The Diablo Podcast #66: Beta Reflections and Bashiok Encounters


Flux is joined by Grug and Azzure to talk about the highs and lows of the recently-concluded Diablo III beta test. All of the guys were lucky enough to be in the Beta almost from the start, and with the help of numerous fan suggestions in a big beta forum discussion thread, they review the highs and lows of the Diablo 3 Beta.

Topics include the ever-changing difficulty, the slow pace of invites, technical problems, the glorious “Beyond the Gate” preview, the huge number of rare boss monsters, varied special areas and rare quests, the addition of skill runes, the unpleasant new skill UI and chat UI, and several more. Grug then tells the story of his recent encounter with Bashiok at PAX East, and relates more of the new info Bashiok shared with him, before the show wraps up with release night plans and first character choices.

Approximate starting times for the various segments:

  • 0:30 — Beta retrospective; highs and lows.
  • 27:30 — Grug’s conversation with Bashiok at PAX east and the new info he revealed.
  • 37:30 — Release night plans. First class choices. Closing thoughts.
    • The Diablo Podcast Episode Guide in the wiki provides easy navigation with a short summary of every show.
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    1. Diablo.incgamers.com F5 F5 F5 F5 F5 F5 F5…
      Life is just a little sad.
      Life is going be real pathetic May 15.
      Meh, who cares.
       
       

      • Why F5, we’re in a new millenium… Just stick http://diablo.incgamers.com/feed into your favourite RSS reader and enjoy the option to stupidly sit and watch that “Unread posts: 0” 🙂

        • Oh I see.  Personal clarification, while I live in the present (high tech!), I also live in the stone age.
          HDTV, Apple, cell phones – check!
          RSS Reader?  What the hell is that?????
          Yes, I’m weird. 😉 😉
          Peace.
           

          • I wasn’t having much luck with Push RSS notification apps on iOS, so I switched to the dumbest Dark Side possible and made a Twitter. From there, you can enter a cell phone number and get an old-school SMS whenever Incgamers makes an entry. I have personally found it to be the most reliable, but perhaps Android has a better Push RSS app that actually works 100% of the time.

      • Plug a penny between your F5 and F6 key.

    2. I’m pretty sure Bashiok ment content as in new dungeons/bosses, not stuff that’s the most important, which is Items and new Affixes. I really hope I’m right on this ^^

    3. 😀 Happy mothers day mom, and to all the other moms out there 😀

    4. 43:11?  Really!  Thats all you got?  What the hell.  I want more even if its random talk you podcaster’s been rambling on about for the past 2 years 😆 on the beta.
      Also, and I might not be remembering this correctly, but wasn’t there supposed to be like a special podcast (or two?) with Flux and Elly?  Something to carry us addicts over until May 15.
       

      • Ironically, the actual recording of this one was over 90 minutes, but people complain when they’re over an hour, so I cut out a lot of digression / theorycrafting stuff that grug and Azzure always get into over game systems and features.  Uncut full length director’s cut versions coming soon to site subscribers?  heh

        • Most of the other (mainly sc2) podcasts I listen to are around 2 hours. People need to stop complaining and just turn you on while running around d3 like blizzard did with the followers v.v

          I’m thinking about subscribing anyway (just want to see how much I actually use the site) but I definitely would for longer podcasts xD 

        • I vote for the uncut version of podcast as well! Always interesting on hearing someone’s theorycraft on game system etc.

    5. That podcast did feel kinda really short o.o Seemed like there were a lot of cuts (I’m guessing where talk went random, but that stuff is fun) which chopped off topics mid-sentence. The main thing though was just the sense that you guys could have gone on for a hell of a lot longer, esp. since it wasn’t recorded today or anything.

      Still, any podcast is better than no podcast and I did enjoy what I heard 🙂 

      • We had to cut out a long discussion based on an embarrassing oversight made by one of the casters.

    6. Stopped listening when he said there are only 5 people left playing Starcraft 2. I don’t know how stupid you can really be to believe that.

      • Yeah, considering there are major worldwide tournaments pretty much weekly, with many others going on during the week, with audiences into the hundreds of thousands for bigger events, that kinda made me scoff, too. I’m sure no one is playing a game that’s getting that sort of worldwide attention.

        I do agree that the chat system is awful, and in D3’s case, they’re touting it as “we never saw it as a single player game” it’s really baffling that they don’t think communication is important in this multiplayer game. 

    7. I don’t believe Bashiok when he says that the actual game is the same as the beta. I think content in the final release will be in a different order than it was in the beta. Bash would have many reasons to not let people know that. I believe that you will do everything in the same order up to the cathedral, but instead of finding you know who on the 1st floor, you will find him after the 4th floor! After that, you do the quest for the blacksmith, and find the item he wants. Once you finish that, instead of going back to the cathedral, you go back to the cemetery and the gate in the north west corner will now open and you continue onto the bonus area’s that were exploited during the beta. I don’t know if people remember, but there was a video or screenshot from a few years ago, where we saw Leoric’s chamber from the game, and after you killed him, there was a secret passage under his throne. To me, that doesn’t seem to fit, if the final game is the same as the beta. I also agree, that there are too many references to Leoric after the location in the beta that you kill him!

      • interesting thoughts but the starter edition will just have the very same content as the beta. Therefor i guess we won’t see any changes up to Leoric.

    8. The old version of the rune system is just like the spell book system from D1. If you like the changes for the skill system from D1 to D2, you’ll find the new rune system much better than the old one.

      • I kinda liked the spellbook concept, made learning spells feel much more lifelike and real. now everything is automated. your stats are automatically upgraded, your magic is automatically upgraded and your magic’s magic is automatically upgraded. you don’t even need to study anything to get a new rune variant.

        and you can’t turn off that piece of shit chatbox.

        PS: I didn’t really say shit, I just put 4 **** in a row to create the illusion of cussing

    9. Nice to have #66 be the last one before launch 🙂

      • you’d think they’d go with 69, a little “tongue in cheek” humor that would suggest that they’re familiar with something else other than gabbing on like old farts 24/7

    10. This is it guys! The final stretch…24 hours to go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      I don’t know how I’ll go to work on Tuesday.

    11. The illusion that stash space limitations are a function of high storage costs irks me. It’s just not so.

      Database storage is NOT expensive. Modern databases are DESIGNED to handle MASSIVE AMOUNTS of data. Good queries can often be on an order of complexity of O(n), i.e. “give me Joe Blow’s 23rd item in his stash” would be instant. Typical queries are O(log n) i.e. traversing a B-Tree.

      So, queries execute VERY fast.

      OK, storage. Storage is VERY cheap for databases. Database typically take advantage of storing values by data type i.e. character level will be stored in a single byte (0-255). Well, it should be, or they should fire their database engineers. Compare this with a plaintext file where storing the text “60” would consume two bytes (and perhaps 4 bytes in Unicode). So we can already see JUST USING a database could potentially cut storage requirements by 1/4th.

      Now consider a person’s entire account, stored in plaintext without ANY compression. I made a test text file containing 210 random 64 character ID’s (presumably what might be used to store an item’s random seed) along with 3 more random 64 character ID’s (assuming each single socket item can have 3 gems — which is serious overkill). I also keyed in a ton of information in plaintext strings, like account Name, realm, region, IP, item names, level, skills selected, and recipes taught to artisans (64 character IDs).

      My file is about 100K. Yes, that’s 100 KILOBYTES in UNCOMPRESSED PLAINTEXT.

      Some simple math (let’s shoot a little high; I’ll quadruple storage requirements):

      20 million users * 400 kilobytes = 7 terabytes

      A 2 TB drive is about $150, so we need maybe double the total required space to be on the safe side, say 14 TB. So, 7 * $150 = $1,050

      So PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, don’t settle into a mentality that data storage is at a premium for this type of requirement. The reality is that it just isn’t.

      • It’s not just the storage costs, its the added load on the DB when there are many more transactions moving around. And D3 items are not stored as a unique ID, they have dozens of modifiers.
         

        • Right, items themselves are most definitely not stored as a single unique ID. More likely, as in Battle.net’s sniffed protocols and MPQ datamining, item types are GBIDs (32-bit integers) and affixes are also GBIDs. So lets say an item does have a dozen modifiers. That would be 32 bits * 12 = 384 bits, or 48 bytes. Of course there are other values that also define an item like min max damage, attacks per second, durability, whether it’s equipped, inv x, y location. So, it’s clear an item will take over 48 bytes.
           
          So, I think my estimate at 64 * 4 = 256 bytes per item was still a bit conservative.
           

      • I think it’s more of a concern over memory usage/processing time then actual storage capacity.  But I can’t resist…  Your cost estimates of a server HDD setup are way off.  They don’t use the same HDDs we use, they are considerable more expensive (try $600 for 500gig) and they are never installed as single drive storage.  1TB of storage is probably made up of 7 (or more depending on RAID setup) HDD’s working in tandem for fault tolerance.  And then of course there will be backups and backups of backups all also running in RAID, storage is very, very expensive.

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