Author details Diablo ideas that never made it into the games

Three episodes of the Stay Awhile and Listen stories from author David Craddock are in the books, and today's new installment, we find out about several ideas for Diablo and Diablo II that never made it into the games. Blizzard North, previously Condor before being acquired by Blizzard parent Davidson & Associates, was always talking about the class system in the game, looking for ways to make it a better experience. "Diablo's archetypical warrior, rogue, and sorcerer character classes were late additions," Craddock said. "Originally, Condor created a single class, represented by the model used for the warrior. Players could distribute their experience points between strength, dexterity, magic, and vitality to take the amorphous character in any direction they liked." The class discussion came up again in Diablo 2, this time focusing on sub-classes. "The sub-class idea would have seen three archetypes that boiled down to fighter, rogue, and spell caster," Craddock said. "The rogue branched into sisters (of the Sightless Eye, the rogue guild) and rangers, or hunters; the fighter into templar, or paladin, and berserkers; and the spell caster into sorceress and necromancer. North decided against the idea because multiple genders would mean building and animating 10 character models. That's a significant undertaking for any game, but Diablo 2's designers had also come up with the component system, a way of displaying individual pieces of gear to give each character a unique appearance--purple skull helm, red leather boots, gold body armor, and so on. Piling on male and female versions of each class would have put too great a strain on the already-bogged-down character art team."

Tristram almost had a different name.

Finally, the familiar Tristram almost had another identity altogether in the original game, with a different type of resident. "The now iconic Tristram was originally called Crossroads," Craddock said. "Designer/artist Eric Sexton, whom programmer Rick Seis labeled 'a fire hose of design ideas,' thought up traveling vendors that would randomly appear in town to sell special items. Obviously, the idea was cut." Future stories from Craddock will include behind-the-scenes details on the Diablo games, StarCraft, the Warcraft series and World of Warcraft. Craddock and Shacknews will also bring you a week of book coverage during the week of October 29, featuring an in-depth interview with the author and a full chapter from his book.
Author David Craddock has been working on his book about Blizzard Entertainment since mid-2008. Entitled Stay Awhile and Listen, the unauthorized book talks to nearly 80 former employees, including those who used to work at Blizzard, Condor (later Blizzard North), and Silicon & Synapse (Blizzard's original name when it was founded), as well as people who had regular dealings with Blizzard head honchos Mike Morhaime and Allen Adham. Shacknews is pleased to offer a steady stream of stories from the book each Monday leading up to October 29. The book launches early next year. and will be published by Digital Monument Press.