Endless Dungeons in Diablo III

Blizzard Blues discuss possible patch ideas, and bringing the game to the PS3

Now that the Diablo III developers and community managers are all back from PAX East, they are jumping back into the forums again. A lot of discussions are about changes in Patch 1.0.8 and beyond. Developer Travis Day stopped by to talk about about long-term changes that the developers would like to see in Diablo III, including more content like endless dungeons. There has also been a lot of discussion about Diablo III on the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4, and how the development of that relates to the PC version of Diablo III.

Read on for all the latest posts by the Diablo III developers and community managers.


Endless Dungeons
Diablo III developer Travis Day offered thoughts about the idea of an "Endless Dungeon" mode, where players could run on continually generated dungeons.
Replayability and ideas like Endless Dungeons come up a lot around the office. We definitely have plans to expand the game in these areas. Adding more monster power levels is also something that we have discussed. I personally love the idea of an endless dungeon, don't take that as a quote that I promised we are adding them though! At the heart of that idea is something really compelling, wave events, endless dungeons, hold out missions etc. Standing as the lone hero, or one of a party of heroes, against an onslaught of demons really sells the fantasy of Diablo, it's just a matter of taking the seed of that idea and iterating on it to a point where it feels like it fits into the game as a piece and not just "the only thing to do". I do hope that down the road we can find some way to make that idea a part of the content options players have at their disposal. I've said one numerous occasions, in a perfect world, when a player sits down at their computer for the evening to play the Diablo the question I want them to say to themselves is "What do I feel like doing tonight?" not "Ok time to run Act 3 again".


Randomness of Maps
In another thread, Travis Day also commented on the lack of map randomness. The developers want to increase replayability in Inferno, so players aren't just running the same routes in Act III over and over again.
Thanks for the feedback. Generally we agree with you on this. We are actively investigating ways to increase the replayability of the end game by introducing more random and varied play experiences. I just got out of one of those meetings in fact and we are continuing to iterate on and explore new ideas in this area. Running the same parts of Act 3 repeatedly, while still enjoyable, is certainly less random than what we would like the experience to be.


Patch 1.08 on the PTR
A discussion of patch 1.0.8 going to the Public Test Realm brought up thoughts of why it is useful to use the PTR.
How many of you will play on the ptr?
Do you think there is any point of having a ptr for 1.08?
Maybe just to see the monster density changes?
Considering nothing you do is saved to the main servers is there any point in playing it with no major changes in 1.08?

We’re still hard at work on patch 1.0.8, so we haven’t yet released the patch notes for it. I can tell you, though, that there are definitely more changes currently planned for the patch than monster density alone.

Once the patch is up on the PTR, we encourage you to try it out and give us your feedback. While it’s true that playing on the PTR won’t benefit your regular characters directly through gear upgrades and the like, the time you spend on the PTR is still extremely valuable. Taking part in the PTR will give you a hands-on glimpse into the latest changes and allow you the opportunity to give us your informed feedback concerning the patch and helps us address bugs that might try to rear their little antennaed heads. On the whole, participating in the PTR allows us to ensure that the patch we release is as polished as possible. :)


Identify All
We also got some more details about the addition of an Identify All option in patch 1.0.8.
Currently the only way to identify your items is by clicking them one at a time. Our next content patch will be introducing the ID all feature. The decision was made that while maintaining that sense of opening presents is valuable, even with ID all players will still go through the process of evaluating the items in their bag one by one and that's effectively the same way to get the sense of excitement without forcing players to spend 2 minutes to identify a bag of items one by one.
Posted by: Zuzax

Will ID All identify these UNID items all at once, or does it just do them one after another, merely eliminating the individual clicks?


There will be a cast bar and at the end of the cast bar all items will be identified.


Accidentally Selling Items to Vendors
Vaeflare explained the changes in Patch 1.0.7 to the user interface, to make it harder to accidentally sell an equipped item, while identifying other items.
While this thread is a bit old, I saw that it’s been bumped a few times recently, so I wanted to jump in really quickly with some clarification about a new feature that went into patch 1.0.7 that might have slipped your notice.

As SirCris pointed out, one of the changes we made in patch 1.0.7 was that you can now identify items while in the vendor window. So if you talk to a vendor, you will be able to identify it using right click, and then you can also choose to sell it with a second right click. As usual, if you accidentally sell an item, you can still retrieve it from the vendor’s buy-back tab.

While you are in the vendor window, you should no longer be able to right click on an item in your inventory and accidentally equip it. Effectively, having a vendor window open while identifying your items should help ensure that you do not inadvertently equip items while you are identifying them.


Moving While Attacking
Lylirra discussed some of the differences between movement on the console and the PC versions of Diablo III, and how attacks are queued up after movement. A discussion coming up today by Wyatt Cheng at GDC also relates to this issue.
I think this is the biggest change the consoles will be getting. This has bothered me...probably since Diablo 1? The fact that you can't move and attack at the same time is just disgusting.

With the consoles getting this MAJOR feature, will PC be getting patched as well?


Quick clarification: you can’t actually move and attack at the same time on console; however, some skills will automatically take a step between attacks to help close the distance (this is because we don't have pathing on the console version, but use direct control instead). It may look like your character is moving while attacking, but it’s not. :)

Similarly, you can't attack while you're performing an evade. Your attack does get queued, so it can be performed after the evade move finishes, but only if you time it correctly.
Posted by: bwest86

Ouch! Not sure if I like this one at all. Sounds like it would really hurt some builds. WW comes to mind if you are using over power, rend, eathquake or any other attack normally allowed to be used while spinning.


Ah, I see. I misunderstood the question slightly, so let me clarify my clarification. There are some attacks (like Whirlwind, for example) where you are moving and attacking at the same time -- but those situations are going to be the same as they are for the PC. Just like you can click, click, click and move around the map while holding down your Whirlwind hotkey right now, you can do the same on console. The controls are different, but the mechanics are more or less the same.
Posted by: Kupo

Can something be done about ability queues in the PC version? Getting knocked back while clicking a skill queues it up, then you use it when you land. It doesn't make any sense at all, and the ability should be cancelled, not delayed until you land.


Wyatt Cheng's talk at GDC tomorrow actually has an entire section dedicated to combat controls, and I believe he touches on skill queuing as well:

http://schedule2013.gdconf.com/session-id/824363

Through the Grinder: Refining Diablo III’s Game Systems
Wyatt Cheng — Senior Technical Game Designer, Blizzard

Location: Room 135, North Hall
Date: March 29
Time: 2:30PM – 3:30PM
Format: Lecture
Vault Recording: Video
Track: Design

As with all Blizzard games, Diablo III went through many iterations before the final product was released. Wyatt will describe different game systems that were attempted, explored, and then ultimately removed. We’ll go into detail about the pros and cons of each system, what worked and didn’t work, and how the team used each failure to bring them closer to success.

1. Health Recovery: From Regenerative Damage Shields to potion dilution, where potions become less effective as you drink them, many different health recovery mechanisms were tried. What were the major issues with each of these systems and how did it lead to health globes in the end?

2. Controls. At Blizzard, control is king. Although simple on the surface, a number of iterations were required to polish the Diablo III interface, in order to provide the player with tight and responsive controls.

3. Skill System: The skill system underwent multiple revisions. Early systems involved different variations of point spending, an evolution from Diablo II. Later systems had runes, with multiple rune ranks that dropped as items, which could be used to modify skills.

Takeaway

Blizzard has a number of game design values. A postmortem on the development of Diablo III gives us an opportunity to see these game design values in action. Values such as “Control is King,” “Avoid the Grand Reveal,” and “What is the Fantasy.” Ultimately these values are driven by iteration.

Intended Audience

This talk is intended for anyone who is interested in concrete examples of the iterative design process. It’s particularly aimed at those who aren’t afraid to peek behind the curtain to see failures, as well as successes. Portions of the talk will delve into technical detail, but nothing too scary.

Speaker: Wyatt Cheng | Senior Technical Game Designer, Blizzard

Wyatt graduated from Simon Fraser University with a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering. He has worked at Electronic Arts Canada, Totally Games, and Blizzard Entertainment. He has been at Blizzard Entertainment since 2003, where he currently works as a senior technical game designer on Diablo III.


Would you mind if I wait until a) that video is published on GDC's vault or b) Wyatt gets back into town so I can ask him about this more directly?


Evade and other Console Features
Finally, Lylirra also got into a lengthy discussion about features that are specific to the console version of Diablo III, and the development process of bringing the game to the console. It started with a question about only allowing 4 players per game instead of 5, and went from there.
Hey guys! I chatted with Wyatt about this topic on your behalf and, while he's currently at GDC giving a sweet talk about refining game systems in Diablo III (including health recovery, combat controls, and character skills), he shared some information with me that I wanted to pass on.

we should be able to at least have parties of 5 instead of 4

that would at least be a good thing....


We know some players will always prefer to have more than four people in a group, and we respect that completely. Even so, while a larger party size may seem appealing in concept (and even in practice for other games), there are a number of factors which contributed to us deciding on four players for co-op in Diablo III.

First off, the four-player limit isn't in any way related to the number of classes you can play. One reason we actually preferred the idea of four-player co-op as opposed to five was that we felt if the number was five, then players might feel as if it was mandatory to have one of each class in their party. This couldn't be further from the truth. We want players to feel like they can charge through Sanctuary with their friends regardless of whether they have four different classes represented or (for example) a group with two Barbarians and two Witch Doctors.

We also wanted group buffs (like auras and shouts) to feel meaningful in both solo and group play. Right now, you buff yourself and others by the same amount. We like that shouts are good and auras are strong, and that my contribution to the group via my buffs feels significant. But as group sizes get larger, the best player buffs would potentially need to be nerfed either by:

  • Making them to be weaker, and subsequently tuned around multiplayer (which is a similar approach to what World of Warcraft uses)
  • Or reducing the effect buffs have on other players (which is what Diablo II wound up having to do later)

We don't like the idea of these sorts of nerfs and want to avoid them as much as possible, which is part of the combined reason why we aren't eager to increase the maximum size of groups.

Another factor we considered is that of player contributions. We like that you can really notice the contribution of each person at four players. No matter what size group you have, whenever you add another person to a group, each player’s personal contribution is diminished. This has some bad side effects. For example, if you swing at a monster, it feels good when you're doing enough damage to see its health bar move. At four players, it’s already possible to be punching a monster and not feel like you're doing any damage because the bar is moving slowly. This stigma would get worse as you add more people to a group.

Other factors we considered were that of screen noise and the number of players you can follow. At four players, we felt that you were still able to easily keep track of your party-members, but that beyond this size it became more and more difficult to monitor everything on screen. Additionally, the screen noise and spell effects generated by five players simply felt too overwhelming (this is something we tested quite extensively).

In summation, we’re pretty happy about the size of four-player groups. HOWEVER, we know that the multiplayer aspect of Diablo III needs improvement and are already looking into ways that we can further incentivize co-op farming and efficiency in patch 1.0.8. Wyatt is currently working on a developer journal about this very topic, so we hope to share even more information soon. :)
Also, console 4 player co-op = decision to limit to 4 players on PC


I know the "PC vs. Console" debate is its own sort of Eternal Conflict, and that it's super popular right now to blame every design decision you disagree with on the development of a PlayStation 3 version. In the end, if that's really what you want to believe in your (sin) heart of hearts, so be it. We may not totally understand why you believe that, but we can respect your opinion -- because, hey, you're a human being and you deserve it. <3

As I've said before, though, the PC experience defined the console experience, not vice-versa. The core of the console game is based on the PC game -- you get all the same content, systems, classes, skills, and runes on the console as you do on PC. Our goal when developing Diablo III for console was to deliver that same visceral gameplay you get with a mouse and keyboard, just on a different platform. We wanted the experience itself to be authentic, in as many ways as possible. (Quick FYI: the console version didn't actually go into full development until the game was released last May.)

That said, the console version is its own game, and we've made a variety of tweaks to the PlayStation version of Diablo III so it makes sense on that platform, including a complete re-design of the UI and character controls, as well as combat pacing and boss fights. I point this out because it means we have the latitude to make adjustments to the PC game for console as appropriate, and that our decision to go with four-player co-op on the PC (as opposed to 5-player or 8-player co-op) was based on our goals for what would make a great PC game. Not because it's what console co-op would need.

It's a disservice to game design -- as well as your feedback and healthy discussion in general -- to boil everything down to "well, you just did it because of console." Especially since you’re essentially ignoring everything we’re trying to talk to you about in the process. There were a number of different reasons that led us to decide on four players for multiplayer games in Diablo III, and none of them related to the development of console. You may agree with some of those reasons and disagree with others, or disagree with all of them -- and that's okay! Critiques are good, so long as they're relevant. Unfortunately, reducing all your arguments to glorified strawmen isn't very relevant. (Nor does it give us a lot of useful feedback on which to base further improvements.)
I find this to be a huge issue with your moderating skills on these forums. You allow people to get away with saying some crazy stuff, continually, and it does affect the community to a large degree.


Being incorrect or having an opinion that goes against the grain isn't a violation of any of our forum rules or guidelines.

Having said that, though, if you feel moderation could be improved, feel free to hit up forum@blizzard.com. Moderation is ultimately handled by a separate team, but we'll make sure your feedback gets to the right place.
Posted by: CKTheBoss

Lylirra .. but what about the new rolls/dives classes have. We dont have it on pc...


We added Evade to the console version of the game for two main reasons:

The first is because, fundamentally, the way you move your character around on the console vs the way you move your character around on the PC is pretty different. With a keyboard and mouse in a game like Diablo III, not only can you see a bit farther (because of how we've positioned the camera), but you can also literally point to a spot on the map, click it, and your character will move there on its own. Since the console version uses direct control with the joystick, your movement feels more visceral and gutsy, but it has its own limitations. You don't have that same sort of omniscience over where your character is going to go. To get from point A to point B on a map, for example, you have to manually direct your character to that spot, navigating all the obstacles individually along the way. It's super fun, and with Evade, we're just giving some additional mobility to console players to balance out not being able to point-and-click.

The second reason is that the Evade ability just feels super (and forgive my eloquence here) console-y. We want the game to feel natural when using a controller, and being able to dodge and roll around really plays up that fantasy. It's one of those elements that just "fits" on the console version super well, but doesn't necessarily make sense for PC.

Here's a pretty good interview to check out if you'd like to learn more: http://www.ign.com/videos/2013/03/22/10-minutes-of-diablo-3-on-ps3-pax-east-2013
You've said most of this before. I don't think the issue is that people don't understand your stance, the issue is that they think you are lying.


If people think I'm lying then they don't actually understand my stance very well.
Posted by: Anuiran

In that video (around 7:14) a monster drops a "buff globe" that increases exp greatly for about 10 seconds. I have seen no official world on this mechanic, will this come to PC's also?


It's what we call a "power up" globe. Basically, there's a small chance that whenever a health globe drops it'll turn into a power up globe instead. These globes can provide the player with one of several small, temporary buffs (+MF/GF, +movement speed, +attack speed, etc) when picked up and last for very short period of time. They're similar to Shrine buffs, but are designed to give players a quick boost during the middle of combat, rather than something you take from fight to fight.

Right now, there aren't any plans to bring power up globes to the PC, but that of course may change as we continue testing and poring through your feedback. :)
"The core of the console game is based on the PC game -- you get all the same content, systems, classes, skills, and runes on the console as you do on PC"

regardless of reasoning wouldn't that be considered a lie? whether it's consoley or not this is not true statement since console has offline mode and no auction house (pc) and they get a dodge button while pc does not... Not the same for each other. so "same content" is false


Yup! You're correct that the console version will not have an auction house. Beyond that, since the console is based on the PC game, you get everything on the console as you do on PC (meaning you get all the same zones, events, monsters, bosses, classes, skills, runes, and systems like Infernal Machine, Brawling, and Monster Power on the console as you do on PC). Right now, we're currently planning to ship with everything up to 1.0.7, potentially 1.0.8 depending on development time.

There are also some features on the console version that are not present on the PC version, but I covered that in the post you quoted:

Posted by: Lylirra

That said, the console version is its own game, and we've made a variety of tweaks to the PlayStation version of Diablo III so it makes sense on that platform, including a complete re-design of the UI and character controls, as well as combat pacing and boss fights.


This is because the game was originally designed for PC and needed some adjustments in order to translate well to consoles, specifically the PlayStation platform.
If a feature or NPC that would be wildly popular and beneficial to the game (pick a hypothetical, random example) was doable on PC, but just not technically feasible on console, would that preclude it from ever being implemented on the PC because it would cause the games to diverge too much?

Are the platforms tied together as far as Expansions are concerned or is the console version really its own game. My concern is that the console will hold back the PC expansion's release and content.


Working on getting you an answer to that. It's a fair question, but I don't know all the details off-hand.
Posted by: TwoCoins

Lol, why do you insist on telling others how to play?


The theory that we're trying to aggressively redefine "what's fun" has always saddened me. Our goal in designing Diablo III, and in supporting it post-launch, is to constantly iterate on its systems and content, incorporating new perspectives and feedback as we go. Each change we push is ultimately aimed at making Sanctuary more enjoyable for as many people as possible. Of course, "fun" is a pretty subjective term, so sometimes that means we'll make a change that's seen as unfavorable to a smaller group of players, but will (hopefully) be appreciated by larger portions of our player base.

We're always reevaluating our design decisions, though, and working to make improvements based off player feedback. Iteration is key.
Posted by: Bob

So you are saying Guildwars 2 got it wrong with the dodging built in?


No. Are you?
BS BS BS TheXelnaga here from 5 years counting feedback from Diablo 3 classic forums and longer then that on Diablo 2 forums , who has participated in every Diablo podcast under the sun, ask Bashiok who is TheXelnaga, I have been giving valuable feedback for years, I was giving feedback when Bashiok was MicahW as the Tyrael Icon. You guys have not been listening, I have mounds and mounds of data backed up on the internet way back machine I have been posting for years based on player feedback.


I really dig your passion. :) One important thing to keep in mind, though, is even though we may not have acted on your feedback in particular, that doesn't mean we don't value it, or that we haven't made positive changes based on player input. Many of the improvements we've made since the game launched (as well as those currently planned for 1.0.8 and beyond) have been inspired, influenced, or guided by community discussion.
Posted by: TheCursed

Hooray. We payed to be beta testers for consoles.


You keep using that word...
Posted by: TheCursed

Is it not allowed? Or is is because you rather not discuss it. You acknowledged that it is one of the factors that affects the number of allowable players so it is still within the topic of discussion. Do you want to explain why i shouldn't bring it up instead of just telling me that i shouldn't?


That what is one of the factors? Can you clarify?

(And, though it's a catchy phrase, the PC version was not a beta for the console version. Due to when the console version went into full development, however, it will be able to benefit from many of the changes we've made to the PC version since it launched last May.)

This won't be the last of the questions from Diablo III players about new features for the game, and the many differences found in the console versions. Check back regularly for more Blizzard Blues compilations, or view the Blizzard Blue Tracker for new posts as they arrive.
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