Upon Closer Inspection #6: New Screenie Close-Ups

There’s no specific theme to this installment of Upon Closer Inspection. I’ve just been cropping cool bits out of the recent screenshots to add to the leading Diablo Wiki, and thought a number of them deserved a closer look. These pics are large to show off the details, but I haven’t enlarged any of them; they’re just cropped out of the huge screenshots which I thought were awesome. I am apparently in the minority in that view, given how many commenters were like, “D3 y u no have anti-aliasing!!!1!” but since I get to post news where everyone in the Diablo community reads it and those guys don’t… nyah nyah nyah.

Here are a couple of the pics; click through for a bunch more, with captions for bonus info. All of the images are linked to the wiki pages where they (and new info) were just added, and these represent just a tiny fraction of the recent Diablo Wiki updats, (more than 500 edits in the last 3 days) where numerous volunteers are busily incorporating all the new info on DiabloWikiskills, non-DiabloWikitraits, the DiabloWikiAuction House, DiabloWikiRunestones, and much more.

Eye Candy Close-Ups

The question of whether Diablo III is gory and scary and creepy has come up time and again, ever since the DiabloWikiArt Controversy first crawled out from the primordial depths. Initially, I was one of those skeptical of the D3 Team’s claims that they were harkening back to Diablo I in style, and that they were eagerly-embracing a gruesome, moody, creepy, DiabloWikihorror vibe. My fears were largely allayed by New Tristram as presented in the 2008 Blizzcon demo, and I included a large and approving segment on the horror issue in one of my write-ups after the show.

There wasn’t much for the horror vibe in the Blizzcon 2009 demo, set in the Act Two desert, but last year’s Blizzcon presented a bloody, torture-themed dungeon, plus a green-tinted jail level that was effectively dreary and emotionally impactful. As a result I’m willing to grant the D3 developers full credit when they say the rest of the game continues that horror vibe, and improves upon it. Just like a Diablo game should.

Here you see a couple of views from the new screens, with a gruesomely-impaled body from New Tristram, and some lovely wall art. It costs an arm and a leg to get into that dungeon, I guess?

A number of the new shots showed off the dynamic lighting effects from spells, with cool colored light illuminating large monsters from below. Here’s an DiabloWikiUnburied bathed in light (albeit the wrong color of light) from a glowing Monk attack skill aimed for its midsection/face. Another one of the same monster, lit by an incoming DiabloWikiArcane Orb, is seen at the top right of this post.

Diablo III’s glowing chests are called DiabloWikiTranscendent chests, and like the glowing chests of Diablo II, they are bursting full of loot. Much more loot, even; these sorts of chests routinely pop several items and have a dozen stacks of gold, and remember, that’s per player, since you all get your own drops.

It took me a moment to notice the amusingly massive clipping error in this one, with the lid of the chest entirely skewed by those pillars. Or maybe it’s not clipping; maybe the chest just burst open so powerfully that it impaled itself?

One new monster was revealed in the screenshots. It’s called a DiabloWikiCrypt Child and looks to have something of a D2 Rat Man vibe going. No cleaver, but it’s small and goblin-like and creepy, and you can bet these ankle biters will swarm out in Zerg-like numbers. And who knows, maybe higher level versions of them will add tools sufficient to carve the still-quivering flesh from your bones?

We’ve seen a LOT of images of the DiabloWikiWizard using DiabloWikiDisintegrate, but I enjoyed this one for the angle and the lighting. That’s the DiabloWikiSkeleton King there at the bottom, apparently raising one hand as part of his skeleton summoning animation. The DiabloWikiTemplar is tanking away, oblivious, while his mistress Wizard enjoys the free shot at a stationary skeleton target.

Can we start feeling sorry for Leoric, yet? He was driven insane by DiabloWikiDiablo, his son was kidnapped and then possessed, DiabloWikiLazarus manipulated him into executing his loyal wife, and then after he was dead… he got resurrected to serve as a low level quest boss in Diablo I. And now he’s back to get rekilled again. He’s got to be hoping for some time off come Diablo 4.

A fair number of DiabloWikiMonk skills have been renamed since Blizzcon 2010, most likely to give wiki updaters like MrFrye an extra headache as he renovates all of the skills pages. This picture shows one, a low level DiabloWikicombo skill that was formerly called Lightning Hands. Or Lightning Fists. Or Fists of Lightning. Something forgettable and generic like that, anyway. It’s now called DiabloWikiHands of Thunder, which is a little more memorable, though dangerously close to the punchline of a fart joke.

This picture shows the third and final hit of the combo, during which the DiabloWikiMonk poses… rather like a boss.

Finally, we’ve got a pair of DiabloWikimonster close-ups. Their beastly graphics have been much improved during the game’s development, and the high quality screenshots, plus the return of the zoom feature, gives us a very clear look at the details of this DiabloWikizombie, and well-armored DiabloWikiskeleton.

I’ve got a ton more cool cropped images from the new screens, plus lots more from the gameplay movie, plus a bunch from ninja photos of the interfaces (taken at the Bliz event last week), so expect several more updates like this one in the immediate future.


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  1. It looks better then before but they still need to fix the clipping issues and the fact that the crypt childs right foot is going through the floor. The character still appear to float above the ground. As for the horror vibe i must be very jaded i guess since they dont evoke any feeling of horror what so ever in me. they are dead flesh only a remainder why the character fight the hordes of the burning hells

    • I’m guessing these screens are half the reason why they removed the zoom function.

    • And it looks like the skeleton king’s right heel is also clipping through the floor…

    • wow guys, we going to split hairs over this?

      • Perhaps we should start up a democratic committee to make sure that all future conversations are Exile-approved.

      • I think Exile is right there. Clipping is the norm in any 3d game. Chances are you won’t even notice it while playing, so why all the criticism?

        Plus, Blizz is known to develop games which features pretty good graphics but  can still be played on most systems.

        I guess they could have developed a pixel perfect collision detection technology if they really wanted to, but than you may have needed a brand new 3000$ rig to play the game. Unneeded, if you ask me.

        Screenies still look amazing to me.

    • I really hope you’re not being serious… The game’s not even in Beta yet and you’re complaining about minuscule clipping issues that won’t be visible from the perspective you actually play the game at. Graphical polish is one of the last things that go into a game.

  2. I wonder why they’d release screenshots that are so obviously borked.

  3. Well, gore doesn’t equal horror in my opinion. A lot of the horror feeling of D1 came from the music, the sound effects (foot steps, monster groans), the claustrophobic dungeons, and especially the limited light radius. One of the coolest things was that you often couldn’t really see what was coming at you, you could only hear it. Casting a bolt of lightning would then suddenly illuminate the area and you’d realize: OMG I’m surrounded!!
    Those are the classic tools of horror movies: You are most afraid of the monster which you can’t see!

    • Couldn’t agree more. I remember the feeling when I was opening a door and didn’t know what I would face. Scary

    • If I was the one who wrote mrpinsky’post, it would be downvoted 20 times instead of upvoted 20 times.



      • haha yeah i was shocked to see a +25 on it i thought everyone was on board with this new art direction now.. haha seems like fans win this tme! 🙂

        Hey permaxium i ned your help bro! Im doing a blizzcon piece which i need your critique on! any chance i could get a AIM/email link off you mate? 🙂

  4. *Creeeeeeak Door opens* “AAAH FRESH MEAT!!!” 


    Diablo I… classic…

    It would be really funny if for all the controversy, the game ends up scaring the shit out of too many people and no one plays it. THAT would be irony. Nice crops btw fun.

  5. For me Diablo has never been about “horror”, far from it I was never even really scared in either Diablo 1 or 2.
    For me, Diablo is about the dark moodiness, evoking feelings of depression, pain, hate and misery. The uniqueness of each Diablo game is how it has been presented. Diablo 1’s approach was doing this through atmosphere. Slow placed combat mixed in with a low light radius, creepy music, and lots of monster noises from monsters you couldn’t see. Just entering the Cathedral puts you into a more dark and serious mindset.
    For Diablo 2, they had new techniques of doing this. They still kept some of the mechanics for atmosphere, such as light radius, but got rid of slow paced combat. With better graphics and resolution though they were able to include new distinguishable visuals to evoke more feelings, such as religious symbols used in dark rituals, and bodies found to be horribly massacred, as well as adding more creepiness to the monsters seen. Finally, cinematics played an important role. (Somewhat) seeing Marius die in a horrible manner, the transformation of Diablo, as well as the dustruction of tristram all added to the darkness of this game.
    What I’m expecting out of Diablo 3 is the grimness in the story telling, with some accompaniment from techniques used in previous games. Sure there was some lore and story in Diablo 1 and 2, but (IMO) it wasn’t a lot (compared to Blizzard’s standards today) and wasn’t the main focus to create the atmosphere and mood that these games evoked.
    TL;DR for me Diablo was about dark, grim moodiness, and that each game in the series has had a unique way of giving us that. I hope Diablo 3 continues this trend.
    Thats my perspective anyways. I’m sure others have had a different outlook on the series.

  6. “A fair number of Monk skills have been renamed since Blizzcon 2010, most likely to give wiki updaters like MrFrye an extra headache as he renovates all of the skills pages.”
    You’re a funny guy, Flux.

  7. “Here you see a couple of views from the new screens, with a gruesomely-impaled body from New Tristram, and some lovely wall art. It costs an arm and a leg to get into that dungeon, I guess?”


    We discussed it prior, but it appears that they’re showing off an unoptimized version. I’m willing to bet that these have many options turned off or turned on low. There will be AA, in the form of FSAA. It just isn’t present in these screenshots. But at least there’s lots of new stuff to look at. I hope they didn’t remove Mr. Meatwagon.

    Is it just me, or is Leoric’s armor rather…angelic? Near his chest piece, he has one of those “circle” things that tyrael has. And compare to the Templar, the holy warrior. Their armor, color scheme, look similar.

  8. Tell me D3 isn’t dark enough! Those are some gruesome pics! Anyway, there’s no anti-aliasing because that stuff is put in at the last minute.

  9. For me to be scared, there has to be a feeling that you’re trapped and must stealthily survive the impossible to find freedom. However, with the town portal system, that won’t be happening, unless they make an exception for certain dungeons.

  10. Reading some of these comments has been very insightful. Spoiler alert. Some of you will never be happy with Diablo.

    • Blizzard are in a damned-if-they-do, damned-if-they-don’t scenario. If they more doggedly stuck to the D1/D2 formula people would moan that they’re not being progressive enough. On the other hand no matter how they choose push the envelope people will moan that it’s “not Diablo enough”. I don’t envy Jay Wilson’s position at all.

      • Nah, that applies to pre-release only. Rest assured 99% of us will be screaming “BEST DIABLO EVER” once we get our dirty hands on the f*ing game. It’s the wait driving us insane.

  11. If these are the screens they want people to see; how do the screens they don’t want people to see look? Because let’s be frank here, the texture in some of those shots could’ve been from a 1998 game.

  12. These models pale in comparison to the models created for SC2 tbh

    • Not to mention, SC2 looks unbelievable sexy when played on ULTRA in full HD res (you will need a powefull rig for that though).

      Pretty sure D3 in motion and in all HD glory is 100 times better than any screeny released to date.

  13. Flux, that isn’t the third stage of Hands of Thunder, it is the second stage. If you look at the Press Event gameplay video, at about 4:40, the female Monk uses Hands of Thunder and on the second stage she has the same posture and the size of the lightning ball is the same(Tho it is from a different angle.). Compared to the third stage where she uses both hands and the ball size is as large as she is.

  14. @ Exile …Welcome to this website.  I love it because it has new stories lickity-split and Flux and Elly have been delivering Diablo magic for over a decade.  But the “fans” here are… I’m not sure… hypercritical? emo? nostalgic? trolls? perfectionists? uniformed? informed but biased? tragic virgins? Probably all of the above.   I can say that similar posts were popping up pre-D2 release.  People were upset over the craziest things… forced 640×480.  Sprite based graphics in an era of polygonal models. 3 discs, why not just one DVD!  I won’t buy this game if it doesn’t run on NT4.0… etc…

    Speaking to some of the points, anti-aliasing and clipping seem to be the latest rants.  Really odd seeing as how WoW and SC2 support AA (so I would bet the farm this will too)!  Doubly odd seeing as how you can force FSAA with your video drivers.  Triply odd seeing as how items almost always clip in a pre-release build because functionality comes first, graphical polishing comes last.  And that, my friend, is a perfect example of the trolling that exists on this website.


  15. As far as the graphics go in general, I don’t get the scary or horror vibe from them. It’s just too cartoony. I showed my friend who hasn’t played any Diablo game or heard about Diablo 3, and he said the graphics looked like World of Warcraft. Sure there might be some corpses impaled on a stick, but it still looks cartoony.

    I’m going to love the game either way, I just wish they could have used a better color pallet and lighting scheme to make it much more gothic.

  16. I think most of the pics look OK, and I’m sure they will be polished before final release.  Although, I will say the one at the top right, where the guy is impaled, has a DOOM-esque polygon look to him.

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