Wyatt Cheng Diablo 3 Interview via Live Stream


Yesterday, Wyatt Cheng spent an hour chatting on a fan via a Diablo 3 stream. It’s more of a casual chat than an interview, but there are some good nuggets of info, which I’m transcribing below. (Wyatt was followed by Travis Day for an even longer chat, which you can read here.)

The transcript below is *not* word for word, since it was a long conversation with a lot of chat and digression. I therefore tried to distill and abbreviate Wyatt’s comments into more direct, discrete points.

0:30 —
Can we see some sort of self found play mode?
Wyatt: We’ve given it a lot of thought. Right now I’m playing some self found Hardcore; alternating time on that and my higher level Paragon softcore characters. We like the idea of self-found, and of course players can just do it themselves, but ideally there would be some kind of recognition or insignia to denote self found characters.

An issue is trying to do it without cluttering up the UI. There’s a balance between giving expert players the options they want while not complicating things for other players. (Such as with Elective Mode and advanced tool tips.) Do we want another check box on the character creation screen?

I do think it’s a very cool way to play, but we don’t want to force it on people who don’t want to play that way. I know we’re non-committal about things a lot and some of the fans get frustrated, and I apologize for that. But our development process is super-iterative, and we’re always changing things around as we tested them out. And I don’t want to promise anything we might eventually test internally and then decide not to implement.

We’ve talked about making some kind of self-found insignia that would be on every character by default. So you’d create a character and they’d be self found until you traded or used the Auction House.

Gold sharing is another issue. Playing self found requires you to note how much gold you have to start with, so you don’t accidentally spend more than your character accumulates. We’d like to put in something that would let players show each character’s gold individually, but there’s no ETA on that.

Could we see some sort of self-found ladder?
Travis: Maybe. Again, sorry to be so non-committal, as they often are. It would be cool, and it’s come up internal discussions, but he can’t say more than that.

Nice that Wyatt replied with interest, but this desperately needed a follow up question. The entire point of a self found, Ironborn mode is that the characters are separate. It MUST work like Hardcore, to create an ecology of characters who can play together (but not trade) who are following the same rules. If you are in there growing chest hair by surviving with an Ironborn, you can’t be in a game with a character who has 10x your DPS and EHP from Auction House goods. It’s unfair, and would taint the entire experience since your “self found” drops wouldn’t really be self found, since someone else did all the work. So pity Wyatt didn’t mention that, and the streamer didn’t ask for clarification.

Click through for coverage of the hour Wyatt Cheng spent in the chat, with interesting info about upcoming itemization changes, overall skill balancing, lots of Auction House theorizing, and much more.

Can you tell us about a day in the life of a Diablo 3 developers?
Wyatt: I start my day with email and browsing. Check forums, fansites, reddit, etc. Then there’s internal work and communication. There are a lot of design discussions internally, and things are forever under development, but I try to set more concrete goals to finish things, even in just small steps. Like, “By the end of the day I’ll finish one Demon Hunter skill change. Or accomplish something concrete on itemization.” It doesn’t always happen, though.

Every Monday we get the whole team together for a meeting. Everyone together, face to face. We’ll introduce new employees if someone’s been added, and synch up on what we’re all doing on different aspects of the project.

Tuesdays are “no meeting Tuesdays.” Great to have an uninterrupted block of time to get work done without distractions.

Do you do programming yourself?
Wyatt: Not really. We have gameplay programmers who have created some powerful tools we use on the game. We also work with the tech art department a great deal. That takes a larger role in skill development for Blizzard than for most other game developers, since we really want to involve the art and graphics in how the skills work. Right from the start.

9:00:
What are you most excited about with Diablo 3 right now?
This is a total tease, but… the item stuff. I’m excited about that. Travis is running point on that and we have conversations about it pretty regularly. We talk to people all through the company. People on the Diablo team or not. constantly running plans and ideas past other people to get feedback and taking advantage of all the awesome designers at Blizzard.

The multiplayer improvements have consumed a lot of my time in the past months.

So this week I got this idea from my lead gameplay programmer. What he does it logs in, picks his MP level, selects “any quest / any act” and just lets the game select for him and drop him in anywhere. It’s a fun way to meet new people.

The monster density is a big change too. It allows us to join any quest and any act. And sure, some areas need more work still, and we play all over now. And it’s fun to see the builds players are using. Sure, a lot of WW barbs and Archon Wizards, but I see Demon Hunters using Rapid Fire and other stuff also.

What class needs the most work now?
Wyatt: Realistically we’ve been looking at the classes across the board. I can’t promise anything now, but maybe to summarize… wht I often see from the community is concern about the Demon Hunter DPS. Lately it’s been fashionable to say “effective DPS” since the character sheet doesn’t tell the whole story.

Demon Hunters are ranged classes who have to kite more or… you figure if you’re a ranged class you want to be able to sit there and pewpewpew and do a lot of damage. The classic video is a Monk and a Demon Hunter wearing almost identical gear and the Monk is much faster. Underlying all this is some changes we should take a hard look at, and we started doing that long ago… Okay, sorry I’m rambling. It’s hard to do this because I’m reading the comments that are going by. So let me refocus my thoughts.

So the game shipped a certain way. We have some spreadsheets we use internally between the classes. We have some general philosophies. I’m going to use some hard numbers. If I activate a skill that costs no resource or rengerates a resource, that’s going to do ballpark about 150% weapon damage. If it’s AoE you’ll do a bit less. If it generates a lot of resource it’ll do less. If it’s not much resource it’ll do more.

If it’s say Cleave, or Bolo Shot that hit a lot of targets, it’s going to be lower. And if you spend a lot of resource, say Cluster Arrow or Hammer of the Ancients, you’ll do more damage. We have some multipliers we use internally to say, “hey, a point of Fury is worth about X damage.” We can deviate from the model, but it’s nice to have a mathematical model, it’s useful. If it can hit 5 targets but it’s hard to hit them, that should do more than a skill that’s easy to hit 5 targets with.

We had this model and did all this tuning, but when the game went live we saw things that were out. Rend needed a buff early on. Hydra was only Venom Hydra, so we buffed the others. Etc. You saw a lot of that in v1.03 and early on. Seven Sided Strike was much lower back in the day, like 1000% less damage.

So when we shipped a lot of our skills were very close to our internal mathematical model. Post ship, a lot of the skill changes have been more on the realities of actually playing. So we’ll see a skill isn’t worth using compared to others, so we buff the unused ones. The buffs aren’t based on the model, they’re based on the other options. So skills are balanced against each other than against the model.

So, bringing the story forward to today. In this process there are a lot of skills that can get overlooked. Impale for the Demon Hunter for instance. It’s not doing the job. It’s a single target skill that does big damage but spends a lot of Hatred. But it’s not as good as other options.

So we’ve accumulated a lot of lessons and we need to revisit skills across the board. Apply all that we’ve learned over the past year, give attention to all of the skills that have fallen by the side.

So when you compare potential builds to the most popular ones, it seems like a lot of the most powerful builds weren’t intended. I call them “exploit builds” since they seem like they’re using things that weren’t intended. Do you guys talk about getting rid of those or makng other builds that are as powerful?
Wyatt: High level philosophy. Diablo plays best when the game is moderately challenging.. Wait let me restate. Diablo isn’t great when it’s super easy. For some people it’s not great when it’s punishingly ahrd. Some people love that, but most don’t want it that difficult. Players like it when they can put on some music and getting in and relaxing and getting into the zone that’s between frustrating challenging and too easy. We want popele in that state.

Skills and mosnters play off each other. they’re two sides of the same coin. Player power vs. monster power. We need ways to provide moderate challenge at all times, and we want players to feel awesome, but that means the monsters have to be pretty tough at times.

Do you want to buff other builds to the level of the best, or reducing the power of the really big ones like WW and Crit Mass?
Wyatt: Don’t know yet. Take the zero cooldown Zombie Dogs build. I like that some legendary items are involved in making that. Say Mara’s Kaleidoscope. Not always in that build, but often. That’s something I think is underutilized in Diablo III now. We’d really like legendaries to not just be “stat sticks” but to open up new build possibilities.

There’s room for improvement. One definite way to improve is a legendary that opens up a new build.

Travis hinted at some. So if you could have like two Hydras up. That’s cool. A wizard could make a whole build around that. Also… four pieces of the Inna’s set makes Sweeping Wind very cheap. That’s a very pale shadow of what it should be. But it’s something we’re playing around with. That’s more like a “quality of life” improvement than a huge change, but we want to take that kind of idea and dial it up to 11.

We often talk about the classes we’d like to see in the expansion. It’s fun to speculate on that.
Wyatt: *laughing* Obviously I can’t talk about that.

But we were looking at which D2 class would make the best transition. The Druid since there’s no shapeshifter yet. You can’t talk about specifics, but can you give us some of your thinking. As you design classes for the future, can you talk about how the process goes.
Wyatt: I can’t say anything specific. From a dev standpoint we want to do something our artists are excited about. That’s a big selling point. One thing that makes Diablo special is a lot of the aesthetics of the game. It’s very satisfying to slay demons. If you line up the characters, they look good. Anything new has to fit that lineup and excite the artists.

I’d also look at playstyle. See… I can’t say much. But we’d definitely want to make a character that doesn’t overlap any of the current play styles very much. Like, if I can already get a similar gameplay experience out of the current classes, that’s not very exciting. We seek the overlap of good looks and play, good mechanical gameplay, differences from current classes, etc.

Endless dungeons? Or other content that’s separate from the other content in the game? Can you talk about your philosophy of the end game content?
Wyatt: My very first question about endless dungeons… what motivates people to want it? What is the root desire and motivation of players, so that we can best address it. There are a lot of different ways we can meet the wants and desires of players.

I get different answers. Some players say they really want to test their character, and an endless dungeon that’s getting harder and harder would do that. Other players want to play for hours on end without having to make a new game. Players have an intuitive sense that they want their gameplay to vary. In D2 people would do runs. They were very rewarding, but it was the same and lacked variety. The appeal of the endless dungeon for some is the game presenting different content and art and styles of play.

Just to wrap up on the endless dungeon… some players definitely want it. We’ve talked about doing… something. To fulfill those different player desires.

You are free to join me in screaming at the lack follow up questions. I don’t know anything about this streamer. Does he just never talk nuts and bolts of game design or mechanics? He seems disinterested or incapable of engaging with Wyatt on any specific points or theories, and the missed opportunities are driving me crazy.

So how did increasing monster density satisfy any of those player desires Wyatt mentioned? More monsters in Act 1 and 2 doesn’t test your character with greater challenge, and it doesn’t let you play for hours without creating a new game. As I’ve argued on the podcast several times, the main benefits of an endless (or at least deeper than 2 or 3 floors) dungeon is in changing up the gameplay. New level layouts and designs, new combinations of monsters, occasional higher densities of bosses, champion packs of 6 or 8 individuals, timed dungeons, etc. All sorts of stuff could easily be pumped into a bonus dungeon that would greatly vary the play experience in ways that can’t be done just by adding a few more trash mobs to Acts 1 and 2.

*sigh*

On with the transcript:

32:00
Are you putting in features lately to make players rely on the Auction House less? A player asked about a phone ap for the AH, and part of the reason you guys said you weren’t planning that was that it would increase reliance on the Auction House.
Wyatt: When we talk about the AH… it serves a need in Diablo. In a game with random loot, there’s definitely a difficulty for players trying to obtain a particular item or item with particular stats. That’s what you have to trade for, and in Diablo 2 that trading experience was pretty poor, with spammy trade channels or having to use third party sites. We wanted to provide a better experience in Diablo 3, and that was the main goal of the Auction House.

That said, there’s a balance to strike, and I don’t think it’s ideal when players have all thirteen item slots filled by pieces they purchased in the AH. Those v1.07 crafting recipes were a step in that direction. So after that patch, at least a few of the items, maybe all 5, or at least two or three, were things players could feel lke they’d made themselves.

There’s a debate to have over how many of your character’s items should be from the Auction House. Some players who are going self-found obviously think that number is zero. Other players who use the AH constantly feel it’s 13. I feel like that number was too high at launch. Just my gut feeling, I think that maybe about 3 of a character’s items should be from the Auction House, while I’ve found or made the others myself.

Ladder resets. I’d like to see a ladder added with seasons. but I can see why it’s not that simple.
Wyatt: There are 2 aspects of the ladder that are worth talking about.

1) The competitive aspect. The race to the top. 2) The other is the economy reset. Sort of this fresh economy where everyone starts off clean. That’s really fun. It’s awesome to level up new characters. I like to see my character growing every more powerful, but the frequency of upgrades is much less.

So when I play a new character up to level 60, I’m finding an upgrade to some item every 15 minutes. New gloves or ring or whatever. As yo continue to level, then your upgrades come more slowly. Maybe every 45 minutes. And then longer as your gear goes up. When players use the AH they can hurl themselves forward in the gear. And then basically never find an upgrade.

So a ladder reset is fun in that way, since you’re then on a new clean character and finding new items all the time. And it’s fun to do it globally as a community, so everyone is in the same pool.

So is that something you like and we might see it?
Wyatt: Um… Me personally, and this is something others on the team disagree with, but I’m more interested in the clean economy, rather than the race to the top. I like that players get really into it and stock up on caffeine, but it’s not my thing.

42:00 —
I’d like to insert a side comment on white items. I don’t like white items in the game as they are now. I know it’s a popular request from players to simply hide their display, and perhaps hide blue items as well. I can understand that request, but it’s not something we want to do. We’d rather get to the root of the problem.

White items either need to not be there, or they need to be useful and interesting in some way. People are asking about runewords. Those could make white items awesome. I don’t want to pick up all of the white items, but I’d like to know… this is something D2 did pretty well, but it made you excited to find one very specific white item. So you’d leave 90% on the ground, but once in a while you’d find one and be very excited for it.

One of the litmus tests we’re doing internally: “Can I picture this item being useful for someone?” Say, a quiver with strength. That’s really dumb. No one is going to use that. So we’re trying to address items you can’t imagine anyone using. Versus items that maybe aren’t for your character, but could be useful for someone else. Say a belt with Thorns. You might not want it, but some day when we improve thorns, then there’s someone who would really want it.

We want white items to be kind of the same way. You might not want it, but you’ll know there’s a purpose and scheme for it in the economy on the whole.

Can you talk about how you’d incentivize players to use gear the find themselves?
Wyatt: We’ve seen people suggesting say, a way to enhance an item you found yourself to be 25% better. Or to add a socket ot an item. I can’t comment on anything specific, but it’s something we do discuss.

Many players assume we’ll see item upgrades, perhaps via the return of the DiabloWikiMystic, in the Expansion, which is perhaps why Wyatt is so vague about it. (And he and other devs have ducked the question previously.) Since it’s far off and will be part of their big Expansion news when they do break it.[/blue]

The host had no questions left, so Wyatt started taking some from the stream chat:

Wyatt: We don’t totally want to dictate how players use items. But we want to provide more legitimate choices for builds. That’s why we don’t want items to all be super quality.

Players ask why they can’t get items with only good modifiers. Why can’t all items just have the six perfect stats. I try to turn that question around and ask why are there just six perfect stats? We want to put more play style and options into the game.

53:30 —

Wyatt: Let me comment on DiabloWikiOne With Everything. Monk passive. I think the most likely — and I’m definitely not committing to this as a final plan — the most likely solution is to try and get a new set of resistance packages into the game in the future. That’s pretty far down the line probably. It’s part of the itemization changes.

Those will make the individual resistances roll higher than All Resistance can roll. People think it’s weird that resistance to everything is a bigger number than individual resistances, but let me explain how we got here. History lesson.

When single resist was way higher during testing, you were incentivized to keep a bunch of varied resistance gear in your inventory and swap it in for specific circumstances. So when you saw a Molten or Plagued or something, you’d change to your item with really big resistance to one modifier. So to change that we made All Resistance with the highest value, and that was kind of better than gear swapping, but I think ultimately we just traded one problem for another.

When the higher single res values roll out with the itemization changes, you will no longer see single resistances on the same item with all res. And OWE will still be a big benefit, but it won’t be as huge as it can be now. So to use some numbers, say that All Res goes up to 80 on an item, in the future single res will go up to 100 or 115. But you’ll never get both on the same item.


Wyatt: Open world mode. No quest, no cinematics, no other interruptions. We’ve given that serious consideration, and figured the pros and cons and how it would affect other aspects of the game. I’d love it if some areas had different monster distribution. D2 did that well. But the open world thing might make that not work for technical reasons.


Two billion gold cap in the Auction House.
Wyatt: It would be nice if the gold cap were raised. I can’t say beyond that. It’s not really a design issue. Everything related to the AH affects more than just design.


Wyatt: I’m definitely not bored with the game. Just got my Monk a new upgraded Echoing Fury with just 5% chance to fear, and that made me happy. I was playing with a friend last night, a guy from the WoW team. He plays an Archon Wizard. He was bringing the pewpew and I was tanking and going with Cyclone Strike and it was great.


Wyatt: Will you ever be able to waypoint across the different acts. That would be very cool. Can’t say more than that.

Wyatt left off at about 60 minutes into the stream, and promised that Travis Day would step in next, and that he might pop back on later in the day.

If you guys are wondering, for months and months we’ve been making requests through the Bliz PR channels to take part in interviews with the devs. Either for print, or as a guest on the podcast. That’s yet to happen, though it might yet. Bliz PR never says no, they just give us something like, “Oh that would be great. We’ll look into that and see if the scheduling can work…”

And yeah, obviously that’s an excuse, as the devs seem to have plenty of time to AMA on Reddit, or reply to random posts in the B.net forums, or hang out chatting on live streams. And yeah, it’s frustrating to listen to something like this when it’s so rambling and hosted by a guy who doesn’t seem to have many questions or much interest in D3 dev issues or core game debates.

But there was some info, and it’s good to hear Wyatt’s thoughts, and it’s better than nothing, eh?

Comments

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  1. Still listening to the stream. But it is certainly refreshing to hear them talking about this stuff and actually hear them talking about it like gamers.
    They genuinely seem excited and keen to make changes to systems they don’t like.
    It really is a huge difference to the communication we’ve had in the past.
    I know talk is cheap but hearing them talk so frankly and their eagerness to improve the game is making me (tentatively) excited about the future of D3.

    It’s a shame it has taken a year after release to hear them speak about the game like this but better late than never. I still feel like I have to keep my fingers crossed until I see any of this materialise in game, but I have some hope now.

  2. While it is nice to hear Devs speak like regular people, they still don’t get it.

    Yes, we want a check box for Ironborn Mode on the character creation screen. No, we don’t want the option buried under system options like Elective Mode. The option is not too complex to understand. We won’t be confused and not understand the ramifications of checking the box.

    Also, I hope Wyatt understands that if the mode is implemented it needs to operate as Hardcore Mode does: a completely separate game mode, where only Ironborn characters can play. Being out in left field thinking Ironborn’s will play with everyone else, and needing flags to indicate whether or not a character’s Iron status has been lost/tainted by trading/purchasing an item… should not even be possible. The box was ticked on character creation. Trading/buying items should be disabled and you should only be able to play with other Ironborns. Don’t over complicate it for crying out loud.

    • I agree completely. How dumb do they think players are if adding a simple Ironborn option/checkbox seems like such a big UI clutter? You won’t even see or have to think about it after creating the character. Simple as putting a checkbox with a little mousehover description and separating ironborn characters in their own mode.

      I don’t care about what they’re gonna do to my monks OWE when I haven’t played the game in 6 months anyway. Judging by the way things are going there won’t be a reason to touch the game until the expansion hits. Them actually saying these things out loud just made me lose hope even further 🙁 It was this “UI clutter” nonsense that made changing the amount of visible buffs take a year.

    • I hope you guys get what you want. Finding public games may be very hard, especially if you go Iron Born Hardcore mode!

    • I was shocked when he started talking about UI problems etc when talking about Ironborn? I’m like what???? Its a gameplay mode, they’ve been around for decades? Psssst Wyatt, you’ve already got 2 version in your game Softcore and Hardcore. Ironborn needs to be a different ecosystem and the drop rates for quality items needs to be increased 10-fold to take out the influence of the AH.

      • Agree with everyone who found the “another check box” reason to be pretty lacking. I think/hope that it’s much more complicated than that, and the UI thing is just a superficial or shorthand type of reply.

        They’ve previously said they don’t want to split up the player population, as a reason to avoid ladders and season resets and such. I kind of figured that would also be their reasoning for not doing an Ironborn mode. I’d say that Wyatt just didn’t want to explain all that, but he talked a lot about numerous other topics, offering really detailed explanations, so um…

    • Thought it was interesting that the devs apparently ask themselves “… what motivates people to want it?” (in this specific case it was relative to endless dungeons but it’s a fair/interesting question).

      Based upon his relatively clueless remarks about the Ironborn option, I guess they haven’t gotten around to asking themselves that question about Ironborn.

      For me, I “want it” for the same underlying reasons that I want the hardcore option. I want the consequences of my actions (and my stupidity) to matter. I want the additional challenge, the risk. Hardcore Ironborn? Well, hell yeah! That’s just hardcore Hardcore.

      I doubt my “why I want Ironborn” motivations represent some minuscule minority position. I think enough players would opt for it to justify its implementation.

      Why all this doesn’t resonate with the devs mystifies me. It’s pretty simple stuff.

  3. “And it’s fun to see the builds players are using. Sure, a lot of WW barbs and Archon Wizards, but I see Demon Hunters using Rapid Fire and other stuff also.”

    Yeah, I found Rapid Fire with Bombardment rune and Vengeance passive a pretty kick-ass combo for solo farming. The Bombardment rune deals 414% damage in an 8 yard radius, while Vengeance refills your hatred as well as your health, allowing you to keep AoE spamming pretty much indefinitely. You just run up to a pack of mobs and tank the hell out of it – the mobs the better, basically.

    May not work as well with other players due to the loss in mobility, but it certainly beat my previous Multishot build for solo farming.

  4. Wyatt: The idea of an item like a wand adding +1 extra hydra cast is a great foundation for where the basis of that idea design can go, for example an entire wizard set dedicated to a hydra build where each piece of the set adds +1 hydra cast OR different types of hydras cast at the same time (frost,lighting, fire). Also the wand as part of the set could have a much more rare version that would have a chance to have a +2 hydra.

    Anyways I think tying items into modifying skills is a great idea for item improvement.

    Another note on skills, why not allow players to use 2 runes on a skill where the extra rune takes up a skill slot in exchange for 2 runes on 1 skill. Just an idea it might not be the most balanced but I think it adds a lot more freedom and customizing and choices.

    • Yeah, I mean, it could solve the full set problem (or lack of bonus if you like). If you can have the full set, the result could be a change in the way a skill works, like Travis said. For example, having the full Tal Rasha, the full bonus set could be having 2 hydras, could be the same or different ones, or myabe just random. This is what the game is lacking, besides interesting items: randomness.

      • Interesting, yes there could be distinct versions of the set one for each type of hydra. So if you get a tal rasha helm that has +1 to fire hydra you get to summon an extra fire hydra but if it the tal rasha helm has +1 to frost it’ll be frost hydra – more options = better.
        I think the set should be distinct from tal rashas so that we have more wizard sets to choose from.

  5. One year after the release of product that was seven years in development and D3 feels like its on conceptual phase for the developers, what has happened to this game?

    • “We’ve given it a lot of thought. … I don’t want to promise anything we might eventually test internally and then decide not to implement.”

      This has been there response to every single question they’re asked about for months and months now. How can they not know what the game is after all this time??

      I wish we could somehow un-release the game so they could have a real shot at fixing all the many mistakes that they now apparently realize they made but are too hard to fix now when so many have invested all this time/money into it.

      • Seriously, they make it sound like this game is the most mysterious and complex thing that mankind has ever stumbled upon, for them, they would need to gather all the most intelligent minds in the world to help them decypher this big mistery: “How did they misdesign a simple isometric ARPG?”, we better call Stephen Hawking to help them solve this impossible conundrum.

        Im sorry, this must be interesting for someone to see those developers discussing the game but I cringe everytime I see those discussions, this isnt a rocket ffs. Not only was blizzard being mocked about D3’s huge development time (when it was being compared to big achievements of mankind on how long it took) but they also took so much time to release such a flawed product! No wonder there is so much hate at them! A freaking Isometric ARPG??? Of which they owned the most sucessful one already?

        I think its ridiculous because its no mystery to anyone, it doesnt need big and intellectual discussions about what is wrong with this game, it was pretty much pointed out by the community as soon as the game hit the market, It isnt time to “discuss” things which are the cornerstones of the genre, like itemzation and character builds, its time to hurry up and fix it with drastic changes because those elements are the most important aspects of any good ARPG, yet the its the biggest misfire of the game.

        Ah but at least they are “considering” “discussing it on the office” and “giving a lot of thought to it”

        • I’m 50% sure that after reading those responses they MIGHT consider talking about considering some things at some point in the future maybe soon but probably not unlikely that it will be a point in the future… maybe.

          Sorry to be so vague about my thoughts I wouldn’t want to tell you something that maybe might make you angry with me at some point in the future… Even though I think you might already hate me… maybe.

      • You guys on the d3 team need to show a back bone and stop acting like jelly fish. Awesome games don’t get created by a bunch of people who are indecisive and act like jelly fish, they are created by passion because when you’re passionate you have 99% confidence in yourself, you know its an awesome idea when you feel inside a part of you saying “fuck yeah thats a fucking badass idea”.
        So please stop skipping around each other and put in a separate leveling mode for self found players that leave the AH out of it – stop talking and start doing.

  6. Also as a wizard player, let us wizards be able to use more than one armor for a skill slot. Why shouldn’t we be able to use lightning armor and ice armor – it takes up a skill slot where another ability could be anyways so if I want to be more of a defensive wizard I want to use up my skill lots with 2 or all 3 armors.

  7. It´s nice to read the ideas they still say they have for the game. Whay I don´t understand is why do they take SO much time to create new stuff and apply it to the game, having A LOT of players´ ideas.

  8. “There’s a balance between giving expert players the options they want while not complicating things for other players…Do we want another check box on the character creation screen?”

    Lololololololololool.

  9. How to make white items interesting/useful: Add the imbue skill back to blacksmiths like from Diablo 2. You collect say 40 decmonic essences you pick a white item to imbue then. The white item will guarantee become a rare but also has a chance to become a legendary. BOOM white items back in the game.

    • This idea is very very good. Thumbs up!

      It addresses 3 issues in one I think.

      1. White items are now useful
      2. Easier to find the exact item you are looking for all by yourself.
      3. Demonic Essences are now useful even after you crafted all your perfect trifekta stuff.

      • Thanks, yeah I mean to me it seems so straight forward and they also have the option to add in rune systems with white items and socketing. Say you collect certain items like again maybe demonic essences or some other raw material that drops that then allow you to socket white items 1,2, or 3 times so that you can then put a certain number of runes to make a rune word.

        • No, I think rune combinations are too complicated as a system.
          Maybe a simplified version with a clever UI would work, but I think the imbue system you describes is just exactly that. Just increase the amount of interesting legendary items and it should be enough.

    • I wanted to add to this idea, so you collect your 40 or whatever demonic essences and you have your white slayers blade and you’re ready to imbue it – to add to this I think you should be able to add more raw materials to the imbue process to bring out a more desired out come, so you add maybe 20 rubies because so you get a fire damage effect and more rubies gives more fire damage.
      OR you want to imbue some white boots and you have your demonic essences and you want mainly dexterity on them so you had a bunch of emeralds to the imbue as well which will give a better dexterity outcome.

      I would say they should add other/more raw items like skulls/diamonds/crystals etc for other item stats like critical damage, all resistances etc etc life on hit. I think this is how black smithing could become interesting.

  10. Thank you thank you thank you. This is a great service to the community since I think there’s some really good bits in there, between all the rambling.

    • Agreed. It’s one thing to talk about the devs honestly wanting to improve the game. But it’s a whole nothing thing entirely to actually hear them speaking about it.

  11. To be fair, most of us vastly overestimate the average intelligence of the average PC gamer, not to mention the new generation console players coming in. Ever watch a mage/priest/warlock in WoW try to whack monsters w/ a sword?

    • This. There was a huge incident when they added the Blizzard wallet that proves the point. Putting real money on the wallet forced you to go through a FAQ screen that stated in big capitals THIS MONEY CANNOT BE USED TO PAY WOW SUBSCRIPTION FEES. The next day, people who had loaded thousands of dollars on their wallet were demanding their money back because they couldn’t just pay off WoW for the next 4 years.

      Mark my words, if they just added a “self-found” checkbox there would be an angry mob who didn’t read or know what it did, and thought the AH was broken. Or that they somehow were getting shorted on loot. Or that it was a scam. Sort of like how people complain about everything. Every thing in the history of things. Including complaining about complainers. Get off my lawn.

      • And besides all that, it’s hardly a top priority item at this point. I mean, at best it’s a means to have your ego stroked. If you really REALLY want to play self-found, then roll up a character, and go for it.

        • or wait for the console version and buy it

        • I don’t necessarily think it’s an ego thing, some people just prefer to play that way. Then there’s the aspect of having your self found chars ‘tainted’ as well
          More important perhaps would be to have something like ladder resets or something to get that clean economy experience mentioned here in the interview as well, I know I’d like that a lot myself

      • They could do it the same way you make a hardcore character? I think that’s pretty clear and works well

    • We only overestimate the average intelligence of the PC gamer because these developers have taken games away from gamers. What they’ve done is flood the market with games that appeal to the instant gratification section of people who just casually come on to their computer for some click click prize. If they would have made these games for actual gamers they might have sold only 2-3 million copies, but it wouldn’t have cost them their fucking souls. You know it’s bad when the developers reach an age where they try to make their games family friendly because their kids are in their teens and have never been denied a single iPhone/iPad/iPod upgrade in their entire lives. Fuck these scrubs.

  12. “You are free to join me in screaming at the lack follow up questions. I don’t know anything about this streamer. Does he just never talk nuts and bolts of game design or mechanics? He seems disinterested or incapable of engaging with Wyatt on any specific points or theories, and the missed opportunities are driving me crazy.”

    Ugh, no joke. I felt the same way. I wish he would have not been playing when he did the interview, I think he had a hard time balancing the play with the convo, and at times it almost seemed rude, but hey, it’s a stream, that’s what you do. But for this instance, it was dying for a straight up one on one sit down convo. Blaaah.

    • It was a charity event though, so he had to keep playing, plus it was hardcore.

      I did notice they linked to incgamers again from the main site about the ‘1 year on’ article. Maybe Flux could get an interview like this sometime!!

  13. Uhm. If single resists go higher than @res and don’t spawn on the same items… won’t keeping OWE in the current form just make @res universally worthless for monks and make the same problem worse?

  14. “You are free to join me in screaming at the lack follow up questions. I don’t know anything about this streamer. Does he just never talk nuts and bolts of game design or mechanics? He seems disinterested or incapable of engaging with Wyatt on any specific points or theories, and the missed opportunities are driving me crazy.”

    Seems so. I completely missed this but was in later when he was talking with the Grim Dawn team. It was mostly them talking, he didn’t have much in the way of technical questions or comments of his own. Sometimes someone would ask a good question in chat and he’d relay it or they’d answer directly but the streamer doesn’t seem technically inclined at all.

  15. “You are free to join me in screaming at the lack follow up questions. I don’t know anything about this streamer. Does he just never talk nuts and bolts of game design or mechanics? He seems disinterested or incapable of engaging with Wyatt on any specific points or theories, and the missed opportunities are driving me crazy.”

    I remember on one of our earlier podcasts I was playing D2 on hardcore with some friends while recording. I wasn’t very lively in that one and completely spaced out multiple times during it. Playing a game and talking doesn’t seem like the hardest thing in the world but when you aren’t actively engaged in the conversation it’s very easy to just tune it out completely.

  16. Welly, welly, welly, welly, welly, welly, well. To what do I owe the extreme pleasure of this surprising interview?

  17. As much as I acknowledge the game really needs an ironborn/self-found mode of some sort, if they implement it now I’ll just be annoyed.

    I have 5 characters self-found, and I’m not going to abandon the time I’ve spent on them to switch to a new mode where I have to level new characters to get the experience that we arguably should’ve had from the start. I guess my expansion characters could be part of that mode and it would be fine, but for the rest, a sour grapes reaction at best. I still really wish there was some kind of “flag” where they could see that I’ve never equipped anything from the AH — and flag me for a one-time transfer to said mode if and when it gets implemented.

    Other than that, it’s pretty cool hearing them talk about things candidly, especially about things they think are problematic, but eh. I’d like a little more patch notes (or previews, or anything that’s actual content) and a little fewer platitudes. Yes, class balance, skill balance, itemization, white items, endless dungeons, etc. — these are all things we’ve thought about and I’m sure Wyatt/Travis/etc. have as well — the interesting thing is what they’re going to do about them, not why those things are problems/necessary.

  18. I got suckered (again)to read something I figured would have at least a nugget of decisive info.

    However, thanks for the transcript and this site in general. It’s kind of like that X-Files poster “I want to believe”.

  19. Two hours with this bozo? Thank f**k for the transcript.

  20. Finally they addressed or at least acknowledged the following issues:

    1. White items
    2. Ah overuse
    3. Self-found mode
    4. resistances
    5. creating more of your gear in game…

    Good to hear this, has restored my faith just a tad in the new crew….

    When will Diablo Incgamers get an interview? That is what I am wondering..

    I want some real discussion!!!

  21. i get the feeling itemization patch is like 6 months out…

    • I highly doubt that it will be a patch unless you want another patch like the legendary patch that really didn’t make the items any more interesting just buffed damage resistances etc, yeah it made them useful but only for the the simplistic reasons that they were underpowered.

      If you want a real improvement to itemization that changes the game completely it’ll be in the expansion. 5 months from now is blizzcon they’re not going to show any of their new ideas until then which means no patch. I’m very confident the good stuff will be in the xpac.

      • I’m more than confident that the expansion will be 3 years from now and come with more broken promises than the original game.

  22. Enjoyed getting this info out of Wyatt. For me too though, the answer to the question if I would like another checkbox, is a clear yes 😛

  23. Perhaops I got something wrong, but might it be the case that Blizzard still hasn’t understood what people expect from what’s called “ironborn”?

    It’s not about playing without any passing of goods. People still want to trade with each other, e.g. in forums, they just want it without the AH. In particular, it’s not about finding the discipline not to do it, but to make it a rule for certain characters, so people know that other characters of that kind cannot cheat about that. Something like “self-found” or “no AH used” insignia isn’t enough. People will lose these insignia by accident, so it’s better to have a separate subrealm, with a separate shared stash.

    Do we want another check box on the character creation screen?
    Yes, goddammit! And it must only block AH trading and not exchange between characters of that kind.

    Keep it hidden under advanced character creation options or so if it confuses casual players.

    • This. A thousand times this!

      But even if they do it they’ll most likely F it up. Because they are “super-iterative” (read: morons).

    • Completely agree, well put 🙂

    • That defeats the purpose, b/c you still have an AH, just not a Blizzard one. You have the dreaded third party problem that blew up D2 all over again. Any trading of anything, at all, will lead to a marketplace/auction house, speculators, flippers, and professionals. Ironborn has to have ZERO trading to work.

      • Forgot to add, there’s no way for you to know whether the guy you’re bartering w/ didn’t spend cash money on his gear on some sketchy third party site. Ironborn needs no transfers of any kind, so players know, beyond a doubt, that whoever they are playing w/ got their gear themselves. Yes, there may be account selling/trading, but you’ll never stop all “e-crime” all the time.

  24. QUOTE

    Seriously, they make it sound like this game is the most mysterious and complex thing that mankind has ever stumbled upon, for them, they would need to gather all the most intelligent minds in the world to help them decypher this big mistery: "How did they misdesign a simple isometric ARPG?", we better call Stephen Hawking to help them solve this impossible conundrum.
    
    Im sorry, this must be interesting for someone to see those developers discussing the game but I cringe everytime I see those discussions, this isnt a rocket ffs. Not only was blizzard being mocked about D3's huge development time (when it was being compared to big achievements of mankind on how long it took) but they also took so much time to release such a flawed product! No wonder there is so much hate at them! A freaking Isometric ARPG??? Of which they owned the most sucessful one already? 
    
    I think its ridiculous because its no mystery to anyone, it doesnt need big and intellectual discussions about what is wrong with this game, it was pretty much pointed out by the community as soon as the game hit the market, It isnt time to "discuss" things which are the cornerstones of the genre, like itemzation and character builds, its time to hurry up and fix it with drastic changes because those elements are the most important aspects of any good ARPG, yet the its the biggest misfire of the game.
    
    Ah but at least they are "considering" "discussing it on the office" and "giving a lot of thought to it"

    You nailed it, my friend 🙂

  25. “An issue is trying to do it without cluttering up the UI. There’s a balance between giving expert players the options they want while not complicating things for other players. (Such as with Elective Mode and advanced tool tips.) Do we want another check box on the character creation screen? ”

    Is he F’ING serious? That must be among the most idiotic statements I’ve ever seen. How is this little checkbox, that many people are clamoring for, cluttering up the screen? Just give us an ironborn mode with characters that are separated from the other characters like in hardcore mode. How can you be so insanely incompetent?

    *seethes with rage*

  26. “When single resist was way higher during testing, you were incentivized to keep a bunch of varied resistance gear in your inventory and swap it in for specific circumstances. So when you saw a Molten or Plagued or something, you’d change to your item with really big resistance to one modifier. So to change that we made All Resistance with the highest value, and that was kind of better than gear swapping, but I think ultimately we just traded one problem for another.”

    This is asinine Wyatt. D3 is supposed to be an action RPG. The game is supposed to force us to make choices. We are supposed to item hunt and create a gear-set from items of various stats/affixes, not go out and try to get the exact same affixes on every single piece of gear.

    You making it so that only primary stat, vit, crit chance, crit damage, attack speed, resist all, and +armor are the only affixes that matter is one of many reasons why your game sucks. Quit telling us how to play and what is and is not fun. You and your team don’t have a clue as to what makes an ARPG fun.

  27. Thanks for posting the transcript. Will you be posting the Travis Day portion as well? His plans for legendary items was one of my favorite parts of the chat.

  28. I’d just like to point this out. People ask when this site will get an interview. The majority of the comments on news items, and some percentage of the forums, is ranting, negative comments about X system or Y employee and why it wasn’t the ideal Z that Should Have Been.

    They have every reason to believe giving an interview with this site would put them immediately on the defensive. Would you want to walk into a room with everyone out for your metaphorical head? Flux can be snarky at times, but is generally pretty even-handed. That’s not representative of the site at large, though. Based on the site’s appearance, I’d flag this community as toxic and avoid it, as well.

    • Fair points I suppose about the general population of this site but we wouldn’t be doing the interview, Flux would (presumably). If the devs are a-feared of Flux then they’re too thin-skinned.

      Maybe it’s like jury selection these days – defense attorneys pay professional jury-selection consultants to find the stupidest possible jury members. Maybe that’s how Blizz selects interviewers.

      • Oh, I’m absolutely certain there’s money changing hands somewhere along the line. Gaming is too big of a business to leave PR to chance, after all.

    • You may be right about Bliz PR’s mindset, but I hope not.

      It’s funny though. If Blizzard isn’t going to post where there are some flames and trolls, I guess we’ve seen the last blue post on the B.net forums? Also, early in this stream the host spends several minutes apologizing to Wyatt for the rude comments he’s sure to see. And you’ll find tons of D3 hate on Reddit, yet Bliz has been posting there of late.

  29. “An issue is trying to do it without cluttering up the UI. Do we want another check box on the character creation screen?”

    ….You’ve gotta be kidding me. Please, Wyatt, tell me the reason you haven’t seriously considered a self-found system isn’t because you think another check box is going to clutter up the character creation screen. Are you fucking serious? You honestly believe adding another check box (bringing the grand total to a whopping two) is going to absolutely confound and confuse a first time player?

    “Okay, time to play Diablo III. Let’s see what kind of character I wanna create…woah, wait a second…are those check boxes? Two of them!? The fuck!?! It says exactly what the check boxes mean when I hover over them, and yet they still confuse and terrify me! Only a pro, veteran player could possibly be able to figure out this convoluted mess of two check boxes. Fuck this overcomplicated shit, I’m gonna go play Call of Duty.”

    I honestly believe that is Blizzard’s idea of the average gamer. Since the beta, their whole mantra seems to have been “If it’s more complicated than Pong, it’s too complicated.”

  30. I sincerely hope that ironborn is the very last item on their list for changed to D3. There are so many other more important concerns, if they ever do decide to implement ironborn it should be way after everything else is fixed. That and implementing ironborn would cause more of a headache than solve one, people would want hardcore ironborn, then they’ll whine and demand that they want a ladder softcore iron born and then a ladder hardcore ironborn…. Just don’t use the AH, there, problem solved. Get a group of friends and all agree to not use the AH, now you have some ironborn people to play with, its just that simple.

    • I agree Merith, however, since item drops have been massively reduced because of the AH playing self found becomes a total waste of time at later MP levels. Im stuck at MP2 and havent found an upgrade in 2 weeks. Ironborn needs to massively increase quality drop rates.

  31. Q: What is the plan for improved itemization?
    A: We are still in discussion

    Q: Any plans for ladder play?
    A: We are still in discussion

    Q: Any update on PvP?
    A: We are still in discussion

    Q: Still no game director for Diablo 3?
    A: We are still in discussion

    Q: Do you have anything to say to diablo fans other than “We are still in discussion” ?
    A: We are still in discussion

  32. Most people here are hardcore D2 players. Such people typically want more complexity from a sequel AND higher production values. Look at WC2 vs WC3. THIS is the sequel such players deem worthy. D3 is in many ways simpler than D2. Only rendering has been greatly buffed. When Cheng says “checkbox creates clutter”, it’s sounds like an insult. Really? ONE CHECKBOX is such a strain on brain? Oh, I forgot that descriptive tooltips are also to demanding for brain power. I lost all hope for this game.

    It’s also clear that they “design by committee”, which is WIDELY acknowledge to be and inferior method. Generally, organizations design by committee, when there is lack of good Lead Designer, who holds vision for the whole project. This kind of design often leads to inferior products. It’s all transparent… unfortunately.

  33. With D3, they don’t want your actions to matter. They want to take you on a casual theme park ride, where you are pressing LMB million times, until Lord of TERRRRRROR falls. No ulterior motives, it’s just good for business. Complex mechanics are costly to build, costly to debug AND on top of that, they are appreciated only by sophisticated players. Thus, it follows logically, if you want to maximize profits and lower costs, it’s a best policy to dumb-down everything to the ground and add pretty, flashy graphics, for clueless masses. And so they did. -_-

    It’s called “streamlining”. They also “streamlined” WoW much in recent years, so much, that I will not touch that game ever again.

  34. QUOTE

    So what they really mean with the "we iterate" mantra is "we design by committee?"

    It’s visible when they say something like “we discuss it” or “we often talk about it during meetings”. There is nothing wrong with iterating, though. The problem with iterating comes when you don’t have a solid Lead Designer. Then, trough iterations, they water-down ideas and what is left is a pale shadow of the original idea, which achieved committee consensus.

    • It’s all about pleasing everyone a little bit instead of pleasing a specific genre completely. A great way to make money with their hype train, but a horrible way to make a game that will inspire another generation.

  35. QUOTE

    It's all about pleasing everyone a little bit instead of pleasing a specific genre completely.  A great way to make money with their hype train, but a horrible way to make a game that will inspire another generation.

    Actually, with their situation and approach, results will tend to cater to the lowest common denominator. It’s natural for design for committee.

  36. Sounds like a phase shifter class for the expansion then. Prepare to be a bear… sigh. Those guys have no imagination at all.

  37. I don’t think I’ve heard a bigger load of crap than Wyatt’s answer to the self found mode. UI clutter? He’s seriously gonna pin this on UI clutter?

    Want the real reason for no self found mode? Self found mode would stigmatize AH usage, thus lowering the value of all items listed there. That’s practically taking money from Blizzard’s pocket. That’s the reason.

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