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A Guide to Diablo: IncGamers site changes – Here’s what we’ve done

Regular readers will have noticed quite a few changes on Diablo: IncGamers since the launch of Reaper of Souls which was the motivation for us to make some of the changes we had been thinking about for a while.

When RoS launched we pushed the first stage of front page layout changes live. We know everyone likes to read their content in different ways so the site was changed to a similar layout to the main IncGamers site. Of course not every one will love that format so in the past week we set to work on the second phase which was giving you the option to read the content in the old format if you so desired.

In case you hadn’t spotted it, there are a couple of buttons above the news that allow you to switch to your preferred format.

change view

Probably the toughest job we had to undertake was the forums. We have used the same forum system for around a decade and there were millions of posts to port over. It was important to us to make sure that threads from the old forum were not lost, we’d have hell to pay from you guys if they went missing :) Remember the great forum crash of 2003? That was not pretty.

So why the change? There were numerous reasons, the next version of the same forum was bloated with features that were useless to the community here. Spammers were also a consideration and the previous software was starting to struggle with the rise in spammers over the last couple of years. We needed a system that could pro- actively catch them and then make life easier for IncGamers moderators to deal with anything that managed to slip through.

The end results once we switched were good. The forums are now easier to use, faster and more robust. It’s taken some time to iron out issues with posts moved over from the old system but I would say we are 95% there with most things now. The forum is now easier to use and has more features to track new content additions.

One of the main issues we had during the change was with your logins. We have a custom login system that ties your forum account to the main site. When we moved forums that obviously broke down and had to be recreated. One of the issues we came up against was the inability for guests to post in the news and members who were logged in seeing a captcha. This was not acceptable so it took a few days for me to sort out but thankfully it now all works.

Regarding commenting on news, originally we had the news post into the community forum but as things move quite quickly here as far as content is concerned, we thought it best to create a separate forum for the news discussions. This reorganisation prevents any community forum discussion being lost in a pile of news. Your discussions are important after all.

hardrock

Trophies

Regarding accounts. Some of you have been registered here for over a decade and we have been helping members who have had login issues since the switch because they no longer have access to the email they originally registered with. If there are any of you still caught in that trap then we can sort it for you. Send an email here and we will deal with it.

With the new forums came new features, and something we’ve wanted to do for some time is highlight pro-active members and also award trophies for actions by the community. Elly sat down over a few days to come up with the points and reward system. You may have spotted the icons on threads but so you know how it works I have posted all of the trophies below for reference.

There are still a few things to do but the core updates are now in place. Your feedback on anything we do is much appreciated and a special thanks to the PALS who have helped make all the changes possible with their contributions.

Threads

Thread StarterThread Starter -Points: 15 -You have started 5 Threads
Topic RaiserTopic Raiser – Points: 45 -You have started 20 Threads
Town CryerTown Cryer – Points: 90 -You have started 50 Threads
ConfabulatorConfabulator – Points: 91 -You have started 80 Threads

Setting the Agenda Setting the Agenda – Points: 120 -You have started 120 Threads

Likes

Primary Source Primary Source – Points: 1 – Somebody out there liked one of your posts.

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A Total Guide to Greater Rifts

Greater Rifts (GRs, initially known as Tiered Rifts) are a higher level of Nephalem Rift, meant to provide a greater challenge and greater rewards for players geared well enough to take them on. Greater Rifts are timed, and *must* be completed within 15 minutes to earn rewards. All treasure in Greater Rifts, with usually a legendary item or two, comes from the DiabloWikiGreater Rift Guardian (GRG) which is an upgraded version of the regular DiabloWikiRift Guardians.

Greater Rift CompletionDifficulty: Greater Rifts are numbered as a measure of their difficulty. A level 1 Greater Rift is very easy, equivalent to Normal difficulty (or less.) Greater Rifts scale up quickly though, and will become challenging for any player ability. Level 8 is equivalent to about Torment 1, Level 15 is equivalent to about [Torment 3, and Level 25 is approximately the same as Torment 6. There should be an infinite number or Greater Rift levels since each one merely increases the hit points and damage of the monsters by some percentage.

Shrines: There are virtually no DiabloWikishrines or DiabloWikipylons in Greater Rifts. Pylons are seen occasionally, but their bonuses last only 15 seconds (instead of the usual 30) and Blizzard specifically said that DiabloWikiConduit Pylons would not be found in Greater Rifts since they are so powerful they would skew the entire rift DiabloWikiLeaderboard system.

Dying in Greater Rifts

Revive at Corpse. No.

No Respecs: Characters can reallocate their Paragon Points while in a Rift, but can not access their inventory or skill menus (DiabloWikirespec) while in a Greater Rift. It is possible to return to town mid-GR, and players can respec and make repairs then, though it’s not recommended since the GR is a timed race. This is a feature designed to limit exploits via equipment or skill changes, so players can’t change gear or skills to be more effective against a single target before they reach the Greater Rift Guardian for instance.

Rewards: Items and gold do not drop in Greater Rifts, and there are no chests or other clickables. All treasure comes from defeating the Greater Rift Guardian, who drops a huge amount of stuff, about double that of a normal Rift Guardian, and has a very high probability of dropping at least one legendary item. (Note that the lack of gold and chests hurts the effectiveness of legendary items such as DiabloWikiGoldwrap and DiabloWikiHarrington Waistguard that proc up in effectiveness via gold pickups or chest/clickables opening.)

Progress Bar: The progress bar in a Greater Rift increases gradually from killing trash mobs, but jumps up by larger amounts for Elite kills. (Elites drop objects that look a bit like gooey health orbs, which count for big boosts in the progress bar when collected.) This is a feature designed to keep players from simply rushing past Elites to more quickly finish the rift by killing trash mobs, as can be done in normal Nephalem Rifts, and players will fill their progress bar more quickly by killing Elites than by skipping them, except in very rare long Elite battles.

Accessing and Process

  1. # Get a Greater Rift Keystone level 1 from completing a Nephalem Rift. – Drop rate still being determined.
  2. Use the GR Keystone to open a portal to a Greater Rift at the regular Nephalem Obelisk next to DiabloWikiOrek.
  3. Kill all the mobs in the Greater Rift before the timer runs out.
  4. No regular or champion mobs drop loot in Greater Rifts.
  5. The Rift Guardian will drop loot regardless if the timer has run out or not.
  6. If the Rift Guardian is killed before the timer runs out he will drop a Greater Rift Keystone.
  7. The Keystone’s level is determined by how quickly the Greater Rift was cleared. The quicker, the higher the GR key fragment.

Progress Bar and Rift Speed

The progress bar in a Greater Rift looks the same as the bar in a normal Nephalem Rift, with two added slider needles, displayed above and below the bar. The total bar coloured in orange, and the icon above it show your current progress towards completing the rift. The icon below it and any colour in blue shows how fast you need to progress to complete the rift in time.

greater rift progress bar

Ahead of the progress time

When players are battling through a Rift that’s just at the limit of their killing power, they will often see their progress dropping behind and the bar showing blue, before they kill a couple of Elites in a row and see the bonus from Elites shoot them back up ahead of schedule.

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Blizzard Defends Diablo 3′s Four Player Maximum

Posted 29 Mar 2013 by

Blizzard announced that Diablo 3 Maximum Players would be “four or five” way back in 2008. It was something of a controversial decision at the time, and the debate continued for a while (looking in the archives I found an “On The Drawing Board” article I wrote about it in March 2009). Eventually they decided on four, and the issue seemed settled. However, as the Diablo 3 community regularly proves Faulkner’s famous maxim, this issue has come back to life with the advent of the Diablo 3 PlayStation game’s debut.

There’s certainly a debate to be had over whether 4, 5, 6 or 8 players would be better. That’s mostly opinion, and any “facts” provided in that argument are pretty subjective. One man’s “screen is overcrowded” is another’s, “needs moar exploding cowbell.” What’s less subjective are bad arguments attempting to prove that the 4 player limit is due to the console. That, I think, is just a dumb argument, and not just because it assumes that Blizzard would hobble their 12m+ selling PC/Mac version of the game for a minor feature on the console much less important console version.

No, it’s because it’s not true, as many other games demonstrate. For instance, how does every Shooter and other open world, MMO-esque console game handle this? Generally by limiting it to 4 players in a game on the same machine, since that’s how many controllers there are, and/or the split screen display would be a problem. But those types of games almost always allow many more than 4 for online play, with 8, 16 or 32 in deathmatches. There’s zero reason Blizzard couldn’t have done the same thing with D3, with a limit of 4 on one machine and up to 6 or 8 when playing online. (Like how the PC/Mac limits it to 1 per machine, with a higher amount online.) They didn’t do that because they feel that 4 is a better max number than 8, for many, many reasons they’ve related many, many times.

Lylirra’s got a lot more patience than I do for this (and all other issues), since she offered a very thorough explanation in the B.net forums.

Hey guys! I chatted with Wyatt about this topic on your behalf and, while he’s currently at GDC giving a sweet talk about refining game systems in Diablo III (including health recovery, combat controls, and character skills), he shared some information with me that I wanted to pass on.

we should be able to at least have parties of 5 instead of 4. that would at least be a good thing….

We know some players will always prefer to have more than four people in a group, and we respect that completely. Even so, while a larger party size may seem appealing in concept (and even in practice for other games), there are a number of factors which contributed to us deciding on four players for co-op in Diablo III.

First off, the four-player limit isn’t in any way related to the number of classes you can play. One reason we actually preferred the idea of four-player co-op as opposed to five was that we felt if the number was five, then players might feel as if it was mandatory to have one of each class in their party. This couldn’t be further from the truth. We want players to feel like they can charge through Sanctuary with their friends regardless of whether they have four different classes represented or (for example) a group with two Barbarians and two Witch Doctors.

We also wanted group buffs (like auras and shouts) to feel meaningful in both solo and group play. Right now, you buff yourself and others by the same amount. We like that shouts are good and auras are strong, and that my contribution to the group via my buffs feels significant. But as group sizes get larger, the best player buffs would potentially need to be nerfed either by:

  • Making them to be weaker, and subsequently tuned around multiplayer (which is a similar approach to what World of Warcraft uses)
  • Or reducing the effect buffs have on other players (which is what Diablo II wound up having to do later)
  • We don’t like the idea of these sorts of nerfs and want to avoid them as much as possible, which is part of the combined reason why we aren’t eager to increase the maximum size of groups.

    Another factor we considered is that of player contributions. We like that you can really notice the contribution of each person at four players. No matter what size group you have, whenever you add another person to a group, each player’s personal contribution is diminished. This has some bad side effects. For example, if you swing at a monster, it feels good when you’re doing enough damage to see its health bar move. At four players, it’s already possible to be punching a monster and not feel like you’re doing any damage because the bar is moving slowly. This stigma would get worse as you add more people to a group.

    Other factors we considered were that of screen noise and the number of players you can follow. At four players, we felt that you were still able to easily keep track of your party-members, but that beyond this size it became more and more difficult to monitor everything on screen. Additionally, the screen noise and spell effects generated by five players simply felt too overwhelming (this is something we tested quite extensively).

    In summation, we’re pretty happy about the size of four-player groups. HOWEVER, we know that the multiplayer aspect of Diablo III needs improvement and are already looking into ways that we can further incentivize co-op farming and efficiency in patch 1.0.8. Wyatt is currently working on a developer journal about this very topic, so we hope to share even more information soon. :)

    That “five player max for five classes” argument was popular back in 2008 also, but I find it pretty weak. D2 had 5 classes. D2X had 7. Did anyone ever play a game with exactly one of each classes in D2C or D2X? I played thousands of MP games over B.net, and never cared to, wanted to, or needed to do so. Furthermore, if D3C has 5 classes and a 5 char per game limit, what do they do when D3X adds another class (or two)? Up the limit per game to 6 or 7?

    Believe it or not, the above quote is barely even the start of the thread, as Lylirra returned for numerous follow ups. Click through to endure read the whole thing.

    Plus it was stated before that too many players would clutter the screen.
    Lylirra: Yup! (That’s actually called out a little later in my reply, too.)

    Also, console 4 player co-op = decision to limit to 4 players on PC
    Lylirra: I know the “PC vs. Console” debate is its own sort of Eternal Conflict, and that it’s super popular right now to blame every design decision you disagree with on the development of a PlayStation 3 version. In the end, if that’s really what you want to believe in your (sin) heart of hearts, so be it. We may not totally understand why you believe that, but we can respect your opinion — because, hey, you’re a human being and you deserve it. <3

    As I've said before, though, the PC experience defined the console experience, not vice-versa. The core of the console game is based on the PC game — you get all the same content, systems, classes, skills, and runes on the console as you do on PC. Our goal when developing Diablo III for console was to deliver that same visceral gameplay you get with a mouse and keyboard, just on a different platform. We wanted the experience itself to be authentic, in as many ways as possible. (Quick FYI: the console version didn't actually go into full development until the game was released last May.)

    That said, the console version is its own game, and we've made a variety of tweaks to the PlayStation version of Diablo III so it makes sense on that platform, including a complete re-design of the UI and character controls, as well as combat pacing and boss fights. I point this out because it means we have the latitude to make adjustments to the PC game for console as appropriate, and that our decision to go with four-player co-op on the PC (as opposed to 5-player or 8-player co-op) was based on our goals for what would make a great PC game. Not because it's what console co-op would need.

    It's a disservice to game design — as well as your feedback and healthy discussion in general — to boil everything down to "well, you just did it because of console." Especially since you’re essentially ignoring everything we’re trying to talk to you about in the process. There were a number of different reasons that led us to decide on four players for multiplayer games in Diablo III, and none of them related to the development of console. You may agree with some of those reasons and disagree with others, or disagree with all of them — and that's okay! Critiques are good, so long as they're relevant. Unfortunately, reducing all your arguments to glorified strawmen isn't very relevant. (Nor does it give us a lot of useful feedback on which to base further improvements.)

    I find this to be a huge issue with your moderating skills on these forums. You allow people to get away with saying some crazy stuff, continually, and it does affect the community to a large degree.
    Lylirra: Being incorrect or having an opinion that goes against the grain isn’t a violation of any of our forum rules or guidelines.

    Having said that, though, if you feel moderation could be improved, feel free to hit up forum@blizzard.com. Moderation is ultimately handled by a separate team, but we’ll make sure your feedback gets to the right place.

    Lylirra .. but what about the new rolls/dives classes have. We dont have it on pc…
    Lylirra: We added DiabloWikiEvade to the console version of the game for two main reasons:

    The first is because, fundamentally, the way you move your character around on the console vs the way you move your character around on the PC is pretty different. With a keyboard and mouse in a game like Diablo III, not only can you see a bit farther (because of how we’ve positioned the camera), but you can also literally point to a spot on the map, click it, and your character will move there on its own. Since the console version uses direct control with the joystick, your movement feels more visceral and gutsy, but it has its own limitations. You don’t have that same sort of omniscience over where your character is going to go. To get from point A to point B on a map, for example, you have to manually direct your character to that spot, navigating all the obstacles individually along the way. It’s super fun, and with Evade, we’re just giving some additional mobility to console players to balance out not being able to point-and-click.

    The second reason is that the Evade ability just feels super (and forgive my eloquence here) console-y. We want the game to feel natural when using a controller, and being able to dodge and roll around really plays up that fantasy. It’s one of those elements that just “fits” on the console version super well, but doesn’t necessarily make sense for PC.

    Here’s a pretty good interview to check out if you’d like to learn more: http://www.ign.com/videos/2013/03/22/10-minutes-of-diablo-3-on-ps3-pax-east-2013

    You’ve said most of this before. I don’t think the issue is that people don’t understand your stance, the issue is that they think you are lying.
    Lylirra: If people think I’m lying then they don’t actually understand my stance very well.

    In that video (around 7:14) a monster drops a “buff globe” that increases exp greatly for about 10 seconds. I have seen no official world on this mechanic, will this come to PC’s also?
    Lylirra: It’s what we call a “power up” globe. Basically, there’s a small chance that whenever a health globe drops it’ll turn into a power up globe instead. These globes can provide the player with one of several small, temporary buffs (+MF/GF, +movement speed, +attack speed, etc) when picked up and last for very short period of time. They’re similar to Shrine buffs, but are designed to give players a quick boost during the middle of combat, rather than something you take from fight to fight.

    Right now, there aren’t any plans to bring power up globes to the PC, but that of course may change as we continue testing and poring through your feedback. :)

    “The core of the console game is based on the PC game — you get all the same content, systems, classes, skills, and runes on the console as you do on PC”

    regardless of reasoning wouldn’t that be considered a lie? whether it’s consoley or not this is not true statement since console has offline mode and no auction house (pc) and they get a dodge button while pc does not… Not the same for each other. so “same content” is false
    Lylirra: Yup! You’re correct that the console version will not have an auction house. Beyond that, since the console is based on the PC game, you get everything on the console as you do on PC (meaning you get all the same zones, events, monsters, bosses, classes, skills, runes, and systems like Infernal Machine, Brawling, and Monster Power on the console as you do on PC). Right now, we’re currently planning to ship with everything up to 1.0.7, potentially 1.0.8 depending on development time.

    There are also some features on the console version that are not present on the PC version, but I covered that in the post you quoted:

    “That said, the console version is its own game, and we’ve made a variety of tweaks to the PlayStation version of Diablo III so it makes sense on that platform, including a complete re-design of the UI and character controls, as well as combat pacing and boss fights.”

    This is because the game was originally designed for PC and needed some adjustments in order to translate well to consoles, specifically the PlayStation platform.

    If a feature or NPC that would be wildly popular and beneficial to the game (pick a hypothetical, random example) was doable on PC, but just not technically feasible on console, would that preclude it from ever being implemented on the PC because it would cause the games to diverge too much?

    Are the platforms tied together as far as Expansions are concerned or is the console version really its own game. My concern is that the console will hold back the PC expansion’s release and content.
    Lylirra: Working on getting you an answer to that. It’s a fair question, but I don’t know all the details off-hand.

    Lol, why do you insist on telling others how to play?
    Lylirra: The theory that we’re trying to aggressively redefine “what’s fun” has always saddened me. Our goal in designing Diablo III, and in supporting it post-launch, is to constantly iterate on its systems and content, incorporating new perspectives and feedback as we go. Each change we push is ultimately aimed at making Sanctuary more enjoyable for as many people as possible. Of course, “fun” is a pretty subjective term, so sometimes that means we’ll make a change that’s seen as unfavorable to a smaller group of players, but will (hopefully) be appreciated by larger portions of our player base.

    We’re always reevaluating our design decisions, though, and working to make improvements based off player feedback. Iteration is key.

    So you are saying Guildwars 2 got it wrong with the dodging built in?
    Lylirra: No. Are you?

    BS BS BS TheXelnaga here from 5 years counting feedback from Diablo 3 classic forums and longer then that on Diablo 2 forums , who has participated in every Diablo podcast under the sun, ask Bashiok who is TheXelnaga, I have been giving valuable feedback for years, I was giving feedback when Bashiok was MicahW as the Tyrael Icon. You guys have not been listening, I have mounds and mounds of data backed up on the internet way back machine I have been posting for years based on player feedback.
    Lylirra: I really dig your passion. :) One important thing to keep in mind, though, is even though we may not have acted on your feedback in particular, that doesn’t mean we don’t value it, or that we haven’t made positive changes based on player input. Many of the improvements we’ve made since the game launched (as well as those currently planned for 1.0.8 and beyond) have been inspired, influenced, or guided by community discussion.

    Hooray. We payed to be beta testers for consoles.
    Lylirra: You keep using that word…

    Well, that was fun. Anyone got any weekend plans?