Blizzard is finally beginning to release some information on the long awaited 1.0.4 patch. In my opinion, this will be the patch that makes or breaks the future of Diablo 3. The changes they make with this patch need to address some of the major issues with the game, so let’s break the listed changes down and see where we stand at the end.
The change we made back in 1.0.3 to remove the bonus monster damage per additional player was a great start, but we can clearly go a bit further. The first change we’re making in 1.0.4 for co-op is to remove averaging in multiplayer games of Magic Find and Gold Find. You’ll benefit from your full Magic Find stat, independent of other players in the game. We originally added Magic Find averaging so optimal play did not involve people stacking what we call “adventure stats” to the detriment of their party. While this may re-emerge as a problem, we think the current solution feels like too much of a penalty, and is doing more harm than good.
Great change in my opinion. While this can and likely will promote leeching, a player with good enough gear shouldn’t be penalized because of players lacking good equipment. A good way to encourage group play and I have no idea why they even added this in as a “feature” to begin with in a game like Diablo.
Along the same lines as the change in 1.0.3, we’re going to be lowering the health multiplier for monsters per additional player in co-op games. It’s going to be a flat 75% in 1.0.4 for all difficulty levels, as opposed to the scaling 75/85/95/110% it is now. This makes enemies far more manageable in co-op games, and rewards a co-ordinated group with a higher farming efficiency than playing alone.
Another great change in terms of improving the co-op experience. However I feel a lot of the “hardcore” players who through tedious farming/grinding may be a little upset at the “nerf”. Mainly because the difficulty in group play drops significantly and other people will now be able to farm easier to close the gap between the 1% “hardcore” players and the casual/semi-hardcore players.
We know there are a lot of you out there that are really frustrated by the difficulty of some of the champion and rare packs, so in 1.0.4 we’re going to shrink the gap between normal monsters and Elite packs (Champions and Rares). The design intent of Champion and Rare packs is to provide a spike of challenge, but in general we feel like the gap is too big. Normal monsters die quickly and are usually just fodder, and Champions and Rares can feel like a brick wall. In general we’re looking to bring normal enemies up a smidge, and Champions and Rares down.
So, in 1.0.4 we’re increasing the health of normal monsters by approximately 5%-10% in Inferno, but also increasing the likelihood they drop magic or rare items by a factor of four. We’re correspondingly lowering the health of Champions and Rares by 10-25% and editing specific affixes to shrink the difficulty gap. We’re still working on those numbers, but that’s approximately what we’re shooting for.
Farming will become a lot easier with this. White mobs generally posed very little threat, so a small boost in HP with a greater chance at loot is great. Some Affixes combination on Elite and Champion packs were ridiculous so by addressing that and by lowering their HP, farming speeds will increase and players will begin to find more loot increasing their chances of getting an upgrade. It also means there will be more items on the RMAH, oh Blizzard, you crafty devils.
Weapon damage is the most important stat on a weapon. It can be disheartening to get a lot of weapon drops and you know before even looking at them that they have no chance of being good. To help give weapons a fighting chance, the raw damage value on all level 61 and 62 weapons will be able to roll damage that extends all the way to the top end of level 63.
While DPS is the most important stat on items, I hope there’s more changes to values then just DPS. There should be better scaling for other attributes from 61-63 to keep the 61 and 62 ilvl items competitive.
We also want to close the gap between dual-wielding and two-handers, and so we’re improving two-handed melee weapons by creating a new set of stronger affixes to compensate for the loss of stats that can come from your offhand.
Excellent! I play as a Barbarian and once I found out about stacking critical damage with dual wield, it didn’t matter about the DPS difference on a 2-hander. This should help change the cookie-cutter dual wield critical damage builds that everyone has been forced to use.
On the topic of two-handers, we’re also changing how damage is calculated on a few damage-over-time skills. Many skills have text like “Deals 75% weapon damage for 5 seconds”, which isn’t exactly clear as it can be interpreted a few different ways. It also made skill evaluation difficult, particularly for skills with long durations or cooldowns. We’re switching a lot of these skills to read “X% weapon damage over 5 seconds”. Many skills already follow this format, and understanding what the skill does is very clear. As the skills are converted there is an additional opportunity: when converting to this format, choosing a value for X depends on your weapon speed. So what we’ve done in most cases is assumed a high attack speed (at least 2.0 attacks per second), chosen a value of X, and then in many cases bumped the value even higher. A skill that currently does 75% weapon damage for 5 seconds, with a 2.0 speed weapon, will convert to at least 750% weapon damage over 5 seconds. The skill becomes easier to understand, is a small buff for most one-hand builds, and a big buff for two-hand builds.
Simple change that will keep consistency with skills. Likely will make some skills have value now, and can’t complain about clarity.
We’re removing Enrage Timers and the “heal back to full” behavior from Champion and Rare monster packs.
Never should have been there to begin with. This discouraged fighting “tough” packs, so this is a no-brainer.
That said, we think repair costs are just a bit too high, so in 1.0.4 we’re going to be reducing repair costs of high-end items by 25%.
Repair costs should _NEVER_ have needed 2 changes to find the right balance. With the previous changes listed, I believe this will be as close to perfect as possible. If you’re still dying to things that have weaker affixes and less life, you need to get some better gear.
That addresses that current preview of changes listed. There will be additional information on class balancing, legendaries and some additional system changes. Blizzard states the patch is slated for the 4th week of August, so we’re still 2-3 weeks out.
My only fear is that the “hardcore” players may feel the game has been made too easy now, but I really don’t care about them. I care about my experience and so far I think Blizzard has addressed a few of the bigger issues. What remains to be seen is when Jay Wilson addresses Magic Find. I’m sure he’ll have lots of gems for us all to pick at.