Bigger Items: New Diablo III Details, Screenshots

By John Walker on March 31st, 2009 at 10:17 am.

Large icons. Let the internet clap as one.

Asking around the RPS Castle chambers if anyone had anything to add to the news that there were some new Diablo III screenshots (click on the pics), Jim Rossignol immediately ran to the projection whiteboard and thoughtwrote, “there are two Diablo games, but now there is three of it.” This is the reason you visit RPS, and not other sites that apparently persist with existing. But look again, gentles, the inventory system has had a bit of an overhaul.

The latest Blizzcast contains a bundle of new details regarding the third dungeon crawling epic, including more on how the new Rune system will allow you to create far more unique character, with far more unique loot, as well as letting us know about the thinking behind the redesign of the inventory. Bashiok, Blizzard’s community manager, is joined by lead technical artist, Julian Love, and senior artist on UI design, Mike Nicholson.

Last year the inventory had been simplified down to a WoW-type system where all items were one block big. Arms went up, of course, because let’s face it, if they changed the length of the tail on the ‘A’ in the title, there’d be a dedicated forum and furious protests outside Blizzard’s HQ. But I liked the old Tetris inventory, and sure, maybe that makes me some kind of bridge-dwelling freakface who’s feared by the locals, but it was an added element of game. Juggling what I was carrying, weighing up whether I should port back to a shop to ditch a load, or carry on and leave stuff behind. Any how, never mind all that as the new version is a compromise between the two. The inventory is now tabbed, with larger items having their own section of your bulging sacks, another for smaller items, and a third for quest items.

This doesn’t mean bags are going anywhere. Mike Nicholson explains,

“Current design right now is to have bags. You’ll get bags and they will expand, you know kind of like in WoW, except you’re not going to open up separate windows. You’ll start off your inventory with say… you know, eight slots, right, and then you’ll get a new bag and that has ten, so two more slots will open up within that tab, but you’ll never have multiple tabs. Like you won’t have two or three ‘large’ tabs.”

There’s a ton more details about the UI to be found, or read, during the podcast. And don’t forget to click on the pics for full size versions. Spotted via Eurogamer.

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123 Comments »

  1. James G says:

    Hmm, I quite like inventory tetris, but then again I am a bit odd. However I can’t help thinking that in attempting to simplify things, while still appealing to the old-guard, they may just have ended up making things more complicated and confusing.

  2. Premium User Badge phuzz says:

    Ah, but for those of us that never played either of the first two, what’s so interesting about this one?
    Actually, I’ve just realised that I don’t think I’ve ever played a Blizzard game.
    Apart from 3 minutes of WoW on a friends machine where I ran off a cliff and killed him. Oops.

  3. Nill says:

    I liked the old system as well. They’ve yet quite some time to work on it though, and the fewer “kind of like in WoW” there are, the better.

  4. Ian says:

    Wait a minute, have they changed the length of the tail on the ‘A’???

  5. axed says:

    Meh… still looks like WOW zoomed out.

    I’m so dissapointed in Blizzard. D3 was supposed to be the game to take me back to the days when playing a game was an obsessively engulfing experienc. One that was very much so worth your time and didnt leave you feeling like a cheap used whore after a session of play (WoW anyone?).

    [Oh good grief, we can do without /fiction about Blizzard fans, thanks - Ed]

    Those models look so chunky and low poly… i feel like this is 2001 all over again.

  6. ChaosSmurf says:

    @phuzz – I can’t understand how anyone could have never played a Blizzard game.

  7. Xercies says:

    Still looks to bright for my liking, i think I will just continue to play Diablo 1.

  8. Garg says:

    Oh God, I bet this is going to turn into a huge number of comments on “the scourge of WoW” and how it’s actually “the worst game, like, EVER”.

  9. Dolphan says:

    Axed – that was satire, right? Please?

  10. ChaosSmurf says:

    @axed – other than the part where the models are massively better than their 2001 counterparts, where your opinions expressed as facts are simply opinions and where it doesn’t really look anything like WoW I’d say you’ve hit the nail pretty much on the head.

    More seriously, if you’re worried about the models, I wouldn’t be. Almost everything in the game is likely to get another once-over before release (since this is exactly what they’re currently doing with SC2).

    Less seriously, you’re an idiot.

  11. Klapperman says:

    @Garg
    Too late, “axed” already crapped all over the thread…

  12. Tek says:

    I don’t know if there were pictures of the skill system before, but it looks almost provocatively like the talent system in WoW. I personally think it’s an “ok” way of doing things, but people will disagree. Strongly. Besides, I quite like the interface. I think the creative department has done a great job on that, from an artistic point of view.

  13. Thelps says:

    Well, errrrm, WoW/D3 homophobic metaphors aside (poster above, wow…) I think this’ll at the very least provide another dose of Diablo gameplay, which is why I certainly played the series in the first place. I never particularly found Diablo 2 to be all that dark anyway. Remember the desert section? Broad, sun-drenched daylight. Regardless, I’m sure we haven’t seen the darkest the game gets, and even so, I’m sure Blizzard’s priority is a game that looks good on a wide range of machines not simply the high end. This is Diablo’s first foray into 3D, and Blizzard’s art department have developed a very distinctive style that is consistent throughout WoW, Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3.

    As for complexity of gameplay: If you got sick of WoW quickly, I somehow doubt Diablo 3 will make a large difference. It’s not an MMO, but the gameplay mechanics are incredibly similar to WoW. In fact, I remember in my early WoW days how much that game reminded me of Diablo. Granted there were far fewer loot drops, and combat took slightly longer per mob, but the pacing and range of abilities was very similar, and the talent trees a complete graft from D2. Wailing Caverns gave me a serious case of Deja Vu to 4 player Diablo 2 sessions.

    I always found Diablo’s atmosphere to be primarily in the music and sound-effects anyway. I mean, nuking your way through a mass of 20 skeletons is hardly conducive to a feeling of creeping horror, regardless.

  14. Saul says:

    @axed: I’d say WoW and Diablo 1/2 are pretty similar in the obsessive/engulfing stakes, though they of course only work for certain people. I found them round about equally dull, and I doubt D3 will do any more for me. Glad they brightened it up a bit, though– at least the screenshots are prettier as I scroll on past.

  15. axed says:

    @Dolphan:
    Nope… this game looks childish and cartoony.

    @ChaosSmurf:
    Yep, opinions made of steel! If you think it doesnt look like WoW then you probably havnt played much WoW… its the same damn color scheme for starters! Also, WE CANNOT ASSUME BLIZZARD WILL REDO THE VISUALS BEFORE RELEASE. That is an amazing waste of resources and time. Also, why would you release half ass material? Why not show fully polished stuff to prevent people like me from valiantly defying this “God” of a developer.

    If Blizzard = Jesus
    My ambition = to be the spear in his side.

    have you all forgotten this thread?
    http://diablofans.com/forums/showthread.php?t=10112

    2001 was a reference to RTS games making the switch over to 3D and how that itself was like 3d games FPS games 10 years prior*.

    *actual dates may vary but hopefully you get the point.

    again…
    have you all forgotten this thread?
    http://diablofans.com/forums/showthread.php?t=10112

  16. futage says:

    “Jim Rossignol immediately ran to the projection whiteboard and thoughtwrote, “there are two Diablo games, but now there is three of it.””

    Made me piss myself.

  17. Ian says:

    Now you’ve linked to a thread full of rabid fanboys your point becomes so much more compelling.

    “Diablo 3 has humanoids? SO DOES WOW THIS R PHAIL OMGF IM CHOKING ON MY OWN IRRATIONAL HATRED ARRGGGhhhzbxbx….”

  18. Rob says:

    Ooh, pauldron slots.

  19. Taillefer says:

    So. How often did you ditch a load from your bulging sacks, RPS?

  20. Dexton says:

    @Axed, we will never forget that thread. That was the day that the collective internet gaming community had a giant laugh at the expense of the contradiction that is the Diablo fanboy/wow hater.

  21. FuKuy says:

    I like the new style a lot. Keep the good work Blizzard!!

  22. Ben Abraham says:

    I don’t want to seem willfully contrary, but those dudes summoning the demon seriously look like Undead characters from WoW. That’s kinda funny.

    And for what it’s worth, I quite liked WoW, I just got busy.

  23. Heliocentric says:

    Bleh, need a demo, not sure blizzard know how to make games anymore, as opposed to tredmills.

    If you equate visual darkness with darkness within the emotion of the work, or its theme you =”13 year old goth who is crying at his/her mother for not letting him/her paint his/her bedroom black”.

    Dark themes and even moods have nothing to do with pallette, pallettes priority in an interactive medium should be aiding interativity, still I hope they put a “disable wow [fun]ness” option in the graphics setting which reduces the contrast to 10% and gives everything a purple hue.

  24. axed says:

    I’ll admit, this game brings me rage but ill be a “chap” and try to stay on topic of this particular post. I’m not liking the inventory revamp… weapons not visually taking up varying sizes and spaces makes it look a bit dumbed down and intended for a younger audience with a short attention span.

    @Ian: i posted that link to help display the visual style that has become as opposed to what it could have been (the fan-made renders)

    Yes… ultimately they will make their best efforts to apeal to a younger audience (simpler inventory layout) with a more colorful color palette, usage of widely accepted modern in game tools and concepts (bags for inventory and its size upgrades). I still definitely prefer the 2d look, thought it was pixelated in itself (mainly due to its 800x600res or less), there’s something about chunky 3d models that just throws me out of any mood the game is trying to create and puts me in a child’s play pen with fluffy teddy bears and smiling plastic horses.

    @2nd image from top: that looks like something a warlock would conjure in WoW.

    Also, yes D2 had some “not so dark” atmospheres… but they still had an eerie feel to them. Looking at these colorful images It feels more like a comedic tribute or a generic emulation of someones vague take on the Diablo universe.

    There already is a WoW. There’s no reason to make “WoW with more demons and skeletons but less dwarfs and gnomes. Diablo 3 should have been an MMO with a more mature theme. More like Conan, if you will. And no “Why would Blizzard have 2 MMO’s!?” as they wouldnt be the first, and they would probably be able to pull it off if both MMOs were different in execution.

  25. danielcardigan says:

    I just hope it has auto-click when you hold the mouse button in, like Sacred et al. My carpal tunnel syndrome will never cope with a D1/D2 clickfest. Hmm. I suppose I can alway remap the key away from mouse 1. Maybe some kind of foot pedal would work…

  26. Clockwork Harlequin says:

    Maybe I’m just not in tune with my inner Angry Internet Man, but it amazes me that so much hatred is thrown at WoW. It was the highest earning MMO last year, right? That means it’s extremely popular (among consumers; 97% of “rabid fanboys”) can hate it and it’s still popular). Should we attack Blizzard for making a game they think will sell?

  27. Premium User Badge oceanclub says:

    “Hmm, I quite like inventory tetris”

    God, I hate it. In any game. It makes no sense, unless you actually do want to play a bag-packing simulator.

    P.

  28. Gladman says:

    I also like inventory tetris. You have a whiteboard? Sounds like a propper company.

  29. Nick says:

    Too much Meridian 59 heterosexuality tbh.

  30. Heliocentric says:

    Younger audience? Heh.. You realise that D2′s “darkness” would be very popular with todays tweens? The lightened style is more likely to appeal to adults who, as nature deals have reduced contrast sensitivity. Not seeing something is bad game design… except when its not!

    But, i’m not saying your complaints arnt legitimate, but rather i disagree. But i challenge you, make your next post on this topic after you read this a conversation on the things you like about D3, if nothing just state that.

    Personally, this game feels like it lives in titans quests shadow, titan quest not having a strict class definition and allowing you to mix styles together, just like guild wars did indeed. and just like no blizzard game ever has. Their balance always structured around a fairly small range of builds.

    Often in magical fantasy games i’ll be able to stretch the limitations of the balance to tune my experience, less clicking or more raw power but with lots of micro for example. But i found the click on the little dudes and carefully manage my health was an unavoidable chore in D2. Unavoidable, some times i dont mind dealing with it, others i do. I know a vampiric build can offset the need to potion spam, but the need to spam on enemies is ever present. Indeed, ther are probably mods which fix this but i’ve not played D2 for yonks.

  31. Tei says:

    I am one of these diablo fanbois/wow haters. And I am also a rabid Internet Hate Littel Men. Whatever.

    I think part of the problem is that WoW is so well designed (and this is from a WoW hater) that most people misunderstand good design for WoW. Diablo is getting better design, and this naturally make it more like WoW. Good fonts, easy to understand icons, .. etc.. is what define WoW.

    I have see a glimpse of the future.. and things looks ugly. I think the Diable that will be release will be a game that willl feel like a off-line Age of Conan, with isometric view.

    Theres still few diable things left to be removed.. like the classical Diablo font.
    So to me, Blizzard has two options, one is undo some of the solutions to make a game better on this build, and search for new solutions, not the ones that are proven and trued on WoW. And this may or not work. And the other is to continue, and release a game that will be good and cool in all corners, but that will spawn lots of controversy, because I will look somewhat like a “WoW mod”. I suppose Blizzard will continue as we seen on this screenshot. Hence.. my prediction for fun, interesting, internet flame, times.

  32. The Hammer says:

    Still really looking forward to this, though my appeal lies not in the inventories and skill sets, but in the randomized loot and largely non-committal dungeon crawling.

  33. Martin K says:

    That linked Diablo 3 forum thread is…terrifying. Ninety thread-pages of…bullshit. Complete and utter bullshit, containing within its impressive bulk not even the smallest, most minute concentration of actual merit. The number of man-hours wasted on the thing boggles the mind. I suggest all serious contestants in the aforementioned sado-masochistic circle-jerk be neutered, so that the future might be salvaged, even if only in part.

  34. Markoff Chaney says:

    I am a Diablo lover and, while I played WoW for years, I’m off that treadmill now. I was also enamored with Hellgate (yeah, I know) and I’m really looking forward to this iteration of Blizzard clickfest. I, personally, always liked inventory management. It helped slow down the pace and make you make sometimes hard decisions. This looks like I’d only have to lose one big item to get another big item instead of possibly losing 6 1 slot items for a big item.

    As long as scarcity is balanced with drops though, this can work out and be a little kinder to those who don’t like playing Tetris lite in the middle of time they have set aside for killing baddies. I’m still a little concerned about Blizzardnet 2.0 but we’ll see how that pans out too. I anticipate another well balanced, finely polished game.

  35. coco says:

    wow! look! its world of warcraft!

  36. -Spooky- says:

    “when it´s done..”

  37. Nimic says:

    I don’t see what this has got to do with WoW. Even if it did, I don’t see what WoW has done to deserve this immense hatred.

  38. danielcardigan says:

    No, this is World of Warcraft.

  39. SwiftRanger says:

    This still looks brilliant, nice to see another new person (Mike Nicholson) from a reputed developer (Dreamforge) doing some great stuff (UI) at Blizzard. This doesn’t look like WoW that much to me and I seriously doubt it’ll play like WoW, playing it is the most important bit here you see, have patience.

    Interesting tidbit is that while they were discussing item colours (they’re going back to Diablo 2 colours because it was too much like WoW at first) they discussed magic, unique and set items (if the latter will make it in) but they also said there is a new item type in DIII. Read everything, it’s nice to see Blizzard iterating pretty much every single aspect of the game.

  40. yutt says:

    Oh no! The inventory management is vaguely similar WoW’s (and most other games, and is a natural progression of Diablo’s design)! I am going to make hyperbolic comments about Diablo 3 being the same as WoW (Have you seen? They both have more than 256 colors too!).

    If you want to play Diablo 2 – you still can! If you want to play Diablo 3, don’t expect it to be Diablo 2 anymore than Warcraft 3 was the same as Warcraft 2.

  41. unclelou says:

    No other game comes close to how much I look forward to this. Not even remotely.

    I do hope the picture with the inventory is a mock-up of sorts though, as the armour he actually wears looks nothing like the inventory item. Oh, how awesome Titan Quest was in that regard!

  42. Kalain says:

    I’m impressed with Diablo3, it looks good and different enough from WoW. I’m wondering if people wondered where WoW’s inventory system came from, or have they forgotten Diablo2 already?

    The forum thread is truly a piece of stupid selfish fanboyism gone wild. Their mock ups of Diablo3 look, to me anyway, rubbish. Why have a darkened, washed out game, when you can have darkened, colourful game? Last time I saw, grass was green not grey. No, the new diablo is looking great and I think Blizzard have done a great job on it’s visual style. If people think they can do better, then why don’t they attempt to do it then instead of rant about how they would do it.

  43. Xocrates says:

    I’ve actually been playing some D2 recently, so this actually showed up at the right time.

    I admit, I always associated the tetris inventory to Diablo, so I’m kind of sad of seeing it go. However I have no problem with the current one and the arguments for the change make perfect sense.

    Curiously enough, one of the things I wanted the most for D2 to be able to do, is perhaps one of the most wow-like things D3 currently has: The skill row near the bottom. Mostly because it allows to chain skills efficiently making for more varied combat (as opposed to D2′s equip skill, cast skill, equip different skill, cast…). Seriously, I know skills better for what F# key I have it bind to than their actual icon or name.

  44. Zyrusticae says:

    Sigh.
    I miss the photorealistic inventory icons.

    The full-color skill icons also scream “Warcraft!” to me. What was wrong with the stone reliefs used in I and II? Or are they just incapable of replicating that style? That’s the impression I get from the screenshots thus far.

    That said, I still look forward to the game. It’s just that, being an eye-candy whore, some part of me is wholly unsatisfied by what I see.

  45. psyk says:

    How long ago did you play d1 cause thats looking seriously better than it did, D2 though the graphics were updated still dosent look as good as this. “Good fonts, easy to understand icons, .. etc.. is what define WoW.” you are kidding right thats how people define WoW wtf.

  46. psyk says:

    sry double post but.
    “If Blizzard = Jesus
    My ambition = to be the spear in his side.”

    HAHAHA Blizzard have already shown that they give not two shits what fanboys have to say.

  47. teo says:

    I agree with Zyrusticae
    I loved the realistic style of Diablo II.

    Also, the items are still too small. Diablo is ALL ABOUT the items, make them big and awesome. You drool over them because they look cool and have awesome stats

  48. MaxFrost says:

    I agree with a previous poster that when I first played WoW, I thought to myself, “This is how diablo should have been made.” The combat system in World of Warcraft is extremely robust, though if you’re not level cap, you wouldn’t know it. If they were to use the WoW engine in a single player game, it would translate near perfectly, because it’s fluid, continuous, gives lots of feedback, and lets you do cool stuff.

    As for the bags, inventory management is a pita. I always felt like I just couldn’t carry enough in D2, and it’s happening to me again in WoW, where _every_ single item mearly fills one bag slot. It’s not so much tetris there as it is bejeweled, but it’s still a small meta-game to keep your bags organized.

  49. Okami says:

    I really have to laugh out loud at the fears of Diablo fanboys, that Diablo III will be a dumbed down game with too many colours, since I remember the time the original Diablo came out. Back then, I regarded it as a stupid and mindlessly dumbed down travesty of an RPG, whose only appeal lay in it’s flashy graphics.

    In other words: People are idiots.

  50. Xocrates says:

    @Zyrusticae and teo: Diablo II looks were realistic? When did that happen?