You might have noticed upon completing Diablo 3, even on Inferno, that there’s not much incentive to continue questing aside from the urge to level up another character class and experiment with their respective skill tree. Apparently Blizzard has taken note, and it only took them about three months.
Since its release in May, Diablo 3 has easily been one of the most controversial titles in recent memory. A game that fans had waited over a decade to play was lambasted upon launch as gamers cited the DRM system, outdated graphics, poor campaign, and now infamous “Error 37″ as reasons for utter disappointment. Additionally, longtime fans have expressed frustration in the lack of PvP, rarity of good item drops as an enticement for looting, and no motivation to continue playing after the level 60 cap, all areas in which many believe Diablo 2 had largely succeeded. Making matters worse, many players have stated the aggravation in the health multiplier for enemies on higher difficulty levels, noting that lengthy resurrection timers render certain gameplay situations unfair.
Well, Blizzard wants to ensure fans that they are working to resolve such issues. In the dev team’s latest blog post, the 1.0.4 patch for Diablo 3 is previewed and outlined in finer detail. Firstly, they’re addressing the problem of the monster health multiplier:
“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...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.”
Next, the disparity in difficulty between regular enemies and Champion/Rare packs:
“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…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.”
The 1.0.4 patch will also update weapon drops as well as damage statistics and how damage will be calculated with some of the “damage-over-time” skills. Blizzard then discusses the decision to remove Enrage Timers and full-healing power of Champion/Rare packs:
“We’re removing Enrage Timers and the “heal back to full” behavior from Champion and Rare monster packs. We don’t think they fit well into the general philosophy of the game, which is more about trying to farm as efficiently as possible. You’re already incentivized to kill things quickly, if a pack happens to take you a long time it can just feel unfair to have the pack enrage, kill you, and then heal back to full.”
Lastly, Blizzard is following through on their promise to revamp some of the lesser used skill and ability sets. The team will be looking at “unpopular skills” and will make the necessary tweaks/upgrades in order to make that skill or ability a viable asset to your character.
So while it appears Patch 1.0.4 will address and fix many nagging issues Diablo 3 has suffered from since launch day, one has to wonder as to whether Blizzard’s efforts fall into a “too little, too late” scenario as many players have stated outright that they’ve given up on the game and have moved on to different titles. If you haven’t picked up Diablo 3 in months and were waiting for either a PvP implementation or some sort of drastic change to the title’s endgame, the 1.0.4 patch may be a massive update that you can afford to ignore.
Head over to Battle.net for a full preview of this next Diablo 3 patch.