Diablo III Forum Activity

Diablo community manager "Bashiok" discusses Diablo II's upcoming v1.13 patch and beta testing, voice acted lore books, renaming the Witch Doctor, and health orbs in his latest responses on the official Diablo III forums.

On the v1.13 patch and beta testing:
So yeah, we're still working on the patch. It's coming along really well. We're getting there. I can't give an estimate or date, we're expecting there to be a good amount of testing required due to the types of changes being made. We want to take our time and put out a solid patch, and that means we don't have a release date right now.

Some exciting news - and it also may be some comfort - due to the types of changes we're making we will be offering the Diablo II 1.13 patch for testing and feedback on a test realm before its release. We'll have more information about how you'll be able to help test it in the coming weeks.

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I think the term beta has too many preconceptions attached to it. Revised to "test realm".
I'm told it will be similar if not exactly the same as similar tests that have happened for Warcraft III recently.

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We try to give everyone at least a two week notice before a ladder reset. When it became apparent that the patch could potentially launch in two weeks, we put up an announcement just in case.

Now, even though no promises were given it's going to create some hope that it will be out, but we can only do so much to balance between expectation and information that's necessary for the community to have.

On voice acted lore books:
How will lore be handled and presented in Diablo 3?
What an open ended question... well, a lot of different ways. For one your character will be able to speak, and that's pretty huge actually for storytelling purposes. Also we have the 'audio book' system, that was shown off at BlizzCon in limited form (see next answer). Aside from that, all the usual stuff but in greater quantity. NPC speech, dialogue, events, bosses, quests, etc. etc. There's a lot more going on.
Will there be individual items scattered around the game world that can be read or listened to for back story, or will it be in one consolidated location?
Yes there are books that drop somewhat randomly that when picked up can be listened to. I say somewhat randomly because they should make sense contextually. Leoric's Journal should be dropping in the same dungeon where you fight his undead corpse, and not somewhere else that doesn't make sense. They're fully voice acted lore treasures essentially. Think Bioshock tapes.
Considering Diablo 3 is a fast-paced game, how much lore is the Blizzard team planning to put in? Will we get a detailed recounting of past events, or a surface recollection?
A lot. Well, as much as we can. But we're making sure it's all as "opt-in" as possible. Meaning, if you don't care, if you want to skip quest dialogue, don't care what's going on, and want to just get to the killing, then that's possible. If you want to slow down and really explore the story, you can do that too. So we're not forcing you to sit through anything.
How much new lore is being slated to present with the game's release?
Will the game be incorporating information from the books? (So you know, I have not personally read them, but I intend to.)
I'm aware of some, yes. But you won't have to have read them to enjoy the game.
How much of the game's lore (old & new) will be mixed in with the story events and quests that take place?
I actually can't think of a way to answer that. Rephrase/elaborate?

On renaming the Witch Doctor:
Seer sounds weak. Like an old lady reading tea leaves.

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Yeah, barb, wiz, WD, .. .. oh wait those are the only announced classes. *phew* That was close.

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How about Witcher?
I think that's kind of taken.

On health orbs and potions:
Yeah the idea of picking up health globes while at already full health and having them still provide some type of benefit has been an idea bouncing around these halls for quite a while. If I were a bettin' man, and I'm not because I'm horrible at it, I'd reckon that there might be something we do with that.

I play a decent amount of TF2 so I'm sort of partial to the medic-style overheal that then slowly ticks down over time. It could work. It may also be completely unnecessary.

Anyway, the barbarian has to concern himself with health quite a bit more than the witch doctor or wizard being melee and he has skills in his tree that both increase the chance of health globe drops and their 'benefit'. So, right there you can see there are ways to increase orb drops, and that's outside of other leeching type skills, regen skills, etc.

Again, we're not trying to create an aggravating experience. If it's a common issue that you have to run around nearly dead hoping and praying for an orb drop, then we probably messed up somewhere. Or maybe you're terribad at the game. We'll have to wait and see.