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In this episode we take a look at Blizzard & Diablo III News — Is Diablo 3 Is Technically Complete? The ditched Ranger Class Concepts, Skill Trees & Tiers, Lots of Art Updates & More!

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Diablo III ‘Technically Complete’

In some pretty interesting and in my opinion extremely exciting news, Mike Morhaime and Frank Pearce recently commented on Diablo III’s progress saying that the “development is technically complete”, with only internal testing and feedback left to work on. Now, all of this needs to be taken with a grain of salt, as people often over think things like this. Firstly, this quote, and all the information being talked about here, was taken from an interview that the Blizzard head honchos had with French site, Liberation.fr. So all said, information had to be translated, and, as you all well know, things are often misinterpreted and lost in the translation process. But anyway, even the crudest form of the translated information does give us some hope and what I’d call good news.

Now first, let us have a look at the question asked and answer given. (Bare in mind, the translation might well be a little off!)

Q: I suppose that you do not have a world-hysteria scoop to offer the readers of Liberation concerning the official and definitive release date of Diablo 3?
A: Alas, no. Just to confirm to you that we are full at work for the game to release this year. The development is technically completed. We are in a internal-testing and feedback-gathering phase. Yes, there are good chances of releasing before the end of 2011, but it is impossible to us, at this time, to guarantee you that.

With the help of a few, ever keen, forum members, they came to the conclusion that Mike and Frank were referring to the core engine of the game that had been completed. Now, the team can apparently focus on the content, the game world, the game rules and obviously the polish of the game. They say that to sum things up, we actually learn nothing new here and Diablo INC Gamers feels that this does seem to contradict a lot of what we’ve been hearing recently from Blizzard themselves, with the Male Demon Hunter not being complete, some runes still rough drafts and the Demon Hunter’s dual resource being more of a concept than final product. 

I guess this information and these quotes mean varying amounts to everyone out there. Sure, it’s great that they once again said that they want to release the game in 2011, but one thing I will say is that if the Diablo III team does in fact have the world complete, the story in tact, the quests where they need to be, the skills, mostly at least, working as intended, and have no plans to suddenly add another act or class to the game, then, well, that does shine some hope on our Diablo III beta plight. If all that is true the game may well be ready for us to test it sooner, rather than later, as most of the polish, balancing and all that other goodness would probably be done during the closed beta. What is also worth keeping in mind is what I spoke about a couple of episodes ago, where during the Quarter 1 Activision / Blizzard Conference Call, Mike Morhaime actually mentioned that we might well be hearing more about the Diablo III beta during their next call, happening in May. All of this does sound good and I guess we should all just hold thumbs and hope to hear more, or some clarification on all of this, soon.

Check the links below to read the full stories and let me know what you think.

Diablo III’s “development is technically completed” – Diablo INC Gamers

Diablo III Development “Technically Completed” – Diablofans

Exploiting The Magic Find Stat In Groups

A  fan recently asked a question that has, apparently, come up quite a lot over the past few months on the official Diablo III forums in discussions of Diablo III item hunting.  In short, said fan asked the following – ‘With every character getting their own drops, what’s to to prevent some players from standing in the back row and doing very little, if they’re going to share in the experience and get items anyway?’ The example provided was, what if there is one very powerful level 60 character in hell and he has 3 friends that are following him around doing relatively little work because they are in fact stacked up with Magic Find on their gear, LOTS of magic find. Will the three Magic Find characters be able to leech the drops from the powerful level 60? This is assuming that they are level 60 as well. So, said fan feels that this mechanic might well be abused, and abused hard.

Bashiok replied and he had quite a bit to say about it, starting off by saying that sure, it could be a problem, but… he claims that the entire Magic Find system, the way loot drops and all that entails in co-op play will be fairly heavily restricted to specific sources and amounts. He gave the following example, which is completely hypothetical, of course. Let’s say that the only magic find available is from placing a diamond gem in a head slot. It’s useful because of the amount it provides, but maybe other gems in a head slot provide things like bonus XP, bonus gold, etc. Then it’s not a choice of power vs. MF and building characters around the system, but a choice between interesting bonuses that will probably change through the career of a character. He then says that’s just a thought on how it could work and that it is still under consideration. Blizzard apparently likes the idea of having some way to improve your chances to find magic items, but not as a driving statistic for characters.

Lastly, Bashiok just mentions that it is definitely worth noting in this case that enemies in Diablo III are more sophisticated. You’ll find them targeting characters in your group they perceive as weaker, keeping distance, and cooperating to try to kill you and your group. So having one person run ahead to face pull everything, let alone be able to solo everything in a multiplayer game, probably isn’t going to work out too well. We can also just assume that said monsters will in fact scale, become more powerful, with each extra character in the game, so  that said having one character do most of the work just doesn’t seem that likely.

If you want to read all about this fan’s interactions with Bashiok regarding Magic Find In Groups you can check the post linked below!

Blue on MF Exploits in Groups – Diablo INC Gamers

Tyreal

Win Tyreals Hylt!

The guys and girls over at the Diablo Database have decided that it has been far too long since their last giveaway and oohh does that mean good things for us! So, to slake our thirst, for a little while at least, they just wanted to give us a little reward for being as patient as we are. At the same time, though, this will help us stay even more up-to-date with all the Diablo III happenings out there right now. So, what is this reward, you ask? (Yes, you Diablo guys might not appreciate this quite as much as the WoW guys out there, sorry!)

They’re giving away all 5 of the World of Warcraft digital pets to 3 lucky winners. All you have to do to enter is ‘like’ the Diablo Fan Page on Facebook and follow D3DB on Twitter! But wait, that’s not all! One incredibly lucky winner will also receive the highly sought out, extremely rare and nearly impossible to obtain Tyrael’s Hylt pet code! This pet code was a gift for attending the 2008 Worldwide Invitational in Paris and awards a Feat of Strength in-game along with the amazingly cool pet. Woah. So yes, that is in fact why this is Diablo related. For all you Blizzard fans out there, this is a must enter and you can find the full details, and links to enter, below. Good luck!

1) ‘Like’ the official Diablo page on Facebook – http://facebook.com/Diablo

2) Follow D3DB on Twitter – http://twitter.com/D3DB

3) Email contest@d3db.com with a link to your Facebook & Twitter pages, after this you’ll be entered!.

They let us know that they will randomly select 3 winners on March 15th, 2011. Winners will be contacted via their Facebook or Twitter accounts to confirm ownership and emailed the pet codes afterwards. Rest assured your Facebook and Twitter profile pages will not ever be published publicly for this contest. Lastly, the pet codes are good for European and North American players only.

Diablo 3 Database – D3DB

Diablo Fan Art

More delicious Fan Art! Yes, and there is indeed quite a load of it to look at today. First up we have Diablo INC Gamers Fan Art Watch #78. This post has two really cool pieces, one of a female monk that looks to have taken more than a bit of inspiration from the famous monk cosplayer, Christina Estrada, and secondly a really great speed-painting of an Amazon that seems to have just been in a bit of scrap. In Fan Art Watch #79 we get a look at a few pieces that were actually added to the official Blizzard gallery. Three incredibly detailed barbarians and The Butcher, which is one of my personal favourites, as it brings back a few pretty vivid memories, can be found below.

Diablo Fan Art Watch #78: Amazons and Monks – Diablo INC Gamers

Diablo Fan Art Watch #79: Barbs and the Butcher – Diablo INC Gamers

In some semi-related news it seems like that Limited Edition Diablo III Barbarian Overthrown Statue that was all the rage a while back is going on sale once more over at SideShow Toys, so, if any of you were looking to get your hands on that $300 masterpiece, now’s your chance.

Diablo III Barbarian Statue Back In-Stock – Diablo INC Gamers

Ranger_NKD_09_small

Ranger Class In Diablo III? Concept Art & More!

In what I see as quite an amazing find and an even more set of images, here are a few early concepts for the Ranger which eventually lead to the Demonhunter class in Diablo III. Yes, all those guessers from a couple of months back that thought the fifth class would in fact be a ranger were right, sort of. I have to say it is really great seeing these early concepts of how the class could have looked, compared to what it looks like now. These were all taken from the blog of Phroilan Gardner, a fantasy artist who worked for Blizzard Entertainment for quite a few years a while back. He contributed a lot Diablo III concept art as well as creating a great deal of World of Warcraft stuff, too. He has since parted ways with Blizzard Entertainment and has been posting tons of cool artwork on his blog.

He lets us know that he is happy with the way that the Demon Hunter turned out and that he absolutely can’t wait to play the class, saying that in his opinion it’s the closest thing to a Gothic-fantasy styled character in the current Diablo III hero lineup. These six images are most definitely worth looking at, along with all the other amazingly well done pieces on his blog. You can find the link below, enjoy

Phroilan’s Stuff – blogspot

Skill Trees / Tiers

Bashiok recently got involved in a thread about the skill trees and tiers in Diablo III and provided a nice explanation of how they work and why they’re set up the way they are.

He starts off by saying that skills are tiered out for progression. They serve not only as a reward as you level up, but also to ensure Blizzard is not dumping the entire game on a new player. Early tier skills tend to be cheap or free to cast, and have fairly straight forward mechanics and uses, like dealing damage to enemies. As the tiers progress, though, more complex systems are introduced, avoidance, mobility, maybe skills that cost a little more, or require a bit more finesse to pull off well. Then, the end of the tiers and these are usually the biggest, most expensive, and visually impressive. The tiers do start out simply and progress toward the bigger and ‘cooler’ spells. As they should. He says that Blizzard can also design and tune the beginning of the game with the skills available in mind, which really helps to ensure those first few hours aren’t frustrating.

I guess, while all of that really does make sense, and none of it is really anything new, it is good to hear the reasoning behind them setting it up the way they do. Bashiok then carries on by saying that while he’s sure there will be builds that take all the end tier skills, people will still need to pick skills throughout the tree to create a solid character, and they’re designing the skills to ensure they can continue to be as viable as possible regardless of character level. Some first and second tier skills will scale really well and will most likely be the bread and butter skills for a number of builds.

Bashiok concluded this all by giving us a bit of repeat information – The leveling progression is designed that you’d have all your skill tiers unlocked before you finish Normal. I guess this is the kind of information that players interested in the leveling process would really want to hear. You can have a look at all the full quote and other information included below. And yes, there are even a few images of the previously revealed traits and skill trees, courtesy of Diablo INC Gamers.

Blue on Skill Tiers and Clvl Requirements – Diablo INC Gamers

tristram-cathedral-fb-mar2011

Facebook ‘Like’ Updates

The ever entertaining Diablo Facebook Like Campaign has just yielded what is, in my opinion, some of the best artwork thus far. The Diablo Facebook Page hit and passed the 625,000 mark a day or two ago and we have been gifted a brand new piece of concept art and another screenshot!

The screenshot was previously released via the BlizzCon 2010 Diablo III Presskit, but it is still worth a look for those that have not seen it. The good part of this update, though, is definitely this amazing piece of the Tristram Cathedral and much of ‘New Tristram’ laid out in the distance. By far one of my favourite pieces of concept art to date and I absolutely can’t wait for more! Check both of these images out, in full size, below, and if you haven’t already, head on over to the Diablo III facebook page and give it a like!

Below is also a link to Diablo INC Gamers’ post of this update where a few questions about this new and exciting artwork are answered. Check that out, too, if you’re interested.

Diablo Facebook Page – Facebook

The Diablo Facebook Ransom is Paid: Part IV – Diablo INC Gamers

Diablo 3 Smalls

Diablo III Smalls:

Forum Watch #64: Y’all Wanna Debate? – Diablo INC Gamers

Vote: Will you play Hardcore Diablo III? – Diablo INC Gamers

Diablo III Weekly Wallpaper #84: Diablo with Light and Darkness – Diablo INC Gamers

The Dark Library #32 – Diablo INC Gamers

Blizzard’s “Anti-Modding” Stance: Another Look – Diablofans

Diablo II Season 7 Length Poll – Diablofans

ForceD3 – Purgatory Episode 5 – YouTube

Questions & Answers

Q: In game mic chat support? Will there be a Special Edition game with some extras included? Thank you for your time. – IceMan20k
A: Voice chat is a base feature of the new Battle.net platform, so it’s likely. We’ve not announced a collector’s edition. – Diablo

Q: Will gems give the same bonuses they did in Diablo 2? – illthegreat
A: No, they’re all pretty much different. Elemental damage comes from enchantments now, for instance. – Diablo

Q: Zoom. How much will we be able to zoom in D3 compared to SC2? – kiowa81
A: There’s no zoom feature planned beyond a slight perspective shift when engaged in conversations. – Diablo

Q: No zoom? then why there’s zoom in first gameplay trailer? (watch 1:27-2:23) – spareribs17
A: We did have a zoom function back in 2008. It was removed shortly after. – Diablo

Q: Has allowing 8 or 10 skills instead of 7 ever been seriously considered? 7 just seems so few to me… – yovargas
A: Of course. Everything is seriously considered. – Diablo

Q: Can runes be swapped when ever or do you need an artisan to equip/swap out runes? – Scyberdragon
A: Restrictions are likely for when/where you can change them. – Diablo

Q: Since you reworked stats to benefit all classes will gems be treated in the same manner? bc D2 gems in weapons didnt benefit casters – illthegreat
A: There is a “caster gem” for weapons. Potentially two depending on your build. – Diablo

Q: Hi, I’ve noticed two screenshots, on each of them the Barbarian looks different, In one he got warpaint in the other he doesn’t? Is it a new feature that allows you to add warpaint and/or tattoos to your character? Or has the skin of his model been changed? Personally I like the warpaint much more.
A: The barbarian will see a throwback to the classic blue war paint when equipping a specific gear set.

Q: Is it something similar to say, wearing Aldur’s on a Druid and the other class-specific sets for other classes?
A: No, it’s just the effect from the chest piece of one ‘tier’ set. Class specific items are still planned, but this would not be what it is, no.

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Diablo 3 Difficulty & AI

Bashiok Talks Difficulty And AI

Flux from over at Diablo INC Gamers recently had a little chat to Bashiok about Difficulty and AI improvements in Diablo III. The discussion was actually in regards to a question posted to Flux asking whether the AI of the game scaled with the difficulty. Bashiok replied by saying that he doubted there would be any change, since each monster was built with a simple and pointed purpose. He also pointed out that the complexity and strategy of the game comes from how the different types of monsters are mixed and matched. Lastly, Bashiok did stress that the way they make Diablo III harder is by mixing the monsters in different, more complex ways. That is pretty interesting but this, once again, seems to be the normal case of ‘lets let Blizzard handle this because they know what they’re doing’. This conversation seemed to be incredibly long, though, and there is a lot more to read about the whole thing over at the post on Diablo INC Gamers. So if you want to know just how hard your Nightmare or Hell experience will be in Diablo III, check it out!

Bashiok Explains Higher Difficulty and AI Improvements – Diablo INC Gamers

The Sentry

Demon Hunter is getting a few new toys. One of the coolest has to be the Sentry.
@Diablo

In some more demon hunter related news @Diablo announced a new Demon Hunter ‘toy’ last week, with a tweet about the Sentry. The Sentry in Diablo III is apparently quite different from the one the Assassin had in Diablo II, and, that was pretty much all we got about it. @Diablo also said something that was quite curious, that the demon hunter sentry is more like something a spy would sap. Um, that’s pretty cryptic but it seems like a fan figured it out almost instantly.

“A spy would sap” is a reference to Valve’s Team Fortress 2. Spies sap Engineer-built sentry turrets. So in other words, they’re implying that the sentry is something that shoots baddies automatically.

I guess that makes more sense than anything I would have thought up. So if you want to read the questions and answers regarding the Sentry and all the theories surrounding it, check the post linked below! 

@Diablo on Demon Hunter Sentries – Diablo INC Gamers

Shrines

Shrines are receiving new visuals to give them a more cohesive look.
@Diablo

The Diablo Twitter Account spoke up today about some in-game Diablo III goodness that we know is there but we’ve not heard much about, Shrines. Although the information given is not really anything huge or game-changing, it seems like shrines will in fact be receiving a bit of a makeover, new visuals to give them a more cohesive look. Sounds good, I just wish they could give some screenshots or video footage with this little announcement!

On the Drawing Board #20: Shrines – Diablo INC Gamers

cloudkicker_light_painting_by_zerinax

Female Monk Cosplay & More!

Christina Estrada, the female monk cosplayer that won the BlizzCon 2010 costume contest has struck again. Literally, I guess. Some amazingly cool photos of her showing off her combative skills in her female monk outfit have surfaced. They are even prettied up by some cool looking light effects. Along with this you can also check all her other work out at the various sites she regulars. She seems to be quite a big thing in the cosplay world, and well, how couldn’t she be? The costumes she thinks up, makes, models and owns are pretty, well, pretty! Below you can read the full quote from her photographer aswell as see a couple of other cool by Christina and other keen cosplayers.

This Diablo Monk Lights Up The Internet – Kotaku

Female Monk Cosplay Action Shots – Diablo INC Gamers

Painting Light with a Monk – Chase Hoffman

Christina On Flickr – Flickr

ZerinaX On DeviantArt – DevArt

ZerinaX On Cosplay.com – Cosplay.com

Diablo Cosplay Gallery Gains Momentum – Diablo INC Gamers

Since I was thrilled to hear that one of my clients had won the contest, I wanted to do a shoot with her and her winning costume. Pictures of Christina as the monk were already everywhere, so I needed to be creative. That’s when I got the idea to shoot her with light painting. Since video game and anime character often use magic, super powers or special abilities, light painting is a natural fit. Backgrounds can be controlled well so the whole photo can take on an other-worldly feel. When I told her my idea, she didn’t need much convincing, so we went for it.

The basic technique was a flash with a reflective umbrella that was camera left and radio triggered. We attached small LEDs to her weapons and her foot. After that, it was a trial and error (but not much error this evening). One of the great things about her costume, unlike some other ones, is that she could move around in it. The monk is supposed to be a master of martial arts. So having a costume that actually allows your to kick and punch is great.
Chase Hoffman, Christina Estrada’s Photographer (Source)

 

demon_hunter_diablo_3_by_evilflesh

Fan Art

As there always seems to be there are a few great pieces of fan art for us to oogle at. This time around we have a look at an amazingly detailed female Demon Hunter by the DeviantArt user EvilFlesh. You can check the image out above and visit the artists DevArt page below. It really is worth a look, enjoy!

Demon Hunter – Diablo 3 by EvilFlesh – DeviantArt

You can also see various other pieces of fan art along with some pretty interesting Diablo III themed movie posters over at the post linked below, courtesy of Diablo INC Gamers!

Diablo Fan Art Watch #68 – Diablo INC Gamers

Diablo III Weekly Wallpaper #81: Movie Posters – Diablo INC Gamers

Diablo 3 Smalls

Diablo III Smalls

There are a couple more smalls here. Some talk about Jewels and socketing, armor dyes, salvaging and looting in arenas & more, check it all out below!

Q: Will we be able to socket our items with something other than gems? Jewels perhaps? – Ophion1
A: There’s a potential for it, but as it stands now sockets have one item type that can be placed into them – gems. – Diablo

Q: Will we be able to only dye certain areas of our armor (say… the cloth bits) or will the whole thing change colour? – snillum101
A: Armor Dyes affect specifically designated sections of armor. – Diablo

Q: Will salvaging dyes also give rare materials as runes do, and can these rare materials craft rare unique or legendary items? – Sword9mm
A: No intent to allow salvaging of dyes. They don’t increase player power, so if you have too many you can feel safe vendoring them. – Diablo

Q: what’s being done with the items from hc arena battles? Can the winners loot? Loot ur friends if ur last man standing? – Kru5h1
A: They’re sent directly to us so we can walk around claiming to be you while talking in a high, shrill voice. – Diablo

These last two were particularly interesting. It seems like the demon hunter’s ‘demonic influence’ is more for flavor and the demon hunter is, first and foremost, a ranged class. lastly, it seems like we did in fact get a look at Act III of Diablo III at BlizzCon 2010. I didn’t even know that myself. Read all about all these smalls and more below!

Q: There has been a lot of talk about mechanical skills for the DH. What about her more demonic-type skills?  – Scyberdragon
A: Demonic influence is more flavor. First and foremost it’s a ranged class. – Diablo

Q: Are we going to have a glimpse at Act 3-4 environments, or will they be kept from us until release? – FingolfinGR
A: We have actually shown brief glimpses of Act III already at BlizzCon, and will probably show a little more. – Diablo

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Diablo 3 Armor set previews

Female Barbarian / Female Witch Doctor Previews

So Blizzard is definitely keeping the gear set previews coming, this past week we saw the next two of the six revealed, the female Witch Doctor and the female Barbarian. Both look pretty cool and Bashiok even answered a couple of questions about them, one of which, which was indeed pretty interesting was what tier the witch doctor set was. The answer to that, 5 our of 18 or so. There were other questions too, is that leather that the barbarian is wearing? The answer to that is that armor types by material in Diablo III. interesting, you can read a few more quotes below and find links to all the previous previews!

Q: So what tier is this one, then?
A: 5. Out of 18 or so.

Q: So is this Leather type armor?
A: There are no armor types by material.

Q: Does anyone here think that the female barbarians face looks much more feminine than before? Perhaps this is why she has no helmet, to intentionally show us that.
A: Both female and male barbarian have had pretty drastic make-overs since the original character renders back from announcement. All of the heroes from announcement have to one degree or another been gone over again since then, but I’d say the barbs are most noticeable as their actual faces were redone.

Every Tuesday and Thursday leading up to BlizzCon on October 22 we’ll be sharing a behing-the-scenes sneak peek at a gear set that will be featured in the playable demo at the event. Please enjoy!

Keep checking back here for more! 😀

Female Barbarian Facial Evolution

Sticking with the cosmetic changes here for a second. Some fans have noticed some rather significant changes to the Female Barbarian’s face over the past months and years. Apparently the newer versions of the face look less hardcore and a lot more feminine, now you tell me, is the fact that your female character looks too ‘feminine’ a problem? I don’t think so. Blizzard did mention that this was their intention and most of the characters have changed quite drastically since their original concepts. So if you’re interested in reading more about any of that, check the post below!

Both the female and male barbarians have had pretty drastic make-overs since the original character renders back from announcement. All of the heroes from announcement have to one degree or another been gone over again since then, but I’d say the barbs are most noticeable as their actual faces were redone.
Bashiok, Blizzard Entertainment

Female Barbarian Facial Evolution – Diablo IncGamers

Diablo 3 No Death Penalty

No Death Penalties In Diablo III?

There are no death penalties in Diablo III, not outside of the Hardcore mode, at least. Why take this stance, why make this change? Well, Blizzard believes and has always believed in gameplay above anything else, fun, above anything else. Is it fun to lose experience, gold and items every time you die? is it fun to have to run all the way to your corpse to try to recover what little was dropped? Not really. If a challenge is what you want, Diablo III will, apparently, provide that, if in other ways.

Blizzard do say that it’s their intention to stop a player, or players, from throwing themselves at a challenge or boss and dying constantly untill they have passed said area or killed said boss. It seems they are not 100% sold on the current death and revival system instated in Diablo III just yet so it will be interesting to see what they come up with in the coming months. See below for the full list of quotes, questions and answers.

Q: Why new games have to be such “protective”? if u die, u die and lose everything. if someone in the doungeoun wants to kill u and get all ur stuff, it is ok. We are adult and we have the real life to feel protecred and safe in it. If I don’t want to be thrilled I only need to live my real life!

My point: no mercy for cheaters, and a “safe mode” for crying babies. But true men want to play it hardcore, I’m sure.

But it’s only a dream: blizzard have to make money and I’m almost out of its target audience!

A: Yes, I remember playing Diablo when I was 16. I’m not sure if I was a “man” then. … Sometimes I question if I’m one now… BUT THAT’S NEITHER HERE NOR THERE!

Anyway, I’m not sure being screwed out of experience and gold and items makes it a “man’s game”. A masochist’s game, for sure, but then I’m sure there are plenty of ladies who enjoy being punished too.

This post is getting weird.

Ok, in closing, mechanics that punish players are contrary to our core company design philosophies, and so no, outside of you playing a Hardcore character, there will likely be no intentional mechanics in the game that will punish you.

Semi-related is that we’re still aiming for an ESRB rating of Mature.

Q: wow, i didnt take it to this extent but…. they say gold will be valuable but…. if we dont lose any when we die…. um better have some nice gold sinks nobody has ever thought of before!

A: You lost gold when you died in Diablo II and it was still worthless. Losing gold on death isn’t a necessary sink to make it worth something. Balancing gains and expenditures properly will make it worth something.

That said, I don’t think we’ve made any final determinations on death penalties. Though I wouldn’t expect it to take anything away from the player. Gold, experience, etc.

Q: Point being there are mechanics designed to punish players for good reason. Those should still exist.

Glad to hear you’re still thinking it through.

A: I don’t think death penalties need to edge into the ‘punishment’ definition (although I realize that’s a confusion of terms) to be worthwhile.

Making sure someone can’t endlessly throw themselves against monsters/die/repeat and eventually win is something we’d want to stop. To make the player take pause and realize they’re not going to get past them unless they straighten up and pay attention and play better, or take some extra measures to buff up, or simply come up with a different strategy, those are the types of death penalties that work. Those are the ones we like and that I’m talking about.

Taking gold away from people, or taking a full level of experience away, yeah, that’s a wake up call. It’s also the quickest way to get someone to uninstall the game. A very select few people will put up with something like that. It’s fine in Diablo II because gold has almost no use, but imagine if it did. You’d be encouraged through the mechanic to grind in easier areas where you’re sure you couldn’t die just so you could earn gold safely. That sounds terrible. Without a gold penalty you can play the content you want to play and meanwhile you’re finding items and amounts of gold that are relevant. That sounds like fun.

Blue: No Death Penalties Required in D3 – Diablo IncGamers

Why Not More Diablo III At BlizzCon 2010?

A question many fans are asking right now is “Why aren’t we seeing more Diablo III at BlizzCon 2010?” Blizzard recently answered that by saying that there are the same amount if panels as last year and that the number of panels has nothing to do with the amount or quality of info released. Wise words, wise words indeed. Damn, if only BlizzCon would come sooner! See the full quote below.

Q: Only 3 panels for diablo 3 this year. Not very much.

Maybe 2012 isn’t so unreasonable for a release date after all O_o. You’d think for such a high profile event and diablo 3 being the big release coming they’d want to they hype the living death out of it.

A: It’s the same number as last year. Two ‘info’ panels and one open Q&A.

I really don’t see how this could be interpreted as any indication of… anything, at all. We have specific things to talk about. It’s a weird stretch to come to a conclusion that we must not be able to talk about anything meaningful unless there are 3+ hours of stage time dedicated to talking about the game.

So anyway, yes, there are two panels – – and in-between those panels and for 14 hours a day, both days the developers are in back-to-back interviews with news and press outlets. There will be plenty of info streaming out about the game all over the place even if you don’t think that two panels is enough to do so.

…Well, what can I say. World of Warcraft is huge. You can’t really compare anything to it, the vast majority of people that go to BlizzCon are hardcore WoW players. We’d be silly to not cater the events and time spent on them to the people paying to attend and their primary interests.

StarCraft II, yeah, they have a lot of panels this year. Last year they had three. They just shipped a game and I think have the time to devote to creating more of them.

Again, the number of panels has nothing to do with the amount or quality of info released.

Blue: Why not more Diablo III Blizzcon Panels? – Diablo IncGamers

Act Lenghts In Diablo III

A fan posted on the Battle.net forums and asked about act length in Diablo III. He asked if Act 4 would be shorter than the others, like it is in Diablo II. The answer that Bashiok gave was pretty interesting. In short, he said yes. Now before you freak out totally, he did follow that up by saying that they’re estimating a longer game than Diablo II right now, regardless of actual comparable act size. So that’s great. You can read the full quote below.

Pretty much.

We looked at act length in Diablo II and came to some of the same conclusions, “They ran out of time”. But when considering it further the intent of the act structure actually got shorter as you went, intentionally rocketing you toward the end of the game. It’s one of those things that makes game design hard to relate. It’s… it’s sort of like a movie score. If done right emotional music can make a scene feel ‘better’ or raise whatever emotion is being portrayed, but if you start scrutinizing the individual components, or just lose the immersion, it can come off as cheesy.

In any case I think we’re estimating a longer game than Diablo II right now, regardless of actual comparable act size.
Bashiok, Blizzard Entertainment (Source)

Diablo 3 More Pentagrams

Diablo III Needs More Pentagrams? Yeah Right.

A fan recently asked about the lack of pentagrams or any other visual religious references in Diablo III and other Blizzard games recently. He claimed that Diablo III needs demonic visualizations to add immersion to the game. Okay, creepy. I definitely don’t agree. Blizzard did however reply to him. They said that you don’t need to overuse the same old symbols, marks or signs to be able to flesh out a unique fantasy world and story. I gotta agree with that. What some people don’t realise is that all of Blizzards games have their own story, religions and lore. That said, they have different visual aspects to identify them by. They don’t all need to have pentagrams. Sure, put them in if they belong there but don’t throw them in just for the sake of having pentagrams in the game. Agree or not, you can read the full conversation below.

Q: This isnt a troll thread. When wow came out they pretty much removed any visual religious references. They removed the cross from chaples, the alter of storms no longer had a pentagram etc.

Diablo 3 NEEDS these demonic visualizations to add to the immersion of the game, I really hope a blue can comment on this.

A: A lot of what we do now and have been doing for the past… 8 or so years, around the Warcraft III and initial World of Warcraft development era, is putting a lot of effort into crafting unique worlds. Meaning that we put more effort into every aspect of the game world itself. Who is this secret organization? What is their history? What’s their look? Do they have a specific accent? Do they have a symbol or mark that can identify them?

In the previous games I think there was a sense of “Oh it’s a demon, Diablo, devil, Satan, satanism… pentagram!” and while certainly there are those influences, what we’re creating now and have been creating for quite some time is evolving the game world and making something more complete. A complete world where every aspect is fully realized, maybe even if it doesn’t show up in the game.

I think that same sort of world-crafting can be seen between Warcraft II and Warcraft III. A big shift in focus to fleshing out a unique fantasy world and story.

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Will Diablo III Last

Will Diablo III Last 10 Years?

Will Diablo III last 10 years like its predecessor? That is a question that is pretty much impossible to answer right now. We have yet to play the game or even learn enough about the game to make a judgement call. Those facts, however, did not deter a fan from trying to argue the point with a couple of blue posters that Diablo III will fade away within a couple of short years. He claimed that the game has (or I guess seems to have, to him) almost no replayability at all. Needless to say the Blue posters shot him down in no time at all. You can see the full rant below.

They’ve scrapped a lot of things from the great D2 that gave it its tremendous replayable value: stat point modification, rune words or a similar mechanic, PvP in its non-WoW form (WoW form meaning those arenas and organized matches that remind me of a fencing tournament bracket), the endless battle of leveling to 99 and the choice of whether or not to even fight that battle, the ability to trade our most rare items (due to Soul-binding), inability to respec (it did make the game last longer, no matter how “detrimental” Blizzard considers it to be to the gameplay), the ability to use more than 7 skills on a character (my Necro used up to 12), and many others.

We may find out at Blizzcon that they have secretly constructed a vast arsenal of mechanics to compensate for ALL of these clear replayability cuts, but is this likely? Even so, will these “replacements” they have live up to their intentions? Judging from how many of the mechanics that made D2 last so long were unintentional, I don’t know if Blizzard can really produce a game that not only lasts 10 years, but can play the way they designed it.

because all I’ve noticed so far is reductions in replayability in just about every aspect of the game.
Please list them.

You’re right; they are going to release an expansion every year and raise the cap lvl by 10 and eventually doing DLC for higher cap lvl.
Activision’d.

You keep posting this as if it’s something that’s going to catch on as an intelligent insight into our development plans.

It’s not. And so it won’t.

New Item Set Preview Every Tuesday / Thursday

We are going to be getting a bit of an art and item overdose from the guys on the Diablo Facebook Page in the days leading up to this years BlizzCon! They are going to be posting, as the title says, a screenshot of one of the armor sets currently in Diablo III every Tuesday and Thursday leading up to this year’s BlizzCon, starting on October 21. I will be trying to get them all in my Diablo III related posts, here and there. The first of the previews is below, enjoy!

male witch doctorThe first of six such behind-the-scenes sneak peeks, featuring the male witch doctor.

You can keep checking back here for more or just visit the Diablo III Facebook Fanpage below.

Facebook | Diablo III

Diablo III Twitter Smalls

Twitter Smalls

Diablo Twitter, active, as usual! I have quite a few interesting, if small, pieces of news here for all of you here courtesy of Diablo.IncGamers and Diablofans. Enjoy!

Is the Barbarian the only class that can equip 2 handed axes? – Grug
No, the Witch Doctor can as well. And… Wizard I believe? – Diablo

Great! The same for 2handed Maces? – Grug
Yes. The witch doctor can wield all two handed weapons. – Diablo

I am not sure  that the Wizard can actually wield two-handed axes… that would be slightly mad. But it’s great to hear that the Witch Doctor can wield all of them!

Will hardcore characters be more powerful than normal? — Spectrusv
No intent, no. But they’ll definitely have more prestige and flashy things to show off for being so awesome.—Diablo

What is being done to make D3’s combat system deeper? There are only so many stats you can manipulate. HP, resources, res, crits… – Grug16
Layering monster roles is one. Mixing enemies with specific roles together to create more interesting combat.—Diablo

What’s the reasoning behind aiming for chars to be ~60 after completing hell? Want to get rid of xp grind post “completion”? — Drbuttox
It affected player power in un-fun ways. We think there are more fun ways to pull off end-game.—Diablo

Any insights into the higher difficulties, combat and level cap are welcomed as those are topics we have been hearing much, much less about! It’s cool that they seem to  be putting a bit more focus on player skill, planning and actually thinking while playing in Diablo III.

@FingolfinGR There’s going to have to be a limit. Definitely more than 10. Probably less than 50.

Probably the most interesting one of the day if you ask me! I know a lot of people who complained about the lack of character slots in Diablo II. Blizzard once again listening to the fans!

Check back here soon for more Diablo III news! 😀

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Starcraft Pulse

Episode 15! Sorry this one took so long. I had my birthday during this past week and was disallowed from even touching any work whatsoever. I finally got it out though, so that’s good! I again had to cut a few pieces of news as Vegas was being a pain and not letting me render it. Mostly happy with this episode, apart from the small sound issues around 5mins. 150 Subscribers, whoohoooo! Like it, favourite it, share it and subscribe! Enjoy 😀

‘Continue reading’ for a full list of episodes and extras!

(more…)

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