Bashiok on Skill Trees


I was able to chat with Diablo III Community Manager Bashiok this afternoon, and he was kind enough to answer a few questions about various Diablo III issues. He confirmed that that active skills only accepting 1 point was just for the Blizzcon build, and that the plan is to allow multiple points to be spent in all active skills in the final game. He also gave me some insight into the skill tree and interface development process, and had a few comments about when we might see some more Witch Doctor skills revealed.  Click through the jump to see a cleaned up transcript of our chat.

Flux: A question about the skill points in D3. Active skills only took one point at Blizzcon, after the gameplay movie from WWI showed multiple ranks in active skills. Will they allow more points in the final game?

Bashiok: It was the BlizzCon build. Jay said a few times in interviews and I think even on stage that people like the feeling of pumping points in to their main skills so that’s likely to be something we’ll do. Overall the skill trees seen in the demo were just giving a glimpse of the kind of direction we’re looking to go. The “ranks” from the WWI were part of an older system. The skill trees and UI in general are changing on an almost weekly basis. Not like total rewrites, but they’re not final is what I’m getting at.

Flux: Understood. We try to stress that to the fans. That the interface especially is prone to changes and evolutions. Some fans see a bit of something 2 years in advance and start complaining that it’s not polished.  The perils of having people care about your games, I suppose.

Bashiok: Oh yeah, it’s expected. Unless you’re involved VERY heavily in games, or actually work close to or in design, it’s sort of hard to wrap your head around development processes. Especially when it’s an iterative process we invite people to see. It doesn’t happen a lot even with similar types of entertainment, or even quite a few titles. If you’ve been around you know how this stuff works and I think there’s enough people out there that “get it” where we’re not uncomfortable showing completely unfinished ideas.

Flux: On a related question, any idea if we’ll get some disclosure of more Witch doctor skills at some point?  the WD fans are bitter that they only got 11 skills and wiz/barb had 50+ at blizzcon. Of course most of the rest will be +11% poison damage passives, but anyway…

Bashiok: Haha.  To answer specifically, no I don’t know. The WD though is kind of a tough cookie to design for I think, conceptually it can be so many things and so locking that down is important. It’s much easier to say “magic caster go” or “physical guy go.” The WD is a bit more… open. Which probably makes it the most interesting to come up with stuff for. Of the announced classes that is.

Flux: The revealed WD skills don’t seem to have that much obvious overlap. It’s not like there are 5 with fire damage that would be obvious ones to link with passives. Or multiple zombie skills to go with Zombie Wall. Amphibian mastery!

Bashiok: I love those frogs. WTB homing rune.

Flux: That would give them more range? The frogs didn’t seem to go far enough to be very homing before they blew up, when I used them at Blizzcon. A plague of toads chasing people around would be the coolest thing ever.

Bashiok: They’re just situational, they’re kind of a up-close Area of Effect (AoE)  cone. For me they tend to hop just around enemies, so I’d like a homing rune.

Tagged As: | Categories: Blizzard People, Interviews

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