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World of Warcraft Classic Reunites Players Who Haven’t Seen Each Other In A Decade

World of Warcraft has its stalwarts, players who’ve been around since the good ol’ days of Onyxia and Ragnaros. It also has its transients. Maybe they were diehard players for a couple years in high school. Maybe they were living that sweet bachelor life. For whatever reason, they left. Now, thanks to the recent release of WoW Classic, many of them are back and reuniting with old friends.

The promise of WoW Classic, which came out on August 26, was not merely a return to gameplay systems and settings from the expansion-free “vanilla” iteration of WoW; it was an attempt to recreate the feeling of the community at the time. Modern World of Warcraft streamlines dungeon-running, raiding, and PVP, but back in 2006, the time period that WoW Classic recreates, players had much more direct interaction. More organic conversations spurred by a need to group up, more chance meetings between strangers destined to become lifelong friends, more getting backstabbed in the jungles of Stranglethorn Valve by rogues who didn’t have anything better to do at the time. Let’s not rewrite history here: Compared to earlier MMOs, WoW has always been a rigidly designed theme park first and a living, breathing world second. But in the vanilla days, many players argue, it felt a little more alive.

This feeling has brought back lapsed players in droves, and many WoW players have been surprised to find that old bonds between pals—the chains rusted thanks to 10 or 15 years of neglect—still hold up.

Chris Price, a player who started a Discord for more than 300 old WoW friends, was worried about possible drama flare ups at first, but has been relieved to find that, so far, everybody’s getting along.

“At first I thought there would be some awkwardness and friction because, let’s be honest, not everyone was on good terms back then,” Price told Kotaku in an email. “Some people rubbed other people the wrong way, old drama, etc. But I’m surprised to see that most people put all of that behind them and have met each other with open arms.”

One thing that might help: Everybody’s grown up now, where many of them were teenagers back in the day. “We often joke about a lot of the drama back then, laughing at how ridiculous things were now that we’re all older and have a bit of perspective,” said Price.

Of course, there are also drawbacks to the maturity that accompanies the unceasing march of time—namely, people now have less time for the game that once consumed most of their waking hours.

“The group I played with back then were full of hardcore raiders,” Price said. “A lot of us were doing server-first raid content with our respective guilds and hitting Grand Marshal/High Warlord and PVPing for 20+ hours a day to do so. Now we’re older and we don’t have that much time. Most people haven’t even hit [level] 60 yet, barring a few outliers (myself included). Even those that have hit it are reluctant to hit up the raiding circuit again because we’ve ‘been there, done that’ and are more in-tune with the social aspect that the game offers.”

Perhaps, though, it’s for the best, said Price. “We often joke about doing the Marshal/Warlord [PVP rank] grind again and usually just laugh off how much time we’d probably have to sink into the game to be able to achieve it, and how little time we all have now that most of us have full-time jobs, families, and kids.”

Another player, who goes by the handle Kroguardious, mourns the old days in which he and his friends used to get together in real life and host late-night LAN parties, but says that WoW Classic has allowed them to split the difference between their raucous, sleep-deprived high school marathons and their more complicated adult lives.

“Now we’re all moved out of our parents’ places and in our own apartments, and all but one of us are cemented in our career fields,” he said in a Twitter DM. “We all moved apart, and our computers have all gotten much bigger, so dragging everything to one spot for a LAN party like we used to is not going to happen. Having an online way to reconnect has been perfect, and its something we all had ties to, as our interests have grown apart slightly over the years and we haven’t all been able to get into and enjoy the same game since we left WoW.”

WoW Classic has allowed some players to rekindle even closer connections. Dusty Braddish, who was 14 when he first started playing World of Warcraft in the vanilla days, has reconnected with someone who he says was like a father to him. At the time, Braddish’s parents had just gotten divorced, and he was going through “a not-so-ideal living situation in the real world.” His mom was suffering from depression, he didn’t get along with his stepdad, and his father, who he loved dearly, was suddenly no longer consistently in his life, he says. His guild master, who was older, gave him a shoulder to lean on.

“My GM had had some life experiences that my father hadn’t that I think prove useful when being a mentor/meaningful figure for a young man,” Braddish told Kotaku in an email. “He had experiences with many groups of people and always treated everyone as equals without hesitation, and showed that you can be serious/professional while still being silly… My GM was the shining example of how to lead in the creation of a warm and welcoming environment.”

Braddish said his guild master mentored and encouraged him, letting him lead raids and organize guild activities “despite knowing I was quite young.” He’d also make sure Braddish got a chance to talk during officer meetings where more brash personalities were dominating. “Considering I went on to become a leader in college/grad school and now in my professional work, I have to think that played a fairly large part in my development and where I am now,” said Braddish.

Now Braddish is playing the game again, and he’s been overjoyed to discover that he and his old guildmates—including his guildmaster—have been able to pick up right where they left off. It’s been an interesting experience for him, given that he now perceives himself as a completely different person.

“I should say nothing has changed in our dynamic within WoW,” Braddish said. “Personally, I am a completely different person these days. I’ve finished high school, gone to college, gone to grad school, and been working in the ‘real world’ for years now. My GM seems to be largely the same, but I would say that’s because he was much older in the vanilla days. Whereas I began playing at 14, he was in his late 20s and already been through his most formative years.”

They’re now making new memories in old haunts, marinating in memories and reforging old bonds. “Oddly enough, many of the new ‘good old times’ are the same as the old ‘good old times’ just because we’re playing the same game as we were back then,” said Braddish. “Running Deadmines and Scarlet Monastery again, getting Dartol’s Rod of Transformation—which turns your character into a furbolg, a sort of ridiculous looking bear—and spamming our warcry while fighting and at the end of battles. It’s just a combination of small moments such as those.”

There is, however, a potential storm cloud hovering over the glow players are currently basking in: This could all be temporary. Many WoW Classic players are now adults with families and other responsibilities, and even if that wasn’t the case, WoW Classic itself is finite. Eventually, everyone will hit level 60 again, or raid until they have all the best possible gear. Some haven’t even stuck around long enough to reach the top of that proverbial mountain.

A player who goes by the handle “WestEschaton” told Kotaku that his old friends only messed around in WoW Classic for a couple weeks. Then they bounced. For all of vanilla WoW’s strengths, its grind often nosedived straight into tedium territory. The same is true of WoW Classic.

“In a couple of cases, the fond nostalgia of leveling in vanilla was replaced by the frustration of killing five dozen goretusks to get eight livers,” WestEschaton said in a Twitter DM. “I think that mostly [my friends] wanted to come back for a couple of weeks and just see how it went.”

WestEschaton said he thinks that even though WoW Classic is like stepping into a time machine, the environment, community, and culture surrounding it is still very much a product of 2019—not 2004. WoW Classic’s plains and wastelands are well-charted territory at this point, with countless guides available via Google and YouTube, and many WoW Classic players pre-formed their own guilds and groups on platforms like Discord (which was not around back in 2004) instead of allowing them to emerge organically in the game. These things do not intrinsically make connections between players any better or worse than they were in WoW’s vanilla days, but they do change the nature of interactions in the world itself.

“Community for me back then was a lot of not knowing anything about what was going on and there not being a lot of help available other than what other players knew,” WestEschaton said. “That’s entirely different now… Video gaming is in a very different place now than it was in 2005, and if you play games at all, it’s very likely that you’ve changed with it. In essence, it’s pretty unlikely that you can take a large group of 2019 gamers, put them down in a 2005 game, and have them be happy. Museums are nice places to visit.”

Then there’s the question of what comes next. At some point, WoW Classic will have to advance beyond the halcyon vanilla days, or else even relatively casual players will eventually run out of things to do. If Blizzard opts to slowly dole out the same old expansions, there’s a good chance that lapsed players will just lapse again, given that many of them burnt out on Burning Crusade and the content that followed.

Kroguardious is concerned for WoW Classic’s future. “My fear is that they will just continue re-releasing each [expansion pack] and eventually we’ll no longer have our common place,” he said.

What he’d prefer, then, is for Blizzard to use WoW Classic as the jumping-off point for a divergent timeline. “I’d love to see a new timeline that follows the Classic style of gameplay,” he said. “No new level cap, or maybe only going up by one with a new expansion. Maybe we chase Kel’Thuzad’s phylactery to Northrend right away and defeat the Lich King before he’s built up such a powerful armory, and an entire new story takes place. That’d be a dream come true.”

For now, though, many players are just trying to savor their present moment of reliving the past.

“For some people, it might be temporary,” said Price. “Some people I know hit their 30s-40s, when the game really starts to hit its grind, and trickled off to play other things, and I totally understand that. I think others may get tired of it and stop playing altogether, but the community has made a lasting impression on most. The amount of expression seen in chat when an old friend or known community member hops in never gets old… I’m happy that it was able to help these people reconnect and hope that those connections continue for a long, long time.”

Source: Kotaku.com

World of Warcraft’s Greatest Tragedies Look So Much Cuter In A Pop-Up Book

Last year, in the lead-up to World of Warcraft’s Battle for Azeroth expansion, Horde leader Sylvanas Windrunner went a bit more evil than usual. She set the world tree ablaze, destroying the night elf capital of Teldrassil and murdering countless innocents in the process. It was one of the most horrific events in the online role-playing game’s history. It’s also a delightful papercraft creation in the upcoming <a rel="nofollow" data-amazonasin="194568366X" data-amazonsubtag="[t|link[p|1838287009[a|194568366X[au|5724686334600252479[b|kotaku[lt|text" onclick="window.ga('send', 'event', 'Commerce', 'kotaku – World of Warcraft's Greatest Tragedies Look So Much Cuter In A Pop-Up Book‘, ‘194568366X’);window.ga(‘unique.send’, ‘event’, ‘Commerce’, ‘kotaku – World of Warcraft's Greatest Tragedies Look So Much Cuter In A Pop-Up Book‘, ‘194568366X’);” data-amazontag=”kotakuamzn-20″ href=”https://www.amazon.com/World-Warcraft-Pop-Up-Book/dp/194568366X/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=world+of+warcraft+pop-up+book&qid=1568994581&sr=8-1&tag=kotakuamzn-20&ascsubtag=8f9cc87c5444531780a87d2cc290baf0d6d97fa9″>World of Warcraft Pop-Up Book. You can almost smell the roasting night elves.

History, be it real-world history or fantasy MMO history, is full of terror and death and tragedy, but learning about history doesn’t have to be. The pop-up book, one of papercraft’s finest creations, can add depth, whimsy, and fun to even the most heartrending events.

The next major event in the Horde and Alliance war following the burning of Teldrassil was the Battle for Lordaeron. In the heat of the confrontation, Sylvanas ordered the ruins of the ancient Alliance capital that served as the capstone to the undead Undercity to be bombarded with blight, rendering it completely inhospitable for even the living dead. The World of Warcraft Pop-Up book lets children of all ages experience the ruins from a safe distance, preserving history and health at the same time.

As a special bonus, the book includes a fold-out depicting what Stormwind looks like when you’re drunk.

Hopefully next they make the World of Warcraft Classic Pop-Up Book, which is the same thing only with scissors so you can cut out the new bits.

Source: Kotaku.com

World Of Warcraft Classic Is Currently Facing DDoS Attacks And Is Down For Many Players [Update]

World Of Warcraft Classic is currently down for some players. The issues have been happening since around 11 AM EST in the United States. Blizzard has confirmed that the game is currently facing DDoS attacks and is working to fix the issues and get the game back up and running.

Some WOW fans believe they have found the group behind the attacks. Earlier today a Twitter account named UkDrillas claimed credit for the DDoS attack, giving a 30-minute warning before many players began running into connection errors.

It has not been confirmed by Blizzard if this user or group is actually responsible. As of 5:34 EST pm the account was promising more attacks and outages.

On the Blizzard forums, players are upset over the outages and sharing errors they are running into. No word from Blizzard about when servers will be back in working order.

Update (10:25 AM): Overnight Blizzard was able to get the servers stabilized and has confirmed the outage has ended.

Source: Kotaku.com

World Of Warcraft Classic Is Currently Facing DDoS Attacks And Is Down For Many Players [Update]

World Of Warcraft Classic is currently down for some players. The issues have been happening since around 11 AM EST in the United States. Blizzard has confirmed that the game is currently facing DDoS attacks and is working to fix the issues and get the game back up and running.

Some WOW fans believe they have found the group behind the attacks. Earlier today a Twitter account named UkDrillas claimed credit for the DDoS attack, giving a 30-minute warning before many players began running into connection errors.

It has not been confirmed by Blizzard if this user or group is actually responsible. As of 5:34 EST pm the account was promising more attacks and outages.

On the Blizzard forums, players are upset over the outages and sharing errors they are running into. No word from Blizzard about when servers will be back in working order.

Update (10:25 AM): Overnight Blizzard was able to get the servers stabilized and has confirmed the outage has ended.

Source: Kotaku.com

Over A Million People Are Watching World of Warcraft Classic On Twitch

Image: Asmongold

After two years of anticipation, WoW Classic is finally live. Top streamers from every corner of Twitch are streaming it right now, resulting in an audience of over one million concurrent viewers—and some seriously congested starter areas.

As of this writing, the slavering horde of Horde (and Alliance) fans topped out at 1.1 million people. That’s a colossal number for a single game on Twitch. For reference, Fortnite has been recently pulling between 100,000 and 200,000 concurrent viewers at any given moment. It’s rare that even big esports events bring this kind of attention to a single game.

Even more impressively, WoW Classic pulled in the majority of these viewers while streamers were waiting to be able to log in. For example, by the time he was able to join a server, popular WoW streamer Asmongold was already at more than 200,000 viewers. Other popular streamers like Sodapoppin and Shroud, the latter of whom hasn’t traditionally been much of a WoW streamer, have attracted similarly gargantuan gaggles of gawking spectators. So too has top WoW guild Method, which is hosting an event where various personalities and high-level players race to be the world’s first players to complete, er, basically everything.

Even individual streamers are racing to level up, and the reason for that is simple: They want to physically separate themselves from the rest of the pack. Servers, especially ones that popular streamers have joined, are absolutely slammed right now, with tangled body piles of players rolling Katamari-like across the landscape and converging on quest-givers and low-level enemies alike.

It is comical to watch, but also frustrating, since enemies are having a hard time spawning quickly enough to keep up with demand, and the game is hitching and lagging in great, heaving bursts. Meanwhile, players who haven’t made it in yet are reporting hours-long server queue times. Granted, this is not entirely streamers’ fault. A lot of people have been waiting a long, long time to return to vanilla WoW’s boar-filled fields.

Still, despite technological improvements that are no doubt keeping the servers from plummeting off the internet altogether, it’s worth noting that the original World of Warcraft—and by extension, WoW Classicwas not designed with streamers and Discord and strictly regimented mega-guilds in mind. Those things, for the most part, didn’t come until later. It’ll be interesting, then, to see how streamers affect the 2004 revival’s delicate leveling ecosystem—not to mention if a relatively barebones MMO can hold people’s attention in the long run.

When WoW first launched, its quest system was a revolutionary streamlining of the MMO formula, but much of the game’s magic came from spontaneity in the absence of structured activity: hours-long world PVP struggles, awkward encounters in The Barrens, factions trying to storm each others’ home cities, blood plagues accidentally killing everybody, and so on. But times have changed, and you can’t just repeat something and have it feel spontaneous again. WoW Classic, much like vanilla WoW before it, will live or die based on what people make of it.

Source: Kotaku.com

Sorry, You Can’t Spell Out Messages With Skeletons In WoW Classic

In vanilla World of Warcraft, as in life, skeletons were built to last. If you died somewhere and your flesh decayed to bone, your blanched, skinless husk would stick around for so long that you could die again and produce another right next to it. If you’ve spent more than several seconds around those of the game-liking persuasion, you will not be shocked to learn that a lot of people did exactly that. WoW Classic, however, won’t allow it.

This might strike you as a betrayal of everything WoW Classic stands for. It is, after all, supposed to be a resurrection of the pre-expansion “vanilla” WoW experience. But Blizzard is modernizing that experience in subtle ways, and this is one of them. In a recent Reddit AMA, one fan noted that long-lasting skeletons used to serve a purpose, with big ol’ bone piles organically indicating dangerous areas. Senior test lead Josh “Aggrend” Greenfield agreed, but said that the feature was ultimately too abusable.

“While we understand that this was a flavorful part of Original WoW and the earlier expansions, individual players leaving multiple player corpses and skeletons throughout the game world can lead to behavior such as spelling out advertisements, hate speech, and other negative messages,” Greenfield wrote. “As such, this will not be a part of WoW Classic.”

It’s a shame, but at the same time, I do remember seeing a lot of advertisements for illicit gold farming services spelled out in skeletons back in the day, so it’s probably for the best. For now, then, I suppose we’ll have to settle for leaving our own real bones in piles that vaguely spell out messages for passersby. It is, I’ll admit, a little old-fashioned, but isn’t that why we’re excited about games like WoW Classic in the first place?

Source: Kotaku.com

New Overwatch Custom Mode Turns Sigma Into A Dodgeball Player

If you think about it, Overwatch’s new hero, Sigma, is kinda like a schoolkid—by which I mean he’s slow, and he likes to throw rocks. This, obviously, makes him an ideal competitor for a large-scale game of dodgeball.

Overwatch player Pug has created a custom mode called “Sigma Dodgeball” (code: 0V80F), in which two teams of six Sigmas face off in the time-honored sport that’s basically an IRL battle royale for children (and some adults).

The field Sigma Dodgeball is played on is is actually the roof of capture-the-flag level Ayutthaya. There’s a line in the middle of the field made of tiny domes, and if you try to cross it, you’ll die. Sigma’s primary attack is disabled, so all he can do is psychically hurl rocks at other players with his “Accretion” ability. Being hit by a rock means you’re eliminated, and the last team left standing wins. It’s silly, but it’s also pretty fun.

Sigma, unlike most children, can project holographic shields that defend against incoming projectiles. In Sigma Dodgeball, this means you and your team can coordinate defenses against the other team’s volleys. However, you shouldn’t get too attached to your shield, because it can shatter. Your best bet is to stay nimble and strafe back and forth. Problem is, Sigma is a slow-floating, shoeless old man, so a rock is bound to catch up with you eventually. And if a rock doesn’t, the ever-shrinking playing field (and you laughed when I said dodgeball was a battle royale) will.

Rounds are generally over in a minute or so, though sometimes somebody will get into a preternaturally smooth dodging flow and just dance between rocks while all their teammates get eliminated. In these moments, it feels like they’re on the verge of a comeback that’ll be the talk of the playground for hours, maybe even days, but I’ve yet to see somebody successfully overcome being outnumbered by the enemy team. As is, it’s usually pretty easy to tell which team is going to win a round within the first 20 or so seconds, as one team has more members eliminated.

Sigma can also use his ult, levitating enemies into the air before smashing them back down to earth. This is great for popping people out from behind their shields and also pulverizing their bones. Interestingly, this remains an uncommon occurrence in regular dodgeball. It’s probably for the best.

Sigma Dodgeball’s roof-based playing field can be a little janky. On more than one occasion, I have witnessed somebody fall off, only to get stuck on the roof’s ledge, at which point people on the other team were like “Huh, somebody’s still alive? Where?” Meanwhile, the person stuck on the ledge hopped up and down futilely, scrambling to avoid slipping into the jungle abyss below. This strategy does not work (they’ll eventually fall no matter what), so it’s incredibly funny to watch people try. One time, I saw this happen to someone, at which point two members of the other team slid down the roof’s slope to give chase. Knowing their days were numbered, the player who fell first took a running leap off the ledge, denying their enemies the satisfaction of killing them. Because ultimately, dodgeball is a mental game.

Source: Kotaku.com

Sigma’s New ‘Asylum’ Skin Raises Concerns About Overwatch’s Handling Of Mental-Illness Tropes

Overwatch’s newest hero, Sigma, was introduced to the world on a gurney. Though the video was purposefully non-linear, Sigma had suffered a mental breakdown after attempting to harness the power of a black hole. He hollered half-coherently while being wheeled through what appeared to be a psychiatric facility: “Hold it together, hold it together!” Since then, more and more fans have begun to feel like Sigma represents a sloppy, trope-ridden depiction of mental illness—even if Blizzard didn’t intend him to.

Yesterday, Blizzard added Sigma’s initial selection of appearance-altering skins to the PC public test server. While most of the skins were palette swaps or more ostentatious reimaginings of the gravity-bending hero, two of them make him look like he’s fresh out of an asylum, with straitjacket-like restraining belts strapped to his torso and dangling from his legs. One of these skins is literally called “Asylum,” and it features a restraining mask in addition to belts. One of his sprays, which are basically stickers you can slap on walls, shows a medical chart of his brain.

It didn’t take long for people to express discomfort over these cosmetics. “Gaming/mental health community: discussion with clear points on how damaging Sigma’s tropes are to the mental health community. Blizzard: lol names a skin Asylum,” wrote one fan.

Sigma’s “Asylum” skin

“I still can’t get over how Tracer being a lesbian and Symmetra being autistic are details that show up once in promotional Overwatch stuff and never again, but Sigma’s mental illness is referenced constantly and only in unflattering ways,” said another.

This is not the first time in Sigma’s short history that fans have raised an eyebrow at the implications of his visual design. When he was first added to the public test server last week, fans were amused, bemused, and c-mused by his lack of shoes. So of course, they went looking for answers. They discovered an Art Station post by Overwatch concept artist Qui Fang, who worked on Sigma. “We decided to keep the feet bare to sell the ‘asylum’ look a bit more; in many institutions patients are not allowed to have shoes because they might cause harm with the laces,” Fang wrote in a comment that has since been deleted.

This led to an initial round of criticism, including a post from video-game-focused mental health organization Take This. Doctors Raffael Boccamazzo and Rachel Kowert broke down inaccuracies and exaggerations in Blizzard’s depiction, saying, for example, that nobody calls psychiatric facilities “asylums” anymore, and patients do not go barefoot, even on the rare occasions that their shoes are taken away. On top of that, they said, the idea that Sigma is “unstable” and violent is especially wrongheaded, with research showing that people with mental health diagnoses tend to be victims of violence rather than those dishing it out.

Stigma is a major contributor to people refusing to seek treatment for their mental health problems,” wrote the doctors. “People are hesitant to seek help because they’re afraid what needing it might mean about them, as well as the treatment process itself. This is despite the fact that mental health challenges are incredibly common, with one in two people projected to be diagnosed in their lifetime and only about six percent of cases being severely debilitating. Despite this, there is no shortage of media representation of those with mental health challenges as irrevocably broken and often violent individuals.”

Blizzard ultimately tried to push back against this wave of criticism in a recent interview with Polygon. When asked whether Sigma is an intentional depiction of mental illness, lead writer Michael Chu chalked his archetypal quirks up to the effects of black holes.

“With the idea of the character, we never intended him to be an example of someone who’s going through mental health issues,” Chu said. “He’s really supposed to be more focused on this very specific thing that happened to him, which is that his body and his mind were literally ripped apart by the momentary exposure to a black hole.”

Chu went on to say that Sigma is just generally “eccentric” and “sees the world a little differently.” As an example, he pointed to the hero’s connection with music and how he perceives the universe, gravity, and physics through a palette of sound.

This, however, has not been reassuring for some fans, who saw Chu’s words around the same time as Sigma’s “Asylum” skin and took it to mean that the Overwatch team fell back on stereotypes without even recognizing what they were doing—that they’re not aware of the potential impact of tropes that stigmatize mental illness, or that paint mental institutions as scary horror-movie settings.

“Does Blizzard know at all how to NOT stereotype people?” asked one fan. “A crazy/scary Australian, a ‘stupid’ American cowboy, an uptight Japanese man, a South Korean girl that’s a pro at video games, and now Sigma. Mental illness shouldn’t be represented like this.”

“It feels like backtracking for Blizzard to claim Sigma wasn’t intended to have mental health issues, and that he’s actually ‘eccentric,’” read a tweet from Gaming The Mind, a UK-based organization of mental health professionals. “If he has no mental illness, it’s like they can use whatever asylum tropes they want and not have to answer for it.”

Kotaku reached out to Blizzard to gain more perspective on how it squares these seemingly disparate takes on what Sigma is about, but as of this publishing, the company hadn’t replied. For now, though, Blizzard finds itself in an awkward spot with a character players are otherwise enjoying. What happens next is the Overwatch team’s call, but given the game’s general focus on inclusivity, people are hoping they’ll listen.

“If this were a single, isolated character, that would be one thing, but it’s another in a long line of stereotyped characters which reinforce outdated images of mental illness and associated behaviors,” wrote Take This doctors Boccamazzo and Kowert. “Given some of the feedback that many on the internet are giving on this character, we hope that the designers will take that to heart and offer some changes which do not reinforce these overdone, stigmatizing tropes.”

Source: Kotaku.com

The Original Diablo Is Now Playable In Your Browser

Screenshot: Diablo (GOG )

The sanctity of this place has been fouled!

Released back in 1996, the original Diablo has never gotten as much attention as its successors. That’s one of the reasons a group of programmers took it upon themselves to reverse engineer the game’s source code to make it possible for others to port it to web browsers.

The effort to reconstruct Diablo’s source code began last year, spearheaded by a programmer who goes by GalaXyHaXz, as part of a Diablo fan project called Devilution. “In order to ensure that everything is preserved, Devilution keeps everything as it was originally designed,” writes the Devilution team on Github. “This goes as far as bugs and badly written code in the original game. With that it serves as a base for developers to work with, making it much easier than before to update, fix, and port the game to other platforms.”

That then made it possible for a mod group called Rivsoft to make the game playable for anyone with a web browser over at diablo.rivsoft.net. It provides a link for you to download the Devilution group’s source code, which you can then drag and drop onto the screen in order to start playing the shareware version of the game. Called Diablo Spawn, it was the part of the game you could play without having the CD inserted and includes the first two parts of the dungeon as the warrior class.

If you have an actual copy of Diablo (it’s $10 on GOG, for example), you can drag and drop the DIABDAT.MPQ file from the game’s installed folder to begin playing that version of the game in the browser instead. The original Diablo is a bit archaic-looking over two decades later, but there’s still a satisfying rhythm to it, especially every time you send a skeleton’s bones thundering apart by clicking it with your sword.

Having Diablo playable in a web browser also makes it perfect for brief breaks at work or school. Just don’t forget to have Alt +F4 ready.

Source: Kotaku.com

The Internet Reacts To Overwatch’s Sigma (And His Feet)

Screenshot: Blizzard

So the new Overwatch character is a scientist? And he got feet?

The fact that Sigma, the new mad scientist of Overwatch, is not wearing shoes did not escape anyone’s notice. In fact, the internet is talking about it a lot. Meanwhile, a Blizzard character artist’s explanation that Sigma is barefoot to “sell the ‘asylum’ look” answers absolutely zero questions.

There are plenty of other jokes to make about Sigma, and the internet has made them. Observe:

Here’s one thing we’ve learned: if you wanna join the evil organization of Talon, you better have stupid shoes or zero shoes. I don’t make the rules.

Source: Kotaku.com