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Thursday, October 26, 2000

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Update on D2 Expansion and Warcraft III
9:54 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Our affiliate site Gamecenter has been blessed with a recent visit from Blizzard's Bill Roper, who revealed both the Diablo II: Lord of Destruction expansion pack and Warcraft III, the sequel still in early development.

Due early next year, the expansion pack for popular real-time RPG Diablo II will feature two new character classes, an entire new act, many gameplay tweaks and hundreds of new objects and 'uniques' to discover. Here's a clip from the article with details:

Blizzard wanted to make the expansion appeal to old-time Diablo II players, so it went back and rethought the item system. In the expansion, each of the game's seven character classes will have class-specific weapons. The Paladin will have special shields, the Amazon gloves and gauntlets, the Necromancer totems, the Sorceress magical orbs, the Barbarian helms, the Assassin katars or claws, and the Druid pelts. Blizzard also rethought item sets, or groups of specialized items that the character collects over the course of the game. One of the problems with the item sets in Diablo II was that the developers spread the items out too much, so by the time you finally managed to complete a set you'd be late in the game and would already have had better pieces of equipment. So Blizzard has trimmed down the number of items in a set, and will make it easier to assemble them. Also, each item in a set will have special bonuses, and if you complete a set you'll gain additional bonuses above and beyond what each individual piece carries.
These all sound like excellent additions to the gameplay of a title which is already quite refined.

Roper also discussed Warcraft III, the full-3D sequel to the still-popular Warcraft II. This third generation was originally designed to be more RPG than RTS, but to preserve the action that Warcraft fans love, they have scaled back the RPG elements. The result is an interesting mix of strategy and role-playing, which is surely still in a certain bit of flux considering the early stage of development. Here's an excerpt from Gamecenter's report on this title:

At the heart of the game is the concept of the hero character, a powerful individual unit that gains experience points and becomes more powerful by learning new skills and abilities. As they level up, hero characters also gain improved stats, such as Strength, Agility, and Intelligence. Strength is related to hit points, health, and attack power; Agility measures movement speed; and Intelligence affects how much manna you have and how fast it regenerates. Higher-level hero characters can affect units in their sphere of influence, so a hero character with a command aura boosts the attack rating of friendly units near him.
Both of these titles are sure to be exceptional hits, as Blizzard has the ultimate 'golden touch' in the gaming industry. The Mac version of Diablo II: Lord of Destruction should be released in the first half of next year, with Warcraft III following in late 2001, if all goes well.

Blizzard Web Site
Gamecenter D2, Warcraft III Update
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Archives  News  Update on D2 Expansion and Warcraft III