Diablo 3’s former developer, Andrew Chambers, sheds light on the decision-making process behind the game’s design. One of the key differences he points out between Diablo 3 and Last Epoch is the level of complexity in their skill systems. Chambers reveals that while Last Epoch opted for a more intricate skill system involving “runes” with different properties, Diablo 3 aimed to keep its skill system approachable. This decision, according to Chambers, was made to attract a broader audience beyond just Diablo fans. Looking back on it, Chambers acknowledges that catering to veteran Diablo fans with a more complex skill system may have been a better approach, but he stands by the choice to prioritize accessibility in Diablo 3.

The Abandoned Skill System Idea

Chambers reflects on a scrapped skill system idea for Diablo 3 that involved players collecting “runes” to enhance their skills with various affixes and levels. This system would have introduced an “endless chase game” for players to upgrade their skills. However, Chambers opposed this idea, deeming it too complicated and likely to result in inventory management issues for players. Despite his reservations, Chambers admits that the abandoned skill system might have resonated more with the core Diablo audience. Ultimately, the decision to opt for a simpler skill system was made to appeal to a wider range of players and introduce them to the world of action role-playing games.

In his discussion, Chambers also praises Last Epoch’s trading system as a shining example of a robust and efficient system. He encourages other action role-playing games to take inspiration from Last Epoch’s trading system and consider how they can implement similar features to enhance their own gameplay experience. Chambers highlights the importance of learning from successful systems implemented in other games and adapting them to improve the overall gaming experience for players.

Chambers expresses his belief that Blizzard would not have been able to create a game like Last Epoch due to certain design choices and priorities. While acknowledging areas where Diablo 3 could have benefitted from a more intricate skill system or a refined trading system, Chambers also recognizes the strengths of the game. He commends Diablo 3 for its pacing, engaging enemies, and overall gameplay experience. Despite the differences between Diablo 3 and Last Epoch, Chambers finds merit in both games and appreciates the unique elements they bring to the ARPG genre.

Andrew Chambers’ insights into the key design decisions of Diablo 3 offer valuable perspective on the thought process behind creating a successful action role-playing game. By prioritizing approachability, making tough decisions about skill systems, and recognizing the importance of trading systems, Chambers highlights the complexity of game development and the choices developers must make to appeal to a diverse audience. While every game has its strengths and weaknesses, understanding the reasoning behind design decisions can provide valuable lessons for future game development endeavors.


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