BlizzCon 2010 Liveblog: Diablo III Gameplay

Here’s the transcript from iTZKooPA’s liveblog coverage of the Diablo III gameplay panel at BlizzCon 2010.

12:32 Hey Lore Hounds. Sorry we’re starting this late. The convention doesn’t have wireless so had to run upstairs.

12:33 Kevin Martens is up discussing the class mechanics. The first topic is the skill user interface.

12:33 The UI shown last year was considered “unwieldy and overwhelming.”

12:34 The designers tried a tabbed approach, as seen in WoW.

12:34 Unfortunately, they found that a lot of people didn’t realize there are other tabs, so in came the list.

12:35 The current UI is a modification of the list, smaller, more compact and “more straightforward.”

12:35 At a glance you know what to do.”

12:37 We’re on to new class skills.

12:37 Meteor is back, and far more powerful if some runes are spent in it.

12:37 Spirit Walk is one of the movement abilities that they have added. The With Dr can basically go incorporeal and walk around.

12:38 Monk receives the Wave of Light, combing mystic arts and martial arts.12:38 New System time, Traits, “essentially passive skills.”

12:39 Traits let you buff up aspects of the character that you like.

12:40 Barb example – Inner Rage.

12:40 Some traits are available to multiple classes, but many are specific.

12:41 Prismatic Cloak for the Wizard that makes all her armor better.

12:41 Traits have been added mainly for extra character customization.

12:41 To try and reduce the cookie cutter builds. Replaces the attribute points system.

12:42 You can build different builds with traits, strong barb, berserker barb, etc are all possible.

12:42 Every class has roughly 30 traits, and about 90 points to use.

12:42 Each trait can have up to 5 points used in them. “Want to keep customization really high.”

12:43 Make math cool. They have numbers that are on fire.

12:44 Passive vs. active traits – passive traits need to seem important because you never see them.

12:44 System is not done yet. To-do list:

12:44 UI is not awesome enough. “Grocery list.”

12:45 Gaining every other level “feels a little weird.”

12:45 Likely too many traits and too many ranks. Might condense.

12:45 New feature: Talisman.

12:46 Discussing charms (d2) right now, the basis of the Talisman system.

12:46 Losing inventory space sucked, but gaining buffs was awesome!

12:46 The Talisman is “a dedicated inventory for your charms.” Grows over time.

12:47 Keeps all of the advantages, but you still have to make those choices because you receive more charms than you’ll be able to hold.

12:47 Charms will now be a core part of the build, buffing core attributes. Even more customization.

12:47 Skill runes fun time.

12:48 Haven’t talk about them in awhile. They are like socketing, you put them in your skills and modify said skill.

12:49 Reiterating that there’s a lot of char customization, skills are part of that.

12:49 Skill runes will “provide a whole lot more builds.”

12:50 How many, math says 96 BILLLION builds PER CLASSS after all of the choices are made.

12:50 96,886,969,344, to be exact. Purely active skills builds.

12:50 Not including talisman, charms, etc.

12:51 Skill runes have the potential to change the way a skill looks, not simply what it does.

12:52 Worried that if some have graphical changes and some don’t, people may just take the ones that look coolest.

12:52 Skill runes still come in 5 flavors, Crimson, Indigo, Obsidian, Golden, Alabaster.

12:53 Changed the names to colors instead of descriptors because it was difficult to define things so precisely.

12:53 Color types are loosely themed now.

12:53 Poison dart with indigo run makes rapid fire dart.

12:54 Add Alabaster and you get Snakes on a Face, the dart has a snake that hits the dude’s face then stuns him.

12:54 Runes have 7 ranks. Higher the rank, the more insane it is.

12:55 Wizard’s missile launch skill goes from 1 shot, up to like 10 by the time there are 7 runes in the skill.

12:56 Their showing how runes can change depending on the rune colors used.

12:56 Hydra go from water, fire, lightning, acid, etc with the different colors.

12:56 Hydra for the wizard class.

12:57 On to the Witch Dr. Crimson makes are frogs be on fire, alabaster adds a blinding gas. Indigo makes it rain frogs.

12:57 God, now there’s a giant toad that just eats shit.

12:58 They seem to be having a lot of fun with these things.

12:58 On to D3’s Battle Arenas, but we’re running outta time. Q&A cut.

12:58 Jay Wilson will rush thru Battle Arenas now.

12:59 First approach to PvP. “Dedicated place to all your dueling needs.”

12:59 Expanding on the idea of dueling.

12:59 Focused on team-based play, not 1v1. It’d be impossible to balance with BILLIONS of builds for 1v1.

1:00 Some builds are “supposed to be better than others.”

1:00 Team-based play softens the balance issues. Becomes less about a person build, more about synergy with teammates.

1:01 Some skills are designed specifically for PvP.

1:01 Several that have been show in the past months were made for PvP.

1:01 PvP won’t be all about crowd counter, it’s more about counters.

1:01 And using them smartly.

1:02 Teleport, freeze, meteor, run out of strike zone, BOOM.

1:02 Round mechanic like fighting games.

1:02 Best 2 of 3 or 3 of 5, don’t know yet.

1:03 Skill based match ranking over BNet

1:03 Will have a ranking system of course. Trying to do custom games, even to allow 1v1 because we’ll demand it.

1:04 And that about wraps it up.

1:04 No Q&A. See you guys at the next panel, which is in an hour I believe. See you then. -iTZKooPA