BlizzCon 2016 Diablo III Dev Talk Panel Transcript

This is a full transcript of the BlizzCon 2016 Diablo III Dev Talk Panel Transcript. The panel was held by the following panelists:

  • Kevin Martens (lead game designer)

  • Wyatt Cheng (senior game designer)

  • Adam Puhl (senior game designer)

  • Joe Shely (senior game designer)

  • Travis Day (senior game designer)

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Narrator: Welcome to Diablo III Dev Talk and Q&A.

Kevin: Alright, welcome everybody to the Dev Talk Q&A. We have a bunch of new stuff for you today. We did not announce everything yesterday. There's quite a list, and before we get into that, I do want to introduce the panelists.

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I've got a big group of senior designers with me today. My name is Kevin Martens, I’m the lead designer. All these guys are working on these features and many others that you see today, so I have Wyatt Chang, Mr. Joe Shelley, Travis Day, and Adam Puhl. Thank you for that warm welcome.

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Thank you all for being here. This is a really exciting voice conference not just because of the necromancer, but also because of the 20th Anniversary. So yesterday, of course, you're probably familiar with some of these announcements, but we did talk about the Darkening of Tristram event where we've largely recreated Diablo one in the Diablo III engine, and that comes on PTR next week for everyone to play.

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The Armory which is a full 5-Equipment-scale everything loadout for each of your characters -- where with one button press you can change your Gems, your Legendary Gems, your Skills, your Passives, your Kanai Cube powers, and of course, all of your equipment no matter where that equipment is.

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That's probably like a small feature that at least for me has a huge impact that saves me a lot of time. And the rise of the necromancer pack, which is not just the necromancer, with all the VO for male and female, and all the movies all the way from acts I through V. It also comes with two character slots, stash tabs, a necromancer pet, and a slew of other cosmetics. So we will be unveiling over the next little while next year.

Seasons

Kevin: So today we have a bunch of things, and first up this one was important to me. We’ve want to do this for quite a while and the team pulled together, and we're bringing Seasons to consoles: XBox One and PS4 players, welcome aboard!

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So when this comes out next year, I want to do a brief summary of the feature, and go through what it looks like on console; and I understand that many of you are familiar with Seasons from the PC build. So I've put some of the new cosmetic items that you can unlock in later Seasons in here. A sort of a sneak peek, so you have something to look forward to, and so we move on to the new features that are for all of our systems.

So let's get started. When you join a Season, this is a reset of your character, and your account for everybody at one time on Seasons. Just like it is on PC, as a community, everyone starts from scratch and starts creating Seasonal characters at the same time; and so multiplayer is often a big part of this.

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When you've created your seasonal hero, you choose which class you want, and you choose whether you're going to play Normal or Hardcore. I definitely recommend playing Hardcore. Yeah, about half of the Seasons that I have played on PC, I play Hardcore because even if I'm playing an identical build to what I normally do, I get all cagey and scared, and I start defensive abilities in my movements, and it feels totally different even with identical characters. So this is a great place to try out Hardcore without risking one of your characters.

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Once you've created your character, you start participating in the Season Journey, and this is a grand tour of Diablo III, you accomplish different goals, and you do it at higher and higher levels.

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This is the example of finishing a Nephalem Rift on Expert Difficulty; and it gets more difficult, and the reason you do this is we have a bunch of guaranteed rewards. So there are two categories:

We've got Cosmetic Rewards like pets, Portrait Frames, and Wings. PC players, these are the Seraphin Wings from an upcoming Season. So this will be the first time you'll see those, and I won't say which Season they're coming in; but you'll find out soon.

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And of course, you get full six piece armor sets for all of the classes, and these rotate. So from season to season even if you chose to play the same character class, you could get different sets every season and so you've got them all.

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Alright, so the way the rewards work is as you start finishing chapters you start getting pieces of these cosmetic rewards in your full 6-piece set. When that happens, it looks like this.

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And when you go onto your console UI, you have these cosmetic pickers where you can start unlocking these portrait frames and using them. On console portrait frames have not been very in your face, and so we're bringing them to the forefront; and they're going to be on the screen all the time, and appear more often because you can upgrade your portrait frames. Here's an example of choosing a portrait frame and activating it.

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Next: Leaderboards

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Leaderboards

Kevin: So this also comes with Conquests and Leaderboards. So Seasons have a competitive aspect. Those of you who like to race against your friends or against players all over the world, you can race in these Conquests; and these are very different than the things on the Season Journey. This particular example is called Speed Racer, and then this you play the campaign Acts I-V, but you play it as fast as you can.

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So you ignore as much as you can, you only click where you need to click, you maximize your movement speed, you only kill what you need to kill. It's a completely different challenge from how you normally play the story mode. And you try to be the first person to do that either again within your friends list or on the global leaderboards.

So at the end of the Season your character rejoins your main accounts, and you can take all the goodies with you and all of your experience, your paragon experience for example gets rolled into your main account. If you've got a lot of it, all of your toons on your main account start paying up on experience levels, and you can go spend all those points.

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You can choose what items you want to take with you and those that you want to junk or don't need, and everything all those rewards, the 6-piece sets, etc come back; and all of the cosmetics you've unlocked will be usable, of course, by any of your characters.

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Seasons on Console Summary

Kevin: Alright. So that is the first feature we're talking about today. Seasons on console are coming in 2017 (for PS4 and XBox One), and I would like to pass this to Wyatt to unveil more new features.

Next: Devil in the Details

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Devil in the Details

Wyatt: Hey, folks! I know you probably want to know a lot more about the big features that are coming, but sometimes the major changes to the game aren’t just the big ones, and we have got that coming: like the necromancer, and the Anniversary event; but sometimes the biggest changes are actually the little tiny details like.... last BlizzCon, we were talking about how the Death’s Breath was yellow before, and then we were changing it to teal; and then when you go home and you play, you're like: “Oh, I'm so glad that you guys changed it from yellow to teal, the game is so much better now.”

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Those little changes can make a huge difference. And we've got more little changes like that coming up for you. Let's take a look at one of them now. One request that we got: “I wish each and every crafting material would be treated exactly like Blood Shards and Gold... account-wide counters that require no stashing, and no inventory management. Asks dibs.”

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Alright! So, your stash looks like this right now. Right? You've got your yellow mats, your blue, you've got your Kanai Cube materials from all the bounties that you've run.

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Starting in a future patch, it's going to look like this: A dedicated slot for all your crafting materials.

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Now one of the things that's important to us is that the items still feel real and tangible. We've talked about this before. This is why instead of doing auto-pickup for a lot of the materials, we instead allowed, we added vacuum-pickup so that you still see the item on the ground, you click, and you pick it up; and we wanted to reinforce that.

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So although we're having a dedicated storage area for this we're adding counters with better floating texts that come up, and tell you what you're picking up with icons embedded right in place. This is going to apply to the Gems that you pick up, Blood Shards, all of these types of things.

While we were implementing this, we also had a challenge, but it was also an opportunity. What do we do with Kanai’s Cube?

One of the requests that we often get is if there was just a single button to fill the cube up with all the materials for the recipe.

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Now that we have dedicated storage for your crafting materials, it made a lot of sense to have your Kanai’s Cube fill itself with a single click of a button.

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Transmogrify

Wyatt: What else have you been asking for? Like I said, it's the little things that make a big difference. Well, if the Transmogrify Artisan had a dye kiosk, she could have all the dyes, and you don't have to keep going from different vendors hoping they have a color that you're looking for.

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It was a request from Worldbreaker, and not just Worldbreaker, but many of you have asked for this. Well, Worldbreaker... we are going to break your world.

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(audience laughs)

Kevin: Wyatt Cheng, ladies and gentlemen. At the Diablo Comedy Club.

Wyatt: Okay. So some of you will remember the Clownsader, from two BlizzCons ago, it is our friend Clownsader, and he's back. He wants to customize how he looks. Well, in a future patch, the Mystic is going to have an extra tab right next to Transmogrify.

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Now the Clownsader is going to have an even easier time looking super styling, you can change your chest piece, you can transmogrify to the way you want, switch over a tab, change to the color that you want, it's all there.

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Legendary Gems

Wyatt: Alright, I know this is a big one too: "Please! Allow us to level our Legendary Gems faster."

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Okay, now this was a tough one for the development team, because Greater Rifts and Legendary Gems is a core part of the end-game for Diablo III. That's a core activity. We wanted to be really careful about speeding it up by too much; but we had an alternate goal that we were also looking at.

In particular we want to find sort of a way to incentivize people to stay alive. Right now, we have Softcore, we have the Normal game, and we have Hardcore; and Hardcore... It almost feels like death has an enormous penalty, but in Normal Play, it almost feels like death sometimes doesn't matter enough.

So what we're doing is starting in a future patch really soon. You're going to get another bonus roll in your Legendary Gems if you complete the Greater Rift without dying. So it looks like this.

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You get three rolls to upgrade if you complete the Rift. A fourth, if you empower the Rift, and if you complete it without dying: a Fifth. As you can tell, if you're Hardcore then you're going to get that fifth roll every time, unless you die, in which case you don't care anyway.

Alright, so that's great. Some small changes that make a big difference. I am going to pass it off now to Joe Shely. He is going to cover some of the changes coming to Adventure Mode.

Next: Adventure Mode

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Adventure Mode

Joe: Alright, thanks Wyatt. Now let's talk about Adventure Mode. We've got new zones for you, and they're going to be an Act II up in the north north of Caldeum.

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SHROUDED MOORS

Joe: The first zone we want to announce today is the Shrouded Moors. This is a rain-swept windy desolate place. People have come here. They've tried to settle. You can see the wall that's crumbled. Someone had a house there once. That's gone. Monsters. Demons. It’s a harsh place, and there are ancient monuments with ruins on them from people who settled here and moved on.

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We've got some of the concept art from the Shrouded Moors here. This is some trees that have been blown over by the wind, because it's so unforgiving.

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And another shot of those monoliths with runes. Our concept artists do all of these pieces so that we can come up with the way the zone is going to look.

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This is a preview of the zone right now. It's in development, and you can see it's very rocky, there is a lot of plateaus, grass, it’s a dark and misty area.

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TEMPLE OF THE FIRST BORN

Joe: The second zone that we're doing is the Temple of the Firstborn. This is one of the oldest places in Sanctuary. In fact, it’s a place where Inarius and Lilith came, and the place where humanity first set foot upon Sanctuary. This concept piece features some monks with fire and we're going to have some really nefarious stuff in here.

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It has got this Lovecraftian-vibe which is very different from many of our other zones, and the zone is deep deep underground. There's a relief here of a guy who is in a stained glass, having.... really it's not going to be a good day for him, It Looks like.

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And this is a paintover. We do these to get an idea of what the zone is going to look like when it's finished, so that we can see it in very great detail, and we can plan how are we going to fill it with monsters, what is the light going to look like. Pay attention especially to the darkness of the shadows and the way that the light falls across. It's very high contrast.

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Now you may have seen a sneak peek of the zone if you got a chance to play the demo today on the floor, and if you haven't, there's still time. Just don't leave now. But this is the first part of the zone that we have finished. We are working on more of it. I can notice the shadow and light interfight there. This is a very dark place.

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Sneak Peek

Joe: So I told you we've got two new zones. But we're also, our artists are always trying to find new ways to put Sanctuary together, and let me just show you the Realms of Fate here. You can see, of course, we're in Westmarch. Right? I am going to go through this gate.

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Everything seems normal. There's some weird effect, but seems pretty normal, right? Now we are in the Pandemonium Fortress. So we're trying this idea of having this sort of portal world where the zones can connect in unexpected ways, and you can move from one to the next just as you're walking through.

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This last one here transitions into this pile of bodies from Westmarch which is one of my favorite places.

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NEW MONSTERS

So what would new zones be without new monsters, right? These are some of the concept pieces that we're working on for the zones. We've got a lot of demons for the temple.

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And we've got some other guys for the Shrouded Moor. On the left here is like a crow monster. I can see him sitting up on one of those walls in the Moors, and also for the guy on the right, seems like a perfect fit for the Temple of the Firstborn, right?

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And this one, I really wanted to show you guys because it's a great example of how we approach bringing monsters into the world. So of course, this is a shot from the Temple of the Firstborn, and one of our artists painted on these little centipedes, and this is to show how these centipedes could crawl down the walls, they could crawl across these chains. How could they emerge, and jump out scarier?

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Now those are concept pieces, but we've also got one of the monsters that you'll be fighting modeled out you can see on the left. And the concept of the right, this is the Shepherd.

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And we've actually got him in-game. He's very tentacly. He's going to be a range caster that's bringing up, spirit energy and channeling it at you. You'll see these guys near the bottom of the temple.

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Next; Greater Rifts

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Greater Rifts

Joe: So those are the zone changes that are coming. But some of you are probably thinking: "Alright, I love the new zones. These zones are great. The monsters sound great. What are our Greater Rifts? What do you have for us?"

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Or to put it another way, I do Rifts.

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(audience laughs)

And we have some awesome stuff for you. We have a brand new way to spawn monsters, and Greater Rifts. No more huge empty areas with no monsters where you are vaulting through. For this, we took a density first approach, we look at the amount of playable space in the tileset, and we look at the amount of XP for monsters that feels good in that space, and we fill it that way.

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So every floor can be a great floor, and this is an example of 2.4.2, right? You could see ice caves here.

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The same place in 2.4.3.

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So that's great. But we've also changed, we had a rule for a Greater Rift. When you went down the floor, we tried to keep the tileset the same, because we felt like it preserves continuity, right? You are in the cathedral, you go down it's a cathedral, it makes sense; but we realized that what's really important in Greater Rifts is that every time you go out on a floor, and it has the potential to be awesome.

It has the potential to be a great floor, filled with awesome monsters. So that's gone. You'll see a new floor every time. There’s an equal chance to get a new floor every time, and monster populations can now spawn on any floor. So even floors that have monster populations that maybe your class have more trouble with, you'll be able to see different monster populations now.

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Also the size in each floor is more consistent. And finally, entrances -- and I have to say as a demon hunter I have gone down on the floor, this three Elite Packs that jump on me, I run back up the floor, go up and down, that won't happen anymore.

Okay, so that's great. That's a bunch of great stuff. We've also got, though... have anyone fought Lacuni? They are leaping at you, maybe they are winged assassins and you are shooting them, but they just somehow, they make it to the last step and punch you? Well, now you can kill them all in mid-air.

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And this extends to basically all the leaping monsters so you've got your Westmarch Brutes, you've got even the Burrowers from Act I. Basically, it’s jumping through the air at you. You can take it out. Also, have you ever had the experience where you're in a Great Rift, and there are a bunch of invisible snakemen around you, like: "Just attack me, what are you doing? Come on!"

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Well, they're going to jump out and attack you now. This also applies to burrowing monsters. So this is mostly about a Great Rift, but you probably have that Bounty situation where there's that one Rockworm somewhere, you just: "Where is he?" He is wandering around. He's going to jump out, and when he does, he's got a little floor-crack so you can see where he's going to pop out.

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We've also made some changes to some of the affixes that we've continued to iterate on. We've never been completely happy with how Reflect damage works. So now when you shoot a monster that has Reflect damage active, it will fire a projectile back at you. This means that you have a chance to dodge out of the way of the projectile. And of course, it still maintains the same damage type that you shot like you're used to; and finally if you've ever had that last shielding monster, and somehow he's still shielded, he's the only guy left. Well, now cancel instantly so you can kill him as soon as the other monsters are dead.

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I like that one, that's a small change. Remember what Wyatt said about small changes though, can be good. Alright, so Travis is going to talk to you about some of the new Legendary Items.

Next: Legendary Items

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Legendary Items

Travis: So what would the new Diablo patch be without a bunch of cool new items to find. So in patch 2.4.3, we've got some new things coming for you.

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It's always been one of our goals that every legendary in the game does something really cool, and we've got some items that aren't there yet.

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So I will show you what we did with a few of those. So you might remember Saffron Wrap. Not the best item ever, but I remember playing when the game first came out in classic, I had these awesome whirlwind build for whirlwind through giant packs of mobs, and hammer Overpower, and we thought it would be really cool if we brought Overpower kind of back up in there, sort of gave the Whirlwind set a little boost.

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So Saffron's Wrap now, whenever you use Overpower, the next Overpowers are going to do bonus damage based on the number of enemies you’ve hit. So we wanted it to be powerful, but have some cool gameplay where you kind of wait until you're in the middle of the pack of mobs and then you hit it, and then your next one's like 2000% better. So hopefully, this will help with that.

Next, some of you may recognize Manald Heal as the ring you instantly disenchant when Kadala gives it to you. We wanted to take that and turn it into a really cool lightning wizard build. We always love the idea of like lightning Wizards. Shoot the electricity out of their hands, arching around the screen. So we thought: "Oh, alright! Well, what if paralysis just did a ton of damage?" So now you have got Manald Heal, and you're spamming your electrocute, or your assortment of electric spells. It will do tons of damage, and just murder everything around you.

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Next, is Faithful Memory. We've really loved the sword. It’s been around forever. Also not the best sword in the game, but now if you get this, anytime your Falling Sword into the pack of monsters, your hammers are going to do tons of bonus damage. So you want to take aim for really huge densities, and then start spamming out hammers, and watching everything die.

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Rabid Strike. The first weapon that does some poison damage. Okay, we got rid of that because that was lame. Instead, we thought Epiphany is really cool, and I love when you teleport around, like spending, and it's really awesome. What if we made a clone of you that duplicates everything you do while you’re in epiphany? So, now Rabid Strike will make a duplicate of you that's also going to teleport around mirroring all of the spenders that you use.

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For Demon Hunters, so grenades, traps, gadgets, have always been part of their kit that we really liked, and we wanted to give them something to sort of play that up. So Hellcat Waistguard will now allow your grenades to bounce additional times up to (I don't remember) 5-extra, each time it bounces, it'll deal more and more bonus damage. So the final bounce will do up to 800% bonus damage. So you can really get a grenade build going on.

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Fan yells: Thank you!!!

Travis: You're welcome! Finally, The Barber. So this one, we just wanted to redefine like how people use Spirit Barrage. It's always been kind of this really cool-looking single-target nuke. You are channeling your lasers at people, we thought alright that's pretty cool. What if instead, you're just charging all of that energy into one guy, and then when you stop channeling it, it explodes.

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So this will change Spirit Barrage from a single target nuke to instead a channeled skill that stores up all the damage, and when you stop channeling, it detonates for all the damage, and kills everything around. This is one is a ton of fun to play with. So that's what we've got to show for items today. I want to kick it over to Adam Puhl. He is going to talk to you about one of our awesome new features: Challenge Rifts.

Next: Challenge Rifts

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Challenge Rifts

Adam: Oh, I'm so excited to be here. I get a chance to represent the Diablo III Team, and show you guys a new way to play Diablo III.

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What I want to say real quick about this mode, thought, is that it's only really possible in a game like Diablo III; and because of the community, this feature would not exist without you guys. So let's dive in and find out why.

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So Challenge Rifts. What are these? Challenge Rifts are race for your fastest time at a Greater Rift. I know you're saying: "That's what I do anyways. So why are these different?"

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The difference is everyone's on a Level Playing Field. Everyone has the same hero, same build, same dungeon layout, same monsters and pylons. We are all on the same level, we're seeing how fast we can beat this rift.

Now this is where you guys get involved, because we actually get this build, this layout, from you guys. From a Greater Rift run in the community. And we're also going to be updating this thing frequently because people are running Rifts all the time. So there's always some interesting things to see, the great thing about it is, it’s going to be on both PC and Console.

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So let's say a few more details on Challenge Rifts. So what Challenge Rifts really do is let you discover things that you might not have seen before in Diablo. There is so much rich content. First of all, you're able to jump right into these. There's no barrier for entry. You can just dive in, and see what they're like. You really get to see something like: "Oh, I've never played Helltooth Witch Doctor, or I want to see what a Delseres Wizard is like."

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These things are changing out, and you get to just what we say is like, you get to test drive some of these builds, and see if there's something in there. Maybe you'll see some of those legendaries that Travis was talking about too.

It also gives you a chance to optimize. So you get to learn the layout and this picture right here is actually a Photoshop that a programmer on our team made, and this thing was like gold. So if you can see though he marked where the pylons are, where their leads are, and this layout you can see where the deadends are. This thing is like burned into our memories as we play this internally on the scene. It really made an improvement in all of our times.

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You can also be more effective with the build so you really get to analyze this puzzle of what skills should I really be using, how should I be using these against elites, and how do I increase my times with this build.

And of course, you get to compete. This is a picture of one of our gameplay programmers, Kevin Hassett, and showing his awesome trophy that he got for winning one of the challenges we had internally. We had a lot of fun going back and forth. You know running over somebody's desk, like: "I beat you by 4 seconds, can you be better than that?" and then suddenly you're just like spending like hours playing this thing, and you've got to get back to work.

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So yeah, you get to compete with your friends on the leaderboards, and for the really dedicated players which I'm so excited to see, I want to see what the top of these leaderboards really are; and like the really interesting ways that people optimize and discover their little tricks that go along with the building a layout.

And of course, there's going to be rewards. There is a picture of brownies here because -- again internally -- we had a producer. The producer Tiffany K. Wat made brownies for people that place in the Top 10 in our team, and they're amazing brownies; and they motivated people a whole lot.

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But for you, we are definitely going to give you a reward if you beat the original runners time. We'll be giving you some brownie bags. We'll be working out the details on the PTR, but we'll make sure that you get to contribute to your main character as you're playing this mode.

So I want to show you some Quick Videos of the challenge, this is basically the hub where you can test out the build. So you can see this is like a Hell II, Angry Chicken build, and just learning what the skills are, and how they really work, and then he dives right into the rift, and you can see early on you're just trying to figure out what these skills are, and which ones you should be using, and like: "Okay, I get a little bit of speed boost there," and he goes down, right down here on this path.

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If you remember from that map, this is a deadend. So you get there, and you’re like: "Argh, Ok. How can I remember that next time?" and then he comes back around. So this is the second run or he learns like: "Ok, you’ve got to be a chicken like all the time when you're playing this build," so he runs past that deadend, and he gets into a leap pack, and pops out a leap pack right away, and then this is painful; but he missed the purple orb, or even then, he kept going, then ran across a speed pylon which is a crazy fastener, he just loses all control. This was so much fun to play for our team.

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The other thing I want to show you is of course it has to have multiplayer, it’s Diablo. So everyone gets to dive into that same rift layout, but they're all using the same build. So we get to learn it together, and that was a fun experience itself; but the really interesting discovery we had was the team strategies that come out of this, of like, okay you went ahead to the next level and you get the pylon, and I'm going to go right. So you can even see you know like this character split up, and you go and kill all the monsters. And then we really have to gather together when the boss comes so we can really take him out, and it was a lot of fun multiplayer.

So that is Challenge Rifts. Now we are going to head back to Kevin Martens for a summary.

Next: Summary

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Diablo III BlizzCon Summary

Kevin: Thank you, Adam. So we're coming to the end of our formal announcements for BlizzCon. That plus whatever you can make Wyatt, trick him into leaking about the future. I want to talk about when all this stuff is coming, and how we're going to sort it out.

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So you probably heard this yesterday, but patch 2.4.3 includes the Darkening of Tristram event, and it goes on PTR next week. So if you can't wait to find all the easter eggs, that's a good time to get in there and help us test it, and figure out what's happening beneath that cathedral.

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But it also includes a bunch of things from today all those new legendary Travis showed, the long long long list of Rift improvements, as well as the bonus roll for legendary gems for Adventure Mode. And the dyes on the Mystic UI, and then over the course of 2017 a bunch of the other stuff starts appearing; and so it'll sort of come onboard as it's ready.

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It's likely going to come out in more than one patch. The Armory feature with all of the 5 loadouts that you have, the Rise of the Necromancer pack which you should definitely go and play; and you can now see, of course, the Temple of the Firstborn sneak peek at the end of that Rift if you can get there.

By the way, who got to play the Necromancer so far? Not everybody. Oops, right there. Okay. Seasons, of course, are coming to Consoles. Very excited about that. Sorry it took so long. Crafty material storage UI which got a pretty big applause. I saw. That's great. The new zones are Shrouded Moors and the Temple of the Firstborn.

We'll see what happens with this sneak peek of these stitched-together zones in that dream-like land that Joe showed as well (The Realm of Fate). And of course, Challenge Rifts where you can make baked goods, challenge your friends, kick their asses and then eat all those baked goods yourself with our blessing -- that's our job. And that would be coming out over the course of 2017.

So we're going to have a question and answer period, but I did want to take a moment. I said this yesterday, but I so mean it and I really want to say it again. It has been 20 years that most of us have been together either playing this game, or making this game, or making this game and playing this game; and for you guys to be here with us through this process, through all the crazy highs and lows of Diablo III. Thank you so much.

We are not the Diablo III team. We are a small portion of that. There is a lot of people back at the office, many of whom are at the booth, who work their butts off for you guys because they love this game and they love this community. We're paying attention and we are energized and engaged, and we hope that you guys stay that way too, and join us playing all these new features in Sanctuary next year. Thank you again, and once more: 20 more years.

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Next: Panel Q&A

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Panel Q&A

Kevin: All right. So we're going to set up some questions here on the left side. You want to step forward a little?

How’s it going guys? I have a quick question. It’s more of a request. I love what you could have done with the engine in Diablo, everything's fast-paced speed, you go really really fast. There was one little tiny tiny tiny aspect of the previous games Diablo I and Diablo II that I miss, which (and I think I'm alone here) is toggling: walk or run. Are you guys ever going to add that? Everything is just super super fast.

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[bluepost]Travis: No. (laughs) I don't know. I remember toggling walk and run, and it was only because my stamina bar was empty; and I would just be spamming it like: "Come on! Refill for God's sake!" We’ve never talked about turbo walk run. I mean, is it because you want to RP walk more stylish?[/bluepost]

Like I said, I'm alone here and you know.

[bluepost]Wyatt: You'll walk during the Anniversary dungeon. That's pretty awesome. It has that nostalgia feel for sure.

Kevin: That's not at the absolute top of the list, but thank you for the suggestion.[/bluepost]

Hi, big fan. I was wanting to know since all seven of the Greater Evils are in the Black Soulstone... that constitutes that Tathamet, it should be out and about, and wreaking havoc. So where's Tathamet? Or, are you going to do anything with Tathamet?

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[bluepost]Kevin: Okay, so... that logic doesn't automatically follow, by the way. Diablo became the Prime Evil which is a combination of all of them. Diablo, of course, has always been conniving, and he's not always agreed with all of his siblings; and he's taken over at that point; and Malthael did something with that in that final fight.

Who knows what's happening next. Obviously we're not going to spoil anything at this point, I'm afraid, but yeah... that logic doesn't automatically follow, but maybe it's that. So other than those spoilers: Yeah! Maybe. Maybe not.[/bluepost]

Hey guys, what’s going on? I love the necromancer. Played the demo, and whatnot. Two questions. One kind of shorter: Are you willing to let us know what the necromancer only weapons and armor are going to be? And two: In the demo, and a lot of the concept art you showed, the necromancer with a Kama and a Bone-shield -- Can you let us know what kind of weapons you're designing the class to use since in Diablo II they use a lot of two-handed weapons and daggers? You know the off-hand, which Witch Doctors kind of use at this point. So what's going on with that?

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[bluepost]Travis: Yeah, absolutely. So if you've played through the demo, hopefully you all enjoyed it, the class weapon for the necromancer currently we’re planning on doing scythes. Kama as you called it. So the scythe, the bone-shield, really was because when we started working on the build for BlizzCon we had no idea what we were going to put in his off-hand, and early I don't know -- "That shield looks really cool! Just put that on and then we'll figure this out," but the current talks are that he'll have like a main-hand and off-hand sort of combination. We're still figuring out. We've got lots of really awesome concept like glowing fiery skulls, or like goblets of blood. So we're still kind of feeling out what the off-hand is; but it will function very similar to like the wizard or witch doctors that they have a class main-hand and off-hand specific for them.[/bluepost]

Great changes on the way. Thank you very much for addressing certain issues. Secondly, were there any plans of making more lore-based dungeons, or events in-game like Siggard from Bear’s Hill, or let's say armor dungeons for Bartoc the Bloody?

(Editor's Note: Siggard is the main character in the first-ever Diablo eBook by Robert B. Marks, titled Diablo: Demonsbane which is reprinted in the Diablo Archive volume)

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[bluepost]Kevin: So the question is are we going to add some dungeons that are more story-based, basically like the examples you had? Well, in a way, so the new zones that we have, one is a dungeon, one is an exterior.

Shrouded Moors is outside. The Temple of the Firstborn is inside, and similar to what we did with Ruins of Sescheron, there's going to be a bunch of lore moments in there. So in particular, Temple of the Firstborn is sort of a history lesson of like the prehistory of Diablo.

So that's going to have a bunch of story elements in it, but the fact that you know most of us at this point largely play adventure mode except for specific times when we go back to visit campaign. We felt right now that we wanted to try to get the best of both worlds and have that story be there, but be able to play it non-linearly.

So unlike campaign where it has a distinct beginning, middle, and end, we want to have a story that the more you play the adventure mode, the more you can explore. So when that hits PTR, those two new zones, let us know what you think of that approach, and of course how you felt it going to Ruins of Sescheron.[/bluepost]

Gentlemen, it's an honor. My question is to you. Is there anything in the future of plans to do more CGI-type movies, or for the storyline, really like Overwatch. Something like that, and you know some people are nostalgic for the way the drawings are, I don’t know if you guys ever thought of that.

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[bluepost]Kevin: So we are not. We probably wouldn't tease anything like that in advance, when we are working on it. We did have a little necromancer trailer from yesterday. I dont know if you happened to see that one with some CGI in it. So we did do that, as far as like more story elements, we're often looking for ways to add more lore to the world like, there's the world of Sanctuary, and all those continents have a lot more lore associated with it, and there's just quite a depth of stuff that hasn't always hit you. Even if you read the Book of Cain and the Book of Tyreal. There's other information there. So whether it be movies or books, or in-game lore books, or character conversations, we are trying to put more story in a pretty regular basis; but we don't have any particular thing to say about any movies right now.[/bluepost]

Hey, so Season games coming into console is awesome, but I hate when I get into a game and this guy 420blazeit programs 10,000 3-socket, 43 dps weapon. how are you going to combat them being number one on the leaderboards, because that's kind of unfair.

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[bluepost]Wyatt: I can't go into a ton of detail about some of the things that our team is doing. Our engineers are doing. I can say that Seasons on Console is a PS4 and XBox One feature only. That's actually a really big deal. A lot of the paragons and items were brought over from prior, since everyone is making a new character and it is next-gen consoles only, our engineers are going to do their best. Beyond that I can't promise anything more.[/bluepost]

I'm kind of curious though. You're saying it’s for the Xbox One and PS4, some of the PS4 items-- it's kind of hidden on the patches there on PC systems like the new cosmetic items. There's a lot of this stuff showing up on PS4 online. So they're not pulling them from PS3. So somehow people are actually modifying PS4 save files.

[bluepost]Wyatt: I can't talk more about the details or the specifics of hacks. You know it's not something that we really talk about publicly, sorry.[/bluepost]

Will there be a specific online only version of it, or is it online and offline? Because I know it's kind of right now. That was the difficulty of it.

[bluepost]Kevin: Well, when we're getting closer to launch we will have more details about that. Partly, the feature is still in development, and so that's part of why we can't talk about it as far as the hack thing. We basically have a policy of not saying what we're doing about hacking, except to say that we do have a security team who works on that stuff. And so that's why Wyatt gave that answer as well.[/bluepost]

On Diablo I, when you kill Diablo, the loop drops, but you get a cutscene. Do I get my loot 20 years later?

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[bluepost]Wyatt: Honestly, I don't even remember that.

Kevin: We will have a meeting about that.

Travis: I can’t find these 20 year old loot, but we do have a lot of really cool stuff planned for the Anniversary event. One of my favorite things that actually these guys came up with, like how we really want to do a legendary gem. Wouldn't it be crazy if you socketed it into your helmet like... hell no! I just want to cram this also in my face. So you get a legendary helm gem where periodically you guys struggles for control of the demon within and then explodes in fire, so we've got a lot of really cool throwback items. They're not 20 year old loot though.

Adam: The great thing about the Darkening of Tristram is that you can go back, and get that loot.[/bluepost]

I played the necromancer as my main for literally like 12 years now, so it's great to see it come back. It's really good. I was wondering if you guys could do anything towards bringing Bone Wand as the main weapon, because it feels more at home than a scythe-sickle type of weapon.

[bluepost]Travis: I don't think we're going to go with that as the main weapon, but it is super iconic. I can certainly see us doing some kind of like Bone Wand legendary weapon for necromancers. Kevin: Or even as part of a set. Possibly--

Travis: Oh yeah, absolutely.

Kevin: There's a bunch of options.

Travis: Yeah. What do you think of the necro?[/bluepost]

I really enjoyed it. Great nostalgic feel, it was a lot of fun, and everything exploded.

[bluepost]Kevin: Yes it did.[/bluepost]

One tiny gripe was, corpse explosion, it used to do percentile things based on that. That can't really happen anymore, it would be really unbalanced for scaling. I feel Corpse Explosion was the one spell that didn't quite pop. It visually does, but not damaged.

[bluepost]Travis: That's totally fair. So we've done tons of like internal playtesting. That's actually probably my fault. So the first pass of the BlizzCon build we had, they had like infinity shadow vermin swarming you. It was like no one's going to push anything, but corpse explosion. Can we tone down the density? So they did, but the experience of corpse explosions are going to vary wildly depending on what types of monsters you're fighting in the environment you're in. Hopefully, when you do get swarmed by a bunch of shadow vermin you’ll just get to explode everything in the universe.[/bluepost]

Hey guys, I saw on your challenger video that the optimized strategy became just to skip all white monsters, and rares, and I was wondering if that is like indicative of that's what you're happy with for this strategy for greater rift speeding, or If you have any plans to do something else?

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[bluepost]Wyatt: I think it actually depends on the build. So in that particular video, if you're playing a chicken doctor that is the best way to run that particular build; but there's other builds that are focused on killing you know not only monsters as well, and I think that's one of the really neat things about challenge rifts, since it's actually a community pulled build, the optimal strategy changes based on what it's going to be. I mean it might be elites, in one case, but it might not on another one.[/bluepost]

I have a question about legendary item powers. I see a lot of the legendaries that you are coming up with are focused on bridging the gap between skills and making them less lackluster maybe more damaging more exciting, so do you have any plans for legendary affixes like Corruted Ashbringer, where they are really powerful, they are really awesome, but maybe not cubeable. So that more classes could use them but they are still really cool basically.

[bluepost]Travis: The cube is a really integral feature to just how your character development works at this point. I don't think there's any talks about making things not cubeable. Really, when we're coming up with legendaries, it's partly you know what skills are not getting its own use, what sets or playstyles have kind of fallen behind. Sometimes it's just what do we think would be cool like with the lighting wizard. It's always are goal to sort of keep introducing cool stuff, and a lot of the time, we just want to make something because it just seems neat and hopefully people will find a cool use for this. Frequently, when we add items if the playstyles that we added them for aren't like suddenly getting more play, we'll just keep adding more items until it gets there.[/bluepost]

I've played the necromancer. I really like it. I'm happy with where it's going, and I had played the first two games, and love those games. I'm curious who else was on the chopping block as far as potential characters you were wanting to put back into the game.

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[bluepost]Kevin: So you're asking what other classes were under consideration?[/bluepost]

Right.

[bluepost]Adam: Back to the drawing board, Kevin.

Kevin: We have ideas for brand new classes that have never been done in Diablo. There's other fan favorites like druid or something shape-shiftery. Certainly a very popular thing around the office, Amazon, etc. So yeah, other ones you'd expect are on the list. Obviously, and some ones you guys have never heard of, but necromancer I think we're feeling nostalgic and grim at the same time. Maybe because Halloween is so close. I don't know. The necro seemed like the right guy for this year, and so that's all we took.[/bluepost]

And then just really quick, I know you guys don’t dive into this too much, but so you guys are mentioning Sanctuary is this awesome world, you guys have tons of areas to explore, you guys were mentioning how the Anniversary event is this yearly thing. Is there, you guys wanting to keep that trend where there's new kind of content you come out only for a short amount of time, or will there be more permanent things that you guys are very interested in doing for the world of Diablo?

[bluepost]Kevin: We tend to lean towards more permanent elements that are just there, you can play them, and maybe they're unlockable sometimes like Kanai Cube you had unlocked by exploring the Ruins of Sescheron, which was something of an experiment for us, but the anniversary event is our first annual event; and we'll see how that goes, and if we have good ideas that are fun, and that it's important that they're not always available.

Then if having it be less frequent makes it better. We'll do that like again using Halloween, that's my favorite holiday and if I could dress up and give out candy every day, it wouldn't be as cool. So that's sort of the approach to the anniversary thing. That said, we tried to make it last for a long time so it'd be a whole month so everybody regardless of hopefully whatever is happening in their life will have a chance to play it during that time once a year.

Adam: I don't feel like that, the challenger stuff does a good amount of that where a certain build will come up in a week with a very specific layout, and we will never see that exact same rift again, and it's going to keep cycling those out, and it's been really interesting for the team, because as I said, we've got our heart set on the whole I remember that whole build, I remember the whole like finding the right pylon, and it was really cool. We are super curious to see what you guys think of that feature as something that feels like exclusive time content.[/bluepost]

Well, that Wonder Woman movie is coming out, and then there is this Skovos Islands. So maybe we can have like-- you know. Something going on there. Just an idea. Cya

Hi guys. Every season, I love playing my witch doctor and I think all this stuff is really cool right now, but with the Gargantuan and the dogs I find that the AI could be kind of strange sometimes, especially like maybe you're pushing high Great Rifts like 80+, and two of your Gargantuans want to go and fight trash while you're trying to tank. Do you guys have any plans to improve on the AI of those pets, maybe make it easier to target certain monsters.

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[bluepost]Travis: You should play the necro.

Joe: We do actually look at the AI for the class pets, in some ways they work similar to the AI for monsters, but of course they are controlled by you, so they have additional restrictions, and that's something that we go back and look at periodically. So we'll look at it.[/bluepost]

One more quick question, with new big patches coming up when you guys are doing balancing and tuning are there any plans to change the Legacy of Nightmares set to bring it up to par with the other competitive sets?

[bluepost]Wyatt: I don't know if I would say that the legacy of nightmare set is behind. I think Legacy of Nightmares is a set that it's constantly changing inherently by nature of new lengendaries being added to the game. I think there's also always the possibility that there are new undiscovered belts, new interactions to be found. I mean, I think for example the (unknown item), the Fortress Ballista is an interaction that wasn't discovered the day after Legacies of Nightmares.

Nightmares came out, it took a while, and I think we kind of were pretty happy with where Legacy of Nightmares is. I sort of think of it as like a constantly changing fifth set that every class has access to.[/bluepost]

Kevin: Alright, we're almost out of time. Let's do lightning questions with lightning answers, real quick, before we have to shut this down.

So in the video you had explained just briefly on the armory system, I wanted to know are the items that we are going to be extra sets in the armory system? Do they have to stay in our stash, or in our inventory, or they're going to be blank just staying in that armory?

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[bluepost]Wyatt: The Armory doesn't hold anything. Your items are still held in your stash. There's an option to decide whether it goes to your inventory, or your stash when you do a swap.[/bluepost]

Kevin: Alright, one more question. I think, lightning round. Lightning round.

I really love playing Diablo on PC, and sometimes it hurts my wrists. Are you ever going to support controllers on the PC or in Mac?

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[bluepost]Wyatt: No plans for that.[/bluepost]

First off, thank you for necromancer. Very happy with that. Have you guys ever decided about making like a timed boss fight where you go through a bunch of the Greater Rifts bosses, and then maybe have like Diablo, as a point where you hit him and then you move on, and then you go like boss, boss, boss, boss; and you can like raise up the difficulty?

[bluepost]Wyatt: Maybe.

Kevin: Yes, that idea has come up. Yeah, interesting idea.[/bluepost]

Kevin: I'm afraid we're out of time. Thank you again, so much. I really do hope you enjoy the necromancer, and all these changes next week in the anniversary event. I look forward to seeing a few more of you on the floor, and see you in Sanctuary. Bye.

Transcriber: iluv2proofread Editor: Medievaldragon

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