We are nuts not to post about our next game rather show our little concerns over a big budget game. I’m afraid the situation is grave and if thou be a Diablo II follower, you might want to stay a while….. and read.
They killed Kenny! The funny necromancer with massive vitality points leaching health with his Blood Golem. We loved him even though he was different from the rest of us. Did he manage complete Diablo II ? Hell who cares! But for now he will be truly missed in Diablo III. They killed Character Stats. What that means is that you will automatically get stat upgrades after each level up. At similar levels players will always have the same barbarian if stripped away from their item and skills. What is the point in letting people build their own character and then hand holding them through? Difficulty will then only be dictated by the items we hold and the skills we choose. Skills are again connected to Rune Stones drop rates of which are linearly scaled with Act progression. We are at the mercy of the overtime percent of health we get from the health globe to survive (and Weapon Upgrades/Potions which are again connected to gold and grind)
No more Skill Trees, Limited Skills(6) and no more Skill Points. While I will agree with Jay Wilson (Lead Designer) that characters in Diablo II boiled down to only a handful of spells it was still fun to create unexpected builds that would surprise people in PVP. Balancing each spell with each level up is definitely something the Diablo team could figure out however they chose to limit spells with scaling Rune Stones. Another reason for limiting of skills was probably for the console port that was rumored.
Low on mana my friend? Let me share my potion with you, OH wait you use Fury? Having another resource for every class was probably just another way for your classes not to share magical resource, it rather generates. How? By using skills off-course how else can one justify the names Hatred/Spirit and Arcane Power. This also probably means we will be seeing more class specific items that increase only one of the given resource, more divide and rule.
Blizzard also tried to “cash-in” on the item transaction based model. While the Diablo III population is busy hunting for newer items and selling them, Blizzard would make a cut of the profit for hosting the item auction. However it seems government laws in different nations have made it difficult for a players profit from the Auction House to be cashed out. Instead they will be able to buy more goodies with the virtual cash from the Blizzard store like purchasing WoW access passes (Redirecting to Blizzard’s Cash Cow if they didn’t milk it enough already)
None of the core Blizzard North team is working on Diablo III which is definitely not a bad thing but here is some of their early work on the Diablo III art. A perfect match to the earlier series. Notice the over use of grey and warm tones with hints of colors. Dulled out backgrounds provide better focus on characters and enemies in motion. This is specially important for say a 2-4 player co-op to keep the colors at bay. Attached below are three screenshots of the previous art direction for Diablo III.
Blizzard North’s Art Direction for Diablo III
Below are current Diablo III Beta Screenshots. Compare the images below to the ones you see above and you will know what I mean.
But there is hope.
Jay tackles the resource system issues here in his quotes
Right now every class has their own resource. And that’s the goal. If we can’t get that to work, if we can’t make them different and all working adequately, then we might double up on some resources on some characters. We’ve waited to do the itemization until we have the resources locked down. If they’re that different then we might restrict the resource bonuses to class-based items.
We do have class-based items for that. We’re also doing a lot with enchantments, because enchantments don’t feel bad if you find an enchantment that’s not for you, the way an item is.
Did Blizzard just start off on the wrong foot with Diablo III? Given below is another huge balance change in the beta that was announced recently. I’m left bewildered thinking of the balancing nightmare these changes would have bought about just a few months before possible release. Then again I’m positive this would be an internally tested build that they had tested sometime in their dev cycle.
Core character attributes have been reworked significantly
Attack, Defense, and Precision have been removed
Dexterity, Intellect, Strength, and Vitality have been added:
+Demon Hunter damage +Monk damage +Dodge (for all classes)
+Witch Doctor damage +Wizard damage +Health from globes (for all classes)
+Barbarian damage +Armor (for all classes)
+Health (for all classes)
Armor will now supplement Defense, as well as provide +Physical resist
+Chance to Crit has been added as an item affix
Player Life per Vitality has been changed:
The gameplay seems to have more tactical decisions with less skill abstraction.Leech items have been completely removed instead they have added some items with +Health after each kill. This has interesting effects to the game where its important to make kills as opposed to just having a single strike on the enemy. A cool-down based health potion systems will force players get to the closest health globe for survival. Its easier to fine tune the difficulty with health globe drops by simply having lower level enemies to drop lower % health globe more frequently. As the players progress to higher levels they will find higher % health globes, less frequently while the lower % health globes act as short fillers. Battles will be more difficult and with that lots of dead Hardcore corpses (Yea I’m Hardcore) PvP outcome will be a lot shorter and hopefully fun. Health Globes are also in PVP which act somewhat of a Medpack however since the health is gained over time, death could be lurking nearby.
What does all this mean? Diablo III might be successful after all, but it may never be able to replace the special place Diablo II had created for itself.