I went down to the show floor to watch yesterday’s What’s Next for Reaper of Souls panel, but with my dev interview scheduled for right afterwards, I had to duck out midway through the audience questions. So when I watched the video of the panel today, I skipped right to the end to see if there was anything in the questions that I’d missed. And while I was listening I figured I might as well bang out a transcript, so here it is.
I added a few annotations with more details I gleaned from playing the demo and talking to the devs. I’m also working on the transcript of my 30m private interview with Travis Day, so we should have that, with the audio, posted on Monday. It had a lot of good stuff, and some controversial design debate points as well.
For now, here’s the transcript from the 15 minutes of fan questions after Friday’s Panel, plus a few pics I took during the event:
Reaper of Souls “What’s Next” Panel Q&A Transcript
A: We’ve thought about it and focused our attention on other Uber fights, but it’s a good idea and Diablo’s had enough space that an uber version of him will feel fresh now.
This question and answer puzzled me, since we’ve got an Uber version of Diablo. He was added in RoS to the Realm of Fright. I guess the questioner meant one that would spawn somewhere in the world semi-randomly, the way Uber Diablo did in Diablo 2? (Pandemonium Diablo was part of the Uber Tristram event, appearing along with Uber Mephisto and Uber Baal. That version of Diablo was not named “Uber” since that prefix was already taken.)
Update: In Saturday’s Panel Kevin Martens brought this up and said that after he left the stage Friday, one of their Monster Designers caught him and pointed out that there actually was an Uber Diablo as part of the Infernal Machine event, and joked that he’d stop making monster if the devs weren’t goin gto appreciate them. Kevin apologized for forgetting… so I guess the issue wasn’t about Uber Diablo being some free-spawning thin, and just about a fan and a dev who didn’t know all of the new RoS Infernal Machine content?
Click through for the rest of this Q&A transcript…
Kevin: You mean legendary items? Any items? Like the drop color of the items? We have no plans, I haven’t heard that request before, but we can talk about it.
Q: When the season ends, where does our gear go rolling into the existing account?
A: All the paragon levels add in, and all your gear goes over via item email sort of system, since your stash wouldn’t have room otherwise.
This question has, of course, been answered in great detail multiple times. Thus earning the “useless question that could have been answered in ten seconds on Google” achievement. (No Blizzcon panel with public questions has ever failed to earn this achievement.)
Answer: Will we have a store to sell more stash space? Everyone wants that. Not specifically the store aspect, but we’re always discussing the issue of more space. And if we give you more you want more, and more and more and eventually all the internet is your items.
We think about it and we want to address it, but nothing to say now.
I asked the same question to Travis Day and got much the same answer, with a bit more of the “find ways for things you want to save to not take so much space” spin to it. The devs clearly know everyone wants more storage space, but they clearly don’t think the solution is to just give us more space. Even though they could rake in $ hand over fist by doing so.
Wyatt: What we’re trying to do is allow randomness to make things more playable. We know some monsters just stand there and wait for you to kill them. Like zombies. Internal to the office we call them paper cut monsters, who deal a lot of damage, and there are monsters that cause you to react to them and their behavior. Large tanky hit point enemies. We’re trying to make sure you don’t get the same all the time, but a fair mix. So the swing of how successful you are is not dependent on which you roll.
Kevin: The monster team is working on new monsters, but also working on making some of the existing monsters better balanced and less annoying. So while they’re worth a lot of exp in the rift, you’ll still avoid them since they take too long. We want the monster to be more equitable, in the patch and in future changes.
Q: When you showed the Ruins of Sescheron, I got really excited and wondered if we’d explore other areas that have been in the lore but not seen in game, like Skovos, Xiansai, etc?
Kevin: We have no further answer to give at this time. *deadpan*
Josh: Thank you, but it’s really the team. I do all the takling sometime, but I’m standing on the shoulders of giants. On trading, at a high level… we understand there’s a social and a utilitarian dyamic. Trading at a high level can wreck the reward loop. Your friend gives you a great item, they remove the option of you finding an upgrade for X number of hours. Right now we’re happy with the ecosystem we’ve created with Loot 2.0.
Andrew: There are types of trading we might add, like the gift system on the Console, that we think keep the reward loop intact. So you might see that in the future.
Q: I’ve played the game forever. But I really enjoy the console version now. Couch gaming! One thing I’m disappointed about is no plan for seasons on the console.
A: We would love to bring seasons to console, but many console players aren’t online, so we had to allow offline mode play. And that wrecks the integrity of anything like seasons and leaderboards, so those are exclusive to online mode.
Q: I love the seasons, but with Adventure Mode enabled right from the start, there’s no reason to ever do Campaign or Story Mode. Any plans to making campaign required?
Kevin Martens: We decided to leave Ad Mode unlocked right from the start and we’re leaving it that way. We’ll put some conquests into story mode, like some of the lore books can only be found there. Adventure Mode is our primary end game mode, but maybe in future seasons we’ll require some campaign mode.
I liked this answer. After all, “force me to play the boring Campaign first so that I can never play it again” is an odd player request. I want to see incentives to do more bounties and even story mode, instead of the current system where all rewards are in Rifts and Act One bounties. But the way to diversify the play experience is by improving rewards for the under-played areas. Not by forcing players to grind through the boring stuff to unlock the good stuff. Carrots, not sticks.
Josh: We can’t answer that question. But we can promise more awesome stuff in patches.
Q: Trial Rifts. In Greater Rifts you want the Guardian to be fair for everyone. But do you plan on tweaking Trial Rifts since there are monsters that are very unbalanced.
Wyatt: There are changes to trials coming, they’ll be on the PTR soon. We’re looking at the pacing of mosntes in trials. Just last week we changed so all monsters can be vortexed or knocked back. So you can use your Raekor’s sEt and such. We want bigger enemies like Wraiths to be there and do some damage. That was actually a reaction to some feedback we had early on, where players would get to say Wave 18 and they weren’t taking any damage at all. We wanted a more consistent progression all the way up through Waves.
Q: How rare are the Ancient Items (upgraded legendaries).
Wyatt: Ancient items are for people who are really into completing their sets. PEople who have their six piece set don’t feel they have anything to strive for. Now they will. Currently we’re looking at a bout 5-10% chance for a legendary item to be Ancient. I think it starts at 1.5% on T1, and scales up to about 10% on T6. Rift level affects it also. The figures may all change during PTR testing. I’ll reference Excep and Elite item types from D2, where they dropped at 15% and 5%.
Q: Plans to implement item creation system like D2’s rune system?
Wyatt: The crafting system was meant to do that, but it didn’t really fill it. What the rune system in D2 did well was have you excited about the components you found. Now none of the legendary parts feel rare. Early in RoS we had those legendary materials which were meant to create that feel, but in practice it just made people flip gams to hunt specific materials.
We didn’t like the rune system in particular since it required you to open up an external display and read info about the recipes there. Players required arcane knowledge, so noobs didn’t know it. So we’re looking at other ways to capture it.
Q: What do you guys want to do about balancing build outliers. Like M6 can run away from damage and deal it at the same time.
Kevin: We’ll cover that in tomorrow’s Evolving Reaper of Souls panel.
Not a bad bunch of questions, and helpfully, none of them (and very little of the panel) covered material I had for my developer questions. You guys submitted a lot of questions, but none of them were, “Can we get more types of Treasure Goblins?” (I actually think the new goblin types are cool, but I’m just saying… it wasn’t on top of anyone’s “how to fix RoS” list.)
I was afraid with the panel right before my interview that I’d have nothing left to ask about, but of the 40 or 50 good questions I had ready, just 5 or 6 were covered in advance.
Bonus pic: A pie chart slide from the panel that they didn’t include in the pics via Twitter. It’s kind of hard to read since my cell phone didn’t like taking pics of a huge monitor in the dark, but the gems are listed in order of usage on the right. Bane of the Powerful, Bane of the Trapped, and Enforcer make up more than 50% of total Legendary Gem usage, with all of the utility and defensive gems at the very bottom with hardly anyone using them.
It’ll be interesting to see how the two new gems, with much bigger/better defensive buffs, fit in. And what sort of buffs the current unpopular gems get.
Also, the pic of what’s coming in the next patch “very soon” and then coming further down the road was not shared via Twitter. The new Ruins of Sescheron area playable in the show demo won’t be coming that soon since it’s not ready yet. The area looks perfect in the demo here, but in the panel the devs said they’re still testing it, and that some new monster types aren’t nearly done yet… which is why it won’t be launching in incomplete form in the next patch. The area will only be found in Rifts, I assume, like the recently-added Cesspools.