August 28th, 2008 - Art controversyEdit

The initial poster said that all Jay Wilson ever addresses is the color issue, and he doesn't mention the oversized shoulder pads or "goofy fantasy weapons."

Bashiok's reply:

There has and continues to be a very strong push towards keeping the art stylized, but realistic, and this is especially true for the size of armor and weapons.
I think people see the barbarian's shoulder pads and then decide that it's an exaggerated art style, which simply isn't the case. The artists have had a very specific commitment to keeping items very much based in a realistic style, size, and appearance. Or at least as much as is appropriate for a fantasy game. Look at the hands, feet, head, facial features, etc. and you'll see that they're being kept at a very realistic proportion.
If anything I think the barbarian shoulder pad size could be shrunk a bit, and maybe it will be, but a single slot on a single class really shouldn't be used to form an opinion when there are plenty of other pieces to examine that show the contrary.
Source deleted.

This comment earns a reply in which someone asks for Diablo III to at least not have all the goofy, impractical weapons we see in World of Warcraft.

Bashiok's reply:

You try to take WoW seriously? It's ... kind of a goofy game, I mean it's filled to the brim with pop-references, over-the-top visuals, mechanical impossibilities, inter-stellar space travel... it isn't a normal fantasy game at all.
It's definitely not Diablo, but I think that the ways in which it's sometimes absurd and quirky are what make it an interesting world.
Also I think the crazy rotating crystals and weirdo squid-on-a-stick weapons look cool, and match that over-the-top visual and thematic style.
Source deleted.

To that someone cites Diablo items and weapons as largely based in reality, which forces Bashiok to point to... actual Diablo II artwork.

Bashiok's reply:

There's always going to be some amount of "hey, that looks cool" going into it. Diablo isn't grounded in reality.
Source deleted.

Things wrap up when someone tells Bashiok he shouldn't have to defend Blizzard's artwork.

Bashiok's reply:

Nah, I'm not defending it, I'm just explaining that they're wrong. Source deleted.

August 27th, 2008 - Health Orbs and PvPEdit

On Health Orbs, a poster asked if the orbs could heal party members even if the character who grabbed it was at full health already. And received some good news in reply:

That's how it works!
We're also playing around with some alternate functionality for when/how they're picked up while you're at full health, as well as some visual tweaks. Regardless we're going to make sure it's as fun and balanced as possible.
Source deleted.

As for PvP, some commenters brought up some of Jay Wilson's comments from Leipzig, in which he said that they had big plans to improve on PvP in Diablo III, but that a return of the in-game hostility option was not among them. The initial poster agreed with that change, but these are the forums we're talking about here, so you know angry, Blizzard-slamming comments were just around the corner. Amidst the slavering cries of "only losers play WoW," and "Care Bear D3!" Bashiok pointed out the fairly obvious issue with enabling PvP: only the people who can duel or want to gank are going to turn it on.

Bashiok's reply:

When/Why would you choose to enable PvP in your game if it was an option? Would it be before you were max or near-max level, or twinked?
If not then you're essentially looking for a dueling game, and wouldn't a dedicated PvP focus provide a more logical option than a blanket PvP-on/PvP-off option which no one would enable until they were powerful enough to defend themselves?
Source deleted.

A rebuttal is offered, earning another reply from Bashiok:

"One would choose to enable PvP for the rush of not only having to defend against scary monsters lurking around corners but defend against scary players lurking around corners"

Would they? Players don't generally opt-in to situations they don't think they have a chance to win. Source deleted.

August 26th, 2008 - Diablo III age ratingEdit

Just back from Leipzig and just about to head off to PAX, Bashiok took the time to offer a clarification in the forums. Someone asked about Jay Wilson's Leipzig interview comment that Diablo III would are trying to avoid an 18+ rating.

Bashiok's reply:

Jay was referring to the German USK rating of 18+. Which is a rating specific to Germany and games sold there.
In the US we have the ESRB, and other countries may have their own rating advisories and labels. For our ESRB rating and US release we have been and still are planning for a "M" for Mature rating.
Source deleted.

Due to Diablo's popularity in Germany, Blizzard Entertainment won't risk a 18+ rating. The German rating system is focused on violence, not sexuality. As 18+ games in Germany are prohibited from running ads or being displayed in shops and can only be sold to adults, this rating would seriously damage the profit of the company.

August 15th, 2008 - Game visuals and design philosophiesEdit

A poster complained about the obscuring visual fireworks created by various Diablo 2 skills.

Bashiok's reply:

Keeping the visuals distinct and "readable" is an extremely important focus for us, and as has been stated quite a few times, relates to a lot of the art style and direction choices.
You need to be able to read the scene, tell monster and player apart, and not have it turn into a mess of spell effects. While we're really aiming for over-the-top skills and effects, it's going to be a constant goal (and likely struggle) to keep those in line so that in a multiplayer game it's going to retain its readability.
It's fine for things to get chaotic, it will happen and we want there to be mass-mayhem and slaughter, but we're trying to keep the game playable even during the chaos. It's a balance.
Source deleted.

Other fans are hungry for more content, and are already wondering if they'll see the goods at Blizzcon. Will there be a gameplay movie? Bashiok deals with one such fellow with Roper-ian grace, acknowledging, inspiring, and redirecting him so smoothly he never even feels the PR knife slide in.

Bashiok's reply:

Well, you'll just have to wait and see!
In the more immediate future a few of us are heading out to Leipzig for GC next week. We'll be joining our friends from the Blizzard Europe office to meet and greet the fans. If you happen to be passing through Germany and also happen to have a ticket to the convention, be sure to stop by and say hello.
Source deleted.

Others are not so easily put off, and a follow up question is quickly posed, asking what sort of information we'll see released to coincide with that major German gaming event. Not a whole lot, apparently:

Bashiok's reply:

From what I gather I think I would equate it more to our presences at similar booth-style conventions, ComicCon and GenCon Indy in years past, for instance. We have a booth, usually some gaming stations set up, and we talk with people about the games and hold interviews. I fully expect some good interviews with Jay to come out of it, but I would more or less expect that to be the main focus of information coming out of the show regarding Diablo III.
Stop by and say hi though. I think I may be the only Blizzard person there with a goatee, so I should be easy to spot. I'm scheduled to be there every day to chat up fans about the game.
Source deleted.

August 15th, 2008 - Beta testing and release dateEdit

Bashiok posts on the Diablo III forums to address some misconceptions of the forumers about his post from a week earlier.

In the first he follows up his post from last week, about Diablo III beta keys and the Blizzcon goodie bag:
I think the wording in my original post got some people thinking I was hinting that any included beta key would undoubtedly be used for a Diablo III beta.
That was not my intent, and as I said any beta key we give out on those cards could be used for any purpose deemed necessary. If the Wrath of the Lich King beta is still going after BlizzCon and we want more testers, then it could be used for that if we wanted.
My original post was only meant to say that regardless of what a beta key is used for, you should still attend as you won't be disappointed.
Source deleted.

Elsewhere, someone tries the old trick of "I know someone, who works for a game store/distributor and Diablo III will be out in 3 months."

Bashiok's reply:

There has been no release date announced, shared, hinted at, or otherwise imagined. Retailers may have dates in their computers which someone at their company made up, none of them have anything to them other than best-guess work. This is how video game pre-orders work.
...there's no standard announcement-to-release formula.
Source deleted.

August 8th, 2008 - BlizzconEdit

Bashiok answered a question about the goodie bag to be given out at this year's Blizcon with the following tease:
Generally if a goody bag were to contain a beta key, it's nondescript. In the past we've never announced what the key will be used for as we generally don't know for certain ourselves until the time comes to herd them into an upcoming beta. We may use them for one purpose or another, depending on development timelines.
If your interest is in Diablo III, then I would highly recommend attending this year's BlizzCon.
Source deleted.

Then someone asked about viewing the panels online.

Bashiok's reply:
It will be covered live in a pay per view event offered through DirecTV.
Source deleted.

August 6th, 2008 - Secret Cow LevelEdit

Bashiok's opinion on the Secret Cow Level:

Yeah, who doesn't like fighting cows running around with halberds?
I disliked the secret cow level from a design standpoint though. It actually angered me that it existed at one point, maybe it kind of still does.
I'm not a designer, at all, but in my opinion and from a design standpoint I think the secret cow level was a failure. For a long time it was one of the most lucrative ways to level, and one of the best places to MF. For an easter egg, something fun and whimsical, to overshadow the entire rest of the game was a huge problem, and one that existed for far too long. It was a fun idea, a cool nod to the rumors that spawned it, but in execution it was just... game breaking in some ways.
Source deleted.

Some players disagree, and say they didn't like when Patch 1.10 made the Secret Cow Level a bad farming area.

Bashiok's reply:

Well of course, everyone wants everything made easier for them, and that's effectively what it was. This barrel of fish that not only acted as cheesy way to pull the slot machine lever, but almost rendered the rest of the game unnecessary.
The oversight, I believe, existed in the requirement for the current difficulty to be beaten as well as the Cow King kill. It's easy enough to avoid the King or just have the level opened by other characters, and I can only guess that the amount of replay potential of the actual game was extremely undervalued.
Source deleted.

Some posters say it doesn't matter where and how a player decides to level up their character.

Bashiok's reply:

Because you're playing a game, and it should be respected that you're playing that game. The cow level was not part of the game, it was an easter egg that made leveling and item finding far easier than the actual game. I'm inclined to almost call it cheating. Source deleted.

August 6th, 2008 - Barbarian abilitiesEdit

Someone on the forums says that the Barbarian's skills, are too magical and that Hammer of the Ancients is an example of that.

Bashiok's reply:

I don't get that feeling while playing one. I think the Hammer of the Ancients ability is definitely magical to some extent, he's effectively summoning a giant hammer to smash an enemy.
I kind of fill in my own blanks as to where it's coming from and it feels very natural to me and the Barbarian "kit". I kind of see it as - and like the idea of - the barbarian ... I guess drawing upon the power of his ancestors. It feels very Norse, very mythological, and somehow tied to a family bloodline of great and powerful warriors. Summoning the power of a giant hammer? Hell yeah! If a barb is going to do anything magical, it's going to be so he can use a big *** ethereal hammer.
Source deleted.

To Bashiok's post a forum goer responded: But if you have the magical ability to hit so hard you break the rock beneath you, WHY ARE YOU HITTING A ROCK?

Bashiok's reply:

Because it looks cool, and it's a very physical and apparent way to get the basic mechanic of a "crowd control" skill across.
I don't see anything "magical" about it either. Is it realistic? No, but why should it be? Immersion and reality aren't intrinsically tied.
Source deleted.

August 6th, 2008 - AchievementsEdit

Someone on the Diablo II forums complained about the announced achievements system, because in his opinion World of Warcraft's aren't any good.

Bashiok's reply:

Steam achievements are generally based around small, situational, skill, or long-term goals in short "round" or level based FPS'. So obviously achievements in an MMO are going to be vastly different, and can cover a much wider range of goals from small and fun, to long and involved, and yes even to the impossible.
For us completionists we're going to be frustrated by not being able to have everything. But part of the system is specifically to show off where you've been, how long you've been playing, and what you've accomplished. I'm going to have to deal with the fact that I wasn't everywhere or did everything at some point in time. I'm going to have to focus on the goals I can achieve instead of those I can't. There's no point crying over milk that was spilled two years ago that I just found all dried and crusty under my refrigerator.
That's World of Warcraft though. It's a persistent world and moves and evolves and changes with patch to patch, and expansion to expansion. There's a lot more area for there to be achievements that were attainable at one time, but due to that evolution of the game - are no longer possible.
Diablo III isn't an MMO, it doesn't evolve in the same way, and so there's far less chance for there to be an achievement rendered impossible due to game updates.

Bashiok then proceeded to clarify some things about the Achievements system and how it will function.

Question: Will the system frustrate most players?

Bashiok's reply:

It won't. Completionists like you and I account for such a small percentage as weirdo OCD-crazed gamers that it really won't. It may seem like a large group because we entrench ourselves in groups and pockets of like-minded individuals. But really a "normal" person might say "Hey there's an achievement for going to BlizzCon 2005, I wonder if I can find anyone that has that one..." while you and I may sit in a corner with glazed eyes rocking back and forth and muttering something about murloc codes.

Complaint: Achievements aren't good since some of them will take forever to acquire, and that just measures time spent playing.

Bashiok's reply:

It's only cruel if you're putting that much importance and stock in a tiny colored square in your armory profile.

Complaint: I choose subsets of things to complete, and I never would try to do everything in wow - it's just too big. I do however feel that making the game into a bunch of elitist cliques seems horrible wrong

Bashiok's reply:

Such as the /love a squirrel clique? Come on though, you're going a bit far. So we can't even recognize raiding achievements now because it's an elitist clique? It's a game, keep it in context.

Complaint: Achievements should be stuff that players enjoy doing, so they are available to everybody.

Bashiok's reply:

Is an achievement found in an out-of-way website really that much more in-your-face elitism than someone wearing full Season 4 and a spectral tiger mount right in front of you in-game?
No, no, it's just an achievement system, not a weapon. You determine your own level of involvement.
Source deleted.

August 6th, 2008 - Numerous answers to miscellaneous questionsEdit

Bashiok answers numerous questions in a big post.

Question: Will the acts be separate, or all blur together?
Bashiok's reply: Act transitions haven't really been discussed externally. It would be cool to have something a bit more engaging; however, I think the Diablo II style zoom-zoom to the next act ...worked.

Question: Can characters fall or be pushed off the edge of a level?
Bashiok's reply: No. Unless it's part of a special event or something.

Question: Can we filter games by mod being used?
Bashiok's reply: We've never supported and don't intend to support "mods" for Diablo II or III.

Question: If there are forest landscapes like the Kurast jungle, can we clear them out or will they be pre-defined paths like in D2?
Bashiok's reply: We haven't announced/shown any locations beyond those on the website.

Question: Will there be more boss-specific fatalities like the Barbarian head bite by Seigebreaker?
Bashiok's reply: That's what we would like to do. We'd like it that when a player dies to a boss we may have a special/random event or death animation specific to that boss. So if you're going to die or have died to a boss, there's a random chance that you'll see something other than a normal death. That's the dream any way.

Question: Night and day cycle? Any difference in monster behavior between them?
Bashiok's reply: Not that I know of.

Question: Can the Character window display base stats and bonuses?
Bashiok's reply: The UI is still under some design revision, but currently in Diablo III you can open your character sheet, and when mousing over a stat it lists what your total stat is and then breaks it down to base stat plus any modification. So for instance Vitality may list: "24 (22+2)" if you've got something giving you +2 to Vitality.
That's the current design any how, but I don't see any reason for it to change.

Question: What's your favorite thing about playing Diablo III right now?
Bashiok's reply: Blood sprays. They never get old. Zombies seem to just be chock full of the stuff. Source deleted.

August 3rd, 2008 - Barbarian statueEdit

Someone asked about who would buy the statue at a price of $299.

Bashiok's reply:

Well actually I'll probably just have it on my desk. But still...
Source deleted.

Then someone asked why isn't it painted.

Bashiok's reply:

Yet. It's still somewhat early in production, although I have no idea how production on these things really works. They brought the actual sculpt to Comic-Con since they were still working on it, no casts yet. I'm guessing these photos of it are actually of the sculpt, which is sort of an ugly mish-mash of clay colors, and then they just made the photos B&W to even it out.
As soon as there's a final paint version to show, it shall be shown.
Source deleted.

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