Diablo 3 Interview with Josh Mosqueira & Brian Kindregan (Blizzcon 2013)
inDiablo.de: We have Diablo 3 for the PlayStation 3 and now you can play the expansion pack Reaper of Souls on the PlayStation 4. Will the expansion set also be released for the PlayStation 3 or is it just an exclusive piece for the PlayStation 4?
So right now we are really excited that it is playable on the PlayStation 4 and we are really excited for bringing not just Diablo, but bringing Reaper of Souls to the Next Generation. So right now we are not making any other announcements, but one of the things that we are working on is making sure that if you have Diablo 3 on a PlayStation 3 and you have your awesome level 60 characters, there is gonna be a way for you to bring those characters over to the PlayStation 4.
inDiablo.de: Will you have to buy the expansion pack for consoles on DVD or will it also be available as a download?
Oh that is a good question and I do not have the answer to that. I think it’s still early for us in the development of the PlayStation 4, but I’m sure that Thomas or somebody here can look that up for you, once we actually have that answer.
inDiablo.de: Some players are complaining that the console version is providing too good loot, so heroes are well equipped, which greatly lowers the challenges of the end-game. With the benefits of hindsight, would you have done things differently or did it turn out like you wanted?
You know, that’s an awesome question, that’s one of the things that… You do either too much and people say the game is too easy, or, you know, when we shipped with Diablo 3, people were like “the game is so hard” and the loot is not good enough. You know, in hindsight, no, we would still do… What we really wanted to do on the console version is to really deliver on that promise, and the promise of Diablo is “I kill monsters and find awesome loot”. One of the great things of all Blizzard games, the PC ones and the console ones, the games are gonna continue to be supported, the games are gonna continue to evolve, so we definitely are gonna listen to player feedback and we definitely gonna be making adjustments and tweaks and definitely for Reaper of Souls, when you get your hands on a PlayStation 4, I think you sorta see the specific criticism that players had over gear, solved.
inDiablo.de: Being able to play Diablo with friends on the couch is one of the core assets of the console version. Do you have some statistics on how intensely players make use of this great option or is it just “I play for myself”?
You know, that is an awesome question and I don’t have the actual stats, but I will tell you that just adding the experiences from friends and from reviews and stuff like that, in fact a lot of the fans I met over the last two days here at BlizzCon, that’s the one thing that they told me, “ah I love console and I love playing with…” and I had so many stories of like “you know, my wife’s never had played Blizzard games and now we’re playing it on the couch all the time” and vice versa that “my husband never plays Diablo but now he is playing on the couch”, so I think it really was one of the big goals for Diablo 3 on consoles, really delivering on the same couch experience and I think by far it’s been something that people have enjoyed and I think a lot of players having fun playing on the couch together.
Until now I wasn’t able to play the PS4 version of Reaper of Souls, but I was able to play the PS3 version of Diablo 3 on GamesCom. The thing is, within the next gen consoles, there are a lot of features that come with that consoles, so will you be able to use all of them, like new control pads?
Absolutely, I think it one of our core philosophies for the previous generation for Diablo 3 was to make it built for the console. So when we got our hands on the PlayStation 4, we got our hands on the DualShock 4 controller, we asked ourselves how can we make use of this great new controller. Obviously we have the track pad, so we are also looking into ways of using that to facilitate the inventory management. That is a really small feature, but I love… so when you are playing console, you’re playing on the couch, everybody has a… at the feet of their character… has a different coloring, well, the PS4 controller has a light bar in every controller, that you can control the color of, so not only are we using the camera that comes with the PS4 to make sure if you are sitting there you are player one and then you are player two without having set it, so the player 1 controller will have an orange light, the player two will have a blue light and so this way you can put your controller down and you know which one is your controller. I mean it’s a small little feature like that but it’s one of the cool things that sony has added to the controller and we thought like we totally gonna do that.
inDiablo.de: Let’s start with RoS questions. Is act 5 the only area you’re currently working on or are you going to rework the other areas as well?
It’s a good question. Our focus has been on act 5, for sure that’s where all the new goodies are. We have gone back and made some minor tweaks to the previous acts, but really our focus has been on act 5. I think it’s cool that we’re adding and we’re revealing more in an hour so you gonna hear about that, this adventure mode. And in adventure mode, you know, you have the story mode and you’ll be able to play the acts 1 to 5, that Brian and his team have been working on. But now you have adventure mode and you’ll be able to go to all the different areas of the game. They’ll be able to choose, you know, which areas you wanna go visit, what bosses you wanna go fighting, what bounties you wanna go finding. So it really opens up the world of Sancturio for the players. And also, I’d say, we have the new class, the crusader. And when you roll a crusader, you start at the beginning of act 1, so you can go through acts 1 to 4 with the crusader and experience a new character going through these events. And, you know, he or she will have all the new conversations with different people and interact with them in very different ways than the other heroes did. So that’s the one piece of act 1 to 4 stuff that is really a good point that it’s changed.
inDiablo.de: I worry at that point and we’re saying ‘you take the crusader and you have to go through all the acts’. You have changed the difficulty levels, instead of 4 we have now 6 different difficulty levels and you have to play through all of them to get to the endgame content, the inferno mode. Could you explain your reason behind that decision?
So, you’re partially right with that… So, you’re totally right. We have changed the way the difficulty modes have worked in Diablo. So, you know, in Diablo 3 we had Normal, Nightmare, Hell and Inferno. What we’ve done now is, and that has also meant that if you wanted to play the game you had to play the game 4 or 5 times, like in a row. What we want to do with RoS, where we have story mode and adventure mode, is that in story mode you’ll be able to have the great act 1 to 5 experience and where at the same time you can jump right into adventure mode. What we’ve done is that we now treat difficulty like you see it in a lot of other games. So you can now set your game to Normal, you can now set it to… We keep changing all the names, you could escalate all the difficulty of the games, this doesn’t mean that you have to play the game six times in a row. You can now set your difficulty level, like if you played it on PC and you remember the monster power system. So what we’ve done is that we’ve taking the monster power system and we created a difficulty system around it, right, so Normal could be equal to monster power 1 and Hard is monster power 4 and in this way you can play the story once in, you know, really hard or really easy if you just want the story and then going to adventure mode. You’re now in control of how difficult you want the game to be.
inDiablo.de: Alright, okay, sounds good. Right now the crusader’s resource is wrath and I’m not sure because I haven’t played yet. But it seems to work exactly like the barbarians or will you change it at any time or did you already change it?
You know, for the resource for that crusader we tried out a lot of different things. And I think at the end wrath as a resource that just builds over time naturally, felt like it really throttled the class in a really fun way. It felt like the right thing to do and I think we’re pretty happy with the way it turned out. The really big difference, if you would consider having the barbarian and the crusader side by side, is that both of them are melee-focused classes but they play very differently because the crusader has a ranged component that the barbarian doesn’t have, right, and that allows him to shift the combat space from really up-close to long-range and that feels great.
inDiablo.de: Quite some time ago you’ve announced that the talisman got removed some time from the release. I think it would be really cool to have a talisman that stores your charms, because the game could really use some more different item types. Is it possible that we might see something like this?
Well, not something specifically like that, the talisman, but I think for us the focus is, especially for RoS, on the fundamentals of the loot system. We really wanna make sure that, what you’re saying, that we want players to keep fighting for loot in the game to be the most rewarding way possible. So we’re really focusing on making sure that blue, yellow and legendary items are really awesome, especially the legendary items. We feel, as a team, that they could have used a lot of improvement. So instead of adding more we want to make sure that what we have there is as awesome and as solid as we can make it.
inDiablo.de: Alright. You removed the auction house, thank god. Right now the question is: Will you change the system of how people have to trade right now or will it be just the classic way like in Diablo 2 where you have to enter one game and trade one on one. Do you have some ideas for that?
You know, we’re trying to figure out the right way to do it. Ehm, absolutely, one of the things we want to retain is that social aspect. I think the auction house did a lot of things to the game but I think one of the things it did to the item game is the fact that I no longer, that I never knew who I was trading with. I just threw my stuff up into this dropping list, then I picked what I wanted and I was out. What we wanna try to do is really build that social connection, so that if I want to trade an item with you I need to be in a game with you and we need to play together. And I think that’s the first place that we’re starting from. We also realized that if we came up with a system that really facilitated player trading all of the same problems that the auction house presented are still there if we want players to trade. So for example, I find an awesome legendary and I give it to you, it’s kind of awesome that we had this exchange. But what I had done to you now is that for the next few hours you’re not getting an upgrade, because I gave you an awesome legendary. And you gonna feel that the game is not rewarding, right, so even in player to player trading, at a fundamental level it has the exact same problems, the same impact on the game that the auction house had. So we try to really ask ourselves: How do we keep some of this social aspect, how do we offer the players the opportunity to trade, but without it dominating the game, without it becoming sort of avenue for players that sort of searching for the reward somewhere else.
inDiablo.de: So what about bind on equipped or bind on something else – is something like this still necessary after you’ve removed the auction house?
That is something that we’re really seriously considering. There are still gonna be ways for players to trade items. If you and I or three of us are playing, what we’re playing will be free to trade, that is part of the social connection. But outside that bind on equipped or bind on account really gives us a lot of great benefits. I think at the end of the day Diablo is about killing monster and getting awesome loot. And if we have more bind on account items, it means that we can preserve that, but more importantly, we can drop more items for everybody. Because now we don’t have to worry about all these players generating all these items that are going into the economy. Now it’s your legendaries on your own, your legendaries on your own and my legendaries on my own and I think it preserves this core elemental again.
inDiablo.de: Alright. One more question?
Have a story question?
inDiablo.de: I actually have one.
There we go!
inDiablo.de: How much was known from the RoS story before you released Diablo 3? Did you think about that or was it just: ‘alright, we have to do an expansion pack right now, let’s just build a story around that’?
I think the way we put stories together at Blizzard, I worked on Starcraft for years as well and it was sort of the same there, is that we have a general idea of where we are heading and we talk a lot about what the sort of big themes are and the sort of big movements we are going for in the story of a particular universe. But we do tend to leave a lot of the details blurry because we don’t want to lock ourselves into a 100% clockwork master plan that ten years later we’re still sitting there executing. We want to be able to react on the ground and react fast to changes, new ideas, you know, lessons learned from past mistakes. So when Diablo 3 was sort of getting ready to come out, we obviously knew a couple of really big things about the theme of this expansion and the story and the overall field of it. But there were a lot of details and we already started to talk about what areas we would go to but there were a lot of details that we sort of came up along the way.
inDiablo.de: Alright, thank you. It was amazing!