Before you get your hopes up, just realize that it's not a new class or a release date. At least, that's what I was hoping they'd reveal. I imagine they're saving the big stuff for BlizzCon in October, but that doesn't mean that today's announcement was boring. There's some nifty intel in here, straight from Jay Wilson, game director on Diablo III who revealed the new features for the title at Gamescom.
Blizzard is adding two new aspects to the game: a caravan that follows you around through all of the areas, and an artisan system that provides NPCs who can craft and enchant things for you. Basically, it's a load of groupies with mad skills. There will be three different artisans available: blacksmith, mystic, and jeweler, and they'll help you create more badass gear, or tweak what you already have.
If you thought Diablo was a loot whore game at heart before, wait until you hear about this. Read on for more details, and we'll be back with some more highlights soon, including screenshots and a video.
What is the caravan?
The caravan is a persistent group that follows the heroes across Sanctuary, providing a centralized hub for players to find questgivers, crafters and other important NPCs. As your character moves through the world so too will your loyal band, setting up in specific locations to remain close by should you need them.
Who are the artisans?
In order to access the professions in Diablo III, you'll need gain the loyalty of various artisans through your travels in Sanctuary. The blacksmith, mystic and jeweler each provide unique service over the course of the game.
What do the artisans offer?
Skilling up your artisans will unlock unique recipes, granting your character access to benefits that may not be found anywhere else in the world. The blacksmith crafts weapons and armor, and can add sockets to some items. The mystic creates scrolls, potions, magical weapons, spell runes, charms, and can also enchant items. The jeweler crafts gems, amulets, and rings. The jeweler can also remove gems from items and can combine gems to improve their quality.
How do I find the artisans?
Finding the artisans will be part of the main quest. Each artisan has been fleshed out to include their own story and quest line.
How do I use the artisans?
You'll collect loot as a reward for slaughtering the forces of the Burning Hells. Unwanted items can be salvaged in your inventory, converting these goods into raw crafting materials. High level items are salvaged into high level materials. You’ll then take those raw materials and hand them over to the artisans, putting them to work crafting or enchanting for you. Upon returning to the caravan after a lengthy foray, you foray, you may find that the artisans have been hard at work playing their trade for youe benefit.
How do I salvage my items?
Players will find an item while progressing through the main quest that will allow them to convert unwanted gear into crafting materials from the inventory. This item will not take up any inventory space. This should be a more satisfying option for offloading unwanted loot than the alternative -- dropping things on the ground or making frequent trips to a vendor.
(Editor's note: this item, while cube-shaped, is sadly not the Horadric Cube from Diablo's past. According to Jay Wilson, it's meant to be an homage of sorts to that cube, but it isn't the same cube.)
Why are you including crafting professions in an action game?
Professions add depth to the item collection that drives the action of Diablo III. We want to provide players with an alternative way to acquire gear, potions, and other randomly found items. We also want to provide additional forms of customization for players -- adding jewels, enchants or sockets to existing gear allows players further characters. Many rare crafting recipes and materials only found as world drops, enhancing the item acquisition process by increasing the diversity of items dropped by monsters.