Bashiok hopped in with a couple of interesting post-Blizzcon forum posts today. In the first one, he tackled the Monk origin question I kept hoping someone would bring up during the Character Panel Q&A on Friday (My excuse = I was filming it and taking notes, so was in no position to run over and get in line.)
I seem to recall reading and hearing on various parts of blizzards sites and on the forum itself that aside from the Barbarian that they wouldn’t be bringing back any more old classes. However they announce the Monk… He’s from Diablo Hellfire, while technically not a Diablo 2 character (and I think Hellfire was someone else’s project) hes still known in the Diablo universe. So why did blizzard tell us no more old classes then throw us a curve ball in the Monk?
Bashiok: It’s not a recognized part of the Diablo franchise, and to be honest it is so much so not recognized, that when people asked about returning classes in the Q&A’s and in some of the press interviews the Hellfire expansion just wasn’t in anyone’s minds.
Plus, it isn’t the same class. We aren’t taking an old class and updating it. The monk from Hellfire, and in fact the story and content of Hellfire, doesn’t exist as far as game lore and story is concerned going into Diablo III.
They happen to share a name, the same as all of the other monk classes that have existed in all other RPG’s since the beginning of time. It doesn’t mean they’re related kit/story/flavor wise.
So Hellfire has been officially de-canon’ed? We knew that much of the plot of D3 rested on some fairly liberal retconning, but isn’t erasing entire expansion packs a bit much? (Then again, the Monk’s Hellfire lore is pretty weak, and Na-Krul wasn’t exactly on par with the other Greater or Lesser Evils, so maybe the less said about this the better.
Elsewhere, Bashiok stepped into a juicy question about the highly, perhaps overly, stylized visual effects that accompany most skills in D3, and gave a feel-good reply about D3’s glacial development progress.
Spell Animations: After watching the two part recent gameplay video i really think that the spell animations and effects should be toned down a moderate amount. Some battles had huge lights and explosions covering everything of relevance on the screen, its just a bit too cluttered. Explosions and effects are good, but this is too far.
Development time: Last year (possible around blizzcon 08) i remember some blizzard dude saying that they were just starting act 2. It appears that they have just finished this act. If it takes a year per act… you get the picture, hopefully they hurry up on that.
Bashiok: Thanks for the post, well reasoned opinion and a reasonable concern.
The spell animations, blood, explosions, and everything else going on can create what Jay mentioned a few times as “soup”. An indistinguishable mess. It’s really only an issue during four player games and even then, to be honest, I personally think it’s all far more readable than it was in Diablo II. But, it’s an ongoing concern and something we’re going to have to continue to work at to make sure you can tell what’s going on.
For the second point, development time, there is a lot going on – a lot of areas, creatures, and dungeons created that no one has seen yet and probably won’t see until the game is released. But dev time is certainly always something on people’s minds. We’re constantly refining our tools and processes, and the team just naturally gets better and faster at creating contest as they go. I don’t think it’s anything for the community at large to concern themselves with, let the producers sweat it.