Diablo III Developer Insights - Set Dungeons

Blizzard je objavio blog o dizajniranju i implementiranju set istanci. U ovom blogu možemo pročitati dosta interesantnih stvari vezane za patch 2.4 sadržaje!

Originally Posted by Blizzard (Source)

Patch 2.4.0 (and Season 5) introduces one of Diablo III’s newest and most exciting features yet: Set Dungeons. These static realms test your skills with various class sets, each carefully tuned around specific play styles. You may have even found that they’re a little (okay, maybe a lot) more difficult than your average Rift or Bounty!

What was the design intent behind these formidable new challenges? To answer that question, we’ve prepared this behind-the-scenes look at Set Dungeons, from their origin to what you can expect in-game.

What are Set Dungeons?

Senior Game Designer Alex Sulman, lead on the Set Dungeon project, explains that the gameplay experience for Set Dungeons will be way outside the norm. “They give you a chance to measure your skill. A yardstick of sorts,” he prefaced. “In a game like Diablo, there’s always something to do, so having something that’s more measurable and ‘beatable’ is different. It’s fresh.”

Inside an early version of the Shadow's Mantle dungeon.

Why include a feature that plays so differently from the rest of the game? Some players need an end goal where they can say that they’re done. Similar to the Season Journey, Set Dungeons accomplish this by giving a definitive goal to work towards. Class sets take effort to put together, but there’s no clear “celebration” of this accomplishment. Set Dungeons are the light at the end of that journey.

As an auxiliary goal, Set Dungeons also provide a sense of competition, though not formalized in the same manner as leaderboards. Since Set Dungeons are timed, there’s always an opportunity to go back and beat your time, or share your times with your friends and compare who’s truly the greatest among you.

We intentionally avoided formalizing leaderboards for Set Dungeons for a few reasons, in part because it would have significantly delayed the development of the feature. However, it also combats behavior where, when a leaderboard fills up, players may be discouraged from participating. Allowing the competition to remain more free between friends or clan mates makes the feature more approachable. It may feel insurmountable to compete with a top player, but when all you want to do is beat your buddies, it doesn’t seem so impossible a task.

Game Jam – Where Set Dungeons Started

Every so often, a game team might need to take a step back and go off the rails – take an opportunity to stretch their imaginations and see what kinds of crazy ideas they can make work. Several months ago, the Diablo III development team did just that, working on any creative passion project they wanted before pitching it to the rest of the team. For Alex, that meant fleshing out Set Dungeons.

One of the slides from Alex's original pitch deck.

The initial pitch is pretty much what you see in game today—a finish line for sets. The first set dungeon designed was Delsere’s Magnum Opus, and the response from the team was huge. There was a definite desire for greater challenge and testing one’s limits. Aside from some basic logistical questions, the team was ready to get this concept in game.

Iteration – Dealing with Design Complications

There wasn’t much iteration on the idea. “I’d brewed on it for a long time,” Alex says, indicating the idea was well formed from the start. However, no matter how great an idea may be, there are bound to be challenges you would never anticipate.

The biggest complexity was the introduction of multiplayer. Originally, Set Dungeons were designed as an exclusively solo experience. However, the multiplayer experience is an important part of Diablo III, and it just didn’t feel right to leave it out.

Playing Diablo with your friends should always be an option, no matter your goals.

When adding a new feature, our designers not only ask the question, “how well does this play?” but “how well does this play on PC versus console?” When we looked at Set Dungeons from a console player’s perspective, we saw a situation where, in local co-op, one of you sits on the couch flipping through your phone while the other challenges themselves in a Set Dungeon. That didn’t make for a great multiplayer experience, so it was clear a resolution was needed.

“I didn’t think it would work at first, but my teammates really helped that part come together,” Alex acknowledges. Everything from how the game would handle multiple players opening different Set Dungeons simultaneously to how the UI would look upon entry was tricky, but accomplished with group effort.

Of course, this brought both internal (and, later, community) concerns. Does the inclusion of multiplayer imply that Set Dungeons are designed to be conquered in this manner? Not at all. Players will conquer each dungeon on their own terms. For some, that might be piecing the puzzle together solo, reveling in a sense of fulfillment and personal achievement. For others, it might be getting by with a little help from their friends. Ultimately, that’s a choice each player should make for themselves, in the way that best suits their gameplay style.

Strengths and Weaknesses – Different Sets, Different Stories

As with most design projects, there were bound to be pitfalls. Some class sets and their objectives proved more difficult to design while others came much more naturally, and each had their reasons.

For example, the Thorns of the Invoker set was in the middle of a full rework at the time Alex was putting together each Set Dungeon outline. Senior Technical Game Designer Wyatt Cheng, who was tasked with redesigning the Invoker set, came to the rescue. He helped Alex define objectives and ensure the dungeon would capture the heart and essence of the set’s new powers.

Tackling the Thorns of the Invoker dungeon head on!

On the other end of the spectrum, the Barbarian Set Dungeons came naturally. Wrath of the Wastes was considered one of the best examples, and not because it’s touted as one of the more difficult. Its objectives really get at the heart of what the set is all about, which was the goal for every set. With objectives that encourage you to consider aspects like crowd management and utilizing Whirlwind to avoid taking damage as much as dealing it, it encourages a unique experience and highlights playing the game differently. That approach to objectives would become the expectation for other dungeons.

While not all the objectives came out perfectly, we want to avoid making too many changes. For example, there are a few objectives that may be too easily trivialized in multiplayer that we would like to address. We do, however, want to limit which aspects of the game we tune after release. For game elements that have a sense of achievement, we try to avoid revisions that could make players feel as though their accomplishments have been lessened.

Getting in Tune – The PTR Process

During the PTR, Alex was poring through player feedback every day. “I was mostly looking for tuning, but I paid a lot of attention to general feedback to what people liked and didn’t like as well,” he mentions, pleased with the overall reception. “The general response was exactly what I’d hoped for. It showed that the content is compelling enough to pursue and a great challenge.”

Some contributors, like Quin69 and Deadset, did thorough testing and shared their results.

Bugs were certainly another high priority. Set Dungeons were a large feature that came in hot, and the faster and larger a feature is, the more bugs it’s going to have. The PTR was invaluable in this regard—we can’t thank you enough for your participation and incredible feedback!

Final Word – Good Luck!

We hope that Set Dungeons provide a refreshing new challenge in Diablo III. They may not be for everyone, and that’s okay. Divisive content can be good for the long-term health of any game, ensuring that there really is something for everyone. Set Dungeons are meant to be tough and deviate from the traditional slay-and-loot gameplay. Are they too tough? Perhaps for some, but you’re not alone in the struggle! Even our designers feel the pressure.

“The irony is that there are several that I can’t master on live, so maybe I’m not the best to give advice!” laughs Alex. However, he does have a few tips. “The number one tip is to check your corners. Don’t blast through everything expecting to win. There’s a certain playstyle that works in each, so pay close attention to them.” Attention to detail is important, especially if you’re looking to master each set.

Finally, if you’ve conquered every Set Dungeon, don’t forget to congratulate yourself! That’s no small feat. “If you see someone running around with those beautiful green wings, bow down at their feet! They have mad skills . . . no matter which way they chose to tackle the challenge.”

Overwatch Closed Beta se Vraća 9 Februara!

Napokon! Blizzard je objavio da se Overwatch beta vraća 9 Februara!
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Source)
Get ready for your next objective, heroes—the Overwatch Closed Beta returns February 9!

Since the last round of testing, our technicians back in Winston's lab have been hard at work analyzing field data and building out several new features and updates, including:

  • An all-new progression system 
  • Two new maps, including a new game mode
  • Several hero balance updates
  • And a variety of Private Game updates, including full A.I. matches

Closed Beta testers will have a chance to check out all of these changes and more as soon as the game returns to active duty next week. Stay tuned for additional details about what's new in the Overwatch beta, as well as official patch notes. 

As a reminder: If you had access to the Closed Beta before the break, you will continue to have access during this next phase of testing. With so much new content available, we're also looking to recruit more players to help us get an even wider range of perspectives and feedback—so if you're interested in participating, make sure to opt in!

Novi Hearthstone Play Format

Hearthstone play mode uskoro će da se kompletno promeni! Play mode, će od sada biti promenjen u dva formata, Wild, Hearthstone koji poznajemo do sada, i Standard, sa restrikcijama.

Originally Posted by Blizzard (Source)
Exciting changes are coming to the Tavern! We’re proud to announce that we’re introducing game formats to Hearthstone! Whether you’re just getting into Hearthstone or you’re a seasoned veteran, the new Standard format will help keep Hearthstone fresh, exciting, and accessible for years to come, while the Wild format will preserve everything you already know and love about Hearthstone!

The New Standard
Standard is a new format in Play mode that allows players to go head-to-head using only the most recently released Hearthstone cards. You’ll play Standard using a deck built solely from a pool of cards that were released in the current and previous calendar year, along with a core foundation of the Basic and Classic card sets (which will always be valid for Standard). You’ll be matched against other players who are also using Standard decks.

New description, same great taste!

Standard promises a fresher Hearthstone experience!

  • Standard will help make for a more dynamic and balanced metagame.
  • A select set of cards makes each new card have more impact!
  • The developers will have more freedom to design exciting new cards.
  • It lets newer players jump in faster without having to collect as many cards.

Standard is only available as a format in Friendly Challenges, Ranked, and Casual play, so it won’t affect Arena, Solo play, or Adventures.

Wild Will Be Wild
Wild is our new name for the Hearthstone you already know, because it’ll be the format where anything can happen. While Standard puts a bright spotlight on recently released cards and brings a more balanced experience, when you queue up for Wild, you’ll be cozying up with the crazy fun of Hearthstone you’re already familiar with. Of course, as more and more cards are added over time, the wilder and more unpredictable Wild will be!

In terms of gameplay, nothing is changing for Wild: you’ll be able to finish quests, earn gold, rank up on the ladder, get card backs, earn Legend rank, and use all the cards you’ve already collected to build a Wild deck, just like you always have. When you queue up for Ranked or Casual play with a Wild deck, you’ll always be matched with other players who are also using Wild decks.

New Wild Button!

Ranking Up
When Standard is introduced you’ll be able to choose between Standard and Wild for Ranked play, and you'll have a separate rank for each format, so you can earn ranks and hit Legend in both Wild and Standard if you wish! You’ll only collect ranked rewards at the end of the season based on the highest rank you attained in one format or the other, but not both, so feel free to play whichever you like best!

Time for Reflection
The arrival of Standard format will also be an excellent time for us to take stock of Hearthstone. While normally we’re quite conservative about making balance changes to Hearthstone cards (and we’ll continue to be in the future), we’re planning to take the new Hearthstone year as a golden opportunity to re-evaluate a number of cards in the Basic and Classic card sets, including class cards, and make some long-considered adjustments.

More information on which cards are changing and why will be available as we draw nearer to the arrival of Standard format.

More Deck Slots? More Deck Slots!
Yes! More deck slots! Prior to the arrival of Standard we’ve got a buff planned for your Collection Manager! If you’ve unlocked all nine heroes, you’ll also unlock nine more deck slots, raising your total number of deck slots to eighteen.


Release the Kraken!
Standard format will arrive this spring! When the momentous moment arrives, you’ll be able to build Standard decks using the following sets:

  • Basic
  • Classic
  • Blackrock Mountain
  • The Grand Tournament
  • The League of Explorers
  • The Spring 2016 Expansion

Curse of Naxxramas and Goblins vs Gnomes will not be part of Standard. When we release the first new Expansion each year, every set that wasn’t released in the same year or the year prior will cycle out and no longer be part of the Standard format.

That’s also when the new Standard year begins. Each new Hearthstone year is symbolized by one of the zodiac constellations twinkling in Azeroth’s night sky. The moment when a new constellation comes into alignment heralds the start of the year and a time of jubilation and raucous revelry wherever Hearthstone is played!

This inaugural Standard year will be known as the Year of the Kraken, so get ready to make some waves!

Gone Wild
Adventures and Expansions that are not part of the Standard format will no longer be available for purchase from the Shop—this year, that includes Naxxramas and Goblins vs Gnomes. If you want any cards you missed out on for Wild play or just to fill out your collection, you’ll be able to craft them using Arcane Dust—even cards from Adventures that were previously un-craftable. Speaking of Adventures, if you’ve purchased at least the first wing of an Adventure before it cycled out, you’ll still be able to finish acquiring and playing the remaining wings.

Wild Crafting!

We’re Pumped!
We’ve worked hard to pave the way for Standard, and we’re really excited about all the great things this new format will bring to Hearthstone: fresher gameplay, more impactful expansions, and—since Standard will become the official format of the Hearthstone Championship Tour—an even more exciting competitive scene. All in all, we believe that Standard will end up being the most fun way to enjoy Hearthstone.

We hope you’re excited too, and we can’t wait to hear what you think.

We’re sure you have questions, so read the FAQ, and if you’ve still got questions, we’ll be happy to help!

Fortuna Fireside Hearthstone Turnir (Ultra Centar Galaktika) - 06 Februar

fortuna hs tournament
Fortuna Gaming u saradnji sa Ultra Centrom Galaktika organizuje Hearthstone Fireside Gathering Turnir, 06. februara!

Ukoliko voliš Hearthstone, želiš da upoznaš druge igrače, odigraš par partija uživo i želiš da budeš deo najvećeg live Hearthstone turnira u Beogradu dođi da se upoznamo, družimo, dobro zabavimo i podelimo magiju Hearthstone-a u prijatnom okruženju!

Svi posetioci Fortuna Fireside Gathering-a su u mogućnosti da učestuju u Fireside Areni i osvoje neke od nagrada, dobiju „Fireside Friends“ cardback za Hearthstone i prate prenos Turnira uživo u mini bioskopu.

Posetioci se mole da ponesu sopstvene uređaje jer zbog očekivanog broja posetilaca i istovremenog održavanja turnira Organizator nije u mogućnosti da svima obezbedi uređaje za igru.

Fortuna Fireside Turnir
  • Format Turnira je single elimination/„best-of-five“ conquest.
  • Prijave za Turnir se podnose isključivo preko stranice: www.fortunagaming.rs

[VAŽNO] Molimo Vas da pre slanja prijave pažljivo pročitate Pravila Fortuna Fireside Turnira dostupna na web adresi www.fortunagaming.rs.
  • Prijave za turnir se podnose do 18:00h, 29. januara.
  • Maksimalan broj učesnika na turniru je 32.
  • Online kvalifikaciona runda za 64 takmičara biće održana u subotu, 30. januara u 13h. Pobednici ove runde se kvalifikuju za Fortuna Fireside Turnir 6. februara.
  • Kotizacija za turnir iznosi 500 RSD i plaća se na licu mesta.
  • Partije se igraju isključivo na uređajima obezbeđenim od strane Organizatora.
  • Turnir će biti prenošen uživo uz pratnju komentatora na zvaničnom kanalu Fortuna Gaming-a: twitch.tv/FortunaGamingTV

Najbolje očekuju vredne nagrade!

Vidimo se!

Kako su Rešili Problem oko Diablo III Damage Brojeva

Ukoliko ste mislili da je smanjivanje velikih damage brojeva na manje verzije lak posao? Prevarili ste se. Blizzard je objavio blog, gde možemo pročitati koje su sve design probleme imali pri problemima za Patch 2.4, uključujući i problem lokalizacije.

Ukoliko ste zainteresovani da pročitate više o izazovima koje su developeri morali da predju, pročitajte blog u nastavku.

Originally Posted by Blizzard (Source)

To work in software development, whether it’s for business, entertainment, or your favorite video game company, is to know that simple problems don’t always have simple solutions. Game development is, in a word, complicated. There are thousands of moving parts where the smallest iteration can cause weeks of reversions and backtracking. On the outside looking in, it’s tempting to ask, “Why not just fix it?” That’s a bit like asking a baker why they can’t just substitute sugar for sucralose. The answer is similar across the board; “It’s not that simple.”

Numbers – How Do They Work?

In Diablo III, there’s lots of information thrown at the player. Let’s talk numbers. You see them everywhere! They’re on your gear, they’re in your character profile, and they float around your nephalem’s head while you’re in combat. Behind each of those digits is a huge amount of tech that makes them behave the way that they do.

We heard a lot of player feedback that combat numbers were starting to be overwhelming or difficult to comprehend in moment-to-moment gameplay. In the past, large numbers were exciting to see because they stood out above the rest. How do you bring back that emotional appeal without making players feel like they have lost power?

Patch 2.4.0 introduced a couple of new features to address this. First, we’ve introduced a new in-game option to truncate numbers and display them using abbreviations. Second, we’ve added an entirely new feature that highlights some of your largest damage numbers in a new color. Each of these additions presented their own challenges when we went to implement them; some were design issues, others created localization concerns, and at the end of all these decisions, the result needed to look good.

Initially, we had the idea of highlighting the top 5% of numbers you’ve generated in the last few seconds. The first problem with this approach was that every build is different, especially when it comes to how each dishes out damage. Some pump out small bursts of floating numbers over time while others barrage your screen with a constant stream of information. In our first pass, another issue that arose was that the new system didn’t accommodate expected fluctuations in damage dealt. Take a Power Pylon, for example, where your damage is temporarily augmented. After the Pylon ends, you’ll still want to know when you’re dealing notable damage.

We developed our algorithm over time to account for these outliers, settling on the following rules for which numbers appear in orange:

  • Damage numbers must be over 10,000 to be considered
  • If the damage number to be displayed is larger than the last that was displayed in orange, then display this new number in orange
  • Decay the value of the largest number by 3% every second
    • This reduces the likelihood that you’ll go on too long without seeing any highlighted numbers
  • Ignore the first 10 large numbers
    • This allows for the system to calibrate itself
  • If no damage has been dealt for 10 seconds, reset the system

Where Are My Billions? – Challenges in Localization

If you’ve played the latest patch, you may have already seen our new damage abbreviations. We’ve seen a lot of questions, primarily from our English-speaking audiences, about why we measure in millions, but skip counting in billions.

There are a few reasons, but one of the most important is localization. Diablo III is a global game, published in 13 different languages, so when we make a design decision that affects the written word (or, in this case, written number), we have to remain cognizant of what that change will mean in everyiteration of the game. While you might think numbers would be the easiest thing to translate, that couldn’t be any less true.

Left: English language numbers. Right: Korean language numbers.

Here’s an example where what might look like a simple translation can get complicated. Some languages, like Spanish or French, do not commonly use a unique term for “billion.” They instead refer to that amount as what literally translates to “one thousand million” rather than having their own word. In terms of etymology, this is a result of both American and British English evolving the word “billion” to mean “one thousand million” rather than the “one million million” it originally represented.

It gets even more complex when looking at languages like Korean or Chinese, where large numbers are grouped on a different scale. For instance, in English, the nomenclature of a number changes with everythird place, such as thousands, millions, billions and so forth. In Korean, the naming convention of a number instead changes every fourth place, using a method called myriad squared. This is because in Korean, numbers are grouped every ten-thousand fold instead of thousand fold.

This issue is compounded by punctuation use. Not every language uses commas as breaks in numbers. Some use periods instead, which is very common in Europe, and others don’t use any punctuation at all.

Left: Korean gold count. Right: French gold count.

As numbers in Diablo III grew and we decided to add in numerical punctuation, we needed a way to elegantly “translate” where—and when—this punctuation would appear for each localization. Our code uses a library called ICU, or International Components for Unicode, which provides a great amount of support for localizing software. ICU can be used in a number of ways, but for this feature, we took advantage of its ability to take a number and a locale (such as United States English, French, or Korean) as input and give back a properly formatted number for that locale as output, complete with any periods or commas. Our Localization team also keeps a table that shows what numbers each region chooses to publish and the end result.

An example of one of our localization tables, designating which language truncates at what point.

Some localizations opted to abbreviate more or less, mostly out of cultural preferences. There’s a real psychology behind player satisfaction and the actual length of the numbers you’re seeing, and player preference varies on both personal and cultural levels. For example, in English, we opted not to abbreviate in the low millions because seeing “1,000,000” is much more satisfying than “1M.” Skipping the billions place also helped with this, as seeing “1,000M” tells a much more exciting story than “1B.” Of course, number size isn’t the only consideration; the visuals, colors, and movement all play a key role as well.

Making Numbers Pop – Refining Visuals

It’s important to make sure that when a player sees a number, they can quickly understand the implication behind it and what it means to them at that precise instant. In Patch 2.4.0, we aimed to provide even more in-combat information than ever before. This is where those Critical Hit highlight numbers come into play.

Look at that beautiful crit!

Simply changing the color was one of many ways we could have presented this information. We asked ourselves a lot of questions about how was best to communicate these big hits. Do we make these numbers bigger? Have them path differently? Make them flash? Do they hang on the screen longer? Or do we just give them a different color? How do you decide which of these options is the right one?

We gravitated towards color because we could present this new information to our players in a drastically different way that passed other user accessibility concerns. Orange numbers stand out; they’re not something you’ve seen before, so subconsciously you pay close attention to them.

Orange also passes the colorblindness-friendly test. When you’re looking at a color wheel, orange is in a different realm than the other colors we currently use for other information. This way players that are colorblind can tell something’s new, too!

When we look at changing colors in our interface, our artists take a look a three options for variation: Hue, Saturation, and Lightness. This is part of what’s called the HSL color space, a common digital standardization for the color wheel.  Each aspect is key to adjusting a different emotion or evoking a new response from the player. Do we want to change the mood? Then we adjust hue. If we’re shifting an image from being juicy to more flat, then saturation becomes key. How about drawing attention or driving it away? Lightness becomes the go-to.

As an example, some of the most critical information in the game is how much healing you’re receiving. Healing is literally your life force, and we want it to be very visible. That’s why that information is some of the brightest in the game. We wanted critical hit information to be extremely visible as well, so we played a lot with its lightness levels to make sure you always know when your next big damage spike occurs.


Bring It All Together

When we talk about the Diablo III team, it’s easy to first think of our developers who tweak the way a class or an item functions, or put cool, new features in to explore. However, there’s so much more going on beyond what your hero is wearing or wielding, and our artists, engineers, localization experts, and so many more help us ensure everything comes together smoothly for all of our players around the world.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this in-depth peek behind the scenes of a small feature that, under the hood, is deceptively gargantuan! It’s a privilege to come in every day and work on this game, even when it’s on the little details. Thanks for reading!

Space Lord Leoric, Novi Development Video - Li Ming, Xul, Skins, Lunar Festival i Još Mnogo Toga

Space Lord Leoric

Blizzard je upravo tvitovo najavu da se legendarni Space Lord Leoric pridružuju Nexusu, 26 Januara.

Originally Posted by Blizzard (Source)

All will serve the Galactic Empire! Space Lord Leoric is on his way to the Nexus!
> http://blizz.ly/1nDM26Y

Novi Development Video - Li Ming, Xul, Skins, Lunar Festival i Još Mnogo Toga

Blizzard je uploadovo novi video, gde možemo videti dva nova heroja, Li Ming i Xul, kao i nove skinove koji nam dolaze u budućem patchu!

Warcraft Movie TV Spot

Nova reklama za Warcraft film je objavljena. Novi video sadrži miks starih i novih sadržaja!
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