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Diablo 3 Interview: Travis Day @ Blizzcon 2014
The subject of our developer interview at Blizzcon 2014 was Travis Day, a Systems Designer on Diablo 3. Armed with a big list of questions whittled down from the dozens of excellent suggestions you guys offered, I hit Travis with almost every big question on the list, and quite a few small ones as well. […]
The Diablo 3 Podcast #157: Travis Day Interview
Travis Day interviewed from Blizzcon 2014. Travis answers questions about Greater Rifts, Rift Racing, Legendary Gems, Ancient Items, new legendary items and Item Sets, buying more stash space, trading, Realm of Trials, improving bounties, game control problems, build viability in the end game, and much more. There’s a full transcript for this interview, so click […]
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The Diablo 3 Podcast #157: Travis Day Interview

Posted 13 Nov 2014 by at 11:45 GMT

Travis Day interviewed from Blizzcon 2014. Travis answers questions about Greater Rifts, Rift Racing, Legendary Gems, Ancient Items, new legendary items and Item Sets, buying more stash space, trading, Realm of Trials, improving bounties, game control problems, build viability in the end game, and much more.

There’s a full transcript for this interview, so click through to read along.

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Diablo 3 Clan Control Improvements Coming

Posted 12 Nov 2014 by at 09:38 GMT

Talking to John Yang at the community corner booth on Saturday night, he told me that various improvements to the clans interface were on their way, including the ability to see how long since a member last logged on. I had that in my notes to share with you guys, and lots more from Storytime with Wyatt (I live tweeted a few choice tidbits Saturday night), and tonight I’m recording a podcast with N3rdwards and Rankil about their Blizzcon 2014 experience… but a Blue post got to the clan member info first, so here’s the confirmation.

Diablo 3 Clan Control Improvements Coming:

Clans badly need… The ability to see how long a clan member has been offline so we can “refresh” our clans.
Tyvalir: The ability to see how long a clan member has been offline is coming in the PTR for patch 2.1.2, along with the ability to sort clan members by offline duration (as well as some other social improvements). Keep an eye on the upcoming notes for patch 2.1.2, and let us know what you think of these new features on the PTR!

Once this goes live, if you’re in a clan you’ll want to pop on every now and then, even if you’re taking a month or two off, just to refresh your “last online” status. Speaking as an officer in a couple of ~150 member clans, we’re always looking to find ways to get more new/active players in, which means removing some inactives, and if/when we can easily see the last logged on date, that’ll become far more real.

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Tagged As: | Categories: Blue Posts, Clans and Communities, Tyvalir | 15 Comments

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Does the Diablo 3 PTR Need an Item Merchant?

Posted 12 Nov 2014 by at 08:32 GMT

Like this every minute on the PTR?

Should the PTR be like this every minute?

A fan asked for easier gearing on the PTR and created some Blue debate. Does the Diablo 3 PTR Need an Item Merchant?

You guys are introducing a lot of new items and sets! In order to speed up the testing and get the 2.1.2 live, please give us an item merchant where we can buy the new sets and legendaries for a few bloodshards in order to properly test stuff!

The biggest part of PTR testing is ensuring the drop rates are correct, and there is not some hidden issues.
Tyvalir: While it’s not necessarily the biggest part of a PTR, testing the drop rates for different items is certainly important. It’s one of the reasons we don’t have a special vendor or adjusted drop rates for patch testing purposes.

As much as we like feedback on how it feels to finally wield powerful new items, it’s just as important that we get feedback on whether an item feels too rare or too common. That said, we appreciate you all taking the time to find items on the PTR, take them for a spin, and tell us what you think!

I don’t necessarily agree with Tyvalir here, despite his heritage and the fact that I had several nice conversations (via text or lip-reading, alas) with him at the Community Corner during Blizzcon 2014.

Sure, drop rate testing is an important part of the PTR for a new patch, but unless Patch 2.12 greatly changes the drop rate, the devs have endless data on that from the Live realms. Adding one or two new items of a given item type won’t make any real difference to Diablo 3’s very simple drop odds tables. (Though bugs might happen and testing is the best way to discover them.)

That said, what do you guys think of some kind of item merchant on the PTR, whether it’s Kadala with 100% legendary gambling returns or something else? Players often say they don’t want to PTR since it’ll take too long to gear up and they could spend that play time on the live realm. Or players actually fear finding something great on the PTR since it’s not theirs for real. If the great gear could just be loaded up like candy from a vending machine, would that increase PTR participation on the whole?

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No Diablo 3 Patch 2.12 PTR… Yet

Posted 11 Nov 2014 by at 23:31 GMT

At Blizzcon the Blues made numerous mentions of the next patch going up for testing in the future. Josh Mosqueira went so far as to say “very soon” during Saturday’s panel. However, as we should all know by now, DiabloWikisoon is a special word when spoken by a Blizzard person, and while it sometimes does mean “soon” it never means “already.”

So don’t try to download from the PTR already, because it won’t work, and may lead to technical difficulties. No Diablo 3 Patch 2.12 PTR… Yet:

Bluescreen of death downloading PTR

I don’t think the PTR is available yet. When it is they will have a front page announcement on the website and will open the PTR forums.

MissCheetah is right, there is no PTR up at the moment.

Either way, you should be getting blue screen errors.

Let’s download BlueScreenView. BlueScreenView is a free program that scans all of the minidump files created during ‘blue screen of death’ crashes, and displays the information about all crashes in one table.

Here’s a link where that download can be found: C-Net – BlueScreenView

Once you have that downloaded and installed, open it and locate the most recent crash. Then provide me with the data located in the “Bug Check String”, “Bug Check Code”, and “Caused by Driver” columns for that crash.

New DH Set

New DH Set

The problem (?) with the PTR is when the patch content is more interesting than the current game. In recent weeks I’ve been playing mostly Demon Hunters on EU and US, but I’ve never enjoyed the DiabloWikiM6 Sentry playstyle. And after playing at least a dozen games through the Blizzcon 2014 demo with the amazing new Set enabling the super-fun Multishot DH build.. I just want to wait for the PTR so I can start working to find those new set items to enable that build for (semi) real.

And maybe find a new Gungdo Gear, with the incredible contagious Exploding Palm proc making a Monk once again worth playing.

Anyone else got a PTR itchy?

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Tagged As: | Categories: Blue Posts, Diablo 3 PTR | 9 Comments

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Diablo 3 Interview: Travis Day @ Blizzcon 2014

Posted 10 Nov 2014 by at 07:59 GMT

The subject of our developer interview at Blizzcon 2014 was Travis Day, a Systems Designer on Diablo 3. Armed with a big list of questions whittled down from the dozens of excellent suggestions you guys offered, I hit Travis with almost every big question on the list, and quite a few small ones as well.

Travis Day, Flux, and Jason Regier.

Travis Day, Flux, and Jason Regier.

This is part one of the interview covering the first 15 minutes. Included are questions about improving the Realm of Trials, adding higher levels of Torment, allowing trading, making bounties more viable and not just Act One oriented, the new legendary gems, buying more stash space, and more.

Part Two will be posted tomorrow, covering the second half of the interview. I’ll post the full audio then as well, for readers who would prefer to be listeners. Enjoy, and thanks to everyone at Blizzard for getting us into Blizzcon and for setting up this interview, and especially thanks to Lawrence Travis Day for handling every question and giving such honest and open answers.

I forgot to get a pic with Travis this year, but since I interviewed him at Blizzcon 2013 (along with Jason Regier) you can just view that pic if you want a side by side. We looked pretty much the same as last year, though I was in a black IncGamers t-shirt this time around.

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Blizzcon 2014 Panel: Evolving Reaper of Souls

Posted 9 Nov 2014 by at 21:02 GMT

Blizzard of fix-it patches.

Blizzard of fix-it patches.

The second Diablo 3 panel from Blizzcon 2014 was held on Saturday afternoon, and it covered the evolution of Reaper of Souls. The first half of the panel focused on various elements of Diablo 3 at launch, and how they’ve changed over time. All areas of the game were mentioned, but Items received the most attention, which led into the Diablo 3 Legendary Design Workshop section of the panel, where ideas submitted by the community were whiteboarded and debated by the game devs.

The opening of the panel covered numerous features in the game upon launch, and how they’ve changed. The descriptions of the early game were quite negative in tone; surprisingly so. It was very much a “we made a lot of bad decisions and are glad to have fixed or at least improved upon them” and done with a rueful tone full of dark humor. No fingers were pointed and they didn’t bring Jay Wilson up in chains to flog him publicly, but watching live, I wouldn’t have been completely surprised if they had.

Topics included the 4-stage difficulty system and how players hit a wall in Inferno. The world design that incentivized players to run and rerun the same monsters, and spend more time in the game creation and waypoint menu than actually playing the game. (This part included some mention of DiabloWikiAlkaizer Runs, which were illustrated by a large slide showing the article, which caused me to Twitter squeal.)

Slide from the panel.

Even Leah could see the troubles…

The aspects of items covered included:

  • Too much junk dropping made loot feel worthless.
  • Too much randomness and lack of affix weighting made good items too hard to obtain.
  • Too much of a “long tail” planned for item and economy progression.
  • Overlapping item quality (some blues better than some yellows, some yellows better than many legendaries) made progression fuzzy.
  • Poorly designed legendaries were just stat sticks rather than unique tools.
  • Junk affixes mixed all together on the same item. (e.g. STR on quivers.)
  • The Auction House short-circuited the item hunt reward concept.
  • Plus more, as you’ll see when you watch the panel below. And they they didn’t even get into things like the terrible crafting system, item power being way too tied to their item level, the lack of any way to socket or enchant gear, etc.

    Along with those faults they listed ways things have improved, chiefly with DiabloWikiLoot 2.0 and RoS introducing sorted affixes, smart drops, enchanting, much better legendary items, much higher drop rates, the end of the Auction House, and so on. Josh told an interesting story about how they decided to close the AH, and how it went from outrageous heresy to accepted strategy very quickly during the high level internal discussion.

    Anyway, watch the panel for yourself and see all of this in full detail. Click through for the embedded video, some more screens I took of the stage and slides during the show, and exclusive info about the D3 preparation for this year’s show, based on a conversation I had with one of the devs after this panel.

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    New Diablo 3 Wallpapers: Ruins of Sescheron

    Posted 9 Nov 2014 by at 19:54 GMT

    We didn’t get much new Diablo 3 art from Blizzcon, but Holyknight has leapt into action and turned both of the views of the Ruins of Sescheron, the new area playable in the show demo, into wallpapers. You see small versions of both below; get the full-sized images in our Diablo 3 wallpaper gallery.

    2560x1600_FR2S_ROSD2_Concept2_LOS2_CALKEH3_by_Holyknight3000 2560x1600_FR2S_ROSD2_LOS2_CALKEH3_by_Holyknight3000
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    Tagged As: | Categories: BlizzCon 2014, Fan Stuff, Wallpapers | 3 Comments

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    Diablo will never be an MMO says Blizzard

    Posted 9 Nov 2014 by at 05:24 GMT

    Over the years there has been mutterings about the possibility of Diablo eventually becoming an MMO. If you were hoping that at some point in the future you’d be battling the forces of hell with thousands of other players then you can forget it.  According to Blizzard’s Kevin Martens who was speaking to Kotaku all talk of an MMO version at Blizzard is off the table.

    There’s no discussion about a Diablo MMO any more.

    Kevin Martens

    Kevin Martens

    It was a really interesting idea back when we were into it, but I think Diablo has a really strong fantasy on its own. Having a thousand people playing it with you on a server doesn’t dramatically increase it. We’ve learned to love the smaller, more focused party experience of four people. And some people are like, ‘Why don’t you do five?’ I mean, we could, but kinda built the game around four people in mind. So the temptation of expanding the social circle has fallen by the wayside as we learned more about what we enjoy about Diablo.”

    We’re happy with where the game is at, with the understanding that no designer is ever truly happy with a game. We like the direction we’ve chosen for this. It’s way over the top. Those four people probably do as much damage as any thousand people in any MMO. They’re lords of destruction.

    Even if we stay in the realm of action-RPGs with randomization, there’s no shortage of things you can do with that. The future is bright. And I think not every game has to be like Diablo. After Diablo II there was a period where a bunch of games were a lot like it, but then people decided to try different things. And Diablo III came out of that environment in that it’s both very similar and very different.”

    I’ll admit there was a time after the release of WoW I would have loved to have seen Diablo become an MMO but as time passed and the MMO genre became extremely stale I’m happy Blizzard has stuck to their guns with the Diablo franchise. You have to wonder if the auction house and online only requirements were an experiment to see how the Diablo community would react to MMO-like features. We all know how well that went.

    Update: This is somewhat ironic, since various interviews with Max Schaefer informed us that Diablo 3 began life as an MMORPG.

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    New Blizzcon 2014 Diablo 3 Legendary Items

    Posted 9 Nov 2014 by at 00:36 GMT

    New item art

    New item art

    There’s lots of news about changes and buffs coming soon to Legendary Items, so here’s a collection of the goods.

    The pic to the right was shown during Saturday’s panel, and yes, that’s a kitten tied to a stick. (At least it’s not a kitten “on” a stick.) The devs said it was a Witch Doctor mojo, and that his name was “Mr. Pickles.” How serious they were about this remains to be seen.

    New Blizzcon 2014 Diablo 3 Legendary Items:

    New and Improved Legendary Items

    There are numerous new legendary items coming up in the next patch(es). We’ll see brand new legendary items, existing legendary items with new DiabloWikiLegendary Affixes, changes to existing set bonuses, and three entirely new item sets with new bonuses and builds. Basically what we saw in the last patch/season, but even more so.

    In Saturday’s panel the devs talked about the evolution of legendary items and showed off some of the upcoming changes. One interesting note was that Legendary Rings will get a considerable boost, with new legendary affixes going onto lots of them. The only example shown so far is Skull Grasp, which boasted a huge buff to the Barbarian’s DiabloWikiWhirlwind skill. It’s not known if this is the only skill that rolls damage on Skull Grasp, or if DiabloWikiSmart Loot picks one random skill for the class that finds it, DiabloWikiHellfire Amulet style. (I asked a dev Saturday night if all the legendary rings had new affixes and he laughed and said “not yet.”)

    New and improved legendary items.

    The devs also mentioned again that the old six item class sets (such as Natalya’s, Inna’s, Tal’s, etc) will get some big buffs, though no details were shared.

    Another focus of improvement was to the Monk’s sets. The set bonuses on Sunwuko’s have been tweaked, and the Raiment of the 1000 Storms is much buffed. See it below, along with the three new sets.

    Click through for much more, including all about Ancient Items and numerous screenshot examples of them.

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    Diablo 3 Panel “What’s Next” Q&A Transcript

    Posted 8 Nov 2014 by at 20:09 GMT
    The view from row two.

    The view from row two.

    I went down to the show floor to watch yesterday’s What’s Next for Reaper of Souls panel, but with my dev interview scheduled for right afterwards, I had to duck out midway through the audience questions. So when I watched the video of the panel today, I skipped right to the end to see if there was anything in the questions that I’d missed. And while I was listening I figured I might as well bang out a transcript, so here it is.

    I added a few annotations with more details I gleaned from playing the demo and talking to the devs. I’m also working on the transcript of my 30m private interview with Travis Day, so we should have that, with the audio, posted on Monday. It had a lot of good stuff, and some controversial design debate points as well.

    For now, here’s the transcript from the 15 minutes of fan questions after Friday’s Panel, plus a few pics I took during the event:

    Reaper of Souls “What’s Next” Panel Q&A Transcript

    Q: Years and years ago at an earlier Blizzcon I asked Jay Wilson if he had plans for Uber Diablo. He said maybe. Since then you guys have added so much more stuff… but no Uber Diablo yet?
    A: We’ve thought about it and focused our attention on other Uber fights, but it’s a good idea and Diablo’s had enough space that an uber version of him will feel fresh now.

    This question and answer puzzled me, since we’ve got an Uber version of Diablo. He was added in RoS to the DiabloWikiRealm of Fright. I guess the questioner meant one that would spawn somewhere in the world semi-randomly, the way Uber Diablo did in Diablo 2? (Pandemonium Diablo was part of the Uber Tristram event, appearing along with Uber Mephisto and Uber Baal. That version of Diablo was not named “Uber” since that prefix was already taken.)

    Update: In Saturday’s Panel Kevin Martens brought this up and said that after he left the stage Friday, one of their Monster Designers caught him and pointed out that there actually was an Uber Diablo as part of the Infernal Machine event, and joked that he’d stop making monster if the devs weren’t goin gto appreciate them. Kevin apologized for forgetting… so I guess the issue wasn’t about Uber Diablo being some free-spawning thin, and just about a fan and a dev who didn’t know all of the new RoS Infernal Machine content?

    Click through for the rest of this Q&A transcript…

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    Watch the BlizzCon 2014 “What’s Next for Diablo 3″ Panel

    Posted 8 Nov 2014 by at 07:09 GMT

    Miss the BlizzCon 2014 panel earlier which explains what’s planned for Diablo 3? You’re in luck because here’s the full panel.

    Thanks Fmulder.

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    Watch the BlizzCon 2014 Opening Ceremony

    Posted 8 Nov 2014 by at 06:26 GMT

    We know not all of you will have had the chance to watch the BlizzCon 2014 opening ceremony live so in case you missed here it is with all the reveals. Not too many mentions of Diablo but it’s always good to see what’s in the works at Blizzard.

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    Tagged As: | Categories: BlizzCon 2014 | 1 Comment

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    Diablo Podcast – Blizzcon 2014 Special – Day One

    Posted 8 Nov 2014 by at 04:29 GMT

    Flux and N3rdwards have dragged themselves away from the demo machines for a quick half hour chat about their experiences with the Diablo 3 demo showcasing the new stuff therein. They’ve positioned themselves in a corridor that seems to be a main hallway used by the cosplay entrants, no doubt enjoying the steady stream of Night Elves parading back and forth. It’s a dirty job……

    Rough topic times:

  • 1-19m. All six classes discussed in the play demo and related near gear issues.
  • 20:00 — Ancient Items.
  • 30:00 — Other Bliz stuff at the show this year.
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    Diablo 3 Artwork from Blizzcon 2014

    Posted 8 Nov 2014 by at 03:00 GMT

    New pics straight from the media pack at Blizzcon 2014.

    New Class Sets. There are new sets for the DH, Wiz, and Barb. See our First Impressions post for details on the set bonuses.

    Sesheran Imagery

    This tileset is based on the Barbarian lands. The panel showed a clip of the D2X cinematic intro, when Baal was barred (briefly) at the Gates of Sesheran. In the game it’s a city area that’s fallen into ruins and is surrounded by a forest. There are pine trees visible all around the edges of the map, and corners are overgrown with weeds and vines. The level is formed from lots of small areas, usually 40-80 yards in size, connected by short hallways that are generally like tunnels with solid side walls. It’s not a map style from any existing level, but felt a bit like the Pandemonium Fortress 1, albeit with fewer walkways, and with walls rather than open space around the hallways.

    Various states of the level are shown in the demo, which is non-random in layout. The first level is always the daytime snowing version of the zone. Floor 2 is always the nighttime version, and floor three always shows a raining version of the level.

    These screens aren’t all that representative of the layout as you see it playing, with their zoomed in architectural views.

    Click through for screens of the new legendary items and affixes,

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    Tagged As: | Categories: Artwork, Legendary Items, Screenshots | 9 Comments

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    Blizzard share their future plans for Reaper of Souls

    Posted 8 Nov 2014 by at 00:04 GMT

    While Flux dashes around BlizzCon and preps to quiz the devs, there the panel which looks at Blizzard’s future plans for Diablo 3 has taken place. Flux has already covered much of this in the earlier posts but these slides highlight the the main features that will be added to the game.

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