Hello, my name is Ian Bates, more commonly known as the Red Shirt Guy, and I am happy to say I am now Blizzplanet’s newest contributor! In the coming days, weeks, months etc I hope to provide a variety of, perhaps not news but “flavor” articles for the site. You can expect lots of speculative ideas on future content, as I love imagining expansions, zones, where the game could go. I’m also planning on doing an article about the current “faction bias” issue that has reemerged with patch 5.3.
I hope you will enjoy these future articles and that they will help make Blizzplanet a fun read for all fans of Blizzard’s products.
UPDATE: Sunday, August 11 is the last day to submit your entry.
SteelSeries, J!NX and The League of S.T.E.A.M. have partnered to brew together a cool promotion that will send a lucky winner and a friend to BlizzCon 2013 (November 8-9th) free along with flight and hotel expenses covered. This contest only applies to North American residents: which includes United States, Canada and Quebec. The follow up winners will get SteelSeries and J!NX prizes.
Make sure to read my personal speculation about this strange and unholy partnership — there is something odd about this partnership that [might] or [not] be a hint of a new Blizzard game announcement. Don’t you love Blizzplanet’s speculations?
CHICAGO – July 29th, 2013 – With the return of BlizzCon this year to Anaheim, California, SteelSeries and our partners JINX and The League of S.T.E.A.M want to send YOU to the festivities in style. This once in a lifetime chance to be a part of gaming history is completely FREE to enter by visiting the contest landing page – http://steelseri.es/blizzcon. Sweepstake entries will be open from July 29th through August 11th to all North American residents.
The grand prize features two BlizzCon Show Passes, airfare and accommodations for you and a friend PLUS one custom costume by award winning costume designers The League of S.T.E.A.M! An additional $2500 in sponsored prizes will also be given away including World of Warcraft Wireless MMO mice and JINX gift cards!
To keep up to date with the latest happenings of all the companies that made this giveaway possible, please visit the following websites.
I’m sorry to Blizzard Entertainment, but I will shield up with the first amendment of the United States Constitution: Freedom of Speech. Of course, I’ll eat back my words silently if I misfire … oops!
I have seen several promotions and giveaways from licensed partners for several years, but I find the League of S.T.E.A.M to be a very strange partner which is not directly a Blizzard Licensed Partner.
I do know the BlizzCon 2013 Costume Contest sign ups begin on August 5 (approximately) as published recently at the official BlizzCon website. The League of S.T.E.A.M will create a costume for the Ultimate BlizzCon 2013 Giveaway announced in this press release.
I was curious about this League of S.T.E.A.M, and searched online for their website. After reading through their About page, this is what they say:
The League of S.T.E.A.M. is not your average performance group
Our talented group of inventors and actors take the audience back to a time of scientific adventure; a common ground between the paranormal and the Pythagorean. We are monster hunters from the Victorian era. From up on the stage to mingling the crowd, our members engage the audience with proton packs capable of firing blasts of “steam,” zombie manservants on chain-leads, net guns and titillating electro-shock packs and ethereal glowing ghosts. Every piece of machinery is meticulously designed, detailed, and fully functional, from the steam cannon to the extendable “Punchy Fist”. The League travels with an archive of past adventures, preserved and documented for the ambient pleasure of the viewer, featuring exotic specimens and chilling relics from the ancient Orient. Audiences for this extravagant experience continue to grow. The League of S.T.E.A.M. is one of the fastest-growing entertainment groups of its kind, and our series of filmed exploits has ensured us a popularity that fills our events to capacity.
Wait … this is a Steampunk-effing-League?!! I’m sorry, my geeky blood-pressure is going high at the moment. Don’t blame me for speculating, but what if this giveaway is subtly throwing hints about a new Blizzard Entertainment Steampunk-themed video game to be announced at BlizzCon 2013? Is that even feasible to imagine or a loooong-stretch?
Blizzard Entertainment is currently developing two MMOs: the Next-Gen MMO codenamed Titan and a unannounced MMO.
If this speculation doesn’t excite you, I don’t know what will. A Steampunk Blizzard game — would you play something that wicked sweet?
I might be totally wrong on this one, I admit. However, tell me straight to the face you won’t get excited after reading what the League of S.T.E.A.M is and after viewing their photos. I present to you … the League of S.T.E.A.M
Blizzplanet is proud to announce its very own BlizzCon countdown web application for your mobile device. This is designed to be used on your iOS or Android mobile phone. Follow these steps on your phone and get excited for BlizzCon!
2.If you are on iOS a button should popup with instructions. If it doesn’t, tap the Arrow button on the bottom bar of Safari. If you are on Android it varies from device to device but look for an Add Bookmark to Home screen option.
3. Tap Add to Home Screen
4. Choose a Name and hit Add.
You will now have a nice BlizzCon icon on your phone’s home screen.
Blizzard Entertainment is accepting submissions to participate in the Talent Contest held at BlizzCon. Fans can show off their talents and skills in any form and shape, whether singing, dancing, playing an instrument, etc.
An exciting new contest is coming to this year’s show: the BlizzCon2013 Talent Contest! Blizzard gamers are an incredibly talented bunch, and this is your opportunity to shine a spotlight on your skills and celebrate Blizzard gaming culture along with BlizzCon attendees and viewers from around the world.
Can you play the Diablo theme on a 12-string guitar? Can you sing Lament of the Highborn? Are you the living embodiment of Sarah Kerrigan? Does your band play a Blizzard-themed song you can’t wait for everyone to hear? Well, we can’t wait to watch you act, sing, dance, and strut your stuff live on stage at BlizzCon 2013!
To be considered, you’ll need to create a 2-minute video of you (or your band, troupe, or what have you) performing your Blizzard-themed talent, post it on YouTube, and submit a link (or if you’re part of a troupe, have your troupe’s spokesperson upload it). Below are some examples of the kind of acts we have in mind.
Remember, what follows are just some ideas and guidelines. We know you have skills we haven’t even dreamed of, so surprise us! We’re eagerly looking forward to seeing you in action.
Drama! Re-enact a scene or monologue from a Blizzard game
Comedy! Make us laugh Blizzard-inspired stand-up or sketch comedy
Music! Perform an instrumental or vocal cover of a Blizzard song, or write and perform your own original composition
Dance! Come up with an original dance routines set to Blizzard music or original Blizzard-themed compositions
Please don’t limit yourself, and don’t be afraid to show us your best, because we aren’t selecting finalists based on any pre-existing categories. Instead finalists will be selected based on talent, live performance (remember, you could be performing on stage!), humor, entertainment, originality, creativity, and strong Blizzard theming.
Blizzard Entertainment dropped the bomb. There’s no BlizzCon 2012 this year due to their three-game release tight schedules: Heart of the Swarm, Diablo III and Mists of Pandaria.
The StarCraft II and World of Warcraft Championships will have a stand-alone event held in Asia at the end of this year.
Blizzard Entertainment is proud to announce the 2012 Battle.net World Championship, a major global eSports event featuring some of the best pro-gaming competition in the world. Slated to take place in Asia toward the end of 2012, the Battle.net World Championship will host this year’s StarCraft II and World of Warcraft Arena World Championship tournaments. Blizzard gamers and eSports fans from around the world will be invited to attend and witness some of the most skilled pro players on the planet battle it out for cash and glory.
We’re excited to be showcasing Blizzard eSports on a truly global stage this year. We’re also heavily focused on getting Diablo III, Mists of Pandaria, and Heart of the Swarm into players’ hands as soon as possible. In light of our jam-packed schedule, we’ve decided to hold the next BlizzCon in 2013.
More details about the 2012 Battle.net World Championship and BlizzCon 2013, including specific dates and locations, will be coming in the months ahead.
Talking with Blizzplanet Network Manager Eldorian, we are both sad pandas after hearing this news. Just a few days ago, he got the cash to cost the trip that’s no longer in the foreseeable horizon. I was personally expecting the BlizzCon 2012 dates to be revealed at the upcoming Activision Blizzard Q4 2011 Conference Call like in times past it’s happened.
Moving on forward after the heartbreaking news, we were just talking about the announcement of the Next-Gen MMO. It usually takes Blizzard about 2-3 years to ship a game after it’s first announcement. With BlizzCon 2013 usually all the way back at the fourth quarter, that would mean we wouldn’t be playing the Next-Gen MMO until about 5 years from now.
During our short chat about this topic, Eldorian told me they might announce the Next-Gen MMO at the 2012 Battle.net World Championship. Reflecting on that thought, I remembered StarCraft II was first announced on May 19th at the 2007 Blizzard Worldwide Invitationals (WWI) in Seoul, South Korea and the game shipped 1159 days after its announcement; and Diablo III was first announced on June 28 at the 2008 Blizzard Worldwide Invitationals in Paris, France. It’s been 576 days since Blizzard Entertainment announced Diablo III. No release date is available at the moment.
It’s true. The unannounced games don’t need to be unveiled at BlizzCon. There’s still hope for the Next-Gen MMO. Could late 2012 be the year of the Next-Gen MMO announcement?
For those who missed going to BlizzCon 2011 or watching the livestream here are a few videos of L90ETC live performance. They played songs based on Diablo III, StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm and World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria.
L90ETC is composed of Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime (Bass), StarCraft II Lead Producer Chris Sigaty (Rythm guitar), Alan Dabiri (Drums), Dave Berggren (lead guitarist) and Blizzard Senior Art Director Samwise Didier (vocalist).
Blizzard Entertainment has emailed all BlizzCon 2011 Virtual Ticket viewers to fill out their BlizzCon 2011 Live Stream Feedback Survey.
The survey suggests Blizzard is considering to expand the pay-per-view BlizzCon Live Stream to PSN, Xbox Live, and iPad. Sounds like Blizzard is really into coming back to consoles.
The survey also hints at game streaming technology like Gaikai’s, allowing BlizzCon Live Stream viewers to play the same game demos played at the show floor — such as World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria, StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm and Diablo III — straight from your web browser.
Blizzard Entertainment is interested in your feedback on your experience with the BlizzCon 2011 Live Stream Virtual Ticket service. This survey should take 15 to 20 minutes to complete; all responses are completely confidential.
You must be 13 years of age or older to fill out the questionnaire.
We value your opinions and look forward to hearing from you.
Blizzard Entertainment Research
Two of the survey questions are definitely interesting. Blizzard wishes to know if you would like the BlizzCon Live Stream to be viewed in the future in the following platforms:
The second interesting survey question is: “Which of the following items would you be most interested in having for future BlizzCon online pay-per-view events? (You may select up to 3 items.)”
The two most notorious options in that question was the opportunity to purchase a Blu-Ray disc of full BlizzCon coverage and to play remotely the games demoed at the show floor.
Who wouldn’t want a Blu-Ray disc to watch BlizzCon panels, Q&As, contests, concert, and tournaments any time in high-definition? Count me in, brother.
Playing the games remotely? That would be totally awesome. How can this be possible? For a couple of years, I have been following the news on Gaikai. Just a few months ago, Gaikai launched their Cloud platform allowing players to test game demos straight from their internet browser.
Among the top games on Gaikai are Crysis 2, The Witcher 2, Mass Effect and Dragon Age II. Go ahead, you can play those games on Firefox and Internet Explorer.
Are Blizzard Entertainment and Gaikai partnering to allow BlizzCon Virtual Ticket viewers a chance to play future Blizzard game demos straight from your internet browser at the same time BlizzCon attendees are playing at the Anaheim Convention Center?
There is no official announcements from either Blizzard Entertainment or Gaikai, but there are certainly breadcrumbs out there online to suggest it might happen.
A year and a half ago, when I heard about Gaikai, one of their teasers to promote their game streaming technology was World of Warcraft on iPad. (May 2010)
About a year later, Greg Street (Ghostcrawler) said: “”Everyone I know here has an iPhone or an iPad so we’re huge fans of the hardware,” he said. “If we could make the right game changes to make that work, it’s something we’d be interested in. It’s not something you’re going to see in the next week or two, but it’s the kind of thing we’re always looking at.”
Something is brewing.
With Gaikai’s game streaming technology you don’t have to worry about elite graphic cards to handle high resolution and Ultra settings. No time-consuming game installations, driver installations. No download. The Gaikai cloud servers do that for you, and stream it into your web browser.
“GAIKAI offers a fully managed cloud platform across a global network that is optimized to deliver high-end video games and applications within seconds to all leading web browsers, operating systems, and devices, even premium destinations and social networks like YouTube and Facebook.”
“To deliver the lowest latency, highest quality experiences possible, Gaikai has designed custom servers and distributed them in data centers across the globe. Working closely with our partners like Limelight Networks and Level 3 Communications our peering and transit relationships are second to none.”
Here’s a 2009 video where Gaikai demonstrates how games like World of Warcraft can be played in the internet browser. The World of Warcraft and Warcraft III icons are in the game list UI.
The Diablo III Lore panel was held at BlizzCon 2011 on Day Two at the Panel Stage in Hall A from 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM PDT.
This panel was conducted by Chris Metzen (Senior Vice-President of Story and Franchise Development), Kevin Martens (Lead Content Designer) and Leonard Boyarski (Senior World Designer).
Below you will find an approximate transcript of the Diablo III Lore Panel which shed some light on how Diablo: Book of Cain and Diablo: The Sin War fit with the Diablo III story.
Note: This is a work in progress: 40% done. A sneak peek.
Diablo III Panel Intro
Chris Metzen: It’s been kinda interesting. Fifteen years of Diablo. At least seven years of BlizzCon. We haven’t had a straight lore panel before, so this should be really cool.
We got some absolutely badasses on the stage today. This is Leord Boyarskii — our Senior Game Designer, and Kevin Martens — our Lead Content Designer.
We’ve been tag-teaming for what it seems a hundred years in Diablo III. We’re working a little bit on some new ideas, and talking a little bit about Book of Cain and some of the history we’ve tried to put together, and then we’re going to a Q&A.
As we get started here, I wanted to talk to you guys — we’ve put together this new thing called Book of Cain because the past few years while we have been developing Diablo III, it demanded that we relooked the world, and the relooked the way the history flows.
The Diablo series was developed between two different companies, probably something like eight different fiction writers across manuals and game scripts, and to be honest with you it was a bit of a mess.
As we started to get deep into Diablo III, new ideas were coming out and kind of new looks at the world were taking shape that look really cool.
We started looking at the history and tighting up and trim and looked at how all these ideas stack so that you get the most maximum, tight, and smartly built game continuity. As we got all these ideas, we came up with Book of Cain. Really badass, put it in a cover, and give it to people.
I want to say this upfront, we do this with Warcraft and StarCraft front all the time. We started tweaking things, and purposely retconning things, get a little emotional.
People like to know what they know, and the canon — the lore they have been following for years. I just wanted to say upfront, especially in the Q&A part if you want to ask about things (the preview of Book of Cain went up last night), and some things look a bit different than what they have looked like for years.
Not really major world changes or anything like that by the way. This all sounds very nerdy, but just want to say upfront we have been going back through history and trying to tighten up and make it as smart as we can make it. So wanted to say upfront as we get going here we’ll be talking about the Eternal Conflict.
We’ll be discussing ideas that we have been building into Diablo for a while, but we have early evidence in the game series about the Angels in the Diablo universe. We don’t talk about them a whole lot. The only character you have seen consistently has been Tyrael.
We kinda setup a little discussion about them. The idea is the Diablo universe is predicated on the Eternal Conflict. We have the High Heavens and the Burning Hells, and one of these modified ideas that we came up with, that we’ve running for the past couple of years in development is that “What are heaven and hell really been fighting about? What are they doing?”
We kinda had this idea that there’s a mythic cycle we came up with about the creation of the universe, the ultimate manifestations of good and evil fought at the beginning of time and pretty much wiped each other out in kinda a big bang of explosion — so, part of the good guy was this kind of massive crystal we called the Eye of Anu, it’s the Worldstone.
It began spinning out in the heart of the universe itself, and legend holds — “legend holds” as if I ain’t making this out as I go — legend holds that with the Worldstone you can build worlds without end. It’s essentially the heart of a supreme deity, it’s a force of creation.
With this thing, it’s theorized that you can build worlds without end, and ultimately the High Heavens and the Burning Hells are pretty much also evidences of this great powers of the universe.
As the Angels and Demons became aware of each other they began to fight over possession of the Worldstone, because whoever controls it can pretty much reshape reality to their whim. So the idea that we built is in the center of the universe where this Worldstone is the forces of the High Heavens and the Burning Hells are fighting there. We call that place “Pandemonium”.
You guys are familiar with the Pandemonium Fortress in Diablo II.
Kevin Martens: Yes, at that point the Angels had controlled it and the Pandemonium Fortress was sort of their operation base at the gates of Hell.
Chris Metzen: And the ideas is that over the Eons, since the dawn of time, Heaven and Hell have been fighting different lengths of times. This ten thousand years span: Hell owned it. The next thirty thousand years span: Heaven owns it.
So the architecture of the Pandemonium Fortress is kind of shaped around both of their cultures as they have occupied this place over time.
Kevin Martens: I should say the Pandemonium Fortress is also much bigger than what you have seen in Diablo II. There’s a lot more to it than what we have ever shown or talked about.
Chris Metzen: The idea is that the Pandemonium Fortress is built around the Worldstone, and kinda built to contain it, and certainly provide us with a little battleground for these forces to clash over.
As you move forward in time, the character of Inarius started to get tired at this giant battle, and didn’t want to play ball anymore. He thought that this unending Eternal Conflict was ridiculous. He was like “I’m done.” He kinda had a total break.
Long story short, he conscripts like-minded angels, and even stranger, like-minded demons. Like the demoness Lilith. And they pull off the maneuver — they actually ended up stealing the Worldstone from the heart of Pandemonium. Technically, it’s still right there. It still exists at the heart of creation, but somehow they dimensionally veiled it, they kinda blinked it out into a dimensional pocket that Heaven and Hell couldn’t see.
You could imagine what that would do to the Eternal Conflict. Suddenly the thing we are fighting over, the power of creation itself, Zoop! It’s gone.
So that complicated things for Heaven and Hell. What are we fighting over now? Where the Worldstone went is in the dimension of Sanctuary.
With this power of creation, Inarius and his goofy friends forged for themselves a paradise. A garden sanctuary where they could do their hippy-stuff, run around naked, have fun chasing bunnies, and there these renegade angels and demons began to … get it on.
They had babies. They had scary, mighty, supernatural babies called the Nephalem.
Long story shorter, over time these Nephalem … their bloodlines began to diminish, their powers began to diminish because the very very scary mighthy monsters — something that was never planned for in creation: hybrids of angelic and demonic power — (as this is said, Metzen is moving his hands as he talks, and he suddenly realizes it) what am I doing? This is weird. Grabbing air. (Metzen whistles and moves and gestures his hand to simulate a wave) … sorry, hold me. (Metzen grabs Boyarski’s hand).
(Crowd breaks into laughter)
So the Nephalems ultimately diminish and become us. Become men (… and women). And the idea is that locked within the mortal genetic code is the power of gods. Far beyond angels and demons.
The thing that scares the living hell of (aha!) Heaven and Hell is the fact that we are potentially far mightier than they. Some of these ideas, you guys may have seen in the Sin War trilogy that we put out a number of years ago by Richard A. Knaak.
We are kinda riffing in this space, and trying to construct a trilogy that would synch some of this stuff, but if you guys want to read the Book of Cain, you’re definitely going to get into this stuff, and kinda check the linear chain of events that really produced Sanctuary. So having said all that (catches a second breath) let’s get into this.
Blizzard Entertainment announced another round of BlizzCon 2011 Store merchandise for sale to attendees and online viewers of the Virtual Ticket livestream.
Miss out on picking up that special piece of commemorative BlizzCon® loot during the show? Don’t worry — we’re making select BlizzCon 2011 store items available once again to those who joined us for the show in person or via the BlizzCon Virtual Ticket.
Beginning November 11 at 10 a.m. Pacific Time through Friday, November 18 at 10 a.m., BlizzCon 2011 ticket holders*, Virtual Ticket buyers, and DIRECTV viewers who ordered the BlizzCon 2011 Pay Per View event will be able to purchase select BlizzCon 2011 store merchandise online (while supplies last).
HERE’S HOW TO PARTICIPATE:
Between 10 a.m. PT on November 11 and 10 a.m. on November 18, log in to the online Blizzard Store (us.blizzard.com/store) using the Battle.net account you provided when you purchased your BlizzCon 2011 tickets or Virtual Ticket. (DIRECTV viewers, use the Battle.net account on which you redeemed your BlizzCon Virtual Ticket code.)
Click the special “BlizzCon Sale” button in the bottom right-hand corner of your screen.
Browse BlizzCon 2011 items, add them to your cart, and then proceed to check out.
Items will be shipped directly to your home.**
It’s that simple! Thanks for joining us for BlizzCon 2011 — we hope you enjoyed the show.
*Please note: For those who attended BlizzCon in person, only the Battle.net account associated with the ticket purchased will have access to BlizzCon 2011 merchandise during this online sale. You can view this information in the ticket buyer’s Order History.
**BlizzCon 2011 Post-Show Sale items ship from the United States; international shipping rates may apply.
This is a rough transcript of the Diablo III Q&A Panel held on Saturday, October 22 from 11:30am to 12:30pm at the main stage (Hall D). Not as accurate as I had wished, considering my language limitations, but close.
Yesterday, you were talking about Difficulty Levels and how at normal it’ll be really really easy. What about veteran players? Are we going to have to beat the game once before we get a challenge?
Wilson: We’re not planning on any shortcuts through Normal Difficulty. Just like in Diablo II, in Normal Difficulty will be fairly a quick path.
We’re not too worried about people getting bored. It does get more challenging, kinda later — even in the First Act. And progressively throughout. I wouldn’t say that the entire Normal Difficulty is not nearly as easy as the first hour.
The first hour is really a tutorial. So we really feel internally — what we noticed especially when a lot of people were playing is that they get through that first part really quick, and then they get through the whole First Act in Normal Difficulty and they don’t have problems with getting bored or things like that.
Martens: I should say the Normal Difficulty level if you are a veteran, your chance to enjoy the story and get familiar with the Skills so you can kick ass with them in the next Difficulty level.
There are three types of gamers in Blizzard games. There is the Hardcore player, there’s the casual gamer, and then there’s the farmer gamer. With Farmer being a big industry thanks to World of Warcraft, How do you guys plan on combating this? They are looking at how can we make some more money?
Wilson: The most important thing to remember, Diablo III is not a persistent world.
The reason farmers feel so bad in World of Warcraft is because the farmers are in your world, taking your quest mobs, and loot drop, and interfering with your experience.
In Diablo, they can go off into their own world, their own server, their own instance and farm and it doesn’t affect you at all.
We don’t feel it’s going to be a big problem in Diablo III.
With the release of Diablo III, I was wondering what the Chat Gem is gonna do.
Martens: It fulfills one of your dreams.
You made the Followers more viable for end-game content because feedback wanted it. Is it possible to get to the end of the game content — in Inferno Difficulty — without a follower?
Wilson: Yea, it should be totally possible to — we’re trying to make the Followers viable not required. They do give players some nice bonuses.
If you don’t like the Followers, you should be able to play without them.
This won’t be available in at release date, but we’re looking at ways you can benefit get the benefit of a Follower, without a Follower. We don’t know yet how exactly we’re going to do that, but that’s something we want to explore in the future.
Is Diablo a girl?
Martens: Diablo is not constrained by our Human gender stereotypes. Diablo can take multiple forms, and we’ve never seen the true form of Diablo yet. Do Diablo has many surprises in store for us.
Could you elaborate on hardcore mode, for example when it’s unlocked are there going to be real-money transactions, and are there any differences between Diablo II and Diablo III hardcore mode?
Wilson: For those of you who don’t know, If you make a hardcore character and that character ever dies, that character is gone forever.
Hardcore characters are separated from the other regular games. Hardcore mode have their own auction house, but it’s a Gold-only-based Auction House. They don’t have a Real-Money Auction House, and they can’t trade in any way with regular characters.
They are isolated. They can trade items with other Hardcore characters, but not with regular characters. The other big difference is when your hardcore character dies all items are gone. The items don’t drop on the ground, so it’s not like you can have another player grab your items for you, and trade them to you and you are back to action. It’s gone.
PvP is something we are actually internally debating. The PvP Team is concerned that if we have you die permanently in an arena, then hardcore players will never play Arena.
I still feel like there should be some kind of way to allow Hardcore Arena Dueling. We are still considering how to do that.
I have a couple questions about Inferno mode. Do you expect fresh level 60 characters to be able to succeed in Inferno? Do you even plan to nerf Inferno to make it more accessible to casual players?
Wilson: About the first question … NO. About the second question … (long silence) … Probably not. I wouldn’t promise that we’ll never nerf it, because certainly we’ve seen like — in the development of World of Warcraft we have seen super hard bosses show up and even the most hardcore of the hardcore go on and say hey, he’s a little too hard.
I’d never want to say we’ll never nerf something because even the hardcore people might say it’s too hard. However, we won’t nerf it to make it casual.
In Diablo I and II, there was a fog of war. I was wondering in Diablo III why that wasn’t there.
Wilson: There is fog of war in Diablo III.
Martens: We took fog of war out of your town. In New Tristram there’s no fog of war so you can find the stores easily, but to my understanding there’s fog of war evereywhere else.
Wilson: Do you mean the Light Radius? Alright, that was a long hard process, and there are some dungeons in the game that really do emphasize the light, because it’s there. It was more an issue of the 3D engine, and try to make the world feel really good and be moody and feel the way we wanted — when you only have one light, it’s easier with the 2D engine where every sprite is kinda hand drawn, with its light already in it — but with a 3D engine, if you have one light on the character, it actually makes for a really kind of bland and bad looking world.
You need to fill the world with a little more light to make it interesting. So it was very difficult for us to make the light radius exactly as what you see in Diablo II, but we tried to do it in some of the dungeons.
Concerning randomization in dungeons, there are some areas in Diablo II that looked frustratingly convoluted, are you toning that down in Diablo III?
Wilson: I think the question really is: “Are we going to not do krappy designs?”
(crowd and developers laugh)
Martens: I know exactly what you are referring to. Most dungeons are very random. A change from Diablo II to Diablo III is there’s quite a bit more story moments in the dungeons themselves.
So in a completely random dungeon, very often you got a unique entry point, and say the X NPC is a treasure hunter and he gets into these old ruins, and he can’t get through in the zone, and so it’s an escort mission, and it concludes at the end.
So it’s a random dungeon in between, but it has a set starting point and end point and a set final room, and the quest concludes.
In another cases, like you’d see in the beta, we have some dungeons levels that have very little randomness, like the Templar level. You acquire the Templar Follower in that level, he’s got his little story moments, it’s an open room, but even there there’s a little randomness between the first room and the end room.
He’s got a much bigger set spot because he’s going to get his armor and have his rescue scene, and then have his final confrontation with Jondar, and ultimately kill him.
(Martens says in a high pitch voice: “Spoiler”)
Diablo II was pretty much destroyed by spamming. So I want to know what you are doing with Warden protection against it.
Bridenbecker: Warden. That’s an investment we have spent ten years on. We’re trying to figure out how people are going through and re-engineering some of our systems or better understanding them.
We have some protections given the nature of Diablo II gameplay and it does render it a little less effective.
We’ll be policing it pretty well, and making sure that we maintain the consistency of the gameplay.
Wilson: I’m gonna follow up on that too. One of the things that I know that’s really annoying in Diablo II is that people who would jump in into games, and broadcast and jump out, and that’s something we will be looking at too as well. Any kind of things like spamming. We’ll stop things like that.
I was trying out the Monk, are all those strikes single-click single-attacks, or are they like the old Barbarian frenzy where we can just hold and go on forever?
Wilson: A lot of abilities, yea, you can hold down, and some you can’t. Most of them you can right-click drive with a particular ability if you want. We try to design the combat so that there’s really the most optimal way of play.
You’ll be better if you can swap in a nice follow up like a bit hit, controlled by a cooldown or resource. We find it’s more fun when you use a couple of abilities together.
Have you thought of adding WASD movement controls so players don’t have to spam the mouse so much when kitting?
Wilson: We played around and mostly played with games that use that in kind of an isometric type of view, and the general feeling we had is you don’t really want to support two control schemes.
It’s really hard to make one control scheme feel great, and having them two feel great just makes the challenge that much bigger.
We found that the nature of the WASD control movement doesn’t work pretty well with an isometric gameplay, so we decided to stick with the mouse.
In Diablo II you used to have runewords. Now in Diablo III you have runestones. Are you planning to add the runewords again?
Martens: No, sir. We have a lot of new systems that do sort of everything the runewords needed to do.
You’ve the runestones, and five variations of that times seven levels, so this is like a rich system. We also have gems which are coming back, and they have more things that they do as well.
We moved the attributes or stat points into the itemization game. Crafting, you make your own items which have some set abilities, and also random affixes as well. You can break those things down. That replaces gambling for example.
We have tons of new systems. We don’t really need runewords any more. We have it all covered.
You keep teasing us about the console version of the game. Is it coming out for consoles or not?
Wilson: We haven’t officially announced anything. So there’s my dodgy part of the answer. I don’t think we are shy about that.
We hire people. We have a console team working internally. We want to make a console version. I think that’s pretty obvious. We’re hiring people right now to fill out positions in that team, but we haven’t announced it, because we don’t want to announce something until we’re sure that we have a game that we can show to people.
Back in Diablo II, I perfected the teeth necromancer build in which I spammed every point in the teeth. I was wondering if Diablo III will have an equivalent to teeth.
Wilson: I don’t know that we have one that looks exactly like teeth, but we have skills that are multiple projectiles with randomization. With rune variations, there are around 700 skills per class. My guess is we have one that is exactly like teeth, and that is not the class I’m playing with right now. But yea, you might be able to see something that’s similar enough.
Any design, implementation, challenges you have had for the console version of Diablo III, and what things have you learned from it?
Wilson: We haven’t built it yet. We have only experimented with control schemes and things like that. The real challenge is really, targeting.
Movement really feels better with a controller, but how you target and certain skills like magic missile feels great because you are shooting in a direction, but a skill like Blizzard we’re trying to figure out exactly where that’s going to go without putting some kind of targeting which we don’t really want to do. That’s probably one of the biggest challenges.
Then there are a lot of these subtle little things: monster distribution and the AI feel a little bit different than it does in the PC version.
We play around with how the control feels, how it feels to get surrounded.
Jason Regier: The control of the game. Everyone wants a game where you have direct control of your character. That is where we probably spent most of our time experimenting with, and making sure that gets right on the console version that we’re playing around with.
Can we get some beta keys?
Wilson: I have some in my backpocket right now! We’re going to be releasing more beta keys very shortly. If you sign up, you’ll get some chance to get them. We’re definitely trying to keep beta running as long as we can, and we’re going to keep sending waves of beta keys.
We have a big patch coming. We’re just waiting to launch that patch to send some more.
Jason Regier: Those of you who have been participating in the beta and you are here right now, Thank you so much for playing and testing the heck out of the game. We really appreciate it.
Thanks for making Followers. There were some builds in Diablo II where the Hirelings were the main source of your damage. Will these be viable in Diablo III as well?
Wilson: We made the Followers very viable very recently, so we haven’t played with them in a higher difficulties that much. So how they feel in there, how much damage output they truly have, and how much we are willing to give them, is going to come through playing it ourselves. I wouldn’t want to say yes or no to that at this point.
You said in Infernal the level cap for the characters is at 60, but the monsters will be 61 and higher, so that the monsters are tougher and a challenge. Eventually we’re going to beat it. Are there plans for a super dungeon, or uber Tristram type of thing?
Wilson: I’m sure if you guys get really bored and don’t want to play the game anymore, we’ll try to do something. Right now we are more focused on getting Diablo III done. We haven’t really thought what we’d do beyond that, but I can promise you, if you guys destroy Inferno mode and you are sitting around on your giant mount of loot, then we’ll do something about it.