Several months ago, PC Gamer visited Blizzard’s offices and conducted interviews as well as scoring a number of new screenshots. Ever since they’ve been bleeding out new tidbits from their visit (the biggest chunk was in the print mag feature, and then an abridged online version) and today brings another new preview of sorts, plus two new screenshots. There’s nothing *new* in the article, though it’s a good read with some behind the scenes stuff from Blizzcon as well as DiabloWikiJulian Love quotes about D3’s long development. Besides, it’s been so long since we got any actual new game info…

    The screens actually are new, though. Both are from one of the Act 2 oasis levels, the more interesting of which seems to show one of the DiabloWikiNaga demons casting a DiabloWikiNova. We’ve not seen monsters using Novas previously, so we don’t know if this is a higher level DiabloWikiboss modifier that’s not present in the beta, or an attack that the Claw Viper type demons can use at will. (They didn’t cast Novas when we saw them in the BlizzCon 2009 demo, but obviously the game has undergone a bit of development since then.) It’s sparkly, at any rate, and looks nice in the nighttime shot… of course it’ll always be nighttime in those Act Two oases, since the outdoor areas in D3 are non-random, and thus do not have day/night cycles.

    Here’s a quote from the preview, and the two new shots are below. Thanks to fmulder for the tip.

    Diablo 3’s recent beta has helped Julian and his team schedule these breathing spaces, and shown the danger of overstuffing the game. “We maybe had too many systems too early in the game: our new crafting system, our follower system, and ways to get back to town. Players would end up being forced to ignore things. So we’ve rescheduled the way those things are going to be introduced.”

    Some mechanics were excised entirely. “We fooled around with, and even announced, the talisman. What that led to was players getting a new item and sitting around, trying to figure out what they should be doing.” The result is a stats screen that spits out big, easy to understand numbers. Attack, precision, defence and vitality combine to make your character’s power output obvious. Press a gleaming blue doublehanded war-axe into your barbarian’s hands, and the extra damage it deals is easily demonstrated by the game’s UI.

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