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
My first question is to do with legendaries. Some of them are account-boundable (BoA). 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?
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 : 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.
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
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.
We are committed to taking your PS3 saves to PS4.
I saw the Loot 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?
At this point, no. Straight up we are not intending to increase the Stash 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 Enchanting and Blacksmithing, breaking items down, Salvaging 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 Loot 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.
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 salvage those things but we don’t want it to become a huge book keeping chore.
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?
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 Book of Tyrael and the Book of Cain both explain a little more as to what is going on with them and a lot of other factions and such.
I notice there are some new monster affixes 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.
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.
How far along are you?
Do you guys see more classes and maybe a second expansion?
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.
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?
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.
The Crusader does have a passive that allows him to hole a 2-handed weapon in 1 hand and a shield in the other.
Will you have ladder-exclusive drop items?
Will you provide beta keys for those who pre-order?
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 runewords 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.
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.
I’m really happy you guys are adding clan 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?
Partially, but not exactly what you are talking about. So there is a clan 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.
I read some information about Devil’s Hand and I was wondering if you could hint or elaborate on that?
The banners for the virtual goody. Really? You couldn’t give us some wings or something a little cooler than the banner.
No.It’s cool though.
Ouch. Actually Kevin loves the banner so it’s Kevin’s fault.
Yay, banner. They’re awesome.
Some of the builds are more popular, they’re viable. The Barbarian, Into The Fray and Berserker and the Wizard, Critical Mass and Archon and those going to be changing in Reaper of Souls? Is Life Steal is a must-have is there going to be any balancing with that aspect?
We do see Life 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 Loot 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.
With the Crusader I felt like I was a glass 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?
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.
I want to see something more like an endless dungeon and like every ten levels you enter a room with two Butchers or something crazy and if you die you have to start all the way from one.
Anything to do with death? Like in softcore, if you stay alive an hour “Congratulations, here’s a small buff”?
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 Nephalem 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 Nephalem 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.
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…