Where's the Paladin? Is there going to be a cow level? Key members of Blizzard's Diablo III team took fan questions in a Q&A session today, and, believe it or not, there were productive results.
It's just a feeling, but the impression I'm getting from the way Blizzard's talking about Diablo III, this game isn't coming out for a long time. Not next year for sure, maybe not even the year after that. How hard can it be to make a game where you just click things and get loot? I'm not going to try to say that it's easy - that there's a lot to consider was made clear enough during the Q&A session Blizzard held with fans this morning at BlizzCon.
Unlike the "QQ&A" sessions for certain other Blizzard games out there, there was actually quite a bit of interesting information that came out of reasonably sensible questions here. Some of the highlights follow:
What's the deal with Diablo III's PvP? Lead game designer Jay Wilson was conclusive when he said that Diablo III won't support an option to "go hostile" at any time in Diablo III, since it works against players working together, which is what Blizzard wants. That being said, Wilson said that Diablo III will "support PvP better than any of the other previous products did."
How will Diablo III work with the new Battle.net? Blizzard's mostly working on Battle.net as it relates to StarCraft II right now, so there will be some time until they can actually start thinking about how it relates to Diablo in too much detal, Wilson said. He did say later that most of the main features you see in SC2 - IM, party play, etc - should be present in Diablo>. Yeah, this game's not coming out until 2013.
Will The Monk be able to do Ryu-style Hadokens? Don't rule it out.
Will Necromancers show up? Blizzard here seemed to offhandedly imply that Necromancers won't be a playable class, which I think most of us have figured by now anyway. That doesn't mean there won't be Necromancers in the game, though. They may very well show up in the game's world, as part of the story.
Will Paladins show up? Similar answer to the Necromancer question. Blizzard says that they're trying out the idea of making characters you played as in previous games into story characters in this game. So your D2 Paladin might show up in Diablo III. However, there might be more to it than that. Blizzard has "long term plans" for Pallies, Wilson added, saying that "stuff is going to happen."
Will there be Hardcore Mode?: "We definitely want to do Hardcore again," Wilson said, calling the permadeath mode the "only way to play, right?" The team doesn't have any specific ideas about how to do it yet, though.
Are there plans to support UI add-ons?: Your user interface can be customized to your heart's content in WoW, but Diablo isn't the same game. Blizzard has no plans to support add-ons for Diablo.
"We feel very strongly what makes Diablo works is simplicity - simplicity of controls and UI design," Wilson said. "UI mods are wonderful things but they vastly change the simplicity of controls and user interface...we don't want to do that with Diablo."
Items, Items, Items: Randomly generated items will be the heart of the item system in Diablo III, but unique items with pre-ordained stats will also be prominent, maybe providing one-of-a-kind combinations of stats, properties and gear that could prove useful. There will also be items that are unique to each class (like the Wizard is the only one who can use orbs). These class items will be "cool, signature" items, like huge gnarly axes for Barbarians. They won't be the only items you'll want to carry though - they'll work for different builds, depending.
More Items: Items will be transferable between characters, presumably more user-friendly than making a game, dropping some gear and then logging out and logging back in with a different character. As for how you get items the real way - by killing bosses, specifically - whenever you kill a boss in a party, each player will get his/her own drops, that only he/she can grab (old news but worth saying again). No getting ninja'd or frantically clicking hoping you get the drop.
It all sounds quite promising, but there's a lot of "we're planning on this" or "we're thinking of that" and not much "we're doing this." Oh yeah, and nobody asked, but there is no cow level.