Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Diablo 3: Patch 1.0.3 Released - Where's My Gold?

It's that time of the week again when Blizzard does maintenance and/or applies patches. This week, patch 1.0.3, which brings forth a number of changes such as a nerf to Inferno Mode. With responses both positive and negative (though since I browsed the official forums, I've seen more negative responses), I will review some of the more notable changes and give my thoughts on them. If you want the full list of changes, check here.

To prevent monsters from being unintentionally kited into town from other areas of the game, portals have been placed at both ends of the bridge from New Tristram to The Weeping Hollow. Towns have always been intended to be a safe haven from combat, and this change will help keep the denizens of New Tristram safe from the dangers that lurk beyond its walls.
    To be honest this change doesn't surprise me. I actually used areas similar to this as shown in this video, which I recently wrote an article about. Not all the areas have been fixed (Alcarnus, for instance, is still subject to this kiting trick).
    The rewards provided for replaying quests have been reduced
      This is probably a change that should've been implemented long ago. In fact, I think this change may have been hotfixed in at some point and this note is here to assert the fix has been done. It shouldn't be possible to farm insane amounts of gold by spamming an easy quest, so I agree with this change.

      Chat settings and preferences will now be saved whenever you log out
        At first glance it doesn't look like a big change, but it's big in the sense Blizzard is finally sorting out options and settings. Maybe there's positive more changes on the horizon.
        Reporting another player using the Report > Spam option will now mute that player for the duration of your gaming session
          This feature should've really been around since the game was released considering World of Warcraft has the feature. Why they only implement it now is beyond me, but at least I can block spammers now.

          Some other changes worth noting are:
          • Real ID inferface has been updated to look cleaner and more refined.
          • You can now type /1 to quickly chat in General Chat, unlike before.
          Class Changes 
          There's a few gamechanging fixes here. Take note I'm not going over all the changes.

          Relentless (Passive): Now reduces the Fury cost of all skill by 75%, down from 100% (the 50% damage reduction remains unchanged)
            This change is understandable. Having abilities cost no Fury by being at a certain health threshold seems all kinds of cheap to the point that staying at that health range has the potential to trivialize encounters, so reducing the capacity to do helps a bit.

            Demon Hunter
            Caltrops – Jagged Spikes: Effect will now only stack up to 10 times on a single target
              I used to run this ability and rune and destroyed stationary targets, so I can completely understand this nerf.
              Elemental Arrow - Nether Tentacle: Tentacles will now only hit each target once
                This is a really huge nerf to this rune. While I understand the rune was downright ridiculous, especially against huge targets or elites with Missile Dampener (Nether Tentacles can literally instagib such elites) by allowing many, many hits, which resulted in making Demon Hunters deal an inordinate amount of damage, this nerf makes the Nether Tentacle rune one of the worst runes for Elemental Arrow.

                Monks can now use two-handed axes, two-handed maces, and two-handed swords
                  This change makes me happy as a Monk but also as a person who sells high Dexterity melee weapons. Some of them will finally have a use (beyond Salvaging).

                  Attack Speed bonus values on weapons and armor have been reduced by 50% (Quivers are not affected).
                    This is the promised attack speed nerf per their article on patch 1.0.3. If you were stacking attack speed, expect to lose a good amount of your DPS.
                    High-end items (items level 61-63) will now drop in all Acts of Inferno and Acts III and IV of Hell difficulty
                      Another promised change as per the aforementioned article. I think the change is decent, although it might allow players to get high-end items too easily when coupled with other changes (you can farm Act 1 for item level 63 items now, for instance). Check the patch notes for the full statistics of item drop rates.
                      Repair costs have been increased for item levels between 53 and 63
                        Yet another promised change from the Design Preview. Repair costs have been increased by roughly 4-5 times what it originally was. I have some huge problems with this change, and, in my opinion, it is the main reason I dislike this patch. Consider this quote:
                        "...and because of that we see a lot of people wonder if 'graveyard zerging' tough enemies or 'chain rezzing allies on a boss' is intended gameplay – it definitely is not. To help solve the issue we evaluated a number of new death mechanics, such as just allowing the resurrection timer to increase even higher, disallowing resurrection during boss fights, or putting a debuff on you when you resurrect (such as reduced combat effectiveness)...
                        ...Repair costs on level 60 items are going to go up a lot. Our goal is the next time a player is graveyard zerging a boss, it should occur to them that 'this is probably not an efficient way to go about things'..."
                        This means the repair cost change was mostly made to prevent behavior like graveyard zerging and making death more penalizing. However, the repair costs also affect fighting in general because equipment degrades over time anyways. In addition, if graveyard zerging was really the problem, there are some far better solutions than making repair costs increase by such a large amount. Aside from the other suggestions (which I think are also god awful), I have devised one that should work:
                        • When allies resurrect you, have a timer penalty that also increases (it is far shorter and independent of the normal resurrection timer) up to a maximum of some amount of time like 10 seconds. This way players can't just chain resurrect each other. In addition, the design could have this resurrection timer be party-wide.
                        • Since graveyard zerging really screws over elite and champion packs, and because they have now been more or less nerfed, I think it's safe to say if you can't beat the packs in a couple of attempts, you should start over. Have elite and champion packs reset their health in a much shorter time and prevent NPCs like Leah from continuing to fight when the entire group is dead (or at least prevent them from stopping a health reset). An additional variant to consider is making elites and champions berserk faster as the amount of player deaths to that particular pack increases (in Inferno Mode) to prevent group zerging. On top of this, the packs may need to reset their location.
                        As a final note, this change does not just affect end-game players, as players venturing through Hell Mode can easily find items in the aforementioned item level range, so this change punishes players before they even reach level cap.
                        -Magic Find will no longer be considered when looting objects in the environment such as chests, barrels, vases, pots, and corpses.
                        -Destructible objects no longer have a chance to drop items, and will only have a small chance to drop gold when destroyed.
                        I put these changes together because they're pretty much related to each other. This is essentially a nerf to finding items from containers and destructible objects (although to be honest I mostly found gold from destructible objects anyways). The magic find not working on containers hurts a lot, since I actually found Legendary items from some containers.
                        -The item quality of all components needed to craft the Staff of Herding, as well as the Staff of Herding itself, have been changed from Common to Legendary (i.e. their item names will appear orange in color)
                        -The Staff of Herding can no longer be salvaged or dropped
                        This set of changes is pretty simple to explain. It prevents those nightmare stories where people accidentally threw out their Staff of Herding because they thought it was another common item (common equipment is close to completely useless in Diablo 3).
                        Unique monsters in Hell and Inferno difficulty are no longer guaranteed to drop two Magic items when slain
                        This change pretty much stops players from farming Unique monsters for salvageable equipment.
                        Damage Over Time (DoT) skills will now properly benefit from items with the +Critical Chance affix
                        A very helpful (bug) fix that benefits DoT usage.


                        -The gold cost to level the Blacksmith has been reduced by 50%
                        -The number of Pages of Blacksmithing, Tomes of Blacksmithing, or Tomes of Secrets required to level the Blacksmith has been reduced
                        Not too helpful for me, but very nice considering how much it costs to level up the Blacksmith.
                        -The gold and material crafting costs for all items level 1-59 have been reduced by 50% to 75%
                        -The number of Pages of Blacksmithing and Tomes of Blacksmithing required to craft items level 1-59 has been reduced
                        Considering I made a similar suggestion in one of my articles, I am very happy to see a change (actually many crafting changes in this patch are similar to the ones I made in that article).
                        Items with 3 affixes no longer require Pages of Blacksmithing or Tomes of Blacksmithing to craft
                        A nice change that also cuts down on crafting costs.
                        -The gold cost of crafting items with 4 affixes and 5 affixes (including items in Inferno difficulty) has been reduced
                        -Weapon crafting costs have been reduced
                        More crafting cost reductions are good to have. They're very substantial too.
                        The chance for level 60 items to produce Legendary crafting materials when salvaged has been reduced
                        I think this is fair. Legendary items shouldn't be easy to acquire, and that also means it should be harder to craft them.

                        The gold and material cost to combine gems ranks 2-8 has been reduced
                        A change that was promised in the Design Preview that I highly anticipated. Such a change was also present in my list of suggestions.


                        There's a lot of changes to the bosses, although nothing that pertains to giving bosses too many additional abilities. Most of the changes are quality of life fixes or rebalancing changes that put bosses on par with each other, especially in Inferno Mode.

                        Elite packs (Champion/Rare) now drop an additional item for players with 5 stacks of Nephalem Valor, which is guaranteed to be of Rare quality
                         I really like this change. It makes it so farming elites is even more rewarding. I wonder what the effect of Magic Find is on this change, however.
                        Damage from monsters in Acts II, III, and IV in Inferno difficulty has been reduced
                        This is the promised change to Inferno Mode that should make the difficulty curve more fair.
                        -Colossal Golgor base damage has been reduced
                        -Herald of Pestilence tentacle attack damage has been reduced
                         I agree with both of these changes. I'm usually on the receiving end of the Herald of Pestilence's attacks in particular and die extremely fast to them.
                        Plagued, Arcane Enchanted, and Electrified monsters no longer have resistance to Poison, Arcane, and Lightning damage (respectively)
                        A fair change. Certain playstyles shouldn't be punished in this sort of way.
                        Leaders of Invulnerable Minions packs have had their health pools reduced
                        I love this change. I hate Invulnerable Minion packs for the reason it was essentially the equivalent of killing 1.5 packs without this affix because of how much health the leader had.
                        Mortar monsters can now hurl projectiles farther, but their minimum range has also been increased by 100%
                        Not a bad change. Makes Mortars harder to outrange and kite around. I have other things to say about the Mortar affix, however.
                        Fixed a bug where Sandwasp projectiles could sometimes become invisible
                        If you were wondering why you were dying to these monsters randomly, this is probably why... At least it's been fixed now.


                        And that's most of Patch 1.0.3 for Diablo 3 summed up and analyzed. I didn't go over everything here so make sure to check out the full patch notes above. Overall, I thought the patch would've been a really good one were it not for some specific changes like the repair cost change. In addition, because the patch did not address issues (though it came close) involving affixes and unique boss mechanics, I will still be writing an article about it in the future.

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