Diablo Creator on Diablo III

An interview on IncGamers talks with David Brevik of Gazillion Entertainment about Diablo III, getting the co-founder of Blizzard North's impressions of the latest version of the series he helped originate. He offers a perspective on how the game was impacted by the loss of the company's action/RPG knowledgebase with the closure of Blizzard North and how the third game in the series more reflects the tastes and experiences of Blizzard South, and verges on schadenfreude in describing part of his mixed feelings about how it ultimately turned out: "I am also a little happy, which I hate to say, it shows that the people that were involved in Diablo really did matter, and so I am happy that it has come to light that how talented that group was and how unique and special that group was. I am hoping that, as this happens very often in the industry, you see it with Call of Duty and things like that, when the people leave the game changes and it shows how critical people are in this industry."
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Re: Diablo Creator on Diablo III
Aug 19, 2012, 14:45
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Re: Diablo Creator on Diablo III Aug 19, 2012, 14:45
Aug 19, 2012, 14:45
 
Building the game around the auction house was a bad idea. The earlier games were built around loot. In this game the loot you really want is in the auction house. The stuff you get in the game is largely trash that you need to turn into gold then go buy what you'd hope to see dropped in your game.

It's no fun to stop playing the game all the time to go browse the auction house for hours. And the whole multi day auction ala ebay...that is just laughably stupid.
2.
 
Re: Diablo Creator on Diablo III
Aug 19, 2012, 14:49
2.
Re: Diablo Creator on Diablo III Aug 19, 2012, 14:49
Aug 19, 2012, 14:49
 
Tumbler wrote on Aug 19, 2012, 14:45:
Building the game around the auction house was a bad idea. The earlier games were built around loot. In this game the loot you really want is in the auction house. The stuff you get in the game is largely trash that you need to turn into gold then go buy what you'd hope to see dropped in your game.

It's no fun to stop playing the game all the time to go browse the auction house for hours. And the whole multi day auction ala ebay...that is just laughably stupid.

In concept it was a fine idea. Diablo and Diablo 2 had a very large and healthy trade and barter community around them, including a black market for real money transactions. It's obvious to see how Blizzard would want to incorporate that into the game, both to capitalize on it and to protect users from the sometimes nefarious Diablo 2 real money market. It just didn't work out so well in practice.
Avatar 13977
3.
 
Re: Diablo Creator on Diablo III
Aug 19, 2012, 15:45
nin
 
3.
Re: Diablo Creator on Diablo III Aug 19, 2012, 15:45
Aug 19, 2012, 15:45
 nin
 

Blizzard: We know what we're doing, and we know what you want!

Customers: No, really, you don't. We're trying to tell you and you refuse to listen.

Blizzard: You're gonna love it! Hey, come back here! Guys? IT'S DIABLO! Hello?


4.
 
Re: Diablo Creator on Diablo III
Aug 19, 2012, 15:45
4.
Re: Diablo Creator on Diablo III Aug 19, 2012, 15:45
Aug 19, 2012, 15:45
 
eunichron wrote on Aug 19, 2012, 14:49:
It just didn't work out so well in practice.
Because they designed the auction house to be THE central pillar of the game, instead of simply adding an ingame plattform, where people can trade with the official "protection" of Blizzard.
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Re: Diablo Creator on Diablo III
Aug 19, 2012, 15:58
5.
Re: Diablo Creator on Diablo III Aug 19, 2012, 15:58
Aug 19, 2012, 15:58
 
when the people leave the game changes and it shows how critical people are in this industry

Well gee-fucking-whiz, maybe he's not a complete moron! Shame it's too late for that!

So many IP zombies walking around these days...it's fucking disgusting.

edit: ahh yeah. ex-blizzard guy. I kinda glossed over that part. Leaving it anyway.

This comment was edited on Aug 19, 2012, 16:16.
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Re: Diablo Creator on Diablo III
Aug 19, 2012, 16:10
Jivaro
 
6.
Re: Diablo Creator on Diablo III Aug 19, 2012, 16:10
Aug 19, 2012, 16:10
 Jivaro
 
Having listened to the interview, I think David hits the nail on the head. At the end of the day, regardless of what you think the defining issue is with the game design of Diablo 3, all of the issues can be attributed to a design staff that simply didn't have the same priorities as the fans and the previous design team. This resulted in a game that was simply too different to maintain the attention or approval of the fan base.

The same thing has happened before with so many franchises when the core team either leaves or gets bought out. Yes, we can put a lot of the blame on specific design choices like the loot system, the auction house, and the lack of random levels....but the reason for those design decisions is because the Diablo 3 team didn't have the experience of the Diablo 1/2 team. They didn't value the upsides of things like a random map system etc, and as such they were confident that they could make the changes and be successful, and now they are finding out that their confidence was misplaced. David's point was that he can take a bit of satisfaction in Diablo 3's problems, not specifically because they are having problems, but because it proves what he thought all along; which was that the people making the game...who they are and what their experience is...are important and not easily replaced.

When I look at games that are being designed now in the ARPG field, games like Grim Dawn, Path of Exile, and Marvel Heroes...I know better what to avoid because of Diablo 3. My guess is the designers of those games do to, so maybe some good will come out of this in terms of the genre.

I am not holding my breath mind you, the industry seems to want to make specific individuals celebrities rather then keep successful teams together, but I can hope that they see David's point for something more then sour grapes.
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Re: Diablo Creator on Diablo III
Aug 19, 2012, 16:58
7.
Re: Diablo Creator on Diablo III Aug 19, 2012, 16:58
Aug 19, 2012, 16:58
 
Of course, most of that knowledge and most of that people went on to create Hellgate: London.
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Re: Diablo Creator on Diablo III
Aug 19, 2012, 17:05
8.
Re: Diablo Creator on Diablo III Aug 19, 2012, 17:05
Aug 19, 2012, 17:05
 
Beamer wrote on Aug 19, 2012, 16:58:
Of course, most of that knowledge and most of that people went on to create Hellgate: London.

No, Roper is mostly to blame for that. Also his insistence on making 50% of the game essentially an FPS. He had too many ideas and wanted to please too many gamer types than reality would allow.

Plus Hellgate was a gigantic clusterfuck. It was released far too soon, never fully bug tested (even months after launch) and the different tiers of paying/non-paying players created a lot of ill will towards the designers from gamers. It was just a mistake all around.
Avatar 13929
9.
 
Re: Diablo Creator on Diablo III
Aug 19, 2012, 17:09
9.
Re: Diablo Creator on Diablo III Aug 19, 2012, 17:09
Aug 19, 2012, 17:09
 
eunichron wrote on Aug 19, 2012, 14:49:
Tumbler wrote on Aug 19, 2012, 14:45:
Building the game around the auction house was a bad idea. The earlier games were built around loot. In this game the loot you really want is in the auction house. The stuff you get in the game is largely trash that you need to turn into gold then go buy what you'd hope to see dropped in your game.

It's no fun to stop playing the game all the time to go browse the auction house for hours. And the whole multi day auction ala ebay...that is just laughably stupid.

In concept it was a fine idea. Diablo and Diablo 2 had a very large and healthy trade and barter community around them, including a black market for real money transactions. It's obvious to see how Blizzard would want to incorporate that into the game, both to capitalize on it and to protect users from the sometimes nefarious Diablo 2 real money market. It just didn't work out so well in practice.


Wrong. Spoken like a true neophyte within this hobby.

In Diablo 2 it was fairly easy to get that Corposemourn, that Angelic Raiment (My last trip through I hit level 85 with my barb and found 3 of them) and a few Grandfathers/Bul-kathos blades. You can easily get the gear you *need* by merely farming a boss for one night. A few hours of beating Baal on Nightmare or Mephisto on Hell and guess what? You have all you need.

The problem with D3 is it doesn't work that way. You need to peruse the auction house to get that gear. Hardwork isn't rewarded in the same way it was in D1 and 2.

Sit down, play these games for long periods of time and it'll make sense. Don't talk out of your ass.
Avatar 13929
10.
 
Re: Diablo Creator on Diablo III
Aug 19, 2012, 17:19
10.
Re: Diablo Creator on Diablo III Aug 19, 2012, 17:19
Aug 19, 2012, 17:19
 
Icewind wrote on Aug 19, 2012, 17:09:
Wrong. Spoken like a true neophyte within this hobby.

In Diablo 2 it was fairly easy to get that Corposemourn, that Angelic Raiment (My last trip through I hit level 85 with my barb and found 3 of them) and a few Grandfathers/Bul-kathos blades. You can easily get the gear you *need* by merely farming a boss for one night. A few hours of beating Baal on Nightmare or Mephisto on Hell and guess what? You have all you need.

The problem with D3 is it doesn't work that way. You need to peruse the auction house to get that gear. Hardwork isn't rewarded in the same way it was in D1 and 2.

Sit down, play these games for long periods of time and it'll make sense. Don't talk out of your ass.

That has nothing to do with what I was talking about, pull your head out of your ass and try reading with your eyes for once.
Avatar 13977
11.
 
Re: Diablo Creator on Diablo III
Aug 19, 2012, 17:49
11.
Re: Diablo Creator on Diablo III Aug 19, 2012, 17:49
Aug 19, 2012, 17:49
 
Beamer wrote on Aug 19, 2012, 16:58:
Of course, most of that knowledge and most of that people went on to create Hellgate: London.

Yeah, not really a sterling mark there. Then again, neither is Diablo 3.

Maybe it's more apt to say that they just got lucky with Diablo, and it's steadily gone downhill from there.

Creston
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12.
 
Re: Diablo Creator on Diablo III
Aug 19, 2012, 18:02
12.
Re: Diablo Creator on Diablo III Aug 19, 2012, 18:02
Aug 19, 2012, 18:02
 
And still, Diablo 4 will break new sale records, even if its a facebook game.
I have given up on waiting for BIS to come back to their senses and do a real ArmA 2 successor.
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13.
 
Re: Diablo Creator on Diablo III
Aug 19, 2012, 19:03
RaZ0r!
 
13.
Re: Diablo Creator on Diablo III Aug 19, 2012, 19:03
Aug 19, 2012, 19:03
 RaZ0r!
 
RailWizard wrote on Aug 19, 2012, 15:58:
So many IP zombies walking around these days...it's fucking disgusting.

What an awesome way to put it. IP zombies. Like Metal of Honor, Call of Duty, Dungeon Siege, Flashpoint, etc. Sad.
I pwnz j00!
Avatar 8127
14.
 
Re: Diablo Creator on Diablo III
Aug 19, 2012, 20:03
14.
Re: Diablo Creator on Diablo III Aug 19, 2012, 20:03
Aug 19, 2012, 20:03
 
Icewind wrote on Aug 19, 2012, 17:05:
Beamer wrote on Aug 19, 2012, 16:58:
Of course, most of that knowledge and most of that people went on to create Hellgate: London.

No, Roper is mostly to blame for that. Also his insistence on making 50% of the game essentially an FPS. He had too many ideas and wanted to please too many gamer types than reality would allow.

Plus Hellgate was a gigantic clusterfuck. It was released far too soon, never fully bug tested (even months after launch) and the different tiers of paying/non-paying players created a lot of ill will towards the designers from gamers. It was just a mistake all around.

You're going to blame one man?

Here are the top minds from Diablo, with an asterisk next to those that did NOT participate in Hellgate:

Senior Designer
David Brevik, Erich Schaefer

Additional Design
Max Schaefer, Eric Sexton*, Kenneth Williams

Lead Programming
David Brevik


Only 1 person.

Hey, let's look at the Hellgate credits:

The Originators of Hellgate London
David Brevik, Bill Roper, Erich Schaefer, Max Schaefer, Kenneth Williams, David Glenn, Peter Hu, Phil Shenk, Tyler Thompson

Lead Designer
Erich Schaefer

Game Visionary
David Brevik




Man, so you're blaming Roper when he was just one of the "originators" (all of whom come from Blizzard North) yet not the Lead Designer or the Game Visionary.



You guys need to stop associating "public face" with "guy making every single decision." Roper likely did make all the business decisions, but that's not what doomed the game. What doomed the game is that it wasn't fun. Blame the Lead Designer and the "Visionary" for that.
15.
 
Re: Diablo Creator on Diablo III
Aug 19, 2012, 20:09
Prez
 
15.
Re: Diablo Creator on Diablo III Aug 19, 2012, 20:09
Aug 19, 2012, 20:09
 Prez
 
...but the reason for those design decisions is because the Diablo 3 team didn't have the experience of the Diablo 1/2 team.

I disagree. Admitting upfront that I have zero game design experience, it logically still seems to stand to reason that inexperience is not as big of a detriment to game-making as skewed priorities. It wasn't inexperience that caused the designers of D3 to develop it as a half-assed MMO with a cash shop scam as its focal point. It may have been greed, it may have been arrogance, or publisher meddling ... or it may have been just plain old fashioned stupidity, but I just can't see chalking it up to inexperience.

And to those mentioning Hellgate London, I'd like to point out that the same exact thing - skewed priorities - was the case in that game as is the case in D3. Hellgate's foundation and core concept were extremely sound; it was idiot Bill Roper's decision to spend more time shoehorning a cash-grab subscription model into the game and less time making a good game fleshed out with rich content that sunk it.

I wonder what all of the dudes who bought lifetime subscriptions did with them?
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
- Mahatma Gandhi
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16.
 
Re: Diablo Creator on Diablo III
Aug 19, 2012, 20:25
16.
Re: Diablo Creator on Diablo III Aug 19, 2012, 20:25
Aug 19, 2012, 20:25
 
At the end of the day Blizzard tried to balance the game based on their idea of how profitable the RMAH would be for them. It was the kiss of death. The game isn't fun once you get to inferno, it's just a grind, with very unimpressive loot drops. I don't think farming gold was what everyone had in mind when they were waiting to play the game.

In its current state Diablo 3 feels like a game that wants to punish you more than it wants you to have fun. That is a serious problem. When you're playing an ARPG and your character felt more powerful at lvl20 than at the final level, it's time to go back to the drawing board on what makes a game like this fun.
17.
 
Re: Diablo Creator on Diablo III
Aug 19, 2012, 20:30
17.
Re: Diablo Creator on Diablo III Aug 19, 2012, 20:30
Aug 19, 2012, 20:30
 
Does Blizzard have an economist? I assume they do for WoW, what about for D3?
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18.
 
Re: Diablo Creator on Diablo III
Aug 19, 2012, 20:47
18.
Re: Diablo Creator on Diablo III Aug 19, 2012, 20:47
Aug 19, 2012, 20:47
 
Tumbler wrote on Aug 19, 2012, 14:45:
Building the game around the auction house was a bad idea. The earlier games were built around loot. In this game the loot you really want is in the auction house. The stuff you get in the game is largely trash that you need to turn into gold then go buy what you'd hope to see dropped in your game.

It's no fun to stop playing the game all the time to go browse the auction house for hours. And the whole multi day auction ala ebay...that is just laughably stupid.

That's probably the biggest problem but it's not the only one. I haven't touched Diablo 3 in months mostly because the random levels aren't, and the story in the game is so ridiculously bad that I have no interest in revisiting it (repeatedly) to play through all the difficulty levels. For a game that's intended to play all the way through multiple times right from the get-go, I just never felt compelled to replay it once normal was done.

The loot and auction house is terrible and I hate that probably most of all, but the game has a lot more wrong with it than just that issue, to the point where I'm not sure I'd bother going back to it again even if they corrected that somehow.
19.
 
Re: Diablo Creator on Diablo III
Aug 19, 2012, 21:42
19.
Re: Diablo Creator on Diablo III Aug 19, 2012, 21:42
Aug 19, 2012, 21:42
 
It really does get tiring having to repeat the story line again and again. The team that built D3 really didn't seem to "get" Diablo. No one ever cared about the story all that much, and it wasn't constantly in your way. It was just window dressing for the action.
20.
 
Re: Diablo Creator on Diablo III
Aug 19, 2012, 21:53
20.
Re: Diablo Creator on Diablo III Aug 19, 2012, 21:53
Aug 19, 2012, 21:53
 
I actually really liked Hellgate: London. There were a few major quest bugs that halted progression for some people and I don't recall the melee classes being very well implemented, but I definitely enjoyed the role-playing shooter style of gameplay that Borderlands built upon later. It probably helps that I didn't spend a dime on that game, first receiving it as a gift and then refusing to "subscribe." I'm sure they suffered from trying out those free-to-play-ish concepts that were very new and foreign at the time, especially considering there was still a price on the base game.
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