- "It has been said that in the end of all things, we would find a new beginning. But as the shadow once again crawls across our world and the stench of terror drifts on a bitter wind, people pray for strength and guidance. They should pray for the mercy of a swift death... for I've seen what the Darkness hides."
- Leah, narrating the cinematic trailer.
|Genre(s)||Action role-playing game, hack and slash|
|Mode(s)||Single player, multiplayer|
|Platform(s)||Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X|
|Input methods||Keyboard, mouse|
Diablo III is the latest game in the Diablo series. After years of rumours, the game was officially announced on June 28, 2008 at 12.18 in the afternoon (CEST) at the Blizzard Worldwide Invitational in Paris (WWI08), France.
Diablo III spent four to five years in development before being officially announced, possessing a development team of around 60-65 individuals. The reason for the delay was that there was a lot of debate within Blizzard as to what kind of game Diablo III was going to be. As soon as a direction was chosen, the art style that would be used came under discussion. Initially the game as a whole was set to be dark and gritty, but it was found that monsters blended in too well with the background.
Even so, the choice was not universally greeted with enthusiasm. A petition was created by players to force Blizzard Entertainment to change their art direction for the game. While the petition has more than 50,000 unique signatures, at the time of writing this, Blizzard has said that they will not change the art direction no matter how many signatures the petition garners. This petition has spawned several others that want the art direction to stay the same, thus causing a rift between Diablo fans.
However, the majority of feedback Blizzard received was positive. Blizzard underwent three art revisions, finding that a purely dark style was too drab. As the case was, the "sunny" art style represents the early parts of the game. This is to establish juxtaposition between the game's early and late stages, things "feeling worse" as the game moves on.
At this point in time, most of the game's art team is working on the second act of the game, because a lot of the team is currently focused in production. Content is being generated in regards to the tech and game engine, which is now "really solid". Most of the design team is still on Act 1, refining and improving the quests and flow and some of the big game systems that haven't been announced yet. Blizzard is not moving through the acts in a linear fashion, and will often revisit previous ones.
Despite compatible gameplay, Blizzard has no intention of releasing the game on a console.
Twenty years have passed since the destruction of the Worldstone. The world of Sanctuary was prepared for an invasion from the Burning Hells. However, the invasion never happened, prompting Deckard Cain to seek information as to why.
Much of the story will be based around the Archangel Tyrael. Archangel Imperius is speculated to be present as well. It has been confirmed that at least one of the two remaining Lesser Evils, Azmodan and Belial, is behind the failed invasion of Sanctuary, and that Act II of the game will heavily focus on deception due to its association with Belial. That being said however, Diablo's return has been confirmed, despite his earlier death.
Diablo III will end the storyline that began in the original game. However, it has been confirmed that it will not be the last game of the series and new storylines will develop. Chris Metzen, vice president of Blizzard's lore department, knows where the story will go after the game.
An issue that lead designer Jay Wilson had with previous games was that apart from Tyrael and Deckard Cain, there weren't many memorable characters. It appears that Diablo III will break the trend.
The Witch Doctor will be a new class. They can summon undead monsters, but without the need of dead bodies like the Necromancer. They appear to be a mixture of the Necromancer, the Druid and an alchemist, with some skills also reminiscent of the Warlock from World of Warcraft, such as Terrify and Mass Confusion. While these are old Necromancer skills, they seem to be a bit more potent now.
The Barbarian returns from Diablo 2 as the straightforward brute-force fighter, with some new abilities as well. The Barbarian's mechanics seem very similar to those in the last game, with most moves being very close range, with exceptions such as the Leap ability.
The Wizard  is the run-of-the-mill magic user in Diablo III combining the brilliance of the Sorceress and the cunning and stealth of the Assassin. Only the female Wizard was playable in Blizzcon, the male Wizard's gameplay will be revealed in a few days. Jay Wilson had stated that fans will "hate" one of the new classes for the game, courtesy of it resembling a former one. But, seeing the attitude of the new Wizard compared to its brooding predecessors and the powerful skills it wields, fans have taken a certain liking for the Wizard.
The Demon Hunter is a new class being introduced in Diablo 3. With what gameplay Blizzard have shown of it, the Demon Hunter looks to be a combination of the Assassin; with its ability to throw grenades, and the Amazon in its usage of crossbows. However the class looks as if it is going to dual-wield crossbows which is a completely original concept in reference to prior games.
Blizzard also announced the Archivist class as an April Fools joke, it appeared to die in a single hit and use spells based entirely on the usage of books and scrolls.
According to Blizzard, each character has a backstory which will be revealed during the course of the game. For example, the Barbarian is the same one who defeated the Prime Evils in Diablo II and the Lord of Destruction. Whether the female Barbarian has a similar story is unknown. But that may lead to inconsistencies in lore. Also as mentioned above, you will now be able to select gender regardless of the class you choose.
There was a fair amount of debate in Blizzard as to whether each class should have both genders available, or whether to stick with the single-gendered classes from the previous games. Adding more genders meant having to create custom models, more weapon design, more art, etc. Despite the cost however, Blizzard decided to go ahead with the dual gender option, as in the knowledge that gamers come from both genders, they wanted to make a choice available. However, genders will not affect available abilities.
Initially, Blizzard did not intend to bring back any of the classes from the previous games, feeling that the other classes could not be improved on. With entirely new classes, Diablo III could stand on its own. The Barbarian was an exception to this, as it was felt that the class had a lot of room for development. As such, it is the only returning playable class from previous games. However, Blizzard is considering bringing back old classes for future expansions.
FollowersDiablo III will also include three different followers (similar to the henchman of Diablo II). In Diablo III, followers can have a weapon, two rings and a special item that is specific only to followers.
A player may only bring one follower with them at a given time, however the player may choose to swap to a different follower if they have completed questlines to gain the loyalty of more than one follower.
Each follower will gain one of three skills / spells (chosen by the player) at levels 5, 10, 15, and 20. There are twelve skills in total for each of the three followers, as listed below:
1) Eirena the Enchantress
Lvl 5: Disorient / Forceful Push / Charm
Lvl 10: Decoy / Reflect Missiles / Powered Armor
Lvl 15: Focused Mind / Amplify Damage / Lowered Resistance
Lvl 20: Energize / Energy Bomb / Guidance
2) Lyndon the Scoundrel
3) Kormac the Templar
The monsters shown thus far through the first game play trailer include: Beast, Dark Berserker, Dark Demon, Walking Corpse, Crawling Torso, Dark Vessel, Activated Vessel, Ghoul, Ghostly Orbs, Grotesque, Lamprey, Moon Clan Warrior, Moon Clan Shaman, Skeleton Archer, Scavenger, Skeleton, Skeletal Shieldman, Skeletal Summoner, Wretched Dead, Wraith, Wood Wraith, and Zombie.
Two unique monsters were shown as well, Thousand Pounder and Siegebreaker Assault Beast. A third super unique monster, possibly an Act boss, the Mistress of Pain was revealed a few days later only as concept artwork. Then in the 2008 Blizzcon, a new boss called the Skeleton King was introduced.
A new game mechanic has been created in the game that, after the end of each battle, there will be a number of corpses left behind to give a sense of aftermath. These will stay until the player moves off the screen. This change is likely brought about by the community's negative reaction to the disappearing corpses in the initial gameplay video.
New monsters like the Dune Thresher have been revealed in the following weeks. Check out the Diablo III Bestiary for links to all the monster pages containing what we know as well as what we expect from the monsters revealed until now.
Diablo III is still set in Sanctuary, but has a very wide variety of locations to explore. This agrees with the trend in each game. Diablo I focused on only one town while Diablo II allowed players to explore five different environments, but still had only one town from each locale. Diablo III seems to let the player explore almost the entirety of Sanctuary. At the moment, many locations, most of them as yet unseen in-game, have been released as either concept art or as official lore.
The first and almost staple in every Diablo game is the town of Tristram, where Diablo I was set. It appears in a new avatar as New Tristram. Old Tristram still has the Cathedral which is speculated to be an explorable dungeon in the final game.
The second and third ones seen were in the Diablo III cinematic trailer - Caldeum and Ureh. Caldeum is speculated to be present because of its importance in the game lore as the reason for the corruption in Aranoch. It may also be noted that Caldeum is the home of the, now supposedly deceased, author turned explorer, Abd al-Hazir.
The Lost City of Ureh is seen in the cinematic trailer exactly as it is described in the Sin War novels. This has led to much speculation regarding the player meeting Zayl the Necromancer. It was confirmed to be Ureh in a concept art released by Blizzard after a few weeks of the release of the cinematic trailer.
The entire quest system has been revamped. Along with the main storyline quests, there will be character specific quests as well as random adventures - mini quests generated randomly on the map.
It is very possible that one of the very first quests in the game could be seen in the gameplay video, the rescue of Deckard Cain. It is mentioned that the Barbarian searched for him at the insistence of Leah. But seeing that the entire video was set up, it is entirely possible that the quest may not make it to the final game itself.
The player can explore almost the entirety of Sanctuary. The outdoor environment has been left unspoiled for 20 years and looks more like a fantasy setting. The dungeons are still randomized but the random map generator has undergone an overhaul.
The game now incorporates the Havok physics engine and enables players to utilize the environment to help in their quest. For example, huge walls can be reduced to rubble to squash monsters by the Barbarian skill Seismic Slam. Even monsters use the environment which was demonstrated by Ghouls scaling the walls to reach the Barbarian.
Potions have lesser importance because of Health Globes. Slain monsters may drop a health globe, which when picked up, will replenish the character's health similar to how Healing Potions work. When playing co-operatively, nearby allies will also be replenished.
In co-operative play, loot is dropped for individual players. So, one player cannot see what the other gets. This was done to encourage trading between players in a group and reducing thievery. Co-operative play remains as the core of multiplayer, with a drop-in, drop-out feature.
Similar to the characters, the NPCs are also more lively and will have interesting backstories. The gameplay video showed the Barbarian communicating to Deckard Cain in a new interface. The player characters have also been given more interactivity and are able to choose conversation options while conversing with NPCs. The characters have unique voices and will reveal their own backstory in conversation. In turn, the player character will speak back to NPCs.
The mode of traveling will be similar to Diablo II. 4 Acts are present, each roughly the same length as those featured in its predecessor. Not every act has a central town however. Differences have been made to the waypoint system, a new checkpoint system having been added to supplement waypoints. Checkpoints allow characters that have died to return to the fray quickly, without going through the hassle of returning from town, as was the case in Diablo II.
It has also been revealed, for the sake of entertainment and realism, that players may sometimes chance upon monsters fighting against each other. Evidence for this has been seen in a few screenshots. One such shot shows Goatmen standing against a Siegebreaker Assault Beast. How this may affect the difficulty of gameplay and how the monsters fighting each other will react to the player's interruption is unknown.
Fatalities also made an appearance in the Diablo III gameplay trailer, on the last boss fight of the trailer, the Siegebreaker Assault Beast picks up the male barbarian and bites his head off. Fatalities on players may make death a more fun experience in Diablo III.
A beta has been confirmed and will take place during Q3 of 2011.(July 1st - Sept 30th). Although this timeframe is given an exact start and end date are not known at this time.
Blizzard does not intend to make the gameplay of Diablo III any easier than its predecessors, and wants the game to have the same level of difficulty as Diablo II, though is easy to progress through at the beginning. However, harder difficulty modes can be unlocked. In addition, the game can be played through entirely as a solo experience and no section of the game requires more than one player to complete.
Blizzard is also introducing a separate PVP mode called "Battle Arenas" to allow players to show off and face off against other players. They made PVP separate to remove griefing and help keep the focus on PVM gameplay. This also allows for balancing of PVP without changing the PVM experience.
The UI is generally the same as its predecessor, besides the graphical upgrades, and will be very familiar to Diablo II players. However, there are some differences. The health and mana globes have moved more toward the center, rather than being all the way in the corners. The stamina bar has disappeared. The experience bar is now at the bottom of the screen spanning the distance from the health globe to the mana globe. The UI is almost definitely not finalized so although it will probably resemble what we have seen so far, it is certainly due to change.
Above the experience bar, where the stamina bar, experience bar, and potion belt used to be, are where the skill and scroll slots are. There are four slots for keyboard activated skills, associated with the 1-4 number keys. They are followed by two scroll slots associated with the 5 and 6 number keys. Lastly on the skill bar are the mouse skills. There is a primary for the left mouse button and a secondary for the right mouse button. The secondary can be quickly switched back and forth with another skill by scrolling the mouse. The mini menu returns from Diablo II, but it does not appear to be collapsible.
Buffs and debuffs are now displayed on the HUD. They are located in the very bottom left hand corner of the screen and are represented with pictures similar to the skills in the skill bar.
There is now a mini map displayed on the top of the right hand side of the screen. This replaces the translucent map overlay that was present in Diablo II. Your character is represented by a yellow circle. Allies, which include mercenaries and pets, are represented by purple circles. Orange circles indicate NPCs. Text displaying the current location is directly above the map.
Mini Combat Log
Things such as the damage you cause when you get a critical hit and when you block an attack with your shield will be displayed with small text that appears above enemies' heads. The text moves upward and quickly fades away.
Unlike Diablo II, enemies' health bars now appear directly above enemies heads instead of at the top of the screen. However, for Super Uniques and Bosses, there will be a separate health bar on top of the screen, staying there regardless of the location of the mouse until the enemy is destroyed.
After many iterations the latest style of inventory is grid-based, but to a smaller degree than the inventory in Diablo II. Small items take one space, while big items take two spaces. Scrolls and potions are stackable.
The skill tree now uses illustrative icons similar to World of Warcraft. According to Blizzard, the coloured icons make it easier for the player to differentiate from the greater number of skills available in Diablo III as compared to the first two games.
As of Blizzcon 2009 the Skill Tree's have changed yet again as stated by Bashiok in a recent forum post. 
"So, the system we have now... you'll have to just picture it without any visual representation, sorry. They're not radically different visually except that the trees are all viewable at the same time. Taking the barbarian trees for instance (berserker, battlemaster, juggernaut) they're not tabbed now, but instead all viewable at the same time. Side by side.
This is important due to how they are now a unified tier progression. Instead of spending 5 points in the berserker tree to then begin spending points in the second tier of the berserker tree, the new design allows you to spend wherever you like. As long as your points in the first tier of skills adds up to five, the next tier for all trees is unlocked. "
Diablo III expands the player character's arsenal by leaps and bounds. Many items make a return in the form of magic, rare and unique forms. It has been mentioned that some of the more popular Diablo I and II items may make a return, but that the color system could change, though normal and magic items are still white and turquoise respectively, there are purple colored items as seen in the gameplay video. The items also have a visual background color in the inventory depending on their type. Items with magical attributes will also give a visual effect when equipped by the character. This is a great improvement from the different color palettes that were used in Diablo II's magic items.
For a list of all the items seen in the video, see here.
Blizzard has stated that there will be no customization of characters outside of choosing your gender. However, the Diablo series is known more for its custom avatar looks through countless different pieces of armor. The first gameplay trailer has shown that they have kept all the old armor slots:
- Body Armor
- 2 Rings
- 2 Weapons (or One-Hand Weapon + Shield configuration)
It also shows that they have added a slot for pauldrons, vambraces and for pants. It has also been stated that all of the parts will have an impact on the visuals of the character, meaning that not only armor, helmets and weapons will make up your character's appearance, an improvement from Diablo II.
Elixirs have been seen in the game as well, while in Diablo I they would give stat bonuses, there has been no official statement as to what functions they serve. However, it appears that they provide stat bonuses here as well, judging from the names matching with the types of stats in Diablo III.
- Elixir of Willpower I
- Elixir Of Vitality I
GemsGems make a reappearance, and it appears that there is another type of categories of gems than their power levels (chipped, flawed, etc.): prefixes such as square and star have been spotted. What they signify in item value and function is currently unknown. Gems have 14 quality levels, but only the first 5 can be obtained as drops from monsters, the rest must be crafted by the Jeweler Artisan.
- Minor Health Potion
- Scroll of Identify
- Scroll of Town Portal
- Small Bag
- Scroll of Superior Protection
To view all the cinematic and gameplay videos, see Diablo III videos.
It has been confirmed that Diablo III will have a number of expansion packs.
- Gamasultra - In Depth: Blizzard’s Boyarsky On Diablo III's Multiplayer Storytelling
- Revealed: Barbarian Skill Tree
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 2008-06-30, Kotaku. Lesley Smith. Accessed on 2008-02-07
- ↑ WWI: D3 Game Design Panel. Accessed on 2008-07-07
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 2008-22-08, Diablo 3 Jay Wilson GC Interview. Inc Games. Accessed on 2008-29-08
- ↑ 2008-20-08, GC 2008: Diablo III Progress Report. IGN Accessed on 2008-21-08
- ↑ 2008-27-08, Blizzcast Episode 5. Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed on 2008-29-08.
- ↑ 2008-10-11,Diablo III "will not get console release" Gameplanet. Accessed on 2009-05-17
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 2008, Games Convention 2008 Relacja. Accessed on 2008-30-08
- ↑ 2008-12-23, Diablo 3 (PC). 1Up.com. Accessed on 2009-01-17
- ↑ 2009-24-04, Diablo III Wizard Info / Skills. Diablo III Kore. Accessed on 2009-24-04
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 10.2 2008-17-09, Diablo III Expansions ? VideoGamer Interview. Blizzplanet. Accessed on 2008-18-09
- ↑ 2008-11-08, [MTV Multiplayer:‘Diablo III’ Gender Choice A ‘Big Debate’. Tracey John. Accessed on 2008-13-08
- ↑ 2008-16-10, BlizzCon 2008: Blizzard's Rob Pardo talks Diablo 3. Joystiq. Accessed on 2008-17-10
- ↑ 2011-05-09, DiabloFans reports May 9th Conference Call results. DiabloFans. Accessed on 2011-05-10
- ↑ 2009-04-15, Elite Mode. Battle.net. Accessed on 2009-04-19
- Official Website
- FanaticNetworks.com - Diablo III fan-site and community
- Diablofans - Diablo fan-site
- Diii.net - Diablo fan-site
- Diablo 3 news - Diablo 3 news site
- Diablo III Kore - Diablo fan-site
- DiabloSpot - Diablo fan-site
- DiabloGamer (German) Diablo fan-site
- Diablo3.net.ua - Russian/Ukrainian Diablo 3 community
- HellForge - Italian fan-site