Shortly before the release of Diablo 4, we had an opportunity to ask the developer Blizzard what we wondered about the game. Lead Class Designer Adam Z. Jackson and Lead UI Designer Dorottya Kollo answered our questions. Since our time was limited, we didn’t have the chance to submit too many questions. However, you can find what we are curious about below.
Diablo 4 interview: Adam Jackson and Doro Kollo
How do you choose the classes you want to use in a game like this, and also is it hard to say goodbye to classes like Witch Doctor or Monk that we will miss in Diablo 3? Is it hard to turn over a new leaf and start over?
I can’t say that we’ve said goodbye to any of the classes that we chose to support the Diablo 4 for a long time, and I want you to know that you never know what’s going to come out of nowhere. Deciding what to start with is always a choice, and our team is really focused on that for the launch of Diablo 4.
We’ve focussed on all the different classes that you would expect to see in a standard RPG, like the Barbarian, the Barbarian is your brutal physical warrior and you also have a mage. So our goal was to cover all the bases, all the classes. That’s how we decided on the classes we set for the release of Diablo 4. We want to make sure that most players’ types tend to go towards a standard, and we know that’s what we want to have in our game. We wanted to come out with those first to make sure we have a wide range and great playstyles.
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How has the process worked over the years to make sure that players get a taste of it and that it’s still enjoyable as long as you’re playing the game?
It’s a tough one. Because we’re trying to balance two opposing things. Think about a lot of things in current design courses, imagine a spectrum like a letter Y. At one end it’s really really weak, almost no power, at the other end it’s like the endgame where you get the full power fantasy of your play style ratio. Where you start on that line is actually very important. Because as you said, when you first start the game and you get into the game, we need to give you some power. At first we are extremely powerless and as you know you have a weapon and nothing else, you can’t cast spells, you can’t do anything. We leave you there for a long time and then you can’t do anything. You can think as if you have nothing of your own. If we start you towards the end of the spectrum, then you may have already seen all the wonderful things and then you may still want to leave. Because “I can’t do it. I’ve seen everything, I can’t really grow that much, I’m leaving.”
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So finding the point where where we start you off and how your base skills are, and I’m hinting at everything you know that we’ve had some complaints about Druid in open beta before and how we’ve made a big thing out of that. We don’t feel the skills are good enough early on, so we need to adjust power and other things to make it feel good. Because we know that the final skills are already pretty powerful.
We’ve talked a lot about skills, far beyond just following your character’s build. It seems to be a story chasing legendary powers, skill tree, paragon levels. There’s a lot of different different builds in it. We want the story of the characters you create to be a little bit different within their play style.
As you know, there are a lot of bot users in the Diablo series to farm items easily. What kind of precautions and protections do you have against them?
That’s not our speciality, but I’ve been talking to people who are working on that, and I know we can’t really give away our internal processes because you know it’s harder to catch any kind of challenge. But we do have something in place to catch people using bots. We had a lot of experience and a lot of different tools from World of Warcraft. In Diablo 4, we have more things to make sure that the game is bot-free. We can control behaviour. We have some kind of protection when controlled accounts try to move things between them. It’s a challenge, it’s a challenge we’re going to fight.
When the game was first announced, it was also stated that there would be runes. Some of the new runes were also announced. We haven’t heard anything about them in the intervening time. What are the chances that runes will be in the game again?
Whenever we decide what features and things we’re going to put in, that’s how far we’re going to go. A lot of times we have to make tough decisions. Diablo 4 already has a huge amount of systems, a huge amount of crafting, a huge amount of powers, and a huge amount of unique items. What we decide to put at launch depends on what we think we can deliver the quality we want to be, and so sometimes it’s like, “Hey, you know. Baby, this is the fourth game. It’s not just runewords”. We actually have other ideas that we’re pretty sure are going to be a big hit, that are going to be really fun and great. But we need to give them some time, play them properly and make sure everything works well. We don’t want to half-ass ideas and systems that aren’t fully fleshed out and that will be good for the game before we put them in our game, Diablo 4. We have a list of things that are great in our team, but we need to focus on classes with high quality. It’s always about balancing when we put it in the Diablo 4.
You can preorder the game on the official website.