Diablo III Developer AMAA, Update on Auction House Commodity Sales (Working on US servers), Account Security Alert: LinkedIn

Patch 1.0.3 Preview
In case you missed the news, Blizzard had a large patch 1.0.3 preview which includes some information on some rather big changes. Make sure to check out the post here.

Diablo III Developer AMAA
Jay Wilson and senior game designers Wyatt Cheng and Andrew Chambers answered user questions today over on reddit. You can check out the full Q&A below which is full of a lot of information or if you're in a hurry Overneathe took the time to round up some of the key points!

DiabloFans Quote:

  • There could be an "auto-skip cinematics" options added in the future.
  • There will likely be an "invisibility mode" for the friend list in a future patch.
  • Blizzard are looking into adding an option that will filter out white items on the ground.
  • There will be more ingame hints added that point to the existence of Elective Mode.
  • Players have discovered all zones in the game.
  • Custom chat channels are in the works.
  • The color of Health Potions, Gems, Tomes and Pages will change in a future patch.
  • When Legendaries get an upgrade in a future patch they'll have many interesting proc abilities.
  • There is no elemental damage because players would just use the one that has the highest DPS. The only elemental damage type that survived is Cold - it has lowered damage but chills enemies. It's also the least used damage type.
  • There are currently restrictions that don't let you dye Legendary items. Blizzard are looking into the Tech issue of solving that.
  • The Staff of Herding and all components required to craft it will be made to stand out WAY more in the inventory in 1.0.3.
  • The stat for increasing the potency of Health Globes might also affect Potions as well in the future.
Life Steal and Life on Hit
  • Life on Hit is roughly 3 times stronger than Life Steal but doesn't scale as well. Life Steal is tuned for DPS that players would hit months after release.
  • Life Steal is made to, someday, make you feel like you're breaking the game.
  • If in a few months Life Steal is still not used enough it'll receive changes.
  • Life Steal is also tuned for multiple targets taken into account.
  • Whimsyshire will also be affected by the incoming difficulty changes in 1.0.3. For Hell Whimsyshire counts as Act IV and for Inferno as Act III/IV.
  • In a future patch bosses will give better loot the first time you kill them in a higher difficulty (not going to be in 1.0.3).
  • The Blacksmith crafting will have its prices decreased in 1.0.3.
  • Blizzard like the idea of adding gems into the Blacksmith's crafts in the future.
  • Crafting is not meant to have better items than monster drops or AH. It's just another gold outlet. With the price reduction in 1.0.3 though things should get "a little more interesting".
  • Blacksmith and Jeweler recipes drop only in Inferno. As people get more into that difficulty and Blizzard get more results to monitor they might considere increasing their drop rates.
  • In a future patch Shielding enemies will cast their shields less frequently.
  • In a future patch rares with Invulnerable Minions will have their health decreased.
  • Some fleeing monsters will flee less in 1.0.3 so that enrage timers don't become a big issue for players.
Auction House
  • Blizzard are considering adding the RMAH to Hardcore mode.
  • Commodities have been down because of flawed design. It made players spam the Search button.
  • You will be able to cancel auctions in patch 1.0.3 (99% sure).
  • There are currently no plans to let players choose how long they're putting items up for.
  • The Auction House has no effect on drop rates. They are actually tuned for players that will never use the Auction House.
  • The game was tuned without the Auction House because there weren't enough players to make it work during internal testing.
  • Item comparison in the Auction House window will be added in the future.
  • Class sigils from the pre-release promotional site should start showing up in the next couple weeks.
  • Some Demon Hunter abilities will be buffed to promote build diversity (not in 1.0.3).
  • The least used skills at level 60 are Energy Twister, Exploding Palm, Sacrifice, Ancient Spear and Strafe.
Magic Find
  • Magic Find works exactly the same way as it did in Diablo II.
  • There will only be Arena in the PvP patch.
  • There might be dueling at some point in the future.
  • 4.1% of characters are Hardcore.
  • Every design decision takes Hardcore into account.
Hardcore Characters Class Breakdown:
  • Level 46-50: Barbarian: 25.86% * Monk: 23.90% * Demon Hunter: 18.47% * Wizard: 16.96% * Witch Doctor: 14.81%
  • Level 60: Barbarian: 22.67% * Monk: 21.83% * Demon Hunter: 21.04% * Wizard: 19.23% * Witch Doctor: 15.23%

[blizzquote author='Blizzard']Is there any plan to change the text color of gems and pages/tomes? I think it'd be nice if they stood out from normal whites. Maybe even potions could be red.
We are addressing that in a future patch. We are looking at changing the text color for pages and tomes, health potions and gems in all difficulty levels.

With the drop rates released in the 1.0.3 preview, is Whimsyshire considered part of Act I or Act III/IV?
We dont really consider the Whimsy-ical Shire to be part of the story proper, but the new drop rates will affect it. Specifically, the monsters in hell are considered act IV hell monsters, and the monsters in Inferno are Act III/IV Inferno monsters.

I also feel that you should have the capability to doge certain abilities. Like if their was a very very slight pause before the jailer would actually jail you. This would allow for a high end player to not only show their skill but be able to progress and do better because they are able to deal with harder situations accordingly.
Some of the challenge presented by the monster affixes are meant to be "holy koala how do i mitigate this damage!!!!" rather than "cant catch me mister jailer man".
I think that the variety of the monster affixes makes each encounter interesting in its own way. Forecasting some of those affix abilities more is something we would definitely consider

What do you think of addings gems to the Blacksmithing process to ensure a stat?
I think its an interesting idea and something we would certainly consider adding in the future.
Philosophically, the blacksmithing is intended to serve as an outlet for all those items that you picked up when doing butcher runs, but found them to be not worth putting on the AH, equipping them, or storing in your stash for your alt. You can salvage those items, and give yourself a chance to roll a really good one, turning your evening of farming into something of potential value.

The randomness thats inherent in this system means that you may not get anything good, which we totally understand can feel pretty frustrating.

To mitigate this in the short term, 103 will see a reduction in costs for crafting items from the blacksmith. Im hoping this makes pressing that button a little less intimidating, and that Haedrig sees more business! He has some orphaned kids now to feed you know!!!

The thing is why would i salvage all that stuff for a small chance at getting a good item from the blacksmith when I could sell it and get more gold to spend on items that have the stats I want on the auction house?
The intent is, why not?

If youre currently just leaving all of those blue items on the ground and collecting a bunch of gold, why wouldnt you want to turn them into something of potential value rather than let the Treasure Goblins come and pick them up after youve run away?

Crafting isnt intended to be better than the drops you can get from killing monsters, or maybe even the items you can find on the AH. It is intended to provide you with another outlet for the gold youre collecting.

He meant that you sell the blues to the vendor, because the gold from that is more valuable then the mats you get.
Our hope is that by lowering the cost of crafting items, the choice between "should i sell or salvage this" becomes a little more interesting.

Why are they orphaned? Did Haedrig die?
Youre right, he doesnt actually have kids.
He just tells me about all the future kids he has to feed when he comes over complaining that he needs more work.

Why are there no on hit procs besides bleed?
We actually do have some, like stun on hit, fear on hit etc, and we definitely wanted to do more! As it came down to the wire though we had to put them on hold.

That said, we are working on updating the legendaries in an upcoming patch, and a big push for us is to try and get these proc powers in the game and working to make our legendaries way more awesome (that will be measurable in legendariness meters).

By the way, a proc chance of 2% doesn't feel legendary. It needs to happen more reliably for it to be worth anything.
We agree.
I ran 2% by the legendariness meter and it proc'd pretty low, so we want it to be higher, and more legendary!

You mean Legen....wait for it...dary!
Immortal King Set up!!!

What do you guys think about the current monster affixes and are you going to add more interesting powers or nerf the ones that are plain boring to fight against (Ex. Shielded minions)?
We think there are some very complicated and challenging affix combinations in there. In some ways this can be a good thing as you can get a feel for how youre progressing as a player, and with your items. Suddenly that insane affix that you had trouble with awhile go is melting like butter in your dpsy hands!!! Thats a good thing, but sometimes they can just be WAY too challenging. Shielding and Invul minions are two of these.

We are making some changes to these in 103. The shielding will cast less often to start with, and for the invul minions, the health of the monster you can actually damage is being lowered. Hopefully that helps get them to the tasty melty stage sooner!

While that sounds like a good idea, some classes are having an especially hard time with Invulnerable in ways that simply lowering the health will not solve. As examples, invulnerable minions + horde + fast amounts to a free root ability that can't be broken without a teleporting ability, and some builds find the Invulns using their bodies to block shots from the lead creature while the player is kiting. Do you have any plans to address these?
Not sure if you all saw, but Wyatt actually posted about a bunch of changes that we are introducing with 103 earlier today. Part of the motivation behind these changes was to make the game a little less progression oriented challenging, and more about finding interesting and efficient ways to farm for item upgrades. We made some things easier, and we made powerful items more readily available for you. We think this makes the game a lot more fun.

With less damage incoming, and generally better items to equip, you should find it easier to solve the challenge involved in some of these crazier monster affixes.

All thats pretty high level though, and doesnt really help with the minute to minute situation of seeing "mother of pearl he has jailer desecrator molten extra health minion invlunerable eat all my cheetos drink my beer!!!". We all know that feeling when we go up against some of these crazier affix combos.

We are keeping an eye on them, and we definitely arent against tuning the monster affixes or even making some of the class skills more readily able to handle those evil beer drinking zombies.

With less damage incoming, and generally better items to equip, you should find it easier to solve the challenge involved in some of these crazier monster affixes.
Its a fine line to walk, because we really dont want the combat to be boring. Some of those "holy koala!" moments come from not having the skill on cooldown, but having it close, and for you to get this tense feeling in the back of your neck when you see your screen growing red.

Right now I think that tense feeling can either show up too often, or can turn into a full red screen of death too often. I certainly have bad mouthed the tree hugging eucalyptus mammals quite a bit. We hope that reducing incoming damage helps with this. We also want to continue iterating on the class skills in future patches, spreading out some of this utility across some of the lesser utilized or interesting rune variants.

What percentage of players play on Hardcore, and how important is that game mode to the development team when considering changes to the game?
The data I have on hand is from yesterday, at which time 4.1% of the characters are made in Hardcore. Hardcore is a super exciting way to play so it's very important to us.

We take into account Hardcore for every design decision. I'll take this opportunity to mention I feel particularly bad about a few hotfixes that went in shortly after release that put the lives of some Hardcore characters at risk. You'll have noticed that after the initial handful of hotfix changes to skills in the first week there were many less skill changes - hardcore was part of the reason for the general stop/slow on skill changes. In hindsight, changes such as the Wizard Armor Force Armor hotfix should have been communicated in advance, and philosophically I absolutely want to see future changes that could put a Hardcore character at risk communicated well in advance through patch notes, patch previews, or the hotfix blog that has since been put in place.

Could you post a breakdown of what classes are being used by HC players? Is it roughly 20% each or is it more unbalanced?
Sure why not.
I'll just pick 2 data points arbitrarily.
46-50 - where I think the game starts to get hard enough to risk death against serious players, and level 60.
Level 46-50 * Barbarian: 25.86% * Monk: 23.90% * Demon Hunter: 18.47% * Wizard: 16.96% * Witch Doctor: 14.81%
Level 60 * Barbarian: 22.67% * Monk: 21.83% * Demon Hunter: 21.04% * Wizard: 19.23% * Witch Doctor: 15.23%
If you are pulling out a calculator to add all of these up to make sure it totals 100% with an intention to call me out of it doesn't, I <3 you.

Do you have any numbers on casualties from your ninja patch in HC?
I don't - but I wish I did so I could put it over my bathroom mirror as a daily reminder to never do it again.

Do you read /r/Diablo often? It seems like a lot of the changes planned for 1.0.3 came almost directly from here.
Yes, I read /r/Diablo every day. We get feedback from multiple sources. The official forums, community sites, internal feedback, internal data. If a /r/Diablo link was in the top 10 anytime in the last 3 months, I probably read it.

The subreddits are pretty illuminating too. I'm a min-max'ing theorycrafter at heart (I have personal spreadsheets for other games), and I love seeing what a great job people do with Diablo 3.

There seem to be a lot of misunderstandings and conspiracy theories from people who believe drop rates are directly influenced by the AH (if an item is common on the AH its drop rates will be lowered in-game). That doesn't really make any sense, but maybe can you lay this notion to rest?
It IS, however, reasonable that drop rates would be designed with the AH in mind, to avoid flooding the economy with powerful items. How did you approach this as a design challenge during development, especially without a working economy to test on? 3 weeks after launch, are the economy and player's gear roughly where you were expecting?

The auction house has absolutely no effect on drop rates. There are conspiracy theories and misunderstandings but I do want to re-iterate, the is NO interaction whatsoever. Bashiok mentioned earlier that we took the AH into account, so let me expand a little bit on that.

The drop rates were tuned for a player who would never use the Auction House. For the majority of internal development we didn't have an Auction House, we all played using our own drops only. I've personally leveled multiple characters from 1 to 60 internally before the game came out using only drops that I found - we all did.
When we say we "took the AH into account" that means it's one of many factors. ie. some players will choose to play without trading, some players would play in a group of 4 where they share drops among each other, and some (as it turns out, many) players would use the AH.

Three weeks after launch player's gear is much higher than what we were expecting. When I killed the Butcher on Inferno for the first time I was using a weapon with 492 DPS. There are also certain passives which are much more powerful than they were during internal development. One With Everything, for example, was basically never used internally because we didn't have an auction House. With the auction house, it feels like a mandatory passive. In retrospect we should have seen it coming. In the game's current state though, it's a powerful Monk ability that gives Monks a big survivability boost and has some interesting (some would argue fun, others would argue negative) effects on gearing.

I consider playing without the Auction House to be a very fun way to play the game. I'm personally planning on rolling some new characters that I'll set aside to be "no-AH/no-twink" characters. Much like in D2 when I would make a new character with a friend and we'd agree with each other not to twink our characters out.

Is there any plan to make life steal remotely useful compared to life on hit?
I'm happy with where Life on Hit is and keeping an eye on Life Steal.
Life Steal was far and away the best stat internally, which is why we put in modifiers to reduce the effectiveness at higher difficulty levels.

A lot of theorycrafters have (correctly) ball-parked the effectiveness of Life on Hit as being roughly 3x as strong as Life Steal. So it's probably pretty easy to see that before we put in the 80%, Life Steal was 2x as good as Life On Hit. So we knew we had to do something.

We played with numbers as low as 10%, and as high as 50% penalty.
The reason Life Steal settled at 20% is because over the next few months, the relative value of Life Steal will probably go up, whereas Life on Hit will not. Both of the stats scale with mitigation, and both of them scale with Attack Speed at the same rate, but Life Steal scales with your weapon damage and damage output. Life Steal also scales better in AOE situations.

To make a long story short, Life Steal is tuned around where we expect DPS output to be months from now. As people do more damage, get more survivability, and generally find they can AOE things more than they used to, I expect the value of Life Steal to go up.

Isn't there a way to make the stat more interesting then needing 120k DPS to start using? Like putting a per-hit cap on life steal that scaled with vitality?
Yeah - it's definitely something to keep an eye on.
We discussed putting caps on. At the end of the day we decided that life steal is a stat that can, someday, let you feel like you break the game, and putting a cap on things would just be keeping you from attaining that feeling.

There's lots of "breakpoints", as I like to call them, in the game. I love games that exhibit breakpoints. Points where you're following one strategy, but as soon as you hit some magic break point you can suddenly do something you couldn't do before.

That point where your archon goes from 25 seconds to INFINITE. Yay! That point where your life per hit is completely mitigating all incoming damage. That point where you have enough crit to perma-CC all non-elite monsters with certain builds.

One of the things that absorbs a lot of mental energy is trying to create that feeling that you "broke the game". No level requirements on gems and Reduced Level Requirements going as high as 18 are two examples of this. I love things that make the player feel like they broke the game (as long as it is, in the grand scheme of things, not going to ruin it).

Anyways, to bring it all back around. I think Life Steal will come into it's own in the future, as it scales exceptionally well with gear - if a few months from now people still aren't using Life Steal, we'll probably make changes.

The math you are using is not accurate. You can get 1500 life on hit with one weapon. Assuming you are getting the max 3% from a comparable weapon, that is only .6% in inferno. That means you would need 250,000 DPS to match the life on hit just from one weapon. You can get 1000 more from rings and amulets bringing it up to 2500 life on hit.
I should add that life steal was tuned with multiple targets taken into account.
You can also co-ordinate the popping of cooldowns to coincide with lifesteal, which is not something you can do with life on hit. For example I like to pop shadow power before I use rain of vengance.

Long long reply,
Let me clarify.
When I say "if a few months from now people still aren't using Life Steal" what I mean is - I think people will be using it. But I could be wrong. Humans being fallible and all that.

I believe people will be using Life Steal months from now without us having to make any changes. I've done the math, I've got some spreadsheets, I've tested with chars. At the same time I'm not so arrogant as to say "You will ALL be using it 'cause I mathed it out!". I've been wrong many times before, I could be wrong on Life Steal too.

I'm curious what dps is expected as the game progresses when you need to do something like a 100k hit to get comparable health with a max (3%) life steal weapon, to a decent 600 Life on Hit weapon.
it depends on what skill you're using and how many targets you're hitting. Life On Hit uses our proc coefficients and I've seen people measure out all the proc coefficients (nice work btw!).

Proc coefficients, btw, are used for a lot of the On Hit Effects. For example if you ever see "X has a chance to Y on critical hit" - it's using the exact same proc coefficients as life on hit. For example, the Wizard skill Critical Mass that reduces cooldowns by 1 second. People test this and say "Oh wait, it only works with single target skills". That's not actually true. Single targets kills generally have a proc scalar of 1. Skills that hit 6x as fast (like rapid fire) have a reduced proc scalar to normalize out the proc effects. Frenzy has a 0.75 proc scalar, which affects the life on hit, but if it were a Wizard skill would also have a 75% chance to trigger Critical Mass on crits.
So - back to your question. Life on hit is proc scalared down for certain skills, whereas Life Steal is not affected by the proc scalar at all. So if you Seismic Slam or Whirlwind a large number of targets, it will surpass Life On hit faster than for Frenzy. Of course on single targets Life on Hit will generally always be better. In terms of where the breakpoint is, I think what you'd want to look at is breakpoints for various DPS levels for different skills for different numbers of expected targets.

Is there any plan to add a "free play" mode after clearing an act/difficulty where all bosses are alive, all way points are up, and no quests are required? I find the forced repeat of the story adds a great deal of tedium and diminishes replay value.
No plans for this currently. We wanted the game to have a greater focus on story, and so decided to have a linear quest flow so we could advance plot and world changes. Creating a free play mode would be a major reworking of all our content.

I'm not opposed to us adding a 'auto-skip' cut scenes option at some point.
I promise we'll keep this in mind. I don't think the complaint is invalid, just not easy for us to do given current game structure.

Why was elemental damage cut?
Primarily due players preference of DPS over everything. As we played the game we found everyone just moved to the damage type that did the most damage. If we equalized damage they ignored ones that didn't have CC options. Case in point, we kept the slow on cold and gave it a lower damage budget and its the least used damage type now.

Well forcing us to start up in /general is not the way ;)
Fair enough, but this should have gone live at the same time we saved your chat settings from session to session, so if you leave a channel you stay left. :) Which is coming.

Why has the commodity auction house been down for over two weeks?
The design of the system encouraged people to spam search and buy on commodities to get the lowest price. It was a bad design, and spawned behavior that was melting our servers. We've been working on the underlying system to alleviate server load.

Why are farming spots being "nerfed," in a game that encourages (requires) farming?
We've always stated that we don't want people farming single locations repeatedly, and especially locations where they don't fight monsters. We've mainly focused on nerfing things that fall into the latter camp.

How soon will the class banner sigils earned during the launch event be enabled?
We had some problems pulling the account names. Hopefully they shuld get flagged in the next couple weeks.

You've been quoted as saying that Diablo III loot is balanced around the existence of the Auction House. Could you clarify what you mean by that?
I'm sorry, I don't remember saying that and if I did then I was drunk and/or wrong. We tuned and balanced the game without the auction house, as there weren't enough people internally using it to test it against gameplay, so we didn't design anything for it.

Is there any official source detailing what the various weapon damage type (Holy, Fire, Cold, etc) effects are in combat?
They are all aesthetic, except cold damage, which chills targets and conversely gets a damage reduction to account for the extra utility.

Because we love you.

Do you have any plans to create an "open world" mode where all the waypoints are active and without the seemingly artificial act barriers?
Answered already.

Jay, #4, he's confusing y'all with Bashiok who had an unclear post. Bashiok later stated exactly what you said
I probably was drunk, though. ;)

Could you please add custom auction timers? say I only want a 2 hour auction? or you could allow us to cancel our auctions at any point but make them in an hour from that point so long as there are no bids?
Allowing the cancelling of auctions is in patch 1.0.3 (OK, I'm 99% sure of that). We don't currently have plans to let you change times.

Is there any plan to deal with the bots making over 400,000 gold/hour?
Caveat: My full time job is dealing with quality of game and gameplay. We have a group dedicated to security and they hate bots like the Hulk hates anger management. They are watching the game and working to thwart any major security threats, hacks, and bots that hurt the game experience.

The same bot has been spamming the general chat everyday with gold selling and nothing has been done. Is there at least going to be an ignore option so we don't have to witness it?
There is a bug currently that if you report someone for spam it is supposed to automatically block them. It isn't, and we are looking into that. Please do report bots for spamming, though!

There are other issues that contribute to this issue, most of which I'm not as knowledgable on, but we are working on them.

Why isn't there an invisible mode for the friends list?
I don't think we're hardcore against this. I do think there is a danger that people just instinctively turn this on and then complain that their friend's list is empty. However, we will consider it.

Lack of transparency about how combat math works:
Arreat Summit is pretty awesome, right? Well, it wasn't there day one. We're three weeks in and playing the game with the audience, fixing exploits, addressing other game concerns currently is higher priority for us than providing tools for those who want to theorycraft.

Not saying this is not valuable, or that we don't want to do it, but some things take time.

I don't even think it's about "theorycrafting". Having that information available is definitely helpful, even to beginners. It is always better to have more information. How am I supposed to know that LPH is nerfed in Inferno?
Maybe theorycrafting is the wrong reason, but the reason is still the same. It just takes time. :)

Why don't bosses guarantee decent drops on your first kill in Nightmare or Hell?
This was my decision, and I'll start by saying that Wyatt and Andrew have talked me out of it. In a future patch (not 1.0.3) we'll add this.

But so you know my reasoning I think this just moves the problem. Design intent is that at end-game we want you to stack NV and 'then' kill bosses to make farming loot more interesting. To facilitate this bosses have to stop dropping tons of rares 'at some point'.

My worry was that if it was at Inferno everyone would be like 'WTF why Inferno hardest difficulty with worst loot!?!??!' instead of the current complaint.

The reason I've decided my decision was wrong is the gap that exists between Normal first time drops and the NV farming of Inferno.

Do you have any plans regarding the demon hunter to promote build diversity?
Yes, we're keeping a close eye on build diversity for all the classes, looking at abilities that are over, and more importantly under-utilized. We'd like to take the approach, when we can, to buff under-utilized abilities over nerfing. Yes, that hasn't been the case so far, but we haven't done a 'true' class balance patch, just hot-fixes on things we considered grossly overpowered. Class changes focused on improving diversity will be in an upcoming patch (not 1.0.3).

About the dialogue and story. You brought in some nice talent to do the voices for the game (some examples being Jennifer Hale as Leah, Steve Blum as Zoltun Kulle, and my favorite, Claudia Black as Cydaea). However some of the lines of dialogue in the game just made me cringe. I mean Belial isn’t a great liar, Azmodan is constantly telling me what he’s doing, and “I AM THE PRIME EVILLLLL!” I know at Blizzard, gameplay always comes first which is great and I think you did a fantastic job, but that doesn’t mean story isn’t important; So uhh… no offense intended, but really, what happened? Did your QA team not say anything or what?
Agree to disagree? We get lots of compliments on the story and dialogue. It's a hard area to make everyone happy, and a lot of things we do to make goals obvious for some players make them feel over-stated to others. We never tried to make War and Peace, just a decent pulpy story about heroes fighting demons.

Have players discovered every zone in the game yet?

There is a portal event in Act 1, in the zone "Leorics Hunting Grounds" The goat-men summon other goat-men, however if you killed all the goat-men and then kill the totems, a sound is played (different for each totem) Some think its goat sounds, others Cow sounds, now the Drums in the same area play the same Sounds Are either of these bugs? is One a bug? Are neither Bugs?
No bugs here. Likely just audio guys having fun. :)

Jay Wilson, your playing hardcore with the public correct? what class and level? and close call story's? or heroic Deaths?
I'm not playing hardcore yet. It's more important for me to be playing a multitude of classes and playing end-game rather than re-rolling HC characters (because I will die, I'm too aggressive :) ).

Awesome lobby system for D2. Why no lobby system for D3?
Primarily because every player who plays the game was going to be in Battle.net, and we didn't want the main menu screen to be covered in avatars for everyone.

We recognize that players want to be able to encounter other players in common areas to check out gear and socialize, and we're considering how we might add that functionality to the game at some point.

Why and when did you decide to cut back on the number of events?
The randomization of events in the Blizzcon demos did not have events sometimes 'not' roll, because it was a demo. We didn't cut events, we just allow them not to roll so you can encounter things you've never seen before.

In Diablo 2, from my understanding, magic find took the base item of a predetermined loot table, and gave you a higher chance of rolling a higher quality version of that item. In Diablo 3, this no longer seems to be the case and with loot tables being so vast now, magic find seems almost too arbitrary, it just doesn’t feel like it’s worth it. Could you explain exactly how magic find affects item drops in Diablo 3, as a lot of people seem to be unsure how the mechanic has changed from Diablo 2?
The mechanic is exactly the same as Diablo 2, and as you describe it hear.
And the loot tables are not more vast than D2 because we don't allow items to drop below level 50 in Inferno.

Why can't I dye legendary items?
I just chatted with our awesome artists about this the other day! We currently have some tech restrictions that make it unfeasible for us to do this.

We definitely want to allow this though, and we are looking at solving the tech issues related to it.

Would it also be possible to add an option to completely filter out whites? I've heard arguments that it would diminish the "whoa moment" when a lot of items drop, but simpler gameplay should take priority, imo.
Yea, we agree. We are looking at adding a way to enable players to turn on an option like this in the future.

What Game Mechanics/Design Decisions do you think have been the most successful and the least successful now that we are three weeks past release?
Most Successful: Nephalem Valor. Skill System with runes and rune unlocking as you level up. Being limited to 6 skills and making tough choices. Jeweler and gem combining

Things that didn't work out as well as I had hoped: Dragging a skill by accident off your hotbar and losing your NV stack (grrr.... has happened to me twice so far). Blacksmith being tuned for a person who never uses the AH (even though everybody uses the AH). Skill diversity could be much better that it is now.

Most interesting Zone: The Rampart. Just sayin' P.S. - there's a lock action bar option coming in the future.

Why was the decision made to turn off elective mode and advanced tooltips by default?
You guys are savvy and awesome, but you aren't most players. We had 'overwhelming' feedback from internal testing of a variety of skill levels, including internal devs, usability testing, etc. The testing we did showed that the skill system and pure math in the skills was creating a lot of confusion for many players, and turning them off from the game. For this reason we won't surface these options more than they currently are, we simply don't see a good enough reason to risk push this up and risk hurting the experience for one of these players.
I know this isn't what you wanted to hear. I know the fact that some people might be overwhelmed by or flat out prefer to not use elective mode and advanced tooltips seems incredulous, but there it is. We get tons of comments from players who are playing the game with their non-gamer friends and family, thanking us for making a game that appeals to gamers and non-gamers alike.

Doing things like this equals more people in the Diablo community, which is good for the game as a whole and the community.

Everyone who wants to play with elective mode finds it eventually, we're adding more in-game hints to point to it once you get past normal difficulty. But ultimately we don't think it's a horrible loss to play without these things while you're learning the game, even if you are an advanced player.

Have you seen the article at: http://www.alexc.me/...n-diablo-2/417/
If so, what do you think of it?

Wyatt is working on a longer answer, but I will say, while I'm not dismissing his conclusions, if you want to prove something with science you need data, not just a theory. The graphs created are based off memory and perception, and so this isn't very 'scientific'. /pushesnerdglassesupnose

Wyatt's answer
Alright so I'm going to take a stab at this question.
As mentioned in a different thread, the drop rates were carefully tuned for a single player playing through from 1 to 60 without ever using the AH.

All of our items are randomly generated, and so follow a distribution curve in power. Let's say for the sake of argument that you were to somehow distill an item down to it's "power level" and created a distribution graph of drop rate vs. power level. This graph would probably be normally distributed with outliers at high power levels dropping at a lower rate.

Looking at this graph, an average item drops every 5 minutes, a higher power item drops every 15 minutes, even higher power drops every hour. etc. As you move up the curve to ever more powerful items, the amount of time it takes to find such an item increases. This is what makes certain items more desirable, this is how things worked in D2.

What happens for a standard player who is playing solo when they first hit level 60 is they see an item upgrade every 30 minutes or so. Pretty quickly it becomes every hour, then every 2 hours. The higher the power level of your gear, the longer it takes to find your next upgrade, that's just the underlying math of this distribution. It's not really anything we set either. If we magically made all drops rates 10x higher, all it would do is shift the power curve left or right, it would not change the fundamental property that the higher up in power you go, the longer (statistically) it is going to take until you find your next drop.

So then let's say you visit the Auction House and get infusion of power that hurls you forward on that power curve. So whereas at one point your gear may be at a point that you are statistically speaking probably going to get an upgrade every 2 hours. After visiting the Auction House you hurl yourself forward on the power curve so far that now you are statistically going to get a drop every 8 hours.

To further illustrate the point, let's talk about the coming changes in 1.0.3. In 1.0.3 we're going to start dropping level 63 items in Act I of Inferno. We're also reducing incoming damage. What do I expect to happen? I expect that there will be a rapid increase in power across the entire community as all of these items become more widely accessible. It's like we took the distribution curve of items and made everything drop more. That item that used to take 10 hours to find is now a 2 hour item. An item that used to be a 2 day item is now an 8 hour item. After the initial frenzy of power increase, things are just going to settle again. People who think drop rates are too low now will probably still think drop rates are too low a week later when they move to the new point on the curve. I've spent a long time on this question so I'm going to move on but hopefully somebody who gets what I'm saying will be able to expand on it more, maybe draw some graphs to better illustrate the point.

tl;dr we could make drops 100x what they are now and it would just cause everybody to settle at a new equilibrium point. Anything you can farm in a few hours you'll already have, anything that takes longer you'll wish you could get faster.

Are you guys planning on open-world PvP, such as dueling? Or are you guys limiting the PvP element to just arena PvP? Thanks.
No, not currently. We're only supporting arena with the PVP patch. We may support dueling at some point. One thing at a time. :)

Ever plan on adding any way to tell DPS increase/decrease from the AH interface? I've made some bad buys... alt-tabbing to use spreadsheets takes too long - the good stuff sells so quick.
Yes, we'd like to add this. I can't say when as of this point.

How happy are you with the progress on the PvP 1.1 patch? Are things looking good?
PVP is pretty fun, so very happy. :)

Is there any plan to change the text color of gems and pages/tomes? I think it'd be nice if they stood out from normal whites. Maybe even potions could be red. Also account-bound items, like the Staff of Herding.
The Cow King got a little miffed when he saw that his Staff was a white item. He said to me "Thats udderly unnacceptable!"

We've changed the Staff of Herding and the items required to make it to stand out WAY more in your inventory in 103.

The story of Diablo 3 has received a lot of criticism for both its actual content and writing and for its presentation (e.g. intrusive cutscenes and linear "on rails" progression). I love the game, but must admit some heavy disappointment when it came to furthering and enriching the lore of the Diablo universe.
What lessons have you learned from the backlash that you plan to apply to D3's expansions or further games in the franchise (or even other Blizzard titles)?

We answered this question in other threads, but the recap is: we disagree and have gotten mostly great feedback on the story.

What did you have for breakfast this morning? <-- bashiok lol
Fruit and vegetable smoothie. Vegetables bad. Meat good.

Would you consider a Hardcore RMAH if it were for gold only? Won't third-party sites prosper if you don't address this?
Once the RMAH has gone live and we can monitor it for a bit we'll consider whether we want to add it to Hardcore.

Any plans for custom channels with passwords or guildchat?
Yes on custom channels, not sure when. Guild chat would require guilds.

Any plans for ingame mail system?
Not currently.

Any plans for a permanent setting that automatically skips all storylines to reduce having to use the skip sequence keystroke constantly?
Already answered.

Are you considering any additional endgame character customizations?
That's a pretty broad question that could be interpreted in a lot of ways. Any way I would answer it would make me sound like a corporate douchebag, so I'll refrain.

Any thoughts on the gold price that top items are listing and selling for on the AH?
In Texas they have a saying: If you don't like the weather, stick around, it will change. :)

I would just like to know what you think about this idea:
Add a new gold sink, similar to WoW's reforging, where you pay gold to have a reroll on a chosen stat to a new random stat and random value.

It's a cool idea. Saying that in no way confirms that we will or won't add such a feature in the future.

Drop rates on Jewelcrafting and Blacksmith patterns seem very, very low. In about 150 hours on my main I've gotten a grand total of one of each -- fewer than the number of legendaries I've gotten. Any plans to increase drop rates a bit?
Something to keep in mind about the smithing and jewelcrafting plans is that they only show up in Inferno, so that can impact how often you will see them. We deliberately set them low as it felt really bad to fill in your blacksmith and jeweler so fast. We may have erred on the side of too low however and I'm not against increasing the drop rates.

As more and more people get into Inferno we will keep an eye on it and increase it in a future patch if we need to.

After the bonus damage is removed from co-op play, are you going to nerf the defensive "group buffs" that some classes have that currently all stack?
No, not as a result of this change. We reserve the right to make changes in the future if we think they will make the game better.

It's really handy being able to see in-game how a piece of equipment will affect your stats before you equip it. (e.g. These gloves will reduce my damage by 100 but increase my life by 1000.)
But in the AH, we can't see this. Please add this kind of item comparison to the AH!

Already answered, we're hoping to add this at some point.

what do you guys think about life on hit being required for any melee class to play on act3+ inferno? and would it be possible to bring life steal at least somewhat viable compared to it.
also in a post earlier this week i saw someone post about thinking increased health from health globe stat to also include potions would be a good idea. I think its a great idea and wanted to know if you agree.

We think this is a good idea and we'll consider adding it to a future patch.

The Diablo series, for most players, is about items. Itemization in D3 is clearly lacking compared to D2: You've partially addressed this by allowing higher item level items to drop in earlier inferno acts. Are there plans to add affixes that make items feel far more unique and less random than they are now?
While I think the blanket statement that items are lacking compared to D2 is loaded we are planning on reviewing legendaries and improving them. We comment on this in the upcoming changes blog.

Have any of the lead devs played Dark Souls..?.. Do you guys understand the difference in "fair" and "cheap" difficulties? Diablo 3 is obviously about items first and foremost, so stats/spreadsheets often take the placeholder. Would you agree that balancing inferno around random, excessive stats was probably not the best idea for end-game balance? In Diablo 2, you never really had to grind for gear to actually beat something.
Again, really loaded way to frame this question. Diablo 2 was pretty easy, yes. We got 'overwhelming' feedback that D3 should be 'really really' hard. Obviously we think we went too far because we're reducing Inferno damage.

Not sure exactly what you're leading at with ..Dark Souls.., unless you're trying to imply that D3 should be using mechanics from a third person methodically paced game with a completely different combat model that can't be grafted one for one.

In an isometric RPG as fast-paced as D3 you have specific mechanics you can use for difficulty beyond itemization. We used these, but overall it is a game about damage dealing and mitigation due to pace alone.

The antagonists in Diablo 3 were essentially caricatures of generic bad guys. Often times they monologue completely unrealistically. Looking back, are you disappointed with how some characters (Maghda, Azmodan) turned out? How do you plan to improve on the storytelling in the next expansion?
We've commented on story several times now. The majority of feedback we've gotten on story has been positive. I'm sorry your experience varied.

Do you have any intention on having Hell or Inferno bosses to drop lower level gear in addition to higher level gear? Sometimes it's nice to find a low unique or set item to have a reason to roll an alternate character. I don't want to have to god-mode my way through Normal bosses in hopes to find only low level gear.
They do drop lower, just not anywhere near all the way to level 1. We used to have this, and we got overwhelmingly bad feedback internally on it, even when we turned the drop rate on low levels 'way' down.

Are you going to change/buff certain skills/runes that are never used?
Trivia. The least used skills at level 60 are Energy Twister, Exploding Palm, Sacrifice, Ancient Spear and Strafe.

Champion packs that run away (fallen shaman, bees in act2, flayers act3, etc cause problems with the inferno enrage timers.
We have reduced how often some of these monsters run away, it will be going into 103.

Update on Auction House Commodity Sales
Blizzard seems to be hard at work still getting commodity sales back up and running. Commodity sales seem to be up and running on the US servers at this time however.

[blizzquote author='Blizzard' blue='http://www.diablofans.com/blizz-tracker/topic/226000-update-on-auction-house-commodity-sales/' battle='http://eu.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/4552398715#1']We wanted to give you guys an update on commodity sales at the Auction House. We ran tests recently in order to try some optimizations we’ve been working on. Overall the response was positive, and it helped us find a few more tweaks we’d like to make before we re-enable the system, so we’re continuing to work hard on it. We’ll update you again as soon as we have any additional news.

Account Security Alert: LinkedIn
[blizzquote author='Blizzard' blue='http://www.diablofans.com/blizz-tracker/topic/226077-account-security-alert-linkedin/' battle='http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/5593236598#1']LinkedIn has recently stated that it is investigating claims of a possible compromise of user account passwords. Please note that these claims have not been confirmed, and that updates regarding the status of the investigation are currently being provided on LinkedIn's official Twitter page: https://twitter.com/LinkedInNews/

If you are a LinkedIn user and happen to use the same password for your LinkedIn account and your Battle.net account, we strongly encourage you to reset your Battle.net password at this time. To complete a password reset, go to Account Management > Settings > Change Password. You can also visit this page if you've forgotten or lost your Battle.net password:https://us.battle.ne...word-reset.html

Additionally, if you used your Battle.net email address to sign up with LinkedIn, you may also wish to update your Battle.net email address via Account Management as general security precaution. To update your Battle.net email address, go to Account Management > Settings > Change Email Address.

If you are unable to update your password or email address and believe your account might be compromised, please contact our customer support staff by using the Account Recovery Form. For additional security tips and suggestions, be sure to check out the Account Security Awareness guide at http://us.battle.net/en/security/.

Diablo III - Race to the Finish: Creative Machinima
Submit a creative machinima video using Diablo 3. There is no limit to what you can do, be as creative as you like! You may also enter as many times as you like, as long as each entry is unique. Post your video in the "Creative Machinima" contest thread.

All videos must be submitted before June 15th, 2012. Some rules do apply, make sure to read the official rules before submitting and working on your video! Also, any post processing tools, such as Vegas, adobe premier, ect.., are allowed. However any programs that alters the behavior of the game itself are forbidden.


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