BlizzConline 2021: Diablo IV: What’s Next Transcript

OPEN WORLD

JOE PIEPIORA: Thank you to Luis and John for introducing the Rogue, which I’m really excited we finally got a chance to talk about and announce to the community. We’re here today to talk to you about Diablo IV and the open world.

I think the best way to start this conversation, Careena, would be for me to ask you what are you most excited about of what we’re adding in Diablo IV in the open world? What feature, what mechanic, what are you most excited to talk about first?

CAREENA KINGDOM: I am really excited about exploring the world. I am a huge completionist naturally, that’s the way I play. I love exploring and looking out into every single nook and cranny.

The more this game has been growing, particularly since last BlizzCon,
the more fun I’m having riding around the open world on my mount and exploring everything I possibly can.

JOE: It’s really fun, I think. Now that we’ve taken Sanctuary and made it so much larger when you’re playing through the game, when you compare it to Diablo III or Diablo II — there’s tons of exploration and movement throughout the world in those games, obviously; but now we’ve really been able to embrace the open world concept, we can dive much deeper into how Sanctuary actually all fits together, be able to ride from Scosglen to the Fractured Peaks. It’s very interesting that way.

One of the things about that that I think is really neat is the collection aspect of mounts. So, there’s all these horse breeds and other mounts you can find throughout the world from completing puzzles or finding hidden locations
or slaying particular kinds of monsters.

Find various horses or things to customize your horse with, like horse armor, there are hoof plates you can get and trophies to show off your accomplishments.

There’s lots of ways you can personalize your mount and make it feel like your companion.

CAREENA: It’s really cool, like you mentioned, with the horse shoes, you get to actually change the speed at which your horse can run.

I like to be able to customize the horse to the type of gameplay that I like to enjoy as a player. It’s really fun. I like the amount of variety that you give us.

JOE: There’s more to mounts than just that as well. One thing we knew we didn’t want to do with mounts in Diablo IV was we didn’t want to have jousting. This idea of fighting from horseback. It’s not really the Diablo experience.

CAREENA: Yeah, that’s something I’m super excited for. At last BlizzCon, we had the Sorceress. We showed her dismount skill, Ice Dash, where she shoots forwards off her mount and destroys everything in her path.

With the Rogue, we got to have a little bit more fun with it. The animation department has done a fantastic job of having her leap up into the air and fire down the Rain of Arrows that destroys everything. It’s really cool. It feels really good.

JOE: Leaping from your saddle and raining arrows down on your enemies as you pass by, then get in the fray and starting to stab people and poison people, that is spot on what we’re looking for.

Being able to jump in, engage with enemies, from your horse, and then duke it out using your skills and everything else like we want.

CAREENA: It’s interesting that your mount can’t get damaged, but if a monster attacks you while you’re mounted, you will be forced to dismount.

So, there is a flipside of actually judging for yourself when you do want to use that skill in order to prevent you from being forced off unintentionally. There’s definitely a bit of gameplay there to make sure you use it in a way that’s appropriate to help you get where you’re trying to go and also to be able to fight the monsters you want to fight.

One of the things I’m most excited about for the open world is this feature we have called Camps. Camps are basically these strongholds of evil
out in the open world. You’ve got to remember that, decades ago,
during the events of Reaper of Souls when Malthael rose to power,
the Reapers killed 9 out of 10 people throughout Sanctuary.

A tremendous number of people passed away. Now there’s a big power vacuum out here decades later, and these monsters have started to move into these places. Bandits, monsters, goatmen, all kinds of different creatures, skeletons, the undead, have started to resurface and come back into these areas and take them for themselves.

You, as the hero of Sanctuary, get to wander through these spaces and begin to reclaim them for the people of Sanctuary. That’s part of what makes them really neat. Each of them have their own story. They’re their own unique, fixed place in the world.

CAREENA: Unlike quests. Quests are something that happens randomly in the world, and you can come across them any way. Camps are a permanent fixture that you, as the player, when you come across that evil, can actually have a real impact on the open world that everyone else can see.

Because, once you have defeated that evil, one of the really fun things is
that you basically unlock that camp and you make a new waypoint that previously didn’t exist for you. Suddenly all the marketplaces open up
and now you have a blacksmith in a location that previously didn’t exist,
which I think is really cool.

JOE: What we’re looking at here, this was a village, the village of Qara-Yisu.
Now, it’s fallen to ruins. The people here in the Dry Steppes had a problem.
The problem was there were bloodthirsty cannibals that dwelled nearby
and would regularly raid their community.

The people had to find a solution. They weren’t strong enough to defend themselves from these cannibals. So, they made a dark bargain with a demon, and they were able to gather enough power to push these cannibals out and protect their community.

But not without great cost, as you can see here. You’re helping re-settle
parts of Sanctuary in many ways when you take these camps back from the enemy. Vendors will come back and now there might be new quest-givers,
new stories that need to be told.

Dungeon entrances can appear in some of these places afterwards. There’s all kinds of things that occur after you take over the Camp and liberate it from these forces of darkness.

Again, it’s so cool to see you permanently change the world as you find these places, and wander through and solve these problems. One of the other neat things about camps, and in general the open world broadly speaking, is that we have so many more opportunities now to play with movement.

CAREENA: It pushes the bar vertically as well as horizontally. We now have been playing around with the idea of jumping across chasms to allow the player to get access to a location that they previously didn’t have.

JOE: There’s all kinds of areas where players can find their own path, allowing them extra movement options they haven’t had in previous Diablo games.

CAREENA: We are also in a vertical top-down camera for the environment,
so it really breaks up the plane that you typically see not only as a developer or an animator, but also as a player.

JOE: There’s such a huge variety of things that you can possibly do to mix it up and make things a little bit different. There’s certain puzzle elements to it. It’s not straightforward or not always obvious. It’s not just a matter of running through the world and getting to your goal — if you have to think about it.

NEXT: DIABLO IV PvP

BLIZZCONLINE 2021 - DIABLO IV: WHAT'S NEXT TRANSCRIPT
1. Rogue Intro2. Specialization3. Weapons & Imbues
4. Open World5. Diablo IV PvP

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