Diablo 3 has a lot of gameplay changes that different from the past games in the series, and plenty of changes that have been brought about by feedback they've been receiving from the beta. One of the best parts about Blizzcon is listening to the developers explain their games in great detail, often going into detail beyond what you'd ever see in a typical press release, or even be able to pick up in a gameplay session.
Here, directly from Jay Wilson and the development team comes a lot of gameplay details from Diablo 3.
How To Earn Achievements
- Play-through Progression: The farther you play into the campaign, the more achievements you'll get.
- Extreme Behavior: If you get a level 60 hardcore character, that's extreme. You get these for doing things that are tough in the game.
- Absurd Shenanigans: There was a group of Germans who ran all the way through Diablo 2 without any armor. That's absurd. Beating a boss by punching it in the face and wielding no weapons is equally absurd.
The more you achieve, the more you get for your Banner. You'll get different Crests via VP, Ribbons based on your Achievements), Banner Cloth, Sigils and Accents, and your Base get heaped up with different treasure and loot when you play Hardcore. You'll see these banners in multiplayer, and you'll be able to click on them in town locations to teleport directly to your friends.
Crafting items in Diablo 3 results in a much different item lifespan than in Diablo 2. In Diablo 2, you could get an item from a vendor, or a loot drop. And after that you could either Sell, Trade, Wear, or Gamble it away. This resulted in people hoarding gold for no good reason.
In Diablo 3, they've created three different crafting NPCs that channel items and create a much more robust lifespan for the items in the game. Of course, you'll still be able to buy things from vendors and pick up things from loot drops, but you can also create, enhance, and even salvage items, and you'll also be able to buy and sell those items in the Auction House.
- The Mystic: The Mystic enchances items, those enhancements are random, but they can help you create aberrant builds, like a Demon Hunter with a one-handed shield and an axe (no ranged weapons. The Mystic also have 10 levels that they can advance through.
- The Jeweler: The jeweler can combine gems (there are 14 different ranks of gems), add sockets to items, and can remove gems from items, allowing you to change armor and weapons dramatically. The Jeweler also levels up as you progress.
- The Blacksmith: The Blacksmith can craft items from the raw materials you provide to them, and can eventually even create Legendary and Unique set items from recipes.
Based on feedback from testing and the beta, Blizzard has made some changes to the PVP. One of the modes they showed is Team Deathmatch. It's now limited to a 10 minute game, the team with the most kills wins (naturally), and there will be no skill swapping in the game.
Likewise, Blizzard is also tweaking the Auction House, and they are adding both Smart and Advanced searches, and you'll also be able to buy and sell stacklable items like gold, gems, crafting, dyes, pages, and etc.
No game with multiple classes is complete without some changes to the classes from time to time to affect balance and gameplay, and Blizzard has already added some tuning to the five classes in the game:
- Barbarian: Overall they feel that the Barb is in a good place, but they are adding more ways to generate Fury, since you always seem to be running out of it.
- Wizard: There are lots of small tuning adjustments to the wizard, and they are adding weapon-based skill damage where the casting speed is based on attack speed.
- Witch Doctor: The Witch Doctor's mana is unlimited in the beta, but they will be changing this and adding multiple mechanism through which you can recove mana: passive skills, runes, and gear. This leaves the mana generation decisions up to the player
- Monk: The monk tends to die a lot early on, but then becomes tougher as they unlock skills. They've added improved mantras at levels 1 through 15, making it easier to keep them alive.
- Demon Hunter: This class is undergoing the most tweaking as the team adds more Hatred generators and more Hatred spenders. They are also improving the snares, and overall working hard to crank up the "awesome."
Speaking of awesome, the dev team continues to tweak and change skills in the game in an effort to make them visually impressive.
- Exploding Temples: They wanted to give the Monk a skill with a temple aesthetic. In its first incarnation, the Monk would summon a miniature "temple" with four pillars that he/she could then destory so the debris tumbles down on their enemies. But, it was too confusing as each pillar required a click, and it took up a lot of space on screen. Now they just summon one pillar that explodes automatically. Much cleaner and simpler.
- Floating Skulls and Swords: They also gave the Demon Hunter a Floating Skull that fights enemies, which looks a bit ridiculous. They also tried a floating sword that would fight, but it didn't quite work for the Demon Hunter, and looked like something the Wizard would have. Now, they've added a Bat familiar to the Demon Hunter, which flies alongside and fights enemies. Much more in line with the Demon Hunter's asthetic. Also, and I'm not sure this is available in the game: the Demon Hunter can summon Ferrets.
- The Ancients: With Call of the Ancients, the Barbarian will actually summon the Ancients from Diablo 2, and they will fight alongside you in spectral form.
- Monster Are Cool Too: The monsters have also been beefed up with skills. The Goat Shaman has a lightning shield that will reflect damage back onto you. There are also giant worms that will thrust up underneath you and swallow you whole, spitting you back out later with damage.
They are also working on revamping the ability to swap skills, as it current leads into a lot of hot-swapping during combat, which is not fun and gives you less of a commitment to your builds. The current solution they are looking at is having some sort of in-town item that you will visit to swap skills, and those will be locked when you leave town. They are also investigating the possibility of out-of-combat- swapping as well.
Normal is the easiest way to play the game. Act 1 is the tutorial, monsters have low awareness and a low attack rate, and there are limited abilites. Each act adds more challenges, more responsive monsters, and expanded monster abilities. If you think that Normal is too easy, then you're right and Blizzard agrees with you. If you're hardcore, then yes, Normal is easy. But this is by design. Blizzard has a fine balance for their games, which Jay Wilson defined as "Approachable for casual gamers, but interesting for serious gamers. Hardcore games for everyone is what Blizzard does."
They showed off a video proving the game does indeed get a lot harder. Each difficulty ramps up dramatically, and by the time you reach Hell, the Rare and Champion monsters will have up to four different powers. Also, 70% of the items in the game don't even show up in Normal. So if you want to get phat loot, you'll need to try the game on higher difficulties.
Soloing: Can you solo on Inferno? Definitely. They don't require co-op to play, they added that to the game for fun.
Where World of Warcraft focuses on optimal builds, Diablo has: no guilds to answer to, no raids to optimize for, and no roles to perfect. So this means you can experiment with different viable builds, some of which might seem crazy. Can you build a petless Witch Doctor? Yes, you can. Want to make an up close and personal Wizard? No problem. Diablo 3 is all about customization and self-expression, and at last count there are over 2.8 trillion possible builds in the game.
There will probably be best builds, according to the development team, and that's fine as long as they don't shut down viable builds. Their job is to create lots and lots of viable builds. They want you to go, have fun, and be free!
Currently in the game, the followers are not viable past Normal difficulty. Blizzard saw them only as a single-player feature, but they've had a lot of feedback about this and they are changing the follower system so that Followers will be endgame viable. They'll literally to be able to follow you into the gates of hell!
Stay tuned for more Diablo 3 news throughout Blizzcon!