Diablo III Developer Podcast Interview

An interview with Josh Mosqueira, Wyatt Cheng and Travis Day

TwizzCast Developer Interview
BlizzCon 2013 is going to be exciting event for Diablo fans, Diablo III Game Director Josh Mosqueira stated in a recent interview. On a podcast named TwizzCast, Mosqueira was joined by Diablo III developers Wyatt Cheng and Travis Day. They discussed the console port of Diablo III, and the future of the game overall.

As mentioned in our recent outing to Blizzard for the fansite mixer, there are a lot of interviews planned with the Diablo III developers within the next month. Players shouldn't expect any big new announcements in these interviews. But they do give the thought processes of the developers, both for the future of the game and looking back at the game development so far.

This interview covered much of the same info that we have heard before. There were also different takes on familiar topics, and some new tidbits. Here are the highlights:
  • BlizzCon 2013 - When questioned about a Diablo III expansion, Mosqueira said, "BlizzCon is going to be very awesome this year, especially if you like Diablo."
  • From the Console to PC - Mosqueira talked about how the developers will be looking for feedback after the console versions of Diablo III are released, to see what areas are most interesting for players to bring to the PC version. This is more likely to include user interface (UI) features, not functions like Evade that were specifically designed for the console controller. The item queue in the console version is one possibility for that. It makes it easy to equip gear that has been recently picked up, without opening the full inventory screen.
  • Game Power: Runes and Legendary Items - Both Cheng and Day said that in the initial development of the game, the focus was on making the skill runes feel powerful and interesting. Because of that, most ideas that involved modifying skills were put into runes, when in many other games those sort of bonuses would instead have been tied to an item. This is one reason the legendaries that shipped with the game were "lackluster." Going forward the desire is to split interesting game-changing ideas between both runes and legendary items. Day said, "The legendaries are not just limited to skills, but those are the low-hanging fruits as far as what we can do with items, to make skills cooler or more over the top."
  • Legendary Item Ideas - One new idea for a legendary item that they are working on is a weapon. When you have the weapon equipped and kill a monster, a "black hole to hell" can open that pulls in all the other monsters around to that location. (This sounds like the same sort of game mechanic in the Monk skill Cyclone Strike.) The example given was a Wizard could be using the weapon and have all the creatures around pulled into that one location, and then drop a Meteor on top of all of them.
  • Itemization Changes - Day mentioned that the console versions of Diablo III have a lot of the same philosophy changes regarding items that they want to bring to the PC version: dropping less items, making the items that do drop be better, and making the item pacing feel better.
  • Demon Hunters - Talking about Demon Hunters, Cheng noted that the class can feel binary at times. This can be seen by Demon Hunters easily able to do speed Monster Power 0 runs, but feeling like they're running up against a wall at higher MP levels. This also plays out with the over-reliance on Shadow Power right now, where a Demon Hunter can be fine for a while, and then they just die. He also noted, "The damage ratios that you get between generating and spending Hatred are off. That's something we're examining actively right now and plan on correcting." He mentioned how the damage for Impale is too low to be such a massive Hatred spender, especially compared to the damage and utility of a skill like Hungering Arrow. "Across the board, a lot of the benefit that you get on many skills when spending Hatred isn't worth it."
  • Wrap-up - Mosqueira closed the session by talking about his love of the Diablo franchise. He was initially hired at Blizzard to shepherd Diablo III from the PC to the console. Now his focus is on the future of Diablo III as a whole. "The game has a lot of legs for the future; we are working on giving you more options to how you play the game, more goals in what to do."
These sort of ideas are all part of the massive amount of content that the developers are working on right now. Look for other interviews like this in the next week, and eventually more in-depth information as we get closer to BlizzCon.

Click through for the hour-long video of this podcast interview.

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