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Medicine Entertainment Games

Diablo 3 Developer Explains Health and Potion Changes 177

One of the new features in the upcoming Diablo 3 release is a change from the traditional potion-guzzling, inventory-clogging system of previous games to a new scheme in which monsters drop health orbs on the ground that refill your health when you touch them. Lead Designer Jay Wilson says the change makes for more varied gameplay and a more consistent way to scale difficulty. He told the Multiplayer blog: "When the player has similar downsides, it means we can make a lot more interesting monsters. We don't have to kill you to challenge you. We can make a monster that affects your mobility, we can make a monster that has different kinds of attacks that are dangerous to you and that you actually have to avoid. And so it makes the combat a lot more interesting."
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Diablo 3 Developer Explains Health and Potion Changes

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  • Metroidiablo (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Captain Spam ( 66120 ) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @04:08PM (#24604861) Homepage

    Monsters drop health orbs on the ground when you kill them, instead of a potion system? So, in a way, what they've got now is Metroid applied to a dungeon crawl?

    (yes, there's a billion other games that do that, Metroid was just the first to come to mind)

  • Strategy in MY D3? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by sabre3999 ( 1143017 ) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @04:10PM (#24604889)
    It sounds as if they wanted to bring in a strategy angle for the PvE element with this new installment... I remember not needing much strategy at all in Diablo 2, just hack and slash and power through everything. Also, if I'm understanding TFA correctly, there are no potions (But as you get further and further into the game, you start having to go, 'Okay now I've really got to use this ground stomp thing to stun some monsters and get some distance from them to recover.') They also imply the monsters will be weaker to balance this out however, so it'll be interesting indeed to see how everything turns out.

    Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3... Blizzard is going to make some cash off me when they finally hit the market.
  • Well... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 14, 2008 @04:14PM (#24604997)

    How is that going to affect boss matches? Unless the boss monster has a load of minions, that could be quite a challenge!

  • What about bosses? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jevring ( 618916 ) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @04:17PM (#24605063) Homepage

    So, if there's an extended fight like, say, DIABLO...
    A fight which you might not survive with just the health and mana you have in your orbs, what do you do? If you can't chug potions, you have to, in effect, execute the monster perfectly to even survive. I think that the orb system is better when you're hacking and slashing your way through several monsters that actually die, but when you encounter monsters that are not easy to get down, then you might need a heal or two. I certainly prefer chugging potions to relying on support classes (like priests, druids, paladins and shamans in wow) to heal you.

  • games and "health" (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 14, 2008 @04:24PM (#24605207)

    in the early 80s with tabletop games, "Hit Points" made a lot of sense. slash, you lose 20 hi point. erase erase erase. "I drink my potion of extra healing" roll 3d8.

    Today, when you have ridiculously powerful personal computers running massive 3D simulations with thousands of concurrent interacting users - you'd think the game industry could innovate just a little bit around the idea of character "health". There are so many ways you could make these MMO games more intersting and fun by making the simulation of the character more like a real being... but somehow we have this near-ubiquitous meme that the characters in games have a single, one-dimentional, magically refreshable integer that rules the survival of the character.

    Instead, we get "item creation" ooohhhh. Fun!

  • Re:Metroidiablo (Score:5, Interesting)

    by colmore ( 56499 ) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @04:38PM (#24605469) Journal

    Plentiful and common health potions that can heal the main character from near death to perfect health reliably and repeatably aren't the least bit realistic either.

    This changes health management in two ways:
    1 - health isn't tied to inventory
    2 - the graphic for "health item" looks different

    I hope nobody is complaining that this represents some grave cheapening of the game. It wasn't Fallout, where health items are rare, cost a fortune, and come with some of the side effects of actual drugs.

    Oh any word on if Fallout 3 is still going to be scarce on the health power ups? The demos have looked combat-y (which is fine, it's certainly the most interesting bit of a game, at least visually) but is the game such a heavy shooter that they're going to need to throw downside-free stimpacks at the player all the time?

  • by amuro98 ( 461673 ) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @04:39PM (#24605491)

    Someone mentioned Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, which I think is a very good comparison.

    While defeating enemies in the game would cause them to drop health and mana orbs, bosses would drop them on a regular basis while you beat on them (I think ever 25% of so.) So, you didn't have to be able to defeat the boss without dying - just able to knock 25% of his health off so you could heal up enough to keep on beating on him.

    This could work for DiabloIII as well, though I can remember some fights where I wasn't even able to put a dent in the stupid boss the first few times I faced it, dying a good 4 or 5 times before I figured out the strategy for my combination of boss and character class.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 14, 2008 @05:30PM (#24606393)

    The reason we stick with that "one-dimensional" indicator is probably that it's simple and flexible. There's only so much data you can keep in mind when you're playing a quick-paced, reflex-based game like Diablo; a more complex health system would be more likely to bog things down than to make the game more fun.

  • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF ( 813746 ) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @05:57PM (#24606857)

    Today, when you have ridiculously powerful personal computers running massive 3D simulations with thousands of concurrent interacting users - you'd think the game industry could innovate just a little bit around the idea of character "health".


    Back in the day there was a game (well a game/screensaver) called "Lunatic Fringe". It was sort of like asteroids, but instead of a health bar for your ship, you had several health bars. On was for your guns, one for your engine, one for your turning jets, one for your long range radar, etc. If you were shot or ran into an asteroid you took damage to one or more of them and those parts of the ship began to malfunction. If your guns were slightly damaged they might fail to fire one time in ten. If they were severely damaged they might only fire one time in ten. If your turning jets were damaged you sometimes you could turn the ship and sometimes you couldn't or it would turn the wrong way. The gameplay was absolutely awesome!!! Ever since I've been looking for a game that incorporated this same gameplay element.

    For a new Diablo style game you could start moving more slowly and erratically staggering. Your spells could fail. Your attacks could go in the wrong direction, hitting no one or the wrong person, maybe even allies. Your blocks with your shield could become less frequent or stop as an arm was disabled. Your vision could blur or become jumpy.

    Just count me as one very strong vote in favor of your idea.

  • by Creepy ( 93888 ) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @05:59PM (#24606883) Journal

    Even the gameplay movie they have up on their site (from E3) only shows monsters dropping orbs when they die. The way it currently looks, bosses have certain attacks and you need to run around a lot and avoid them and pick up orbs dropped by previously beaten monsters.

    Back to listening to "Town" and "Tristram" by Matt Uelmen on B-net mp3 player [] - brings back memories (always did like the Bauhaus [specifically the end of Mask] sound of those tracks with the 12 string - all the new stuff released so far for Diablo 3 sounds more Dead Can Dance, but some of the earlier tracks also sounded like DCD).

  • Re:My reponse (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Cornflake917 ( 515940 ) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @06:05PM (#24606983) Homepage

    That's also one of the big changes they are putting in to Diablo 3. When you're in a multiplayer game, each item drops for a specific player, and only that player can see that item until they pick it up (and drop it). So no you don't have to loot furiously or out ninja-click your teammates to get shinyz any more.

    For those who think I'm talking out of my ass: []

  • Re:Finally! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by NoobixCube ( 1133473 ) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @06:25PM (#24607305) Journal

    I've never been able to decide if I like a weight based inventory (like The Elder Scrolls) or a slot inventory (like Diablo) more. Both systems have their pros and cons, but I think a mix would be best. Sometimes really small things can be very heavy, while large things can be light. A slot inventory that gets dynamically adjusted based on the weight of things you are carrying would be good. Small heavy things would reduce the available slots, while large light things might give back half the space they take. It probably sounds a little half-baked, but I haven't fully worked out how I'd implement it yet, so it IS half-baked :P

The trouble with the rat-race is that even if you win, you're still a rat. -- Lily Tomlin