Mike Huang, an ex-Blizzard North Developer, recently posted in his personal blog a few thoughts about Diablo III, from similarities to what they had done in the early concept stages of Diablo III prior to their departure, to the complete change of direction in certain areas of the game.
Mike Huang: When I left Blizzard in '03, Blizzard North had done quite a bit of pre-production work on Diablo III, as well as some protoyping on the 3d-game engine. Today at the Blizzard Invitational in Paris, they announced the release of Diablo III. Since much of the work we had done on Diablo III was concept and prototype work, seeing the development they've done over the last 5 years was very interesting; while some of the concepts we were developing definitely looks like it made it through to the version of the game they displayed, some of the design choices they appear to have made seem counter to the decisions the original Diablo team members would have made had they remained on development of the title -- the most apparent change that I can point to is the appearance of "floating numbers" as seen in the gameplay video -- this was a feature that Blizzard Irvine continually "suggested" during development on Diablo II, which Blizzard North refused to implement -- with development now located within Irvine, the decision to add floating numbers to the game isn't one which surprises me.
One of the design choices which again shows Blizzard Irvine's hand in the changes made is the re-appearance of the Barbarian character class -- the original design documents for Diablo III included a set of all new character classes, with no reappearance of old character classes (our reasons for this was simple -- since we were enhancing and improving the skill system, we didn't want to try and adapt old skills into a new system -- we'd rather create all new skills for the new character classes. The return of the Barbarian class feels like a change that was made after development of the title was moved to Irvine 3 years ago. -- this is an excerpt only. Read the full article at Mike Huang's blog
I to wonder what it would have been like, with only Blizzard north working on it.
But that is still some good info right there.
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-Humankind cannot gain anything without first giving something in return. To obtain, something of equal value must be lost. That is alchemy's First Law of Equivalent Exchange. In those days, we really believed that to be the world's one, and only, truth.
Hmmm. . . makes me wonder if that rules out the possibility of old characters making a comeback. Maybe they only chose one, the most popular one. Well if they did it for one old char. maybe they will do it again for another character *whispers assassin repeatedly*:)
It reverberates within when I think of Knaak's words. He said on my interview that Blizzard had great plans for Zayl the Necromancer. Could he have meant a new novel? Or did he mean Zayl would be in Diablo 3? If so, as an aged Necromancer -- 20 years later, since the Barbarian is the same guy. Or would Zayl be a quest NPC in Diablo 3?
If all he meant was a new book, I think I have seen an interesting pattern.
Starcraft: I, Mengsk (by Graham McNeill)
World of Warcraft: Arthas (by Christie Golden)
... maybe Diablo: Zayl ?
No doubt that D3 would have looked differently if its development had stayed with Blizzard North. But whose to say it would have been better and more successful?
Yeah, those guys did a great job on the first 2 titles, but that was a long time ago, and things have changes. The gamers have changed. Maybe leaving the game with Blizzard North would have produced a game that's closer to the first 2 titles.
So far I like what I see of D3, I think the guys in Blizzard Irvine have a better chance of creating a game that's a good sequel to the series, yet distinct and not a clone of the first 2.
Personally, I have to admit I like the added floating numbers. It's just fun seeing them going on screen, and being able to know when you were blocked or missed helps as well.
As for the Barbarian making a comeback, I really don't care. As long as all the characters are properly designed and implemented, I don't care whether some old ones make a comeback. Sounds to me like Blizzard North were just trying to take an easy out with the decision to replace all the characters. If a character is very popular, why not keep it?
I bet things would have been way diferent if North kept developing Diablo III... and it would have released already - but Blizzard didn't like it from what I can remember. Well, North used to be another company named Condor, so you can say Condor made Diablo 1, and then Diablo II, when that was in production Blizzard kept giving ideas but were not being used, and in Diablo III, Blizzard flat out did not like what they were doing and they wanted to do it "the right way" or something, and that is how I see it - in the end though, everything will be awesome! At least since Blizzard is making Diablo III now, we have a chance to see our old characters return, unlike how they said the original concept was no returning characters.
The floating numbers are something I feel can be left out of the game. I hope there will be an option, where you have a choice to turn them on or off. I always felt Diablo games had the realest feeling out of any RPG ever )aside from those evil, axe wielding cows(
Although it is kind of nice in PK when you can actually see exactly how much damage you are dealing, with the health bars you don't have an exact number, I like to see the math, after all the resistances, defenses and attack bonus's are added up to see that actual damage that you are inflicting.
Just give us the ability to control the interface, If you like numbers that appear you can have them. As Long as It doesn't hinder or slow the game in any way, I can't see a problem with it.
I too wonder if Blizzard North would have made something better or worse. I don't think it would have been worse but it could have been more like Diablo 1-2(witch could be good or bad) or too much like Diablo 1-2 which could have reduced the quality of Diablo 3.
About the floating numbers, from what I seen they only appeared when critical hit were made, I came to think that because it was more often when the skill that give 25% more critical was used that they appeared.
"such a shame that we won't be seeing this title on the shelves for another year or two at the earliest"
i havent seen anything or heard anything that would point to the games relaese in TWO years?
ok maybe im noob, but what i have read shows that blizzard games tend to release 12 - 15 months after announcement, some earlier.
but hasnt blizzard said the game is in the satge of simply adding content, to me that sounds like "we are almost done" how long could polishing take? a year?????!!!! at the most.
plz someone help me understand why its going to take so long, it pisses me off everytime i hear someone say 2010 or even 2011, please just gtfo
Because Blizz has, in my opinion released the BEST games ever to be played, they will not even dream of starting production until they feel the game is a masterpiece. It must be flawless to perfect in their scrutinizing eyes before it will graze our fingertips. They have an image, a reputation to live up to... and they know that.
The reason they advertise or announce their big titles months or years before they actually arrive is not because we ask them to, it is simply because it will drive up hype so they get a good record setting launch day sale figure. They already know the fans will buy it, the marketing ploy is to try and recruit people who have not yet enjoyed one of their masterpieces simply by giving us more than adequate time to prepare to buy it. I have personally told about ten people that Diablo Three was announced, and they turned to me and said "what's that?"
I got word at 5:19:36 AM CST that allegedly Diablo III is estimated to release in March of 2009.
I'm not saying this is true, nor am I acting like one of those jackasses who kicks it with the CEO of Blizz every Friday and shares a few girls on Saturdays. All I'm saying is that from this exact minute of 5:31 AM CST on July 13th back to June 28th has been disguised as a 16 day journey, but it's been a fucking 200 year epic. I want this game out tomorrow. I want to not see it coming. I want some random buddy I got in the military to come from Naples, Bahrain, Sydney, Tokyo in the middle of the night, repel my damn wall through my window with a grappling hook, and jump on me screaming "I SAW DIABLO III AT BEST BUY! WHY ARE YOU SLEEPING!?!?"
So what I wanted to do is two things: #1 See if it's possible at all to get this confirmed if even by "That sounds about right"
#2 To let everyone know, if this is true, there is some hope that it is soon to come because I'd damn well expect the same and would be mad as hell if a brother on the frontlines was holding out on me
I don't expect too many responses that will be helpful or project answers, but all I need is one.
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"Dime for the Body - Penny for the Thought - Bitches Wanna Think They Got Game But They Too Broke to Bought - I Got the Body, And the Plan Taught - All Skills Combined, I Am ~ The Boss" - USNSEALs
I think closing Blizzard North was mistake. a big mistake. Lots of good points have been made about how D3 is already looking too much like WoW and not enough like Diablo, and I agree so Im not gonna beat a dead horse. Now as a loyal Blizz fan, and player of all there games, I have to make an observation - up until WoW, all the game worlds were uniqe and independant - afterwards though, it seems to me that blizzard has been blinded by the success of WoW - they now appear to view the world through a azeroth colored lens and think that just because it worked in WoW it will work everywhere. Floating number is D3? Bright colored lands and clean dungeons? Health globs? RAINBOWS?! all of this makes me want to /wrists. Obviosly the inventory and action bars are pulled straight from WoW - I want my belt back - I want to walk around with 30 potions I found in rotting 3000 yr old mummies - I want my inventory to look like it was packed by a tetris master - i dont care how unrealistic it was, it was Diablo. Hell, even in SC2 you see WoW influence (although thank god not nearly as much) and that april fools joke they pulled withthe "Tauren Marine" unit? Yeah I knew it was a joke, but it was about as funny as telling someone their mom died and then going April fools! She only has a malignent brain tumor!
WoW is sucessfull. No doubt. But is D3 and (to a lesser extent) SC2 going to be as succesful with WoW influences? I think not.
No my friends, Diablo should have stayed the project of Blizz North, then we would already be playing the dark and gothic D3 (and probobly an expansion by now) we have all had wet dreams about for the last 7 years.
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"We must all fear evil men, but there is an evil which we must fear most, and that is the indifferance of good men."
If there's an option to turn off the floating text in Diablo III, I'll certainly use it, but I honestly hope the whole concept gets scrapped in pre-release. It doesn't seem to be something Blizzard feels strongly about, and I can't see how it would contribute to the gameplay or feel. Now that I think about it, it could certainly help deaf or hard-of-hearing players, but the sounds for blocking and crits are certainly sufficient (and make sense, whereas a flying number doesn't). Still, it's nothing to bitch about; just a minor complaint if it ships with the game.
I definiately have nothing against the Barbarian coming back. Even though the Diablo series has traditionally had totally new classes with every release, it's great to know that not only does the hero that engaged in such corageous actions throughout Diablo II survived, but he's back to continue his journey. This is one merit of Blizzard taking over: Diablo II's ending gave no indication as to the hero's fate, and only with the disbanding of Blizzard North do we get to actually play him again. I do realize that, in the canon, a group of heroes accomplished these feats, but since most of them are obviously not playable, they're likely corrupted bosses by now. The Barbarian and his buddy that's kept from the previous game, whomever that may be, are the only heroes that Terror can't best (yet).