Red target outline

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The Red Target Outline is a glowing border around monsters that helps the player see what they're targeting on the busy screens of Diablo III. It has been something of a controversial feature since some players feel that the line is too bright/thick and distracting.

Over time the feature has become generally-accepted, and by and large most players find it useful. However, the question has surfaced post release. [1]

Any chance we will get the gauntlet cursor back as an option? And an option to turn off the red target outline? Avushb
No plans. We feel targeting suffers without the outline. Gameplay first.

Blizzcon 2009 Debut[edit | edit source]

Red target outline seen in PvP Arena, Blizzcon 2010.

One of the surprise controversies of Blizzcon 2009 was the red target outline. A new feature just added to the game was a glowing red outline around the monster being pointed at. This outline was meant to help players identify what they were pointing at on the frequently-crowded and chaotic battle screens of Diablo 3. Most players didn't mind or didn't even notice while playing at the show, but for some at Blizzcon, and for many others viewing screenshots and gameplay movies over the Internet, the red outline was bright and too obvious and distracting.

This became a minor issue of contention, but the D3 Team is very strongly behind the inclusion of the feature, as Jay Wilson made quite clear during an October, 2009 interview. [2]

'''Jay Wilson: '''I consider it absolutely essential for target selection. We tried tons of other systems, and that’s the one that worked really well. The complaint we get is that it makes the monsters pop out from the world, and our response is that’s exactly what it’s supposed to do.

October 2009 Interview[edit | edit source]

Julian Love also commented on this, in October 2009. [3]

DS:' while talking to some of the artists when visiting Blizzard HQ during Blizzcon they weren't too sure about the red outline on the mobs or bad guys whenever you mouse over them. Can you talk about that or any of other changes you've made since Blizzcon in direct reference to the feedback you received from fans?
'''Julian Love:''' Yeah, actually the red outline is still something we're adjusting, at this point I don't think we have too many plans of changing it. I wouldn't say that it's finished. The thing that we're looking at with the red outline specifically is to find that balance of player selection notification relative to different levels of combat. We want to make sure it's working while you're engaged with a lot of mobs, while at the same time maybe not being so loud while you're fighting with just a few. It's a matter of adjusting that balance over time till we get it where we feel it's just right. Definitely the tendency there is to error on the side of supporting gameplay and making sure that the game responds really well. In terms of the changes that we've made since Blizzard, that we've really been working on lately along those lines have been towards player feedback in combat specifically. One of them being your ability to read when your health is low and another one is to pump up your ability to feel physical hits. Impacts didn't really have a lot going on and we felt that a lot of people were hitting monsters but not really feeling it. So we're taking a look at that right now.

August 2010 Update[edit | edit source]

Community Manager, Bashiok, answered a few questions about the RTE in forum posts on August 19, 2010.[4]

Bashiok: The focus outlines are still present, it’s simply an effect of hiding the UI to take screenshots. I believe the intent is still to have the focus outlines as a toggleable option.

Right now, if you disable it there’s still a faint red rim light used to communicate focus. I’ll have to follow up, hopefully I didn’t just say something incorrect… But I believe the intent is to default to the more apparent outline, and allow people to toggle it if they prefer a more subtle approach.’s weird how things stick out in screenshots and while you’re playing it totally just doesn’t even occur to you with so many things going on at once. Which is why I think it’s a useful tool. I can be watching my health meter closely and be able to see I’m targeting something in my peripheral.

Blizzcon 2010[edit | edit source]


The red target outline remained in the game as of October 2010, at Blizzcon. Fans who played with it in the game had kind things to say about it, both in looks and function. A quote from Blascid's hands-on play report: [5]

Was there even a red target outline on targeted enemies? You know, I do not even remember; hmm... okay-okay, now I do, yes, there was, and no, it did not stick out at all. Trust me, in the midst of a chaotic battle, you will WANT the red outline there, you will be worshiping it--maybe to even have it thicker, I know I will. It did not take me out of the game at all. I too hated it in screenshots, you will get over it, quick. Combat is very smooth. Like others have said in previous years, “Very polished.”

This issue continues to be a controversy (or a non-troversy) almost entirely based on how it looks in screenshots and gameplay movies, rather than in the game, where no one seems to object to its look or function. As more fans get their chance to play the game, the number of people objecting to it seems likely to decline further.

In any event, the D3 Team likes the feature and hasn't said anything about removing it, other than perhaps allowing toggle on/off option.

PvP Arena Games[edit | edit source]

The PvP Arena system debuted at Blizzcon 2010, and in still shots and game play movies from the Arena. In those the red target outline is more visible than in PvM visuals, and the shots touched off new debate. [6] You can see a few stills taken from the 2010 gameplay movie in the gallery below.

Red Outline Inspiration?[edit | edit source]

Ready Brek outline.

Blizzard has not commented on the occasional allegations that they got this concept from the 1980s Ready Brek commercials. An example screenshot can be seen to the side... you decide!

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Toggle option? - Jay Wilson, Blizzard, 01/12/2012
  2. IncGamer's Interview - Jay Wilson, 16/102/2010
  3. Interview with Diabo-Source - Julian Love, 28/10/2009
  4. Dimmable Outline - Community Manager, Blizzard, 19/08/2010
  5. Hands on report - Blascid, IncGamers Forums, 25/10/2010
  6. Red Outline displays in PvP - Community, IncGamers, 23/10/2010