Twitter saw some updates this week clarifying some of the details surrounding PvP arenas. If you happen to be fuzzy on the upcoming arena environments, liquorice wrote an excellent summary of many of its features in Diablo III PvP - Battle Arena Environments. If not, onward to health orbs!
We've seen what health orbs do for players in the PvM context in the years since 2008's announcement, but how do they affect the PvP experience?
Official Blizzard Quote:
Diablo: @Scyberdragon [Health orbs] are on timers right now, which actually makes for interesting gameplay. If they were random you'd probably hover there.
Blizzcon 2010's arena gameplay demo certainly showed us how interestingly health orbs affected choices in the heat of PvP battles. As soon as the red orbs popped up, the choice had to be made: can I make it to the end of the round with half health or should I clear a path through my enemies--and possibly die--to get an orb?
Camping was essentially a non-option, not with the speed at which health was lost and the relatively long (challengingly so!) delay between health orb spawns. Of course, the option was there, and in some cases was the difference between a winning character and a dead one.
But with randomization being so heavily stressed throughout the game, why not set health orbs to random spawns? Bashiok responded:
Official Blizzard Quote:
Diablo: @Scyberdragon Randomness undermines some of the competitive nature of the arenas. You could "get lucky" with health globe spawns and win.
Getting lucky. We could very well sit here for hours posting arguments over whether or not setting them on a fixed timer eliminates the element of luck in even this single regard. What about players not keeping track of health orb spawn rates? What about running in to one by accident, just in the nick of time? What about losing health just as an orb spawns?
Regardless, the fixed timer will likely be but one of the many new components of Diablo III's arenas that define dueling pros and novices. As Bashiok noted, keeping mental notes of the average time between health orb spawns can free players to execute effective offensive tactics, as well as plan when to run to known orb spawning locations. Such knowledge could even be used to predict where low-health players, and thus easy targets, will go when the timer hits zero.
Heyo everyone, here's the fifth episode of our DiabloCast. This week we talked a lot about how the Health System works within the game, as well as some Battle.net discussion. If you missed the fourth episode, you can check it out here. Otherwise, the fifth episode covered the following topics:
Blizzard has just released their eleventh batch of screenshots (see here if you missed the tenth) for hitting the 800k 'Like' mark. Once again, we've got the high resolution versions at our disposal here on DiabloFans.
Click the images to bask in the glory of the high resolution versions that you likely won't see anywhere else!
The first image is a concept drawing of a Morlu Caster.
The second image is a concept drawing of the Iron Maiden, which was an old torture device during the medieval days, will be making a feature in D3 gameplay.
The third picture is a screenshot from that same unknown dungeon that we've seen previously, of a female Monk wielding tremendous claws, using her Wave of Light skill on a group of Activated Vessels and Dark Vessels.
25,000 more likes to go until the 825k mark where we can get some more images, and 8 more milestones until we hit the 1 million 'Like' goal. Go visit facebook.com/Diablo and 'Like' the page to speed the war effort!
Gems are returning in Diablo III as the game's only socketable item. Gems come in a variety of six types and fourteen levels, and when they were announced, we were informed that only the first five levels would actually drop in the game, and the rest would have to be gained through combinations preformed by the Jeweler artisan. This old system would make it so that you would need to gather over 19,000 level five gems in order to gain one level fourteen, or Radiant Star, gem. This incredibly large number was the subject of many debates, and Blizzard's response to the matter is that gaining a Radiant Star gem is supposed to be a long term achievement. Despite this, many people still had concerns, and for good reason. After all, if gaining only one Radiant Star gem is a long term achievement, won't filling out your gear with them be an insanely long task?
However, Bashiok has recently told us that there are plans to have gems drop past level five, which could drastically decrease the number of dropped gems required. Even though this bit of information makes it clear that it will be considerably less of a process, as simply allowing level six gems to drop would decrease the number to around 6,500 level six gems required for a Radiant Star, and you would only need 2,000 level seven gems to create a gem of the highest level. Unfortunately, as with so many things, we must wait for more information until we know exactly what Blizzard's plans are for collecting gems, but fortunately we get to discuss how long-term getting a Radiant Star should be. So all that being said, are you glad they are making it easier to get higher level gems? If so, how much less of a process do you think it should be? Feel free to discuss your opinion in the topic above after voting in this week's poll.
Last week's poll was a resounding victory for the grinders as the vast majority of you voted that you would level all of your artisans to the maximum level. Hopefully leveling up artisans will be as interesting a goal as the last poll makes it seem. If you still want to engage in that discussion, or just want to vote in the previous poll, click the link above.
There has been a lot of debate spurred on by the fact that Diablo III will have a static world. What does this mean? This means that when you play Diablo III, the borders to the world you move around in will always be the same. The same path will be taken to get to the city that is always in the same location. This was not the case in Diablo II. Players spent ample amounts of time, walking along the borders of each area trying to find the entrance to the next area. Even base camps like the Rogue Encampment would have a changing exit.
There has been numerous reason given as to why Diablo III has chosen to do this. The first one being that they can increase the quality of these environments by not having to structure and design them in a way that lent itself to randomization. Another reason was that it gave it more of a real-world sense because we all know cities don't just move to random locations in the real world. Bashiok has given us a few more reasons for this decision:
Official Blizzard Quote:
The exterior landscape will for the most part be static, but with pockets of randomness (this doesn't include monster spawns which are still quite random). You'll always know where the towns and roads are, and know the edges of the map. We felt that exploring the exteriors to find landmarks and quest areas wasn't very compelling. It's also more productive for co-op to be able to say to a friend 'Let's meet at this shrubbery' and everyone knows how to quickly get there every time. Dungeons are more linear in the way that content is encountered, so they can be randomized quite a bit and you're not very likely to be just running around aimlessly. If you do hit a dead end you're at least assured you encountered plenty of battle (and thus loots) on the way.
Now, with all that said, the most important thing to remember is that not every area of the map is static, mostly just the borders. Within these borders are areas, ranging from small to very large, that will be randomized every time you play through the game. These areas are not just randomized monsters, as monsters will always be randomized in all areas of the maps. These random pockets can produce rare chests, dungeons and quests.
Official Blizzard Quote:
So while the exterior is largely static, within that defined landscape there are literal square holes (from small to huge) and within those empty square holes a great number of possible pieces can be dropped in. And they're chosen randomly. So you may play a few games and always see empty terrain in the same place, but on your next playthrough you'll instead have a broken down wagon appear and a quest giver that needs you to go kill a unique fallen shaman who stole his tools to fix it. And maybe the playthrough after that the square puzzle piece is a short dungeon to explore with a big chest or mini-boss at the end. Ideally it'll encourage exploration of the exterior zones over and over, hoping to find that a rewarding adventure has appeared.
As if this randomization was not enough, Diablo III will still have completely random dungeons like they did in Diablo II. Every time your character enters into the depths of Sanctuary, you will encounter different rooms and combinations of pathways. But to even add randomization to these randomized dungeons, some of the rooms will even have these pockets of randomized events that will offer even more variety in the countless amounts of playthroughs.
Official Blizzard Quote:
Dungeons on the other hand are completely randomized, same as Diablo II.* All of the halls and rooms and all the bits are shuffled around and it's all different every time. Some of the rooms themselves will offer unique quests if they're rolled up, and in some cases individual rooms themselves have those square chunks missing and within those randomly chosen rooms a number of random events can occur. It's a bit involved to explain, but very simple in practice (I believe some images of the square puzzle pieces were actually shown at a BlizzCon?). *Some small "dungeons" are completely hand crafted and won't include randomization of layout at all, but these are generally things like wine cellars or other underground areas of a few rooms or less.
Whether or not you agree with the static world in Diablo III, it is clear that every time you play Diablo III, it will not be the same occurrences you ran into the first one hundred times you played the game.