Bashiok revealed the Diablo 3 demo featuring the Monk class will be playable at PAX 2009 through September 4-6 in Seattle, Washington. Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty single player will be playable too, so start packing and get ready for a fun weekend.
Blizzard Entertainment will once again be representing in full force at the 2009 Penny Arcade Expo, taking place this weekend, September 4-6 in Seattle, Washington. PAX attendees will have access to playable versions of Diablo III (including the recently announced Monk class), the earth-shattering World of Warcraft: Cataclysm expansion, and the engrossing StarCraft II single-player campaign. Community managers will also be in attendance to chat with attendees about the past, present, and future of Blizzard Entertainment games. We hope to see you there!
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.
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:
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.
Bashiok: The demonic enemy shown in the Monk trailer is a morlu caster, not Belial.
Bashiok wants feedback about shrine buffs and magicfind:
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.
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.
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?
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?
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.”
Blizzard Entertainment is often criticized by a handful of fans. Usually the same group that is never satisfied with anything. Those who say that Blizzard likes to milk or cash on things and speculate and blame Activision. As a Fansite member who has been reporting news to the community for seven years, I can finally tell you a few things that might change your view.
If anything, things have changed for the better in the past recent years. I have never seen Blizzard so active with fansites since the release of World of Warcraft. I keep in contact with the CMs many times each month, and they reply my questions. Blizzard approves all the interview requests and provide exclusive screenshots more often. Have anyone wondered how do so many fansites get to go to Blizzcon and the Blizzard Worldwide Invitationals to bring you content and exclusive interviews with new info about the recently announced games?
Blizzard Entertainment cares a lot for their fansites and are truly kind with them. For example, I attended Blizzcon 2008 and the Blizzard Worldwide Invitationals 2008 (Paris) last year. This year I attended the Starcraft II Single Player press invitation and Blizzcon 2009.
Did you wonder at all how I manage to cover the expenses? All Blizzard. Flight, Hotel, Taxi, Breakfast, and other extras. They didn’t cover all those expenses just for me. Over 30 Fansites were invited in those four events within the last 12 months.
All so that fans learn new info about the games from other fans such as me, Maticus, Flux and Leord, and as a reward of sorts for all the work each loyal and dedicated fansite does to keep fans informed.
However, this cover of expenses is only done for only one member per fansite. We arrive two days before Blizzcon to attend on Thursday the Fansites Summit held at the Blizzard Entertaiment campus by the Theater Room.
In there we get to see the latest build of Starcraft II and Diablo III gameplay in a wall-sized screen before fans get to play that at Blizzcon giving us a heads up to write about that night. We coordinate and synchronize what all fansites will have access to from Blizzard.
Blizzard will spear-head social integration and quick mass information not only with Twitter, but through Battle.net 2.0. As you can see in our 15 screenshots of Battle.net 2.0 features, the Social/Friends List feature is awesome, and will help guilds and clans communicate more efficiently.
Blizzard will provide all their registered fansites a new circular icon designed by them to distinguish our fansites’s front page:
Official Starcraft II Fan Site
Official Diablo III Fan Site
Official World of Warcraft Fan Site
Official Warcraft Fan Site
The one that intrigued all fansite members present at the Blizzard Entertainment’s Theater Room was the … Official Battle.net Fan Site. Bashiok nor Karune gave an explanation of what this new icon means. What could justify the creation of a Official Battle.net Fan Site rather than a game-specific Fan Site? To be honest everyone is befuddled.
Does Blizzard still have more juice to share with fans about Battle.net? More features and secrets to be unearthed? I can only say we are very-VERY excited. Now I am understanding why Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty won’t ship on 2009.
Starcraft II is ready to ship in time. It is Battle.net 2.0 what is delaying the release of Starcraft II, because the game is meant to ship with Battle.net 2.0. With what little I have said here, and the hint of an Official Battle.net Fan Site Program—I am convinced the wait will be worth it. And if Fansites are excited, you guys should be too.
Nethaera (WoW CM), Bashiok (Diablo III CM) and Karune (Starcraft II CM) directed the Fansites Summit and encouraged all fansite representatives attending the event to contact them to ask questions, and to submit Q&As from our own communities for developers on a one-on-one basis.
We were told that not only will developers of each game interact with fans in live Q&As over Twitter, but that fansites will also have the opportunity to interact with the developers privately through Live Press Q&As.
To those minorities (coughs, trolls) bashing Blizzard Entertainment and accusing it of milking the franchises, I am sorry to say: “You are wrong”. We are paying for quality products. In my interview with Chris Metzen back on July 20, 2009 during the Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty Single Player Press Invitation, he confirms why Starcraft II is sold as three separate episodes.
They have been working on stories for Starcraft II for nearly a decade. It came down to a point that it was hard to cram all the lore and stories into a single product without discarding stuff. The decision to span the game into three episodes happened far before Activision and VUGames merged into Activision Blizzard.
“The trick to StarCraft II now being in these three installments is that there was a lot to play with in the first place. We had 10 years worth of expectations and stories we wanted to chase and arcs of these characters that we wanted to explore”—said Metzen. “So we came packing with a lot of ideas, and the idea of separating each of these chapters into their own boxed product essentially allows us to really round out each race
We attended the Blizzcon 2009 Diablo III Heroes & Monsters Panel at Hall C which described the process of developing various monsters and their unique and special abilities. We divided the videos into four parts.
Flux (Diii.net) and I shared a room at the hotel. When I entered the room, late night on Saturday after Blizzcon 2009 ended, he showed me a large paper. He walked by a restaurant, and an employee asked him if he was at Blizzcon. When Flux said yes, he handed him the Restaurant menu.
Flux gave me the menu to scan it for our audience. He considered it quitely funny, and indeed it is. The McCormick & Schmick’s Restaurant went through all the trouble to rename most of their menu and print it to catch attention from Blizzcon 2009 visitors. The menu got tons of references from Diablo, World of Warcraft and Starcraft II.
You can find this restaurant at 321 West Katella Avenue. Suite 109. Anaheim, CA. 92802
Featured Species: This Halibut was captured with a spear off of Gulf of Westmarch by Deckard Cain on the “Stay a while and Listen”.
Kurast, Sea Scallops
Kurast, Bay Scallops
Dreadlands Rainbow Trout
Lachdanan’s Duck Confit Tacos with Serrano Cream
Pepin’s White Ale Steamed Manila Clams
14 oz. New York Strip Steak (also known as Wirt’s Leg)
Lut Gholein, Ono
Tilapia Cashew Twin Seas, Khanduras
A Recipe taken from “The Horadrim Monastery Cook Book
Farham the Drunk’s Creation
From the Kitchen of Tristram Village:
Dreadlands Trout (Almond Crusted with Chive Beurre Blanc)
Mahi-Mahi (Cajun Maple Marinated, Orange Beurre Blanc)
Dark Wanderer Sea Scallops
King Leoric Wild Swordfish
Check out other games’ references in the menu after the break.
Noob Entries and Sandwishes
Orcish Pancetta Wrapped Jumbo Prawns with Thai Barbeque Sauce
Korean Style Beef Short Ribs with Stormwind City Marinade
Nazjatar Raw Bar (Lots of Seafood options)
Dark Portal Steak and Stuffed Shrimp Combinations
Ner’zhul’s Creme Brulee
Eld Druids Lobster Ravioli
Death Knight Filet Mignon
Grizzly Hills Blueberry Shortcake
Zerus Atlantic Salmon (*Zerus is the Zerg homeworld)
The Overmind’s Atlantic Salmon Zerus—stuffed with crab, bay shrimp, Brie Cheese, Chive Lemon Butter. A Favorite amongst the Zerg Swarm.
Gerard DuGalle Barramundi (Queensland, Australia)—served every Monday aboard the DSS Aleksander
The Federal Confederacy Atlantic Salmon
Chau Sara Tilapia Parmesan
Raynor’s Ling Cod Fish and Chips (Hand battered Ling Cod with Tartar Sauce and French Fries)
We were at the WoW / Diablo III Press-only Q&A on Saturday between 5-6pm asking questions to J. Allen Brack and Jay Wilson. Room 208a was packed with press members of various fansites. However, I managed to ask Jay Wilson the following:
In Diablo II, we were able to see the fate of the three heroes of the first Diablo game: the Warrior, the Sorceror and the Rogue. All went mad and turned to evil. Will the Diablo II heroes appear in Diablo III? Will we get to see what their fate was in these past 20 years?
Pretty much the answer was that we will see at least one of the Diablo II heroes in Diablo III. He didn’t want to comment much on this at this point. As you know the Barbarian in Diablo III is the same one from Diablo II, 20 years older. And now we got confirmation of yet another hero making a cameo in Diablo III. Who do you think this hero will be?
The Necromancer, the Assassin, the Amazon, the Druid, the Paladin, or the Sorceress? Will he be a quest giver or have gone mad or succumbed to evil? I guess we just opened a pandora’s box that will make us itch in curiosity for time to come.
We are still processing some Diablo III panel videos that DIRECTV didn’t cover. I am currently uploading 5GB worth of HD Video (5 files) to the IncGamers server of which nigh 50% is done. Tamer and Rush will edit them, and once they are ready we will post them on the front page.
You will like to hear what Jay Wilson said about Trading in Diablo III. That was one of the few questions I managed to pitch his way.
I visited the Pocket Books booth on Saturday at 4pm to record on video the book signing session held by Christie Golden. Jaime Costas and her husband organized a raffle to give away 40 copies of the World of Warcraft: Arthas Collector’s Edition. The place was crowded with fans that were excited to meet her.
Below are some photos as a sneak peek until I prepare the videos. Photos explained from left to right … The first photo is Maticus (Worldofwar.net) and J. Allen Brack (WoW Producer Director); second photo is Medievaldragon and J. Allen Brack. The third photo from left to right: Jaime Costas (Pocket Books), Christie Golden, Medievaldragon, Richard A. Knaak and TOKYOPOP Editor-in-Chief Rob Tokar.
On this batch, Medievaldragon and Nethaera (WoW Community Manager). On the second one, with Karune (Starcraft II Community Manager). Third one: Greg Street (Ghostcrawler), Medievaldragon, and on the far right: Patrick Magruder (WoW Lead Gameplay Programmer). Need to double check the developer on light-gray shirt.
Diablo III is being developed as the definitive action role-playing game, and a true continuation of the Diablo series. Players will create a hero from one of five distinct classes, such as barbarian, witch doctor, wizard, or monk, each equipped with an array of spells and abilities. As these heroes adventure through rich and varied settings, unraveling an epic storyline and engaging in combat with hordes of monsters and challenging bosses, they