We posted the tidbits when Secondii first made them available in our forum, and then a reminder that the transcript was being added piece by piece, and now that Kuangtu has typed up the entire thing, here it is. All 12 questions, plus follow-ups, with Jay Wilson’s full quoted answers.
1. Based on what we know, your personal favorite class to play in Diablo II was the Barbarian[/d2W], but your favorite Diablo II character was the [d2W]Necromancer[/d2W]. The Barbarian is still a playable character in Diablo3, so do you think Necromancer will return in the D3 expansion? Like as a class to choose or as an NPC?
Jay Wilson: Well, Necromancers actually already appear in D3 to some capacity. We have some NPCs who are necromancers who appear in the game. As far as a group in the universe, I’m sure we are going to continue to use them. As a playable class, it kind of depends on what the community wants and what the team wants. When we created all the classes for D3, we did most of those decisions essentially in secret before the project was actually announced, but we really want to see how the game plays and how people respond to it and what they miss, what they wish was there and we will make our decisions. Feedback from the community is always a focus for us whenever we make decisions.
2. As we know, mercenaries are a very important part of Diablo II. It is very hard to imagine Diablo III with no such system. Is there anything that you can share with us about the mercenaries? What kind of improvements have they been given from Diablo II?
Jay Wilson: We haven’t announced anything about whether we will do a mercenary system or not, and we are not talking about that feature at this time.
See the thread for much more discussion of this as it was being posted by the guys who conducted the interview, plus some bonus DiabLOLs that inspired super serious Jay photos. Caniroth’s won, IMHO.
3. When we reach level 60, other than the daily Magic Find run and arenas, what other things can we do in Diablo III?
Jay Wilson: We have plans for the end game, but most of them are things we haven’t yet announced. Pretty much all of the end game it are things we haven’t announced yet, actually.
We have talked a little about changes we have made to the leveling curve. We want people to reach max level and have max level be viable play space which wasn’t really in Diablo2. Once they reach max level, we definitely want to make sure that there is content they can play that expands the breath of the game. In Diablo II, the most optimal way to play was to find the quickest boss you can do, and repeat that boss run forever. It’s our intent to create a system that encourage people to play a lot more varied amount of content, and have that be the most beneficial way to play, such that the boss runs are really mitigated as a primary things that people do and become more secondary.
4. Is there any requirement to enter the Arena? Like reaching a certain level or any other requirement?
Jay Wilson: We actually haven’t made that call yet. It’s very likely that will be, since we’re finding that Arenas, outside of max level, tend to be highly imbalanced in ways we can’t readily fix. But even if there is a requirement for match-made arenas, we probably still allow people to play custom arena games that don’t count against their ratings, and upon those we likely wouldn’t put nearly as many restrictions. So, people who just want to see what their level 20 characters can do in Arenas against other characters, even against higher level characters, we will probably allow that, but we wouldn’t make it official Arena game. The official game, we will structure it a little more. How much so? It reminds to be seen.
5. What?s the future plan for arena? Is it only a place for people to do PvP or it will have special ladder or official tournaments?
Jay Wilson: We haven’t really thought much beyond supporting it as a way for people kind of test their characters and build and try against one other. We don’t have formal plans to do big tournaments. If people want tournaments, certainly we can support that. It’s not our intent to turn it into an E-sport. It’s not going to be balanced to the level that we consider acceptable for an E-sport. That’s kinda of the appeal of it..is that you can create a crazy character who are…essentially imbalanced…and you could create crazy characters that you could counter those imbalances with their own imbalances. There are so many variable that how characters can be built.
We goals was never been to make a super competitive hardcore E-sport. It’s always been…say…people want to see what they can do with their characters. Once they get high level gear and builds, so let’s create an easy form for them to do that.
6. Is there anything you can share with us about Battle.net2.0 for Diablo III? Any new features that you think are exciting? Something that Starcraft 2 doesn’t have?
Jay Wilson: Most focus for Diablo III on Battle.net focuses around taking a lot of the features that we already have and adapting them to the unique nature of Diablo. So… cooperative match making is a big function. While there is an aspect of that in Starcraft 2, it’s vastly different. As a game, Diablo3 is a little more dynamic than Starcraft II. Players can enter and leave the games dynamically, without entering a lobby system per se. There is no reason that when you start searching for a game, you can’t just be immediately put into a game, instead of having to search in the background. So, a lot of features focus around taking these thing and adapting.
We will have a messaging system, so you can open up your games to other players. We will have a system called “Arms”, where you can essentially broadcast to other people that you want them to come and join your game. There are a lot of features like those that we are focusing on.
Achievements are a system that we are very happy with. We will continue to focus on content improvement. So, we are more focused on “let’s make better quality achievements”, that are more fun to get, that are better motivators for players, and less focused on….there are not a lot of huge features we want to add there. We mostly want to iterate the quality of that feature set. There are others things we are planning, but they are not announced yet.
7. Many people have questions about the Diablo image in the poster for Blizzcon 2011. Is it really Diablo? If he is Diablo, how will he be introduced into the game? Will he still be the final boss for Diablo3?
Jay Wilson: Well, if I answer those questions then it kind spoils the story, doesn’t it? We have this conundrum early on from a stand point of….should you have a game called Diablo without Diablo in it? We can wax philosophical about that, whether we should or shouldn’t, but what it comes done to is…we had a storyline in mind. Even back…That’s been going back quite a ways. So, without revealing that, I can say that….there’s been a plan. If the player thinks they outsmarted the forces of Hell and evil and they basically won, well, they are in for a big shock. Because what they are going to discover in Diablo3 is that things have gone pretty exactly the way Hell wanted them to go all along.
8. This question is about item or gear binding. In Diablo3, if you are in a group, if something drops, only the person who is assigned to that item can see it or pick it up. We?ve heard a little bit about gear binding in D3. Could you tell us what the rules for gear binding are? Is there any difference to gear binding in WoW?
Jay Wilson: I’m happy to announce that we recently decided there will be no binding of items in Diablo III. They will be freely traded for the life of the item. The only way we are going to do any kind of binding would be for things that are not progression-sensitive. Like we might say…a quest item. We don’t want you to be able to give to other player to short circuit a quest, but if you find a sword, piece of armor, or gem….anything that you find in the ground, once you pick it up, you can freely trade it…forever.
I would add that….I’ve always said we would prefer not to do binding, but we never actually come down and said… So this is the first time we’ve actually being able to tell anyone… No! We are not doing it! Because we’ve finally made our decision. Exclusive!
9. This question is about Legendary items. That’s the name for unique items in Diablo III, as we know it basically replaced the unique item. Other than the name difference, is there any improvement or general attributes that have changed?
Jay Wilson: Not significantly. Certainly attributes are handled differently in Diablo III than in Diablo II, but not necessarily in how they relate to legendary items. Mostly we changed the name because we felt like “unique” was not cool enough..*laugh* We felt “legendary” was way cooler name for them, but they fill the same roll which is to provide kind of predictable source of power and some known quantity items for player to seek.
We have tried to balance them, such that they are very build-specific, so if you are trying to make… say… a really good Berserker barbarian, there might be a legendary weapon that’s specially designed for that. But in general, we don’t want players to just use legendaries, we want them to use wide variety of legendaries, sets and rare items.
10. In the game, are there any choices for players to make that will affect the later part of the game? Like a split story lines in Starcraft 2, but with a fixed ending.
Jay Wilson: No, because of the dynamic nature of the game and the fact that the game is cooperative. Those things really fight against a multiple story line. Because if you got other people who are in the same game, what if they made a different choice than you, and can not see their options? So we’ve tried to keep everyone on the same track, mostly to support cooperative, since thats’ one of our primary focuses, so we wanted to make sure not to include any feature in the game that can’t play into cooperative in some way.
11. Is there any daily quest in WoW, when you reach a certain level, like you can play everyday for the loot?
Jay Wilson: That kind gets back into what’s our end game, because the daily quest is kind of WoW’s end-game content. As we mentioned earlier, we have plans for the end game, but haven’t announced them yet.
12. We’ve seen many changes to the interface over the course of development. We didn’t see much change in the latest demo though, at the G-Star convention. [That was the Blizzcon 2010 demo build.] The question is… will we see some more changes in the UI before release?
Jay Wilson: Most of the changes in the UI will be… cosmetic. Maybe they are so small that most people didn’t notice them. Probably the biggest change is alternate button on the right mouse button. That smaller icon that we put near… we’ve pulled that off on bottom bar. The feature still exists, but most people who played the game were confused by it, so we removed it.
Other than that, I would say no, nothing significant, I’m sure there is a screen or two that we redesigned. We’ve certainly made some cosmetic changes, mostly to make the UI consistent. We developed a lot of UI over years and years, and what we found in recent review is that there is a lot of inconsistency. Cause…oh…we made that part two years ago, and we made this part two weeks ago, oh, they don’t look the same. We approached it slightly differently, so we need to make them consistent. But, there is no big, functional changes.
So, basically the design of the UI is settled? It’s not going to change too much?
Jay Wilson: It’s fairly settled at this point.
Thanks to Bloodface, Secondii, and Kuangtu of Diablo3.cc for conducting the interview and providing us with the full transcript, in English.