The Diablo 3 Podcast #101: Developer Interview Part 2


Part two of our Diablo 3 conversation with Wyatt Cheng and Josh Mosqueira. Topics include Ironborn mode, Demon Hunter squishiness, Itemization issues and affixes, PvP debate, and much more.



Since we talked a lot about itemization issues and I tried to make the conversation fairly specific, here’s a quote from one portion of that, just to give you a taste of what’s to come:

Flux: A lot of item types now *must* have one affix or it’s useless in the end game. Like Sockets in helms, or DiabloWikiCC on helms, or CC on bracers or off-hand items, etc. So is the solution to make the mandatory mods more likely to roll, or to make them less effective on the items? Or can the DiabloWikiMystic be part of this and she can add those affixes at the cost of making the item DiabloWikiBoA?

Wyatt Cheng: We’ve been reluctant to guarantee stats on items. The reason is that the ultimate end goal is that the designers aren’t hand-crafting good items. If we wanted to we could go in there and make every item roll nothing but the stats that are the most popular today.

Flux: But then that’s boring since everyone has the same gear.

Wyatt Cheng: Yeah. I think the ideal, which we’ll strive towards but may never reach. But the ideal is that the definition of perfect gear is different for every class. And even within the same class since people have different builds.

One thing I think about a lot, is how do we make it so Attack Speed is good for a lot of people, but not for everybody? That’s a tough design problem and we have some ideas, but can we apply that to everyone? Can we make it so that that not every character wants Crit, or Crit damage?

Flux: Not currently, no… but in theory. *laughs*

Wyatt Cheng: *laughs* Right, but that is a better long term angle for the game than saying everybody wants this so let’s give it to them.

Click through for the usual podcast info and a full transcript of part two of this conversation. Part One is here, if you missed it.

 

The Diablo 3 Podcast Episode Guide in DiabloWiki.net provides links to every show, plus quick summaries.

 

Josh Mosqueira and Wyatt Cheng Interview, Part Two

Continuing right where part one left off, here’s the second half of our interview with Diablo 3 Game Director DiabloWikiJosh Mosqueira and Senior Game Developer DiabloWikiWyatt Cheng.


Flux: One question for a clarification about self-found mode, better known as DiabloWikiIronborn. One point you guys haven’t specifically stated, to the best of my knowledge, is what most fans see as the necessity for Ironborn characters to exist in their own ecology/economy/ecosystem, just as Hardcore characters do. And you can’t have Ironborn characters mixing in games with characters who use the Auction House and who would necessarily have vastly better equipment. You guys mentioned previously an idea that maybe all characters would have some sort of Ironborn tag upon creation, and would lose it once they used the AH.

Wyatt Cheng: It is still something I think is very cool. The whole self-found or Ironborn style of play. I don’t think that Hardcore is in integral part of that experience, but um…

Flux: I don’t mean Ironborn has to be Hardcore, though they could be. But that Ironborn characters need to not mix in with regular characters.

Wyatt Cheng: Ah, so you mean self found characters and non self found characters could not mix in the same game together?

Flux: Yes. That wouldn’t work since they would be so different in their quality of gear. And if you had a friend who was not self found you could just tag along while they blasted through higher MP levels and you’d soak up the gear drops without doing the work.

Wyatt Cheng: Yeah, I think you’d want them segregated.

Flux: Okay, cool. I was just wondering since I hadn’t heard you guys state that specifically, and fans of the idea were wondering.

Josh Mosqueira: Yeah.

Flux: And if it doesn’t happen we can blame you both personally.

Josh Mosqueira: *laughs*

Wyatt Cheng: Yes. The answer is yes, we’re aware that they would need to be kept separate.

Which doesn’t mean they’re going to support Ironborn, of course. Soon or at all. But at least we’re on the same page when it comes to the theory.

 


Flux: Item binding. I think the mechanic works pretty well. For instance the v1.07 recipes are all Bind of Account and that’s necessary since otherwise those items are all you would ever see in the auction house for shoulders and bracers and such. And it’s a nice gold sink and removes items from circulation. One of the reasons the Hardcore economy is much more fun than the softcore economy is because items leave the economy. Like the ones on my Paragon 61 Monk last month. Not that I’m bitter or anything.

Josh Mosqueira: *pity laugh*

Flux: But in Hardcore items vanish and that drains some value from the economy, where as in Softcore items last forever and you get inevitable mega hyper inflation. And I’m sure you guys are dealing with that all the time in your plannings. Have you thought about more ways to remove gear from the economy? Like items can only be traded a set number of times? Or they lose quality when they’re traded? Or the other side of the coin, is the Mystic comes back and she can charm or socket an item, but once she does it becomes BoA? Are you guys worrying about that aspect of the economy and could item binding be a tool for that?

Wyatt Cheng: Um… yes? Um…

Flux: Okay, next question!

Wyatt Cheng: *laugh* On the topic of the Mystic, we are looking at methods for a Mystic to modify an item. Whether that be adding a property, or allowing you to reroll the stats on a property, or allowing you to roll another property, or you like an item except one of the stats rolled low and you want a shot at getting it higher. WE are looking at that, and I lean towards the idea that you’d want that item to be Soul bound.

As a side note on the topic of anything having to do with limited trades or reduced functionality. I tend not to be in favor of soft limits on those types of things. That’s because if you’re going to have a limit, you might as well put the limit in there. When you have a soft limit… basically it still retains all the problems you had before, while feeling negative to the person who has it.

Flux: And it’s confusing on top of that.

Wyatt Cheng: Yes. It’s a little bit confusing, it’s a UI issue. I feel almost as bad about trading it once, except now I get to trade it twice. And at the end of the day, you’re removing an item from the ecnomy. I feel like you’re not gaining a lot over the extremes of no binding or full binding. So I feel like if you’re going to do that, just do one or the other. Don’t be in the in between land where the players gets to feel bad twice.

Flux: Yes, well we wouldn’t want that. It’s like feeling bad and doubling it.

Josh and Wyatt: *laughter*

Flux: Okay, skipping over more economy questions to get to items. The “Items 2.0” is that the terminology you guys are actually using internally, and is that indicative of how big a change you’re planning? Are you really thinking of it as like a relaunch of the game’s entire itemization system?

Josh Mosqueira: What we’re doing, at least the way we use the term here, or the way I use the term “Loot 2.0.” Not necessarily that we’re revamping everything, but like the way people used to throw around “Web 2.0” back in the day.

Flux: Or Battle.net 2.0, as we got recently.

Lylirra: *laughs*

Josh Mosqueira: That’s true. I think it’s just the reaffirmation of our evolved philosophy behind items. The way our items ideas evolved from launch until now, for the team to have a simple rallying cry around it. At the heart of it is the fact that Loot is a fundamental part of the game. Every time you’re clicking the mouse, you’re killing something because you want something awesome to drop. And we just really want to be sure that we’re keeping in mind that core fantasy. And that when items drop, players feel that there’s a utility to them and an intrinsic gameplay value to them.

So I guess Loot 2.0 is a simpler way for us to say that we want to keep evolving the itemization philosophy and making sure that it’s focused on players and that players feel they’re getting cool stuff.

Flux: Okay, speaking of cool stuff, you guys have mentioned a bunch of changes coming up on Legendary Items. I think pretty much everyone is positive about that. However a lot of the functions you guys have teased are really cool DiabloWikiproc effects. Like an DiabloWikiEarthquake casting when the Barbarian DiabloWikiLeaps , or an item set that gives you unlimited resources, or boots that make you ethereal. And those are cool, but fans have pointed out that we got those in earlier patches, like when the Fire Chains demon was added to the DiabloWikiMaximus sword. That kind of thing.

And those are cool, but they’re sort of novelties. I don’t think anyone is basing their build around that item. So with the upcoming Legendary changes, like a double DiabloWikiHydra wand for the Wizard, are you guys thinking these are going to be game changing, “this is what your build will be based around?” Or will they just be cool novelties? Or both?

Wyatt Cheng: I would love for people to build around these items. I think that if I had a choice between Option A: a cool weapon that has a demon with a fire chain, and Option B: a weapon that does way more damage. Then players tend to go, the demon is cute and all, but I want the damage.

What we’re looking at now is Option A should be the demon with the chain and awesome damage, and Option B is two Hydras at once and awesome damage. We don’t really want players to be doing a math problem of some amount of damage vs. a cool effect. Which is where I feel like we are now, where a lot of those cool things get relegated to “toy” status.

Flux: Yeah, Maximus is cool if your follower has it, but you don’t make a whole lot of changes with it.

Wyatt Cheng: They should be cool effects that are also effective.

Flux: There were a whole bunch of specific questions about changes we might see to item affixes. So I’m going to ask one question about that, and depending on how you answer I might ask more, or not.

So basically in the game now, every class wants the same mods. You guys have talked about that before, it’s all about Critical hit Damage, Critical hit Chance, Res All, Faster Attack, etc. So the question is, in “Loot 2.0” are you tinkering with the current stats, considering different values, hard caps, that sort of thing, or are you looking at much bigger, overall changes to whole systems and the ways attributes function and such.

In that case the little changes that fans are always suggesting, to tweak the affix values and such, aren’t really relevant.

Wyatt Cheng: Well, that’s pretty case by case… Okay, high level philosophy is.. we don’t like it when one affix is amazing, and another is absolutely terrible. So that I want the good thing and I’m really sad when I get the other one. Some amount of that is inevitable, but I think the gap between the best and the worst is extremely large. The exact mechanics by which we shrink that gap is TBD, but I do think that gap is too large.

Some of the properties aren’t good and should be better. One we mention regularly is Thorns. We’re going to scale if off your primary stat, and we’re going to do a bunch of testing, and if somebody wants to go out there and do a Thorns build, that should be good. That should be a thing. I’d love to see people some day in a ton of Thorns gear and have that be a thing that’s good. That actually works.

Flux: Some players have been speculating that you guys are going to totally rework some of the systems. Like for instance Attributes won’t still boost DPS the way they do now, and it won’t be useful to get 3000 dexterity on your Monk anymore. Or it’ll be pointless to get 60% Crit Chance since it’ll be capped or changed in function. But it doesn’t sound like you guys are looking at making huge changes, or at least you aren’t going to tell us about it yet if you are.

Wyatt Cheng: Well we do want to be careful…

Flux: Or should I just ask this again in November and get a different answer?

Wyatt Cheng: We do want to be careful with existing gear, that’s something we talk about a lot. I don’t want to log in one day and suddenly my character is completely broken. So that’s definitely a factor. On the other side… regardless of how people feel about existing stats, the idea that there is an item out there that I really want, that I aspire or dream about having one day, is a good thing for the game. So as much as DiabloWikitrifecta or DiabloWikiquadfecta items are bad in terms of being universal for all characters, it would be a different story if they were rare, hard to get, and I dreamed of getting one some day.

Flux: Or even DiabloWikiquinfecta, as we’re moving up to these days.

Josh Mosqueira: Right. *laughs*

Flux: A lot of item types now *must* have one affix or it’s useless. Like Sockets in helms, or CC on helms, or CC on bracers or off-hand items, etc. Are you guys looking at making changes to this problem? So is the solution to make the mandatory mods more likely to roll, or to make them less effective on the items? Or can the Mystic be part of this and she can add those mandatory mods at the cost of making the item BoA?

Wyatt Cheng: We’ve been reluctant to guarantee stats on items. The reason is that the ultimate end goal is that the designers aren’t hand crafting good items. If we wanted to we could go in there and make every item roll nothing but the stats that are the most popular today.

Flux: But then that’s boring since everyone has the same gear.

Wyatt Cheng: Yeah. I think the ideal, which we’ll strive towards but may never reach. But the ideal is that the definition of perfect gear is different for every class. And even within the same class since people have different builds.

One thing I think about a lot, is how do we make it so Attack Speed is good for a lot of people, but not for everybody. That’s a tough design problem and we have some ideas, but can we apply that to everyone? So that not every character wants crit, or crit damage?

Flux: Not currently, no… but in theory. *laughs*

Wyatt Cheng: *laughs* Right, but that is a better long term angle for the game than saying everybody wants this so let’s give it to them.

Flux: I’d continue on the item affixes issue, but there are a ton of other questions and topics.

I was surprised that the guys didn’t give more hints or indications of big changes to items. With the “Loot 2.0” terminology, I’ve been expecting really big changes to items and especially to item affixes. As Wyatt said, they don’t want to do something in a patch so that the next day people log on and their gear is worthless. But the theory many fans have speculated on is that an Expansion could do something like that.

Probably not “worthless,” an Expansion will almost by definition devalue all current gear, since it will introduce something like a new tier of level 64 gear, plus new Legendaries of that level, improvements to current legendaries, etc. That’s what happened in D2X, and it’s what happens in every WoW expansion, and in expansion for pretty much every other RPG on the market.

So, given that expectation, why wouldn’t the devs take that opportunity to revalue and rework and reallocate how the attributes and other item bonuses work in the expansion? You know going into the expansion that you’ll be looking for upgrades. Why not do that so the upgrades aren’t just bigger versions of the current numbers, but are different numbers entirely?

And maybe that is something on the drawing board, but if so Wyatt certainly didn’t give us a lot of hints about it in his replies to these questions.

 


Flux: A question about single target vs. AoE skills. In another recent interview one of you guys mentioned the Demon Hunter’s DiabloWikiImpale, and how it’s way under powered, since DiabloWikiHungering Arrow actually beats it on a single target, when Impale has a high Hatred cost while Hungering Arrow is free, and actually generates Hatred for you.

Is that just an inherently unfixeable problem in Diablo 3 especially since the monster density increases in v1.08? We had a whole debate about this on the site, and just to make the point I said, “What if there was a skill that would kill any single target, with a three second cooldown?” And people were like, “I still wouldn’t use it, except maybe for Ubers.”

Josh Mosqueira: Right! *laugh*

Flux: So it seems like there’s nothing you guys can do with a single target skill that’s ever going to make it viable in a game where there are 100 enemies on the screen at once?

Wyatt Cheng: I think that an unfortunately side effect of the monster density increase is that it devalues single target skills. What are we doing to do about that? Well, something we’ve talked about, and I stress that we mean a lot when we say “talked about.” But what we’ve talked about is that in a given level there are portions that are dense and portions where single target matters more. We like higher monster density, but maybe we don’t need the player to be surrounded by 100 monsters all the time.

You mentioned it could be used for DiabloWikiUbers. Well, maybe we can create a gameplay experience that has a lot of variety to it, so in a single ten minute play session, you’d have need for single target skills as well as AoE skills. So we’re looking into that.

Flux: Well that’ll be level 17 in the bottomless dungeon, so we can all look forward to that.

*giggling in the background*

Flux: Okay, let’s talk about death. And avoiding it. Given that I play Hardcore, this is a topic that’s in my head. Monks have Near Death Experience. Wizards have Unstable Anomaly. Witch Doctors have Spirit Vessel. And Barbarians don’t need death cheating skills. Why doesn’t the poor Demon Hunter get one? The squishiest class in the game. I love DHs in softcore but I’ve given up on playing them in Hardcore since there’s such a razor thin margin for error.

It seems like you guys could so easily tack on some work around. Just rip off Spirit Vessel; under 10% hit points with a Demon Hunter you auto-cast Smoke Screen with a 2 second duration and it’s got a two minute cooldown. Just put that into the game right now as part of Tactical Advantage of Perfectionist or something. Or replace Grenadier, which has a death effect that no one has ever actually used on purpose. Can that be in there by next week you think?

*laughter*

Wyatt Cheng: Um, there’s a lot there.

Josh Mosqueira: We’ve got a weekend coming up…

Flux: Well obviously it’s a perfect idea that can’t be assailed in any possible way. My logic is inescapable. As I hear Lylirra laughing in the background.

Wyatt Cheng: So uh, I’m going to take your question and much like earlier, use the opportunity to talk about something that’s related but different. If that’s okay?

Flux: That is your skill set.

Wyatt Cheng: *laughter* Okay. And that’s sort of like class design in general. I know what players do, and designers do it too. Actually, humans do this. We draw comparisons between different classes. Class A has this, Class B has this, so logically Class C should have it also…

Flux: Especially when that’s the class that needs it the most.

Wyatt Cheng: I think that it’s a line of reasoning that’s used to justify a buff to something, to a skill. Another example I’ll throw out. The Demon Hunter has Vault. The Barbarian has Leap. The Wizard has Teleport. Why doesn’t the Witch Doctor get a teleport? Clearly the Witch Doctor should have an instant move ability as well.

My general reaction to this is… the classes aren’t meant to be the same. And I don’t want to be in a position where all of our classes come to be so homogenous that they have different-colored versions of the same skill. I think it’s good that a class has something that they’re really envious of that other class. And the other classes are really envious of the first class.

It’s good when the classes have something that’s like, the other classes are super overpowered, and everyone is saying that. Or, better yet, I love my class because I have skill X that nobody else has. Or I can do X and Y together that no one else can.

To wrap up my segue, I wouldn’t make a change based on the argument that 4 classes have it so the 5th should too. I’d be more inclined to ask how we can make them all cool and unique. If the Demon Hunter has issues with Hardcore survivability, can we address that problem in a manner that is unique and cool to the Demon Hunter itself.

Flux: I agree completely with you philosophically, but like 1% of players in Hardcore games in Inferno are Demon Hunters, and this seems like a really easy and direct fix, and I’ve benefited directly many times from the equivalent skills on my Witch Doctor and Monk.

Wyatt Cheng: We have the data on the figures, and the number is a little bigger than 1%.

Flux: Okay, I was a little hyperbolic on that, but anyway…

I have one wrap up question for Josh, and we’ve got about 10 minutes to go, so be sure we save a minute for that.

Changing the topic again, to monsters. The purples. Superuniques, whatever they’re called in Diablo 3. You guys gave them really individual cool names, and stats, and lore, and they have special abilities and individual appearances, and when you actually find one in the game they die in three seconds and drop two stacks of gold and a blue item.

It seems like a really underutilized feature and they are all over the game and you get achievements for killing them, but you hardly notice when you see them. Is there a way we can fix them? Some huge wholistic change would be great, but in the short term just something like 5x their hit points and increase their drops to boss quality.

Wyatt Cheng: I think the purple monsters are underwhelming. In terms of how we got to where we are, sometimes we put in a purple monster because we wanted to have a cool encounter, so there are a couple that are cool to fight and strong. There are other purple monsters that were put in for story, cinematic, or world building purposes. So they’re trying to fill two different design goals.

Internally we’ve talked about doing kind of what you said. We’ve got two different kinds of purple monsters. All the ones that were put in for strictly story and world development purposes are kind of underwhelming, so let’s go back and make them more interesting to fight, meaty, and give good rewards. So that is on our to-do list.

Flux: Okay, cool. They have cool features, lots of them will have Frozen or Molten or other mods and you won’t even notice it since they die so quickly.

Wyatt Cheng: Some of them don’t even have an affix on them. And they don’t always have enough hit points to live long enough for you to really read their name.

Flux: Yeah. Just last night playing I got the Bashiok fallen shaman in the Dahlgur Oasis. And I was so excited since I hadn’t seen him since launch day. I mean the in-game one and the real person too. And I was like, “It would be great if he did some really cool stuff!” and then he was dead in five seconds.

Okay, one last thing before I have a couple of postmortem questions, which we may or may not have time for. PVP! You guys said in a recent interview that you’re not working on any new PvP systems, even though it’s still in your thoughts, and Josh you said that people stop by your desk all the time and ask you about PvP.

Josh Mosqueira: Right.

Flux: Back in Blizzcon 2010 and 2011 there was a PvP demo in the Blizzcon demo. I loved it, I played it madly, if it was on Battle.net right now I’d play it every night. During development you guys repeatedly said that ESports wouldn’t work with Diablo 3, that it couldn’t be balanced. And I can certainly see that with the existing characters, since there’s so much variety in skills and gear that it seems impossible to equalize.

But it seems like you could do an arcade style brawler that would fix that. Say there are 3 pre-made versions of each character, with gear and skills that players can’t change, and we just pick one and make teams and dive into the arena, just like an upgraded version of the wildly-popular PvP demo from past Blizzcons. It keeps records, it keeps scores, you’ve got ladders and rankings and the whole thing. That would be spectacular and awesome and can we see it in the next couple of months?

Josh Mosqueira: You’re right. We played that, at least I played those versions when I got here.

Flux: And they were awesome!

25:40 — Josh Mosqueira: But was it the right expression of PvP for Diablo? Something we really struggled with is, does it feel like Diablo when you’re not A: using your character that has all your cool items, and does it feel like Diablo in the fact that you’re not getting any items. I think everybody intrinsically gets the idea that a PvP mode in Diablo 3 should be really fun, and we’ve seen examples that in bursts it can be a lot of fun. So the questions is how do we make sure it feels like thematically… not just a side product, but part of the overall core fantasy of the game.

Flux: I think we might get into a debate about the perfect being the enemy of the good, in this case? The perfect system would be awesome, but if it doesn’t happen for five years, we could have a lot of fun in the meantime.

Josh Mosqueira: That’s funny since that’s one of the phrases I love saying. “The perfect is the enemy of the good.”

I’ve been on the team in this position for a couple of months and there are a few things we’ve really been focusing on. But it our desire and Wyatt’s as well that we want to tackle this question. A few weeks ago someone came by my office with what I thought was a really cool proposal. So it is something we’re working on and come one day we’ll be able to give you guys an answer. Not the perfect answer, but the right answer.

Flux: Okay, we’ve got one minute to go so I’ll skip to the last question. I was at the fansite summit a couple of weeks ago and you Josh, asked us a question, about what we thought was the most important thing to fix or improve in Diablo 3. But you said you had a total of eight questions, so I was wondering if you could tell me some of the others. What else did you want to ask us, what were you curious to learn from the community, but didn’t have time?

Josh Mosqueira: *muttering* Oh I don’t remember. Of course my brain right now is totally um… not working on that topic.

Flux: And your notepad is in your office, too. [At the Fansite Event Josh actually had and was using one of those tiny spiral ring notepads like you see cops using in crime shows. And he was consulting it when asking the first of his eight questions.]

Josh Mosqueira: *laughing* It totally is! Um… a lot of the questions that we get, that I want to turn around and ask you guys. The big high level one was what one thing you guys would fix. The other ones were, obviously the AH is pretty contentious, what if anything you’d do so address the Auction House. Itemization is a big one also, what you guys would do to address that. Another one was like, how closely, as we’re thinking about the future, how closely should we stick to the Diablo 2 forumla and how can we keep pushing Diablo 3 into its own space and its own identity.

That’s four or five of them. There were a few others that were more noodle-y, which is probably why they’re not coming to mind right now.

Flux: Okay, that’s great. I have one last very quick question you guys can no comment in unison, if you want to practice. Will we see the Diablo 3 Expansion debut at Blizzcon this year?

Josh Mosqueira: Blizzcon is going to be awesome this year!

Flux: Thanks for your time. One thing we always do at the end of the podcast is say that this is the Diablo Podcast and we’re online at Diablo.IncGamers.com, and then we do our Secret Cow Level sound effects. Can you guys join me in a moo?

Both: Sure!

Flux: Moo.

Wyatt Cheng: Moooooooo.

Josh Mosqueira: Moorrroooow!

Lylirra: Thanks!

 

After 100 of these shows I’ve had more experience doing Secret Cow Level sounds than most people, and I can say that Wyatt and Josh udderly rose to the occasion. Perhaps it’s something that comes over you, once you’re working on a Diablo game? Pity I didn’t get Lylirra to join in; after all, it’s the Secret *Cow* Level, not the Secret *Bull* Level, and despite their male voices in Diablo 2, all of the cows have udders… including the Cow King. So um… let’s just say there’s some gender issues with Diablo 3’s Hell Bovines and leave it at that.

I said it on the show but I should say it again here. I really enjoyed the interview and both Wyatt and Josh were game to answer every question I had, with very little of that crafty PR-FU style redirection game developers are known for. Thanks to them for the time and the good info, thanks to Lylirra for setting everything up, and thanks to you guys for suggesting so many great questions. I couldn’t get through anywhere near all of them, but as you heard I jumped around topics a lot to at least get one or two in every key area.

Also, Blizzard said they’d be doing more of these interviews with fansites and I’d certainly love to conduct another one, hopefully before TDP #200. As I alluded to, I had hundreds more questions, and only lacked the time to pose them.

Afterwards while texting Lylirra, she asked me to send along the postmortem questions I’d meant to ask Wyatt but didn’t have time for. I did, she said the questions were awesome and she’d forward them to various appropriate developers, and while I doubt we’ll hear official responses to them, you never know! I’ll refrain from quoting them here just in case we do hear some official reply, since it would be more fun to post the questions and answers at the same time. (Or save them to ask live on a future interview.)

That said, if nothing comes on them in the next couple of weeks, someone who remembers/cares can ask me and I’ll post them in a news item. They related to Diablo III’s initial design differences from D2, Diablo III’s Legendaries, and one core element of Diablo 3’s story.

Hope you guys enjoyed the interview and the new info, and feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below, and link the interview to your Diablo 3-hating friends. Perhaps it’ll sooth their savage hearts?

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  1. They should make cow levels return as end game content and remove the Whimseyshire blasphemy. And as a second symbolic gesture, add back day/night cycle for the cow levels, with minimal light radius. The Cow King’s halberd and muus in the dark… together with the Wilderness music, and I have refuge.

  2. Haha “Wyatt Cheng: We have the data on the figures, and the number is a little bigger than 1%.” ohh man….

    Im really not satisfied with their expectations of the itemization 2.0. It seems pretty clear there is no intention on a huge revamp of current design, but minor revamps on item drop rates, tighter item roll control, minor rework of less used stats, and an introduction of some new items. Pablum itemization changes.

    I guess ill just have to wait until the expansion to play d3 again since the itemization changes aren’t going to be anywhere near as robust as I had hoped. And also this ” the idea that there is an item out there that I really want, that I aspire or dream about having one day, is a good thing for the game. So as much as trifecta or quadfecta items are bad in terms of being universal for all characters, it would be a different story if they were rare, hard to get, and I dreamed of getting one some day.”

    … Really so the solution is make the odds of those rolls even lower :/ sigh. whatever.

    • Their expectation on loot 2.0 is horrendous. Fixing thorns by bringing it up to the level of the trifecta is their idea of loot 2.0 then I’m out because that is something that should have been fixed 8 months ago.

    • Flux is a much better person than I am.

      when Wyatt Cheng said “We have the data on the figures, and the number is a little bigger than 1%.”

      I would have immediately shot back with “What is the number?”

      I really appreciate Flux doing these interviews, but I just don’t like these developers.

      Their answers are just so …

      “Wyatt Cheng: So uh, I’m going to take your question and much like earlier, use the opportunity to talk about something that’s related but different. If that’s okay?”

      Then he goes into a whole discussion about “class envy”.

      No Wyatt, that’s not related in anyway at all.

      Jesus, Wyatt, just admit Demon Hunters have a problem in HC and we’ve been looking into it!
      Say “We have the data and know the percentage of DHs in HC is very small. We’ve been looking into how to increase their survivability and have been testing some things out.”

      I was so excited/hopeful for the expansion after the fansite summit, but after these interviews, not so much anymore.

  3. They have no ambition!

    Why don’t they sound excited, they sound so apprehensive towards change, whether small or large. This is a video game, it’s entertainment, they sound like lethargic IRS employees.

  4. Dh can be one of the tankiest classes in game, but as usual, it is gear dependent. If you gear as glass cannon, expect to die. They have serious issues when you play too high mp. Other classes can struggle along, but dh just die if the mp is too high. Very unforgiving, yes, but play at the right mp with good ehp and you are unstoppable. Dodge only works if your ehp is high enough.

    Dh are also excellent in coop and are much stronger in a party. So it really is about finding a good mp level and group to run with.

    Sounds like we are stuck with the itemization paradigm in current d3… the mystic better have something up her sleeves. Grinding for 10 more primary stat isn’t going to be compelling.

    • Yep, something tells me its going to be as bland as the ideas they hinted at.

      “adding a property, or allowing you to reroll the stats on a property, or allowing you to roll another property, or you like an item except one of the stats rolled low and you want a shot at getting it higher.”
      Booooring. Quality of life… needed, but really underwhelming.

      It looks like Jay Wilson chose well with Josh. Both from the same cloth. I guess I should be asking myself “what did you expect?” Shame on me for expecting the game to take those major changes.

    • Agree completely on the DH, spot on.

      Pretty easy to gear up DH with EHP gear and with a good tank build more than hold your own tanking with the other toons.

      Perfectionist, numbing traps, guardian turrets, boar companion combined with a decet set of EHP gear makes the DH super tank.

      Throw in Shadow Power/Gloom and the same DH becomes godlike on the correct MP levels.

      DH is only super squishy if you want it to be……

  5. Hmmm… how to avoid “homogenized classes”? Perhaps something like class specific, permanent skill trees… what a concept!

  6. As usual.

    “we are looking at that..”

    “it is an interesting idea..”

    “one thing that we are talking about in the office is….”

    No disrespect at all and by no means I am trying to be negative, but it is painfully obvious that the interview was pointless. Nothing new has been said and nothing definite was promised.

    • They promised blizzcon will be awesome!

    • I imagine they can only say so much before going into expansion territory, which they’re not allowed to talk about. You also have to remember that they their working process is very heavy on iteration, so the only time you’ll hear them being adamant about an upcoming feature is when they’re close to putting it out on the live servers, and we know that won’t be happening for a while.

        • If you listen to the interview you’ll hear them pause before almost every reply. I edited out a lot of the “ummmm” pauses for better listening, but you still hear quite a few. That’s not due to them being slow-witted or not knowing what they want to say.

          I think they could answer immediately, and they probably do during internal conversations. But when they’re talking about future changes, most of which will come in an expansion that’s not even officially announced yet, they have to be careful about how they answer and what they say. PR-fu, basically, but also just not giving away too much in advance.

          That said, I’d have liked them to be a little more forthcoming on a lot of issues, but I’ve had similar conversations many times in the past with game devs, and these were a lot more open and sharing replies than I’ve often heard in the past, when concerning future details of a game.

          • Agreed. Kudos to the interview by the way. I know it is quite depressing to not get the answers you wanted after all that prep work. I know that if I were doing the interview, I would have snapped haha 😀 But you kept your cool.

          • Thanks for the effort by the way Flux. I know that if I were in your shoes, I would probably have nerd raged haha. But you kept your cool and still was a professional. 😉

          • Well you did your best to get blood from the stone that is Blizzard. Appreciate the effort you put into this.

            I was really hoping for something exciting on the itemisation rather than “This affix or that affix that we mentioned 6 months ago is an example of the direction we are taking”. For God’s sake Blizzard stop being so afraid of giving away the tiniest detail.

            This comparison is nothing to do with who heads up the company but if you read the Gazillion forums for Marvel Heroes the devs (note – not just CMs, who also post a lot) respond on a daily basis. Dozens of replies a day, regularly beyond midnight their local time. OK the game isn’t filled with as much content YET but you get a sense of the massive amounts of passion and determination they have for their game to succeed.

            Blizzard has become too PR sensitive and their generic defensive robotic responses really don’t allow them to endear themselves to me at all.

            TL:DR They dont appear to appreciate just how bad the itemisation is in relation to D2X and don’t appear too fussed about it’s current state either, which makes me a sad Diablo fan.

      • Normally, I’d agree with you IF we are talking about a different developer, say like Naughty Dog.

        As a gamer and a fan, you can easily tell if they are just being tight-lipped because they do not want to spoil it or if they truly doesn’t have a clue. They belong to the latter.

        Why? A lot of things. Firstly, the fact that “promised” patch will come after Blizzcon. Read the interview. They said that they are not planning to do something big about the itemization that will shake the core foundation of the game, but it will still take them about half a year to do it? It is obvious that the console version is dragging them down, no matter how they try to diffuse it.

        Second, their dodgy way of answering it is exactly the way how they answered questions before. They are still confused and in the dark about a lot of things. Hell, they STILL do not know about what they are going to do with the Mystic. And they already had ideas! Let the Mystic be able to change stats! Boom, done deal. Why the need to think over it? It is not like it is a bad feature that will break the game. The fans would not suggest it if it is bad right?

        The infuriating thing is that they are so, so afraid of taking that chance. The have ideas, no doubt. They know how to fix the game. But first they still need to have hundreds of meetings with the Council while wearing dark robes.

    • The theme for all these interviews has been that they’re happy with the core game and item mechanics and the ‘issues’ that remain are either

      Much more complex to fix and the ‘easy’ fixes have bigger downsides the community does not see
      Not actually problems based on their statistics or internal feedback

  7. These game developers sound like they’re either high or zoned out on xanax. They sound tired and not very enthusiastic about the future. They sound like they’re tired of dealing with this game and the community.

    What we need is a revamp of the development team, not the game. These guys talk like 17 year old surfer dudes working on their very first game (I’m from California too…)

    Interview is pointless. You tried your best man, but these guys just suck. Their is no constructive way to point out lack of enthusiasm.

    It’s like they don’t even care anymore and it shows.

  8. There is not one interview where I’ve heard them enthusiastically talk about the game like “OMG We can’t wait to get out all of these new ideas we’re putting in the game” it’s more like “well…… we’re….. talking….about….stuff”
    Seriously if the want to get “boo’d” at blizzcon because they don’t want to brainstorm and put in better item affixes instead of fixing ones that should have been fixed already (thorns) then that is on them and they’re going to be in for a rude awakening. I don’t care about some stupid enchantress that lets me augment my stats such as dexterity into more intellect for my wizard OOHHHH WOW FUCKING MINDBLOWN GUYS GREAT IDEA…..NOT

  9. I agree with the devs ideas on the PvP issue that we all should be able to PvP in the gear we find. They don’t want to make it some sort of side thing that seems slapped onto the game but make it a large part of the experience as a whole. They state that they realize “perfection” would be counter productive in this scenario. I’m just curious what are the issues that are holding back from them implementing a full PvP system with match making, various arenas, and whatever other features – is it really a matter of “balance” because if that is the case, I don’t think D2 was necessarily “balanced” if you PvP’d in your MF gear versus some SS barb you’re going to lose instantly. They haven’t said what the delay is on PvP that they need to resolve I wish they would be more specific about that.

    • If you look carefully into the time line, Jay and the D3 team was hard working on PvP, until beating and farming Inferno became an acceptable challenge and we started to see 400k dps characters, then they shut it down completely. They realize it was unfeasible with such DPS, unless they introduce a whole lot more of mitigation in the gear curve, which would require re-tuning monsters damage, which would re-introduce the massive gear wall. So they would have to put a very significant damage reduction in PvP, making low dps matches a non-fixable problem when they tested it internally. The D3 dev team didn’t lack vision on a small scale, they absolutely lacked the ability to pick up a calculator and do the maths on attack speed, critical damage and so on and so forth.

      • Agree completely. Critical hit damage is a fun pve stat, but it’s terrible in pvp. The issue should have been immediately obvious, and I am guessing they chose to base gear on this stat knowing pve was more important than pvp to most people.

  10. It seems like the answer they gave to every question was, “Well, we’ve talked about this, and is this really the best solution to the game?”

    The game has been out over a year. If by now they do not know the correct solutions to the many problems that this game has, than this development team is clueless. I hate to say it, and I mean no disrespect, but that’s the truth. This makes me really scared for the expansion pack.

    • Ok, something screwy with the site and trying to post. Wish I copy/pasta’d what I typed before…

      The PVP thing irks me. It seems like, if they are trying to stay so true to the Diablo roots, then the answer is hostility. I mean, they could disable it by default and hide it in the options like Elective Mode so no one would actually use it accidentally (or on purpose without visiting a website). Then, just prevent PVP damage unless the hostility is mutually accepted.

      “Player X has expressed hostility towards you, do you accept?”
      “Warning, accepting hostility will allow other players to damage you!”

      If you went hostile on someone that didn’t have it enabled, it would just say something to that effect.

      Limited griefing. You can see where someone is, based on their banner. Shared TPs are already prevented so… I guess I just don’t see the issue here. If you just want to spar, then use Brawling.

      Perhaps PVP was fun in the Blood Moor because you could have 2 people fighting with up to 6 other spectators or PVPers on deck. With the 4 player limit, it may not be as good, but it’s better than ‘we scrapped the whole thing’.

  11. No big changes to itemization?
    Even with the goals Blizzard mention on their own – making each build desire different stats – which is the correct goal to have for itemization, huge changes are required.

    The 3 primary stats has to die. And be reborn as something else. There is no way around it. They go directly against your own damn goal.
    Crit, attack speed etc doesn’t have to die. that is a question of skill balance. Make some skills scale better/worse with crit, attack speed etc and problem is solved. Not that it would be easy to do that of course. But on a conceptual level the solution is easy.
    Again, its a total redesign though, just of skills rather than stats in this case.
    The few stats scaling with pick-up radius today is already showing the way.

    Screw peoples gear in an expansion, it doesn’t matter if their gear is useless after that. Improving the game is more important.
    Hell, allow us to break our old gear down into very valuable crafting materials used by the Mystic for example, if you want to give people with awesome gear a “headstart” in a new expansion.

    Their answer regarding single target vs AoE is good. That is indeed the goal to strive for.
    Tbh, I would just pick an easy solution, and add ‘AoE resistance’ to big monsters. Hell, it would actually make some sense that big enemies would care less about you doing some silly swipe attack at them.

    • Yeah, I was thinking about this as I listened to the interview. (Great job as usual, Flux.) I think one of the issues in the game, as you allude to, Shadout, is that critical chance is tied into the effectiveness of so many skills. This was probably OK with initial testing, but now that most players have elite end-game gear, it’s…broken? Overpowered? The problem is that everyone wants crit chance for damage AND for skill procs (with the WD as the exception, I suppose). It’s inelegant, but maybe a way to change this is to link skill procs to a secondary stat. For example, the monk gets cyclone procs on Sweeping Wind based on a percentage of his INT. Battle Rage/Into the Fray would be based on a barb’s DEX. This at least could make you choose between raw damage and skill proc rate (whereas now you get both). Plus it would immediately make some gear use-able that is trash right now (spirit stones with INT, for example). I’m sure there are better solutions, but this is the first one that came to mind. The key is to break the link between skill procs and crit chance-or at least vary it from class to class.

      • Excellent idea about separating crit chance and proc. This would definitely be a good addition to adding some depth to itemization.

      • Agreed. Basing procs on crit chance has a top spot on my “WTF where they thinking!” list

        Just having a seperate “proc chance” attribute would go a prevent the double dipping you get from CC with a lot of builds. But I reccon they decided to tie procs to CC because adding a separate proc stat would be “too confusing”, not to mention having different skills proc rates based on different stats as in your example.

  12. Thanks Flux, both parts of the interview are a good read.

    They sound very reluctant to make changes. I do think this is their best self trying, but they sound full of doubt about what they´ll do.
    Maybe it is because they are kinda “new” to their current position? But some months after being in there I should think that they are up to the task (which I don´t know by now).

    Like ghostpos points before me, this is entertainment, and while people are still having fun with the game, most of us here feel it is broken, and they agree with this, which is good, but for me agreeing is not enough.

    I´m ok with what they say for most of the interview, except for the PvP part. If they say it can´t be balanced, then why aren´t they releasing it with the modes they have tried? Its just for fun after all. Also, didn´t they say that matchmaking was better now than before?

  13. God this dev team has to be filled with d2 players that HATED pvp they are so clueless… they don’t understand what made d2 pvp fun. It’s pretty clear these are all guys that hated d2 pvp, Probably got their ears stolen all the time and think pvp needs to be rewarding like pve.

    It’s news to me that pvp isn’t fun if you don’t get epic loot. I thought pvp was fun because well.. pvp.

    • I agree on the loot. I want to PvP because it’s fun. Not to get a bonus item every now and then. I wouldn’t mind that, but the function of the PvP is 99% of the importance. If there are bells and whistles of gear or exp gain or whatever on top of that, great.

      I could have done the whole podcast on PvP, though you heard what Josh said about big ideas they can’t even hint at yet.

      I want what they said, a great way to PvP with my current character, but I’d also love a skill-based PvP like we saw in the past Blizzcon demos. I had high hopes for PvP pre-D3, since they talked about matchmaking and ways to pair up people for even fights. I never did much PvP in D2 since it got so specialized that you had to completely devote your character to it. I’m mostly a fan of PvE; I just want to PvP once in a while for fun, in something resembling an even battle. Which is why I think the arcade-style death match thing where everyone pics pre-made chars would be awesome.

  14. These guys are not much different from Jay Wilson. They ignore the tough realities, do not concise answers, and deliberate on ideas as if they are universe-changing measures. I quit Diablo 3 in January, and my life has been all the better. I was a Demon Hunter, and was frustrated by the lack of skill diversity used. The developers seemed to mock the Demon Hunters, showing no intentions of strengthening them nor any intentions to weaken the Barbarians and Wizards – pathetic. This boils down what they alluded to: they are afraid to change anything because it would a.) bring out the cry babies and b.) could potentially devalue Mr. Kardashians $2,500.00 character.

    These guys also deny the harsh realities. Automated matchmaking is easier to program, better logistically, but a complete failure in other regards. Look at Starcraft II’s custom games and see how many people join. Not many. Their own theory is invalid because it ignores the big picture. You could have: 1.) Quest Matchmaking 2.) ‘Run’ Matchmaking 3.) Brawling Matchmaking and 4.) Custom games. If you gave the gamers an ample amount of ways to find games, custom games would not “fill instantly.” Their failed argument revolves around the idea that 100% of the Diablo 3 population would create custom games. Not to mention, you could segregate people by region (like SC2) to avoid over-filling. How much do these guys make per year?

    Finally, the thing that irks me the most is their inability to decide. A multimillion dollar team of Hamlets. Any little, itty bitty, minute change is a cosmic disturbance for these people. Flux seemed to draw more questions out of these people than answers. They have no answers, only more questions. I hate to say it, but this game is dead or seemingly dead. For one, “un-game-breaking” change to be made, a team of developers must discuss, debate, ponder, and question hour after hour, day after day.

    Good luck and I wish you all the much needed patience to endure!

    • Well it goes without saying they aren’t much diff from Jay Wilson since all of them except, i think, travis day worked on d3 dev during Jay’s reign and Jay appointed Josh as his successor. The 2 main problems I see is they are working with d3 under a flawed perception that the game has the basic design pillars they came up with already. It barely manages to take a few of them. So they work under the flawed understanding to make better systems that plain suck.

    • Great post you hit the nail on the head. I especially noticed how they squabble over the smallest thing as if its a cosmic decision haha what a joke.

  15. Flux, that was really good, an enjoyable read.

    What they could do for the items is that you can upgrade them with the mystic but have a chance to destroy them, only trade-able once more, make them unrepairable or make them otherwise less useful (they could roll an additional ‘devilish’ affix). Every time you upgrade the item it has a chance of 10% to roll a devilish affix.

    This way high level items will leave the economy at some point.

  16. I lost all of my hopes about itemization after reading this… looks like these guys don’t know what they are doing… to fix something, one should understand the core issue… without understanding the core issue, no matter what you do, you cannot fix it… and looks like they will add some new items, tweak some numbers here & there and save the day… actually we should not expect more from a team who decided not to rollback servers after 1.0.8 gold duping fiasco, but trying to remove gold by reviewing individual transactions… it was pathetic! and then they said, they could remove 85% of excess gold from economy, but never told what 15% is compared to initial amount… whole team is fail!…

  17. I was expecting something like this…

    1. value all items (on char & in stash) and convert them into new gold
    2. delete all items from all accounts
    3. give all accounts new gold which is equal to value of all items in that account
    4. let game begins…

    see my thread here: Suggestion for Loot 2.0 Implementation
    http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/9479148077?page=1

    Blizzard needs smart people!…

  18. My suggestion is, change the mechanics of DPS calculation, nerf CD 75% or remove CD (make it fixed @100%, double damage on crits), remove all unused/useless stats (life after kill, hp bonus, get no damage, etc.), join similar ones (gf/mf, loh/ls etc.) rework on leveling system (1-999 or 1 to unlimited), remove paragon and different modes, give us some flexibility when we level up, give us flexibility to choose our own path (not talking about just stat/vit, it can be anything on game, like ms, as, pr, ar, luck, life, ls etc.) after every level up, give us more options to hide junks/auto loots, change level requirements on weapons and make weapons do damage proportional to level (as we progress, weapon makes more damage, like DPS = level * (10-25), ie @ level 10 it does 100-250, but @ 50, it gives 500-750 dps), a more linear progression from level to level (right now 1-60 is joke, then we stuck @ 60 but climb a wall with gear, we start with 5 dps, come to lvl60 with 3-5K damage and then try to find right gear to give us 500K damage, using a 15 reduced weapon and playing godly pre lvl 60, or using a high end gem in low level weapons… i call these just bs, short sighted), remove BoA…

    too many things to do…

    but to be able to do that, I was suggesting score current items, convert those scores into some gold, wipe out all items, and give accounts some of gold of old items…

    I don’t believe anything good can be added to current mess… and what i see here in this interview, we will not get anything good, just another mess…

    then somebody will say “stay a while and listed boy!” and i guess whole team will STEP DOWN then!

    I can feel it… it is close, so close…

  19. I really enjoyed this primarily due to Flux’s preperation as an interviewer, and intellectual deftness to keep them on their toes. In all of the previous interviews I’ve heard, and I seek them out, the Dev’s are highly regarded and the interviewers could not or would not push them on their statements. Flux was able to turn it from a one way flow of unquestioned parcels of pre packaged sound bites into a conversation, an actual two-way discussion of some of the game issues. I enjoyed the direct questions, even if he knew he wasn’t going to get a straight answer, and was smart enough not to waste time pressing them in areas they seemed reticent about.
    As for the quality of the developers responses, the developers are talking to people. This has never happened before with this kind of candor or regularity in the years of development and post launch of Diablo 3. What I experienced listening to both parts of the interview was the most even and intimate exchange that I’ve ever heard with a Blizzard Dev team. Granted, that’s not saying a great deal. Rather than getting caught up on the content of this one interview, I’m excited that Josh and Wyatt were willing to show up and play along, and what that can mean for the future. If we’re supportive of this, than maybe they’ll do more and maybe some of the details people are getting stuck on in this thread can be asked. Treat it like the tip of the iceberg rather than the Voyage of the Titanic.

    Just an aside: “Perfect is the enemy of the good” can be taken both ways keep in mind.

    • Thanks, and to sort of redirect, I think a lot of comments on there are too hard on the devs. I’ve talked to video game devs a fair amount on and off the record, and they’re almost all thoughtful intelligent people who can have great conversations about a video game. Including their own video games.

      That’s not so often apparent in “official” interviews since 1) they’re always being asked about things they can’t yet reveal, and 2) most interviewers are bored/hurried general media types who don’t really know or care about the content, or 3) overwhelmed fanboys who reverence every word like magic from heaven and/or don’t have the interview/conversational skills to quickly process what they hear and to redirect and follow up appropriately.

      As a result the devs (definitely not just Blizzard or D3 devs) often come off as vague, or bored, or they just lecture without any real direction since the interviewer doesn’t know how to shape a constructive conversation. A prime example was Wyatt’s lengthy talk with a streamer on Anniversary Day, when the guy basically had no questions or follow ups and Wyatt just riffed on this or that. It was interesting and somewhat informative, but I (and my others in comments) tore out our hair over lost opportunities for more detail, better info, etc.
      http://diablo.incgamers.com/blog/comments/wyatt-cheng-diablo-3-interview-via-live-stream

  20. —–LOOTFAIL 2.0 ———

    AND…HERE WE…GO………….!

  21. A question to Flux: would you join Blizzard if they asked you to join D3´s team, after this interview?

    • Well it would depend on the job — I’m not temperamentally cut out for PR or CM stuff, (I like to attack PR-fu, not create it) but I’d be happy to join a development team in some capacity. (Or I could do something like interview everyone for a behind the scenes DVD, or produce regular blizzcasts or something.)

      I’m not a huge gamer like I was when I was 20, but I’d definitely enjoy interacting and contributing to the development or creation of a video game like Diablo 3. I agree completely with the developers when they talk about great potential of Diablo 3, and I agree with a lot of the commenters on here that they seem way too cautious and careful and gradual in their changes.

      That said, I suspect it’s very different on the inside. Much more to worry about and balance and political issues and long term plans, etc. I think that huge group dynamic is necessary to create a game in the first place, but post release it’s definitely not the nimble, quick, try out new things organization we fans mostly want.

      Modders are better at post-release tweaks. But they’re only trying to please their small, self-selected audience, and they could never create say, an expansion pack… ?

  22. I agree. I don’t think these devs played enough Diablo 1 and 2 to really grasp the concept. They don’t have the emotional ties to the previous games that many of the Diablo vets have; therefore, they don’t know what made Diablo so good. Honestly, I feel as if they’re a bunch of WoW fans who were tasked with making Diablo 3 and they’re trying to make it a Diablo-WoW experience. Every interview I hear the mention of WoW… WoW is a different game, different genre and should not be mentioned at all. WoW is what lead to the destruction of this game. No character building except through gear… that sounds like WoW not Diablo.

  23. The D3 devs would fail at the Bridge of Death in Monty Python

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uR36lzNfr7k

  24. QUOTE

    ... I agree completely with the developers when they talk about great potential of Diablo 3, and I agree with a lot of the commenters on here that they seem way too cautious and careful and gradual in their changes.
    
    That said, I suspect it's very different on the inside. Much more to worry about and balance and political issues and long term plans, etc. I think that huge group dynamic is necessary to create a game in the first place, but post release it's definitely not the nimble, quick, try out new things organization we fans mostly want. 
    
    Modders are better at post-release tweaks. But they're only trying to please their small, self-selected audience, and they could never create say, an expansion pack... ?

    The real money auction house is like a noose around the devs necks when it comes to item changes or balancing. You have people spending real money on items that they are then attached to, so if you then nerf that type of item you have angry customers. Inaction is the safest corporate play with a real money auction house.

    The expansion with better tier of items and some game-play element that removes items from softcore is probably their only shot to fix the current model without huge backlash. Should be lots of decent items with a fast way out of the economy.

    We’ll probably see how they tune drop rates on the console and if it plays well bring that level of drops to the PC. I’d like to see the item grind basically eliminated — maybe make certain item types drop at a high rate on certain mobs/areas. So if you want a certain item you could auction house it or self find it in a reasonable amount of time. I think an endgame area where you fight other classes or the shadow classes from the diablo fight with higher chance to drop class specific gear would be interesting.

    High drop rates of good legendaries should deflate the economy. The expansion needs to replace the item grind with something to do or those interesting quirky builds you could have in D2 that depended on a special affect on a runeword/unique. With some new content to engage in outside of the current item grind the game might have a rebirth.

  25. It is so clear that these devs really don’t understand Diablo, and I don’t just say this because I’m a disgruntled fan. In ANY of their interviews, how often do they reference D2 LOD, the pinnacle of the series? I’m not certain I’ve ever heard them get into what worked well in LOD outside of an abstract reference. They should be able to whip out the names of items or skills that worked well and be able to drill down into the mechanics and explain why they deviated so much.

    It’s simple really. These guys don’t know how to make a Diablo game. I’m not convinced that any of them are D2 fans or played and understood D2 at any sort of acceptable level. Honestly, I don’t know why I keep checking in on this game when it is so abundantly clear that it cannot reach an acceptable state with this development team.

    I’m sorry, Flux, that at least part of your living is based on a beloved game with such an inept development team. I really am. I imagine the temptation to move to something else must be pretty high at times, because I know that you understand D2 inside and out. And it must be abundantly clear to you as well that these devs are just clueless.

    • Agree totally. These were the wrong guys to make a Diablo game.

    • This is basically the inevitable conclusion. I really hope Mike Morhaime comes down hard on these guys. D3 has felt like betrayal to the D2 fans.

      • I don’t think he or Rob Pardo cares. They sold 12 million copies. That’s what the executives care about. If they think they can gather a large enough player base by the way they make games today, they will continue to do so, and will not care that they ‘betrayed’ old Diablo fans.

        • True and that is a definitely the most likely scenario but because they were there since the beginning of the company to me means they should care about whether the game is good rather than sales I would like to think and that they were gamers themselves.

  26. I love the guest comments on here. They really create a wonderful tone. If I was designing games or interacting in any way with that kind of an individual or community I’d probably perseveratively go over everything until it was polished to the point of perfection and then second guess myself.

    • There’s a pretty easy solution to this dilemma. Don’t design a sequel to a cult classic unless you thoroughly understand what made that game successful. If you played and understood D2 LOD in its prime, before out of control dupes and bots and the resulting ladder resets; then you understand exactly why this game is failing. Even worse you understand that the devs don’t.

  27. Everyone forgets that we are and always have been since Diablo 2 was released on Blizzard Time. Blizzard Time means glacial pace to us players, we should be used to this by now, we had over a decade of practicing waiting.

    With that said I feel like the game has turned a corner in the past months, there seems to be an energy and openness now that was lacking when JW ran the show. Just go back and look at the comments by Travis Day, he specifically mentions D2 as a big influence and how he played a ton of it, this is a good thing and something that is forgotten.

    Even in the column by Xanth it was clear that more goes on behind the scenes than we think, and that actual work is getting done, if you were to go by most of the comments here then the CM’S getting clearance before Xanth’s entrance wouldn’t make any sense because apparently they do nothing and work on nothing all day….Nothing to hide right?

    Between the Flux and Xanth visits, and the two new interviews I am in a hopeful mood about the future of this game. November will be big for D3 as Josh mentioned.

    Adjust your watch to Blizzard Time or just keep grumbling.

    • As I mentioned on the podcast about Xanth’s Blizzard job visit… we at the Fansite summit didn’t get to tour the D3 offices at all. They said there was too much secret stuff to hide for us to go through there. Xanth was there in April, and I was there in June. So in 2 months enough more artwork (or white board plans, etc) about D3X went up that they couldn’t hide it all and let us tour through… apparently?

    • Yet humorously enough D2 was released within just a few years after D2 and LOD was released in less than a year after D2’s release. So I don’t believe you “glacial pace” argument is supported by the facts.

      • Let’s try this again without the spelling errors:

        Yet humorously enough D2 was released within just a few years after D1 and LOD was released in less than a year after D2?s release. So I don’t believe your “glacial pace” argument is supported by the facts.

  28. QUOTE

    I love the guest comments on here.  They really create a wonderful tone.  If I was designing games or interacting in any way with that kind of an individual or community I'd probably perseveratively go over everything until it was polished to the point of perfection and then second guess myself.

    Which is what they did. Thanks guests!

  29. How about a Mic. for in party communication purposes? The one game I know that I have to type everything out. Kinda a bit behind for being a game released in 2012?

  30. Ehhh, pretty good. I dunno what to say. Their willingness to communicate is definitely appreciated. Seriously. I think their exhaustion is partially because they’ve answered a lot of these questions on other sites already lol And these guys have been crunching trying to fix this mess of a game, give em’ a break yeesh.

    From their answers, I’m concerned that Loot 2.0 won’t have more overhaul, I just think the itemization is THAT bad, but we’ll see won’t we?

  31. I also agree with his stance on the DH. You can give her more survivability without just slapping on a get out of death free card. I find that a lot more interesting personally.

    • That was one of the few things I agreed with the Dev’s in this interview. Personally, I think that the “get out of death free card” on each class needs to go. Its a boring Passive that is entirely useless outside of Hardcore, and feels WAY TOO mandatory in Hardcore.

  32. ” … an Expansion will almost by definition devalue all current gear, since it will introduce something like a new tier of level 64 gear, plus new Legendaries of that level, improvements to current legendaries, etc. That’s what happened in D2X, and it’s what happens in every WoW expansion, … ”

    It is sad, and a fail if you dont see a fundamental difference between what happened in LoD and what happens every WoW expansion.

    Just the item and stat system differences and incomparable, WoW expansions are specifically aimed at making old loot useless (a helm that gives 5% crit at lv 70 suddenly gives 1% crit at 80 and so on), nothing similar happened in D2, frostburns still give 40% mana, apart from base damage and armor there were virtually no other changes, most affixes still stopped around ilvl50 .

    • I havne’t played WoW at all, but I hear about totally new levels of gear in every expansion.

      I played D2C and D2X extensively, and still clearly remember the scramble for new gear in D2X. Hours spent running up and down the steps out of town in Act 4 trying to get a Cruel bow to spawn on the NPC, for instance. Yes, a tiny handful of unique armor like frostburns, goldwrap, chance guards, etc were still useful between D2C and D2X, but the vast majority of gear had to be completely replaced in the expansion, including all weapons for DPS.

      Remember that D2C didn’t have elite quality armor/weapons, no uniques or sets of excep or elite quality, no runes, no jewels, etc. I’ll be shocked if D3X adds 1/4 as many new gear requirements and systems and options as D2X did. Given what Wyatt said in this interview about how they’re basically just tinkering with item affixes, instead of redoing the whole system for Loot 2.0…

  33. New expansion = a complete new gear reset. Simple as that.

    For example level 80 gear: complete reset.

    Most interesting part will be how many slots will be BOA gear and how many slots will be still tradeable.

    My guess is 50% BOA slots and 50% tradeable, with 13 slots present … divide it to your own liking.

    That way EACH player has to grind (the console way) but still can find über loot on the PC AH for the other slots.

    Cool. everybody happy.

  34. I think the dev’s are split between their design philosphies and the actual mechanics, because if they change one system for example, the rest will have to be changed by the sounds of it. So where you have item 2.0 and then DH revamp, each gameplay feature is stretched in different too many directions.

    It’s like a dev’s nightmare. I reckon they should use the PTR and change one thing at a time just to test it out, then do a larger PTR test with multiple system changes, gathering feedback like this should help them be more confidence in their generic answers and ways forward, especially if they show the community the results and let us help them out in testing the way forward. I can’t see a faster way otherwise. Features like the Mystic will come much faster this way.

  35. What i fear, and what a WoW does, is that the current gear becomes useless (== too weak), something like what lv50 gear is atm.

    If you can claim that just a handful of items stayed useful, i can claim that outside uniques, there was just a handful of slots you had to replace (body for armor and the weapon). Whom did that help? 🙂

    I know it appears differently for a competitive type of player, but for everyone else id did not mean they suddenly had to throw away their 2resist walking speed boots because their resistances went down by 50% after they gained the “expansion” levels and the new areas dropped 80+ resist boots left and right.

  36. Looks like I’m going to have to make Path of Exile my home and forget about D3. These two interviews were terrible but that isn’t the fault of Flux. Flux was kind of tough on them, mad props for that.

  37. I think most people who play with friends use skype or Vent or Mumble, etc. You’ve got a point about why the D3 Devs didn’t enable voice chat directly through B.net, or integrate those 3rd party options into our accounts… but Bnet is always a chokepoint for Bliz game features.

    I don’t personally miss it, since I don’t really need to hear some RMAH’ed 13 y/o speculate on my sexual preferences or broadcast his recent carnal activities with my mother.

  38. Dear lord. Just contract further development out to Runic, for God’s sake!

  39. QUOTE

    I think most people who play with friends use skype or Vent or Mumble, etc.  You've got a point about why the D3 Devs didn't enable voice chat directly through B.net, or integrate those 3rd party options into our accounts... but Bnet is always a chokepoint for Bliz game features.
    
    I don't personally miss it, since I don't really need to hear some RMAH'ed 13 y/o speculate on my sexual preferences or broadcast his recent carnal activities with my mother.

    Lucky americans… Often, in multiplayer in EU, I cannot find a common tong with my team mates for chatting. I guess it would be worse talking…

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