Blizzard has dismissed complaints that Diablo III has spent too long in the cooker, citing the resulting quality of the finished product.
“While working on Diablo III we’ve been called out for messing around with systems too much, that the game is good as-is and we should just release it,” director Jay Wilson wrote in a lengthy post on the Diablo III blog.
“I think that’s a fair argument to make, but I also think it’s incorrect. Our job isn’t just to put out a game, it’s to release the next Diablo game. No one will remember if the game is late, only if it’s great. We trust in our ability to put out a great game, but we’re not quite there yet. In addition to finishing and polishing the content of the game we’re continuing to iterate on some of the core game systems.”
One of the most hefty changes outlined in the post is the removal of the Mystic, a character which previouswly provided a customisation system called Enhancement. Wilson explained the system was slightly redundant.
“As we look at the big picture, the Mystic simply wasn’t adding anything to our customization system. Enhancement was really just the socket and gem system with a different name, and it would prolong the release of the game even further to go back to the drawing board and differentiate it, so we’ll revisit the Mystic and enhancements at a later time,” he said.
“We hope she’ll be able to join your caravan in the future, but for now we’re going to focus on the extensive customization options the game already offers.”
Other artisans remain in place, and the Blacksmith can now salvage items for you. This is an important change, because Blizzard has removed the Cauldron of Jordan and Nephalem Cube. These items allowed players to sell and salvage items on the go, but have been swapped out now that players can return to town easily with the Stone of Recall exists.
“We found that keeping the Cauldron and Cube in the game detracted from the benefits of returning to town to sell items, salvage, craft, and interact with the townsfolk. It’s a good idea to break up combat so that players have a moment to evaluate their gear and crafting options before venturing back out,” Wilson explained.
“In addition, we’ve decided to just call it what it is and the Stone of Recall is now Town Portal, and is integrated directly onto the skill bar UI.”
Other changes to the user interface include a dedicated potion slot instead of the fifth quick slot, and the display of character stats in the inventory – allowing instant feedback on how new equipment changes your setup.
This is quite important as Blizzard has shaken up character stats a little, which may take some getting used to. There are now four core character attributes – Strength, Dexterity, Intellect, and Vitality – and the bonuses each provides are listed in full in the blog post.
Finally, Scrolls of Identification have been removed, but players now have an innate ability to identify items.