Blizzard seems to be having a hell of a time with its online auction houses lately.
Last month, a Diablo III patch introduced a gold-duplicating bug that forced the developer to take the game's auction house offline until it could fix the bug and audit players' accounts.
Blizzard announced this morning that Diablo III will be released on the PlayStation 3 on September 3, 2013. The company also revealed that an Xbox 360 version of the game has been in the works for quite some time and will release on the same date. Both games will be released simultaneously in the U.S., Canada, Spanish-speaking Latin America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.
It's been a year since Blizzard launched Diablo III to the masses, and even though it struggled in the beginning because the game requires a constant connection in order to play (and servers were constantly going down during the launch window), players eventually were able to play and enjoy the game.
Activision Blizzard majority stakeholder Vivendi is still interested in selling off the 61.2 percent it owns in the company but according to the Wall Street Journal, Activision Blizzard would like to buy back some of it. The WSJ reports that Activision Blizzard management is interested in using some of the cash reserves it has managed to stockpile to buy back at least some of what Vivendi owns. This is probably a good idea since Vivendi has been looking to offload its stake in the company since last year.
In Episode 51 hosts Andrew Eisen and E. Zachary Knight talk about the possible name of the next Xbox console from Microsoft, two studies about violent video games, Iron Man 3, the Diablo III gold duping exploit introduced in the last update to the game, and some other equally delightful topics related to video games. Download Episode 51 now: SuperPAC Episode 51 (1 hour, 15 minutes) 68.7 MB.
Blizzard is turning a bad situation into a good one by donating the money made from a money duping bug in the real money auction to a children's charity. Diablo III production director John Hight announced via the game's official forums this weekend the charitable contribution to the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. He said that those who made money of the exploit would have their ill-gotten gains donated as well as its transaction fee that it charges in the real-money auction for the game. The company did not disclose just how much money was made off of the glitch:
Blizzard announced that it will keep the Diablo III auction houses offline for awhile longer as it deals with the aftermath of a gold duping bug that was introduced in a patch released earlier this week. While the nasty little bug that saw a handful of users take advantage and create trillions of in-game gold has been squashed, Blizzard tells the community that it needs a little more time to audit players who may have used the exploit and made transactions in the auction houses.
The new Diablo III update has caused the game's in-game economy to go a little bit crazy after some enterprising (unscrupulous?) players found and exploited a gold duping bug. The problems with the game's economy forced Blizzard to shut down the game's auction house temporarily. According to some reports, the problems with the patch have enabled some players to generate "trillions" in gold. One post in the Battle.net forums claims that a user managed to amass a whopping 371 trillion gold using the exploit.
Blizzard Entertainment passed along a reminder that tickets go on sale for BlizzCon later this week in three different allotments. The tickets for the annual fan gathering put on by Blizzard Entertainment (November 8 and 9 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Southern California) sell out very fast, so being prepared is essential to getting your hands on them.
Mark those calendars and get ready to camp out at the official BlizzCon site at the end of April! Blizzard Entertainment announced the dates when you'll be able to pick up tickets for its upcoming fan gathering, BlizzCon 2013. Tickets for BlizzCon 2013 will officially go on sale in two batches on Wednesday, April 24 at 7 p.m. PDT (10 PM EST) and Saturday, April 27 at 10 a.m. PDT (1 PM EST) through the official BlizzCon website.
When Diablo 3 lands on the PS3 and PS4 it won't have some of the features or the requirements that its PC counterpart currently has. According to Polygon, a Blizzard official told them at PAX East this weekend that Diablo 3 will not require a constant internet connection in order to play.
Blizzard's first foray into free-to-play isn't an MMO, or an online action or strategy game - it's a collectible card game based on the popular Warcraft universe. Today at PAX East (even as it was showing off a special build of Diablo III for PS3), Blizzard revealed a free-to-play strategy card game for Windows, Mac, and iPad called Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft.
Animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) are now protesting the treatment of aliens. Yes, they have decided that they will hand out fliers at the launch event of StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm in Irvine, Calif. tonight. The launch event, which will have several members of Blizzard Entertainment on hand at the Irvine GameStop, will be treated to the kind of ridiculous protests that only a group like PETA can put on. So what will they be doing at the Heart of the Swarm event?
Director Sam Raimi claims that nine months worth of work on a World of Warcraft film was wasted because Blizzard Entertainment "mismanaged" production. Speaking to Vulture, he made his case for why the movie he was directing never happened:
Diablo 3 for the PS3 and PS4 will not feature cross-platform play but it will include an offline mode for PS3 and PS4 players. PC players cannot play the game without being connected to Battle.net - even when playing single-player. The clarification on cross-platform play was made by the game's community manager Vaeflare on the Battle.net forums.
Diablo III Director and longtime Blizzard developer Jay Wilson announced via a Battle.net forum thread that he would be moving on to another project and leaving his post for the popular online action RPG. But what was supposed to be a moment of reflection and sincerity quickly turned into a frenzy against Wilson for all of the problems the game has had since launch.
Blizzard Entertainment announced via its official blog that it managed to raise $2.3 million for the American Red Cross’s ongoing Superstorm Sandy relief efforts in the month of December. World of Warcraft players were given the opportunity to purchase a new in-game pet during the month, and stepped up in droves to help raise the money.
Blizzard Entertainment announced that it will not implement the planned Team Deathmatch multiplayer mode for Diablo III. Diablo III lead game director Jay Wilson made the announcement on Battle.net. He explained why the company decided to scrap the mode:
"In continuing to develop this mode, playtest it, and put it in front of other developers within the company, we've found that it falls short of our expectations for a high-quality Blizzard experience," said Wilson.
Blizzard has banned "several thousand" Diablo III players for using bots, according to this Battle.net forum thread. In announcing the bans, Blizzard said that these kinds of acts (using cheats and exploits) are "undermining the spirit of fair play," and that the company plans to release new tools in the early part of 2013 that make it easier for players to report bad player behavior and cheating to Blizzard.
Blizzard community manager Lylirra announced the bans on the Battle.net forums:
Gallery Nucleus announced that its very first event for 2013 will be an awesome showcase of Blizzard's art from various games. On January 12 and running until February 3, Gallery Nexus will host "The Art of Blizzard Entertainment Book Launch and Art Exhibition." The opening reception will be held on Saturday, January 12, 2013 from 7:00pm – 11:00pm. The Nucleus exhibition will feature over 50 pieces of artwork from various Blizzard game universes such as Diablo, StarCraft, and Warcraft.
Blizzard will give 100 percent of sales of Cinder Kittens from the World of Warcraft Pet Store to the Red Cross and disaster relief for the victims of Hurricane Sandy. The previously announced pet the Cinder Kitten can be yours for $10 USD. This fiery little feline is warm, adorable and will light the steps of any adventurer kind enough to adopt it. The Cinder Kitten has Rare-quality stats and is a part of the Elemental family.
While Blizzard decided not to run a BlizzCon fan gathering event this year, the popular event that celebrates StarCraft, Warcraft, Diablo, and World of Warcraft will return in 2013 and will be the place to see to Blizzard Global Finals 2013. Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime confirmed this news during a press conference at the Blizzard World Championships held in Shanghai, China.
Morhaime also said that he wants to see some fixes to the current challenges that face specators and participants of e-sports.
While many have been keen to point out the continued decline of Blizzard Entertainment's World of Warcraft subscriber numbers, there's some good news for the company today: the latest expansion has given the game a boost past the 10 million subscriber mark. Back in August Blizzard revealed that its paid subscriber numbers had fallen to 9.1 million.
"It’s been gratifying to see the results of all of the work we put into this expansion and to hear all of the positive feedback from players so far," Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime said.
An analyst at Lazard Capital is telling VentureBeat that early sales indicators on the newest World of Warcraft expansion, Mists of Pandaria, are below expectations. The firm estimates 600-700k copies of the expansion sold at retail since its launch on Tuesday, down a whopping 60 percent from the previous expansion. VentureBeat notes that this estimate probably doesn't take into account digital downloads of the expansion.
This story on Slashdot Games reveals that screenshots taken in World of Warcraft have secret watermarks that can be used by Blizzard to track users - particularly when they are engaged in behavior considered to be illegal or that violates World of Warcraft's terms of service.
The story began a few days ago when a World of Warcraft players noticed that there was an odd mark on a screenshot he had taken in-game:
According to a report on C&VG, Vivendi has not ruled out a sale of its majority stake in Activision Blizzard.
Blizzard Entertainment has been forced to cut off access to its popular MMO World of Warcraft to subscribers in Iran, due to ongoing (in an earlier version of the story we used the term "new" to describe the trade sanctions, which was not accurate.) U.S. trade sanctions against the country. The company issued the following statement to a thread complaining about World of Warcraft not being available in the region:
If you thought the makers of World of Warcraft were sitting around wringing their hands over the trend to rush towards full free-to-play models, think again. Blizzard Entertainment's John Lagrave, the producer for World of Warcraft, tells Computer & Video Games that the company has no plans to raise the level cap for free players above level 20. The company introduced the free Starter Edition of the game in June, which lets players fool around within the virtual world - without too many restrictions - up to level 20.