Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Will Teleport Be A Skill In Diablo 3?

There has been some crazy forum posts over the last few months about having Teleport in Diablo 3 or to not have it. There's very valid arguments on both sides.

- It makes the game faster.
- Gets you around monsters that are immune to your skills.
- The ability to rush lower players at a quicker pace than walking.
- Mana cost is cheap.

- It shortens the game.
- Boss runs become grinding.
- The ability to rush lower players at a quicker pace than walking.
- Sways PvP battles to one side (at times).

My stance: I hope they keep it out of the game. Give the Mage class (cause we all know there will be one) a skill like Levitation. An ability to fly over ground monsters; leaving casters and ranged monsters to hit you. You will also be able to go over broken bridges (see gameplay vid) but not through walls. Give it a 5-20 second duration and a decent mana cost.

The mistake they made was in 1.10 when they release Enigma. The ability to have every character in the game teleport was a cheap and, in my opinion, a half-ass way of balancing the game. In balancing though, they gave the game a quicker pace and ruined a lot of fun in exploring the levels. You can say all you want that 'we've been through it dozens of time. Why do we have to do it again?' Well, it is a RPG after all. It's supposed to be a long process to make your character the best he or she can be.

Jay Wilson has already said that they want to get away from the Boss grinds. This will be one way to help with that cause.

If they were to make it available in the game, I hope they would put a 5 second cooldown or a very high mana cost. Maybe a percentage of your total mana. Start out at 20% and move down to 10% by level whatever.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Alt Key

We've all thought about it: Why do we have to hold down the Alt key in Diablo 2? Well, Blizzard thought about this too. And Bashiok answers:

"The way it works now is that when an item drops the name shows for about 5 seconds and then they fade out and disappear. Pressing Alt shows all dropped item names for again about 5 seconds and then the names fade out and disappear. I actually didn't like it at first, I liked the on/off state of pressing or not pressing Alt, but with the names showing immediately after drop and having a sort of "grace period" after just tapping Alt, it's really grown on me and is a lot more intuitive. It's a lot easier to see what just dropped quickly and decide if you care, and it isn't necessary to constantly hold down Alt while scavenging after a large fight. I still want to see -nopickup return but I haven't really asked anyone what the possibility of that is. I don't think it would work well with the current system, so options may have to be a possibility."

This makes sense. There are plenty of occasions where if I see something drop, I stop everything I'm doing and pick it up. I don't however enjoy the idea of battling a group of monsters, checking the drops and then having 5 seconds of items being shown leading to accidentally clicking on Bolts, Arrows, Cracked Boots, etc etc, while you're trying to take down a cultist.

The pickup system should be 3 options.

1. Hold down Alt to see the items (as in Diablo 2)

2. Always show the items that drop.

3. No pickup option.

It cannot be that hard to let the user choose how he or she views the items on the ground. But, as I said above, I like the Alt key in Diablo 2. I would put Ring, Middle and Index finger on 123 keys and my thumb on alt. Very comfortable; very easy. I wonder if they'll add anything else to the pickup options.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Wrath Release Date

Matt Graham beat me to it so I'll just post what I was going to post in the first place. (I've been kinda dead this week so there won't be anymore posts this week).

'Nuff said.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Bad News Always Comes With Good News

The Bad News:

Bashiok: "Well, health and mana leach may not come back. There's balance issues, and they may not make it into Diablo III"

The Good News:

I went into my D2 Account and when it said my characters have expired, I clicked on them and I was able to go into the game and they weren't expired anymore!

How that happens? I haven't a clue.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Diablo 3 Theory Hour

I wanted to bring your attention to something I remember reading and thinking about years ago back when this article was first written in 2003. (formally posted this article in the aftermath of Lord Of Destruction and back when the Diablo 3 speculation first started to arise. This is exactly what I had envisioned with D3 as well as Tyrael's deception (more on that after the article).

"We are given a lot of information throughout the game on the power and plans of the Three Brothers, Diablo, Mephisto, and Baal. We are told that if they unite they will be invincible. We are told that no one is certain of their plans, but it probably involves something really bad for Sanctuary. We are told they must be stopped. And many more besides. Even though the archangel does not speak all these dire prophecies, he would have been the source for many through the knowledge of the Three he gave the Horadrim way back when the whole soul stone fiasco began. Tyreal was also the primary drive behind finding and catching the Three before they united. Also, his prot�g�, Deckard Cain, was the main instigator for the smashing of the soul stones. In other words, the actions our heroes took in Diablo 2 were largely along the lines of Tyreal�s own thought process. And, I suspect, also exactly what Diablo and company wanted us do to. Perhaps the archangel has been used like a sock puppet for a really long time. Or, perhaps, he helped Diablo write the script. His actions do have some interesting contradictions.

Look first at the claim that if the three unite, they would be invincible. They united, all right. They opened the gate, and sent Diablo through it. Then Mephisto died. We chased down Diablo. He died too. The only hope was Baal. Who eventually died. Some invincibility. On the other hand, perhaps they intended that we kill them.

There is precedent. Diablo (back in Diablo 1) lured a nice, strong, juicy hero down through the caves so he trade in the body of the boy for stronger one. That is, he planned his own �death.� Why would the three do the same? Mephisto himself answers. �You are the harbinger of our return� he tells Diablo. As Diablo heads for hell. Return... to hell? Yes. So, the three were not plotting massive mayhem across Sanctuary? Well, I would not go that far.
But Diablo needed to go to hell, and I think Mephisto did to. Mephisto, more than the others, needed to die. It seems that the soul stones bound the three to the mortal plane. They could not leave, but nor could they regain their full hellish powers while those stones were in existence (is my guess). They had to get rid of those stones, which they controlled anyway. At the same time, they had to rally the legions of hell for a nice little invasion of mortality. The losing the soul stone thing was most important for Mephisto, and least for Baal. Why? Mephisto�s stone was fragmented. Each council member had a piece, and the largest piece was in the palm of the guy that took the form of Mephisto. He could not reach anything close to his full power, because his soul stone was scattered about. That is why the oldest brother was such a weakling. His power was also divided among the six other unique council members.

So, the plan went like this. Diablo goes to hell to get armies ready for Baal. Baal goes to find his soul stone, after which he picks up the armies from Diablo and attacks the World Stone, and Mephisto stays behind to by the other two a bit of time. Which means he is the first to lose his soul stone and thus the first to return to hell in full power. Diablo is second. So by the time the World Stone falls, there are two prime evils at the height of their strength waiting to charge back into the mortal realm. There is no reason to think that breaking the soul stones killed the three. Instead, it may have only made them stronger. Let us assume Tyreal knew all this. Then, by breaking the World Stone, he may have opened up a hole for the massive invasion that Izual warned of."

So, Tyrael would be working with Izual and the 3 brothers to help destroy the Worldstone so Hell could invade. Think about it: In the end of Act 2, the cinematic shows Tyrael telling Marius to go to Zakarum Temple. However, we do not know what happened after that. For all we know, he was fighting with Diablo. However, because Diablo was in his weaker human form, how was he able to escape? Cain said it himself that Tyrael had defied the heavens to "help" the mortal men. Also, see how he is portrayed on He's in a black silhouette. Dun dun dunnnnn.

I wish I had my PDF file of all the character conversations of Diablo 1 and 2 but I seem to have misplaced it.

The image we see of Diablo in the D3 teaser trailer could be the true form of Diablo. We've noticed that in Diablo 1, he stood tall and skinny. In Diablo 2, he was more hunched over but more muscular. Now, in Diablo 3, he looks like he's gigantic and full of fire (the fires of hell?) with a big head and a look like he's full of power. Is this what Luke has foreseen?

Another thought just came to me: In recent years, we've been able to fight an "Uber" Diablo, Mephisto and Baal. Has the light bulb gone on yet? Maybe this is foreshadowing what Luke has suggested of the brothers being more powerful now that their stones were destroyed.

Of course, this is all speculation.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

New Artwork Released By Blizzard

I've been waiting to see the island Skovos for a while now and I really wanted to be able to go play there in Diablo 3. However, that isn't going to happen. They release the image as a way to show how large the world of Sanctuary is and here is what Blizzard had to say:

It isn't a location that you'll visit in Diablo III, but the artwork is a good example of the work and thought going in to fleshing out the world of Sanctuary. It's already a very complex world with a lot of locations and events, but a lot of it still isn't visually or contextually realized. As we want to create the feeling of a world outside of your immediate view it's important to create or expand upon the locations and stories of that world.

As we're working to create Diablo III we're also working to create a more visually complete Sanctuary.

The second image: I can imagine is Kehijstan because we know we're heading to Caldeum. However, I've also heard that it could be the impact site of the Meteor or near the Dry Steps / Scosglen.

The other concept arts are of a sloth beast and a cultist.

And, if you want a nice wallpaper of Skovos, you can go to and download this wallpaper (which is now my wallpaper).

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Jay Wilson Drops Some Info On Blizzcast

If you haven't already listened to Blizzcast Episode 5, you might want to read on. I've taken some of my favorite explanations and info leaks from this interview for your viewing.

First, Jay Wilson confirms that there will be an Act system just like in Diablo 2. To me, this is huge. Diablo 1 was a little blah in going from Dungeon Level to Dungeon Level. The Act system used in Diablo 2 was a great way to balance out monter levels and player levels.

Bashiok: We're talking a lot about acts right now could you give any insight into the act distribution as compared to like Diablo 2? How many acts there would be?

Jay Wilson: We were originally going to go away from an act structure but we found it fell so easily into that and so we're going to a similar structure as Diablo 2. It just seemed natural, it felt right. Right now we're focusing on about the same length, about the same number of acts. I don't want to solidify because of course; you never know what'll happen. But right now we're going for about the same.

Jay also explains to us that they want to get rid of the "mule" system when storing items. Warcraft did it the best with the mail system. And it looks like there will be that in Diablo 3 or a shared stash throughout your Blizzard account.

Jay Wilson: And then, the last one is we really want to make it easier for you to be able to share and trade items with other people and other characters on the same account. We've talked about ideas like a shared stash, or a mail system like World of Warcraft has, and we haven't nailed down exactly which one of those we want to do, but we're definitely going to do something like that, that's going to make it really easy for you if you've got, a witch doctor and a barbarian character, and you find that awesome witch doctor drop and you want to share it, it'll be super-easy to do that.

Bashiok: so in other words, I won't have to worry about my game closing after...

Jay Wilson: No, no more opening up a game, dropping items on the ground, and you know, hoping that the game stays open or getting a friend to help out, no more of that. You should be able to do it on your own.

He also explains in great detail on why they chose not to bring back the Necromancer and other characters from Diablo 2. He makes outstanding points! I never thought about it before but the Necromancer and other characters were perfectly well rounded and balanced.

Bashiok: So, from my viewpoint, probably from a lot of people's viewpoint, the announcement was extremely positive. But it seems like a lot of the Diablo II players, or at least the hardcore Diablo II players want to see the necromancer come back or perhaps other classes coming back. Obviously, the barbarian's one of the ones you're bringing from Diablo II. What are your generally feelings on bringing classes back the previous games?

Jay Wilson: Well, for the core game, you know, the kind of initial release of Diablo III, we really want to establish our own identity, like we don't want to just remake Diablo II or Diablo I, we want to provide a unique game experience for people. So, on that front we're really only going to consider bringing back classes that we feel we can improve-the necromancer is an awesome class, actually my favorite class, from Diablo 2, and the class I'm currently playing the most of- its not that we just dislike him, he love the necromancer, but part of his, you know, the issue we have is, he was so well-designed, I mean, you've got your corpse explosion, you've got your skeleton sum, pets and you know, hordes of those guys running around and killing things, you've got curses, like, it's across the board a very well-designed class and there's certainly some things we could do a little differently, but do we feel like we can make him so much better, and change his core gameplay experience. If anything, we'd say we really don't want to, like he plays too well. Whereas with the barbarian, we really looked at the class and he's cool but he could be a lot cooler and he could have a lot more that he does, over the previous game. So, you know, that's why the necromancer is not being seen. A lot of people have looked at the witch doctor and said “oh, the witch doctor is so similar to the necromancer, he's not going to be there, there's no chance for the necromancer ever.” I wouldn't go that far, we are trying to make sure that the witch doctor, while he has a lot of similarities is very different overall. One of the core differences is that the witch doctor is very attack oriented- people remember back to the gameplay video, almost all the monsters that got taken out were taken out by the witch doctor, not by his pets. So that's kind of a key difference between him and the necromancer, is that the necromancer was very often, his pets were critical to his damage output, whereas the witch doctor uses his pets as a distraction and a utility. So we try to keep them different that there's the possibility down the road, but that would maybe be an expansion or something like that after we felt like we've kind of established core Diablo III game. That being said, I wouldn't expect, I would tell people not to expect any other Diablo II or Diablo I classes appear you, know, in the exact same form that they did- if we did bring back another class it would be a radical change.

He also shuts down all the "poor art direction" protesters. Guess what guys? They tried to make it darker and it didn't work.

Jay Wilson: And what we found was, again, when we made the enemies that very realistic dark, gritty look, like the environment, they all just kind of blended together, and again, it made the game not very fun. So, at that point, after we had done this twice and gone, “wow, we really don't like the results here, we started going back to Diablo II in particular and looking at it, trying to figure out what Diablo II did, that worked so well. What we found was that a lot of the ideas that made Diablo II work well, just didn't translate well to 3D. We also found a very different game than a lot of us remember, even though a lot of us played the game still, like a lot of us are still big Diablo II players, we still have kind of this idealized vision of it where we really remember, like, Durance of Hate and act I dungeons and we kind of conveniently forget, you know, the act II desert and the really bright lava hell levels and the things like that that are filled with a lot of color. And we saw that and we were kind of surprised. We were like, “wow, look at how green the fields are in act I, look at how much color there is in this world.”

Some great stuff! I can't wait until Blizzcon because maybe, just maybe, they'll release another class! Come on Bard! :D