October was another slow-ish month on quantity of news, at least compared to the orgy of August info. The tenth month was saved by Blizzard PR awarding phone interviews with the D3 development team to a number of Diablo fansites. Those interviews went off primarily on October 8th, and while we were free to record them, Blizzard PR asked us not to post the recordings; just to use them for our own reference. With those to reference, all of the sites eventually released a transcript of their interviews. Some (Diii.net) started posted them that evening, while others took a couple/few weeks to get around to it. This actually worked out fairly well, since if everyone had gotten right on it, all the interviews would have come out immediately and been forgotten a week later.
Aside from those interviews, some of which broke a good amount of new info, the month brought a number of Bashiok forum posts and various other items of interest, most of which are summarized below. Click through to read the full month’s summary, and check back over the earlier summaries you might have missed.
The month began in familiar territory; with another announced delay of the v1.13 patch. This one was a double kick in the nuts, with a delay caused by the removal of the best promised feature; the increased stash size. Which remained removed, when the patch finally debuted on the test realm in December.
Also on the first, a guy proved that he was a bigger Diablo fan than you, by getting a full back tattoo of some of the awesome concept art in the Diablo I manual. Pwned!
On the 3rd Bashiok leapt into a forum thread with some content-free, but concept-rich comments about the way a gold-based economy could/should work, and why/how they hoped to created that with Diablo 3. This one went a second round, a few days later.
The fansite interviews began on the 8th, and they were quite juicy. Well, in concept; in actuality they were only as good as the questions asked, and it can be tricky to elicit good replies from the developers when they’re not necessarily out to reveal new info. You have to be up to date on the game info, and it definitely helps if you’ve conducted such interviews in the past, since you don’t get nervous and choke, and you know how to phrase questions to get new info without being so blatant and aggressive that they give you a bunch of, “I can’t really get into that yet.”
The way the interviews were set up was interesting: Bashiok contacted the admins of various fansites, told us about the phone interviews, and asked what type of questions we were most interested in asking so they could match us up with an appropriate developer. For instance, if you were going to ask a bunch of lore or story questions, then they’d set you up with (as it turned out) story director Leonard Boyarsky. If you had a bunch of art and design questions, then you got Julian Love, the lead technical artist.
I was interested in those areas, but when I’m following a game pre-release I’m most interested in the content and design process, so I said I’d be asking questions about skills, character design and balance, etc. Based on that Bashiok told me I’d be interviewing Jay Wilson, who was the one I most wanted to interview anyway. Great success!
The interviews went off the morning of October 8th, and we were free to post the transcripts as soon as we wanted to. I got right on the transcribing, starting literally minutes after I said goodbye to Jay, and had it done in a couple of hours. (If only I’d shown that sort of temporal dedication during my school years.) From there it was easy to break it up into multiple installments, sorted by topic, the first of which I posted that very afternoon. Better yet, since I’d gotten off over 50 questions, and Jay had given great answers, we were able to post the interview in six installments, with added info, images, links, and even a rant.
The full transcript can be seen here, or you can read it piece by piece, for the added info and lengthy fan comment threads each one spawned. One, Two, Three, Four, Five, and Six. (Six closed with an infamous rant about the removal of the weapon switch hotkey, and the post has 79 comments, most of them debating that very feature.)
Other fansites who got in on the interview day:
- October 14th, Jay Wilson interview with Games TM is teased. (It has yet to be posted, as of January 2010.)
- October 15th, Julian Love interviewed by Planet Diablo.
- October 21st, Leonard Boyarsky interviewed, by Hellforge.
- October 29th, Julian Love interviewed, by Diablo Source.
- November 24th, Jay Wilson interviewed by Diablo Fans. (This was a makeup for them missing the first round, which is why it’s only 15 minutes and was conducted/posted 6 weeks later.)
Besides the interviews, which we could only wait to read, Bashiok kept busy in the forums, and on the 10th he “revealed” something lore-savvy fans had already figured out. That we would not be returning to Harrogath in Diablo 3, since it’s not there anymore. It was destroyed, along with the rest of Mount Arreat, by the explosion caused by Tyrael’s destruction of the Worldstone.
October 16th provided the second v1.13 delay announcement of the month, this time due to locusts.
Also on October 16th, we saw some amusing hijinks between the community managers who run the Diablo and Warcraft twitter feeds. This sort of frivolity led more or less directly to a minor blowup a few days alter, when a lot of fans took @Diablo seriously when it asked for suggestions on a game feature. Those fans were a bit peeved the next day when Bashiok revealed that they were just asking questions to amuse/entertain, and not because they actually wanted serious feature debate via Twitter (not that such is possible, 140 characters at a time). We turned out an editorial explaining the issue, and wondering if it was simply to be expected from attempts to communicate via Twitter, instead of something like a forum post, where there’s space to explain and avoid confusion.
October 29th saw Bashiok give some useful item color information in a forum and twitter post, and add some bonus discussion about who might have survived the destruction of Harrogath, and who most certainly did not.
That was it for October’s content, since Blizzard did a bunch of cool celebratory stuff for Halloween, but none of it had any connection to Diablo. (The most Halloween-ish of their game properties.) There were plenty of jack-o-lanterns with Night Elves on them, though. Better luck next year, Diablo community!
- All of October 2009’s interviews and major media.
- All of October 2009’s news headlines.