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