Blizzcon 2011 PvE Demo Infomation

This is not one of those huge reports I write, but just a quick rundown of the PvE demo at Blizzcon. As we reported Friday morning, the PvE demo was the beta (albeit an updated version), with new players starting off at Clvl 1, right outside of Tristram. Just like you’ve seen on about 50 beta playthrough videos over the past six weeks.

Despite that fact, the lines were much longer for the Diablo III PvE demo than for the PvP demo. Why? Well, you need to realize that Blizzcon is still primarily a WoW-fan event, and while most of those attendees know about D3, they’re not following it closely yet. Thus they’re not sick of the beta, and since they aren’t used to playing an isometric ARPG, they wanted their first play experience to be the real game, with quests and story and a gradual learning curve. Not a PvP match where someone like you would hand them their ass, over and over again, in the DiabloWikiArena.

[Update: People are choosing to read WoW bashing into this, when it’s not intended. (For once.) Every Blizzcon since the first one in 2005 has been primarily directed towards and attended by WoW players, and most of those people have not yet played D3. Of course players getting their hands on an unfamiliar game for the first time are going to choose PvE instead of PvP. See the comments for more.]

As I said, the PvE demo was not the same thing beta testers have been playing online for a month and a half. It had the same basic content, but it was a much updated version of the client with many bug fixes and game changes. The biggest were the DiabloWikiDemon Hunter skills changes, (now with Hatred Spenders/Generators), and the fact that all Wizard and Witch Doctor skills used weapon damage and speed in their output calculations. With just 15 minutes to play on the show floor, no one could really test out skill damage variance from weapons, but that should really change up the play style and equipment choices for those classes.

The most interesting thing I heard about the PvM demo came from Jay Wilson during the Open Q&A panel, when he said that a big beta patch was coming up soon, and that after it went live they were going to start adding lots more testers. There’s no ETA on that patch, but it’s great news for bored beta testers eager for some game changes, and better news for most of you guys, still waiting on your beta invites.

Click through for some notes on the differences the new Demon Hunter skill system made for that class’ play style and speed.

The Demon Hunter skill changes made a big difference in even the very early beta play. The short play time of course limited the testing, but in addition to the DiabloWikiHatred spenders and generators, the skill order has been much changed around. The class now starts out with DiabloWikiImpale, which is a huge Hatred spender. It is basically a one-shot kill on anything, with a slow firing rate and no AoE. It also costs 40 Hatred per shot, and with a total pool of 100 and the DH’s new much slower Hatred regen rate, you can do the math on how seldom the DH can bang one of these out. Fortunately, as you’ve no doubt seen in gameplay videos, a new character hits Clvl 2 while still right in front of the gates of Tristram, and it’s not as if anything more than regular attack is needed for those opening zombies battles.

DiabloWikiHungering Arrow comes in at Clvl 2, with HA serving as a 5-per-use Hatred generator. So yeah, you’ll need to fire about 6 or 7 of those, plus the regen, to get enough Hatred for a single Impale. On the other hand, HA is a very effective skill, and can now be used infinitely without any resource deprivations. Even though it’s got a low Hatred cost in the current DH design, you can empty your bulb in seconds when using dual xbows… which means you’ll be able to fill it nearly as quickly in the new Hatred generating system. Note that Hungering Arrow has a new graphic too — the projectiles now glow with a sparkly white color, not unlike Guided Arrow in Diablo 2.)

DiabloWikiCaltrops is also added at Clvl 2; it’s a trap that you throw to a targeted location. It activates when an enemy is near, slowing the movement speed of anything in the fairly small radius of effect. DiabloWikiEvasive Fire at Clvl 3 and DiabloWikiBolo Shot at Clvl 4 are also Hatred generators, and the machine gun delight that is DiabloWikiRapid Fire arrives at Clvl 5, though it matches Impale’s 40 Hatred price.

It’s kind of a weird progression, with many lower Hatred cost spenders at higher levels, while the big 40 spenders are the first two enabled; both giving pretty much instant overpowered killing ability, but costing so much they can only be used occasionally. It’s going to be very interesting to test out a DH with the new layout, and compare the class to how it plays now. Hopefully quite a few of you guys will be doing that… in the immediate future.

Thanks to Grug, Nizaris, Wolfpaq, The Eliminator, and several other anonymous sources for sharing their play experiences with me via Skype and IM.

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36 thoughts on “Blizzcon 2011 PvE Demo Infomation

  1. “Despite that fact, the lines were much longer for the Diablo III PvE demo than for the PvP demo. Why? Well, you need to realize that Blizzcon is still primarily a WoW-fan event, and while most of those attendees know about D3, they’re not following it closely yet. Thus they’re not sick of the beta, and since they aren’t used to playing an isometric ARPG, they wanted their first play experience to be the real game, with quests and story and a gradual learning curve. Not a PvP match where someone like you would hand them their ass, over and over again, in the arena”

    Again the hate on WoW Players. In most of your comments in which you mention WoW, you depict the WoW players as a kind of stupid group of idiots.

    Of course no WoW player has ever played Diablo (the predecessor to most apsects of WoW). Of course no WoW player has ever played an isometric game. Of course no WoW player follows the development of Diablo III. And of course no WoW player could win in an arena style PvP match against DIII Fanboys who have probably mostly never played Diablo III PvP…
    /end of Sarcasm/

    Really, WoW Players have probably a million times more experience with arena style hero PVP than you have, flux. Because they had it in WoW for years! Where did you think the developers of Diablo III got their idea of arena style PvP from? Did a WoW Player steal your wife from you, or something?
    Still: thanks for the write up. But please drop your prejudice towards WoW players.

    But I got a request for you. Please give us a vote in which _we diablo fans_ can tell you if we have ever played WoW. I tell you that a large amount of our fanbase has played WoW or still plays. Because of your bias towards WoW players, you create two artifical groups (WoW Players and Diablo Fans), which I cant believe really exists. I am not a WoW player anymore, I played for probably 3 months. But I played Diablo II from day 1 for many many years and follow the game development of Diablo III nearly every day. I get offended if you depict WoW players as idiots. So please dont do it.

    • The way I see it, there have been a lot of long time Diablo players that have gone off to try WoW at some point.  Some loved it, others didn’t.  However, I’d say there are more people who have been a long time fan of WoW that have never played Diablo.  I’m not speaking for Flux, but you don’t need to jump down his throat because he says the lines are full of WoW players since they’re likely to have seen/played it less than the average Diablo fan.

      And yes, there are obviously two factions, WoW Players and Diablo Fans.  You can’t play both at once.  And it’s okay if you belong to both groups.
      …But WoW sucks.

      • Did the WoW players have to wear signs or something?

        I played D1 and D2 long before WoW, but to keep portraying WoW players as a bunch of mouth breathers when there’s much more skill required to play WoW at a high level than Diablo at a high level is just tiresome and off-putting.

        It’s entirely possible to like both and if current gamers are more familiar with WoW than Diablo, it’s probably the decade since the last full release of a Diablo game more than the inherent superiority of Diablo fans.

    • It sounded like he was excited more players that haven’t followed Diablo were interested in it.

      Then again, it sounds like you’re a troller just trying to get a rise of people; It’s the Internet, ANYTHING can be read to make it seem like it has a judging and disapproving tone.

      Yeah, I fucking love bunnies.

    • Perhaps I worded the news item poorly, but you are reading a great deal of your feelings of persecution into an objective description of realit. Though we enjoy making jokes about WoW players (as Wow players do about Diablo players) the implication you took from the news post was not intended and entirely optional.

      Fact: Every Blizzcon has been dominated by WoW players since the event debuted.

      Fact: The lines were much longer for the PvE than PvP Diablo III demo this year.

      Fact: The D3 demo was just the beta build with some updates.

      Fact: The 10+ people  I know who were at Blizzcon chiefly for D3 played 95% PvP, since they’re sick of the beta…. even the ones who haven’t played it yet.

      How do you connect those data points other than by the explanation I provided? It’s just common sense. Of course a player to a new game with an unfamiliar control scheme is going to want to do PvE first. If I waited in line for WoW at Blizzcon I’d do the PvE instead of the PvP, since I don’t know how to play the game and wouldn’t have any fun getting destroyed by WoW experts in PvP.

      • “as Wow players do about Diablo players”

        For my part, I have never heard WoW players making fun of Diablo players… just the other way around… However you are definitely right that most WoW players have probably not played Diablo games (or Starcraft for that matter) because they were hooked by friends or whatever and probably only play WoW casually anyway…

        I’ve played WoW from the beginning as I’ve always been a big fan of the Warcraft series before it and enjoy the lore and raiding, and even though I haven’t been able to play the D3 beta, I would have not even touched the D3 PvE demo (or the MoP demo either)… I would have gone straight for the PvP area just so I could get behind the controls of a max level character and done that one at least a couple times and then I probably would’ve done Blizzard DotA at least once as well…

        Personally, I like Warcraft in general as a series the most, but Diablo and Starcraft tie for a close second and other studios fall below them, so I like Blizzcon for all three and try to divide my time evenly between them inside and outside the games… I wish more people would be like that and try out all of the franchises…

      • “Perhaps I worded the news item poorly, but you are reading a great deal of your feelings of persecution into an objective description of realit.”
        Your interpretation more likely. You forgot one more fact: Only a select few people have actually played the D3 beta, sure it’s all pretty well known now, but that’s not the same thing as playing it. What would you do as a Diablo fan if you had never played the beta and just watched it over and over countless times? You would probably want to play it yourself. Diablo has always been PvE centric, more so than any other Blizzard franchise, why would Diablo players suddenly prefer the PvP demo to the real deal?
        Oh and, while you were clearly somewhat misunderstood concerning the WoW hate in that post, you really did have it coming. The constant remarks while freely admitting that you never actually played it, yeah what do you call that… ignorance? WoW is the easiest target, everyone knows what it is, it gets frequent media coverage and rarely positive as it serves as a general example of the whole online addiction thing. In addition you have people who dislike anything popular (oh boy, lots of those around these parts eh) and butthurt ex-wow fanboys who decide after 4 years of playing it that the game sucked after all.
        In the end there’s a pretty good reason that WoW is so popular and that is because it’s an awesome game. Not wanting to admit that I’m playing it in public is bad enough, I really don’t need my favorite D3 news site joining the mob of retards, apparently assuming that the wow fans are like the fat guy at school that anyone can kick while he’s down.
        You don’t have to become all politically correct, just try to be… informed.

        • I played wow for a couple years then for about six months and most recently for 1 night.   I can’t say I’ve ever not wanted to admit in public I played it though and I don’t ever recall flux giving me a hard time or looking down on me (as a gamer) because I played WoW.  Then again, I’m not the only wow (ex and current) he feeds wow info and feedback off.

        • I stand by my initial statement that anyone who has been closely following D3 was much more likely to spent most of their time playing PvP than PvE. Not that they wouldn’t play PvE at all, but they’ve all seen it a million times in gameplay movies, and with just 15m to play on the show floor, you really cant’ appreciate all the details and crafting..

          I personally know 3 or 4 people who are following D3 closely, who hadn’t played any beta yet, and who spent almost all their time on the PvP demo, since it was new and different and awesome. The Eliminator, for one, as he talks about on the new podcast (to be posted later today).

          • Incidentally, I asked 2 podcast guests about this issue recording a show today. Grug and Neinball have been to 8 blizzcons between them, they both play WoW and SC as well as Diablo, and they both instantly agreed that every Blizzcon has been primarily by and for WoW fans.

            Not to sound totally condescending, but only someone who has never been to blizzcon could have any doubt that it’s a convention primarily for and attended by WoW players.

  2. I don’t think everybody is sick of the beta, because very few people actually played it.
    For those who are bored… give us the rest your beta keys and stop complaining!

    • Exactly.  You know why there were long lines for D3 playthrough?  B/c 99.9% of people who are eagerly anticipating D3 ARE NOT IN THE BETA (yet).  And frankly, the reason stated for PVE over PVP is silly too – the fact is PVP is more of a niche mode while PVE is more mainstream.  And i’m sure avid PVP Fanboiz love it that way.

      • I am dying to play the PvE side, but I would pick PvP if I had to choose. I want my mind to some-what spoiler free when I first pick up my own copy.

  3. Where do you get the idea/fact Blizzcon is a WoW-fan event? Seriously? It’s starting really be Fing annoying everywhere you read something people just keep bashing on WoW. And you never played the game yourself, man keep your opinions in news articles to yourself. What dc said..

    • I’ve played WoW for a few years and don’t want to hear, read, anything about it ever again. My real life friends got me into it and while I did enjoy it for a while, it’s nothing like the Diablo series. It was never meant to be though as it’s a MMO and the game play style in WoW and Diablo is 100% different. Quests in WoW are tedious, Quests in Diablo are not, at least that is how it always felt to me. I just can’t wait till Diablo 3 is released so sick of waiting on it.

    • Because I’ve been to every Blizzcon since 2005 and have observed the crowds, the waits for the game demos, the number of panels, the t-shirts being worn, the attendance at panels, etc. The fact that something like 4m people in the US play WoW and about .000004m play D3 at this point should make it fairly obvious which game is going to have more fans in attendance.

      • And that still doesn’t mean Blizzcon is a WoW-Fan-Event. Have you seen the amount of SC2 fans? How do you know all those WoW fans don’t also play SC2/D3? or perhaps are interested in it. It’s a Blizzcon Event for Blizzard games for Blizzard-Fans, nothing more or less than that!

        • Have you been to any blizzcons? I’m not going to go count up panels per year, but trust me, the crowds for wow panels, the number of t-shirts being worn, the art exhibits, the cosplay outfits, the conversations you overhear, the players in the realm meetup areas, etc… All make it very clear that the vast majority of attendees are there primarily due to their WoW interest.

          I don’t know if Blizzard wants it that way, but that’s just how the numbers have broken down, and it’s very evident when you’re there. It might have been my error, but I didn’t bother to cite any evidence for my comment in the news post since it’s just such an evident fact for anyone who has actually been to Blizzcons and spent any time walking around the show floor, attending panels, etc.

    • For the most part Blizzcon is mostly a wow event. I played wow for 4 years and quit for my own reasons. anyone that played wow knows that blizzcon is a WoW event more so than the others. Look at costume winners and look at prizes given out each year they’re all WoW related.

  4. If you’re gonna showel the “Support The Site” down my throat by using high volume sound advertisements, then you sure are going to lose a long time visitor (since 1999). If I want to wake up the little ones while surfing one of my favourite sites before going to bed, I can come up with a lot of imaginative ways to do that myself.

    Remember, you’re not the only site out there dealing with information about the Diablo franchise. Most of the articles are chatty at best nowadays and you should be careful with crap like full sound ads.

    • Sorry, but Log in = no captcha at all, much less with ads, and registration is free. Better we annoy some people with ads than let spammers ruin the comments with their Ugg boots and Louis Vuitton purse offers.

  5. From the ninja PvP videos, it looked like people actually knew what they were doing, WoW player or not. Probably meant casual “let me try it out” type players were getting absolutely curb stomped, and thus not having a whole lot of fun. The game isn’t even out yet, nobody’s tried PvP for more than 15 minutes at a time, and yet a lot of these players looked like they had been playing for a while. Maybe they were veteran Dota fans? Maybe they had pro level APM counts? Is the PvP that intuitive, were people becoming exceedingly better players over a weekend?

    • Seems like if you had 3 or more wd’s on your team it didn’t matter how good you were… Actually I would be interested to know how many WoW PvP fans tried out and did well at the D3 arenas because it really isn’t that different… Lots of line of sight blocking and using your escape cooldowns at the right time while focusing down the other team… just with fewer buttons to push…

  6. The DH looks like it’ll be a slow playing class, at least initially  under this current build. Like you’ll be sitting around waiting for your resource to charge back up all the time so you can fire your 40 resource skill. Then again, those single target skills aren’t really useful early on in the game where 95% of everything will die from 1 or 2 hits from your basic left click.

  7. I hope next year’s event will see Blizzcon become less wow-focused as Diablo will be current and well established by then also and I expect to see that reflected in the exhibition.

    On topic. It’s good news that the DH’s new skill system is in working order now.  Does that mean the beta path is imminent and therefore more beta keys being issued as Blizzard said that’s when they would go out?

    • Let’s not kid ourselves.  Blizzcon owes all of its success to WoW.  Without that huge fan base, you don’t throw your own games conference.  Certainly not to the level of success Blizzcon has reached.

  8. I never understood the whole “I’m bored of the beta” issue. If you’re bored with what you’re doing – in this case playing the beta – then dont do it? You don’t have to play the beta just because you have access to it, if it bores you. Play something else, perhaps?

  9. Of course the lines for the PVE are much longer! DUH Flux! Diablo is a PVE monster of a franchise. The pvp-ers never were in the majority to begin with. This has nothing to do with WoW. Why do you even bring that into your argument? Even if we aren’t excited watching the same footage anymore that definitely does not mean we would not jump at the opportunity to play it! There’s plenty time for PVP later.

    Grasping at straws there 😛

    It would help if you stopped drawing such big lines between WoW and Diablo players as someone else pointed out. I’m not feeling represented at all, and quite often – as in this case – not even relevant to the point.

  10. I think we shouldn’t hate WoW or Starcraft community. We are like a brother community because many people play all Blizzard games and love all of them like me. There’s a lot of Diablo players in WoW and there will be a lot of WoW players in D3. Let’s get along.

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