http://diablofans.com/forums/picture.php?albumid=55&pictureid=423&thumb=1Approval averages of the patch so far from our own member base have shown from moderate to negative, entailed by sighs of soiled hopes and dashed dreams with a patch that fixed select issues years in standing and avoided others (see Patch 1.13 poll). Positive feelings were common only among 16% of our member base, whereas negative opinions topped them at 34%, with the rest somewhere in the middle (based on the input of sixty-four members- if you have not participated yet in the poll, be sure to contribute here).
Blizzard has stated that they take criticism in to account on the patch and that opinions are being read over by the Legacy Team and others (see official Blizzard representative response here), and rightly so. There is obviously no way short of global Internet failure that could quell the din of fans across the online community. Thankfully, a member at the official Diablo III forums (J2h) has summarized the alleged top suggestions for the patch that have not been met or been achieved adequately.
Quote from1) Runes need to be more obtainable. Although we appreciate the increased drop rate it simply is not enough. Aside from upping the drop rate[:] gambling runes, rune shrines, hell forge quest reward upgrade are just some of the ideas that have been brought up.
Drop rates for runes, specifically high runes, or HR's, were said to have been increased in the patch notes revealed by Bashiok (see The Wait is Over -- PTR Patch 1.13). Sixen later ran an article showing rough estimates of the actual increase from the base chance to find select high runes to their new chances of being found (see 1.13 Analysis):
Having played myself in Hell mode on the PTR now, I can safely say that I have found no HR's to date. Maybe the chances do need some more tweaking, or should they stay the same? Some contend that such a change is part of the down-scaling of the difficulty across the board of Diablo II in the latest patch, which falls nicely in line with J2h's fifth observed patch trend:
Quote from5) There is a concern [t]hat with respec, the removal o[f] Iron maiden and the nerfing of souls the game is becoming easier. I am sure this is debated although I have not actually read the thread myself.
WilloWisp, or "Soul", as most players call it (for its other type, the Burning Soul), can be considered one of the most powerful and annoying monsters in the game, often a one-hit kill to the player with low lightning resistance. Even with a large amount of lightning resistance, they often spawn in swarms, such as in the Throne of Destruction in Act V, Hell mode. Even worse is when they spawn as unique monsters with Conviction auras or damage modifiers that augment their attack, often adding to their deadliness. In addition to high damage output, they drain mana in less time than it takes you to click a mana potion.
The official patch note on Willowisps states the following:
Official Blizzard Quote:
- Nightmare/Hell WilloWisps champions/uniques have had their damage greatly reduced.
The damage relief is obviously a help to tip games in the favor of players, but does removing this challenge favor easier play to an extreme and remove a major element of danger?
From themes of danger and challenge springs thought of character fortification. The prime method of doing so is, of course, leveling our characters. It looks like players on the broad are looking for a different kind of grind from the one many have been doing for years now (Baal Runs, anyone?), maybe even something better:
Quote from2) A new way to gain experience would be nice. The most popular way seems to be to make the cow level give more experience. There have been some other suggestions , one of which that jumps out at me is an endless end game dungeon and most would support it but I doubt it is something we will see.
The endless dungeon idea has been being tossed around even by our community for some time, especially in regards to Diablo III. Would this provide a refreshing way of leveling as opposed to the medium we've been using for years? Any form of grinding will ultimately become repetitive and boring, but perhaps in light of what we've been doing for many years now, any change would be a good change.
Quote from3) A way to stop bots spamming in games, channels and farming items. A captcha has been suggested but there seems to be a large % of the community against the captcha idea.
http://diablofans.com/forums/picture.php?albumid=55&pictureid=406&thumb=1Now, this one I believe hit right on the bullseye. Bots, third-party programs that are run by computers to do repetitive tasks (at least in the scope of Diablo II), have been spamming our chat channels, spoiling our trade economy, and plaguing our games with advertisements for years now (with poor grammar and spelling, to boot!). To prove the point, I joined a random public channel on US East recently and took an image of an all-too-common scene (see right).
Ways of avoiding bots, at least of the spammy kind, are possible. Creating single player games or games with high level requirements or passwords keep the typically low-leveled bots out of your games so you can go about actually playing the game without a field of tan to blot out your vision. These steps shouldn't be necessary, but be that as it may, are doable.
Bots that run games on an inhuman level, skipping through levels at the speed of light (tentative term) and milking bosses like they're going out of style, have a profound impact on the in-game economy, accelerating it within weeks of a fresh ladder reset to hyper inflation of goods and services. They have been around for years now with no working fix.
Right along side bots comes the issue of bugs, possibly even exploits, that soil the game for normal players, duelers, and people just trying to get through the game:
Quote from4) Bug fixes. While the biggest include TPPK, Aura stacking and drop barbs there are a number of minor bugs that would be nice to see fixed as well. There are a lot of details in these threads.
TPPK, or Town Portal Player-Killing, has also been around for years, with minor, half-hearted fixes coming from the patching team every so often, such as trimming the duration of projectile skills after using a Town Portal or entering town. Often used against the vastly weaker underbelly of leachers and followers in grinding games, the predator in question normally joins the party filled with prey to discover their location, quickly catches up with them, and in one fluid motion (either via a third-party hack or extensive practice) casts projectiles skills in the direction of the targets, sends up a TP, exits to town, and hostiles the party, with the residual projectiles taking the prey unaware and often killing them.
Aura stacking, which exploits a bug in the trade system, allows a Paladin and another player to enter the trade screen repeatedly to "stack" up levels on aura skills, letting the player reach ungodly heights of power. For obvious reasons, this is power is gained illegitimately and ruins the prospect of a fair competition field in dueling games for other completely legit players.
Quote from6) I am sure everyone would like to see new items as long as they are balanced with the ones we currently have. The more choices the more unique our characters can be. New Unique and Rune words have been suggested.
Of course, right along with Diablo II come fuzzy nostalgic feelings of acquiring vast amounts of stuff. Finding, trading, equipping, optimizing, and using items has been a mainstay of the Diablo franchise since its inception. As such, it's only natural that fans would request adding more loot to a loot-centric game.
Invariably, we would want to make sure that such gear would be both functional and affordable. The former is an echo of doubt from patch 1.11, which added one new runeword for armor for each character class. Most of these are hardly worth the investment of time or resources with what else is available. More intuitive modifiers and bonuses, though carefully balanced, would make items more ideal for use. The latter, affordability, would be an obvious concern for completely legit players, especially legit single player fans. Many of the newer runewords come at very high prices rune-wise, often requiring a couple if not more high runes. Unrealistic rune requirements encourage an immense amount of grinding and/or duping of runes to attain them. On the other hand, however, perhaps the difficulty in attaining such runewords makes having them all the better.
7) The enigma/tele debate rages on?€?
http://diablofans.com/forums/picture.php?albumid=55&pictureid=425&thumb=1What list would be complete without the relatively controversial topic of Teleport and Enigma? For years the legitimacy of Teleport, alone, has been questioned, which has heavily affected opinions of it in the upcoming third title (see Teleport, good or bad for D3?). With the Enigma armor runeword granting this skill to any character in the game that can afford the item, it has long been contended that the removal or altering of this item would drastically affect the in-game economy, level griding and MFing bots, and even duels. Teleport has long been the number one choice by the masses for transportation in Diablo II because of its mana cost efficiency at higher skill levels, the relative ease of attaining high mana regeneration rates, and its instant effect, all the better affected by Faster Cast Rate.
With all that in mind, perhaps Teleportation needs some trimming, or perhaps Enigma needs some nerfing. You decide.
Quote from8) There is a lot of discussion about skill (single or tree) balancing. Here are some of the more popular threads. There are a lot more! Some of the things that keep coming up are Assassin Martial Arts and Druid fire skills,
Ah, yes, and now comes the killer as related to characters: balancing. The magical word has eluded Blizzard for years in Diablo II, despite the innumerable suggestions and cries across the web to make non-cookie cutter builds more viable. Atypical character builds, while fun and a wonderful break from the dull redundancy of rehashing the same-old for character after character, could be viewed as suppressed playing styles for all intents and purposes. Tweaking things like synergy attributes, skill effects, and skill cooldowns can reshape the playerbase's mindset on how to build characters. Other potential limitations, such as monsters that are fully immune to specific (or all) elemental and attack types, restrict the air of open play that many of us wish would return to the game.
Lastly came a suggestion for a change to a manifestation of the Lord of Terror, himself:
Quote from9) There is little debate that the community no longer supports the way the Dclone spawn and Annihilus charm is obtain. It seems to be felt that it currently promotes duping. Although most players appreciate the experience and charm itself we would like would like to see this changed.
http://diablofans.com/forums/picture.php?albumid=55&pictureid=426&thumb=1The big man, himself, requires an enormous toll. Thousands of Stones of Jordan, or "SoJ's", as they're more commonly known, are sold every moment on closed Battle.net in the hope of summoning this powerful adversary to your game (or even your server).
The Annihilus Small Charm, resultant treasure of the defeat of the Diablo Clone, is a prize sought after for every build, offering an immense bonus to your character's attributes, skills, and resistances, all the while taking up a modest 1x1 space in your inventory. Sacrifice on the level of SoJ's required to summon the demon really only encourages duping many, many Stones, since the probability of finding one legitimately is already so low.
http://diablofans.com/forums/picture.php?albumid=55&pictureid=427&thumb=1Duping in general received a hotfix in the patch notes but was rather skimpy on the details (see here). At the same time, it also admitted a wonderful detail about duping: the are other ways of accomplishing it. Such exploits take only the time and dedication of an ardent cheater to find. This, however, will hopefully stem the tide and buy us all some time.
As for whether or not fans and players can be expecting any of these things to be addressed in the live PTR, patch 1.13, or future patches, Bashiok offered a smidgen of hope for the die-hard players that will play until the cows come home, hope that will hopefully prove reliable in the future, as opposed to those raised about the release of patch 1.13 (see WCIII Patch is Up- Diablo II Patch 1.13 Soon to Follow?):
Official Blizzard Quote:
We're being careful right now about posting replies (ie not doing it) because we can't commit to anything yet. There's been too much expectation around 1.13 already. We're still evaluating a lot of reports, a lot of issues, new or returning requests, and we'll have to make decisions on a case by case basis for how we'll move forward. It would be a mistake at this point to further raise expectations of requests/fixes that can't or maybe just won't make it in. To give you a small hint, nothing is going to happen or be decided until after the new year.
I also want to impress upon everyone that 1.13 isn't and never has been intended as a final patch for Diablo II. I realize with the long delays in getting it to PTR, and longer stretches of time inbetween patches that it seems like it's necessary that 1.13 encompass everything because, well, there's just no guarantee that anything will come after. Or in a timely fashion. But, there is a solid long term plan of action for future support of Diablo II. There's obviously plenty of room for skepticism, and I can't blame anyone for that. But even with that skepticism I hope that we can get the message across that we have no intention of stopping here.
Thanks goes to dunhac82 for tipping off the News Team!