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Diablo III Press Event: G4TV Interviews Chris Metzen

chris-metzen-d3-press-event-2011-g4tv

G4TV interviewed Chris Metzen to learn about the story background of Diablo III. Those who haven’t played Diablo games before won’t feel left out. The story compels newcomers to learn more about the Diablo universe and past in general through in-game books, and quests.

G4TV also has other Diablo III Press Event videos to consider watching:

Diablo III Press Event Roundup and Gameplay Experiences

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DJTyrant attended the Diablo III Beta Press Event on behalf of Blizzplanet, and now shares with fans all his experiences while playing the Diablo III beta at Blizzard Entertainment’s Headquarters in Irvine, CA.

DJTyrant: “Blizzard ushered those of the press into the theather and showed us a brief two minute clip of a rough 2D animated version of the opening cinematic. There was sound and voices included, but the 3D animation either wasn’t complete, or in a form that they were ready to share with us and we also couldn’t record it. Blizzard then brought Chris Metzen up and talked about the lore of Diablo 3 and caught us up on what happened with D1 and D2. The direction of the story will be around Deckard Cain, 20 years later and he put together a journal that prophesies that the fight isn’t over against evil.

The story starts in a new Tristram which is still rebuilding 20 years after the events of Diablo 2. Fire is falling from the sky and the risen dead are rising from the grave, which brings the players into the game, asking the question of what the fire is, is this the beginning of the end?

Leah, who we’ve seen quite a bit in the trailers so far, is then brought into the story who is the adopted niece of Deckard Cain. She has spent her life searching through old ruins and burial grounds. Her role in the story is to fill in the gap between what Deckard Cain knows and the players don’t. Blizzard explained that she fulfills the need for an everyday man knowledge from Deckard Cain through someone the players can identify with.

Discussion about the combat system and gameplay systems proceeded forward from this point as a lot has changed since the last time Blizzard has publicly talked about the game. There was a lot of discussion at last BlizzCon about how the talent/spell system had gone through many iterations, now it has been completely tuned down to a much simpler system where you pick the spells you want, and you can equip 6 active skills, with two being selectable at the start with new slots being unlocked at 6, 12, 18, 24 for a total of six active skills. Also added are passive skills unlocked at levels 10, 20, and 30 for three total. Every level a new skill is unlocked and with the active skills you can swap out at any time.

The rune system was also discussed, and will be used to create different builds for each class with the lack of a talent tree system now. The example that Jay used was the battle mage, or melee wizard, (in this case the Wizard class). Items are dropped in the world that modify skills and abilities.

And then the discussion about the new Battle.net features, which can be detailed here:

Battle.net & Auction House Features

Blizzard dropped a bombshell in the press event announcing an auction house and online-only gameplay for Diablo 3. The big news of the in-game auction house is that it will be regional, and feature in some regions, the ability to buy and sell items for real world money, yes you heard that right Diablo 3 items for REAL WORLD MONEY. Blizzard will facilitate the transactions in-game.

 

The key to the new auction house is that Blizzard is facilitating a need for the players to buy and sell items with real world money, which was prevalent in Diablo 2. The currency auction house will be supported in as many countries as they can get it up and running in.

To get people involved with the real money auction house they are offering a set number of auction posting free per week. It will be run through the in-game client and you will be able to sell items, gold, and components through the AH, with the possibility of selling characters at some point in the future. Auction listings above and beyond that will be a flat rate per item listed whether or not the item sells, helping make sure items that players list items that would be useful or beneficial.

The players will be able to cash out in two ways, through a Blizzard eWallet, that will directly put the money into your battle.net account which can be used for any number of items on the store (even WoW time). You will also be able to cash it out to a bank account through a 3rd party service, with details being withheld at this time as to a specific service that that may be.

Other key points:

  • Auto bidding and instant buyout
  • Smart search by class
  • Shared Stash (between characters)
  • Secure Item Transfers
  • Facilitate player trades – not a Blizzard Store
  • Players will be anonymous during trades
  • Will also have a gold auction house and in-game trading
  • Hardcore characters will not be able to use the real money auction house

As far as Battle.net goes for gameplay:

Always connected to friends, persistent friends list. Always connected to the game, online only, persistent characters, and no local characters (prevent modification).

Play together, stay together.

  • Public Game Finder
  • PvP Matchmaking
  • Quick Join Friends – advertises game to friends list, drop-in to friends games
  • Dynamic Co-op – feel very fluid between 1p, to co-op, any point you can open game to friends, etc, dynamically adjusts difficulty.

With more details about Diablo 3 out in the open now there will be tons of discussion about these new features and gameplay decisions Blizzard has made.

Witch Doctor Preview

All classes were playable in the D3 beta build we played at Blizzard HQ, so I decided to check out the Witch Doctor. Probably one of the most versatile of the classes it can be played in a variety of ways. You can play as a very caster oriented class, or as a very heavy pet oriented class.

I tried a mix of two to see how viable it was and chose poison dart and poison toads. Poison dart is a ranged attack that poisons the target, and poison toads are released three at a time and randomly move around to explode on three targets. This allowed for a lot of ranged control and helped keep me safe in most fights without too much trouble. Both spells were extremely mana efficient, but I’m not sure if this was due to the nature of the beta, or how it is designed to be in the final product.

Other builds/styles of play that I tooled around with involved using the summon zombie dogs which are three permanent pets that fight for you, and using a grip spell that was an AoE spell that holds enemies in place (which works well in sync with poison frogs).

Overall the class was really fun to play and very dynamic. I see quite a number of different builds and ways to play the class.”

Barbarian

Melee class, uses rage

Leap, generate rage usable ~10 seconds

Ground Stop, enemy stun

Ancient Spear, pulls enemies close into melee range

Wrath of the Berserkers, gets giant, and gets tons of bonuses;

Seismic Slam

 

Witch Doctor

Pet Class, voodoo, creepy crawly pets (spiders, snakes, toads, zombies, etc.) mind control (when fighting WD don’t know what’s real or not), mana

Firebats, flamethrower with bats!

Soul Harvest, for every enemy nearby, gets stacking buff that increases damage

Big Bad Voodoo, fetish shaman any pets or allies get attack speed increase

Hex, a shaman who turns monsters into chickens

Fetish Army, little fetish dudes that will fight for you last ~20 seconds

Gargantuan, big tough brawler pet, really tough

 

Wizard

Mage archetype class, prodigy, wizards in Diablo universe used deragatory term that they shouldn’t be delving in stuff they shouldn’t be.

Arcane Power, fast regenerating resource, has cooldown abilities

Electrocute – can jump between targets, even non-enemy targets, main stay spell

Diamond Skin – Allows her to conjure diamonds and take heavy damage for a short period

Stop Time – slow enemies and projectiles within bubble, allows for control

Meteor – Takes a few seconds to impact, but massive AoE damage

Disintegrate – powerful sweeping ability

Archon – transforms and completely new abilities, enhanced version of disintigrate, etc. When you kill an enemy ups the duration of archon

 

Monk

Spirit, defensive focused resource, base attacks generate spirit, precious resources, attacks have three stages to feel dynamic, can mix up abilities

Deadly Reach, hit enemies right before they reach you, control position

Exploding Palm, third hit is $$ applies a DoT, and if it kills them they explode + do damage to area

Mantras, ability unique to monk, buff extends to her and allies, big dodge bonus

Tempest , can’t get surrounded, slows enemies in path

Inner Sanctuary, monsters can’t pass through and creates choke points, etc. Allows for high control.

Seven sides strike, big spirit spender, invulnerable for short period of time does massive damage to groups of enemies.

 

Demon Hunter

Conventional ranges class, bows, crossbows, shadow magic, gadgets and traps.

Sentry, puts up a crossbow turret

Spike Trap, slices enemies up

Smoke Screen, invisible for a few seconds, gets out of combat

Mark for Death, mark enemy to get pwned

Check out Blizzplanet’s 2011 Diablo III Press Event Coverage for more.

Blizzplanet: 2011 Diablo III Press Event Coverage

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Blizzard Entertainment invited Blizzplanet to the Diablo III press event held in Irvine on July 27, 2011. DJTyrant had the opportunity to listen to the developers introduce attendees all the details about the upcoming beta testing and the updated changes to some of the game systems.

Check out the links below to browse through the content coverage obtained during the Diablo III Press Event.

Diablo III

Diablo III Beta

Auction House

Media

Post-Press Event Blizzard Follow-Up

Several fansites and gaming networks attended the Diablo III Beta Press Event which took place at Blizzard Entertainment’s headquarters in Irvine, California on July 27, 2011. You might find appealing their own points of views and opinions.

Boyarksy on Diablo III Storyline recap and spoilers? (Diablo: The Sin War Trilogy)

Gamespot

G4TV

InDiablo.de

Shacknews

Judgehype

GameTrailers

AusGamers

ForceStrategyGaming

Wall Street Journal

2011 Diablo III Press Event – Diablo III Auction House FAQ

AUCTION HOUSE SYSTEM – GENERAL INFO

 

What is the Diablo III auction house system?

Acquiring epic new gear for your characters has always been a big part of the Diablo experience. Because of this, players have found a number of different ways to trade and otherwise obtain items both within and outside of the game. Many of these methods were inconvenient and either tedious (for example, repeatedly advertising for a desired trade in Battle.net chat channels and waiting for responses) or unsafe (e.g., giving credit card information to third-party trading sites). With Diablo III, we’re introducing a powerful auction house system that will provide a safe, fun, and easy-to-use way for players to buy and sell the loot they find in the game, such as weapons, armor, and runestones. Two different versions of the auction house will be available in Diablo III: one based on in-game gold, which players acquire through their adventures, and one based on real-world currency.

 

What’s the difference between the gold-based auction house and the currency-based auction house?

The gold-based auction house uses in-game gold for purchases and sales. With the currency-based auction house, players will be able to conduct these transactions using actual currency from an authorized payment method or from funds that have been added to their Battle.net account. Players can choose to participate in whichever version of the auction house they prefer, on a per-transaction basis.

 

How does the auction house system work?

Players can open the auction house interface from anywhere in the game to make purchases or list items for sale. Items can be sold from the shared stash (storage shared among all the characters on your Battle.net account) or from any individual character’s inventory. When posting the item, the seller picks whether it will be sold in the gold-based auction house or the currency-based auction house. The item is then held by the auction house system until the listing expires or a purchase is made. Items that are not sold are returned to the seller’s shared stash, and items that are sold are delivered to the winning bidder’s shared stash. In either case, the auction house system will deduct a nominal fixed transaction fee from the seller, the amount of which is determined by whether or not the item was sold (see below). For the currency-based auction house, players will have a few different options for how to pay for item purchases and receive funds for item sales, as discussed elsewhere in this FAQ. There may be differences in how this system will work in different regions of the world. We’ll provide further details at a later date.

 

How is the transaction fee determined?

A nominal fixed transaction fee will be deducted from the seller for each item listed in the auction house. This fee consists of a fixed charge to list the item, which is assessed whether or not the item is successfully sold, and an additional fixed charge that is assessed only if the item is sold. Because the listing portion of the fee is charged even if the item doesn’t sell, it will be in the seller’s interest to list items he or she believes other players will be interested in, and to do so at a competitive price. Specific details related to the transaction fee for the currency-based auction house will vary by region and will be announced at a later date.

 

Please note that we plan to waive the listing portion of the fee for a limited number of transactions per account. In other words, for these transactions, the seller will only pay a transaction fee if the item is successfully sold, and that fee will not include the listing charge. We’ll have further details on this as well at a later date.

 

Why are you creating a currency-based version of the auction house?

Our goal with all of our games is to ensure players have a highly enjoyable, rewarding, and secure experience. Acquiring items has always been an important part of the Diablo series, but the previous games have not had a robust, centralized system for facilitating trades, and as a result players have turned to inconvenient and potentially unsafe alternatives, such as third-party real-money-trading organizations. Many of the transactions between players and these organizations led to a poor player experience and countless customer-service issues involving scams and item/account theft, to name a few. To that end, we wanted to create a convenient, powerful, and fully integrated tool to meet the demand of players who wished to purchase or sell items for real-world currency, and who would likely have turned to a less-secure third-party service for this convenience.

 

How will the currency-based auction house work?

Players will be able to make purchases in the currency-based auction house using a registered form of payment attached to their Battle.net account. As with other popular online-purchase services, players will also have the option to charge up their Battle.net account with a balance of funds that can be drawn from for purchases of any digital product available through Battle.net — this includes not only auction house items but also things like World of Warcraft subscription time and paid services, to name a few examples. On the flipside, when players sell an item in the currency-based auction house, the proceeds of the sale are deposited into their Battle.net account and can then be used as described above. Note that this process might be different for certain regions; we’ll provide further region-specific details as we get closer to launch.

 

Can players choose to get cash from currency-based auction house sales, instead of having the proceeds deposited into their Battle.net account?

Yes, as an advanced feature, players will have the option of attaching an account with an approved third-party payment service to their Battle.net account. Once this has been completed, proceeds from the sale of items in the currency-based auction house can be deposited into their third-party payment service account. “Cashing out” would then be handled through the third-party payment service. Note that this process will be subject to applicable fees charged by Blizzard and the third-party payment service. Also, any proceeds from the sale of items in the currency-based auction house that have been deposited into the Battle.net account will not be transferrable to the third-party payment service account. Not all regions will support this advanced feature at launch. Region-specific details, as well as details regarding which third-party payment services will be supported and the fee that Blizzard will charge for the cash-out process, will all be provided at a later date.

 

Is the currency-based version of the auction house optional?

Yes, the currency-based auction house is available as an option for players who wish to purchase or sell Diablo III items for real money. Players are also able to buy and sell items through the gold-based auction house, and they can trade items with each other as well through direct character-to-character in-game trading.

 

Why would I want to pay real money to buy or sell in-game items?

Acquiring items has always been a core part of the Diablo series’ appeal. With the previous Diablo games, many players have shown a great interest in buying, selling, or exchanging items for their characters using real-world currency, turning to potentially unsafe avenues to accomplish this goal. The currency-based version of the auction house provides players with an easy-to-use, Blizzard-sanctioned way to collect money for items obtained while playing Diablo III. In addition, it helps protect players from scams and disreputable third-party sites by providing a secure, in-game method to search for and purchase items posted by other players that are a perfect fit for their character and play style.

 

The currency-based auction house is completely optional. Players who aren’t interested in paying real money for items will still be able to rely on items they acquire through their own adventures, and they’ll also be able to trade with friends and use the full-featured gold-based auction house.

 

Can I play on a server without a currency-based version of the auction house?

We want to provide a secure, fun environment for our players to purchase and sell in-game items using gold or real money and have no plans to divide the community. Players are free to participate in the gold-based auction house or the currency-based auction house, or to opt out of using any of the auction houses at all, progressing through Diablo III using only the items they obtain through their own adventures or direct trade with other players.

 

Does Blizzard plan to post weapons, armor, and other such items for sale in the currency-based version of the auction house?

The currency-based auction house is a place for players to purchase or sell items they’ve obtained within the game. Blizzard does not plan to post items that affect gameplay, such as gear or character-enhancing runestones, for sale in the auction house.

 

Will Blizzard sell anything directly through the auction house?

We don’t have any plans at this time to post items for sale in the auction house.

 

Does the currency-based auction house signify a shift in Blizzard’s business and revenue model?

We’ve always tailored our business models to match what we’ve felt would be most appropriate and effective for each game and in each region, and that’s the case with Diablo III as well. The item-based nature of Diablo gameplay has always lent itself to an active trade-based ecosystem, and a significant part of this trade has been conducted through unsecure third-party organizations. This has led to numerous customer-service and game-experience issues that we’ve needed to account for. Our primary goal with the Diablo III auction house system is for it to serve as the foundation for a player-driven economy that’s safe, fun, and accessible for everyone.

 

What’s Blizzard’s cut?

As with other online auction sites and real-world auction houses, our fee structure will vary by region. However, we plan to collect a nominal fixed transaction fee for each item listed in the auction house. This fee consists of a fixed charge to list the item, which is assessed whether or not the item is successfully sold, and an additional fixed charge that is assessed only if the item is sold. The listing portion of the fee, which helps encourage sensible listing prices and discourage the mass posting of items that are very low quality or would be of little interest to other players, will be waived for a limited number of transactions per account. For players who opt to have the proceeds of their auction house sales go to their third-party payment service account instead of to their Battle.net account, Blizzard will collect a separate “cash-out” fee. Specific details regarding these fees will be announced at a later date.

 

Why would I even want to use the gold-based auction house?

We recognize that not all players would prefer or have the means to participate in the currency-based auction house, and it was important to us to provide these players with a full-featured alternative.

 

Can we buy gold from the currency-based auction house?

Players will be able to buy and sell gold through the currency-based auction house at whatever the current market price is, as established by the player community.

 

If I no longer need an item I bought in the auction house, can I relist it in the auction house?

Yes. Once you’ve purchased an item you can do anything with it that you could if you had acquired it through your own adventures, whether that be using it yourself, or, after a cool-down period, trading it to another character or relisting it on either the gold-based or currency-based auction house. In fact, you can generally do any combination of these things — for example, you can purchase an item in the auction house, use it for a while, and then relist it or trade it to another character. Aside from certain quest items, there will be very few (if any) items that will be “soulbound” to your character and therefore untradable. Please note that the duration of the cool-down period mentioned above will be discussed at a later date.

 

 

AUCTION HOUSE FUNCTIONALITY

 

What items can be traded in Diablo III?

Nearly everything that drops on the ground, including gold, can be traded with other players directly or through the auction house system. Aside from certain quest items, there will be very few (if any) items that will be “soulbound” to your character and therefore untradable. We are also planning to allow players to buy and sell characters in the auction house at some point in the future and will have more details to share on that at a later date.

 

What is “smart searching”?

When players launch the auction house interface, they’ll be able to select any Diablo III character associated with their Battle.net account. The “smart search” feature will assess which item slots have available upgrades and will sort items available in the auction house based on which upgrades would be most beneficial to the character. You can also search for specific stats to match the requirements of a particular character build.

 

How does bidding work?

Players will be able to place a current bid as well as a maximum bid if they wish to engage in automatic bidding. In addition, they’ll be able to check the status of their bids on the “Currently Winning” page and the “Outbid” page in the auction house interface.

 

Can I buyout items that I want to purchase immediately?

Yes, the Diablo III auction houses will support a buyout feature as well as standard bids.

 

How do I pay for items?

For the gold-based auction house, purchases will be made using in-game gold. For the currency-based auction house, players can make purchases using a registered form of payment attached to their Battle.net account. As with other popular online-purchase services, players will also have the option to charge up their Battle.net account with a balance of funds that can be drawn from for purchasing items in the currency-based auction house. Note that this process might be different for certain regions; we’ll provide further region-specific details as we get closer to launch.

 

How do I receive the items I’ve won?

After winning an auction, the item will be available to pick up through the built-in auction house interface in the Diablo III client. Players will then be able to immediately send that item to their shared stash (storage shared among all the characters on a Battle.net account) or repost the item in the auction house after a cool-down period. The duration of the cool-down period will be discussed at a later date.

 

How do I sell items?

From the auction house interface, players will be able to select items from their shared stash or from a specific character’s inventory. They will then be able to post items for sale by listing a starting bid and buyout price.

 

How do I cash out from the currency-based auction house?

As an advanced feature, players will have the option of attaching an account with an approved third-party payment service to their Battle.net account. Once this has been completed, proceeds from the sale of items in the currency-based auction house can be deposited into their third-party payment service account. “Cashing out” would then be handled through the third-party payment service. Note that this process will be subject to applicable fees charged by Blizzard and the third-party payment service. Also, any proceeds from the sale of items in the currency-based auction house that have been deposited into the Battle.net account will not be transferrable to the third-party payment service account. Not all regions will support this advanced feature at launch. Region-specific details, as well as details regarding which third-party payment services will be supported and the fee that Blizzard will charge for the cash-out process, will all be provided at a later date.

 

Will buying or selling items in the auction house reveal my identity?

No. All player transactions in the gold-based and currency-based auction houses will be anonymous, and neither your real name nor your character name will be revealed to other players.

 

Will there be a mobile or Web-based auction house?

We’re always on the lookout for opportunities to enhance the game experience and keep our community connected to our games through the Web or mobile devices. However, we do not have any plans to share along those lines at this time.

 

When will this be available for testing?

We’ll share more information on our auction house testing plans as we get closer to launch.

 

 

REGIONAL AUCTION HOUSE DETAILS

 

Which regions will have currency-based auction house support?

We plan to roll out the currency-based version of the auction house in as many regions as possible with the launch of Diablo III. In regions where the currency-based auction house will not be available, players will still have access to a gold-based auction house. We’ll share more details in the future.

 

Will there be separate auction houses in each region? Will I be allowed to bid on items from players outside my own region?

Due to various factors, including technology, language, and currency, there will be multiple separate auction houses serving different player communities around the world. We’ll share specific details on how the auction houses will work for each region as we get closer to launch.

 

If I live in Australia/New Zealand/Southeast Asia, what server will I play Diablo III on?

As with StarCraft II, players who purchase the Australia/New Zealand/Southeast Asia version of Diablo III will have their own regional servers, offering lower latency and more action during peak hours. While we encourage players to play on these servers, we recognize that many have longstanding friendships with North American players and would like to continue playing with them. Because of this, we’re again giving Australia/New Zealand/ Southeast Asia gamers access to both regions’ servers so they can choose where they’d prefer to play.

 

How does this impact the items I have purchased in the auction house?

Auction house purchases are bound to the servers in the region in which they’re bought. Any items acquired on the Australia/New Zealand/Southeast Asia servers, in-game or otherwise, are bound to those servers and are not transferrable to the North American servers (and vice versa). Please keep this in mind when making purchases in the auction house.

 

What currencies will be available? What currency will items in the auction house be viewed in? Can players purchase items using local credit cards or bank accounts?

Our goal is to make the auction house experience in each region as seamless as possible for players, and we are currently exploring various currency and payment options to help achieve that goal. We’ll provide further details as we get closer to launch.

 

 

AUCTION HOUSE GAMEPLAY ISSUES

 

Will I be able to use third-party mods to track auction prices?

For a variety of gameplay and security reasons, we will not be supporting bots or mods in Diablo III, and they’ll be expressly prohibited by our terms of use for the game.

 

Can Hardcore-mode characters use the currency-based auction house?

No. Hardcore characters will only have the option to buy and sell items together with other Hardcore characters via a separate “Hardcore-only” gold-based auction house; they will not be able to use the currency-based auction house. Hardcore mode is designed as an optional experience for players who enjoy the sense of constant peril that comes with the possibility of permanent death for a character. All of a Hardcore character’s items are forever lost upon that character’s death, so to avoid the risk of a player spending real money on items that could then be permanently lost when the character dies, we decided restrict the use of the currency-based auction house in Hardcore mode.

 

If my character dies in Hardcore mode, will I lose the items that I purchased in the “Hardcore-only” gold-based auction house for that character?

Yes. Again, Hardcore-mode characters will only have access to a “Hardcore-only” gold-based auction house, not the currency-based auction house, and will not be able to trade with non-Hardcore characters. Hardcore is an optional mode designed for players who enjoy playing with the risk of permanently losing their character if the character dies, and that includes the items they acquired with that character.

 

Can I just buy the most powerful items and breeze through the game?

Items will be level-restricted, meaning your character won’t be able to use an item until he or she is at the appropriate level for that item.

 

 

AUCTION HOUSE CUSTOMER SUPPORT

 

What happens if a player does not receive a purchased item?

The auction process is automated, but if a player purchases an item and for some reason does not receive it, he or she will be able to contact our customer service team to look into the issue.

 

What happens if there is a patch and the item I purchased is altered?

It’s important for us to ensure that Diablo III remains balanced and fun for years after launch. To that end, it may be necessary to change stats or alter abilities of items from time to time. It’s very important to note that Blizzard will not be providing refunds or making other accommodations if a purchased item is later altered in a patch. Given this, it’s up to players to determine whether they’re comfortable purchasing items in the currency-based auction house.

 

Someone bought an item on my account without my permission. Can I get a refund?

Please note that account sharing will be forbidden in Diablo III’s Terms of Use. In cases of compromise, our customer service team will look into the situation and determine the appropriate course of action.

 

I accidentally lost or dropped an item I just purchased — can I get a refund?

No. After a purchase is made, players will be responsible for what they do with the item.

 

How will you address bots or cheaters?

We take cheating very seriously, and we’ve designed Diablo III and Battle.net to include measures to detect and prevent unfair play. In addition, we will have anti-cheating policies in place and will take action to address any issues as they arise.

Check out Blizzplanet’s 2011 Diablo III Press Event Coverage for more.

2011 Diablo III Press Event – Diablo III FAQ

What is Diablo III?
We’re developing Diablo III to be the definitive action role-playing game and a true continuation of the Diablo series. Players will adventure through rich and varied settings, unraveling an epic storyline, engaging in combat with hordes of monsters and challenging bosses, growing in experience and ability, and acquiring items of incredible power. Diablo III will be a fitting sequel to Diablo II, with the easy interface, fast-paced action, and visceral gameplay that Diablo players have come to expect and enjoy. It will also include many new features that will take the Diablo action-RPG experience to the next level.

Which characters will be in Diablo III?
Players will create a male or female hero from one of five distinct classes — barbarian, witch doctor, wizard, monk, or demon hunter — each equipped with an array of spells and abilities. New customization options will provide for an even greater level of character specialization than the previous Diablo games, allowing players to create unique characters brimming with power.

What can you say about the different classes?
The dual-wielding barbarian is one of the stoic guardians of Mount Arreat. Armed with powerful abilities and moves, this plate-wearing savage wields ferocious weapons to annihilate the demonic forces threatening the world of Sanctuary.

The fearsome witch doctor hails from the terrifying Tribe of the Five Hills of the legendary umbaru race. The witch doctor is equipped with spells and alchemical powers; can summon mongrels, locust swarms, and zombie armies; and hurls fiery concoctions to annihilate any demon foolish enough to trifle with the powers of the umbaru.

The wizard is a wielder of the elements and a master manipulator of time, who combats the hordes of the Burning Hells by launching environment-shattering lightning bolts, channeling explosive arcane energies, and creating pockets of space outside of the normal flow of time.

The monk is a skilled warrior of unparalleled dexterity. Armed with speed, holy fervor, and a quest for physical and spiritual perfection, the monk becomes a deadly apparition in the heat of battle, moving faster than the eye can follow to strike down enemies with a barrage of lightning-fast blows.

The demon hunter has a sole purpose in life: to track down and destroy every last demonic being that dares to threaten humanity. Lithe and notoriously deadly with a pair of dual crossbows, the demon hunter brings an entire arsenal of arcane gadgets and mystical traps to the battlefields of Sanctuary.

What is the story of Diablo III?
The game takes place on Sanctuary, a world of dark fantasy. Unbeknownst to most of its inhabitants, Sanctuary was saved some twenty years ago from the demonic forces of the underworld by a few brave and powerful heroes. Most of those warriors who directly faced the armies of the Burning Hells — and were fortunate enough to survive — went mad from their experiences. And most of the others have buried their haunted memories and pushed the horrors from their thoughts. In Diablo III, players will return to Sanctuary to confront evil in its many forms once again.

Will players interact with any familiar faces or places in Diablo III?
Yes, definitely. Players will return to Tristram and certain other locations from the previous games, and they’ll also be exploring new areas of Sanctuary. Players will also encounter several new characters as well as a number of characters from the previous games, including Deckard Cain.

Will Diablo III be running on a new engine?
Diablo III is powered by a new graphics engine that can display characters and hordes of monsters in lush, fully 3D environments. Powerful special-effects and physics systems allow for realistic object dynamics and cloth simulation, enabling players to lay waste to the minions of the Burning Hells in spectacular ways.

Will Diablo still have randomized events?
Diablo III builds on the random environments of the previous Diablo games by adding random scripted events and encounters throughout the game, creating a dense and exciting world alive with quests, NPCs, and dynamic encounters.

Will there be a hardcore mode?
Yes, players who seek the thrill of constant peril that comes with the possibility of permanent death for their character will again have that option in Diablo III. We’ll share more information about Diablo III’s hardcore mode at a later date.

What can you tell us about Battle.net?
Diablo III will benefit from Battle.net upgrades that will provide some exciting new features for players. Cooperative online play remains a primary focus, with multiple enhancements being planned to make connecting with your friends easier and playing together even more fun.

Will I need to be connected to the Internet to play Diablo III?
Yes, players must be online in order to play Diablo III. Diablo III was built from the ground up to take full advantage of the new version of Blizzard’s powerful Battle.net platform.

Players will have access to several features through Battle.net, including an advanced achievement system as well as the Diablo III banner system; a powerful co-op and PvP matchmaking system; comprehensive stat-tracking; persistent characters that will not expire and are accessible from any computer that has Diablo III installed; a persistent Real ID friends list across multiple Blizzard games, along with cross-game chat; a shared stash accessible by all Diablo III characters on the Battle.net account; and the ability to have friends seamlessly jump in and join you at any time during your quest against the Burning Hells. Together with the security-related benefits that Battle.net provides, these Battle.net-based features are integral to the Diablo III game experience.

How will PvP be implemented in Diablo III?
While Diablo III is designed primarily for cooperative multiplayer, we are building in support for competitive player-vs.-player gameplay as well. We’re focusing on team-based PvP in an arena setting, and we’re being careful to avoid PvP features that can easily lead to griefing, such as the ability to go hostile at will. We also plan to integrate Battle.net’s matchmaking system, a progression-based ranking system, and more.

What matchmaking functionality will the game include?
With Diablo III, it will be easier than ever to quickly group up with your friends or other players in the community. When looking for a group, players will be able to simply broadcast an invite to all of their Real ID friends. Anyone who sees this broadcast can accept the offer with one click and automatically be added to their friend’s game.

We’ll also be including a robust public game finder for those times when you just want to play with whoever’s available on Battle.net as opposed to Real ID friends specifically. This feature will bring together players based on different factors, such as the part of the game they’re looking to play through.

Regardless of whom you group with, the game is designed to offer a seamless, fun experience. Players will be able to easily transition between single-player and cooperative play with their characters at any point during their Diablo III campaign, and the map will dynamically adjust to accommodate for additional players midstream.

This means more-powerfuldemons to slay, more loot exploding out of corpses, and more fun on the fly. In addition, the game will offer each player their own individual loot drops, health globes will be automatically shared among players, and players will be unable to go hostile at will, all of which should help cut down on unfair ambushes and other types of griefing.
For player-vs.-player matchmaking, the game will group players together in the PvP arenas based on level and skill, making for fun, closely matched PvP action.

What is the banner system?
Think you’re better than all of your friends? Your banner will prove it. The banner system will be avisual representation of the achievements players earn across all of their Diablo III characters on their Battle.net account. A player’s banner will have multiple components that can be earned through various modes of gameplay. Completing different parts of the game at different difficulty levels, defeating bosses, earning achievements in PvP, and earning various other achievements will unlock ways for players to customize their banner and show off their progress in the game.

What is the shared stash?
The shared stash is an inventory-management feature that allows players to stash items in a collective storage space for all of their characters. Items in the shared stash are accessible to the player regardless of which character is currently being played.

When will Diablo III be released?
It’s too early to estimate Diablo III’s release date. As with all Blizzard Entertainment games, our goal is to create a game that is as fun, balanced, and polished as possible. We intend to take as much time developing Diablo III as is necessary to ensure the game meets our own high expectations and those of our players. We’re aiming to release Diablo III on both Mac and Windows simultaneously in as many regions as possible, and to localize the game in several languages. We’ll have more details to share about countries, languages, and specific dates as we get closer to release.

What will Diablo III be rated?
The Diablo III rating will be determined by the ratings boards in each region. We will announce the rating that Diablo III has received in each region as we get closer to launch.

What are the system requirements for Diablo III?
We’ll announce specific system requirements at a later date.

Will Diablo III include support for bots and/or mods?
No, for a variety of gameplay and security reasons, we will not be supporting bots or mods in Diablo III, and they’ll be expressly prohibited by our terms of use for the game.

Will Diablo III be offered digitally as well as at retail stores? How much will it cost?
As with our previous game releases, we do intend to offer Diablo III for purchase digitally as well as at retail. Specific details regarding pricing and availability for each region will be announced closer to the release of the game.

Check out Blizzplanet’s 2011 Diablo III Press Event Coverage for more.

Diablo III Press Event – Diablo III Battle.net Interface Screenshots

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Blizzard Entertainment provided us several Battle.net Interface screenshots as a glimpse into what you should expect once Diablo III beta starts. These screenshots show you how the Friends List and the Social Window look like and most of its features. The Diablo III Battle.net Interface looks awesome!

Cross-Game Friends List

The first image shows the Cross-Game Friends List accessible by clicking the social button on the lower-right corner. You get three lists: Party, Friends Playing Diablo III and the Additional Friends list shows all cross-game friends playing World of Warcraft or StarCraft II.

The lists on the left side of the social window allow you to see some basic info such as the real name of your friend followed by their character name. Their level, class, which Act they are playing at and the difficulty mode.

On the Additional Friends (Cross-Game Servers) list you will see instead the level, race, class, and location (Stormwind, Firelands, etc.) for World of Warcraft players, or the type of map your StarCraft II player friend is playing (2v2 Match).

When you click the name of a friend, a mini-page is displayed to the right of the lists tab. In this screenshot, when clicking over Nate Ng’s name the mini-page tab displays the Firelands artwork with the World of Warcraft: Cataclysm logo and some information such as the Real ID name of your friend, his character name, level, race, class, Play Time (1:57), Zone (Firelands) and Realm (Skullcrusher). This mini-window also has a Chat button to initiate a conversation with your friend.

At the top of the Social window are three buttons: Friends [7], Recent and Chat Lobby.

Diablo III Friends List

When clicking the name of a friend under the Friends Playing Diablo section you will see a lot of info about that friend on the mini-page area to the right of the Friends List tab.

To the top left appears the difficulty mode and a big icon graphic. In the case of this screenshot Brandon Johnson (Venom) is playing Nightmare difficulty mode. The text appears purple, and a big horned-skull with purple glow on its eye-sockets.

The background image seems to show the Act. In this screenshot, Venom is playing in Act 1. The background image looks like the Tristram Cathedral altar which matches with Act 1.

At the bottom-left of the mini-page you can read your friend’s Real ID name (Brandon Johnson). Beneath, the character name (Venom). Here is a peculiar info after that — a title (The Slayer) in orange text. After this you can read the level (35), and the class (Demon Hunter). Then Act 1 – Nightmare and the Playtime (2:35).

To the right is a large 3D model of your friend’s character wearing its armor and weapons. The coolest thing is the banner which reveals all his achievements. One of the screenshots in this page will show you more in depth what each of these banners display.

The Friends List info mini-page also provides three buttons at the bottom: Join Game, Invite and Chat — allowing you to interact with your friend in any of those options.

Character Selection

The Hero Select feature allows you to see all your characters on the left tab. When you click any of the characters the mini-page to the right side shows you some extra info.

Each of the characters names on the Hero Selection tab shows a small icon with the face of your character, the level and its class.

The mini-page shows the difficulty mode at the top-left with a small banner hanging showing a skull. In the case of this screenshot, Smarty is in normal mode displaying a green flag with a skull whose eye sockets glow green.

Below appears the character name (Smarty), level (22), class (Monk), time played (4 Hours, 22 minutes) and the Last Act (Act 1).

To the right of the mini-page is the 3D model of the character displaying armor and weapon. Seems to be animated and looks similar to the World of Warcraft character selection page. At the bottom of the character 3D model is the Select hero button which launches the Act 1 game for that character.

Something to note in this screenshot is that the limit of characters is set to 10. There are 6 characters and the message at the bottom says: “4 Hero Slots Remaining” — for a total of 10 Hero Slots.

At the bottom of the Hero Selection tab are two buttons: Create Hero and Delete Hero.

Main Menu Screen

The Main Menu of Diablo III is totally insane. We have seen the Main Menu before showing a large environment in the background, the character model and a banner, but never seen the menu options.

To the left in teal text appears the Main Menu displaying “Campaign Versus”. Beneath you have the following options: New Hero, Select Hero, Options (Likely graphic, sound and other settings), and Exit Game.

Now here is where things get very interesting. To the bottom right and straight on your Main Menu Screen is a Quick Join feature which shows you how many friends are Looking For Players. In this screenshot it says: “3 Friends Looking For Players”. Below that text you can read the Real ID names of your friends.

To the far right-center edge there are two icons. The text says “Party”. The icone below shows the name of Minax level 1 Monk, and the icon below that one says “Invite +” or Invite more.

Main Screen Basic Party

This screenshot shows how insane this Main Menu Screen is. You can chat with your party straight from this screen, invite people, and see all your friends who are Looking For Players.

From the previous image you could see that player Minax was under the Party text (right edge of the Main Menu Screen) and the “Plus” icon with the text: “Invite”. In this new screenshot, you can see three more players have been invited and all four icons are displayed vertically to the right edge of the screen with some basic info.

  • Minax level 8 Monk
  • Makeeno level 8 Wizard
  • Venom level 9 Demon Hunter
  • Jocose level 7 Barbarian

You can also see your party’s 3D models standing beside your character on the Main Menu Screen. To the bottom-left can be seen a chat window that can be scrolled up and down similar to that in World of Warcraft.

Main Screen Progression

The previous Monk is now level 39, and my, oh, my … has he progressed. His banner looks totally awesome displaying all his achievements. The last screenshot will show you what each of the features in your banner mean and what type of achievements it refers to.

Main Screen Progression Callouts

Now comes the cream of the cream. This last screenshot reveals what the banner and standard symbols mean.

The top of the banner standard shows a very detailed adornation made of metal, jewels and other stuff. This identifies you are a veteran of many Versus battles — so this is likely your player versus player achievement symbol.

The standard top where the banner hands on has two tallies.. Each displays small icons that describe your in-game achievements.

The tabard avatar displays you have completed a difficulty mode.

The bottom of the banner standard seems to denote a special type of achievement. A pile of bones and skulls with a bloody sword through a skull denotes you are a Hardcore Player.

This is the banner and standard other players can see when they click your name in the Friends List and in the Chat Lobby.

Check out Blizzplanet’s 2011 Diablo III Press Event Coverage for more.

Diablo III Press Event – Diablo III Beta B-Roll Video

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Blizzard Entertainment provided the Diablo III Beta Press Event attendees a B-roll video showing all classes battling through Tristram and the Cathedral dungeon. The monsters targeted are slightly red-highlighted to identify which the player is attacking at a given time. Some of the changes made to certain spells and abilities modified by runes can be seen in this b-roll video.

The Witch Doctor’s Wall of Zombies is modified by a rune displaying instead zombies climbing on top of each other creating a sort of tower then dropping forward over a bunch of monsters to pulverize them. The Witch Doctor has an ability to throw a jar upon the ground to unleash a giant spider minion. There is a weird stone-cloud animation around the giant spider. You can see the Witch Doctor and its three mongrels get a golden glow on their center every few seconds (Aura buff?).

01:31 – Interesting. There are two Fetish Shaman (as seen in Diablo II Act III: Kejinstan Jungle). They seem to be channeling a massive rune spell on the ground with a large area of effect. The Witch Doctor walks back and forth within the rune area, and monsters enter it. This scene suggests the Fetish Shaman are NPCs helping the Witch Doctor or they are summoned. The monsters seem to get damage over time while in the area of effect.

2:05 – The female Wizard casts a blue electric discharge in a frontal cone causing aoe damage to any mobs within 5 yards. Additionally, you can see her casting the firebolt-like ability. Whenever that’s cast, a pool of lava spawns beneath the Wizard. By moving away, you can force monsters to walk through these pool of lava.

3:04 – The Demon Hunter throws a couple of giant ninja hira-shurikens that swirl around.

3:40 – Odd. Monk abilities have golden special effects, but here are a few abilities with a teal special effect. Another resource type?

4:00 – The monk summons one of those giant bells and kicks it to knockback a large group of monsters. The rune effect used by the Wizard at 2:05 is seen again with the Monk. When he casts a specific ability, the ground beneath him becomes a pool of boiling lava.

6:50 – Demon Hunter casts Fan of Knives. A redish rune appears before the fan of knives kicks in, allowing you to preview the circular range to be affected.

7:00 – The male Wizard casts a huge elemental nova. All mobs within the nova get knockback and a slow-movement windy-like aura for a few seconds. Curious thing: The wizard is using a sable sword and shoots some magic spells through the sword.

Check out Blizzplanet’s 2011 Diablo III Press Event Coverage for more.

Diablo III Press Event – Diablo III Auction House Overview

We’re introducing a powerful auction house system that will provide a safe, fun, and easy-to-use way for players to buy and sell the loot they obtain in the game. Items can be sold and purchased using real-world money or in-game gold.

 

An Easier Way To Trade

Sure, slaying monsters, demons, and cultists is a surefire way to obtain a ton of random new loot in Diablo III, but with the new auction house feature, it’ll be easier than ever to gear up your character with the exact items you’re looking for. You can also post the items you don’t need for players who are desperately searching for what you’ve got!
 

Don’t Need It? Put It Up For Auction!

Nearly everything found in the game, including gold, can be exchanged with other players directly or through the auction house system. So say you’re a witch doctor and you’ve just found an incredibly rare, incredibly powerful axe that only barbarians can use. In the previous Diablo games your best option might have been to sell the axe to an in-game vendor, but in Diablo III, you now have the ability to list that axe in the auction house for your fellow barbarian players to bid on. And you know another player will probably appreciate the true value of that axe more than some heartless vendor who’ll likely just melt it down for scrap…

 

Amazing Search Functionality

The auction house’s “smart search” functionality can automatically sort items in the auction house based on which upgrades would be most beneficial to your character. Also, searching for the best gear for multiple characters on the same Battle.net account can be done all from the same interface without having to log out.

 

The Choice Is Yours

Use of either the real-money or gold-based auction house is completely optional — that decision can be made on a per-item basis, and both versions of the auction house are functionally the same. In addition, players have the option to simply sell the items they obtain to in-game vendors for gold. They can also trade items to other players through a direct character-to-character trading system in the game in exchange for gold, other items, or just an overwhelming sense of goodwill.

 

Players Only

Blizzard does not plan to post items for sale in the auction house. The driving purpose of the auction house is to provide players with a fun additional in-game option for what they do with the items they obtain in the game. Items sold in the auction house will be posted by players and purchased by players.

 

Safe and Sanctified

The real-money auction house provides players with an easy-to-use, Blizzard-sanctioned way to collect money for items they obtain while playing Diablo III. It also helps protect players from the scams and theft often associated with questionable third-party sites by providing a secure, completely in-game method for purchasing and obtaining the items they want for their characters.

 

Faster Than A Seven-Sided Strike

Sellers can post items for auction from any of the Diablo III characters on their Battle.net account, or from their shared stash (extra inventory space accessible with any of the characters on their account), without logging out. And after a buyer has won an auction, the item will become immediately available to be equipped and put to good use in the ongoing struggle against the forces of the Burning Hells.

 

Check out Blizzplanet’s 2011 Diablo III Press Event Coverage for more.

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