Get all the news live from Cologne with Emily.
Emily has taken a break from grinding to report live from Cologne to bring you all the news from Blizzard's gamescom presentation.
We're not sure exactly what to expect, but new information on World of Warcraft is a certainty. Hopefully the publishing giant will also release some new titbits on Diablo III and StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm.
Update: The September date mentioned for Diablo 3 refers to the Diablo 3 beta.
Ladies and gentlement, we are currently standing in a queue waiting to get in. Welcome to journalism.
Yeah, gentlement. That's the kind of quality you should expect tonight. I'm holding my laptop like a tray and I can't feel my wrist anymore.
The lineup is awash with pale WoWheads. I've come home.
I'm planning on discussing vitamin deficiency with the guy next to me.
I might go briefly silent. It's either because I'm entering the conference or I've dropped my laptop.
I overheard someone making a joke about trying to find Mankrik's wife in here. High five, bro, tell me about it. Shout out to three people on Earth who admit to understanding that reference.
Looks like Gera got the nosebleed seats in this place. Don't they know who we are?!
Oi, French PR, I said. I'm that one that one with the hair and the face from that site on the Internet. Fetch me my mocha.
But he just looked at me all angry-like and slapped the laptop out of my hand and now my wrist is gently sprained :(
This is fictional, Blizzard.
Right, where are the pandas then.
If you happen to be searching for the actual room this conference is being held in, do like me and wander around for half an hour looking vacant-eyed until a Kraut points you in the right direction.
It's starting. We're starting with Diablo 3 in a minute, followed by StarCraft 2 and then by WoW.
Jay Wilson, game director of Diaablo on stage with lead designer Josh Mosqueira in a jaunty Diablo shirt.
The focus for Diablo 2 was creating an evolving difficulty progression, from Normal to Nightmare to Hell settings.
So says Mr. Diablo. Now diablo 3 adds Inferno as its max level difficulty.
Players max level for Diablo 3 is 60, but in Inferno enemies are max levelled at 61.
So the game will always offer viable challenges, they explain.
If a monster is fire resistant, they're MORE fire resistant and more aggressive at the higher level.
Fairly obvious logic, really.
In Diablo 2 you would get better items at higher levels but the art would remain the same, which is an aspect that's being attended to in Diablo 3.
Normal difficulty, Nightmare, and Inferno difficulty gear will differ in look.
Runes then. The primary way to enhance skills is runes, letting you customise skills.
Diablo 2's end game gave you recycled rewards, a max level of 99, a max level of enemies of 85, repetitive runs for time efficiency, a very small amount of content that was "actually viable", and "no room to grow the systems". It wasn't designed to grow past its initial release.
Diablo 3 offers unique rewards depending on difficulty setting, max level of 60, max levels of enemies at 61, and Inferno offers further replayability, offering room and options for the game to continue to extend for years after release.
The German PR now walks on stage wearing a golf cap, welcoming in the men of StarCraft 2.
Here's Jonny Ebbert, senior game designer.
Heart of the Swarm as you play as Kerrigan, challenging queens to surrender groups of swarms to her. Over the course of the campaign you will tap into the core fantasy of the Zerg.
Battle focuses, her special skills, will be unlockable throughout the campaign.
You can also customise your zerglings, letting you upgrade their abilities through "mutations".
Expect it to be around 20 missions in length. Along with it the Blizzard DOTA mod is on the horizon.
Now WoW speeds on through with Tom Chilton Game Director and Chris Robinson Art Director.
He's detailing Patch 4.3. It'll start with a new raid tier which will culminate with the Deathwing encounter.
And you'll be getting three new instances which will build up toward the raid encounter. Then you'll get the new Darkmoon Faire Island. You'll get a Whack-a-Gnoll get there. At the edge of your seat I bet.
Transmogrification now. It's their way to address a problem that's been growing in WoW, he says. Players want to customise the look of their character. A lot of players experiencing the end game look identical however.
Transmogrification lets you control how your character looks. So the Etherials offer their services, by letting you combine the look of one item with the stats of a different item you already own.
That sounds quite brilliant actually. Expect a lot of wedding dresses and bikinis in Stormwind.
The Etherials offer Void Storage as well, which lets players store a lot more items than the bank can currently support. For a fee they will hold on to your items for "a longer period of time".
A second bank, really.
And then there's the Raid Finder, which match-makes players in a way that extends to raids.
PUGs are still rubbish, regardless. Get a guild.
No bloody pandas. What is this.
Diablo 3 is targetting for September. "We'd like to have it by then".
There will be no equipable items not available through the auction house. Diablo was designed to be a game where you traded to get the best things, says Jay Wilson.
That includes all past games in the series.
Josh says Blizzard is very, very serious about bringing Diablo 3 to the console.
They won't talk about Blizzard DotA until BlizzCon sadly.
If there was a development team available to create a StarCraft MMO they'd be interested in the idea, says Jonny Ebbert, because Blizzard creates "rich and cool" universes that can be applied to different genres.
Blizzard's Frank Pearce says StarCraft marketplace was one of the things that didn't go as well as they had hope. It's difficult to keep up with the rate that players want new content. It was a mistake on their part not to launch it with Wings of Liberty, he says.
Another "big mistake" was underestimated the demand for WoW in 2004. There was a point where they stopped shipping boxes to retail as they didn't have the hardware infrastructure for the demand. Cry into your wads of money.
Another one for Frank. We're seeing a lot of sequels here - Can Blizzard still do risky projects, is the question. Yeah, is the answer, from Jay Wilson. Frank keeping quiet at the minute.
You can't make something that isn't Legendary look like a Legendary item, clarifies Tom Chilton.
Mists of Pandaria quest. Tom Chilton says they're working on an expansion but they're not talking about the details yet. Le sigh.
Would you ever want to make battle.net available for other non-Blizzard parties? We could maybe take a strategic look at that, says Frank. Defintely something we'd like to consider in the future. However Battle.net's primary focus right now is Diablo 3.
If Frank doesn't literally start wrestling a panda in a minute, I swear.
That's it, guys. Thanks to all three of you for reading <3