Diablo was the awkward child of this BlizzCon. With WoW's expansion coming soon and StarCraft's Legacy of the Void now being shown off, Diablo is the only currently-released game without a paid update on the horizon. I figured another expansion would be announced this weekend, but between a new game, movie news and the like, nothing was forthcoming. When asked, the reply was "nothing to announce." Instead, the panel on Friday was focused on upcoming patches, the next of which is 2.1.2, and what changes they'll bring. Check out the details below.
The theme was diversifying what was already available. The dev team kicked off by showing new versions of the treasure goblin, Diablo's running loot-piñata. There are now three variations on the theme that drop late-game currency blood shards, reagents or gems rather than the regular gold 'n' items haul. They'll also now be actively seeking out enemies to run towards, rather than in a random pattern, which was always their most frustrating/fun feature when it occurred by accident previously.
The endgame rifts are getting the most changes. The maps themselves are having their algorithms rearranged to prevent massive corridors leading to dead ends or big loops that take a long time to navigate. This was part of a series of changes that are meant to prevent uncontrollable variables from influencing the time-trial style challenges in Greater Rifts. In that vein, players can now resurrect at their corpse rather than having to run back from the start of a level and monster distribution and density as been tweaked to be consistent, but still random.
Additions are coming in the form of a new item tier called "Ancient", aimed at players who have already maxed out their character and need something new to hunt for. These are upgraded versions of legendaries which are "up to 30% better" statistically. They're very rare, a percentage of the already-quite-small chance that a legendary will drop. New and tweaked bosses for rifts are planned for rifts too.
Past the next patch, there's a new area in the works. The Ruins of Sesheron (top class Blizzard naming there) are the homelands of the Barbarians, one of Diablo's classes. They were destroyed by demons (natch) but will now be explorable in adventure mode as opposed to the previous added zone, The Cesspools, which were only available as a tileset in Rifts. It'll have new monsters present, like the Rat King, an orifice-covered horror from which rats spew that throws out "rat tornados" of rats tied at the tails. Rats.
2.1.2 will be hitting public test "very soon(tm)" while others will spread into next year.