Why Diablo 4 is so obsessed with ears

Illustration for the article titled Why iDiablo IV / i is so obsessed with ears

Picture: Snow storm

Ears. If you looked the debut trailer of Diablo IVkind of rogue, that was your main conclusion, at least, if you’re like me. The rogue showed up for “confession” with a large bag of ears. The priest had a goddamn ear trophy box. This may have struck you as odd – most common people only have one or two disembodied ears on hand at any one time, but you did play Diablo II In the past, you probably felt like home.

In Diablo II, the ears were tokens that other players dropped in PvP combat. If you killed someone, you would have an ear with their name on it, which you could sell for gold if you were Really suffering for money. It was one of those horrible bits of strangeness that made Diablo II special. Blizzard says the system will return in Diablo IV, somehow.

“We are very excited to bring that idea back Diablo IV“Said lead systems designer Joe Piepiora Kotaku in an interview on Zoom, noting that the development team is still working out the details of how exactly the system will be implemented. “What we don’t want to do with this is convert it into currency, the income gain, which is spent on cosmetics. That is not the focus. “

The goal, Piepiora explained, is to emphasize the attractiveness of the system from Diablo II, instead of turning the ears into another coin that you can insert into the loot slot machine that is shaking endlessly.

“We think what’s exciting about the ears and what’s interesting about the ears is the fact that you basically had this permanent sign of conquest on another character that you killed as part of the combat,” Piepiora said. “We’re excited to find a way to integrate that tightly with the PVP experience that we have without it being part of, like, some kind of PVP progression. We want to leave it in that trophy space where it’s exciting to collect these things and remember the things you’ve done without feeling like you’re grinding as many of these things as you can to get an ax or a chest. piece.”

So to summarize: there will be ears, but there will be no ear economy. However, the fact that some players even expected such a thing is illustrative of the awkward space in which Diablo IV it’s found. Despite Diablo IIIThe disastrous “always online” launch, Diablo IV it will not have a single player mode. But Blizzard is not trying to make a MMO, either. While the titans like Destination Y Path of exile—With loot tables and other playing field leveling systems – now rules the chicken coop Devil once overpowered (of destruction), Piepiora characterized Devil like a series where even a random barrel you destroy could contain a unique weapon.

Blizzard is aiming for a middle ground between a player and an MMO, where encounters with other players will be rare, and when they do occur, no one will be surprised. There will be designated PVP areas in the game’s open world, called Fields of Hatred, presumably because that’s where you’ll plant bodies, and you can complete various objectives within them to earn money that you can exchange for special loot, mostly cosmetics. This loot won’t be inherently better than the weapons and armor you earn elsewhere in the game, but it will be unique. These areas will also contain a lot of enemy NPCs, which means that you will be able to farm Fields of Hatred to obtain legendary weapons that you can also obtain in other places.

As a result of systems like this, Blizzard finds itself looking through the ear of a philosophical schism within its community. Some players want a Diablo II-as a multiplayer experience where chaos reigns and anyone can trade any item, regardless of how they earned it, with any other player. Others want something more structured. Other-Others want the option to play completely alone. Blizzard is trying to serve all of them with a single shared experience. There will be Some multiplayer mayhem; Fields of Hatred has been designed to facilitate moments of asymmetry, for example one player ambushing another while fighting an NPC boss, and a mechanic that marks especially successful PVPs on other players’ maps so they can form squads and hunt them down. . But this is not going to be Diablo II-2. Despite controversy within the communityBlizzard is still going to limit systems like trading at least to some extent.

“There will be some types of specific or high-end items [that won’t be tradeable]Piepiora said. “You can imagine, if you were to do, for example, the PVP content, and you get a special mount just for PVP. We won’t allow that to be tradable, because we want it to be a prestige item for players to collect. But when it comes to a legendary item that has power that is pretty good, but maybe not for you, we like the idea of ​​trying to find ways to make them interchangeable by players. “

Players have expressed concern that such limits could negatively impact Diablo IVendgame, funneling players into a small handful of activities as in Diablo III, where many items could only be acquired through Blizzard prescribed means and were subsequently linked to player accounts. In the meantime, Diablo II it didn’t have an ending in the modern sense, but many players considered PVP to be the ending, somewhat Diablo IIILimited systems did not allow it. But Piepiora said that in Diablo IV, high-level players will still have something to fight for.

“There will be some specific kinds of items, pretty much first-rate stuff, that we’re not going to make interchangeable, but we want to make sure that late-game players still have things that can be traded, that are valuable to them,” he said.

It’s very clear that Blizzard is walking a fine line, trying to make a game that satisfies all different types of players. Devil series has recovered over decades. But Piepiora thinks Blizzard has learned its lessons from Diablo III. It’s not about shoehorn into an auction house or MMO items that don’t fit. The goal, he suggests, is to create a Devil game that listens and looks ahead.

“As far as I’m concerned, Devil it’s a single player game that you can play with friends and a party game that you can play for one player, ”said Piepiora. “So it’s really compatible to go either way. We’re not trying to create content that says, ‘You need to get a group of four players to do this dungeon.’ That is not him Devil experience … We don’t want to take away from players who want to play the game on their own. Similarly, gamers who want to play with their partner or a friend on the couch, we want to make sure that you never feel like you need to go beyond that if you don’t want to. But if you want, it’s cool, right? “


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