Category Archives: Beta

Big Changes for Beta Patch 10

Beta patch 10 is scheduled to go live on the 23rd and Jay Wilson gives us a preview as to some of the massive changes they’ve been working on that we’ll see in that content update.

Systems Changes

“While working on Diablo III we’ve been called out for messing around with systems too much, that the game is good as-is and we should just release it. I think that’s a fair argument to make, but I also think it’s incorrect. Our job isn’t just to put out a game, it’s to release the next Diablo game. No one will remember if the game is late, only if it’s great. We trust in our ability to put out a great game, but we’re not quite there yet. In addition to finishing and polishing the content of the game we’re continuing to iterate on some of the core game systems. So all that said, I’d like to provide everyone an update on some of the systems we’re currently working on.

We’re changing some of the systems we’ve gotten the most feedback on both internally and from the beta test, including crafting, items, core attributes, and inventory. We’ll go over those changes and the reasons for them. In addition we’re working on major changes to the skill and rune systems that we’re not ready to talk about, but I promise you we can’t possibly ship without a finished skill and rune system. :)

Let’s start off small: Scrolls of Identification are no longer in the game. Unidentified items and the act of identifying them is still very much part of the game, but now when obtaining an unidentified item you’ll simply right click it, a short cast timer will occur as your character examines the item, and it will become identified. We love the double-discovery of finding a present and then unwrapping it, but we don’t think it requires a physical item you have to find and keep in your bags to get the same effect. From now on you’ll just be able to inherently identify all your items, no need to carry scrolls. Your character in Diablo III is just that badass now.

We’re also moving the fifth quick slot button, which is becoming a dedicated potion button. A dedicated potion button is something we went back and forth on throughout development. Recently it became apparent that players need to be aware of their potions for emergency situations. Our combat model doesn’t promote or even allow chugging potions in rapid succession, but they’re certainly useful when you run into a string of bad luck with health globes, or if you just get in over your head. This is one of our newest changes, so the button and mechanics don’t actually function in beta Patch 10, but that’s our intent and you’ll be seeing it supported in future beta updates.

The design team is currently looking at systems and cleaning them up, removing any superfluous system objectives and those that are beyond fixing. Thus, we’re removing the Mystic artisan. As we look at the big picture, the Mystic simply wasn’t adding anything to our customization system. Enhancement was really just the socket and gem system with a different name, and it would prolong the release of the game even further to go back to the drawing board and differentiate it, so we’ll revisit the Mystic and enhancements at a later time. Removing her from the game took some time, but it’s nowhere near the efforts that would be required to flesh out a better customization system. We hope she’ll be able to join your caravan in the future, but for now we’re going to focus on the extensive customization options the game already offers.

We’re also looking at systems we’ve created and making sure that the rationale that brought us to these designs still makes sense. The Stone of Recall, for instance, has a short cast time and allows you to return to town. Early on we said we wouldn’t have town portals, as they introduced too many combat exploits, but we were able to resolve them. Because we have the Stone of Recall, though, we began to evaluate systems that were originally implemented to deal with the exclusion of town portals.

So we’ve decided to remove the Cauldron of Jordan and Nephalem Cube. They were implemented to allow for salvaging and selling items when there was no quick and easy way to return to town. Now that the Stone of Recall exists, we found that keeping the Cauldron and Cube in the game detracted from the benefits of returning to town to sell items, salvage, craft, and interact with the townsfolk. It’s a good idea to break up combat so that players have a moment to evaluate their gear and crafting options before venturing back out. In addition, we’ve decided to just call it what it is and the Stone of Recall is now Town Portal, and is integrated directly onto the skill bar UI.

The Blacksmith artisan will now salvage items. With removal of the Cube we needed some mechanic in town that allowed you to salvage your items, and it just makes sense for the Blacksmith to offer it.

One other important change is that common (white) items will no longer be salvageable. We found that it caused a few itemization issues, but mostly this is due to a general philosophy shift on the importance of items. Previously, our thinking was that when an item dropped it should always be useful to you in some way, either the stats could be an improvement for you, or in the case of white items you could break it down and craft something better. Through a lot of play testing we have come full circle to the Diablo II methodology — a lot of stuff that drops just isn’t worth picking up. Diablo II captured the loot piñata feel by dropping a lot of crap, mostly arrows and bolts, and we of course still very much want that feeling of item-explosions. To do that we need to be able to balance the value of items to how many we’re throwing at you.

This leads us to the last change I’ll be detailing today:

We’re changing core character attributes to Strength, Dexterity, Intellect, and Vitality, and the benefits each stat provides is being broken down as:

Strength

     +Barbarian damage
     +Armor

Dexterity

     +Demon Hunter damage
     +Monk damage
     +Dodge

Intellect

     +Wizard damage
     +Witch Doctor damage
     +Health from globes

Vitality

     +Health

We’re dropping Defense, Attack, and Precision as attributes, Armor is taking over for what Defense used to provide, +Physical Resist will take over for Armor, and +Chance to Crit will fill in for Precision. Obviously these stat changes are one of the bigger systems changes we’re currently working on as they have far reaching requirements to re-itemize and balance the game.

This change makes the stats more intuitive and fixes some of the itemization issues we were running into. We want to make it clear that junk items aren’t worth picking up, and make it easy to identify other items as not for your character. We want to drop a ton of items, but to really pull off a sense of excitement when finding a great item, there needs to be non-optimal items, both for your class, and in general. By specifically targeting stats at classes, we can reduce the amount of item overlap, diversify our item pool, and create a cleaner, more exciting itemization system.

By and large these changes have little impact on which items you’re going to want. The item hunt has always been based on secondary stats and affixes, and we’re working hard to ensure build diversity is as large as possible by getting as many affixes into the game as possible (adding more item affixes is also something we’ve been working on). Simply including affixes that augment specific skills greatly expands the itemization pool and build possibilities.

Moving on, with the removal of the Cauldron of Jordan, Nephalem Cube, and by moving Town Portal to the skill panel, we’re now displaying character stats directly on the inventory UI. Now you can see your stats go up and down as you try on different items. All the same info is available; we’re just streamlining the UI, making it more useful. It might seem insignificant but we’re pleased with the results.

All of these are changes that will in one way or another be seen in the latest beta patch, and so we hope that those of you with access please try them out and let us know what you think in the Beta Feedback forum.

There’s a lot of work left to be done, though. We’re constantly tuning and making balance changes; it’s a massive task. Some of these changes can be seen in the beta, like changes to item rarity, the levels at which we introduce affixes, and how many affixes enemies can roll up. Some you can’t see in the beta, like balancing the difficulty of the entire game for four different difficulty levels, adding tons of new affixes, creating legendary items, filling out crafting recipes and itemization, working on achievements, and implementing Battle.net features. We’re also working on a number of other large systems changes — specifically with the skill and rune systems. We’re not quite ready to share what those are just yet, but we look forward to being able to do so in the near future.

We want Diablo III to be the best game it can be when it launches. To get there, we’re going to be iterating on designs we’ve had in place for a long time, making changes to systems you’ve spent a lot of time theorycrafting, and removing features you may have come to associate with the core of the experience. Our hope is that by embracing our iterative design process in which we question ourselves and our decisions, Diablo III won’t just live up to our expectations, but will continue to do so a decade after it’s released.

Jay Wilson is game director for Diablo III and the Inventor of Meat. He believes that Kate Beckinsale is the greatest actress that’s ever lived.”

(source)

Beta Patch 8 – Full Patch Notes

Beta patch 8 is now live and here is what it changed:

General

  • Battle.net BattleTags are now live! To learn more about BattleTags and how to set up yours today, check out the official FAQ (http://us.battle.net/d3/en/blog/4132437). Please note that in order to log into the Diablo III beta, you must create a BattleTag via Account Management.
  • Due to a change in the way we store character data, all characters have been wiped. Please note that this wipe will also affect gold, achievements, followers, and artisans.
  • Achievements have been temporarily disabled and will not be available again until a future patch. During this time, characters will be unable to earn new achievements or complete any additional objectives of achievements in progress.
  • Players will now see recommended items for their active character when accessing the auction house Search tab.

Classes

    • Barbarian
      • Active Skills
        • Cleave
          • Ability will now deal 115% weapon damage to all targets caught in its swing, rather than 120% weapon damage to the primary target and 90% weapon damage to secondary targets
        • Revenge
          • Radius increased from 8 yards to 11 yards
    • Demon Hunter
      • Active Skills
        • Bola Shot
          • Hatred generation increased from 2 to 3
          • Damage reduced from 105% to 100%
        • Elemental Arrow
          • Hatred cost increase from 5 to 10
          • Damage increased from 125% to 145%
        • Fan of Knives
          • Speed reduced from 200% weapon speed to 140% weapon speed
        • Grenades
          • Hatred generation increased from 2 to 3
        • Hungering Arrow
          • Hatred generation increased from 2 to 3
          • Damage reduced from 90% to 85%
        • Rapid Fire
          • Initial Hatred cost reduced from 30 to 20
    • Monk
      • General
        • A new skill has been added: Cyclone Strike
          • Available at level 7
          • Costs 75 Spirit
          • Pulls all enemies within 24 yards towards you, followed by a furious blast of energy that deals 275% weapon damage as Holy
      • Active Skills
        • Breath of Heaven
          • Spirit cost increased from 25 to 50
          • Healing amount increased by 200%
        • Crippling Wave
          • Base effect duration increased from 4.5 seconds to 5 seconds
        • Lethal Decoy
          • This skill has been removed
        • Mantras
          • Mantra of Conviction, Mantra of Evasion, Mantra of Healing, and Mantra of Retribution
            • Cooldown removed
            • Now costs 25 Spirit
            • Duration increased from 1 minute to 3 minutes
    • Wizard
      • General
        • Signature spells no longer cost Arcane Power, regardless of level
          • These spells include: Magic Missile, Electrocute, Shock Pulse, and Spectral Blade
        • The order in which skills are awarded from levels 1 to 13 has been slightly adjusted:
          • Arcane Orb is now available at level 3
          • Disintegrate is now available at level 8
          • Electrocute is now available at level 13
          • Shock Pulse is now available at level 5
          • Spectral Blade is now available at level 6
      • Active Skills
        • Diamond Skin
          • Cooldown reduced from 25 seconds to 15 seconds
          • Duration reduced from 5 seconds to 3 seconds

 

Items

  • The introduction of magical items into the game has been slowed

Monsters

    • General
      • Baby Quill demon health increased from 1% to 25% of normal Quill Beast health (they grow up so fast)
    • Affixes
      • Arcane Enchanted will now appear at level 7, up from level 1
      • Mortar will now appear at a level higher than current beta content
      • Plagued poison cloud duration reduced from 12 seconds to 9 seconds

Quests and Events

    • All quests and events have had their item and recipe rewards removed and will now only award gold and experience on completion
      • This does not affect treasure received from event objects for events like the “Jar of Souls””and only applies to rewards obtained through the quest UI
  • Gold rewards from quests have received a tuning pass

User Interface

  • The Options UI has undergone several improvements, but remains a work-in-progress. Please report any issues in the Beta Bug Report forum.
  • The Friends List has been redesigned to be smaller and more accessible while in other menus and screens
  • The Banner Customization menu has been reworked to improve navigation and usability

Miscellaneous

  • Fire gate damage has been reduced

A Look at Beta Patch 6

In a word, beta patch 6 is rewarding. I think it’s pretty safe to say that just about everyone in the beta enjoyed playing through the snippet of Act 1 available to us but with such a small amount of content to test, it grew stagnant fairly quick. This build revitalized the beta and for the first time in weeks I saw 200+ games of Skeleton King farming simultaneously.

The overall difficulty of the game increased and the addition of achievements makes normal gameplay that much more enjoyable. You just can’t help but feel like a badass as you toy with the Skeleton King while he whirlwinds his own creations to death. The game also feels even more release-ready with clearly identifiable quest rewards and helpful tooltips for new players.

The achievement UI is also very well done and clearly states what needs to be accomplished for credit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Banners are now functioning as visible representations of your efforts, requiring you to unlock the customization options through the achievements.

We now also have hero profiles and the ability to inspect other players as well.

Not to mention, the skill icon has made its return!

There are a few bugs with the patch, but is easily the best update yet and has quite a bit to discuss (more in-depth looks to come). As we continue creeping closer to the release of the game, it is becoming undeniably more awesome.

Beta Patch 6 Slightly Delayed and Characters Wiped Again

It appears as though we’re going to have to wait a bit longer to access the beta as after it was stated that they were going to be wiping all characters again (for achievement testing), they hit a snag:

“We’ve run into a fairly significant issue with the patch that was intended to update beta clients so they can connect to the now updated service. We’re currently unable to estimate when the patch will become available, but are expecting that the beta will not return to service this evening. We apologize for any inconvenience or interruption in your scheduled play and appreciate your understanding.”

Beta Patch 6 Going Live Tonight – Patch Notes

Beta patch 6 is going live tonight!

Lylirra stated: “We’re in the process of bringing down the Diablo III test server to deploy beta patch 6. We anticipate the downtime to last approximately 8 hours until 10:00 p.m. PST.” (Source)

And here is what it plans to do:

General
Auction House 

  • Stackable items can now be purchased and sold on the gold Auction House. These items can be purchased in any quantity, provided that the quantity is available for sale, and will pull from multiple auction listings if needed.

Battle.net

  • Player profiles have been added! These profiles will display important statistics for each of your characters, as well as 3D models featuring their current gear.
  • Player profiles will only be viewable while in the main, character select, and party screens. They will not be viewable in-game.
  • To access your player profile, click on your hero or press “P.”
  • To view other players’ profiles while in a party, right-click on their character. Player profiles for Real ID friends can also be accessed by right-clicking on their names in the Friends List.
  • Achievements are now available for testing. Please note that for the beta launch of this system, only a limited number of achievements have been included.
  • To view your characters’ achievements, click on the “Achievements” icon located in the lower right or press “Y” at any point while playing.
  • To view another character’s achievements while in a party, right-click on their character and select “Inspect.”

Classes
Monk:

  • Active Skills
    • Blinding Flash
      • Spirit Cost reduced from 30 to 10
      • Blind duration increased from 3 seconds to 5 seconds
      • Now has a 15 second cooldown
    • Crippling Wave
      • Damage reduced from 135% to 110%
    • Dashing Strike
      • Damage increased from 65% to 160%
    • Exploding Palm
      • Explosion damage reduced from 40% to 30% of target’s max health
    • Fists of Thunder
      • Damage reduced 120% to 100%
    • Inner Sanctuary
      • Spirit Cost reduced from 80 to 20
      • Now has a 30 second cooldown
    • Lashing Tail Kick
      • Damage increased from 180% to 225%
      • Cooldown removed
    • Lethal Decoy
      • Damage increased from 110% to 330%
      • Duration reduced from 5 seconds to 1 second
      • Decoy is now summoned directly on top of the Monk
      • Ability now plays a casting animation

Wizard:

  • Active Skills
    • Magic Weapon
      • Damage bonus reduced from 20% to 15%

Monsters
General

  • Monster affixes “Die Together,” “Powerful,” and “Ghostly” have all been removed from the game