PC Gamer just posted a very nice interview with Wyatt Cheng & Andrew Chambers on their website. Accompanying the article is a couple of new (?) screens from Act 2:
PC Gamer: Can you guys tell us a little more about the Inferno difficulty level? Is it just going to be flat-out mean to the player?
WC: Yes. We have Normal, Nightmare, and Hell, and one thing about Hell in Diablo 2, it was more geared towards characters from, Iím gonna say, level 60-65 up to 100. Our level cap is 60, and Inferno is really geared towards max-level characters. One of the things weíve been talking about is, we have a lot of environment art. And we feel that the most fun way to play isnít to do the same run over and over and over and over again within the same environment, background art, whatever. So Inferno is the entire game on a much tighter level (band?? 3:30) so that you can basically do your loot farming in a wider variety of places. Itís still the same game, but everythingís designed for level 60, and the rewards are (superior) across the board.
Andrew Chambers: And yeah, itís really, really mean. Itís brutal.PCG: Now, in Diablo II, power-leveling your friends or making alts and getting them power-leveled was a huge part of the game. Are you guys trying to promote that, or push people away from that?
WC: Twinking, as itís colloquially called, is important. I think itís actually really fun. Itís something that we intentionally try to support. I think that the trick is to make the twinking experience as fun as possible. So, for example, one phrase I like to use around the office a lot is, ďplayers are very good at finding the path of least resistance.Ē So if Iím going to level a new character, Iím going to find the fastest and most optimal way to do it. Our job, as developers, is not to stop you from leveling your character fast. Our job is to make the path of least resistance is also the most fun. So, for example, is it fun to stack up a whole bunch of +Experience Gain gear that Iíve collected over time, put that on, and level, yíknow, maybe 50% faster than the first time? Yes, we do think thatís fun, so letís support that. We have a lot of features that actually encourage a second character. Things like your shared stash; also, a lot of people noticed in the beta that your gold is shared across all of your character.PCG: In Diablo II, magic find was really important. Is that also going to be crucial to finding the best items in Diablo III?
WC: Thereís been some back and forth on magic find in the community. On the developer side, we feel that magic find is something that, as a stat, players want. And thatís really important, because when there arenít a number of stats pulling you in different directions, then the item game becomes a lot less interesting. So if I went out and said, ďHey, you know what? The only stat you want (letís say, hypothetically) is movement speed.Ē Then all of a sudden, my items become a lot less interesting, because I quickly look for movement speed and reject everything else. The problem with magic find in Diablo 2 is that, for certain classes (particularly the Sorceress), she really didnít care about enough statsóshe just really cared about plus to skills, and magic find.
And the problem manifested itself; people just put on lots of magic find and that was all they cared about. Thereís a lot more tension in Diablo III, and a lot more stats that you care about. We re-did the attribute system to be based around Attack, Precision, Vitality, and Defense, because we felt that these are stats that all the characters will care about. When you have a lot of different trade-offs to make, then magic find becomes yet another stat that youíre trying to optimize against everything else, and the interesting item game is there once again.