Blizzard on This and That

I’ve done individual news posts about all of Bashiok’s larger comments from his very busy Monday, but since he made numerous smaller posts as well, this update collects a bunch of the little ones that don’t need their own thread. (There were half a dozen other very short or no-new-info posts as well; if you want to see absolutely every Blue word, you can easily click through them via our Blue Tracker site.)

A fan pointed out some missing sounds and other imperfections in the new gameplay footage, and earned a tart retort from Bashiok.

It’s almost like it’s a game that’s pre-release.

A fan complained about the “muddy” looking graphics in the new gameplay movie, and got a rebuttal.

Hrm. Try and bump it to 720p through the dropdown. The game itself hasn’t changed so I’d suspect video compression would be the culprit.

Prior to UnicorNDAy, I’d teased about what seemed an outrageous retcon, that the DiabloWikiDark Wanderer was now going to be DiabloWikiKing Leoric‘s son, Prince Albrecht. Thankfully, my info was slightly off. The Dark Wanderer is still the DiabloWikiWarrior, he’s just got a new family relation to Leoric. He’s a long lost older brother.

The change, I believe (and I still need to follow up on this) is simply naming the Warrior character as Leoric’s son. Which, lore-wise, isn’t much of a retcon, just giving the Warrior a specific name and origin.

A fan asked about the Activision/Blizzard conference call coming up later this week. Sadly, he didn’t say anything to get Bashiok to drop hints about whether we’ll get a beta start date announcement or not.

Here ya go!

I believe it’s open for anyone to listen in? I find the vast majority of it to be insanely boring though. I always recommend people hit up fansites/news sites shortly afterward – which looks to be 1:30 pm PDT August 3 – for coverage instead of listening. Unfortunately I am not able to indulge in such luxuries…

A fan asked some good questions about the exploit issues of D3’s freespecs, in terms of traits (or whatever they’re called now). Bashiok launched his usual defense. (Since Bashiok clearly can’t be in total agreement with every D3 design decision, I always wonder which issues he’s completely lying about, with his usual enthusiastic defenses. I wonder if those are harder to write?)

If we can swap in passives at any time, and we e.g. still have magic find or gold find traits, then it would become standard to activate the magic/gold find passive when slaying a boss monster.

Also, I don’t know if the gameplay suffers if passives are totally free to swap at any time. If you are badly damaged e.g., and have a faster run trait, you might want to swap it in to get away from mobs.

Solution might be that passive swapping is only allowed in town or so. Active swapping should be available all the time, because that is what Blizzard is intending, no?

Bashiok: We don’t want skill/passive switching to be a meta game, but we want to make sure when someone just leveled up in the field they can try out a new skill they unlocked.

Right now we’re thinking no swaps in boss fights or the arena will be enough, but we’re still taking a wait and see.

I kind of like the idea of making it difficulty restricted. No swapping outside of town in Nightmare/Hell. But maybe that just makes people jet back to town more to swap out and it drags out play sessions? I don’t know. I’m kind of back and forth on it. (note: I do not make these decisions)

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13 thoughts on “Blizzard on This and That

  1. Wasn’t sure where else to post this.  Elsewhere i read promising news for those dismayed by the “Followers only Normal” thing:
    One of the ones we have gotten recently was when we announced, and this is one we haven’t done anything with yet and I am not sure we are, but when we announced followers, one of the things we talked about was that it was really more of a normal difficulty feature. Our concern was that there were some players that said that if they give them more power, I am going to take it even if I hate it. There was about a third of the players who hate followers and didn’t want them. They didn’t like hirelings in D2 but they took them but they took them because they felt they had to get the extra power boost. And a third loved followers and always wanted to take them and the other third didn’t care either way. We felt a third is pretty big and it’s even but we don’t like forcing choices on the player. So we sided with the people who didn’t want them and catered to them. We still kept them but we consider them more of a story component anyway. But then the community really responded strongly to that. The third who liked followers were like “come on, please, we love followers”. So, we thought about it and we haven’t exactly found a solution but we are looking into a way the player can trade a portion of power equivalent to what the follower would be because they like followers, that gives players the choice who doesn’t want them to not trade that power. For example, a passive skill that enhances the follower that basically brings him up to the level he needs to be for the higher difficulties. But now you have dropped a passive skill and the players who don’t want them can keep their passive skill. We are considering things like that.

    Those are some examples, we really try to listen to what people are saying. My favorite was “So, you say followers can’t be used past normal difficulty. Challenge accepted”. So, we’ll see.

    • That last quote was from someone who posts here as well. I also thought that one was pretty cool – already thinking of ways to stretch the game and it’s not even in Beta! :p

    • I picked up on that myself. I really hope they manage to find a way to make it happen, but I’m not sure just losing a trait (I refuse to go back to ‘passive skill’) would be an adequate counter. Not unless they are seriously big bonuses.

      • From what we’ve been hearing, the new passives are kind of build-defining, and appear to be of critical importance. You can only have three at any given time.

    • It’s good that they’re looking into it, but it’s a blatant lie that they don’t like to push choices on their players. They seem to do it frequently enough, they must be getting some joy out of it.

      However, the proposed sacrifice needed to have a follower is harsh, but I think that would be a fair compromise.
      I don’t want a follower there to kill stuff for me, I want them there for the narrative function.

    • “But then the community really responded strongly to that. … ”

      yeah, the community did respond strongly to that. And what was Blizzard’s response ?–colossal-waste-of-dev-time#postId_233111
      Bashiok :
      I don’t mean any offense, but you don’t represent the majority of people that will play the game. For better or worse. People here, logging in with their Diablo II keys to talk about an unreleased product – – on an essentially hidden forum – – do not represent the vast majority of people that will play the game. Which doesn’t mean we don’t want the game to appeal to you or be a lasting game you’ll want to play as long as you played Diablo II, it very much is our intent to be, but we have a broad range of Diablo fans to appeal to.
      Looking at Diablo II the amount of people that bought the game, never logged on to, and never went beyond Normal are not insignificant. In fact, they’re a substantial portion of the people that bought copies throughout the life of the game.

  2. Flux, you MUST have a news post on how fans are literally HOWLING over the new skill system. Its here, its on other sites, its on freaking for the Bliz guys to see. You are about the only thing on the net that can do it, not being, as you rightly said, a fawnsite. This is madness and it will kill the replayability and everything that we have been loving so far about Diablo 3. 

    Have a poll, lets all post on, lets do anything we can to stop this stupidity!

    • Flux already posted on this:
      People are howling alright, but being a Devil’s advocate you sound like you never have played WoW or D2 before.  The fact that there were skill points to allot gave the illusion that there were thousands of possible builds.  In reality, people got on google, found 2 or 3 builds, and went from there.  The ASSUMPTION that people are making is that there is little customization aside from skill points which we are being told is not the case.  Time will tell, but all of the melodrama seems premature without demoing the other customization options.
      I’m ready to be flamed for drinking the kool aid or being a fanboy – I’m just saying that the jury is still out until we run through the non-skill-centered customization options.

    • I’ve got about 12 more news posts (literally) written and ready to go. The DoS attacks and site downtime are (and Bashiok making more posts in 24 hours than the previous 24 weeks) are just choking the pipeline. Skills are included in imminent topics.

  3. The lack of antialiasing in the gameplay footage makes me cry. I thought there was an option to turn it ON. If so, why not use it in the videos ? If not, then I hope there is a way to force it in the drivers options.

    • It likely won’t work. This was brought up during the SC2 beta, and one of the blizz tech guys was saying that it’s a limitation of whatever engine they built. They still don’t have AA in SC2, nor do they have any plans to put it in. It will probably be the same deal with D3 but it’s much more noticeable here.

  4. The real simple solution to the normal lack of difficulty would be to implement “/players 8”.
    Or even a “/players 32” would be even better!

  5. The issue: people tend to look up “powerhouse” builds that enhance their characters overall power, this brings disharmony to the casual image of, as “hardcore” gamers will spend much time creating and leveling up new “powerful” characters.

    Solution: freespecs and removal of skill points; you won’t ever need to make more than -one- type of character. This also means that people unconsciously use way less characters and won’t have to use multiple accounts for hordes of characters like in D2, good for Shifting the entire focus on item grinding rather than on character grinding means their Real Money auction house will see more business. $hareholders happy.

    New problem: Everyone looks up the so called “powerbuilds”, applies them on their character (skillset), gets grinding for equipment (AH goes crazy, RM and gold) and we all end up with similar builds. A patch nerfs this and that, and several hours laters there’s a new build available, read and respec now. 
    Or, like some other people also pointed out, we will get “encounter” builds. Equip your Sorc with ice spells in act 2, switch over to lightning just before the boss, fry him, respect him to a nice fire build for act 3 and so forth. 

    I hate to be so negative, but it seems that even after all this development time, Activision got a foot in the door and put all their Diablo 3 bets (which didn’t have good odds, considering they didn’t make any money off it except the box price) into the Real Money trading house. No pre-order for me anymore even though I’ve been waiting for D3 since it’s announcement. I’m afraid it won’t turn out to be pretty in the end :(.

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