Runed Grenades, SK Rating, Class Balance, Level Expansion, Followers, Blue Posts

Demon Hunter - Grenades Runed
Today we have the Demon Hunters runed - Grenades Grenades spell. As always please remember this may not be 100% accurate for what it will look like live. Also don't forget to thank Dokaroth for his help!

South Korea Rating
It looks like this topic will not be going away any time soon. DualShockers has just come out saying that the GRB has once again, for the fourth time, delayed the rating for Diablo 3. The next meeting will not be until Wednesday, so stick around for more information on this.

South Korean industry and media sources (like the prominent local gaming site expected Diablo III to finally receive the much coveted 18+ rating in Korea today, but it simply didn’t happen.

The endless saga (that is now turning into something more similar to a farce) that sees the rating of the upcoming and massively anticipated game by Blizzard continuously postponed by the local Game Rating Board continues: during the hearing that happened today no decision was taken.

According to the Korean branch of Blizzard there’s no indication that something is wrong with the game, so the company is taking a “wait and see” stance, but quite obviously the officials of the Game Rating Board believe that the game requires further time and consideration in order to be rated, despite the fact that the usual waiting time for a local rating is 15 days.

In the meanwhile the fanbase of the game is starting to reach the boiling point: South Korean gaming forums are bursting with comments towards the Game Rating Board that could be defined “uncharitable” if I wanted to write the euphemism of the century. The Korean gaming media is starting to use imaginative headlines that include words like “misfiring” or “dud” referring to the hearings of the committee.

Many western fans and part of the media are convinced (despite the firm denial by game director Jay Wilson and other Blizzard sources) that the lack of any western release date for Diablo III is due to the rating problems in Korea, and some are blaming Blizzard for committing to a global release.

At the moment there’s no word, official or unofficial, about when the rating could actually be delivered. The next hearing of the Game Rating Board is next wednesday, but we don’t know if Diablo III will even be on the schedule.

Class Balance
While it was said numerous since the announcement of the - PvP PvP system, it appears as though they still want some balance within PvP. If not directly for this reason, then to just make sure each class is equally as strong.

Official Blizzard Quote:

If it's balanced perfectly it'd be 50/50. :) I don't know, ranged does have a damage advantage just because ... its ranged. A melee oriented class like the monk has to close the gap to do any damage, but luckily the monk has a few options to close the gap. The monk is going to be beefier though with more defense and vitality over the wizard, ideally that'd negate any extra damage the wizard is able to pull off before getting pommeled. There isn't a right answer, though. It comes down to skill selection, gear, and the players. Everything being equal it comes down to balance, and that should be equal as well if we do our jobs right, and if we don't you can expect some hotfixes or patches to try to make it that way. ;)

Level Expansion
Blizzard is already planning on how to handle the level progression once expansions begin coming out for Diablo III. Both increases in level caps and better gear will accompany the extra content to allow for a continual flow from Normal to - Inferno Inferno.

Official Blizzard Quote:

Diablo III levels are intended to pace the content, 1-30 in Normal, 30-50 in Nightmare, and 50-60 in Hell. It would stand to reason that were we to release an expansion we'd want additional levels to pace the additional content. There will absolutely be newer and better items introduced at some point as well, potentially even in patches.

Follower Viability
At BlizzCon, - Jay Wilson Jay Wilson revealed that - Followers Followers will be viable past Normal difficulty; influenced by community feedback. Bashiok ratified this decision in digital ink on the official forums. While not revealing anything new, he shared some tidbits surrounding this direction.

Official Blizzard Quote:

When we first announced the follower feature we revealed that these unique characters would accompany your hero on an adventure to save Sanctuary, but that they would only be able to survive in Normal difficulty. The amount of positive support the follower feature received, as well as the number of players who wanted to be able to keep these companions throughout the game -- even into the toughest difficulties -- left us wondering if it would be possible.

At BlizzCon we announced that we had taken that player feedback and were indeed working to make the single-player followers (templar, scoundrel, and enchantress) viable in the later difficulty levels.

We want to share some of the details surrounding this change and what it will mean for the single-player experience.

A lot of us wanted to see followers become viable throughout the game too, and agree they really add something to the experience as a whole. One of our main driving forces in making this decision was the benefits of the co-op experience, and the disadvantage of playing alone in the Nightmare, Hell, and Inferno difficulties. Followers won’t follow you into co-op games because you’ll already have the superior firepower of your friends to help you, but playing alone you’re going to want to take advantage of their benefits. We’ve made the later difficulties of the game brutally difficult, and we realize that for those attempting to tackle these later difficulties alone, they’re really going to actually want some additional support in the form of the followers.

Some players didn’t like their experience with mercenaries in Diablo II. We took feedback regarding mercenaries very seriously when designing Diablo III followers, and they differ from mercenaries in a few key ways that we think set them apart and resolve many issues. First of all, there is no resurrection or cost to your followers’ deaths, which makes their upkeep far less intrusive. When a follower takes enough damage to “die”, they simply take a knee, catch their breath, and after a few moments are back in the fight. That downtime could potentially have an effect on your own survival, but it’s unlikely to create a situation where you’re worrying about them or constantly working to keep them alive. We don’t want to turn what could be a fun benefit into a punishment by making players pay for their followers’ poor combat choices.

Secondly, when you die, so does your follower. These aren’t characters that can hope to compete or continue on without you. While some players prefer to be the lone wolf taking on the forces of evil, our intent isn’t to dilute the hero aspects by adding more wolves to your wolf pack. We want followers to be an extension of your bad-assery, not a liability. The followers could almost be considered automated buffs/damage skills, but of course with quite a bit more flavor and customization options.

We still have some tweaking to do with the followers, including their skills and end-game balancing. We continue to discover cool little ways to improve how each follower performs and the complements the different heroes. Our intent is to ensure players who take followers along find them to be helpful additions to their single-player experiences.

In the meantime, we’re interested to hear what you think of followers at end game and what your intent will be. Will you ever play alone, considering the benefits of co-op (personal loot drops, increased killing speed)? If you do play single player will you bring a follower? Or do you intend to challenge yourself by not bringing one?
(Blue Tracker / US Official Forums / EU Official Forums)

Blue Posts

Official Blizzard Quote:

A real-time clock
We're already working on implementing an in-game clock, and the current design is to have it associated with the mini-map (but that of course may change before release). Since it's not a critical feature, though, it may or may not be added to the beta. (Blue Tracker / Official Foums)

Salvaging and Chat spam
We're looking into a few different chat issues at the moment, and the impact that salvaging has on the chat window is something we feel could be improved. We're considering a variety of solutions for this, but don't have any plans to share just yet. (Blue Tracker / Official Foums)

On screen text display and variations
Great feedback! We'll look into better defining the different types of messages that appear in the chat window through color. (Blue Tracker / Official Foums)


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