[12/6] Friends & Family Beta Test Hotfixes, New Features Not Likely To Be Added During Beta, Design a Legendary - Part 3

[12/6] Friends & Family Beta Test Hotfixes

Crushing Blow is back, but the Gladiator Gauntlets change is a Crushing Blow itself for every beta tester that has this precious item. Fortunately this is not for long.

Originally Posted by Blizzard (Official Forums)

December 6, 2013

  • Crushing Blow damage has been reduced to 0% to resolve all outstanding Crushing Blow effects.


  • Gladiator Gauntlets
  • Number of gold piles produced from Massacre bonuses has been reduced to 1. This is a temporary change and will be revisited in a future patch.


  • Path of War
  • Regular Banished Firewings no longer drop champion-level loot.

New Features Not Likely To Be Added During Beta

It's not certain, of course, but have a look for yourself and don't get disappointed - Friends and Family Beta has already been going for about 3 weeks, so probably we'll see the next phase soon (not TM... hopefully).

Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

This has been a really interesting Beta test for a lot of reasons.

First, we've never done a Beta quite like this before. Normally, our Friends & Family Beta phase goes relatively under the radar, because it's locked down with an NDA and includes only folks who have been recommended internally for testing. This time, however, we've opened up invitations to major community influencers in addition to another 3000 of our most active players. On top of lifting NDA restrictions, we're aiming to allow the community at large the chance to provide input at an earlier stage than we've ever offered before.

The best thing about this level of transparency is that we're receiving a massive amount of feedback at an incredibly early stage of development. Forums are lit up, videos and livestreams are coming in, and our inbox is bursting with constructive criticism and positive feedback alike. Weekly reports are compiled that go directly to our development team to make sure they're able to stay on top of community sentiment, concerns, and mechanical feedback while they continue to work. It's definitely a busy time over here, and we've already addressed several legendary item effects, disabled Crushing Blow, and are continuing to making tuning adjustments to skills, difficulty, and monsters as a direct result of player feedback. For a very small glimpse at these changes, you can view some of the hotfixes we've implemented here.

However, an unfortunate side effect of inviting a larger audience of players to the Friends and Family stage (a phase which is historically not supported with forums, patch notes, or even routine patches) is that people are making assumptions off of a limited amount of information. For example, items are dropping in droves right now. That’s in part because of intentional over-tuning for testing purposes and in part the result of several bugs, making loot acquisition much more rapid than what players will see when Reaper of Souls ships. A lot of fixes and changes have gone under the radar because, at this point in testing, adjustments happen to the Friends & Family Beta so quickly that compiling and maintaining a patch list for them is not entirely feasible. A tweak that goes in in the morning might be reverted a few hours later. These things happen in multiple iterations and waves and at an extremely fast pace. As the Beta progresses, however, the process slows down a bit and becomes less frantic. For Closed Beta, for example, we'll be able to provide regularly updated patch notes to keep you all up to date and give you a better idea of how your feedback is affecting development.

There's only a certain amount of comfort I can lend, and I know showing is generally easier to accept than telling. We've been hard at work here, and hopefully (very soon), we'll be able to share the fruits of our labor - much of which are directly a result of your feedback.

Because blizz uses betas only to chop, never to add.
Other games added alot thoroughout thier betas, at this point, blizzard is just honing & balancing some stats w/ thier PC team, everyone else is plaforming. Something is'nt working right? Chop it.
You’re right. This is what we’re doing with Beta, because that’s how we utilize our Beta process. Not every company has the same exact goal or process for their Beta testing. Our goal is focused on fixing or removing broken things, so that when the game ships, we deliver a sturdy base game that’s both fun and works.

Betas are a start to a great foundation, and as with all Blizzard games, you can expect us to build on that foundation by continuing to evolve and tweak the game well after we've released Reaper of Souls.

Are there any improvements to item system/loot hunt depth?
End game is something we're very interested in hearing feedback on from the community. However, at this time, I don't have any details to share.

Description of A CM's Job

In the last weeks the number of Blue Posts was pretty low and a lot of players started to suspect big news are on the way. Nevalistis shed some light on that matter though to explain that the CMs have simply been very busy with RoS Beta Feedback and to even clarify what the job of a CM consists of.

Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

It's been a busy time! We're sorry for being on the down low so much this week. A lot of what's been keeping us busy is related to the Beta testing that's been going on.

At the extremely early stage of Beta that we're in, there's a lot of changes that are happening, and even more feedback pouring in from players to pass on. We go through blogs, videos, livestreams, e-mails, social media, and of course the forums to pass on as much as we can so our developers know what the community is thinking and how to adjust their development cycle in response. It's a lot to take in, and we love how much constructive feedback we've been getting! 

Unfortunately, that does mean we can get a little backed up from time to time. Sometimes we have to make a choice between fitting in a few posts vs. attending a feedback meeting or reviewing our massive Beta feedback inbox, all while balancing a slew of other responsibilities. Some of the things we've been working on are designed to get more information out to the community once Closed Beta starts, though, so as we get these projects wrapped up you should see us pop up a bit more frequently in your Blue trackers. =)

In other news, I really like the word slew. Sleeeeeeew.

Why didn't the pc users get a patch to fix loot before console got "loot 1.5"?
This is a topic we've covered before, but I'm happy to explain it again for those who haven't seen previous responses. =)

In short, it's because Loot 2.0 isn't designed to be independent of the other features coming with Patch 2.0.1. The changes to itemization have been designed with other game changes in mind, especially Paragon 2.0 and much of the revisions to existing class abilities. 

In addition, our console and PC teams have staggered development, meaning that they're worked on independently and in different cycles. That can sometimes result in one platform receiving changes before (or after) the other, because an idea being worked on might be able to make one cycle, but not another. 

PC is our lead platform, and it's got a large package of changes on the way. Developing only a part of those changes as an independent patch would have not only taken away from the whole when it's delivered, but also significantly delayed the release of the pre-expansion patch and the expansion itself.

LOL blue acts like they write code or something. So busy.. With what, please do tell?
This is kind of a bigger question, as I get the feeling there’s a misinterpretation of what a community manager does. That's okay - it's a job title that sometimes has a different definition at other companies, so it's more than worth explaining. There's a general misconception that our only purpose is to peruse and post on the forums every day, and that couldn't be further from the truth.

My personal primary focus lately has been gathering feedback. That includes a large amount of reading, writing, and compiling information from a variety of sources. Reports have (and continue to be filed) on over to our development team, outlining what you guys have to say. Occasionally, I also attend meetings with development to help clarify and discuss this feedback. In addition, I've been working on a bunch of blogs, both writing them myself and editing others for the rest of my team. Bear in mind these are just some of the tasks I'm currently working on, and it's just a piece of the pie that the Community team tackles. Feedback and blogging also aren't tasks entirely exclusive to me - these responsibilities can shift around based on our expertise and available work load, as we all have different skills we specialize in. Some tasks might be better suited to one of us over another.

Some of the other things we work on, for example, include:
  • Social media work. We plan our strategies, write and schedule the posts, respond and interact with folks on those channels, and gather feedback.
  • Event and project planning. Stuff like the Design a Legendary project is time consuming and requires a lot of logistics. You’ll see some more about this later today. =)
  • Coordinating globally with our other community teams. Everything we do here is also being done all over the world in our other regions. We work together with our international teammates to coordinate blogs, announcements, posts, and feedback, to make sure every voice (in every language) is heard.
  • Asset creation and management. This includes but is not limited to content for social media channels, blogs, and videos.
We're a big happy family over here, and work together on many of our tasks when we can lend assistance. Some things, though, we tackle independently and that can keep us all pretty busy.

Didn't Josh admit during an interview that these were not separate teams? It's the same guys just switching hats.
Even in the context of that interview, this isn't entirely accurate. It's really an issue of semantics, and I see why there's confusion. They are separate teams in terms of platform goals and resources, but they're all part of the greater "Diablo team," as they're both working on the same IP.

Design a Legendary, Part 3: "Choose Your Power" Livestream Coming Soon

Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

The Design a Legendary project marches onward to the next stage! 

To date, we've chosen the weapon type (a one-handed sword) and it's theme (Mephisto, Lord of Hatred). 3D character artist Aaron Gaines is putting stylist to tablet as we speak, and we'll be able to share the first piece of concept art for this particular Legendary item with all of you next week.

Now that we've started to nail down the visual design, it's time to start thinking about what this Legendary should actuallydo. Enter the Design a Legendary, Part 3: "Choose Your Power" Livestream. 

For this stage of functional design, we're teaming up with the fantastic folks over at TwizzCast to livestream a brainstorming session on item design with some of our Diablo III developers. This livestream will briefly go over the design process for Legendary item powers in Reaper of Souls, but its main goal is to players the opportunity to share and discuss suggestions on what kind of powers they'd like our community-designed Legendary to have.

Here are all the juicy details:

  • What: Design a Legendary, Part 3: "Choose Your Power" Livestream
  • When: Wednesday, December 11 from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. PT 
  • Where: http://www.twitch.tv/Twizzcast
  • Who: Joining this podcast will be game designers Travis Day and John Yang, as well as the following hosts and guests:
  • Goal(s): Brainstorm and discuss possible Legendary powers for our Mephisto-themed, one-handed Legendary sword. We're hoping to come away with at least 5 to 10 workable powers that we can then have you, the community, vote on globally!

If you're interested in participating, be sure to stop by the TwizzCast chat channel to hang out with us, ask questions, or offer your own Legendary suggestions! We're really looking forward to this very special event, and we can't wait to see you there. 

Have an idea for a Legendary power for this particular item, but can't tune in to the livestream? Feel free to leave a comment below or share your suggestions with us on Twitter!



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