Diablo III Map Randomization Expounded

For some time we have been mostly in the dark about map randomization in Diablo III besides two facts: the open world will be static and closed dungeons will be randomized for replayability and varying gameplay, among other reasons. Today, however, fans have received a bit more. Bashiok, as usual, is here to explain.

A Battle.net poster asks the question in a way that many of us might be similarly thinking about- the necessity and logic of randomized maps in the up-coming installment in the series:

Quote from "Pakkidis" »
I know I am in the vast minority on this one but I simply can't stand a level that has been randomly created. I personally love levels that are designed and created that showcase the artwork and graphics. Random levels basically end up looking all the same with a different entry and exit points and most of the time nobody ends up exploring the levels anyways, they just rush to the exit point. In theory random levels are good, but I don't believe they work out so well in execution.


These issues were some big throw-offs to many in Diablo II as well as other games that used a similar system for map randomization. Many would play through the game several times and not feel that the areas, though randomized, were any more engaging or attractive. This is mainly due to the cut-and-paste style of logic behind map randomizing in Diablo II, where each level had a few preset "sections" of the level (hallways, a special room or two, areas where monsters spawned, et cetera), and then each map was assembled from those cookie-cutter pieces. This led to some issues, the main of which being that maps had to suffer from visual appeal and interactivity to be able to work cohesively together in any given formation.

In the hope of progression for Diablo III, then, it was shown that both areas, dungeons and the outdoors, to varying degrees, would exhibit different amounts of randomization. This will allow for interesting and visually engaging maps that are also highly interactive and mobile for whatever purposes they are needed for.

For instance, although the living world (towns, open land areas, etc.) will be "static" to allow for more interesting scenery and functionality weaving towns and dungeon entrances together:

Quote from "Bashiok" »
Randomized levels can indeed create a very generic feeling if not done well. We're working really hard to ensure that doesn't happen though. It's actually one of the reasons why our exterior layouts aren't randomized. It's extremely difficult to have wide open areas be randomized as well as interesting. Instead we have static exterior zones where the roads, towns, and edges are always in the same place.


They will additionally receive randomization in some areas that some might not have expected:

Quote from "Bashiok" »
To keep some bits of random in there though we have a bunch of small, medium, and large pieces cut out of them. In those cut out pieces the game can then place the randomized "adventure" sets. They could be artistic in nature (a fountain, an abandoned cart), they could spawn extra enemies, or they could spawn quests.


This here is something that could well serve them excellently when the game is released. For instance, with any patches that may ensue with the coming game, we could anticipate content to add quests, additional features, or new enemies to work in these flexible areas. Put your imagination to work and you can see that this could be something that will make the outside world something to enjoy from a gameplay stance as well as a scenery stance.

He went on to talk about how dungeons will be revisioned and reworked differently in Diablo III than in previous installments, in which dungeons were, for many, more of a doldrum than an engaging, atmosphere-livid world of subterrainean (or archaelogical) exploration and battle:

Quote from "Bashiok »
[I][...][/I']we accomplish this mostly by using our interior jigsaw pieces more intelligently, building more and different types of jigsaw pieces, and also because our artists are amazing. I don't think anywhere in Diablo III are you going to think "This place is not visually interesting". The types of interior pieces do make an enormous difference, and I think we're pretty good at it now. In Diablo II for example you pretty much had a few standard square set pieces, and then a bunch of hallways. We still have those in Diablo III but we're mixing it up a lot more with more intricate and interesting 'showcase' pieces that make it seem like they're not even randomized levels.


Those showcase pieces may have been something of what we have seen in gameplay trailers so far. While the texturing and atmosphere were an area of great controversy, the actual rooms, themselves, were much more engaging than in previous games. That is, of course, being said without even actually playing the areas. This, combined with many more hallways, rooms, and other building-block pieces, as well as new technologies, may make these dungeons the most exciting and replayable ones yet.

But, of course, don't get your hopes up too high. As it always is in the world of Diablo, make your expectations realistic, but not pessimistic, and you will get something reasonably in-between ;)

If you would like to read more on the post, which went on to cover the short-comings and unintentional side effects of the game and map mechanics in Diablo II, you can read further about this here. Take a look if you get the chance.

Here's to hoping for a better game than we've seen so far, in both older incarnations of the dark fantasy, battle- and lore-soaked Sanctuary and the coming newborn.

Comments

  • #1 Kamal
    don't really know what i like best :/
  • #2 DSquared82
    I think this is really awesome news as far as what to expect from a visual/gameplay standpoint. I don't know about anyone else, but I was under the impression at first that outdoor areas would be completely static; besides monsters and quests. It's nice to know that maybe objects like a statue, bridge, fountain, etc could be randomly placed within. I think it will be awesome going into an area and having the possibility of having completely different monsters, scenery and quests.
  • #3 Magistrate
    Yeah, and you have the added bonus of not having to re-find any dungeons or such, maybe even paths to other towns if it's all connected like that and we aren't skipping around the map like in previous games. I guess we'll see.
  • #4 DesmondTiny
    Quote from "dunhac82" »
    I think this is really awesome news as far as what to expect from a visual/gameplay standpoint. I don't know about anyone else, but I was under the impression at first that outdoor areas would be completely static; besides monsters and quests. It's nice to know that maybe objects like a statue, bridge, fountain, etc could be randomly placed within. I think it will be awesome going into an area and having the possibility of having completely different monsters, scenery and quests.


    Agreed. That makes exploring way better. Looks like I will be stuck in the newb area more than I thought o_O lol :D
  • #5 DSquared82
    Yeah, that's true; won't have to run around like crazy trying to find that next area. On the other hand though I could see people just running through an area if all the paths are static. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out though.
  • #6 Magistrate
    Well, I think you're going to have that eventually, anyway. Once people get over the grandeur of the adventure, they're going to get to the point where they just want to get things done. Probably this would apply to end-game kind of stuff. Dunno. I guess the idea is to just lessen that considerably so more people will desire to experience the travel and exploration through better visualization and stuff. :confused:
  • #7 DesmondTiny
    Quote from "Seth" »
    Well, I think you're going to have that eventually, anyway. Once people get over the grandeur of the adventure, they're going to get to the point where they just want to get things done. Probably this would apply to end-game kind of stuff. Dunno. I guess the idea is to just lessen that considerably so more people will desire to experience the travel and exploration through better visualization and stuff. :confused:


    Perhaps they will make it that after you make a new character most quests will be diffrent and people will make 2346379057 characters to do all of the quests and gossip all of the gossip (Like me!!!! :D)
  • #8 exen88
    Interesting indeed. It seems like you'll enjoy the one dungeon level so much that you'll actually spend at least an hours just exploring it and there are 5 more levels. That sounds to me like fun and longevity. Keep up the good work, Blizzard fellas.
  • #9 SFJake
    Just a note, as far as I'm concerned, I'd hope for some dungeons to not have predetermined locations (only the side ones, actually - of course, first I want these side dungeons to be actually worth getting into).

    Random or not random is definitively a tricky question overall. I'm personally getting sick of D2's random system. Its not really making things any better. I also think dungeons have WAY too many doors and pointless areas all looking the same.

    When looking at D3, for what we have seen yet, it all looks much better, more vibrant, more alive and more interesting to visit.

    I think they already grasped a totally different approach to the exploration, and its already looking a lot more fun and less tedious to run through, random or not.
  • #10 Atrumentis
    What a great news post Seth! Much more interesting than simply reading what Bashiok has to say. I am liking where they are going with this, because I enjoy both artistic and interesting levels as well as randomisation. I like not knowing exactly which corner to turn to get to the exit every time, especially when my character supposedly hasn't been there before.
  • #11 Wardzy
    I must admit. If you know where your destination is (specific point on the map) but you don't know what sort of obstacles/quests/monsters will be in your way, it is more exciting.

    Diablo 2 suffered simply because, although the layout was different each time, everything was still the same. Diablo 3 seems to be turning that the other way round.

    The dungeons seem to look 'epic' in the gameplay videos. I hope they feel the same way when we get round to actually playing the game.
  • #12 Daemaro
    Sounds like a nice compromise between what is expected and what will be interesting.
  • #13 Musica
    Personally, I loved the all random area system of Diablo 2 and found every area to be quite interesting despite the fact that everything was randomized.

    But I am totally ready to embrace this change to a midway sort of randomizing system. It think it will give the player more of the feeling of being in an actual world and not to mention will also give the artists something to sink their teeth into.

    The randomized dungeons however will help create some replayability in the game which is always a bonus. I think this new system is a great idea. Let's hope it's a good as it sounds.
  • #14 Doppelganger
    Quote from "Bashiok" »
    To keep some bits of random in there though we have a bunch of small, medium, and large pieces cut out of them. In those cut out pieces the game can then place the randomized "adventure" sets. They could be artistic in nature (a fountain, an abandoned cart), they could spawn extra enemies, or they could spawn quests.


    This is exactly what i hoped for. I hope they really mix it up, so that you don't automatically know where to go to get a particular random "adventure". And make them a rarity rather then a given (but an abundant amount of adventures). I would want to stumble across an adventure i didn't see before after months of having played the game.
  • #15 Credge
    Random can work very well if it's done right. I don't particularly care about over world stuff not being random as I'd rather be spending most of my time underground in a random area where random actually works.

    Because, I enjoy exploring. Unless it's Act 3 in Diablo 2.

    Edit:

    I'd like to add that nothing in TQ was randomized and it was very enjoyable. It only got stale when you made a new character, got him through Act 1, and then had another character on a higher difficulty traverse through the same area. In that way, random is really good.

    Random can also set up for some absolutely amazing non-random content. While Hellgate: London had atrocious looking and playing random areas (for the most part it was all the same), it had some very, very, very well made content. I suppose the reason I feel this way is because of the randomness.

    I'm currently playing through Sacred 2 and I've found the games MMO like world size to be stunning. It's so huge for an action-rpg.

    So, I guess what I'm saying is that action-rpgs are pretty solid no matter how you piece it together. Either a complete random mess (I use mess in a good way), a completely linear never-changing path, or an open world approach... it's all good. This must mean that Diablo 3 will be good, right?
  • #16 Dauroth
    I always wondered: Is Hell going to be randomized, or is it going to be static like the outdoor environments?
  • #17 Credge
    Quote from "Dauroth" »
    I always wondered: Is Hell going to be randomized, or is it going to be static like the outdoor environments?


    It was both in Diablo 2, right? I mean, I sorta remember taking a very similar path through all of Hell in D2 but I can't really remember.
  • #18 Dauroth
    Yeah, it was randomized in D1 and D2! Let me rephrase the question:

    Is Hell going to be counted as an outdoor environment or an indoor environment in D3?
  • #19 Zhar
    Good news... will be good for visuals and gameplay.
    Random maps were ok, but they did get old after a while.
    I'm glad we're still getting random maps though, I'm not gonna lie, I'd probably miss them if they were gone.
  • #20 Magistrate
    Quote from "Dauroth" »
    I always wondered: Is Hell going to be randomized, or is it going to be static like the outdoor environments?


    Yeah, it was a bit of both. The River of Flame path from the entrance from the City of the Damned to the Archangel ahh.... I forget his name... that was gaurding the pathway further until you destroyed Mephisto's Soulstone was randomized, but the path from there to the entrance of the Chaos Sanctuary only had a few different forms, and then, of course, the Chaos Sanctuary was static (in a sense- I believe it had the same general shape all the time but two different forms by way of angle difference), but had random monster placement.

    I hope that helps.
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