The first Diablo III developer interview from Gamescom comes courtesy of Gamona.de. It features Jay Wilson at something of a roundtable conversation, answering questions about the Diablo 3 Beta, the Real Money Auction House, item variety, changes to the skill system, and more. Watch the full video interview in the Gamona post; here’s my summary of the new/interesting content, and thanks to Doomscream for the tip.
The Diablo III beta will be a closed beta, but they’ll be giving out a lot of keys to start, more during it, and it will start in September.
There will be no price controls or other forms of intervention into the RMAH. There is no preset top limit on item prices; it’s whatever people are willing to pay. Jay stresses that they designed the system to be totally shaped by players and the economy, and that Blizzard only takes a flat fee from each sale, no matter what the price is.
The interviewer did what I’ve seen some other commenters do, and took the presentation slide showing only 3 colors of runes to mean that there were now fewer types of runes in the game. (They only showed 3 types of skill runes for the same reason that they only showed 4 types of gems; they didn’t want to visually clutter the slides or make the images too small to see the details.) Jay doesn’t realize where the guy’s confusion is coming from, but he makes clear that no runes or item features have been removed from the game.
The interview concludes with Jay providing a spirited defense of their skill changes. He mostly focuses on the removal of skill points, by basically saying that points didn’t provide much character customization since everyone picked the same number of skill points in the same few skills.
The interviewer comes back with the fact that World of Warcraft has skill points, and asks if Jay thinks they should be removed. *oh snap!*
Jay replies that skill points in WoW are not the main theme or focus of their skill point system, and that with so many skill points, the benefits from most of them are negligible. He hits his usual, “we want each point spent to feel awesome!” argument. Jay also points out that by limiting characters to six skills, they’re just moving the restriction from skill points to skill numbers. (For instance, you could put points in all 30 skills in D2, but that would be a useless character, since most skills required maxed skill points to be powerful enough to use in the end game.) Hence skill points effectively limit the number of skills a character can use. Thus D3 without skill points gives every character 6 skills to use in the end game, which is more than most characters used in D2. And when you multiply D3’s skills by five different runestone effects in every skill, the potential variety is enormous.