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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » Diablo 3 - Interview @ Rock, Paper, Shotgun

Default Diablo 3 - Interview @ Rock, Paper, Shotgun

November 16th, 2013, 14:13
Rock, Paper, Shotgun interviews Lead Designer Kevin Martens and Art Director Christian Lichtner. Allow me to post the most interesting part of the interview below.

RPS: OK, now the big one. The auction house is out, but the online requirement is still in. You’ve explained that it’s all about community and whatnot, but would adding in a simple option to play offline really hurt? I mean, the game’s already that way on console, and it’s not like your community would just up and disappear. Plus, if they did, I think that’d mean they never enjoyed being online with your game in the first place.

Martens: It’s interesting when you’re in the moment in gaming culture – when you’re playing the game right now – we see its flaws very well. When we look at the long history, it becomes sort of a rosy past. I don’t think people necessarily remember how mad they themselves were that they had an offline mode and online mode in Diablo II.

This will probably be controversial for me to say. People will be like, “I wasn’t mad!” But I was there at the time, and then I studied this for a living. It sucks when your friend or brother is online and he wants to join this game, but you realize you’re an offline character and he’s an online character, and there’s no way to transfer over because offline characters can be hacked and hex-edited to hell and back, right?

And then we had that split between expansion characters and normal ones as well [in Diablo II]. The community was inherently divided. And that’s what it boils down to. Long before any of this happened, we wanted to solve the trading problem. But before we even had the auction house, the always online thing was there.

The game is most fun when you can play with other people. To be ghetto-ed off to the side and not part of the real game, we didn’t want that to happen. This is an online game. We want people to play together. All of that predates the auction house. I can see how people would think otherwise, but the auction house was a salve we came up with in the last few months of the project. It was a six-year project.

RPS: Diablo III’s been out for a while, though. Don’t you think that changes the context a little? It’s not like people would be blindsided by this. They’d just have a new option, and so long as you explained the ramifications clearly – “This character won’t be able to go online, here is why” – I feel like most people would be OK. Better than them not being able to play the game at all, right?

Martens: Well, we have to remember that a lot of new players are still coming in regularly. You can have a solution that works really well for the most knowledgable people, but you can make it much worse for the people who want to join the community as well. We’re adding more community features as well. Clans and groups are coming too. You know, this is the game we made.

RPS: What if people don’t want to commit to a community? What if they just want to play the game?

Martens: We didn’t make that game. That’s the straight-up answer. We did not make that game, and we’re not going to turn this game into that game. We have the online mode because we learned a lot over the many, many years that Diablo II was in development.

That was the wrong choice to allow people to play offline, and we still stand by that. And we think Internet access is widespread. If someone has no Internet access, then yeah, Diablo III is not the game for them.
More information.
Last edited by Couchpotato; November 16th, 2013 at 19:54.
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November 16th, 2013, 14:13
RPS: What if people donít want to commit to a community? What if they just want to play the game?

Martens: We didnít make that game. Thatís the straight-up answer. We did not make that game, and weíre not going to turn this game into that game. We have the online mode because we learned a lot over the many, many years that Diablo II was in development.

That was the wrong choice to allow people to play offline, and we still stand by that. And we think Internet access is widespread. If someone has no Internet access, then yeah, Diablo III is not the game for them.
Still don't get their attitude - I have very fond memories of LAN D2 with friends, we didn't need net Net access at all. I can't believe that it would have been beyond their vast resources to add this ability to play local LAN games with no internet requirement. Well they lost me and most of my friends (older guys, so maybe they don't give a shit).
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November 16th, 2013, 14:21
I haven't followed the differences in console version vs PC, but my understanding is there is no online requirement for the former.

The online requirement doesn't bother me. But why don't the principles that led to the requirement apply to consoles too? I guess the console players are being "ghetto-ed" out. And since when is he the arbiter of how D3 is most fun to play? I joined plenty of bad groups online that made me long for offline mode from time to time. Mostly I ended up forming private games to filter out 7337doodz and kiddies.

D3 was a huge disappointment from the start (which really bummed me out— I ran out and bought it on release & was close to upgrading my PC just for it). I haven't played in many months and don't think the new expansion will bring me back.
Last edited by EvilManagedCare; November 16th, 2013 at 14:31.
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November 16th, 2013, 15:17
Kudos to RPS for tenaciously going after a non-PR bullshit answer.

And, I think this part has been stated in a past article from months back, but it bears singling out again… such arrogance. We're the big and mighty Blizzard! Who do you think you are to want to play our game offline?!
And we think Internet access is widespread. If someone has no Internet access, then yeah, Diablo III is not the game for them.
In the end, it's all water off a duck's back. The people who have bothered to stick with D3 will continue to stick with it. The people who were put off by the entire debacle will continue to be uninterested and bored with Blizzard's progression. The company isn't doing itself any favors for gaining new players - they're content with the drone base they have with WoW and it shows.
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November 16th, 2013, 16:07
I know this will appear overly inflamatory but I wonder whether it would be fair to call D3 the game with the worst hype-delivery ratio.

I'd just like to interject here and point out that I'm not going to say anything to spoil the mood, Chief. I'll just float here and watch. Don't mind me, just sitting here, floating and watching, that's me.
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November 16th, 2013, 16:57
Originally Posted by Kostas View Post
I know this will appear overly inflamatory but I wonder whether it would be fair to call D3 the game with the worst hype-delivery ratio.
Depends how well it sold outside of pre-orders I guess. My impressions are that actually it's continued to sell very well, though expansion sales might be a better measure.
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November 16th, 2013, 18:40
For me D3 was just boring. Even if you could play offline it was a bore-fest. At the same time you have games like Torchlight 2 that was a lot cheaper and allowed for both online and offline mode - BUT aside from all that, the game was FUN to play.

If I'm right but there is no wife around to acknowledge it, am I still right?
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November 16th, 2013, 19:42
Originally Posted by Kostas View Post
I know this will appear overly inflamatory but I wonder whether it would be fair to call D3 the game with the worst hype-delivery ratio.
Seriously, I don't even think there's a question here. This is the company that throws "self-gratification" parties each year, and charges hundreds for the tickets (as well as pay-per-view packages). This game single-handedly ended my policy on buying preorders, or even purchasing games before trying them out first. I don't know how many on here are old enough to remember Geraldo opening Al Capone's vault, but that event had less hype, and less of a let down, than did D3. (The only thing that could have been worse than finding garbage and empty bottles in the vault, would have been finding it full of Diablo 3).
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November 16th, 2013, 19:47
I have been taking a break from gaming so since they are talking about some changes to the game I thought I would log in and get the game ready for the expansion(albeit early) and boom, My account is locked out and the stupid retrieval system they have to rest your password doesn't work and now I'm remembering I have to call Blizzard and stay on hold for twenty minutes to get the account unlocked! Provided I can find my registration info again. This kind of malarkey is why I took a break in the first place and why offline modes make all kind of sense. It's only been since July but their login procedure triggers this scenario if you haven't played in a bit.
I hate this and Guild Wars 2 did the same thing when I tried to patch it.
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November 16th, 2013, 20:57
I was considering buying this when the expansion came out, but after answers like that I won't.
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November 17th, 2013, 03:05
The simple answer is that Blizzard has truly lost it's way, maybe because of the influence of Activision to concentrate on making games that make the most money instead of making a great game that becomes an all time seller.

Blizzard used to make complicated and deceptively deep games that were still easy to play due to ridiculously good UI and systems design,

D3 is a game and that actually got significantly worse the more they worked on it. The first version at Blizzcon 2008 was a really good game. Exactly what you would expect from D3. It had depth and familiarity and they had plans for lots of systems that would add more depth.

But over time they kept removing feature after feature. The beta was almost surreal in that the game clearly got worse and more dumbed down with every version, until the point that there was nothing really left. A Blizzard developer actually said at one point that his grandmother needed to be able to sit down and instantly get the game.

If you can watch the video where they announced D3 for the first time. It is pretty amazing in that the alpha they showed was significantly more advanced and interesting than the game they released.

Three big things happened. One their success lead them to believe that their opinions were infallibly wrong. Two, their gigantic financial clout allowed them to take their "iterative" design process to an extreme which resulted in so many drastic changes and reductions in scope that the game itself was lost. And three, they became only interested in creating revenue streams for their products which led to the AH which totally killed the shell of what was left.

This interview only shows that nothing has changed and Blizzard just does not ger it anymore. They don't really even understand their own audience. ROS will be a terrible game.
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November 18th, 2013, 20:51
RPS: What if people don’t want to commit to a community? What if they just want to play the game?

Martens: We didn’t make that game.

That is why I didn't buy it on PC. Solo or local co-op is all I am interested in. Will probably pick it up on a console though for couch co-op.
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November 18th, 2013, 23:37
Oh boy, this Martens character is really out of touch with his customers or is having a serious case of denial. Definitely riding on the tailcoats of previous Blizzard successes and bringing nothing of value to franchise, and instead only extreme egotism.

@johnnysd

I remember those videos. The game looked a lot better back then, too. The graphics quality was rather amazing. Now I think it looks terrible, as well as boring. Oh well…
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November 19th, 2013, 00:43
I actually think ROS sounds like a great improvement over the original. Adventure mode with the announced Nephalem Rifts sound amazing. And I can't wait to get my hands on the Crusader. He looks like a lot of fun.
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