@Diablo and Bashiok broke a period of silence to give us some useful and interesting information today.
In regards to skills, @Diablo had this to say in response to a question about the available number of active skills per character.
Official Blizzard Quote:
Diablo: @crafty_deluxe Wizard has the most with 25, the rest have either 21 or 22. Currently. Abilities will likely change before release.
Whether or not this will mean different skills, a different number of skills, or only different rune effects is unknown. Chances are that no skills will be removed, and seeing as this comment is in response to a question about the number of active skills, chances are that not all skills have been revealed or there are skills still in development. As soon as there is any elaboration on the subject we'll be sure to let you know.
Yesterday, when the class pages went up on the Diablo III official site, some people noticed that the Demon Hunter's page seemed to suggest that they were able to use guns. Although skills such as Evasive Fire's crimson rune effect mention the use of bullets, Bashiok cleared up the issue completely and let us know that guns will not appear in Diablo III.
Official Blizzard Quote:
Demon hunters are able to pepper the battlefield with scores of arrows and projectiles, or snipe distant enemies with a precision undreamt of by other heroes. Their arsenal includes longbows, guns, grenades, hand-thrown weapons, and even dual-wielded crossbows.
Today, Bashiok cleared up the confusion that resulted, breaking a stretch of silence from the blues other than replies to technical issues.
Official Blizzard Quote:
There are no guns in Diablo. Shame on anyone who wants otherwise! SHAME.
It's an error in the text, and will be corrected.
So fortunately for some (hopefully most) and unfortunately for others, the Diablo III team has reaffirmed its view that guns don't fit in Diablo. Are you disappointed or happy that whole scare is over? Let us know in the thread below.
Today, the Diablo III website got an upgrade in the form of an official skill calculator. No longer will you have to go back and forth between lists of skills and their rune effects to plan your characters! The skill calculator itself looks very similar, if not identical, to the skill UI seen in the beta, and has three groups of skills for each class. To use it, simply head over to the Skill Calculator page found on the Diablo III site, select your class, and the rest is pretty much self explanatory. You should keep in mind that the numbers inserted into skill descriptions are based on level 60 characters with level 7 runes.
The skill calculator also provides a very convenient way to see the description of each skill and its rune effects, along with the icon for each skill. If you're starting from the home page instead of the link above, select the Game tab, look under Tools, and you'll find the link to the skill calculator there. The Game tab also provides an interesting look at future updates to the official page.
Another update on the official site is a new page on Diablo III's shared stash. Although its not anything new, it does provide a nice overview of the stash's functions in the upcoming game. The article about the shared stash also reveals that Hardcore characters will have access to a different stash and Auction House than Normal characters. The wording of the section on the Hardcore stash also seems to hint that there could be some items available only to Hardcore characters that you can't find on Normal, or possibly the other way around.
Other than that, the site was also updated with a What's New in Diablo III page. It provides short paragraphs on Runestones, Followers, Crafting & Artisans, the Auction House, and other major parts of Diablo III that were previously unseen in the series or have been improved upon for the third installment. For the sections that have pages on the site, there are links to click through to. However, for features such as Artisans and Followers, there are no official pages yet, but we'll be sure to let you know when those pages get updated.
Alongside the update that added a skill calculator to the official Diablo III site, Blizzard also added in depth character pages to give you a better idea of how each class works. Although they obviously share some features with the class pages on the old site, there are some nice new features that show off the main differences between each class. Be sure to check out each page through the links below.
The first noticeable difference between these new pages and the ones on the old site has to be the Key Features bar on the side of each class page. It essentially compresses the reasons to play each class into a few short paragraphs, which also gives a very good idea of the playstyle of each class. For example, the Barbarian's page brings attention to the shouts that they can utilize to buff themselves and their allies, while the Witch Doctor page gives a short description of how pets add to the flavor of the class. Right beneath the Key Features is an in depth look at the resource used by each character, which brings attention to both the lore and functions of Fury, Hatred/Discipline, Spirit, Mana, and Arcane Power.
Each class page also provides the character's background. In a brief overview of the lore behind the classes, a short paragraph tells the motivations and objectives of each class to explain why they risk their lives fighting the Burning Hells, from the Wizard's quest for fame to the Monk's desire to embody the will of their one thousand and one gods. For anyone who read the old character pages, there might not be anything new, but the background section could provide a welcome refresher nonetheless.
Shortly after the backgrounds, there are two extremely interesting sections. The first is the Unique Equipment section, which goes over the items that can be used by that class and no other. The Monk has the ability to use not only fist weapons, but also daibos that can be used to attack and deflect incoming projectiles. The Demon Hunter page describes the ability to use and dual wield small, fast firing pistol crossbows. The Barbarians are able to use their immense strength to wield massive weapons, enormously big two handed weapons that can be used to pulverize enemies. Barbarians also are able to use nearly every weapon available in the game. The Wizard uses orbs to augment their powers and wands to project their abilities through enchanted lengths of wood. Finally, the Witch Doctor can use ceremonial daggers that are normally used in human sacrifices and mojos, which are off-hand items that seem functionally similar to the Wizard's orbs.
After going over the weapons each class can use, the character pages also give us a glimpse at what armor progression will look like through 3D models at the bottom of each page. While we have seen progression concept art before, seeing the armor sets in 3D more accurately depicts how the look of your character will change as you progress from act to act and difficulty to difficulty.
Each character page also has a link directly to their skill calculator located at the top, sitting right next to tabs for active and passive skills. While the skill calculator might be all you need for exploring the skills for each class, these tabs do provide an excellent side by side look at each skill and rune effect without limiting you to looking at six active and three passive skills at a time. In these tabs, you are also allowed to search for a skill by name, and can click on filters to only view one type of skill at a time, such as discipline skills for the Demon Hunter or signature skills for the Wizard.
Although I'm sure reading that description was enjoyable, I can assure you that these new character pages are an extremely fun read for any Diablo fan. So as I said before, be sure to check out each page in its full glory through the links at the top of this article.
Since the resource page went up on the official Diablo III site, there has been quite a bit of discussion about the Demon Hunter's Hatred and Discipline globe. Many people have criticized its colors as being too close to the red and blue of Life and Mana, while other people have come to its defense and noted that red and blue are simply easily distinguishable colors.
In a thread started by our own Sixen, Zarhym made a lengthy response describing the reasoning behind the color choices for Hatred and Discipline.
Official Blizzard Quote:
White and black, for example, would be bad. One purpose of the color scheme is to ensure it's very readable when your focus is on the game world and not the UI. Given the dark vibe of Sanctuary and the way the UI fits in with that feel, black simply wouldn't pop out at all. It'd be much more difficult to track your Hatred (which is the resource you'll be managing most frequently) peripherally when background colors are so frequently on the darker end of the color spectrum. Just the same, the suggestion of white for Discipline seems only to stand in contrast to black which, again, just wouldn't work.
Hatred was given a deep red color to give it plenty of distinction from barbarian Fury, plus red is just an angry color (refer to my avatar and personality). We also mixed in a bit of black with the red to further push Hatred toward the demon hunter's color kit.
Now, given that both resources are displayed in a single globe, it's really important to us that the colors effectively oppose one another. Unlike the color red thematically fitting Hatred, Discipline isn't a concept that has such a universal color representation. As such, the most important thing becomes readability. And the best way to make sure Discipline stands apart from Hatred is to make it color opposite, which is blue. White could have been used, but it would overpower the red-colored Hatred due its value strength (we want the values to be close together) and white doesn’t support the notion of these concepts being opposed to one another. And once again we mixed in some black with the blue to fit with the demon hunter color kit.
As Zarhym points out, its important to remember that you're only really going to be looking at this, or really any, resource globe with your peripheral vision. Otherwise you'll have to be constantly taking your eye off of the action occurring on screen. As a result, the colors have to be extremely distinguishable, which limits the choices more than one might think at first.
Zarhym's response also caused people to point out that red and green, not blue, are complimentary colors. Zarhym was quick to point out that there were other problems with using green.
Official Blizzard Quote:
It's not that we overlooked green, we just definitely didn't want to go with that. It's way too tied to poison in Diablo. It wouldn't feel right.
The same reasoning was also provided for why Blizzard didn't use a green 'voodoo' or 'mojo' resource for the Witch Doctor, which was a popular suggestion. Some mock-ups were even made in this forums thread, and although they look cool, it also looks very similar to your health globe when you are poisoned in Diablo II.
Not only would a green resource globe look a bit too close to a poisoned health globe, but red and blue are actually farther apart on the color spectrum than red and green. By pointing out a post on theSkaBoss, Zarhym pointed us all to a small lesson on the color spectrum, which actually matters more than placement on the color wheel when distinguishing colors.
Blue and red, however... step away from your color wheels and look at a map of the spectrum. You seeing what I'm seeing? The thing about blue and red is that as far as the visible spectrum goes, they sit on opposite edges of the map. (Don't talk to me about violet, violet doesn't get to participate in this conversation.) Blue and red take on a lot of roles as opposites when you start talking to astronomers, astrophysicists, and all those smart people. The simplest example: redshift and blueshift. Basically, if something producing light is moving away from you, it looks more red, and if something producing light is moving toward you, it looks more blue. This happens because of the wavelength of the light emitted is "shortened" or "lengthened" (not really, but that's what it looks like from your frame of reference,) by the object moving toward or away from you, respectively.
Look, the point is that the colors fit together in that ONE orb for the same reason that the colors fit together in two different orbs in the last two games. The colors are just good design opposites.
Many games (including the previous Diablo games) use red and blue as opposites, because what matters most is how far apart they are on the color spectrum, not whether or not they sit across from each other on the color wheel. As a result, if you want to make them as distinguishable as possible, blue and red is really the only choice. For the same reason that they didn't go for a 'yin-yang' design as suggested by some members, red and blue allow you to get a good idea of how much of each resource you have while still keeping your attention on the action.
So, after those lengthy and sometimes sarcastic explanations, what do you think about the Demon Hunter's resource globe? Has your opinion changed or does it remain the same? Feel free to discuss your views in the topic below.
As you are all completely aware, the Friends & Family phase of Beta testing has begun a few days ago, that in mind, what kind of content would you like to see the most? We want to be sure that we're not only producing lots of content, but we want to make sure that we're giving you all what you want to see!
Other (Let us know below!)
In our previous poll, we wanted to know which resource system/mechanic was your favorite... And it seems like the majority of you liked the Wizard's Arcane Power, followed up by an almost 3-way tie between the Barbarian's Fury, the Monk's Spirit, and the Demon Hunter's Split resource.
The Friends & Family testing phase has officially begun and you're all in for some real treats. If you missed the twenty-fourth episode, you can check it out here. Otherwise, the twenty-fifth episode covered the following topics: