The Past Year
- Big props to the community for pushing bans in ranked play. It's made the game better.
- Fourteen new heroes have been added in the past year starting with Cho'gall after last year's BlizzCon.
- The ARAM custom game map was made in a couple of weeks due to community inspiration.
- 2015 saw balance updates every 4-6 weeks. Through feedback for 2016, they got this down to every week and then following more feedback, every 2-4 weeks.
- 2016 saw nineteen hero / talent reworks.
- Over 4 million USD in prizing for the past year's Heroes esports.
- Over 1000 tournament matches were played globally in the past year.
Ranked & The 2016 Ranked Update
- Before the ranked update:
- 59% players in Quick Match; 22% VS AI; 19% Ranked
- After the ranked update:
- 46% players in Quick Match; 30% Ranked; 16% VS AI; 8% Unranked
- The team didn't have tools to better keep everyone is their right skill area. There were too many people at "Rank 1".
- They changed Grand Master to 200 players to keep it more exclusive.
- They're going to redistribute some of the rankings
- Majority of players should be in Silver and Gold, but Silver has too many players right now, more will go to Gold.
- Diamond is too over-represented. They want it more exclusive.
- Future Season Test: Hero League is going to become solo queue only. This is to showcase personal skill.
- Future Season Test: Team League will be for 2s, 3s, 5s queues. This is to showcase coordinate team skill.
- They're hoping to get higher team league engagement which will add significance to ratings in team league.
- The old matchmaking system was not good.
- The matchmaker was rewritten earlier this year and it was positively received.
- Matchmaking fixes can be made without client patches due to it being server-side.
- When hero levels became considered by matchmaking, win-rates normalized.
- Queue times increased in Quickmatch by 50% and Hero League by 200% when they increased matchmaking quality.
- The team still thinks match quality is the most important thing, but they do want you to also get into games quickly.
- They will continue to try reducing the queue times while keeping match quality up.
- Personalized Stats
- Players want more insight into how well they're doing in a match.
- This will compare your historical stats, and stats of other people in the region.
- At the end of game, the system will let you know when you're doing better than your previous records and region averages.
- Haunted Mines is returning!
- Golems spawn in alternating lanes.
- Golems will spawn fixed distances from the core rather than at their death spot.
- The Mine layout is different. Four new entrances.
- Skulls in the mines are more evenly distributed.
- The mine boss is in the center.
- Looking to release it back into the game this year.
- No more progression caps on Hero Levels or Account Levels. There will still be a cap, but it should be very hard to reach.
- Hero Levels should take 3-4 hours to obtain instead of the current 10+ (at levels past 10).
- Account Level is now going to be a sum of all your hero levels.
- More frequent rewards! Each time you get a level, you get a reward.
- More rewards than just gold - Skins, Mounts, More!
- Hero Swaps in Draft
- They agree, it needs to be done.
- This will show up in Custom Games before the main game.
- Battleground Rotations
- Positive reactions to smaller pools during events.
- Six or seven maps in the pool at any given moment.
- Unranked will still have the full map pool.
- Voice Chat
- Blizzard Voice Chat is going to be integrated into the game.
- Party Finder
- More intelligent. Queue up to find people.
- Login, be social.
- Clan ranks, advancement, tournaments. Future possibilities!
Blackheart's Revenge Brawl
- Attack / Defend Layout
- The map is asymmetrical which is unusual.
- Adding PvE Content like Overwatch's Junkenstein Brawl is something they'd love to do and are exciting to do it. No ETA on when it will happen though.
- Tournament draft will be in custom games first and then added to the main game.
- They are exploring ways to remake games when people leave at the start.
- More ways to spend gold are currently being investigated, but nothing is concrete yet.
- They don't want to replace HotSLogs but they do want more stats in-game.
- Loss Forgiveness when players leave is in the works.
- Murky updates are being talked about. All the older heroes will be touched at some point.
Stealth and debilitating attacks make Sombra a powerful infiltrator. Her hacking can disrupt her enemies, ensuring they're easier to take out, while her EMP provides the upper hand against multiple foes at once. Sombra’s ability to Translocate and camouflage herself makes her a hard target to pin down.
- MACHINE PISTOL - Sombra’s fully-automatic machine pistol fires in a short-range spread.
- HACK - Sombra hacks enemies to temporarily stop them from using their abilities, or hacks first aid kits to make them useless to her opponents.
- THERMOPTIC CAMO - Sombra becomes invisible for a short period of time, during which her speed is boosted considerably. Attacking, using offensive abilities, or taking damage disables her camouflage.
- TRANSLOCATOR - Sombra tosses out a translocator beacon. She can instantly return to the beacon’s location while it is active (including when it’s in mid-flight).
- EMP - Sombra discharges electromagnetic energy in a wide radius, destroying enemy barriers and shields and hacking all opponents caught in the blast.
One of the world's most notorious hackers, Sombra uses information to manipulate those in power.
Long before she took up the alias "Sombra," ░░░░░░ was among the thousands of children who were left orphaned in the aftermath of the Omnic Crisis. With much of her country's infrastructure destroyed, she survived by utilizing her natural gifts with hacking and computers.
After ░░░░░░ was taken in by Mexico's Los Muertos gang, she aided it in its self-styled revolution against the government. Los Muertos believed that the rebuilding of Mexico had primarily benefited the rich and the influential, leaving behind those who were most in need of assistance.
Following her many conquests, ░░░░░░ was supremely confident in her skills, but she was caught unprepared when she stumbled into the web of a global conspiracy—one that had also noticed her. With her security irreparably compromised, ░░░░░░ was forced to delete all traces of her identity and went into hiding.
She later reemerged as Sombra, upgraded and determined to find out the truth behind the conspiracy she had uncovered. Sombra launched an even more audacious string of hacks, and her exploits earned her no shortage of admirers, including Talon. She joined the organization's ranks and is believed to have contributed to its massive cyberattacks against corporations with strong ties to their governments. These efforts incited a popular revolution in Mexico against LumériCo and breached the security of Volskaya Industries, the manufacturing arm of Russia's anti-omnic defense.
- In the past, the team has had large monolithic patches that have anchored the entire expansion.
- A patch like Patch 6.2.3 was very effective. The team wasn't trying to add a ton of content, Moose Mount, Valor Points, Timewalking, and other things.
- Patch 7.1 is a good example of a medium sized patch.
- Patch 7.1.5 is Legion's first small patch, similar to Patch 6.2.3 in size. It will revolve around systems, new rewards, and evergreen content.
- Pushing out a smaller patch allows the team to give us some new content faster.
- Patches should be designed to be broken apart into multiple pieces, so that if one piece isn't ready, it can be removed and the rest of the content can be released.
- Patch 7.1.5 will have Mists of Pandaria Timewalking, with six dungeons.
- Timewalking will probably only ever be updated for the expansion before last. No one is excited about going to Warlords dungeons right now.
- Patch 7.1.5 will also bring back the Brawler's Guild! It will come back with dozens of new bosses.
- There will also be a new type of battle that can occasionally occur, called Rumbles. These spawn raid level bosses that will pull in all players who are waiting for their turn into the arena. Everyone can share in the rewards.
- A new currency is being added, earned through your brawls. It is spent on shared benefits, such as a graveyard that lets people respawn at a graveyard next to the fight area.
- There will be shirts and a Basilisk mount as rewards.
- New micro-holidays are coming. These might last a day or two, rather than a week or more. These are part of building a living word.
- Jan 22 - An'Qarj Remembrance Day.
- These holidays won't have any pets or mounts that you sad to miss out on the event.
- Valentine Guard Day - You can patrol the city and keep it safe from NPCs that attack.
- Hatching of the Hippogryphs - You can get a baby hippogryph that can perch on your shoulder, no battle pet or anything.
- Boat Day - Like Spring Break for Azeroth.
- Patch 7.1.5 will also update Blade's Edge Arena. No gameplay changes, just updated visuals. Arena will have a built in voice announcer, will call out some events.
- Patch 7.1.5 will also bring lots of class updates, allowing the team to make larger changes to classes rather than just number tuning.
- The team looked at all of the talent rows, there are some talents that are never worth considering. These talents may need tuning or redesign. The talents that 98% of players are taking may just need to be baked into the spec.
- This patch will also allow the team to look at secondary stats to make them a little more balanced, so that anything but one specific stat isn't useless. If an item has a higher item level, it should usually be an upgrade rather than having secondary stats make it a downgrade.
- The team is also going to try to improve the feel of the classes and add some utility to classes that had a little bit much pruning.
- Only allowing Survival Hunters to have traps was a mistake. Other specs don't feel like a Hunter when they don't have traps.
- Rogues that wish they had Shroud of Concealment will also be happy to see it return in Patch 7.1.5.
- Patch 7.1.5 - Artifact Knowledge catch up mechanisms, purchase levels without waiting up until Level 10 or more.
- Patch 7.1.5 is going on the PTR right after BlizzCon.
Patch 7.2 - Tomb of Sargeras
- Return to The Tomb of Sargeras, this time it might end differently.
- Continues the Order Hall Campaign.
- New Faction.
- New World Quests, including class world quests.
- Making our way to the tomb requires claiming a foothold and fortifying it. Build a base and plan the assault similar to Isle of Quel'danas. Players will be able to choose which buildings to build, allowing them to earn different rewards and change the story. Unlock world quests, rewards, vendors, world bosses. Not a linear progression this time.
- Legion Assaults - Inspired by pre-expansion event. Defend against Legion invasions in the Broken Isles.
- When a zone is under attack, world quests in that zone are disabled, the skybox turns dark, and the Legion appears in the skies. You will complete a variety of world quests to clear the Legion out of the zone. These count towards your Emissary quests. Once you clear out enough of the Legion forces, you can go after the commander.
- Once you finish the assault on the ground, you can join a three player scenario (role-agnostic) taking the fight to the Legion ships in the skies.
- Different invasion content for each zone.
- Flying returns! - The second part of the Pathfinder achievement is added, no raid or dungeon content required, just outdoor world gameplay.
- Flying will be unlocked account-wide!
- Each class will have their own epic class mount in the patch. These are rewarded by your Class Order campaign.
- After the Nighthold comes the Tomb of Sargeras. Nine boss raid.
- The Tomb of Sargeras was the Temple of Elune. Venture into underground caverns where allies of Queen Azshara await us.
- Another part of the Tomb has been sealed since the time of the Sundering.
- Infernal / Pit Lord type boss will come through a wall and block your path at the start of the raid.
- A melee variant of the Jailer is the second boss.
- Naga Brute and Sea Witch are up next.
- Fallen Avatar of Sargeras is another boss.
- Kil'jaeden himself awaits us as the final boss.
- New Dungeon - Cathedral of Eternal Night, 4 boss dungeon, normal, heroic, and mythic+ difficulty, use the Aegis of Aggramar to open the way.
- PvP Brawls
- Inspired by brawls in other Blizzard games. A week long event that varies gameplay and lets you experience PvP in a new way.
- Brawls will be fun and allow the team to experiment with different modes of PvP gameplay. If they are well received they could be added into the regular game.
- Southshore vs Tarren Mill, Warsong Gulch (cap the flag without requiring your own flag), Packed House (15v15 arena), Winter Arathi Basin (Low visibility due to weather, water frozen), Eye of the Horn (Eye of the Storm with everyone on Ram mounts)
- Further empower your Artifact, new traits, including a gold border one, three points with utility. Also allows you to put another point into all of your three point traits. 15 new points to be added. More Artifact Knowledge coming.
- New types of Relics are coming, modifying two traits!
- Patch 7.2 continues your Artifact Quest Line, allowing you to unlock the previously mentioned new traits.
- You will also be able to unlock another Artifact Appearance. This one will recognize solo player skill, mastery of your spec. Inspirited by Anathema and Benediction or the Warlock Green Fire quest.
- Guardian druids get a werewolf-bear style skin!
- Warriors are finally getting their flail weapon appearance.
- Patch 7.2 will retune Heroic and Mythic+ dungeons, both difficulty and rewards.
- Karazhan will be broken into Upper and Lower sections, queueable random heroics, Mythic+ as well.
- Court of Stars and The Arcway will also become queueable.
- New Keystone affixes are coming.
- Patch 7.2 - "Soon". Coming to the PTR after 7.1.5.
- Patch 7.2.5 coming after Patch 7.2.
- After Patch 7.2 we are going to Argus.
The Priests of Rathma—or necromancers, as outsiders call them—have long remained shrouded in mystery. Deep within the jungles of Kehjistan, they train to preserve the delicate balance between the forces of life and death. Now Sanctuary has need of their unique power, and the Priests of Rathma will answer.
You’re bound to have questions about this upcoming addition to Diablo III: Reaper of Souls. While some details are still coming together, consider this your one-stop shop for the initial lowdown on the master of the dead!
Q: What is the Necromancer?
A: The Necromancer will be the next fully-playable class introduced to Diablo III: Reaper of Souls. As 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. There are definitely exploding corpses.
Q: Who will be able to play the Necromancer?
A: We’re still settling on final details, but the Necromancer will be available as part of the Rise of the Necromancer pack, set to release in 2017. Players will need both Diablo III and Reaper of Souls to access this content (or, in the case of console, the Ultimate Evil Edition on PlayStation 4 or Xbox One).
Q: What will we get as part of the Rise of the Necromancer pack?
A: In addition to unlocking the Necromancer as a playable character, players will also receive an in-game pet, two additional character slots, two additional stash tabs (on PC), a portrait frame, pennant, banner, and banner sigil.
Q: When will the Necromancer be available for purchase/in-game?
A: Sometime in 2017—we’ll provide more details as we near release!
Q: How much will the pack cost?
A: We’re not ready to announce a price just yet. Stay tuned!
Q: Will the Necromancer be coming to all regions?
A: The Necromancer will be available in all regions that currently support Diablo III: Reaper of Souls or Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition. Details on accessing the new hero will be available at a later date.
Who is the Necromancer?
Q: Is this the same Necromancer from Diablo II or Xul from Heroes of the Storm?
A: No. The Necromancer playable characters will be two new nephalem heroes: one male, one female.
Q: Where is the female Necromancer?
A: The Necromancer is still in very early development. We’re hard at work on the class as a whole, and the female model just isn’t ready for us to share with you yet! Here’s some awesome concept art, though.
Q: How is the Necromancer different from the Witch Doctor?
A: The Necromancer and Witch Doctor are quite different in both theme and play style!
Witch Doctors draw their magic from their spiritual connection to a realm they call the Unformed Land. This more light-hearted take on supernatural powers allows them to command creepy crawly denizens of the jungle and summon mindless zombified pets.
Necromancers can expect darker, more controlled gameplay centered around the raw materials of life: blood and bone. Grounded in a philosophical, pragmatic approach to life and death, they’re more like a calculated conductor of the darkest arts. Deadly serious in their practice, they are the experts of curses and reanimation—and their pets obey their every command.
Q: What sort of skills or abilities can we expect from the Necromancer?
A: The Diablo III Necromancer is a reimagining of the classic Diablo II class. While not all of the Diablo II class skills will be returning, we drew a lot of inspiration from the previous version of the Necromancer and have taken the Diablo III version in a direction we hope you’ll love!
In addition to Corpse Explosion as shown above, here’s a few more of the skills we have in store:
Q: Will the Necromancer get set items and class-specific legendaries?
A: Yes! We are planning a full set of legendaries and set items for the Necromancer, including the class-specific scythe in their main hand. Additional details will follow at a later date!
The Dead Await Your Command
The Necromancer will be coming to Diablo III in 2017 and we’re eager to share more details with you as they become available. What are you looking forward to the most with the Necromancer? Are there any skills or nostalgic weapons you’d like to see our newest nephalem wield? Let us know in the comments section, and stay tuned for more information as development continues!
You think you’re big time, kid? You ain’t seen nothing yet! Come take a walk on the Mean Streets of Gadgetzan and I’ll show you who the real bosses are around here.
Gadgetzan: City of Opportunity
Listen up, pal. The great big city of Gadgetzan dat you see before you? It started out as a sleepy little desert town and a twinkle in da eye of a few ambitious folks eager to get their stubby little mitts on some coin. It only took a convenient, earth-shattering dragon attack to turn what were a few desert shanties into a bustling seaport, and dat brought in a new era of trade. With trade came money, and with money came power. Don’t fall asleep on me, kid, I’m tryin’ to make a point here!
Whether you’re here to see the sights, sample a few of Gadgetzan’s five star-fire restaurants, or to find a new friend to watch your back, you should know what’s really goin’ on behind da scenes. Walk with me, I’ll show you the sights. Da architecture in this burg is first class!
Who Runs the Streets?
Gadgetzan might look all excitin’ and cosmopoli-whateva on the outside—they have done a good job getting you tourists to visit, after all—but it’s also packed with hooligans, brawlers, and assassins down every alley, watching and lurking in the shadows. If the word on the street is true, you’ve made a bit of a name for yourself, and those unsavory characters are gonna want to make sure that you’re on their side or on no side at all, if you catch my drift. Better get to know da crime families that run the streets, and quick.
The Grimy Goons sure picked a flattering name for themselves. They’re your gangsters and weapon smugglers, eager to make their coin by equipping Gadgetzan with all sorts of untested and illegal weaponry. They’re easy to pick out of a crowd; you can usually smell ‘em before you see ‘em, but watch out for ill-fitting brown vests and garish orange ties. What they don’t have in brains, they make up with brawn.
Members of the Jade Lotus family excel in the ancient arts of stealth, assassination, and turning murlocs into finjas. Yeah, I said finjas. Don’t give me that look. I didn’t come up with that name. Rumor has it they’re meddling with some sort of ancestral juju and hitting the local art and relic exhibits—I don’t know how true that is, but I’ll tell you one thing: the statues outside their business are really creepy.
Need some mana quick? The Kabal got you covered. These crazy chemists control the illicit mana trade in Gadgetzan, and there’s never a shortage of magic-users looking for a little extra boost to their latest potent potable or kooky concoction. Just a warning: never drink what they offer you. You may up with a fuzzy coat of wool, or at the very least, a killer headache. Emphasis on the killer.
Pre-Purchase Mean Streets of Gadgetzan
Looking to get ahead of the pack? I can hook you up. Right now, you can pre-purchase a bundle of 50 Mean Streets of Gadgetzan card-packs for $49.99 USD. Don’t worry, my friends at the Bank of Gadgetzan are gonna hold ‘em in their vault for you until the expansion’s official release. It’ll be safe, I promise! Get it? SAFE! I kill me.
Gearin’ Up for Release
Got your buddies waiting for you? Good. You wanna be ready to hit the Mean Streets of Gadgetzan when it comes out for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android devices later this year. Just to keep you in the know, here’s some other important tidbits of information . . . but you didn’t hear it from me.
The Grimy Goons, the Kabal, and the Jade Lotus are going to show off their best and brightest to try and recruit you to their side. Check out the minions, spells, and weapons each crime family has to offer at gadgetzan.com. I hear they’ve even recruited some other big shots from around the globe to show off some cards.
My ugly goblin mug won’t be posting nothin’, but I’m sure there’s going to be some interesting pictures of Gadgetzan ending up on Facebook and Twitter. Who knows, you may get the attention of some of the big wigs if you use the hashtag #Gadgetzan. That’s when they know you’re in it to win— hashtags mean business. And hit up Talan at his bar if you have time. There’s always new information flowing through there, so I’m sure he’ll have something new to tell you.
Listen bud, it’s been a pleasure, but I got things to do and people to see. The mean streets wait for no one. I’ll see you on the other side, boss.