EDIT: Don't forget, the Create a Monster Contest ends the 25th at midnight, make sure you get your submissions in!
Remember gems? You know, those highly under-powered, easy-to-find sparkly things that made that pleasant PING sound when they dropped? In case you haven't been around for the last two years, gems are making a comeback in Diablo III, but with a major twist. Instead of the old set of five gem grades, Diablo III will feature a jaw-dropping fourteen grades of gems, not to say all the different kinds of gems that will be featured in the game.
Sounds impressive, eh? However, considering that only the first five grades can actually drop in the game, that leaves more than half of them just out of our button-mashing fingertips. A fan over at the official Diablo III forum board decided to do some simple calculations, and, if his math is anything better than his spelling ("monsereus"?), this is what he got:
Quote from Qayin »
it takes 3 gems of each level to create one gem of the next level... that comes to 19,683 level 5 gems of the same type to make just one level 14 Gem, assuming you get all gems of the same type...
The concern that follows is not without merit, I'd say. He came up with a few answers to why we may not have to worry, or solutions to what may be a daunting system (paraphrased:
Simply increasing the grade drop by one tier (from five to six) would decrease the number of required gems by more than half (19,683 to 6,561).
Allow higher-end items to be salvaged for these higher-end gem grades.
Combining gems of different levels could result in a higher-grade gem.
And, of course, there's always the boring way it was done in Diablo II: combining three of the same grade of gem for a higher-grade gem of the same type. However, Bashiok came to the rescue, once more stating how impermanent systems are at the moment, how large the online player base will be (not to account for single player, though), and so forth:
Official Blizzard Quote:
Yeah, that's about right. I mean keep in mind none of this has been proven through actual testing but the current design is that yeah, it's going to take a lot of lower level gems to reach the very highest high end.
The gem-to-gem upgrade intent is not to have these huge gaps where you feel like you're lame unless you have level 14 gems in every slot, but as a long term goal for the hardcore min/maxers and PvPers who are going to be playing for a long time and be able to work toward those goals. It's something you can put a little time into just by upgrading the gems you pick up during normal play, so you're constantly able to keep working toward the goal of crating a level 14 gem.
Also the trading game and millions of people playing for months is going to make them a lot more attainable than they may seem when throwing out numbers like 19,000.
It's possible it may feel crappy or we need to add something to help jump gaps, or, who knows. It's all very unproven at the moment, but we think provides a nice long term goal anyone can work toward just by killing monsters and picking up gems.
So, there you have it: the conundrum of the gems in a nutshell. What do you think could help alleviate the enormous gaps between lootable and unlootable gems? Is the system fine how it is? Other thoughts?
It's finally nearly upon us. In only two short months, the end of this October, Blizzcon 2010 will once again draw pilgrims far and wide to the gates of the Anaheim convention center. Stated as Diablo's year by Bashiok and others, we intend on making these coming months exciting and full of all that wonderful hype we've come to know and love (and often be disappointed by in years past when nothing Diablo-related came up, but let's forget all that).
I can say that this Blizzcon, in terms of Diablo news, will be the biggest one that we've ever had.
So get ready for Blizzcon 2010! Keep up-to-date with the latest Diablo news, speculation, discussion, and information here on DiabloFans, as well as some nice surprises we have up our sleeves in the coming weeks.
I almost forgot! Thanks goes to Tsukiyomi for this tidbit!
Over the next several days, we'll be running articles on this interview with Jay Wilson. We thought that the amount of information would be too much to cram into one article, thus you can expect us to explore a new facet of the video every few days.
We hope you enjoy it.
Article One - Skill Resources
While this was not the first topic to be discussed in the interview, we did think it was the most interesting. When the interviewer asked Jay about the state of the skill resources, I was expecting him to get shot down and be banned from Gamescom. Shocked was I then, when Jay replied "Oh, I'll talk about where they're at."
Recently, we were made aware of the Wizard losing Instability for a new skill resource. However, we did not know what this new resource was, nor did we know how instability worked. Both questions were resolved within the interview.
Official Blizzard Quote:
We could not get a version of instability we liked, the last version involved a buff and debuff that would hit the wizard whenever she went unstable. It was actually a pretty severe buff, it doubled all the damage on her but it also increased her crit chance. It just didn't affect how people played. They didn't notice it most of the time, when they did notice it they didn't change what they were doing. That's not the point of a resource system, it needs to be managed somewhat to change how you play.
One could argue that this information is redundant now that instability has been
scrapped, however it is still interesting to explore what could have been. I do think it was a good decision to do away with Instability, due to the fact that, as Jay explained, this resource would not have affected gameplay much. Players would have been free to spam skills without fear of being unable to cast, since the penalty for multiple casts did not involve an inability to cast more spells. Instead, players would be rewarded with more damage. Obviously, this would have called for Wizards to get as much Faster Cast Rate as humanly possible, to reach the point of instability quickly. This system would have also been open to exploits. Think about it, would it matter if the spells actually hit a target, or would the Wizard be able to reach the point of instability by casting spells at nothing?
Official Blizzard Quote:
Now, it's called Arcane Power. It's not dissimilar to mana in a lot of ways but it regenerates very quickly, and it doesn't grow over time. She has lots of abilities and passive skills that enhance it.
Now, this description is a bit more vague than instability. Basically all we know for sure from this, is that it's a relatively static resource pool, and it regenerates very quickly.
What it seems Blizzard is trying to achieve here, is to make players choose spells carefully. With a static pool, players will be forced to choose between casting a volley of low cost spells, or save their Arcane Power for one or two powerful spells. With a quick recharge rate, players will most likely be stalled one or two seconds before being able to unleash more spells.
Personally, I think this system will be much more dynamic than Mana in the previous games, since at high levels players often had countless bonuses to their mana pool. Factor in mana leech items, and you rarely had to concern yourself with your mana pool. Should Blizzard choose to only give bonuses to Arcane Power through skills, then we may see an interesting, dynamic system that forces players to think before they cast.
Official Blizzard Quote:
The Monk has spirit, and that's probably the one we're happiest with. His combo moves generate spirit, which can be used for "signature moves" that he does. He can't do them very often, but they're great attacks, some are escapes, some are recovery.
While it is news to us, this mechanic sounds awfully similar to Fury. Like the Barbarian, it sounds like the Monk will have to attack to generate his resource, which can then be used to fuel more powerful moves. However, this description is still quite vague, Blizzard will have undoubtedly foreseen similarities between the two systems, and done their best to distance them from one another. It also sounds as if the development team is revisiting the charge system the Assassin used with several of her Martial Arts skills. The extent of these similarities are yet to be seen, of course.
We also have to wonder what exactly combo-moves entails. Will they function as preparatory moves, with the Monk using any low damage skill before being able to use any one of his "signature moves"? Or will the Monk be forced to use sequences of combo moves to cast a specific signature move? Furthermore, which skills will qualify as signature moves? Powerful moves like 7 Sided Strike are obvious contenders
at the moment, but no doubt Blizzard has all kinds of signature moves planned for the Monk. However it turns out, it sounds as if the Monk is going to have a beat-em'-up feel to him.
Sadly, we still have no word on the skill resource of the fifth class. However, we do know that the Barbarian and Witch Doctor are still using Fury and Mana respectively, so hopefully Blizzard won't be throwing us any curve balls in the months approaching Blizzcon.
After the announcement of the Caravan system, fans of the Diablo series breathed a collective sigh of relief. Finally, we were able to hear some solid news about the future of the game. Caravans blew us away, but never did we imagine the sheer amount of news contained within thisinterview, for www.inDiablo.de.
Throughout the interview, Jay Wilson touches on everything from PvP, to WoW influence, to how the development team is tackling the four acts, even to returning characters. The interview is in English (thankfully), so you can watch the two linked videos without having to translate what is said. To the right, is the first part of the interview. Click the word "interview" in the first paragraph to view the second half of the interview. Trust me, you'll want to watch it.
We're still compiling the info from the interview, so look for an in depth analysis in the near future. Stay tuned!
Also, thanks to Doomscream for the heads up, give the man a pat on the back!
EDIT: Alright, first half is transcribed, read away!
"In Diablo II obviously PvP wasn't really rewarding for players, other than just that feeling that "oh, I killed someone". Are there any plans to actually give players some reward for their effort in PvP, if there is any of course."
"We uh, we do have plans for PvP but we haven't announced anything yet, so we're not talking about it at this time. But we'll announce something in the not too distant future."
"So probably we can expect more focus on the PvP aspect?"
"There will be more yeah, we will do more than, than the previous games sure."
"What kind of aspect of Diablo II did you decide to enhance, you thought it was really lacking, and you thought that "this thing needs to be way better", it it's supposed to transfer to Diablo III."
"Uh, well we've pretty much gone through every part of the game and looked for ways to make it better. The combat system is a big one, you know, making a combat system that allows for more diversity in how the classes play. Um, by leaning more on a health system instead of potions. But you can look throughout the game, our new artisan feature that we announced is a great example of how we took a lot of features that weren't even necessarily crafting features, like gambling and runewords. Essentially, we took what we liked from the systems and we created a robust, full crafting system that allows us to do a whole big variety of things for the player."
"Which aspect of the game, once you started working on Diablo III, you were like "oh no no wait it's not going into Diablo III because it's lacking."
"Well, I mentioned potions and that was a big one, we took those out. Well, they're not completely out but we removed the mechanic of just using them over and over again because we didn't feel it was a good overall health model for the game. We also removed town portals because they're a combat exploit, so anything that kind of hurts the depth of combat we really worked on."
"What about armor sets, which were sort of fun to collect in Diablo II. But, you never really got them before they were really useless for your character because you had too high a level."
"The problems with item sets in Diablo II, we definitely understand the problems and we want to solve them. Set items are actually in design right now so I can't tell you exactly what we're going to do to solve them, but if we can't find a way to solve that problem they just won't be in the game. But, we've got a couple ideas on the table and they're all pretty good."
"We know that boss fights my be a little bit more like WoW, in that you need some tactics or use some certain elements of the environment."
"I like to compare them a little bit more to Zelda, um, I think World of Warcraft boss fights are so team oriented and that's not really a good description of ours. Probably the closest comparison would just be that we do lots of staged fights where the boss changes over time, which does happen in World of Warcraft but really Zelda was the game that invented that more or less. Probably not, but they definitely mastered it. That's the game we look to for inspiration to try to make boss fights that's not just another monster with a lot more health and a lot more damage but actually plays up to the mechanics to the game and has really interesting mechanics on their own."
"Aren't you a little bit worried that players are used to Diablo II for example will sort of be confused with those fights for example some bosses now have two unique skills for them and that's about all you need to defeat that boss."
"No, they're not so far from Diablo II that they're jarring, they just feel better, they just feel a lot less repetitive. But they're still Diablo characters, and that's why I say Zelda is a better comparison because if we made boss fights like WoW where we need a part of people and a certain composition and everybody needed a role, then that would feel like a WoW fight. And that's so different than Diablo, so no I don't think it will feel jarring, but will feel like an enhancement of something that existed before."
"What are you focusing right now during development, for example are you working on a certain act because I know you guys are trying to polish and check, what's that you are focusing on?"
"The majority of the team is actually working across all four acts simultaneously. So they're all in production. But a subset of the team is focusing on polishing the first act. So the focus there being that most of our systems we've proven out, we know what they need to look like to ship the game. But there's a couple systems like questing and storytelling that are not quite to the quality level we want. So we're really focusing on them for the first act so we can get them right and they'll serve as an example for other acts."
"We don't know much about resource systems, how do you think you can balance if you're trying to go for 5 different resources, how will they feel just as powerful and just as good as the other ones?"
"The process of balancing resources is not an overly complex one, it's basically math. There are a lot of other systems that are more subjective that are a lot harded to balance than a resource system. Essentially, if you're going to balance a skill like magic missile with multiple projectiles with a skill like Blizzard, well they don't even have relationships on certain levels so that becomes more subjective. Should magic missile do more damage because it tends to hit less targets, or should Blizzard have a larger radius of affect? They're much more subjective, but when you get to resources it's well "I need to output this much DPS, can I do that? No you can't. Is it a resource problem? Yes, adjust the resource."
"So you probably can't say right now what's the current concept for either instability or-"
" Oh I'll talk about where they're at. We could not get a version of instability we liked, the last version involved a buff and debuff that would hit the wizard whenever she went unstable. It was actually a pretty severe buff, it doubled all the damage on her but it also increased her crit chance. It just didn't affect how people played. They didn't notice it most of the time, when they did notice it they didn't change what they were doing. That's not the point of a resource system, it needs to be managed somewhat to change how you play. Now, it's called Arcane Power. It's not dissimilar to mana in a lot of ways but it regenerates very quickly, and it doesn't grow over time. She has lots of abilities and passive skills that enhance it. Fury is more or less where it's at, a lot of it is getting the right costs for different skills so that Fury feels like what it's supposed to feel like. But it also doesn't slow the Barbarian down, because if he has to build up fury too much it feels like he's constantly yo-yoing in and out of being awesome, and we don't want that. The Monk has spirit, and that's probably the one we're happiest with. His combo moves generate spirit, which can be used for "signature moves" that he does. He can't do them very often, but they're great attacks, some are escapes, some are recovery. So that one worked very well. The Witch Doctor is using mana."
"You probably are making a lot of references to the previous games, so let's ask about Wirt and his leg."
"I would love to bring [Wirt] back in some form, but we haven't come up with an original idea to do it. I just don't want to stick him in there to do it, I want it to be a cool reason to do it. So if we come up with one, we'll definitely put him in. But we've brought characts back from the previous games. Adria who's from the original Diablo, she's coming back as a fairly significant character. Of course Deckard Cain and Tyreal are returning. We may even bring back one of the D2 classes as an actual character who's in the game."
"Do you think that crafting will affect the high end level of play?"
"One of the key elements of the crafting system is to acquire some of the best items you need to have the recipes to make them. The recipes are actually drops, so it's very likely you could off one of the bosses in Hell difficulty, and get a really great recipe as a drop in addition to items. So yeah, it is our goal that there are some crafted items that are viable as top tier items. We don't want crafted items to dominate, if anything we'll probably make them the smallest percentage of items you wear. But we do want to make some crafted items obviously the best in their area, so when you get a max level character they're wearing a mix of items."
"If the items you can make through artisans are the best in their class, are you worried about people acquiring the best recipes and selling the items to become rich easily?"
"The crafting system produces random items, so there's not going to be high end crafted items that don't have completely random properties on them. So crafting items in DIII is more like gambling in DII; you know the type of item you'll make, but not what's going to be on it. So even if you have a really good recipe for a high quality item you'll probably have to craft tons of them to get one that's really good. So even if you can get a really good item and make a lot of items our of it, it will just devalue that item across the board. We don't think there's a problem with that as long as crafted items are a small percentage of the overall items that a player uses."
"Would artisans be able to specialize? For example, we know blacksmiths will be able to craft armor and weapons, so will they be able to specialize at some time to use better recipes?"
"Yeah, after you've max leveled your artisan you can specialize them in particular areas. Specialties aren't exclusive, so if you choose to specialize in axes then later on you change your mind you didn't omit the ability to go swords or armor, you can just start going down that path separately. So it's more that each path is it's own time and resource commitment. You can absolutely specialize in different things you like the most."[/spoil]
EDIT: Transcript for the second part of the Wilson Inverview is done. Some words of the interviewer I just couldn't get, and I removed A LOT of so, like and you know.
Editedit: Props to Phrozendragon for the second half!
Q: You said yesterday that the Jeweler is able to create gems. So which stats will they have, are we going to see stats like in Diablo II where red gems gave you life and blue gems gave you mana, or are they gonna have more complex stats?
A: No they work like Diablo II, they have set stats that they give depending on what type of place you put them.
Q: So just life and mana?...
A:I don't remember the exact off, we copied them as best we could, but we could not copy exactly what D2 did, because our itemization is different, and some of our stating is different, for example, most of the classes don't have mana, so that's not one we wanna put on a gem. So, but yeah, they're things like + strength and cast speed and things like that.
Q: You said that there will be 16 different upgrade stages. How hard will it be to get to the highest upgrade stage?
A: So, it's 14.
A: Yeah. Yeah no, 14, 16, whatever. It's a difference of... If it was 16, then it would take you... I'm doing math in my head... 180,000 level 5 gems to get to a level 14, I mean level 16. So that's probably more than... that's a little high, no one would ever do it. As it stands for 14, I believe the math is around 19,000 which is probably still too high. So we may make the recipe for combining the higher gems less, not require three later on, or we might knock it down to 12 levels, something like that. We just wanted to start of with a ridiculous number to begin with, so that's a ridiculous number.
Q: You can socket gems into your items, bu are there any other items you could socket into your gear?
A: Not right now, but there may be someday.
Q: Like jewelry (gems is probably what he means) that could be magic/rare?
A: We have an idea for something similar to jewelry, but it's not actually jewelry. Whether it makes it into this release, I don't know, but I'm sure after this we'll have expansions, I'm sure we'll add more socketable items.
Q: In Diablo II, only several types of items could be socketed. Can we socket everything in Diablo III like runes and spells?
A: Not every single slot, but any slot that the blacksmith can add sockets to. He's got about six different slots he can add sockets to. It doesn't matter the quality of the item, so if you have a pair of boots and they're legandary or rare boots and they don't have sockets on them already, he can add sockets to them. Also, sockets can appear on any type of item. You know, in Diablo II they only appeared on white items, but in Diablo III a legendary you know, could have them, a rare could have them. We essentially treat sockets like another affix on the item.
Q: The Mystic is able to enchant items. The affix that is created, will it be random like you get from 10-25 additional damage, or will it be that you know what you will get?
A: There's a small range on it, but... no actually, no there's not. It's a set number. It works just like gems basically. We wanted it to be a custmoization choise, not a quality choise where you have to seek it over and over again. You're already going to enchant a lot, everytime you get a new item you're gonna go and do that, so we didn't feel the need to make you wanna recast your enchant over and over again.
Q: The artisans are one way to customize our items. Are there any other ways to customize your gear or character besides skill runes and artisans? You once mentioned some sort of talisman for that.
A: Yeah. There's a talisman... I'm not gonna talk about it yet. Soon, but not yet. There's also dyes, we added clothing dyes so you can dye your armor and about 15 different colors I think. Yep. You're the second person I've told. So type fast.
Q: I don't need to type.
A: Well there you go, so put it up on the web fast.
Q: I'll be doing so. So I'm playing a lot of Starcraft II lately, and there are some features that I think are very useful for Diablo III. Would you agree that ? matchmaking system would be a pretty cool way to create a Player versus Player ladder?
A: Well that's a Player versus Player question, and I don't answe Player Versus Player questions, because we haven't announced anything on it. I do think auto matchmaking would be awesome for co-op play though.
Q: For co-op play?
A: Yeah. I wanna find a bunch of people my level who wanna do the quest that I wanna do. Hit the button, few seconds later you're in the game.
Q: You have achievements in World of Warcraft and Starcraft II, even thought I was sceptical first if anyone would need this, it's very funny to be rewarded with a little achievement when you do something special. So are we going to see achievments like kill 1 million Fallen Ones with a single strike, finish the entire game with a naked hardcore character, stay a very long while and listen to everything Deckard Cain has to say?
A: Hehehe. Those are very good achievment ideas. We'll definitely have achievments in Diablo III and so... I don't think kill 1 million anything in one blow is gonna be, or even just kill 1 million things, that, those aren't good achievments, those are grindy achievements. But I like the naked hardcore character completing the game that's... yeah, I'm all over that one.
Q: Trading is quite essential in Diablo, you're going to make gold the standard currency in the game. But many players love to trade item vs item. WIll there be a comfortable way to offer an item and search for another item instead of gold, let's say an auction house or something like that?
A: We are definitely going to look to do some kind of imrpoved tradeing so that players don't have to default to chat channel spam, and you know, naming their game creatively so that people will come in and trade with them. What that system's going to be we haven't determined yet.
Q: Will it still be possible to trade item vs item and not only vs gold?
A: We're gonna do something. But we haven't made a decision on exactly what that's gonna be.
Q: Items cause a lot of greed. People are bying items in Diablo II and gold in World of Warcraft for real life money. So in World of Warcraft you could argue: people buy gold, they play less, the pay you less money so you could argue that (I have no idea what he's saying right here). If Diablo III has no subscription, monthly fee, how will you take matters against gold sellers or bots?
A: We haven't gotten to the point yet where we're really discussing those issues. Will we take an aggressive attitude towards it? Yeah, exactly the same way we have with World of Warcraft. And everything that they've learned about combating both botting and ingame spam and farming issues, we'll definitely be looking at all those and doing whatever we can to make sure the experience the player has is as positive as possible. And that's really our issue, it's that a lot of these activities just lead to bad experiences for our players, and we're all about the players having the best experience possible.
Q: World of Warcraft and Starcraft II get several expansions. In which direction are you going with Diablo III? Will we see one game with maybe one expansionpack later, or are we getting it like Starcraft II with several episodes?
A: Well... we... right now we're just focused on getting Diablo III done. I mean we have ideas about where things could go afterwards, but we don't know. This one's a handful, so we'll get it done and then we'll see. The only thing I would say on that is that I think that a lot of the previous Blizzard games, Diablo II, Warcraft III, Starcraft, one expansion seems like a missed opportunity. There was more to say I think for all those games. And that's what it really comes down to, when we don't feel like we have anything left to say, that's when we'll stop making Diablo III content and we'll move on to something else.
Q: Are there any plans to do these additions of content in a more regular way than now with Diablo II, or every 18 months you can expect to get...
A: Well as I said, we haven't thought about it. It takes all of our time and energy just to make this one.
Q: Imagine if you could only change one thing from Diablo II while developing Diablo III, what would it be? What was the worst thing in...
A: I already did it.
Q: You already did it? What?
Q: Respec? Yeah, that's now in Diablo II. It was you?
A: Yes. Well my team. To be perfectly clear actually, it was my design team working with platform tech. They're actually the ones who do Diablo patches for us. They did the work, all we did was highly encourage it.
Q: So let's talk a bit about lore. In the first trailer we saw that girl named Leah. What role does she play? She got a lot of airtime for being a totally unknown character taht we wanna know something about.
A: Leah is the adopted daughter of Deckard Cain. As Cain is a lot older in this game, we felt that we needed another character to kind of play some of his rolesbut also be more active. We wanted a character who was out in the world with the player who would occasionally interact and help the player out. So she's kind of a quest giver and sometimes a companion.
Q: And what role does Tyrael play? He destroyed the Worldstone in Diablo II and is back in Diablo III. Fans are discussing if he might have turned evil or if he has been evil all the time. Any comment on that?
A: See I can't talk about Tyrael becasue then people are gonna stop speculating and it's so much fun to watch them speculate. He's a major character, way bigger than he was in Diablo II. Very big focus in Diablo III. I think the fans are gonna love what we do with him.
Q: There will be more angels like him? Fans are also speculating that there will be a big fight between Heaven and Earth (he means Sanctuary :P), stuff like that.
A: Cool. That'd be awesome. But I'm not gonna say whether we're gonna do anything like that, that's too much. Big fight sounds cool though, we should have big fights. We'll put those in.
Q: Since Blizzard merged with Activision, fans are discussing that they way you develop games has changed. One name you hear quite often is Bobby Kotick. Do they influence you in any way by developing your games in a positive or negative way.
A: The only experience that I've had has all been positive. Activision has really god distribution. It's kind of a businessy aspect but it's, you know, their distribution channels are great, and so they've really helped us, especially with the release of Starcraft II. In terms of interference, I've never had an Activision person ask me to do anything. To my knowledge, I've never had an Activision person ask anyone, any of the other game directors. They have a lot of confidence in how we make games, and we have a lot of confidence in how they run their publishing business. So I think it's a really good relationship, and a lot of the speculation of "oh we're being pressured to do this and Bobby's twisting their arm" like, if it's happening, I've never seen it.
Q: Last question. How often have you been asked, when's the release date?
A: Every... almost every interview.
Q: So now is the chance to stop that. When's the release date?
We all patiently awaited what Blizzard was going to reveal at GamesCom and we finally got some new and integral information on Diablo III. Blizzard revealed their crafting system for Diablo III. Characters will be able to create their own gear through the use of Artisans, materials, and rare drops. Blizzard wanted players to be able to craft their own items without having to spend the time hammering away on an anvil creating them. Through the system they have implemented, other NPC's will be doing the hard work for us.
Let's start at the beginning. Firstly, how and where do we access these Artisans? The Artisans in the game are found through the main quests of the game. As you venture through the areas, you will probably run into one who needs you to help them or save their lives. After helping them and gaining their trust, the Artisans will continue with you on your travels. Setting up shop at the nearest city, the player will be able to interact with the Artisans whenever they get a chance to go back to town.
The type of Artisans that will be available to our heroes.
The Blacksmith - The featured Artisan from the video is the black smith. Acting as a place to repair and sell items, the black smith can also create weapons and armor for your character. He can also add sockets to any weapon or armor much like the quest reward from the Siege on Harrogath.
The Mystic - This Artisan deals more with the magical side of crafting. The Mystic will be used to create potions, scrolls, magical weapons such as wands and staffs, spell runes, charms, and can enchant weapons and armors created by the Black Smith.
The Jeweler - This Artisan will create gems for you. You can also use the Jeweler to combine gems to create one of a higher quality which is the only way to get the highest quality gems. There are five qualities of gem that will drop and an additional nine qualities that must be crafted. The Jeweler can also remove gems from items without destroying the gems allowing you to use a gem when first acquired and then remove it to upgrade it.
So how do each of these Artisans work? Basically, as you venture through the game you will get materials (more on this later) that you bring back to these Artisans to create new items. Each Artisan will need different types of materials to create their work for you. Random attributes being iconic of the franchise, the items they craft for you can also have random attributes added to them. In order to make stronger and newer items available, you will need to level up your Artisans through training. Upgrading will also have a visual change to your Artisans camp. The higher the level of your Artisans, the more impressive the look of their shop. Training to higher levels is done through more of the same materials needed to create the items. Along with this training, there will also be random drops of recipes to unlock other items. In true Diablo fashion, some of the rarest items will be obtained through these random drops. All three Artisans will also be able to specialize in certain areas when they hit the top level. However, all specializations are possible to learn.
Materials for these items are gained through salvaging items you find while playing. Each player will eventually gain an artifact that allows you to break down items into materials. This artifact allows you to make use of every item you pick up without having to go to town repeatedly to salvage the items. The materials that stack and each take up one square in your inventory can be more easily carried around until you have the opportunity to go to your Artisans and use them.
Q & A about the new caravan mechanic from the presskit:
Diablo III Caravan FAQ
Q: What is the caravan?
A: The caravan is a persistent group that follows the heroes across Sanctuary, providing a centralized hub for players to find quest givers, crafters, and other important NPCs. As your character moves through the world so too will your loyal band, setting up in specific locations to remain close by should you need them.
Q: Who are the artisans?
A: In order to access the professions in Diablo III, you'll need to gain the loyalty of various artisans through your travels in Sanctuary. The blacksmith, mystic, and jeweler will each provide unique services over the course of the game.
Q: What do the artisans offer?
A: Skilling up your artisans will unlock unique recipes, granting your character access to benefits that may not be found anywhere else in the world. The blacksmith crafts weapons and armor, and can add sockets to some items. The mystic creates scrolls, potions, magical weapons, spell runes, and charms, and can also enchant items. The jeweler crafts gems , amulets, and rings. The jeweler can also remove gems from socketed items and can combine gems to improve their quality.
Q: How do I find the artisans?
A: Finding the artisans will be part of the main quest. Each artisan has been fleshed out to include their own story and quest line.
Q: How do I use the artisans?
A: You'll collect loot as a reward for slaughtering the forces of the Burning Hells. Unwanted items can be salvaged in your inventory, converting these goods into raw crafting materials -- higher-level items are salvaged into higher-level materials. You'll then take those raw materials and hand them over to the artisans, putting them to work crafting or enchanting for you. Upon returning to the caravan after a lengthy foray, you may also find that the artisans have been hard at work plying their trade for your benefit.
Q: How do I salvage my items?
A: Players will find an item while progressing through the main quest that will allow them to convert unwanted gear into crafting materials from the inventory. This item will not take up any inventory space. This should be a more satisfying option for offloading unwanted loot than the alternative -- dropping things on the ground or making frequent trips to a vendor.
Q: Why are you including crafting professions in an action game?
A: Professions add depth to the item collection gameplay that drives the action of Diablo III. We want to provide players with an alternative way to acquire gear, potions, and other randomly found items. We also want to provide additional forms of customization for players -- adding jewels, enchants, or sockets to existing gear allows players to further tailor their characters. Many rare crafting recipes and materials are only found as world drops, enhancing the item acquisition process by increasing the diversity of items dropped by monsters.
Here is the transcript of the press conference including the Q & A with Jay Wilson. Source
11.00: Hello and welcome to our coverage of Blizzard's Diablo III press conference at gamescom 2010. As well as an open question and answer session from members of the audience, it has been suggested that a new feature for the game will be unveiled as well. We'll find it when the conference begins in a few moments time.
11:01: Jay Wilson, the game director for Diablo III is welcomed on stage.
11:01: A new feature announced today will be Artisans. They are NPCs that are craftsmen to assist you throughout the game. Blacksmith, jeweller and mystic are three classes that are available. You don't start with them but they'll join you on the quest.
11:01: They'll usually request help from you, and once you gain their loyalty, they'll follow you on the quest. "We wanted this entourage of people that followed you through the world that would gather around you, like they would do for a hero."
11:02: Wilson said that it didn't feel right that the player would take their time making weapons or developing skills in towns, so these Artisan's would do that job for you.
11:03: They can act as normal vendors for buying and selling, "a basic function". They can also craft items, with blacksmiths catering for heavy duty melee weapons.
11:03: Each one will have special abilities. Blacksmiths can repair and make use of sockets. "You can add gems to any item, regardless of quality." Gem use will be more "prolific" throughout. Artisans can train throughout the game, and offer gossip as well.
11:03: Crafting wouldn't work in Diablo III than that it would in other games, needs to be less predictable. On screen a dagger is shown, which will have two random properties, and all other items will have "some element of randomness to them", but there is an element of control throughout the crafting process.
11:05: The process is fairly quick, and you can queue items to be crafted so you can go elsewhere instead of waiting.
11:05: Now shown is the Socketing system. Shields and armour can be given gems, a "pretty straightforward" process. The Salvaging system will allow users to place unwanted weapons and armour into a lot that breaks down their components into crafting items. Wilson said that they don't want players to choose hard with what they have to get rid off.
11:05: One of the bigger parts of the crafting game is finding the repcipes in the right part of the world – these too are drops with random qualities.
11:07: Other aspects have a "cool visual element", however usually crafting does not. The Artisan's will provide this visual feedback as they improve their skills.
11:08: The focus of crafting will be on combat. Artisans will have several levels of visual upgrades.
11:09: They said it doesn't feel right to not show a video of them killing something, so a quick gameplay clip using the crafted items is displayed.
11:09: The presentation part of the session ends, and it moves onto the Q&A segment.
11:10: Between Diablo II and III, why change the crafting elements and use Artisans? Wilson explains that before it was simpler before, but the Artisans provide a varied means of new abilities.
11:11: Someone asks if the game will be region locked like StarCraft has. Blizzard have yet to announce their plans.
11:12: Can multiple Artisans be used at one time? Yes – one of the goals of the system was that although Diablo is co-operative focused, they didn't want users to go to other players for their Artisans. There are cases where that is beneficial for unique recepies, but here all three Artisan types are open to you and can be fully levelled up.
11:13: The most important question is the release date, an audience member says. Wilson responds that it is "done when it's done".
11:14: Do the Artisans give you quest after you gain them? Currently no, since pulling them back in the story doesn't feel right yet, and while it's possible for them to integrate them into the story, they don't want to do that currently.
11:14: Will there be any special bonuses if you put gems in a special order? Wilson says that is a "really cool idea" and that he'll write it down and discuss it with the design team.
11:15: Someone asks a question regarding the security and accounts, and how they can teach users to be sensible. Wilson says that security is very important to Blizzard and that they have a whole decision dedicated to the issue. "We have a lot of people on it, that's how we keep it secure... we put a lot of energy into security." The audience member says whether how users can be more competent in their own user account safety. Wilson says not yet for Diablo III but there are plenty of authenticators out there.
11:18: The Artisans are asked to be explained in more detail. The Mystic focuses on crafting magic items – wands, staff and some pieces of armour – and can be used to add enhancements. They are found in the same way that recipes are found, in the world, and as the Artisans level up they'll encounter new ones along the way. The Mysic can also add elements to items, much like Kane did in the original.
11:18: The Jeweller can recover gems from items without destroying them. Wilson said that they like how gems in II can be combined together, but it made people keep their gems and not use them in the fear that they would lose them. Here, it makes it possible for people to experiment. There are five levels of gems that drop, but there are fourteen qualities total which are obtained through combining in the right way. "To get the higher numbers you have to get pretty ridiculous."
11:21: Someone asks about the levelling system for the Artisans. As you play through the game, higher levels are required for higher recipes. As you progress the items Artisan's need become harder to find. The levelling controls the quality of the items that need to be combined. They aim that they want Salvaging and Combining a stress-free process, especially for high level items.
11:23: The art-style is brought up. Wilson says they had "vastly" more positive feedback than negative, and they went onto forums to look at the reaction. "The internet is not usually an area for positive area. People are usually negative, let me say." He adds that 90% of users found the art style attractive, so they knew they were going into the right direction.
11:24: Someone asks how much they need to Salvage, especially since it's not a "loot whore" game. It is quite prevalent, and the benefit is that instead of selling items for low amounts of gold, the broken down components will be of more use and can be stacked in higher numbers in the inventory.
11:26: When asked about how much is done, development wise, Wilson responds, "No, it's done when it's done." He adds that he doesn't speak in percentages, and that it is hard for a Blizzard game to be translated in those terms – they wait until they think things are really done. Development is a process of iteration, and that it is difficult to tell people how that works.
11:27: Someone asks whether you can use enhancements, socketing and so forth to one item, in II it was only one each. The answer is yes, you can, and then they asked why they did it just once since it was "cool" to do.
11:28: For naming items, Wilson said it was a "can of worms" and that people add naughty words to them, and find easy ways around it.
11:29: Someone asks about Hardcore modes. The requirements are uncertain, but it will be in the final game. In Battle.Net it might add trinkets and visual effects to profiles. "We do want you to show up prominently in Battle.Net if you play Hardcore mode.
11:30: It is clarified that Artisans do not follow you on the battlefield, but come with you from town to town along with "a whole other cast of characters" that Blizzard are not talking about today.
11:32: There won't be a town portal system, as they are a "horrible" combat exploits and design clashes. Instead they are using way points.
11:33: For Diablo II fans, what is the incentive for them to move to the third games? "I think there is an enormous number of reasons." Graphics, itemisation, combat model has been deepened, new content and classes to play. "I do love Diablo II, but I have played it quite a bit.
11:35: In terms of consoles, "we don't explore them right now." Diablo III is one of the better games to translate to consoles due to controls, but it is not being explored. However, they will "absolutely" do console development at some point.
11:36: They are looking at systems for selling and trading between players, and "hardcore Battle.Net development" will see that come to life, but a shared stash looks most viable. It was added that chat might also be considered, something that was missing from II.
11:37: For Artisans, they can be fully developed with no consequences. Special abilities are not exclusive, so you can eventually have fully development Artisans with all their abilities, provided time is put into it.
11:38: They are thinking of visual effects for their carts, such as if the player concentrates on axes or swords, they could be represented visually.
11:39: Items can only be enchanted once. They can be rewritten, but only one at a time.
11:40: For stashing, there won't be unlimited space. "That is basically a storage limitation, but it will be large. Ridiculously large." He said II's was "teeny tiny" and that he hated that.
11:41: Artisan's are unique characters that have backgrounds, so there won't be one of each. It is reiterated that there will be no exclusive features.
11:42: There will be set items in Diablo III, but they are in design right now. Some should be able to be crafted. One question Wilson is often asked is where items will be at the end of the game. An end game character will have a mixture of rare items, legendary items, and a few crafted items. "Our goal is that there is a valid reason for every item type, and that one will not dominate."
11:43: In II the level and quality restricts the number of sockets, and that will be the same in III. The design system behind it is similar to II.
11:43: Someone asks about really hard quests like those in II. "We have events in the game that are challenging outside of the bosses." They probably won't difficult on standard difficulties, but on harder ones "they will hurt you and make you cry".
11:44: The enhancement and socketing of items will require gold, and so gold will be of more importance this time around. Wilson says that the economy in II wasn't the greatest, and so by having almost everything require gold to use will help that.
11:45: The final question: the multiplayer of Diablo II allowed users to collect ears and whether they would return. "How could we not do that?" He jokes that it is a top of the box bullet point, but says that it is doubtful.
11:47: And with that, the press conference draws to a close.
First encounter with the Blacksmith
Adding sockets to an item
Training the Blacksmith
Fully upgraded Blacksmith
Artifact UI for salvaging items
You can also download the presskit form the 2010 gamsecom conference here which includes screenshots, high quality announcement video and other goodies. Special thanks to pixartist for the link.