BlizzCon 2010 Panel: Open Q&A

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The Blizzcon 2010 Diablo III Open Question and Answer Panel took place Saturday afternoon, October 23, 2010. The panel was held on the main stage at Blizzcon, and featured numerous Diablo III developers on hand to answer questions posed by audience members.


Useless Questions?[edit]

Devoted fans who are up-to-date on the game info often want to rip out their hair over questions asked during open Q&As, since they're asked by casual fans who haven't been following the game very closely. Their questions are thus about "old" info that any informed fan could answer, and are thus "wasted" on the game developers. Blizzard must regard this as a feature, rather than a bug, as evidenced by the fact that they do not moderate the questions.

This is understandable from their perspective; most people aren't hardcore fans of the game and haven't been following the game development or information releases very closely, thus what they want to know, even if it's old information, will be of use to other fans like themselves. While the more detailed, minutia-type topics that the obsessed fans want to know about are not of as much interest to the majority of fans.

This is the same reason that Blizzard prefers giving interviews and media coverage to general gaming sites and mainstream media than to fansites; Blizzard wants to reach the widest possible audience, and they'll do that via Wired or the New York Times or Mtv. That such interviews will invariably cover all the basics and generalities, rather than getting into new, specific details that more devoted fans are interested in, is merely a side effect of their preferred media relations strategy.


Panel Description[edit]

Diablo III Open Q&A

Saturday 3pm, Main Stage
Got a burning question about the Burning Hells? The development team dedicates an hour to audience questions about the story, design, art, sound, and gameplay of Diablo III.


Panelists[edit]

Panel Highlights[edit]

Unlike the Gameplay Panel or the Crafting Sanctuary panel, there are no full transcripts or detailed summaries of the panel, since no one cared enough to type one up. (Since not enough of the content was new or interesting.) There are several live blog style summaries, and highlight coverage.

Below are paraphrased transcripts of the most interesting/new info questions and answers. There were several other good questions on pending issues that got "no comments" replies and thus are not included below.

Question: How do you balance all the skills and builds for pvp?
Answer: (Jay Wilson) I could talk for 2 or 3 hours about how to balance the game. It's part the power of math, part playing the game alot, and it's part targeting what level of balance you're after. Speaking specifically to PvP, one of the goals is to make sure that PvP never effects PvE game balance. it's why we have the Arena. We'll never nerf a PvE skill for PvP.


Question: What's Deckard Cain doing in Diablo III?
Answer: He's trying to thwart evil. He's spent the past 20 years researching ways to stop the coming invasion of hell. Now that the worldstone has been destroyed there's nothing to stop the demons from invading. Cain doesn't know why they haven't invaded yet, but he's going to make damn sure that when they do, mankind's prepared.


Question: Resistance changes from Diablo II?
Answer: Resistance was changed from a flat % to a basically a rating, that works how defense did. It scales with the level of the monster. So it can grow more. We don't have to go to Nightmare and pull the resistance down. It's a broad question. In a lot of ways it's the same. It's still a big part of the game. It's a focus of your defensive building of your char in higher levels.
As for Immunities. We're not doing double/triple immunities. We don't want to completely hurt a character's ability to hurt something. We also diversify damage types more across the classes. But we still can't count on a class having a diversity of damage types we can use.


Question: Do we have to stack resistances for particular fights?
Answer: Sometimes. It's kind of an end game question, so haven't done it yet. We'll look more at it as the time comes closer.


Question: Will there be multiple height platforms in pvp?
Answer: Not really. That kind of multiple different levels design doesn't really work with the Diablo 3 spell physics. Projectiles tend to go out in straight lines. Not and up and down.


Question: Will we see information about the destiny of past characters? We revisited [Tristram]] in d2. It's been sacked and destroyed. This gives a sentimental moment for players of d1. We also saw ultimate fate of the Diablo I chars. Will that happen in Diablo III with the implied destines of d2 chars and the areas?
Answer: Michael Chu: I thought the implied destiny of classes in Diablo II was very cool. We're definitely continuing that. We'll show you what happened with the Rogues, and with the Necromancer, etc. That's definitely a plan we're going to address via the game story.


Question: Can you describe boss fights in Diablo II?
Answer: We consider boss fights an extension of the core gameplay. We want the boss fights to reflect how the game plays regularly. We want to make bosses about 50% Diablo II and 50% Zelda. Zelda has very simple straight forward boss fights that work in the game mechanics, but are made interesting by good themes that are set up very well.


Question: Can Hardcore build variety be emulated with Traits? Since HC characters can't just pump up their vitality anymore.
Answer: Different defensive abilities with hardcore traits. And item choices too.
Also, since I wanted to mention this somewhere, we're going to have Hardcore Arena, and it will be Hardcore. You're going to die if you lose. If you don't want to die, don't go into the Arena.


Question: Will you allow a mechanism for characters to have dual specs? So they could switch instantly between two modes, changing their equipment and stats/skills to go from PvM to PvP builds?
Answer: Probably not in D3. maybe, if it seems necessary, but people might just make multiple chars.


Question: Will there be e-sports for Diablo III?
Answer: It's not something we're going to design for. There's too much variety in the char builds to ever balance them all evenly, and the changes we'd have to make to be an e-sport would be detrimental to the game. We saw the sacrifices the Starcraft 2 developers had to make to get that game all balanced perfectly. We feel it would lessen the quality of D3 too much to be worth it.


Question: Can you tell us about muling items and character storage space?
Answer: We're going to allow more charters per account than we did in Diablo II. A lot more. The number should be really hard to hit. And we're going to make sure we never delete your chars. Even if you leave the game and come back. As for the stash, it's massive. It's very very very big. It's so big people tell me, "I think the stash might be too big."
Question: Will there be a shared stash?
Answer: Yes.

Panel Video[edit]

The entire panel can be viewed in four segments, courtesy of Diablo3Inc's You Tube channel.

Part One.

Part Two.

Part Three.

Part Four.