And the Heavens Shall Tremble

Posted by Daeity On Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A couple weeks ago, I had said to expect some kind of announcement on November 30th.

Bashiok has recently sent a new Tweet semi-confirming that something will be announced today. Many users are expecting an imminent release date to be announced, but I think it's more of a troll by Blizzard. :)

It's certainly dramatic, but don't get too hyped up. When you say something like, "The Heavens Shall Tremble", that's a pretty huge deal and it means that something really really really really huge is coming. It was also the phrase used in the original Diablo 3 teaser/reveal. It's not a phrase one would just throw around, so it SHOULD be a big announcement.. but, it will probably be various Diablo related information releases, game details, beta keys, Book of Cain information, more street art, Diablo in-game vanity pets, or any of the other possible stuff that I had previously mentioned.

It's certainly being hyped up like it's going to be a release announcement, but prepare for huge disappointment.

Yesterday, the Blizzard store and D3 NA/EU websites underwent some unscheduled maintenance as well. It would be nice to have the Digital Download available, but the release date will be announced before that ever happens.

Strangely, it seems that Diablo's 15th Anniversary might have moved from November 30 to some another date now. For a long time, the Diablo 1 release date was always recognized as November 30. However, it seems to have been moved to December 31st, or maybe January 2, or maybe January 7th. Some sources even have the PC release in 1998. Blizzard also removed previous mentions of the Anniversary Date from their website. :)

I'm going to have to go dig through some old magazines to see when it really came out. Either way, prepare to be trolled by Blizzard today. :)

* Update:

Well, whatever the Anniversary Date really is, expect another announcement on that day too.

The November 1996 issue of PC Gamer had a Diablo review and they said that it was "AVAILABLE NOW" for Windows 95.

Blizzard announced Diablo 1's release on January 3, 1997. Either it was a late response, or retail stores broke the street date on Dec 31st, making that the "official" anniversary date instead. :)

I also discovered Blizzard's early attempts at vanity figures: "BLIZZARD ANNOUNCES OVER 13 MILLION GAMES (played over". Forum users (even now) were taking about this really old announcement and are claiming that Diablo 1 sold "13 million copies."

They didn't read the fine print though, it was 750,000 copies "sold-through" worldwide. It's scary to see how easily they were influenced even now by something so blatantly obvious. Blizzard has gotten even better with their wording since then. :)


The D3 website has been updated to announce the new "J!NX Holiday Line". They claimed that "The Burnings [sic] Hells have been unleashed, and the world of Sanctuary requires your aide, brave adventurer." Weren't the Burning Hells already released though.. in the form of street art?

Anyways, I really hope this wasn't their troll attempt. They can do still much better.


They did much better, it was a giant troll for the new and improved Diablo intro cinematic v3. It's going to have 17.2 seconds more footage than all of the others that we have already seen! Can't wait!


Matais pulled one of the files from the original Diablo 1 disc.

Guess what? It's dated "November 30, 1996". :)

So the game was completed and out (gold) by November 30, 1996 and it hit stores by December 31, 1996. I don't know.. which one would you consider it's real anniversary?

What's Really Holding Diablo 3 Back?

Posted by Daeity On Monday, November 28, 2011

It's been over a month now since Blizzard stated that they're really just at the "fine tuning stage" of Diablo 3. We all know the game is done and Blizzard employees have been playing from beginning to end over-and-over with only a couple hints of the end-game boss (Diablo) being bugged.

All of the content is completed; voice recording, art, sound effects, assets, story, text/lore, bosses, NPCs, game engine, mechanics, animation, etc. According to Wyatt and Jay, it's really just fine tuning, character balancing, and technical systems (e.g. servers, load balancing, etc.)

Quality assurance and bug fixes will always be an ongoing process. Right now, the D3 beta is in excellent shape, and comments made by Blizzard employees paint a picture of very few bugs in the full game.

Minor bug fixes, fine tuning, and character balancing never held back their previous games though. In WOTLK & CAT, there were very few changes from beta to retail, and most of the fine tuning and character balancing happened post-retail.

You might argue that because WOTLK & CAT beta test periods lasted approx. 5 months each, that Diablo 3 should be expected to last the same. However, D3 is completely different in scope, game size, playing length, and gaming systems (consider the number of bugs in a smaller game like D3 instead of WOW). PVP is also very minor in D3, so very little balancing is required in that regard. During Blizzcon 2010, Jay Wilson expected that the D3 beta would last 6 months before release, but that was for the full Diablo 3 game. They shortened the beta into a tech demo for the most part, and changed their beta plans into a much more condensed release schedule of 2-3 months. That's what we're in now, and we're getting really close to 3 months.

The game itself is polished and ready. Really, all that's left are "technical issues" and fine tuning.

But.. if they were serious about addressing technical and server load issues, why are beta keys being released so slowly and also in so little quantities? Why had there been so little changes to the D3 beta at Blizzcon, and so few changes still? Why so much minor fine-tuning that's typically done post-release? Why the extension of the beta? Why the release pushback and official announcement which they've never done before? Why no crunch time and reallocation of employees right now to "fully" complete the game?

It's almost as if everything is moving very slowly on purpose. The development team is keeping themselves busy with minor character balancing and tweaking, and releasing keys slowly (remember that there's also high attrition due to the beta game length), as if they're trying to buy time for something else.

It can't be technical issues, like preparing or testing their servers. They've been through this so many times with all of their other releases, it's just a standard activity with no big surprises now. As well, there would be a major influx of beta keys when it's time to really stress test their servers..

During the last quarterly call, Morhaime said that RMAH testing would begin "very soon".

Could it be that it's just the RMAH holding everything back?

The game is ready, servers are ready, and they're just keeping themselves busy by making minor tweaks to the game now?

The RMAH is a really big deal for them, after all. Blizzard has been stressing the two most important aspects of Diablo 3 to their fans and investors; it's an item centric game and it has real money trading. Blizzard C-Levels even rushed to Korea to argue for it's implementation and use in SK.

I can't even begin to stress how much of a big deal it really is. It's Diablo's replacement for the (standard WOW) "subscription model" and it's also the new replacement subscription system for future games. If it's proven to be successful in Diablo 3, that is.

Could it be that they're just waiting for the RMAH to be approved? And that's when crunch time hits and they release the game shortly thereafter?

If that's the case, the game could be out today in a highly polished stated, but it would only have the Gold Auction House. The RMAH could be implemented a couple months later, but as a major content patch (or it could just be disabled until fully approved within the player's country).

Perhaps they're being questioned by various government bodies or approval agencies about the gambling aspect of the RMAH? Maybe these agencies don't even know about the gambling aspect of the RMAH, and are focusing on item drops instead. (The SK gambling board, for example, didn't know about it.)

Remember that a lot of these classification and approvals boards you're reading about on gaming sites might not care about gambling within the game, and it's other agencies that investigate these claims (after the fact). Announcements about "D3 APPROVED FOR PURCHASE IN X COUNTRY!" might not mean anything when it comes to the RMAH or gambling.

For example, when gaming blogs (like incgamers) announced that Diablo 3 had received a BBFC 15 rating. The BBFC doesn't care about gambling, the game or it's mechanics. They're film censors and they're only interested in cutscenes and gameplay animations. That's the extent of their scope.

According to the USK (Germany Ratings Board),

Payment systems have no impact on the rating decisions which are made on the basis of the Children and Young Persons Protection Act. In Germany this is a question of consumer protection and regulations around that field more than those of youth protection.
According to PEGI Consumer Affairs,
The transfer of money for in-game objects is fairly new. This method, in some games referred to as micro transactions, is still finding a way to implement itself on a more regular basis. We are aware of this and also recognize the fact that Diablo III is in the forefront of this development.

Because this is still such a rare phenomenon, we can’t really classify this.
Once these games (incl. Diablo) have hit the market, we can review all these complaints and let our experts group take a look at this. This panel is composed of scientists, child psychologists and media experts, and they are the once who can make the final judgement if our system has to be changed. This is not something we can do if we feel like it. All the changes to our system have to be based on scientific proof/research that it is indeed harmful, or should be warned for.
According to PEGI, there have also been complaints about the Diablo 3 gambling system. But, they will still allow the game to be approved so that they can study it's long term impacts before coming to a full decision regarding it's legality.

Knowing this, I wonder if the Korea ratings board is the only government body that Blizzard is waiting for. So, D3 is primarily being held back for a feature that's not necessary, most people have mixed feelings about, and because of one country? It's all so quiet on the media front, it's really hard to find out who is reviewing the game or who Blizzard is waiting on for approval.

So right now, it's really difficult to tell if the RMAH is the main reason for holding back the game. There are a few ways to confirm if this is the case though; timing of announcements (approvals vs release), public government reports (if you can find them, or if they take months to release), significant beta/game changes, beta key releases, technical problems, and testing of the RMAH. If the RMAH isn't tested "very soon" (e.g. 2011), for example, then we'll have more answers. :)

Weak-ly Updates

Posted by Daeity On

Easier Reading

  • I'm changing the format of these posts to something like this, rather than making them bullet point lists and readers not really knowing what each minor post entails. For example, you might want to know more about Titan but you don't care that I had a random thought about why video game companies no longer say "Proudly Presents" in any of their intro cinematics (the last game I can remember ever doing that was Westwood's Red Alert.)

  • And, if you want to make things easier for me, please create yourself an alias name when post comments. That way, I'm not always responding to "Anonymous". It's just one extra step (under "Name/URL" instead of "Anonymous") and you don't even have to put anything into the URL section. It's still anonymous, but now I can have a specific name to respond to. :)
What's Really Holding Diablo 3 Back?

(This one ending up becoming quite big, so I cut it out and put it into it's own post. I will post shortly.)

January 17th Release Date

On a related note, the January 17th release date is still predicted by some.

VoidTester alerted me to a post about one person's reasoning for the January release date.

The link I originally read (on the Forums) wasn't too well organized, but there's a much better thought out and articulated post here (possibly by the same person, Druwin):
- Diablo 3 will be released on January 17th, 2012. Why? Because the free 30 days trial period of SWTOR expires exactly mid January.

- Diablo 3's release date will be announced in 2 weeks on Dec 10, 2011 during the Spike Video Game Awards. Why? Because a.) SWTOR launches 5 days later, b.) competitor BioWare also reveals their new strategy game during the show, and c.) Blizzard did the same with the announcement of WoW “The Burning Crusade” which, by the way, has once been pushed back from a late 2006 release to mid January 2007 as well – same situation as with Diablo 3.

- Amazon knows NOTHING. It’s all just placeholders.

- Selling of Diablo 3 merchandise has begun: Tyrael hoodie, SteelSeries mouse, pad, headset etc. The “Book of Cain” will be released on Dec 13, 2011 – 3 days after the release date has been announced during the VGA.

- I expect a big, final Diablo 3 stress test with a lot of additional beta invites starting mid December, when SWTOR launches.
(TBC wasn't announced at the VGA, though, they just released the intro TBC cinematic.)

* UPDATE (11/30/11): Confirmed. They're just going to be showing the full Diablo 3 opening cinematic at Spike VGA. Same as last time.

Still, they listed some pretty good reasons. And there are other favorable marketing cases for a mid-Jan release date (plus, it's in the beginning of the quarter), but this would be assuming that the game is fully completed with a working RMAH.

I believe that the RMAH is the one piece holding everything back though, and we'll know more within the next few weeks. If an announcement is made at VGA, it would be more likely for a Feb release date. That leaves a Jan announcement for early March, but there won't be any releases in mid to late March, since it's too close to the new quarter.. they would rather push it into the first couple weeks of the next quarter instead (early-to-mid April.) I think everything is going to depend on the RMAH testing schedule and government approvals (especially in SK.)

At this point, I'm going to say that January 17th isn't a likely release date and there won't be an announcement at VGA.

TitanGuru.Com Account Suspended

The TG site went down over the weekend, again.
This Account Has Been Suspended
Although I'm not advocating use of the website, you can still get their latest updates here on their Twitter page.

I don't recommend them because TitanGuru ripped off a large amount of new Titan details from this blog where it was discovered first. The site owner refused to acknowledge the real source and will not provide citations to his readers.. but they rather claim that "they came across it". Since then, they've been very careful not to mention this site or link back to it in any way (and deleting posts about it if ever mentioned). They still frequently visit this site for new Titan information, however, so that they can continue to claim it for their own. :)

If you're looking for Titan information, I would recommend this site (of course) or as better alternatives. As an added bonus, those alternative sites don't need to buy visitors or use paid botting services for FB Likes. So you know that the traffic is "honest" and visitors are only there for Next Gen MMO information and not gimmicky tricks.

Since TitanGuru still hasn't posted any updates on their Twitter or Facebook page today, you can probably assume that he just hasn't logged into the site since the Thanksgiving Day long weekend to correct the problem. It will be back up sometime later and it probably just went down due to quota violations (more than 100 visitors in a single day on that site is serious business.)

You're not missing anything right now. They haven't had any decent posts in a while, and even then, it was the stuff they got from here. They're not down due to releasing "HUGE NEWS!!", as some might suspect. It's down just for silly reasons, and they're not a site to ever find or have inside leaks.

PoE Beta Giveaway #5

Posted by Daeity On Sunday, November 27, 2011

Matais has given us his Friend Beta-Key for another giveaway here.

My day is going to be a bit hectic today, so I don't know what exact time to post it. (But, I want to give you all a chance to be on the blog when it's time so I won't just post it right now without warning.)

I'll post an update in a few hours, but I'll probably give it away within 6-7 hours from now. It's about 6:30 AM PST right now by the way.


It's 9:20AM PST now, I'll be giving away the beta key in just less than 4 hours (1:00PM PST).


Here it is: FRKDC-GVPGR-2RE9U-F27TX

If you win, please leave a comment. :)

(Next one will be a little more difficult, I'll make it jumbled up words by the way.)

I also have that Account Giveaway too (it's not a beta key, but a fully registered account already.. I would just need to transfer ownership to the winner.) That contest hasn't been announced yet though.

Was Grimm a Comedy?

Posted by Daeity On Friday, November 25, 2011

It's something I noticed in the post-production work of NBC's Grimm pilot episode. A lot of the music and sound effects didn't add up, and it was almost as if it was clumsily put together. They had also inserted a lot of "scary" or sudden music at very inappropriate times. It didn't really make a lot of sense, and I thought that they just had bad sound guys.

However, it's starting to make a lot more sense now.. especially because of the latest episode (#4). It appears that they're using scary mood music and environmental sounds on a show that was probably more of a light-hearted scifi drama initially (more similar to Supernatural). They've gone back and edited the show to try and change it into something more dark, sinister, serious, and more horror oriented.

I think they ripped apart Episode #4, re-shot some new scenes, and put it back together again to tell a different story. It explains why the episode makes no sense at all. (Either that, or they just have really bad writers.)

Here's why:

The episode introduces the Ziegevolk (goat people aka Bluebeards). The Ziegevolk give off pheromones that affect women within close proximity and hypnotize them.

Ziegevolk love being the center of attention, having women around them, they're very social, they never kill ("they're lovers not fighters"), and they're basically players and "Hollywood types" whose natural impulse is to reproduce with select women. That's their purpose.

Remember, they can only seduce and hypnotize women and they have a strong desire to procreate.

Then we're introduced to Billy Capra ("Capra" meaning Goat.. "Billy Goat", get it?)

He's the caretaker of the Bramble House Bed & Breakfast and he's nothing like other Ziegevolk.

He's sensitive, it looks like his Mom dresses him, he has bunny rabbits in his backyard, he's a gardener, he sews and knits, he makes hand made dolls, he bakes biscuits, his house is very neat and tidy, there's glitter, he's into crafts and paper doilies, he's very polite.. did I mention he dresses "really nice" and he's very sensitive? I think you know where I'm going with this, you silly goose.

This is all confirmed right before Billy, the Grimm Detective, and his partner Hank head out into the garden. Billy rubs up against Hank and then you're shown that the pheromones are affecting him. The Grimm detective even has to ask him if he's okay because he suddenly starts acting out of character.

Before Hank was focused, but now suddenly he's hypnotized, walking in a stupor, and in an obvious trance-like state staring at Billy (having strange tingly feelings below his belt) the entire time. You can see that it's the reason why he accidentally stepped on the frog.. it's because he was hypnotized and secretly lusting after Billy the whole time.

Moments earlier though, the "newly wed girl" hugs and kisses Billy on the neck, and it had no effect on her. Billy made sure not to touch the "newly wed male", though.

Because he could seduce any woman he wanted, there was absolutely no reason why he had to kidnap them and rape them to reproduce.

They made it plainly obvious that Billy could only seduce men and that Hank was under his influence. Going by this conclusion, the episode starts to make a lot more sense now. :)

Here's what the episode was supposed to be about before they re-shot everything:

Billy is the exact opposite of his heterosexual brethren. He can only attract men, which he likes, but his species also has a strong natural drive to reproduce. Billy cannot seduce women or hypnotize them, so he's forced to kidnap women, gas them to hypnotize them artificially, and keep them sedated so that he could rape them and procreate. He tries to hold out for as long as possible, but eventually natural instinct kicks in, so he does it in large spurts before moving onto another community.

The '67 "most desirable MG ever made" Roadster was a gift to him by a man he seduced. (It was not explained in the episode, but now you're seeing that it makes more sense now and why they showed that specific scene.)

The "Blue Moon Bar" episode was probably going to be a humorous scene with their comic relief character "Monroe, the Wolfman" entering a gay bar and ending with hilarious results.

And then there's Hank who probably had scenes where he was wrestling with his new "funny" feelings towards Billy.

The producers probably thought it was all too offensive or just too silly/funny for being so early into the series, and they wanted the episode to be more serious and dark. So they re-used old cuts and re-shot new scenes. Voila, you get this masterpiece which makes no sense.

This was definitely not bad writing. They vastly changed the script and created new scenes. This is a very bad sign for the series.. last minute (major) changes, no forward thinking, there's no clear direction for the series, they're changing the tone of the series to make it more serious (trying to match their competition?).. it's chaotic and simply being thrown together.

Even the episodes are being aired out of order. "Three Bad Wolves" was originally supposed to be aired as #3 or #4 (or both), but it was moved to #6.

Without the inappropriate horror music, though, the other episodes are pretty funny. I actually like Grimm as a comedy drama.

Incredible Odds and Coincidences

Posted by Daeity On


A fair warning; there is a ridiculously long wall of text incoming.

Although.. you really shouldn't be surprised by now. You know how much I love investigating things, ripping apart things, and trying to find small trends or patterns wherever I can. :)

So - don't bother reading this if you're looking for new information or leaks.

It's a fun piece, I'm bored, and I happened across a wonderful discovery that I thought I would share with the blog veterans here. It's sort of a "sticky" post as a reminder of the site's history, while also being a short story that reveals something very fascinating.. maybe even shocking.

Okay, so back to the original post.


As you know, for a while now, I've been searching for older posts or mentions of this blog before it was originally shutdown in March. Like you, I really want to know what was in those deleted posts.

(For example, when I found that old blog comment regarding Second Life and Facebook and how it connected to that 4chan leak.. that was a very interesting find.)

I've been looking for anything or anyone who might have remembered (or cached) the old pages, the Titan information, images, or any other details.

I have just recently reached the end of one of my investigations, and I have discovered something quite interesting. :)

I found an old redditor who had been following the site for a really long time, and it appears that he knew some of the stuff that was posted in March before it went down. Apparently, he felt that the "sudden shutdown" was suspect though, and he thought that the last posts were faked as a result. It's actually old news now, but with the help of some readers here who alerted me to some old posts, I discovered something that I hadn't even considered possible.

The investigation actually led back to the old August email from TOD that was posted on imgur. If you weren't aware, Fabien (Boub) was really angry about the whole thing and jumped onto it really quick. It always struck me as really strange.. I knew it was true, other regulars here did too, and the only reason more people found out was because it was leaked. He was so obsessed with trying to disprove it though. It just didn't sit well with me, and I didn't know the reasoning for his personal and insistent involvement.. until now.

I found evidence of July 2011 Reddit posts (referencing the original March blog posts), that were partially used in the August email that TOD had sent me. It also appears that a certain someone was already aware of this July information, and was well aware of the August puzzle for possibly months leading up to Blizzcon. It might have also been the reason why he tried to convince people "Nothing to see here. It's all fake, move along." Of course, what you're about to see could all be pure coincidence.. but the sheer odds of this happening are highly unlikely.

I'll start at the beginning:

On August 3, 2011, the site was transferred ownership and changed from Private to Public, revealing all of the old posts TOD had put up.

The March post ("Huge News") contained old information by then, but it also contained some NEW details and information that had not been mentioned anywhere else. Remember, this was all 3 months before Blizzcon.

Here's what was written in March (and August when it went live again):

  • The expansion pack was in fact called "Mists of Pandaria" without a doubt. Many gamers did not believe it, and they said that Blizzard would "never" bring in the Pandaren so they cried "fake", "red herring", "it's a comic book or novel", etc. Even Tom Chilton denied the rumor that the next expansion pack was called "Mists of Pandaria" which further convinced more players.
  • There would be a non-hero class. (Everyone else was expecting a Hero class or no class at all.)
  • The only playable class would be a "Pandaren Monk" with 100% certainty.
  • The same Pandaren race would be playable by BOTH factions. This was something unheard of in WoW, and was not expected by anyone.
  • Blizzcon would focus on all 3 franchises this year, with major announcements from each.
  • There would be playable demos of MoP, HOTS, and D3 at Blizzcon. (Once again, not expected.)
  • TOD made it clear that there would be NO Titan announcements. "Expert analysts" and everyone else said there would be though.
  • TOD also said that the planned D3 release date would be announced at Blizzcon, that they expect to have it out before Christmas (a special surprise announcement due to it's close proximity of Christmas), and that they have a mid-Jan backup date. No one knew or believed this because during the Q4 2010 quarterly conference, Blizzard stated that there would be no games released in 2011. But, in late September, Blizzard admitted that they WERE planning on releasing it before Christmas, confirming what TOD had written. They also made a public news release about it, which was unheard of.
In August 2011, the Pandaren information was picked up by a few other sites (3 months before Blizzcon):

So, all of this was revealed months before Blizzcon, but it was still viewed as complete bullshit and fake.

One thing to keep in mind too is that there are a lot of fake "leaks" out there, and occasionally someone will get it right just by guessing. But, it's always a small piece of information and when you have 100 different people all giving different possibilities, of course 1 of them will eventually get it right.

This isn't just some random site with one random leak though. This was a site dedicated to Blizzard/WoW info and has released many accurate and confirmed leaks and discoveries in the past. And this wasn't just 1 piece of information, this was a whole collection of completely unbelievable (and unheard of) facts. They were all correct, this was all 3 months before Blizzcon, and no one else predicted this or even came close to this level of accuracy.

And now for the best part..

The only argument out there about the legitimacy of the leak came from Fabien: "That's bullshit, like most of daeity's posts." (He also contradicted himself; first it "was all bullshit" and then suddenly he changed it to "he might have decent info.")

Going by the track record of the site, and all of the older posts made by TOD, it's obviously bullshit to call it bullshit.

So, he comes up with some bullshit reasoning that it's "suspicious" because I type out posts that are very long and I provide frequent updates. Ummmm.. have you read everything any of the posts here? That's normal.

Then he keeps insisting that the picture was modified (not just on his own website, mind you.. he wants to make sure everyone knows this). After all, his legion will believe anything he says.

What he failed to mention (on purpose), however:
  • is that the suspicious "2 blue rectangles" were Gmail attachments. You can reproduce it yourself to see that it's not faked. (In Gmail, you can just drag-and-drop image files onto an email page.)
  • that a special imgur "Registered Account" is needed to edit images.
  • that "image editing" is a brand new feature, and no one even knew about until he revealed this new implementation after his "investigation".
  • that even with a registered account, there's still no privacy in When you upload an image, it's automatically made public for everyone on the internet to see. (That's why I used imgur, so that it's public.)
  • he didn't tell anyone that the site was taken over by another person and that there are 2 "Daeitys". (This was for good reason. If he said 2 people were involved, then it becomes a conspiracy. But he wanted people to trust him, so he avoided that verbiage.)
  • was that it was public here for 3 days, and existed as a hidden puzzle for 3 months. Others only found out late because it was leaked to Reddit.
  • how simple this new editing tool truly is. I registered an account, tried it out like he said, and I discovered that he purposely left out very important facts about the tool.. like how it's really simple.. and I mean REALLY simple. You can cut or rotate an image, but that's about it's only good use. He didn't tell anyone that the "text tool" is incredibly basic. You can't change fonts, font sizes, change colors, create Powerpoint bullet points, or import images. He also failed to tell everyone that you can't customize indents or level/line-up anything. I spent hours trying to resize the font and it keeps rotating making it impossible to straighten.
  • what he described would take hundreds of hours of work within a very short timespan (less than 30 minutes). It would take an inhuman hand and godlike graphical skill.. which you can all tell I'm an expert at by all of my MSPAINT work. Sheesh.
He also didn't tell anyone (or his legion) about the other posts, pages, blog entries, and forum posts about the leak. He didn't even share the MMO-Champion post that confirmed the leak. He didn't mention the puzzle (even though it was made obvious at this point), didn't mention the YouTube, TinyPaste, Pastehtml, or Pastebin links that also confirmed the leak.

But all of this gets even better..

Why was Fabs so upset about the whole thing in the first place? Why did he get so personally involved and so quickly?

To answer this, I need to give a quick background first:
  • Boub made a joke about Pandas on April Fools Day. The same joke told by many others over the years.
  • He has confirmed that he has been monitoring this blog for a long time.
  • Pandas were already mentioned by March 23 on this blog. Now, it could have been a complete coincidence that he also happened to mention Panadas only 1 WEEK LATER.. or maybe he really WAS joking.
  • Boub has been credited many times for the "Cataclysm leak", but many people don't know that MMO-Champion was the SECOND site to leak the information. :)
  • He has stated that he would never leak information unless someone else did it first. He also said that he would never leak anything 48H before Blizzcon and poop all over them. (So, he doesn't like to ruin things by leaking them a few days before Blizzcon.)
He very rarely visits or posts on Reddit. Often, there are several months of breaks, a 1 month break, a 2 month quiet period, and then suddenly about 3-4 months before Blizzcon he posted this:

WHOA. What are the incredible odds of this happening?

For months and months, he makes no mention of Pandas or the next expansion pack. But, then SUDDENLY after this August post he starts telling people that "he knows" what the next expansion pack is, but that he's not going to reveal anything, and he's being deliberately sketchy about the details.
"Yeah, I might have a small knowledge of how Blizzard works internally at this point. Also, the fact that I know what the next expansion is helps."

"Titan has been confirmed a couple of times to be a new IP, Pandaria and Pandarens are far from new."

"Btw, heard about the next expansion they're probably going to announce at Blizzcon in 2 days? It sounds pretty nice, new stuff everywhere, I'm sure you'll even get a free trial... You know, just a few days, no strings attached."

"That's a pretty poopy "leak" based on wild guesses from the "Mists of Pandaria" name. A lot of that is bs, but obviously if the expansion is "Mists of Pandaria" and I'm not confirming or denying anything, some of that will be right.
I mean, Mists of Pandaria would probably have pandas."
What are the chances that out of thousands (hundreds of thousands?) of posts in /r/wow, and the fact that he only checks in on and posts on Reddit once every couple months, that he just HAPPENS to be posting in the exact article that connects to very detailed information on this blog? And this happened like 3-4 months before Blizzcon!

We're talking about some incredible impossible odds here. Just coincidence?

If he had seen this post in August, a quick Google search for "Digital Castration Pandaren Monk" would have brought him directly to THIS page, alerting him to the puzzle, and then directing him right to the imgur puzzle leak. He was already well aware of the site accuracy, after all.

(Even if he had searched any time between Aug and Oct, he would have seen it. And we all know how much he loves investigating through Google. It's actually his RL job, and he gets paid for it.)

So now he "suddenly knows" what the expansion is all about, but doesn't want to share with anyone.. and we also know he waits until someone else leaks the information first. :) So, he only shared his angry thoughts and feelings with everyone after more people found out about it on Oct 21st. (Probably because he wasn't paying attention to the blog when it was leaked 3 days prior to Blizzcon and he missed reposting it.)

No wonder he was so obsessed and suspiciously informed about the leaked link. He must have already known that the site leaked the info back in August. >:(

Although there's a LOT written here, it really just came down to one simple thing. Fabs being in the exact same place at the exact same time of the leak several months before Blizzcon 2011. The odds of this happening are astronomical. This small connection explains so much now.

Joystiq has described Fabs as "one of the friendliest, most genuine voices in the WoWosphere." I'm just not feeling it. After everything I've been investigating, I've come to realize that he probably knew the actual truth for himself.. that makes it even more none-too-friendly and none-too-genuine. None of this matters though, people will believe anything he says.. he never lies after all. It actually reminds me of the "blue koolaid" effect.

I'm just glad I finally know the reason WHY. I obsess over little things so that they make sense and can be logically reasoned. :)

FB Dangers

Posted by Daeity On Thursday, November 24, 2011

Continuing on with my thoughts about manipulation and how (many) users don't view Facebook was very useful or reliable, I wanted to demonstrate a practical example of how it can be used and has been used (many times) with great success.

This is also a warning piece about the dangers of employees using Facebook, really any profile site for that matter.

Here's a very good practical example from a completely open (public) Facebook profile:

And remember, this is just one example out of HUNDREDS, if not thousands. I chose this one specifically because it was public, and you can see it for yourself.

While others are saying "Facebook is unreliable for real information!!!" I think that you're beginning to see some of the real possibilities here.

The problem with WOW phishing scammers is that they don't really have any personal details about their targets, so they're left with very generalized phishing lure emails, and they try to email as many people as possible (usually using email addresses datamined from WOW gaming forums.)

But look at the dangers associated with Facebook in this case.

  • You now have detailed personal information about every one of these individuals.
  • You know where they live.
  • You know their profession and where they work.
  • You know their family members and their email addresses too.
  • You have their own personal email address.
  • You know that this is also their LOGIN ID.
  • And you know that they're in the Diablo 3 Friends & Family beta.
I don't know about you, but to me that's a tremendous amount of highly useful information for targeted and very convincing phishing scams or trojan horse email attachments. This is the kind of stuff that scammers salivate over.

All of these users just publicly posted a ton of information about themselves and they didn't even care. This is how dangerous Facebook is, and why it is indeed reliable for useful information or leaks.

All over Facebook, Blizzard employees have been handing out F&F Diablo 3 beta invites like candy (typically 15 available each). Even to people they hardly even know. Can you see how easily certain employees could be manipulated, or how anyone with insincere intentions could get an invite too?

Here are some theoretical examples;
  • Pick a group of lesser known Blizzard artists (Concept, Cinematics, Character, Environments, etc) who have Facebook accounts. Start following them on their blog or art forum, compliment them on their new postings, stroke their ego, and do it over a few weeks or months. Once they start getting use to your name/alias, send a FB invite to join them and tell them who you are ("Hey, this is uberfan98 from CGHUB! I love your art, mind if we connect through FB?") It works better before the F&F beta starts of course, but it's still possible get an invite if they haven't burned through them already.
  • This isn't just limited to artists or developers, though, often the support staff or sound engineers are overlooked and they have plenty of extra beta invites available; IT Managers, Customer Service, Recruiting, DBA, Network Administrators, Web Designers, etc.
  • You can also get invites through their blog, Twitter, or other profile. And, the shy or quiet ones will always have a lot of beta invites available (look for ones who blog about their cats.. just sayin'). If their blog is more about themselves, and they don't have any pictures of their family or friends, they'll have a lot available.
  • People who are in a hurry can just randomly send out Facebook invitation requests to random employees to see who bites ("I'm a huge fan! Let's be friends!"). Or, because FB reveals so much about users, it's makes it really easy just to pretend to be an old friend from high school or college ("Hey! I sat behind you in.. uhhh... History, yeah that's right").
  • The problem with pretending to be someone else, though, is that you need to create a backstory for your new internet identity. For example, create a new email address, create a new account, and use a different mailing address in your registration. The overly paranoid should also use VPN during all of this. It's very unlikely that your "mark" would every confirm IP information to your location, though, and they would just look at your email address or B.Net account summary.
This is something I've known about for a very long time, and I know for a fact that many people have exploited their "friends" for Beta invites. There are hundreds of profile accounts out there right now, with thousands of F&F beta invites still available. And, once you get your foot in the door, you're more eligible (almost guaranteed) for future beta invites.

Facebook unreliable and not very useful? Right.

Anyone who ever says this is completely oblivious to the dangers of the internet, and they have probably revealed a ton of personal information about themselves publicly. If you were to leave a USB drive labelled "naughty pix" outside their front door, they're the kind of people who would plug it into their work computer to see what's on it (and not even consider the ramifications.)

The internet is not always a nice place, and you would be wise to remove all personal information about yourself from it. This is just one example of why (and why you should never mix your social life with work).

It's Probably Nothing

Posted by Daeity On Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I thought I might mention it anyways, since certain keywords in resumes really stand out to me.

Sometimes nothing turns to be nothing and sometimes it turns out to be something.

Wallace D. Robinson is Lead Lighting Artist for Rockstar Toronto.

He worked for Rockstar San Diego for more than 5 years, where most of his time was spent on Red Dead Redemption.

Max Payne 3 was announced in 2009, when he was still in SD working on RDR.

When he moved to Rockstar Toronto in August 2011, he started work on an "Undisclosed Project". Apparently, R* Toronto is working on another project and it's not Max Payne 3.

Also, pay attention to his job description:

* He copied-and-pasted his RDR job description to his Undisclosed Project.
* Developers use "Unannounced" and "Untitled" for game names that haven't been selected yet or announced. "Undisclosed" typically means existing franchise.
* He has RAGE experience with RDR and R* Toronto has also been working with the RAGE Engine for Max Payne 3.

I don't see why RDR would need a lighting artist (unless it was more than a PC port) though, so this could be Bully 2 using the RAGE engine, or another game they're working on besides Max Payne 3.

I've always found that Rockstar employees are even more careful than Blizzard when it comes to posting online information, but I'll dig around to see if I can find out anything else. It's probably too early into the project to find anything though.

Oh noes! No more Darkspore PJs.

Posted by Daeity On

Electronic Arts just killed off two of their Darkspore related trademarks.

This one and this one. The main game trademark was renewed though ("2011-11-16 - Extension 2 granted").

Looks like they simply abandoned the trademark and never bothered to file an extension. This means that there won't be any Darkspore "Caps; Jackets; Pajamas; Pants; Shirts; Sleepwear; Sweat pants; Sweat shirts; T-shirts" or "Action figures; Board games; Hand held units for playing video games other than those adapted for use with an external display screen or monitor; Modeled plastic toy figurines; Playing cards."

I don't know if I can live without my Darkspore PJs and Action Figures.

They're definitely not as confident in the game as they once were. Do you remember all of that major hype about the game? I guess they were really expecting it to be quite popular, but now they're realizing that it's not going to be as big as they had initially hoped.

Fun Fact: I didn't even KNOW Darkspore was out until I noticed the trademark changes. It came out last APRIL?? Guess I blinked.

There has also been some simultaneous forward momentum on ALPHA CENTAURI, THE SIMS SOCIAL and FLY WITH ME.

It appears to be more than just maintenance (e.g. renewing old trademarks that they might use one day), and it looks like they've been approved for publication. Meaning that they'll appear in their gazette for other organizations to challenge before "fully approved".

"Fly With Me" is a new game, probably a flight simulator. Sims Social has already begun. But I'm most interested in Alpha Centauri (one of my favorite games.) I'll check around to see if there have been any new announcements.. but it looks like EA is getting pretty serious now about releasing it. Hopefully, we'll hear something concrete within the next 1-2 months.


CAPCOM just created a new trademark for game called "E.X. TROOPERS" too.

I couldn't find any details online about it, so it's something that hasn't been announced yet.

And, by the way, the domain has expired and it's currently available for purchase. I wonder if that's even successful? Buying a domain, and then selling it a company who wants it?

Another Blizzard Doc Leaked

Posted by Daeity On

Apparently, a WoW Law Enforcement guide was leaked by Anonymous/AntiSec.

It's already on a couple other blog sites already, where you can check out the various law enforcement guidelines.

For example, how "Player Mail is not maintained for more than 180 days."

The document doesn't really cover Player Chat very well though. It says they can do realtime monitoring of chat, and they describe Player Chat Logs, but they don't say anything about retention of older chat logs.. so, they only retain old Mailbox messages?

There was also another contradiction. In one paragraph, Blizzard wrote "Warcraft alone has more than 9 million active users worldwide spread across several hundred servers", but later they wrote "Because Blizzard has over eleven million active users, Blizzard does not have the ability to retain all types of information indefinitely." In December 2008, they announced 11.5 million subscribers and then in Feb 2010 Morhaime announced that there had been no growth since 2008.

Maybe they dipped quite a larger subscription number than everyone had estimated? (e.g. 11.5 to 9 million)

This was the really interesting part though:

Blizzard currently maintains more than 500 WoW servers with well over 100 dedicated to the North American region.. Each server can host more than 3500 players at the same time.
This is the first time I've ever seen a source directly from Blizzard confirming the maximum number of concurrent players per realm (i.e. "players at the same time"). It was always estimated that each WOW Realm could support about 5000-6000 concurrent player logins.

Although WarcraftRealms isn't a very good source for total player counts (because there's a lot of overlap of players), it is a very good source for daily player activity.

If you look at the Average Daily Activity Chart here, it shows total number of players logged in during each hourly interval. Remember though, that the same players might be logged in for 8 hours straight. And, if you look at the graph below the chart, they all max out at around 3500 concurrently per realm. :)

If you assume that an average player spends 3 hours per day playing WOW, that's about 6950 unique players per realm (on average) that play throughout the day. Blizzard has less than 900 realms worldwide, which makes it about 6.3 million players.

I wouldn't be surprised if this 2009 policy is the exact same one still used today. Documents like these are very rarely updated, and it doesn't look like they spent a lot of time preparing it. Still, it's pretty interesting..

You Are Being Prepared

Posted by Daeity On Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Defining Manipulation

Yesterday, I was talking about how easily users or news media can be easily manipulated. "Manipulated" is such a harsh word, though. I meant it in it's harshest sense yesterday, but there's also another kind of manipulation that happens all the time that most don't view as manipulation.

It's the kind of manipulation you've grown accustomed to in television, billboard, radio, or internet advertising; sex in beer ads, Photoshopped women in magazines, survival or fear inducing advertisements that get you to buy a security system or gun, mood changing music, disturbing imagery to encourage charitable donations, or anything else that can manipulate your baser instincts.

You're manipulated into what you should buy or what brands you should trust. News media manipulate you with click-bait news reports about "Africanized Killer Bees" to get you watching their stations. (I'm still waiting for those killer bees that were supposed to wipe out the US.)

We are all being manipulated through very subtle means, but it's still manipulation.

Video games companies are no different. It started out as just groups of friends making fun games and selling them. The only marketing they were concerned with were retail box aesthetics, and where to advertise. But, as businesses evolved so did marketing.

These days, video game corporations employ scientists and psychologists who are experts in market research, analytics, consumer behavior and psychology, demographics, and purchasing patterns. And all of this is backed up even further by decades of marketing and gambling research performed in other fields of business. Even smaller video game companies, if they can't afford psychologists, will use marketing techniques from research studies that have been tempered over the decades.

So, when I use the word "manipulated", I mean it within a strategic marketing context.

Blizzard's Gentle Nudging Towards Titan

Now that I've gotten that out of the way.. did you know that Blizzard fans are being manipulated as we speak?

They're being prepared for "something" and most people won't even realize the plan until after fruition (if they even find out at all). But, I've always found it fun to see the plan from the beginning, watch as it unfolds around you, and see how users are being manipulated without even knowing it.

Their Next Gen MMO has been in the works for a while now, but they also have a lot of future features and services planned for release or post. There are many scheduled activities, and they don't just happen because of "last minute brainstorms", but rather they are planned YEARS in advance. Some things need to happen first, too, before the game comes out.

We're being prepared for Titan right now, and one thing that needs to happen is gamer acceptance.

Blizzard's revenue generators are changing, and with subscriptions becoming less and less acceptable (there are more AAA games with free subscriptions, and players are beginning to realize the true, extremely cheap, operating costs of these services), Blizzard needs to create new ways to generate revenue.. and players aren't going to like them.

It's going to be one of those "removing the band aid slowly" versus "ripping it off" type approaches. :)

The Real Money Auction House

This is one of the items that should be most obvious.

Blizzard needs the RMAH system to be more accepted by their existing consumers so that they're prepared for future similar changes to new (and possibly even existing) games.

There are promises of wealth and they're going after our greed needs just like lottery tickets.

Jay Wilson, Diablo 3 Game Director, is even hoping that Diablo 3 will be "the greatest slot machine ever made." (I knew that IGN quote would come in handy one day!)

I don't believe myself that the original concept (or multiple iterations) of Diablo 3 ever had a RMAH planned.. I think it was something that came out within the past 1-2 years, and it only came about after Titan brainstorming discussions. I think it's a way to make these systems more acceptable for Blizzard games, get player's feet wet, and get them prepared for Titan.

Even if the RMAH fails (meaning that it still generates revenue, but not within their expectations), they still have something else planned that's going to be huge.

Real ID 2.0

Have you noticed that over the past year, Blizzard has really been pushing their customers to start using Facebook? They're targeting players in all of their franchises: SC2, WOW and D3.

Starting with Starcraft 2, they even integrated Facebook features within, and are integrating features within Facebook. They also have plans on implementing even more "Facebook-related features on" that will "be announced at a later date." These are all just the initial steps of a larger long term plan.

They're also having major contests through Facebook now, where you MUST have a legitimate Facebook account in order to be eligible for participation.

Hmm.. that's interesting. They're pushing Blizzard gamers for Real IDentities. Wait a minute! Didn't they just try that in Blizzard is pushing "Real ID" again, but indirectly. This time, though, there's no fuss, no outrage, no uproar, and no one's complaining.. interesting. :)

Don't be surprised if Blizzard creates new ways to push Facebook signups and utilization even further:

  • There will be heavy advertising and promotions (especially as Titan gets closer) to attract Blizzard users to Facebook.
  • Gamers will be encouraged to share with friends through Facebook.
  • Existing FB users can invite friends for special bonuses through FB.
  • Special bonuses or features for users who already have FB accounts. Virtual items like tabards, pets, or achievements for FB users only.
  • Using FB "Likes" to unlock certain FB pages, videos or images (which forces more users to sign up on FB.)
  • Videos or information that are only available through FB pages.
  • Sweepstakes or mini-games that can only be played on Facebook.
Mini-games you say? Yes, during Blizzcon 2010 and again in 2011, Blizzard noted that mini-games might be planned for future Blizzcons. FB would sure make a great platform for Blizzard mini-games.. and they don't all have to be played during Blizzcon. Do you forsee some possible FB mini-games that can be played by anyone who signs up with FB? :)

(Make note too how a lot of these movements started in 2010.)

How Is Real ID 2.0 Useful Though?

So Blizzard is heavily pushing Facebook use, Facebook is integrated with, and Facebook contains real player information and details about their life, interests, profession, what they like, and what they dislike.

Real ID through was completely unacceptable because of privacy concerns. But, Blizzard just integrated your personal Facebook details with and you apparently found that completely acceptable.. or you just never realized the connection. :)

Remember.. FB applications and this new B.Net integration have no boundaries. now has complete access to all of your personal details that you think are only restricted to your close friends and family. (Real ID is still active, mind you, but it's just not mandatory. It can still be used internally by Blizzard for targeting, especially if combined with other databases.)

So, what was the purpose of Real ID in the first place?

Targeted advertising.

Back in July 2010, Blizzard had planned targeted advertising within Starcraft 2. They entered into a contract with Microsoft's Massive Inc. to deliver in-game advertisements within Starcraft 2.

Coincidentally, this was also around the same time that REAL ID was announced. :)

Real ID caused a scandal and it failed, and then within about a month, Blizzard cancelled their contract and pulled the plug on their Microsoft partnership and SC2 in-game advertising.

It's almost as if in-game (targeted) advertising was dependent on the Real ID system. :)

Having a constant flow of 10-20 million players per day and access to a very sophisticated targeting advertising platform, Blizzard can reap a MASSIVE amount of profit by entering into the advertising business. (Targeted advertising is bigger than most people realize. It's where Google's immense wealth came from.)

Their first in-game advertising attempt failed due to Real ID "1.0". But, now they have Real ID 2.0, and a new monster to deliver in-game advertising.

In-Game Advertising

I'm adding this quick entry to the list of "items needing gamer acceptance."

It's not that big of a deal as most gamers are okay with it (as long as it's not obtrusive or annoying). But, with their (failed) attempt at in-game advertising within Starcraft 2, Blizzard made their intentions clear that this is something they want, it's important, and they're trying to get our "feet wet" for more future implementations. 3.0

While we're on the subject of getting players "feet wet", according to the most recent Blizzcon Survey, Blizzard might also allow Virtual Ticket holders to play games remotely.

This sounds a lot like 3.0. :)

Titan is supposed to have a wider audience and more "broad appeal", and it was theorized that that the Next Gen MMO could accomplish this through a gaming on demand service where it could be played on a large number of platforms:
It would fit in very well with their services and would definitely work well with their new "Next Gen" MMO. Maybe the "Next Gen" bit isn't just about new consoles, but rather opening up their games for many platforms regardless of age? With live streaming services, you don't have to worry too much about processor speed, video card performance, memory, or harddrive capacity.
If it's feasible, gamers could have high end graphics but on low end PCs.

Blizzard would just need to test it out, see if it's possible, how much of a reach the streaming service has (distance limitations), and acceptable performance. Blizzcon 2012 might be a good time for some initial testing. :)

How This All Relates To Titan

It's not just Titan though. Other Blizzard games could have any number of these features implemented, depending on how successful they are (and other factors).

Since Blizzard now has a new Real ID system, it will be perfect for targeted advertising within future games. But, it's not possible within all genres of video games. Advertisements could be used in Diablo chat rooms, for example, and on Starcraft 2 in-game billboards. But, they're not appropriate within the Diablo world itself.

A certain type of game would be needed to accommodate in-game ads. Something that matches our real world more closely; a modern world, with virtual billboards, radio, and TV. And that brings us to Titan.

Titan is rumored to be similar to Second Life, it will have a lot of characters (NPCs) within it, there are a large number of environments, and it might have more of a real (or modern) world feel to it. If so, a world like this would be perfect for in-game ads and linking real world items with in-game purchases or vice versa. (RL ads to get you buying virtual items, and in-game ads getting you to buy RL items.)

A lot of this can be done through a Real Money Auction House, which you can bet will be implemented in Titan if the D3 testing is successful. Titan would be perfect for a large quantity of items, homes, or furnishings that can be created or sold. Personally, I don't think there will be houses or land for sale, but I do think there will be a large number of vanity items that can be crafted or sold for real money.

(Even if there are multiple environments, like the historical and ancient cities that have been hinted at, advertising would still be possible whether they're at a certain hub, meeting place, or even in these environments depending on suitability.)

The Titan RMAH might also go under some (currently planned) changes.. for example, Blizzard selling virtual items like how the TF2 store is run. Blizzard doesn't want to offend any players right now by selling items directly themselves, so they're getting users familiar with the new system first before moving into their next phase. (Much like "Real ID 2.0", they're playing it cool and doing it smart).

Right now, they're targeting existing Blizzard customers and getting more of them to start using Facebook. Eventually, they'll target FB users (who are not Blizzard customers or MMO gamers) to become Blizzard regulars.

Of course, all of this could just be something as simple as using socialization to increase recognition, chatter, and new consumers. The failure of mandatory Real ID and the subsequent cancellation of their in-game advertisements could have been a sheer coincidence. But, I always found it strange that they wanted Real ID in the first place.. their reasoning never made any sense.

All of their pushes have been Facebook specific as well. When it comes to "pushing users", they're ignoring all of the other social platforms and advertising mediums. When was the last Twitter-specific contest? Twitter is just used to link back to Facebook.

They've talked a lot of monetization and finding new ways to generate revenue. Subscription based games are slowly going away, with advertising or taking cuts from real money transactions making a great replacement.

I think it's all part of a greater plan. Like Blizzard said, Titan is their most ambitious project ever. And all of these systems or strategies are very easy to implement, they're practical, and they're highly lucrative.

It's just going to take a few years of nudging players into the right direction and adjusting their personal level of acceptance. You can call it "manipulation" if you want.. the description is apt.

tl;dr; Blizzard slowly entering into the advertising business. Titan will be subscription free, have more real life connections, have real money transactions, and have in-game advertising.

"Telltale" Signs

Posted by Daeity On Monday, November 21, 2011

Last week, Gamespot made a post about Telltale Game employees feeding perfect 10 scores into Metacritic.

Quite a bold statement. So, what exactly was their investigative technique to confirm this with 100% reliability?

The reviews had above-average grammar, and their aliases (e.g. "TANTRAD") happened to match the aliases of Telltale employees. Yep, that was it.

Between the reviewers' constant lionizing of Telltale Games, complete sentences, proper punctuation, and paucity of spelling errors, we began to suspect that the user reviews were not the product of actual players, but of Telltale representatives. Sure enough, a cursory Google search on the reviewers' user names backed up our suspicions. One of the reviewers was a user interface artist at Telltale; another was a cinematic artist. According to their LinkedIn profiles, both were relatively new to the studio, but they should have more than enough experience in the industry to understand this was a bad idea.
(Funny.. I didn't see a ton of other gaming blogs attacking and scrutinizing them for their investigation process.)

I really liked this part of their article:
But if the goal was to drag those individuals over the coals, you'd see their names and LinkedIn profiles here.
They said this after they gave all of their readers the means to find it out themselves:

1. A link to the Metacritic page
2. Told everyone it was a perfect 10 score
3. Told everyone it's the oldest score on the page (Nov 15, 2011)
4. You can use Metacritic to sort of by date on the positive reviews
5. Grammar is above average
6. A cursory Google search of their alias and "Telltale"
7. On his LinkedIn profile he's new and a User Interface Artist

This actually reminds me of that Facebook investigation. I'm showing you how they probably came to that conclusion, or how they most likely investigated, and I'm probably right. Maybe I'll be scrutinized for this post.. "you're jumping to conclusions", "LinkedIn Profiles are unreliable, I can't believe you use them to confirm if they work for companies", "FAKE NEWS!!"

The Point

What's most scary about this whole thing is that Gamespot is probably 100% correct and that they came to the conclusion through a very simple investigation.

This is a point I've been trying to make for a long time.. there is a ton of information on the internet that most people think are unreliable or useless, but they're not. For the most part, people are very open, honest, and not very careful about what they type on the internet.

In cases like this, though, look at what happened. Gamespot went by on online alias (unable to confirm who actually owned the alias), posted it as undisputed evidence, caused rage, which resulted in a substantial number of negative reviews from users who never actually played the game but were just angry about the situation.

Can you see how both users and media organizations (or internet "journalists") could have been easily manipulated in this situation?

This is why I show as many sources as I do, and proof to backup every claim. I see what happens on these other sites (like Gamespot, who just made the claim and did not provide their sources and proof that the Metacritic alias was indeed used by the employee), and I want to show how I came to a conclusion so that people can come to their own.. I may be right or wrong, and sometimes there is no way to be 100% positive. I can only guess that this case is probably correct given the evidence, probability, and past trends.

Let's go back to how just Gamespot investigated the incident:

If I was a competitor, and I really wanted to ruin the reputation of a game, why not just create multiple aliases of employees and give it a glowing review? And then, give negative reviews for my own games?

It wouldn't take long for blog/gaming sites to pick up on these, investigate (reverse alias search on Google), put 2 and 2 together, and report incorrect information resulting in sympathy for my own company and negative reviews for my competitor. I wouldn't be surprised if something like this has already happened.

A disgruntled employee could even do it to their own company, or targeting another employee they don't like. A disgruntled fan could do it.. anyone can do this and it would be perfectly legal to use your own alias (even if it happens to be used by another person) and make a review, but it would be the news sites or blogs that create the rumor or make the libel post in the end.

U4ia Games

Posted by Daeity On Sunday, November 20, 2011

Former Activision employees Dusty Welch and Chris Archer have created a new company called U4ia ("Euphoria") and their first game will be an "online-only, hardcore freemium, first-person social" game released in 2012.

Dusty was previously "SVP and Head of Publishing" at Activision for 13 years, and his last day on the job was during March 2011. That puts him at the same time of the 500 person layoff within Activision Blizzard on March 31 of this year. Apparently, that ~500 person layoff isn't considered a "mass layoff" by the WARN Act though. :)

They haven't released the game title yet, but they did register two trademarks (excluding their business name.) The first was the phrase "FIRST PERSON SOCIAL" and the other was "TW!TCH", which could be a game name or a protected phrase/process (e.g. mobile and social twitch based combat.)

First person social... eek.

Diablo News on November 30

Posted by Daeity On Saturday, November 19, 2011

I wanted to remind everyone that this coming November 30th is Diablo's 15th Anniversary which is a pretty big milestone for the franchise.

As you might have noticed, Blizzard has been doing a lot of "celebratory" activities recently. They've had a lot of interesting things prepared for their 20th Anniversary, and even though they have minor Anniversary activities within the World of Warcraft, they reserve special bonuses for more notable milestones.

We plan to reserve this sort of celebratory bonus for the most notable milestones or events in the future.
(FYI: World of Warcraft was released on November 23, 2004, which was the 10th Anniversary of the Warcraft franchise.)

I don't think that the game will be released (or the release date announced) on November 30th of course. They still haven't tested the RMAH yet and technical stress testing is far from completion. And, they still need a major ramp up of beta testers too due to the high attrition rates associated with the short beta gameplay.

The 15th is still a big deal though, and there will be something for all Diablo fans.. it won't just be limited to beta testers like how the WoW Anniversary is limited to WoW subscribers only.

There might be a minor announcement (a major beta wave sometime after Dec 12th), but I'm expecting some kind of information release like more lore, loot details, D3 art galleries, maybe a retrospective video, music, "making of" videos, etc. Simple stuff to keep Diablo fans busy until the release date.

(* UPDATE: There is a "Diablo 15th Anniversary Music CD" available in the Blizzard Store.)

The "Book of Cain" is also rumored to have moved it's arrival date up from Dec 15 to Nov 30 coincidentally as well. :)

November 30th would be a great time to announce the Diablo 3 release date though. It could be used as the "big bang" to finally close up the whole Blizzard 20th Anniversary celebration that has been going on over the past several months. After all, they had originally planned on a surprise D3 release announcement at Blizzcon 2011 which no one knew about (except one person/blog) and Nov 30 is awfully close to their originally planned release date (Nov 24).

Now that I mention it.. you know, it's funny that the individuals who scrutinized TOD's old March post conveniently forgot about something rather important. During the Q4 2010 (Feb 2011) Quarterly Earnings Call, Blizzard stated that they would not be releasing any games during 2011. It made the majority of gaming sites.. "no releases in 2011". That was the firm belief of everyone.

And then on March 23 2011, Daeity said that they were actually intending on releasing Diablo 3 in 2011 before Christmas, that there would be a surprise at Blizzcon, and there was a "mid-Jan backup date". Whether you originally read it in March, or in August when the site was brought back up, people were still saying no releases in 2011.. but TOD was saying the opposite.

Then suddenly, Blizzard announced on September 23 2011 that "'Soon' Was Too Soon -- Diablo III to Arrive in Early 2012" and D3 had been pushed back to 2012. They revealed publicly that they were fully intending on releasing D3 before Christmas. This is the first time Blizzard ever announced anything like this, and apologized.. that's just how big of a deal it really was. They had already announced "no releases in 2011" so there was absolutely no need to ever make this post since 2012 was already the target like everyone knew. That apology ended up confirming why TOD kept saying that it was going to be a "big surprise" at Blizzcon 2011.. they've never done anything like that before, it was a very big deal. No one else was reporting this, it was just one person, and it turned out to be true just like everything else.

On a side note, while I was looking over that old Q4 2010 post, there was also this interesting piece:

Confirmation regarding lay-offs. Both Vicarious Visions and Freestyle Games have been hit with notices shortly after the meeting. According to Activision Blizzard's 8-K, they'll be getting rid of approx. 500 employees. The decision was made Feb. 3, and will be taking place on March 31 for the staff.

This same time last year, they laid off approx. 200 people. Apparently, February is the time of month when the non-performing studios need to start worrying.
This further confirms what I was writing about earlier regarding the "mass layoff" WARN notification system. Apparently, the 200 employees were reported to the WARN system.. but there were another 500 employees who were laid off, but it wasn't reported in the WARN system. Interesting.. apparently a "mass layoff" can be 1 to 5 employees, but 500 employees isn't considered a "mass layoff". :)

Weak-ly Updates

Posted by Daeity On Friday, November 18, 2011

  • Electronic Arts has just registered a couple new trademarks called "BLACKED OUT". It's a video game, but I have no idea what it's going to be about.

    Moments later, two more Trademark registration came through. Another game called "SECRET ISLAND".

  • It looks like Cameron Dayton has created a new online blog. Something to monitor closely in the beginning especially if he mentions anything Titan related. Right now, it just has all of the "hello world" blog template artifacts. I'm not expecting anything big to be revealed on the site, though.

  • Apparently, we have an unofficial sister site in China now ( The blog is translated as "Digital Harmony", so I don't know if it was a mistranslation from either side or if the name was just offensive and renamed. :) Basically, the blog owner is taking posts from here, translating them, and putting them up for Chinese readers. ( is owned by NetEase by the way.)

  • On a Diablo 3 note, I've gotten a pretty good (new) quote from Jay Wilson regarding the comparison of Diablo 3 to gambling. :)
    IGN: Charles Onyett on IGN's PC team lovingly calls Diablo III the greatest slot machine ever made. Would you say that's an accurate statement?

    Jay Wilson: I certainly hope so.
    The "Greatest Slot Machine Ever Made" article is here, where he's talking about the feelings experienced from massive loot drops and being able to sell them. He's basically describing the same psychological effect and endorphin rush experienced during gambling.

  • For that Path of Exile account giveaway, I think the contest will be an information seeking quest. Not a puzzle, or anything like that, but rather you go out there and find out something new that I can post here. You can use those "Gaming Leaks" post to help guide you, investigate forums, Twitter, personal blogs, Facebook, etc.. basically something with interesting gaming related information that no one else knows about (looking for Blizzard related things mostly). Or, finding a new source of information that can't be searched on Google and is therefore overlooked by many. If you find something, you don't need to write an article or anything about it.. I'll do that myself (if it's something I don't already know), but you'll still get credit (plus the account) for finding the information. It won't be a 1 or 2 day thing either.. I figure you would need some time to hunt around. I'll talk more about it next week, but you might as well start looking around now and see what you can dig up.

  • If you're looking for anything Titan related (or you're a Titan blog owner), you should add Pior Oberson to your list of Titan artists. He's the Senior 2D (Concept) 3D (Game) CHARACTER ARTIST for Titan, and you can see all of his other Character-specific art in his portfolio. The one thing that Titan will be big on is a variety of characters, and it seems there's more focus on "people" than "monsters".

    His LinkedIn profile has him as a "2D and 3D character artist - traditional and digital art, lowpoly and highpoly" but it used to have "Concept and execution of highpoly sculpts and character models, realtime 3D characters, 2D character concept art" in relation to his specific job duties on the Next Gen MMO.

    His resume has also undergone a few iterations:
    Dec 2007 to present day - Blizzard Entertainment - Irvine CA.
    2D 3D Character artist.
    Nov. 2007 to present day - Blizzard Entertainment - Irvine CA.
    Senior 2D 3D Character artist on a nextgen MMO title a.k.a. TITAN + additional art on WoW : WoTLK.
    2007 to present day - Blizzard Entertainment - Irvine CA.
    Senior Character artist on a NextGen MMO title.
    So, you might want to pay close attention to his "highpoly sculpts" from 2007 and up.

    There's also a "30 Minute Sketchclub" blog consisting of Josh Singh, Paul Richards, Vadim Bakhlychev, Marc Brunet, Gino Whitehall, Pior Oberson, etc. All employees who were working on Titan. :) There are sketches there that they made during the lunchtime when not working on Titan (as well as many more developed 3D art pieces built at work or at home.)

    There's also Zach Baker, who was also on the Next Gen MMO team (he left Feb 2010). He has an article Looking Back at Blizzard. It doesn't provide anything useful or interesting though, but I figured it would throw it up here anyways. It's been sitting on the shelf for months, and I just never got around to posting it.

PoE Beta Giveaway #4

Posted by Daeity On Thursday, November 17, 2011

The key winner from the first contest (this past Monday) has graciously given us his recently received friend invite, so we have another contest!

I'll post it tomorrow at 9:00AM PST.

I know you guys really want these, so I won't hoard them for a few days. :)

(For an entire YEAR I waited and never received a beta key, and now within a week I have two accounts and 4 beta keys to give away. Is that like Murphy's Law or something?)

I'll still also have the Account give-a-way, I just need to think about the contest. Also, remember the mental note I made and be prepared for an easy/annoying puzzle.


two zed el nine six four gee eee eh que dee why eff seven jay bee pee gee arr eff

("eh" sounds like the letter "A" by the way. It might be pronounced differently outside NA, which is why I'm clarifying.) :)

How To Confirm That Titan Leak

Posted by Daeity On

This is more of a reminder (or a placeholder) for something that should be revisited after Diablo 3 goes retail to confirm the legitimacy of an old Titan related leak.

You might remember that back in mid April there was an alleged Diablo 3 leak on 4chan. But, it's looking more and more legitimate now that the beta and the Azmodan video at Blizzcon were released. Remember, this 4chan leak was long before the F&F beta started, and before anyone knew any details like these about Diablo 3. At the time, it was met with a LOT of criticism and disbelief.

[On a little piece of historical trivia, the D3 F&F beta didn't start until the first week of Sept 2011. That was when Sixen said that there was no F&F beta. :) The next day, I posted a comment from our well known source that the closed beta would be starting on Sept 20.. which it did. :) Forcegaming was predicting Sept 12 at the time. It's one of those small tid bits that a majority of users sometime miss. My comment was actually the result of another email I had received from TOD after his/her mid August leak.]

Here's a link to the entire archived chat log. And, here is a collection of his claims (which were considered "bullshit" back in April). :)

(* UPDATE: The archival site has been down for a few days, and the cache will most likely disappear, so I created a mirror here. Pastehtml will probably give a warning before going to the page, mostly because of all the 4chan links in it.)


1. Plans for a D3 console port. (Blizzard intended to port it to consoles when the expansion development began.)
2. Levels were generated in mediocre way.
3. Didn't feel as open as D2. Levels in D2 were much bigger. In D3, "open world areas are small with little side areas, and its randomly generated dungeon levels are mediocre, with rectangular areas glued together."

This part about the open areas with little side areas and dungeons glued together with rectangular pieces is what really stood out to me. I mean, he really nailed it right there. That's exactly what the beta is like, and one of the concerns players have over the post-Act 1 areas. Blizzard has promised that this isn't the case though. I still have my doubts though.

4. No runewords.
5. Low system requirements.
6. Same model as Starcraft 2, no LAN. Online only requirement.
7. Final stage is not the High Heavens. (An old rumor.)
8. Boss battles are scripted and easy. (One common complaint from beta players, and the same is expected from all of the other bosses.)
9. Elites "not as crazy as in D2; they have less enchantments".
10. Level design.

Level design? In what order? I.E: Does the desert come in the second act, or later?

First act: Tristram and surroundings (monastery, Leoric castle,etc)
Second act: Desert
Third act: The bastion keep. Really [bad] act.
Fourth act: Begins where the meteor hits, then you descend into hell
This was another pretty good confirmation. Except he says "where the meteor hits", which I always assumed was the Tristram Monastery. But Act 4 does start in the "Holy Sanctum", "Blessed Chancel", and "Radiant Chapel" before moving to the Spire and then into Hell. It could be that another segment of the meteor (or another meteor) hit the Monastery? Still.. very specific and very accurate.


11. Codex and spell rune combinations.
Is there any kind of in-game codex for [stuff] like monsters and spell rune combinations?

No. There are recipes, and some special items like lost scrolls with some lore in them, used in recipes.
This one is iffy. He either confirms no rune combinations and/or in-game codex stuff. He says there are recipes and lost scrolls for recipes with lore in them. And, it's possible that the in-game codex lore for monsters were after his testing.

12. "You fight Tyrael in act 4." (Probably not the end boss, but rather in the middle or just before Diablo, if this is true.)

13. Plot Line
When Tyrael broke the Worldstone in D2, it basically destroyed what separated the mortal world from heaven and hell. So Asmodan devised a way to resurrect Diablo because his essence wasn’t completely destroyed with the soul shard. They invoked a meteor to hit Sanctuary for its impact would generate enough energy to provide a portal from hell for a massive army. Tyrael was corrupted by Asmodan. Asmodan is boss of act 3.
Azmodan has been confirmed as the boss of Act 3, which was pretty specific. And everything else above seems pretty close to the truth based on the small amount of information we know about the game.

14. In the end, the hero will sacrifice themselves to act like the Worldstone before it was destroyed, thereby separating Hell and the mortal world again. Diablo gets chained in Hell, never killed.


He did a pretty good job nailing many of the fine points in the game. If items #12, #13, and #14 end up being true, then it lends him some very good credibility to his claims of being an internal tester.

And, it also gives some credibility to his other Titan related comment:
-Do you know anything about Blizzard’s other projects? Brief thoughts on all the classes? Favorite thing from D3? Is it ever going to be released?

That Titan MMO will be integrated with Facebook, and will be more or less like Second Life. The classes are well designed, with each having different gameplay. I liked the skill system plus runes. Expect a beta announcement at BlizzCon.
What I always found odd about this, though, is that he was a tester for Diablo 3.. so why would he also have access to the Titan game? Perhaps he heard it from a coworker.. or perhaps he heard it from somewhere else. :)

I've actually heard this very specific comparison before (e.g. "integrated with Facebook and like Second Life".)

It was something that the Original Daeity once said. Right before it was removed. :) (And at the time, there were no other websites or sources that compared Titan to Second Life and Facebook.)
kOOpat wrote:

Many people will call bull on this, they said the same about the slate leak ;)

But what he said about Titan certainly drew my interest. It's the exact same thing that Daeity said before Blizzard perma shut down his blog. He said that the closest comparison to Titan was Second Life there was a large variety of environs, customizable player appearances (e.g. suits, ties, dresses, army outfits, fantasy & scifi wear, etc), heavy interaction with social networks like Facebook and other ARG-like influences, maybe even "customizable worlds" that can be shared with friends. There was a load of other leaked info, but it was killed fast and I didn't take screenshots.. cuz who could have really anticipated that would happen. What I saw of the art work though it looked awesome!

Regy wrote:

@kOOpat: With that logic, the guy who posted this could easily have been a reader of Daeity's blog prior to it being shut down, so his information was taken from there.

The fact remains that this was posted on 4chan of all fucking places, and that he's lying about the NDA loophole (no company miswrites NDAs to that extent)

To easily discredited to take seriously, and the fact that he sounds like a raving lunatic.

The Greatest Days wrote:

Did it occur to you that maybe he's one of the many people that read Daeity's blog? He's more than likely recycling info from that. Blizzard shutting it down made tons of people believe in the info's legitimacy, so this chumpstain thinks he struck gold.

I, for one, believe nothing. I mean sure, does some of his plot info sound plausible? Yeah absolutely, if only this wasn't coming from this particular chumpstain. Lifeless losers have gone to much less trouble to achieve their 15 mins of anonymous e-fame.
As you recall, TOD had a post (that was involuntarily deleted) that covered a ton of info about D3, Titan, and subs. He also had another post about subscriber figures that was also deleted. And others were removed completely. But, he summarized a lot of those details into the important parts that would be announced at Blizzcon (e.g. level cap, required online connection) in the "Huge News" post.

There are still bits and pieces out there that mention details in his last posts, and "koopat" just confirmed a link between Daeity's old posts and this D3 leak.

Also coincidentally, the Daeity D3 leak was on March 23 2011, and this 4Chan D3 leak was on April 13 2011. :)

The whole situation just seems oddly connected; D3 tester not associated with Titan gets Titan information, compares to Daeity remarks, leaks D3 information, Daeity also leaked D3 information, and all of this happening so closely together.

This might just be an incredible coincidence of course. There's no way to tell what really happened: he might have been a legitimate internal tester and they just both knew the same internal details about Titan (which helps in a confirmation regarding Titan), he pulled the information from the blog (the probability of the timing and details is pretty amazing), or maybe he just really did his homework and pulled pieces from all over the internet or through his own lore research. But to have so many parts correct and so specifically written, I don't think it could have been gathered from rumors.


If you exclude all of these interesting coincidences, if everything he said is indeed proven to be true, then it certainly lends a ton of credibility to the Titan game design.

Also, a lot of Blizzard's decisions about Titan were made during a time when Zynga was extremely successful, they had partnered with Facebook, and they intended on implementing Real ID (with FB) into their new games. It's quite possible that a FB integration has been planned for a very long time, and they're getting their feet wet with SC2. (Just like the RMAH in D3.)

It will be interesting to see (and another confirmation) if Blizzard introduces new FB integration features within Diablo 3. For example, seeing online players that are linked to FB profiles, messaging in-game users from FB, forming FB-based guilds (instead of in-game guilds), maybe even a FB/RMAH or inventory management system if it proves to be successful.

At Blizzcon 2011, they mentioned that they were looking for a way to implement guilds. A Facebook based guild system would certainly explain why they left out in-game guilds for retail. Now, they won't call it a "guild" system though, it will be a Facebook Friends linkage page or something (I wonder how it could be integrated in-game though?). But, it will be a good way of getting non-users to start using Facebook for Blizzard games. :)