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BlizzCon 2011: Diablo III panels touch upon consoles, Book of Cain, gameplay, random dungeons

Saturday, 22 October 2011 21:49 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Blizzard held Diablo III panels today at BlizzCon, which focused on the lore in the RPG, and well as the game’s Auction House, gameplay mechanics, skills, and crafting.

Random Dungeons

Before we get into the nitty gritty of the panel Q&A, one interesting thing noted, was that the majority of dungeons in Diablo III will be random – something mentioned briefly during BlizzCon 2010.

“A change from Diablo II to Diablo III, is that there’s quite a bit more story moments in the dungeons themselves, so in a completely random dungeon, as in one that rolls randomly out in the world, very often you’ve got a unique entry point, say the Isle of Ragnar,” offered lead content designer Kevin Martens.

“There’s a guy named Boltar who’s a treasure hunter, he gets into these old ruins and can’t get through on his own. So it’s an escort mission, and it concludes at the end on it’s own. There’s random dungeon in between, but there’s a set starting location and a set final room and the question concludes.”

“In other locations, like you’ll see in beta, we have some levels that have very little randomness, like the Templar levels. You acquire the Templar on that level, he’s got his little story moments and an open room, but even in there we have some randomness in between the start and the final room.”

Angels and the Book of Cain

During the panel, VP of creative development Chris Metzen announced that an eight page preview of the Book of Cain, which is full of Diablo III backstory, lore and art, has been released online by the book’s publisher, Insight Editions.

According to Metzen, the team at Blizzard was in need of a way to streamline the various stories and plots in the Diablo universe, as it was developed across numerous writers, games and books. As the team delved deeper into Diablo III development, the need to organize new ideas and concepts was great in order to build continuity in the game. Thus, the idea of the Book of Cain was born.

While those who read Book of Cain will not come across any major world changes, some have been made to the lore, and Metzen hoped some of the purests wouldn’t get too upset. Other goodies of note in the book, and the game, will have an extended focus on the Angels and not just the Demons. The Diablo universe is an eternal conflict between High Heavens and Burning Hells over the Worldstone , so it only made sense to include both sides.

In Diablo II, Angels were in control over Pandemonium, where the Worldstone, also known as The Eye of Anu, exists. It can be used to create worlds without end, and control over the Worldstone is ultimately the reason behind the war between the High Heavens and Burning Hells.

Different sides hold the area over different times, as the Angels and Demons power waxes and wanes, and the different forces will build over time and in a larger capacity than in Diablo II.

The lore panel went on to discuss the various Angels present in the lore, and how each one relates to the World of Sanctuary, and the Demons were touched upon as well.

New areas to Sanctuary

Metzen went on to show off new areas for Sanctuary, such as Caldeum, the Jewel of the East, where a child emperor rules from the throne and struggling for survival.  Lucky for him, the mercenary group from Diablo II, the Iron Wolves, were protecting him for a bit alongside the Zakarum priests, but now the former have been kicked out of the palace and replaced by new guards.

Caldeum is also the “trading center of the world,” and the hub has three major groups making their home there, each vying for a slice of power in some way shape or form. The town will have its rich and poor areas.

The Dahlgur Oasis, a farming region for Caldeum and rich with water, was also shown, full of palm trees, and it contrasts with the harsh desert areas players will encounter in Act 2 of the game.

Blizzard went on to say in the panel that areas seen in Diablo II won’t be visited again, as Diablo III consists of almost all new areas.

“We started in new Tristram to set the early tone and theme and memory. And for new players it brings in the history,” said Martens. “But while events are in the regions as the same, but the levels are different. Same with the Barbarian lands around the Arreat Crater. Same, but changed so much it’s not recognizable.”

If you are a major Diablo lore buff, you’ll want to read over the transcript posted on IncGamers.

The Auction House

During a panel on gameplay, lead designer Jay Wilson touched briefly upon the game’s Auction House.

According to Wilson, auctions have been tweaked for use of both Smart and Advanced searches, and player will be able to purchase and sell items like.

Gold, gemstones, pages, crafting items, and dyes were just some of the examples highlighted as stackable goods.

Working on a console control scheme

While there is still no official word on a console version of Diablo III, Wilson did speak a bit about the potential behind the possibility. According to him, the team’s new hires looking into a console version, are testing how the controls would be implemented.

“The movement actually feels better on the controller,” Wilson said, and admitted that at the moment, “targeting is the issue,” being faced. Apparently, most of the schemes derived for choosing what to attack and loot require a reticule, which is something the team is not very fond of doing.

“Monster distribution and AI also feels a little bit different than it does on the PC version,” Wilson admitted.

Wilson said Blizzard “want to announce,” a console version until “we’re sure,” because “if it goes on a console,” it can’t compromise the PC game in any way, and should “feel like it was built for the console.”

Crafting

As mentioned on more than one occasion since announced, crafting items in Diablo III will be preformed by three different Artisan NPCs.

The crafters will create items with a longer lifespan than ones put together in Diablo II, and will be able to create, enhance, and salvage items which you can then sell in the Auction House.

Here’s the crafters and what each one does, courtesy of G4:

The Mystic: The Mystic enchances items, those enhancements are random, but they can help you create aberrant builds, like a Demon Hunter with a one-handed shield and an axe (no ranged weapons. The Mystic also have 10 levels that they can advance through.

The Jeweler: The jeweler can combine gems (there are 14 different ranks of gems), add sockets to items, and can remove gems from items, allowing you to change armor and weapons dramatically. The Jeweler also levels up as you progress.

The Blacksmith: The Blacksmith can craft items from the raw materials you provide to them, and can eventually even create Legendary and Unique set items from recipes.

Skills and difficulty levels

Skills will be more visual this time out, according to G4.

For example, Demon Hunters will have a bat which flies alongside and fights enemies. With the Barbarian , the class can summon the Ancients from Diablo II with the Call of the Ancients skill. The Ancients will fight with the Barbarian in a spectral form.

Enemies have been given visual skill revamps as well. One such change is the Goat Shaman who’s lightning shield can will reflect damage back onto you, or summon giant worms from the ground which will swallow you whole and spit you back out with extra damage dealt.

Blizzard is also looking to revamp players ability to swap skills, which would result less hot-swapping during combat.

As far as the game’s difficult level is concerned, Normal is the lowest level available. So, no “easy” mode.

Act I of the game will be the tutorial, where the monsters present have a low attack rate and awareness level. Also, in Normal mode, 70% of the game’s in-game items won’t be available – so this is something you may wish to consider when choosing a difficulty level.

Player abilities will also be limited in Act I, but as the Acts progress, the areas and the monsters will be more challenging.

As each difficulty progresses, and challenges get harder, by the time players reach Hell, Rare and Champion monsters will have up to four different powers.

Since the game also contains various customization options, there are many, many builds available in the game. Blizzard said at present, there are over 2.8 trillion possible in the game.

The studio also mentioned that followers will be end-game viable, which should make those who prefer to play solo, rather pleased.

Check out all the links in the post for more information.

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6 Comments

  1. Sini

    normal is the new easy, so casuals can feel better about themselves now.

    #1 4 years ago
  2. ultramega

    I dunno. Still more pumped for Torchlight 2 at this point. We shall see how this transpires though…

    #2 4 years ago
  3. kiyoe

    I won’t read any sentence related to diablo3 anymore unless it includes the words “release date”…

    #3 4 years ago
  4. Maximum Payne

    @3 Haha true true.

    #4 4 years ago
  5. Talkar

    @3
    When it is done (TM) xD

    #5 4 years ago
  6. Mystic Sage

    I pray they find a way to Port this to Consoles I would love to play this game and support it. Diablo III on consoles would be EPIC

    #6 4 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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    Half-life seems to be on near permanent hold, but at least we can glean some insight into what might once have been. Junction Point’s cancelled Half-life game came up in Warren Spector’s Reddit AMA overnight. Commenting that he isn’t sure whether he’ll get into legal trouble for discussing the project, Spector gave a few comments […]

  • Destiny: exclusive shader, emblem on offer with Nepal benefit shirt

    Destiny developer Bungie has asked Guardians to offer their aid, and they’ve already responded in troves. A new Destiny shirt added to the Bungie Store is the object of a fundraising drive to provide aid in Nepal following a devastating earthquake this week. Bungie popped the pretty stylish shirt on sale earlier today, offering an […]

  • What does the creator of Deus Ex think of Human Revolution and Mankind Divided?

    Deus Ex creator Warren Spector seems pretty positive about the direction the sci-fi series has followed under Square Enix’s hand. Deus Ex was created by Spector and his team at Ion Storm, and remained with Eidos after the developer shuttered. When Square Enix purchased the British publisher, it put new studio Eidos Montreal to work […]

  • Protest Goat secures future for Elite Dangerous destruction derbies

    One of the stranger and more beautiful stories to manifest in the gaming world this week, I think. Elite: Dangerous has given birth to an unintended, emergent style of gameplay; a destruction derby like affair where players gather in no combat areas to both race and gleefully smash into each other until a victor limps […]

  • Destiny’s stunning landscapes captured in panoramas

    Destiny has some beautiful environments, which screenshots don’t necessarily do justice to. Walking around Destiny exclaiming over the lighting effects and the tiny animated details is the best way to experience Bungie’s tremendous achievements, but these panorama images stitched together from in-game screenshots are a good second. Click to see them fullsize. Redditor CenturyEagle made […]

  • Star Wars Disney Infinity re-release on the cards – rumour

    Star Wars is a no-brainer for Disney Infinity, and at long last it looks like it’s happening. A Star Wars re-release called Disney Infinity 3.0 has reportedly leaked from German retailers. We have to lable this one a rumour as we haven’t seen the original source, but the story was originally reported by DisKingdom, which […]

  • Award-winning mobile indie Monument Valley out now on Windows Phone

    Windows Phone’s game selection can be a bit restrictive, but has expanded delightfully today: Monument Valley is now available. Monument Valley is one of those gorgeous, mind-bending puzzlers the indie scene produces on the regular, winning awards and consuming everyone’s lives for weeks on end. Developed by Ustwo Games, with beautiful, understated art from Ken […]

  • Old-school EverQuest servers safe from legal troubles thanks to Daybreak agreement

    EverQuest rights holder Daybreak Game Company given its blessing to the wonderful Project 1999. EverQuest: Project 1999 is one of those lovely ideas that it are all too often crushed by the realities of the games industry. An entirely fan-managed affair, it provides an emulated version of the classic EverQuest experience, which is no longer […]

  • Free Dragon Age short stories fill us in on Corypheus’s followers

    Dragon Age: Inquisition developer BioWare invites you to learn more about the lore and characters that make up its beautiful role-playing setting. Dragon Age is set in Thedas, a world still only partially revealed by the three core games to date. BioWare puts a heck of a lot of work into its worldbuilding, employing a […]

  • Remember that gorgeous Luminous Engine tech demo? It now utilizes DirectX 12

    Remember the gorgeous Luminous Engine tech demo Square Enix showed off three years ago? The firm showed it again at Microsoft’s Build Conference, this time utilizing DirectX 12. The Witch Chapter 0 [cry] real-time tech demo was created from research Square conducted using real-time CG technology and DX12 in collaboration with Microsoft and Nvidia. The […]

  • Stealth Inc 2: A Game of Clones sneaks onto GOG and Steam services

    Stealth Inc 2: A Game of Clones can now be purchased through GOG and Steam. On both services it will run you £12.99/€14.99/$14.99. Links here and here. The game features: Fully explorable ‘Metroidvania’ style overworld, laying siege to a diabolical cloning facility with varied and detailed environments. A variety of special equipment to unlock new […]

  • Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare DLC Ascendance has arrived on PC, PlayStation consoles

    Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare players on PC and PlayStation consoles can now download the Ascendance DLC. The second content pack contains the OHM weapon, the OHM Werewolf custom variant, and the second entry in the Exo Zombies saga, Infection. Four new maps are also included: Perplex, Site 244, Climate, and Chop Shop. Ascendance was […]

  • Latest Xbox 360 system update is live, now supports 2TB hard drives

    Xbox 360 now supports 2TB hard drives via the latest system update for the console. Support for the drives was announced earlier this month and has been available for preview members. “In addition we will also no longer reserve space in advance on your hard drive,” said the firm. “If you are using 16GB of […]

  • Kickstarter for Banjo-Kazooie spiritual successor Yooka-Laylee launches tomorrow

    Playtonic Games has announced the Kickstarter campaign for its spiritual successor to the Banjo Kazooie series, Yooka-Laylee, will launch tomorrow. The title of the game was announced today along with the Kickstarter date. Formerly known as Project Ukulele, the 3D platformer is said to be “between the size of Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Tooie,” and stars Yooka […]

  • Console version of Mistwalker’s Terra Battle is in development

    Now that Mistwalker’s Terra Battle has surpassed 2 million downloads on mobile, the developer is now working on a console version of the tactical RPG. As part of the original Download Starter campaign, the 2 million milestone means the company will begin development on Terra Battle’s console version with details to be announced at a […]

  • Prison break game The Escapists is heading to PlayStation 4 from May 29

    The Escapists, Mouldy Toof’s prison break game originally released as a timed console exclusive Xbox One, has a release date for PlayStation 4. For those unfamiliar with the title, which is also a PC release, it tasks players’ time management skills as they do a bit of digging and crafting, and other prison-type stuff as […]

  • Dead Island 2 delayed into 2016 to ensure series is “taken to the next level”

    Dead Island 2 has been delayed into 2016 by Yager in order to ensure the sequel “takes Dead Island to the next level.” According to a tweet from the developer, it set “big goal” for the game, and in order to deliver what fans expect, the team needs more time to reach development goals. “We […]

  • Project Cars: here’s a list of all available cars at launch

    Project Cars will contain many, many cars and if we are counting correctly, there will be 74 total at launch. The standard edition contains 65 total, and when factoring the free car as well as the Modified and Limited Edition cars packs, you can add an additional nine cars to the mix. Comb through the […]

  • Competitive matchmaking support is coming to Team Fortress 2

    Team Fortress 2 will soon feature support for competitive matchmaking, which Valve says is a “high priority” project for it at the moment. According to a report from TeamFortress.tv, which visited Valve headquarters recently, Valve is looking into the possibility of 6v6 or 9v9 matches 9v9, a possible quick play option and it is also […]

  • GTA 5 PC patch fixes garage, Job crashes – full notes here

    Rockstar has pushed out a 353 MB patch for GTA 5 on PC The patch fixes a number of annoying bugs related to vehicles and garages, some deathmatch issues and purchase errors. It should also fix various freezing and crashing bugs, as well as a little issue with Steam. Time will tell if the patch […]

  • Fire Emblem If will come in White Kingdom and Black Kingdom versions with amiibo support

    We’ve finally got some juicy details on the next Fire Emblem game, but the most interesting aspect is that there will be two versions of the game. According to Siliconera, who translated an interview between Intelligent Systems and 4Gamer, there will a White Kingdom and a Black Kingdom version that offer different aspects of the […]

  • Deception 4: The Nightmare Princess heads west with “Golden Toilet” pre-order bonus

    Deception 4: The Nightmare Princess will debut on western PlayStation 4 systems this summer, Koei Tecmo has announced. It is also coming to PS3 and Vita. The game was produced by Keisuke Kikuchi of Fatal Frame fame and takes up where Deception 4: Blood Ties left off allowing players to relive Laegrinna’s pursuit to free […]

  • Nintendo US eShop update: Puzzle & Dragons Super Mario demo, Paper Mario, more

    Nintendo has updated the North American end of the eShop with a demo of Puzzle & Dragons Super Mario Bros. Edition, Paper Mario on Virtual Console, and amiibo Tap. The full update is below. eShop update amiibo Tap – free – Wii U Star Wars Pinball DLC – Wii U Paper Mario – Wii U […]

  • Deus Ex: Mankind Divided PC port handed off to Nixxes

    The PC port of the new Deus Ex has been handed over to Netherlands based studio, Nixxes software. After the initial reveal trailer at the beginning of April, we’ve only had a few morsels in the way of additional news. The most intriguing tidbit to date has got to be the fact that you’ll be […]

  • First-ever PC Gaming Show to take place at E3 2015 in June

    PC gaming will finally have its very own E3 press conference this year, thanks to PC Gamer and AMD. The PC Gaming Show will take place on June 16 at the Belasco Theater in Los Angeles and it will be livestreamed on Twitch. PC Gamer said speakers at the presentation will include representatives from Blizzard, […]

  • Majora’s Mask light available now on Club Nintendo for 6000 stars

    Club Nintendo shuts up shop on September 30 and members are being encouraged to spend accumulated stars before then. And what better to spend them on, than this adorable Majora’s Mask light? If you’re a member based in Europe you can nab it for 6000 stars. If you’re in Australia or New Zealand, it’ll only […]

  • Unity support announced for HoloLens, will work with Windows universal apps

    Microsoft is partnering with game engine developers Unity in order to make HoloLens compatible with apps and games which use the cross-platform engine. The partnership was announced yesterday during its Build Developer Conference. Universal apps for Windows 10 systems will also be available on Xbox One later this year, suggesting possible HoloLens functionality with the […]

  • Splatoon Nintendo Direct airs Thursday, May 7

    A Nintendo Direct focused on Splatoon, the Wii U multiplayer title, on May 7. It will kick off at 7am PDT/10am EDT/3pm UK and it can be watched via the Nintendo Direct website. You can also have a look at the game through Nintendo’s Twitch channel. The last game-specific presentation took place last week and […]

  • GTA 5 PC: clean up the streets as a member of the San Andreas PD with this new mod

    Remember the awesome mods for GTA 4 and San Andreas that let you run amok online as a member of the po-po? Well, dust off your taser and load up your gun, because it’s coming to GTA 5. The new mod for GTA 5 is currently in alpha and can be downloaded at palmbeachgames.com. You […]

  • Indie shoot ‘em up Project Root comes to Xbox One, PS4 and PSVita

    Project Root is a self-proclaimed rejig of the shoot ‘em up genre that was released on PC last year, and it’s finally coming to consoles. Combining free-roaming elements with the usual business of shooting things, Project Root was released this week for Xbox One, PS4 and the PSVita.