We all remember the scroll of townportal from Diablo 2, its back though with some limitations in Diablo 3.
Traveling is again handled by waypoints as in Diablo 2. We thought about mounts, but when we designed the world, we decided there wouldn’t be any need for them. The idea of town portals we wanted to reject, since from the viewpoint of being in the middle of a fight, it’s very easy to abuse, simply disappearing.It just goes back to being the kind of thing we don’t want. Players often go back to town more when they really need to. But if you give players the opportunity every two minutes to town portal, they’ll take advantage of that and carry every last piece of loot, even worthless things, back to town effortlessly, which isn’t very fun. That’s why we wanted to move away from that. We also looked back on the original Diablo to get a feel for dungeons being difficult to escape from, but Diablo 2 never balanced this very well like we have now. We want the player not to be stuck in a dungeon forever, we want to provide intervals where they can go back. We don’t want players to have to keep dropping items, but we also don’t want them to be able to go back as often as they want like in Diablo 2. There are a lot of pros and cons and we’re currently balancing it all. The removal of town portals is beginning to feel bad, because everyone was accustomed to it, but we’re trying our best to find the right way to do this so that the game doesn’t suffer for it.
An example of this, my favorite Diablo 2 example, Duriel, the boss of Act 2. He dealt massive damage, had huge amounts of health, inflicted freeze effects and is waiting directly at the entrance of an extremely small room. He’s very brutal, but the only reason he was so difficult was because the player had to use town portals constantly, was always running away, drinking potions, etc., and it was almost frustrating. This is why we’ve taken care in how the health system has been changed. We want to avoid situations where a player is repeatedly using town portals and coming back until the boss is killed. This isn’t a particularly fascinating way to do it. We want to create a system where the bosses are challenging without frustrating the player.
One thing we’re trying with our waypoints is adding a “town portal” like ability to it. Previously in a Diablo 2 game, if a friend wanted to catch up, he’d have to yell “TP! TP!” and wait until someone portals them to where they are. This isn’t a very good way to get players together, because it requires the other players to drop what they’re doing to summon a portal in a safe spot. That’s why we’re allowing waypoints to teleport you directly to other players. The player steps on the waypoint, clicks the function “Teleport to friend” (this won’t be the final name of the function, it’ll certainly change) and immediately a list of other players in the game appears and he can click to teleport to them. This takes the load off the existing players who are already out playing and might be in the middle of a fight, and it also allows everyone to catch up. I know this is a fairly long answer. For all these features, we’re just trying to decide whether the advantages of them outweighs any disadvantages, and then try and implement them.