Diablo III Announced

When I left Blizzard in '03, Blizzard North had done quite a bit of pre-production work on Diablo III, as well as some protoyping on the 3d-game engine. Today at the Blizzard Invitational in Paris, they announced the release of Diablo III. Since much of the work we had done on Diablo III was concept and prototype work, seeing the development they've done over the last 5 years was very interesting; while some of the concepts we were developing definitely looks like it made it through to the version of the game they displayed, some of the design choices they appear to have made seem counter to the decisions the original Diablo team members would have made had they remained on development of the title -- the most apparent change that I can point to is the appearance of "floating numbers" as seen in the gameplay video -- this was a feature that Blizzard Irvine continually "suggested" during development on Diablo II, which Blizzard North refused to implement -- with development now located within Irvine, the decision to add floating numbers to the game isn't one which surprises me.

One of the design choices which again shows Blizzard Irvine's hand in the changes made is the re-appearance of the Barbarian character class -- the original design documents for Diablo III included a set of all new character classes, with no reappearance of old character classes (our reasons for this was simple -- since we were enhancing and improving the skill system, we didn't want to try and adapt old skills into a new system -- we'd rather create all new skills for the new character classes. The return of the Barbarian class feels like a change that was made after development of the title was moved to Irvine 3 years ago.

One of the reasons why the Barbarian return shocks me so much is that I always felt that the Barbarian character class was the most broken of the classes in Diablo II. The Barbarian's ability to Leap, for instance gave him advantage over other classes which had to walk around the barrier -- it is the showcasing of this skill in the video (during which a bridge crumbles away, leaving no way to cross the gap) which makes me wonder if they have an alternate way for other characters to cross the gap or if all the characters have Leap now.

Of course, going 3D means that a lot of the things that were hard to do with sprites (such as actual armor looks being reflected on the character) is much easier using polygons and textures, as well as real 3d lighting. The use of a physics engine (Havoc, according to the game specs) is also a nice touch.

While I have more or less given up on the PC as a gaming platform, I'm glad to see that Blizzard is still committed to releasing titles that aren't first-person shooters; such a shame that we won't be seeing this title on the shelves for another year or two at the earliest.

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A good read, thanks.

I am one of those "new" Diablo players that all the older players are most likely to hate. Most of the new players probably came from World of Warcraft so I think floating numbers/scrolling combat text is a great addition to the game. With the idea already being implemented in World of Warcraft.

I also love the new "artistic direction" because if I'm honest I prefer a game that I can see where i'm going.

i wonder whats the d3 dev teams opinion on the missing light radius and the altered graphical style is. you forgot to comment on that, mike :-)

Thanks for your wonderful input on Diablo 3. I hope to see more from you as we see new information, screens, videos, etc. regarding this title.

I was wondering if the witch doctor class was one that you guys were planning to implement, or is this one of Blizzard's ideas?

very interesting read. was/still am a big fan of diablo2 and actualy boot it up and usualy give it a good play once a year ( even tho its starting to show its age visualy). but i am concerned about ur comment of giveing up on pc gameing as a platform. is this a personal thing or a more general/proffesional veiw of where pc gameing is going?

Diablo III would be much better if you (Blizzard North) would create it. I don't like thous floating numbers and this cartonish graphics. Blizzard has made it looking too much like Warcraft.

Hi there,

what do you think of the artistic direction. Everything looks very warcrafty, and I don't think thats the way to go.
Obviously it will get darker as the game progresses but the cartoon look of things still bugs me a bit.

Wow Dude Diablo III totally ROCKS! best ever I think.

We miss you guys. It's a shame that you quited pc as a plataform, you really taught us how to click uncontrollably on the screen.

Hi Michael,

the physics of D3 look really nice. I never felt overpowered with my D2-Barbarian. Sorcs had greater advantages with the high fastcast teleports.

Really nice to know that Blizzard had pre-production in 2003. Do you expect an early release of D3? For me the ingame-scenes already look quite fine and probably ready for a closed-beta.


why have you given up on PC as a gaming platform?

Thanks for your information on this but I really can't understand your opinions on this matter, perhaps you can clear it up.

I understand your disagreement with the floating numbers, mainly down to immersion reasons. However, Diablo 2 was never a very immersive game and was more of what I call an "arcade" game, as it was more about enjoying yourself than becoming engrossed in it.

Although I think that immersive games can be enjoyable, they are often more addictive than fun and seem to cause people to drop their lives in favour of their doppelganger. (ie, character)

I prefer the light-hearted Diablo approach and think that floating numbers will not only not detract from that but provide more information for the number-crunching fans of serious RPGs.

Onward, to your comment about the barbarian class returning. I think it is a GREAT idea for some classes to return (2 max and perhaps another in exp pack) as it creates a kind of familiarity between games. Although, perhaps the Barbarian class is not the best.

I disagree that Leap bears any kind of "advantage" and you will find that it is a rarely used skill as most people who are Barbarians just like to get a stupid amount of defence and spam whirlwind.

However, I think that Paladin and Sorceress (renamed to perhaps Sorceror) would be welcome returning classes and also familiar classes for other games.

1 or 2 skills returning (per class), is all that would be required to remind us of "the good old days".

I see the Witch-Doctor, with its minions and hexes, as being a renamed (and in my opinion, improved) Necromancer and that's not a bad thing!

Lastly, if they do intend to have gaps (that the players have to cross) like in the gameplay video, then I hope that they think about how other classes will cross it. Only an idiot would oversee that and I think it is too early for discussion regarding that.

I can't wait to see how it turns out, I'll have my pre-order readied!

I would like to get your thoughts on everyone saying the graphics/look/art of Diablo 3 highly resembles WoW; such as the over-sized shoulder pads and many other features. thanks.

Wish you guys from b-north had stayed on D3 - would probably be a lot cooler... Looks like the guys from WoW are calling all the shots to me. I Would really like to see what you guys would've made if given the chance to complete the game...

have you even played D2 since u left Blizz? the sorc had teleport skill, which no other class had. does that her a broken class now?

Thanks, it's interesting to read your perspective. I'm curious though: was the Witchdoctor class one that was initially designed, or was it too added in later as the Barbarian was? Also, can you (and are you willing to) talk about the other classes that were planned for Diablo 3 at the time?

"such a shame that we won't be seeing this title on the shelves for another year or two at the earliest."

I felt pain reading those words, Diablo is one of the few games I look forward to playing.

Can you substantiate the rumors from years ago, and the development of a 'light vs. dark' theme from Blizz North?

I was really hoping, in the days leading up to the WWI-08, that they would pursue that theme. Not only did I feel it game a great opportunity to build story, I also thought that it offered some unique, and in many ways, easy, direction in the creation and diversification of the games most important feature (well, second, behind balance); LOOT!!

Glad that you shared you feelings on the release, and if there were more to you feelings on the D3 development, I'd be happy to hear it!

Jeffrey Dauber

Hey Mike,

If you know the guy who made the design decision for there to be "super chests" in Diablo II in Act III Kurast Bazaar, Upper Kurast, and Sewers Level II, please thank him for me. I had a great time in 2005 gold-running the super chests which are present in those areas with a war cry-specced gold barb (dual tri-Lem Ali Baba's, Wealth armor, dual Dwarf Star, inventory filled with +40% gold grand charms, etc) and a PickIt hack. Seeing those eruptions of gold and items from those super chests and then listening to the PickIt hack make that beautiful "click click click click click" sound of picking up hundreds of thousands of gold automatically was a major moment in my gaming life. However, it was an unfortunate circumstance that all the godly rare amulets I gambled could not be easily traded due to Diablo II's primary method of trading (spamming text in a chat channel) being so cumbersome. I had a great time though gold-running those super chests and clearing Hell Travincal for mad gold. Thank you! Thank you and that person who made the design decision for there to be super chests in Diablo II!

My university studies pray that Diablo III does not offer similar gold harvesting opportunities!

The sorceress got teleport as a skill. How is leap more "broken" than that?

Why did u leave Blizzard?

The mage class could also 'walk around the barrier' with the teleport skill. :)

Was the Witch Doctor one of the new characters Blizzard North planned for Diablo III? ;)

Did the notion that floating text could so easily and simply be toggled on or off, completely escape you? Let's take a look at WoW, for eg, where 'Scrolling Combat Text' was birthed as a 3rd party mod by the community and simply patched in by Blizzard as an option. Gosh. Listening to your consumerbase. What a concept, huh?

As for the Barbarian's leap ability being 'broken'?
What about the sorceress's blink ability?

I thought I'd seen petty ranting after reading some fanbois whining about D3's art direction (omg COLOR in my Diablo? onoes!), but this takes the cake.

Hey mike,
I was wondering if you feel Diablo 3 carries the vision of Diablo.
Does it look like a game Blizzard North would approve of?

hmm.. i also think that the barbarian was the least functional class, but probably thats why there is so easy to exploit it to the max now.

well, the issue of an wow-ized diablo was mentioned on forums, and floating numbers add up.

don't know why the PC should be less of a gaming platform. There are games that are very difficult to put on something else, (not to mention that FPS works better on pc).
lets hope the FPS trend will vanish soon

I'm not sure if you've had the chance to play it, but Titan Quest also featured a system where critical hit damages were listed over your character or a monster when applied. Perhaps this influenced their decision to include damage numbers above characters in D3; they had the chance to see it in action and decided to implement it.

Also, I agree that the Barbarian class shouldn't be added to D3, but for a different reason.

Speaking as a player of pre-1.10 Diablo 2 (I can't speak for 1.10 and later versions as I didn't play them), I found that the Leap skill was very detrimental as it had a slow build-up and recovery time, usually leaving you dead by the time you recovered from it. The only use for it was in getting around obstacles in places which were "safe" that you (or another character) had cleared out.

I felt that, if anything, the Sorceress was more broken in that regard with Teleport. Since Teleport was affected by casting speed, you could cross large distances in a very short amount of time and stay relatively safe, if used properly.

To address the original point, I feel the Barbarian shouldn't be included simply because it's been done before - not only by Diablo 2, but by most other fantasy-related game since then. Even D&D 3rd Edition uses a Barbarian. I believe this to be another victim of having to work within a defined genre like fantasy, because companies think that consumers want to see the same dragon, the same elf, and the same classes that we're familiar with.

Just my thoughts on this. Hope it didn't bore. :)

just to let everyone kno if u look at the gameplay carefully u would see the map in top right hand corner of screen where he jumps theres another route around hello they should the witch doctor lol u think they havn't tested if they should show the witch doctor first? they had to play the demo first after all with both chars

Hi Mike

I would just like to start off by saying thank you so much for being one of the few people who developed a game that has traveled a long way with me.

I would just like to know: how did the whole Diablo thing start? where did the concept come from and how it evolved from Diablo 1 to 2 and now 3? How did Blizzard North invision D3 and why has Blizzard kept it quiet for so long? Because I can remember that Forums and blogs said "There's gonna be a Diablo 3" and others replied "No there won't, it's all a bunch of rumours.

Still I am excited about Diablo 3 and I know a very good friend of mine (Please note that she is female) is doubting the game due to the fact that the original developers of Diablo (Blizzard North) are not creating it.

So we'll wait for the release date and see how it goes...

who uses leap? leap attack gives u a full screen range Atks when u land and the recovery time is minimal shame on u all o.o

btw : gold is worthless in d2 maybe that will change with d3 but I've gotten rather fond of it ;)

who uses leap? leap attack gives u a full screen range Atks when u land and the recovery time is minimal shame on u all o.o

btw : gold is worthless in d2 maybe that will change with d3 but I've gotten rather fond of it ;)

It was good news

There are several relevent points made here that concern me as well, although this post has a generally negative slant (perhaps you wanted to be finishing D3, understandable if so). I have to imagine that if they are going to add something like the little numbers and words that pop up while fighting they will at least give us the option to turn it off if we don't want it cluttering our view of things dying. Could be wrong but that should at least be suggested in a patch if they somehow don't realize that old fans probably hate that change.

Completely feel you on the Barbarian's return point. I am worried frankly that we will end up with five classes that are near identical to things we've seen in the past - I mean each one of the D2 classes represented classic differences in fighting, and both the ones revealed are not really showcasing any changes to the formula which is pretty disappointing. Now perhaps there is a much deeper skill system which adds greater variation later in the game but all abilities shown have a D2 counterpart and thusly are not impressive to old fans.

Oh yeah by the way, I dunno if any1 can remember but Diablo 1 had an expansion pack but as far as I can remember it was Sierra who made it? What's was the story behind that?

I feel that the barbarian in diablo 2 is the best designed character. He is the most basic of characters like the warrior in diablo 1 was simply because he relys not on God like powers but by utilizing various weapons. His whirlwind and leaping skills were also some of the best skills in the whole game in my opinion, and suited the barbarian more then the other characters skills suited them. All three skill sections suited the barbarian which was not the case for all the other characters except maybe the druid. I initially was exicited about the barbarian's return to diablo 3 for these reasons, but after reading comments here is see that perhaps it would be best if all five heroes were completley new, giving fresh originality to the series.

"such a shame that we won't be seeing this title on the shelves for another year or two at the earliest."

I don't like how this post ended, but I know deep down it is probably closest to the truth :(

Just give an option to turn floaty numbers off. Pow, fixed. I have no problems with the look and decisions of this new game and I am an old timer from D1 days.

The Diablo 1 expansion pack was called Hellfire, and it added the Monk, which was pretty fun.

I don't know why everyone likes Diablo 2 so much.

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