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Bashiok's forum posts/September 2009

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September 2, 2009 - Auto-statsEdit

Let me take this opportunity to clear up one thing, potentially unrelated to whatever the OP said.
There is a continuing idea that we have either said or stand behind the notion that auto-stats are either partially or in-whole being implemented because it makes the game easier to balance. That is completely false.

If manual stat placement was or should become the best system for the game then we would balance for it - bottom line. But the fact is, it isn't the best system. The game needs to be fun, it needs to be awesome. We're not going to cut corners or try to make it easier on ourselves by choosing systems that are less work. In fact I'd say the exact opposite is true. Some of things these guys do requires an insane amount of work, but it makes the game better, and that's why it's done.
Manual stats ultimately provide no better or more interesting customization options than other systems, and in fact by removing it we're then able to implement systems which are better and more interesting ways of character customization.

There's a last thread of "well why can't we have everything?" that auto-stat opponents hold to, and the simple answer there is that having a bunch of different systems all just sort of tossed in onto each other is not a clean or fun solution. We want a lot of customization, we'll have a lot of customization, clicking a button to allocate stat points in no way needs to be involved to make that true. Source

September 2, 2009 - Skill graphicsEdit

A member named player.1 created this image for your team:

Yeah, and that's cool. It was said I don't know how many times at this BlizzCon alone that we're always working against the issue of having too many effects that are too crazy and over the top going off at the same time. So yeah, it's always a potential problem. I just don't think our artists need to be drawn a schematic of how to fix it. They're paid professionals, they do this for a living.</ span>

I don't like good ideas going to waste. Over this past week quite a few members have been discussing this only to be rejected by a lot of "supporters to brightness". I am getting this growing suspicious they are employees of yours.
The reasons we would like a tone down of spell effects / lighting is because they are unnaturally bright and don't blend into the game world. They don't have that "diablo touch" or feel, yet. They dominate the battle by flowing over the enemies and they are just plain too bright.
These images may also be useful to you and your team:
[2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

They seem to indicate, in an unnecessarily blurry way, that spell effects should change depending on the environment. Which is a really odd and unnecessary direction. They also seem to indicate that Diablo games do not have bright/flashy/glowing weapons, armor, enemies, or spell effects to help differentiate things on-screen, that each environment should be a brown mess and spells are indistinguishable from the background. I can only assume they did not play Diablo II.

Truthfully whoever created those images has an entirely distorted perception of what Diablo is. Really.

But hey, thanks for the feedback. It was delivered in a very hostile way. Source

Huh? In other words, I think Bashiok just said that "Diablo II did, in fact, have glowing weapons"... well that's just untrue. Diablo II didn't have any glowing weapons O_o Bashiok, did YOU play Diablo II? Because I did, and still do, and it barely has any flashy stuff (if you compare it to diablo 3).
I know, there were a few "unnecessary" flashy indications in Diablo II, like the poison effect that took over the entire screen.

Ah ok, fair enough, maybe not so much on weapons. A mistake. Screenshot it. ;)

There were more than a few. [8] [9] [10]

Do any of those blend in? Diablo II always used very bright garish colors to help give indicators to the players to serve the gameplay. There was nothing wrong with it, but condemning what's in one hand while hiding the other is just untruthful.

But in general it was much less flashy and noisy. Maybe that's the reason that Diablo II can have 8 players before things start to get messy, and DIablo 3 only needs 4 to make that happen.

I wholly disagree. And we limit to 4 because we recognize that even in Diablo II 8 was way too many people, that anything above 4, even in Diablo II, made a terrible mess of the game.

I'm sure that Blizzard have a bunch of awesome talented artists and animators working on that stuff. It just that things still look a little bit over the top / unnecessary and simple people like me would like to know why...

We want the game to look awesome. Skills should feel awesome. And more importantly you should be able to tell what each skill is. But I would disagree that most people are actually curious, as you are. The OP and others want to tell us that they know how to make a game better than we do, and I find that insulting.

PLEASE, be curious, ask why, give some reasoned feedback. But marking up a screenshot with red marker like it's a test and we're being graded by a teacher, it's a hostile approach as far as I'm concerned.

The skills are absolutely not final, we understand the issues with skills being too noisy, as I said, and it's something we're aware of and will keep on top of. Source

Yes, but the garish green color for poisoned enemies was rather unnecessary. Also, saying "Well Diablo 2 had some garish colors so, therefore, any garish and/or over-the-top colors we put in D3 is justified" is not a good argument.

Quote from the OP:

"They don't have that "diablo touch" or feel, yet."

He was drawing direct comparisons to previous games, and to that, I say that we're not straying.

Plus, In none of those screen shots you linked did the effects so completely overpower the scene as we've been seeing in Diablo 2.

Ok fine, I'll go find better examples. :P Bottom line is that we all know Diablo II is commonly bright, colorful, and messy with effects. It's insincere to propose otherwise.

And, is it really good design to make every spell and effect over-the-top to convey "power" or give it an "epic" feel? Aren't there other ways to go about that than simply making very bright and garish animations?

Yes it is good design, because it's easy to then build variations, less powerful versions, or tone it back. Make everything as awesome and amazing as possible, then you work your way back if necessary to a point where it all works together. There's no real way to be completely precise with it on the first shot, so why not make things awesome?

But overall, yes IT IS awesome design to make everything feel epic. Do you want to put points into a skill and think it feels weak?

Arguing about whether or not "most" people are "curious" is pointless. Neither you nor the OP has any real statistics for how much of the D3 audience is concerned about it. What you do know for sure is that there are some people who are concerned about it.

And I think I'm just tired of stating over and over that it's a known concern. Everyone has a bad day, just give me this one as a mulligan. Source

September 2, 2009 - Damage typesEdit

Damage types aren't actually completely finalized. There's likely to be some additions, maybe some combinations. For instance people may have noticed that a few of the witch doctor skills refer to a damage type called "black magic". All of the monk spells seen relied purely on weapon damage as their base, but that doesn't mean there couldn't be a holy damage type. What we don't want is for players to carry around a ton of different resistance sets to deal with a large number of different types of damages. There's quite a few different ways to go about solving that, but just to be clear we want damage types to serve the gameplay and not require players to have to pursue complex or item-heavy solutions to it. Source

On a similar note is there any plans to include damage type on the skills' tooltips?

Probably. At the very least on skills that it may not be obvious for, which if I were to guess would probably just make it easier to list it for all of them. But, UI/skill description brevity is always a goal, so we'll see. Source

September 2, 2009 - ReplayabilityEdit

Except that all of the "customization" options in Diablo 3 boil down to playing the game less and actually take away incentive you once had to replay.

Well that's just not true. Where and when possible itemization and playing the game more to get drops and find items play into the various types of customization. Diablo is an item game, our customization systems play into that as much as possible. Runes for example. Another being every item you wear, as items and their stats play a big role in how your character is defined.

Those require playing the game more to find items to customize your character.

Anyway, so yeah let's say that character customization is out of the picture entirely as far as reasons to continue playing the game.

Well, we have some ideas, and we're not going to tell you what they are. :) Source

September 2, 2009 - Bind of pickup itemsEdit

Yes, true, as Jay said at BlizzCon we are planning to have some amount of items that will bind to a character upon equipping them.

We absolutely won't have items that bind when picked up, except for the obvious things like quest items and other character-specific items that wouldn't/shouldn't be tradable anyway.

That alone, I think, should dissuade the most severe concerns with binding items.
And before I go on just understand that while a lot of this is very stable in its concepts, the details aren't final.

For Bind on Equip (BoE), the idea right now is that it would only be applied to "end game" items of specific quality levels. So to start, it's not every item, and it's not even every item above a certain level. For the BoE items that will exist, you can pick them up, if you don't want it you can still trade it, or give it to another character, a friend, vendor it, whatever you like. But, if you make the commitment to keeping the item and equipping it, yes, it's yours now.

The reasoning is that in reality we need a solid way to keep the economy stable at the end game. With items building up over a potentially infinite amount of time there's no way to have any measure of control over worth of items. While an item may be the rarest and best in the game, over four or five years a stockpile has built up and those items are now commonplace and hold little value as compared to their rarity. The gold being earned by players stays the same or likely increases as players become more proficient at playing the game while they spend less as items lose their value. Gold value drops, and we're skirting into a familiar cycle.

By ensuring we can rely on some amount of "consumption" of items, their relative worth stays high, the market is predictable and both sellers and buyers enjoy a stable marketplace for (hopefully) many years.

Diablo II has an inconsistent approach which is the somewhat stable Ladder economy, since it's quite literally flushed out every so often. But it's a very intrusive approach to a problem that could be solved through other means that don't require making everyone start over.

As a quasi-aside: There's an idea being thrown around, and this is really not guaranteed in any way, that some or potentially all items that are bound to you could be bound to your entire account. So if you yourself "own" an item from it being bound, you can trade it between all the characters on your account freely. Feed alts your old-but-still-very-nice items, etc. That's just an idea, it may not take shape, but it's a possibility. One obvious issue with it is that it removes market demand. If you already have the best staff in the game you'll never need one again, eventually no one ever needs them, prices drop, etc. etc. That's maybe an over simplified scenario, but anyway, we'll see. Source

There are two statements that spark some concern, or at least wanting further information.
1.For lack of a better example lets use D2 info. Would something like an assassins claw be BOP?
Or perhaps from your statement in D3 there may be items that drop only for certain classes?
2.Does that mean no potential ladder resets in D3?
Not that I have a problem with either, just curios.

1. Hrm... well no, I didn't mean class specific items. What I mean was... for the items that ARE bind on pickup you wouldn't be surprised that they were.

2. I didn't mean to indicate that but I'm not sure it's a system we're looking to carry forward. The leveling competition aspect is really cool (if it works), the dumping of one economy onto another... maybe not so much. Source

No armor/weapons/equippable items will be Bind on Pickup unless they are rewarded by quests. End-game items of specific quality types are currently planned to be Bind on Equip.

I confused it all by attempting to allude to other things just so I don't get called on it later, and it really wasn't necessary. Just follow the above two lines.Source

September 2, 2009 - Patch 1.13 updateEdit

Update - 9/2

Work commences on patch 1.13. We won't be providing any information on when the patch will be available, except that we expect the PTR to be available "soon". We will provide some amount of warning very, very shortly before the PTRs become available. Please keep in mind that any number of factors could delay the start of the PTR and ultimate release of the patch. Thanks for being patient, we're getting close now. Source

September 1, 2009 - Blizzard at PAXEdit

Blizzard Entertainment will once again be representing in full force at the 2009 Penny Arcade Expo, taking place this weekend, September 4–6 in Seattle, Washington. PAX attendees will have access to playable versions of Diablo III (including the recently announced Monk class), the earth-shattering World of Warcraft: Cataclysm expansion, and the engrossing StarCraft II single-player campaign. Community managers will also be in attendance to chat with attendees about the past, present, and future of Blizzard Entertainment games. We hope to see you there!

September 1, 2009 - Blizzcon 2009 Art panelEdit

Let's see if I can give a brief overview. First is the panelists, these guy's names don't get out there too much but them along with the rest of the amazing artists help to create the world and do a kick ass job of it too.

Art Director - Christian Lichtner
Lead Character Artist - Paul Warzecha
Senior Artist (animation) - Nick Chilano
Tech/FX artist - Chris Haga
Environment Artist - Nathan Bowden
Sr. Environment Artist - Patrick Stone

The first part was with Paul and went over "character" creation, in this case the Fallen monster family. How it went from early concepts to more recent concepts, modeling, animation, and texturing. Imp, Shaman, Hound, Lunatic, Overseer. How their silhouettes define them outside of their design/abilities. There was some hint that the family revealed thus far may not be complete.

Then he went over the creation of the witch doctor, again from concepts through the modeling and texturing process. Through some of the earlier artistic designs of follower/helper type skills such as the wicker man and fetish that would have rode on the witch doctor's back (both of which were either scrapped or transformed into other ideas).

Then Nick went over animation, how the animation team pours over design docs and references to get an idea of how the creature/character should move and react, but ultimately just relying on the fact that "Jay Wants Awesomeness!!" There were videos showing examples of animation progressions, reference videos used to help the animators (we don't mocap), and some final products.
Then Haga went over Tech/FX. Some of the things the tech art team does: Rigging, Character Implementation, Data wrangling, Debugging, Lighting and Light Map creation, Custom Tools and Scripting, FX, Design/Implementation. He went through how some of the monk skills were created, and the progression of them getting more and more awesome.

Pat Stone went over dungeons, from concepts and theme/lighting/mood to rough models, textures, refining passes, etc. How areas are created in "gray box" modes first, which are rough block outs of rooms to test how they play before any texturing or detail work goes into them. He also went over the concept of "showcase rooms". These are larger rooms that are made (essentially) first and encompass a lot of what will be going into the dungeon to serve as a style guide for the rest of the dungeon. Everything needs to blend seamlessly so a large central focus to build from helps to keep the dungeon feeling cohesive. And of course a brief bit on how dungeon rooms are randomized.

Nate went into exterior, taking the concept of the Stinging Winds (playable area at BlizzCon) and how the colors/shapes translated into playable space. How they wanted to keep a lot of depth in the zone with the rocks as well as cliffs and mining operations. Then probably my favorite part, and completely unfulfilling to type out, was a video showing Nate taking a concept of a small village/building in the Stinging Winds and building it in-game using our editing tools. He walked through how he builds out areas from big items to the smaller details, and then it's handed off for lighting passes, and the panel ended with run through of the area we watched him build in-game looking all pretty. Source

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