A great interview with Jay Wilson over at Gamplanet, follow link for full interview:
Gameplanet: What are the things you learned from the beta?
Jay Wilson: The game wasnít hard enough. We even came out saying, ďno the gameís definitely hard enough!Ē because we really consider Act 1 to be the tutorial. But we got a lot of feedback Ė enough feedback from enough different sources Ė so we said, ďOK, even for a tutorial the gameís not hard enough.Ē So we definitely learned that.
We learned a lot about security, which was part reason for the beta. Also about our infrastructure generally Ė hardware infrastructure.
The rest were one-off small things so itís hard to pull them back off the top of my head, but those were the major ones. There are tons and tons of feedback that we get but theyíre usually not something I can call out.Gameplanet: So that brings up a couple of things: what goals, or what benchmarks do you personally hold that will need to be met in order to qualify this game as a success?
Wilson: We have mathematical numbers internally. Those are boring to me. I want us to hit them and I think we will because the game is good, and itís not that Iím dismissing that Ė the gameís got to make money Ė but I think itíll make money because itís good, and we worry about that first.
So for me, if a community builds around it similar to the community that built around Diablo II, then I will feel like itís a success. If that community is vibrant and wars with each other, and with us, and struggles and fights to make the game better, then to me that's worth continuing to work on the game. Thatís success.
Every company Iíve worked for before Ė through no fault of their own Ė when they finish a game, theyíre done. Once the game is out the door, they really barely think about it again unless they do an expansion. Even so, if they do an expansion, thatís very expansion-centric, itís not really looking back at the previous game.
Blizzardís not like that. We look at the game shipping as the start date, thatís when the game really starts, and thatís when our work really starts, because now we can build a game in the best environment you can possibly build, which is with people playing it.Gameplanet: Now that you know whatís made it into the box, what are some of those ideas, perhaps for example classes, that didnít make it?
Wilson: There were no classes that we did that didnít make it in. There was no work there. Other than Ė and weíve talked about it before Ė the original Demon Hunter was more of a Ranger, and we actually did have the Ranger working, we had an ammo resource system and it was terrible! We used the scoundrel follower, who was built at the time, he was actually the character that we used. He wasnít meant to be the character, he was just a stand-in because he used a crossbow. So there was that one.
Early on, there were a few of us that were really hot on doing an Illusionist. It was a really interesting kind of pet class. But then a bunch of people said it kind of sounded like the ďfairyĒ class Ė not in a positive manner! Ė so that kind of dropped off.
Everything else though, I know we had a big list of names, but I donít really remember them, because obviously they didnít catch on. Once we committed to a class, itís such an investment, we were sure.