Just looking at some of the reports linked to by fans here, I've seen that there is a good bit of information that was released at the Gamescon, and though this report may not cover all of it, it will hopefully "wet your whistle", as they say around here, for the pleasures BlizzCon '09 is sure to bring.
A report at Kotaku by Michael McWhertor (here) gives a nice run-down of what the writer experienced with a demo play of Diablo III at the Gamescon. It would seem that, while there were no additional characters able to be played besides the already-announced Barbarian, Wizard, and Witch Doctor, demo players were able to pick a character and start off in the new and previously-not-covered desert area, Sundered Pass, which apparently was very reminiscent of the deserts of Lut Gholein in Diablo II. As for how awesomely-desertesque this area was, well, perhaps Michael said it better than I could:
Quote fromOf course, the deserts in Diablo III look far better than those featured in the previous game, with visible winds carrying clouds of sand across the plains, dust storms kicking up around us. The land is similarly populated with tiny desert creatures, snakes and insects that get trampled underfoot.
Did you see that last little sentence? More squish-ables! Hurray!
Furthermore, he went on to elaborate that one of the main quest of this area of Diablo III was issued by Asheara to head to a town called Alcarnus and see what the raving is all about, perhaps related, quite obviously, again, to the Lord of Terror's return to Sanctuary. Whether or not this Asheara is related to or is, in fact, the same as the Asheara of Diablo II's Act III was not revealed (you can read more about the Asheara of Diablo II here in our Wiki).
However, it would seem that they never actually reached this precipice of the desert area's quest, but instead stumbled upon several side quests that, from the limited input we can gather, was quite entertaining, involving a certain Husam and his bounty:
Quote from...we ran into a few side quests. One sent us after the bounty of a man named Husam. The price on his head was high, so we took his head. It really only took one good whack from the maces we were dual-wielding. After some backtalk from Husam, we bludgeoned him until his head popped off.
And, even more, later in his write-up he mentions a few more of the quests:
Quote fromThe demo offered a few side quests on our way to Alcarnus. We ran into a "Crazed Miner," who offered us the quest, "A Miner's Gold." All we had to do was defend the miner while he raised a treasure chest via a pulley system. When he started, swarms of Fallen came after him. If we were successful in defending the miner from the swarm, we'd get half the gold. It really wasn't a challenge for the Barbarian, as Ground Stomp made that defense quest a simple task.
To me it seems that this last one, "A Miner's Gold", will be fallible. Meaning, you can fail it if you do not accomplish the required ends. This could be a good turn in the questing system for the Diablo series, since in Diablo II and Diablo I I believe that the only way you failed a quest was if you died doing it, at which point you would just come back from the dead and start again on it. This new way of handling quests, if my assumptions are correct, would provide a far heavier challenge than the previous installments did.
He then elaborated on the new inventory system some more, a 28-slot backpack called, officially, the Adventurer's Backpack (how creative). Items will react similarly to many new games, specifically MMO's come to mind (I remember this function in Runes of Magic):
Quote from...the newest version is far more streamlined. When hovering over unequipped items in your inventory, you'll see a pop up window with that item's vital statistics and the item you currently have equipped in that slot.
And there we have it, more evidence of developers mixing in the best of the old with the best of the new- being able to compare items without having to dance your mouse pointer around the screen between various items and instead being able to to it instantaneously by simply hovering your mouse over one item and seeing it compared against your current equipment. That seems like a welcome and useful change to Diablo II's archaic equipment system.
Now, of what he meant by this, I am not quite so sure:
Quote fromThat made it a lot easier to see if the leather pants we picked up at one point were better than the "lucky" leather pants we started out with. They were. A right click equipped them, draining our character's luck, but upping her armor.
This could literally mean that we have a new (or renamed) stat or modifier called "luck" or "lucky". I have no idea what it would do, and it could be very well that he was just being sarcastic here or something. If anyone has any better ideas on that, please save my skin and post them.
It appears, if it was that I missed this in previous declarations, that skills will once again be hotkey-able to the number row, as evidenced by this short splurge on the Barbarian's skill usage, and that Battle Cry, as in Diablo II, will be a party-boosting skill as well as a player-boosting one:
Quote fromWe were also equipped with two Barbarian skills, Ground Stomp and Battle Cry. The former was hot-keyed to the "2" and, when enabled, stunned everything around the Barbarian. Helpful, when Fallen are surrounding you and Fallen Shamen are tossing fireballs your way. The Battle Cry, on the "1" key, increased our armor class temporarily. If we were playing a multiplayer game, that Battle Cry effect would have been passed on to our party members. But we were doing this quest solo.
There was also a short heads-up on a few of the new monsters to come with this new desert area:
Quote fromsurrounded by Fallen and Sand Wasps. Those Sand Wasps really suck, by the way, ejecting a quartet of mini-Wasps at our hero. Nasty.
We ran into a few other nasty things in the desert, the most annoying of which was the Desert Dervish, a spinning tornado of a beast with a strong knock-back attack.
From there, he made his closing comments, which should hopefully give some of you more faith in the unfinished game:
Quote fromFrom graphics to gameplay to interface adjustments, Blizzard seems to have delivered with Diablo III. The game looks fantastic, dripping with atmospheric detail and gorgeous visual effects. But honestly, it's the user interface changes that are most exciting. Blizzard has made the process of looting and equipping much more efficient, letting the player focus on the action.
Whether or not all of that is true, though, remains to be seen until we all have our own hands on the game.
To wrap this up, you can see some of the screen shots taken during the event here: http://www.diablo-3.net/gamescom-gallerie (thanks to popez), and here are two YouTube videos (compliments of Mackan and Tech):
If you happen to stumble across any of those lovely gentlemen (or ladies), please be sure to give them a good positive rep point for some truly awesome finds! I know I will. And, Bashiok is providing a thread on the Battle.net forums (viewed via our Developer Tracker here) with links to reviews about the Gamescon coverage, so keep checking that around the clock today for even more articles on this wonderful event.
You can see the original thread created by m0n0x1d3 here with many good information contributions by other posters.