Diablo 3 Dev Talks Cut Features, Lack of PvP, and Creating Whimsyshire for the Game’s 10th Anniversary


Diablo III recently turned 10, and to celebrate a decade of demon slaying, former Diablo III developer and current Diablo Immortal game director Wyatt Cheng took to Twitter to answer fan questions about the game’s development, initial launch, and features that haven’t been finalized.

Cheng’s answers dive deep into Blizzard’s approach to Diablo III, and how that approach quickly changed after launch. The game’s difficulty, for example, was originally inspired by World of Warcraft raids. The game’s controversial real-money auction house was a major point of contention at launch, with many players feeling that the game’s arduous challenge at higher difficulty levels and low item drop rates were meant to push players to buy better gear on the auction house. Cheng says that was never the goal, but was instead implemented so players could more easily swap and trade items without having to use third-party websites.

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Anyone who’s spent a lot of time in Diablo III has likely encountered the game’s secret level Whimsyshire, a world of happy clouds and rainbows that looks like it’s straight out of an episode of Care Bears. The easter egg came about due to an internal debate over including a rainbow in Diablo III, and whether or not it was appropriate for the game’s tone.

Cheng also dives into some of the various features that never saw the light of day, the most infamous being Diablo III’s cut PvP modes. According to Cheng, balancing each class’s abilities with various runes and legendary items for PvP has proven to be a “monumental task”. As for what PvP might have entailed, Cheng says there were several ideas on the table, including a traditional “arena” style mode, a MOBA-like PvP mode with lanes and minions, a bounties for open-world PvP, and even an asymmetrical PvP mode where one player took on the role of a boss and battled four other players.

Another major feature left on the cutting room floor were talismans. Originally, players could equip up to nine talismans to further enhance their character. The system was meant to be an evolution of Diablo II charms. Iterations of the system included a mini-game style inventory where players matched different colored talismans for bonuses. According to Chenghowever, players ignored the system or found it tedious, so it was eventually cut.

Blizzard also experimented with an “angelic/demonic” system inspired by the light side versus dark side morality system found in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. Players could have made good or bad dialogue choices, and certain skills or items would have required a certain number of demonic or angelic alignment points. This was eventually scrapped, as according to Cheng it put “player build choices at odds with player fantasy”.

There are many more details to learn in Cheng’s full thread, so be sure to check it out for more information. Some of the Diablo III features that Cheng mentioned will actually be an important part of Diablo Immortal. The franchise’s free entry on mobile (but also playable on PC with cross-play and cross-progression) includes group and open-world PvP as well as multiplayer hub cities, two features that didn’t make the cut. for Diablo III.

Although Diablo III’s launch didn’t go smoothly due to server errors and design issues, it would eventually become “a damn good time” with the introduction of the game’s Reaper of Souls expansion. .

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