Diablo III shows new user interface

Slots. Loot. Talents. Tabs. Oh God.

Blizzard has leaked a little more information on its in-development super-RPG, Diablo III. A fresh batch of screens show a user interface revised over previous versions of the game shown at last year's BlizzCon and Worldwide Invitational events.

You can see the screens, and hear or read more about them, at the page for Blizzard's latest Blizzcast.

A very World of Warcraft-style, three-part talent tree for the Barbarian character class is shown - but since WOW's talent trees are very Diablo-style, that seems fair enough.

Of more interest to Diablo veterans will be the new inventory, since managing your bags has always been one of Diablo's biggest headaches. The one-size-fits-all icons lifted from WOW in the previous builds of the game are gone, bringing back the huge, painterly item icons of classic Diablo.

But rather than go back to a system where players were juggling items of different sizes in their inventory, Blizzard has added a tabbed system for the bags - one for large-icon loot, one for smaller consumable items, and one for quest items, keeping these inventories separate and easily manageable.

"We’ve experimented with a few things and one of the big things that everyone liked from Diablo, as an entity, were the large objects," said senior artist and "UI guy" Mike Nicholson in the podcast.

"While it was more efficient to go with a WOW-style one-size-fits-all icon, which is what most people have seen, we really wanted to see what we could do, and so we went back and re-evaluated the system and we've decided split it into large and small objects.

"That brings up the question of Tetris inventory all over again, and a lot of people are opposed to that, some people like it, some people don't. So we ended up tabbing the inventory," he said.

Elsewhere in the podcast, the game's lead designer Jay Wilson explains that the extent of character customisation possible with runes means that Diablo III will have much more diverse loot at the endgame than the fairly strict class- or role-based equipment sets presented by MMOs like WOW.

"It's definitely diverse, and it's diverse on a lot of different fronts," Wilson said. "When you think about Diablo II, all the different ways you can build your character, we really expanded all the ways you can customize your character by adding in the rune system.

"Not only can you completely customize your skill set, much more so than you can in most MMOs like World of Warcraft, but because of that, the items you want are based upon the skill set that you've chosen or the type of build that you are trying to create," he explained. "It's up to the player on what kind of stats they want on their character, but we're definitely not shooting for a, 'oh here's the barbarian armour', there is a set and when you get the full set you're done. That's just not very Diablo and it's not really the kind of gameplay we're going for. If anything we'd like the item set to be a lot more diverse than it was in Diablo II," he said.

Can't wait. Will have to. Plenty more at the Diablo III gamepage.

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