Diablo III Gameplay and Auction House Panel at BlizzCon 2011

Jay Wilson, Jason Bender, Andrew Chambers, Wyatt Cheng, and Chris Haga took the main stage at BlizzCon this afternoon to offer a comprehensive look at the design and direction of Diablo III.

Senior Game Designer Jason Bender kicked things off by elaborating on how achievements are earned in Diablo III, how player banners work, and how many of the new gameplay elements function. Senior Game Designer Andrew Chambers then explained crafting in Diablo III by first looking at the Diablo II item life-cycle, with an assessment of what worked for players, and what the team set out to improve upon. By explaining the functions of the Mystic, the Jeweler, and the Blacksmith, Chambers proposed a Diablo III item life-cycle that will provide players with a larger set of options than before.

After a brief look at PvP in Diablo III, Game Director Jay Wilson detailed trading systems, including the ways that players will use the auction houses, and how players can and will trade items directly between themselves. Wilson concluded with a look at new features coming in the Diablo III auction house, such as Smart Search, Advanced Search, and the user-friendly ways that the AH will allow stacking of items both for sale and at the point of purchase.

Senior Technical Game Designer Wyatt Cheng explored the final tuning of monsters, skills, and classes that is currently underway, Technical Artist Chris Haga presented a number of videos demonstrating improvements being made to character gameplay, and Jay Wilson continued with a presentation of difficulty levels, touching on the team’s goal of making unusual builds as viable as possible for Diablo III players. Before turning to the live audience for questions, Wilson announced that a way has been found to make Followers viable in all levels of difficulty in Diablo III.

Which gameplay system are you most looking forward to in Diablo III? Tell us about it in the comments below.