Bashiok answered an assortment of queries today, the longest reply was to a now familiar gripe.   The other short bites are after that.

    As release moves ever closer more gamers are paying Diablo 3 closer attention and the inevitable side-effect with that is their surprise at the significant differences between it and its predecessor. RebeL is one such person whose biggest concerns are that there are no stats (applying points to DiabloWikiattributes on levelling up) and the level cap being 60 (as opposed to 99 as it is in Lord of Destruction). He feels simplifying or removing some of the game mechanics enjoyed in Diablo 2 will lessen rather than improve the players’ enjoyment.

    D2 is/was a great game due to its mechanics, it had high level of complexity and allowed so much for variation and diversification, we were always learning, planning, min/maxing, calculating, (re)building, improving, tweaking, experimenting, coming about with mixed approaches and strategies…..Diablo 3 should have improved even more upon these (and such would provide a far, far better/richer diversification, forming a game we could marvel at), instead it appears D3 was rounded to item hunting and players being a clone of each other, same as any other game these days.

    Bashiok, as we know, sees it entirely differently.  On the level cap being reduced from 99 to 60 he had this to say.

    Concentrated Coolness – This is a Blizzard design mantra and is sought with a lower level cap. By having fewer levels we can ensure each one feels more significant. In Diablo II you had 99 levels. Each one was a small step in player power, and when it came down to it, once you hit 80 or so you had already out leveled the content enough to make it easily farmable.
    DiabloWikiAchievements – Whether you choose to recognize them or not, achievements provide a far better, visible, and even tangible reward to time invested than inconsequential gains on a road to 99. Diablo II had an achievement, and it was level 99. It was an achievement because it offered no real power benefit but was reached to show off time investment. In Diablo III we have hundreds of achievements
    Content – Leveling to 60 should take you to the end of Hell difficulty. This is a nice progression as when you finish ‘progressing’ and move into the ‘farming’ phase, you’re at level cap. We don’t feel there’s any benefit to allowing players to out level the content, and in fact directly goes against the intent of Inferno always being difficult.
    DiabloWikiDifficulty – With fewer levels and a finite cap we’re assured players will reach if they finish Hell, we can actually tune the game to be difficult at all times (important for Inferno) since we don’t allow you to out level the most difficult content.

    On a different topic he was asked by Raygar

    Can you explain “Tangible Reward” when it comes to an achievement? That goes against the idea of the achievement system. It isn’t supposed to give you anything other than bragging rights.

    We don’t have plans to ever attach the DiabloWikiachievement systems in our games to player power or progression. We absolutely have tangible rewards though, like titles, mounts and pets in World of Warcraft, portraits in StarCraft II, and at least banner customization options in Diablo III, if not more.

    The tangible rewards there being the mount and pets, neither of which will appear in Diablo III (yet) as achievement rewards so Raygar can rest assured it’s pretty much restricted to bragging rights just now but there may be some posing opportunities at some point……

    Would a feature like those ‘angel wings’ (DiabloWikiDiablo III Collector’s Edition) be considered one of those? For example, an achievement might get you devil wings or hooves (burning footprints).

    We’re not going to give the CE wings out through other means, but sure we very well may attach different cosmetic rewards to achievements.


    Was the D3 team ever tempted to get rid of levels (DiabloWikiCharacter Level) entirely? Go back to the Mega Man style of getting skills (beating bosses)? You can’t wear X gear or use Y rune until you have Z achievement (beating act bosses)?

    That is what I would classify as a straw capable of breaking a camel’s back.  No, no. I most definitely need my dings!  Thankfully…..

    I’ve never been aware of a design or proposal to remove levels. They’re fairly meaningful, recognizable, powerful to a feeling of progression, and I would personally argue a bullet point on the definition of the RPG genre.

    Phew!  Diablo 3 without level ups! /shudder

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