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Diablo 3 Podcast #146: Patch 2.1, Story, and Blizzcon D3X2?

Lots on this show, including PTR Patch 2.1′s big changes, legendary item buffs, Paragon 1000 achieved, the Stash space emergency and micro-transactions, Diablo 3′s story and “demon soul hooks,” and Blizzcon 2014 Diablo 3 expansion announcement expectations. Featuring Flux, N3rdwords and Neinball.

Approximate topic starting times:

  • 2:30 — Paragon 1000 has been achieved. Does everyone have amazement?
  • 5:00 — Seasons and Patch 2.1 should go live simultaneously?
  • 11:00 — Legendary item buffs on the PTR. Looking forward to new items when 2.1 goes live, since Blizzard doesn’t hate the Monk (currently). Hydra build rules, but intentionally bugged on PTR?
  • 18:30 — Story implications of the Black Soulstone and why Diablo is free in Prime Evil form. Adria setting “demon soul hooks” is obviously a metcon, but is it parsimonious with the larger story/lore/plot? Both guests surprisingly say yes.
  • 27:00 — Is Diablo 3 + expansion packs self-contained? Will Diablo 4 be set a week later just continuing the same story? Or a totally new story, set centuries earlier or later?
  • 37:30 — Stash space insufficient = biggest problem in Diablo 3? One guest disagrees.
  • 40:00 — Most fans accept micro-transactions these days. Why isn’t Blizzard selling more stash tabs yet? Votes have shown most fans would accept this.
  • 47:30 — Diablo 3 expansion #2 announced at Blizzcon later this year? Everyone votes yes, though tentatively.
  • 52:00 — There are a lot of Blizzard games out and/or under development. Busiest days ever in Irvine?
  • 54:00 — Bonus secret trick to guarantee Greed’s Domain entrance?!?

  • The Diablo 3 Podcast Episode Guide in DiabloWiki.net provides links to every show, plus quick summaries.

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    Reaper of Souls Item Sets Illustrated

    A fan assembled all six of the class-specific item sets in Reaper of Souls, took pics of them on each gender for each class, and provided views from all angles. It’s quite a useful presentation, and credit to Zeldrin for creating it.

    I found it interesting since I’d never actually seen the full sets so clearly. Everyone’s got a few or all of the items from each set, but usually mixed with other gear, some transmogged or vanishing dyed, etc. So here they are, unadulterated and straight from the D3 artist’s tablets to your screen. All the sets (except for Firebird’s, which adds a source) consist of six items: helm, shoulders, chest, gloves, legs, and boots, so visually they are pretty much apples to apples comparisons. So here are Reaper of Souls Item Sets Illustrated:

    Barbarian

    DiabloWikiLegacy Of Raekor (armory), Barbarian set. Helm, shoulders, chest, gloves, legs, boots.


    Crusader

    DiabloWikiArmor Of Akkhan (armory), Crusader set. Helm, shoulders, chest, gloves, legs, boots.


    Demon Hunter

    DiabloWikiEmbodiment of the Marauder (armory), Demon Hunter set. Helm, shoulders, chest, gloves, legs, boots.


    Monk

    DiabloWikiRaiment of a Thousand Storms (armory), Monk set. Helm, shoulders, chest, gloves, legs, boots.


    Witch Doctor

    DiabloWikiHelltooth Harness (armory), Witch Doctor set. Helm, shoulders, chest, gloves, legs, boots. (This set apparently lacks the light weight and flexibility of the huge slabs of unrefined steel that the other classes have strapped to their bodies, as both of these weary medical professionals are bent double beneath the weight of their assorted shark teeth, baboon femurs, and coconut shells.)


    Wizard

    DiabloWikiFirebird’s Finery (armory), Wizard set. Helm, shoulders, chest, gloves, source, legs, boots. (Firebird’s has a seventh item, a Source, which is the only difference in the slots filled by these sets.)


    Diablo 3 “Gear Sets”

    This whole presentation reminds me of the hot (pre-game) topic of DiabloWikiGear Sets. We’ve got a big wiki article about them, and “Gear Sets” was a regular news category from 2010-2012, with 29 news items so categorized.

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    Diablo 3′s RMAH = The Lesser Evil?

    Posted 6 Nov 2012 by

    There’s an odd editorial on PC Gamer that takes a critical view of Diablo 3′s end game, mostly as an excuse to offer some generic opinions on the Auction House and other such features publishers are including in games to (attempt to) create a long term revenue stream. Quote:

    In the run up to Diablo 3?s launch, Blizzard painstakingly detailed their thinking behind the late alterations they were making to Diablo 3, providing a fascinating insight into the design process. They tore up many of the accepted action RPG elements that Diablo invented. Teleportation scrolls were deemed extraneous, so they went. Unnecessary stats were thrown out, skills were altered or dropped entirely to ensure that every ability had a purpose. NPCs were culled until only the Blacksmith and the Jeweller remained. The end result was finely pruned, impactful and addictive, supported by a levelling system that favoured experimentation over the incremental stat progression and sparse ability options offered by traditional skill tree set-ups.

    And yet, this carefully honed and, in many ways, brilliant action RPG finds itself swamped by a bloated final quarter. The climactic rewards of an action RPG – the best loot and the toughest bosses – are hidden behind layers and layers of plodding gold-gathering, Paragon levelling and bargain hunting. The systems designed to fuel ongoing auction house trade and develop a cross-game economy have stretched Diablo 3?s longevity beyond its natural breaking point. Blizzard continue to release major updates that may yet turn things around, but for now it looks as though quest to keep players playing forever has backfired.

    We haven’t seen the last of the auction house. I think we’ll see similar ideas popping up in future releases. A full price game supported by ongoing microtransactions will seem increasingly ordinary as time passes and major studios start looking harder at the techniques free to play games have used to make a fortune over the last few years. Guild Wars 2, Mass Effect 3, Assassin’s Creed 3 and Diablo 3 are a few of this year’s big examples. What will be next?

    I say it’s odd since the whole piece reads like it was written in June, slightly updated in August to mention some of the DiabloWikiPatch v1.04 changes, and yet it’s got November 5th for a date. Perhaps it was written a couple of months ago for the print magazine, and just posted online now? That’s kind of a fatal flaw, since the major features in last month’s DiabloWikiv1.05 patch, like DiabloWikiMonster Power and the DiabloWikiInfernal Machine, were introduced to fix (or at least alleviate) exactly the problems mentioned in this editorial.

    RMAH or Else?

    That issue aside… yes, publishers have a desire to continue to earn money from their games after release. Duh. And since WoW seems to be the last profitable monthly-fee MMORPG (at least in the West), they’ve got to find other ways.

    Prior to Diablo 3′s release, I was like a lot of fans, and opposed in principle, to the DiabloWikiReal Money Auction House. However, that principle was based in reality, and as Blizzard talked more about the system, it started to grow on me. Not to use myself (I’ve never bought or sold anything in the D3 RMAH) but since it was a fairly painless way to provide ongoing revenue so we’d keep getting patches, Battle.net support, etc. Basically, all the stuff we wanted from D2 and didn’t get.*

    So, how do you guys feel about the RMAH now? I still see some players blaming it for all the evils of Diablo 3, though that’s a lot harder argument to make now that v1.05 has largely recreated the economy and difficulty balance we saw in D2 (albeit with still much less common unique drops).

    You’re free to scream and shout about the RMAH, but what would you replace it with? What other system could D3 have implemented to provide ongoing revenue to support patches and support? A monthly subscription fee? Cash item shop? Micro-transactions to buy more stash space and resurrect Hardcore characters? Personally, I’d much rather see an RMAH that doesn’t affect my gameplay in any way, and is a useful tool for players who want to use it, than other revenue-generators I can think of, most of which would be far more intrusive into the overall play experience.

    D2 Support Footnote

    * D2X launched in June 2001 at v1.07, and was quickly patched to v1.08 to fix some big bugs, and went to v1.09 a couple of months later. And that was it for D2X support until late 2003 when v1.10 was released. That patch, which was developed almost single-handedly by Peter Hu before he left Blizzard North for Flagship Studios, brought huge changes as well as making D2X much easier to mod, which enabled his successors to create more big changes in v1.11.

    And yes, D2X v1.10 was awesome, but it was like 2.5 years between v1.09 and v1.10. There’s no comparison from the D2 days to the amount of support and big patch changes we’ve seen post D3, with big patches almost monthly, and they haven’t even added the PvP system yet, which will be arguably the biggest change of all.