Well, we just recently launched patch 1.0.8 but we're already well into development on 1.0.9, and while it's still weeks away we're going to start hitting you fast and furious with blogs aimed at explaining the upcoming changes. The next patch is going to be the biggest patch we’ve developed to date and most certainly provide the most features and systems changes. To kick things off, I wanted to provide an overview of some of the larger features, systems changes and game improvements.
Introducing the Trading Post
When we first started working on the Auction House the initial idea was to make a system that was easy to use and as efficient as possible for players to buy and sell gear. The end result was a system that was almost too efficient at what it did and removed all player interaction completely from the process.
We want to get back to the roots of what made Diablo II trading so popular over the years, but at the same time also improve it by taking what works rather well with Diablo III's Auction House to enhance it. In patch 1.0.9 we'll be removing the Auction House and introducing the Trading Post. The Trading Post works in a similar fashion to the Auction House in terms of its search functions and interface but with some key differences. Gold will no longer be used as the currency when it comes to buying items, instead you'll be trading the items you collect through your adventures with other players. You'll be able to use an interface to select which items you have for trade and also search for items other players across your region have for trade.
The Trading Post will offer an easy to use interface to make the trade process simple:
- Choose the items you wish to trade.
- Search what others have to offer or the offers you receive.
- Accept offers through the interface without needing to be in game.
- Ability to barter back and forth with other players.
Here's an example of how a trade might work:
Player A just finished his play session for the night and has a sword that he wants to trade. He opens up the Trading Post interface and adds the sword he just found to his trade window and then logs off for the night.
Player B is searching for a new sword for his Barbarian and uses the search filter to find one that matches the criteria he's looking for, he sees the sword that Player A just posted. Player B selects the items he feels he'd be willing to part with from the items he has for trade and creates an offer.
Player A logs in the next day and finds he's received many offers for the sword he'd posted the night earlier. Player A goes through a couple of the individual offers but decides to use the search feature instead to filter the offers to help find a specific item he's interested in. Player A finds the offer Player B has sent, likes the item, feels it's fair trade, and clicks approve.
The items are traded to each players account.
The removal of the AH also means the removal of the Real Money Auction House. Many players refer to the RMAH as a “Pay to Win” feature, that wasn’t our original intent but in reality it does hold true in many scenarios and we feel it really is removing the enjoyment out of actually playing the game for a majority of our players. It will no longer be possible to purchase items using real currency, however we still have plans to offer the option to buy and sell gold. Gold will still remain as the main currency in the game but instead of being the sole currency will be used in combination with other in game items.
We’re also exploring the idea of drastically reducing the amount of gold dropped from normal monsters. We’d like the main source of gold to be from killing bosses, elites and champions, opening chests, and completing side dungeons. This should result in the value of gold to increase as we add in new features that rely on gold and also act as an extra step to combat gold sellers and bots. We'll provide some more details on this further down in our blog entry and will also be sharing more information in the near future.
To salvage, or not to salvage…
We’ve introduced 7 new Brimstones to the game, each corresponding to one of the 7 types of available weapon damage. Salvaging a weapon with a specific type of weapon damage whether it be Holy Damage, Cold Damage, Fire Damage, Lightning Damage, Arcane Damage, or Poison Damage will have a chance to produce one of the new Brimstones. Salvaging a legendary Physical Damage weapon or a legendary armor piece will also produce a new type of Brimstone. Salvaging jewelry will provide a chance to receive any of the new Brimstones.
Salvaging legendary Lightning Damage weapons and jewelry will sometimes produce a Charged Brimstone.
Salvaging legendary Poison Damage weapons and jewelry will sometimes produce a Toxic Brimstone.
Salvaging legendary Cold Damage weapons and jewelry will sometimes produce an Icy Brimstone.
Salvaging legendary Fire Damage weapons and jewelry will sometimes produce a Fiery Brimstone.
Salvaging legendary Arcane Damage weapons and jewelry will sometimes produce an Arcanic Brimstone.
Salvaging legendary Holy Damage weapons and jewelry will sometimes produce an Angelic Brimstone.
Salvaging legendary Physical Damage weapons and armor will sometimes produce a Somatic Brimstone.
These new Brimstones are not a 100% guaranteed when salvaging legendary items, but rather will only a small 5-10% chance to be produced. While you may not receive a Brimstone every time you salvage an item, we’ll also be making a type of “consolation” item which can be sold to a vendor for a significant amount of gold. This should create a market not only for the Brimstone’s themselves, but the legendary items that produce them. We want you to be faced with a difficult choice when you find a legendary item, do you keep the item, trade the item away, or salvage the item for hopes of a Brimstone?
These new Brimstones will be the key ingredients used to craft the newly updated Blacksmith and Jeweler items which are also being introduced with patch 1.0.9.
A New Ally
Patch 1.0.9. not only updates the current crafting system for the Blacksmith and Jeweler but will also introduce a third type of craft. We’re introducing the Mystic, Myriam Jahzia, who was first introduced during beta. The Mystic’s primary purpose will be enchanting items which will include the upgrading of existing stats on items and also the re-rolling of the randomly generated properties found on an items.
The Mystic will require significant amounts of gold and combinations of the newly introduced Brimstones in order to purchase her services, further strengthening the market value of legendary items and gold.
The point of the mystic is to offer players a new way to improve their characters in terms of item progression as they play the game instead of relying solely on finding drops. Now all legendary drops, no matter if the item is an upgrade or not, can potentially be used to upgrade your character. We think this system offers players fantastic item progression and will allow all players including some of the top geared players in the world to continue upgrading their gear for a very long time.
We haven’t decided on the costs associated with upgrading each of the many different stats yet but we do know they will vary from stat to stat. We expect stats such as Increased Attack speed, Critical Hit Chance, and Critical Hit Damage to fall into one category, primary stats in another, and so on. We don’t expect unique procs or unique properties found on legendary items to be included with this feature. Expect this to broken down into a different blog post all together in the coming weeks.
We would also like to point out that by using the Mystic to enchant items the item itself will also become Account Bound. This will ensure items are constantly being removed from the economy as they’re upgraded and still allow non-enchanted items with desirable properties or highly rolled stats to have a high trade value and continue to be sought after as they will help players skip some of the steps necessary to eventually upgrade to a “perfect item”. We don’t expect players to ever be able to fully upgrade every item on their character or even be required to, but it’s something the min/maxing type players can strive for over time.
The Mystic will also offer unique potions and elixirs that can’t be purchased or found anywhere else in the game. These items can be purchased with gold and brimstones and when used will give the player bonuses to stats such as Magic Find, Experience Gained, and Movement Speed, for a limited amount of time. Think of them as a Shrine that persists through death and lasts much longer.
Truly Legendary Items 1.0.9 and Beyond
We want to make “game-changing” legendary items the norm going forward. Our philosophy for legendary items has always been the same, to be powerful and promote build diversity. We know we haven’t been able to deliver on this fully up to this point, but with patch 1.0.9 we think we’ve finally been able to make this reality. When a player finds a legendary or set item the first thing they should be thinking is how can they use this item on one of their characters or how it might fit into a specific build.
Class specific items
We feel the one of the best ways make legendary items truly game changing is to allow certain items to alter the way specific class skills and passives work. While we can’t obviously give every single legendary item the ability to alter skills and runes we chose to focus only on class-specific items and set bonuses. This made the most sense in terms of design, we could take an item that was already exclusive to one class and use it to provide new and interesting ways of playing that class.
Patch 1.0.9 introduces revamped class-specific items and set bonuses that provide unique alterations to already existing skills and passives. The most intriguing idea behind this concept is going forward we’ll be able to constantly open up new and exciting builds for each class as new items are introduced to the game. With the introduction of one new item or even mixing different items an entire build could be born. This will truly allow new builds to be built around items.
We're not just updating class specific items in patch 1.0.9. We're going to revisit all legendary items to make sure they live up to their legendary status by not only providing great stats but also providing unique properties that will change a players game experience. While class-specific items will change the way skills and runes work for classes, we still want to make sure non-class specific legendary items also have an impact on build diversity. We decided to go a little bit of a different route with non-class specific items. Rather than focusing on individual class skills and passives, these items will introduce new unique properties that might change a players gameplay or change the way specific stats interact with a character. By doing this we can take a non desirable stat and change it into something a specific build highly values when using one new item. We plan on releasing a entire blog post dedicated to this topic in the next few days but here's a taste of the type of things we'll be talking about.
In addition to the upcoming legendary items we're going to be reworking the way elemental damage and physical damage work with weapons. Weapon damage including the base damage of the item will roll either as Holy, Cold, Poison, Fire, Arcane, Lightning, or Physical weapon. By doing this we can use the "adds % elemental damage" affix found on many of the legendary items in the game to provide a direct damage boost to weapons that also have the corresponding damage type.
For example, if you have a sword that has a damage range of 700-1000 Fire Damage and you equip an item with the property "Adds 5% Fire Damage", the new damage range of the sword will be 735-1050 Fire Damage. This not only provides a simple way of calculating damage but also provides an interesting way to combine weapons and armor.
We'll also be including more information in the next coming days in addition to the blog post regarding legendary items.
Promoting Exploration and Adding Excitement
You call that a dungeon? This is a dungeon!
Many ideas have been discussed by our developers in terms of how we can constantly add exploration back to game after the initial play through for our players. There’s nothing that saddens us more than seeing 90% population running the same act or in many cases the same zone over and over knowing that if they do anything different they’re hindering efficiency in both terms of items and experience gained. While repetition has always been part of the Diablo series we feel this can be cut down substantially. You’ve already seen improvements when it comes to giving players options in regards to this when we adjusted the monster density in patch 1.0.8, we’d like to go a bit further.
In 1.0.9 we’ll be improving on the randomly generated side dungeons found in all acts across the game in Inferno difficulty. We’ve created new tiles for almost every zone across all 4 Acts which will allow spawn locations to be found in every part of the game. An entrance in the wall found in the Cathedral, a burrow found the in Dahlgur Oasis, many different possibilities exist. We’ll also be taking a look at every aspect of them to truly make them a random experience. Things such as:
- Increasing the amount of spawn locations substantially in terms of both Acts and where they can spawn in each zone.
- The difficulty, dungeons can be found with additional monster power levels above the current game.
- Dungeon size, number of levels, the layout, and tile sets.
- The type of monsters
- The “end boss(s)”, which includes a random elite/champion pack which is buffed considerably
Of course there needs to be an incentive to search out for these improved dungeons, which is why we’ve created them to provide a fairly substantial buff in terms of experience gained from the monsters inside and also completing the entire dungeon. We’ve also decided to add a new type of chest found exclusively inside these randomly spawned dungeons which not only provides a much higher than average chance to drop legendary items but also provides a small chance to find items of immense power that can’t be found anywhere else.
We think by adding these new features it will promote exploration across all acts and provide a much needed type of end game experience for our players which doesn’t take away from Diablo III’s storyline.
Beam me up...
One of the most exciting events in regular play session is hearing that special “clang” legendary items make and seeing that beam of light coming from the pile of corpses at your feet. Over the past patches we’ve increased the chance of finding these items and we really think they are in a very good place in terms of drop rates. While RNG is still a huge factor when it comes to the amount of legendary items you see drop in a play session we still wanted a way to add to the excitement without actually increasing the drop rates any further. We think we’ve found an artificial solution that does just that.
Now when playing with your friends or other players in public games you’ll be able to see and hear all legendary and set items that drop in game, even if they aren’t yours for the taking.
We’ve received very positive feedback on the elite/champion and goblin announcement introduced in patch 1.0.8, so much that we’ve decided to extend it to also include an announcement when players identify legendary items. Now through your chat window you’ll be able to see and view the items your friends and party find during their play session. Obviously this won’t be taken positively by all players so we’ve also added the option to hide or display these messages from chat.
We’re very excited to share this new patch with you and gather your feedback. This patch will be our biggest one to date and we think it adds to Diablo III immensely in terms of fun game play and longevity. We defiantly aren’t done yet when it comes to improving the game and we’ll work hard to provide our player base with many features to come.
Be sure to check out the new information on Dungeons, which can be found here: http://www.diablofans.com/topic/92538-patch-109-dungeons-a-dream/
And then I woke up from my dream and came to the realization that we were still only in Patch 1.0.7...