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Diablo 3 Legendary Ancient Items: Mega-Analysis + Screens
Last week I played a good amount of the upcoming Patch 2.1.2 on the PTR, with copied characters and then with a new Season Two Demon Hunter. Since it’s just for testing my S2 character was softcore, and with the insane drop rates of the community buff, gearing up (and leveling up) goes very quickly. […]
New Treasure Goblins on the PTR
We’ve talked about the four types of new Treasure Goblins since three of them were debuted at Blizzcon last month, and shown some screens now and then, but I’ve seen all of them numerous times during PTR play the last week or two, so here’s a compilation. New Treasure Goblins on the PTR: Malevolent Tormentor […]
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Latest Diablo 3 News

Conduit Pylon Nerf Coming Soon


Posted 6 Dec 2014 by at 06:52 GMT

Blue post about upcoming changes to the DiabloWikiConduit Pylon and other DiabloWikishrine issues has some good infos. Conduit Pylon nerfs are coming:

As we stated previously at BlizzCon, we want to avoid removing Conduit Pylons entirely. Conduits feel awesome and exciting when you get them, and that’s something we want to preserve. Not every player is (or will want to be) a top tier competitor, and it’s important that we retain these exciting moments for everyone. However, we recognize that Conduit is currently too good and we’re planning to nerf it.

Specifically, we want to lower its effectiveness against single targets. We’re making some changes in the next PTR patch to accomplish this. While you’ll see little to no change (and potentially some improvement) against multiple targets, it will be significantly less useful in single target scenarios. In addition, the damage dealt will scale off your weapon damage instead of the Greater Rift level. This means it will feel strongest at lower tier Greater Rifts, about the same at Greater Rifts that match your level of gear, and less effective at higher Greater Rifts. Overall, it should still feel cool and powerful to use, but not an ultimate game breaker or something you should hedge your entire build around.

Our intent is that we want there to (a) be a variety of pylons you can encounter and (b) no individual pylon should determine your success or failure. We know that’s not where we’re at right now, but that is the ultimate goal.

As an unrelated (but nifty) addendum, because sharing is caring: The Speed Pylon will also be changed slightly to automatically destroy breakable objects and doors while you retain the buff. It felt a little weird to run full stop into a door with this buff up, so now you’ll just be able to rush right through barricades and the like. Personally, I’m excited to attempt breaking the sound barrier with Warzechian Armguards and Steed Charge on my Crusader with this. Maybe I can break 88 miles per hour!

Both these changes will be in the next PTR patch, and I highly encourage you to give them both a try once they go live.

I’ve tested the shrine changes quite a bit on the PTR, with a Demon Hunter and a Monk, and Conduit shrines already feel more balanced. They now last just 15 seconds when you get one in a Greater Rift, (30s still in a normal Rift) which is hardly any time at all. One dead end room and the whole effect is gone before you’ve hardly seen a yellow lightning crackle effect. It’s still exploitable by multiplayers though, where one person can park by the Conduit and click it when the others reach the Guardian and get an instant-gib, which seems to be what Blizzard is trying to fix with this upcoming change.

Conduit damage on Grift 41.

Conduit damage on Grift 41.

Speed Shrines now give you the ability to run through targets and knock them back, which is kind of fun. I usually keep playing normally when one is in effect, but it’s great if I have some empty dungeon to traverse, and if I get a Speed Pylon on a level with a bad spawn I’ll either turbo right to the next Elite, or head straight down to the next level. And the door and barrel breaking mentioned by the Blue will certainly help with that.

In general, the Pylons definitely feel more powerful in the upcoming patch. When I’m in a Grift I get excited every time I see one on the map or in the next room over, since I know that all of them are useful and some of them are game changers, at least briefly.

As for the class difference, my Demon Hunter now gets *far* more value from a DiabloWikiChanneling Pylon than a Conduit Pylon. The Channeling buff removes cooldowns and gives effectively infinite resource, and for my DH, the ability to instantly drop 4 sentries and unleash my Spender without any resource limitations is incredibly powerful, plus it lasts twice as long as the Conduit shrine. Other classes who don’t have that kind of M6 killing power, or a resource bottleneck limiting their damage will have a different experience, and my Monk still gets a lot more benefit from a Conduit than any other Pylon or Shrine.

Do you guys think the Conduit Pylon nerf is reasonable, or would you prefer it to remain as (over) powered as it has been? Other shrine changes or fixes you feel are necessary? (Such as some buff to make the DiabloWikiFortune Shrine worth clicking on… 10x the current bonus, plus it could spawn a random DiabloWikiGoblin?)

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Tagged As: | Categories: *Big News, Greater Rifts, Nephalem Rifts, Shrines | 17 Comments

Latest Diablo 3 News

Blizzard’s Philosophy on Retroactive Item Changes


Posted 4 Dec 2014 by at 20:51 GMT

In addition to adding new Legendary Items (mostly Seasonal) and adding new Legendary Affixes to existing Legendary Items (mostly non-Seasonal), they’ve been tweaking Item Set bonuses. The biggest difference between those changes is that the new legendary properties on orange items require players to find that new item, but the changes to Sets (greens) are retroactive.

Some players appreciate this, since the changes to sets can be used right away, but others don’t like their existing gear/builds being affected retroactively, so there’s been debate over the issue. Today a Blue leapt in to offer an official verdict. Here’s Blizzard’s Philosophy on Retroactive Item Changes:

We’re very careful about retroactive changes. We try our utmost to avoid them, especially because we know some folks get attached to their build. However, in cases where the gameplay can be genuinely improved, there are exceptions we’re willing to make.

Her "pre-coffee form."

Neva’s “pre-coffee form.”

Set items are one of those exceptions, particularly because of their “sticking power.” Once you get a full set, you’re very reluctant to move away from it, because it did take time to acquire and put together. On the flip side of that is putting in a new version of the set, which then requires players to reacquire it all over again. It also doesn’t solve issues that are created by sets with unhealthy gameplay. When defining unhealthy gameplay as something that’s either unengaging or legitimately painful (emotionally or physically) to play, it’s something we need to address.

Both the Sunwuko and Marauder’s changes fall under that category of unhealthiness, though for different reasons. We want gameplay to be engaging (which Marauder’s wasn’t accomplishing) and enjoyable to play (which Sunwuko’s offered, but in a way that was physically painful to execute).

These changes are both quality of life fixes, though it may be hard to discern that at a glance. Marauder’s still revolves around Sentries, but now in how they make you better and more powerful. Sunwuko’s is still the set where you generate clones, but now they make your spenders more powerful. The path on how we accomplish those goals has changed, but the intent is to make sure that the level of power is the same (or better), even if the journey there is a little different.

The OP in that thread goes on about how Marauder’s is ruined… and then updates after he tried it on the PTR to admit that it’s actually much improved. But still…!

The Blue alludes to it, but along with discouraging hoarding, I think there’s a pretty obvious issue with logistics that ties into the way they’re making new single item Legendaries require finding, vs. Item Sets getting retroactively changed. When it’s just one item, it’s not hard to find the new one, and in (almost) every case the legendary items getting a new Legendary Affix didn’t have one before. So it’s not like someone was using Gungdo Gear bracers for their old affix, and will be put out by the new buff to Exploding Palm on them. Those bracers were just a stat stick before.

That’s very different with Item Sets. They all had existing bonuses (some of them admittedly not very special), so while the changes thus far are all buffs, they’re also changes that require lots of items to unlock. It would suck for players to have to re-find all 4 or 5 or 6 pieces of a set to get the new bonus, and it would be confusing with two different versions of the same set floating around. How would players tell them apart? Different names? Would sets provide both bonuses at once, if you had 3 of the old and 3 of the new, plus a DiabloWikiRoRG?

So what do you guys think of the way Blizzard is implementing the legendary item changes/improvements? I’m all for retroactive changes on Sets, since all the changes so far have been tweaks and improvements. If Blizzard ever totally changed how a set worked and it was a mandatory benefit via retroactive, that would obviously be much more open to debate/complaint. Agree or disagree?

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Latest Diablo 3 News

Raekor’s Set Change Coming Soon to PTR


Posted 4 Dec 2014 by at 20:33 GMT

Furious Charge

Furious Charge

Along with the Monk’s Sunwuko’s Set and the Demon Hunter’s Marauder’s Set changes, the Barbarian is getting an improved (?) version of his Raekor’s Set as well. Here’s the common fan complaint, plus the Blue response and theory behind the set changes. Raekor’s Set Change Coming Soon to PTR:

*Why* Raekors May Need A Change.

Not because it’s OP – but because it’s insanely frustrating to be grouped with a barb using this set. Far too often I’ve been in a 4 player game where a Raekor barb zooms off into the distance gathering all the elites with no way for me or the rest of the party to catch up.

I’m absolutely fine with barbs having nice things – except when those nice things are annoying to everyone else.

Sets should provide synergy within a party, not troll the party.
Nevalistis: This is actually pretty offensive to us as well, but we don’t think the problem is with the concept of Raekor’s. When you observe the gameplay as a teammate, it kind of reminds you of that kid on the playground who would take the ball and run with it rather than passing it around and letting the other kids play with him.

That’s not a great feeling, especially for the rest of the party. It doesn’t live up to the spirit of multiplayer or create good teamwork opportunities. We’re looking to fix this by redesigning the Dreadnought rune and the Raekor’s set. Here’s the current plan:

DiabloWikiFurious Charge: DiabloWikiDreadnought

  • Has been redesigned. Now grants Furious Charge two charges.
  • DiabloWikiThe Legacy of Raekor

  • 2-piece bonus: The first enemy hit by Furious Charge takes 100% additional damage.
  • 4-piece bonus: Furious Charge gains the effect of every rune.
  • 5-piece bonus: Enemies hit by Furious Charge take 3000% weapon damage over 3 seconds.
  • The gameplay of zipping back and forth across the screen and dealing huge amounts of damage is a lot of fun, and we want to preserve that. What we want to combat is how this gameplay was downright incompatible with multiplayer. Rather than charging forever forward, it should feel good to charge through existing groups before moving on to the next pack, and it’ll be even better if your buddies line ‘em up for you to knock back down. This change should be in the next PTR patch, which we’re hoping to get to you shortly. We look forward to seeing your feedback!

    The current live version of this set adds 500 Str and Vit, and grants Furious Charge the effect of every rune. The current live version of Furious Charge: Dreadnaught pulls all enemies to the Barbarian’s location, a bonus that encourags Barbs to forever move onwards, taking the monsters with them. With that property gone and Furious Charge given additional buffs in damage, these changes seem like a big win for Barbs, especially in multiplayer parties.

    Any Barb fans still exist, and do you have excite? If not for yourself, for being able to play with your one friend who plays a Raekor’s Barb?

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    1

    Sunwuko’s Set Changes: PTR Focused Feedback Requested


    Posted 4 Dec 2014 by at 20:12 GMT

    Blizzard has made another small change to the Monk-friendly Sunwuko’s Set, coming up in the next patch on the PTR, and they’d like players to give it a test drive and see how the tires respond to a firm kicking.

    Sunwuko’s Set Changes: PTR Focused Feedback Requested.

    We’ve got another update coming regarding the Sunwuko set. A slight change will be coming to the 4-piece bonus in the next PTR patch:

    Monkey King’s Garb

    • 4-piece set bonus has been slightly redesigned

      • When your decoys explode, you gain a buff that increases the damage of Cyclone Strike, Exploding Palm, Lashing Tail Kick, Tempest Rush, and Wave of Light by 500% for 3 seconds.

    This should help make this damage boost feel a little less clunky and more reliable to use in practice. As always, thank you so much for your feedback and we look forward to hearing your thoughts as we move on to the next phase of PTR testing!

    I’d love to help as I’ve been testing a Monk on the PTR this week. Unfortunately I’m stuck at 2 items from Sunwuko’s set since I have the helm and I keep finding the damn shoulders over and over again but have no luck on the gloves or amulet. Six green gloves found or gambled last night, all from the useless Invokers/Thorns set. BECAUSE RNG!

    I can, however, comment on the new Gungdo Gear bracers, with the contagious Exploding Palm… They’re great. My Monk has decent gear (mostly spares found by my DH during the community buff bonanza, so the Monk has spectacular jewelry, but just okay everything else) but felt slow in T6, and not just compared to my “effortlessly clear T6 Rifts in 3m even just with MS, without even casting using Sentries” DH. Switching to the Gungdo Gear bracers and changing skills around slightly to incorporate Exploding Palm enabled him to clear T6 about as quickly as I’d been doing T4.

    Any Rift with high density becomes an effortless flight of the hummingbird, with huge mobs of enemies crowding in and detonating in a chaining domino-effect that is a delight to behold. The weakness of the item is in not-dense rifts, or when there are monsters that run away or don’t crowd in, and those I have to track down individually, or just leave behind me since it’s not worth the time individually killing Fallen Shaman or Exarchs or Wasps, etc.

    The Gungdo Gear don’t do much/anything to help against Rift Guardians either, and I can count on a long, grindy punch-fest against Guardians, or even lesser Elites if they didn’t crowd around me with their Minions, to take damage from their death explosions. (I’m using Wave of Light along with EP, so the 4-piece Sunwuko’s bonus would definitely help chop down big targets.)

    Anyone else testing out the new Monk stuff on the PTR, or eager to get into it once the changes go live?

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    Tagged As: | Categories: Blue Posts, Item Sets, Monk | 1 Comment

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    3

    Diablo 3 Legendary Item Workshop Livestream


    Posted 4 Dec 2014 by at 11:33 GMT

    legendary item workshop dec 2014Next Tuesday Blizzard is going to follow up the Legendary Item workshop from Blizzcon with a Legendary Workshop Livestream.

    Next Tuesday, December 9 at 11 a.m. PST, we’ll be hosting a Legendary Workshop livestream on our official Diablo Twitch channel featuring lead technical artist Julian Love, associate game designer John Yan, and community manager Brandy “Nevalistis” Camel.

    In addition to talking more about our design team’s goals for the Legendary Workshop at BlizzCon, Julian and John will also discuss how they selected the final community idea to use for a new Legendary power, which ideas for Legendary powers were viable and which weren’t (and why), and what ideas from the community players may see in the game in the future.

    At the end of the discussion, Julian and John will also take questions from community members via Twitch chat. If you watched the Legendary Workshop at BlizzCon and still have questions for our designers, this is the stream for you!

    Our coverage of that panel from Blizzcan, including the full video, can be seen here, and Blizzard posted a follow up blog after the show, with this as the last official word on the new community-suggested legendary power:

    When the dust had settled and the team had narrowed their choices down, one idea stood above the rest. For our designers, the best idea from the community was an item that buffs different elements in a predetermined rotation. While the initial idea was meant to only benefit the Wizard — and it certainly would, especially for players using the Tal Rasha set — it could also benefit other character classes. This flexibility was icing on the proverbial power cake.

    From here, our design team will take the Legendary power from the panel and decide on the item type, how it will look, the lore behind it, and the specific stats it will have. While we don’t have an exact date for when it will appear in the game, be sure to keep an eye out for it in a future patch!

    Next Tuesday we should find out more about this, and I’m curious to see how they work that “rotates elemental damage buff” into a game where almost every current build is focused on a single type of damage. We’ll be watching the stream next week and posting up a transcript/analysis as soon as possible, for those of you without an hour to spend watching the livestream. Has legendary excite?

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    Tagged As: | Categories: Blue Posts, Legendary Items, Live Stream | 3 Comments

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    4

    New Treasure Goblins on the PTR


    Posted 3 Dec 2014 by at 13:43 GMT

    We’ve talked about the four types of new Treasure Goblins since three of them were debuted at Blizzcon last month, and shown some screens now and then, but I’ve seen all of them numerous times during PTR play the last week or two, so here’s a compilation.

    New Treasure Goblins on the PTR:

    Malevolent Tormentor

    Malevolent Tormentor

    Malevolent Tormentor

    First up, the least visual. The Malevolent Tormentor is a new type that was not shown at Blizzcon, and he’s basically the Resplendent Chest version of a normal goblin. Not glowing golden (he seems to be a bit darker in color, actually), but he drops far more loot than a normal goblin, a fact that’s finally testable/observable now that the community buff is over. While it was in effect, every goblin (except sometimes Malevolent Tormentors) spawned in pairs, and with the huge legendary buff rate, normal Gobbies dropped 1-3 legendary items every time, making them nearly as rewarding as the Malevolent Tormentors who dropped 2-5 legendary items (during the buff).

    With the buff expired, I was curious to see how a Malevolent Tormentor would drop, and happily, I found one with my new S2 Monk last night. He spawned solo, in a normal game (not a Rift), and since I wasn’t playing my DH, he wasn’t instantly obliterated by Sentry MS crossfire and I got to watch his behavior a bit.

    He ran around more actively than a normal Gobbie, changing direction and moving more erratically (there were only a few scattered zombies nearby, so he had no Elites to run towards), and the MT actually has a short range teleport ability. All Goblins now have short term burst speed, where they move faster than usual with a streaking racing stripes sort of animation, but the MT actually teleports, though only about 20 yards at a time.

    As for the death and the loot… meh. I only got one of them in my games post-Community Buff (they seem to be the rarest of the goblin types), so not much to generalize from. Just one Legendary Item, but since normal Gobbies hardly every drop a legendary (maybe 1/20 or so, outside of community buffs), an MT dropping even one feels like an upgrade.

    Malevolent Tormentor drop.

    Malevolent Tormentor drop.

    Click through for details and juicy mega-pack screenshots of the Gem Hoarder, Blood Thief, and Odious Collector treasure goblin types, spotted in the upcoming patch on the PTR

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    Tagged As: | Categories: *Featured, Diablo 3 PTR, Treasure Goblin | 4 Comments

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    3

    Diablo Fan Art Watch #263: Random Art Abound


    Posted 3 Dec 2014 by at 07:30 GMT

    Welcome everyone to the latest Diablo Fan Art Watch. This week is a random set of six amazing pieces of fan art. A feast for the eyes featuring two barbarians, a monk, and a wizard summoning magic snakes.

    There’s also a 3-d model based on the Tavern of the Rising Sun and to finish this set off is a detailed face view of the Lord of terror.

    Art by El Sharko, Nookiew, Unknown, MasteroftheFork, Pusiat, and Samayume.


    Click the thumbnail to see a larger version of the image.

    If you enjoy Fan art and want to contribute to this growing community, please stop by the Fan Creations Forum. Many artists visit frequently, posting works in progress looking for feedback and conversation. You don’t have to be “arty” to join in. If you have any questions, comments or have some fan art related news on the web please send me a PM and I’ll get back to you. Also check out the wiki page for more art from the archives.

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    2

    Legendary Gem Video Tutorial: Esoteric Alteration


    Posted 2 Dec 2014 by at 23:32 GMT

    Esoteric Alteration

    Esoteric Alteration

    Meathead Mikhael has posted another Legendary Gem tutorial video, this one focused on one of the three new LGems coming in Season Two, all of which are now testable on the PTR.

    This is one of the new defensive legendary gems that many of you guys insisted would never be worth using. The gem is DiabloWikiEsoteric Alteration which provides a full time resistance buff to all non-physical damage types, and at rank 25 tacks on a giant 75% damage reduction when you drop below 50% life.

    Confusing tooltip.

    Confusing tooltip.

    The way the reduction is displayed is a little confusing, since the tool tip shows your normal resistance + the extra resistance from this gem as a way to emphasize the added resistance, but without showing the actual total value. There’s a two-step process, so (for example) if you’ve got 1700 resistance to fire, the tooltip shows 80% reduction to fire damage + 43% reduction from the Esoteric Alteration. That’s not added together for a 143% reduction, but is calculated in a two-step process. So you’ve got 80% damage mitigation from fire due to your other resistance gear and skills, and then the 43% bonus provided by the LGem is applied to the 20% of damage that gets through. So 43% of 20 is s 8.6%), so your total fire resistance is 88.6%. And the 43% gets a 75% increase once you’re below 50% health, which isn’t complicated at all!

    The video is useful though, since he shows how his toughness and resistances are jumping up when he equips the gear, and the bigger jump that goes when he drops below half health. Legendary Gem Video Tutorial: Esoteric Alteration:

    Note that the gem’s defensive bonuses apply only to non-physical damage, which means all of the dangerous DiabloWikiElite Modifiers like DiabloWikiArcane Enchanted, DiabloWikiFrozen, DiabloWikiMolten, etc… but it won’t help against the few physical attacks, such as when Mallet Lords judge you harshly by dropping the gavel. Player skill is thus required to get the full benefit from this gem, and it’s going to be more useful for non-melee characters, who can generally stay back out of hand-to-claw range.

    I might actually give this one a try next season on Hardcore, though the real killing danger of something like being Vortexed into a Mallet smash just as four Moltens blow… would probably still prove lethal. Anyone else curious to try it out? Any rethinking of your defensive LGem prejudices?

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    Latest Diablo 3 News

    PTR Community Buff Ends Today


    Posted 1 Dec 2014 by at 23:54 GMT

    PTR v2.1.2 Buff

    Going, going, gone!

    Blizzard posted news this afternoon that the huge PTR community buff is ending this evening, giving us a whole four hours of notice for the change. PTR Community Buff Ends Today:

    The community buffs currently active on the PTR will be disabled today, December 1st, at 5PM PST. We do not anticipate any downtime as a result of removing these buffs.

    We hope this buff has been helpful in your testing endeavors and, as always, we appreciate your diligent efforts on the PTR!

    I was too busy IRL to play over the holiday weekend, but I did a couple of quick Rift runs last night while getting screens for that big Ancient Items article, and as I dashed through, picking up only the legs that dropped right in front of me (and all the orange bows, still hoping for a Kridershot) I found myself wondering about a return to mortal drop rates. And now I’ll get to find out.

    Gem of Ease

    Gem of Ease

    For one thing, I’ve been wanting to try to get some of the faster Rift clear achievements, but when 30 legs drop within 3-4 minutes, taking the time to pick up even half of them derails any chance at sub-two-minute Rift clears. I’ve also leveled the new LGem, the Gem of Ease, to 25, and have been wanting to try out that super twink on a new character… but I knew I couldn’t get any sense of how fast was the progression when the community buff was throwing down triple EXP. (The exp gain on the gem only goes up 1 per level, but the level 25 property grants the weapon it’s in a level 1 requirement. What’s a level 1 char feel like with a 3400 dps Ancient Legendary sword? No idea, but I’m curious to find out.)

    That said, I’ll miss the mega leg drop rate when I do make a new char. My DH can hardly improve on gear at this point, but I’ve been wanting play a Monk to try out the set changes for that class. And I still can, but it’ll obviously take more than an hour or two to deck out fully in the high level set items.

    Are you guys sad to see the community buff go? Or glad? In theory we’ll see a lot less crowding on the PTR now, so at least those long game creation times will be a thing of the past.

    Update: I logged on at 5:05 and the buff is gone. No notice about it in-game; just a lack of the buff icon over the tool bar. I played a couple of T6 Rifts with my DH and the lack of leg drops was… refreshing? It’s at least evidence of scarcity boosting value, since after a couple of dungeon levels with nothing but blue and yellow junk dropping, the clang of an orange belt gave me a little bit of excite, for an object I wouldn’t even have slowed to pick up when the buff was still active.

    I didn’t notice the exp decrease (I’m P514 in Season 2, so it was getting slower already), except that I was able to stack up some DiabloWikiyellow water bonus for the first time on the current PTR. I did notice and will miss the double goblins, but now I’m curious what the first Malevolent Tormentor I find will drop, now that the 2000% legendary buff won’t turn all normal goblins into leg fountains as well.

    Update #2: Nevalistis fielded a question about the upcoming patch on Twitter… with no ETA.

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    Tagged As: | Categories: Blue Posts, Diablo 3 PTR, Nevalistis, Twitter | 13 Comments

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    8

    Diablo 3 Legendary Ancient Items: Mega-Analysis + Screens


    Posted 1 Dec 2014 by at 13:20 GMT

    news-ancient-items-evalLast week I played a good amount of the upcoming Patch 2.1.2 on the PTR, with copied characters and then with a new Season Two Demon Hunter. Since it’s just for testing my S2 character was softcore, and with the insane drop rates of the community buff, gearing up (and leveling up) goes very quickly. T1 is easily-handled, legendary items drop like candy, most characters will find their six piece set in an hour or two and with it they can make the jump up to Torment 6… and at that point the legendary drop rate goes from ridiculous to insane.

    The progression is weird, especially if you do a Season 2 character, since most players will quickly be decked out in gear of much better quality than they have on the live realm… while still using Imperial quality gems and 2 low level Legendary Gems. With the 200% buff you find legendaries more often than Rare items, but you still have to upgrade gems and Legendary Gems at the normal rate, so they tend to lag well behind gear.

    As a result your overall character power balance feels a little weird, but that’s no barrier to rolling through T6 Rifts in just a few minutes, slowing down only to pick up legendaries, and easily filling up you entire inventory by the time you kill the Rift Guardian. And if you’re doing that on T6, about 10% of those legendary items are the new higher tier Ancient Items… which means you get a damn lot of them in a short time.

    So how are they? Do Ancient items replace all your normal legendaries at once? Is Ancient the new baseline? Will you feel pathetically under-geared if all your kit doesn’t boast an orange outline?

    Not really. Diablo 3 Legendary Ancient Items: Mega-Analysis + Screens

    My Demon Hunter has found several hundred Ancient items so far, but Ancients are only the best items in about half my slots. Here are the non-Ancient legendaries I’m using at Paragon 510: Marauder’s Pants and Helm, Unity ring, RoRG ring, Eye of Etlich amulet, Witching Hour belt, Bombadier’s Rucksack quiver, and Reaper’s Wraps bracers. I could benefit from an Ancient version of all those items except for the Unity (which has no affixes that get a boost from being Ancient), and I’ve found Ancient versions of all of them, but not with affixes ideal enough to be an upgrade.

    Ancient items, as they are currently implemented on the PTR, are mandatory for weapons, are possibly useful upgrades for armor and off-hand slots, and are mostly irrelevant for jewelry. This wide disparity between the value of Ancient items by slot was debated on the last podcast, and the 3 PTR testers agreed that for Ancient Items to be really useful in all slots, the bonus needs to be boosted on armor, and reworked entirely on jewelry. Of course that assumes that Blizzard wants Ancient Items to be big potential upgrades in every item slot. The idea might be that everyone must find an Ancient weapon, but then all the other slots are just “maybe upgrade, if near-perfect roll.” In that case, the A.I. is working as intended.

    Click through for some discussion of what Ancient boosts in every gear slot, ideas for making Ancient items better or more interesting, and several huge image galleries (100+ screenshots) of Ancient items freshly found on the PTR.

    Just for a teaser and the sake of comparison, here’s the gear currently on my Season 2 Demon Hunter. He flies effortlessly through T6 and does up to GR40 quite easily. I don’t honestly know his max GR at this point. I’ve done 42 handily, but failed by about 30 seconds on a GR44 when I got a horrible spawn. If I were really trying to push higher I’d regear a bit, at least switching the Unity for an SoJ, since I took several one-shot deaths even using the double Unity trick.

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    Diablo 3 Ultimate Evil Edition Reviews


    Posted 28 Nov 2014 by at 21:12 GMT

    The Diablo 3 Ultimate Evil Edition is the console version of Diablo 3 + Reaper of Souls, available as a stand alone product for the PS3/PS4/Xbox360/XboxOne. It’s essentially the same game as the PC version with a few minor differences in content and a lot of differences in controls and interface.

    As we talked about on the last podcast, most users (including me) think the console controls are considerably better, at least for melee characters. Unlike the PC version with the left click tied to/wasted on a skill, on the console the left stick is purely for movement, and a console player can always move exactly where they want, without accidentally clicking on a monster or chest or item on the ground. Other console improvements include an enhanced kill streak counter, item sharing to friends, and the monster sharing Nemesis system.

    Other changes may not be improvements, the game isn’t getting patched as regularly as the PC/Mac version, there are hacked items since it’s not online-only, and the controls can be tricky for ranged characters, since without a pointer it’s hard to target ranged skills precisely. But that’s enough intro from me based on some play-time at Blizzcon, since we’ve got two full reviews of the Ultimate Evil Edition written by regular podcast guests Ynzerg and JrMint.

    Here’s a quick quote from each of their write ups.

    The additional console-only hooks are very smart and I’d love to see some of these ideas migrate to the PC. The Mail system allows you to send loot to your compadres similarly to how you’d do it in most MMOs. Just click send and your buddy will have a new shiny in his or her mailbox. “You’ve got mail! (and new loot!)”. Along the same lines I’d have to say the gift system is quite novel as well. Occasionally, items will drop as gifts—no, not Rammlammdingdong gifts—which are only useable for people on your friend’s list. I don’t have enough friends playing the game to receive gifts, but I imagine it feels nice to get free loot from out of the blue.
    –Ynzerg

    All of the features mentioned are present in both the PC and Console versions of the expansion. The console simply enhances all of them. The characters and spells really just jump off the screen on a Playstation 4 or Xbox One, due to the higher resolution and larger screen. The console versions also add a “dodge roll”. This is done by flicking the right stick on your controller and causes your character to roll out of the way. This is such a game changer and something that really should be incorporated into the PC version as an option. There are console specific features such as the Nemesis system and a gifting system, but they feel more like a gimmick than much else. The consoles also allow you to play “couch co-op” with one other person locally. Diablo is made for a system like that, and it works great.
    –JrMint

    Click through to read them in full and add your own console comments.

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    Latest Diablo 3 News

    5

    Rift Fixes and Retroactive Item Set Bonuses


    Posted 27 Nov 2014 by at 13:15 GMT

    A couple of Blue posts about upcoming Rift Fixes and Retroactive Item Set Bonuses:

    I have noticed several times now that the keep map is troublesome, almost no elite/blues, and usually lots of small whites boggers/spiders and such, which give almost no xp.

    Hey Can we stop running into rifts with no mobs and the port doesnt work..
    Both these issues should be fixed in the next PTR patch. :)

    blizz plz teach me how to kill Iskatu in adventure mode.
    Seems like an oversight. Thanks! I’ll pass this on.

    Will new Set piece bonuses be retro active???
    Tyvalir: Just wanted to jump in here to confirm that the changes to the Embodiment of the Marauder and the Monkey King’s Garb sets in patch 2.1.2 will indeed be retroactive. We’ve seen a lot of feedback on these two sets, and we’ll continue to share your thoughts as they evolve with the dev team!

    No time table on these fixes, but with this a four-day weekend in the US, it seems unlikely we’ll get any PTR patch/fixes until Monday, at the soonest.

    Incidentally, is anyone else surprised that we haven’t gotten the Season 2 announcement yet? Blizzard has said they will give us at least 30 days notice before the end of the season, and a lot of players I’ve talked to expected Season 2 to begin in mid-late December, so people would have time to play and rush the new season when they had time off (including Blizzard employees) during late December/early January. Yet here we are on November 27th, without any word about S2? Are they aiming to start it January 1st, or some other time early in the year? After some Xmas/year end community buff?

    I guess that would be okay, but I’d rather have had the buff and holiday play time to start Season 2, rather than to end Season 1.

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    Latest Diablo 3 News

    Thanksgiving in Diablo 3?


    Posted 26 Nov 2014 by at 21:12 GMT

    1381251_219622204866410_963004160_nThe Thanksgiving holiday is tomorrow in the US, and while our traditional celebrations include gluttony in food, televised gladiatorial violence, and commerce (making it the most American of holidays).

    Littered amongst those main courses is a bit of introspection or reflection (both very un-American traits) and people sometimes take a moment to think what they have to be thankful for this year. (This part of the ceremony is especially amusing to apply towards spoiled children, who will look up from stuffing a second slice of pie into their face and insist they’ve got nothing to be thankful for since Daddy wouldn’t buy them the newest iPhone.) Assuming those of you reading this aren’t quite as spoiled as that… what do we have to be thankful for this year in the realm of Diablo 3?

    For me, the game is vastly improved over where it was at launch, we’ve got regular new content patches, the PTR is in swing with a community buff worthy of any T-Day gluttony, Jay Wilson and Bashiok live on only in jokes and rueful memories, and there’s hope for the next expansion announcement coming in the new year.

    What do you guys feel thankful for in regards to Diablo 3 or the overall Diablo community? Or will you live up to the true spirit of the Internet, and be thankful only for a fresh opportunity to offer complaints and negativity?

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    Tagged As: | Categories: Fan Stuff | 11 Comments

    Latest Diablo 3 News

    New Diablo 3 Legendary Item Test Drive: the Broken Crown


    Posted 26 Nov 2014 by at 15:00 GMT

    The Broken Crown is a legendary helm that’s not new, but it’s getting a new DiabloWikiLegendary Affix in Patch 2.1.2, and it can now be tested on the PTR. So I gave it a kiss… and I liked it!

    New Diablo 3 Legendary Item Test Drive: the Broken Crown.

    Broken Crown

    Broken Crown

    The Legendary Affix on this helm is unlike any other in the game, and it does nothing offensive or defensive, with the effect entirely about modifying the treasure you get with this helm equipped.

    Whenever a gem drops, a gem of the type socketed into this item also drops.

    That sounds confusing, but it’s pretty simple in function. It’s literal; any time a gem drops, a second gem drops of the same quality, but of the type that matches the one socketed into this helm. The quality of the gem in the helm doesn’t matter, and the gems that drop in the game are the same quality as always, depending entirely on the level of the monster dropping it. That means at level 70 it’ll usually be a Marquise, with an occasional Imperial.

    This means you get double the total gems, but six times as many of the type you’re after. Can has math? For example, if you are wearing the DiabloWikiBroken Crown and five DiabloWikiMarquise gems drop from a series of enemies, one of each type, and you’ve got an emerald in the helm, your total take will be: 1 ruby, 1 topaz, 1 diamond, 1 amethyst, and 6 emeralds, all Marquise quality. If you pick up gems for a while, with this helm in action, your gem stacks will be something like 5, 5, 4, 6, 25 gems… with the last type the one you’ve got in the helm. It’s doubling the total games, and of those around 60% will be the type you want.

    “Every time a gem drops, another gem drops of the type in your helm.” As Horton said, it meant what it says and it said what it meant. And it’s always the same quality of gem, usually Marquise, but when you rarely get an Imperial Gem, a second Imperial will drop from the helm, of the desired type.

    Location, Location, Location

    One oddity is that the doubled gems appear right on your character. They seem to be endlessly falling out of the helm, like an amateur magician grandfather was pulling coin after coin out of the ears of his astonished grandson. That’s odd, but the placement is what seems weird, since the gems fall from your character even if the monster killed is way across the screen. This isn’t real noticeable with a melee character, but testing it with my Demon Hunter I kept Vaulting towards the action, and then having to Vault back to pick up the gem that just dropped from where I was standing, pre-Vault.

    The timing is a little odd too, since you always see all the doubled gem(s) drop on top of your character usually a fraction of a second before the gems appear from the chest, goblin, monster, etc. This is because items fountain out of enemies one at a time, giving a slight delay between the monster’s death and the appearance of the loot.

    Here’s a pic to illustrate. In it my DH just bagged a Malevolent Tormentor, one of the new Super Goblins, in a T6 Rift and he dropped a bunch of legs, plus 6 Marquise gems. While all of his gems went into that one stack, the doubled gems created by the Broken Crown popped out of my Demon Hunter and fell in a litter there to the left, where I was standing when the Goblin died. You can see they’re all emeralds, by the greenish gleam of their eye.

    Broken Crown doubled gems.

    Broken Crown doubled gems.

    Yes, the doubling works when you get the new Gem-dropping Goblins, and though I didn’t get lucky enough to test it, I’m sure it’ll work on all the gems that drop in DiabloWikiThe Vault. I did get to test it on the new Goblins, it definitely worked, and from the pair of them (double spawn community buff) I netted around 115 Marquise Emeralds and 4 Imperial Emeralds.

    That’s a best case scenario as those Gem Goblin types seem to be the rarest (I’ve only seen two pairs of them in 400 Paragon levels in Season Two), and more than 6-8 each of the Blood Shard and Materials Goblins,) but even without chrome goblins, the Broken Crown is a huge boost to your desire gem type, and well worth the momentary nerf created by playing with the mediocre helm and socketed an Emerald (in my case) in the hole.

    Come Patch 2.1.2 on Live, anyone with any sort of gem shortage is going to be very hungry for this helm, and since anyone going into Season Two will have a massive gem shortage, it’s going to be quite desired.

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    Tagged As: | Categories: Diablo 3 PTR, Legendary Items, Strategy News | 10 Comments

    Latest Diablo 3 News

    Guest Article: Diablo 3 PTR Mega-Test Report


    Posted 26 Nov 2014 by at 12:00 GMT

    Regular site commenter Steven Hazani sunk 50 hours into testing on the PTR, and he’s filed a lengthy report detailing his opinions on everything. Topics include Grift density and balance, item progression, gold and legendary item rewards, ancient item upgrade issues, experience and lacking paragon point bonuses, and much more.

    Here’s a very partial quote with some conclusions, to give you the (highly-critical) flavor of his opinions. Guest Article: Diablo 3 PTR Mega-Test Report

    The rewards of course are still atrocious, ignoring test realm specific things. And that’s my first point. See, when this buff originally went live I was mid GR 36. Result? At the end I got 6 legendaries (because GR 3x guardians only have 6 item drops, and the buff makes every item that falls legendary). That’s how it should be. All the time. Because in that same length of time I could have done 2 or 3 rofflestomp runs and got the same or more legendaries without the considerable risk, so 6 legendaries would make it slightly worse instead of considerably worse.

    Here come the legendaries!

    Here come the legendaries!

    That’s a huge step in getting some risk vs reward in the game. I also got 300 something shards. Which is also how it should be all the time since that’s about how many I’d get off normal farming for the same timeframe.

    Leaving the enhanced drops and shards for higher GRs only would go a long way in correcting one of the biggest problems in the game. Because guardians have a cap on the number of items they drop it’s not abusable.

    If more item types were actually useful and there were not so many mandatory items the current live drop rates would feel much more reasonable.

    I probably smashed at least 20 Ancient items that were of the correct type (read: the 0-3 items per item type anyone actually wants) because they had 2+ stats incorrect, and were therefore not actually better.

    If Kadala could fix more than one stat, the current live drop rate would feel much more reasonable. This would also let people burn those Hoarder stashes and saved mats, and it’d still be insanely expensive if you had 3 stats wrong but that’s better than finally finding rare item x after 600 levels and then getting terrible stats on it. Alternately you could make more than a few stats “correct”, but this is Blizzard so let’s have reasonable standards.

  • 1: GR guardians should flat out drop all legendaries/sets with a number of slots based on level beginning at level 26. Remember, they take longer so even more legs/run does not necessarily = more legs/hour.
  • 2: Double shards in GRs only beginning at level 26.
  • 3: Trial rewards should be the same as current test realm GR rewards.
  • 4: GR experience rewards should be the same as current test realm trial rewards.
  • 5: GR gold should be current GR values x3.
  • 6: 1-5 are lost if you die (death means you get the current worthless live rewards). This is because SC has no death penalty now, and will otherwise death zerg for lots of free stuff.
  • 7: If we must stick with the current model than make all those unused legendaries supercharge skills people aren’t using, make the base skill good (don’t expect people will take Magic Missile/Shock Pulse/Energy Twister/Arcane Orb seriously), and make sets not mandatory for creating a functional character. Suddenly there’s a lot fewer auto souls. Ideally we scrap that model and then nerf enemy life as no one will be doing 10,000+ weapon damage anymore as skills are somewhat well balanced with themselves, the lack of build diversity comes from only a few narrow legendary gimmicks existing and those being the only way of dealing with the insane life on everything. But again, Blizzard.
  • 8: If you find an Ancient it should never be bad. Make it always have the correct stats, make it always max stats, or perhaps best of all scrap the current implementation and just give us Ancient Gifts. It’s still just MOAR NUMBERS, but at least we ditch the RNG trolling and don’t automatically invalidate every existing item.
  • 9: Make Kadala change any number of stats, the cost still scales based on cumulative changes. Fixing an item with 3 wrong stats will be expensive, at least it can be done.
  • The current live drop rates of roughly 3 legs a run would be a lot more reasonable if you didn’t smash > 99% of them. This also fixes risk vs reward by making high level GRs done well more productive than rofflestomping trivial content, which makes the game much more enjoyable.

    See his full post for much more commentary on practically everything, and there’s a lot more in the follow up comments and rebuttals in the thread. I’ve done a lot of PTR testing this time as well and while I disagree on many of his points, I think others are right on.

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