Josh Mosqueira and Christian Lichtner Interview @ Razerzone

Here’s a quick video interview of Josh Mosqueira and Christian Lichtner that packs multiple good questions into just over four minutes. Topics covered include the new feature of DiabloWikiNephalem Trials, the size of Act Five, and changes to earlier acts in DiabloWikiDiablo 3: Reaper of Souls.

Update: Switched in a new version of the video. It’s got the identical dev interview, but adds footage of Athene talking about the Crusader while he plays the demo. (There’s no view of the demo, just his face as he talks about it while playing.)

Act Five size

Christian says it’s about the same size as Act Two. That’s a bit of a surprise to me; did you guys think it would become the largest of the acts, ala Act 5 in Diablo 2?

I guess the overall size isn’t so much an issue as how varied it is, how fun it is, and how many of the areas will be good for farming. And in the future we probably won’t care so much about farming since we’ll have Loot Runs. And perhaps there are going to be other end game features we don’t know about yet?

They keep saying “End Game for Everyone” but what about the person who doesn’t want to do 15-20m loot runs, or replay the current static acts? What if you want to grind for exp in long, uninterrupted games? Can has bottomless dungeons? Kthx.


Nephalem Trial entrance.

Nephalem Trials

These sound awesome to me. They’re basically randomly-occurring mini-events, and remind me of the portals you got in Torchlight 2 when you found and killed a Phase Beast. In DiabloWikiNephalem Trials you find one of these special death orbs and they transport you to a special level where you face increasing waves of enemies in short but very intense battles. Your objective is to survive and to advance as far as you can, since the further you make it the more golden chests you are rewarded with when the (timed?) event ends. You’ll no doubt score exp for all the kills you make in the process, to.

One topic I brought up during our lunch with the devs at the Fan Site Summit in June was that a lot of the random events in the game had grown stale, especially since the monster density increases in v1.08. Events like that sudden uprising of zombies from the glowing ground in the Weeping Hollow, or some of the tiny missions in the Act 2 deserts used to be awesome since they were a big boost in monster density and combat speed, but aren’t any longer. As I talked about that Josh and the other devs were grinning and nodding in agreement, as they’d obviously considered that issue and were looking at this Nephalem Trial thing as a possible fix to the, “random events don’t feel special anymore” issue.

Sometimes they’re pretty smart. Never forget that.

Click through for what the devs said about PvP and redesigning earlier acts once Act 5 is added in.


Player vs. Player.

Props to Athene for asking more than one question about PvP, and I’m sad that nothing is coming up on that for D3X. Someday, as Josh clearly thinks it’s a priority, but they aren’t happy with any systems or designs yet, or just don’t think it’s a priority with all their other crunch time DiabloWikiReaper of Souls toil.

I still want esports style death match duels, Blizzcon-demo style with pre-made chars so the battle would be about skill, not gear+budget+level. I’d play that right now for at least an hour a day, even at the cost of building up levels for my future Sharagon levels, but Josh and Wyatt weren’t real enthusiastic when I pitched that concept during my interview last month.


Redesigning earlier acts

That sounded like a “Not really.” Which is a pity, but not really a surprise. It was nice to hear that they’re integrating the Crusader fully, with dialogues for him all throughout the game, with all the mercs, etc. So he won’t feel tacked on or lacking in lore or background detail compared to the other classes.

As for earlier Acts, no redesign isn’t a surprise, but I hope they at least make some tweaks. Maybe add some more dungeons, or tweak some of the layouts/designs, with the new randomized dungeon tools they’re making for the Loot Runs game types? Also, Act 3 needs to be improved, since v1.08 gave Act One and Act Two such a big makeover in monster density. As for act four… that’s the tough one. I think it’s as large as it needs to be for the story and monster variety, but compared to the others it’s tiny and therefor irrelevant and not useful for farming. The dungeons seem the easiest fix; just scrap the current lame Act 4 dungeons and put in ten-level crypts with random Act 4 level layouts. Not great, but at least you’d farm it once in a while, just for variety?

Or who knows, maybe Act 4 will be awesome as a Loot Run?


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  1. Just a quick clarification on Nephalem Trials, it sounded to me like there would be different versions and the “survive waves of enemies” was just one of the varieties. Other types could be things like “find the exit as quickly as possible” or “take as little damage as possible.”

  2. “As for act four… that’s the tough one. I think it’s as large as it needs to be for the story and monster variety…”

    But you also thought increasing monster density in Act 1 & 2 would feel weird….

  3. WOW @ the answers about pvp…..

    how long must we wait jfc

    • I would say to the D3 guys give us a decent pvp level a lot of levels were leaked way back just give us one, the act1 level is crap.

    • I actually like Flux’s suggestion of ‘choose from a preset list of characters/builds’. I would assume that the disagreement of the developers stems from a want to not make people choose between playing this mode and actually developing their own character in the main game. However, this would be solved by adding rewards to the PvP mode that didn’t get used in that mode, but could be distributed to your main game characters (exclusive items, stats, whatever). That way, we’d have a PvP mode that was based on a player’s skill, could still have it mean something in the context of character progression, and moreover is easy to design from a balance perspective. In fact, Blizzard would have even more flexibility to create new builds for us to use, by omitting the option of taking the uber builds that everyone rolls in the main game.

  4. Just so you know Flux, that image is not of a Nephalem Trials portal. It’s just a monster in the game casting some type of “black-hole” attack from the gameplay screenshots.

    Athene’s crew just edited it in at that point as it linked with the interview visually. For dramatic effect.. 😉

    Athene is always great at keeping his videos snappy.

  5. The way Josh answered the “will there be another class” and his college looked at him, and avoided the question… can’t wait for blizzcon!

    • I don’t mean to burst your bubble but, in an earlier interview, the Devs directly said that the Crusader would be the only new character in this expansion. I think they were just flustered trying to think of a way to put good PR spin on “no” in this interview.

  6. Right in this second i only have TWO major problems with D3, even thought i love the game and play it daily.
    1 – No god damn PvP arena – I mean seriously, make whatever rules you want, or NONE, just give us a team PvP mode WITH a matchmaking system that tries to combine the most similar ‘paragon lv’ or ‘gear score’ to make as balance as possible (even thought will be impossible to be 100% balanced), ffs, i only hate this sht because it was already DONE 3 years go, ALL the players want and cry for it…but ‘we tested…we didnt like it, u wont like it”…No.

    2 – I STILL hate RMAH, i can even accept AH, like in HC, as long as you can fking BUY gold, wish not just ruins the economy, but makes everything ingame expensive, i mean look at the crafting prices, i play daily, but im a casual player, play 1-2 hours/day…Im poor as sht, never made a last lv gem…Cant aford.

    Ya, wall of text…ranted out, with a bad english, good luck :D.

    • The problem is not much the RMAH than the costs themselves. The can keep the RMAH and drop the crafting costs.

    • But anyone can search “buy diablo 3 gold” and find 50 sites offering it in 3 seconds. I’d like no gold selling at all in the game, but there doesn’t seem to be any way to stop black market sales… so are you just raging against the inevitable, or does Blizzard enabling it themselves somehow feel different?

  7. BTW – sorry about the double post.
    But guys, keep cool on two things, PvP and Another class.
    Yes, it MIGHT have both by BlizzCon, but keep the hype COOL, dont do the same thing EVERYONE did when D3 was launched, so you wont end up getting disappointed and ruin not just ur fun, but coming here and over the internet cursing on the game cuz it didnt meet UR expectation.

    But yes, we can hope, i do at least for the PvP, after all i’m settle on my future main crusader ^^.

    • I don’t know about PVP but, in an earlier interview, the Devs directly said that the Crusader would be the only new character in this expansion.

  8. OMG. The size of Act 2…. really? Man I’m gutted. I would have expected something at least the size of Act 1. That blows.

    • I’d be curious if anyone has really added up the surface area, but I think A2 is the largest. Or A3? A1 is the best for farming now, but the only really large level is the Fields. Weeping Hollow isn’t far behind, but none of the dungeons are very large, the first few areas are tiny story stuff, and the closing levels of Leoric’s torture aren’t very big. Act 1 has a lot of areas, but most of them are fairly small.

      Act 2 has a ton of areas no one enjoys, like all of the sewers levels, but they are as big as the Act 1 dungeons, Dhalgur and the Desolate Wastes are huge and have numerous big dungeons, there are 2 fairly large ZK’s levels and even the level into and out of the palace is pretty big, though no one farms it.

      Act 3 has some very big areas, but there are very few large dungeons, the 6 tower levels are small and none of them have any dungeons, and the Arreat Crater levels are big but also have no dungeons.

      All figures off the top of my head.

      • I’d be disappointed if no one had added up the surface area.

        Not that I can give you a link though! 😉

      • A2 certainly FEELS the biggest when you are levelling, for what it’s worth 🙂

        • Yeah, I always felt Act 2 was largest, and was about what I was expecting with the expansion. Though with the news it contains Westmarch, the Blood Moor and Pandemonium, it’ll probably be MUCH more varied than any previous act.

  9. I started playing in D3 after one year pause, and game is fun, of course loot and endgame still sucks, but with recent informations about changes and new systems? I’m really hoping that D3 will return to the glory of Diablo franchise, as it was with D2 after expansion. But still I won’t buy pre-order and I recommend all D3 players to do the same, It will be a little “flip in the nose” for Blizzard. New lead game developer seems to know what he want to achieve, best luck!

    It is shame that we wont get second class… ok concept of class using shields is good idea, it is not something ground breaking but it’s ok. Second class might be shape-shifter, druid, summoner even psionic… something brand new with new philosophy matching variety of current heroes.

  10. Nephalem Trials is definitely a good addition, but I’m gonna continue waiting for Blizzcon and hope they have the Ironborn mode and maybe ladder sorted out. Cautiously optimistic even though I feel they’re just gonna screw me over come November 😛

  11. A4 is not good for farming because the monster combination and the monster themselves are much harder to kill then in other acts. A1 is the easiest then A3, then A2 (depends on the class and build) but A4 is definitely the toughest.

    I am curios about how they will make A5 exterior areas totally random, may be will be in labyrinthine shape, without large open areas.

    • Easiest way to make A4 worth something is to make the XP gains worth a lot more than the other acts. I like the idea of A1 being great for items, A4 being great for XP, and A2/3 being in between both.

      • But A1 is the easiest. Shouldn’t it be for exp, where you can grind slow motion zombies and harmless goatmen and scavengers and bats and such, but at the price of not scoring much loot? (Other than ToS, anyway.)

  12. is it just me or do the loot runs and the nephalem trials sound an awfull lot like torchlight 2s mapwork system and phase portals? though i read that the map system is also prominent in other arpgs nowadays

  13. I always liked the idea of a ‘hunter’ type character with whips, hunting horns (offhand) and hunting boots (all with 10% movement speed) say as thier unique items. They could have a lot of unique whip based attacks not seen in Diablo before and then could have other skill catagories such as terrain master, hunting calls, etc. But I just don’t see how it would fit in with Diablo lore unfortunatly

  14. Why wouldn’t they add some new areas to act 4… to make it as long as the others.

    Just play the cartoon movie+cinematic, then say you need help in clearing some part of heaven corruption where demons persist through some shard of diablos/izual body or whatever…

    I guess if wow had to wait for cataclysm, 5th expansion, for reshaped low level content, we gotta wait for same too? 😐

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