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BlizzCon 2013 – Diablo III: Reaper of Souls Preview Panel Transcript

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Love: Those were a lot of SCARABS, though was it enough or should it be turned up a little bit? Up? Up?

( Audience asks for more )

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Alright, BlizzCon has spoken. So we are talking about our design philosophy, you know, how we think about monsters and how we put them in the game, look about like a little bit how we do some spawns.

The next big subject for us is: What are we gonna do? In a game like Diablo, monsters really live to die. That’s what they are born for, that’s what they are there for. And you are cleaning your clothes pretty regular rates so they tend to not do very well either. So when we focus on what we are gonna do, we have to make sure that we make things very clear and simple; and we are also looking for things that are gonna be memorable, we want behaviors that you can understand, okay.

And we are looking for things that are going to change the way you play, and sometimes maybe make you feel a little bit differently about that monster. So in the live game, right now, we have a bunch of monsters … a range of monsters that have this ability to backoff from you.

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So let’s look at how that works right now for this archers. When they want to backoff from you they have to turn around and put their backs to the player and they reposition themselves and turn back around to pick up the bows; and it makes it feel a little dumb, and it makes it look a bit less threatening.

It also means they’re kinda really disrespect you as a player. I mean they are turning their backs on you. What kind of a threat are you? Alright, so we decided to make an improvement here, and we got a new capability we call the backpeddle, so look at the same archers as the player approaches them they wanna backoff, but now they can just backoff without changing direction. They maintain their eyesight — it’s focused on the player. They are respecting the player, and they are a lot more threatening. So it is an example of a really simple change, that also effects how you feel about that monster. Now I’m gonna head over to the Bloodmarsh’s game.

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You’ll take a closer look at the Brute and Boggits. A lot of monsters in the game can summon guys, and throw them at you… but the Brute literally does it. When he summons Boggits out on the field, he immediately throws them right at you.

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This makes him really aggressive as a summoner, because it is not usually the case; but it also underscores the savage relationship between Brutes and Boggits — which is a great reflection of life in the Bloodmarch. And we really like the fact that they are interactive. Something different for us. So we thought maybe there is an opportunity to do more with that idea.

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So I would like to introduce you to the Terror bat. Now the Terror Bat has a really cool behavior, he can pick up Boggits, raise them in the air, give them a rabbit bite, and transform them into Brutes. And the Brutes can then spawn more Boggits. The Boggits can be turn back into Brutes by bats.

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(CLAPS)

This is a really distinct effect on gameplay! It creates a vicious circle. You walk onscreen and you see a few Brutes there, and then you have got to worry about that Brute because (bang) here comes a bat … ohh, ohh… whats gonna happen? … he is gonna make more Brutes, and it’s gonna make more Boggits. You gonna have to manage that stuff right away!

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(the crowd laughs)

Because we love you

(CLAPS )

Alright! This is my favorite part, how they die!

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They got a lot about how monsters die, just because it’s weird! No! Well may be some of us, …. it’s really important in a game where monster’s live to die… Death becomes really critical, in fact. It’s the culmination of your effort. It’s what you are doing!

It’s what they are there for, it’s when you get your loot, right? It’s really important — and the thing that I think that is easy to miss is that it’s a great opportunity to tell some story — either about that monster, or about something in the world that is going on… or even, its a great opportunity to draw the player further into the game world.

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And I have an example of that, in the Realm Walker. Now the Realm Walker is a giant beast that you can find in the Forgotten Battlefields. And he’s guarding a portal, that he carries around on his head, and uses that portal as a weapon against the player by spawning in monster’s from another realm.

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And “Spoiler Alert” here, you get to kill him. And when you do, you are just gonna overload him into a bunch of energy and explode… cuz you like to blow things up, and he loses control with that portal and you can jump into it ! And you go to the realm from where those monsters were coming from.

(CLAPS)

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It’s a really big spoilers … (Laughs)

OKAY! Here’s another example from the Bloodmarch, he looked to be trapped earlier, but what he might not realize is what a bunch of jerks these guys are… here they are, they are in their guard tower, there all holed up. They are super confident, and dropping traps on you, They are peppering you with darts. They think they have got it made. Its not really the case! Your gonna take them out!

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You’re gonna deliver some justice to these guys. But not any kind of justice will do. We want some poetic justice for something like this … right ? So when you take the tower down, they just get dismembered by their own traps, and their giant bloody mess.. Just watch that…. yeah!

(CLAPS)

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The last thing that I wanna focus on today is how important it is that we make monsters that you can understand?

We want monsters that you can relate to! It makes them so much more interesting to kill, when you all can understand and you know what they are…

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So I’ve got some examples…

Some behaviors that we give monsters to help you understand them, and here is a great ragged and enriched story in a monster that we call the Exorcist.

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You find this guy in Westmarch. It is one of Malthael’s crew. Now when we first started working on this guy, we got this idea, what if he just dropped like a bunch of evil stuff on the ground that would chase you. You’d think your job was gonna be run away from them. And you worked okay; but we think if you’re gonna run away from something in a Diablo game, you should understand what it is… it should be familiar to you, you should get it! You should see why it is dangerous, and this just wasn’t hitting it. It is just too abstract.

So we took this guy back to the drawing board. Gave him some new abilities, something that you can really get. Now he charges himself up, in a being of ultimate lightning power and blasts you with lightning in it, and the reason why this works so much better is because, you completely get this idea that this guy, he’s bristling with energy and get that dark skeleton there with that Diablo kind of thing, right? And the lightning is something that everybody understands. That’s a monster that might be worth the try, might want to run away.

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Alright, so here we have the Westmarch Hound, another monster, like this in Reaper of Souls. If you look at him, he looks like a bulldog. So what should he do? He should do things like a bulldog does. He likes to chew on stuff. So we thought let’s make it treat the player like a chew toy. So when he’s done with you, you’re covered in dog slobber. It’s really gross.

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But here’s the thing, that’s not the only dog behavior we thought of. Let’s see what happens when a Westmarch Hound kills a player.

Note: The Westmarch Hounds urinates on your character’s corpse after it kills you.

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(Claps and cheer sound)

Haha. Let’s see it again, one more time. So humiliating. Alright, that wraps up our look at monsters for Reaper of Souls. And now I’m going to kick back over to Kevin Martens who is going to bring us all up to speed with a new area called the Pandemonium.

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(Claps and cheers)

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Tomas Hernandez is owner of Blizzplanet.com since 2003 posting news about World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Diablo III, Hearthstone, Next-Gen MMO, Blizzard Careers, and the Warcraft film.

Blizzplanet is a leading fansite covering news about upcoming Blizzard Entertainment licensed products. I also post previews and reviews. I have interviewed book writers and Blizzard game developers.

I was previously an employee of the OGaming Network (2003), and IncGamers (2008-2010). I was a guest newsposter for GosuGamers (World of Warcraft) a few years ago and for Diablofans.com (formerly Diablo3.com)

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