Here’s an excellent Jay Wilson interview from Gamescom. It’s fifteen minutes long and jam-packed with good info. I typed up a very quick transcript since I’ve got relatives visiting and my computer time is limited this week, but you’re encouraged to watch the whole interview yourself and hear every word. Credit to inDiablo.de and Diablo3.net.pl for conducting these joint interviews, asking good questions, and posting it for all to see. .
This interview includes big new info on Instability (gone completely), the Monk‘s “Spirit” resource, boss fights, end game item balance, item set fixes, skill balancing, and more. If Jay had just worn a beard and/or pirate hat, we could not have asked for anything more.
Weâ€™ve added info in wiki links, and there are a few clarifying comments added in italics.
in.Diablo.d3: What features of D2 do you think you’ve really improved in D3?
Jay Wilson: Well we’ve gone over every aspect of the game and made countless changes and fixes. The Caravan; robust, full crafting system, many more things.
in.Diablo.d3: Item sets: fun to collect in D2 but seldom that useful.
Jay Wilson: We understand the problems with item sets. We want to solve them. Set items are under work now, if we cant’ find a way to solve the problem it won’t be in the game. But we’ve got a couple of ideas on the table and we think it’ll work out.
Jay Wilson: World of Warcraft boss fights. So team oriented; not a good description of the Diablo style. In D3 we do lots of stage fights where the bosses change over time. Very much like Zelda. Make boss fights that are not just another monster with more hps/damage, but that actually plays up to the mechanics of the game and has interesting mechanics on their own.
in.Diablo.d3: What are you working on now?
Jay Wilson: All 4 acts simultaneously. Subset of the team is polishing the first act. The focus there being our systems are proven out, we know what they need to look like to ship the game. some systems, questing and storytelling, aren’t to the quality level we want. So really focusing on them for the first act and that’ll serve as an example for when we build them out in the other acts.
in.Diablo.d3: Resource systems: How to balance out 5 different ones?
Jay Wilson: The process of balancing resources isn’t very complicated. It’s basically math and we have a lot of guys who are good at math. We have other systems that are subjective and much harder to balance than the resources. We have say, if you’re going to balance a skill like Magic Missile with multiple projectiles vs. a skill like Blizzard. They don’t even have relationships on some levels. Should Magic Missile do more damage since it hits less targets? Or should Blizzard have a bigger radius of effect? Those are much more subjective. When you get to resources, “I need to be able to output this much DPS per minute. Can I?” If I can’t then, is it the resource limiting? If so then you need to adjust the resource.
in.Diablo.d3: What’s the current standing for Instability and the others? Can you talk about it?
Jay Wilson: Oh, I’ll talk about it. For the Wizard, we could not get a version of Instability that we liked. The last version involved buff and debuff that would hit the wizard whenever she went unstable. And it was a pretty severe buff. It doubled all her damage taken while increasing her critical hit damage. And it just didn’t affect how people played. They didn’t notice it, and when they did it didn’t change what they were doing. That’s not the point of a resource. It needs to be managed to change the way that you play. So now it’s called Arcane Power and it’s not dissimilar to mana, in a lot of ways. It regenerates very quickly, but it doesn’t grow over time. It’s a flat amount. A lot of passive skills that enhance it.
Fury is where it was at. We’re just spending time tuning it. Getting the right costs for different skills so fury feels like what it’s supposed to feel like w/o slowing down the barb. If he has to build up too much he feels like he’s yo-yo’ing in and out of being awesome, and that’s now that we want.
The Monk has Spirit. That’s the one we’re happiest with. He came together very quickly. His combo moves generate sprit, and that’s used for signature moves he does. he can’t do them very often. But they’re great attacks, escapes, and some are recovery moves. That one worked out really well.