The Diablo 3 CMs have been pretty quiet since last holiday week, but there are a few posts about Diablo 3 console issues today. Nothing new, but this one about how the interface works with multiplayer on the same machine was worth a comment:
Grimiku: We agree that pausing the game to manage a menu screen isn’t all that fun (especially in a local coop party), but we’re hoping to significantly reduce the amount of time console players spend in menus through the quick loot system. You’ll be able to identify if an item is an upgrade or not, equip it if you want to, and even drop recently acquired items for your group without ever stopping the action.
I’m not sure if the OP is unclear on the technology, but if you’re playing the Diablo 3 Console online, it works just like the PC version. If you look in your inventory or skills or whatever, that’s what you’re doing, but the other people in the game are unaffected and carrying merrily along. It’s only when you’re playing multiplayer on the same machine on the same screen that the game pauses and everyone else has to wait. And that’s unavoidable since it’s not a split screen game; if the inventory is showing then the other players can’t see, etc. It’s “couch rules” as they say.
I suppose a split screen option for that could work if you had a really large monitor, and the character doing Interface stuff would just see that in one corner or on one side of the screen, but that would yield very small text for them and a compromised play experience for everyone else. (A side-by-side display, for 2 players checking Inv or interacting with an NPC at the same time could be cool, though.)
Based on my play time on the console at Blizzard, I think the console system works okay. I played with another player on the same screen and it felt like fun co-op, and when either of us looked at the inventory or other UI we did it quickly and it wasn’t a big deal. The time we spent there was mostly due to unfamiliarity with the console interface and controls, which more practice time would fix. Besides, once you’re into the end game, how often do you look at your Inv or Skills, or find an upgrade to equip anyway?
It would be more of an issue with new players on the console, or if you’re trying to get console gamer friends into D3 via some couch gaming, but in that case you almost want to share inventory time and view so you can coach them in how to operate it, what to look for in gear upgrades, ask them to save item X for you, etc. Besides, console Diablo 3 on the same machine is all about the social activity, and if you’re sitting right beside someone else and they’re ruining your game by endless screwing around in the inventory, why are you allowing them in your house?