Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Diablo 3: My Thoughts On Patch 1.0.4

With what was seemingly no hope in sight, Diablo 3 rapidly became a game that I stopped playing. Even though I hadn't completed Inferno Mode, there wasn't exactly much endgame content. While I understand that for the Diablo series endgame wasn't a thing until content like Uber Tristram was released (and even then it wasn't much), but due to various factors, such as the Real Money Auction House, ladder resets are virtually impossible, requiring some sort of alternative to extend the lifespan of the game.

This issue was addressed a lot earlier than I expected, as I was thinking the so-called "PvP patch" that is 1.1 would promise a form of "endgame." In a patch with a surprising amount of class changes and quality of life changes to Legendaries to not only make them stronger than Rare items, but also give them unique qualities that are truly legendary, another piece of content, known as Paragon Levels (similar to some community suggestions), looks to be a way to add an enormous amount of character progression even after the level cap (and the community have made some similar suggestions regarding this).

With that said, let's look at some of the more important highlights of this week's patch notes:

(TL;DR version: If you own the game take a look at the updates and see if you like the changes. It's not like it costs anything. I would wait if you haven't bought the game yet though.)


Paragon Levels Added:
  • After a player reaches level 60, killing monsters and completing combat challenge streaks (Killing Blow, Massacre, etc)  will begin to award experience towards Paragon levels
  • Each of the 100 Paragon Levels will award stats similar to leveling up and 3% Gold/Magic Find.
  • In addition, a distinctive border will surround your character portrait in the in-game party frame to denote your Paragon progression, with a new frame earned after every ten levels. Your Paragon level will also be visible to other players wherever your normal level is shown.
This change, announced only recently, promises to be one of the most important changes to Diablo 3. It makes playing the game (even if you still have trouble progressing through the Acts) rewarding because you now invest some experience gains towards Paragon Levels, which will be helpful in the long run.

Keep in mind that stats given while leveling up is very small (about 1 or 2 points into each stat) so it won't be extremely broken to grind Paragon Levels. In addition, getting Paragon Levels is going to require an insane amount of experience (said to be in the billions), supposedly taking as long as two years of dedicated gameplay to get to Paragon Level 100. Regardless, I probably won't be one of the people grinding to Paragon Level 100 (I'm too busy with other games) but may casually play Diablo 3 again to get some Paragon Levels to help with my Magic Find, especially due to other changes. Who needs ladder resets now, right?
  • Pets with passive life regeneration (most notably Followers, Zombie Dogs, and Gargantuans) have had their life regeneration greatly increased from levels 30-60
  • Most, if not all, area of effect abilities do 90% less damage to pets and followers.
These changes mostly related to quality of life changes to pets and followers. Not only are they now more difficult to kill from collateral damage (no more of the Templar dying to Plagued elites!), but pets and followers will now heal a bit faster, keeping the theme of a fast-paced game.
Nephalem Valor now grants +15% Bonus Experience per stack, as well as +15%  to Magic Find and Gold Find
Keeping with the Paragon Levels implementation, Nephalem Valor granting experience bonuses seems logical. It might also reduce the grind time too for players who can manage the buff well.
Magic Find will now cap at 300% (Nephalem Valor bonuses will still stack beyond this cap)
While this change is said to wean players off Magic Find equipment (which is a shame to all those people who dropped a ton of gold on Magic Find gear), it's probably to keep the more uncommon equipment from dropping far too often keeping the Auction Houses in check (although there are still some problems). Keep in mind this means at Paragon Level 100, you don't need Magic Find gear and the maximum possible Magic Find is 375%.
Magic Find is no longer averaged among all players in a multiplayer game
A fair change that prevents people with high Paragon Levels from becoming a commodity.
A new tutorial about "Elective Mode" will now appear when a player enters Nightmare, Hell, or Inferno difficulty for the first time
I really appreciate this change because to be honest, I had no clue what Elective Mode really was until around halfway through Nightmare. That tutorial near the start of the game went right over my head.

Auction House

Auctions can now be cancelled at any point so long as they do not have any active bids
This is something I've been waiting for! I even made a mention of a similar suggestion in one of my earlier articles. This will make it auctions that aren't selling replaceable with other auctions that might.
Number of "Preferred Stats" allowed per search increased from 3 to 6
Though not exactly what I was looking for, this is a good change anyways because items can only have that many attributes on them anyways.
Stat increases which come from slotted gems are no longer taken into account when searching for equipment
Another change to the Auction House search functionality that I wanted. This must've been suggested a lot because I pretty much word for word made this suggestion.
The maximum stack size of gold per listing has been increased from 100,000 to 1,000,000
This applies to the Real Money Auction House's gold selling functionality. The stack size was probably increased due to the amount of gold flowing through the Diablo 3 economy (whether it's all legitimately acquired is another story), driving gold prices right through the floor. I kind of wish they'd find some ways to deflate the economy, however, due to this and other issues.
The Auctions tab and Completed tab will now refresh when a player’s item has been purchased
This is helpful because Auctions and Auction Winnings can now be obtained much faster (before the refresh timer was noticeably longer).
Players can now search for stats on Legendary items
This change is extremely helpful because Legendary items tend to roll attributes with significant variance. This will likely be even more so with the Legendary item changes.
"Attack Speed" is now a searchable affix for quivers
Excellent change because to be honest there is a significant difference between having a 14% attack speed quiver and a 15%+ attack speed quiver.

  • The "Report Spam" option is now available in the main menu when right-clicking on a player's name (rather than being hidden in the "Report" sub-menu)
  • Reporting another player for chat spam using "Report Spam" option will now also temporarily mute that player for the duration of your login session
Both of these are helpful changes that will be nice for dealing with the pesky advertising spammers. There's similar functionality for the latter in World of Warcraft already though, which makes me wonder why it wasn't this way when the game went live.
Shift-left-clicking on a player’s name will now display the following information: [Name]: [Level][Mode][Class] – [Act (difficulty)] (i.e. "[Pixie]: Level 45 Hardcore Barbarian – Act I (Nightmare)")
Another implementation taken straight from its sister game World of Warcraft. This is essentially the equivalent of /who.


Most of these changes were bug fixes. It is interesting that some boss projectiles can be slowed though, but nothing more notable than that.

Crafting and Followers
A repair tab has been added to the Blacksmith
I strongly agree with this change. It makes sense that a blacksmith should repair.
The last follower a player had active in a single-player game will now be restored automatically after leaving a multiplayer game
This is a convenient change. It means you don't have to "rehire" your follower every time you do Multiplayer games. It got a little (unnecessarily) annoying after awhile.
The frequency of follower dialog has been reduced
While this didn't bother me, I can understand why this change was made. The followers had a tendency to talk every minute or half minute or something like that.


All level 60- 62 damage affixes have had their Minimum and Maximum top-end damage values increased (reducing the gap between such items and level 63 items).
I like this change because I generally favor using such items (level 63 items have a tendency to be annoyingly expensive). I agree that the damage differences was too significant.
Two-handed melee weapons have made more viable:
  • Two-handed melee weapons can now roll their own affixes for core stats (up to 70% more) as well as higher damage values (as compared to one-handed melee weapons)
  • + Crit Damage, Life on Hit, Life After Each Kill, and Life Steal values can now roll up to 200%
This is another change I really like because I found 2-handed weapons for melee to be downright underwhelming beyond belief. This doesn't affect ranged weapons because of items like quivers.
  • All off-hand items (mojos, orbs, quivers, shields) can now roll Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence, and Vitality in the same ranges as Armor and Weapons
  • Off-hands can now roll Reduced Level Requirement
I am almost certain this is a buff. It makes the usage of such off-hand items a (potentially difficult) choice (especially since two-handed weapons have also been strengthened).
Repair costs have been reduced by up to 25% for item levels between 53 and 63
It seems that enough of the community has expressed their disagreements with the previous repair cost change. I think this is a step in the right direction of making fair repair costs. In fact, this reduction may put repair costs in a good place.
  • Weapon racks have had their weapon drop rate restored to 100%, though weapons are more likely be of Common quality (white or grey items)
  • Destructible objects now have a chance to drop items again
I'm glad to see this sort of thing coming back. Reverting the previous changes was a good call, even if it isn't as profitable as it was prior to patch 1.0.3.
The text color of gems, potions, crafting pages and tomes dropped on the ground has been changed from white to light blue
These items should be easier to notice now when dropped. I wish they'd increase the value of white items a bit though since white (common) items are now almost completely useless.
The maximum stack size of gems has been increased from 30 to 100
This is a great change. It means I won't have to use half of a stash page to hold gems.

Legendary Items

These changes are technically part of a subsection, but there's so many significant changes it warrants its own section for review.
  • Custom proc effects have been added to over 50 Legendary items and Set item bonuses
  • All Legendary items will now roll with at least one of the following affixes to ensure that their DPS is viable: +Elemental Damage, +Attack Speed, +Critical Damage, +%damage, Has Sockets
  • Affix values on Legendary items are no longer demoted and will now roll at their maximum potential
  • Many lower level Legendary items have had their affix count increased to 6
  • Legendary items based on Uniques from previous Diablo games have received a tuning pass to make their stats more reflective of their ancestors 
  • The chance for a Legendary item to drop that's below an item level of 50 has been increased
  • Item level 63 Legendary items have been added to the game
These are a bunch of awesome changes. I like how they not only made Legendary items stronger in general, but added special procs to some (in the form of summons, etc). In addition, the item level 63 Legendaries mostly take the form of the current class sets (which were item level 61) which may guarantee they are among the best pieces of gear to acquire. The increase in drop chance for lower level Legendaries is also nice because they just seem nonexistent from my playthroughs and their value drops off anyways.


There are a huge amount of monster changes but there's some clear general trends, so in some cases, instead of just posting the values, I'll just write some general statements that sum up the changes and discuss those instead.
  • Monsters across the game have had a pass to make their experience and loot rewards more proportional to the effort required to kill them
  • Normal monsters should now drop Magic (blue) items and Rare (yellow) items approximately 4 times more than before
The former change seems alright. It normalizes loot drops based on the difficulty of mobs, making it so one cannot constantly farm weaker mobs, but also gives a good reason to challenge oneself by fighting the more difficult mobs when possible.

The latter change is just awesome, though I wonder what sort of impact it will have on the amount of Magic and Rare items flowing into the economy especially given last patch. Either way, there's pretty much no excuse to skip past normal monsters now.
  • Experience awarded by level 61-63 monsters has been increased by approximately 60%
  • Bonus health granted to monsters in co-op games has been reduced to 75% per additional player for all difficulties:
The first change is to account for Paragon Levels, since technically the monsters have an experience award but it's probably only slightly higher than monsters on Hell mode.

The latter change seems like a pretty huge nerf (especially since on Inferno, it's an additional 105% health per player) that will make co-op even simpler.
General monster nerfs and Inferno nerfs, such as health reductions to monsters on Act I Inferno. Some specific monsters, like Rockworms and Herald of Pestilence, also received nerfs.
These nerfs may seem like a little too much, especially for Inferno Mode, which already received nerfs. I hope they release some endgame content quick because considering how irrelevant Inferno Mode has already become prior to this patch (and it is now even more so).


There's not all that much in terms of changes to questing. Just some quality of life fixes to rewards to prevent abuse or otherwise properly award players during their first play through.

User Interface

The ability to drag-and-drop skills in Elective Mode will now only be enabled while the Skill window is open
This should probably be listed as a bug fix because I think the skills should lock no matter what if the skill window is open. The reason this was implemented is because moving abilities off the action bars resulted in a loss of the Nephalem Valor buff.

Class Balance

While I could go in-depth on this section, it would probably require another article to review because class changes are extensive (though some of the changes are quite uniform). In addition, there are many previews that explain it well and I highly recommend reading them (there is a list here).

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