The Diablo 3 Podcast #97: Blizzard Visit and Diablo 3 Console Testing


Neinball and Aahz join Flux to discuss his recent visit to Blizzard for the Diablo 3 Open House. Topics include Diablo 3’s future and upcoming patches, Diablo console playtesting, community relations, and more.

See the Blizzard Visit Mega Report for more information about many of the topics in this podcast.

Speed warning. I had a ton of material to get through and the weather was scorching hot the afternoon we recorded this, so I was talking at a machine gun pace. Apologies to Neinball and Aahz for hogging the conversation far more than I do on usual podcasts when I’m asking the questions, rather than relaying the info.

  • 0:00 — Intro and Bliz Trip background details. IncGamers no longer blacklisted and Blizzard PR issues.
  • 7:20 — Nutshell summary: No new Diablo III patches coming until after Blizzcon. Blizzard is very interested in improving fansite and community relations. Flux speculates that Blizzcon will bring D3X, and why. Diablo droughts and Blizzard opening the development content archives?
  • 21:20 — Bold predictions about Blizzcon and D3X.
  • 25:20 — Diablo 3 console playtest info. The glorious return of “couch rules” Ninja Looting. Controls, “dodge” roll, melee vs. ranged play, economy projections.
  • 43:20 — Hearthstone playtest discussion. Flux knew/cared zero about it going in, but actually found it quite interesting.
  • 49:50 — Diablo III Open House conversation. Blizzard employees talk every other video game they’re playing non-stop when they have the chance. Diablo 3 feature conversation: bottomless dungeons, open world mode, variant builds are killed by open info, difficulty issues, the Auction House.
  • 1:06:00 — Recap, final thoughts, finally better communication from Blizzard to the fans, Blizzard’s big last Friday of the month meetings,
  • The Diablo 3 Podcast Episode Guide in DiabloWiki.net provides links to every show, plus quick summaries.

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    1. Lol no new patches until after Blizzcon, so they are all on vacation until then or just working on the console version still?

      I love how there is absolutely no mention of pvp anymore either, did they fully give up on that too?

    2. They have dropped the ball on one of the most important gaming franchises EVER, and continue to kick it around after it’s died.

      • I feel like this is what is happening but I’ll hold back on that until blizzcon for when they show off their D3X material that they’re working on. Obviously they’re working on itemization 2.0 which besides the unique ideas that effect character skills from legendary’s such as a barbarian set that keeps Call of the Ancients permanent or the hydra set idea they should also be working on other things for itemization. I would hope they make it so that attributes such as str,dex,int,vit have a bit more meaning such as STR effecting CD, Dex effecting CC/dodge, INT effectin things with resource management/regen, Vit effecting life regen, and we can distribute those attribute points as we level like in D2. I’d like to see elemental effects worked on as well such as fire damage on weapons etc.

    3. Will they give refunds if there is no proper PvP before D3X, like they promised us time and time again? 🙂

    4. Thanks for the podcast, Flux. It was fun to listen to.

      • Thanks, dude. And we are looking into enabling special blue tags for you guys to post here, as requested.

        • Hehe, don’t get too friendly with the enemy Flux 🙂

          Great job with the podcast as ever. As a recent incgamers “client” I’ve listened to the podcasts in reverse order (I’m down to summer of 2011) while riding my bike every night. It’s fun to see how your predictions came to pass (or not) and how your love-hate relationship with D3 has evolved (as it is a similar experience to mine).

          I do share your optimism about the evolution of D3. The game is in a good place ATM, and in order to evolve it needs more fundamental work than tweaks and stitches. If an Xpac is what it will come down to, so be it, we’ll all get it anyway.

          Hopefully your reborn love with the Blue Team will result in some interesting Q&A’s about D3. Hopefully you won’t be playing D3 HC while talking to them and saying “that makes sense” every 2 words 🙂

          • “Life can only be lived forwards, but understood backwards.”

            Unless you’re listening to podcasts in reverse order, I guess. I hardly remember all we said or did or thought over time, but you’ll probably find the most interest and positivity during the beta and pre-game, when all was gleaming and new and hypothetical.

            • It’s been really fun to see you all go from hyper-enthusiastic yet doubtful about certain features of the game to plain depressed 2-3 months after release, then slowly coming to terms to what D3 is and where it’s going and enjoying it for what it is (pretty much the same evolution of feelings I had).
              What keeps me listening to the podcasts is obviously not the info within (although it’s fun to discover the evolution of the game, since I purchased it virtually no previous information) but the personalities of each of you. Fluxe’s one-liners especially crack me up and sometimes I find myself drawing attention to myself by lol-ing in the middle of the street like a crazy person.
              Hopefully you’ll continue doing the podcasts in the future, and show the world that seasoned gamers can be funny and interesting and not jut geeky weirdos (which we are plenty of, of course).

      • Welcome, blues! Stay awhile and listen. We’re glad you’re here.

    5. The discussion about the console controls and UI answered all the questions I had. Thanks for the podcast guys.

      • The discussion about the console controls and UI answered all the questions I had.

        /facepalm

        • How did that warrant a facepalm? I wanted to know how the inventory works in hotseat multiplayer game and how does the targeting of skills like Leap work with a controller. Both of those questions had been answered by Flux. Stop hitting yourself man, it’s not healthy.

          • I was just wondering, looking at the state of the game, all the problems and issues, how one could possibly be purely interested in things like console control and UI. But it’s ok dude, it wasn’t meant offsenive. For each his own, I guess…

            • Oh, that’s not all I was interested in, just look back at my questions two news articles back. Those were only my questions about the console version. I’m sorry, I probably could have made that more clear, but since I wasn’t expecting a reply I just wrote my comment as a quick thank you for the podcast team. 🙂

            • And don’t worry, no offense taken. 🙂

            • It merited a facepalm because you forgot to complain about something.

    6. I’m not much of a podcast person, maybe I’m too ADD to just sit and listen to people talk or something, but I stuck around for the ‘not blacklisted’ explanation and I think y’all have good voices for this. Thanks for the writeups though, I definitely enjoy my news in written form!

      • I agree, and I never just sit and watch or listen to a podcast. I usually get the MP3 and listen while commuting or at the gym, or play it on my compute while I’m cooking or doing housework or something. Or gaming; many listeners say they listen while playing D3.

        For people who don’t follow those habits, we do provide the time stamps, so if you only want to hear one portion, you can skip right to it. Enjoy.

    7. Top D3 fan site asking players to take a break and try other games?

      Back to the blacklist! 😛

      • “If you’re displeased with the current game and all you want from Diablo 3 is MOAR new game content, and you do not care about dev interviews, theorycrafting, insight into the process, concept art, etc…”..

    8. Was hoping to hear something about difficulty issues – but it seems that there was nothing about it ^( 4 different gear checks right now is a little bit to much… this shit needs changes.

      • That’s one of my top questions for the upcoming dev interview. We talked about it on the last podcast, actually.

        Once D3X adds Act 5 (or whatever) they should scrape off one of the difficulty levels. Just rescale the progression for something like 1-40, 41-60, and then right into Inferno. Hell difficulty is redundant and boring and adds nothing to D3.

        • Actually I think for newtimers Hell difficulty is actually a good step in difficulty between Nightmare and Inferno. Also for Ironborn or self-found characters.

          However, once act 5 extends the length of each playthrough, I can see your point.

          I think a better compromise would be removing the level requirements of 30 Nightmare 50 Hell and 60 Inferno. If people WANT to go in at a lower level and get themselves killed if they’re not prepared, then why not? And this removed requirement could be applied after the account has one character at level 60 or something.

        • Or drop Hell, and then rename Inferno to Hell. Because, what can be worse than Hell?

          • I’m open to name changing and the tradition is Hell as the highest diff level. But we’ve had so much talk about “inferno” as the D3 end game that changing that now would probably confuse.

            As for the difficulty, they’d have to rescale things, so that Nightmare Act 5 would be as hard as Hell Act 3-4 is now, but that’s just fiddling with the numbers on the spreadsheets; adding more damage/hps/etc, to enemies.

            I don’t see what the alternative is? I mean say they add an Act 5 that’s as large or larger than Acts 2 and 3. That would blow the exp curve the other way; you’d be level 35-40 when you got to NM, putting you well over the designed level curve there.

            • They shouldn’t have broken the tradition in the first place, but they of course did their best… sigh.

              Anyway, I think they know how to handle the rescaling. But no matter what, I hope they drop one of the difficulties, preferably Inferno. Having 4 is just too much. They can complement with an endless dungeon instead, as they were keen on.

          • In my native tongue “Hell” and “Inferno” translate into the same damned thing. So, for me it’s like “Hell” and “Hell on steroids”.
            I remember months ago people asking for a new difficulty level (before MP’s were thrown in the game).
            Imagine they did it in the Xpac. Wouldn’t Hardcore be fun if you had to go through 5 acts 5 times each time the Internet connection craps on you? I wonder what name would Blizz pick for the new difficulty level…

    9. Thanks for the podcast.

      Definitely ‘want more’, but at least with the console version and XPak there is some coders still on the team.

    10. QUOTE

      I'm open to name changing and the tradition is Hell as the highest diff level. But we've had so much talk about "inferno" as the D3 end game that changing that now would probably confuse. 
      
      As for the difficulty, they'd have to rescale things, so that Nightmare Act 5 would be as hard as Hell Act 3-4 is now, but that's just fiddling with the numbers on the spreadsheets; adding more damage/hps/etc, to enemies. 
      
      I don't see what the alternative is? I mean say they add an Act 5 that's as large or larger than Acts 2 and 3. That would blow the exp curve the other way; you'd be level 35-40 when you got to NM, putting you well over the designed level curve there.

      How does that really change things? If you’re doing MP 10 you already finish around those levels depending on your xp gear and how much you explore side areas.

    11. Pretty strong saying there’s several viable Witch Doctor Builds. There are people who would say there are no viable Witch Doctor Builds.

    12. I listen to the show occasionally because I had a lot of good memories of this podcast from before the game released. I loved the sense of humor and the reserved excitement. You devoted the first 5 mins of this show to the subject of why Blizzard has taken you back, all 3 of you sat around baffled as to what could have changed. I can tell you quite easily.

      -Before the game came out it was a huge entertainment release and they didn’t need disloyal and cynical fansites having their own opinions about the game.

      -The game came out and it was the most disappointing release of all time. Flux realized he couldn’t be run the largest D3 fansite while joining in the beating of the dead horse, so decided to give the game a pass and hope that enough of the community around the game survived to justify keeping the site up.

    13. No offense, but XANTH is a horrible radio personality. His monotone voice, slow speaking style, and uninteresting comments totally destroy the pace of this podcast.

      I don’t know if he’s speaking softly because he wants to sound like his voice is lower pitched than it is, or he’s trying not to wake a sleeping baby, but it’s not fit for a podcast. His California “valley” accent was the last straw and I had to turn it off.

      I’m not dissing on him as a person, it’s just that some people’s voices are good to broadcast, others not. I appreciate what you guys are trying to do, but listening to Xanth makes me grind my teeth.

    14. I’d really like to hear them address the issue of massive buffering happening when you first play every time. The game runs nice and fast, but the first time you run into a monster the game basically stops. My machine isn’t any lightweight, the issue is just that the game is pulling all the assets from the hard drive into memory. It would be nice if there was an option to preload the assets when you first join an act.

      This is especially crucial to hardcore play. It’s not safe to go in a portal in your first game because you won’t be able to move for several seconds.

    15. Totally agree…and can I get more podcasts… Please?….seriously I destroyed everyone of these and I WAANT MORE…come on flux man…ill even donate.. Sheesh

      Ps. More podcasts!?

    16. Saved as a favorite, I really like your website!

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