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What’s has Diablo III in store for us?

As a self-admitted Diablo II nut, the official Diablo III announcement, I had only one thing in mind: “Get myself back in sync with Diablo.”  And so began the nightly Diablo II runs with my friends from my cosplay and anime forum.  To those interested, we’re playing over a PVPGN (Player vs Player Gaming Network) hosted by PLDT-PLAY.  Yeah the game’s a decade old but we still love it.

In anycase, if you’re wondering what’s up and new on Diablo III, here’s a compilation of news and tidbits.

Tyrael

General Overview

  • Largely follows in the style of past Diablo games.
  • Controls and camera kept simple, but depth of combat enhanced.
  • The story takes place 20 years after the events of Diablo II.
  • Greater emphasis has been placed on a character-driven story.
  • Targeting a length similar to Diablo II, which ran four acts.
  • Uses a new in-house 3D engine and the Havok physics engine.
  • Has been in development for four or five years. Was rebooted after Blizzard North shut down in March 2005.
  • The game is “really far along,” and is “really fun to play already.” (Source: GameSpot)
  • Dev team now up to 50-55 employees.
  • Will ship simultaneously on Mac and PC.
  • No plans for a console version.
  • No decisions made on financial model.
  • Blizzard challenged themselves to add color to the art style while maintaining the dark, gothic feel of the previous titles.

Gameplay

  • Heavy focus on encouraging cooperative play.
  • Higher difficulty levels.
  • Mixes randomized and static maps as in Diablo II.
  • Hardcore mode likely to return. “Don’t see why we wouldn’t do it.”
  • Less focus on potions in order to emphasize skill use. Monsters can drop instant health regen orbs which heal anybody nearby in your party.
  • Trading will be improved over the ad-hoc Diablo II experience, but nothing like an “auction house” system has been confirmed.
  • Much more vertical terrain. Bridges, ladders, etc.
  • Destructible environments, that can also hurt enemies via Havok physics engine.
  • Town portal system will “probably” be changed to speed up gameplay.
  • Mounts not seen as necessary.
  • Booby traps return.
  • Helper/bodyguard NPCs are back.

Tristram

Questing

  • There will be class-based quests in addition to main storyline quests.
  • A new “Adventure” system will power randomly generated scripted events. An example provided was an area the player would come across, such as an old abandoned house, that may have a story behind it and enemies to dispatch.
  • A new conversation system will see fully-voiced characters interacting with each other.
  • Loot is now generated per player. You only see the loot that you can pick up, which Blizzard hopes will create a spirit of cooperation.
  • Color-coded items, uniques, runes, and other conventions return, in addition to identifying scrolls.

Interface

  • The user interface has been kept very similar to Diablo II.
  • The new hotbar acts like an abbreviated four-slot form of a World of Warcraft hotbar, with additional slots for scrolls.
  • Players will be able to quickswap between skills using the mouse wheel or tab key.
  • Isometric view that can be zoomed in, but not zoomed far out.
  • Item slots: helm, shoulders, gloves, body, pants, boots, belt, two rings, amulet.
  • Damage-per-second variable on items.
  • Items all take up one inventory slot–no more shuffling that giant spear around.
  • Hit point numbers now appear above monsters after critical hits.
  • Buffs are now displayed as an icon in the bottom left corner of the screen.
  • Gold is now automatically picked up.

Multiplayer

  • Drop in/drop out cooperative play over Battle.net.
  • There will be a single realm/region for North America.
  • The game can support about eight players in multiplayer, but currently plays better with around five. The maximum has not yet been decided upon.
  • Battle.net will receive new upgrades, some of which will be seen in StarCraft II.
  • Blizzard is looking at Battle.net features that will increase player accountability in order to cut down on annoying jerks.
  • Blizzard is looking at integrating web community features, such as a WoW Armory-like website that would allow players to show off their characters outside of the game.

Story

  • Player character now interacts with characters in dialogue scenes.
  • Old characters like Deckard Cain return.
  • Plot:
    • It has been twenty years since the events of Diablo II. Of those who faced the Lords of Hatred, Terror, and Destruction in the battle over the fate of Sanctuary, there are few still living who can bear to remember the horrors that the Prime Evils wrought upon the world. And of those who did not witness the terrible events firsthand, most believe the stories to be little more than myth. But something evil is stirring once again in Tristram, and it may already have claimed its first victim: Deckard Cain.
      (Source: Blizzard.com)
    • “In the previous two games, Diablo and his two brothers, Mephisto and Baal, were the three Prime Evils of a world called Sanctuary. Where we start off in Diablo III, it’s twenty years later and the brothers are gone, they’ve been vanquished. Essentially everyone was kind of geared for Hell to actually invade. At the end of Lord of Destruction, the Worldstone was destroyed, it left a giant crater and everyone was expecting the hordes to come pouring out of it and nothing happened. So, Deckard Cain is one of our main characters from the first two games, he’s spent the last two decades trying to find out where the last two Evils are, what they’re doing and why the invasion didn’t happen. A lot of the rest of the story focuses on Tyrael, the Angel of Justice, and what’s happened to him since that event as he was actually the angel who destroyed the world.” (Source: Kotaku)
  • World Locations:
    • New Tristram
      • Town formed by merchants looking to make a profit off of the legends of riches found in the cathedral.
      • Fell into decrepitude after the cathedral was looted.
      • Now comprised of “depressing shacks” and the old inn.
      • Cain says that there is still value in the cathedral in the form of ancient tomes.
    • Caldeum
      • Located in Kehijstan.
      • Rivals Diablo II’s Kurast in size.
      • Began to decay after Kurast’s nobles fled their city and took up residence in Caldeum and brought with them a sense of entitlement.
      • When the unifying Emperor of Kehjistan became ill and died, the Zakarum returned and the city fell into chaos.
    • Confirmed Zone: Leoric Highlands
    • Confirmed Dungeon: Forgotten Tombs

Oh and the guys who left blizzard to create Flagship studios and the crap Hellgate? They’ve closed shop.

Now for those people who ranted about Diablo III having more color:

On the art side, Blizzard’s philosophy is: stylization over realism, strong silhouettes, don’t be afraid of color, dynamic animations, support the gameplay, and make it epic. With Diablo 3, they started by going back to Diablo to identify the strengths of its style: an emphasis on horror. They then moved on to Diablo 2, which succeeded by expanding on the original and introducing lots of new areas. Said Morrisroe, “Our memory of what Diablo and Diablo 2 were was a bit different than the actuality of it. Visually we were remembering it as more of a dark, colorless game, but there was a lot of vibrance.”

Color is our friend, as Blizzard has been reassuring that Diablo III is not a WoW clone so it’s really amusing (to a point) why so many people threw a fit over it. Diablo II was dark because the Prime Evils were loose. With Diablo III occurring 20 years AFTER Diablo II, don’t you guys think the world healed? In anycase, I’m off to level my MeteOrb sorceress later.

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Comments ( 7 )

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  1. issai August 3, 2008 Reply

    hahaha, adik ka talaga sa diablo. by the time they’ll release diablo, my kid might be old enough to play it LOL.

    issais last blog post..Jons computer surprise

  2. sylv3rblade August 3, 2008 Reply

    LOL well there’s still starcraft pero… iba kasi experience ng diablo haha. It offers a charm that no game (at least for me) has surpassed so far. XD

  3. juler August 3, 2008 Reply

    I do played diablo once, i was the the first franchise. I like RPG games… but prefer the older version of it.

    julers last blog post..Blogger say sorry to spammers

  4. eli jon August 7, 2008 Reply

    oh nice page you got here…so is there any updates if the game is gonna’ release here in the Philippines any time soon?

  5. Aaron August 12, 2008 Reply

    Like you I’ve also been playing Diablo II again in preparation for Diablo III.

    I really hope they bring the Assassin class back. I love playing my trap-assassin!

    The addition for orbs for healing instead of only relying on potions sounds really good. I find that potions seem to slow combat down as you run away and drink a potion then run back in.

  6. Neolle August 12, 2008 Reply

    I remember back then when I am fond of playing D2. I killed Diablo, Baal and Mephisto plenty of times!

    Mind for an xlink?

    Neolles last blog post..Squid Proxy Server

  7. sylv3rblade August 13, 2008 Reply

    @Aaron
    well.. bliz has confirmed the the Necro ain’t coming back and that the Barbarian is the only class that remained sane for the 20 years in between Diablo 2 and 3. I guess the next time you’ll see them again is when their super Unique monsters. Sort of like Blood Raven and the Summoner in D2.

    @Noelle
    Sure. Added you on the blogroll.

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