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.
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.
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.
Thread Starter -Points: 15 -You have started 5 Threads
Topic Raiser – Points: 45 -You have started 20 Threads
Town Cryer – Points: 90 -You have started 50 Threads
Confabulator – Points: 91 -You have started 80 Threads
Primary Source – Points: 1 – Somebody out there liked one of your posts.
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 Greater Rift Guardian (GRG) which is an upgraded version of the regular Rift Guardians.
Difficulty: 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 shrines or pylons in Greater Rifts. Pylons are seen occasionally, but their bonuses last only 15 seconds (instead of the usual 30) and Blizzard specifically said that Conduit Pylons would not be found in Greater Rifts since they are so powerful they would skew the entire rift Leaderboard system.
No Respecs: Characters can reallocate their Paragon Points while in a Rift, but can not access their inventory or skill menus (respec) 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 Goldwrap and Harrington 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
- # Get a Greater Rift Keystone level 1 from completing a Nephalem Rift. – Drop rate still being determined.
- Use the GR Keystone to open a portal to a Greater Rift at the regular Nephalem Obelisk next to Orek.
- Kill all the mobs in the Greater Rift before the timer runs out.
- No regular or champion mobs drop loot in Greater Rifts.
- The Rift Guardian will drop loot regardless if the timer has run out or not.
- If the Rift Guardian is killed before the timer runs out he will drop a Greater Rift Keystone.
- 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.
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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Who is Diablo 3 Developer Travis Day and Why Are the Devs Posting Now?Posted 7 Mar 2013 by
Travis Day has suddenly become (one of) the most visible of the Diablo 3 developers, via some forum posts and his authorship of this week’s itemization blog. Who is he? Where did he come from? Answers, via a post on the Battle.net forums.
That would be me.
Just wanted to pop in real fast to try to set the record straight since I’ve seen some confusion surrounding that question. I’m not the same Travis Day that works at Activision, though I do occasionally get emails intended for him and we have had some laughs over that in the past. I’ve been a game designer at Blizzard for about 8 years. I used to work on World of Warcraft, some of you may have seen me at early Blizzcons on WoW panels. I transferred to the Diablo team because, like the rest of the development team, I am passionate about the game and wanted to help contribute to making it even better.
You guys have probably noticed that direct posts by Travis and also Wyatt Cheng have proliferated in recent days, after years and years of only CMs speaking for the Diablo 3 project — Bashiok ago, more recently Lylirra, Vaeflare, and Grimiku. (Click any of those linked names to see all the news posts quoting them.)
Blizzard hasn’t issued any explanation as to why the D3 devs are suddenly speaking directly to the fans, and it’s clearly a reversal of policy. Long time readers might remember a fairly big argument that kicked up back in March 2011 when WoW lead dev Ghostcrawler officially stopped posting in the WoW forums, thus crushing our hopes that we’d ever seen any Blue posts straight from Jay Wilson or other D3 devs. (And we never did, until Travis and Wyatt began posting last week.)
At the time, Bashiok explained/defended the policy and I quoted him, then offered a fairly vitriolic counterpoint, spurred by frustration over years of watching the community’s window of access to the developers being steadily squeezed shut by a wall of PR censorship. (It’s too bad that post is from our old news script, since the comments were eaten when we imported the post into WordPress – I remember some great arguments in that thread, plus some readers calling me out for my excessive pessimism.)
So why have the devs started talking directly to us, with all the developer blogs and now forum posts? I think it’s probably a concerted effort to win back some trust and support from their fans. It’s not news to anyone reading this that the first 10 months of Diablo 3 have been an often-rocky ride, and a lot of the anger over the game turned into rage at Bashiok the CM and Jay Wilson the Game Director. Those guys became scapegoats (deservedly or not is open to debate) and Blizzard clearly decided to try to win back the community with new, chatty, friendly, personable community managers, and more direct interaction with the developers themselves.
I certainly can’t complain about it, given my past comments on the subject, and my impression is that other people in the community are pretty positive about it as well. The proof remains in the pudding, of course. All the “saying the right things” and “they get it” forum posts and dev blogs in the world will mean nothing if those changes in attitude and design philosophy don’t show up in the game, but I I bet most of you guys would agree that the communication has improved greatly over the past month(s).
A fan shared his approval of the developer posts and got a few replies from Lylirra on the role of CMs and how devs can fill in as well. Here’s a quote from her; click through to read the whole thread.
…So, our job as CMs — or at least part of our job — is to work with designers like Wyatt and Travis to publish developer journals and patch previews or host Q&As, and it’s ultimately why we encouraged them to join us on the forums. I’m super excited they were on board with posting, because they’re awesome people (and awesome designers), and I know they can help provide the kind of interaction so many of you appreciate.
The full thread:
Amount of disrespects taken? Zero.
The role of a CM really comes down to three things: engaging with our players, providing relevant communication, and representing the voice of both the community and the developers. We’re sort of like shepards, but instead of managing adorable little sheep, we manage information — information from developers to players, as well as information from players back to developers. When it comes to getting information to players from developers, though, sometimes it’s better or more meaningful if it’s coming from the source (i.e. from the developers themselves). We totally, 100% agree.
Things like patch notes, feature previews or announcements, polls, highlighting cool things the community has done, hotfix updates…that’s all firmly within the realm of community management. Explaining design philosophies and discussing how those philosophies have contributed to certain decisions or are influencing future changes? Sure, we can do that (and often do), but those are the kinds of details we know players would prefer to hear from the development team directly whenever possible/appropriate.
So, our job as CMs — or at least part of our job — is to work with designers like Wyatt and Travis to publish developer journals and patch previews or host Q&As, and it’s ultimately why we encouraged them to join us on the forums. I’m super excited they were on board with posting, because they’re awesome people (and awesome designers), and I know they can help provide the kind of interaction so many of you appreciate.
That all said, the main focus of our developers is and will always be developing the game, so you’re going to see CMs posting far more often. We hope to continue this trend of increased communication, though — not only because it’s something you’ve asked for, but also because we know it’s important.
I’m guessing that you are a player. I’m also guessing that when you play the game, you think to yourself, “WOW! The community is right! This _______(insert issue) is completely messed up” and you let the devs know about it.
Lylirra: Sure. There are times when I’m playing and I don’t totally agree with or understand why a specific mechanic works the way it does, or I think it can be improved, and I’ll hit up the developers about it. We talk a lot, about a lot of different things, and it comes up. Sometimes it’s about things I’ve seen other players post on, so the conversation gets framed that way, and sometimes it’s just a personal/trivial thing (like why can’t I dye my fem barb’s hair or how come the UI for comparing a two-handed weapon against two one-handers isn’t all that intuitive).
We don’t just relay the concerns we agree with personally, though. If the community has feedback that’s constructive, well-intentioned, and reflects what appears to be a relevant portion of the players base, we make sure that feedback gets to the right place.
Some of your posts have the “middle man” feel about them. Like you are on the outside trying to bring the players together with the developers. A non-player. *shrug*
Lylirra: I’m both an advocate for the player and one for the developers. So, I’m kind of in the middle, and I’m kind of always working to bring the players and the developers together. You’re right. (There’s totally a reason I chose Auriel as my avatar.)
In a way, I guess that makes me somewhat neutral? But only because it helps keep things on track. It in no way dampens my energy or love for the game. I mean, I wouldn’t be here — and I don’t think you would be, or our developers would be either — if I wasn’t passionate about D3.
I begged the question in the intermission, so I’ll ask it directly here. Do you guys like the new style of interaction? Direct posts from devs, the new/friendly CMs working so differently than Bashiok’s sarcastic style? Do you think Bashy and Jay Wilson deserved all the hate that went their way, or were they just the default targets for angry fans as the most visible spokespeople for Diablo 3?