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Fansite Summit Recap!
20/08/2009 alle 18:57
So now that I've gotten to sit back down at my computer and actually do some typing, I'm going to elaborate a little on some of the thoughts I mentioned in the previous
, and on
. I wasn't made for
—I talk too much. :(
I'm also posting the (admittedly meager) gallery of photos I managed to take, though the majority of the time we were restricted from using cameras.
So the basics of the fansite summit were similar to last year. They herded all of us fansites together into the hotel lobby, before
) made us all sign an NDA in which we probably promised not to tell you all of the things that we're telling you now, and then dropped us on a bus headed for the Blizzard Irvine campus.
After a short bus trip they dropped us off, where we all went filing past a surprisingly nondescript building (though if you've ever been to Irvine, you'll know that ALL buildings in Irvine are nondescript). It would have been difficult to tell that we were at one of the largest entertainment companies in the world and not, say, a bank, if it hadn't been for the 2-ton solid bronze Thrall statue.
The front lobby of the Blizzard office is also something I've seen before, but it's also something that really makes an impression on you. There's a life size statue of Nova Terra (leaning over you menacingly), a screen that plays a constant loop of Blizzard cinematic work, and a Frostmourne embedded in a block of ice. Someone was overheard joking that if you could successfully pull the sword out of the ice, you would be rewarded with a job.
The front lobby of the Blizzard office ALSO features something else that's worth seeing—the Blizzard museum. This is a small room (maybe a little larger than my hotel room), filled both with original Blizzard artwork from previous games, as well as a glass case filled with every award they've ever won. Let me tell you, that case is FULL.
Unfortunately I couldn't get too many pictures of the museum—they hurried us on through into the screening room(!) before I managed to get too many. I did get one though that I thought you would be interested in—it's a poster sized wall scroll, detailing the Blizzard artwork philosophy, specifically for WoW:
In case you can't read that, it says:
Less is NEVER more
Bigger is ALWAYS better
All one-handed weapons should be (at least) as big as two-handed weapons
If all else fails, add skulls and spikes and paint it red
Moving on, once we were in the screening room, Bashiok took us through a walkthrough of some new work that had been done for Diablo 3. I noticed that the "tetris-style" inventory system was back, although apparently they've restricted it to 1 or 2 square items rather than allowing them to get as big as the 2x4 squares they had in Diablo 2. He also pointed out—some of you already know that they've increased the pace of the game by adding health globes, items that monsters leave behind which restore health when you walk over them. They compensated for this by adding a cooldown to potions. Apparently, though, they've actually removed
globes from the game entirely, replacing them with talent-type abilities which have similar effects (such as one that restores mana each time you collect a health globe). Bashiok also pointed out that there will be a little less randomization this time around—apparently things like dungeon entrances will still be in random locations, but more aspects of the maps (such as the position of the roads) will be fixed. I don't mind this much, I expect it will allow them to create more scripted-type content. He
explained the talent/skill trees in more detail—no synergies, apparently. :( While each tree in Diablo 3 has it's own unique "flavor", just as the ones in WoW do, they are
built to encourage narrow specialization. While there are some skills that require you to already have points invested, as it currently stands it doesn't matter WHERE you invest them—it's like one big talent tree. Apparently real specialization in Diablo 3 will come from investing a lot of points in a single
, rather than a single tree.
Bashiok showed us two classes—the Wizard and the Witch Doctor. It was joked that the big announcement at BlizzCon this year would be the introduction of the Male Wizard, since he had gotten so little face time last year. :)
The classes themselves hadn't had any major changes since last we saw them, although I
like to take this moment to point out, as I did briefly in the previous blog post—am I the only one who finds the Witch Doctor to be a little excessive? Does he have to summon zombie DOGS, rather than just zombies? Is there a reason why he couldn't just throw balls of fire? Did they HAVE to be flaming skulls that explode into the shape of a skeleton before they vanish? I know "Wall of Bone" and "Wall of Fire" have been done already, but did we have to jump straight to "Wall of Zombies"? And did we REALLY need an ability that causes a zombie to tunnel up out of the ground and vomit spiders at you?
This apparently runs counter to the Blizzard "Art Design" philosophy as listed above. Ah well, I remember commenting on how excessive the term "
Frostsaber Tigers of Winterspring
" was back in the day, and I suppose Warcraft III turned out okay.
We had lunch with a number of Blizzard developers, including Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street, which was a wonderful time—and great food actually, I highly recommend
to anyone who might be in the area. I spent a long time talking with a Blizzard dev named Monte Krol—for whom the
Lama di Krol
Afterwards they brought us back to the screening room and bribed us with signed artworks (which worked marvelously, I might add), and then ran the StarCraft 2 shoutcast.
I haven't been following the development of StarCraft 2 as closely as I've been following Diablo 3—and
strongly indicated that this replay was likely to be the next Battle Report, meaning that I can't tell you basically anything about it, including who was playing and who won. I
tell you, however, that one thing did leap out at me: StarCraft 2 is a much more
experience than StarCraft—or WoW for that matter. A non SC player, watching a game of StarCraft, is not going to understand a THING that's going on. StarCraft 2, though, makes a lot of visual sense. Even without really having a clear understanding of the difference between SC and SC2, I watched that replay and every step through the game made perfect sense to me. What's really amazing is how
of that WoW has. WoW has so few animations (or, I suppose, so many abilities and effects) that it's nearly impossible to discern what's going on on screen unless you're actually in control of the action—and even then you better have some addons, or a combat log open. This may be the biggest obstacle to WoW's success as an e-sport.
Well, those are my ramblings for the day so far. Follow
for more updates and pictures as we go on, and I'll post more of these as we go through the day at Blizzcon. I'm off to meet up with Skosiris, Miyari, TheOnyx and Corgan—and to pick up my badge!
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