A dude popped up with one of those, “Diablo 3’s not *innovative* enough” threads today, and garnered a tantalizing response from Bashiok. Here’s the meat of the OP’s quote, with Bashiok’s reply:
So far, Diablo 3 looks like Diablo 1 and 2, with a major graphics update. Again, I’m not trying to be picky here, but there hasn’t really been much gameplay evolution from what I’ve seen thus far. Yes, it’s still relatively early. But still, most developers like to “sell” the new features of a game right off the bat. Right now, it seems as if the developers are focusing more on reproducing the nostalgia of the past as opposed to redefining the genre. Maybe that’s not the direction Blizzard wants to go? I’m, not sure just yet.
Blizzard has always taken the established standards of a given genre and given them a nearly-flawless polish, while adding some new ideas that are almost genre-redefining.
However, lately, I ONLY see the polish and not much of the redefining elements.
Bashiok: I think the skill rune system, while not an original concept, is pretty revolutionary – at least for the Diablo series and the way we’re implementing it.
Really though I don’t think there are any ideas for any games where you’re going to say WOW THAT IS NEW! (unless you’re just unaware of where else its been used) All game mechanics and ideas are essentially evolutions of existing concepts. The actual changes we see now (in games) are mostly based on interfaces and control systems (motion/touch) but even those ideas are decades old.
Anyway, skill runes. Live it.
Also, I’m not worried. We have so much stuff we haven’t talked about yet. I guess it’s easy for me to go “Pshaw you so crazay!” and then launch into the Martin theme song. But I have to catch myself. Yes, what we’ve shown so far is Diablo with new visuals and maybe not much else beyond the skill rune system that’s new or exciting. But it’s there, and the game will seem familiar but have enough fresh and new going to keep it… fresh and new.
This is something that’s come up a lot in pre-game discussions. The developers keep promising new things, new game mechanics, features they’ve never even hinted at, and other stuff that will make major differences in the play style. Yet other than the skill runes that Bashiok mentions, the only one we’ve heard anything about yet is the Talisman. And it’s been kept such a secret that we only know it’ll be part of a system that lets us use items to make major customizations to our character’s attributes
I don’t think the team would keep promising cool features if they didn’t have some in the game, but the fact that we don’t know about any of them yet is surprising. It’s been 2 years since D3’s reveal, and yet they’ve managed to keep most of the new features under wraps, have shown us only a few early game monsters, and have let out virtually nothing about the game’s plot, the bosses, their plans for online features and B.net events, etc
Does their successful secrecy serve to hone your interest in learning more about the game? Do you anticipate discovering many secrets when you finally get to start playing? Or would you rather know about almost everything in advance?
Update: As Yovargus points out in comments, each character having a unique mana-resource is a fairly large and novel change from the previous games in the series.