For a game whose primary function is to be played, there has been (for obvious reasons) a comparatively small amount of discussion about, you know, playing Diablo III – especially on Blizzard’s end. The master of click-click-click, however, has finally gotten around to type-type-typing up a roadmap for its hack ‘n’ slash opus’ immediate future. So then, what’s on the diabolical docket, which I imagine the hulking red embodiment of all sorrow and suffering carefully looking over while adjusting a pair of tiny glasses that implausibly sticks to his face thanks to hell magic? Well, among other things, Inferno difficulty’s in for some fairly major changes – though honestly, the more telling information may arise from the “unbalanced” bits Blizzard’s opting to leave largely untouched.
Blizzard reiterated the method to its seeming madness in a lengthy blog post:
“Regarding the changes to [the Demon Hunter’s] Lingering Fog, [Monk’s] Boon of Protection, and [Wizard’s] Force Armor: we determined these skills were simply more powerful than they should be, and we felt their impact on class balance and how each class was perceived warranted hotfixes as soon as we were able. However, we don’t want you to be worried that a hotfix nerf is lurking around the corner every day. If a skill is strong, but isn’t really breaking the game, we want you to have your fun. Part of the enjoyment of Diablo is finding those super-strong builds, and we want players to be excited to use something they discovered that feels overpowered. A good example of this is the monk Overawe rune, which many players have identified as being quite good. We agree it’s good, but we don’t think it’s so far out of line that we’re going to swoop in and hotfix it out of existence.”
Inferno difficulty, meanwhile, was cited as not quite adhering to the pace Blizzard intended, so it’s getting optimized to be less “spiky.” Hopefully Blizzard will add a porcupine or pineapple mode to compensate.
“The intent of incoming damage is that it should be a very consistent drain on your health, and mitigating that drain is a major part of what makes Inferno mode difficult. Right now, there’s a lot more damage ‘spikiness’ occurring than feels right, and that’s one major area we’re looking to adjust in patch 1.0.3. While we don’t have any specifics yet, our design goals are to support and promote build diversity; continue to ensure that a mix of champion packs, rare packs, and boss fights are the most efficient way to acquire the best items in the game; and ensure that all classes are viable in Inferno.”
Lastly, legendary items and blacksmith crafting are undergoing tweaks to better reflect their respective positions in your arsenal – with a much-requested “straight-out buff” on the way for legendaries in a future patch. And, of course, PVP’s still off in the distance, gazing knowingly down upon us from mountains made of the future.
There will apparently be a public test realm launched in advance of that, but you know how Blizzard is with dates. Actually, I’ve heard that employees aren’t even allowed to pack dates (the fruit) in their lunches, as you can’t actually be hired to work at Blizzard unless you have a near-fatal allergy to them. So then, expect all of these changes… at some point. I sincerely hope you enjoy reading this incredibly anticlimactic post conclusion as much as I did writing it.