Bashiok has been a little more active of late, having recently explained why they’ve chosen the system they did for skill runes. In a follow-up response to the thread, he also dropped some important information regarding progression in the final difficulty. The result is that Inferno difficulty is no longer a flat difficulty.
Now, you may be saying “I thought you wanted us to be able to farm anywhere we wanted. Now we only have half as much area in the game to farm in? What gives?” Our goal is to make the loot mathematically better in the later acts without making the earlier gear completely obsolete. We feel Diablo II actually did a very good job with this and we expect Diablo III to perform similarly.
Specifically, people in D2 did Diablo runs, Mephisto runs, Pindleskin runs, Pit runs, Baal runs, etc. because the loot in Diablo is extremely random. Even though the theoretical best items might come from the later Acts, well-rolled items from earlier acts will still be better. Internally we find sometimes after an intense session of brutally hard Inferno it can be really fun to cruise through Hell Act III or IV and it’s not too uncommon surprise when an upgrade drops. We expect this to carry through to Inferno difficulty where somebody who can theoretically farm Act IV will likely still enjoy romping through Act I simply because the drop potential is still there. It’s all because of the highly random items having lots of overlap in their power distribution curves.
I feel that this change makes a lot of sense as long as there are no enemies that are at or below your level as you start it. This way you are ensured to be continually challenged as you progress through the final difficulty. Previously, if you were to continue through the difficulty, you would find that you still need to complete the content but progressing at a constant rate – perhaps even faster as your continue with the gear you’ve collected previously. Does the community feel the same? Or do you feel that a flat difficulty was the way to go.