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Bashiok's forum posts/July 2008

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July 31st, 2008 - Battle.net experience and fake screenshotsEdit

Bashiok commented on a thread about playing single or multiplayer first, with this bit of insight into Blizzard's focus on getting us online immediately, come Diablo 3 time:
One thing that seems to be a fairly consistent experience for a lot of people when they first picked up Diablo II was their introduction to Battle.net. And it wasn't generally a positive one.
Most people, including myself, went home and installed the game and started playing. Over maybe a few weeks or months they've finished the game maybe a few times, they had a ton of fun, but they keep playing and trying to find more items.
One day while loading up the game they notice the "Battle.net" button and decide to click it... and, their characters aren't there. They have to start over. Any of us would have gladly played on Battle.net (in passworded games if necessary) just to have that online/trading option for their character available to them. It felt like a lot of wasted time to find the actual game, which was on Battle.net.
While "starting over" is something almost every Diablo II player is going to do any way, the lack of on-screen instruction or indication as to what the different systems meant left a bad taste.
To help avoid that type of situation we're going to try to find ways to encourage Battle.net character creation first and foremost.
Source deleted.

Faked01

The fan-made screenshot

Elsewhere, someone posted a fairly-convincing fake screenshot of D3, which had most of the Battle.net forum goers going, until Bashiok killed their fun.

Bashiok's reply:

It isn't Diablo III.
I'm guessing it's from another game or someone took the time to actually create it, which would be pretty cool. So no ideas where it's from then?
Source deleted.


July 29th, 2008 - Monsters showing woundsEdit

Someone asked if bosses and maybe other monsters show wounds and other marks sustained in a fight with the player character

Bashiok's reply:

For boss fights we don't really want to just start throwing "damage decals" on them. It can very easily be too subtle if you're fighting a smaller boss or one that has odd geometry to it, and it can also end up that no matter the flavor, style, and cool look to a boss you just end up fighting a big gory mess.
Also we think that we can go a lot further than just simple decals and get something much cooler out of a boss fight. So what we hope to do for at least the bosses where it makes sense is to show more apparent and visually noticeable damage states. Instead of a blood splatter they may actually lose a limb, or a piece or armor, or - like the Thousand Pounder - may transform in some dramatic way changing how the fight progresses. We want to go a lot further than just showing sword slashes and instead use dramatic and noticeable (which can be difficult in a game like this) ways to indicate a boss' current state.
Speaking of battle damage though, and I don't think this came across in the gameplay video or any of the screenshots as of yet, but when an enemy dies a critical death it actually drenches your hero in blood if you're within proximity of the spray. It's awesome.
Source deleted.

A moment later he made an addition post to clarify the dismemberment comment:
It was just an example I made up, I don't know if the loss of a limb would actually happen or make sense for a fight. Source deleted.


Add Bashiok's comment about critical damage to what was said during the WWI Denizens of Diablo panel, and it sounds like we're going to have a delightfully visceral and rather juicy play experience:
Critical hits are bigger deal in d3 than in the previous Diablo games, so we took all the same visual effects we had for normal damage types, and made them that much louder and bigger for critical strikes. When you kill a monster with critical damage, they literally explode.
With all that hitting happening, you'll be killing a lot of monsters. We wanted to pump up the player's sense of impact on monsters. In D3 monsters all die with ragdoll physics, which allows the character to interact with the monsters. Depending on what/how you hit them, monsters die in different ways. You can set up situations to knock them off of ledges, or send them flying out into space.

July 23rd, 2008 - Assorted topicsEdit

Bashiok answers numerous questions in one big post:

Question: How can other characters get over that broken bridge the Barbarian leaped in the WWI gameplay?
Bashiok's reply: While the crumbling bridge could be taken quite literally, it was intended to get the idea across that Diablo III will have more interactive and responsive environmental hazards. Of course if such obstacles existed in the way they were displayed every class would need some way to proceed. At this time we aren't announcing any additional class abilities though.

Question: Is the Tristram dungeon shown in the demo a dungeon we'll see in the game?
Bashiok's reply: It used the same "tile set" as the Tristram Cathedral dungeon including a specially made entry room. It was a static and specifically crafted dungeon especially for the demo, so yes it includes the look for Tristram Cathedral, but it's not a true piece of the game as you would play through it.

Question: What will the remaining characters be? New or returning?
Bashiok's reply: Hey, are you kind of kid who reads the last page of a mystery first? Who pesters the magician to tell you his tricks? Who sneaks downstairs to peek at his Christmas presents? Nooooo... of course you're not. That's why I'm noooot goooonna teeeeell yoooou!

Question: Will there be any class-specific equipment?
Bashiok's reply: What I said was: "... we don't plan nor have any armor items at the moment that are class specific - although the bonuses and stats may be better suited to a certain class - anyone can pick up any chest/shoulder/leg/etc item and wear it. However, there are some weapons/off-hand items that are class specific."
No changes to this yet, there just weren't any drops that were class specific. We essentially "hand placed" every drop that happened in the video. We knew people were going to dissect and scrutinize every detail, and everything that drops in that video was purposefully and specifically chosen to be dropped... everything.
Fun fact: I played as the female barbarian for the recording.

Question: The decapitation by Siegebreaker in the demo; in the game or just a special for the demo?
Bashiok's reply: Well the way we imagined the final fight going down when thinking about the flow of the presentation was to have a few heroes killed off, and thought it would be cooler to see someone get ripped in half by a giant demon than just fall down. While it was an event made for the presentation it could definitely be worked in to the actual end-product. We try not to spend time on anything that can't be incorporated in some way. If there's a mockup or some cool flavor added in somewhere to show something off, we want to build it so that it can actually be used.

Questions: Are outdoor areas random or static?
Bashiok's reply: They're for the most part static. With the outdoor environments we felt we could get a lot more out of them by crafting large and visually impressive scenes, which random map generation really just doesn't allow for all that well. By that same token one of the main goals with Diablo III is to flesh out Sanctuary, to make it feel more like you're in this living and breathing world. With towns shifting around everywhere you do sort of lose a sense of cohesion, and an attachment to the places you're visiting.
On a very slight technical note - for random map generation you're essentially creating a bunch of rooms that can all fit together in various ways. It works quite well for a dungeon which is essentially a series of rooms any way. For an outdoor environment though it tends to make it either fairly bland, or fairly linear just by how the edges have to line up. You're either running zig-zag patterns to find the map edges, or you're running down a narrow pathway. Neither are extremely compelling, and at the same time you're losing the visual grandness that could come from a fully hand-crafted and artistically realized environment.
That said, the outdoor areas aren't completely static.
Source deleted.


July 17th, 2008 - MMO rumors killed; Bashiok thanks the communityEdit

Someone asked if Diablo III is going to be an MMO.

Bashiok's reply:

MMO's are generally categorized as being able to support hundreds of thousands of simultaneous players in a persistent world.

While Battle.net can certainly support that many players at one time, the lack of a persistent world and restrictions on how many players can be within each "world" (game) would keep Diablo III from being categorized as an MMO.
Source deleted.


Bashiok thanks the community for ten great years:
Well, thank you. We all work here because we love games. Personally, "my game" before coming to work here was Diablo II. So being in a position that's not only at the company producing the Diablo games, but to be so closely involved in the project is extremely exciting. I wouldn't dream of taking credit for the history of the company, but I definitely share in your thanks.

One thing to remember while ... well, being alive, is that there will always be someone ready to complain about anything, and while it isn't your job to really deal with that and interpret the overall sentiment properly, it is my job.

For me, this kind of thing is old-hat. I'm more than capable of dealing with it, and more than capable of reading what needs to be read, delete what needs deleting, and (more often than not) laughing at what needs to be laughed at. I realize for many here it may be a new experience. The gaming public now has focus on Diablo again, and with it comes the modern-age of trolling and jackassery.

These types of reactions have become commonplace, and beyond that easily and widely spread, mimicked, and perpetuated. It's become commonplace for feelings of question or doubt to turn immediately to ire and disdain. Perhaps it's the nature of anonymity on the internet, perhaps it's a nationally bred sense of entitlement, or perhaps it fills some sort of primal urge that many lack fulfillment of in their day-to-day lives.

Whatever the case, it's a game, it's a forum, and it's best not to get too wrapped up in it all. We're going to keep working on making games.

All things in moderation, and all things in perspective.
Source deleted.


July 22nd, 2008 - Caring about corpsesEdit

Does Blizzard even care about corpses?

Bashiok's reply:

Aw, of course we care! A large part of my job is specifically to ensure that the valid concerns, comments, and critiques are brought to the appropriate people's attention. That doesn't mean that every idea or suggestion is something we agree with, or are going to base changes on though. There's a point where, as a game designer, you have to stick to your guns and know that your choices and direction are what's best for the game and ultimately those that will be playing it. There's a point where you have to be confident that you're making the right decisions. So at the end of the day you're staying true to your vision and design, and doing what's best for the game.

A good example of us paying attention though was the concern and thread about corpses not sticking around long enough. I read that thread, brought it up, and some discussion was happening on it. Later our lead tech artist Julian was reading through the replies, and got some ideas of how we may want to keep corpses on screen a little longer. Now we're playing around with some changes that shouldn't have a huge performance hit, while still keeping the corpses on screen for variable amounts of time. Hopefully it works out.

Would any experimentation for corpse decay have happened had it not been brought up on the forums? I don't know, maybe, but we're not just dismissing good, valid, and well reasoned concerns.

As I said not every suggestion, comment, or idea is going to be considered, but we're definitely watching and reading.
Source deleted.


July 13th, 2008 - Corpses vanishingEdit

Blizzard commented on corpses vanishing in the WWI gameplay movie:

Bashiok's reply:

The main reason for the corpses not being able to stay permanently is the potential number of them on screen at one time, and specifically that each corpse is affected by physics, allowing them to be blasted and thrown all over the place by the force of player abilities.
It's one of the trade offs when integrating new technology, you can get really awesome effects, but they do have a cost. In a 2D world, a sprite of a dead creature doesn't really cost any more (system requirement-wise) than a sprite of something that's alive. Probably less. In a 3D world where a creature dies and then needs to have physics calculations thrown onto it so it can bounce and fall and fly around, they cost substantially more.
We remember fondly those situations where you've just completely obliterated a camp of Fallen, and as you're picking up items - marvel in your destruction. That's a feeling and part of the gameplay where if we can realistically keep some of it without sacrificing features or having insane system requirements we'd definitely like to, but no promises.
Source deleted.


What does that mean for the corpse skills so enjoyed by the players in Diablo II?

Bashiok's reply:

We haven't announced any abilities outside of those listed on the website, so by discussing what is or isn't in the game I would be essentially making an announcement, which I'm not prepared to do. Source deleted.


July 12th, 2008 - Health globes and party playEdit

Bashiok quoted posters on the Battle.net forums and replies to each of their comments and questions.

Yeah, as others have said the current intent to encourage cooperative play (in regards to health globes) is to ensure that they heal everyone in the party when picked up.
But in any case, why wouldn't the witch doctor be using any of his abilities? Mass confuse, and while everything is busy wailing on each other or attacking your mongrels you sneak in. Or horrify, and while they're scattered you snag some health.
The witch doctor is a little sneakier though, a little more frail, a little more of a "I'm gonna make you die or kill your friend while I'm all the way over here". You should probably be doing everything you can to avoid being hit, and you have the tools to do so.

Quote:
Bosses do not drop health globes while you are fighting them right?
Bashiok's reply:

Maybe? Maybe not. Maybe there are other situational/environmental mechanics that would, or would provide assistance in healing up?

Quote:
Not only will they be forcing players to run in circles like mindless chickens, but they will make hardcore and softcore gameplay harder, slow paced, and over all less attractive.
Bashiok's reply:

That's a lot of conclusions to jump to in a single sentence. Classes will have abilities to help them work through groups of monsters. Obviously health globes are going to be necessary to pick up, and obviously class abilities will exist to help you do so.
And, come on :-), I realize there's a lot of room for hyperbole since we just announced and a lot of details aren't out there or just don't exist, but at least have the ground before you call it a mountain. Rational concerns, complaints, issues, questions, are going to go over way better.

Quote:
...the fact remains that it only takes up space if it's added onto monster loot tables
Bashiok's reply:

Well, it's not like there's a hard cap on what a loot table can contain being forced upon us, or that health globes are even associated with loot drops. It can be balanced any way we see fit.
Bottom line, is that we're simply not going to release a game that is irritating, slow, aggravating, boring, or any of the other adjectives you used. If that means ripping out the health globe system and going a different direction, so be it, but at current it plays and feels fun and engaging.
Source deleted.


July 11th, 2008 - Self-sufficient classesEdit

To a question on how the each class works in a party, Bashiok responded:
Not that classes won't benefit from each other in various ways, Barbarian shouts being good party buffs, etc. but every class is essentially a demon-killing DPS class. We have no intentions to create a tank, or healer, etc. Every class will play their own way, and while some may take direct hits easier than others, it certainly wouldn't define their role within a party. Everyone should be kicking in heads at the same time.
Diablo III having a strong emphasis on cooperative play is really building upon one of the best parts of Diablo II, and that's charging through dungeons with other people. Our focus is on removing the frustrations that existed with grouping, and adding new features that encourage everyone to stick together and fight as a party.
Source deleted.


July 11th, 2008 - Item drops in multiplayerEdit

On item drops in parties, Basiok comments:
Currently - while in a party each player will see their own drops from each kill. This could mean that after killing a zombie I see a sword drop, and you may see a shoulder slot item drop. Or I see nothing drop, while you got an axe.
Obviously while in a group you're killing faster, and this could translate to an exponentially increasing number of drops with each additional player in your party. However, it's balanced in such a way that the drop % is pulled back a bit with each additional player (I'm simplifying it, but that's what it boils down to). This keeps it from being almost detrimental to not play with a full party, while still giving a nice increase to the amount of drops if you do.
From this system it seems quite a few people got the impression that you'll never see items drop that you can't use. For instance, a Barbarian will never see a dagger that only a Witch Doctor can use. This isn't true. There is no effect, or at least no currently intended effect, to restrict which items which classes can or can't see for their respective drops. It's still intended that you could see an item that your class can't use. It's easy enough to drop the item, ask if anyone can use it, or just sell it off of course.
---
Yeah, so right now in a multiplayer game I'll see my items drop, if I don't want it or can't use it I'll need to pick it up and then drop it at which time everyone can see it. Then I can of course ask in chat if anyone wants it. It's fairly straight forward, and by no means final, obviously.
To clarify "can't use" we don't plan nor have any armor items at the moment that are class specific - although the bonuses and stats may be better suited to a certain class - anyone can pick up any chest/shoulder/leg/etc item and wear it. However, there are some weapons/off-hand items that are class specific.
Source deleted.


July 11th, 2008 - Number of classesEdit

A poster asks why are there only five classes.

Bashiok's reply

We're setting out to create unique, interesting, and diverse classes that each have their own style and flavor. Most importantly this isn't just a basic look at each individual class, but how they compare to each other and overlap (or hopefully, don't).
When you up the number of classes more and more you're eventually going to begin down the route of homogenization, they start to bleed into each other's core abilities and styles which really just detracts from each individual class' recognizability and distinction within the game.
In addition, by limiting the number - and I say limiting not because it's a low number, it's the number of classes in Diablo II and a good one at that, but because we're not going crazy with it - we can focus on making each class really impressive, both visually and through the way they each feel and play.
Source deleted.


July 11th, 2008 - Health globes affecting gameplayEdit

Someone asks how will Health Globes affect gameplay.

Bashiok's reply

The health globes are actually, in my opinion, really cool. Playing the game and actually seeing what types of strategy they encourage, you can start to see what they add and how they make the combat more interesting.
I'll set the scene. You're a barbarian, you're in the wilderness and after fighting wave after wave of ghouls, skeletons, demons, what have you, you're low on health. You're out of potions, and after using a strategic leap out of the fray you turn around and seismic slam the skeletons charging you. Two of them drop health globes, but the globes dropped behind the skeletons that are still advancing. If they reach you, you're not going to survive. Are you able to leap safely to snag the globes before they can tear into you? Can you throw out another slam and try to remove the remaining enemies? How can you survive? You have a fraction of a second to decide.
The health globes help to create situations just like this, where you're not just sitting there spamming potions, you're using your abilities and strategy to stay alive. Possibly most importantly, you're encouraged to keep fighting, and not just run away.
With random spawns, random drops, and of course the randomness of combat, the health globes add to creating situations that are just more... interesting, and in my opinion, fun.
On the side of potions, they still exist, but they're likely to be on a cooldown of some type. They'll also likely restore health based on a percentage that's relative to your character. They may heal an instant amount, they may be the old over time type system. They're probably going to be filling an emergency-heal role more than anything though.
Source deleted.


July 10th, 2008 - TradingEdit

Bashiok on making trading more accessible:
One of the largest issues with a bartering system is that it prevents any ease of entry into the system for players. I have an item and I think it's probably worth something, but I have no idea what its worth and no easy way to find out. You have an item I want, but I have no idea what you may want for it or if I'm going to get a fair trade for it. You may throw a bunch of acronyms at me, get frustrated I don't know what I'm doing, and then leave. That's not going to be a positive experience for either of us, and neither of us get what we want out of it. With a stable economy and currency, there's at least a common language that anyone can understand regardless of their game knowledge.
Source


July 10th, 2008 - Item bindingEdit

Someone asked about items biding to the player.

Bashiok's reply

Diablo is a trading game, and we have no plans to change that. We don't have any inclination to make items bind to a character, or otherwise remove trading opportunities.
Will there be absolutely no items that will be bound to a character? It isn't possible to say with any certainty at this point, there might be.
Source deleted.

July 9th, 2008 - RespecingEdit

A poster on the WoW Diablo III forums asks whether respecing will be in Diablo III.

Bashiok's reply

There will almost definitely be some sort of system to respec; however, it isn't likely to be as liberal as World of Warcraft. We don't want to lock a player into a system that punishes them for mistakes, experimenting, or lack of knowledge early on in the game. We also don't think a system that allows immediate, complete, and at-a-whim changes to a character spec matches the feel of Diablo. It's likely to be somewhere in between.
That said we still feel like the desire to play the same class again that you may have played before is still a part of the game, and with some ability to respec could potentially require other incentives.
Source.

July 3rd, 2008 - Player KillingEdit

Someone said that they liked to PK people on Battle.net and that option should be restored in Diablo III.

Bashiok's reply

We're - in general - not big fans of griefing for any game. It's really only "fun" for one person, and that definition of fun isn't generally something we're going to want to encourage. It's far more positive to encourage and support meaningful and skillful options and systems within a game, than a mechanic for people to instantly turn against one another for no meaningful gameplay reasons.

I definitely remember running with my friends, and someone toggles it, and bam everyone is dead and your one friend is laughing. Ok, ok, good joke I guess, and then you run back and *bam*, you've toggled it to get them back. After a while everyone usually agrees to a truce because it's just a waste of time. But I also remember running with random players and losing extremely nice items because of it, not cool. I'm sure that it was a feature that was right up some people's alleys, I won't deny there are some that would enjoy nothing more than to see others frustrated, but is that truly something that should be encouraged through design - if not directly opposed?

We have a large focus on cooperative play for Diablo III, and the mechanics and design decisions related to multiplayer are likely going to be based on supporting and encouraging it as much as possible, and not breaking it down.

That doesn't mean that PvP won't have its own focus, but those are details and features we aren't yet discussing.
Source.

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