Familiar Runed Pet Graphics, Jay Wilson Interview with AtomicPC, The Art of Diablo III, Blue Posts

Diablo III Wizard - Familiar Runed Pet Graphics
We have a quick look at each of the 6 'pet' graphics for the DiabloWiki.com - Familiar Familiar skill. Keep in mind this video is just to show off the basic pet graphic and not the abilities that they will use.





Jay Wilson Interview with AtomicPC
Yet another interview was released from Jay Wilson's Press Tour in Australia. This time the Australian gaming site AtomicPC had the chance to sit down with the Game Director Jay Wilson and ask him a good number of fan submitted questions. As always we have a quick bullet point summary for those in a hurry. The full interview below the quote.


DiabloFans Quote:



End Game
  • Monsters in Act 1 are level 61, in Act 2 - 62 and in Acts 3 and 4 - 63. And each of those have Tier items that ONLY they drop - so a total of 3 Tiers in Inferno.
Always online
  • Diablo 2 is a natively cooperative game but players didn't even realize there was an online component in it. There were also a lot of security problems - it was very easy to hack the servers.
Secret Cow Level and Easter Eggs
  • Actually, there is a REALLY big easter egg in the game, but I'm not going to tell you what it is...
Skill Interface
  • Players sometimes didn't know how to interact with all the systems. It's almost like they're saying 'If I could put the skills in categories I'd be able to understand them.'
  • The fun is in playing the game, not working out how to play it.
  • We make games that are very hardcore, but we still want them to be approachable, and it's one of those situations where you're never going to make both camps completely happy.
RMAH and the Item Economy
  • It's mathematical - you WILL find good items. It may not be the items you want, but you will find them. Then you can put them on the Auction House.
  • Originally there was a listing fee, and we struggled to find ways to remove it, and finally did - so that players don't have to invest money into the Auction House if they don't want to.
WASD and Mouse Controls
  • Characters only moving on eight axes - it works, but it doesn't feel awesome. Feels clumsy, not the Blizzard-quality.
  • The worst mistake you could ever make is to have two control schemes: you're basically taking the hardest thing in your game, and doubling it.
Hardcore
  • We have a prime directive of 'do no harm to the co-op game'.
  • We didn't want people to find ways to exploit, or to steal items from other people.
  • Having player corpses NOT be lootable makes it MORE hardcore, because what would happen in D2, is that you could play with your friends, and if you died you wouldn't lose your items, because they'd loot them for you and give them back.



Originally Posted by (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

What is there to do at end game?
Well, one of the things we focused on with Diablo, these have all been cooperative games; they've always had a server/client architecture. For Diablo 2, its end-game was always about adding multiple difficulties, but the problem is that player power eventually overwhelms the challenge of the game, to the point where the only point of going on was sheer tenacity. A player good say 'Look, I've made it to level 99!", which is, like, crazy dude... It was a time investment, but one without any real challenge or fun.

So one of the things we focused on for Diablo 3 - and we weren't interested in making super long gruelling levelling up process - what we wanted was, the fun stuff, searching for gear, and fighting against monsters who are challenging. So we created a fourth difficulty that we call Inferno that is ALL max-level. Max-level for a player is level 60, and so all the monsters at the start of Inferno are level 61, in Act Two they are level 62, in Three and Four they're level 63. And there are items that ONLY drop at level 61, at level 62 and so on; and they're not small number! There's a whole tier of armour in each one.

So even to be able to play viably in Inferno, you're going to have to play and fight in Hell for a little while, to get your items up to the quality so that you'll be able to fight through. And then to move from Act to Act you'll need to do that. We just wanted to take the idea of what was fun about Diablo, and make it challenging so that it would stay fun, and put the the time investment into more combat and loot-hunting, and less into meaningless time-investment to prove that you're more committed than your friends.

There's been a lot of backlash from the community in regards to the need for a contact internet connection during gameplay, which Blizzard have explained is purely so that Character / Item building is done in a legit fashion, but many have claimed is more so for DRM control. Is this Blizzards direction for all future releases? And will LAN play ever be part of another Blizzard game ever again? (This was an epically long question, so we might have paraphrased it a bit...)
You know, every project is different - and for us, we're focused on trying to solve some of the issues that Diablo 2 had. The reason why we've moved away from LAN play towards online was that we felt the experience that we could provide for players would be FAR better if they were online. We see it as a natively cooperative game, and we had a lot of problems with people in Diablo 2 playing the game offline and not realising that there even was an online component; or, once they discovered there was an online component, not being able to transfer their character over to the official Battle.net. That was a break-point for a lot of people, and they just left the game. Those are bad problems that we wanted to fix.

Diablo 2 also had a lot of security problems, and a lot of them were related to the fact that it's a server/client architecture where gave players the server; so it was very easy to hack that server. It's a lot harder to hack a server that you don't have.

Security's probably one of the biggest criticism's of Diablo 2, so we felt it was one of the things that it was important to try and fix.

Cows - where are they?
There's cows in there I think... somewhere...

Actually, there is a REALLY big easter egg in the game, but I'm not going to tell you what it is...

There have been a number of comments made about the skills interface. Could you provide some clarification on Blizzards thoughts on the interface design? Some have suggested it was done to make the interface easier to navigate for the future console port.
The interface has been changed so players can understand the combat system more. One of the things, or criticisms, that we had on the skills system from our more dedicated players really comes from the fact that they ARE more dedicated, or more savvy, players; they've really learnt a lot about the game's structure. What we found time and time again, internally, when we put even very hardcore players in front of the game, was they would not know how to interact with all the systems. They'd say 'It feels like there's a way that you want us to play, but you're not giving me any hints as to what that is.' It's almost like they're saying 'If I could put the skills in categories I'd be able to understand them.'

Well, hey, we have those; when we designed the classes and the combat model, every class had these different categories of skills. Some of them were really hard categories, like defensive skills, or movement skills, or AOE skills; some of them were more soft, like single target versus area damage. So when we showed people internally our backend categories, a lot of people were like 'Oh, now I get what you're trying to do - why aren't you showing that to the player?'

It comes back to this kind of core philosophy that we have at Blizzard; what we really want to get away from is what we call 'the test', which is putting a skill, or putting anything in a system in front of the players, that there's a right answer for... but where we're not going to help them find it. I think some of our more dedicated, more hardcore users say that that's alright, that's where the fun is. But I actually don't think that's the case; I think the fun is in playing the game, not working out how to play it.

That said, I think there's an enormous amount of capacity in the game for crazy builds, to try and actually break the conventions of the combat model. We've given a lot of power to the player to strain it, and test it, and to come up with whacky combinations.

To me, that's what's fun. There's nothing wrong with understanding the categories to begin with; so you take all that, and take all the challenges of making a game that is... you know, we make games that are very hardcore, but we still want them to be approachable, and it's one of those situations where you're never going to make both camps completely happy.

But I think that'll change once people can actually play the game. There's a lot of stuff going on right now on the forums where our community members will say we've really got to address this problem, or whatever, you know... they're just excited. They just want the game to come out, and they're looking for anything to talk about, or to debate or argue; anything they can, because they just want to play the game.

In fact, one of the great things about Blizzard is that it's really easy for us to put is in our customers shoes (stage whisper) because we ARE them (/stage whisper). We're right in the same situation when one of our favourite games is about to come out, we're the same ones, pounding on forums, saying 'You've ruined the game!', and then it comes out, and we're all like, 'Yay!' and all's forgotten!

You've got to remember, as a developer, that all that feedback comes from love.

Do you believe that the cash shop will wind up dragging the best items out of the economy? There seems to be little reason not to sell your ultra rare items for cash rewards. Won't this lead to a model where those who spend the most will be the best geared? Does Blizzard see this effecting the game long term?
I don't think it's a big issue, and here's why. So let's say you are... if you don't have any time invested into the game, or money, well, you're probably not going to be very successful. I'll admit that.

But let's say you have a situation where you can invest a lot of time, but have no money, or you don't want to spend a dime... well, you're gonna find good items. It's mathematical - you WILL find good items. It may not be the items you want, but you will find them. You can put them on the Auction House, and earn currency to buy whatever items you want, without putting a single dollar of your own currency into the system.

Originally we planned to have a listing fee, and we struggled to find ways to remove it, and finally did - so that players don't have to invest money into the Auction House if they don't want to. We thought that was essential - being able to trade with virtua; currency should not mean you have to open your wallet.

So I don't t think anyone needs to worry.

And you know, if you look at Diablo 2, there were lots of traded items, and they traded in the essential equivalent of a an Auction House, even with money changing hands. They'd trade with friends, or with random people, and I think that now we have the Auction House, I think people will trade there too. I don't think it'll hurt the game at all.

Is there any particular reason you stuck with the Diablo 2 style controls, instead of having a traditional KB+M option?
Like a WASD setup? I'm going to assume that's what they mean... and yes, we played around with it, and we thought it felt awkward. When you are trying to take direct control over an isometric character... if you think about an FPS, where you use WASD, you have an analogue input, which is the mouse. When you think about in terms of the Diablo-style, your mouse becomes your aim, not a control mechanism; so you have no analogue input. You're literally talking about a character that can only move on eight axes - it works, but it doesn't feel awesome.

So when we looked at games that did it, and we played around with it a little, we thought it felt kinda clumsy. To us, that's not Blizzard-quality; so we said, no, we're not going to do it. We even had some people who said, 'Well, how about we support it?', and I would say that the hardest thing you will do, to get right in a game, is controls, and the worst mistake you could ever make is to have two control schemes; you're basically taking the hardest thing in your game, and doubling it.

Any particular reason they removed the ability to loot dead player corpses in hardcore?
Yes - it was done for two reasons. Well, there's also a technical issue, to do with how we designed the game, but that could have been overcome if we wanted to go that way. But I'd say the two main reason are we didn't want people to find ways to exploit, or to steal items from other people. We just didn't - we have a prime directive of 'do no harm to the co-op game'; anything that can essential create these instances where players benefit from the downfall of others... is a bad thing.

We already think there will be problems with people trying to get Hardcore players killed, if they think it's funny - you will have some griefing like that. That's stuff we can't help, but the thing I would tell people is to be real careful going through Waypoints and player Portals when you're in Hardcore. Unless you can trust that other player, you need to be careful where you're teleporting! But to some degreem, that, also, was the choice for Hardcore; we're not MAKING anybody play like that, and I'm actually in favour of things that Hardcore MORE hardcore. I think having player corpses NOT be lootable makes it MORE hardcore, because what would happen in D2, is that you could play with your friends, and if you died you wouldn't lose your items, because they'd loot them for you and give them back - that doesn't sound very hardcore to me.

I think as a designer, you're trying to make a game, y ou very rarely get to be evil; but this is the one case where, you know what? If you don't like it, you're not hard enough - and I get to say that and people will cheer! (I did - Ed)

And I say that as a person who probably won't play Hardcore, becuase I don't want to lose my character!




GDC 2012: “The Art of Diablo III”
Blizzard has posted a blog linking people to "The Art of Diablo III" video. Most of you have probably seen this when we posted it a month ago, but if you happened to miss it, make sure to check it out!

Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

At this year's Game Developers Conference held in San Francisco, art director Christian Lichtner delivered a keynote on the development and direction of "The Art of Diablo III." Thanks to the wonders of technology, this insightful behind-the-scenes talk is now available to watch online. (Sweet!)

Head on over to the GDC Vault now to view "The Art of Diablo III," as well as other keynote talks presented at GDC 2012.




Blue Posts

Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Spell Customization
As long as your goal isn't to ban me for saying something you might not like...

Your developers are very skilled and have learned a lot from WoW. All abilities are tuned based on level. All abilities are tuned against each other. Assuming a consistent skill level, there is no difference in DPS output as long as you pick generators and spenders. Obviously there are a billion bad builds consisting of all spenders and all generators. I think it's fair to say we can dismiss those, but there is no possibility to create higher powered characters just by rearranging the generators and spenders. All abilities and runes are functionally equivalent from a purely mathematical standpoint.

On the off-chance there is even a hint of someone doing higher DPS or taking less damage than Blizzard would like, it will get nerfed back into the baseline expectation. The goal is for everyone to be the same. This is why everything potentially random is controlled to the maximum degree. Skills and given out on a schedule, points are assigned in a specific manner. Loot is given out tuned for your current level. This is so you could automate test Diablo in a way to ensure that there are almost no possibilities for statistical outliers. You have very smart people on your staff with statistics degrees who's job is to ensure this.

This was not as big of a concern back when Diablo 2 was made, and there was no financial motivation to keep players from feeling bad about making a mistake and potentially losing out on RMAH customers.

Thank you for listening to your fans.

Wow I didn't actually expect you to reply with anything of substance, so plus one for you! Of course you kind of 180'd on your original comment, but that's ok I actually believe you were intentionally only commenting on the 'obvious non-optimal builds' in your critique.

So, a couple things, Diablo for a lot of people is about non-optimal builds. It's about finding some crazy-!@# build that no one thinks should logically work, and using your knowledge and skill of the game to defy logic and make it successful. So just switching skills between direct parities is probably not going to be a monumental discovery that will win you an award in character building. But, that's not where the real fun and challenge of character builds generally come in. It might be fun for you though because one skill is purple and one is yellow and you really love purple, and if that makes the game awesome, awesome. As you said there are plenty of bad choices to make, which means there are plenty of non-optimal - but still potentially viable - builds to attempt.

The issue that you're taking though is actually one of customization. What you're saying is that by having these close parities between skills there's less choice, and in fact the exact opposite is true. If there are sharp distinctions (as you argue is superior) then there are sharp separations, and sharp separations means that very clear correct choices emerge. By having more parity it allows for more customization as it allows players greater freedom in choosing the skills they want to use, and not the skills they have to use because the math makes it so. Again though I'd argue that there's plenty of gray area in character builds, and that's where the true excitement and discovery comes from.

Does that make sense? (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

The Art of Brom
His stuff is decidedly not "Blizzard art", which is what makes it so great to me (aside from him just being an incredible artist). I always think it's intensely awesome to see characters rendered through a different artist's lens, and not only appreciate their unique take on something, but broaden my own imagination of what these characters or locations could be. We can sometimes get caught up in the thought that these worlds are complete and realized realities with little variation, but they're really interpretations on a theme. Diablo III speaks to that more than anything else we've done I think, as it's very clearly and intentionally a moving painting in its aesthetic. It isn't intended to be a literal 1:1 explanation of Sanctuary. In any case, exploring the types of interpretations artists make, like Brom, is wildly enjoyable for me.

Plus he did the original Diablo II box art, so it's kind of a homecoming of sorts. Which makes me tear up a little. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)




Hero of the Day Winners

Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

The latest Hero of the Day contest winners are in! Each day, based on your votes, we select a new Mark of Valor submission to become the Hero of the Day, and we're ready to reveal the champions for the witch doctor.

Check out last week's winners below, or head on over to the Hero of the Day gallery to see them all for yourself.

This week's hero is the wizard. To unlock your exclusive in-game class sigil and earn the chance to win a SteelSeries gaming mouse pad signed by the Diablo III development team, travel to the Darkness Falls, Heroes Rise promotional site and create your customized banner today!

Week Four: Witch Doctor

Comments

  • #1 Sojourna
    My favorite versions of the Familiar skill are Sparkflint, Dartling, and Cannoneer. ^_^


    Originally Posted by (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

    Actually, there is a REALLY big easter egg in the game, but I'm not going to tell you what it is...

    Not sure how I'd react if it somehow references WoW...
  • #2 mrrrloc
    Gotta catch them all -___-"
  • #3 Maerlimi
    Loved the familiars :)
  • #4 Telestasis
    i'm not really excited by any of these skills. maybe the cannoneer...........maybe

    Quote from Sojourna


    Originally Posted by (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

    Actually, there is a REALLY big easter egg in the game, but I'm not going to tell you what it is...

    Not sure how I'd react if it somehow references WoW...


    three words "secret pony level"
  • #5 AzurEh2o
    Thrall is diablo, calling the easter egg now. That said favorite Familiar skin would probably be either Dartling or Ancient Guardian as far as looks go.
  • #6 DDodds
    Can it just be May 15th 0001hrs already....
  • #7 antioch18
    The fun is in playing the game, not working out how to play it.


    I agree with Jay but I think the skill-UI redesign made the game a lot harder to figure out how to play. I've played the Beta with both the old UI and new UI and found the old UI much much easier to use. The new UI makes me jump through hoops to get things done and I dread leveling just because it means I'll have to go fuck with the UI to access my new skills/runes (this is compounded by the fact that the skill/rune you just unlocked is not easy to discover).

    I really hate the new skill UI and feel it did the exact opposite of what Jay wanted it to do: it made working out how to play the game difficult and irritating. It was honestly enough to make me want to stop playing.

    Also, Jay's excuse about wanting to hide the "elective mode" skill option and keep it as "tribal knowledge" is complete BS. He's plainly admitting that they're actively designing a bad user experience by (1) making a setting that should be default not default, and (2) making the discovery of the setting difficult to find (this is a no-no for good UI). I really want to set up a google trend search to track just how many people need to hit the web to find out how to change the skill settings. If this number is high enough it will be a clear indication that blizz killed the user experience with this "improvement."

    My 2-cents.
  • #8 fnmeng
    Quote from Telestasis

    Quote from Sojourna

    Originally Posted by (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

    Actually, there is a REALLY big easter egg in the game, but I'm not going to tell you what it is...

    Not sure how I'd react if it somehow references WoW...


    three words "secret pony level"

    Quote from AzurEh2o

    Thrall is diablo, calling the easter egg now. That said favorite Familiar skin would probably be either Dartling or Ancient Guardian as far as looks go.


    Maybe we're reading too much into this.
  • #9 Molster
    Quote from fnmeng
    Quote from Telestasis
    Quote from Sojourna

    Originally Posted by (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

    Actually, there is a REALLY big easter egg in the game, but I'm not going to tell you what it is...
    Not sure how I'd react if it somehow references WoW...
    three words "secret pony level"
    Quote from AzurEh2o
    Thrall is diablo, calling the easter egg now. That said favorite Familiar skin would probably be either Dartling or Ancient Guardian as far as looks go.
    Maybe we're reading too much into this.


    I laughed
  • #10 duckwilliamson
    Quote from antioch18

    The fun is in playing the game, not working out how to play it.


    I agree with Jay but I think the skill-UI redesign made the game a lot harder to figure out how to play. I've played the Beta with both the old UI and new UI and found the old UI much much easier to use. The new UI makes me jump through hoops to get things done and I dread leveling just because it means I'll have to go fuck with the UI to access my new skills/runes (this is compounded by the fact that the skill/rune you just unlocked is not easy to discover).

    I really hate the new skill UI and feel it did the exact opposite of what Jay wanted it to do: it made working out how to play the game difficult and irritating. It was honestly enough to make me want to stop playing.

    Also, Jay's excuse about wanting to hide the "elective mode" skill option and keep it as "tribal knowledge" is complete BS. He's plainly admitting that they're actively designing a bad user experience by (1) making a setting that should be default not default, and (2) making the discovery of the setting difficult to find (this is a no-no for good UI). I really want to set up a google trend search to track just how many people need to hit the web to find out how to change the skill settings. If this number is high enough it will be a clear indication that blizz killed the user experience with this "improvement."

    My 2-cents.


    I agree, and during the best buy live chat thing next week I fully intend to ask when they will bring in an easier to use skill UI because yes, this is painful.
  • #11 Reelix
    Quote from Telestasis

    three words "secret pony level"


    Data mined last I checked, and still hopefully true (See my avatar :P)
  • #12 maela
    Little bit disappointed with the familiar graphics... was hoping for something more like the little bat monsters that were around in the original diablo... ah well.
  • #13 Frankieheart
    anyone else stare at the upgraded blacksmith every time he ran past him?
  • #14 Eikymus
    PET ROCK!
  • #15 Doomscream
    Quote from Reelix

    Quote from Telestasis

    three words "secret pony level"


    Data mined last I checked, and still hopefully true (See my avatar :P)

    Fluttershy!!! <3 !!!
  • #16 Ruppgu
    I like the familar graphics. Arcanot is a bit disappointing though and that was the one I was thinking about using :P At least the other popular one (sparkflint) looks pretty cool.
  • #17 Ruppgu
    Monsters in Act 1 are level 61, in Act 2 - 62 and in Acts 3 and 4 - 63. And each of those have Tier items that ONLY they drop - so a total of 3 Tiers in Inferno.


    I just saw this.... so.... did they change their mind or was Bash lying to us when he said you could find the best gear in late hell (just low drop chances). This pretty much completely contradicts that saying that monsters before Act 3/4 Inferno can't drop the last tier.

    I'm not complaining, I think that the people that can clear the hardest parts of the game should be rewarded but I'm just confused because it's a complete 180 from what Bash said a few weeks ago.

    //edit:

    Diablo 2 is a natively cooperative game but players didn't even realize there was an online component in it.


    Wow.... they really think we're that stupid?
  • #18 maela
    Quote from Ruppgu

    Monsters in Act 1 are level 61, in Act 2 - 62 and in Acts 3 and 4 - 63. And each of those have Tier items that ONLY they drop - so a total of 3 Tiers in Inferno

    I just saw this.... so.... did they change their mind or was Bash lying to us when he said you could find the best gear in late hell (just low drop chances). This pretty much completely contradicts that saying that monsters before Act 3/4 Inferno can't drop the last tier.

    I'm not complaining, I think that the people that can clear the hardest parts of the game should be rewarded but I'm just confused because it's a complete 180 from what Bash said a few weeks ago.



    I am more interested in whether they will limit peoples ability to buy these items from the last stages of inferno... Otherwise this will be where the money is... selling act 3/4 inferno items to people who haven't managed to clear it but want to pretend they have...
  • #19 theecheshirekat
    Wait...so the wizard gets to roll around with the cube from hellraiser or a silicone implant? maybe i will play a WZ.
  • #20 Benegesserit
    Quote from Ruppgu


    Diablo 2 is a natively cooperative game but players didn't even realize there was an online component in it.


    Wow.... they really think we're that stupid?


    It's possible they actually did surveys and got that response.
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