Demon Daze: Diablo’s Paragon Update Out Today

By Nathan Grayson on August 22nd, 2012 at 2:00 pm.

The main change, of course, being that Blizzard's actually throwing out the game entirely and turning it into Dear Esther.

Modern videogames may present their share of annoyances (insert obvious reference to online requirements here), but I’ve got to admit, it’s pretty neat to live in a world where someone can announce a massive free revamp one day and have it in the grasp of our arthritis-stricken click-click-clicking fingers the next. Such is the case with Diablo III‘s 1.0.4 update, which includes all sorts of balancing tweaks, upgrades to a smattering of underused class skills, buffs to legendary weapons, and of course, 100 “Paragon” levels to extend your endgame until time’s cyclical nature brings you right back around to the day before Diablo III came out.

The patch is already live in my strange land of right-sided-roads and root-beer-that-John-frequently-laments-he-can’t-have, but it’s not rolling out in Europe until maintenance wraps at 6 AM PST/12 PM BST. You can find a full, completely massive list of patch notes here.

Of course, as my grandmother used to tell me when I was but a wee child, a Diablo III developer’s job is never done – especially in an age of constant connection to their fanbase by way of forums, email, and the like. Back then, it didn’t really make any sense at all, but it seems vaguely relevant here. So, speaking to IGN, Blizzard outlined what’s next in its effort to both please harder-core-than-thou farming masters and have-maybe-played-Farmville-before casual players. Jay Wilson explained:

“The basic issue I think we have with difficulty is that  we’ve got some players want a super difficult game and some players who don’t view Diablo like that. They think Diablo is much more of a farming game and… about the player feeling awesome. And the problem is they’re both right. We’ve touched difficulty, and we’ve really pushed it more towards it’s going to be a bit easier because we’ve gotten way more feedback that the game’s too hard than we’ve gotten that it’s fine.”

“That being said, moving forward that’s one of the things we’re going to be looking at next: How can we address it for both players?”

Which seems reasonable, given that Paragon levels stand to make mowing down monsters even easier for the high-end players who’ve already felt the need to complain. But it’s a precarious balance, so hopefully Blizzard doesn’t feel the need to rush to silence either side’s cries. Granted, this is Blizzard we’re talking about, so I doubt there’s too much to worry about on that front. Regardless, the mega-developer’s clearly in this for the long haul, so I am – if nothing else – curious to see where Diablo III will ultimately end up.

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68 Comments »

  1. Shantara says:

    And of course it’s a pure coincidence that Blizzard releases this update 3 days before launch of Guild Wars 2.

    • frightlever says:

      At this stage I doubt they care about GW2 one little bit. For one thing they have our money and for another, as a player I’ve little or no interest in GW2, because like the majority of D3 players I prefer a single-player game.

      • Wreckdum says:

        I’m not going to fanboy out on you… But I think you are robbing yourself of an amazing experience by not even trying GW2.

        The way I explain it to my friends who haven’t played the beta is that game is literally almost every genre in one. The provided for every type of gamer. I’ve heard multiple people including myself refer to GW2 as the Elder Scrolls of MMOs. The single player story is that good.

        I’ve also heard people refer to it as a Diablo MMO. lol The Diablo reference is because of the action based combat and the loot system. (Everyone gets their own separate loot from a monster kill and you can stack magic find gear + enchants.)

        Don’t get me wrong. I’m definitely a fan boy. But this isn’t blind fan boy love. This is omg don’t make the mistake of actually playing the game or you will never leave the house for the rest of the year. A lot of my friends doubted me until they pre-ordered and played the beta… Now they are going through withdraws just as bad as me waiting for midnight on Friday.

        Edit: I reread my post and noticed I said I wasn’t going to fanboy out… I must have blacked out and typed the rest. =P

        • frightlever says:

          I’ll get it eventually but it’ll be GOTY (in however many years) or on sale. I buy pretty much everything eventually.

        • bard says:

          Wait, wait wait – did you just name the ‘STORY’ as the main selling point for elder scrolls games? ‘Cause Elder Scrolls is basically ‘AN ANCIENT EVIL HAS AWAKENED VOL I – V’ – The game

          • theoriginaled says:

            Focusing on the single player story of any elderscrolls game does it a disservice, as the main story line is usually just a macguffin for all of the other unrelated and related smaller story elements that truly make up the universe to happen. The difference between say d3 and the elderscrolls is that more things are happening than just the quest to save the world.

          • RakeShark says:

            Dunno, the last 3 Elder Scrolls games have been “So I decided to purge the world of Cliff Racers”, “So I decided to come out of the lake only at night to terrorize the locals”, and “So I decided to live like Bear Grylls with a bow’n'arrow”.

          • vorvek says:

            How’s that related to Daggerfall’s plot at all?

          • Safewood says:

            The ghosts only came out at night.

          • oqmvxwtr says:

            If everyone really did want those things they wouldn’t have bought the game without reading any of the news coverage first.

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uef17zYGYHnb8

        • psyk says:

          “The way I explain it to my friends who haven’t played the beta is that game is literally almost every genre in one”

          Sounds awful

          • vorvek says:

            I liked the football manager and dancing parts. Racing… not so much.

    • Reapy says:

      Oh balls, 3 days.

      Damnit.
      Need.
      More.
      Free time!

    • Nevard says:

      I think this is pure coincidence.
      I think launching WoW’s pre-expansion content patch on the exact same day that GW2 comes out for people who did not preorder it is not even slightly a coincidence.

  2. HexagonalBolts says:

    how about HAVING A DIFFICULTY OPTION

    • MrMud says:

      You realise that would require a redesign of the entire game from scratch.

      • mouton says:

        That’s the point. The whole diablo difficulty design is horrible. It broke Borderlands for me as well.

        It is an opinion, of course. Some people obviously like grinding from the lowest difficulty with each char and there is, ultimately, nothing wrong with it.

        • Ragnar says:

          Diablo 3′s Inferno doesn’t have difficulty, it has a grind. It’s not that things in Inferno get harder until you get better / better gear, it’s that things in Inferno get impossible until you get better gear.

          I don’t get the comparison to Borderlands. I beat the game, and all the DLC, without having to grind once. You could argue that Crawmerax is impossible to beat without the best gear / exploiting / playing a Siren, but he’s optional so it’s fine. If you want the extra challenge, he’s there waiting for you.

          You could argue that Inferno is optional, but it’s not just a special boss, it’s 25% of the whole game.

          • Baines says:

            I don’t know that I’d say it is broken for the same reasons, but Borderland’s difficulty level was certainly broken. Damage scaling was king.

            The game was designed for you to be at certain levels in each area. If you were underleveled, you’d either be unable to do anything, or you’d rocket up to meet the expected level. If you were overleveled, you coasted until/unless you fell back into the expected range. And the expected range was geared towards “fairly easy.”

            The higher difficulty on replays really meant nothing, because the expected level differences were so great. If you did manage to play it with that level difference, then the game would try to drift you towards the expected character level anyway. (I remember going into the Dr. Ned DLC fairly below the expected level curve, and it was fun and difficult, for a while. But the expansion eventually leveled me up to its expected character level, and gave me weapons for that level, and the game was back to being easy again. The rest of the expansion was shooting fish in a barrel.)

            And then there was the DLC. The replay difficulty levels were presumably based on just playing the core game. If you play the DLC, you rocket ahead of the curve, turning another play of the game into a cakewalk regardless.

            All of that is because Borderlands leveling system and how it didn’t have a real difficulty option.

    • derbefrier says:

      ummm it has 4 difficulty options

      • Grygus says:

        No, it doesn’t. It has escalating difficulty within the same game.

        If you decide to skip Inferno difficulty and replay Hell, you still gain experience. You still make level 60. But it gets much easier, and you’re still getting level 50 drops, because mobs and loot aren’t based on your level, but your progress. So even if you do this, you’re not experiencing Hell again, but something easier than that, because progress is inevitable.

        Saying that you can stop playing a game when it gets too hard isn’t the same thing as having difficulty settings.

  3. frightlever says:

    That Borderlands 2 idea for an almost impossible to beat boss seems like a good one, though I guess more casual D3 players would complain if there was content exclusively for players who want a challenge, particularly in light of how little real content there is.

  4. mr.ioes says:

    Is rubberbanding fixed already?

  5. royale says:

    Had fun with it until I ran into an unfair elite combination again.

    • tetracycloide says:

      Which one would that be?

      • derbefrier says:

        “unfair” is is casual speak for not being properly geared ;). I will admit I am glad to see invulnerable minions gone though, those were just annoying and i would usually just run past them

        • SkittleDiddler says:

          It’s more like casual speak for shitty game design.

    • piratmonkey says:

      Which combo? I’ve finally gotten around to clearing Inferno and haven’t run into an “unfair one” like vamp+reflect+plague+invulnerablwhile something equally horrible) but I’ve definitely hit some bastard tough ones.

  6. aliksy says:

    I don’t like how they did gear. The combination of boring items, rapid turn over for them, the auction house, and minimizing player skill/twitch input is a really bad one.

    Also the story was so bad it makes me not want to replay segments of the game.

    They should’ve just added an endless dungeon and been done with it.

    • HexagonalBolts says:

      They could have added loads of variation to lessen the grind – what about a town with an arena where endless hordes of bad guys poor at you? What about an evil dungeon where you face an increasingly nefarious stream of minibosses? Just something to break up the overwhelming monotony that occurs once all the games formula and numbers become painfully boringly obvious.

      • derbefrier says:

        and this is my biggest problem with the game, one i hope will be properly addressed in time. your completely right once you figure out these things the game becomes boring. I started out defending this new skill system but once i was able to really dig into it, it wound up being really disappointing in the end. There is just not a whole lot of depth to it. I think this patch is a nice step in correcting that especially with the changes in gear they have made. I haven’t completely given up hope as they really seem to be trying to fix the game, I think the hardest part is trying to please 10 million customers. I mean part of me wants them to just say fuck it and pick a side and go with it and damn the rest(regarding conflicting fan requests) at least then the game would have a clear direction.

        This trying to please everyone mentality just seems to water down the whole game. Its not a bad game, I would say its good even but that’s just it its only “okay” had their vision for this game have been clear from the beginning and not worrying about making all 10 million customers happy we could have ended up with something special.

    • dysphemism says:

      These are some of my top complaints, too. And, if I may add another layer, I was really disappointed that, for a game that touts its essential multiplayer-ness, there’s almost no interaction between players. It’s a game that in some ways wants to be an MMO, but then does away with the social and tactical (e.g. specialized roles) aspects of those games. It always felt like me and my buddies were just racing to DPS as fast as possible — it’s the difference between, say, playing team golf and playing football (American or otherwise). It’s the same game if you’re playing single as when you’re playing multiplayer.

  7. LegendaryTeeth says:

    Can I skip Normal or make it harder yet? I have no interest in D3 until I don’t have to grind through several hours of tedium on a hardcore character to get to something that’s actually dangerous.

  8. Faldrath says:

    In all fairness to Blizzard, they do seem to have fixed Witch Doctors. I no longer die every 2 minutes on inferno, and I can actually experiment with builds instead of being shackled to the only one or two that were possible pre- 1.0.4. And that without spending one bajillion gold on the AH, just using my non-optimized gear.

  9. Flappybat says:

    The impression I’ve been getting from all these patches and the heavy cuts before release is they really didn’t know what to do with the game and wanted to get the damn thing out after so long. Now the fresh perspective is letting them polish it to what it should have been at release.

    It’s a little weird but maybe it’s just that Blizzard are one of the few resource to post mortem their products to this extent.

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  11. Enzo says:

    Take your chill pill guys, Diablo 3 is pretty cool.

  12. MythArcana says:

    …and those 783 users will be right over to get that said update in a flash!

  13. namad says:

    how can a game with a 50hour tutorial be too hard? lolz

  14. Yosharian says:

    Woahhhhh Witch Doctor changes are fucking awesome!

  15. Zepp says:

    *New* Blizzard? Meh, fuck those losers.

  16. Walf says:

    It’s a pretty good patch so far. Drops are a lot better. I like the feeling of progression with the Paragon system, and it still seems challenging enough to me to were the game doesn’t feel like it was gutted. I dunno if it’ll keep me playing forever, but it’s a good step in the right direction.

    Here’s hoping this is the first of many updates with a high level of quality that were built from actually constructive fan feedback.

  17. Nallen says:

    The levels on which Jay ‘Fuck that loser’ Wilson does not understand the Diablo community are too many to count. Everyone wants Inferno to be hard, no one wants a terribly designed, grossly unfair system in which player skill is tossed out the window and the difficulty is down to a gear check alone and compounded by horrible hit detection, rubber banding, server timeouts, stealth changes etc etc.

    • Shooop says:

      If everyone really did want those things they wouldn’t have bought the game without reading any of the news coverage first.

      The majority of gamers are getting exactly what they want because they have awful taste.

      • Grygus says:

        Yes, the majority are getting exactly what they want, and that’s why Blizzard is making sweeping changes and talking about the problems with the game. Your smugness and apparent insecurity are not affecting your judgment one bit.

    • psyk says:

      “Diablo community are too many to count.”

      Just no

  18. FunkyBadger3 says:

    Are people still really playing this?

  19. RustyBotGames says:

    Only 48 comments on a Diablo article after over 6 hrs these days. I guess this game is pretty dead.
    I prefer Path of Exile, anyways, after the open beta weekend. Looks like I’m not the peer group for Diablo anymore.

    • Nevard says:

      I guess you haven’t been here long, people mainly only post comments on this site because they hate the game/developer/policy it is talking about and want to make sure everyone else is aware of it.

    • Iconik says:

      People come to to comment circlejerk on indies. Not big box games.

      Also, an obscure PC only blog that is more indie centric and based out of the UK (I think?) isn’t the best litmus test on a games popularity.

  20. Aardvarkk says:

    I love that alt-text, I think it’s the real story here.

  21. socrate says:

    every time i think about D3 i go hide in a corner in fetal position and cry slowly trying to forget again

    • spelvin spugg says:

      How exactly are people not seeing this? It’s the worst heavily hyped title since Dark Reign II.

  22. nipaa1412 says:

    nope still killing dragons

  23. luckystriker says:

    Christ, that’s a hell of a patch. Good enough to get me back in the game for a while at least. Beyond the obvious paragon levels and legendary item improvements, there’s a number of other significant updates which should make the game significantly more fun, such as:

    - Mob HP reduced when in group, providing more incentive for group play, no enrage timer
    - AH search function improvement
    - Massive buffs to all classes, at least to wizard, and Witch Doctor, the two higher-level classes I have, which should increase build options
    - Certain affixes combos now impossible

  24. Jarenth says:

    They actually sell imported cans of root beer in certain supermarkets here in the Netherlands. It’s a little flat, but it beats having to sit through a ten-hour flight every time I get the urge.

    What’s a Diablo? I don’t even know.

  25. spelvin spugg says:

    My desire to sit through another minute of this game is zilch. I would literally rather play Diablo 2 from beginning to end than spend another moment on this. What a pile of shit it was, and unfixable because the brokenness was on purpose.

  26. BluElement says:

    A bit off topic, but I used to get most of my gaming news from Joystiq, but I think I’m going to make the full move to RPS. Joystiq still has yet to even mention the existence of MineZ, which I read about here almost 3 weeks ago…

    But what really got it for me was the comments of this article. It was frustrating reading news on D3 on Joystiq because everyone was either a “fanboy” or a “hater”. No one was allowed to have opinions outside of those two groups. I usually fell into the “fanboy” category because I wouldn’t accept the trolling of the “haters”, and I’ve come to expect extreme sides in D3 articles.

    There is a huge amount of complaint comments about the game on RPS, but from what I’ve read so far, most of the commentors have real complaints and aren’t just hopping on the “I hate D3 bandwagon” as most Joystiq commentors seem to do, and I can respect that.

    So thank you, RPS community, for making my decision easier.

    Sorry. This was more than a “bit” off-topic. :P