Diablo 3 Reaper of Souls Interview on Ausgamers


Ausgamers recently caught up with Reaper of Souls Lead Designer Kevin Martens and Lead Writer Brian Kindregan to discuss the expansion. Numerous topics are covered including raising the level cap, DiabloWikiMalthael, feedback from the community on the game following launch, Act V and more. Here’s a snip:

AusGamers: Can we broach how you’ve approached a lot of the negative feedback that stemmed from Diablo III, in terms of what has been implemented. With vocal fans that essentially wanted Diablo two-point-five as opposed to three, can you talk about how you might have sated some of those guys at all?

Kevin: Sure. I think there’s lots of valid criticisms of Diablo, and there’s criticisms that didn’t come out until a lot of people have played for a lot of time in many cases. Early on, we just had errors in the difficulty, it was just wrong. At a certain point in Hell difficulty, it did get too hard, and the gear didn’t keep up, and we did patch that pretty rapidly. We do believe that we did make Legendaries wrong, and we do keep making them better and better and other build-changing as well. So I think we’re finally nailing what the fantasy of the Legendary items is, and it’s still a little different than Diablo II, but is much more in that direction than it used to be.

Thanks to FleshNBlood for sending that over.

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  1. I think the Crusader is representative of the entire approach to RoS. Sure it’s essentially the Paladin, but it’s like, “Yeah, D2 did some things really well that we sadly didn’t pick up on, so we’re going to go ahead and fix that, but we’re going to do it in our own way.”

    Perhaps the biggest lesson they may have learned with this expansion, is how to look at what came before and build upon that. Whereas Jay was a lot of, “D2 did everything wrong, let’s throw it all out and start again!”

  2. We fucked up itemization. And gameplay. And lore. And difficulty. And community aspects. And server stability. And long term replayabiity. And modding. And the auction house. And build diversity. And crafting. And level randomization. Of a basically unruinable franchise.

    But seriously, trust us on this one!

    • Game play is pretty good actually. Not a stretch to say it’s the best ARPG combat ever designed. They just forgot everything else.

      • I’m convinced D3’s biggest failures stem from their fear of going “too far.” Most of the lousy junk is from trying too hard to be like Diablo 2 (specifically Magic Find, no item binding, and purely random crafting). They nailed the combat and almost nailed the skill system (much, MUCH better than D2’s terrible trees). I still can’t fathom how they’ve bungled PvP so badly. It seemed like such a no-brainer; perfect is the enemy of the good, indeed.

      • As a “new generation” ARPG, its gameplay is nothing different or better than its decade old predecessors, which is nothing less than reprehensible (and a literal design failure) coming from one of the largest and richest video game companies of the world. They did not innovate, and THAT is my problem here. I specifically recall their first promotion video showing a barbarian using stomp to have skeletons drop their shields to become bearable to hit, and a large focus on environmental damage. In fact, environmental damage pretty much stops existing outside of the promotion/demo/sell-this-game dungeon of the cathedral.

        The older video hinted at a lot of strategic usage of skills for specific situations, but as of right now, most skill are used for raw power (be that defensive or offensive), hardly for combat strategy.

        So, no. It’s not the best ARPG combat ever designed. It’s everything else we’ve already seen and experienced for years on a more fluid engine. Imagine D3 with D2’s control and feel, and it’d probably be one of the worst games of the year. Well, worserer anyway.

        • I think he meant the fluidity, animations and elemental effects. Everything else is the same as in any other action game. And that is not good for an legendary ARPG.

          • Well, I’ll preclude all of this by saying you all want to see this as the worst game of all time, so whatever I say is moot, but… That’s actually not what I meant. Just take PoE and D3’s moment to moment combat. PoE, you gather up enemies, hit your attack skill, (cleave) and move on. In D3, even before you consider anything else, you have the element of balancing resource generation and nuking, which is resource management, which requires a lot more than holding down a single button. It’s a small thing, but important in that it engages your brain on a management level.

            Beyond that, you have various skills that are more than just “spam to kill stuff button” which a lot of ARPGs fall prey to. Some examples of this from D3 are the DH’s snares and mines, (managing placement) the WD Grasp of the Dead, Ground Stomp to stun enemies, good timing of Frost Nova, just to name a few. Beyond that you have the big hitters like WotB, Archon, and Seven Sided Strike, skills that make you think, “When do I use this?” Even if it’s obvious that you’ll use it every elite pack, it makes you consider what you’re doing beyond: cleave everything until dead (PoE)/Frozen Orb everything until dead (D2)/Prismatic Bolt everything till dead (TL2) etc. etc.

            We could also go into enemies and the way they interact. Summoners making you focus fire, big hitters with the hammer causing you to dodge out of the way, that guy who explodes when he dies making you consider where you kill him to take out enemies surrounding, fast enemies mixed with slow varying combat pacing, the charging bulls making you pay attention to your surroundings, trees laying down poison making you do the same. Then you have the elite packs, which also make you actually interact with the world more than any other ARPG, moving out of Frost Novas, dodging Arcane Beams, managing walls, Molten explosions.

            I could go on and on on the differences D3 brought forth in how ARPG combat works, (even thinking about how many different skills you use within a given frame compared to any other ARPG) but I think I’ve made my point.

        • If you consider the current OP face-roll builds, the system they’ve designed has pretty much fallen apart, but playing through in the early days, it’s superb qualities were readily apparent.

  3. QUOTE=ElementEight;8571796]We ****ed up itemization. And gameplay. And lore. And difficulty. And community aspects. And server stability. And long term replayabiity. And modding. And the auction house. And build diversity. And crafting. And level randomization. Of a basically unruinable franchise. But seriously, trust
    lulz..a hilarious puff piece. anyway, i guess their new pr strategy to mask their desparation to sell RoS as is throwing jay under the bus with heavy doses of mea culpa and more d2 copy/paste nostalgia. i wonder if the piece de resistance is throwing jay in a cage with a rabid panda in a death match at blizzcon.

    We ****ed up itemization. And gameplay. And lore. And difficulty. And community aspects. And server stability. And long term replayabiity. And modding. And the auction house. And build diversity. And crafting. And level randomization. Of a basically unruinable franchise. But seriously, trust us on this one!
    lulz..pretty much.
    
    Game play is pretty good actually. Not a stretch to say it's the best ARPG combat ever designed. 
    the best? lulz..maybe the best at pyrotechnics, but no that's a pretty big stretch.
    
    I think he meant the fluidity, animations and elemental effects.
    ok, but graphics is different from combat.
  4. QUOTE

    That's actually not what I meant. Just take PoE and D3's moment to moment combat.

    lulz..PoE? no, let’s not take PoE or even TL2 for that matter. you said d3 has “the best ARPG combat ever designed”. there are other and better aprg out on the market besides PoE or is your standard for comparison that low? funny how d3 players never seem to pick them when trying to prove a point about d3 combat and instead pick the lowest hanging fruit. it’s like the schoolyard bully claiming he’s the toughest because he only picks on kids half his size.

    I could go on and on on the differences D3 brought forth in how ARPG combat works, (even thinking about how many different skills you use within a given frame compared to any other ARPG) but I think I've made my point.

    the only point you made was d3 combat is better than PoE and like i said that’s nothing to be proud of and if that’s the best you can do. i see no reason to give credence to your claim of the “best”. lulz.

  5. QUOTE

    lulz..PoE? no, let's not take PoE or even TL2 for that matter. you said d3 has "the best ARPG combat ever designed". there are other and better aprg out on the market besides PoE or is your standard for comparison  that low? funny how d3 players never seem to pick them when trying to prove a point about d3 combat and instead pick the lowest hanging fruit. it's like the schoolyard bully claiming he's the toughest because he only picks on kids half his size. 

    Just outta curiosity what (in your opinion) is the best ARPG today? What should game should all other ARPG’s aspire to?

    • I know this isn’t a reply to me, but my premise was that D3’s combat sucks (as opposed to destructor’s opinion) because it did not innovate. No recent ARPG has innovated there either, so I’d be tempted to say none. TL2 and PoE’s are just as shallow, but they innovated on many many other things all whilst not being huge greedy corporations, so that makes them better off the bat.

  6. QUOTE

    Just outta curiosity what (in your opinion) is the best ARPG today? What should game should all other ARPG's aspire to?

    Probably some ARPG we’ve never heard of. *hipster glasses*

  7. QUOTE

    Just outta curiosity what (in your opinion) is the best ARPG today? What should game should all other ARPG's aspire to?
    why would you want all other arpg to aspire to be like one arpg in particular? did you enjoy the days of when every arpg that came out aspired to be the next diablo? in any event, diablo combat was fine over a decade ago. however, ElementEight has a point. the new generation of arpg design has evolved and diablo remains stagnant. today, there are more diverse offerings in the arpg genre. if i were to pick an arpg solely for pure combat. i wouldn't pick D3, PoE or TL because combat isn't their strong suit. 
    
    I'm guessing Dark Souls. Which isn't exactly the same thing, since it's not a point and click, isometric ARPG with hot keys.
    i can think of five more modern arpg in addition to DS that beats diablo in terms of combat and i think three of them beats DS in combat. also, the idea that point n click, hot keyes and isometric formats defines an arpg is deader than a diablo clone these days. console d3 doesn't use a kb/m. skyrim can switch between first and third person. the genre may have evolved little in your thinking since diablo, but the industry and genre has moved on regardless. 
    
    I feel like if I'm expected to include Dark Souls, then that opens a whole swath of games that are obviously far better in terms of combat than D3. But that's just moving the goal post to make an argument that D3's combat isn't all that great.
     i'm not moving the goal posts. you made the claim of "the best ARPG combat ever designed". frankly, it sounds like you're moving the goal posts when you realized it's not easy pickings anymore. 
    
    But from my experience of playing this kind of ARPG where you view combat top-down, aim and click with a mouse and press hot keys to kill things, then D3 is undoubtedly the best at it within those limitations.
    i agree. nonetheless, i don't see why blizz or players are proud of being being better at combat than PoE or TL. it would be one thing to claim d3 is the best at something it supposed to excel at like randomization, itemization, re playability, build diversity, etc, but blizz can't make those claims and apparently has difficulty competing with a decade old game in those areas. people paid full price for this on day one?  lulz...awesome.

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