Blizzard Defends “Design a Legendary”


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.

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.

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:

I think they have a thread about this. Somewhere you can post ideas about the new ‘make your own legendary’ thing.
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.

  • Brother Laz explains what’s wrong with Diablo 3’s Legendaries.
  • Brother Laz discusses his work on Path of Exile items, Median XL and Diablo 3 Items.
  • The article and follow-up interviews we posted about that issue from last year remain fascinating, perhaps even more so in retrospect.

    Comments

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    1. Wow those are some hostile user posts… they gain nothing aside from PR on this. Lighten up!

    2. Don’t feed the trolls, Lylrria.

    3. The cost for designing a Unique is only $1000.00. $1500.00 is for the supporter pack the includes the ability to design a Unique.

    4. I’d gladly invest my time into designing a legendary for Diablo III, however, with the abysmal itemization I find myself unable to do so.

      I wouldn’t even know where to start, in all honesty. Make me design 10 runewords in LoD, I make it within 3 minutes. But Diablo III? Nobody knows where itemization is heading in this game, including the developers. I think a good legendary would be something like with AS%,CH,CS and 400 main attribute? And a chance to replenish the resource faster?

      And what about this “game changing” they keep throwing around. How could something even be game changing if there is no solid ground gameplay which could be changed? Nobody knows if this trifecta shit is again so predominant in the expansion.

      Go design your shitty legendaries yourself.

    5. I love the fact that they can no longer just ignore PoE.

      • PoE is absolutely no threat to Blizz/D3. What it does serve is another example of small group of people who think they run the show and for some dumb reason Blizz listens to them [AH?]. When I saw the Blizz announcement, I thought cool but I won’t be involved and never gave it a second thought. I learned days later inadvertently about the PoE thing and similarly thought, cool I would never give a game that much money for 1 item- even if I get to make it. In the end I think Blizz should be listening to ALL gamers not just these jokers referenced in the article. My $50 for D3X is just as valuable to Blizz as a casual as it is to the whiner with no job who trolls all day their forums. They should remember that.

        • It’s not about being a threat, it’s about being an inspiration.

          And yes, 50 bucks is 50 bucks. That is why Blizzard is designing D3 to reach the broadest audience possible. They sacrificed all deeper game systems for it. And that is why most nerds or coregamers or jokers or jobless whiners, whatever you like to call them, don’t like D3. These guys are playing other games by now, and i am pretty sure Blizzard appreciates this, as long as there are still enough casuals left who still play and buy their game(s).

    6. She should’ve just concisely said “PoE charges you $1000 to design an item”, instead she talked around that and never actually mentioned the key difference. Not to mention that PoE only has between 10-25,000 active players and hardly any new ones coming in at all, so your $10,000 isn’t going to make an item seen by many people (in before predictable Diablo 3 droprate joke).

      I do admit, the loot is more fun and interesting in PoE than in D3 (that’s not saying much, of course) but the actual gameplay, the thing you’re actually doing which the loot just changes the numbers of, is pretty lame. Diablo 3’s actual gameplay is great, but the linearity of what makes equipment usable is just terrible. In other words, if you removed loot and just played with pre-made characters, PoE would be absolutely awful whereas Diablo 3 would be a great game. However, it’s obviously the loot and the hunt for better loot that gives these games such longevity.

      • Really winterfell? “the loot just changes the numbers of”. I’ve got unique items in PoE that have completely changed my skill tree allowing me to totally change my Passive selection and game play. The uniques in PoE actually change your gameplay, rare items are the stat sticks. Further, 10-25,000 active players???? Where’d ya get that number from?

        • I got that number from pretty much every estimation made by players on the official PoE forums. The devs claim 35,000 players, but the players themselves said they doubted that.

          The gameplay in PoE is always going to be limited because the actual combat system is weak and bland. That’s what I meant by how you’re merely changing the numbers, the actual gameplay is shit yet offers a lot of opportunity to tweak the numbers behind the terribleness.

    7. Lyirria is cooler than Biashock ever was.

      • Lylirra (Lehra- LEERA… whatever the F her name is..) she’s all hot-chocolate marshmallow fluff lacking in substance. She’s an empty soapbox of nothingness. She manages to turn 1 sentence answers into paragraph long explanations on why Blizzard can’t change things for the better. She’s been playing this rattatat-tat PR soapbox run-around for a couple of years now.

        At least Bashiok was up-front and even a mad bro at times. Aren’t you thankful?

        • Someone’s in looove.

        • No, Bashiok was just useless, frequently missing the point of what people were asking and “answering” the wrong thing. Not to mention simply lying about stuff: “oh yeah, we have lots of crazy affixes like ‘increases health globe radius pickup'”.

        • bashiok is one of the factors there is so much hate on d3 today, believe me. they guy was an unbelievable asshole, together with “violent” jay they stirred so much negative energy, its still going strong.

    8. They really seem to be dumping everything into this unique affix method of item design. I don’t think they’re so much concerned about what stats the item has but what it does that is unique, which is probably where the community comes in to get all creative and stuff.

      Especially so with the Mystic being able to re-roll item affixes, (even one is a pretty big deal) what stats the item rolls with don’t seem all that important anymore. And they better talk about the trifecta, because without a cap or some other way to manage the problem, the weapon we design by committee might as well be socket + CD Skorn type deal with extra flavor affix.

      http://diablo3.judgehype.com/screenshots/gamescom2013/conference/28.jpg

      Just looking at this thing, the reduced CD isn’t really anything to write home about when compared to the unique affix. That one stat could be anything really and the item would be largely the same.

    9. I’m all for Blizzard getting the community involved in making a legendary, its a great idea. However, months to design the legendary? I understand they are dragging it out a bit, “to get everyone involved”. Wrong way of doing it. Make the system “a legendary EVERY month”. People are not going to get involved if it takes weeks between updates and months for a final completion. People will get bored and move on. This is a great idea that has been wrecked because they want to make it a PR exercise and not a proper engagement with the community.

    10. It is funny (or not) to read posts like this, when CM is saying that “designing a legendary” is something unbelievably hard and time consuming. I am working in a small game development company (~50 people) so I know how some things are made. From my experience there can be 3 problems when designing a game (or something in it):

      1. low budget – pretty simple, you cannot design something complex because you don’t have enough money (manpower) to do that (programing, scripting, graphics, testing)

      2. time – when your game has 8 months of development time you cannot spend your time designing and creating prototypes because it is time consuming (even if your budget is high enough)

      3. lack of design – sometimes the time is enough and the budget is fine to do a few iterations of game mechanics and prototypes but the “overall vision” is not there. So in the end your game will be polished, animations and graphics will be perfect (high production values) but the core features will be heavily flawed.

      Guess what’s the D3’s problem…

      Now back to D3 and the topic. Yesterday I was thinking about some legendary ideas (special game-changing effects only) and I have made like 70+ ideas in 1-2 hours while working on another project. And I am not even a designer, just a gamer. And maybe that is sometimes more than enough.

      Just a few ideas:
      * MONK: Casting mantra will cost you 0 spirit but its rune effect is disabled
      * MONK: Deadly reach will hit also enemies behind you
      * WIZZARD: While casting spells, your hydra will be 2x faster
      * Your fire damage is boosted by 1/3rd of your critical damage % bonus but removes critical hit chance
      * chilled and frozen enemies gain immunity on cold damage, but their fire resist is set to 0
      * Doubles health globes drop rate but your health is halved
      * When elite is below 50% health, fire chain will break
      * Your DMG and Health will be boosted by 20% in dungeons, but lowered by 20% in the surface

      • Apparently you didn’t read the last paragraph. Lylirra specifically stated that it doesn’t take so long to make Legendaries. The part that takes a long time is putting up the votes for the community and tallying up the stuff. You can’t just have the vote up for a day, cause then not so many people see it; at the same time, if you have it up too long, then nothing gets done.

        Besides, if you looked at the datamined information (which Blizzard has all-but confirmed is real), then you’d know that there are a lot of good ideas coming forth. The problem is less Blizzard now, and more the Blizzard past. Your complaint would have made sense last year, but it seems to make a lot less sense now.

        TLDR, go back and read Lylirra’s last paragraph. You’ll find that your whole argument is based on wrong information.

        • I think Cmelda had more these parts in mind:

          “Have you ever wondered what kind of sweat, tears, and ritual sacrifice goes into designing a Legendary item in Diablo III? ”

          – implying it is complicated

          “Over the next few months, we’ll take you through the all the different design stages behind bringing a single Legendary item to life, from concept to creation to iteration, all the way through animation and implementation.”

          – implying it is a lengthy (not necessarily months) process REQUIRING many design stages

    11. “What exactly people didn’t like about this wasn’t real clear,”

      How can you write that?
      Main points:
      – it is coupled with the usual “game development is so HAAAARD” baloney
      – PoE does it, and it is not just a single item in PoE
      – its just a single item ==> the whole thing is a PR stunt, not “hey, help us make this game better” like they have promised with “listening to the community”

      • Maybe I’m reading inbetween the lines too much here but….

        \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.\

        Okay that’s cool, but then…

        \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!\.

        What Lylirra posted sounds like players having a hand in shaping the game isn’t important. Or did Lylirra mean lit. you don’t need this to show how legendaries are made?

    12. PoE goes live 23rd Oct 2013.

    13. It’s official, people will complain about anything.

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