Bashiok has been very busy responding fan feedback after the Diablo III Beta Press Event content was made public.

Only 10 Character Slots

Friskydingo: 10 Character Limit? Worst thing to happen to Diablo3.

Bashiok: You knew that was the case with respecs. Funny enough, even with respecs, leveling characters is fun. There are plenty of games with respecs where people will level many, many characters of the same class, just for the fun of it. And without anything really ‘tied’ to a character, it’s easy enough to dump all items to the shared stash, delete the character, and start a new one.

I will say though it’s one area where we’re definitely open to expanding, it just seemed like a decent number to go with for now. — Source

Truestatic@USWest: Please don’t make it a “pay dollars for more character slots” expansion. You guys SAID, last blizzcon I believe? I don’t remember. But you said that one account per cd key was no big thing, because you can create many more characters per account than you could with D2.

Bashiok: I still think it’s early, despite how close we may be, especially considering that we’re not going to stop with a box release. If we screwed up and people don’t want to keep playing the game, then we’ll have to find a way to fix that. — Source

Auction House for Real Money

Beverice@USWest: From Blizzard in 2007: The game’s Terms of Use clearly states that all World of Warcraft content is the property of Blizzard Entertainment, and Blizzard does not allow ‘in-game’ items to be sold for real money. Not only do we believe that doing so would be illegal, but it also has the potential to damage the game economy and overall experience for the many thousands of others who play World of Warcraft for fun … While we can understand the temptation to purchase items for real money, we feel that players can find ample equipment and money for their characters within the game through their own adventuring and questing. Guess they discarded that!

Bashiok: We still think that’s true for a MMO in which thousands of players co-mingle in a persistent world and vie for supremacy in eSport competitions or ‘world first’ boss kills in raids. Neither of these are true though for a co-op action RPG.

The worst that could happen is you open your game up to the public, someone jumps in wearing some awesome gear, and you don’t know if he found those items himself. But that’d be the case whether we offered an official way to buy items from other players or not.

The same is not true for Diablo in which all items are randomized in both affixes and drop chances from all enemies. We know that trading is necessary in Diablo games to build a solid character as you could play forever and still never see a specific item you’re after. — Source

Dark Wanderer

The_angolier: How in the hell do you retcon the Dark Wanderer? An essential part of Diablo 1’s story was your hero jamming Diablo’s soulstone into his forehead. It was literally the only part of the entire story that the player couldn’t skip. Seriously – everytime you killed Diablo it would play the “your hero jams the soulstone in his forehead” cinematic.

Bashiok: The change, I believe (and I still need to follow up on this) is simply naming the Warrior character as Leoric’s son. Which, lore-wise, isn’t much of a retcon, just giving the Warrior a specific name and origin. – Source

What about AH and players don’t have a Credit Card

Sorrowbird: That I hope, oh so much, is that we won’t need a credit card/paypal account to get started. Like…we get a small balance when we buy the game and it’s all set up from there and we can earn cash on that balance if we need to.

Else…this shuts out many people without credit cards, living abroad or just not willing to connect their real life finances to a virtual world.

Bashiok: Someone will, but it won’t necessarily have to be you.

The system will allow for a certain number of free listings per week (or something like that) which allows you to post a few things risk free and see if they sell. If they don’t it’s no sweat for you, and maybe you wait until next week to do the same thing again, or maybe that was good enough, you got your feet wet, and you go back to the gold AH.

If you do sell something you can use that to build up your balance which can be put toward buying items yourself. If you’re putting up the right items for the right prices you could pretty easily never ‘buy in’. — Source

Sorrowbird: Thanks – but so…right off the bat I will need to attach an account? Permanently?

I suppose I could get a friend to charge the account once off with me giving them money (I live in an Asian country where the US dollar is standard, but foreigners can almost never get credit cards).

But if it needs to be a permanent connection with a financial system I am sorry to say that I will not be able to participate in this game.

Bashiok: You only need to attach your account with a third party if you want to cash out.

When you sell an item you have two choices, the money goes to your balance where you can use it to buy more items, or buy stuff in the Blizzard store, or you can choose to send it to your third party payment provider account. Once the funds are in either they can’t be transferred between each other. It’s a question of keeping funds to keep playing in the auction house, or shifting out funds to get it as cash.

The third party payment provider hasn’t been named yet since we’re still inking that contract, but it’s a reputable one, for sure.

Anyway, you don’t have to unless you’re planning to cash out. — Source

Delmin@Lordaeron: Just out of curiosity, is there any advantage at all to keeping the money in the BNet account? Would you get more e-balance if you kept it in there or what?

Bashiok: You can’t use funds sent to the third party to buy more items. I’d hazard a guess that people will want to keep some amount in the balance toward purchasing future items, and if there’s some extra left over cash that out.

I don’t know though, I don’t think anyone knows how it’s going to really shake out once a lot of people start using it. — Source

Money Auction House and Item Quality Restriction

Peaceoneearth@USEast: Hmm thanks Bashiok. This string of posts was helpful; I can see why you’re the CM (no sarcasm, it’s equally hard to convey sincerity over the intertubes.) Particularly the bit about X amount of free listings per week. After some amount, a listing fee is charged to… I guess… discourage listing spam?

Bashiok: Yeah we want there to be some hurdle to the real money auction house so that the average quality of items on it (versus the gold auction house) are higher. No one’s going to be happy if they go to the real money auction house and see a bunch of junk. We think it just makes more sense to keep the quality level of items a bit higher. A few free listing a week (or whatever it ends up being) could cause some problems in this area, but probably nothing too extreme. — Source

IRL Poor vs Rich Players Debate

Shaught: The Rich stay richer, and the poor stay more poor.

Bashiok: Item drops are completely randomized. Poor finds one of the best items in the game. Poor becomes rich. Whether it’s p-skulls, SoJs, or El’s and Ort’s, this is the way of Diablo.

Real Money Safety on

Jamin548@USWest: So if i have a balance on my account of say $100.25 and i never linked it to a third party to take it out, and some one hacks my account, will they just be able to link my account and take my money, or worse link my account, do nothing to my money but wait for it to rise then take it?

since were dealing with real money now, are accounts going to be more secure? Or is it up to us to insure their security?

Bashiok: Of course we always hope everyone is doing the most to ensure the security of their account, but what you’re talking about is fraud, and it’s far more serious, and dealt with in far more serious ways, than someone simply hacking a video game character.

Specifics are yet to come since they would mostly deal with the specific fraud policies of the third party payment company. Bottom line though is it’s a whole new level of account support, which is no small part of the reason for auction house fees. You can’t cash out the e-Balance, so the only thing they can do is purchase stuff from your account, which Customer Service can always reverse. — Source

Is Rune System Revamped?

Highlen: Is Rune System Revamped? Please explain.

Bashiok: Personally, I love it, and hope it finds a way in.

I’m not so sure about rolling to see which rune effect you get (it could still work), but I *love* the idea of random affixes. That you could have a end-rank rune for the skill you want, with the effect you want, but you still don’t have ideal stats on it. That just makes the min/max item hunt that much cooler, and makes runes more important than… “Oh, I found another Crimson rune. Great. /salvage” — Source

Sixen@USWest: Yeah, but it makes it harder for me to see everything that could potentially be on my rune. I won’t know what “perfect” is without digging into the game and even then, what are the chances of me getting the rune I want.

I don’t like the random aspect of this part, I feel like randomizing my skills isn’t a great way to go.

Bashiok: Pretty unlikely you won’t know what’s available with an auction house at your finger tips.

And if we’re just talking about affixes, we’re talking about min/maxing. You’re going to know what affixes you want because you’re already pretty deep into your build.

I don’t expect a new character to pick up a rune, roll affixes, and then throw it away because “ew it has attack instead of defense”. Probably not going to care much early on. — Source

Auto stats, auto skills….what’s left to do?

Bladelaw@USEast: Thank you for sharing the vid. I understand the thinking now.

But Bash, it doesn’t address the drawback…no more character customization.

Surely you guys recognize that RPG’s are about building a unique character? If everyone has access to the same skills, at the same power level, aren’t we all now inter-changable? (besides our gear?)

Bashiok: Leveling to 60, finding gear, finding runes, all go toward making a viable build with 6 skills and 3 passives.

Diablo III is a more complex game, combat-wise, you can’t max out a single attack skill and whirlwind to victory. We have around eight different types of skills (attack, cc, escape, etc.), each class has around twenty four, and with only six slots that’s some hard decisions on how you can build your character. Limits mean variety if we do our job right.

Yes you’ll be able to see some guy with his skills and passives set a certain way and copy him, but that’s always been the case. What’s important is experimenting and finding unique builds, and finding the items to support it.

There’s far more build potential in Diablo III, especially with the recent changes. — Source

Defusion55@USWest: Did you guys ever explore the idea that perhaps you could freely be able to add subtract and move skill points freely? That would address the issues you experienced while testing and allow for people to keep unique builds based of skill distribution. That can’t be too bad of an alternative?

Bashiok: Yeah, I mean that’s essentially what respecs are, just a bit more wholesale.

The base problem with skill points is that we found they simply put too much incentive toward pumping up one or two skills. If we wanted to balance the game it means we’d have to let someone be able to essentially beat the game with that build since it’s the most obvious. You’re not going to put a few points here, a few there, you’re going to go the D2 route, horde points, and dump them all into a core skill or two. It really limited builds since points always went toward specific types of attacks that scaled well with additional points, and we’re not going to keep systems that are stifling (viable) build potential and (meaningful) character customization. — Source

Defusion55@USWest: I think when they test and work through things they try and eliminate the cookie cutter builds from the game so everybody isn’t doing the exact same thing to be “good”. While it does take away customization changing it they way they did it makes all builds viable regardless of which skill you choose (= which if you think about it is really cool, cause you can still be unique through runes, especially with how they changed the runes. I kinda have sad feelings over not being able to make a oddball build like I could in D2 even if it did suck but I much would rather make a oddball build thats viable rather than a oddball build that can’t progress in the game if you know what i mean.

Bashiok: There’s definitely still “wrong” builds, and thus plenty of non-optimal builds to tinker with. You have a big set of skills, but it’s important to note that not all of those skills serve the same purpose. If you pick a bunch of CC/escape/buff type skills, you’re going to be hurting. But if you build your character in a way where you’re sopping up resources, using damage reduction and control skills, and one giant damage output, it could work. Change any one of those skills though and the whole build could break. — Source

Situational Passive Swapping

Rainfire: Any word on this issue yet?

If we can swap in passives at any time, and we e.g. still have magic find or gold find traits, then it would become standard to activate the magic/gold find passive when slaying a boss monster.

Also, I don’t know if the gameplay suffers if passives are totally free to swap at any time. If you are badly damaged e.g., and have a faster run trait, you might want to swap it in to get away from mobs.

Bashiok: We don’t want skill/passive switching to be a meta game, but we want to make sure when someone just leveled up in the field they can try out a new skill they unlocked.

Right now we’re thinking no swaps in boss fights or the arena will be enough, but we’re still taking a wait and see.

I kind of like the idea of making it difficulty restricted. No swapping outside of town in Nightmare/Hell. But maybe that just makes people jet back to town more to swap out and it drags out play sessions? I don’t know. I’m kind of back and forth on it. (note: I do not make these decisions) — Source

Auction House Timers

Jamin548: In WoW most people perfer to just buy-out actions becuase waiting 20 hours to win a item is too long for most people.

I perfer short times that actually promote bidding like 10 minute actions something i can sit and watch while I and others bid.

From all the Auction House pictures I have seen they all seem to end in the letter M for minutes, so whats the post times like wow as low as 12 hours to 2 days, or is it shorter to promote bidding like 10 minutes to 1 hour. I didnt see it in the Q and A for the Auction house, is that still being worked out?

Bashiok: Those are just countdowns, I don’t think post times have been finalized but they’re likely not going to be much shorter than a day or so. Also keep in mind there’s automated bidding for you. If you want to bid on an item you can set a maximum you want to bid, and the system will automatically counter-bid against others up to your maximum. It’s quite a bit like features that eBay uses, if you’re familiar with it, and in my experience there’s a lot more bidding that buyouts in that type of system, and usually some last-minute bid excitement to try to snag an item. — Source

What’s the Purpose of Beta?

Risingred: Have you guys seen what’s in this thing? It’s not even a beta.
I’m not flaming or trolling. I honestly don’t see the purpose behind this snippet of the game they’re releasing. What, precisely, are they actually able to test?

There’s no pvp. There’s no runestones. The content will take a player about an hour. One follower, one artisan. It’s the introductory area of the game, and these are usually the areas that are the most stable and polished within any video game. The AH, yes, but they’ve had an AH in WoW for years and I don’t see how that would even need testing at this point, there’s no RMT AH (thankfully in the beta at least).

This isn’t a beta, it’s a demo. What’s the point of even having a beta test, then?

Bashiok: We’re testing client and server stability. We want to make sure the game is running, and running well, on a wide range of systems, and the server infrastructure that runs Diablo III is completely new, so we need testing on that front as well. Quite right, we’re not necessarily looking for gameplay related testing, although we do hope to see feedback on the various systems and see what people like/don’t like from the first few hours of play time.

Also… we wanted to the spoilers to a minimum, and they’re there, up front and center in Act 1 after the Skeleton King. So that’s where we cut it off. — Source

Dezzan@Europe: Why not just release the “beta” as a public demo so everyone who wants to play this game later will see if they can run it.

Bashiok: Because we’re starting with essentially a ‘single’ server to test the system out, and so it’s necessary to keep it full, but not overflowing. To do that we carefully monitor concurrency and then hand out extra keys when/if it dips. — Source

Risingred: Don’t you guys have QA labs just for this purpose?
It just seems to me that you don’t even need to test this game, really. I can’t imagine how long it will go, can’t be very long at all, because you aren’t exactly new to the online game scene. All of this stuff in D3, it’s been done before by Blizzard and it’s down to as close to a science as it’s going to get.

Is this going to be a very open beta, like SC2, at least?

Bashiok: We have a huge and talented QA department just for purposes like these, yes, but it’s still no comparison to thousands and thousands of players hammering the system. We can run simulations to see what breaks just from over-crowding, but it’s ultimately no comparison to real players testing the system.

But we also do want player feedback on systems and how the game feels and plays for the content that’s available. The first few hours are the most crucial for any game, so we definitely want to make sure we get them right.

This will be the most limited beta in recent memory, and because of of how new the back end is, we expect it to be the most unstable as well.

To clarify further, there’s no universal “bnet2” server blade and we just install different games on it. The service Diablo III will run on is completely untested, which is the top reason for the beta, followed closely by personal system testing, patching systems (also new), and gameplay feedback. — Source

No Diablo III Tri-Monitors Support

Japruetting: I don’t know if this has been asked before but for the sake of us rich folk (haha I kid I kid). Will Diablo 3 support a 3 monitor system? We have begun to see games that will support the resolution of 3 monitors without having to “hack” the video resolution. Will D3 support that?

Just to be clear games that support 3 monitors have the UI on the middle monitor while allowing a large resolution to extend to the other 2. Now you can use a program and force the system to use the three monitors but this causes the UI to look like crap and I do not care for this.

Bashiok: It’s a single-monitor only game, and that’s because the game literally only pulls info from the servers for a specific distance away from the character for bandwidth reasons. The game is also built with those limitations in-mind: edges of maps don’t extend way out.

Also, being able to see way out to the left or right of your character really wouldn’t help that much. Triple monitor is cool for first/third person where you’re getting a larger peripheral view, but in a fixed isometric camera it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. — Source