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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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    How Diablo 3 Auction House Botters Got Rich

    news-d3ah-botters-richFascinating and very long article by a self-confessed Diablo 3 Auction House botter, talking about how he made over 100k Euros in a year, entirely through buying low and selling high on the AH and RMAH. The article is huge and goes into great detail about everything, including the scripts he used, the multiple machines he had running, and how easy it was to avoid Blizzard’s very lacking anti-botting measures.

    The botter’s first attempts were by using a very simple script to scan Auction House listings, one item at a time, and automatically buy ones with stats that exceeded his set parameters, and with a price below his maximum value. This required him to know which items were powerful, what the best stats on them were, how much they’d sell for on the RMAH, etc. It took a lot of work and daily updates to the search scripts, but with millions of players using the AH, many of them without a clue about the actual value of their items, it was shooting fish in a barrel.

    I remember in these months I used to search a lot for rare rings or rare amulets. What still comes to my mind is a criteria searching for rare amulets with more than 7 critical hit chance and more than 50 critical hit damage and buying any that cost below 1 or 2 million gold. I sold amulets with these criteria on the RMAH (Real Money Auction House), for tens and sometimes even 100+ euros. Stuff like 7+ crit chance, 50+ crit damage and a high main stat like strength or intelligence + vitality was considered pretty good back then. Trifectas ( crit chance + crit damage + increased attack speed) was even more rare and expensive.

    Another popular thing I remember botting the old fashioned way was Chantodo’s force wizard sources. These were great because almost no one seemed to know that the property “Arcane power on critical hit” was actually rare and very valuable. So you could just adjust your bot to search for chantodo’s force sources with arcane power on crit and above a specific damage, choose the minimum price under which the bot would buy any item it found, and you were good to go.

    That was the very earliest version of the system, which was active in late 2012. The technology was quickly improved and with better coding his bot became able to search many types of items at once, all with different selected stats and minimum values in them, with different pricing criteria, and he figured ways to keep it refreshing constantly, so it would scan literally every single gold item sale that appeared within seconds of it going on the market.

    On January 1st I started selling those sweet sweet presents. And the results were staggering. The money started flowing in immediately. Before, I was searching for 1 variation of 1 single item, for example any Mempo of Twilight with Critical Hit Chance, below the price of 1 million gold. Now, I could search for 100 different variations of Mempo of Twilight, plus hundreds of variations of all other worthwhile items. In the first days though, I only had one bot account, which I was using to bot some legendary items in the “armor” category. Even with this small sample of all possible items though, it was soon obvious to me that I had to buy a very powerful PC which could run more than 1 diablo window, and would also search the Auction House which much higher FPS (Frames per second).

    He also made a fortune buying items that people mislisted in gold instead of RMT. That seems impossible, but the article has literally dozens of screenshots of spectacular items listed at 150 or 200 gold, when clearly the seller meant to list them at those prices… in EUROS! And no, the conversion rate of Diablo 3 gold to real money wasn’t exactly 1-to-1…

    First I bought one more account and started using 2 accounts which were botting for legendary Armor. Why another one botting the same subset of items? Take another look at the screenshots above.

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    Reaper of Souls Adventure Mode Hands-On Report from Blizzcon

    Posted 8 Nov 2013 by

    I’ve had a chance to play a couple of hours on the Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls demo already this morning, and had a great time. I did the Campaign Mode first, which is identical in function to the game today. In this Blizzcon demo you start off at the beginning of Act 5, and you can pick a a premade level 32 character of any class. I chose the Crusader, of course, but I’ll save a report on that class until I’ve had time to play a bit more. What I can offer you now is a quick RoS DiabloWikiAdventure Mode Hands-On Report from Blizzcon.

    Adventure Mode selection.

    Adventure Mode selection.

    I’ve played three full Adventure Mode games so far (twenty minute time limit each), and it looks much as you see it teased in the new RoS trailer. It’s a full open world; all 5 acts and every waypoint is available in every act. You can jump from one to the other, or right from the dungeons to another one on the map, in any act, without returning to town. You can go anywhere you want; you could full clear all 5 acts in the same game, or just do your favorite few levels in each Act, and there are no quests or cut scenes or dialogues at all. (You can talk to NPCs and such, but Artisans and hiring Followers are disabled in the Adventure Mode (for Blizzcon demo I guess?), so they only talk when clicked on.)

    The obvious thing to do when you start up in Adventure Mode is to hit the zones with Bounties active. Those appear with an ! icon on each Act’s waypoint map for random bosses, or a Diablo’s skull icon (like you see on the map in boss battles now) if the boss is a quest type boss. (That seems to be a new change since the footage in the Blizzcon RoS demo movie, which only shows the ! icon for all Bounties.)

    Update

    Added Friday night: Just to clarify some things in this, since they shared more details about this game mode in Friday’s panel and it clears up some stuff I couldn’t tell just from playing it. (Full transcript here.) I also replied to a bunch of questions in the comments to this post:

    • The current difficulty modes, Normal/NM/Hell/Inferno are not in Adventure Mode. It’s flat difficulty, scaled to your character’s level. (Multi game scales to game creator?)
    • You can start Adventure Mode any time with a character (maybe not from lvl 1, but certainly by 10 or 20) and do not need to grind through all of Normal, much less up to Inferno, to play it. You can level up entirely there instead of Campaign Mode, if you wish.
    • There are 25 random bounties per game, 5 per act. The panel mentioned “Complete an Event” and “Clear a Dungeon” as bounty types, but I saw none of those in the demo. All were kill monster or kill boss type.
    • Bounties will sometimes drop DiabloWikiRift Keystones, which are used to open DiabloWikiNephalem Rifts. I never saw any drop (not enabled in demo?) but the demo chars have 10 of them in inventory, so there was a Rift open in each game (yellow portal in town, it was the same in all 5 acts in each game.)
    • I did 2 DiabloWikiNephalem Rifts and it was very fun with the randomized levels and monsters. The Rift dungeon levels are medium-sized, packed with random Elites, and they go 1-10 levels, though both games I got at least 4 (didn’t go deeper because time, plus I got enough kills to release the Rift Guardian on lvl 4 both times.) Full article on Nephalem Rifts coming later today.

    Click through for much more on Adventure Mode and related topics… 

    Bounties

    Bounties are Purple bosses, from random half-trash dudes with big names, all the way up to Act Bosses. The goal of a bounty is to find that boss and kill him or her (or it), which earns you their normal drop, plus a substantial exp and gold award. I was pulling 20k gold and 50k exp per Bounty in Normal at level 32, and Bounties are *very* farmable. I did 6 of them in one 20 minute game, once I sort of knew what I was doing, and that was with a Crusader in the junky pre-made equipment.

    I thought they were so farmable that I brought it up with DiabloWikiJason Regier, when I happened to bump into him in the lunch line in the press room just before I stated writing this post. (Of course the Bliz employees eat in the press room; it’s where the food is.) He agreed that Bounties were very farmable, and that it encourages a different type of gameplay, but that it’s intentional and under control. I’ll sample it a bit more before I form opinions on whether it’s balanced or not.

     

    Finding the Bounty

    The Bounties I experimented on ranged from “almost instant” to “two levels down” in terms of how findable they were. The easiest one was a random Purple Wraith in the Festering Woods, who attacked me as I appeared on the Waypoint. That’s just luck in the monster’s location, and I might have needed to explore the whole level to find him, but you get the idea. Other Bounties might require more searching, but their icon shows up on the map once you’re within a few screens of them. That’s what makes them so farmable; even with the slow premade character I was racing through levels just looking for the icon on the map, and with a powerful character in good gear, with a movement skill, Bounties will be farmable at a very rapid rate.

    The clues even point you to the right sub-level. I got Digger O’Dell for a Bounty in the DiabloWikiCemetery of the Forsaken. That’s a very small area and I figured I’d find him in three seconds. What I found instead was the quest target icon on one of the three crypts, with Digger located randomly down in that level.

    Other bosses might take a level or two to find as well, depending on how close the waypoint is. I don’t recall the exact level, but in Act Three I got a random Purple for a Bounty on one of the levels of the never-ending Staircase, and the quest icon was on the stairs down from that level, with the boss (a jumbo-sized Phase Beast) on the next level down.

     

    Adventure Mode Transportation

    Choose your Adventure (Mode).

    Choose your Adventure (Mode).

    Moving around on the Adventure Mode map is super fast. When you click one of the waypoints, with a Bounty or not, on the Adventure Mode waypoint map, your character instantly teleports to it. Well, that’s instantly if you’re in town; if you’re in the dungeon (like you just killed a Bounty) your character goes into the Town Portal casting animation and requires 5 seconds of uninterrupted casting. But then you pop straight to the chosen waypoint location; no stop in town required, even if you switch acts.

     

    For instance, you can finish a bounty in the Weeping Hollow (I got DiabloWikiMira Eamon and Mange there in 2 different games, and there’s a new waypoint in the Weeping Hollow right at the end of the bridge out of Tristram), open the Adventure Mode map, decide to do the Butcher via Leoric’s Torture Level 3, click the waypoint, and your character will go into the Town Portal casting motion, and if you are uninterrupted for 5 seconds you will appear on that waypoint, just as if you’d selected it from town.

    Difficulty

    The difficulty for Adventure Mode is flat, or nearly so, much as Inferno difficulty is in the game today. I wasn’t playing on Inferno though, not with the premade demo characters.

    There was no option in the Blizzcon demo to select a difficulty — either the old DiabloWikiMonster Power or the new Difficulty options — and the pre-made characters were level 32 (to start, I leveled to 33 each game) and the game was on Normal. Yet from Act 1 to Act 5 the monsters felt about the same. It was a little easier in Act One, but that’s also true in Inferno today.

    One interesting thing; the random Elites all had two DiabloWikiBoss Modifiers, and this was on Normal difficulty. I saw two new ones (Poison Enchanted and Frozen (sp?) Orb), but whether bosses had one of the new ones or two old ones, they all felt harder than I’m used to. I don’t know if they’re turned up in RoS or if I was just noticing the undergeared demo character (or both) but my hit points were constantly going much lower than I expected. The hardest one I got was in a Nephalem Rift (article on that coming up later) and it was a DiabloWikiMolten Electrified.

    I don’t even notice that combo in the game today, but either the Molten was stacking on the DiabloWikiElectrified or they turned the damage of those affixes way up, but I had to retreat twice during the battle, running back a screen or three to find some Health Orbs I’d left behind (benefit of having no pickup radius on the demo char).

    Some of the bosses are buffed as well. The normal random ones had two modifiers, but the purples were tougher than before with additional properties. The hardest boss I got the whole time was the Rift boss in the Nephalem Rift (an Angel type with two entirely new abilities), but all of the Bounty bosses were quite active with multiple affixes in action, some of them unlike any I’ve seen in the game previously.

    The most noticeable was DiabloWikiIskatu, the boss you get right at the start of Act Four. He was very quick to reach (obviously) with just a dash through the portal from the opening waypoint of Act Four. (There was no sign of Tyrael and Imperius arguing beside it, as in Campaign Mode.) Once into the area things looked the same as now, but once Iskatu appeared it got much spicier. Meteors kept slamming down (randomly, I think), dealing high damage to me or any of the little black shadow things in the area, and Iskatu repeatedly cast Desecrator under my feet.

    I didn’t get to test out Bounties on quest bosses or Act Bosses yet, but I expect they’ve been upgraded as well.

    Conclusion

    That’s all I can think to say after a few quick games on the show floor. I’ll have more observations after playing more today and tomorrow, and we should get some official info about this from one of the D3 panels. For now I can say that it’s a very fun play mode. It seems to be almost exactly what players have been asking for; longer games, all acts accessible, all the bosses active, no dialogue or cut scenes to slow things down, etc. I can easily see players getting their Nephalem Valor stacked up (assuming it’s still in the game; it is not present in this demo) and then doing every Bounty in all five acts, plus clearing out some of the other good leveling zones, plus all the Key Wardens (assuming they are present in this mode; I didn’t check yet), plus hitting a few Nephalem Rifts.

    If you guys have any questions throw them into comments and I’ll try to answer some when I have a minute.

    Keep an eye on the BlizzCon Coverage Section for the full transcripts (not bullet point lists) of the Diablo 3 Panels, videos, hands-on reports, photos, screenshots and more.