Diablo 3 Console Interface, Shared Screen Couch Rules

The Diablo 3 CMs have been pretty quiet since last holiday week, but there are a few posts about DiabloWikiDiablo 3 console issues today. Nothing new, but this one about how the interface works with multiplayer on the same machine was worth a comment:

However, i can seem to live with the fact that the game is paused for the other player(s) when one wants to navigate through the menu. Even if they can swap to anothers character screen whilst doing so it still won’t solve the issue of 1-3 other players getting impatient as they want to get back into the game while say one of my real casual friends will be receiving vocal instructions to navigate. I’m not saying these impatient people have any issues and would start acting like raging monkeys but they sure will want to stop playing. Imagine watching a movie someone keeps pausing.
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?

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10 thoughts on “Diablo 3 Console Interface, Shared Screen Couch Rules

  1. “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.”

    so let’s say you’re doing that and after an hour of playing your friends decide to go home (all of you are level 40 at that time)

    are all chars saved locally on the machine in that case ?

    I assume you’re able to continue playing and leveling your char

    what happens when your friends come over tomorrow ?

    your char is now level 60 and their’s are still level 40 ?

    now you all can’t play together because you’ve moved on to a later Difficulty and Act ?

    and why do the news articles not recognize my login anymore ?

    • So… don’t play your co-op character when your friends aren’t over? I don’t see an issue here.

      • the issue is I’m asking a question and want to know how it works

        your response doesn’t answer the question, and it’s obvious you don’t know the answer

        I guess the issue is you feel the need to comment even though you have nothing to say

    • There are some minor differences between how chars are saved on PS or Xbox, but both can save on a memory stick or cloud save. In either case, if you play a char to a higher level and your friends don’t… you’re going to be a higher level.

      I suppose you could save a version of your char at lvl 40 and then restore to that when your friends are back to play at level 40, but who would bother? You’d just play a different character solo, or play your higher level chars with friends while they caught up, etc.

  2. I predict that Blizzard doesn’t make anywhere near the amount of money off of the console version of this horrible failu…err…game. I wonder, honestly, if they will make any profit off of it at all, considering how much money and resources they’ve sunk into its port/development.

  3. “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.”

    Hmmm… can this be a reason for the boring stat-stick/linear-dps design of the items? I would believe so.

    Smart blizzard, they thought on everything when they started designing this game for consoles, why waste time with complex and interesting items which can actually give players some thought on which item to choose right? Just make bigger numbers matter, just follow the green numbers! So people dont get confused and stop halting the action of their console couch partner.

    More and more the console version look like the definite reason on many of D3 design decisions.

    • I thought that, too.
      But even on PC I often had to make trade-offs, maybe less armor, or less dps for a piece giving other stats, life leech and loh being somewhat notable examples. But maybe I don’t recall correctly the green/red arrows interface.
      I still think that a part of the streamlined D3 design depends on blizz wanting to reach a larger player base, and that includes consoles.
      That reminds me, it’s been months since I wanted to level my paragon to 100. I should get to that sooner or later…
      CAPTCHA: “this statement is false”

      • I guess this will be solved by displaying the inventory on tablets or smartphones connected to the console.
        Anyway, it would be cool to play play play, grabbing some items and after playing, manage equipment later on the Internet. And repeat…

  4. This.

    The whole pause-game-to-manage-inventory problem is exactly why tablet interfaces for consoles are a hot notion.

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