Archive for October, 2008

Diablo 3 Multiplayer

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The guys at Joystiq are going over their first Diablo 3 multiplayer experience during Blizzcon.

The quality of the video is way better that most I’ve seen. You need to wait a bit for the multiplayer gameplay to start (at 3:08). The party is complete with all three Diablo 3 characters: Wizard, Barbarian and Witch Doctor.

And here’s the multiplayer Arena:

The only complaint was that the screen was a bit overwhelmed with all the special effects:

The only negative thing we could see was the messy screens you’d get when playing in a party. If you have a Witch Doctor in your group casting Locust Swarm, and a ton of enemies are massing around your group, you’ll start frantically clicking at any and everything on screen.


Check out the Skeleton King fight at the end!
I’m still not sure if the Wizard managed to kill it… I guess not.

Battle.net 2.0 Premium

WoW interview: Rob PardoYou’d think that the combination of BILLIONS from WoW and the recently announced $100 for Starcraft 2 will make Blizzard sit comfortably on its huge pile of cash.

Think again. They are now thinking of “monetizing” the new version of Battle.net.

Initially, I thought “oh, we had banner ads in battle.net before, no problem”. Here’s from the horse’s mouth (Rob Pardo interview):

So Julian Wilson told us that you guys are looking monetize Battle.Net in some way. Is that right?

Wow, that’s an evil way of putting it. Julian’s turning into a business guy on me. Here’s the way I would put it. We’re definitely not looking at turning Diablo into a subscription based game…

With Battle.Net we’re definitely looking at possible different features that we might be able to do for additional money… I think World of Warcraft is a great example to look at. We charge people if they want to switch servers or if they want name changes, things that aren’t core to the game experience, they’re really just optional things that some people want.

OK, that’s a relief: Diablo 3 isn’t a subscription game; changing your name to GobbleCoque is going to cost $29.

However, I still get a bit suspicious of Blizzard’s “innovation” when it comes to pricing. After Starcraft 2 is split into three separate games we need to purchase separately, I wonder if Diablo 3 is going to be the same way.

Purchase Acts I and II for $49 and then shell more money for Acts III, IV and V which are entirely optional. Optional in the sense you option OUT of all the end-game bosses, equipment, etc.

New Diablo 3 class – Wizard

Blizzard have finally revealed the third Diablo 3 character – a Wizard. As far as I can tell from the gameplay video and the class description, it looks like a copy&paste of the good ole Diablo 2 Sorceress.

The Wizard skills revealed thus far are:

  • Disintegrate – constant ray of energy going through multiple enemies
  • Electrocute – chain lightning
  • Teleport – blink about half a screen away
  • Magic Missile – single target damage spell
  • Slow Time – creates a sphere that slows down projectiles (very similar to the Protoss Mothership skill)

You can watch the Wizard in action at Blizzard’s site here.

New character revealed at Blizzcon

Blizzcon starts tomorrow and there’s a ton of news related to Diablo 3 and the other Blizzard games.

Starting with Diablo 3 – there will be a playable demo (as predicted here). If you’re lucky to have a ticket, you’ll be able to play as a Witch Doctor or Barbarian. A third class will also be revealed and it will be playable too (see quote below from Blizzcon brochure):

Among these brave champions stands the enigmatic witch doctor, a spiritual warrior from deep within the Torajan jungles. At BlizzCon 2008, the witch doctor is yours to command for the first tim ever. Stop by the Diablo area on the show floor for your chance to lead this fierce new hero into the catacombs beneath the Tristram Cathedral.

While you’re there, revisit the raw strength of the barbarian – a Diablo series classic – or try your hand at Sanctuary’s newest champion, who will be revealed at the event.

So we have two basic archetypes: fighter and mage. Place your bets on who’s the next class to be revealed? I vote someone with shield … and hammer. Hammerdin!

Dying in Diablo 3

Town portals and corpse runs are two of the things that made Diablo and Diablo 2 quite unique. Now, they’re being “revisited” by the game design team.

Town portals will be removed in Diablo 3. Instead players will be using waypoints for quick transportation. I.e. if you’re close to a waypoint, you can go back to town.

Dying will similarly be based on the waypoints system. When you die, you don’t go back to town with all your equipment lying in some dungeon. You simply get teleported to the closest waypoint with minimal health (10%?). It’s your choice if you want to go back to town or you want to gulp a potion and continue hacking.

Here’s the “official” Blizz post at the Battle.net forums:

We want to separate being in town and being out on a quest/adventure/dungeon as much as possible. Leaving the safety of a town should not be a decision you take lightly. We don’t want to remove the sense of suspense and danger by making town something you’re always going back to pretty much whenever you like. The intent is to create a greater separation from being in town, and not, and to make your time away from town a lot more tense.

On that same note we also don’t want to remove the player from the action. Throwing them back to town for every death really breaks up the action, and not in a fun, interesting, or necessary way.

So, with these things in mind we’ve found that a check point system works really well. Throughout your adventures, and generally at the ends of each “floor” of a dungeon your character is saved to a checkpoint. When you die you’re dropped back at the last checkpoint with a small amount of health, and the rest regenerates slowly. It’s obviously a very forgiving system as it is. It’s just too early to put a ton of thought in to what penalties there should be, if any, added on top of it.

Regardless, potential penalties aside, this is the death mechanic we’re currently using and it’s working really well so far.




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