BlizzCon 2010 Liveblog: Diablo III Open Q&A

Here is the transcript of iTZKooPA’s live blog coverage of BlizzCon 2010: Diablo III Open Q&A. Live comments from our readers are highlighted in italics.

2:54 Prepped and ready for the Diablo III Q&A session. Mordil is downstairs photographing the Warcraft Art panel, so we’ll see those later.

2:55 Hopefully we get some awesome questions, considering that this is turning out to be DiabloCon.

2:56 Perhaps they’ll be prepared with some slides for this convention.

2:59 I’ve gotta say, the set they have for the DirecTV coverage is pretty freaking awesome. Changes colors, backgrounds and lighting per topic being discussed.

3:00 Here we go. Jay Wilson rocking the mic. He’s the game director.

3:01 Joe Lawrenece, Audio engine, Kevin Martins, Content, Patrick Stone, Eviro Art, Mike Chu, Q designer, Christian Leighter, Alex Mayberry, Senior Producer. I missed two or three guys.

3:01 Here we go, no slides, right into the questions.

3:02 How are you going to manage the fact that all the players have to worry about so many choices? How will it be balanced in PvP?

3:02 Kevin Martens: On the UI side, the choices are limited to just a few choices.

3:03 So the choices don’t make it too overwhelming. Plus, we’re constantly changing the UI.

3:03 The UI does a great job of keeping the choices compartmentaliszed.

3:03 Jay Wilson: Balance, for the whole game, not just PvP, is mainly done by playing the game a lot and targeting what you’re balancing.

3:04 PvE will never be nerfed because of PvP, that’s why the PvP is in arenas.

3:04 Q: I was wondering about end game content. Will we run out of stuff to do after killing the end boss?

3:04 Jay Wilson: “We don’t have end game figured out yet.”

3:05 It’s hard to build end game before you have game, it has to come in the right order.

3:05 Not all players want to do the same thing. There a different ideas of end game. Some grind loot, other reroll. We also have PvP now, which adds an aspect of end game.

3:06 I hope someone asks about gear in PvP.

3:06 Q: What is your priority for adding MP game modes in addition to the arena. CTF, DotA style, etc?

3:06 Jay (again): Any MP we do needs to support what the core game is. We don’t want a mode to not be Diablo.

3:07 If it supports the vision of Diablo, then a mode will be explored. It’s similar to talking about the end game. It depends on the audience and final pieces.

3:07 Q: What are you guys going to do for clan or guild organizations?

3:08 Jay: It’ll be a BNet level feature, which is still in an infant state.

3:08 Q: I was just wondering when the game’s coming out. *laughs*

3:08 Q: Could you give us a BlizzCon 2010 update on the D3 economy?

3:09 Jay (won’t let people talk): We announced artisans, they will have a massive impact on the economy.

3:09 D2 had a hard cap. Tons of money came in, almost nothing left. It was almost “thrown at you in buckets” but we didn’t care because we received so much.

3:09 The crafting system itself has lots of gold sinks.

3:10 Gems, enchant, socketing, recycling gems, all of these things require gold.

3:10 As for trading, we want it to be more organized. Spamming and stuff will be fixed, but we don’t know how yet.

3:10 Other dude, item duplication caused issues in the economy

3:11 We’ve learned a lot since then. The item system is more safe, more secure.

3:11 Q: Is there going to be specific PvP gear or skills, resilience. They have CDs, but the core game uses mana.

3:12 Jay: We are not gonna have PvP gear. We are going to avoid PvP specific stats.

3:12 The way the arenas work is every skills has data for PvE and PvP. Some will act differently, but it won’t change the spell completely. It won’t become foreign.

3:13 Q: I just wanted to know what Deckard Cain is doing in D3.

3:13 Leonard Boyarsky: “He’s doing the same thing he’s always doing, trying to thwart evil.”

3:14 He’ll be in the game to make sure mankind is ready.

3:14 Q: Are you trying to address different story reactions per class, so you’ll have a new response for a wizard PC versus a witch dr?

3:15 A: The quest log is told through the class, so that will certainly be a different flavor for each class.

3:15 Q: When do I get my beta key…?

3:16 Q: PvP question: You’re trying to separate arena from PvE. How is that gonna balance across all classes?

3:16 Jay: So you’re asking how are we going to make all classes viable?

3:17 Yes.

3:17 Jay: Because the game is split definitively it make it easier to make sure everyone is usable.

3:18 Any chance for griefing in a PvE standpoint makes people want to co-op less. So that’s why it was split.

3:18 Q: I am wondering, where do you get your color palletes when doing your chars?

3:18 Pat Stone: We look to the environment, the lore, to see where to select our colors.

3:19 Christian Lichtner: Once you get the whole game, you’ll see that we’re changing things up as you go a lot.

3:19 Nathan: We use the colors to help forward the story.

3:19 Q: I was wondering how resistance will be handled compared to D2?

3:20 Jay: We changed resistance from flat %. It scales with the levels of monsters.

3:20 In a lot of ways, it’s handled the same. It’s a big part, it’s a big part of defensive building.

3:20 Are we doing double, triple immunity type monsters? We are trying to avoid that. We’d rather have one monsters have a hard resistance to one type.

3:21 Dev question: Are we going to have to stack a certain resist of any type?

3:21 It’s hard for us to say, but we’re planning on using it the same, but we need to get further in core dev.

3:22 Q: Will D3 PvP Arena support multiple platforms. As in using the z-axis.

3:22 Jay: It’s a 2D game in a lot of ways. Combat doesn’t work well on the z-axis. Even in PvE shooting something higher or lower is a dice roll. So it could be worse in PvP. Right now, we didn’t like it but we plan on playing around with it more.

3:23 Q: Is there going to be implied destinies of characters from the previous games? What happened to the classes that are gone?

3:24 A: I thought that was one of the coolest things. We’re definitely planning to continue that.

3:25 Q: I had a lot of fun playing ladder in D2. But the ladders were changed by forums. It became really hard to just play. Is there going to be better support ladders to rid of third-party issues?

3:25 [Comment From JonJon: ] Is there going to be some sort of item transfer service, like a bank? Making a bunch of mules to hang onto stuff was super annoying! =P

3:25 Haha, I remember muling for my brother SOOO much.

3:25 A: We want to make it as easy as possible to play.

3:25 Q: Will there be a cow level?

3:26 A: In D2 there’s a feature called chat gem. It will answer your Q if you pay attention.

3:26 Q: Demon Hunter, the choice of dbl crossbows. What gives? Two single cross bows is uncreative. *boos*

3:27 A: I think it’s pretty awesome myself. And you don’t have to use those, she does crossbows and bows. We think they are great *claps*

3:27 I brings an added dimension, a John Woo kind of action feel.

3:27 This really speaks to who she is. She’s techy, trained. Demon Hunters have that tech locked up.

3:28 Q: Is there anyway we will get dual specs so we can have clear builds?

3:28 A: Our focus is on PvE. We don’t want to make you distracted with PvP. The skills should be fine for both.

3:29 Q: Are the artisans going to be giving you a break after you make their shops so uber?

3:29 A: *silence*

3:29 A: I am sure they will give YOU a discount. Nobody else.

3:30 It’s a capitalist society. We want an economy. It’s logical you pay for someone’s services.

3:30 “There’s no doughnuts in Diablo.”

3:30 *boos*

3:30 Q: You’ve upped the pace from D2. I am curious how it will translate into boss fights for D3.

3:31 Jay: Boss fights are extensions of core gameplay. Our boss focus is about 50% D2 and 50% zelda. Zelda has simple, straight forward boss fights that play perfectly into the mechanics, but have awesome themes. That’s what we’re going for. *claps*

3:32 Q: My online experience was ruined by bots. Anything coming to stop that?

3:32 A: We hate when your experience is ruined. We will do everything possible to stop them. But it’s a constant battle.

3:32 That being said, we have a lot better tools now.

3:33 Q: I was wondering if we are getting a key ring for our ears? Can we expect right ears instead of left?

3:33 A: I don’t think Christian can make ears for both sides. *jokes*

3:33 Jay: We haven’t decided where they will go yet. They won’t be in your inventory.

3:34 Q: MP question: Will the player amount per game remain the same?

3:34 A: It could change, but it’s been playing really well with a 4p cap.

3:35 Q: As i understand Hardcore mode is making a comeback. How is that going to work with a PvP system? Will traits do something special for those playing hardcore?

3:35 Jay: Attribute points were removed because they had no customization. You just spammed vitality. I am sure hardcore chars will pick vitality traits.

3:36 For the harcode PvP, yes, you will die!

3:36 Q: Are runes going to make an appearance. And are they going to take a million…so I can start saving now?

3:36 Jay: D2 runes are not in D3. We have a new crafting system for that. They’ve been moved to runing skills.

3:37 Q: In d2 you had cool armor. Are we going to be able to have badass gear that we can tweak?

3:38 A: We are adding a dying system so you’ll be able to customize as you want. The system will have rare dyes as well.

3:38 [Comment From ReneRene: ] Will there be a skill respec option unlike in D2 ??

3:38 Great question. I certainly hope someone asks that one.

3:39 Q: I stink at mouse-based movement. Is there any chance to have WASD movement? *boos*

3:39 A: Hey, this is friendly. He didn’t say dual crossbows suck. *claps*

3:39 Jay: We’ve played around with WASD, but it doesn’t feel good with only four directions in isometric.

3:40 We felt it was restrictive and mouse click was way better.

3:40 We do have a key in the game that will keep you in place as you attack. (It’s shift like in Titan Quest).

3:40 Q: Is there any plans to allow you to download Diablo and the expansion, like you can with D2?

3:41 Jay: Probably. We don’t know yet, but almost every game we’re making is going that route.

3:41 Cata is doing is, so I can’t see why we wouldn’t do it that way.

3:41 Q: Any plans to bring eSports to D3?

3:42 A: No. *claps* We’re trying to avoid that. If players want to do it, that’s fine. We’re not supporting it.

3:43 We want to preserve the idea that you can make a better build. With eSports, that all goes away to cookie cutters and optimization.

3:43 Q: Now that D3 is built around a 3D engine, will you bring back the old Arcane ever raising tower level?

3:44 A: We’re always trying to add depth and layers to make things more interesting. Infinite staircase, that’s hard to do.

3:44 Q: Could you give us an idea on how long D3 is compared to D2. Is D3 longer or short? Any ideas what you’re shooting for?

3:45 Kevin: To some extent, a non answer. It’s so dramatically different for play styles and random elements that you’ll come across.

3:46 Q: Grails, any support for tracking unique and set items?

3:46 A: Umm, maybe. Dunno yet. On my list of things to look at and consider now.

3:46 Q: Is there gonna be a dual spec or something like that?

3:47 A: In WoW, there was A LOT of things that drove that request. You HAD to have the perfect PvE spec of raiding. But you HAD to have a spec for PvP.

3:48 In D3, the specs are almost always focused on dmg for PvP. Which is fine for PvE. So it may not be necessary. D3 characters tend to be more disposable. You make more Diablo chars than you do WoW because of the time sinks. So many will make a new char. If we see a need, we will add dual spec.

3:48 Q: Do you have any ideas of players interacting with other players outside PvP.

3:49 Jay: We have a trade system in the game now, it’s disabled on the floor. You can trade money, items right now. It work a lot like WoW’s. You can still throw things on the ground.

3:49 Which is what a lot of people used to trade. It’s quicker.

3:50 Q: Lore, do both genders of each class have the same backstory including the Barb?

3:50 A: All do but the Barb, because he is the returning Barb, whereas she is new.

3:51 Q: You plan to not support comp play. I would have never played 100,000 hours of WoW if it wasn’t for comp. If anyone is capable of balancing PvP in D3, it’s you guys. Will you support it if everyone cheers?

3:51 *boos*

3:51 A: I think there’s your answer.

3:52 BlizzCon doesn’t demand it. I can tell you you’re right, we know a lot about balancing games. Enough to know when to give up.

3:52 (I am gonna type boobs once, I know it)

3:52 It’s not what we want Diablo to be. We’re not willing to give up the vision in order to make an eSport.

3:53 Guy said: “I’m still gonna love it.”

3:53 Q: It’s been a few months since SC2 launched. Have you been paying attention to the hits and misses of Bnet 2? Are we stuck in regions, or can we play globally?

3:54 Jay: On chat channels, no one is more disappointed than us. We’ll get them in there. Anything in SC2 will be in D3.

3:54 On different regions, I am somewhat undereducated. There’s no plans right now to make the regions cross communicate.

3:54 Q: Are we going to see a PvP hardcore arena?

3:54 Jay: We answered that, you’ll die.

3:55 Q: In D2, we farmed a lot and made a ton of mules. How are you guys going to handle tons and tons of mules? I don’t want to buy extra CD keys again.

3:55 Jay: I think you’re asking 2 questions: Is the stash gonna be bigger? And how many chars can you have?

3:56 The number of chars is A LOT higher. I can’t say yet. But it will be potentially really hard to hit. *claps*

3:56 Get ready to applaud more. We’re gonna make sure we never deleted your characters. *loud applause*

3:57 The other question, the stash is massive. I’ve had people tell me its too big. I hit those people.

3:57 [Comment From JonJon: ]
YAY! It got asked!

3:58 Q: If you spread you abilities to thin, you can fail. Is there anything in D3 to assist the player to help you learn what you’re character may need?

3:59 A: There’s a lot of improvements to making builds period. A lot of UI improvements. Abilities are tiers, making fewer, better choices. There’s a spending limit. It starts at 5 and expands later. You have fewer better choices. It’ll be a lot simpler to understand it.

3:59 You can’t spread yourself too thin. It’s very hard to make a bad build with the new system.

3:59 [Comment From InsomnialInsomnial: ]
Not precisely as you asked, but I suppose it kind of answers it.. lol

4:00 I thought it was a good one. No one asked about respeccing. Thought that last guy was going to there.

4:00 [Comment From InsomnialInsomnial: ]
Wonder if it’ll be linked cross-character..

4:00 That’s it for the D3 Q&A. I think we got some really good questions there.

4:01 And some good answers. Thank god they had like 9 people!

4:01 [Comment From ReneRene: ]
guess we’ll have to wait and see with the respec, can’t wait. and other things.

4:01 [Comment From InsomnialInsomnial: ]
Yep, it’s been a good read, thanks for the coverage :)

4:01 I’ll try to corner Jay and ask about respecs.

4:02 [Comment From bigbig: ]
Where can I read a transcript of the q&a

4:02 I don’t know if they will be published in full. Honestly, the liveblog is a pretty good synopsis.

4:02 Not to be full of myself or anything. :p

4:02 Okay, hunting Jay. iTZKooPA out.


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