Archive for July, 2007

E3: More Diablo 3 hints?

E3 has been tamer this year. That doesn’t mean there’s nothing happening there.

Gamasutra has an interview with Frank Pearce, founding member and senior vice president of product development for Blizzard.

Here a bit from the interview:

“Our global headcount is 2,700,” said Pearce, “And most of that is customer service for World of Warcraft! In terms of development staff it’s probably around 350. World of Warcraft is about 135 people, 40 for Starcraft II, 40 for team 3, our cinematics team is about 85 guys. Then there’s sound and Q/A and that sort of thing.”

When pressed for details regarding the new project, Pearce was cagey. “Team 3 is working on something really awesome. I can’t give you any hints, but it’s totally awesome.”

All attempts to extract additional information were understandably met with looks of shock and horror from Blizzard’s director of global public relations, who also attended the meeting.

With Blizzcon just a few weeks away, I wonder if Blizzard are warming up to a formal announcement of this mysterious third project.

Medusa project demystified

Medusa demoRemember when just before Starcraft 2 was announced, there was a rumor about a Medusa demo.

Some people thought it could be something related to Diablo 3 (I wish!). The mystery is over – courtesy of Kotaku:

Sigaty, Starcraft 2′s lead producer, told me that the original codename for Starcraft 2 was “alpha”, but when the game was nearing alpha they decided to change it.

“We couldn’t say that alpha was hitting alpha, so we needed another name,” he said. They settled on Medusa.

This isn’t another Diablo 3 rumor. It’s just setting the record straight!

Diablo 3 vs Pandemonium Event

I’ve been thinking lately about the new content that Blizzard added to Diablo 2 with the Pandemonium Event (i.e. the Diablo 2 Ubers).

I’ve heard many arguments that it’s not REALLY new content as Blizzard have just taken a few bosses and made their uber versions. For example, they’ve used Andariel’s model to create Lilith who shares very similar spells and effects.

Uber DiabloDiablo has become uber Diablo, gaining a a few extra hitpoints. Same goes for the other bosses (Mephisto and Baal) as well as the lieutenants (Duriel and Izual).

That is one way to look at it. However, lets turn to the year(s) preceding World of Warcraft’s launch. Blizzard created a special “custom” campaign (The Founding of Durotar) for Warcraft III that used the game engine BUT simulated WoW in terms of gameplay. The quest structure, the items (epic, legendary, etc), even the levelling.

Come to think of it, I might have enjoyed the campaign MORE than I have enjoyed WoW. You could control three heroes plus summoned creatures and henchmen, the quests made sense (i.e. not repetitive), and the items were pretty powerful.

That’s not my point though. My point is that what Blizzard has done with patch 1.11 is test the realms for the style of gameplay that their next-gen MMO (lets call it Diablo III: Heaven and Hell) will feature.

This looks a long shot now but come back in a year and we’ll see. I definitely think Blizzard’s next-gen MMO should feature top SOLO content in addition to raid content.

I do expect to kill Diablo even as a casual SOLO player. Surviving the fight might be a 10% chance and loot might be just a few greens but I’d like to see Diablo go down. Amen.

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