Wyatt Cheng and Andrew Chambers Interviewed

GameplanetNZ has posted the transcript of their 15 minutes with DiabloWikiWyatt Cheng and DiabloWikiAndrew 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.

Gameplanet: Are [the DiabloWikiMystic‘s item enchantments] randomised or can they be selected?
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 DiabloWikiPvP in DiabloWikiHardcore 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 DiabloWikiWizards and DiabloWikiWitch 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 “DiabloWikiarcane 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.

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27 thoughts on “Wyatt Cheng and Andrew Chambers Interviewed

  1. It seems they really are fully committed to making the first portion of Act 1 Normal tutorial-ish. I suspect that they’re trying to get it to a place where nobody, regardless of skill or experience, starts to feel frustrated that early in the game. The result of that is going to be an experience that’s incredibly easy for people who know what they’re doing, and I suspect that real dyed-in-the-wool DII vets are probably going to find a lot of normal pretty chill. I guess we just have to trust that the game really does scale up.

    • Diablo II normal is pretty chill as well, if they think that the game will scale up, then I’ll give the D3 team the benefit of the doubt.

  2. Its kind of amazing how you think that d3 is too easy. Lets say its the first third of the first act. Go hit d2 and play til darkwood. Like good ol treehead is going to kill you? Seriously, that part of d2 is way easier than the d3 beta. Its just that in d2 gameplay is amazingly slow because youre always out of mana – which doesnt make shit more difficult, just less enjoyable.

  3. Diablo 1 had some huge difficulty spikes too. Chain-gun acid beasts in the Catacombs being one I’m sure most experienced D1 players are familiar with. Also the Butcher and to a lesser extent Skeleton King are quite difficult until you know of effective strategies to defeat them. The other common difficulty spikes were stair-traps in Caves and Hell.

  4. So for the Mystic, you can basically perfect your items to the maximum range allowed for that enchantment since they said you can never get lower on a re-roll? Just keep trying to get the max.

    • I really hope they re-think this. It should be randomized in the full range every time.

      Edit* Or, I suppose it could work if the chance of improvement gets smaller as your enhancement gets better. So to get from near perfect to perfect you need to keep doing it 100’s of times.

    • Yeah, it seems weird that it can only get better, I guess they mean it as a pure gold/materials sink, and they’re essentially balancing as though every item in the end game will have the best possible enchant on it, since eventually… they will.

      I do hope it’s at least not so easy to improve. Say teh odds are even for every possible outcome, and you can add 1-20MF with an enchant. If you get a 14 on the first roll, then on subsequent rolls a 1-13 would count as a 14, so you’d only have a small % chance to improve, and most of your rolls would just be the same, with still just a 5% chance of a 20.

      • That’s what I figured from what was said. Like if you roll a 15 the first time and a 12 the next that it just remains a 15.

        • Yeah, but I’m hoping for that, instead of the game resetting the basement to your current level. If it’s 1-20 and you get a 14, and the next roll can only be 14-20, everyone will have every bonus maxed quite quickly. Too quickly…

  5. “So their solution was to take out the few things that were potentially difficult?”

    “I hope they haven’t nerfed boss mods throughout the entire game”

    They didn’t take out a few things and they didnt nerf boss mods throughout the entire game… Read what he said… They nerfed Arcane Enchanted only and changed what it did… I’m betting that instead of spawning the hydra heads the monsters with that affix will just shoot off arcane orbs themselves when they get hit…

    • arcane enchanted was the potentially most difficult thing in beta, nothing wrong in his statement, stop being a fanatic

      the babies cry and blizz go and nerf things. amazing. i just hope i dont get to end normal with one skill and clicking like a retard

  6. No problem with it always getting better or the reapplication. Why spend so much time upgrading something and then possibility have to do it again when you find something better?

    It’s also so much of a let down seeing it go down. I rather they have a wider range with less chance of rolling max/near max range. For example, if something ranged from 1 to 20, you’ll likely roll 5 and lower your first time and every time after you’ll most likely increment it upwards by just a few. That’s just one item, do it for all your items and it’s actually a lot of time spent on enchanting.

    If they want to increase the time sink to do this, than they can also up the amount of material needed to enchant. (Promoting RMAH?)/shrug

  7. This is the worst news i’ve heard in months (re. hc). First they take away rmah, now this. A little more whining from all the kids (and Flux) and they’ll make a non-perma death hc option for PVM too..
    Flux, why not take your arguments/thoughts on the issue to dzone? Afraid to get owned by REAL HC players?

    • Wait what? “First they take away rmah”

      I’ve heard nothing about this. Can someone confirm/disapprove?

    • It’s bad news that HC players will now be able to take part in the Arena (more than once a month)? Ann odd perspective, and one that’s hard to take seriously given your user name.

      I don’t know if this announcement will spur new debate, but I doubt it since the topic was much discussed back in 2009 and 2010, and even then it got old quickly since it was largely theoretical. A couple of threads I dug up with a quick search.



      The whole discussion is just realist vs. idealist.

      The idealists were like generally non-HC players like Jay Wilson, who thought, “But perma-death HC dueling would be so kewl! Two men enter one man leaves!” And that’s being generous to the proponents, since a strong % of the posts were the same sort of “you pussy carebear” finger drooling that fat troll evidences here.

      The realists were generally HC veterans who knew that no one dueled in D2 HC and foresaw a similar fate in D3. “Yes, perma-death would be kewl, but since 99.999% of HC players won’t ever use it, it’s wasting a great game feature (the Arena) by making that the only gameplay option.”

      If anything, the new evidence since that time has favored the realists, as we’ve seen actual D3 Arena combat, with deaths every 8 or 10 seconds, and that’s made patently clear how ridiculous that would be for the final act of a HC char’s life. I asked the guys on the new podcast, fresh off their extensive arena experience at Blizzcon, if they could imagine perma-death dueling for HCs, and they just laughed. It’s an absurd notion once you’ve actually played the game.

    • Ok I am taking the bait RMAH was never in HC mode.

      As for why no Perma death PvP well if it was Perma no one would do HC PvP properly, it ether be weak charaters with average gear or game with be rampant with X has quit/died then 0.5 secs later Y & Z have quit the game. Or the HC PvP will be a waste land with no one playing it.

  8. Yeah, rerolling an enchant and getting the same number back is punishment enough. Rerolling lower values just makes people not enchant, lessening the “craft sink” power of enchanting. Encouraging people to reroll enchants over and over again makes a great sink, something critical for the long term health of the AH, gold or real currency.

    • Yeah if theres a chance of it decreasing no one will enchant something unless the enchant is below average, IE in the example, 10 to 20 per cent you find people will reroll on 10-13% but on the 14-16% rarely and on the 17-19% next to never unless they got so much cash that they can do it so many times it makes no different.

  9. Holy hell. The HC dueling thing just made the game for me. Well the game was already made but this was my biggest worry/hate even though I didn’t know for sure how it will be. They absolutely needed to allow nonlethal pvp and I’m very glad they understood the reasons for it and went ahead with it.
    Not to spoil things for the purists/gamblers/suiciders – there should still be a hc pvp option for those who want to fight to the death.
    …People…might….actually…pvp…in…hc…now… My eyes are watering up.

    I’m still absolutely brain screwed about how the majority of people supported hc pvp (according to the poll that was run here) while when everywhere I went the odds were like 9against hc pvp:1 in favor of hc pvp. That poll was either hacked or rigged :P.

    • It was neither, and if I’d rigged it the result would have favored the other side of the argument.  The fact is that the vast majority of players never played HC in D2 and aren’t planning on it in D3, so they don’t really give a damn about the issue. And for them, the concept of perma-death HC dueling = “wouldn’t that be kewl!” without any real consideration of the consequences or realities of the situation.

      I saw a lot of arguments about that issue back in 2009 and 2010, and of the hundreds (thousands?) of people who were for perma-death HC dueling, no more than a tiny handful seemed to have any HC experience or interest in such dueling themselves.

      On a similar note, I’m all for a system where every 50th death in SC dueling makes the character explode in a flaming blood supernova, which causes 1 random piece of their equipment to fly off for the other players in the Arena to grab. You have to admit that would be truly awesome.

      (When they’re only happening to other people, lots of things are truly awesome.)

  10. good points Flux. People who say “omg you have to be a man” are stupid.
    They don’t understand that the mechanics of the new arena system are that YOU WILL DIE no matter how skilled you are. A common arena will have 30-5 deaths even if you are very skillful. This is not condusive to HC play where in D2 you could tp, exit the game instantly, camp town or run away. YOU CAN’T do that here and they don’t understand with their petty troll brains.
    More power too ya. Glad blizzard are giving some time to PVP. This was my major concern awhile ago that they would neglect this important end game feature. It seems everyone loves it as well so we will likely get even bigger PVP playerbase percentage wise than in D2.
    Ps love the site, my favourite d3 news website

  11. Flux, i appreciate the reply. I didnt expect my post to still be here in the morning.

    First, please stop making assumptions about me based on my user name.

    You’re right, the issue has been discussed numerous times, and while you might see it as “realist vs idealist”, i see it as “sc player VS casual hc player VS real hc player”.

    I do agree with your assessment of non-hc players. But please, dont assume that playing HC on and off here and there  instantly makes you a qualified expert to speak on behalf of all (or most) of REAL HC veterans.

    I remember playing with you briefly in late 1.09 on HCC. You weren’t around for very long and soon went back to wherever you came from (xpac, or sc.. im not sure). This is not why i put you in a “casual hc player” category, however.

    Your statements like “no one dueled in D2 HC” and “99.999% of HC players wont ever duel” is why. As someone who played HC (C) exclusively since day two, i can say this with certainty. Most casual HC players never played long enough to witness, or be part of dueling on HC. But let me tell you, the HC PvP community was (and still is) alive and well. Sure, it was very small compared to SC PvP, but so is HC community in general. Yes, you dont have a problem in hc of not having anywhere to click in blood moor without picking up someone’s ear. Most people in HC hardly ever duel, but it was never a problem to find a duel if you were looking for one..

    Most duels didn’t end in someone dying (unlike sc), but even then, high level pvp in d2hc was the biggest adrenaline rush that a video game could possibly provide. This is what made D2HC unique. Thanks to whiners (and self-proclaimed “HC-veterans”) , Blizzard is taking that away (along with PK-ing and rmah). This is hardly surprising, considering that a lot of their decisions lately have been in favor of making the game “fun” for everyone but the very dumbest of kids.

    One last point (which you conveniently missed in my previous post). Feel free to start this discussion on the other forum, where REAL HC VETERANS (that are still active) hang out, and see what they have to say on the matter. Im willing to bet that there wont be a single person that will side with you. Go ahead and prove me wrong.

  12. Not at all, being a casual gamer with not much free time, I don’t really have time for HC and restarting from scratch all my builds. And PVP never really interested me in general not just Diablo.

    Note: This was a reply to slim above about HC/PvP interest

  13. D3 is all about options. If it isn’t too big of a time commitment for them, I say let the players have permanent death duels. Just create a small 1v1 arena. Enable a flag that each user sets that they agree to understanding once they enter and lose the match, their characters are dead and gone.

    Let people make their own choices. No one is forcing them to HC PvP. I doubt a lot of lvl 60’s will try it but might see a lot of low lvl toons doing it for the heck of it.

    I guess the biggest problem might be finding an opponent.

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