The Diablo 3 Podcast #7: Interview with NYT’s Seth Schiesel


Flux interviews New York Times reporter Seth Schiesel about his recent article on Diablo III, his visit to Blizzard Irvine and play time on Diablo III, his thoughts on Diablo III’s economy and Auction House, and Blizzard’s PR initiatives and fansite disapproval. Plus bio info about how Seth came to write about video games for the NYT.

It’s been a couple of weeks since a great preview of Diablo III appeared in the New York Times. Like most of you guys, I enjoyed the piece, and the fact that it was written with an obvious fluency about Diablo III and gaming in general. Wanting moar, I contacted the author, Seth Schiesel, and after some scheduling difficulties, we finally had a chance to chat at the end of last week. I wanted to ask him about his background in gaming and how he’d risen to write game features and reviews for one of the most read and respected newspapers in the world, and I wanted inside details about his visit to Blizzard Irvine.

Happily I got all that and more. We ended up speaking for over an hour, with the whole chat recorded for TDP. We talked about Seth’s gaming history and career progression, got into a long conversation about his visit to Blizzard Irvine, spoke at length about the likely features of a Diablo III Auction House/trading system (Seth wrote about business/finance earlier in his career) and ultimately segued into more general gaming conversation, including some interesting (to me, at least) comparing of notes about what it’s like to cover Diablo III and interact with Bliz PR as a NYT reporter vs. an independently-minded Diablo III fansite webmaster.

And yes, there are numerous behind-the-scenes details about his recent visit to Blizzard Irvine, his play time on the D3 demo, his interview with Jay Wilson and other some developers, and much more. Here’s a quote, from about 29 minutes into the show. Click to The Diablo Podcast to listen to the whole thing streaming, or via itunes.

Seth: I played Diablo 2 on USEast. Strictly on the realms for, well… many hundreds of hours. And I played Diablo I as well. I’ve always been an action RPG fan, so I was psyched. One of the cool things while I was playing [D3 at Blizzard’s offices] was that a couple of the developers came in and looked over my shoulder. They said that it’s always interesting for them to see how different people play. They’re so used to it that it’s hard for them to understand how people will play who haven’t been doing it for five years.

It’s funny because when they made me leave the room, to go sit down with jay Wilson in his office, it was because like 10 or 12 of the developers were going to use the room for a big group testing.

Flux: They probably have the full game build on those machines, while the visitors are just given the Blizzcon demos to play.

Seth: *laughing* Oh I’m sure they do. Like I quoted Jay Wilson saying in my piece, they think they’re on the home stretch. So I’m sure that internally they’re testing through the entire game at this point. Or at least like 90% of it.I would think that they’ve got most of the game built by now.

The Diablo 3 Podcast Episode Guide in DiabloWiki.net provfides links to every show, plus quick summaries.

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