GameplanetNZ has posted the transcript of their 15 minutes with Wyatt Cheng and Andrew Chambers. The interview covers a lot of topics, including what they’ve learned from the Beta (some things have actually been nerfed further), the other Artisans, PvP Deathmatch changes, Hardcore PvP going non-lethal, and more. It’s very informative, so check it out.
Chambers: You specify the item you want, then you choose the enhancement you want, and that enhancement actually has a range. So say the plus experience might be 10 to 20 per cent: when she applies it you might get plus 15 per cent experience. You can reapply that and you’ll have a change of getting plus 16 or plus 17 experience and it’ll never go beneath the current enhancement, but you’ll have a chance of getting something better.
Gameplanet: Do you foresee in difficulties with the community not getting behind Hardcore mode PvP?
Cheng: Our current position is that you don’t die in PvP in Hardcore mode. So what happened in Diablo II is that anyone who wanted to do Hardcore PvP would basically level a character to level 10, and then they’d find another level 10 character, and they’d fight and one would die. That’s just not really that interesting. So we’re just going to let players engage in PvP.
Gameplanet: What changes have been made to balance as a result of the beta?
Cheng: One of the big ones is the change to Wizards and Witch Doctors to use their weapon damage. That came primarily of wanting them to care about their weapon. So we went through and converted all of those over.
Also some difficulty issues. As an example, people complained a lot about “arcane enchanted” mobs, the purple hydra-like things. So that has been nerfed. In fact, that has been redesigned in some ways. I don’t want to spoil what its been changed to, but certainly those difficulty spikes. I think what makes Diablo fun and interesting – since there’s a lot of randomness to it – you’re going through this ebb and flow of difficulty that goes up and down, and you want to make sure that the lows are never too low, but you also want to make sure that the high points in difficulty are never too high.
I’m taking the HC PvP change as great news, as I’ve been one of the (many) advocates against the perma-death only style of dueling, purely for practical reasons. It meant that if you played HC and wanted to duel regularly, you’d have to make SC characters just for that purpose. I do hope they retain some kind of perma-death option on dueling, or at least a way to bet items. It would be nice if there were some way to put stakes on dueling, as Blizzard isn’t allowing us anything as simple and logical as won/loss records or a visible PvP ladder/ranking system.
I’m a lot more ambivalent about them making further nerfs to the early game. Jay Wilson said several times at Blizzcon that fans were constantly complaining about how overly-easy the beta was. So their solution was to take out the few things that were potentially difficult?
On the larger sense of D3’s combat engine, this makes sense. If you’ll recall, the whole point in changing around the combat system in D3 (no potion spamming, health orbs, no in-battle TPs, etc) was to increase the overall difficulty, while reducing the easy-hard-easy difficulty spikes. Tough monsters in D2 had to be able to almost one-shot you since life leech and potions were so plentiful — hence D3 would remove those easy/instant heal options to create more of an overall challenge.
A fine theory, but at least from what we’ve seen in the beta.. it’s not the case. The beta is way too easy 99% of the time, with the only difficulty coming from… certain bosses that can practically one-shot you. Making it exactly the same as the early game in D2, minus all you can drink health potions.
Truthfully, Arcane Enchanted (and probably Frozen and Molten as well) boss packs were too hard for the early going, when compared to the overall soporific difficulty. Like Wyatt said, the “difficulty spike” was too severe. But a larger problem is that the base difficulty is much too easy, which lulls players into overconfidence, which makes the “oh you mean I actually have to react to danger?” moment when you encounter an Arcane Enchanted boss pack so surprising.
I hope they haven’t nerfed boss mods throughout the entire game, but more than that I hope they’ve increased the difficulty of pretty much all the base monsters, so players can’t just cruise along without even taking damage between boss battles.