REVEAL! 70% Feature Posted, Dev Diary #4

The REVEAL counter has ticked to 70% (was I the only one to check when it was at 69 and giggle?) and a new feature has been unlocked. It’s another Developer Diary that gives us another blast from the (recent) past interview with Jay, Christian, and Jason as they talk about changes to the rune and skill system, fan feedback, and more.

On March 21, 2012, with Diablo III nearly finished and a release date of May 15, 2012 finalized, Lead Software Engineer Jason Regier, Game Director Jay Wilson, and Art Director Christian Lichtner returned to the studio, and talked about the time required to make a quality game, how the team approached the skill system, the rune system, and community feedback.

They guys talk about how close they were to release last year, how nearly-final the game was during testing, and then reflect on some of the major changes made to skills and runes, overhauls prompted by the “strike team” of devs from WoW and SC2 coming in and giving a fresh perspective to the D3 systems. They also talk about the value of community feedback, and how they analyze trends in fan comments. Oddly, they mention the skill system and fan comments during the beta changes to it, but don’t say a word about the skill UI, which is far and away the most fan-disliked system in the entire game.

Click through to see the content of the remaining three reveals, if you’re curious. Be warned, here there be wallpapers.

80% — DEV DIARY V — May 1(ish)
With internal testing complete and the game launch rapidly approaching, Jay Wilson, Christian Lichtner, and Jason Regier share what they’ve learned over the course of Diablo III’s development, how they’ll spend their time after the game releases, and final thoughts they’d like to leave you with in this fourth video installment of Developer Diaries.

90% — Class Wallpapers, May 4(ish)
Congratulations! Your actions yield for you new treasures of true artistry. Choose any of the desktop wallpapers here to champion your favorite hero.

100% — Diablo: Wrath, May 7(ish)
Long before the creation of Sanctuary, the Eternal Conflict between angels and demons raged on for untold millennia. Blizzard Entertainment teamed up with renowned director Peter Chung and acclaimed animation studio Titmouse to create this unique vision of a fundamental moment in the battle between the High Heavens and the Burning Hells.

Related to this article
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  • Heroes Rise: 60% Unlock – The Order
  • The Witch Doctor Unleashed on Diablo III: Darkness Falls, Heroes Rise page

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    58 thoughts on “REVEAL! 70% Feature Posted, Dev Diary #4

    1. I like hearing how they went through all the different systems and figured out they were so messy and once you had the runes you needed, they would just be worthless. They would take up so much space and start becoming annoying when trying to switch them out especially if they were destroyed in the process. Lets penalize you for trying different builds by having to buy, trade, or find different runes. Yeah, that sounds like a ton of fun. Blizzard made a great call with that one.

      The UI is not THAT bad as people make it out to be. The main issue people seem to be faced with is the ability to move skills around to different slots. When that “1” key spot pops up, the game should tell about elective mode in the options with a pop-up so people are not blind to this feature. Myself, I go through menus thoroughly before playing a game, but alas that’s just me.

      • Honestly if not for this site. Would not have even known about elective mode I do the menu search as well but to see elective mode wouldn’t,t mean much to the average person I think so I agree 100% it needs to be told right away 

        • that seem to be one of the major complaints in the open beta test. A lot of people were really hitting on the, “I can’t change where my skill go!?!?!”

          • I thought until yesterday that all Elective Mode did was to allow you to change which hotkey slot the skill goes to. I had no idea you could use (for example) two defensive skills. I thought those were skill categories and that you couldn’t combine two skills from the same category.

            I still preordered, but knowing how Elective Mode works made me look so much more foward to the game.

          • No, it’s horrible. It’s ugly and it doesn’t work well. It’s not very friendly, especially for a new user. This was shown very obviously and vividly if you watched the bnet forums during the open beta.

            • Bnet forums make me weep for the future of humanity. Posts there are filled with ignorance, stupidity and blind hate, with posters insulting each other, randomly declaring they have won the argument with their “undefetable” arguments. And not even mention the grammar, ugh..

              My point being, we shouldn’t take anything of any value from them and I certainly wouldn’t  take them as an valid example to a point.

              Having said that, I do agree that UI isn’t THAT bad. It is bad, but it certainly isn’t the worst thing ever. And the non-elective mode does get it right with LMB, RMB, and 1 spots, there should be some kind of main nuke, secondary nuke, and defensive, CC or utility spell there. My point being that it may be beneficial in it that it may teach some newbie/newcomer something, which is always good. The downfallings of the system are the 2, ,3 and 4 spots which don’t much sense in anyones but the designers heads, as well as the inability to to change places of skills and spells. 

            • Your elitism/opinion of them is irrelevant. They are part of the community, a larger part than “we” are.

            • The UI may be bad, it may be horrible… the bottom line is that its not Blizzard good.  

              All it would take are a few simple changes to make it much better.  Perhaps  even Blizzard good.

          • The skills UI is works for now, but it very much feels like a alpha/beta UI and it needs an overhaul at some point.

      • Why did it take so long to hit 70%? I got on this morning and at 8:05am central time and it was at 69%. Do more people need to know about the site?

        • AFAIK these are largely automated. They’re posting one every 3 days (or so) but someone on the web team has to be there to actually upload the new content. So probably no one had time to do it late Friday night, or they had other stuff to work on.  They’ve stopped the timer for longer in the past; it didn’t move at all on Friday of the open beta weekend, since they were all so busy with other tech issues, and no one would have noticed the new reveal anyway at that point.

    2. I checked at 69% but no giggling :P.

      It was at 69% for hours before I went to sleep last night, and when I woke up the next day, it was STILL at 69%!  I was like: “Come on!”    

      Also this is my favourite of the dev diaries yet. It’s nice having something from just last month! And everyone’s looking so much less haggard.

    3. I just didn’t find this interesting at all.  They basically talked in generalities the whole time – like saying a lot of words that don’t mean a whole lot.  It sounded like a lot of the legalease we get from the blues on the forums but in a video.  Frustratingly non-descript.

      ex (Jay): “(Strike team) came in and showed us things about the game that we thought were fine but weren’t.”

      Like what??  When exactly did that happen??  What wasn’t right about these things?? 

      • It is probably meant for those who have religiously followed the development, as they will know what the 3 devs were talking about.
        The strike team must have come in somewhere between May 2011 (time of previous 3 Dev diaries) and July 2011, when fansites were invited to Bizzard to check out new developments – at this point Blizzard was trying to figure out what to do with runes and had changed the skill trees drastically. Due to the strike team presumably.
        Then some time after July 2011 they fail at making the itemized runes work, and they drop the system, resulting in what we have now.

        Edit: What wasn’t “right” about rune and skill system according to Blizzard was 1) “Runes took too much inventory space and weren’t fun” 2) “Skill trees suck and skill points are the work of the devil”. More or less.

    4. They mentioned how they pay a lot of attention to trends in feedback, like when the majority of players feel a specific way.  Well, the vast majority of us hate the skill UI, so…..change it.

      • Bashiok tweeted that part of the reason why it is the way it is is due to localisation – some other languages can be quite ‘verbose’ he said.

      • I have a feeling that is what they referred to at the end when they where talking about reacting to feedback from the community right after releasing the rune system in the beta.

      • The UI was fine by me. The only thing they really really need to change is to make the existence of the elective mode more prominent.

      • I’m pretty sure they’re aware of the fact that the skills UI need some work. I’d be surprised if it looks the same a year from now. Sure it works as it is now, but it’s nowhere near Blizzard quality.

      • agreed, Peter Chung is one of my favorite animators. Eager to see what he has created

    5. Did anyone else notice that these guys just seem way more depressed and beat down compared to the other video unlocks?  It must have been a grueling year for them.

    6. The only thing I wish they’d reveal are some examples of the +skills end game mods. But I can’t even ask on the forums because WoW is longer sucking funds from my bank account.

      • Though I can understand the desire to see more end game stuff, it has to be infinitely more exciting to find and see it for yourself 🙂

        Sucking funds out of your account? Did you buy a lot of ingame mounts/pets or did you transfer a lot of characters?
        – Because the actual subscription cost of WoW is less than you’d have to pay for a half decent pizza…  

    7. Man who loves Jay Wilson? :p He seems to become more of a epic-yet-every-day dude in every interview.

    8. “Oddly, they mention the skill system and fan comments during the beta changes to it, but don’t say a word about the skill UI, which is far and away the most fan-disliked system in the entire game.”
      Isn’t that what they were talking about at the end? The video was recorded at the end of March, and the new UI was implimented before then, right? At the end of the video all they’re talking about is people complaining about the Skill system and how they are changing it.

    9. Current skill UI is not good enough (especially in comparsion with the old skill UI). It’s obvious.
      I think release version already have a good UI, not this [email protected]#*t.

    10. Hey Blizz, the skull/rune UI still SUCKS!  That’s honestly the biggest gripe I have with the game right now.  Well, at least the biggest gripe that they’d be inclined to indulge.

    11. for all those people who have issues with DRM, Suck As* Rune system etc This is what supports your views and voids all of blizzards arguments to support stuff:
      “overhauls prompted by the “strike team” of devs from WoW and SC2 coming in and giving a fresh perspective to the D3 systems.”

      • Wut? You’re clearly a troll, just because it comes from WoW or SC2 team doesn’t mean it’s bad, in fact they are some of the best in the world. Can you explain your trollish comment?

        And they did the right thing by bringing people from outside the team, giving them honest feedback and free from personal bias, even better these people are veteran developers. Other studio dev would kill for this kind of resources. 

          • Do you have a timeline you’d like to share with us? Because the video didn’t suggest dates, so we can’t really match those dates up with various beta patches. It’s also worth noting that the beta content progressively got harder as time went on, not easier.

            • Yeah, my timeline is common sense, and knowing that the original target (for a myriad of reasons, including average beta length, original Book of Cain release date, holiday pressure, leaked targets, etc.) was Nov/Dec 2011.  It didn’t get “harder” until well after that.  That was the time, however, that many things started drastically changing, some for the better, some for the worse.  Doesn’t seem like a stretch of an assumption to me.

    12. Blizzard actually failed at this hard. Since WD unlock the percents moved a bit and then stoped at 65~ for a few days. Then imeadiatly reached 69… But the funny thing the “line” indicator didn’t move at all and stayed at a half way, those 65.

    13. Even with elective mode (i only tryed a few games at the open beta), I still had problems having 100% freedom in choosing my skillsetup.
      Maybe I just noobed it, but someone will have to tell me then 🙂

      • How it works you need to turn elective mode on. Select the slot you want to put the skill in, then use the arrows at top to change the skill category to the one with the skill you want in and pick the skill,
        IE if you want to put Leap/Ground stomp in the “Might skill slot/hot key 2” you do into skill screen pick the “might skill slot” then you click the left arrow to change category from Might to Defensive then select Leap/Ground stomp.

    14. Who doesnt find the elective mode is too nooby for the elective mode and should stay with the newbie mode…

      The Skill UI is okay… And it isnt an UI which is always visible… it is just for selecting skills.

    15. 6 years and they couldnt figure how to make a decent installer/updater app. It is by far the most mindboggling craptastic piece of game launching crap i have ever seen in my life.  

      • yep, actually it crashed at launch at least 50% of the times that I clicked on it. pretty amazing piece of crap. (mac version, I dunno about the windows one)

      • It is. This goes for WoW and SC2 as well. It’s like it’s going back in time in terms of functionality.
        I don’t even play SC2 anymore because of it. I’d open the launcher, then it would start downloading a patch. I’d time out and it would get corrupted every single time which means I have to re-install the entire game and each patch yet again. 

        The launchers are so bad. 

    16. Skill ui is fine for me but what annoy me most is too big map with quest quide which is like half screen is gone. Also cant stand i cant zoom. But every complaint is pointless, we get used to it.

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