Inferno Monster Levels No Longer Linear, More Fansite Q&A, Bashiok on Runes, Blizzard Facebook

UPDATE - Diablo III Beta Servers are back up.
UPDATE- Added Official Q&A Questions
Note - I should point out that the Calculator values have been returned to their Patch 15 Values. Thanks Red_Panda

Inferno Monster Levels No Longer Linear Throughout Inferno
This comes as a shock really, inferno is no longer equal throughout the full difficulty.

Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

This is may be a good a time as any to REVEAL TEH SEKRITS! that Inferno monster levels aren't linear any longer. They get progressively more difficult. This was really a reaction to Inferno playtesting. Our original intent was to have a flat difficulty level where you could go wherever you want, farm for items, and it'd be no more or less difficult than any other area in Inferno. This caused a few inherent issues for us, though:
  • It just felt wrong. It didn't feel right to be progressing through the game and have it stay pretty much the same difficulty the whole time. It felt like a letdown to get to the final boss of the game and it be no more difficult than the first.
  • There’s a wide variety of players out there and we wanted to make sure everybody had something to sink their teeth into. We expect that anybody with enough time and dedication will reach level 60. But the jump in difficulty to Inferno needed to be different amounts for different people. For the crazy people they need a HUGE ramp in difficulty, for a more “casual but still hardcore” audience you want an obvious but milder increase in difficulty. So for the crazy people who play non-stop they’ll hit Act I and get a challenge, but 1 month later they’ll still have something to work on (Acts II, III and IV). For the “hardcore-casual” they will reach level 60 later and not get brick walled when they reach Inferno. They can experience some “small victories” working on Act I with the dream of maybe someday reaching the later acts.
  • Longevity. We know people really want goals to work towards and challenges to overcome. We made Act III and Act IV really, really brutally hard, for the most elite players only. It felt wrong to make ALL of Inferno that brutally hard.
Now, you may be saying “I thought you wanted us to be able to farm anywhere we wanted. Now we only have half as much area in the game to farm in? What gives?” Our goal is to make the loot mathematically better in the later acts without making the earlier gear completely obsolete. We feel Diablo II actually did a very good job with this and we expect Diablo III to perform similarly.

Specifically, people in D2 did Diablo runs, Mephisto runs, Pindleskin runs, Pit runs, Baal runs, etc. because the loot in Diablo is extremely random. Even though the theoretical best items might come from the later Acts, well-rolled items from earlier acts will still be better. Internally we find sometimes after an intense session of brutally hard Inferno it can be really fun to cruise through Hell Act III or IV and it’s not too uncommon surprise when an upgrade drops. We expect this to carry through to Inferno difficulty where somebody who can theoretically farm Act IV will likely still enjoy romping through Act I simply because the drop potential is still there. It’s all because of the highly random items having lots of overlap in their power distribution curves.

More Blizzard Fansite Q&A
Blizzard took the time to answer questiosn for a few other sites in different regions. Blizzard has now sent us the official Q&A. View the full Q&A under the key points.

Key points
  • is wrong, you will still be able to put gems in all slots.
  • Diamond and sapphire gems were removed because they were boring.
  • Though Dyes get removed when an item is placed on the AH, you will still be able to dye an item and drop it on the ground to trade to friends
  • The blacksmith requires gold to level, as they did not want to force people to farm low level materials just to level him. Crafting is intended to support higher difficulty levels
  • Items on the ground will not always match the Icon graphic
  • They do have a Have a system for kicking people BUT it will not be in at ship. They want to see how people play with others first, and design the tool so that it wont be used for exploiting/greifing
  • They state once again they Will not restore Dead HC characters FOR ANY reason, even if its server lag
  • They choose damage types based on them fitting the visual effect of the skill more than anything.
  • Affixes such as life leach apply to ALL abilities.
  • They do not think any monster affix combination is unbeatable, if something like this were to be the case, they would fix it
  • Magic Find does not have diminishing returns currently
  • When a group has stacks of Nephalem Valor, a new player will still join with 0 stacks
  • This buff does not have a range, if your group kills a pack, and you're in town, you will still get the stack
  • There will be CC reduction
  • Maximum movement speed bonus is 25%
  • There is still elemental resistances, but no elemental immunities
  • As you go to higher difficulties monsters will have higher resistances to CC abilities and stuns
  • The changed the item kick animation because they think its a lot cooler to blow things up, than walk over and kick them
  • Everything in the game can drop a lot, of course you have a much smaller chance of getting a legendary in a urn, than say on a champion pack
  • MF and GF both help with urns and other objects.

Originally Posted by (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

In the new website database all gems only display “Head” and “Weapon” slot effect. Does this mean they can be no longer be placed in other slots? And this page only display 4 types of gems, were Diamond and Sapphire removed?
The website is currently incorrect, gems can still be placed in all the same slots as before (including Weapon). We did remove Diamond and Sapphire a while back. Their effects just weren’t very interesting. We can always bring them back later if we find some stat spots to fill.

In the last feedback, we find that give item to other players would not remove item’s dyed effects. So can we use CE dye on our items and then give them to our friends? Is there any restriction on it?
Dyes will be removed when selling them on the AH, but items dropped on the ground will retain their dye color. You can CE dye an item and drop it for your friend, yes. We don’t really feel this is a serious issue as it’s up to that player to dye someone else’s gear. If they choose to do so it’s them deciding to lessen the special-ness of their dye colors. It’s one of those things that in theory sounds like it’ll be a serious issue, but in practice probably won’t really affect the color rarity. Plus it’s almost assured that the CE colors won’t be everyone’s favorites.

Paying gold to upgrade blacksmith seems detached… Can we make this feature work like the blacksmith profession in WoW?
The blacksmith is trained with gold as we didn’t want someone who ignored crafting for a difficulty level or two to have to go back and farm low level materials, like you do in WoW. And since crafting is generally intended to support itemization in higher difficulty levels, our focus for crafting is on Nightmare and beyond.

The model of the life potion is a cube, but its icon is a vial. Will we fix it?
We have not intent to make them match. The 3D models that drop in the world (we call them flippies) are not accurate representations of items as they appear in icons and on your character.

If a friend has joined your game, how do you kick them out?
We have plans for a kick system, but it won’t make it for ship. We think it’s more important to wait and see how people are playing the game with each other before giving tools that could potentially be more useful for griefing than their actual intent.

In Diablo II, players are able to leave the game immediately by Alt+F4. It’s very important for players playing hardcore mode to protect their character when they encounter latency. Now what can they do if a hardcore character died in the latency caused by the unstable server?
Playing Hardcore comes with inherent risks. Some of those risks are going to be things that you cannot help, such as your computer crashing, the game freezing, the internet dropping, a chipmunk dressed up as a treasure goblin tapping on your window, etc. Those are risks that you take, and we will absolutely not restore Hardcore characters for any reason whatsoever, including it being lost for a reason that is very clearly not the fault of the player.

This question is about two skills of Witch Doctor. The detail about Haunt mentioned “Haunt an enemy with a spirit, dealing 575% weapon damage as Arcane…”, but for the skill Spirit Barrage, it says “Bombard a target with a spirit blast that deals 190% weapon damage as Physical, which doesn’t make sense for players since they all attack with spirit. What makes the different? Or is it a mistake?
We put more weight on the damage type fitting the visual effect of the skill than most anything else. It’s more important to us that when you use a skill and see the visual that the damage type match the visual, than to have it conform to the lore or skill name.

Do weapon affixes such as life leech or additional elemental damage apply to spells (Wizard’s Spectral Blade) and abilities (Barbarian’s Bash)? If it applies to some but not all, how do we make that determination?
They apply to all abilities.

Are there any concerns that certain affixes and affix combinations may be unbeatable even by the most skilled and well equipped players at higher difficulty levels? For example, the Jailer affix seems like it may present issues in Inferno because players will be locked down and unable to avoid the damage. Are we okay with there being unbeatable (or virtually unbeatable) packs of Champions and Rares?
If something is truly unbeatable, we would be concerned, yes. We don’t believe that’s likely to be the case. There’s a difference between “I can’t beat it yet” and “I can’t ever beat this”.

The monk ability Crippling Wave seems to outshine other monk Primary Attacks, mostly by virtue of its ability to strike every creature in the front arc for 2 strikes then all creatures in 360 degrees on the third strike, but also because it does equivalent or more damage than other monk abilities as well as applies a debuff. That said, it feels very good to use it in its current iteration, so it would be a shame to nerf it.
We knew the game was really close to complete when multiple people are playing the same class and each of them says that X ability is a must-have and they all say different skills. Crippling Wave is very strong, but it’s certainly not a must-have to be successful, or even competitive. There are many competitive builds that don’t take it at all.

Is Magic Find using diminishing returns in the same way as in Diablo II, where Magic Find stat affected in a different way the chance for blue, yellow and gold drops (actual bonus of MF was diminished for rarest items)?
No, it’s a literal (and lateral) improvement across the board. We may tweak it but that’s the way it is right now.

What happens in a situation when 3 players party who have stacked 3 stacks of Nephalem Valor is joined by another player? Will the new player start with 0 stacks of Nephalem Valor?
Yes, the person that just joined will start with 0.

Is Nepahalem Valor buff area limited or will all players in game get it independent of their location at the time of the kill?
All players receive it. They could be sitting in town and still get a stack. Keep in mind their presence in the game just made everything more difficult, so good luck to their team if they’re trying to kill a champion/rare without the full group.

Is there snare resistance present in game that allows to reduce snare effect partially, or do is there only complete immunity to snares?
There is CC reduction, which includes snares.

What is the maximum bonus to movement speed? Is there a limit to how fast a character can move?
The maximum is 25%. There are some skills that break the cap, though, like Sprint.

With removal of secondary effects from elemental affixes (apart from freeze in cold damage) players are wondering if there still is a difference between damage generated from different elemental affixes other than graphic effect?
There are still elemental resistances, both on monsters and players, so damage type can come into play both in PvE and PvP. There isn’t a ton of resistance around though, so it’s not something that stacks super high, and there’s no elemental immunity. Skills also differ enough that you’ll have some outs if you do run into an enemy with high resistance. (it’s not D2 where you just spam your 1 skill and if you come up against an enemy that’s resistant to that 1 skill you’re screwed)

Will monsters have stun resistance of some kind? A party of 4 barbarians with Ground Stomp appears to be able to apply stuns infinitely by rotating the use of this skill within their party.
Yes this is a possibility, and CCing enemies is a great build focus for characters, but higher level enemies have higher CC resists so it’ll be difficult to replicate later on the in the game.

What was the reason for replacing the kick animation used in Diablo 2 for attacks and spells when breaking jars, urns, barrels and ashes in Diablo 3?
Because it’s more awesome to be able to blow up dozens of destructible objects than walk around and kick them one by one.

Speaking of ashes and loose stones - do they share the same item drop rate as mobs or is it higher/lower?
Everything in the game has varying chances to drop loot from a giant loot pool. You could absolutely get a legendary item from smashing an urn, but the chances are insanely small compared to a champion/rare which has a higher chance.

Do players get a benefit from having a higher MF or GF when opening ashes, loose stones and bookcases?
Yes. There are some very specific items, usually related to quests, that can only drop gold. But your Gold Find will still affect those.

Bashiok on the Rune System

Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

1) "Forced" Experimentation while leveling. Basically, you are forced to play with runeskills you may or may not like until something better unlocks. Under the old system, via the AH and with a bit of luck you could play the build you wanted and refine it. Under the new one you have to play for (potentially) a long time to get the build you want.
I don't see that as a negative. Previously you were held to either randomness, or left to your own to pick something with little incentive to jump around. Previously most people would determine what they believe is best and do very little experimentation. With the unlock system there is actually some incentive in the absence of complete choice to try something you otherwise may not have.

But anyway, it was really a symptom of solving worse problems with the item-based rune system. Both systems have their benefits, both have their downsides, but we know that this system has more ups than downs compared to the others.

2) The death of customization and specialization. Runes were initially introduced to offset the loss of 'uniqueness' in character builds due to the skill system. Runes allowed you to craft a build that was *yours* and finding ranks allowed to you continually refine and improve it. Under the new system, you are a few clicks and a cooldown away from being the same build as the guy next to you.
No they weren't. Runes were a part of the Diablo III skill design because we thought it'd be bad !@# to be able to customize skills.

Rune ranks were never customization, it was a gradual power increase dictated by drop chance. And don't be fooled that there is customization with skill trees. I've yet to see any skill tree that offers anything but the illusion of customization.

If you mean skill choice permanence, well, we just fundamentally disagree that you need to be locked into something to make your character choices meaningful. There is still plenty to make your character build meaningful that doesn't require re-rolling, and we believe we've achieved that.

3) Hell is for Heroes, and Inferno is not a place I want to still be 'trying out' new skills. In Diablo 2 stuff would unlock at a reasonable rate, and by the end of normal you had your build and were just getting the extras. Under this system, it's entirely possible that you will be waiting until you have finished Hell to unlock the skill effect you want. I don't know about you, but by the time I hit Hell I really want to have my build down and be working on gear and technique.
It's weird how on one hand we're asked for limitations, add more limitations, we really want to be punished and forced to level new characters and just be beaten about the face and neck with punishing game mechanics... and then it almost feels like there's a fear that you won't have a perfect character to take on the challenging areas of the game.

You won't. You're going to die, a lot, and you're going to have a horrible character for quite a while. You're not going to hit 60 and finish the game on Inferno. You're going to be smashing your face against Act 1 Inferno for weeks. Perfecting your build before then will not matter.

4) Not everyone is going to get to Inferno. I thought Blizzard said a while back that most players will quit after Normal? So...rather than letting everyone play around with rank 1 runes and at least see the various effects you aren't going to let them see them at all?
Totally! Reward for more invested players, and very likely a way to entice players not to just stop at Normal.

To be honest the repetitive difficulty levels in Diablo games is not a very straightforward mechanic. Plenty of games have difficulty levels, but there are only a handful that use them as progression. If we can communicate the intent of the game to people by showing unlocks in future difficulty levels, maybe we can get more people to play beyond Normal.

5) It feels like a deliberate delay to extend Diablo 3's lifespan for casual gamers (who may not have got to 60 otherwise). It's a lot like those fighting games that lock half the roster until you've finished Arcade mode dozens of times. Basically a cheap trick to keep you playing.
I'm not sure why this is a separate point. Maybe this should be 4a. ?

I'd agree with you though if the game wasn't a 1-time price to buy the box. We earn nothing by 'tricking' you into playing more. Is it so crazy that we just want to make a fun game you'll enjoy? Maybe it is these days.

6) Leveling is a huge focus of D3. This isn't WoW. Inferno will be nice, but getting there is going to take a long time and for most characters will be the majority of their lifespan. Not being able to do this as the build I want is rather lame.

However, there are two simple solutions.

1)Allow players, every 10 levels, to unlock a single runeskill of their choice, in addition to the existing system. This means that there is still something to look forward too, those of us with very specific builds in mind can enjoy them pre-Inferno and the newer players/Zarhym's Grandmother won't be affected at all.

2) Like Crafting, once a runeskill has been unlocked it is available at level 6, or when the base skill unlocks on any new characters of that class.

A third really good suggestion, made by InfernoBound is giving some free rune choices as quest rewards. I am a big fan of this idea too.

Ok, so here it is, we do not have any problem with some kind of 'rune point' system where you could maybe earn points and then spend them wherever you want. But, and everyone loves this answer I know, it's not going to make or break an already well-functional system and thus is not worth delaying the game to design and build out one where this is possible. Contrary to popular belief "when it's done" is not the same as "let's work on it for 7 more years until we've accomplished absolutely everything we can dream of". Our commitment to quality and polish very much is the intent of our design mantras, though.

I realize some people are going to really want to be able to get that rune and MAN! it doesn't unlock until level 58! And honestly that's something we sympathize with to a degree, but the current system works very well, the current limitations absolutely have their benefits, it's actually fun to be forced to try other effects, and immediately giving you what you want is usually not a fun game mechanic in the long term.

In my own personal opinion, it's Diablo. If you can't find a workable build without having your own perfect choices being handed to you on a silver platter at the start of the game, good luck in Inferno. Actually, good luck in Nightmare. This game is hard.

Gunna hold you to your word on this. Literally weeks before anyone in the world beats Act 1 Inferno.
Ok, ok, well I don't underestimate our players, potentially not weeks for Act 1. I'd bet on weeks for Act 2, though.

Blizzard Updates Facebook Pages
They also added a few Diablo related pictures

Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

We’ve recently converted our Facebook pages for Blizzard, Warcraft, StarCraft, and Diablo to the new timeline format, and we hope that you’ll join us in making the most of our community connections there.
Since we launched our Facebook pages, we've had the pleasure of sharing a plethora of stories, BlizzCasts, artwork, and videos with a thriving Facebook community, but we're not done yet. We encourage you to browse through our company and franchise histories, “like” our pages so that you’ll see updates from us in your own feeds, and share your favorite milestones from Blizzard’s past on our Facebook walls.


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