Diablo 3 Console Itemization Hints at Diablo 3’s Future


Every time Blizzard talks about the changes they’ve made to the console version of the game we get a burst of QQing about “PC version wuz 18 month beta test!” and the like. It’s hard to take those arguments on good faith, since you know if the console was exactly the same game then the same haters would be QQing about, “Lazy Bli$$ard maed no improvs in 18 moinths!”

That aside, it is interesting to see what sort of changes the console version is getting, and trying to interpret what that tells us about upcoming changes to the *real* version of the game. Lylirra offered a lengthy reply to a thread on that topic today:

Fixing itemization (which needs to be done on PC) is one thing. Applying console-based itemization to the pc version is quite another.
Lylirra: Interesting quote! (Also, apologies in advance for the TL;DR response.)

While the core of the console game is based on the PC game — you get all the same content, systems, classes, skills, and runes on the console as you do on PC — the console version of Diablo III is really its own thing. It’s a familiar, but ultimately unique experience. Our goal when developing Diablo III for console was to deliver that same visceral gameplay you get with a mouse and keyboard, but at the same time feel completely natural when using a controller. (Basically, whichever platform you prefer for gaming, you can pick that version and know that it was tweaked to be best suited for the platform of your choice.)

In order to achieve that, we’ve made a variety of tweaks to the the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions, including a complete re-design of the UI and character controls, inventory management, as well as combat pacing and boss fights. The item game is predominantly the same, but we’ve also made some minor adjustments to itemization. Items will drop less frequently, but will typically be of higher quality. There’s a chance that when a white or gray item drops, that it will be automatically converted to gold too. These changes were made to help manage the flow of gameplay and keep players in the midst of combat (and out of their inventory screens) as much possible. Inventory management is a little more difficult on the console version than it is on the PC, where you have a mouse to quickly navigate through menus, so this was a pretty key tweak for the PS3 and Xbox 360.

Many of these adjustments inspired future changes we’d like to make to PC, and many of them were inspired by plans we already had for improving itemization as a whole. Since we use staggered development (meaning, the PC and console games more or less have separate teams and development cycles), though, it’s possible that one game will receive changes before another. Over time, which game that is may switch back and forth. Even so, PC will always be the lead platform.

Regardless, here are a few interviews and hands-on reviews from PAX East you may want to check out. I’ve only highlighted ones where itemization on console gets addressed, but I figured this was kind of important, as it lets you get the information directly from the developers. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Penny Arcade Report
  • Kotaku
  • IGN (Skip to 5:25)
  • All of those media pieces linked to are from March and April, so none of the info is newly-revealed. (Like I said at the start, this same issue comes up every time we get a burst of console news.)

    There is something new today, though. I spotted it in one of the new Diablo 3 console screens released at E3. As you can see in the screen crop below, it’s a Calamity. In the PC version this is one of the best Demon Hunter weapons in the game, with blazing fast firing speed, inherent Critical hit Damage, and the highest possible DPS for a hand xbow. Naturally, it’s a level 63 item and can only be found in Inferno.

    In that console screen though, the Calamity has the same inherent properties, but the values are much lower and it’s an item level 31 item. Que?

    Well, one idea we’ve heard repeatedly from Travis Day and others is that they want to allow lower level legendaries to drop later in the game, with appropriately scaled up stats. (Which wouldn’t seem to work, unless they redid their inherent bonuses as well.) As far as I know, they haven’t publicly said anything about high level legendaries going the other direction though, with ilvl 60+ items dropping earlier in the game, with appropriate scaled down stats. And yet that’s exactly what this console Calamity seems to be doing.

    Ironically, given all the talk about improved legendaries and changes to itemization on the console… that lvl 31 Calamity sucks. I base that opinion not on the PC version (since we don’t know how precisely DPS and other stats can be translated between platforms), but on a comparison to the hand crossbow the character already has equipped. That one’s not any good, just a blue with some bonus poison damage, but it’s the same Ilvl as the Calamity, has considerably higher DPS, and it’s not even socketed! Stick any level of DiabloWikiRuby in there and it’ll be vastly better.

    That aside, what do you guys think about not only finding lower level legendaries (with bumped up stats) in Inferno, but also finding higher level legendaries (with bumped down stats) earlier in the game? I’m not a huge fan of either possibility. It’s already so hard to find any of the good legendaries that adding even more low level legendaries to dilute the pool seems treacherous. I’ve found something like 30 Andy’s hats vs. 2 Mempos ever. Given that, the prospect of having to wade through upgraded versions of Broken Crowns, Giant Skulls, Blind Faiths, and Leoric’s Crowns doesn’t exactly thrill me.

    Of course I’m thinking of the current version of those items. The real hope is that Bliz does manage to improve legendaries across the board. If they pull that off then my objection goes away, since every time you found a legendary you would get excited for the potential ID, and not just pray to find one of a few specific legendary items, then double-pray to the Malicious Lord of RNG for a great roll on top of that.

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    1. I don’t know why everyone seems to be thinking that fixing legendaries will magically fix the game as a whole.

      Fixing legendaries alone will achieve absolutely zero, as itemization MUST go hand in hand with fixing the skills and character development, and of course the other item types (and not completely forgetting them). And even before you think of redoing legendaries, the AFFIXES must be made interesting, and the boring mainstat/crist must be axed.

      But when I read things like “white and grey automatically salvaged to gold”, then it is clear there is no hope left, as the designers still don’t get what a Diablo game should be.

      • I’d say that whites turning to gold is just a fix in the mean time until they roll out the expansion ideas, they’re not going to implement a whole new system such as the imbue system or rune system to whites before an expansion so I’ll give them the benefit of doubt for now other wise I agree with you that that is a lazy LAZY move on the developers part.

        Fixing itemization from what seems to be their direction judging by what Travis has said on it, that is legendarys having attributes that specifically effect a class’ skills such as, a wand or wizards set giving extra hydras to cast or a barbarians set that keeps call of the ancients up until they are killed, this is an interesting way to hit two bird with one stone with items AND skills. But I DO think they should add some kind of point system (not necessarily skill tree) to the paragon leveling system. This way characters get to 60 play around with all of their skills to see what they like and do the paragon leveling to create that character choice and uniqueness that is missing from D3.

      • I agree with you BUT I think people fixate and having them deal with itemization because it would at least be a sign that the game has a chance of being revived or maybe a sign that they are serious about handling their previous mistakes.

        I like to think of the players that left D3 as wandering aimlessly through a desert dying of thirst (bad auction house/no ladder), hunger (bad itemization/limited builds), and sun exposure (lack of fun multiplayer/social lobby/PVP).

        He might still be doomed if he finds a crate of candy bars but at least he’ll die happy.

        SO yeah… that being said there’s not a whole lot of hope on the horizon even for the expansion when it comes to fixing all the core problems. I personally tune out their PR fluff anymore. I’m sure theirs someone out there still willing to believe them though.

    2. I have no more faith in blizzard fixing d3. I’ve tried hoping for a while and saw glimmers of hope with a few comments here and there from wyatt and travis, but as many hopeful comments came from them I saw just as many facepalm comments from them as well. The problems that plague this game and keep me from ever picking it up again are just too large. The solution of “fixing legendaries” is just another band aid solution and I don’t think they will get it right anyway.

      I thought for a while they would fix this shit in the expansion… nah blizzard just sucks now. I’m just giving up following this piece of shit game and company. Maybe they will pleasantly surprise me with the expansion. I’m just going to have no good expectations of blizzard doing a decent job then, if they manage to get things right, I’ll pickup the expansion. Blizzard’s fucking incompetent.

      Farewell for good d3, and sadly incgamers as well. This shit is just sad.

    3. 1/ Leoric’s Crown must have Life Steal on it.
      2/ The random affixes on Legendaries have to go in my opinion. Randomly selected from a smaller pool, ร  la Ormus Robes, is more or less fine, but in that case the smaller pool should only contain bonus to useful skills like Archon, Frost Nova, Explosive Blast, Diamond Skin and maybe Meteor or whatever the Wiz meta is. This brings us to blackoutchili’s comment I believe: fixing Legendaries is possibly not the magic recipe.
      3/ Also, I guess that when many of us think about “fixing itemization” we instead mean “fix the game: character development AND itemization”. I am playing LoD again and I realized that once more. D3 is still not a bad game but… we’ll see.

    4. I love the idea of legendaries going both ways ;P. It’s a whole shitload of artwork and (maybe) gameplay changing stuff (like the buriza for example) that you mostly never get access to unless you use the AH and/or specifically farm for them with high mf/paragon level.

      I’d love to see all this content available at all levels, but it must com without any doubt after all their stats and features are tweaked to suit the level they drop at. Which is gonna take a loong time, time that I’m willing to take (yeah, I one of those crazy people that actually enjoys the game for what it is). Maybe with two teams on the job, some of the process can also be sped up, so that at least before my daughter gets married I get to play the expansion ๐Ÿ™‚

    5. if they do it “RIGHT” it could be awesome.
      but it wont be gamechanging but more or less give us something to do till we wait for D3X.
      Which ofc “could” do itemsystem overhaul.

    6. I was sure I saw Travis Day confirm that legendaries would go both directions with the new scale system they speak about it.

      99.9% sure

    7. The problem with this is just like the author said. Most lower level items have the wrong numbers. Giving them more of the wrong numbers won’t make them any better. A high level Leoric’s, Buriza, Homunculus, that stun claw etc would be great. A high level almost anything else… No. A low level promise of glory just means people start their brim habit early.

      Instead of people getting trolled by Andy helm, Firewalkers etc they’d get trolled by all that + many more, meaning good items are even rarer (and make no mistake, if you’re not speedfarming high MPs you’re lucky to see one star a day as is).

    8. I still have hope that D3 will be fixed, but I don’t expect it to happen until they release an expansion. I’m still in shock at how bad they ruined the Diablo franchise… Guess we will find out if it can be fixed around 2015! Oh, and bring back skill trees!

    9. There are some pretty stupid comments in this one just saying. If you don’t think they can make items change playstyles with what they are capable of right now in an itemization update that makes lower level legendaries drop based on monster level (and of course higher) you have a serious lack of imagination. The idea of making only lower level drop on monster level doesn’t work without having higher legionaries drop at lower levels I would think. Just because a big majority of you know nothing other than stack CD/AS/CC/AR doesn’t mean there aren’t affixes that can outpace or circumvent the need for stacking those so high. Of course the lower level legendaries will get their own effects and own badass factor otherwise this quote wouldn’t make sense.

      I think too many of you are so pessimistic now to see the potential this game can have. for unique playstyles and builds and I mean that with this version and with just an item drop/buff update patch.

      “Travis Day
      Game Designer
      That’s an interesting idea. It is unfortunate when you see a legendary crossbow, pick it up, and realize its a Hellrack. I’ve got an alternate idea, what if we make all the legendary items good so that you can Actually get excited even if you know it’s a Hellrack? “

    10. Only feature that will stand out on consoles:

      Couch play with the wife. Excellent.

      • My wife and I will do ya one better…

        The two of us playing 4 player with another couple. Can’t friggin wait. 4 player local co-op hack and slash is a real niche area that has been long forgotten since Champions of Norrath. So glad Diablo is the franchise to bring it back!

    11. Holy mother of god what a load of pessimistic bullshit comments…

      YES I agree blizzard somewhat fucked up the diablo franchise with D3, but come on am I the only one seeing that blizzard is still sticking with us through all of this for almost a year now??! For 1 full year blizzard’s D3 crew has been working their ass off relentlessly on improving the game. Do they have to? No. I am fairly certain that for your 60 bucks youve had a shitton more playtime than with most other similarly priced games out there. And which of those were supported with so much new content throughout the year after launch, for free?

      How many gamestudios are this loyal to their products & customers?

      The problem is that you’re spoiled. And this is no suprise seeing as Blizzard almost always delivers the greatest games in the industry.. and no I am not denying D3’s flaws, but please show a little support, patience and respect for one of the greatest game companies out there.

    12. Nice catch, Flux. Some actual tangible info here, regardless of how minor. Like an oasis. A small one. Like a dripping faucet.

    13. Gonna get the negative out of the way and just say that I think Diablo 3 really ruined the story/lore of the Diablo universe, though some credit should also be given to the Sin War trilogy of books. The straight-line linear quest progression and having to skip cutscenes really takes the player out of the action, and being unable to waypoint between acts really pigeon-holes players’ in-game freedom. Long story short, they screwed up a lot of shit with D3.

      With that said, I think every patch that’s come out since release has also improved the actual gameplay and item hunt aspect of the game. They still have a lot of work to do, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have more faith in Blizzard today than I did a month or two after release. I may be a sucker, but I still have hope they can make this game more addictive/fun.

    14. Looks like the legendary was scaled back to ilvl 31, albeit somewhat poorly. Still, this is one thing I wanted relating to itemization. The other was, I assumed, promised, where Legendaries greatly change the way you use a skill(s) and possibly how you interact with the enemies, e.g. allowing WD’s to get a legendary that greatly improves pet damage.

      I still like the combat in D3 more than certain other similar titles.

    15. “Our goal when developing Diablo III for console was to deliver that same visceral gameplay you get with a mouse and keyboard, but at the same time feel completely natural when using a controller.”

      Speaking of which, do we have any information on how targeted AoE abilities like Blizzard work on consoles? Making those feel natural to use, quick and precise to cast with a controller will be a challenge and I can’t see how it could be done without sacrifing either precision (targeting specific monsters with them) or slow and unwieldy (moving a targeting reticle around the screen, while our character is standing still). Can anyone point me to screenshots or some video footage, where such a skill is shown off?

    16. All the negativity… I conclude from this that Blizzard plans to release the PC patch 1.0.9 along with or close to the PS3/Xbox 360 release on Sept 3rd, 2013. A beta on the PTR could therefore start already late June or early July.

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