Release Launch Times, Customization, Loot Mooching, Graphics, Blue Posts

Update: Witch Doctor is now up on the promotional site.

Release Launch Time Per Region, More Info Soon
A few people have been asking about the blue post we saw a few days ago saying that we should see some information on what time the game will release in differnt regions. However it seems that post was deleted shortly after.

There is good news however. Bashiok has posted on twitter informing us that we should get more information "Soon". More interesting was the point he made of each region having their own launch time.

Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

do you know if worldwide release will be midnight GMT? On May 15. Thanks in advance :)
No, each region will have its own launch time. We'll be announcing them soon. (Source)

Bashiok had a long conversation, once again, on the topic of customization of characters in Diablo III.

Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

I've tried to reply to a couple threads, and it seems like there's just a desire to argue about it. I don't get a lot of sense that people want to really understand why, just that they played up to level 13, saw that the game is not Diablo II, and are upset about that. I'm not really sure how to have a conversation about it when there's just bad feelings and no one asking questions or wanting to learn more.

I can say "Wait until you have the entire game and its systems before passing judgment on the first few guided levels." but that doesn't go very far. People have seen skill trees before, they know what they are, and a diversion away from them is jarring. People like clicking a + button to spend attribute points, any systems attempting to make that more interesting or engaging is met with skepticism. I get it. It's tough to really understand how this is all going to play out together. I just constantly wish people took an approach of wanting to understand something before deeming it bad or wrong. Not to get preachy, but it's a nature that certainly extends beyond video games.

One thing I'm sure of, and why I don't find much interest in entering the argument, is that it'll all change after the game is released and people can see the full game and its design for what it is. It makes me sad seeing someone put off the game entirely because they want that + button, and anything but that is wrong, but ... ashamedly I also am at a loss of how to counter that way of thinking.

The demo was not well put together. It was insulting, mundane, and demonstrated so very little that people couldn't walk away with anything more than aspirations that the full game will be better, and that's what you're saying. "We know what we are doing, have faith."
Experience tells a story that you are trying to fight against. The demo did not reflect 100% positively on a game that I'm sure will be amazing.

Well, first off I'll disagree with you, and the thousands of thank yous and excited voices I've personally received and seen throughout the internet after having played this weekend would too.

That aside, I think that's decent feedback and I agree that being able to offer more of the game would certainly help people get a better feel for the game and its systems. Unfortunately right after the SK fight some pretty major plot development happens, and we simply aren't willing to compromise the enjoyment and discovery people will have on launch day by extending the 'barrier' of the beta.

So I guess it's a trade off of not showing enough of the game, or showing too much, and we went with the prior. We think it's ultimately the better decision.

bashiok...come on...I know you're trying to defend your game, but I think a lot of people would be satisfied if you just admitted that you are dumbing things down for the masses. It's a completely reasonable thing to do; you guys are doing it in WoW, it's obviously the direction you guys have decided to go with things, but nobody at Blizzard will just admit it. just come out and say that at some time WoW was not casual-friendly and that everything was becoming too complex both for Blizzard and for players, and that you guys have decided to simplify things for everyone. I think a lot of people don't like that there is no real, difficult decision making, because you can't really ever make a mistake. You can make all your soft-core characters the very first day and never have to make another toon again even if you play the game for 20 years. That's good for some people, but obviously a lot of seasoned gamers wont like that.
Yeah, I guess that's the mentality I just can't understand. WoW players should be especially aware that skill tress provided them no choice. You had your build, and then you'd have a few 'left over points' that you could spend anywhere, and you could spend them anywhere because they didn't matter. What mattered was the way you spent down the tree, and there was really one one or two right ways to do that per spec. I can't understand how anyone could logically look at that situation and say "I have a lot of choices!" unless the answer is they have no idea how to play the game and actually are making a bunch of choices, which are the wrong ones, and building horrible characters.

Diablo II was the exact same way. If you're not spending into synergies and boosting up a skill or two to max, you're probably doing it wrong.

How, in the wide wide world of sports, is having potentially hundreds of viable skills and the ability to only choose 6 of them, which means billions of possible build combinations, worse than a skill tree where you have one or two correct decisions?

There's only one logical answer to this, and that is people want to be locked into their decisions for better or worse because they feel that gives value to their choices. They are smart for picking the right answer and building a better or more interesting character. That is absolutely a noble concept, but we fundamentally just don't agree that people need to be locked into something for their choices to be smart or meaningful. How does a 15g respec make your choices instantly more palatable? You're suddenly a character building genius because the guy next to you has to pay 15g to copy you? Come on.

With billions of possible builds you will absolutely be doing something different than the guy next to you, and you making the skills you want to use work for you and be viable is a great achievement, because out of billions of possible builds how many do you think will actually work?

It's interesting to me that someone would value the permanence of their choices over being able to actually make choices at all.

Although I agree with you, I am curious about something: How has build diversity "performed" in internal testing? Do people tend to gravitate towards certain skills/builds, or is there actually a large amount of diversity in play?
There's a large amount of diversity, and some of that is afforded by overlap in skills. With ~150 skills per class they of course aren't all going to unique in their function, which allows for overlap and customization in build choice. In addition, we find that gear as well as just play experience will influence someone's build as they go. Someone might pick up an item with a +skill mod, and decide to swap around their build to benefit from the item. If they enjoy it they'll start building out a set that really feeds that new build. In addition to the Nephalem Valor buff which penalizes changing builds mid-game, there's a large amount of item and skill investment in perfecting a build that lends itself to sticking with it. I know people have a concept that players are just going to be swapping around their builds all the time, and that's certainly true as things are unlocking, but at high levels there's enough investment in a build that it just doesn't really happen.

I've said this elsewhere recently, but the designers knew they were on the right track for diversity and balance when people would come up to them and say "This skill is absolutely overpowered and required to play this class" and right behind them would be another person saying the exact same thing about another skill. There are absolutely skills that are very tempting, but different skills appeal to different people, and our intent (and what we believe we've achieved) is the ability for someone to choose a build that appeals to them and to make it work. A lot of personal taste, play style, experience, and even just aesthetics play more into build choices than people usually expect. And that's insanely exciting from both a design and player perspective.

You put out a system that moves you along and does not give you a SINGLE choice in the matter
Hrm. Oh, you mean until level 13? Well we specifically unlock very few abilities to start, but pretty quickly we have to be dumping handfuls on you every level. With as many skills and passives as there are it very quickly ramps up where every level you're getting four or five new things to try out, in addition to everything before it. There's no shortage of choice. I agree the choices are unlocked in a pre-determined way, but so are skill trees.

Seriously, why is elective mode hidden? It's causing a lot of unnecessary frustration, confusion and complaints.
Well I wouldn't say it's hidden, and we have a loading screen tip that calls it out. We honestly didn't want to continue adding things to the skill UI, and as a more advanced option it felt right for it to be found or learned about through 'tribal knowledge', as it were. We intend for the game to be played at first with the current set up, and if someone wants to try a more advanced option they can turn on Elective.

Why are you confused? They have to have some sort of stopping point in a beta. The SK boss happened to be a perfect stopping point. Bashiok stated that following the SK, there were events in the plot that they didn't want to reveal.
No, Grug thinks the beginning of the game is boring. I don't really have anything to say about it except that we disagree. I guess I'd add that many people tend to think other people know what they know, or have been following the game, or understand all of the game mechanics, etc.

For someone that's been following the game closely, and furthermore is in the beta, yeah I bet up to the SK is old news by now. That's not the case for everyone that will pick up the game, obviously.

D2 was the same way but worse. You got skill at level 1 6 and 12 for the first 13 levels and to get all the skills from the trees, you pretty much did not level any of the skills making them kind of weak (though not totally useless yet).
D3 you get skills at nearly every level, some rune variations by the time you get to level 13, and you know they are all useful to use if you want to.

Hah! I thought of that exact same thing last night. I started to plot out skill unlocks vs D2 but just didn't think it'd do any good (plus I got lazy). It'd be cool to have that in a chart, though. Number of options for active abilities at each level for D2 vs D3. There's just no contest in the amount of choice you have level to level.

Well it's late. I've read a lot of the discussion but I'm not sure I have much more to add at this point (or the steam to add it). I do want to thank everyone, regardless of how you feel, for investing the time to discussing the game. I understand none of us would be here if we didn't care, and for that I appreciate the energy you're putting in to wanting Diablo III to be the best game it can be.

Have a good night. Stay civil.

Ignores passive skills and runes
I should have expected someone to try to twist it. Runes are themselves the class skills. You can't ignore them for an honest comparison, sorry.

I honestly wasn't trying to make it look like Diablo 3 was worse off.
If anything, I kept mentioning that Diablo 3's Barbarian has just as many skills as the Diablo 2 Barbarian before runes ever come into play, AND the rate of acquisition is much better spread out AND the lack of commitment encourages experimentation.

Sorry, then. :P I honestly just wanted to see the proper comparison with all the variants.
Also for reference you finish Normal right around level 30, Nightmare at 50, and Hell at 60.

By whose standards is it "Bad" , Yours? , well guess what, YOUR opinion on how I build my character have exactly 0 impact on my enjoyment of a game, and by taking away my freedom to make a mistake you basically sit us down and tell us "no no no, we don't have faith that you can enjoy this GAME without us holding your hand"
It's wrong, and it is insulting.

Woah, let's step back because that's not what I meant. You have total freedom of choice in Diablo III, and that includes making mistakes. You'll have a great time playing the game how you want to play it, and having the ability to make a bad choice, figure out what the problem is, and work to correct it. You're going to have a blast with it.

My point was directed at those saying skill trees are a superior system, and in the case of both Diablo II and World of Warcraft they've been proven to be very fundamentally flawed in a few significant ways. If you never looked up a guide to see how to build the best character, that's awesome, but many people who really want 'the best' character don't play through trial and error (unless they're the frontline theorycrafters actually doing the math).

I think Diablo III will be the perfect game for you. You'll be able to experiment, you'll have billions of possible skill combinations to try out, and as you make bad decisions it's not going to be automatically clear what the problem is. There's plenty of critical thinking to try to find a viable build, but it doesn't come at the punishment of making you level a new character.

Seriously guys, now Im really curious. What the hell were you trying to do in D2 if you werent seeing which builds could make it to 99?
Entertainment. Play a game, have some fun, waste some time. Playing video games isn't serious business for everyone.

Very nice List of Barbarian Skill Progression in D2 and D3 (click to see)
This is awesome. Thank you.

Loot Mooching

Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Probably not too much of an issue. Due to how randomized the item drops are, and our specific design to not make boss kills the most lucrative (without the Nephalem Valor buff) it wouldn't really make sense to sit in town and wait for a boss kill. Not to mention in later difficulties it's unlikely the group would be able to make it to the boss without sticking together.

The game at all times should be encouraging co-operative play. If for some reason it's not doing that, such as it being lucrative for someone to sit in town and wait, then we need to solve that problem. The correct solution is unlikely to give players specific abilities to dissuade or control griefing. Ideally griefing just shouldn't be possible in the first place.

Right now I'm sure there are a lot of people that think boss kills have the best drops because they've been trained to think that way from other games. They'll learn they're actually missing out on better drop opportunities.

Diablo III's Graphics
After thousands of new people got to play the beta this past weekend, a user has asked about any difference in graphic quality for release.

Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

We're not particularly interested in pushing graphical limits with Blizzard games. Our intent is always to provide a timeless stylized aesthetic, while allowing for a broad range of machines to view the game with similar results. The art style for Diablo III is specifically intended to appear as a moving painting, which in general avoids very crisp textures, hard lines, or graphical effects.

In addition we specifically separate background from foreground by using by using a visually unobtrusive canvas and sharper and more saturated enemies and spell effects in the foreground to elevate the gameplay. We actually specifically call it the 'canvas' because the foreground and midground elements and action are painted on top. With the screen full of enemies, spell effects, minions, and players you don't want a busy background with detailed textures and a bunch of visual effects making them look detailed, because it actually detracts from the ability to quickly and easily make important skilled choices during combat.

It's more important for us to serve the gameplay as well as design a timeless game. "Realism" in games is really only as real as the next version of DirectX or video card product cycle. By approaching with a stylized and painterly approach, we intend for Diablo III to be playable and visually appealing for as long as possible.

Shakey-cam shots are from Christian Lichtner's (Art Director on Diablo III) talk at GDC 2012.

Blue Posts
To say there are a lot of blue posts today... is an understatement. There are some good topics hidden away in here!

Originally Posted by (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Elemental Weapons
They're low level items with low level elemental effects on them. It wouldn't be very awesome when you find a super insane weapon later and the elemental effect looks the same as a level 10 item, would it? :) (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Killing Spree
The game doesn't have a concept of 'in-combat'. The countdown begins from kill to kill, so if it's falling off and you're being awarded with a streak then you took too long to kill the next enemy. The bonuses are certainly nice, and fun to see how high you can get them, but they're fairly minimal and so I wouldn't stress about feeling like you need to always have a streak running. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Blizzard Must Modernize Movement in D3!
Allowing WASD would provide an unfair advantage over click to move in some situations. We could of course make WASD the default control scheme, but we feel click to move is integral to the Diablo legacy and gameplay. We have no plans to add WASD or allow it.

As for your other points we don't disagree with freeing up the left and right mouse button bindings, and appreciate those and the other suggestions. We'll likely continue to make additional changes to control options after the game's release.

Allow us to bind force move
We do! It's labeled "Move" in the key bindings.
(Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Clicking on a player's banner in town will teleport you directly to that player.
In addition to that though banners are a visually customizable way to show off your in-game achievements. As you progress through the game you'll unlock additional options to dress up your banner and show it off. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Are these sigils exclusive to this launch event?
They are exclusive to the launch event, yes. So years from now someone will say "ware u giet dat sygyl?" you can say "QUIET HEATHEN! This sigil was bestoweth upon thy banner by the launch site." and they'll be all like "oooooh... wuz thattt?" and then you slay them and take their ear. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

I'm guessing the blank circle is where those who hadnt realized what was going on there will have the chance to get any they missed?

Correct there's a two week grace period where you'll be able to get any/all of the sigils, which closes forever on... I believe May 17. After that, those sigils belong only to those who claimed them. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Switching Skills
If you right click a skill slot it'll take you directly to that skill slot's options screen, but yeah we intentionally don't have any skill hotswapping ability. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

First Class at Launch
Vote above! (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Cool! I really like being able to get some extra story while murdering zombies. Did you check out the journal? Hit J and then click on the Journal tab. You get a lot of text/audio bits about most everything in the game (as you encounter/unlock them). (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Stat Points
There's a thread that's been pretty popular around here for quite a while. Seems like it capped out not too long ago. He gets a lot of what we're trying to do with the game, and that's transforming previous systems to make them deeper and more engaging. His article isn't all completely accurate, and there could be some points missing, but I think it's a solid read if you're really interested in stat points or skill tress (and don't mind reading quite a bit, although he has a nice table of contents to help skip ahead).

Or you could just watch this video with Jay talking about stat (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Elective Mode
How many complaints about restricted skills will it take to convince you to make elective mode more visible?
According to the tally we're keeping you're only three complaints away from changing it! (Source)

One way to think of it is that waypoints are not something your character remembers from game to game, they're discovered in each game based on your progression through the story. When you choose a previous quest it's like beginning a new game at that quest. If you want to jump to a later point you need to make or join a game that begins at that point. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Player Choice
There are billions of potential build combinations for each class not counting passives or gear or anything else, that's just skill choices. There is no way there will not be non-optimal or even downright crappy build choices you can make.

Good players understand that our default skill groups could guide them toward some decent build combinations (although you can still make some awful ones), and they'll then turn on Elective Mode and experiment for themselves to see what choices they can make to fit their desired play style. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Nanny State
It's Sunday and you have an awesome game to play for a few hours. Drink some chamomile tea and chill out. It's a video game. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums) Forums
You can both promote, darken, or completely hide posts by clicking on the thumbs up and thumbs down buttons on each and every post or reply you see.

In my personal opinion as the official forums we get a very wide cross section of people, we have more traffic than other forums, and we also become the defacto complaint desk as this is considered a direct line to the company. All of these things together lead to very active discussions with a wide range of responses. If you hit up fansite forums or reddit you're looking at people who are a bit more savvy, they tend to move a bit slower, and they're a bit less likely to be 'taking it to the man' because we're simply not present in those environments.

If you'd like to promote good posts please choose the thumbs-up, and if you want to see a post hidden click on the thumbs-down. You can also report them (by first clicking thumbs-down and then choosing report) if you find a post necessary to be moderated. We have moderators working seven days a week, but with the hundreds of total WoW, SC2 and D3 forums it's very helpful if you can let us know that a post or response just absolutely can't be left to remain on the forums. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

i have played all classes but why is monk so op he can atk fast and has a heal spel ???
I wouldn't say Monk is OP, but potentially a bit more forgiving for the first few levels. Lvl60 balance is more important. (Source)

With the WD dogs being weaker and other skills vying for the 'defensive' slot, is playing him as a 'master caster' even better?
We've had successful caster builds for the WD emerge. I would say they're more challenging to execute well, but can be fun. (Source)

I find this a little ironic, as Jay Wilson said that the Monk was tough starting out, when they first revealed the class :P.
The old monk had a more complex combo system that we more or less did away with. There's plenty of room for finesse, though. (Source)

Evil is Back, and He Brought Fire.
We reported a few days ago that Jay Wilson will be in Korea for a few press events. However it seems he is having some fun in the mean time!


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