I’m back home after the Blizzard Irvine visit, and here’s a quick update just to share some basic facts for now. I’m going to post a big article on Monday that covers everything I saw and did at Blizzard this week and what I learned about the future (immediate and long term) of Diablo 3, and I’m recording a podcast on Sunday to further flesh it out verbally.
Before that, I want to say how cool a day it was. The Blizzard CMs couldn’t have been more cool and welcoming and real in conversation (early on Lylirra made me laugh by asking what I thought when “they started calling you ‘Flux180’?”). They gave us good food and swag, the hotel was great, I enjoyed play testing the Diablo console and even Hearthstone (which I knew/cared zero about pre-visit) was really fun. We signed an NDA upon entry, as do virtually all visitors to Blizzard, but it wound up meaning nothing, since we didn’t see anything secret and Lylirra and the other CMs said we were free to talk about everything we did and saw while we were there.
Unfortunately… there’s nothing to talk about in terms of new game info, and I only got responses to a few of the seven pages of questions I compiled from our two big main page comment threads. (Happily, there are very good odds that I’ll be able to ask a lot of those questions and get direct replies in the immediate future.)
So what did we talk about at Blizzard? Surprisingly, we spent a lot more time answering questions from the CMs and devs than we did asking them. They were very interested to know what we thought and felt and what the community wanted or hoped for in regards to future Diablo 3 developments. We spent about 2 hours right at the start talking with Lylirra, Vaeflare, Grimiku, and a couple of other CMs who have important roles behind the scenes, but who don’t have “Blue” names you guys would recognize from forum posts. Later in the day we spent 2 hours over lunch and a Diablo 3 Open House in a conference room with virtually every lead from the Diablo 3 dev team, and there again we were mostly answering questions and giving feedback.
Josh Mosqueira had a big list of eight questions he wanted to ask, and he only got through one of them (Paraphrase: What do you want most to see or do in Diablo 3 that you don’t have now?”) since the conversation about it went so long and far afield. That’s a pretty good synopsis of the entire day; lots of conversation and interaction and back and forth; never anything as simple as a traditional interview
Many more details on this coming Monday, and according to what the CMs told us, we’re going to see a huge ramp up in the communication coming from the devs over the next few months. New interviews and even some older stuff that’s never been public yet, such as Wyatt Cheng’s Postmortem presentation from GDC earlier this year. Stay tuned…