Gamer.nl Jay Wilson interview, translated. As promised, enjoy. It's a question to which Blizzard would rigidly answer "We'll see": Will Diablo III make it out in 2011? We talked to Jay Wilson, game director for Diablo III. This time we didn't discuss release dates, but the auction house, always being online, and Torchlight. Gamer.nl: You've made some adjustments to gameplay, such as a new health system and merchants that travel alongside you that make the game more fast-paced and potentially easier. Could you tell us why? Jay Wilson: I don't think that the adjustments are necessarily aimed at casual gamers, but are primarily an attempt to get maximum enjoyment out of the game. In Diablo II you had to use town portals a lot to go back to town and sell your stuff. That's pretty repetitive and above all a pointless use of time. That's why we've opted for a better distinction between fighting and returning to town. Now you'd return to update your quests or to upgrade your gear, basically for more than just a full inventory. Recently you've announced an auction house where players can sell items for real money. Why have you chosen to work with actual currency? Mainly because it's something that Diablo II players already did anyway. There already is a healthy market of third-party entities where people deal in items for real money. Given this, we wanted to integrate this as something that players already want, but in an environment where we can guarantee that it's safe. We do charge a fee to place an item on the market, mainly to keep useless objects that we'd rather keep off the market away, and a fee to transfer the item, so that we can maintain the servers and databases amoung other things. In the end we hope to make some money through the auction house, ultimately we are a profit-driven company, but we don't think it'll be a big source of revenue. In all honesty, it'll probably end up costing us money. But Blizzard as a company has always strived for excellent player support, and if we get that right, the money will follow. People who want to use it will pay for it and others who don't, won't. How are you planning to manage the auction house? Will you freely allow supply and demand to run it's course, or will you impose restrictions to prevent exploitation? Our goal with the auction house is to create a "free market" (edit: I have no idea how to translate a free market into proper English, although that may even be correct. -Ally). So we're not going to put limits on prices or anything like that. If people want to sell things for a lot of money and others are willing to pay for it, that's up to the people directly involved. Not only do we not interfere with the market, but it's set up so that we don't gain anything by interfering with it. If you sell something for a high price, we only get a flat fee, not a percentage, so it doesn't matter to us. And if an item doesn't sell on the market, well that's fine too. There's some controversy concerning the always online aspect of Diablo III. Why have you chosen to go this way? Pretty much for the same reason as the auction house. We feel that it gives our players the best experience. This way we can offer players a range of services that we otherwise couldn't if the game was offline. For example, we can permanently store characters. If you uninstall Diablo III, and two years later you come back for the expansion, your characters are still there and useable. We offer a safer environment where you can get in touch with people using permanent friendslists and chat channels, amoung other things. There are a bunch of in-game services we can offer because the game is played online. We've been trying to make Diablo III an online game from day one. The amount of people who don't have a persistant connection is so small, that we really don't have to worry about it. The last few years there have been releases like Torchlight and recently Bastion who have obviously taken a page or two out of the Diablo-franchise book. Are there things in these games that have inspired you? As a company, Blizzard is a major user of all forms of media. We've always acknowledged that we have been inspired by everything, be it books, movies or games. They inspire us a lot. I don't know if there's a connection, but since Diablo III has been announced, several other action-RPG titles have been aswell. If there is a connection, then I think it's great. It's an amazing genre and there is still a lot that can be done with it. Just take a look at Torchlight, which shows a lot of similarities to Diablo but has a totally different approach. We love that. It's inspiring to see what other people are doing with the genre. The dungeon crawler is finally coming of age. Can Diablo III still compete with much cheaper games that offer a lot of the same stuff? If you compare Diablo to Torchlight or Bastion, you'll see that our game has a lot more content and better visuals. It's a bigger game. I like looking at it the other way around, though. Isn't it great that we have a market in which different games of varying price range can co-exist? Torchlight is well priced for the amount of content it has, and I don't mean that in a negative way. It's great that they can make a game of that quality and spread it over multiple installments. The difference in price is a good selling point for them, but I don't believe that it will make Diablo III less attractive because it's more expensive. I believe that it's a totally different game, and I like that both games can exist side by side. Small editorial here, but I noticed Jay saying "If you uninstall Diablo III, and two years later you come back for the expansion.." -- I don't know how much we can read in to that, but hey. Who knows?