‘Self-found’ is the Diablo community’s esoteric term for a philosophy of play we were all very familiar with before the Auction House: making it through the campaign without recourse to online selling or buying of gear. It’s become something of an old school phenomenon of late, and it was only a matter of time before somebody like popular streamer Archon put the question to Blizzard: What are the chances of us seeing an officially-sanctioned self-found mode in-game in the future?
In an interview on-stream, senior technical game designer Wyatt Cheng told Archon that he was in the process of playing through the game in self-found mode himself.
“We think it’s a fun way to play for some people, but not everyone likes playing that way,” he said.
Cheng recognised players’ need for “a little bit of recognition; just some sort of validation from the server that your character is self-found”. However, he was also wary of further complicating the game’s UI.
“I know our solution to this in the past has always been a bit inelegant when we introduce things like elective mode, advanced tool tips and most recently Monster Power,” he said. “We’ve sort of used ‘Options’ as a little bit of a crutch to hide things from beginners while still allowing expert players these things that we really want.
“[But] do we really want another check-box on the character creation screen? I think self-found is pretty cool, but we don’t want it to get in the way of people who aren’t interested in it.”
While emphasising his use of “noncommittal disclaimers”, which he recognised are a Blizz hallmark, Cheng did say that the Diablo dev team had discussed a solution internally.
“So we have been talking about maybe having your character automatically marked as being self-found until you trade,” he explained. “So the moment you equip something that you didn’t find yourself, it says on your profile page that this character has used the auction house. So that’s definitely a soft way to do something like that.”
Cheng also suggested that a character-specific gold total would ease some of the self-imposed boundaries currently necessary for self-found play.
“I hate having to remember how gold you had [to begin with],” he said. “It would be nice if the game went, ‘Hey, this is how much gold this character has’. And then if I want it I can opt into having shared gold with the rest of my account. Honestly, I consider having [shared gold] great most of the time, but it definitely makes self-found a little bit of a pain.”
Finally, Cheng admitted that the possibility of a self-found ranked ladder had “definitely come up” in internal discussions, but wouldn’t be drawn on any further details.
Do you play self-found? If so, would you like a tad more recognition?