Happy Holidays, Design a Legendary, Part 4: Updated Concept Art, Nephalem Rifts Now Part of the Expansion

Happy Holidays

The Diablo III Community Management Team has prepared a special holiday post!

Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker/ Official Forums)

All of us on the Diablo III Community Team wish you and yours a wonderful holiday season and a happy new year! To share in the celebration, two artists from the Diablo III Development Team and one of our very own Diablo III Community Managers have created three new festive pieces of art to spread the holiday cheer throughout Sanctuary, and beyond!

"Voodoo Holiday" by Richie Marella, Senior 3D Artist, Diablo III

"Season’s Wishes" by Kimberly "Vaeflare" LeCrone, North American Community Manager, Diablo III

"A Bog Family Holiday" by Kevin K. Griffith, Senior Artist, Diablo III

To help celebrate, we've also prepared a Holiday Card Gallery, and we’ve also made this year’s holiday card available as a new series of wallpapers. Enjoy!

As in years past, the community team will have a reduced presence on the forums, Twitter, and Facebook over the holidays as we unwrap our own epic loot and create new memories with family and friends. But fear not! We’ll be back in January to ring in the new year with continued updates concerning Patch 2.0.1, Reaper of Souls, and so much more!

The North Amerian Diablo III Community Team! From Left To Right: Turrit, Grikimu, Lylirra, Nevalistis, and Vaeflare.

So from all of us here at Blizzard Entertainment, we hope you have a wonderful holiday season, and thank you for your continued passion for Diablo III!

Design a Legendary, Part 4: Updated Concept Art

The Legendary sword chosen by the fans has gone through a few iterations and is now looking absolutely epic!

Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker/ Official Forums)

Two weeks ago, we revealed the first piece of concept art created by 3D character Aaron Gaines for our upcoming one-handed, Mephisto-themed sword. For those who may have missed that particular reveal, here's a screenshot:

As noted, this was just the inital sketch, the first step in implementing the visual design of this particular Legendary weapon into the game. For many items in Diablo III, concepting goes through several stages, and today we're excited to share a new piece of concept art with all of you. 

Many of you had feedback for Aaron, and he was excited to incorporate your suggestions and criticisms into this updated design. Some of the most notable changes based on player feedback include:

  • Reshaping the horns to more closely resemble those borne by Mephisto
  • Slimming down the blade's width
  • Introducing more skeletal textures and imagery to evoke a spine-like feel
  • Adding chains

Here are the results!

Thanks to everyone who provided feedback and suggestions. We'll have more visual progress updates and images to share in the new year.

Until then, happy holidays!

 Previous Design a Legendary Articles:

Nephalem Rifts Now Part of the Expansion

Looks like Nephalem Rifts won't be accessible to people who haven't purchased the expansion. Lylirra explains why this is the case.

Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker/ Official Forums)

When we originally announced Reaper of Souls back in August, Loot Runs were a completely independent feature intended to be released as part of our pre-expansion patch. Since that announcement, Loot Runs have gone through several iterations and evolved into Nephalem Rifts, which are not only more complex in their design compared to Loot Runs, but have also become integrated with Adventure Mode and Bounties (they also tie into random item purchasing via Blood Shards, but that's more of a tangential relationship). As a result, we made the decision to move Nephalem Rifts from the pre-expansion patch up to the expansion itself. It wasn't an easy decision, but made the most sense given how Nephalem Rifts currently function and share dependencies with other expansion-only features. 
therefore that tweet is a lie.
While the tweet may no longer be correct based on current information, it was 100% true at the time it was shared. Saying that it's "a lie" is both spurious and factually inaccurate. 

You're welcome to disagree with our decision to evolve Loot Runs into Nephalem Rifts (which are now an expansion feature), but insinuating that we're liars because their design has changed is unnecessary and only serves to undermine the actual value of your feedback. There's no reason to sell yourself or your opinions short in that manner. Seriously. :)
Too late blizzard. I just saved a copy of this image and now it's everywhere.
No need, but I admire your thinking. We've nothing to sweep under the rug here, though. This is just evidence of the potential downside of talking about features and systems early in design, as things are very likely to change and adapt (and sometimes very quickly too). 

As noted above, if you dislike with the manner in which the design of Loot Runs/Nephalem Rifts have changed, please feel free to share that feedback--if you haven't already.
This is the kind of spin you only hear from Washington.
Being clear in what you say and what is being discussed isn't spin. It's being a responsible communicator and encouraging others to do the same. 

For clarity, saying something is a lie is a pretty hefty accusation and, more importantly, implies an intent to deceive. A really basic analogy would be if your hair is currently red and you said "My hair is red." If you later your dyed your hair black, would your prior statement be a lie? No. It just wouldn't be accurate anymore. 

Same basic principle applies. When we announced Reaper of Souls (the same day the tweet in question was made), Loot Runs were scheduled to be part of the pre-expansion patch; we wouldn't have communicated this to players otherwise. Over time, the design and scope of Loot Runs changed and they became Nephalem Rifts, which are now an expansion-only feature. 

So, were Loot Runs previously part of the pre-expansion patch? Yes. Are they currently part of the pre-expansion patch? No, the design has since changed (and is still subject to change). 

Again, I'm not asking for players to change their opinions or feedback regarding the evolution of Loot Runs; I'm simply asking them to refrain from hyperbole. It makes discussions like these much more productive and meaningful.
Why not do the responsible thing from here on out, and only announce systems that you are confident will pass muster?
Many players would argue the responsible thing is to announce new systems, features, and changes whenever they occur as soon as they occur (and potentially even before they occur), regardless of the fact that they may or may not be final. 

I'm not saying you're wrong or that the other philosophy is right, just pointing out that two very different, often conflicting though completely valid perspectives exist within this community. We do our best to sate both, which is why you see us caveat almost everything with phrases like "at this time" or "right now," but there will always be situations where that's not entirely possible. 

And that's not a defensive statement, either (we know there's room for improvement on our side). It's just more of a harsh reality we have to dance with from time to time.
Don't let 2 or 3 pages of venting get in the way of 13 pages of feedback :P If it comes to it, please moderate the individual post instead of closing this topic. It's important that people see that first page until blizzard has officially responded to it! thank you :)
I'm in general agreement. :)
A great new feature that was to be available without purchasing the expansion is now no longer pre-patch and people are telling you they do not like the decision. Your response is to cry hyperbole? Because they feel lied to?
There's a big difference between saying "I dislike this decision for X,Y, and Z reasons, and I feel as though I've been mislead." And "you lied to us and you suck!" 

I'm encouraging the former and discouraging the latter. Saying how something makes you feel is totally valid and a really, really important element of any piece of feedback; what I'm asking players to avoid, if possible, is making accusations based on said feelings and then claiming them as fact.
And all I see when a blue does manage to comment is they dodge this fact by posting some ridiculous analogy (in this case dying your hair) and basically calls the customer unintelligent. Like we can't recognize the facts at hand.
Not at all, though I'm sorry if it came across that way to you. 

The fault of analogies is that they (in most situations) can never represent the situation they're being compared to with complete accuracy or relevance, so there are always going to be ways to poke holes in them when provided. Yours included. They can, however, be used to clarify elements of a particular argument or talking point really well. Yours included. Not everyone might need the additional clarity, but that doesn't make the analogy pedantic/patronizing. 

So, that said, thanks for the feedback. :)

Edit: Words hard.
For those of us that actually played D3 and can play in the highest difficulty what does loot 2.0 bring to us?
Do you want the specific details or a more big picture goal?

Specific details (super high-level recap):

- Less items dropping overall (i.e. less time spent having to pick up or rummage through loot). 

- Of the items that do drop, more will be tailored to your class and/or active follower via smart drops. In addition, all crafted items will be smart drops. 

- Tighter stat ranges, which means that drops are more likely to be upgrades or sidegrades rather than downgrades. 

- Primary and secondary stats. By breaking down stats into two different categories, we can reduce situations where power stats are needing to compete with utility stats. 

- New affixes aimed at creating or supporting specific builds/skills.

- Reworked Legendary items. All Legendary items in the game have been revisited with the above mechanics in mind. In addition, Legendaries will now roll at the level of the monster that dropped it and its stats will scale to suit. 

- Plus some quality of life adjustments like stat ranges being visible in the item tooltip and Rare automatically being identified. 

Big picture goal:

As Josh has often said, the primary goal of Loot 2.0 is make it so that playing the game and killing monsters is the best way to get loot. This basically boils down to finding a balance so that, as you're leveling or gearing up your hero, you're receiving rewards at a good enough pace and quality that the loot loop (kill monsters --> get loot --> kill harder monsters --> get better loot) feels very natural and satisfying. We also want loot to be able to be build defining, where a single piece of loot may encourage you to try something new or even build your character around it. 

All that said, we've been getting a lot of great feedback from the PTR regarding Loot 2.0 which the developers are working on how to address currently. While Loot 2.0 changes seem to be in a really solid (but not perfect) place for new characters or characters who weren't already farming high MP levels with ease, there's still a lot of balancing to do at the high level. One of main concerns we've seen is that testers who are playing on characters with gear they've worked potentially over a year to get, either through lots of farming or carefully watching the Auction House, are reaching a plateau fairly early on. This issue is mostly resolved for those characters once they jump into Act V, but we're looking at how we can better tune the end-game loot hunt for high MP players who choose not to purchase the expansion. 

And now back on topic. (There's a lot of great threads related to the above point if you want to continue the discussion. Let me know if you'd like to provide feedback of you own, and I can happily link you to them!) :)
But like I said, I didn't intend to put you on the spot or challenge you personally in any way. I just think there's some better ways to do some things is all.

To me the underlying philosophies sound awesome and I'm all for it! I'm just hoping that Blizzard can make it a reality!
My comment was more to assure you that I didn't feel put on the spot. :) If we're not achieving the goal we set for a specific feature or feature set, then it's good for posts like yours to point them out. That way, we can begin to identify what's not working and figure out how best to course-correct.

Happy holidays, Droth!
i personally believe we should focus on the fact that nephalem rifts as they are right now are more or less a joke of a feature.
We've been keeping a close eye on similar threads in the beta forums and making sure to relay on any common thoughts, suggestions, and criticisms we see related to Nephalem Rifts to the development team. They're definitely aware of the concerns some players have and appreciate all the posts and emails testers have been churning out. (This applies, as well, to all the points Starbird mentioned.)

We may even do a focused feedback call-to-action soon regarding Nephalem Rifts, so be sure to keep an eye out for that (if that's something that interests you, at least).
Instead you spit this out? "There's no reason to sell yourself or your opinions short in that manner."
Completely fair point, Exile. My goal to was encourage posters to avoid stating opinions as fact, not make them feel wrong for their opinions in the first place. Like I noted earlier, stating how something makes you feel is an important part of any piece of feedback, if not the most important part in some situations. I apologize if my previous post (the first one in this thread) made anyone feel as though that wasn't the case.

I also apologize if the tweet in question made anyone feel misled. As with almost all game design at Blizzard, major features will often go through several iterations before they launch -- some small, some large. Because of this reality, we do our best to provide all the necessary caveats and avoid creating expectations that might not (for whatever reason) be fulfilled, but in this particular instance we failed. For us, it goes without saying that this will be something we learn from and ultimately improve upon for the future. 

With that said, let me amend my previous post with the above, since not everyone may click all the way through. :)
So when people get so upset about it, CMs just respond by locking threads and trying to bury all the negativity that Blizzard has earned.
I'm interested in hearing more about this. Can you send me a list of important feedback threads you feel we've locked unfairly to lylirra@blizzard.com? I ask as our philosophy is to lock superfluous and/or non-constructive threads, but otherwise leave popular, active threads alone if and when at all possible.

Edit: For clarity, non-constructive threads != negative threads. Non-constructive = threads that are aimed to troll, spam, insult, or harass or simply do not contain any actual feedback (ex: "BoA sucks, and you suck Blizzard!"). This may also include threads that contain copious amounts of profanity, too.
The thing is that you obviously considered many of them to be worthless threads or whatever it is that caused you to lock them.
It's important to note that simply because a thread has been locked doesn't mean the feedback inside has been dismissed or discounted. We still read all the posts in threads we lock and make note of any common suggestions, concerns, criticisms, or positive experiences contained within. 

By the way, when I say "superfluous" threads, I'm referring to situations where there are multiple threads being created on the same topic within a very short period of time, but said threads aren't contributing anything new to the conversation. In those situations, we typically lock and redirect to another active thread for the purpose of tracking feedback more easily.
The game's coming out soon, therefore saying you "may" do a focused feedback call-to-action soon is not in any way heartening.
Whether or not we do focused feedback for Nephalem Rifts depends completely on the feedback beta testers share on the beta forums and/or send to our dedicated feedback mailboxes. If we get lots of feedback regarding Nephalem Rifts that covers everything we're looking to test, then cool! If not, we'll do a call-to-action with a focused feedback post. 

So far, we've been getting loads of great feedback so it hasn't been necessary yet. :)


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