Diablo III: Reaper of Souls – Expansion launch interview Part 1

[Game website] Reaper of Souls, the expansion for Diablo III, launched just this past week. Having been a detractor of the former game due to several of its features, the removal of the Auction House and implementation of Loot 2.0 recently brought me (and my brother) back to the game.

 

I recently had an interview with Mr Michael Chiu, Game Designer from Blizzard Entertainment, to talk more about the game at the Reaper of Souls launch event held by Asiasoft, the Southeast Asia publisher of the game. Part 2 of the interview will be posted once they are verified by Blizzard 🙂

Diablo III Reaper of Souls - Mr Michael Chiu

Vanilla Diablo III

Q: Diablo III launched with much fanfare, but the unpopular game systems and the dreaded Error 37 took the headlines instead. At what stage did the team realized the seriousness of the issues?

A: The team understood that the work is still not done after the launch, and we were always ready to keep patching the game to make it better. There wasn’t actually any panicking.

Q: Looking back (and on hindsight), would the team still have launched Diablo III with the auction house system?

A: You know, it is really hard to say. Having the auction house definitely helps the players with lesser game time get new items faster, but on the other hand it defeats the purpose of the “item game” which Diablo is.

Diablo III Reaper of Souls launch event

Reaper of Souls

Q: When did development started for the expansion?

A: Full development started right after Diablo III launched. We had this idea for some time, thinking who will be the new final boss, retaining the dark gothic feel of the series. We thought about a few other demons, but eventually everyone was satisfied and settled on Malthael, Angel of Death.

Diablo III Reaper of Souls launch event

Crusader class

Q: Was the Crusader a unanimous choice in the development team for the class to be added in Reaper of Souls?

A: I am not really sure if it was unanimous, but it was definitely a character class most if not all people eventually agreed on and feel excited about.

Q: What were some of the other class ideas tossed around? Was the Necromancer a strong contender?

A: We had these big meetings where ideas were thrown around, and some include Druid, Rogue, basically every classes and some weird ones we could think of.

Q: Being an active member in several Diablo forums, players are saying that damage is all that counts at the higher torment levels. Basically, no matter how tough a character is, no one can really tank the mobs. Hence, the tanky Crusader is deemed as a “side” class. Your thoughts?

A: *Laughs* The higher Torment levels are supposed to be rough (even for the Crusader), but there are definitely ways to kill and survive. There definitely are solutions.

 

Loot 2.0

Q: Obviously, gamers are generally pleased with the changes made in Loot 2.0. Was it sort of a hasty decision to overhaul the loot system due to the initial backlash?

A: It was certainly not a last minute decision. The team was always looking to improve the loot system after launch, and we indeed felt that the item game was not there.

Q: Is the development team satisfied with the current Loot 2.0? Or can players more changes on the go?

A: The team is currently satisfied with Loot 2.0, but we are always on the lookout for player feedback to improve the game.

 

PvP mode

Q: So, what’s up with the PvP mode?

A: There is nothing I can say about this.

Miscellaneous

Q: Will the development team be adding new items on the go?

A: Yes, definitely. This will happen when used to solve certain problems players are facing in the game.

Q: I saw some references to other Blizzard games while running through Sanctuary. Can players expect more Easter eggs in the expansion?

A: Oh yes, there are definitely Easter eggs in the expansion areas. I am not sure if there are achievements for those though.

The future

Q: Now that the expansion has launched, what will the team be focusing on immediately?

A: We will be looking at how things are unfolding for players, getting feedback and continuously improve the game.

Q: Any chance for a 2nd or 3rd expansion?

A: Nice one, but no comments on that 🙂

Diablo III Reaper of Souls launch event