So here I am, sitting in lovely Anaheim, CA. Then trip out here was fun and eventful. We're still recovering from Hurricane Ike, so I've been swamped with roof repairs and tree clearing and insurance dealings for the past several weeks. A trip was just what I needed to get away from it all for a bit. The flight was ok. There were a buncha kids, really small kids, stroller and carseat sized kids, the kind who tend to make a lot of noise on planes. There was also an escorted convict on the flight, looked like something from the movies, shackles and the stereotypical jacket hung over the wrist cuffs. Then my cab, oh jeez, I've never thought we were going to rearend someone more times in my life. The driver was one of those who like to stay about 2 feet off the car in front's bumper, regardless of how fast they're going or other traffic conditions. But I made it to my hotel alive, and checked in, only to discover the guy in the room next to me is probably an OCD crackhead... I spent most of the night listening to him opening and closing every drawer and door in his room over and over while talking very loudly to himself about nonsensical things...
BlizzCon opened this morning to a mad rush of screaming fans. So far I've attended the opening ceremony/speech and a panel on the classes in Diablo 3. The Wizard was announced and added to the class listing for Diablo 3 during the opening speech. Very interesting looking class, definitely my pick to play of the 3 debuted so far. The stereotypical glass canon taken to the next level. It definitely seems like this BlizzCon is very much more focused on Diablo 3 and Starcraft 2 than WoW, even with the expansion right around the corner. But then again there isn't much they could say about WotLK that they haven't already said at this point. And no mention or even hints at their top secret in-the-works new MMO, not that I had any real hope there would be this far out.
Anyway, stay tuned and I'll update as I'm able. Back to get some playtime in on D3 now. :)
More info about the skill system in D3, there will indeed be skill trees, as there have been in Diablo previously, but they're going back to the skills dropping as loot like in Diablo 1. Also there's a "rune system" where you can add runes to your skills to change the functionality and appearance of them. Some of the examples they gave were with the Wizard's teleport skill and the Witch Doctor's flaming skull skill. They showed the base teleport skill, which functioned the same as it always has, just jumps you to a different area on the screen. Then they added a "striking rune" to the skill which caused the Wizard to do damage to mobs in the area where she appeared. And then they added a "multi-strike rune" to it which caused the wizard to teleport around the screen hitting multiple enemies kinda like Nightcrawler does in the Marvel Alliance games. With the flaming skull skill, when they added the "multi-strike rune" to it, it caused the skull to bounce damaging multiple enemies in a path, the farther you threw it, the more bounces it took. They also added a "power rune" to it which caused the skill to leave areas of fire on the ground that would damage any enemies that wandered into them. They also showed the Wizard's electrocute skill, which works kinda like chain lightning in the previous game. By adding "multi-strike" to it, it caused the lightning to bounce to more enemies. They also showed it with a "lethality rune" added to it which caused any enemy hit to explode doing radial damage. Overall I think the system looks to be very well done and interesting, definitely leading to some high levels of customization and differentiation.
In Starcraft 2 news, they just announced that SC2 will actually be 3 games instead of just one. Basically the stories they wrote for each campaign would have taken far too long to make as a single product, so they're splitting them up and launching them individually. Instead of the 10-12 missions per campaign like in previous games, the campaigns in the SC2 trilogy will have 26-30 missions, with lots of branching missions and such. The first to be released will be the Terran, followed by the Zerg and finally the Protoss. But fear not on the multiplayer skirmish front, all 3 races will be finished and functional in all 3 products for multiplayer skirmishes.