Beyond the Gate - Dissecting Blizzard's Overworld Maps

  • #1
    I spent a large portion of my evening, yesterday, taking part of the recent "Beyond the Gate" adventure. For a large portion of the night I was analyzing how Blizzard has their new "overworlds" set up. I spent most of my time in Fields of Misery and had my runs of it trimmed to just a few minutes. (I was hunting for a specific Small Block during this, the House of Curios.)

    In that time, I learned a lot about how their maps are generated and I wanted to take the time to share that with everyone. Let's start out with a familiar image that I've applied some edits to. If I list anything incorrectly, I apologize. It was quite late and I admit to not checking -everything-. :)




    Layout - The overworld maps have a fixed border that does not change from game to game, though in large maps it may be difficult to gain your bearings. An area will typically have a few large blocks, and a few small blocks. These blocks are always in the same spot on each playthrough. Large blocks will always be found in the same place, small blocks will always be found in the same place. Their contents are what changes from game to game, but where they are found remains consistent.

    Large Blocks & Small Blocks - While large blocks like the ones found in the Fields of Misery have yet to be found, an example of small blocks can be seen in the large patch of overworld on the way to the Cemetary. Here you'll find 4 or 5 areas that will be populated with various events, and are generally the only potential points of interest in the area. The Den of the Fallen is one of these, the Blacksmith's Apprentice is another, etc.

    Variable Block - Another block type is the variable block. I'd say these are typically buildings, but can certainly encompass other fixed decoration locations. A good example is the first stretch of overworld map on the way to Old Tristram. You'll find several buildings that can either be open or closed, but you'll only find a few of them at a time. Two, I believe, between both the road and the town itself. These are slightly different from the variable block found in the Fields of Misery, in that Field of Misery's variable block always has something of interest.

    Medium Blocks - The blocks found in The Festering Woods would mostly be described as somewhere between the large and small blocks of Fields of Misery. They are similar in size to the two blocks found in the halfway point of the road to Old Tristram.

    Fixed Blocks - Fixed blocks also sometimes appear. You'll find the same event or decoration at a fixed block every time you load a game. "Bloody Lumberjacks" and the Memorial Stone are two examples.

    Resplendent Spawn Points - Lastly, the edges of the map sometimes house a Resplendent chest. One does not always spawn, and there will only(?) be one spawned in an area at one time. The stars are the spots I found one, but it could possibly spawn in other locations in the area.


    ***Spoilers***
    Please correct me in the comments on any names or details that I listed incorrectly or could not remember. Thanks guys. :D

    Fields of Misery

    Large Blocks

    Forlorn Farm - Loot the fallen beast, and an elite scavenger will spawn. Defeat it, and a male farmer will exit the nearby cellar and walk to your character. After speaking a line, he returns to the cellar and it becomes enterable. [Farmer's Cellar] Once inside, a voiced event plays out between him and your character. You will also find a Resplendent Chest here, however it is bugged and drops lower-than-appropriate level loot.
    Forsaken Grounds - A man [Beleaguered Farmer] stands to protect his farm. Speak to him and four bat hives will be highlighted on your map. Attacking a hive will spawn additional bats from the woods, making them harder than normal to defeat. There is no completion reward for this event.
    Secluded Grove - A Resplendent Chest waits in front of a large tree. Upon approaching it, your character exclaims it's clearly a trap. Opening the chest will drop items, but will also spawn "The Old Man" and 4 other tree enemies. This is a very challenging pack as their poison has the ability to kill you in ~2 seconds if you don't move out of it, and the entire ground will be littered in spores. NOTE: This is a highly farmable event, as it guarantees a goodie-bag chest. Runs for locations such as this will be a very strong option for loot-finding.
    Decaying Crypt - This is a two level dungeon that ends with a quest. The dungeon layout on the first floor has two # shaped rooms with only one way out of them. The second level has the same quest each time. A ghost (Willa Rathe) will ask you to lay her family to rest. Father, Mother, and Little Jebby Rathe. The first two you kill drop 1 magic each, while the last one drops a regular amount of loot. This quest does end with a reward.
    Unnamed #1 - A village in ruins and flame has a regular chest atop a hill with goatmen assembled around a non-special 'chieftan'. Mostly just a pretty block, nothing of note for loot.
    Unnamed #2 - A small pond or lake. This block has nothing at all of interest and can be ignored.

    Small Blocks

    Waypoint - One of the four blocks will always hold the waypoint.
    Dungeon #1 - Unworking, blue aura facing left.
    Dungeon #2 - Unworking, gold aura facing left.
    Dungeon #3 - Unworking, gold aura facing right. This one has a corpse in front of it that directs the player to chase an enemy down inside the dungeon. Clicking it will spawn a few regular scavengers.
    Lonely Dwelling / House of Curios - A rare block spawn that has a merchant inside. She will sell you various dyes, as well as usually having a rare item for sale. Rare items sold my vendors are visually shared by all players and have a total quantity of 1. The house also contains a lore book.
    Scarecrow - Clicking the scarecrow will spawn two waves of bats, with the second wave containing an elite. Currently it is bugged and the elite does not drop loot. (Possibly intentional, but frustratingly so.)
    Burning Tree - Decoration only. A charred tree sits in the middle of the block area.
    Open Field - Decoration only. An open field that has a small random fence near the top of the block area.

    Variable Block

    Sheltered Cottage A, "Swelick's Corpse" [Probably misspelled] - A lootable corpse is found in front of the barricaded cottage. Clicking it will spawn a non-elite pack of scavengers. Nothing of interest.
    Sheltered Cottage B, Tinker's Hovel - A bag lays in front of the cottage that holds a lore book. Inside, you'll find a merchant that sells potions and occasionally a rare item.
    Sheltered Cottage C, [Bloody Chest] - Approaching the cottage, a goatman will burst through the door. Inside, you'll find several corpses (and rarely some goatmen) as well as a Bloody chest.

    Fixed Block

    Abandoned Lumberjack Camp - Labeled in the map I found as Bloody Lumberjacks, your follower will apparently dialogue with your character at this location(?).


    The Festering Woods
    (I didn't explore this one nearly as thoroughly, so there may be incorrect or missing information.)

    Fixed Blocks

    A: Sunken Cave - A little spot in the center of the map that you can shoot down into. A really neat effect. There are a few bats hanging around down there that will come up after you.
    B: Memorial Stone - Clicking this will start an event that throws a few waves of monsters at you. It finishes with an elite shield-bearer pack spawning. No loot outside of the elite's.
    Medium Blocks

    Waypoint - The waypoint may be a fixed block here, actually.
    Dungeon #1 - Possibly main-quest related.
    Dungeon #2 - ???
    Nephalem Monument - A voiced event that spawns friendly ghosts that are 'being attacked'. They fade, and a non-elite wave of monsters attacks you. No loot, but still rather cool.
    Three Hives - The last block I can remember has three hives in it. A decent challenge for under-geared characters or split parties.
    Decoration Blocks - I believe there's a standard blank or two to fill in for the remainder, similar to the path to the Cemetery's blocks. One pattern I know of is the same as the Nephalem Monument's block, but without it.
  • #2
    wow good stuff :)

    sorry to say that, but it's the first disappointing thing I read on D3 ^^;
    (not your fault heh :P)

    Is there some real randomization, like in D2?

  • #3
    Keep in mind, these zones in act 1 are not gonna be rather random. They told us they want to guide new users in act 1 in outside zones.

    They also said outside zones will be less random than inside, we had an article on map generation awhile ago about cath 4


    But anyway this is fantastic, will be updating front page with the maps and the info
  • #4
    ok, good to know :)


    (<-- not in the beta)

  • #5
    Nicely put together. Good read thanks =D I can only hope other areas at launch will have even more events =P
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChB2_IPc-HVXbi0jS1Riljg
    ^ YouTube.Com/IceBleuGaming ! It's a thing! Check it oooout!
  • #6
    Quote from Sylvain

    ok, good to know :)


    (<-- not in the beta)


    You also have to realize that in D2 it was set up pretty much just like this. They just used less, bigger blocks to fill in the outside world. Even in act 1, they only used a couple 'blocks' that seemed to be a couple screens wide.

    This system I like better; a more or less fixed giant area, with a bunch of interchangeable blocks on the inside.
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChB2_IPc-HVXbi0jS1Riljg
    ^ YouTube.Com/IceBleuGaming ! It's a thing! Check it oooout!
  • #7
    looking at new maps makes me super excited

    im having a happy gilmore dream moment :D
  • #8
    I was a little bit afraid it would be too predictable (like Children of Mana if you played it).

    I thought Torchlight had a nice random engine, even if I could recognize some blocks.
    I hope D3 will have some kind of maze. I don't mind the static area as long as there are some deep randomization aswell.

  • #9
    A very nice read. Now one thing i have noticed is in dungeons we have a disparity of monster types as well. I wonder if this has to do with blocks as well. Not so much champs but the types themselves. I wonder if they are associated with the blocks.
  • #10
    The outer worlds are supposed to not be random, only random in events. The dungeons are the ones that are said to have the randomization to it. Blizz has said this.
  • #11
    Quote from Steamrice

    The outer worlds are supposed to not be random, only random in events. The dungeons are the ones that are said to have the randomization to it. Blizz has said this.

    No, they said the outside maps have a fixed border with some random internal elements. Blizzard has a video that pretty much says exactly what the OP is implying.
  • #12
    Saw a inteview yesterday where Jay mentioned that all outside maps are "fixxed" but everything inside is random

    EDIT: Hi, my name is Rxr, and I dont read every post before I reply to it
  • #13
    Nice info, thank you for your contribution!!! I can't go back to feeling like the game will never release, its killing me :(
  • #14
    TobiasAmaranth - great observations. The procedural generation of the maps is really interesting, I find so at least. I did a little write up on Cath level 4 a while ago. You would appreciate it: http://www.diablofans.com/news/1039-anniversary-update-level-generation-beta-screenshots/

    But it's really neat to see they are continuing to use the same methods to construct their maps, such as those seen already in the generation of The Weeping Hollow. I like their approach to keeping the borders fixed while making the interior elements variable. That way players will have a different play experience each time but if they just want to skip it, they know which way to head.

    While making the wiki pages on these zones, I was scratching my head on how to classify them based on their layout. The information in your analysis definitely helps bring us closer to a classification on these. DiabloWiki.com - New Tristram New Tristram
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  • #15
    Epic write up!

    One thing tho. I was under the impression that the replenished chests were completely randomized within an area and limited to one per area. I theorize that the replace one regular chest with the replenished chest in the area they arbitrarily decide to put them. So for example, in all of the Defiled Crypts, there would be on replenished chest and it would be in the place of one regular chest, instead of specific locations as you describe.
    "All generalizations are false, including this one." -Mark Twain
  • #16
    Quote from CherubDown

    I was under the impression that the replenished chests were completely randomized within an area and limited to one per area. I theorize that the replace one regular chest with the replenished chest in the area they arbitrarily decide to put them. So for example, in all of the Defiled Crypts, there would be on replenished chest and it would be in the place of one regular chest, instead of specific locations as you describe.


    As it turns out, from the previously playable areas of the Beta, the Resplendent chest could only be found in two locations: level 2 Den of the Fallen, and Cath level 4 in the tile where the chest submerges into a trap. In both those cases, it's entirely up to the engine to place the tiles there first, then if you're lucky to get the Den of Fallen or that tile in Cath level 4, then you're guaranteed a chest in the same exact place in those subzones. Unfortunately it's not as loose as you describe, although there is still luck involved.

    Since the last patch (14), we now get a Resplendent chest in the Defiled Crypt (false one with no Event Quest). Notice how it's always near the entrance?
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  • #17
    I'm honestly not too sure, but I only ever found the Resplendent Chests around the far edges of the map. I stopped looking for them after around 8-10 of the fuller runs, but I never encountered a random one in the center area. I also never noticed anything of unique interest around the path.

    One per area is highly likely, if one spawns at all.

    I found them in the same place once or twice, and those are the spots I remember them spawning. Obviously, more iteration would clarify, but Blizzard took away our fun. :P Most fun I've had with the game since my first beta experiences. It was actually difficult content as well.
  • #18
    Quote from Apoc

    Quote from CherubDown

    I was under the impression that the replenished chests were completely randomized within an area and limited to one per area. I theorize that the replace one regular chest with the replenished chest in the area they arbitrarily decide to put them. So for example, in all of the Defiled Crypts, there would be on replenished chest and it would be in the place of one regular chest, instead of specific locations as you describe.


    As it turns out, from the previously playable areas of the Beta, the Resplendent chest could only be found in two locations: level 2 Den of the Fallen, and Cath level 4 in the tile where the chest submerges into a trap. In both those cases, it's entirely up to the engine to place the tiles there first, then if you're lucky to get the Den of Fallen or that tile in Cath level 4, then you're guaranteed a chest in the same exact place in those subzones. Unfortunately it's not as loose as you describe, although there is still luck involved.

    Since the last patch (14), we now get a Resplendent chest in the Defiled Crypt (false one with no Event Quest). Notice how it's always near the entrance?


    Hmmm. Now I will investigate this further, because since patch 14 I've seen a replenished chest in a lot of different locations now.

    Edit: If it's true that they're fairly static, I am disappoint.
    "All generalizations are false, including this one." -Mark Twain
  • #19
    I would absolutely give OP some rep if the button is working. Wasn't much of the info I wasn't aware of but masterfully presented. Well done OP. Expecting your write ups after the game launches. It's going to be awesome dissecting the later, more randomly populated maps.
  • #20
    Quote from CherubDown

    Quote from Apoc

    Quote from CherubDown

    I was under the impression that the replenished chests were completely randomized within an area and limited to one per area. I theorize that the replace one regular chest with the replenished chest in the area they arbitrarily decide to put them. So for example, in all of the Defiled Crypts, there would be on replenished chest and it would be in the place of one regular chest, instead of specific locations as you describe.


    As it turns out, from the previously playable areas of the Beta, the Resplendent chest could only be found in two locations: level 2 Den of the Fallen, and Cath level 4 in the tile where the chest submerges into a trap. In both those cases, it's entirely up to the engine to place the tiles there first, then if you're lucky to get the Den of Fallen or that tile in Cath level 4, then you're guaranteed a chest in the same exact place in those subzones. Unfortunately it's not as loose as you describe, although there is still luck involved.

    Since the last patch (14), we now get a Resplendent chest in the Defiled Crypt (false one with no Event Quest). Notice how it's always near the entrance?


    Hmmm. Now I will investigate this further, because since patch 14 I've seen a replenished chest in a lot of different locations now.

    Edit: If it's true that they're fairly static, I am disappoint.


    Well the thought of D2 springs to mind, where you almost always knew there was going to be a golden chest at the bottom of some arbitrary cave you didn't need to explore. So in my mind some static ones makes sense, as a known reward for exploring something, but I also hope they make some completely random ones =D
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChB2_IPc-HVXbi0jS1Riljg
    ^ YouTube.Com/IceBleuGaming ! It's a thing! Check it oooout!
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