BlizzCon 2013 – Diablo III: Gameplay Systems + Crusader Panel Transcript

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in BlizzCon 2013, Diablo 3 News, Diablo III: Reaper of Souls

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Chambers: Alright. How you doing, BlizzCon? Do you like what you have seen? Say that louder. I love it. I love you guys so much. You know, afterwards when you see me on the floor just come to me and give me a hug.

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Especially you, because I love those big bear hugs. Just come up to me and give me some love. This is looking fantastic, right? These amazingly, phenomenally talented artists bring words on a page into life on a screen in an amazing way.

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So special to work with these guys. On the design side our challenge is figuring out: “how does this guy play?” You know, when you are clicking the button and like slaying evil, and the tempo behind it. Is it like smooth jazz? Or is it heart, drum and bass?

So we knew straight away that he had to be a melee character. He’s a big guy in armor with a shield and a flail. There is no way he is walking away from a fight, and he loves to be up close and personal, but we can’t just add another melee character to Diablo III.

We have two very strong classes in the Barbarian and the Monk that really own that space really well. So for the Crusader — brand-new class for Reaper of Souls — we gave him the ability to have some strong range component to him. A lot of his skills have the ability to slay from afar.

Part of the key for that was allowing him to be powered by this righteous wrath. Wrath is your resource. It regenerates while you are not in combat because he is SO MAD. THERE ARE SO MANY DEMONS OUT THERE AND HE CAN’T GET TO THEM yet.

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But at the same time, he can regenerate with his Primary. He spends big with his Secondary Skills, like Shield Bash — which you just saw; but the great thing about being around is not necessarily physical. It’s this mystical power that he has inside of him, and he can choose to unleash it in any way, shape and form — and he does.

So now that we have the melee and range thing established how do we explore that with stats and with skills?

This is Slash and Shield Bash. Charges in. Slams his enemies with his shield. Powering it with his wrath, and slashes the air in front of him with Holy Fire. Very melee. The great thing about his melee skills — the Crusader is often wearing a shield so he wouldn’t be able to dual-wield.

That’s ok, because for a lot of his skills they are AOE-oriented. Protection makes up for the fact that you cannot necessarily have flail around, really fast, but you can hit lots of monsters at the same time. So that’s great, melee.

How do we do range? This is Justice + Blessed Shield. He throws the hammer, slamming into his enemies and exploding into Holy Fire, and charges up his shield and throws it at them. Ricocheting around. Crushing everything in its path.

The fantastic thing about the Crusader’s ranged abilities is not only that they give you the ability to kill things from afar, but they also have this fantastical physical components to them.

You see, there is no fluffiness here. He is angry. He is wrathful. He is righteous. He is a knight. He really kill these really well. Even his ranged skills have this great sense of like strength behind them.

So now we have the two gameplay roles established and understood. The next thing we need to do is go ahead and fill out the rest of the skill kit. Unfortunately we only have 24 skills. We have to come up with that on a design side.

So sometimes we are not successful. This is Crushing Resolve. Who here played the Paladin in Diablo II? So you know Zeal, right? Zeal was an amazing skill. It increased the number of monsters it would hit, increased your attack speed, scaled attack rating in fantastic ways.

So we decided this guy, you know, descended from the paladins — so let’s bring that skill forwarding. Give it to him. Unfortunately, it didn’t work too well. In Diablo II you had two skill buttons effectively. In Diablo III it’s so much better you got six.

You have these utility skills that you would like to use. You want to have a spender and a generator. All kinds of things going on at the same time. When you have one skill that does as many things as Zeal — in that kind of context, it can actually get a little bit sad. Because you are just pressing one button all the time.

You have no incentive to press anything else. We compound so many thing on this one skill, that becomes all you need to press. Also the visuals are really, really hard to tell. It’s kinda hard to tell that it actually increases the number of monsters only to 5. The buff is a little bit sort of strange and persistent because it is always there.

So you want to actually see this on the Crusader. You will see it here on the floor. You will see it in Reaper of Souls. The great thing about this is we iterate. We learn a lot.

This actually became Slash, and Slash has a rune called Zeal. Sometimes, lightning strikes. This is Fist of the Heavens. Boom!!! Yeah! Louder!

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The Crusader is a knight in battle-scarred armor. This righteous warrior so empowered and so powerful. He is this immovable force. An unstoppable object. When he commands, the heavens responds.

We call this an epiphany skill. This is the first pass implementation of this skill. Like we haven’t changed this since we tried it out. The very first. We saw it in-game, we knew it resonated so strong that we had to just keep it, and we haven’t really iterated on it. It’s just that good.

The great thing about Fist of Heavens — mechanically it comes from the sky. As a Crusader I want to be surrounded by enemies a lot. A lot of my utilities skills like Provoke actually increase the potency based on the amount of monsters I hit. And the radius is actually around me.

So when you are shrouded by enemies, and you really need to kill that Treasure Goblin — that is over there — you need that. Comes from the sky. Thank you.

So up next is Nicholas Eberle. Technical artist to take you even through even more iteration of our skills. And you — big guy, don’t forget the hug.

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