Bashiok and Zarhym have been busy answering questions about Diablo III gameplay and beta testing.

A fan pointed out something Bashiok mentioned back on April 19 this year: “You’ve actually seen some of the first three Acts already, and we probably won’t be revealing too much more than what we’ve already shown. We really want to try to keep as much a surprise for you when you play through the game the first time as possible. We will be announcing all of the game systems though before beta, so there are a few things left as far as reveals go. While beta will obviously be a lot of fun, should you get the chance to get in and help test, it’ll only be a small part of the whole game. Some people want to know everything, but we’re really trying to preserve the surprise and wonderment (that we hope will come with exploring Diablo III) as much as possible.” — Source

Below is a collection of some of the comments from Bashiok and Zarhym through the week of August 1-6.

Blizzard Prepares for a True Beta

Fleshpeeler@USWest: Beta coming any time soon at all?

We’re still looking good for third quarter, which is before the end of September.

We’re preparing ourselves for an extremely limited, and extremely rough beta. The number of people let in will simply be dependent on concurrency of active players (we want to keep it full), and rough because we expect many issues as we’re trying out a lot of new hardware and systems all at the same time. We’ll get it ironed out before release of course, but while most of our other game tests have been of seemingly releasable products, we’re preparing for this one to be a true beta. — Source

Experience Shares Among Nearby Players Only

Blazur@USEast: Say 4 people are playing together consistently, and remain relatively close together throughout. Will all 4 players gain experience at the same rate, or is it in any way possible one player could advance beyond the others? (either through the use of experience gain equipment or from killing more monsters)

If you’re far from your party while they’re slaughtering dudes, you won’t get experience for the kills. So long as you stick together, your experience gains should be equivalent. We’ve toyed with the idea of having an experience bonus affix, but we’re not sure whether or not that’s something good for the game. — Source

Shrine Mechanics

Hrp@USEast: Are there still Shrines throughout the game? In this case, Experience Shrines?

Yes there are. As long as the party is within the same relative area, everyone will get the shrine buff. No rested experience bonus. — Source

Player Death: Experience and Loot Constraints During Boss Kill

Cbr1000rider@USWest: If the boss you are fighting is at 5% hp.. then you die and get sent back to town, does the boss drop any loot for you as your team finishes the boss off with out you? Or does the proximity rule exclude you from loot?

The way it works now, if you are dead when a boss is killed you will miss out on experience and loot. We want to make sure the design isn’t such that it becomes a standard for high-level characters to carry low-level characters through content, without risk of penalty should the lowbie die. But, there is a new resurrection mechanic which allows other players in the party to click on a dead player’s corpse to bring them back on the spot, rather than having them be sent back to town.

We’ll see how gameplay elements such as these play out in the beta test and adjust accordingly if necessary.

Co-Op: No Gold Splitting

Vangazy@Europe: If all players sit on top of each other and you throw large portion of gold on the ground who auto-picks it?

Gold drops are just like item drops: per-player

The gold that drops for you, drops for you. The gold that drops for your buddy, is for your buddy. There’s no sharing or splitting when you pick it up. And if you have some +gold find stats on, you’re going to get more gold than someone in your party who doesn’t. — Source

So it’s similar to WoW whoever the 1st person is to engage the enemy, they get the loot? Or maybe whoever does the most damage to an enemy? Or last hit on an enemy?

No, everyone gets their own individual drops. We kill an enemy and you may get 5 gold while I get a legendary sword. Drops are individual for every player. The game only requires proximity to the dying enemy to be considered for a loot drop.

Armor Stats: Damage Reduction

Protoray: Let’s say a tier 10 chest piece gives 500 armor. Will a barbarian and a wich doctor benefit equally from it i.e. they get the same amount of damage reduction from those 500 points armor?

Each class gets equal base benefit from armor value on items, however, there are passives and skills which could allow one class to benefit more from armor than another class. For example, barbarians have a passive available to them called Tough As Nails which increases the barbarian’s armor by 100%, among other things. — Source

Juicy Info: Diablo III Cinematics

Thefury@Europe: Are Diablo III cinematics still classic kind of narrative-story-telling

Those who visited for the recent press tour saw the first minute or so of the intro cinematic, which is done in a stylized ‘sketch’ look. The idea being it’s Cain relating his prophecy via his journal, so it’s sort of his journal come alive, if you will. It’s also a lot cooler than it may sound (and on that note the voice/music/sfx were temp in the version we showed).

The 10 intro class cinematics (one for each class and gender) take the same style, but beyond that everything is high detail, high realism, holy-crap cinematics we’ve all come to love. And there’s a lot of it. And they are so bad ass. You’ll be happy.

They only saw the first minute or so of the entire intro cinematic which was the stylized bit with Cain reciting some of his journal. You start up the game, see the intro for the first time, log in, create a character, see the character intro, then start playing. It’s a logical flow. — Source

Defusion55@USWest: I always skipped Diablo II’s cinematics cause i was onlineand didnt want to miss the next acts rush or hold up the players. Is there a way to replay them later?

Indeed! But, they’re pretty info-heavy*, I wouldn’t recommend skipping them. Personally I’m going to play the game alone for the first run through Normal, you can take your time, watch cinematics, and you get the extra story from having a follower.

*Info-heavy meaning huge spoilers, meaning I would avoid youtube/forums/the world during your first playthrough (once the game is released) if you want to avoid such things. — Source