Diablo 4 Might Be Closer to Testing than Anticipated

A gamer with 20-years of IT experience, poundcake_64, posted in Reddit a few hours ago something that fans might find interesting concerning Diablo 4 CDN data.

I’ve worked in IT for 20 years and have worked in data centers, networks and systems, and with developers and product managers. I am very familiar with dev ops and typical development processes and product life cycles. Having this experience, I am seeing certain patterns across Blizzard’s Diablo builds on the CDN I’d like to share with you. While I have not gained access to the underlying files to datamine I was able to ascertain quite a bit of information.

To prove my point, Blizzard are currently performing Diablo 4 RGB product integration testing with Corsair using their CUE SDK. Blizzard are also deploying a very modern version of Vivox SDK which is a voice and chat commonly used for video games, most notably this was used in Overwatch. If Blizzard was years upon years away from having a 1.0 version of the product would they being participating in RGB lightning kit and 3rd party SDKs tests?

Sony Revealed PS5 DualSense Wireless Game Controller

SONY has revealed details about the PS5 DualSense Wireless Game Controller. Among some of the features is the haptic feedback, the Create button, and the built-in microphone array.

iPhone and Android phone users experience haptic feedback constantly via vibrations. The technology allows a phone to vibrate while interacting with onscreen interfaces, and also while playing certain mobile games.

For example, you might be playing a car racing game, and you can feel the varying vibrations as you accelerate, decelerate, or encounter different types of road textures and terrain for an immersive gameplay experience that provides extra information through your touch senses.

The game controller features:

  • Adaptive triggers into the L2 and R2 buttons
  • Long rechargeable battery life
  • USB-C recharging port
  • Built-in microphone array (no headset necessary. headset optional)
  • Ergonomic design
  • Create Button (replaces Share)
  • Haptic feedback
  • Light-weight chasis.

The Create Button replaces the Share button. That implies that the DualSense does more than share gameplay videos and livestream video with social networks (such as Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, etc.)

You can learn more about the PlayStation 5 hardware specs in the article posted during the Sony livestream held on March 18th.

Sony Reveals PS5 Specs

Sony has revealed the full PS5 specs through a long boring presentation meant for game developers and hyper-geeks. So make sure to bring pop corn and a good supply of caffeinated drinks to endure the deep-dive tech speech dump.

We know that Diablo IV is been developed for the PC and Consoles simultaneously, so as console consumers we should get to know the specs of what is coming next from Sony.

The PS5 has the following specs:

  • Custom (x86-64) 8-core/16 Threads AMD Zen 2 CPU at 3.5GHz (variable frequency).
  • An AMD RDNA 2 architecture GPU running at 2.23GHz (10.3 teraflops and 36 compute units) with Ray Tracing Acceleration.
  • 16 GDDR6 RAM (448GB/s Bandwidth).
  • 825GB SSD (5.5GB/s Read Bandwidth — Raw)
  • PS5 Game Disc: Ultra HD Blu-ray (up to 100GB/disc)
  • Integrated I/O system.
  • Tempest 3D AudioTech.
  • Support for 4K TVs at 120Hz, and 8K TVs. VRR (specified by HDMI v2.1).
  • Backward Compatibility with 4000 PS4 titles.

Diablo 4: Rod Fergusson Day 1

A few weeks ago, Rod Fergusson acknowledged he was leaving The Coalition where he worked 15 years developing the Gears of War franchise at Epic Games initially as an executive producer, then director of production from 2005-2011.

In 2012, Fergusson left Epic Games to join Irrational Games.

Later, in 2014, Microsoft acquired the Gears of War franchise and assigned its development to The Coalition. Hearing this, Fergusson returned to Gears of War from 2014-2020.

Diablo IV Quaterly Update – Feb 2020

Blizzard Entertainment’s Diablo IV team has posted the first quaterly report of 2020, earlier than expected.

After BlizzCon 2019 feedback, the developers made changes the UI, moving it to the center of the screen, instead of bottom-left.

This is the first time development of a Diablo game is simultaneous for both PC and Consoles. Console controller support for PC included.

The Quarterly report includes details of a new monster family: The Cannibals — found in the Dry Steppes. Remnants of the Barbarians.

diablo 4 logo

Nevalistis on Diablo IV Quaterly Updates

Diablo IV community manager Nevalistis addressed concerns in a Reddit thread about Diablo IV quaterly updates. The next update will be posted before April.


Nevalistis: I mean, we’re 7 days into 2020. For some, the first day back at work from holiday vacation was yesterday. I understand how excited everyone is, but let’s set expectations and cover a few points (some reiterated, some that might be obvious but should be said).

  • Diablo IV very, very early in development. Part of the reason we’re aiming for quarterly updates is because there’s not a lot right now that’s ready to share. If it was ready to show, you saw it at BlizzCon.
  • Diablo IV isn’t the only project we’re working on, though it might be the one you’re most excited about (and it’s fine if you are). As a reminder, we have patches actively being developed for Diablo III as well as the ongoing work on Diablo Immortal. For both bandwidth reasons on our end as well as avoiding flooding our (currently shared) communication channels, there’s strategy needed in pacing out the distribution of information.
  • Q1 means sometime between now and the end of March. April would mark the beginning of Q2. I don’t have a time estimate for you, but my personal goal is to aim for somewhere in the middle to second third of the quarter. I’m not sure where exactly it’s going to land; we’ve never approached communication in quite this manner before, and sometimes there’s changes and schedule adjustments that need to be made. I suspect there will be many learnings for myself and the team with the first update as a result. 🙂
  • We want to put a lot of time, effort, and polish into these updates because they are so few and we care a lot about our work. However, ultimately, the content will be decided by (1) what’s ready to show and (2) what conversations we’re ready to have with the community. For example, I wouldn’t expect the first update to be about the intricacies of end-game activities. It’s still too early (some areas of the game are still in concepting, while others are being actively implemented) – but we do want to make sure we’re checking in with you on systems of interest as they come together, concept art, and possibly in-progress models. It’s really going to vary. Actually making the game will always be the priority.
  • Blogs take a really long time to produce, especially when they are of this caliber and content level. If video is required, even more so (as it adds an entire new team and process for review/approvals). What content we end up showing will drive the production needs, which is part of why it’s so hard for me to give you an estimate on arrival.

Making games is complicated. So is supporting and communicating around them. Almost none of it can be done fast if we’re going to do it well. We want to make sure the information we’re giving is as clear and accurate as possible and, while we want to maintain transparency, we also don’t want to risk over-promising and under delivering. This happens all too often by showing features too early.

So we are going to take our time. I understand it’s hard to be patient; I literally live day to day in a building full of cool stuff I can’t share and sometimes it’s maddening. You can bet your hard earned gold we’ll be sharing what we can as soon as possible, and it’s okay to take a break from the waiting if it’s eating at you. We’ll just be here, hard at work.

Unofficial Confirmation that was Rathma in the Diablo IV Cinematic?

Personally, I haven’t heard any developer confirm that the character welcoming Lilith in the cinematic is in fact her son Rathma. I might have missed that if otherwise.

PiZZaPatriZZa shared in Reddit a link to a thread response by Customer Support Tyryndar where he “unofficially” confirms that was Rathma. I’d prefer a developer to confirm this, but this is what we got so far. So you should hold it cautiously for what it is.

Letter from David Kim: Diablo IV System Design (Part 1)

Diablo IV lead system designer David Kim posted a letter to the community today addressing feedback concerns and highlighting plans for the Diablo IV System Design ranging Itemization, Elective Mode, Ancient Items, the end-game progression system, sources of power, and keyed dungeons.

Recently, we were told fans would get a quarterly update on Diablo IV. It’s great to have two letters from the developers barely two weeks after BlizzCon. Hopefully, we will continue to have this openness in between those quarterly updates. That’s the right path.

I have learned over years of experience that the player community is an incredibly valuable resource to draw upon when designing and refining a game. By working together, we can achieve great things. The biggest challenge with parsing community feedback is that with so many opinions, the takeaways are rarely unanimous. Diablo IV is still very much in active development, but we plan to keep you in the loop as we continue to design and iterate so that you can be a part of what we’re building. I am so incredibly appreciative for all the feedback we’ve received so far and I’m eager to dive into some of the most talked about topics.

Itemization

We’re still working through all the feedback that came in regarding itemization and we’re actively discussing ways to add more depth and complexity to base items (including Rares), ways to add greater variety to item affixes to make those powers interesting and your choices meaningful, and ways to give players more freedom to choose how to customize items, so you can have fun exploring a wide range of effective gameplay possibilities instead of just looking up “the optimal build” online.

We’ll go into way more depth regarding itemization in a separate post soon, but we don’t want to leave you hanging until then—so we’re going to update you on a few other topics now.

These are some of the topics that we’re seeing come up most often, but if we’re missing something, please let us know and we will try to share our thoughts on those subjects as well in future updates.

Elective Mode in Diablo IV

There’s a misconception that Diablo IV will lock skills to specific slots because of the BlizzCon demo user interface. Like many other things in the demo, the UI is not final and we will support Elective Mode-style skill selection. Skill selection and assignment will always be completely open for all players.

Ancient Items

We completely agree with the community sentiment—Ancients as they are don’t really serve a clear purpose in Diablo IV. We should have done a better job of explaining the role of Ancient Items in Diablo IV. We had a preliminary direction to share, but you’ve brought up some great points, so we’re revisiting our designs with your feedback in mind. We hope to have more details to share in the follow-up itemization update.

Endgame Progression System

We haven’t decided whether the character leveling and experience system should be finite or infinite. We’ve been discussing the pros and cons of both and would love to hear your thoughts. There seems to be some concern around infinite being worse because it will eventually overshadow all the power granted by other sources. However, we can control how much power each system gives, whether it’s infinite or finite.

For example, say we’re talking about thousands of hours of gameplay . . . within those thousands of hours, we could choose to create a finite system that grants 1,000,000 times more power than an infinite system, making it practically impossible for the infinite system to catch up in power.

Also, power increase doesn’t need to be linear throughout the ranks—it can slow down as players reach higher levels. We believe the more important question is what experience feels best for players, and we can playtest various approaches to tuning to find the power curve that makes the most sense.

We have a couple reasons for having a different experience system in addition to a level cap. A level cap gives us the ability to grant players a sense of completion. But for players who want to go deeper into the game, a second experience system allows us to capture the fun of achieving those really difficult endgame goals and ranks. We can also introduce additional depth through this system, because players will be more experienced with the game at this point. Ultimately, our goal is to create a meaningful system that provides clear choices depending on your preferred playstyle in the endgame.

Sources of Power

The community has shared many good points on the topic of power sources and we’re reevaluating how much power comes from each source at any given time.

However, we want to clarify that in Diablo IV, power doesn’t come mostly from items. We want to have a good mix of power sources: characters naturally get stronger as they level up, skills have ranks that increase power, talents provide specific playstyle choices and additional character power, and of course items grant power and meaningful choices as well.

Something else to keep in mind is Legendary powers are just one part of an item’s power, and they won’t invalidate all other Affixes due to how powerful they are. For example, two to three normal Affixes are currently equivalent in power to a Legendary power on most items.

Keyed Dungeons

A big question that’s come up is exactly how Keyed Dungeons are different from Rifts. Keyed Dungeons introduce greater challenges as their tiers increase through Dungeon Affixes. The majority of dungeons are real places in the world, and players will know some information about them including what types of monsters, events, and layouts to expect. With this information, as well as the specific Dungeon Affixes being displayed on the key, players will be able to strategize their approach before going into the dungeon. We believe this is the biggest change from Diablo III Rifts: the added planning and strategizing that takes place before you decide to run a Keyed Dungeon.

Please continue to share your thoughts—we want you to be involved in the Diablo IV design process. I personally believe in making the best decisions for the game based on the strongest design ideas, no matter where they come from. My biggest hope is for us to be able to constructively discuss and iterate on the topics that are most important to the community—so keep the feedback coming!

See you in Hell,

David Kim
Lead Systems Designer
The Diablo IV Team — source

 

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