Blizzard Entertainment recently held a video conference with the Chinese media to answer lingering questions. As expected, there will be some major differences from the other servers which are currently running. Read on to find out the full details. Wyatt Cheng and Rob Foote, who will be visiting China soon, took part in the conference, and please note that the details below are slightly edited.
Q: There were several rumors about Diablo III, including the original game being free while the Reaper of Souls expansion will be paid. Could you please address the rumors?
A: For Act 1 to 4, including the original 5 classes, the game will be free to everyone. This includes a level cap of 70. Players will have to purchase to gain access to Act 5, the Crusader class, and the Adventure Mode. There will be both normal and Collector’s Edition for the digital copies, including “exclusive game content” for the latter. Contrary to the rumors circulating, the Mystic NPC all her abilities, such as transmogrification, will be free to all players.
Q: What are the prices for the packages?
A: We are not able to confirm that now, but most of the content will be free, as mentioned earlier.
Q: Is the drop rate in the China server different? How about the platinum item shop? Will gears be sold?
A: For drop rates, including Legendary items, the figures will be the same as all other overseas servers. For the platinum shop, items such as double EXP, double gold, and increased Blood Shards drop will be purchasable. There will be no items to increase gear drop rate, and we will not be selling any gears as well. Other items are mainly cosmetic, such as wings, pets, and avatar frames.
Q: What about the platinum currency exclusive to the China server?
A: For one, gold cannot be used to exchange for platinum. Neither platinum nor cash can be used to purchase any gears. Here are a few ways it can be obtained:
1. First Treasure Goblin kill of the day will see it drop platinum
2. First boss monster (such as Butcher, Rift Guardian) kill of the day will see it drop platinum
3. Bounty quests reward (not mentioned if it is only the first time)
4. Some achievements will reward platinum
5. The rare spawn known as Platinum Goblin will drop platinum
Our idea is to have a casual player gather enough platinum to buy two to three of such boost items. We are still in the process of tweaking and finalizing the amount of platinum dropped.
Q: Many China players are already playing on the overseas servers. How will Blizzard attract them back?
A: Full simplified Chinese language, and of course, much better server connection speed especially for the Hardcore players. All returning players will also receive special rewards, but we are unable to announce the details now.
Q: Players are worried about the game being toned down due to government intervention.
A: We did made some graphical changes to the game, but we kept everything as close to the overseas servers as possible. We feel that the “darkness” is still intact.
Q: Will there be a ladder system in the China server?
A: Yes, and it will be totally independent.
Q: Will there be Seasons in the China server?
A: There will not be Seasons at the beginning. But down the road, starting from one of the future Seasons, all Diablo III servers will receive the update at the same time.
Q: Will there be a new expansion and new class in 2015?
A: We are not able to reveal anything, but we had been working hard on the China server for the past 9 months. Update 2.3 will be implemented globally at the same time.
Q: When will Diablo III launch in China? What is the purpose of the beta tests?
A: There is no official launch date yet. The tests are to go through and find bugs in the game, including the platinum system, and also to test the game hardware. We are aiming to keep these tests short. (Note: The first Technical Test begins on 24 March in China)
Q: Will update 2.2 arrive in the China server at the same time as other servers?
A: Yes, update 2.2 will be synchronized worldwide. (I am guessing Diablo III China will launch with update 2.2)
Q: Will there be special Chinese elements for the China server?
A: Previously, we have added items which are from Korean culture. We will be willing to design and add items with more Chinese flavor.
Q: According to the rankings overseas, classes like the Barbarian are rather strong, while classes like the Witch Doctor is really weak. How would this be solved?
A: Class balancing is a topic which will never end, and something which we are always working on. This is why we have the Public Test Realm (PTR) to test features and more. Just to mention again, all updates will be the same, including for the China server.
Q: We recently saw how a Demon Hunter in the PTR completed a rift in 44 seconds. Will there be Tier 7, Tier 8 or new boss monster powers to “strengthen” the game?
A: “Wyatt goes on and on and on praising the Demon Hunter” We will be adding more challenging content in the future and deepen the game content.
Q: 5 May is the third anniversary of Diablo III’s launch. Will there be any special events? Will the China server be live by then?
A: That is definitely an important day, but we do not have any details to reveal now.