The Diablo III Open Q&A Panel ran from 11:30 – 12:25, Saturday morning. The quality of questions was much higher than at past Blizzcon D3 Open Q&As, with only a few asked by people with no idea of current game info. More than half were useful questions about new stuff, and I typed a rough transcript of all those while the panel was underway.
Here it is; this transcript will be fixed up later today with typo fixes, additional information, wiki links, and so forth, but as I know you guys want the info ASAP, here’s the rough cut, with just the new stuff and good questions included:
Followers are not required to get through Inferno. We’re tuning them to be viable, but not required. Should be possible to do it without dying. We also still want to find a way to give the benefit of a follower without actually having one. for players who don’t want a sidekick, but would get the extra power anyway.
Is Diablo a girl?
Kevin Martens: Diablo’s not constrained by human gender stereotypes. Can take multiple forms. we’ve never seen the true form of Diablo. Has many surprises in store for us.
Jay: that was kind of a shifty answer to his question.
No RMAH. No item trading at all with SC chars. No corpse looting in d3. You die you lose what’s on you. Still debating pvp internally. Jay wants some kind of HC dueling.
Click through for lots more on the console project, runestone attuning, Follower builds, harder content even after Inferno, the full video more…
What about stopping bots in D3?
Jason Bridenbecker: We’re working to stop them. Lots of experience from WoW. The randomized levels in D3 do make some bots less effective. We’ll be monitoring and policing it to keep the quality of the gameplay.
Jay: Really annoying in D2 as people join games, spam trades, and leave. We want to stop that. Less easy to leap between games in D3, but we want to stop it.
Jay Wilson: Console. We’ve hired people to work on it. We have an internal team. We’ve spoken about it since it helps with hiring. We think Diablo 3 will work on console, we’ve experimented with controls, etc. But it’s essential to us that it not compromise the PC game at all, and it doesn’t feel like a crappy port to console either. Both should stand alone and work nicely. But we’re not announcing anything until we’re more sure about it.
Another later console question said the hardest thing was to get the controls feeling good. Character movement, targeting, etc.
Will WASD control be available?
While it had been played around with, they ultimately felt that non-analog controls didn’t work well with Diablo’s very analog-focused gameplay.
Runestones and attunements.
Still working on it. Talked about it to spur conversation. The new system is cool in some wayas, with the attunement, but the inventory issue a problem. Too many types of runes. We’re still playing around trying to figure out what the good and bad are. It’s the only system that’s still in design flux.
Beta keys? Moar?
Jay says they’ve got a lot more keys going out soon, but there’s a big beta patch coming and they’re waiting until after that.
Follower. D2 builds where the merc was the main source of damage. Anything will work like that in D3?
Jay: I dunno. Wyatt could probably answer htat. WE just recently changed over to make followers viable long term, so we haven’t really tested them in theend game very much yet. Need more playtesting. I can’t say yes or no to the question at this time.
What comes after Inferno? Can it be made harder and harder eventually?
Jay if you guys get bored we’ll add something more. We’re focused on finishing the game first. We’ll add more later if it’s needed.
Why is light fog of war not in the game?
Light radius is not entirely gone, and it still works well in some contexts, like deep dungeons, but they found that using the new 3D engine really looked lack-luster when limiting light sources to only that of the player. They really want to utilize different light points to add interest to the 3D environment, so it’s no longer a major element throughout the game.
Casting speed stemming from weapons.
Can’t just run out of resource and stand around. Hence some skills, Signature Skills, have no casting cost for the Wizard. While you’ll balance in with high AP cost skills. So you’ll want weapon speed for faster castign spells, with the issue of using up more AP in the process.
Active skill swapping. How about more skill hotkeys? or ways to switch between whole skill suites for differnet styles on the fly?
No. Fewer skill slots = more diversity. Players have to make more decisions about which skills to use. Instead of just having all of them available all the time.
On the load out system, not for release, but it’s something we might work on long term. Letting you switch multiple skills at once.
Will there be more skill slots?
The team believes that allowing more skill slots removes choices and, by extension, build diversity across a playerbase, so they will not be adding more skill slots.
Character design process. big changes?
Yes, lots of iteration. We had lots of ideas we liked that didn’t make it in; many are saved for later. Too awesome not to use at some point.
RMAH for PvP. implications?
Jay: No ranking system for pvp. No ladders. So if you buy better stuff, you don’t get a ton of benefit that you’ll see. So you can’t buyto win. Of course you’ll enjoy winning more, but you won’t have bragging rights from a ladder. It’ll make you feel more awesome, but the ranking is hidden and mostly progression based.
Why remove PK switch from D3? Any kind of PvP other than Arena?
The concept of it in D2 was a good idea, but the actuality was just exploits or forcing private games. We don’t want to do anything in D3 that will harm the co-op game. Plus it wasn’t a real good pvp system. It enabled it, but not support. So now we’ve got UI and arenas and whole game modes for it. We’d like more modes eventally. like right now there’s no way to duel (1v1 Ithink he means) and we want that.
Australian players. LAN or offline or some Oceanic servers so the rest of the world doesn’t hate playing with us. (He hasn’t seen the low lag news.)
That’s difficulty for us. We’re trying to fix the oceanic realm issues. You can play in US or Asia on SC2.
Jason Regier: We’ve done work to make D2 less latency-hurt, but can’t give any details. We’ve worked with ISPs in those areas to make better routes, but nothing happening yet on local servers.
Set number of quests in D3?
No, no set number of quests. More variety. To encourage plaeyrs to do more random quests have better rewards, and a lot or them have a strong story mode or an expiration incentive. You’ll find other related quests and events that while doing the major quests, and there’s no reason *not* to do them.
Guild or clan support in D3? Good that you dn’t need a lot of people to play the game, it would be good to have permanent chat room or other social aspects.
Jay: Guilds are awesome but no, we’re not supporting them. Not for initial release at least. We do see the value in them. Youdon’t need a guild for raids, but people like to collect together and be social. And it’s one of thsoe things that we want to really do it right. NOt jsut a gtlorified chat channel. There were some ideas for D2 that never got in, but they’re on our wishlist to addto the game someday.
Hardcore in D2. The worst feeling was connection dropped and logging back in you are dead. Anything to help with that in D3?
Jason: That’s the risk you take playing hardcore.
Jay: Hardcore, that’s just how it is. When you played D2 you really wanted to play HC online so you could show it was real. But you took the disconnect risk. OUr goal is to have a connection as fluid as possible. If anything goes down we’re going to make sure it’s not our fault. We can’t guarantee the whole internet.
Jason: Really bad wiht slow loading areas in D2. Like Duriel’s lair. We are not allowing that in D3; no big level loads on dangerous places.
RMAH: How do you feel about item farmers and people making a real living from selling those items?
Jay. Shady. For us it’s about player experience. Lists lots of things that were bad about 3rd party item sales. We don’t think people cna make a living in d3 item sales, but we don’t have a problem with them making some money. if it’s part of the legitimate game eperience.
Do bosses have new behavior mechanisms in higher difficulty levels?
We have a couple of things, but not as much as we want. We’re tuning the higher diffucityl levels now. Looking to see tweaks to their AIs and scripts to make them different. We’ll probably only focus on the major bosses for that. Cant promise, but we’d like to do that.
Will Meph, Diablo, and Baal reuturn in the game?
The primary villains of the game have been announced, and we want to stay vague about when and where you face them. The black soulstone is the key to defeating evil forever. Azmodan and Belial know about it and are after it.
First mystery of the game is what the meteor was. Beta ends right before you find out.
There is a major shift that happens in the structure of the world during the course of playing D3. Major story events we can’t give yet. Answer questions about prime evils and angels. Game is about the ascent of man, mroe than any time in history humans come into their own and find their placein the eternal conflict. You the hero will find your place whie playign the game. so can’t say more now.
What are you doing for the individuality of items? so we’re not all wearing the same gear?
Jay: We’re doing a ton of stuff for individuality. The armor dye system. every class has at least 3 class specific items they can wear, affect the visual look. Plus there are hundreds of unique items that have unique art. Designed to be memorable and visual.
Jason: Also the banner system, shows off your progress, can be customized in appearance.
Will dungeons be larger on higher different levels?
Jason: No current plans. Maybe for the future, but not on ship.
PvP skill interactions. Like disintegrate bouncing off of impenetrable shield.
Jay: people come up with some cool ideas for this; like you freeze one character and then another one shatters them. But when we work out across the whole game, then it’s complicated. So you get a Barb who doesn’t want to play with one char since they don’t have skill X. The idea is cool but we can’t see a way to implement it without screwing things up.
Web front end of API for AH at launch?
We’ve talked bout that long term, but not at launch.
Plan for gameplay control in pc version?
Jay: Not at release. May be long term as the console project progresses. But it’s a big challenge to make both types of controls work in the same game. Maybe long term, but no immediate plans.
Can runes be removed and switched around freely?
Jay: Every system we’ve had free rune removements. We might put some restrictions on switching, to get more build committment, So players are using a specific build instead of just switching all the time. But when you return to town we don’t see a point in making a big cost on switching runes around and trying differnet things. LEt people do as much as we possibly can.
Players buying the 12m of wow. Get d3 free. D they get an option to get the collector’s edition as well?
We’ve talked about it. We know people want CE. What’s going ot happen if you buy the CE, it’ll count as a credit towards the 12m wow purchase.
How many options for gear in d3 at the very end game content?
jay: Hard to give a specific number, since it’s randomly generated. There are 3 tiers of gear in inferno. And definitely a best in class. but if you get the right random rolls on the 2nd one, it’ll be better than the top one. In WoW there’s little variation in stats you want on gear. In D3 depending on your char build and play style, there’s a much broader array of items you’ll be interested in. Same item might be great for one char but useless for another of the same class.