveled up to level 15 and level 24, and joining scaled the game difficulty to the highest level character in the party. This does make leveling for lower level characters very slow, since you gain very little experience for killing mobs.

Last night, I replayed what was already in Beta, clearing the cathedral and defeating the Skeleton King. This weekend, I hope to make more progress in the game and hopefully finish the whole story arc in normal difficulty.

Diablo 3 failure to launch!

Last night marked the launch of Diablo 3, Blizzard’s long-awaited game and the gaming community has been abuzz with various “Error 37” posts – some funny and some full of rage. However, they all point to the same fact, that many people haven’t been able to play the game yet, that they’ve been waiting for a long time for. To top that, the servers have been down for maintenance multiple times today. This does not bode well for Blizzard, since they should have been better prepared to deal with the user traffic based on the number of pre-ordered copies and feedback of Open Beta weekend. This is evident from the scores of 0-3 that the game has been getting on various game boards, mainly because people haven’t been able to log in or be able to play uninterrupted for a while.

In contrast, SC2 had a much smoother launch, primarily because you did not have to connected to Battle.net for single player campaign. This makes me wonder why do you have to be connected to Battle.net for playing the single player ? If I do need social features like join a server to play a multiplayer campaign, interact with real id friends, use the online auction house etc, I can selectively choose to log in.  I guess this was widely discussed when Blizzard had announced that the game will require to be connected to battle.net at all times.

The delay in the launch is not surprising, since usually launch of a much awaited game is expected to have servers full for the first few days, but is a little disappointing that many fans of the franchise are still unable to play. I am a fan of Diablo 2, having played it many times until now and my experiences with the Beta were great and I have been looking forward to playing the game myself. However, given the number of issues especially with logging in, I think I’m going to continue to play Skyrim at least until the weekend, when the servers would be up more often. Until then I will have to stop reading the forums to prevent myself from reading spoilers.

Elder Scrolls Online Announcement.

After hearing numerous rumors over the past few weeks, Bethesda finally announced their plans for an MMO based on their Elder Scrolls series. I’ve spent my last few weeks avidly playing their latest installment Skyrim, so this official announcement is a great news indeed. The fact that we have to wait for another year before we see the MMO; not so much.

However, is this announcement a surprise ? No. Well, the rumors were a hint themselves, but Skyrim’s radiant engine that generates infinite quests based on your quest choices and outcomes was already a positive step towards the possibility of an MMO. Also, it is hard to believe that with such a rich universe and history, Bethesda had not come up with an MMO for Elder Scrolls. So when they had acquired rights to a fallout MMO, my first reaction was “Wuh ? What about Elder Scrolls ?”.

Which bring me to my next question. Since Bethesda has acquired rights for Fallout MMO does this mean we are going to see two MMOs from the same company ? Not that I’m complaining, Bethesda has done great work in both, but having two MMOs competing against each other may not be a good thing for Bethesda in the long run. I guess I am going to be watching future announcements regarding these two franchises more closely.

However, I am eager to see an MMO with the radiant engine. Skyrim discussions with friends already indicate a lot of differences in quests and gameplay. It will be interesting to see people getting different side quests while leveling, unlike other MMOs which have the same old ‘Kill X of Y” quests and making leveling multiple characters a chore rather than a fun experience.  Star Wars: The Old Republic had made some improvements in the leveling experience with a variety of side quest and a class quest, but I realized very soon, that leveling a new character only gave a different class story line, but the side quests remained the same and became a chore very soon. So, if Bethesda uses the radiant engine to generate side quests and daily quests, it is going to make it much more fun.

Looks like Bethesda is on its way to riches. Anyone know the stock ticker for Bethesda ? Maybe its time to buy some ..

The official announcement on Forbes.com:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2012/05/03/bethesda-announces-elder-scrolls-online-mmo-coming-in-2013/