Yesterday we were privileged to a "sneak peek" of the new Followers system that will be used in Diablo III. Unfortunately, this leaked video left us with only the basic construct of the system and left room for plenty of speculation. Well, today comes with a slew of interviews from Jay Wilson and Leonard Boyarsky. They go into some detail about just how the system is working and how we will interact with these newly added characters.
First, some nitty gritty about the characters themselves. We learned yesterday that the three Followers are the Enchantress, Scoundrel, and Templar, but just who are these characters? Each one will have their own unique story and personality to add to the game. As you play through the main story arc, you will run across these characters in need of some form of assistance. After helping them through their own journey, they will lend their abilities to you. As they venture with you, you will explore their backstories. They will make note of particular instances or comment on something that is going on. They will help tell the story to the player while they are out fighting demons instead of having to sit and read some books.
Beginning with the Templar, named Kormac, he is a stoic character with righteousness on his side. His order is actually trying to retrieve scrolls and books that Lazarus had taken before the story of Diablo I. Betrayed by a corrupt member, you will find Kormac locked up in a dungeon. After you free him and slay the corrupt order member, the Templar will offer his services of protection to you. Kormac has a varying play style that will be valuable no matter what class you are playing. If you need a tank character, he will be able to fill this role very well. However, if you are already a melee oriented character, the Templar can offer healing and other supportive abilities.
After finding and rescuing Kormac, the next Follower you will run into is Lyndon the Scoundrel. Lyndon is a dark humor type character with a questionable sense of morality. Once belonging to a thieves guild, Lyndon was disgraced and thrown out of the guild. Perhaps motivated for more personal gain, he will join you for opportunities to obtain better riches and items. Lyndon is a sort of throw back to the Diablo I Rogue. His focus will be on ranged attacks with the use of a bow or crossbow. However, if a ranged damage dealer is not something you are interested in, he also has a variety of other skills that are more focused on his Scoundrel title like helping you get more gold.
The last Follower you will run into, about a third of the way into the story, is the Enchantress Eirena. Her story is a bit more shady and will unravel as the story continues. All we know when we meet her is that she is following a Prophet who has the ability to control people. In the midst of a fight, she is trying to protect some people and needs your help to save them. After doing so, she will follow you on your heroic journey. Offering magic-based ranged attacks, Eirena will be able to cast from afar to deal damage. However, thanks to her skills gained from the Prophet, she can also offer you services in helping control your foes for you to kill.
Moving past their stories, we go into the mechanics of how this system will work. First and foremost, it is important to note that the Followers system will only be available to those playing in a game by themselves. If another player joins the game, the Follower will head back to your caravan. However, if you find yourself alone again in this fight, the Follower will come right back to aid you. This was done to help players who want to play by themselves but decrease the clutter if multiple people are in one game. Along with this, despite having all three Followers at your disposal, you may only use the services of one at a time. But do not worry, all three will gain experience regardless if they are being used or not. This will allow you to use them when you want to and not because you have to in order to level them up. You can also switch them out whenever you want to aid you best in different scenarios. If a follower "dies," you will not have to go back to town resurrect them. This is how it was originally planned but Blizzard felt like it took too much time away from fighting and caused players to not even use them. Instead, the characters will be knocked out temporarily. After about 15-20 seconds, they will regain consciousness and rejoin the fight. If this is too much time for you, you can channel on them and help revive them sooner. To help keep them fighting longer, they will also gain the effect from any health globe you pick up.
Each Follower comes with their own unique skill set to choose from. Every five levels up to 20, you will gain access to a new set with three different choices. You can choose one from that set to help cater to your liking. Along with skills, you will be able to customize your Followers with some gear. One amulet and two rings will be able to be equipped by them to help customize their stats to the play style you have planned for them. Along with this is a weapon slot. Each Follower will have a distinct group of weapon choices that they can equip but there will still be some variety. Perhaps a heavy damage dealer is what you want for your Templar, so you give him a two-handed weapon. But if you are looking for a tank, then you can give them a sword and shield. The last item slot, which can be seen in the inventory screenshots, is for a class specific item. The only one we know for sure is the Templar's tomes. Speculation for the other two may be a satchel or quiver for the Scoundrel and perhaps some off-hand orb for the Enchantress. These unique items will only be for each particular Follower. These characters were purposely left with a limit to their customization and stats to help lighten the load of these characters. Blizzard did not want players to feel like they were leveling a second character. Instead, you are able to help design this person who will fight along with you when needed.
Moving on to the last part, the way the Followers function in a game is very important. Their are no direct controls for your Followers. Meaning, you cannot tell them to attack a particular unit or to heal you whenever. Instead, this will all be handled by the advanced AI system that has improved since the previous game. Player control is more based on the skills you give them. An example that was given of the AI is the Enchantress' energy bomb skill. A massive AoE, the Enchantress will use this skill when the player is low on health to help clear out some demons and hopefully get some health orbs. Healing and other support skills will be used similarly to best help your character in the fight. Now, there are a lot of people who are afraid that these Followers can be used to do all the killing for you while you just stand and wait; this will not be the case. This is handled in two ways. First, monster AI is improved. Back in Diablo II, you could just stand back as all of the demons would attack your hireling. Now, monsters will not just target the player closest to them. Certain monsters are programmed to go after the person in the back first while others will go after the biggest threat at the moment. Players will constantly have to be on their toes this time when fighting hordes of enemies. If this is not enough for you, then each Follower can be managed to not steal kills from you and instead just help you kill them more easily. If you do not want to spec you Follower with damage skills, then you can focus on more crowd control skills so you can still do all of the killing, or even choose more passive bonuses like extra magic or gold find. Either way, they have designed these Followers to not be a necessity to the game but will just aid you if you would like. Keep in mind, that they will also still level with you even if they are not being used so if you decide you want to use them later, you will not have to go back to re-level them.
If you would like to read any of the interviews that were conducted, you can check out the links below. You can also check out the official Diablo3 site page.
We have all been waiting for the next system to be announced; well, the wait is over. A leak* has just unveiled their Followers system. As talked about earlier, the Followers system is something that Blizzard has been working on since before the unveiling of Diablo III itself. Little information has been shared about how exactly the system will work in comparison to Diablo II. In the previous installment, players were offered four different types of Hirelings, one from each act, while most players chose the infamous Act II mercenary. Each had their own unique fighting style with a choice of three different skills. After hiring one, the player was able to equip a helm, weapon, and body armor on their hireling. There were no more options for customization with these characters as they would then follow you around and fight with you until their untimely demise.
Well, it appears in Diablo III, there will be a bit more customization to these characters. There are three types of Followers; the Enchantress, the Templar, and the Scoundrel. Each comes with their own play style as well skill set for players to choose from. The skill sets will be in tiers just like you character with new skills being unlocked every 5 levels. The player than can choose one skill of that tier to give their Follower. There is also some altered the equipment slots to a weapon, amulet, and two rings. It appears that certain equipment slots and skill choices will unlock as your Follower levels. The character will also show armor value, damage, life and resistances for Cold, Fire, Lightning, Poison, Holy, and Arcane (The Holy and Arcane resistance appear to be interchangeable).
The Enchantress will be your magic Follower. Able to cast skills from afar, she will pair nicely with a more melee oriented character to blast away enemies from a distance.
Tier 4 (Unlocked at lvl 20) - Energize, Energy Bomb, Guidance
The Scoundrel will be a ranged physical fighter. Wielding a crossbow or bow, the Scoundrel will stay away from the forefront of the fight and pick off enemies from a distance.
Tier 1 - Crippling Shot, Rapid Fire, Poison Bolt
Tier 2 - Bandage, Dirty Fighting, Scavenge
Tier 3 - Power Shot, Multishot, Rain of Gold
Tier 4 - Anatomy, Black Market, Vanish
The Templar is your melee Follower. Taking the role of a Paladin like character, he will be in the front of the fight. Pairing him up with a ranged class may be a good idea to help keep your enemies at bay. WE actually saw this character as the Jack of Spades in the Diablo III poker set.
Tier 1 - Charge, Heal, Protection
Tier 2 - Guardian, Intimidate, Loyalty
Tier 3 - Intervene, Inspire, Tribute
Tier 4 - Empathy, Onslaught, Knight
Nothing else is known yet on how the rest of the system will work. However, as soon as some more information is shared, I can guarantee we will have all of the updates.
*Note that this has not been officialized or released by Blizzard yet but the current information is accurate.
Recently, through both the Battle.net forums and Twitter, we have gotten a few updates about how traits will work in Diablo III. When asked about conditional traits, Bashiok had this to say:
Official Blizzard Quote:
There are a number of traits which are too situational to be deemed worthwhile to invest in. A few examples are:
Increases damage against beasts.
Increases damage against demons.
Increases damage against undead.
We agree, and they were removed from Traits a while back. (not that you could have known that) So yay!
We don't want traits (passives) to be boring. Even the ones that are pretty bland stat increase type passives, we try to make them feel weighty. Trait points are fairly rare, so that lets us make each point feel a lot sexier to spend. Even if they're just standard +% stat passives, they're BIG +% increases. But, there's also a lot of traits that are fairly intricate in what they provide, and to no small degree can be game changers. Either way they'll be a crucial component to any character build.
Although the first part of this quote is rather self-explanatory, the rest is considerably more interesting. It appears as though the percentages associated with traits have been boosted since we saw them at the Blizzcon demo, and as a result they have a bigger impact on the build of your character, leading to even more customization possibilities. However, that does not mean traits have become all that much more powerful than the last time we saw them in action. Although the percentages gained from traits has increased, the Diablo III team has also drastically decreased the amount of trait points a character will have at the maximum level.
Official Blizzard Quote:
@spiri7walker We give them out every 3 levels, the first one at level 3, so 19 trait points are available to spend at level 60.
When they were announced at Blizzcon, traits were given out every other level, and the Diablo III team quickly pointed out that they weren't quite satisfied with that setup. In a change that seems comparable to the decision to put the level cap at 60, Blizzard has decided to make trait points more valuable and less common. As a result, characters will probably end up more focused around certain traits instead of being spread out across large amounts of passives.
Despite this more focused approach, it does appear as though there are plenty of choices, including ones that wouldn't initially appear to have a place in a viable combat build.
Official Blizzard Quote:
I'm very happy to hear this, but what of lucky and intimidation? They are also fairly controversial traits that increase noncombat related stats.
Lucky increases gold find by 10%. It's tough to say how that kind of thing will balance out. It wouldn't be worth taking until at least Nightmare, IMO, and even then a trait point is a fairly powerful thing. I don't know if I'd spend it on gold find. But, that's kind of a cool choice then, right?
This is not the first time Bashiok has used gold find as an example of an "interesting choice," so it would appear as though gold is actually important and as a result gold find is something to consider. However, as Bashiok points out, that does not mean theres much room for it, especially if we are only awarded nineteen trait points. In the end, we'll just have to wait for the beta to really see what traits remain and how the trait system as a whole functions.
@Diablo And will there be any quests, which are not required for main story progression, that will award you additional trait/skill points?
@spiri7walker Currently all skill and trait points are metered out purely through gaining levels.
So it appears that, at least for the moment, we won't be getting traits as rewards from anything other than leveling, unlike in Diablo II where a select few quests rewarded the player with extra skill points.
May nineth's conference call left us with just enough beta information to drive us crazy but not enough to mark our calendars (if you missed the coverage, see May 9th Conference Call.) The aforementioned beta is being "targeted" to hit testing audiences sometime in Q3 (third quarter) of this year. But just what does "targeted" mean? Today, we'll take a look at instances in which Blizzard has not been on time, and then we'll see what these delays mean for eager Diablo III beta testers.
If there's any one game developing company known for delays...Well, let's just take a look at the facts. The Diablo franchise, itself, is no spring chicken. There's the ten years we've been patiently awaiting Diablo III, and the seven years we had to wait for even the announcement during the final Worldwide Invitational (see Diablo III Announced). But how far back to delays go in Diablo's history?
Did you know that Diablo II was originally slated for a 1999 release date? According to a very archaic passage from the reputed ShackNews game news network, the second installment was delayed an entire year.
But the delays don't stop there. The Starcraft franchise has had its share of shortcomings, even establishing a hallmark among ghosted games. Starcraft: Ghosthas been on what Blizzard calls an "indefinite hold" since 2006, with a game announcement reaching as far back as 2002. Guess the game was dead before it even hit shelves.
For a more modern gaming audience, the delays of Starcraft II might be a source for more sorrow. In 2009, GossipGamerreported that the game was being delayed due to Battle.net conflictions (and the game still launched with Battle.net problems.) Before even that delay, it was further put off track due to the taskforce needed to push out Wrath of the Lich King.
As for the much-loved Warcraft RTS franchise, which is often differentiated by fans as being entirely separate from World of Warcraft, Warcraft III was delayed by as much as a year, with a purported release set for 2001 and later delayed to 2002.
How should these details factor in to our beta date hopes, if at all? To be fair, several things should be taken into consideration with regards to the past. Diablo II was, of course, being developed under a much smaller team than the more modern one led by Jay Wilson. In addition to creating an entirely new game engine from the ground up for Diablo III, Blizzard has undergone several employment revamps since Blizzard North's time, making their last ten years nothing to scoff at.
Starcraft: Ghost was being developed entirely by third-party developers until Blizzard simply bought out the latest company, Swingin' Ape Studios, in 2004. Maybe there's something to be said for it not being directly developed by Blizzard Entertainment. And perhaps to Starcraft II's credit, the game was entirely finished and ready for release, but structural details with the latest rendition of the Battle.net system caused some unforeseen problems.
Years later, Blizzard now boasts dedicated development teams for each franchise, as well as a Battle.net team and a budget that would make most developers envious. With relatively little else going on for Blizzard development-wise, perhaps we can place more faith in "targeted" dates. Let's hear what you think!
The May Conference call is now over. While most of the call was not about D3, we did get some important information. Most importantly, the Diablo III external beta testing is expected to begin in Q3 of this year; that is July 1st - September 30th. Also with this, Mike Morhaime said that they are still pushing to get Diablo III out this year. Of course, with Blizzard, no dates are set in stone. If anything goes wrong or extremely well, these dates can change. However, considering this is the most current news about the beta and the time frame given is very soon, it is more than likely we will be seeing beta start in a few months. From there, it all depends on how well beta goes for the release date of the actual game. Along with this news, we learned that they have begun internal testing last week. This means that most if not all systems are in the game and running. Along with this, we have been promised to get information about all remaining systems before beta so expect a lot of Diablo III updates very soon.
We want to thank everyone who came to the site to get these updates and the 3,500 live viewers who listened to the podcast today. You can expect a lot more updates in the next coming months and plenty of beta coverage here at DiabloFans and through Force Strategy Gaming. There will be a recorded version of the live podcast later today for those of you who missed it. In the mean time, you can check out the slideshow presentation they gave, and if you're actually interested, you can take a look at this quarters' numbers. If you weren't able to listen into the live DiabloCast, you can listen to the recorded version now.
As I am sure most of you know by now, today @ 1:30 PST is the day of the Activision/Blizzard financial conference call. Now, normally there is not a lot of interesting information during these calls for us DIabloFans, however, todays may be the exception. During the last conference call, Mike Morhaime said there would be news regarding the beta during this call.
Official Blizzard Quote:
As for Diablo III, development continues to go well, and we’re very excited about the game. Our most recent public showcase for Diablo III was at the G-Star show in Korea, where demo stations attracted huge lines of players. I’m looking forward to sharing some more news about the game and our upcoming beta on the next call
So, with the promise of at least "news" and hopefully good news, we here at DiabloFans will be doing everything we possibly can to relay this information with you guys. We will be doing this though various avenues.
First, the actual link to the conference call for those of you who want their info direct from the source. Keep in mind, this is a conference call for investors. This is not a conference call for Blizzard or Diablo. Most of the call is business jargon for investors of Activision and Blizzard. Unless you are into that sort of stuff, you probably should avoid the call itself. http://investor.acti...m?eventid=96008
The second way to get your information from the call is through the Live DiabloCast. Sixen, Force, and ScyberDragon (myself) will be having a live broadcast of the podcast we normally do. We will be discussing Diablo 3 in general, answering questions from you guys (that you can submit on Force's Facebook page), and announcing any Diablo news given during this call. http://www.youtube.c...s/0/OzJQX1Pt3ZQ
Finally, for those of you who would just like your news right here on DiabloFans, I will be giving up to the minute updates on any news given during the call right here. The Front Page, and more specifically this post, will be used to relay any news we hear during the conference call. You can also check out our IRC to chat with other DiabloFans about any of the news given. http://www.diablofans.com