Daily Archives: August 1, 2008

The Unbearable Lightness of Diablo III

The glass: Is it half full, half empty, or merely architected to accept an influx of additional liquid content?

I greeted the announcement of Diablo III with no small amount of enthusiasm. I had long felt that Blizzard was going to pass on Diablo going forward and so, when they finally said they were going to actually make Diablo III I was optimistic.

And I felt I had good reason to be so.

First, the Diablo universe, small though it be, is a great IP that is laid out well in the first two games.

Second, stylistically it has also set a trend. Everybody who has played the games knows what a Diablo game should look like, sound like, and feel like. Not that there is a single “right” style. Like pornography, I can’t define it, but I know it when I see it.

And, finally, we are talking about Blizzard here. The next PC game they ship that sucks will be the first.

So after the announcement I went through the Diablo III web site, read the lore, looked at the pictures, watched the videos, and then marked some time off in 2010 to go down to Fry’s and pick up a copy, because I don’t expect to see it any sooner.

Still, you can always find something to fret about if you look hard enough.

The inclusion of the barbarian class again, a carry over from Diablo II is a bit worrisome. There were no repeated classes when they went from Diablo to Diablo II, purportedly to keep things fresh, allow new skill trees, and to keep things a mystery and expectations down. So when the barbarian in the video seemed to be doing some of the same old tricks they did in Diablo II, I was a bit let down.

The other class announced, the Witch Doctor was new though, so that was good.

Then there is the whole “light and color” brouhaha. Some people, on seeing the videos, said, “That’s not a Diablo game! It is too light! It is too colorful!” There are reports that some people’s heads actually exploded.

Keith Lee, who is the Lead Producer for Diablo III said in an interview with MTV Multiplayer:

One of the things that we considered when we were working on the visuals for Diablo III is the fact that color is your friend. We feel that color actually helps to create a lot of highlights in the game so that there is contrast. A great analogy is like in Lord of the Rings – not everything is dark. It allows you to see what a creepy dungeon can be like but if everything is dark it doesn’t allow you to have a lot of contrast.

Sure thing Keith. I’m a reasonable guy. I trust in you and Blizzard not to screw this up. You have the time left to tone it down if the color thing has gone too far.

Still, not everybody is so willing to trust. With key individuals from Diablo’s past off at other companies, some people worry that we are going to end up with a Diablo III that has been run through the World of Warcraft color palette or some similar horror show.

And so pleas have been heard across the web, including petitions like this one, asking Blizzard to reconsider, or at least reign in the whole “Technicolor Diablo” scene.

But you cannot have an argument without two sides, and so others have denounced the anti-colorization faction and have created their own petitions.

I love the internet! Both of those petitions are worth a read, if only for the comedy value.

Not having given this whole colorful argument as much thought as some obviously have, I am not sure where I stand.

Which petition would you sign? The pro-color one, or the anti-color one?

Or will you just let it ride and see what we get when it ships?

The Official SOE Podcast #41

Alan “Brenlo” Crosby and Aimee “Ashlanne” Rekoske host this episode of the SOE Podcast, with Jason “Pex” Ryan reading the news.

  • SOE Game News
  • Listener Emails: Sleet
  • Feedback and Follow ups
  • Fan Faire
  • Inside SOE – Best things about Fan faire
  • Top 10 ways to win a prize at Fan Faire
  • Interview with Matt Penfield, Associate Brand Manager and one of the people behind the Living Legacy campaign
  • Living Legacy
  • SOE at Gen Con in Indianapolis
  • SOE at DragonCon in Atlanta
  • Interview with Christine “Kiara” Renzetti” and Tiffany “Amnerys” Spence of the community relations team.
  • Star Wars Galaxies – Create a Painting Contest
  • EverQuest II Game Update 47
  • DC Universe Online
  • Return of the Love Doctor
  • TV and Movies
  • What are you playing?
  • Block Party attendee shout out!
  • Out Takes

The show is available on iTunes as well as from the official SOE podcast site.

The show was recorded on July 23rd and runs just under one hour and three minutes.