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Blizzard Defends Enchanting Legacy Items Changes

Posted 5 Feb 2014 by

The Blues have responded to the predictable fan complaints over the news that legacy items would no longer be enchantable in Reaper of Souls. Blue quotes below, but I found it funny that some fan quoted the initial Mystic info that all items would be enchantable. If we’re going back that far, look at what else the NPC was set to do at that point! Quote from the original August 2010 DiabloWikiArtisan FAQ, which is archived in DiabloWiki.net.

The mystic creates scrolls, potions, magical weapons, spell runes, and charms, and can also enchant items.

The Mystic didn’t even appear in Diablo 3, nor did scrolls, spell runes, charms, or enchanting! Things change during development, and you can either ask for zero info and updates during the process, or accept that what you hear 2 or 3 years in advance might not be quite like that in the final game. That’s basically the point the Blues made today, so let’s hear them say it with their purty mouths.

Nevalistis: The blog in question is a First Look blog, as DeadRu has mentioned. This means it was intended to provide an inside look at the current development state and functionality of the Mystic, at the time it was written.

We’ve always said that details can and likely will change over the course of development. This happens to be one of those times.

I want to point attention back to the larger issue. Most players and devs are in agreement that the basic item affix system in D3 is a mess. DPS is by far the most important stat which makes Crit Chance the most important affix for damage and proc-triggering, high damage makes Life Steal way OP, attributes are a mess since each char’s mainstat is hugely important while the offstats are irrelevant, the mainstats are very unequal in their secondary benefits (armor from STR and ResAll from INT are much better than Dodge from Dex), etc.

The details about itemization and affixes are open to debate, but no one says the D3 system is perfect, or anything near perfect. Thus leading up to Reaper of Souls, many players (myself included) hoped the devs would rethink and rework the whole itemization system. Other players went farther, arguing for a total tabula rasa, with nothing from D3 carried over into RoS and a clean start at lvl 1 for everyone. (Which we may yet get on an opt-in basis via ladders.)

Obviously the devs didn’t do that, opting to tinker with the itemization and make major changes to the combat engine. Those systems are much improved in RoS, but still handicapped by a lot of sub-optimal remnants from D3, which I think was retained mostly since the devs (correctly?) thought fans would revolt if their D3 chars and gear was just erased in the expansion.

But… now we’re pretty much at that point anyway, aren’t we? Without enchanting all your D3 gear will be replaced by 70 or shortly afterwards, all the new end game gear is DiabloWikiBoA, gold and mats are all BoA, there’s no Auction House, etc. Obviously the devs can’t just wipe away all the current itemization and start a fresh approach to it now, with the game due in less than 2 months, but given the current start of affairs, do you guys wish they’d planned that all along?


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Click through for much more Blue explanation and apology for the new enchanting nerf news, plus a vote to survey what you guys think of this change.

Originally, we did want to give players this opportunity. We didn’t want to invalidate or take away player options. However, it became increasingly evident through testing that artifacts of the old itemization system could become overpowered through enchanting, especially so with certain items. This is why testing is so important, and it was a decision that took some time to make.

I’d also like to throw out there that some players seem to think this means you can’t enchant level 1-60 items at all, when that isn’t true. Items gained prior to the 2.0.1 patch hitting the live servers will be unable to be enchanted. Anything you gain after the patch launches and before the expansion, however, are eligible to be enchanted.

Ah, so it’s a case of “True at the time, untrue now”!

Don’t you guys think that maybe, just maybe, this policy of yours to dish out information that can be retracted at any point is a little problematic?
Lylirra: As Nevalistis noted, the goal of each of the “first look” blogs we’ve published (there’s been a few: the Mystic, Westmarch, Adventure Mode, and the Crusader) has been to provide players a first look at the development of certain features in Reaper of Souls. They’re not wholesale previews; rather, they’re a snapshot of what’s being worked on. It’s a way for us to include our community in the development process and feel involved — or, at the very least, informed. Same can be said for all the posts we’ve made about the expansion, too.

For the Mystic “first look” blog specifically, it never actually says that Legacy items can be enchanted. However, in the posts where we did state that Legacy items could be enchanted, we very likely prefaced the information with the caveat that the functionality is as of current design and/or was subject to change based on testing and additional development. We actually say this about most everything in Reaper of Souls — to the point where some have lovingly mocked us for it — as until something is shipped, it’s subject to change. And even then, it’s possible that we’ll make adjustments to a feature that’s gone live, if we feel it’ll make the in-game experience better.

Getting back to your main point, though, the alternative would be not to communicate any information until development is 100% complete and those changes are already out the door. That’s not a scenario we’re super keen on, so it’s highly unlikely that we’ll shift our approach and not talk about future content. We want to share information with players during development cycles, and we want you to know what’s coming. Not only does this give players the opportunity to provide feedback and be a part of the development process directly, but it also enables you to make informed decisions about the product itself. That last part is also very important to us.

I definitely understand where you’re coming from, and why you’re suggesting that we just never talk about upcoming content until is 100% certain. There are upside and downsides to everything, though. In this case, the downside of our approach is that when something is still in development, that thing is likely to go through multiple changes — changes that may not always be favorable to you personally. The upside of our approach is you know we’ll communicate those multiple changes to you, too. Our current approach allows for much more transparency, and (ideally) empowers you guys more than if we just didn’t talk about anything at all.

PS – I think it’s important to call out that, when it comes to content that’s in development and not yet final, we don’t always know that a change is needed until it’s needed. Or that we’re going to change something until we know that we’re going to change something. By this I mean, when we share information with our players about something that’s still in development (like how a feature works, for example), the information we share is always true when we communicate it. It’s not like we’re sharing stuff we already know is going to change before it ships. We just always provide that “subject to change” caveat, because we realize, with testing and feedback, changes may be required that we can’t always anticipate.

Lylirra can’t say it, but I’d love to see her just say, “Let’s cut the shit. Do any of you people *really* think that certain imported D3 gear should be the best gear in RoS simply because there are affixes or affix ranges in D3 that don’t appear in RoS? Or are you just digging up Mystic info from 3 years ago to have something to bitch about?”

It’s a reasonable question, and one I wonder myself. I don’t want certain legacy items to be the best forever since the itemization rules have changed in RoS. And I don’t want the itemization rules in RoS to have to be tweaked in a few certain ways just to make RoS gear better than some few legacy items. And I don’t want special different rules and exemptions on legacy enchanting. So while I think it’s kind of lame, especially to announce so late in the dev cycle, I grudgingly agree that removing enchanting from all legacy stuff is a better option than the other even more half-assed alternatives.


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