Blizzard Explains Inferno and End Game


DiabloWikiBashiok‘s made several forum posts today, supplementing DiabloWikiJay Wilson‘s Gamesom presentation information about DiabloWikiInferno, the fourth difficulty level. Here are two of the biggest one spot explanations; click through for the whole threads they came from. The first came in reply to RisingRed’s question about their end game philosophy.

The general philosophy is that we want to make finding better loot at the end game more enjoyable, and attempt to address ‘path of least resistance’ style gameplay.

There’s a couple ways we’re doing that, some of which we’re not talking about just yet.

Primarily it’s focused around Inferno and creating a consistent difficulty across the entire act. By having a flat difficulty across the entire game in Inferno it evens things out so that no matter where you want to go you’re being challenged, and you have a good chance at getting good drops. That’s intended to open the game up so there’s simply more freedom for the player to go anywhere in the game and have an equal chance at good drops.

There will probably still be a slight difficulty curve in Inferno, as enemies simply become more complex and have greater abilities later in the game, but we’re making an effort to make it as even across the board as possible. It’s something we’ll very likely have to keep tweaking after release.

In addition we’re attempting to de-emphasize path of least resistance by creating a more equal value across monster types. We’re not going to get into specifics about who can drop what or how much, but our intent is that being out in the world exploring should be as lucrative (potentially more) as simply aiming for the quickest-to-reach boss and running that over and over.

Getting people out into the world of the game and away from repetitive boss runs is essentially our goal. It’s going to be tough because people will find a path of least resistance, and they will make that the game. We’re going to have to keep on top of it, and truthfully it’s something we’re still working on. We’ll likely want to have some additional features to support these ideals, but just getting Inferno tuned right is our current end-game goal for ship.

And another reply about leveling pace.

Our intent is to create a fairly smooth leveling curve between difficulties. When you finish Normal you should be around 30, and you’ll be ready for Nightmare, you should be around 50 when you finish Nightmare, and you’ll be ready for Hell, and when you finish Hell you should be around 60, and ready for Inferno.

We don’t expect that people are going to play start to finish, Normal to Inferno, in one sitting. Because of that it implies replays of specific areas (as enemies/bosses respawn when you leave and start a new game) which adds in some guess work on XP gains. It may be that you need to stick around in Hell difficulty for a bit longer because you beat the game at level 58 or something, but it shouldn’t be a long drawn out XP farming situation just so you can advance – if we do it right.

Again, personal play habits will influence leveling curves but we’ll do our best to make it smooth.

Cick through for the full quotes of both threads.


Sabacca’s post said that boss runs would still be the way to go in Inferno, though the thread was taking another turn by the time Bashiok replied to it.

Inferno difficulty will not solve the issue of running the same thing over and over, due to the fact that you have to be level 60. Yes, for item hunters @ level 60, it solves the problem. But for players who are trying to get to level 60, (lets say a lvl 55 player) they will run the last area in hell over and over to get the most XP until 60.

On a side note, I wonder how they Inferno difficulty will be altered once the level cap increases in the expansion.
Bashiok: Our intent is to create a fairly smooth leveling curve between difficulties. When you finish Normal you should be around 30, and you’ll be ready for Nightmare, you should be around 50 when you finish Nightmare, and you’ll be ready for Hell, and when you finish Hell you should be around 60, and ready for Inferno.

We don’t expect that people are going to play start to finish, Normal to Inferno, in one sitting. Because of that it implies replays of specific areas (as enemies/bosses respawn when you leave and start a new game) which adds in some guess work on XP gains. It may be that you need to stick around in Hell difficulty for a bit longer because you beat the game at level 58 or something, but it shouldn’t be a long drawn out XP farming situation just so you can advance – if we do it right.

Again, personal play habits will influence leveling curves but we’ll do our best to make it smooth.

Do random events/quests reward experience, and if so, is there some kind of way to tell how to get to them when you start a fresh game? Questing to the cap sounds good to me, but if it isn’t implemented in a way where you’ll know where to go to find them, then I forsee a lot of aimless wandering hoping to find them.
Bashiok: They do, but you’re not going to be required to seek them out just to advance. They’re intended to be bonuses when they happen, because they do appear randomly, and not primary leveling devices. If they encourage someone to explore the entire map or dungeon to see if they can find one, then cool, we hope they enjoyed their choice to do that. But we’re not forcing anyone to.

What kind of predictions do you have for someone who DOES sit and play straight through in a single game?
Bashiok: They might be under-leveled and have to run a few more dungeons to be where they should. But again it’s really dependent on playstyle as well as randomization. Also running around getting more chances at awesome loot isn’t exactly terrible, that’s sort of the whole game.

We could both sit and play straight through but I have 100 more champions that spawned in my character’s play time and thus I’m out leveling you. Or you’re a completionist and exploring everything and I’m just hitting main quests so you’ve out leveled me. It’s tough to really gauge, which is why we’re going to do our best to test these scenarios as much as possible and just set a leveling curve based on expectations for how most people will play.

* More aggressive monster behavior with modified AI
Bashiok: True!

new skills and abilities.
Bashiok: We may hold some specific champion affixes for Inferno, but it’s not set in stone just yet. What we’re definitely doing is making more difficult affixes and affix combos more likely to roll up.

I don’t know if this has been answered yet, but is Inferno going to be available at release?
Bashiok: That’s the plan Stan.


The other thread quoted above was begun by RisingRed.

I’ve seen a lot of comments about inferno (since we’ve now got it officially) and it’s overall very positive.

But the team has constantly said that they want to work on end game when the game is out, or something along those lines.

What, exactly, do they want to do with it? I’m not asking for specifics, I’m just wondering if you could elaborate on what their goals are for us as players in end game, what they would like to achieve with it. Kind of the philosophy behind it.
Bashiok: The general philosophy is that we want to make finding better loot at the end game more enjoyable, and attempt to address ‘path of least resistance’ style gameplay.

There’s a couple ways we’re doing that, some of which we’re not talking about just yet.

Primarily it’s focused around Inferno and creating a consistent difficulty across the entire act. By having a flat difficulty across the entire game in Inferno it evens things out so that no matter where you want to go you’re being challenged, and you have a good chance at getting good drops. That’s intended to open the game up so there’s simply more freedom for the player to go anywhere in the game and have an equal chance at good drops.

There will probably still be a slight difficulty curve in Inferno, as enemies simply become more complex and have greater abilities later in the game, but we’re making an effort to make it as even across the board as possible. It’s something we’ll very likely have to keep tweaking after release.

In addition we’re attempting to de-emphasize path of least resistance by creating a more equal value across monster types. We’re not going to get into specifics about who can drop what or how much, but our intent is that being out in the world exploring should be as lucrative (potentially more) as simply aiming for the quickest-to-reach boss and running that over and over.

Getting people out into the world of the game and away from repetitive boss runs is essentially our goal. It’s going to be tough because people will find a path of least resistance, and they will make that the game. We’re going to have to keep on top of it, and truthfully it’s something we’re still working on. We’ll likely want to have some additional features to support these ideals, but just getting Inferno tuned right is our current end-game goal for ship.

But inferno is exactly what a lot of people have been asking for since D3 was announced (and even before, during LoD development) so it is certainly a welcome addition to the game. But there’s still lots of questions surrounding it that probably can’t be answered yet.
Bashiok: I don’t think it’s ultimately what we want for the end game either, but it’s a great start, and we think plenty to keep people engaged for the initial release.

so if people flock towards the path of resistance, you believe jumping in their way and resisting their primal urge is the right thing to do?
Bashiok: If we believe it will make their play experience more enjoyable or rewarding, absolutely.

The problem is people do boss runs over, and over, and over, for years, and it’s not because the boss run is fun, it’s because it’s the path of least resistance to finding an awesome item. No one wants to do repetitive boss runs.

If we can instead say the path of least resistance is the entire game, that there’s no single boss you have to repetitively farm to get the most items per hour, then the game is better for it and the players are liberated. They now have options to go anywhere they want to look for items. Hitting that perfect balance is probably near impossible, but we think we can get pretty close.

Yah. I think “extra content” is what people were going for, as in, unique content to that difficulty or maybe even different ways to play, but that’s outside the intended goal of the developers, I think. From what I understand, at least.

All others, here’s a pic from judgehype from the gamescom presentation. Directly on subject.
Bashiok: And we probably think most of those ideas are awesome, but what we’re talking about right now is purely Diablo III at release day. 🙂

Anything beyond that we’re keeping close to the vest.

Forcing players do kill monsters because blizzard believes thats the fun part is just ignant.
Bashiok: Well… but that is the game. Killing monsters and seeing if they drop something awesome.

I wouldn’t count out potential improvements to that idea, or something complimentary, but our intent isn’t to change the Diablo formula.

But as the Beebs says (or Fievel), never say never.

Tagged As: | Categories: Blizzard People, End Game

Comments

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  1. Why require max level to move from hell to inferno?  If someone can beat hell difficulty they ought to be able to play inferno straight away.

    • maybe for balance i don’t know

    • All monsters in Inferno will be Mlvl 61+, possibly up to Mlvl 65 or 70. They should also future tougher AI, higher dmg, health, all to make them challenging for Clvl 60 players. At the top levels there should be difference in power between levels, so while Clvl 60 player will find Inferno highly challenging and demending (even more so than the Hell mode), Clvl 58 would find it downright impossible no matter the skill of the player.

      Also, you prolly won´t be able to access it ´till Clvl 60.

    • I don’t think he meant you *can’t* move forward, but rather, you probably wouldn’t want to.

  2. Apparently all Inferno monsters are level 61+. Trying to kill anything with, say, a level 55 character could very well be aggravating and result in more deaths than a level 60.
    Won’t rightly know until game release.
     

  3. As obnoxious as that last question was, there’s a tiny microcosm to truth in it. If you want better PvP gear, you need to kill boring monsters or dole out some serious real life cash (b/c you don’t like killing monsters, you don’t have a lot of gold to spend). But PvP gear rewards in WoW took about a year or so after release, so we’ll see which way the current goes.

    • Except, Diablo III, like all Diablo games is PvM game. Killing monsters for loot is what its all about. I´m not saying that PvP isn´t good for the game, or that you shouldn´t PvP in D3, but, at its core, Diablo III is about killing monsters, champions, uniques, super uniqes, mini-bosses and bosses and seeing what kinda cool loot drops from them, and getting that feeling of opening Christmas presents (very bloody, disfigured and demonic looking, of course). If you want pure PvP game, and really think that killing monsters for 100+ hours on your way to Clvl 60 is boring, then D3 definatly isn´t for you. There are plenty of alternatives tough. Have you tried DotA, LoL, or StarCraft? All three are games heavily focused on PvP aspect with almost no PvM.

      • PvP wasn’t a factor in WoW till they had a working rewards system.  It was about PvE (or PvM if you like that term better) same thing (as you say) diablo is about.  So why shouldn’t they have cool stuff for them as well?  It will probably be enhanced over time and they will add some kind of reward system into PvP.  And there is nothing wrong with that, more options to get loot is good.

        Player A:” Hmm do I want to play through Act 1 of Inferno today or how about some PvP?  Hmmm or maybe how about…”

        I want to be player A and have those kinds of options and still feel like I could get something cool.

        • The problem with rewarding PvP with actual items and not just achievements is that people will complain more about balance issues; complaints Blizzards repeatedly said they will ignore. That’s also the reason for them not having any PvP rating system whatsoever. It’s the right way to go imho.

    • If you don’t like killing monsters, You really Shouldn’t be playing Diablo!

  4. It’ll probably be like when Burning Crusade came out for WoW, a lot of people underestimated the huge jump in power from level 60 monsters in Vanilla to even level 58 monsters in Burning Crusade. A lot of players died quite a bit.

  5. It’s kind of odd that you have to be (or want to be) clvl 60 before taking on Inferno. That essentially means the monsters there are going to give you 0 exp.

    Which means it’s all about items and nothing else.

  6. because infernos way harder you got no chance if you aint level 60   A lil OFF TOPIC but WHY hasn’t anyone relased footage of diablo 3 demo gameplay at gamescom apart from that 2 min hunter footage ?

    • Because blizzard doesn’t permit cameras or filming in the demo area. People always sneak some out anyway, but it might take longer than the first night for that to happen.

       

  7. I hope Inferno is not the only plan for end-game diversity. IMO they should mix it up with something else. Some ideas:

    1) Bosses still drop above average and are thus the most thought after targets.
    2) But bosses are not freely accessible at any time, something needs to be done outside in the world to gain access to them and the boss of the previous act needs to have been killed.
    3) This would produce a run that goes like: Do act 1 stuff to gain access to act 1 boss, then do act 2 stuff to gain access to act 2 boss, and so on until last boss and then repeat.

    Of course they could make it a bit more interesting than that and add some twists to produce more “randomized” runs.

    • The entire point of my thread (if you read any of what Bashiok wrote) was to talk about how Inferno wasn’t their only plan for end game. It’s just the first phase of it.

      I think Bashiok spoke very well today, and I liked everything he had to say. It all sounds good to me, for once.

    • Meh, doesn’t sound appealing to me, I would rather have a zombies/horde mode style place where you and your friends try to kill increasingly difficult monsters untill you all die, this would be fun for me anyway and im sure if it was done really well with leaderboards and everything it could be a big hit. but sadly this will probably never happen and ill have to run through the same monsters iv already ran through 3 times over and over, until I get nice ass loot and PvP out of boredom from PvM, whether they try to spice it up, its still a constant repitition of something, wether its a boss, certain monsters, etc.

  8. There’s probably level requirements on the \awsome gear\

    • Couldn’t you craft gear in D2 that had level requirements above 99? I remember rolling an elite wand that had clvl 97 or something. And it was still vastly inferior to runeword White.

  9. can someone pls explain to me why “being in the world” is so much better than doing a Meph run? Sry, but in long term perspective I dont really see any difference. That logic is flawed to me, I can appreciate Blizzard is trying to produce a great game, but I can resist the feeling that their prevailing philosophy is to baby-sit the players, wtf. 4th diff level, why just dont do hell that way? so now inferno is new b/c it did’t exist before? all these “features” could have been implemented in Hell, where getting loot would still be combined with leveling. sry, but i dont feel excited about being clvl 60 and just running around for loot that has a ZOD chance of dropping. that get boring very fast…

    • Blizzard (or anyone else for that matter) can´t balance the content for players leveling from 50 to 60 (and everything they need like proper leveling, experiance, monster health and dmg curve) with super challenging lvl61+ content for players who are already 60. Most of the Hell difficulty will go to the leveling part, and once you hit 60, majority of Hell simply won´t be challenging and revarding enough. So, what does that leave us? Running several strongest bosses with best loot over and over again. With Inferno, Blizzard has complete game, seperate from other difficulties, specifiacally tailored for max level players, which they can balance to make the entire game viable for leveling. And, if entire game filled with viable monsters who have same chance of droping awesome loot isn´t enough, then really, to quote couple of posters above me: “you´re playing the worong genre.”

  10. Because there is gear with a clvl 60 requirement, you would not be able to equip this in Hell difficulty unless you farmed exp. Then when you can equip it, Hell becomes a breeze. With no challenge, people will find the places with the best odds of a drop and farm them repeatedly Diablo 2 style.
    To avoid this they are creating a harder difficulty, with a (mainly) flat difficulty level and increased drop rates overall to avoid farming single locations. This provides a challenge, a reward for said challenge and freedom to kill wherever we please.  8) .
    Oops, that was meant to be a reply for Lcypher

    • Agreed, but I still think they can do more than just “kill something other than a boss if your bored” way of handling people who want to have fun finding items etc, I would like to see a more specific way to entertain players, not a TD, but something with some design to be interesting after many many replays. Idn I just find the idea of “kill the monsters instead of boss” theme to removing boredom from farming is only going to last so long before its essientally the same crap but a different color palet/model on screen and people have nearly the same problem, I would really hope to god that I am wrong and the gameplay is just so juicy I could play it over and over whether it was the same 5-50 monsters in my face or just 1, as long as its really satisfiying over a long period of time im sure we’ll be happy.

  11. I just hope that the random quests represent solid options for getting good items.  That would make for a very diverse endgame.  Seems interesting as it is, though.  Sort of like how in MedianXL, there are the heroic or uber levels in every act.  Except instead of tough parts being in single areas in an act… It’s the whole game. It’s almost masochistic; I’m sure many people will dig it.

  12. Ok guys,they can do more,but Bash told us that their goal for now is Inferno to be tuned right for the initial release!
    Which of these words you couldn’t understand? They will implement more features and modes via patches in the future.As Resingred said I am happy with all Bashiok have said today and I can’t wait anymore to get the game and start playing:))
    Who doesn’t like the game,don’t buy it,don’t visit this site,don’t lose your time to read posts and write comments.Just play another game,or do whatever else you want to do! Cya,bye… Mooo Moo Moo

  13. I would have liked it more if you didn’t hit max level until playing Inferno for a while. It feels ‘good’ when every little monster and mf run you do gives you some experience towards a goal =). Granted, I don’t want to see a repeat of D2 where max (or even close to it) level was next to impossible through normal, fair gameplay. I used to play hardcore so maybe that had something to do with it but I think I hit 93 on my highest toon and then just quit the game soon after lol… (ladder resets might have had something to do with it though too…)
     
    Anyhow, on to my much more important point. I very much hope that D3 retains the loot/gear system of D2 and NOT of WoW. Everything in WoW is MEANT for this or that class and you can be 99% sure that every higher level item is +X stats better than the previous item. Boring and mind numbing as hell. I loved D2s itemization where good and ideal setups involved using a variety of items amongst all quality levels by mixing and matching gear pieces that best supplemented your character at that time – often these gear pieces weren’t the most powerful or the most rare. If they dumb down or significantly change this system then I can predict myself growing bored of it very quickly after hitting max level. Hopefully I’m not the only one who feels this way.

  14. Hmm… I like the Inferno difficulty idea, and I’m enthusiastic about the potential future plans for end-game content, but I’d have to take a bit of issue with Bashiok’s statement that “nobody wants to do boss runs.”
     
    Part of the reason that boss runs were fun in D2 (and, to a much lesser extent, D1 in the form of Lazarus) is the visceral enjoyment of getting that big drop. One that, with a good amount of MF and the boss’ bonus, had a much greater chance to drop gold or green.
     
    I fully understand and support fixing the “path of least resistance” issues and making the whole game rewarding at the highest level, that’s great. But I certainly hope there are still some great random loot pinata areas – even if they are very hard to get through, or only appear randomly. Some place, though, where you have the exciting knowledge that at the end is almost assuredly a good reward, rather than just continually hoping that the next Fallen holds a unique.

  15. I think that we’re reaching a limit of innovation in a game. What could you do besides killing monsters in endgame? Inferno difficulty will be very fun to play (especially HC), but still, it ends. The basic hunger for the next great item drop ends too.  That’s why the community should provide cool ideas for endgame content in Diablo 3 (I think Diablo community is one of the most mature, comparatively).

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