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Post-Blizzcon 2009: Bashiok’s Diablo III Q&A Roundup

Bashiok has been rolling with Diablo III questions and answers on the forums after the Blizzcon 2009 wave of revelations.

The Diablo III Team is concerned with some spell animations, blood and explosions in 4-player scenarios where the screens simply gets crowded with stuff that gets in the way.  In short visibility of monsters and other players gets affected.

Blizzard Quote:
Bashiok: The spell animations, blood, explosions, and everything else going on can create what Jay mentioned a few times as “soup”. An indistinguishable mess. It’s really only an issue during four player games and even then, to be honest, I personally think it’s all far more readable than it was in Diablo II. But, it’s an ongoing concern and something we’re going to have to continue to work at to make sure you can tell what’s going on.

For the second point, development time, there is a lot going on – a lot of areas, creatures, and dungeons created that no one has seen yet and probably won’t see until the game is released. But dev time is certainly always something on people’s minds. We’re constantly refining our tools and processes, and the team just naturally gets better and faster at creating content as they go. I don’t think it’s anything for the community at large to concern themselves with, let the producers sweat it.

The Monk class is not the same from the Sierra’s Diablo II: Hellfire expansion—and that expansion is not considered canon or part of the Diablo II lore:

Blizzard Quote:
Bashiok: It’s not a recognized part of the Diablo franchise, and to be honest it is so much so not recognized, that when people asked about returning classes in the Q&A’s and in some of the press interviews the Hellfire expansion just wasn’t in anyone’s minds. Plus, it isn’t the same class. We aren’t taking an old class and updating it. The monk from Hellfire, and in fact the story and content of Hellfire, doesn’t exist as far as game lore and story is concerned going into Diablo III. They happen to share a name, the same as all of the other monk classes that have existed in all other RPG’s since the beginning of time. It doesn’t mean they’re related kit/story/flavor wise.

A fan asked if the demon fighting the Monk in the trailer was Belial, and surpise-surprise … it is a Morlu Caster.  Those into lore and reading novels know that Morlu is a race mentioned in Diablo: The Sin War trilogy. They are reanimated warriors.  They don’t look human, but they are armored humanoids wearing ram skull helmets. They served Lucion the Primus, son of Mephisto, and could be found in the depths of the Temple of the Triune fighting each other nonstop, dying and reanimating back to life constantly.  It is very cool to see Morlu show up in Diablo III. It means the Diablo: The Sin War Trilogy has much more importance in the Diablo III storyline than previously revealed.

Blizzard Quote:
Bashiok: The demonic enemy shown in the Monk trailer is a morlu caster, not Belial.

Bashiok wants feedback about shrine buffs and magicfind:

Blizzard Quote:
Bashiok: There is indeed currently magicfind (MF) on items in Diablo III, as well as a temporary shrine buff. I think though it’s a system we’re just sort of dipping our toes into for the moment.

I don’t think it’s accurate to say or even guess that the inclusion of MF means the system will mirror that of Diablo II. We could easily set rules for affix combination, requirement, frequency, and strength to control how and where MF appears in the game.

We may decide that MF as a stat is a fun alternative and building sets purely to that end, similar to Diablo II, is what we want to do. Or, we could say that it should just be a fun affix and not something you could stack to meaningful amounts.

Putting things like MF, additional XP, additional gold, speed increase, etc. on items now and having them in the demo is really just begging for discussion so please do give some feedback.

The Monk’s Seven-sided Strike ability costed half-mana in the demo, so expect various changes to this ability throughout development.

Blizzard Quote:
Bashiok: I’ll jump in real quick and just say that this ability in the demo cost a little less than half your mana pool, so you’re able to “spam” it exactly twice in a row if starting with full mana.

Many fans were concerned about the quality of the Monk Class Trailer shown at Blizzcon 2009. Bashiok clears up everything there is to know about it.

Blizzard Quote:
Bashiok: Well … yeah, the class announcement trailers are done using nothing but in-game assets. They’re essentially Diablo III machinima if you want to classify it. And they’re effing amazing. Obviously they’re not the pre-rendered cinematics, but if anyone is even confused about that… then that’s pretty cool too actually.

Bashiok can you confirm the presence of in-game cutscenes or does that steal from the game as the previous character dialogues as seen in the first gameplay video and that have since been removed?

The reason why those close-up character dialogues with the animated portraits were removed was because it took you away from your character and the game. So I’d be really surprised if we had in-game cinematics, but … never say never.

Why wasn’t there a female Monk in the demo?

Blizzard Quote:
Bashiok: There will be a female monk. Women can be monks as well in eastern religions, of which the monk draws the majority of his influence. We’re obviously putting a western spin on it though and making it something specific for Sanctuary. The female monk is still in the concepting stage, so we don’t have any final concepts to show.

Loved how Bashiok played around with the Zombie Dogs ability to catch on fire with firebombs or other Witch Doctor abilities to justify possible changes in the way the zombie dogs should benefit from extra damage.  It might end up working like a paladin aura that can be switched on and off? Or maybe a buff casted by the Witch Doctor on his pets until they die? What do you think?

Blizzard Quote:
Bashiok: First thing’s first, the mongrel is now (or again) known as the Zombie Dog. It was the name that was used when the idea was first proposed and all the way through development. Calling it a mongrel was kind of confusing because everyone was so used to calling it a zombie dog for so long, no one remembered to call it a mongrel (dune thresher and fallen imp suffer from it as well to a degree). The name zombie dog doesn’t need to be lore-fied really. It describes the skill perfectly, so why not use it?

So anyway, right, the fire and poison/locust enhancements for the zombie dogs was removed. It was a cool idea but it just wasn’t really panning out to be anything meaningful. It was sort of confusing as to why you would be switching between fire and poison, was it to keep an additional DoT active, or maybe there would be tactical reasons for it? But it just wasn’t really jiving in a way that made sense for the rest of the game as it all came together more. It wasn’t shaping up to be a meaningful or fun decision to make on-the-fly. And if you didn’t happen to spec into the skills that would empower the mongrels in different ways, what then? You’re just constantly refreshing a fire DoT on them? To what end? It seemed more and more that a decision that was made at the base skill, either through spending points in another skill (passive potentially), or using particular runes to alter the zombie dogs, made the most sense.

I haven’t spoken to the designers about it, so I could be way out of line, but I think the potential for passives that affect all “summoned zombies” is definitely there as there are quite a bit more of them that exist now. The gargantuan, zombie charger, wall of zombies, grasp of the dead, and then the zombie dogs of course.

It’s not an issue of coming up with various ways the effects could work, it’s the issue of why is it interesting or fun to switch between the two? Why/when/how would I choose to set my dogs on fire versus poisoning them, and most importantly! could it be done accurately enough so that it actually makes a difference?

“Ok I’m a firebomb Witch Doctors.

Firebombing, firebombing… Oh sweet, my zombie dog lit on fire and is doing extra damage/trail of fire/etc etc
Firebombing, firebombing. Yup, he’s still on fire and doing all that stuff.
Still on fire.

Always on fire since I use firebomb so much.
… still on fire.
This might as well be a passive.”

Repeat the above for locust swarm.

“Ok I have firebomb AND locust swarm!

Firebombing, cool he’s on f… wait nope I accidentally hit him with locust swa… nope now he’s on fire agai… ok they need to stop getting in my way I want them to be on fire but they… ugh.
This should just be something I can choose/switch in a more meaningful way.”

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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