Diablo 3 Reaper of Souls Open Q&A – Full Transcript


The Open Q&A was the final Diablo 3 panel to be held at BlizzCon 2013 and below is a transcript of the questions and answers.

I was tempted to do a half-arsed job and paraphrase a few of the questions but I figured it might be a good idea to transcribe it all for posterity so you might pore over all the nuggets of info. Three and a half hours later I am doubting the wisdom of that as I’ve gone boss-eyed and have claw-hands. But it’s done now and the majority is after the fold.

Fielding question were:

  • Matthew Berger – Senior Level Designer, Console
  • Wyatt Cheng – Senior Technical Director
  • John Hight – Production Director
  • Brian Kindregan – Lead Writer
  • Christian Lichtner – Art Director
  • Kevin Martens – Lead Designer
  • Josh Mosqueira – Game Director
  • Jason Regier – Technical Director

 

q01

Question 1:

My first question is to do with legendaries. Some of them are account-boundable (DiabloWikiBoA). Does that mean you are not going to be able to trade them? The second question is is it just coming out for Playstation 4?

 

 

Answer

Kevin Martens

Kevin Martens

Kevin :

I think that when we had the Auction House live trading was a valid way to get items but the scale had gotten way out of whack so the trading became the easiest, fastest, best way to get items as far as efficiency point of view goes. So we want to rebalance that essentially, as such we still do see the value of trading and we want there to be a good social aspect to trading so we are trying to keep the rules as wide as possible. Quite likely, and this could change by the time we ship, probably the very top tier of items, the top tier of legendaries will remain account bound and probably commodities as well. We probably want to avoid having another Stone of Jordan situation where we get an alternate economy going because we didn’t think this through. So we are working on all of this stuff and it’s still being locked down

John Hight

John Hight

John :

Very early on this year we came out with support for Playstation 4, we wanted to make sure that we followed through with it here at Blizzcon and show you Reaper of Souls running on PS4. Future announcements are going to be in the future but today it’s all about PS4.

Matthew :

We are committed to taking your PS3 saves to PS4.

 

 

q02Question 2:

I saw the DiabloWikiLoot 2.0 information in the previous panel and a lot of the items look really awesome . Do you guys have any plans for expanding the stash space so we can store all these items?

 

Answer

Kevin Martens

Kevin Martens

Kevin :

At this point, no. Straight up we are not intending to increase the DiabloWikiStash space. We are approaching the problem from a different point of view. We are trying to find more things to do with the items you have and less you feel to hold onto a lot of stuff. so there are a few different things we doing for that. One of the main ones is DiabloWikiEnchanting and Blacksmithing, breaking items down, DiabloWikiSalvaging is worth more and if you have something that is almost good enough of course you can use enchanting to make it better.

If you have a transitional item, let’s say you found a level 40 legendary, you’ve hit level 50 and found something you want to replace it with, that breaks down and you can get one last hoorah out of that item by using legendary salvage reagent to make your new legendary better. So that’s just one example but we are trying to do a lot of stuff to make sure you don’t feel you need to hole on to a whole bunch of transitional gear.

Many other things of DiabloWikiLoot 2.0 is that you getting better, smarter drops on a more frequent basis. That requirement, whatever it is you’re trying to hold onto you just don’t need to do it as much. We are trying to make better use of the space you have and we think that that is actually a much better, more fun solution than giving you more stuff that you need to manage.

 

q03Question 3:

So the less is more philosophy is really good but we still need DiabloWikicrafting DiabloWikimaterials. How do you plan on reconciling the two and will we ever be able to do anything with the whites and grays?

 

Answer

Wyatt Cheng

Wyatt Cheng

Wyatt:

Currently, in our internal build, the white items do salvage into some basic crafting material. We are looking at crafting as a whole. One of the changes is the live game you have your normal crafting reagents, nightmare, hell and inferno, at the different tiers. That’s a little bit awkward because you’ll enter Hell and all of a sudden all of these crafting materials that you have become useless so we are actually unifying that across the board. So from 1 to 60 you’ll use the same single tier of crafting reagents.

We want reagents to matter, we want you to be able to DiabloWikisalvage those things but we don’t want it to become a huge book keeping chore.

q04Question 4:

A few years ago I was at BlizzCon and I asked about the Sisters of the Sightless Eye and was told that they would definitely be part of the game in some aspect? What happened to the Sisterhood of the Sightless eye and will they feature again?

 

Answer

BKindregan-sml

Brian Kindregan

Brain:

During development of Diablo 3 I think there were a lot of plans, a lot of things people tried, we explored putting certain things in and sometimes it just became too much information or there was no good place for it. Obviously things change in development quite a bit but I think that the DiabloWikiBook of Tyrael and the DiabloWikiBook of Cain both explain a little more as to what is going on with them and a lot of other factions and such.

 

q05Question 5:

I notice there are some new monster DiabloWikiaffixes like Poison Enchanted and Frozen Spike. Do you plan on expanding on that concept a lot more because it’s pretty boring right now to be honest with the current affixes in live.

 

Answer

Wyatt Cheng

Wyatt Cheng

Wyatt:

The goal is to combine the abilities that the monsters have with a random affix pool. We are adding a few new ones in Reaper of Souls but on that topic we are also looking at the monsters that exist and making sure that their abilities are really shining through.

It’s kind of a balance. You have every monster who exhibits their personality and their unique abilities and then the ideas that you layer on top of it, these random affixes, and we want both sets to feel as rich as possible because at the heart of Diablo is randomness and one aspect is the combat and the challenge that the monsters present. It’s a system we are always working on and you’ll see some more in Reaper.

 

q06Question 6:

How far along are you?

Question 7:

Do you guys see more classes and maybe a second expansion?

 

John Hight

John Hight

Answer

John:

We are as far as what you see out there. We understand you guys want content, you want it probably on a more regular basis than we have been giving it to you in the past. We did spend a lot of time giving you updates to the base game and that has necessarily led to some delays in getting Reaper of Souls out but we’re fully committed to getting stuff to you quickly but we also want it to be the highest quality that we can make it.

Josh:

Maybe.

 

q08Question 8:

One of my favourite things from Diablo 2 was finding a really awesome 2-handed weapon and putting it in one hand, are you going to bring those back?

 

 

Answer

Wyatt:

The Crusader does have a passive that allows him to hole a 2-handed weapon in 1 hand and a shield in the other.

 

q09Question 9:

Will you have DiabloWikiladder-exclusive drop items?

Question 10:

Will you provide beta keys for those who pre-order?

 

Answer

Wyatt Cheng

Wyatt Cheng

Wyatt:

We’re not talking about ladder. We’ve not announced any ladder systems. What we do know is that there is a desire for something. I mean Diablo 2 obviously had ladder-specific DiabloWikirunewords and stuff like that. If we were to look at a feature like that we would look at what is most appealing about that type of gameplay and how can we design the best experience for that style of gameplay.

John:

 

John Hight

John Hight

We haven’t announced pre-orders yet or any special exclusives.

Our marketing guy was just out here and I threatened to bring him up on stage to answer those kind of questions and he’s running the other way. So if you take off right now he’s the blonde guy, is name is John. Otherwise you’ll have to wait for the announcement. I’m sorry.

 

 

 

q11Question 11:

I’m really happy you guys are adding DiabloWikiclan support to Reaper of Souls. Is there going to be a full on chat lobby like there was for Diablo 2 and Battle.net 1.0 or are we going to keep the WoW-like chat interface?

 

 

Kevin Martens

Kevin Martens

Answer

Kevin:

Partially, but not exactly what you are talking about. So there is a DiabloWikiclan roster window, where you get to see the miniatures of people and there’s dedicated clan chat. We actually have made some major improvements to the chat interface but we haven’t gone back to the lobby system. It is something we have discussed before and think that it does give a nice sense of community to it. So between the clans and the groups features and the chat improvements we’re going to see how this goes over the next few months and try to build on what we have. It is definitely getting a lot better. When you guys do get a chance to try it out please send your feedback.

 

 

q12Question 12:

I read some information about DiabloWikiDevil’s Hand and I was wondering if you could hint or elaborate on that?

Question 13:

The banners for the virtual goody. Really? You couldn’t give us some wings or something a little cooler than the banner.

 

Answer

Josh:

No.It’s cool though.

Matthew:

Ouch. Actually Kevin loves the banner so it’s Kevin’s fault.

Kevin:

Yay, banner. They’re awesome.

q14Question 14:

Some of the builds are more popular, they’re viable. The DiabloWikiBarbarian, Into The Fray and Berserker and the DiabloWikiWizard, Critical Mass and Archon and those going to be changing in Reaper of Souls? Is DiabloWikiLife Steal is a must-have is there going to be any balancing with that aspect?

 

Wyatt Cheng

Wyatt Cheng

Answer

Wyattt:

We do see DiabloWikiLife Steal as an issue. It’s not even so much the power level that it gives a player but what it does for your perception of itemisation as a whole. We have three stats that are on items for comparison purposes. Your damage, your healing and your toughness and it’s really a shame that players are hyper-focussed a single number of those three, only damage and that’s because Life Steal acts as a translation. It provides your healing and your toughness just by making your damage number higher. It really distorts how you evaluate and look at your items.

Life Steals not really good from that point of view and we are looking to genuinely allow you to make conscious decisions about whether you want to have more toughness, or more healing or more damage and I think removing Life Steal allows us and players to do that.

Regarding builds. In Reaper we have talked about DiabloWikiLoot 2.0 and I think one of the general philosophies that’s amazing about it is that the legendaries open up new ways to play the game. So I don’t really see builds as being just a collection of skills any more and then items being a bunch of numbers. We’re really looking forward to your legendary plus your skill s work together to make a build and that a particular way to play is “unlocked” by you getting that sweet new legendary.

 

q15Question 15:

With the DiabloWikiCrusader I felt like I was a DiabloWikiglass cannon. I was dying very quickly but annihilating everything, particularly with the, I don’t remember the skill but it’s the second one you can play on the number 4 ability. It does 1,500% weapon damage in a consecration effect on the ground and I killed Azmodan in 4 seconds.

Was that your intent? Is that something that is going to be changed?

 

Kevin Martens

Kevin Martens

Answer

Kevin:

We tend to over-emphasise the combat abilities like the direct damage abilities when we put a demo build together because those tend to be more showy than the defensive stuff. The other one is you are just not quite familiar enough with the defences stuff and finally the third one is, yes we are still doing a lot of tuning and in that case it’s not a Crusader-specific issue.

We have some generalised health and damage numbers which do have class by class effects on them. Probably both the Crusader needs to be tuned and the game damage at that normal difficulty level and that happens all the time, once a week probably we are tuning those numbers.

 

q16Question 16:

I want to see something more like an endless dungeon and like every ten levels you enter a room with two DiabloWikiButchers or something crazy and if you die you have to start all the way from one.

Question 17:

Anything to do with death? Like in softcore, if you stay alive an hour “Congratulations, here’s a small buff”?

 

Kevin Martens

Kevin Martens

Answer

Kevin:

That request has come up before, within the team and outside the team. I basically call that a Bottomless dungeon. I differentiate it from an Endless dungeon because we look at the DiabloWikiNephalem Rifts feature as an Endless Dungeon. It’s not one dungeon but it’s an endless combination of all of the elements we have with randomised monsters, levels, weather etc. Some of it hand-touched, some of it completely random so that is sort of an Endless Dungeon mode.

I know that’s different than what you are saying however, Bottomless Dungeon has come up but it’s not something that we are working on right now but it is an idea we like so hopefully in the future we can do something like that.

Q 17: Nothing we’ve worked out yet. You can have a death penalty or you can have a stay alive bonus. Whenever possible we prefer to give somebody a bonus for something as opposed to penalising them. We have a death penalty that works well enough now but there’s really no meaningful stay alive bonus outside of DiabloWikiNephalem Valor. So it is something that we do discuss but I don’t think we have a solution yet and we’ll keep working on it.

Josh:

I think Wyatt and I have had a number of conversations about this very topic and we came up with some ideas but if you have any ideas pass them along. It’s definitely something we want to address.

On to page two for answers to questions on elite and unique mobs, trifecta stats, build diversity, crafting, monster power, collector’s edition and more…

Tagged As: | Categories: Blizzard People, BlizzCon 2013

Comments

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  1. QUOTE

    If you have a transitional item, let's say you found a level 40  legendary, you've hit level 50 and found something you want to replace  it with, that breaks down and you can get one last hoorah out of that  item by using legendary salvage reagent to make your new legendary  better.  So that's just one example but we are trying to do a lot of  stuff to make sure you don't feel you need to hole on to a whole bunch  of transitional gear.

    Or if you could store it you could pass it on to the next character when they get to level 40.

    • Yes, but only if you have, any char slots available or you really want a new character, or your HC char is dead.
      But they do not think you need that, at least that is how I see it, unfortunately.

  2. What’s the dumbest question :

    A) Q:How far along are you?
    B) Q:Do you guys see more classes and maybe a second expansion?
    C) Q:Will you have ladder-exclusive drop items? Will you provide beta keys for those who pre-order?
    D) Q:The banners for the virtual goody. Really? You couldn’t give us some wings or something a little cooler than the banner.
    E) Q: I know Order of Light is coming out at the end of February. Are there going to be any further tie-in novels.
    F) Q: If you do a Collector’s Edition of Reaper of Souls could you ensure there are enough of them available that anyone who wants one can get one without having to go to a scalper?
    G) Q: Would you consider releasing Diablo 1?s original soundtrack as bonus content in the Expansion?
    H) Q: Is there any update on PvP Arena and what about a new Follower with the expansion?

    A lot of stupid questions, I’d answer D though…

    • Oh yeah, D by far.

      That’s not even a question, but a BS complaint no one cares about.

      G is also kind of dumb. That has so little to do with this expansion or anything, I don’t even

    • Multiple people suggested asking about the 3rd or more than 3 expansions in the post I put up asking for question submissions. So clearly it’s something a lot of people are curious about, even with Expansion #1 not even ready yet.

  3. I can’t believe they just outright said no on more stash space.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m looking forward to a lot of features in RoS, but that’s just stupid. My stash is incredibly full as is because I like to actually keep legendaries, and now that more legendaries can drop basically I’m going to have to start mules just to store excess legendaries.

    Would it really kill them to add a few more stash tabs?

  4. Mathematically, you’ll never beat trifecta. B/c if you get even a little bit of that extra specific skill damage, then that makes trifecta even BETTER than before. I don’t think these guys passed freshman calculus.

    • That’s assuming that you can get both trifecta and bonus skill damage on a weapon.

      One thing I noticed on alot of the screenshots is that there doesn’t seem to be that many affixes on items anymore, but that might come down to primary/secondary breakdown.

      If they manage to make a split in the sense that you actually have to choose which affexes you want because there aren’t enought affix slots on a weapons, then it’s looking real good. Not so much if you can get trifecta AND whichever CD reduction og skill damage increase you want.

      I really hope that they can get the ‘less is more’ right. That would definitly revive the gameplay experience for me and cause me to go item hunting alot more since currently i don’t fint it that fun to play, since better items are usually just higher stats, not the ability to try different build.

      • You’re right: Loot 2.0 is the only thing that may play out right in an interesting way. Still it has to be experienced to see if they got it right.

        Although I would have preferred a more basic fix on items to make things more interesting rather than this simple split: Bringing back attribute associations of items and distributing affixes logically amongst the attributes, so that only items governed by a certain attribute can spawn that affix. Trifecta could have been split up logically quite fast. Adding manual stat allocation again and letting items have scaling strength, depending on the hardpoints put in their governed attribute(s), the interesting decision of what affix(es) to use to get up one his damage would be there while going the trifecta-way would still be possible, but hard to pull off, as it would need to balance out multiple items with multiple attribute “requirements” that have to be addressed by carefully planned stat allocation.

  5. Great to hear that WD pets are getting a huge buff in the expansion, so hopefully now a summoner will be viable.

  6. I find it odd how they are not talking about the ladder system. It really makes me wonder if they plan on having a ladder at all… Curious..

    • ^ this

      [QUOTE]We’re not talking about ladder. We’ve not announced any ladder systems.[/QUOTE]

      uh, you kinda already did

      http://diablo.incgamers.com/blog/comments/travis-day-on-paragon-2-0-and-ladders

      ———
      Question:
      I bet you start ladder with paragon 0 and your ladder exp is added to your non-ladder exp in the event of a reset. That’s my hope at least.

      Answer by Travis Day:
      That is currently the plan. Paragon experience will be account but will also be broken out by game play mode. Players who play in Hardcore will have a separate hardcore paragon level from their non hardcore characters.
      When a season ends all of the paragon experience you have earned will be rolled into the appropriate pool of paragon experience for the account and you will be able to start at 0 again in the new season.

      This is all still a work in progress and subject to change but that is what we are currently intending.
      ———

    • There was that “seasonal hero” thing in the datamined UI from RoS. It was assumed that was another word for ladder hero, but maybe not.

    • They ways they’ve declined comment make it very clear they just aren’t talking about it yet, not that it doesn’t exist. Black Hand and vanity pets were met with very similar non-denials. They no doubt want to save some revelations for closer to release. Probably also why we’ve heard so little about clans/groups apart from the fact that they exist.

  7. I love the question 2 guy’s picture.

  8. QUOTE

    Quite likely, and this could change by the time we ship, probably the  very top tier of items, the top tier of legendaries will remain account  bound and probably 

    commodities as well.

    I’ve only just notice this, does it mean that crafting materials will become BoA??

    • Yeah, and it really makes sense aswell.
      Without BoA commodities would likely become the new currency.

      Wether and item is woth 7 or 31 demonic essences is a whole lot easier to remember than wether an item is wort 12567k or 213563k.

      Which is allso why i think they should implement a new tier of currency, maybe even 2. Kinda like wow has. So you get a new lower tier currency which is copper, which is the same as the old gold. Then you have silver which is a 1000 copper and topped of with gold which is 1000 silver. That was we could cut some zeroes on alot of the item trading.

      Later they could add Platinum, crystals or some other form of currency if the economy have been inflated to that point.

  9. Some decent questions in there actually. Not all stellar, but pretty good ones.

    Wish someone would ask about the first game stuttering aka load lag. This will probably be even worse with more maps, models, and effects accessible in the new game modes.

  10. The God is displeased. Major questions weren’t asked, or were avoided in answers. I, Clavdivs, The God, proclaim this Q&A a mockery, revealing basically nothing of importance!

  11. We understand you guys want content, you want it probably on a more regular basis than we have been giving it to you in the past.

    We only want content because you’ve designed the game the way, that the game get’s boring real fast without a constant, regular stream of new content around. You could have designed it for longevity, though from what was said after release you were sure you’ve reached that point already and simply were wrong.

    *grumbles*

  12. Blizzard>dangles carrot, carrot, carrot quite well don’t they!!

    • All I’m seeing is a long long stick. But there’s someone whispering into my ears: “There’s a carrot. Believe it. It’s there. Just keep going and you’ll see!”

  13. ##We actually have made some major improvements to the chat interface but we haven’t gone back to the lobby system. ##

    So no diablo 2 like lobby, cause:
    ## We are as far as what you see out there. ##

    If it is not even there, it is not coming.
    Also:
    ## During development of Diablo 3 I think there were a lot of plans, a lot of things people tried, we explored putting certain things in and sometimes it just became too much information or there was no good place for it. ##

    ___
    Who would have know doing same or better job then Diablo 2 devs would be so hard!

  14. Can we remove the photos of the people who were asking questions? Or just replace them with photos of supermodels? Or better yet, Don Draper!

  15. As much as I’m looking forward to RoS, and as much as I’m on these guys’ side, I did get an emerging feeling this one particular answer they gave is basically their mantra for everything: “We haven’t worked that out yet”.

  16. Feels empty to me. But more is more I guess.

  17. I don’t think I’ve ever facepalmed as hard as I have at a Q&A. I’m normally expecting a few trolls, a couple clueless, but not all of them. Maybe I simply follow the information too closely and knew all the answers to these question (or at least most). However, some of these questions had been answered less than an hour previously at their gameplay panel.

    I never thought I’d say this, but I wish more of the WoW guys played Diablo 3, because I was impressed with how they are able to ask questions that expanded upon what was announced that touched on things people wanted to know, even if they didn’t realize they wanted to know until it was asked.

    • What questions would you ask?

      Imho there were some good questions in the bunch, specifically “where is pvp?” Honestly, I don’t care as much this time around, since I have d3 now and know what it is. I won’t jump into ros without seeing reviews first like I did with d3. Removal of the ah also means getting in immediately won’t be as rewarded economically. And the game has shown drops only getting better over time to lure people back.

      There is no incentive to buy ros on day 1.

  18. Thanks very much for putting this together, Elly.

    No more stash space? That’s the single-most disappointing thing I’ve read about RoS. I will gladly pay real money for more space, so if that’s the way they’re headed I’m fine with it.

    • I think they remembered everyone (including me) smugly assuming that when the game dropped from 5 tabs in the beta down to 3, it was just a prelude to adding back one tab per expansion.

      So now they’re teaching us a lesson 3 years later… no tab for you!

      How about additional tabs are the mega gold sink? Like 1b per row and 50b to open a new page? Or better yet, new page is 50% of the most gold your account ever had, and each row is 10%…

  19. I wouldn’t gladly pay for more stasdh space. But really, more stash space is needed, free or not.
    If you are expected not to trade, then we pretty much need enough stash space to at least hold 1 of each legendary/set tbh. Plus materials, gems, a few rares if they dont end up being totally useless etc.

  20. QUOTE

    How about additional tabs are the mega gold sink? Like 1b per row and 50b to open a new page? Or better yet, new page is 50% of the most gold your account ever had, and each row is 10%...

    I sort of like the idea, but since I’ve never had much more than 40 million gold that type of real estate is far beyond my reach.

    • Hence the idea for it costing some substantial % of your gold. Your maximum gold ever, to prevent players from handing a friend 90% of their gold before buying it.

      Note that this is not self serving. In fact it would screw me, since I once had about 5x the gold than I do now, thanks to going on a buying/upgrade spree some months ago once news of gold’s reduced value in RoS first broke.

      Not that such a feature would ever happen anyway…

  21. The lack of new stash space does seem odd. If you right click on a stash tab, you can change the image that appears there. This lets you designate a tab for, say, crafting items, gems, or for each character class. So going off that, you might make a Monk tab, a WD tab and a DH tab – but there’s no way to then make a Barbarian and Wizard tab, let alone a gem tab or whatever.

    They’ve practically set you up to expect more tabs by giving you about 30 different icons to use on each one and the idea of each one having a role (not to mention there looking like there’s the perfect amount of space for two more tabs).

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