Diablo 3 Dev Dishes On Cut Features, Lack Of PvP, And Creation Of Whimsyshire For Game's 10th Anniversary

A lot was left on the cutting room floor, including talismans, PvP modes, and a morality system.


Diablo III recently turned 10 years old, 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 didn't make the final cut.

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

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Anyone who has spent a substantial amount of time in Diablo III has likely encountered the game's Whimsyshire secret level, a world of happy clouds and rainbows that looks like it came straight out of an episode of Care Bears. The Easter egg came due to an internal debate over the inclusion of 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, with the most infamous being Diablo III's cut PvP modes. According to Cheng, balancing each class's abilities along with various runes and legendary items for PvP proved to be a "monumental task." As for what PvP could have entailed, Cheng says there were multiple ideas on the table, including a traditional "arena" style mode, a MOBA-like PvP mode with lanes and minions, a bounty-system for open-world PvP, and even an asymmetrical PvP mode where one player would have taken on the role of a boss and battled against four other players.

Another major feature left on the cutting room floor was talismans. Originally, players could equip up to nine talismans to further improve their character. The system was meant to be an evolution of charms from Diablo II. Iterations of the system included a minigame style inventory where players would match different colored talismans for bonuses. According to Cheng, however, 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 vs. dark side morality system found in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. Players would have been able to make good or evil dialogue choices, and certain skills or items would have required a certain amount 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 plenty more details to learn in Cheng's full thread, so be sure to check it out for more information. Some of Diablo III's cut features that Cheng mentions will actually be a major part of Diablo Immortal. The mobile-first (but also playable on PC with cross-play and cross-progression) free-to-play entry in the franchise includes group and open-world PvP as well as multiplayer hub towns, two features that didn't make the cut for Diablo III.

While Diablo III's launch wasn't exactly smooth thanks to server errors and design issues, it would eventually become "a hell of a good time" with the introduction of the game's Reaper of Souls expansion.

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