Interview mit Josh Mosqueira – Gamescom 2011 (en)

inDiablo.de:
Could you start by introducing yourself?
Josh Mosqueira:

Sure, so I’m Josh Mosqueira, the Lead Designer for Diablo 3 on Console.
   
inDiablo.de:
The most obvious question is, you are the Lead Designer for Console, so can you already reveal Diablo 3 for Consoles?
Josh Mosqueira:
We’re not announcing anything, in fact we’re just starting by building the team. At Blizzard we’re very serious about bringing the Diablo 3 experience to the consoles, but right now our focus is exclusively on getting the PC Game out of the door because people have been waiting for a little, just a little while for Diablo 3 to come out and in fact myself and the others on the console team, we help the PC team to finish up Diablo 3.
   
inDiablo.de:
I guess one of the hardest parts about bringing Diablo 3 to consoles is finding a good way to control the game. Are you planing to use the standard controller, motion control or something completely new?
Josh Mosqueira:
At this moment we’re not really ready to talk about anything specifically for the console game, all that we’re saying is we’re seriously considering it, we did a lot of exploration and it’s looking really promising and that’s all I can say.
   

inDiablo.de:

I saw it in the Q&A, it was a screenshot of a fiery landscape where our character was running away from some monsters. So was that a screenshot from Hell?
Josh Mosqueira:
That should’ve been a screenshot from the later stages of the game, I’m not entirely sure to which one you’re refering to but there’s a lot of great stuff coming in Diablo 3.
   
inDiablo.de:
So there will be hellish environment?
Josh Mosqueira:
It’s a Diablo Game!
   
inDiablo.de:
Did you think about making gems or runes enchantable or adding a small random affix to the fixed stat, so that every rune or gem is a little bit random?
Josh Mosqueira:

That’s indeed the intention for the rune system. There are five different categories in a very loose sense and each of them will modify a skill by adding a different affix. That way we want to add a more randomized element to the customization.
   
inDiablo.de:
I meant if you’ll add something like… the rune will split the magic missile into 5 shots instead of only one and it gives you +10 attack or +5 vitalitay etc. instead of just the modification for the skill.
Josh Mosqueira:
Yes, that’s exactly how the rune system is intended to work.
   
inDiablo.de:
If I understand it correctly there are 18 different tiers of armor in Diablo 3, will items with the look from all 18 Tiers drop in the Inferno Mode or will you only find the high tier armor in the later stages so that a character can only look like a high tier character and no longer like a low tier character in Inferno?
Josh Mosqueira:
The Armor Tiers increase throughout the game progressively. The higher difficulties where you face monsters of a higher level, they will be dropping better and better and better gear.
   
inDiablo.de:

With the new ingame economy and the Real Money Auction house, I guess that you won’t need something like ladder resets anymore. What will you do if the economy gets really broken, because for example someone who is insanely rich decides to put in millions of dollars?
Josh Mosqueira:

We don’t really get into „What if“ scenarios, the Blizzard philosophy is that we monitor our games whether it’s for balance or anything that could potentially ruin the game experience. We’ll take an active role in trying to figure out how to maintain and preserve that game experience for all of our players.
   

inDiablo.de:

Is the Inferno mode more for groups or for solo players or for both?
Josh Mosqueira:
The general philosophy for Diablo 3 is that it’s viable both for Singleplayer and for cooperative and in fact I really believe that Diablo 3 will be maximum fun when you play it with a bunch of friends. So definitely Inferno will be a lot of fun with a group of players or because the difficulty scales with the number of players. It will be fun solo or with a group of players.
   
inDiablo.de:
How much of a difference will the players actual skill make in the inferno mode compared to their equipment? We often saw players in Diablo 2 who had the best equipment but could not hit a single enemy and they could still compete…
Josh Mosqueira:
That’s a really good question. A lot of the tuning for Inferno and all the game is still ongoing, but we obviously want to make sure that skill matters because that’s what makes a game a really compelling experience. But the other thing is that Diablo is meant to be an accessible game at the same time. But definitely, when you start to face more and more difficult monsters you’ll really need to know how to use your skills, manage the combat and all kind of stuff will become more important because the game becomes pretty unforgiving at that moment.
inDiablo.de:
Why did you take out the skill points?
Josh Mosqueira:
So the skill points, obviously you know, when we announced we took out the skill points, there was a bit of „What are you guys doing?“ but we really started thinking about it and when you’re supporting skill points there’s an illusion of choice like „I can put a point here and a point here and one here“, but the truth is that players would hoard all their points and then at a later stage would dump them into the later skills and that really we found that was detrimental to the Diablo experience. So what we try to do with the new skill system is giving players that meaningful choice but instead of restricting it by an arbitrary and unforgiving point system, you now have your skills, you have the 6 slots and you need to carefully choose what skills to put into those slots to really define your build. And I know what the other concern is while we don’t have a lot of choice and there’s not a lot of customization… Well, we took the actual numbers and we’re talking over 3 trillion different combinations so I think we have players pretty covered in terms of how much customization we’re giving them.
inDiablo.de:
One additional question about that is: When I played the beta some weeks ago in Irvine, the new skill system feels more like an advanced hotkey system because you can change your skills everytime you like. Can you understand this feeling and did you ever consider changing that so you can’t change your skills for a certain period of time?
Josh Mosqueira:
Right now, we’re currently doing a lot of tuning and we are really evaluating a lot of different things. At Blizzard we always want to make sure that we look at how we interact with the game and how the community interacts with the game and we try not to make some snap and we need your reactions but again we’re actively tuning all aspects of the game especially the active and passive skills and the rune system at the moment.
inDiablo.de:
You talked a lot about rares, gems and runes, but we didn’t really talk about set items yet, so how viable are they? Will it be somehow viable to get a full set on your character or will it always be somewhat mediocre like in Diablo 2?
Josh Mosqueira:
That’s a really good question and that’s not one of the areas where I’m really working with… so, Sean?
PR Guy:
Set Items? Hm, no… sorry.
inDiablo.de:
Did you think about adding special Quests to the Inferno mode like the Hellfire Quest in Diablo 2?
Josh Mosqueira:
One of the driving forces behind the Inferno Mode was that characters in Diablo 2 could level up to level 99 but most of the games content was maxed out at 85 so the players were doing a lot of Baalruns, Mephistoruns to farm Items. By making all the monsters essentially one level higher than the players, we’re opening up the entire span of the game in Inferno Mode, so everything will be viable in Inferno. So we’re not planning to add even more content because with the random dungeons we think we already have a lot of fresh content for the players everytime they play.
inDiablo.de:
To clarify that: You’re not planning to add any new game modes for Inferno like new gameplay features… because Jay mentioned in the Q&A that he was thinking about giving players who played in the Inferno Mode some special rewards?
Josh Mosqueira:
Well, you see, currently we have no real plans but definitely there are a lot of things we’re thinking about…. and potential extensions to the systems but at the moment the plan is to release inferno mode as it is, opening up the entire span of the story for inferno.
inDiablo.de:
But we had a lot of areas in Diablo 2 as well where we had monsters with the highest possible monsterlevel and not only in the later stages but already in the first act, and in the second, there where special areas where you had these monsters but players kept doing the same runs over and over again. So how should a full difficulty level prevent that?
Josh Mosqueira:
I think you said it in your question that yes, there were some areas with monsters who hit the level cap, most of those were those with the key bosses in the game and some of the other areas as well. But by extending it through the whole game… sure, it’s going to be a living ecosystem and they’re naturally going to think that there are areas which are very good, but again, we want them to play the entire game but if they want to focus on special areas, they can do whatever they want.
inDiablo.de:
One thing you have talked about was that you we’re going to patch new items into the game, so can we expect whole item wipes like in WoW where you just changed to a new Item tier by a patch or by an addon or can we expect new items coming in one by one?
Josh Mosqueira:
I can’t really comment on what the plans are for patching or potential changes to the item system. If we’re going to make any sort of change that would change the game experience we would give players a warning way ahead of time.
inDiablo.de:
One additional question about the item system is about the gemstones. We’ve seen them in the presentation but we don’t really know what they’re doing in detail. Of course they will have kind of the same function like in Diablo 2 but can you go into detail about what the different kinds of gems are going to do?
Josh Mosqueira:
You’re talking about the gems you socket into items, not the runes, right?
inDiablo.de:
Yeah, the gems…
Josh Mosqueira:
The gems are essentially an extension of the system that was there in Diablo 2 so we just bring that system forward into Diablo 3. So they allow you to modify and tweak your items by adding different stats, bonuses and certain affixes.
inDiablo.de:
I guess that the monsters in the later stages of hell mode will have around level 60 while those from inferno are level 61. How much of a difference will there be between items from the latest stages in Hell compared to those you can find in the Inferno Mode?
Josh Mosqueira:
At that high levels, even the one level from 60 to 61 is a really big difference and we will make sure that all the item distribution really takes that into account. We want Inferno Mode to be both challenging and meaningful so we will make sure that the rewards correspond to the challenge.
inDiablo.de:
One of the first sentences we heard at the first presentation of Diablo 3 was „And the heavens shall tremble.“ Yet it’s completely unknown what that means. I think it’s time to elaborate a little bit.
Josh Mosqueira:
(laughs) Stay tuned!
inDiablo.de:
The last question is about yourself because I remember meeting you on a press event for Company of Heroes many years ago so you worked at Relic. How did you end up at Blizzard?
Josh Mosqueira:
Well, I found two loves in my life when it comes to gaming. Console games and Blizzard RPGs, so after my time at Relic I joined Ubisoft where I was the creative Director for console games and one day Jay said we’re very serious about the console and I said „That sounds like a dream job“ so yeah…
inDiablo.de:
Ok cool, thank you very much!