Blizzard just unveiled a very exciting new feature that will be introduced in Diablo III… an Artisan Caravan. Players will have access to a support cast of loyal artisans who will follow their character throughout Sanctuary, assisting them on their adventures.
Unlike the static characters seen in Diablo and Diablo II, these new support characters are going to be unique, complete with their own identities and back story, and will actually be venturing from town-to-town with your character. In order to enlist these craftsman and form an allegiance, you must first earn their trust and respect. Once you have aided an artisan, and demonstrated your heroic quality, they then will agree to assist you on your plight against the forces of evil.
The purpose of having these artisan support characters is to offer the advantages of having craftable items and supplementary trade skills available, but without the characters themselves having to do all of the work. Instead of having to level up professions and spending half the time banging on an anvil, players will be able to focus on what’s most important – – killing monsters and disposing of evil.
The first artisan that characters will encounter is the Blacksmith. Once enlisted, the blacksmith will set up shop and begin assisting your character with his trade skills. Blacksmiths will have a variety of items for sale, as well as the ability to craft and socket items.
Crafted items will provide characters with progressive upgrades as they gain in level and face increasing challenges. These crafted items will possess a mix of set and random properties, offering an element of chance and excitement to the crafting experience. Crafted items will be created from an assortment of Salvaged items, which we’ll talk about here in a second. In addition to the materials, artisans will also require a fee to cover expenses.
Blacksmiths will also be able to repair items, as well as purchase unwanted items for gold.
Blacksmiths, along with the other Artisans, will also be trainable. Artisans learn new recipes as they level up their trade, but some of the best crafting recipes are ones that characters will acquire via drops while out slaying monsters. As of now, there are five tiers available in the artisan training. As artisans improve their crafts, they also receive a visual overhaul. View the video further down in this post to take a sneak peek at what a fully trained blacksmith’s shop will look like.
Note: Bashiok has stated that the lighting and effects were not yet final in the video preview, meaning that the actual live release will offer an even awesomer visual display for the upgraded blacksmith.
Following the introduction of the blacksmith, completing the artisan caravan will be a mystic and a jeweler. It is not known exactly how many artisans will be available for the release of Diablo III, but as of now they are: blacksmith, mystic and jeweler.
The mystic creates scrolls, potions, magical weapons, spell runes, charms, and can also enchant items. The jeweler crafts gems, amulets, and rings. The jeweler will also have the ability to remove gems from items and combine gems to improve their quality.
The mystic and jeweler description courtesy of G4TV.
Only your character will be able to interact with your artisans, however, you will be able to trade crafted items between other characters. This offers players with a huge income potential, should their artisans possess powerful crafting recipes for items that other players will want.
The artisan caravan will be available for single-player, multi-player and for Battle.net multi-player characters.
Another feature being introduced in Diablo III is a new skill called, Salvaging. Salvaging provides players with the ability to break down loot into its basic materials. These materials can then be used to supplement item crafting, or to provide mats for various other character enhancements. Salvaging can be performed while out adventuring, allowing players to free up bag space by breaking objects down into stackable materials. Salvaging will also reduce down time, by lowering the need to repeatedly return to town in order to vendor excess loot.
In order to begin salvaging items, players must first embark upon the questline which will grant them access to their first artisan. During this endeavor, players will discover an item which will allow them to break down items into craftable materials. This item will remain in a player’s inventory, much like an Horadric Cube.
By Salvaging items, characters will be able to supply the materials necessary for their artisans to level up their crafting skills. In essence, players will need only focus on killing monsters in order to progress their artisans through the game.
Here’s an official video preview of the Diablo 3 Artisan feature, as well as the new Salvaging skill. The video is narrated by Diablo 3 lead develeoper, Jay Wilson.
Here’s the official blue announcement regarding artisans, along with some useful links to a video and some screenshots…
Quote from Bashiok
Today at the gamescom trade fair in Cologne, Germany, Blizzard Entertainment unveiled a brand-new gameplay feature for its highly-anticipated action role-playing game, Diablo® III. Even in single-player mode, the heroes of Sanctuary won’t have to face the hordes of the Burning Hells alone, as a persistent caravan follows them on their perilous quest. The caravan provides access to a group of unique support characters including a blacksmith, a mystic, and a jeweler, each of which offer exclusive gameplay benefits that will aid players in their epic struggle. And these aren’t just static NPCs — each artisan has his or her own story and quest line, and they gradually grow in skill and learn new recipes over the course of the game as players take advantage of their services. The utility provided by these characters adds another layer of customization and depth to the Diablo III gameplay experience.
Check out a full video narrated by Design Director Jay Wilson on our Facebook page here: http://bit.ly/ba6LD5
As well as screenshots: http://bit.ly/aYbgtp