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Skill Trees Removed From Diablo III

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 24 comments
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Blizzard's Jay Wilson said that skill trees will not be a part of Diablo III.

DiabloFans conducted an interview with Blizzard's Jay Wilson and chatted about the upcoming action-RPG PC game, Diablo III. Recently Blizzard revealed that it had no plans to ship the game in 2010, instead revealing a possible 2011 or 2012 street date. This latest interview dives straight into the topic of skill trees, and how they're listed as "unnamed skill tree 1-3." Naturally, inquiring Diablo fans want to know more.

Wilson's eventual explanation reflects back to two Tweets over the last week, with the first reporting that the Diablo III team is implementing and testing a new system that changes how skills are acquired. A tweet dated yesterday is more of a tease, asking followers what approach the team is taking in regards to the removed/changed skill trees.

But in the interview, Wilson admits that they're removing the tree-type architecture and will instead install a "purely" skill-based system. "This new system is still in the development stages and if it does not work, we still have plenty of options to fall back on," he said. "Right now, we're just trying different things and getting a feel for the few ideas in regards to the skill system that we have going on right now. It differs from the World of Warcraft/Diablo II type hierarchical styles and is more of a skill pool/path than a tree per se."

The interview also covers topics including class-specific quests, the difficulty settings (or current lack thereof), balancing the power of an item in comparison to its drop rate, what the merchants are selling within the game, an more. While Wilson refused to comment about the PvP system, he did say that they're trying to implement features from the published novels.

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Top Comments
  • 18 Hide
    MrHectorEric , November 25, 2009 3:20 PM
    When 2012 rolls around I doubt they'll be close, in the mean time they'll roll out another 5 expansion packs for WoW. My whole theory is they don't want to put out a RPG that will compete with WoW, so they'll keep working on it until WoW subscriptions start to drop off. They may even decide to turn D3 into a MMO with subscriptions also. The longer they take to roll out this game the less excited I become. If they take long enough I may just stop caring altogether.
  • 18 Hide
    Kelavarus , November 25, 2009 2:30 PM
    I'm confused... Is this still Diablo? It says 3, but it's starting to sound like a different series.
  • 14 Hide
    myriad46 , November 25, 2009 4:38 PM
    Let me get this right, Microsoft has developed, beta'd and deployed three operating systems since the last Diablo product was released and will probably have a fourth out before we see anything. That's right boys and girls...XP went live in 2001, the same year as Lord of Destruction. This is the most pathetic thing I have ever seen. In 2012, we'll all probably be saying, "Diablo what?"
Other Comments
    Display all 24 comments.
  • -1 Hide
    ssalim , November 25, 2009 2:27 PM
    Maybe they'll implement UO-like skill system where if you use it alot, it'll go up but if you don't use it, it'll go down. Since there is no tree, skills/spells will be available as you level up (you automatically learn them) except a few special ones (you must get from quests maybe).

    Start: 15
    Max: 100 (not including bonuses from gear or enhancements etc)
    Cap: 120 (real max)
    Min: 10

    Obviously, higher number = better effect/damage.
  • 11 Hide
    tommysch , November 25, 2009 2:29 PM
    PLZ Blizzard dont noobify (wow-style) something that works.
  • 18 Hide
    Kelavarus , November 25, 2009 2:30 PM
    I'm confused... Is this still Diablo? It says 3, but it's starting to sound like a different series.
  • -2 Hide
    oren , November 25, 2009 2:45 PM
    I like Final Fantasy 12's license system. Maybe something like that could be an option.
  • -3 Hide
    Anonymous , November 25, 2009 3:18 PM
    It'll be interesting to see how this turns out. One thing I hated about the skill tree in Diablo 2 is that you had to put points into crappy skills just to be able to get access to the better ones. I can see having level requirements on certain skills, but I don't like being forced to waste 1 or more skill points on skills that I'll never use. Regardless, I'm still not buying this one if there is no LAN support.
  • 18 Hide
    MrHectorEric , November 25, 2009 3:20 PM
    When 2012 rolls around I doubt they'll be close, in the mean time they'll roll out another 5 expansion packs for WoW. My whole theory is they don't want to put out a RPG that will compete with WoW, so they'll keep working on it until WoW subscriptions start to drop off. They may even decide to turn D3 into a MMO with subscriptions also. The longer they take to roll out this game the less excited I become. If they take long enough I may just stop caring altogether.
  • 14 Hide
    the_al , November 25, 2009 3:25 PM
    Blizzard doesnt have the core Devs around that were there when Diablo2 was created. A big portion of the original team that Made D1/D2 got together and recently put forth a new game called Torchlight.

    That game has such a diablo2 feel to it.

    Also, the guy that created the slick sounding medieval guitar music, is doing alot of the sound/music in Torchlight. I believe his name is Matt Uelman. If anything, I would call Torchlight Diablo3, and call the forthcoming Diablo3 : World of Dialocraft......


    People who are expecting the aura, the mystique, and the gothic nature of diablo2, are in for a surprise. Diablo3 is going to be cartoony, wow'ish, and catering to stupid newbs.


    It will never be the same again, blizzard is selling out to the masses..
  • 10 Hide
    gr33nf00t , November 25, 2009 4:05 PM
    Meh. I've almost lost complete interest in D3. By the time it's released, my grandchildren will be who is playing it.
  • 2 Hide
    sslazio77 , November 25, 2009 4:30 PM
    Vouch Torchlight, its very very similar to diablo/2 besides the graphics, its not very demonic and dark, and cartoony. but teh game play and everything else is really similar and i would recommend it. Idk about diablo3 anymore, why do they feel the need to change a game that made it in the 200 games of all time, d1, and d2 made it and now they gonna change it to crapness... with all the advertising they will get every1 who played d2 to try d3 as well as newcomers, but all they are doing is chasing away old d2 players with all this waiting and changing
  • 14 Hide
    myriad46 , November 25, 2009 4:38 PM
    Let me get this right, Microsoft has developed, beta'd and deployed three operating systems since the last Diablo product was released and will probably have a fourth out before we see anything. That's right boys and girls...XP went live in 2001, the same year as Lord of Destruction. This is the most pathetic thing I have ever seen. In 2012, we'll all probably be saying, "Diablo what?"
  • 1 Hide
    anamaniac , November 25, 2009 4:39 PM
    the_alBlizzard doesnt have the core Devs around that were there when Diablo2 was created. A big portion of the original team that Made D1/D2 got together and recently put forth a new game called Torchlight.That game has such a diablo2 feel to it.Also, the guy that created the slick sounding medieval guitar music, is doing alot of the sound/music in Torchlight. I believe his name is Matt Uelman. If anything, I would call Torchlight Diablo3, and call the forthcoming Diablo3 : World of Dialocraft......People who are expecting the aura, the mystique, and the gothic nature of diablo2, are in for a surprise. Diablo3 is going to be cartoony, wow'ish, and catering to stupid newbs.It will never be the same again, blizzard is selling out to the masses..

    I wish you weren't right...
    I LOVED the archaic and gothic look and fell to Diablo 2. Get my full suit of armor, my flail, and my gothic shield, and then go spam hammers at all my enemies with 2 other hammerdins at the same time. That was fun.
    I do miss my Hammerdin...
    Hell, while the druid was fun, I wasn't a big fan of the Diablo 2 expansion.
    Diablo 2 also had really fun online play.
    Hell, I'd still play Diablo 2 if it just got a graphics bump (640x480 for D2, 800x600 max for D2 expac).

    And yeah, Torchlight is kinda fun.Though using a pistol in one hand while weilding a shield in the other seems very odd to me.

    I hope Blizzard doesn't mess this up...
  • 5 Hide
    Anonymous , November 25, 2009 6:34 PM
    Diablo's new talent system will be, I predict, a mix between pure skill points, like in Demon's Souls, with the visual variety in TitanQuest.

    Meh. I'm already over Diablo III simply because it looks like WoW. There's nothing sinister, dark, and gothic about creeping through a cartoony dungeon. It's going to be like a standalone version of Naxxramas + Icecrown.
  • -2 Hide
    n3ard3ath , November 25, 2009 8:55 PM
    the_alBlizzard doesnt have the core Devs around that were there when Diablo2 was created. A big portion of the original team that Made D1/D2 got together and recently put forth a new game called Torchlight.That game has such a diablo2 feel to it.Also, the guy that created the slick sounding medieval guitar music, is doing alot of the sound/music in Torchlight. I believe his name is Matt Uelman. If anything, I would call Torchlight Diablo3, and call the forthcoming Diablo3 : World of Dialocraft......People who are expecting the aura, the mystique, and the gothic nature of diablo2, are in for a surprise. Diablo3 is going to be cartoony, wow'ish, and catering to stupid newbs.It will never be the same again, blizzard is selling out to the masses..


    You are right, but then again, Torchlight also have an Ultra-Cartoony look to it. Even worst than what D3 looks like. It's a shame the original D1/D2 devs took that route. What were their point? Copying Blizzard's lack of visual art taste or something? Cause that's popular? It seems so.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , November 26, 2009 12:21 AM
    maybe they will be implementing invisible skills tress. certain combat move you perform frequently will slowly lead you certain skills, eventually you will get a char that is truly to your style of play
  • 3 Hide
    igot1forya , November 26, 2009 3:27 AM
    Skills will be acquired by collecting golden rings, special "coins" and magic mushrooms :)  some of the new abilities will be the ability to shoot fire, throw hammers, or even fly short distances with the help of a tail. :) 
  • 0 Hide
    fleeb , November 26, 2009 10:27 AM
    n3ard3athYou are right, but then again, Torchlight also have an Ultra-Cartoony look to it. Even worst than what D3 looks like. It's a shame the original D1/D2 devs took that route. What were their point? Copying Blizzard's lack of visual art taste or something? Cause that's popular? It seems so.


    There's a reason why they took that route. Go Google.
  • 1 Hide
    tester24 , November 26, 2009 3:11 PM
    I hope they don't screw this up by changing things that don't need to be changed. I am also wondering how big is the development team? I know with blizzard that they don't want to rush anything and it's done when it's done (which is good for the polished look of things) but for christ sake hire some more talented people so there isn't a decade between games!
  • 0 Hide
    Manos , November 26, 2009 3:54 PM
    KelavarusI'm confused... Is this still Diablo? It says 3, but it's starting to sound like a different series.


    When i was saying that Diablo 3 wont be what a developer like Blizzard should be capable to release after ALl those years I got flamed. They are screwing over WoW the past couple of years and now they have no excuse by raping Diablo as well with all those years in between. This is unacceptable to be called as a developer who achieved something huge to be so dissapointing and let alone so slow. Took so many eyars to talk about releasing Diablo 3 in 2012? And when I saw the video most were drooling when you can see that. this was just a diabloe 2 with a BIT updated graphics and yet they are trying to reomve skilltrees? Wtf did making WoW noobis to atract more ppl work so good for them that they are willing to simplify also Diablo 3 to the same bad extend? Sucks . I hate you Blizz for ruining WoW and now making me think you are ruiing Diablo 3. Damn it. Oh well. Dragon Age is amazing. They should take that as example from Bioware that has been a busy and worthy developer the past years with Mass Effect and so on.
  • 1 Hide
    caskachan , November 26, 2009 6:01 PM
    duke nukem forever
    diablo 3
    ... etc
  • 0 Hide
    zendax , November 26, 2009 6:57 PM
    MrHectorEricWhen 2012 rolls around I doubt they'll be close, in the mean time they'll roll out another 5 expansion packs for WoW. My whole theory is they don't want to put out a RPG that will compete with WoW, so they'll keep working on it until WoW subscriptions start to drop off. They may even decide to turn D3 into a MMO with subscriptions also. The longer they take to roll out this game the less excited I become. If they take long enough I may just stop caring altogether.


    Remember that Starcraft 2 was announced in May 2007, and Diablo 3 just over a year after that. SC2 will come out the first-half of next year, and Diablo 3 probably a year afterwards.

    Yes, the development cycles are long, but they're not unending. 3 years from announcement to launch does not a Duke Nukem Forever make (close, but not quite).

    Finally, I'm really confused by why people think the removal of skill trees make it more like WoW. Did you see the Diablo 3 skill trees? Yeah, their style and functionality was almost identical to WoW. Removing them for an alternative system is a move away from World of Warcraft.

    I don't know if Diablo 3 is going to be a good game or not. I think nostalgia is clouding the heads of some, however. I'd rather not play inventory Tetris, thank you very much. Changing systems that added more to annoyance and frustration than to challenge is a step in the right direction. The inventory system will be more WoW-like, which I don't care about one way or the other. I'd personally prefer an encumbrance system, where you keep the idea of different items take up different amounts of space, without the "fun" inventory management mini-game.
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