Blizzard posted news about the upcoming community designed Legendary item project last week and immediately saw a lot of positive replies, but also (of course) some complaints. What exactly people didn’t like about this wasn’t real clear, but lots of fans pointed out that Path of Exile has been incorporating fan-made Unique items into the game all along.
Which is true, but most commenters neglected the minor detail that it’s part of how PoE is being financed, and that it costs $1000 to design your own PoE unique item. I’m not criticizing it; small studios have to use cash shops or kickstarter-type perks to self-finance and involve their communities, but that’s a very different thing than what Blizzard is planning with their Design a Legendary feature/promotion, and Lylirra has made several posts trying to explain that.
Here’s an excerpt, and you can read the whole lengthy thread if you click through.
Keep in mind that the goals of this activity and Path of Exile’s custom unique service aren’t in competition with one another (nor are they even really the same), so directly comparing them is a bit short-sighted. At the end of the day, if the Design a Legendary project can help interested players get a better idea of how Legendary items are made in Diablo III and make them feel like they had a hand in shaping something in the game, then we’ll consider that a success. And who knows? Maybe it’ll lead to other bigger, even funner projects in the future.
We don’t know details yet, but I think this Design a Legendary will be more than “vote on this list of potential affixes,” because that would be boring. I expect that we’ll get coverage of how they design and implement the custom graphics, how they balance the item to fit in with all the other competing items, how the lore entry is created, etc. From what they’ve said it’s meant to be a Behind the Scenes feature, but one that’s being created in real time, and somewhat guided by fan input.
The full thread:
Lylirra: I believe this is the article you’re referencing: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/blog/11291161/
The goal of this particular project is to give interested players a more in-depth look into how Legendary items are made, particularly under our new “Loot 2.0” philosophy. By using a single Legendary item as a point of reference and sharing interviews with the artists/developers responsible for designing and implementing it, we can (hopefully) provide players with a better, more direct understanding of item design in Diablo III and Reaper of Souls.
To makes things a bit more interactive, we’re also giving the community the ability to contribute to different parts of the design process for this particular Legendary item. We’ll be using polls, podcasts, and contests to facilitate this. This certainly isn’t a new idea, and it definitely isn’t groundbreaking, but we think it’ll be fun (and ideally educational).
We’ll see how it goes!
So, wait — what’s being debated? (Sorry, I’m not totally sure why we’re arguing.)
For players who are interested in learning more about item design in Diablo III (and/or contributing to it), then this will hopefully be a fun little activity. For players who aren’t interested in either item design or the structure of the activity itself, then it may not be. If you don’t find it interesting or worth your time, that’s fine. Skip it! No biggie. (Seriously.) You shouldn’t feel obligated to participate in something lighthearted like this, especially since it’s completely voluntary.
I mean, let’s use your PoE example. I don’t imagine that all Path of Exile beta players opted to create a custom unique, right? Similarly, I don’t imagine that all current players would necessarily choose to participate today given the chance — because, hey, not everyone likes the same thing. That doesn’t mean that particular service wasn’t worth doing or keeping, though. Just look at how much you enjoyed it! I think that’s awesome, and I’m glad you had the opportunity to get involved with something you found fun and engaging. In that same vein, we hope that D3 players will find the Design a Legendary project fun and engaging too (albeit for different reasons), but we certainly don’t expect it to appeal to everyone.
Right, so I explained my point. PoE did it first, are still doing it, and doing it better.
Lylirra: Keep in mind that the goals of this activity and Path of Exile’s custom unique service aren’t in competition with one another (nor are they even really the same), so directly comparing them is a bit short-sighted. At the end of the day, if the Design a Legendary project can help interested players get a better idea of how Legendary items are made in Diablo III and make them feel like they had a hand in shaping something in the game, then we’ll consider that a success. And who knows? Maybe it’ll lead to other bigger, even funner projects in the future. 🙂
With Blizzcon only about 2 1/2 weeks away is this something that will be explained further in detail or that will be show cased? It seems like Blizzcon would be a great plat form to go over this.
Lylirra: Hm. While hopefully a fun/insightful activity, the Design a Legendary project isn’t something that’s core to our development process or Reaper of Souls, so it’s not going to be a topic covered at BlizzCon. I imagine the development team will likely discuss Loot 2.0 (and Legendary items) in greater detail, though!
I’m not interested in anything other than seeing why it takes several months to create a single legendary item.
Lylirra: Of, pft. It doesn’t actually take months to create a single Legendary item. That time frame is tied directly to the fact that we want to get the community involved. Specifically, we want to make sure that interested players have time to participate.
If we create a poll, for example, we’ll want to give that at least a week — enough time for people to find out about it and then vote. Then we need another week to tabulate the global results, inform the community, implement whatever you all chose, and then prep for the next stage. Similarly, if we hold a contest, that’s going to need a few weeks as well. Podcasts also require time to set up, promote, and then recap. (Logistics, man. Always a party!)
Now, before anyone starts to panic: this isn’t going to impact development for ROS. While we may take things a bit slower for this one single Legendary item, the developers will continue to design, iterate, and implement as usual for everything else at their previously-scheduled pace.
The significance of this thread boils down to absolutely nothing.
Let that sink in.
Lylirra: Shall I do so with a bang or a whimper.
That there’s controversy about this seems to stem from two factors, 1) There exist enough haters that a substantial number will line up to shit on anything Diablo 3-related, and 2) Diablo 3’s original legendary items were one of the biggest disappointments in the entire game. Point 2 is where I’d like to see the debate, and perhaps we will once Blizzard shares some of the potential stats or properties of this community-designed item. I hope they’ve got some of their best ideas for legendary stats saved for this item, because you know the scrutiny and nitpicking will be focused like an ant-incinerating magnifying glass.
I think much more interesting than PoE selling legendary item design perks is the fact that Brother Laz, the best known Diablo 2 modder, was hired by the PoE guys to help design their item system around the time he ragequit Diablo 3 largely over how poorly its item system was constructed at release.
The article and follow-up interviews we posted about that issue from last year remain fascinating, perhaps even more so in retrospect.