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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

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Diablo III: Map Design, Skill Caps, RPG Mechanics
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

In new posts on the Diablo III forums community manager Bashiok has revealed new information about the game. This time the discussion covered topics such as exterior map design, skill caps, and RPG mechanics. Diablo III is Blizzard Entertainment's long awaited return to the popular action RPG franchise.

On a player-made map of Act II:
Although that isn't Act II, at least not all of it. Or most of it. The playable area in the demo is a portion of the second act, not the whole thing.

And to clarify, our exterior zones have static borders, roads, and town placements. Most of the area in-between is static too, but there are these chunks of the map in various shapes that are essentially cut out. We then create pieces to fit those shapes and sizes, a bunch of them for each, and the game randomly picks which ones to use. They could have quests, little events, mini-bosses, just different scenery, or whatever else we want to cook up in them. It keeps the exterior locations static, while still having some random bits in there to keep them fresh. We refer to it as the adventure system.

And to clarify on THAT in case anyone hasn't been following along much, we keep our exteriors static for the most part because following the edges of the map to find exits and find where the town/questgivers are just wasn't a fun use of randomization. You also couldn't easily or quickly meet a friend anywhere outside of town because nothing was ever in the same place. And lastly it helps us create a sense of a world that actually exists, the towns and cities and at least the important points of interest exist in stationary locations.

The dungeons, in addition to being random in design and flow, also use the adventure system to bring in random events and quests.

On the game's RPG mechanics:
Well I think it's kind of easy to look at changes and advancements in the RPG genre as a whole and narrow them down to any number of sources to fit each use.

To make a car analogy (my favorite!) it would be like having issues with the newest version of the mustang because its body styling takes into account things like passenger safety and aerodynamics, and being upset by this because these are features also found in the ford focus. A clearly inferior car in the eyes of the mustang enthusiast.
These types of ideas could never have been thought of or would ever be included in the mustang, of course, had not both cars been manufactured by ford.

It's just all a bit silly. What I do think is interesting is the differentiation between the hardcore Diablo II players (most of y'all) and the majority of the rest of the game buying public. From our showing at BlizzCon and PAX a lot of the articles and off-site (non fansite) discussions are saying that Diablo III may not be doing enough to change itself from Diablo II.

If those people read some of the posts here you'd think we were putting a Diablo sticker on a WoW box and calling it a day. So it's just an interesting difference between the audiences and how level of dedication changes perceptions and expectation.

And I don't mean to lump everyone together, I'd say aside from the trolls the majority of posters here are actually level headed and logical. At least able to take multiple things into consideration. Reasonable thought process and understanding that the game is a work in progress, and not someone that sees a character with a slight hunch and makes a leap of logic that we must be using model/animation assets from a different game.

That's still my favorite. Cause of it bein' so stupid 'n all.
Head over to the GameBanshee link below to read more.

GameBanshee: Bashiok Diablo III Comments
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Archives  News  Diablo III: Map Design, Skill Caps, RPG Mechanics