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Pull up a chair by the hearth: Battle.net desktop app now supports chat with friends

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Pull up a chair by the hearth: Battle.net desktop app now supports chat with friends

Hearthstone with Friends has been a slightly complicated process since launch - more often than not involving an external meet-up via Skype, followed by an exchanging of numerical game IDs from a main menu determined not to minimise under any circumstances.

That’s to change - and in WoW, and Diablo, and StarCraft - with the introduction of direct chat to the battle.net desktop app.

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What you sow: Diablo III: Reaper of Souls sells 2.7 million copies in first week

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What you sow: Diablo III: Reaper of Souls sells 2.7 million copies in first week

Blizzard took a risk with Diablo III’s first ever expansion: they separated Loot 2.0 out into a free update, and let Reaper of Souls stand by itself. And it worked: a new campaign, Crusader class and adventure mode proved enough meat to pull in current and relapsed players alike, to the tune of 1.5 million thwarted Malthaels - and 2.7 million copies in the first week.

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DDOS attacks disrupt European servers for Diablo III, World of Warcraft, StarCraft II and Hearthstone

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DDOS attacks disrupt European servers for Diablo III, World of Warcraft, StarCraft II and Hearthstone

Somebody told me yesterday that April Fools' Day is for people with no sense of humour; that its jokes leave only the teller laughing, and are therefore the opposite of comedy. I’m still not convinced, but a morning of DDOS batterings certainly makes the argument persuasive.

A series of attacks against certain European online services have triggered a wave of disconnections and latency issues across Blizzard’s four pillars of connected PC gaming - Diablo III, World of Warcraft, StarCraft II and Hearthstone.

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Blizzard on Diablo III's missing PvP: "There's probably not a week that goes by that we're not talking about it"

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Blizzard on Diablo III's missing PvP: "There's probably not a week that goes by that we're not talking about it"

The auction house is dead. Loot 2.0 is go. Reaper of Souls is out. But the question of PvP still remains. Since the Diablo III dev team scrapped team deathmatch, only an apologetic brawling mode has emerged in the way of competitive slashing.

But lead producer Alex Mayberry says Blizzard still talk about PvP “all the time".

“There’s probably not a week that goes by that we’re not talking about about PvP," he told PCGamesN. “That being said, I don’t know when, or if, we’re going to get it in."

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Another rung closer to perfection: Diablo III to get ranked ladder support "in a couple of months"

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Another rung closer to perfection: Diablo III to get ranked ladder support "in a couple of months"

For the last couple of weeks, Diablo III game director Josh Mosqueira has collapsed into winks and nudges at any mention of a potential ladder system for the interconnected RPG. Nobody’s been sure whether he’s hinting at an imminent release, or displaying an involuntary reaction to a much-requested feature he knows he can’t deliver.

Turns out it’s the former: Diablo’s worst kept secret, season play, will come in Reaper of Souls’ first big content patch in a couple of months’ time.

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Here is the Diablo III: Reaper of Souls release schedule, region by region

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Here is the Diablo III: Reaper of Souls release schedule, region by region

Blizzard are almost ready to unleash the thematically unusual latest chapter in the Diablo III saga, Reaper of Soles: about the the hooved demon, Maltheus, driven to bring the world to heel by jealousy over the human capacity to wear shoes (don’t ever mention heels while he’s about, mind).

It’s a story we’ll all know first-hand by tomorrow. But precisely when? Here’s the expansion’s ever-so-slightly complicated release schedule, which begins rolling out across the world later today.

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Diablo III servers in Sydney make for "smoother, more responsive" looting in Australia and New Zealand

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Diablo III servers in Sydney make for "smoother, more responsive" looting in Australia and New Zealand

Say what you like about Malthael, the Silent Angel, the Guardian, the Angel of Death, Architect of the Eternal Conflict, former Archangel of Wisdom, ex-leader of the Angiris Council. Say what you like about that bloke, but he doesn’t discriminate when it comes to eradicating humanity and the nephalem.

New servers have been deployed ahead of the release of Reaper of Souls on Tuesday. They should result in a “smoother" looting experience for players in Australia and New Zealand.

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Diablo III login bug causes hardcore massacre: players left naked and helpless

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Diablo III login bug causes hardcore massacre: players left naked and helpless

You know that dream everyone has when they wake up in Sanctuary with no clothes on, surrounded by laughing cacodemons? Unlucky Diablo III players logged into the game last night to find their items, armour and weapons had disappeared.

Most found that the nightmare was over after a couple of repeated login attempts - but others were playing in Hardcore, Diablo’s permadeath mode. Cue screams.

Blizzard normally enact a blanket no-rollback policy - but have said they’ll consider restoring ignobly killed characters on a case by case basis, just this once.

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Two victories in one day: Maxis and Blizzard's dramatic turnaround

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Two victories in one day: Maxis and Blizzard's dramatic turnaround

Remember this date: March 18th, 2014. It’s a special day, where two villains were put in the ground for good. Diablo 3’s accursed Auction House and SimCity’s infuriating always-online “feature" are no more, or in the case of the latter, no more unless you actually want it.

It’s certainly taken a long time, a lot of shouting and a lot of angry forum posts, but the end result has been a victory of sorts. Communities were listened to, and affected significant changes in their respective games. It doesn’t happen so often that it isn’t worthy of note, and it’s just happened twice in one day.

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Ding dong: Diablo 3's Auction House will be an ex-Auction House by 3AM PST tomorrow

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Ding dong: Diablo 3's Auction House will be an ex-Auction House by 3AM PST tomorrow

The Diablo 3 Auction House will be taken out and filled with lead in less than a day. Come 3AM PST, it will cease to exist, consigned to the abyss from whence it came. The event will probably be marked by a celebration in the streets, but mainly because it will coincide with scheduled maintenance for American players, so what else is there to do?

Blizzard has updated the FAQ, explaining exactly how the dismantling of the Auction House will affect players.

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Diablo III director hints at ladder support post-Reaper of Souls

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Diablo III director hints at ladder support post-Reaper of Souls

Blizzard have been teasing a competitive ladder for Diablo III for absolutely yonks. On the first anniversary of the game’s release in May, designer Wyatt Cheng said the dev team were “definitely looking into" the possibility of ranked seasons - but warned it “wouldn’t be viable until an expansion".

Well, guess what comes out at the end of this month? The imminent release of Reaper of Souls, and the fact that game director Josh Mosqueira’s tweets have turned cryptic of late, give us reason to believe in seasons.

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You've got red on you: First Look at Reaper of Souls' Blood Marsh

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You've got red on you: First Look at Reaper of Souls' Blood Marsh

When you name a location “Blood Marsh," you are creating certain expectations; that visitors will bleed or at the very least see blood, and that it’s probably going to be a marsh. 

Blood Marsh is the next location in Blizzard’s First Look series, detailing the new environments in the upcoming expansion, Reaper of Souls. It lives up to the name.

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Diablo III patch 2.0.2 keeps auction house running, for now

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Diablo III patch 2.0.2 keeps auction house running, for now

On March 18, Blizzard will break apart Diablo III’s auction house themselves. They’ve finally come to realise that it “ultimately undermines Diablo’s core play", and that the business of killing and looting demons is better off without it.

Until that day, however, they’ll defend it to the last. The headline change for the game’s latest patch is a fix to the loot exchange system: gold can once again be purchased and sold on the Real Money Auction House.

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Redeem your Reaper of Souls key before March 31st and get the Demon Hunter for Heroes of the Storm

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Redeem your Reaper of Souls key before March 31st and get the Demon Hunter for Heroes of the Storm

The Reaper is coming, the Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls specifically. Souls are indeed a form of currency for Blizzard. If you’re into that sort of thing, you might like to pick up Reaper of Souls. If you grab it and redeem your key before March 31st, you’ll get a couple of gifts from Blizzard. 

You can strut around Diablo 3 with some flaming Archangel wings and, this is probably a bigger deal, you’ll unlock Valla the Demon Hunter for Heroes of the Storm, when it eventually launches. Future rewards!

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Freeper of Souls: Diablo III patch 2.0.1 rolls out today, and Loot 2.0 with it

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Freeper of Souls: Diablo III patch 2.0.1 rolls out today, and Loot 2.0 with it

Hollywood teaches us that the sea retreats from the shore right before the biggest wave hits, as if Poseidon himself is gearing up for a really snotty sneeze. Today, Blizzard are breathing in. They’ve recalled their closed beta for next month’s Reaper of Souls expansion and pulled down the Public Test Realm for its imminent, accompanying patch: 2.0.1.

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Blizzard gear up for Diablo III 2.0: explain Clans and Communities, prep players for auction house closure

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Blizzard gear up for Diablo III 2.0: explain Clans and Communities, prep players for auction house closure

Reaper of Souls is nigh, and even Diablo III players who go without will feel palpable change once it hits. By March 24, the auction house will be gone, and a slew of new social features will hit the game. Be the envy of your friends when that time comes by swotting up on the key differences between a Clan and a Community now, and learning the precise date when the last hammer will drop at auction.

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