Just posted on Blizzard's Twitter page, fans can now peruse a swath of fantastic developmental Blizzard concept art for many of their newest games, including tons from the Diablo, Starcraft, and World of Warcraft universes:
Official Blizzard Quote:
Diablo: Check out the all-new #Blizzard Concept Art gallery featuring artwork used while developing our games. So snazzy! http://cot.ag/bmie0O
Reminisce the good times over the last two years that we've seen unique and vibrant Diablo III concept art, including pieces of the female Monk, Deckard Cain, bestiary, locations, and the ever-enduring Archivist class. Twenty-eight pages of colored joy await- get started!
As it is with many other games, balancing become one of the most important aspects of Diablo III. Will one class be better than the rest or will only a few select skills be used by every player playing that class? Many fans are weary with the idea of Hammerdins and other cookie cutter builds returning. How does a game avoid such fallacies? Bashiok responding to a post asking similar questions.
Official Blizzard Quote:
There are no skill trees any more. Skills are still tiered by when you can buy them (essentially a level requirement) but there aren't any trees, it's one big pool. Before this game even reaches a beta state there will be hundreds of people playing it internally, and most likely there will be builds that are developed during that time. But the game is specifically being designed in a way that skill progression is as much of a choice as possible. There will always be builds determined to be 'the best' as long as there are choices and options. Making every skill and every pathway perfectly equal would mean watering down skills, making bland options, and overall homogenizing the classes and skill abilities. So it's a trick of balancing unique and interesting and fun skills while also ensuring that no matter which ones you pick you're not totally gimped. I also want to point out that skill runes can have a fairly dramatic impact on how skills function (and even look) so builds are further compounded not just by the skills you choose, and itemization and other stats that improve those skills, but skill runes that can potentially change their very behavior. And those changes can range from small things like adding a chance to stun, to very extreme things like causing an AoE knockback, and any creatures knocked back repeat that AoE knockback from where they land, and so on and so forth. So there's quite a bit of room for experimentation if not build potential within all of that.
the first part of his posts gives us just one more cookie crumb on how the new skill system is working. He mentions that while the skill tress are still out, the skill tiers are still in. A certain level must still be hit to acquire a certain skill. Only, instead of splitting up the skills into specific types, all the skills are floating around in one giant pool.
Bashiok then continues to talk about avoiding cookie-cutter builds. The idea of every build being equal is impossible. There will always be a particular build of skill choices that allow for the most damage. To limit players choices is not a good way to avoid this. For example, if a player chooses one skill, they are not allowed to have another. The whole point of abolishing the skill trees is to allow players to choose any combination of skills. So how then do you avoid cookie-cutter builds. Bashiok's answer is with fun and exciting builds. Blizzard is attempting to make different builds for different tastes. While many may choose the most damaging builds, other players may choose builds that are played a little differently. Perhaps the most damaging is not always the most fun build to play.
Bashiok finished his post talking about balancing issues for the game. Not only are they testing out the thousands of possible class builds but they are also aware of the affects of different item customization and skill runes. While we have not gotten too much information on what type of customization different armor and weapon choices allow, Blizzard is testing different stat augmentations with the numerous amounts of builds. Perhaps the biggest and most complicated mechanic added to the balancing troubles are the skill runes. Bashiok commented on the range of these effects from adding a small stun to adding a chained combo stun, AoE, and knock back addition to a skill. With so many different systems all affecting balancing for the game, one can only wish to be one of Blizzard's employees who get to play the game for endless amounts of hours testing the game.
One can only hope that such bans continue, as all of us have fallen prey to the thousands of spam bots poisoning Battle.net as never before and often circumventing such player precautions as level requirement settings for public games. On a positive note, Bashiok went on to inform that these account bans were in many cases thanks to player emails to their hotlines:
Many account closures come as the direct result of tips emailed to our hacks team by legitimate Battle.net users. If you come across a hack, find a site responsible for distributing hacks, or have a replay of a newly available hack, please report this to our hacks team at [email protected] or through our Hacks Report Form at http://us.blizzard.c...S&tag=hacksform
So, keep it up- each email you send is less spam for all of us!
Paying to bring back a fallen hardcore character was something I read someone here post once, and I simply repeated it to say I thought it was an interesting idea. I'm not a designer. Things I find interesting doesn't mean they're being implemented. I have though heard Jay (who is lead designer) say that paying to bring back hardcore is pretty much a horrible idea.
As we went over back in July of last year, many players were worried when the mention of microservices for real money was mentioned to be added to Diablo III. Perhaps the biggest concern was Bashiok's reply to being able to resurrect a Hardcore character for a small fee. Many Hardcore players felt that Diablo III may become too easy and catered towards a less experienced audience. Some believe that adding a way to resurrect a dead hardcore character entirely defeats the purpose and spirit of hardcore play. If microservices of this nature were implemented, no one would have to worry about being killed, so long as money is at hand. Whichever players have the most cash would likely be top hardcore players, bringing the game back to Diablo II, where riches often triumph over work. Well fear no more. Bashiok has posted again and stated that his mention of Hardcore resurrections was merely just a thought of his. He went on to mention that Jay Wilson, lead designer for Diablo III, is definitely against this idea. Only hard work and mad skillz will help you defeat the minions of Hell, Hardcore style.
With the idea of microservices mentioned, there are a lot of possibilities out there. Many free games use this style of microservices as a means to gain revenue. They offer players the option to buy gear, skills, and new areas for real money. Blizzard has only used these services, thus far, for minor server related issues such as name changes and server transfers. However, with a possible free MMO from Blizzard on the horizon, it is possible that they will be using their new Battle.net system to test out some mocroservices with Diablo III? How do you feel about Diablo III having microservices? What microservices do you hope to see and more importantly, hope never appear?
Blasting body parts have been a special and amusing feature of Diablo for many years, not the least of which was the Necromancer's Corpse Explosion spell. Gorier, squishier, and more violent than ever, a similar effect will return in Diablo III, by way of the Monk's Exploding Palm.
If Diablo II had some quirks, bare skeletons expelling pounds of flesh and gore was definitely one of them. Consequently, it should be no surprise that some have expressed concern for such a corpse explosion animation the overriding of the promised unique death animations of Diablo III. Bashiok responded, in his usual borderline-trolling sort of way*:
We have tons of unique death types, the exploding palm effect you're talking about though is an effect of the skill itself though and not the makeup of the creature it's used against.
When you apply the bleed-DoT from Exploding Palm a beating heart appears over the creature it's applied to. After they take enough steps or are otherwise killed the heart explodes and deals AE damage. So it's not actually the skeleton exploding (although that happens too) that's causing the blood effect, but the skill itself.
Magic skills can do magic things!? wuuuuUUUUUAAHHH?
the blood explosion is the AE damaging effect of the skill that occurs when the subject dies. It occurs along with the death effect of whatever it's applied to, and isn't an increase of their normal death effect. So skeleton, or bat, or apple*, or chair*, or rock man**, or forum poster*** a huge blood explosion is happening regardless because it's what the AE explosion looks like.
*Exploding Palm cannot be applied to inanimate objects/destructibles
** Rock man refers to a person who plays rock music and not a man made of rocks
*** Please oh please oh please