Members of the Diablo 3 team gathered on the main stage at BlizzCon for a Q&A session with fans who were eager to learn as much as possible about the upcoming game.
Members of the Diablo 3 team gathered on the main stage at BlizzCon for a Q&A session with fans who were eager to learn as much as possible about the upcoming game. The panel was held after the announcement that the monk is the fourth class and players got the chance to try out the demo on the floor.
The team members on the panel were Game Director Jay Wilson, Lead Programmer Jason Regier, Senior Game Producer Steve Parker, Art Director Christian Lichtner, Lead World Designer Leonard Boyarsky, Lead Level Designer Dave Adams, Game Designer Michael Chu and Lead Sound Designer Joseph Lawrence.
Keep reading after the jump for a point-by-point summary of the Q&A. One of the answers that received the most applause was a comment that all items in Diablo 3 will drop on a per-player basis. This means a boss will drop loot for every player in the game, but you can only pick up your own items. This will keep other players from stealing your loot.
- Everyone knows a big problem in Diablo 2 was item duplication. They're learning from Diablo 2 and trying to make Diablo 3 as hack-free as possible.
- You'll have to play the game to see if Tyrael is being brought into Diablo 3.
- The PvP system hasn't been announced yet, but Diablo 3 is going to support PvP more than any of the previous games did. The team wants to provide direct support to the big dueling community. They don't intend to support the going hostile system from previous games.
- The team wants to make sure you'll be able to join your friends instantly and easily, unlike the giant list of games populated in Diablo 2. The visual form for this in Diablo 3 will be determined once the team sees how the new Battle.net is implemented in StarCraft 2.
- The skill system in Diablo 3 doesn't need synergies in the same way they were used in Diablo 2. Players still need customization options, so they're looking at easier to understand synergies or something more appropriate.
- Quests in Diablo 3 will give you a lot of room to grow and explore. The team is trying to deliver interesting story and gameplay, which they feel is shown in the gameplay demo.
- A fan asked if we'll see the monk using Hadouken, and Wilson said, "I wouldn't discount anything, but at this time I can't say."
- The key for replayability will be randomized environments, monster locations, events, items and so on. If they have magic find in Diablo 3, they're not going to let it drive any class. Also, the content should be a compelling reason to replay the game. Wilson said it's their job to make sure the fastest way to progress through the game is also the most fun.
- They want to make the world feel livable, so just because a class isn't playable doesn't mean it won't be seen in the game. The question that was asked involved necromancers, and there is indeed a necromancer in the demo.
- Diablo 2 is currently at patch 1.13 and a player asked if any new content will be added to ease the transition to Diablo 3. The Diablo 3 team doesn't work on the Diablo 2 patches, so the members didn't want to speak for the Diablo 2 patch team since they weren't in attendance at the panel.
- They wouldn't discount the possibility that you may run into somebody like a paladin who was part of Diablo 2. They have long-term plans for that cast.
- They definitely want to have a hardcore mode in Diablo 3, although nothing specific is planned. They're open to ideas. Wilson explained how eight players in Germany played through Diablo 2 up to Hell difficulty with naked characters and no town support.
- A player asked how the high heavens feel about Tyrael's actions in Diablo 2 and what the heavenly host will do in Diablo 3, and the response was that a lot of these issues will be addressed. The high heavens aren't pleased with Tyrael's actions.
- During a question on geography, the team said that you never really knew where you were in Diablo 2. In Diablo 3, they'll expand on the bits of story in lore in the other games as they explore all the nations in Sanctuary.
- There are no plans to support UI add-ons since simplicity of design is best for Diablo 3.
- A player said the Diablo 3 demo felt too busy with so many monsters and explosions. The team responded that they're fans of blood and are still working on effects. Anything that gets in the way of gameplay will be tweaked.
- A fan asked if it's possible to toggle off the words that appear above a stunned target since they pull you out of the game. The response was that gameplay comes first before immersion and there's no other way to convey some messages than through the UI. They don't intend to remove things they think are necessary to play the game.
- They want gold currency to be meaningful and an actual trade currency in Diablo 3. They learned a lot of lessons on the topic from Diablo 2 and World of Warcraft.
- Randomly generated items are the heart of the item system. The team wants random rare items to have the potential to be better than unique ones. While they know some players would rather one type of item be better than the other, they're looking at other roles unique items could fill. For example, perhaps you don't see armor on amulets very often, but maybe you would on a unique item.
- When asked about the party system, the team emphasized that it's very important you be able to find your friends easily in Diablo 3. They want game experiences to be positive and don't want people randomly jumping into your game and ruining it.
- As far as travel is concerned, town portals will be completely removed because of how they affect combat. They don't want travel time to be a big factor in Diablo 3. The checkpoint and resurrection systems are meant to reduce travel time. Also, dungeons have exits.
- The speed of your character will depend on the skills you select. For example, the wizard's Arcane Orb in the demo is a slow-moving attack, but other spells are near instant.
- The team discussed the difficulties of using a witch doctor's zombie dog customization options (such as fire and plague) to communicate with other players. They'll probably let you customize your dog through additional skills or the rune system.
- While the phasing technology used in World of Warcraft to change environments based on quests is cool, putting it in the Diablo 3 engine would be too difficult. Until the team sees an obvious benefit, phasing will not be explored in Diablo 3.
- One player suggested that they put class-specific quests in Diablo 3, and the team thought that sounded like a great idea.
- All items in Diablo 3 will drop on a per-player basis. This means a boss will drop loot for every player in the game, but you can only pick up your own items. This will keep other players from swooping in and stealing your loot.
- There will be a way to transfer items between characters.
- There will be a tutorial system in Diablo 3, to provide players with an easy introduction to the game.
- You can expect to see muscle and flesh fly off of monsters when you hit them. In the demo, the skeletons of some monsters fly out if you hit them hard enough.
- There are no plans to have rune words in Diablo 3 because runes are how you will customize skills in the game.
- No details could be given on crafting at this time.
- There will be a huge selection of music in Diablo 3.
- A player asked if there will be a new system for projectiles since they were slow and inaccurate in Diablo 2. The team feels that's part of the design, since the weakness of projectiles is they don't always hit. If you don't like it, you can customize your character. They may add a skill that adds faster projectiles.
- The team stated they will not be providing information on the final class at this time.
- PvE comes first when developing characters, but they're designed to be balanced for both PvE and PvP. They do try to think of PvP when designing skill trees.
- A player asked about the level designs in Diablo 3, noting that the first Diablo was very confined, while Diablo 2 started out open and then got more closed. The team said the levels in Diablo 3 depend on the story and pointed out the zone in the demo is pretty wide open.
- There won't be a map editor since all of the environments are randomly generated.
- As far as the Horadric Cube is concerned, there's room for improvements from Diablo 2. The team will keep the essence of it, but the implementation will be different.
- When asked if gambling will be in the game, Wilson said new players don't like it, while veterans seem to enjoy it. They want to have ways to get items in addition to going on runs, but it will probably go through some revisions.
- They do plan to pay respects to the older versions of the game by adding sound effects from them in Diablo 3.
- There will be items that are unique to classes, such as orbs for wizards and combat staves and fist weapons for monks. They prefer the idea that these items are useful for certain builds, but not the exclusive item you have to use for your class.
- When asked if Mephisto is coming back, they said you can't count anybody out.
- A player said he didn't feel the monsters in the Diablo 3 demo have enough recoil when they're hit. Wilson said he was surprised to hear that since every monster has a chance to recoil that's about identical to the percentage in Diablo 2. He said they'll look into it.
Darryl "Togikagi" Gangloff