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Friday, July 17, 2009

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Diablo III: Inventory Upgrades, Group Play Dynamics
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

More information about Diablo III, the upcoming return to Blizzard Entertainment's popular action RPG franchise, is now available on the official forums, once again thanks to community manager Bashiok. The topics this time involve inventory upgrades and group play dynamics.

On Inventory Upgrades:

Just a few things off the top of my head regarding upgradable bags.
Upgrading storage size is a great reward, and can be much better than any incremental weapon/armor upgrade. (Kills/min could easily calculate out to be much greater without having to stop to clear inventory as much with a bag upgrade as compared to a damage increase from a weapon upgrade.)
Building off the last point, it helps add the sense of your character becoming more powerful and gaining more from the time spent playing.
Increasing the storage size over time/play experience is a great way to scale the player’s sense of the game’s complexity.
Beginning with a small and limited amount of space teaches the player early on that inventory management is an important part of playing the game - and sometimes generating income.
Making and keeping the player aware of their limitations can also help keep a better sense of structure and focus. Being overwhelmed is sometimes as detrimental to a play experience as being bored.
Also keep in mind that while we’re obviously dropping bag upgrades off of monsters now, we could choose any number of alternative ways to get them to the player. Or maybe a combination of different ways. Whatever, I just wouldn’t focus on the ‘how’ of them being delivered right now.
On Group Play:
Playing in groups benefits partly from the per-player item drops, but also an increase in items-per-minute ratio due to groups killing faster than a single player. The amount of items dropping with each additional player is slightly higher than if those players were to just play in their own games. Now, that’s slightly deceiving because we’re talking about the entire pool of drops, but actually each player sees and receives an equal* portion, so in this case we’re looking at the drops as if they were shared completely freely within the group. This may not be the case for all items or groups.
Still, if you have three friends and you’re all buddy-buddy with each other and sharing everything, the benefit of playing together for item drops is noticeable. If you’re all being very stingy and not sharing anything, or just throwing out the crap, you’ll still see a slight increase just from killing speed.
But anyway, with all that in mind, there is already of course a distance limit in which you’ll be considered an active participant in a monster kill to be able to receive a drop from it. If you’re out of range and someone in your party kills something, you don’t get a drop from it. It’s a very obvious solution to deal with a very obvious issue. And the range is fairly forgiving.
So with that settled our focus turns to helping groups help themselves through various mechanics to keep everyone together. To make sure that playing in a group is not only beneficial, but to see if we can help remove or alleviate as many of the burdens that make grouping sometimes less desirable. But those are specifics for another time.
For more of Bashiok's comments click over to the pages listed below.

Blizzplanet: Diablo III Inventory Upgrades
Blizzplanet: Diablo III Group Play
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Archives  News  Diablo III: Inventory Upgrades, Group Play Dynamics