[Followers] Diablo 3 ESP interviews Kevin Martens (english version)
#1 - Diablo 3 ESP: How you doing guys?

Bashiok: Hi, here is Kevin Martens, Lead Content Designer.

Kevin: Good, pretty busy!

#2 - Diablo 3 ESP: 22.00h in Madrid, here is almost midnight. Let's get started because then we got to follow the conference and see if you say any news, you know. May I start with the questions?
Bashiok: Actually, we want to describe the follower feature, and then you will have some time for the questions.
#3 - Diablo 3 ESP: Ok, go ahead.

Kevin: The follower feature is a greatly improved version of the mercenaries or hirelings of the Diablo 2 game, so you can have one follower at a time, they are customizable, they have 12 skills each that you can pick from, you can have any 4 of those 12, there are 4 tier levels with 3 skills each, they also have special items that only they can use.

You have the Templar, the Enchantress and the Scoundrel and at the higher levels items start to drop that are only for the Scoundrel, the Enchantress or the Templar. Let me tell you a little bit about each of them for a second and then we'll talk about their importance to the story.

The Templar is a holy warrior, he's from an order, but the Templars are not the same as Paladins, they are dedicated to eradicating the evil from Sanctuary and fighting against the demons like Paladins, but they are, in fact, equally dedicated to increasing their own wealth and power. The one that you meet's name is "Kormac" and he's a sort of special forces warrior for them. He has been sent to the Tristram area to retrieve the holy tome of the order which was lost a couple of decades earlier. Turns out that it was stolen by Archbishop Lazarus, who was of course one of the villains of Diablo 1.

The Scoundrel (Lyndon) is a member of the Kingsport Thieves Guild currently in disgrace for trying to steal from the thieves guild itself. He is shameless, a ladies’ man, he's underhanded, and he wields a big two-handed crossbow. He loves to shoot people in the back. His skills tend be sneaky things and poisons.

And finally we have the Enchantress (Eirena). The Enchantress speaks of a prophet who raised her and her sisters (other enchantresses) but all of them have gone missing. She's started her quest but is all alone. She can't find any of the people she’s supposed embark on her quest with, so she's joining up with you.

Those are the three of them, all of them have a hundreds of lines of recorded dialog, they have very distinct personalities and different looks in the game. While they all have a reason to be with you, their reasons are different and they'll comment on the quest you are on, the quest you just finished, what you are going to fight, what you do, what you don't do, talk to each other, talk to Leah and Cain at camp, etc. And whichever what you don't have, will hang around the campfire, chatting at each other as well so, they are a lot to the world, they really bring the single player game to life. It feels like you are playing with other people when you are with a follower, and of course, as I mentioned earlier, you can customize them all how you like, respec is really cheap it is just a gold cost right now and not a huge one.

They all have equipment slots beyond their special items as well;weapons, amulets and rings. They take care of their own armor and it does upgrade over time

What questions would you like to ask?
#4 - Diablo 3 ESP: As you have been telling me, they will be three right now. are going to be more mercenaries to choose from?
Kevin: There will be just three for the moment.
#5 - Diablo 3 ESP: What are the main differences or similarities with the mercenaries from Diablo 2? In terms of what they have been before and what you want to do right now.

Kevin: I think the ones in Diablo 2 were largely "glorified pets", I'm not even sure "glorified" is correct, they were just pets, and they were just hit points more than anything else that distract my enemies. The new ones are a lot more, story-driven, they have their personal backstory and each of them has a mission on the critical path of the game where you get them, so they’re more tied-in. And because of how they act and talk to you, they feel more alive than the ones in the previous game.

Now, beyond that, I think that the tactical differences are significant. You can take someone like the Scoundrel and, the three first skills you can choose are different types of crossbow bolts for him. You can do poison bolt, which has such poison damage over time like the classic rogue-like skill, you can do a crippling shot which will slow your enemies down which for certain builds like the Barbarian where not having to chase things down is very useful, or you can do rapid fire that increases DPS (Damage Per-Second), and it goes on like that as well, you know, the respecs are very cheap, you can take him and use one of his skills that increases your gem and rune find and maybe you want to go on a mission to find better runes for yourself or take on a boss, and you can change it. So the Templar can increase his hit points for instance, and you can use him as a tank, or maybe if you are a Barbarian and you are tanky yourself, maybe going to use his Intervene ability to only help you when you’re low on health, and these are sort of choices you have to make. I think that every follower will be an interesting part of the build that you have in the single player game.

#6 - Diablo 3 ESP: The mercenaries in Diablo 2 have a very simple Artificial Intelligence, how has this improved for the new situations and encounter in Diablo 3 with these new mercenaries?
Kevin: The good thing is that you don't have any sort of pet control bar or need to give these people orders directly. They are definitely smarter and use their skills contextually, the Heal for example of both the Templar and the Scoundrel, they will use automatically when you are low health, so you don't have to worry about telling him to heal you or anything like that. Any combination of the skills will work that way, they will use the most effective one in the situation. The path-finding is quite a bit improved as well, so they do keep up with you very well.
#7 - Diablo 3 ESP: So we don't going to find them like the Hunter's Pet from WoW...
Kevin: It is definitively more advanced, I mean, they have huge personalities.
#8 - Diablo 3 ESP: What makes the Enchantress different from the Sorcerer?
Kevin: There´s a variety of schools of magic in the Sanctuary settings. So far people have met the Wizard, the Sorceress and the Necromancer, now the Enchantress is sort of a different school of magical all together. You can think of these classes or these followers sort of like miniature versions of playable classes, they are not as deep and complex as the player classes, so the Enchantress isn't as deep as the Sorceress or Wizard which is why they are better for followers, like the Templar is not as deep as the Paladin or Barbarian, so think about them as miniclasses.
#9 - Diablo 3 ESP: You have told us before that they have their skill trees and specific attacks, right?
Kevin: Yeah, there is 4 groups of 3 skills which unlock over the course of the game, a class-special item slot and you can recombine it all in order to make them work best for the way that your character plays or the way that you play your character. They also have special items that will be craftable at your crafting vendors in town, as well as being found throughout the world, and I'm not sure about this yet, we are still working on it but we will maybe allow you to enhance the special class items in the same way you can enhance items that you have with the crafters.
#10 - Diablo 3 ESP: The skills of the followers can be modified by skill runes?
Kevin: No, they are much more simple than players. What they do have is cheap and easy respec.
#11 - Diablo 3 ESP: Will the mercenaries be available at the beta?
Kevin: In the beta, I don't know.
#12 - Diablo 3 ESP: The mercenaries at Diablo 2 sometimes when they went far away, suddenly they appear by your side, it will be quite the same in Diablo 3?
Kevin: The thing about the Diablo game is, one of the reasons that it runs so fast on machines is because large parts of the world unload if you are not there anymore, so if you do get far enough away they will jump to you so you never be without them for too long.
#13 - Diablo 3 ESP: Can you use one of them for a time and keep the other two somewhere else or you can have only just one and that is all for the game?
Kevin: You can switch them all whenever you want. One of the reasons why they are followers instead of mercenaries is that they are totally free as well. There is no cost to hire them, and you can switch them whenever you want. The ones that you don't take with you will wait in town at the campfire and they will talk to each other and to town's people and so on, so they actually talk, for example, if you take the Templar and the Scoundrel will say: "Don't take him, he is boring, I'm a more interesting companion, take me instead". They are pretty lively.
#14 - Diablo 3 ESP: We have two or three more questions but I think that in your first speech you just gave us answers to everything. One last question, can you use them at the PvP arenas?
Kevin: No, we are going to keep that more simple. It is going to be "mano a mano" not "mano a NPC" *laughs*
#15 - Diablo 3 ESP: I think that is all for now. I know that you are testing right now... how is your feeling about this, are they fun or they are just like the classic followers? How is your feeling when you are testing them?
Kevin: They are actor-voiced right now so when we are early in the development we just had sort of computer-generated voice so they sound like Stephen Hawkings *laughs*. It sounded like an Australian GPS. Now that they actually have voice acting it's supercool to walk around with them, they'll comment on the architecture, one of them will thank you for helping on its mission and your character will comment back to him this well. It really has made a huge difference in the world when you don't have the opportunity to play with another friend or something. Playing with a follower is the next best thing.
#16 - Diablo 3 ESP: I remember when I used to play Diablo 2 with my mercenaries and they died, to resuscitate them I need to go back to town and pay gold. Is going to be quite the same system again or it is going to be something different?
Kevin: We actually made it easier and right now, I can't guarantee this won't change by the time we ship but, the mercenaries will not actually die, they will just be stunned, they are down for about 20 seconds (that time may change as well) and while they are down they can't help you and all their buffs are deactivated. You can actually go and revive them if you want, when you use healing potions or you get health globes in the world that heals them as well. So if they fall down it’s only temporary and they will be right back.
#17 - Diablo 3 ESP: We want to thank you for the oportunity that you gave us, we appreciate that you share this information with us, thank you so much and we hope that the beta comes out soon. 
Kevin: Well, I hope we will give you a game that will fulfill your expectations.
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