There was another Blizzcon panel today, focusing mainly on the art and story of Diablo 3. Here's the summary of the panel.
More information about the much anticipated D3 has been released today at Blizzcon. Most of the panel seemed to be Q&A. Like last time, the questions and answers have been rewritten for clarity.
The focus of todays panel was further expanding on the art and themes of the game, as well as providing a bit of background story.
Art - General
As of now, the entire world of Sanctuary has been designed and has a specific art theme associated with it. Parts of it are as of yet unaccessable, but have been designed. Some areas from the previous games will be returning, such as Kurast. It has a much darker and abandoned look and feel to it now.
Art - Style and Visuals
Diablo 3 will have an emphasis on horror in regards to the visuals. The designers looked at the improvments made from I to II, and would like to keep that same trend going.
They fixed camera viewpoint from D2 has been kept. The biggest benefit of this is that everything will always be seen from the same angle, so the designers can do a lot to improve visuals without worrying about a moving viewpoint. The designers were also very firm in stating that stylised does not mean cartoony graphics. All the art in the game is grounded in realistic images.
Color in the game will be used to convey the mood of a setting. Much as in a movie where dark scenes are used to create a horror vibe, the game designers plan to use vibrant colors to achieve the same effect in D3. Color will be used to guide a player along, and possibly mislead them in some instances. Monster angles and noise volumes have been modified so that the player will always be able to see/hear what they need to accomplish.
Story - General
At the end of Diablo 2, after Baal was defeated, the Worldstone was destroyed by the archangel Tyreal. The Worldstone essentially acted as a barrier, separating the 3 realms of Heaven, Hell, and Sanctuary from one another. Upon the destruction of the Worldstone, it was believed the forces of Hell would take the opportunity to invade Sanctuary and Heaven. In a completely unexpected move, the forces of Hell did not invade, but have instead sat dormant. As a result, the world of Sanctuary has experienced a period of relative peace since Tyreal shattered the Worldstone 20 years ago.
Deckard Cain still lives, wracked with guilt over his inability to prevent the disasters that occured in the first 2 games. Cain is scouring the world, looking for information on how to defeat the forces of Hell when they finally return. After 20 years, Cain is very old and decrepid. People do not generally live as long as he has. Also, very few people, Cain included, actually remember or believe in the events of the first 2 games. For most of the populace of Sanctuary, the occurances in the first 2 games are more legend than reality.
Tyreal has been forbidden to interfere, and is no longer present in Sanctuary. Nobody seems to know what has happened to him.
Story - NPC's and Character Interactions
The storyline will play out in different ways, depending on your class. NPC's will also react differently to certain classes, and will treat them in different ways. Think of Warriv talking to a Paladin, except on a larger scale. The Classes each have a voice of their own and a backstory.
The Witch Doctor talks with a lisp.
Certain parts of the story will only be revealed by interacting with NPC's; at the beginning of the game is an NPC burning bodies, but you won't find out why unless you ask.
The game also contains Bosses and Superunique monsters. Also, you will be able to help NPC's by killing monsters that are attacking them, making for very different gameplay.
Q: In D1 Diablo was killed. In D2 Diablo and Mephisto were both destroyed. How does Diablo come back in D3?
A: There are many interesting twists and turns in the game story. (they refused to comment further on this.)
Q: Given the amount of destructable terrain in the game, will things like doors be an annoyance?
A: The goal is not to frustrate people with the destructables, but to allow people to use them.
Q: The Paladin's world was essentially destroyed by Mephisto corrupting the Council of Zakarum. How will you bring the Paladins back into the story?
A: Paladins and things related to them will be back as NPC's, but the Paladin will not be a playable class.
Q: Will any characters from the Sin War books appear in the game to fight the bosses?
A: Some characters from the books will appear, and the eventes in the Sin War books will also have a lot to do with the current world.
Q: Lea, the child in the cinematic, will she reappear?
A: Yes, she will be there, and she is very important.
Q: How well is the graphic engine allowing you to fulfill your artistic ideas?
A: The technology is a tool. The designers are going for a hand painted art style. The goal is to make a painting that you can play.
Q: Is it safe to assume that Baal's Soulstone wasn't destroyed and that he will be back in D3?
A: Possibly. Baal may or may not appear.
Q: How are the dungeons randomized?
A: There are varying degrees of randomness. There will be pockets of randomness in random dungeons. Important areas in a dungeon will be in random locations within the dungeon. Also, some quests are random, so all the quests may not be available in each game.
Q: How dynamic will the classes be? Will there be a personal motive to fight, or will it just be to save the world?
A: Each character has a voice and a backstory, so they all have their own motives. The Wizard for example is fighting to challenge herself and her abilities.
Q: How are you using different color pallets to progress into light and dark areas of the game?
A: You may start in a bright an sunny environment, and end up in a horror environment.
Q: Deckard Cain grew up with the stories of the Horadrim. In D3 is he truly the last of the Horadrim?
A: Cain grew up when there were no other Horadrim sages. He believes himself to be the last of the Horadrim.
Q: Will there be items above Unique, and how will they tie into the story?
A: Some items are tied into the story. (They didn't answer the part about the Unique items.)
Q: Will items have random stats?
A: That's not up to the graphic designers tongue.gif
Q: Will there be changes in the graphics of spells and skills to show how much damage they deal, and will bosses look closer to death as their HP gets lower?
A: Spells using the rune system will have visual differences, the visual effects for skills are still being explored though. With major bosses you'll see multiple changes in state as they get closer to death.
Q: Diablo always headed east, will this change in D3?
A: The characters will drive the events of the game.
Q: Will color blind players have issues playing the game?
A: Item colors have been addressed and will be more obvious. Color pallets have also been limited to avoid these issues. There will also be silhouettes on important items.
Q: The story of D2 ended with Baals death, but it wasn't clear if he was permanently destroyed. Will D3 end with closure?
A: We are trying to give closure to the events in D2, but the story won't have full closure so as to not limit future expansions.
Q: Will Necromancers still be in the game?
A: There will be Necromancers in the game, but they will not be a playable class.
Q: Cow level. Yes or no?
A: The developers refuse to disclose the amount of bovine material in the game.
Q: What is keeping Deckard Cain alive?
A: He eats his veggies.
Q: In D2 only a few items change your appearance. Will more items do this in D3?
A: Some items will show, like Shoulders, but it's not a 1 to 1 ratio. Basically, multiple items will reuse the same images.
Q: Will monsters in D3 change in more than just color?
A: Creatures will feel like they belong in the settings, and there will be a backstory for the really strange creatures.
Q: Will there be multiple sexes?
A: Yes, and they will have different backstories.
More Diablo 3 news from our live coverage of the Blizzcon pannels ont he subject Today.
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