Customer Discussions > Video Games forum

Diablo 3, Game Design Update

Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-25 of 34 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 28, 2012 8:05:51 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 28, 2012 8:07:34 PM PDT

"With Diablo III out for nearly two weeks now, millions of players around the world are storming Sanctuary and joining the battle against the Burning Hells. At the same time, we continue to work around the clock to make sure you have an epic online gaming experience.

As more and more players begin to perfect their character builds and progress into Diablo III's higher difficultly levels, some of the most prominent feedback lately has been about game balance and design, and that's what we're here to talk about today. As with any new game, gameplay issues are inevitable, and we hear a lot of feedback regarding what`s balanced, what's not, and everything else in between. We recently made some decisions to adjust (or outright nerf) a few class skills, and today we wanted to explain our overall philosophy on design changes -- as well as give some insight into some more changes that are coming up.

Before we get to that, though, we thought it'd be fun to share a few interesting stats we've collected since Diablo III's release:

-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

When it comes to making game changes, in general, our intent is to react quickly to critical design and balance issues, bugs, and other problems that seriously conflict with our design intent through hotfixes. For issues which aren't as severely out of line, we plan to react in a more measured fashion -- through client patches. We have a patch coming within the next week (patch 1.0.2) that has been in development since the game's launch and is mainly aimed at addressing service issues. The first real game balance changes, outside of hotfixes, will be coming in patch 1.0.3. We expect that because the game is new, some other issues will arise that will need to be immediately addressed through hotfixes, but in general, most changes will arrive through patches.

Regarding the changes to Lingering Fog, Boon of Protection, and Force Armor: we determined these skills were simply more powerful than they should be, and we felt their impact on class balance and how each class was perceived warranted hotfixes as soon as we were able. However, we don't want you to be worried that a hotfix nerf is lurking around the corner every day. If a skill is strong, but isn't really breaking the game, we want you to have your fun. Part of the enjoyment of Diablo is finding those super-strong builds, and we want players to be excited to use something they discovered that feels overpowered. A good example of this is the monk Overawe rune, which many players have identified as being quite good. We agree it's good, but we don't think it's so far out of line that we're going to swoop in and hotfix it out of existence.

Inferno is intended to be extremely difficult, but with some specific skills, a few classes were simply able to progress far more easily than intended. This made the classes, which were about where they were supposed to be, seem very underpowered. It also created the perception that the classes doing well were intended to rely on specific runes in all their builds, and the other classes were just broken. This is the opposite of what's true. If any single skill or rune feels absolutely required to progress, it means that skill is working against our goal of encouraging build diversity -- and those "required" skills need to be corrected. We know these hotfixes snuck up on people, and it took us a day or so to communicate that they had gone live. However, our intent moving forward is that when there are circumstances where a hotfix is necessary, we'll communicate changes that could impact your ability to play your class through `Upcoming Changes' posts in the General forum. Ideally, we'll let you know as soon as we even have the idea that we want to make that kind of change.

That said, we also wanted to let you know we're keeping a close eye on Inferno. The intent of incoming damage is that it should be a very consistent drain on your health, and mitigating that drain is a major part of what makes Inferno mode difficult. Right now, there's a lot more damage "spikiness" occurring than feels right, and that's one major area we're looking to adjust in patch 1.0.3. While we don't have any specifics yet, our design goals are to support and promote build diversity; continue to ensure that a mix of champion packs, rare packs, and boss fights are the most efficient way to acquire the best items in the game; and ensure that all classes are viable in Inferno.

From a high-level perspective, we think a more fundamentally fun way to approach difficulty in Inferno isn't seeing how much incoming damage you can avoid or mitigate, but rather to see how efficient you can be while voluntarily taking on a challenge that pushes you. For anybody who's ever died because they chased a Treasure Goblin too aggressively, you know what we mean; dying because you got greedy or overconfident can actually be a lot of fun. Now that the skills mentioned above have been brought more in line, we'll be keeping a close eye on balance.

We've also seen some people saying our intention with Inferno is just one-shot you to make it difficult. While damage is a bit spikier than we'd like, we're actually seeing a pretty significant number of people attempting Inferno without sufficient gear. There's a good chance that returning to the previous Act to farm upgrades will do the most to help you survive. That said, we'd like to shift some of the focus away from survival and more toward using a variety of offensive tactics to succeed. Survival will still be important, but finding ways to maximize your damage while staying alive is more exciting. We're not particularly concerned with whether or not a boss is "beatable," though it should feel epic and challenging to defeat it. We're more concerned with ensuring that acquiring 5 stacks of Nephalem Valor and taking on as many Champions and Rares as you can remains the most challenging and rewarding way to play.

On to items! One of the biggest pieces of feedback we've received regarding items is the relative power of Legendaries. This isn't a simple issue to address, as it involves some intentional design decisions as well as expectations built by other games. First and foremost, Legendary items are not designed to necessarily be the best items in the game. They're just one additional type of item as you level up, and they are not meant to be the primary items you're chasing at the end-game. They can -- and should -- be exciting to find, but they're not supposed to serve as the single driving force of the item hunt. Rare items, for example, have the possibility to roll up "perfect" stats that can, if you're lucky, outpace the predetermined stats of a Legendary. That's by design.

One problem we've seen -- and intend to correct quickly -- is players comparing high-level Magic (blue) items to lower-level Legendary items as "proof" of an imbalance. To help correct misconceptions of the actual stat budgets allocated to items, we'll be exposing item levels (ilvl) of 60+ items in patch 1.0.3. Comparing an ilvl 63 blue to an ilvl 60 Legendary will hopefully make a bit more sense afterward. In addition, we're planning to just straight-out buff Legendary items in a future patch, likely the PvP patch (1.1). These buffs will not be retroactive, and so they'll only apply to new Legendary items found after the patch. In the long term, we're looking at simply expanding the affix diversity and unique bonuses of Legendary items, and we'll be able to share more details after the PvP patch.

Other areas of concern have been both the gem combination system and Blacksmith leveling and crafting costs. The intent, especially with the Blacksmith, is that he's leveling with you, you're able to use him as an alternate source for upgrades. Our design goal is that once you get to level 60, his recipes are actually good enough to help fill a character's potential itemization gaps. To correct these issues, we're looking to adjust the Blacksmith costs for training (gold and pages) and crafting from levels 1-59, and reduce the cost of combining gems so that it only requires two gems instead of three (up to Flawless Square). Both of these changes are scheduled for patch 1.0.3.

Of course, these are just a few of the more prominent issues we wanted to let you know we're working on. In addition, we'll be addressing a number of specific game bugs and other issues through future hotfixes and patches. We're going full steam ahead on the PvP patch, which will also include a number of game changes unrelated to PvP, and we look forward to sharing more about that as we get closer to opening up a PTR, where you'll be able to test out our changes -- and enjoy mercilessly slaughtering one another in the PvP arena."


Patches incoming so I guess that's a good thing?

Inferno is indeed challenging but so far I'm not totally turned off by it. After giving it some more time it's a "not too frustrating with adequate reward" kind of challenging. Soloing Leoric and 2-manning the Butcher took good use of skills (curse you valor buff dropping for switching skills!) but they deaths didn't feel too cheap. That said I don't know how things will be moving forward when the butcher was quite literally hitting me within an inch of my life if I was hit at all.

On a side note I'm a little surprised that numbing dart is the top WD skill. I've seen exactly zero WDs using it and quite frankly it's grossly inferior to splinter/snake to the face + grasp of the dead with any mod. Peaceful Repose for the monk on the other hand is a superb skill. Really weird how one class chooses a great skill/mod regularly and another class chooses an awful one.

Adding iLevel should be a nice way to compare gear at a glance when clearing out the bags. I'm wishing they'd add a stat filter to sets on the AH as well as the ability to sort by bid.

Posted on May 28, 2012 8:16:13 PM PDT
Cinema Fan says:
Ditto on the numbing dart. I've found, particularly in the cramped dungeon areas where you take advantage of doors: splinters + grasp of the dead + wall of zombies + acid cloud + your pets should make you pretty much untouchable.

Posted on May 29, 2012 4:02:02 AM PDT
:( Glad I spent hundreds of thousands upgrading my artisans just to have the gold cost reduced.

Otherwise, I like the changes being made. I do feel somewhat forced into a few select builds on Inferno though. The ranged barb is doing pretty well considering my critical hits deal about 20-40k damage. I still need to try adjusting the build slightly for more strength. I don't get hit as much, so I can be a little more lax in my vitality.

In reply to an earlier post on May 29, 2012 4:07:02 AM PDT
User says:
Saw you guys took down the butcher. Grats on that. My only problem with inferno is the timer on elites. When you are fighting a mob that retreats constantly, that timer is guaranteed death. My monk should be in Inferno by the end of this week. Then I can go DH or Monk with an inferno group.
Surprised that only 1.9% have made it to inferno, even though that probably takes into account people like me with 3 lvl 1 chars I haven't started on yet. Laughed at 35% of HC deaths happening in A1 Normal (even though it makes perfect sense).

In reply to an earlier post on May 29, 2012 4:16:07 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 29, 2012 4:20:14 AM PDT
I was reading this post the other day...

It's a pretty thorough look at diminishing returns on armor and evaluating between armor and vitality when one is worth more than the other. It also has a little bit on resistances and a calculator but I couldn't get the calculator app to work. I'm hoping to keep tanking on my monk when I get to inferno and after reading this it seems feasible for at least Act 1. About 70-80% seems to be the highest plausible damage reduction from armor and I'm not too far away from that mark even now.

In reply to an earlier post on May 29, 2012 4:34:59 AM PDT
Nice, I'll have to check this one out. I think I'm around 60% or so before my passives kick in when I go melee. Ranged has been working pretty well though. I took down a molten plague arcane teleporter group of bats with only 2-3 deaths in a hallway. I need to get better at fury management and I think I'll be alright.

Posted on May 29, 2012 5:47:20 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 29, 2012 5:53:51 AM PDT
J. says:
Got my DH to 54 over the weekend. Forget Inferno, Hell is going to he kicking my butt for a while.

Some of my concerns so far:

During the Diablo boss fight: If the shadow realm phase ends while you're in bone prison, you will remained stunned for the remainder of phase 3. This has happened to me 2x now. Easy enough to avoid, but if you're not paying attention, get ready to be a man down for the end of the fight.

The blacksmith... I break down almost every magic item I find. 99% of my items get broken down after I'm done with them. I still don't have enough mats to to craft a decent upgrade. The other day I spent over 100k and the majority of my NM mats to craft new items for my DH. I rolled Int gloves 9x in a row, and a handful of junk helms.

Frustration ensued, and I went to the AH for the first time. I upgraded my helm, xbows, gloves, bracers, and boots for under 50k.

I get that the Bsmith is supposed to be a money sink. But right now, the items are really only in upgrade if your equipped gear is seriously outdated. Keep the cost/randomness, but buff the
stats so they can compete against dropped gear, or reduce the level reqs.

Put a resale timer on items purchased from the AH. A buddy was bragging to me about how he made 100k by buying, and reselling, items on the AH. It make me want to kick a puppy.

Clear the AH of sold items. Why do I want to see what awesome item I can no longer purchase? Also, allow us to sort by time left on the auction. Why can't we so this? Or am I doing something wrong?

I guess that's it, for now. Great game, just a few minor issues atm.


Thought of something else... From NM AI through Hell AI, I didn't get a single rare drop off of my virgin boss kills. I was running with a friend in Hell who was stacking MF and had the NV buff. He was getting rares, but I didn't get a single one.

So what does that teach the player? "Hey, congrats on downing this boss for the first time. Now go get some MF gear, a level 60 buff, and try it again." What happened to the virgin kills dropping higher quality gear?

In reply to an earlier post on May 29, 2012 5:50:16 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 29, 2012 5:50:32 AM PDT
I think the blacksmith is wildly overpriced.

Sold items have been very recently sold to someone and they have not yet claimed it in their stash. Usually this means you missed it by seconds.

I never purchase anything over 20k and often not over 5k. It just isn't worth it. I have awesome gear and 13k damage with stuff I paid less than 8k a piece for, which is MUCH cheaper than making them myself at a BS.

In reply to an earlier post on May 29, 2012 6:06:47 AM PDT
" A buddy was bragging to me about how he made 100k by buying, and reselling, items on the AH. It make me want to kick a puppy."

I've done this a lot. reselling cheap buys for sick profits, not the kicking puppies. Easiest way to make money in the game if you have 100K gold to play with and time on your hands. Scour the AH for items that are about ready to expire that the current bid is seriously underpriced. Bid when the timer is <1m. Then, put the item back up for a reasonable buyout price.

Also, the only epic item that I've had drop wasn't from a boss but from an rare.

Posted on May 29, 2012 6:08:08 AM PDT
The AH was definitely the way to go earlier but I'm not entirely convinced the blacksmith is 100% worthless yet. Finding level 60 upgrades on the auction house for less than 100k is becoming increasingly difficult. All of the 'good' stuff I feel people are starting to realize that it's good and gouging to high heaven on it. Regardless of whether they get their asking price it's effectively unavailable. I'm considering looking at the blacksmith again personally, maybe when the commodities come back up because it seems to be blocking the purchase/sale of BS plans (I have one for a rare shield fwiw, exalted dreadplate?).

I've been messing around with gold farming gear sets/builds. I have one with +56 yards of pickup radius that I did my speed runs with and I was basically able to run through the game one-shotting everything in a large area (firebomb + ghost bomb mod, gruesome feast for +dps from health orbs) and that much pickup radius allowed me to grab gold off screen. On normal mode it was only about 20k in pickups and quest rewards so I'm thinking about trying it again on nightmare and re-tooling the set for pickup radius and gold find.

In reply to an earlier post on May 29, 2012 6:08:46 AM PDT
The legendary items that Jro and I found were both from boxes. His might have been a barrel.

In reply to an earlier post on May 29, 2012 6:09:29 AM PDT
I have plans for a rare shoulder piece. I can't remember the name. Exalted something.

In reply to an earlier post on May 29, 2012 6:24:46 AM PDT
This brings up an interesting idea. I haven't gotten any drops on plans yet so I couldn't contribute, so this is kinda self-serving at the moment. We should put a list up of any plans we have access to. That way, if someone knows how to make something that somebody else needs, all would need to happen is to give the person with the plans the mats and the gold to make it.

In reply to an earlier post on May 29, 2012 6:25:36 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 29, 2012 6:25:54 AM PDT
I think I still need 1.5 levels to use the plan. It's an artisan lvl 10 plan. I'll look at it tonight. I should start upgrading my artisans again.

In reply to an earlier post on May 29, 2012 6:30:33 AM PDT
lol, not if they're reducing the cost of training soon. I would just hold off for a short while and it might save you some serious money.

In reply to an earlier post on May 29, 2012 6:32:15 AM PDT
User says:
c'mon, it's only another 160k to get to lvl 10... .

Posted on May 29, 2012 6:36:53 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 29, 2012 6:39:22 AM PDT
AmbientGreen says:
The blacksmith is a massive money hole. I reached exalted level 10 over the weekend. Would have been nice to know they're reducing the cost requirements, but oh well. I figured they'd eventually do that at some point.

I'm almost to Act III in Inferno, but I'm not in any rush to get there. Pretty satisfied just farming Act I for a few weeks, honestly. I actually (for the first time) made myself a decent and beneficial piece of gear from the blacksmith for myself - +58 all resistances, +120 intelligence, 14% magic find, 82 vitality shoulders. Cost to make it was 49,500 gold and it was a gamble, but it FINALLY paid off.

In reply to an earlier post on May 29, 2012 6:49:32 AM PDT
AmbientGreen says:
I got that one and exalted shield plans.

It'd be uber mcdoober groovy if I could find weapon ones, specifically one-handed plans, a staff, or wand. Knowing the RNG, I might not see those for a while.

Posted on May 29, 2012 7:01:01 AM PDT
I'm not sure if I'm going to hold on to my plan. I think it has more value to me selling it than it does attempting to craft it but I'm going to feel out what plans are going for on the AH.

A one-handed weapon plan would be nice. I cry a little every time I see the prices of 1000dps one-handers on the AH, especially those with attack speed.

In reply to an earlier post on May 29, 2012 7:08:56 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 29, 2012 7:09:33 AM PDT
User says:
The entirety of the lvl 60 gear on the AH is way over priced. There are outliers that you can get from reasonable people. I sold my legendary pants for 100k (took about 2 hrs). Others were listed upwards of 300k w/o sockets. Yes it had two sockets and vitality, but they sucked overall compared to a lot of rares at lvl 54. I wonder where all of these people are getting the millions in gold to buy all of this garbage (I've only looted 1.6 mil myself).

In reply to an earlier post on May 29, 2012 7:10:21 AM PDT
AmbientGreen says:
Yeah, I'd imagine they fetch a nice price.

No way in the world am I paying 20-30 million gold for a really nice one-hander with my desired stats. That's why I went all in with blacksmith crafting. I made some really nice shoulders last night, so maybe there's some more luck in the pipeline.

In reply to an earlier post on May 29, 2012 7:11:31 AM PDT
Bought my 950 damage 2-H axe with +56% crit damage for around 5k.

Between that and my +50% passive, my crits hit for an immense amount of damage.

In reply to an earlier post on May 29, 2012 7:14:21 AM PDT
User says:
Nice job on the 950, probably makes inferno a little easier. Even with my 700dmg bow (I paid 50k for) my crits hit for 20k.

In reply to an earlier post on May 29, 2012 7:19:35 AM PDT
It's nice, but I'm still working on the fury combos to maximize my damage. I have to be careful that I don't run out quick.

In reply to an earlier post on May 29, 2012 7:25:30 AM PDT
AmbientGreen says:
Really nice find dude, can't beat that price.

That's basically what I'm using as well. Made elite champ packs doable solo. I still die of course, but now they can be kited and killed more often than not. The very fast packs, with like teleport, vortex, molten, and whatever other ridiculous trait are my kryptonite. Those ones are currently impossible for me, especially in a dungeon.
‹ Previous 1 2 Next ›
[Add comment]
Add your own message to the discussion
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Prompts for sign-in


This discussion

Discussion in:  Video Games forum
Participants:  10
Total posts:  34
Initial post:  May 28, 2012
Latest post:  May 29, 2012

New! Receive e-mail when new posts are made.
Tracked by 2 customers

Search Customer Discussions