John Hight Interview at Gamescom, Blue Posts Round-Up, Seasons Preview, UEE Stream VOD

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John Hight Interview at Gamescom uploaded a video interview with John Hight at Gamescom. He reiterates the very real possibility of Patch 2.1 being released "later this month" (@2:45). See the full interview below!

Blue Posts Round-Up

There were a few interesting blue posts over the past couple days. The first is a reply to a thread with feedback on the current state of Shenlong's Spirit, with a blue explaining how item balancing is done, and mentioning a change to those particular Set items. The second one explains their reasoning on why Legendary Gems no longer scale infinitely. And the last one is on Trial Rifts and how Keystone Levels are determined.

Originally Posted by Blizzard

Shenlong's Spirit Change
Thanks for your continued feedback and analysis. As a math guy myself, I appreciate it a lot.

To start, there are some assumptions made in the examples which I’d like to point out, clarify, and add to for the record: 
  • Burning Axe of Sankis and Devastator are not a simple net +20% Fire damage each when compared to Shenlong's. Those two “+20% Fire Damage” affixes replace “+10% Damage [to this Weapon]” affixes, and if we assume +60% Fire Damage from other gear, actually result in <10% increase in total player damage each.
  • Shenlong’s other set bonuses (+250 Dex, +4 Spirit/second) account for roughly 4% total player damage.
  • Devastator/Burning Axe of Sankis’ +Fire damage benefits your other sources of fire damage (e.g. generators, Mystic Ally, etc).
  • Burning Axe of Sankis’ Ignore Pain proc is quite strong, as you said.
Balancing items is a complex problem sometimes given all the variables in the equation. Occasionally this is a matter of math but we always take into account the fantasy of a legendary power and how it plays in practice. In the end, a lot of the assumptions in this comparison even out so your conclusion is reasonably accurate. As for your suggestion of 50% proc rate and lower corresponding ICD, we feel that more reliability works better for this specific kind of legendary power (proc line damage).

Given our internal testing and observations, Shenlong’s Spirit’s internal cooldown has been reduced from 3 seconds to 3 / Attacks_Per_Second seconds, which brings it down to 1.86 seconds at most, with no other sources of attack speed increases. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Legendary Gems No Longer Scale Infinitely
The short reason Legendary Gems are no longer infinite is because our design philosophy behind them has changed over the course of the PTR.

The long version is we wanted to change the upgrade mechanic to incentivize and reward players for reaching higher Greater Rift tiers and really pushing themselves to the limit. The current tuning wound up sacrificing the infinite scaling in favor such a system, though this could change down the line and we’ll continue to keep an eye on Legendary Gems and their upgrade values. Overall, we feel these changes make for a more engaging and interesting goal. 

If you're struggling to upgrade your gems, you might need to further optimize your gear or build. Maybe the gear you have available works better with a slightly different build. Or maybe you've missed an enchant or can squeeze out a little more Toughness or DPS by upgrading some non-Legendary gems. If you've hit a wall, you've likely reached a calibration point of sorts. This is your base to build on - it's the perfect time to ask yourself "What can I tweak or change to push a little bit farther?" (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
I really do appreciate the constructive feedback being provided in here regarding the scaling of upgrading and reward scheme - I'm taking notes and bringing it to the attention of the appropriate folks. :) As I stated in the original post and bolded for emphasis:
The current tuning wound up sacrificing the infinite scaling in favor such a system, though this could change down the line and we’ll continue to keep an eye on Legendary Gems and their upgrade values.
We're keeping an eye on these things. Even if 2.1 launched tomorrow (which it isn't), it wouldn't be the end all, be all. Iteration has continued after major patches in the past, and utilizing minor patches to provide additional tuning is one of the many tools at our disposal. (Official Forums)
Trial Rifts and GR Keystone Level
is the wave number not corresponding to rift level a bug or intended?
I'd like to take a look at this, but I could use a little more information before I do. :)

  • What wave number did you fail on?
  • What Greater Rift Keystone rank did you receive?
finished at wave 30, and got the key of 21.
it happened every time too for the 6 time I took this test.
I just ran a quick trial to see what happened and had a very similar result. So, I went ahead and dug around to see if it was a bug, or something we had changed on purpose, and what the general philosophy behind it was if we had. 

It happens that this is an intentional change we made to prevent players from sometimes starting in a Greater Rift they can't advance beyond. Each trial wave tends to be easier than the numerically equivalent rift difficulty, so it was possible for folks to place themselves in a Greater Rift they're likely to fail. We didn't like the way that felt, so we made some adjustments to help ensure it didn't continue to work that way. Currently it’s set at a 3:2 ratio, so completing 15 waves in the trial will result in earning a Greater Rift Keystone 10.

That said, we're not 100% sure about the current tuning of wave-to-difficulty ratio, so we'll be keeping an eye on it. Thanks feedback and reports, everyone. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Seasons Preview

A blog post came up with an in-depth preview to one of the biggest Patch 2.1 Features - Seasons. Check it out!

Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

One of the biggest additions to Diablo III in patch 2.1.0 is a competitive system we're calling Seasons. An entirely new gameplay mode, Seasons encourage you to roll a new hero and race against others to complete new challenges, acquire new and exclusive loot, and experience once more the feeling of starting fresh.

Seasons — How Do They Work?

 So, you've logged in and you're ready to create your very first Seasonal hero. Where do you begin? Just like any new character, your first Seasonal hero will start their journey in the hero creation menu. Select your hero class, gender, and name as usual, then select the "Seasons" checkbox on the lower left of the screen, and BAM! You'll have a brand new level one nephalem ready for Seasonal action!

You'll be able to create both Hardcore and Normal Seasonal heroes—just check the "Hardcore" box in addition to the Season box if it strikes your fancy.

Seasonal heroes are completely separate from your existing ones. This means they start from scratch, without access to your existing gold, blood shards, shared stash, Paragon levels, Artisan levels, crafting patterns, or items. Just as your Normal and Hardcore mode heroes have separately tracked progression, Seasons stand entirely on their own.

Seasonal Activities:

As fun as ladders are to climb, there's much more to Seasons than reaching max level or pressing onward into the upper echelons of the Paragon system. While the first goal you should set is leveling up to 70 and getting some gear in order, there are three distinct ways to compete with other players in Seasons: 1) completing Conquests, which are Season-exclusive Achievements; 2) acquiring as many Achievement points as possible; and3)  reaching the highest tiers in Greater Rifts. We'll be covering Greater Rifts in more detail with a future blog, so keep an eye on the main page for details! Leaderboards: You can track your progress against other players for the activities above on the Leaderboards and compete with others for the highest rankings. Want to be the first Hardcore player in the new Season to reach Level 70? Complete that Achievement and you'll be immortalized on the Conquest leaderboard. Aiming to tackle the most Achievements? Compare your total Achievement points earned to your peers on the Achievement Point leaderboard. Are Greater Rifts more your style? See how you measure up to other adventurers and check your fastest times on the Seasonal Greater Rift leaderboard.

Seasons offer a great variety in gameplay challenges, and you'll be able to compare your successes to your friends, other members of your class, your clan mates, or players in the same region. Leaderboards will be available both in-game and right here on our community site, so whether you're checking your progress on the web or in Sanctuary,  you'll always be just a few clicks away from seeing your Seasonal ranking!

Achievements are accomplishments that showcase your skill or dedication to a particular task. In Seasons, we've taken the concept of Achievements to the next level by introducing Conquests. Consisting of difficult tasks that can only be completed by a Seasonal hero, all Conquests come in two flavors: Hardcore and Normal. If you want to conquer every Conquest, be prepared to tackle them with both Hardcore and Normal Seasonal heroes!

So what makes a Conquest different from a regular Achievement? Conquests are generally more challenging to complete than a standard Achievement and, as a result, they come with a special perk. If you're one of the first 1,000 players to complete a Conquest, your name will be immortalized on the Conquest Leaderboard for the rest of the Season. These slots are first come, first served, so be prepared to hit the ground running if you want that place at the top of the charts! Conquests will also remain rewarding throughout the Season and, even if you don't place on a Leaderboard, you'll still earn points toward your Seasonal achievement point total by completing Conquests.

Want a head start on the competition? Take a look at some of the Conquests that you'll encounter, and start planning your strategy:

Seasonal Rewards:

Climbing Leaderboards might not be your thing, so you may find yourself asking "What's in it for me?" There are incentives for everyone to try their hand in Seasons, including getting first crack at brand new Legendaries and a shiny new Transmogrification set that is exclusive to Season participants.

With Season 1, we're introducing 10 new Legendaries. These items will initially only be available to Seasonal players until the end of the Season, at which point they'll be rolled into the regular loot pool for all game modes. In addition, even more handfuls of exclusive Legendaries will be introduced each Season, and will only be available to Season participants until that Season ends.

 A few of Season 1's new Legendaries. We’ve also put together a badass new Transmogrification Set that is completely exclusive to Seasonal players. Each Season, you'll earn a new piece of this excellent armor. What do you need to do to get it? Just hit maximum level during the course of a Season, and your Transmogrification pattern will automagically unlock at the Mystic in all game modes.

A new helm awaits Season 1 challengers!

 Pretty sweet, right?

Wrapping Up the Season:

We're only just starting the very first Season, but it's important to know what happens to your progress at the end. When a Season concludes, your current Seasonal heroes will become non-Seasonal. This means that if you were playing a Seasonal Hardcore hero, they'll instead become a regular Hardcore hero.

Your heroes keep all their gear, crafting materials, gold, blood shards, Paragon experience, and any new recipes they may have earned during the course of a Season. This also includes any new Stash tabs purchased or Artisan levels earned (if higher than your non-Seasonal profile). Finally, if you’ve managed to earn achievements during a Season that you've never conquered before, you'll earn them in the corresponding non-Seasonal mode.

While you'll be starting from scratch when a new Season begins, your non-Seasonal heroes will reap the rewards with new items, experience and achievements!

Join the Race!

We're excited to jump into Seasons, and we hope you've enjoyed this overview of what's to come. Are you prepared to get started when Season 1 launches? Which classes will you focus on first? Will you tackle Conquests first or focus on Greater Rifts instead? We want to know how you plan to play in Seasons, so let us know in the comments! Prepare yourselves, nephalem! Challenge and reward awaits you!

UEE Stream VOD

Hunter Pence had the opportunity to test and stream some Ultimate Evil Edition gameplay while chatting with a Blizz representative about it, and the VOD is available on Twitch! A great watch for those interested in raw console gameplay.



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