Blizzard has just announced a list of changes they are going to make to their game on their website.
This update is a Game Design one, as in they are going to balance our the classes and difficulty of the game. Blizzard has announced their new patching strategy. Bugs and design issues that are considered severe will be fixed through hotfixes. Other problems that are not considered severe will be fixed by the slower released patches.
With that being said, Blizzard has also announced that a patch is to be released some time next week. This patch (1.0.2) is aimed to address service issues and has been in development since the release of the game. The game balancing changes will not be included in patch 1.0.2 however, but instead will be included in patch 1.0.3, which does not have an estimated release time frame.
Blizzard also commented on skill nerfs. The following skills where deemed overpowers by Blizzard and where nerfed using a hotfix:
- Lingering Fog - a Rune for the Demon Hunter spell Smoke Screen
- Boon of Protection - a Rune for the Monk spell Mantra of Healing
- Force Armor - a Rune for the Wizard skill Energy Armor
Blizzard has also mentioned that just because they nerfed these skill it does not mean that every powerful skill will have a nerf hotfix waiting around the corner. Only those skills that are deemed game breaking will be nerfed.
Comments where also made on classes relying on "one button" builds. Blizzard does not want you to be forced to use a specific rune in order to progress in Inferno, instead they want you to use build diversity. Certain classes where able to progress in Inferno better than others using specific runes, which caused two problems. It made other classes made underpowered (when it was in reality the other way round), and it made people using said class to feel as though they are forced to use specific runes to play Inferno. This goes against the original Diablo 3 game design and Blizzard has fixed this by modifying the skills mentioned above.
As announced in our previous Diablo 3 Inferno Tuning post, there will also be some nerfs to Inferno. One of the key points they want to change about Inferno is the way damage is dealt to the player. They want the damage drain to be constant and even, and right now there are damage spikes they want to remove. There where also comments made that one of the most fun aspects of Inferno should not be damage mitigation, but damage mitigation WHILE purposely taking on challenging tasks (such as chasing a Treasure Goblin and pulling a massive amount of aggro).
There have also been comments that if you feel Inferno is just too hard, you should farm the previous acts for gear (or better yet, the previous difficulty). Blizzard mentioned that although they want boss fights to be epic, they want to ensure that pulling a big amount of Champions and Rares proves more of a challenge and more rewarding. This makes sense, since boss fights are "forced" while the mass pulling is something you do voluntarily.
On to the Legendaries! Other games have set the standard that Legendary items are meant to be the best top tier items *cough* WOW *cough* however Blizzard has mentioned that this is not so in Diablo 3, and it is intentional. They said that such items are still very powerful and you should be proud to have one, but you can still find a Rare item that generates better stats than the predefined Legendary item stats.
Another change coming to the way items work is that in patch 1.0.3 you can now see the Item level of level 60+ items. This should make comparing high level Magic items to lower level Legendary items make more sense. A buff is also incoming for Legendary items in patch 1.1 (the PvP patch), but this will only apply to new drops and not to existing items (ie. if you already had a Legendary item, it will not have it's stats modified. You need to drop a new one).
In patch 1.0.3 the Blacksmith is also getting a makeover. By design the Blacksmith was intended to fill itemization gaps at level 60, so they will reduce the cost of training and crafting from levels 1 to 59. Combining gems will also require 2 gems now as opposed to three.
Bugs and other issues are also getting a fix (hope this includes the crashes).
Some fun facts taken from the post:
- On average players have created 3 characters each
- 80% of characters are between levels 1 and 30
- 1.9% of characters have unlocked Inferno difficulty
- 54% of Hardcore players chose a female character
- The majority of Hardcore deaths (35%) occur in Act I Normal
- The most common level 60 build in the game is only used by 0.7% of level 60 characters of that class (not including Passive diversity)
- The most used runes for each class at level 60 are Barbarian: Best Served Cold, Demon Hunter: Lingering Fog, Wizard: Mirror Skin, Monk: Peaceful Repose, Witch Doctor: Numbing Dart