Tavern Talk Patch 2.1 and the Future of Diablo 3



Diablo 3 Tavern Talk Malthael banner

On Thursday, August 21st, we were invited to join Diablo 3 developers Wyatt Cheng, John Yang, and Don Vu for the first ever “Tavern Talk” as they answered questions from the community regarding the upcoming patch 2.1 and future changes to the game. The discussion was led by community representative, Brandy “Nevalistis” Camel and covered topics from Greater Rifts and a second life ability for the Barbarian to legendary weapon retooling and the ever so popular Crit Chance / Crit Damage conundrum. You can find the recording of the show below as well as our thoughts on the topics presented.

Seasons

  • Adventure mode will be unlocked at the start of the season – I think everyone is in agreement with the devs that if you are playing seasons you have likely completed the campaign already at least once if not a number of times. It also gives players a much more efficient route up to 70 where they can actually start completing challenges and jockeying for positions on the leaderboard.
  • No ladders – Apparently ladders aren’t nearly as fun to climb as we were lead to believe. There will not be a ladder that is determined by Paragon levels earned. This is just as well as challenges sound more entertaining and Paragon levels can then remain as a byproduct of gameplay rather that what you need to focus on attaining as most players already have a decent number of levels under their belt so the addition of seasons’ paragon levels would not hold enough benefit to warrant a player’s main attention.
  • Unique transmog set – Upon attaining level 70 with their toon in hardcore or softcore the player will receive a unique transmog for one type of gear (the first season will be the helm slot) in that game mode. This will encourage players to play both modes but does not require them to invest a lot of time in a game mode that they do not prefer to attain the season only reward. This will provide at least 9 seasons worth of content to play for and is a good addition and something everyone can attain.
  • Seasons will provide new legendary items – This would be more thrilling if the legendary items were season only but instead they will become available in normal gameplay after the season has completed. I don’t see this as drawing very many players. Those that play seasons will play because they are either highly competitive in nature, it will be their first time playing hardcore, or they will play to 70 for the transmog and then quit.
  • The Ultimate Evil Edition for Playstation 4 and Xbox 360 / One will not be receiving Seasons due to their offline mode and ability to dupe / modify items.

Skills / Attributes

  • Dexterity will now add one point of Armor per point of Dexterity – This is great for survivability of the squishier Demon Hunter class and will presumably make Monks the best tank in the game with a high Armor value and One with Everything now. It would be no surprise if we saw 2000 AR / 10,000 Armor monks in this next patch.
  • No further significant base boosts to skill damage is planned because it is unbalanced and Blizzard would rather encourage item variation to correct needs for increased skill damage. One example that was highlighted by John Yang during the broadcast was the “possible” introduction of a legendary that made Hammer of the Ancients hit for 3x damage to try and bring up the skill to a spot where the player would want to use it as their Fury spender.
  • Demon Hunter no longer has poison skills because they were uninteresting and were not widely being used.
  • Barbarians are getting a second life ability, or not – John Yang wants them to have it as a replacement for Nerves of Steel or included in a rework of Ruthlessness, however Wyatt Cheng was not convinced as the fact that they don’t have a “get out of jail free card” is partly what makes them unique. We’ll just have to wait and see. I think if we had that, we might see more Barbarians in Hardcore.
  • Block changed to a % rather than a flat rate – This will scale better in higher difficulties especially with the introduction of Greater Rifts. This change will not happen for awhile though as it would likely mean changes to players’ current gear and that has happened frequently as of late.
  • Crit Chance and Crit Damage Interaction – The devs want to get away from the mathiness but that is at its root, what makes the Diablo franchise so enjoyable, the calculations and the min/maxing are tried and true favorites and the franchise has already moved away from min/maxing skills. If min/maxing is taken off of gear entirely (which it looks like that is the direction it is headed) then the game just because a more grindy action game and looses a large part of what made it so great. Also, there would be no reason to frequent the forums as no player would need to put any amount of thought into the game anymore.
  • Wizards’ Familiar, Magic Weapon, and Armor abilities will be receiving updates to make them operate more like Mantras for the Monk – Hopefully this means they are just going to receive an Active ability in addition to the Passive bonus and not that you can only have one active without a four piece set bonus (might make Firebird’s actually useful though if that were the case).
  • Witch Doctor’s Wall of Zombies – Currently Wall of Zombies is not doing its job of protecting the player as enemies simply walk around it. The devs want to implement a Wall that encircles the Witch Doctor much like Nazeebo, the Witch Doctor in Heroes of the Storm.
  • Pets will no longer be able to be made invincible by a single game but are receiving a rework so that all are more viable at higher Greater Rift levels rather than being unusable after Floor 30 or so.
  • Sacrifice will now cause one zombie dog to run out and explode rather than all exploding at once and Witch Doctors just using heavy cooldown reduction to just alternate two buttons.

Dungeons / Events

  • Greater Rifts – The first half will be a trial to determine where the player will start in the Rift, whether it is on Floor 1 or Floor 40. This is nice and necessary as the amount of time it would take to progress through 40 levels of a Rift would be far too time consuming to ever finish in a single sitting.
  • The Cesspools – A new area for Patch 2.1 that will spawn in both Nephalem and Greater Rifts.
  • New bounties – New bounties will be introduced to add a bit of flavor to the likely by now monotonous grind of farming Horadric Cache’s. Act IV in particular will be receiving some new ones as well as some retooling of the monsters’ difficulty as while it is many players’ favorite Act aesthetically, few play in it due to the roughness of the enemies there.
  • The Infernal Machine Event will be staying the same – The gameplay of the Infernal Machine is not likely to change as, while it is was originally supposed to function as an end game feature and is still of moderate difficulty, the new end game is going to be Great Rifts.
  • The Vault – My favorite upcoming area by far, the Vault is home to the Baroness Greed,  the leader of the Treasure Goblin horde. If you are lucky, upon killing a treasure goblin, a portal will open up transporting you to the Vault where riches await. Even with it not being designed as a difficult dungeon it is estimated that as it is balanced currently, the Vault on T6, can give as high as 50+ million gold from a run!

Items

  • Smart drops also are designed to target your follower
  • There are no additional plans to increase the ability for a player to target specific legendary items – Kadala was the developers answer for this need and serves as a good midway point between being able to just craft every piece of gear and pick every stat that it rolls and having to search for the next year just to find a, likely flawed, copy of an item. It is designed to neither be too hard or too easy and to prevent players from being on a schedule, simply grinding time knowing that in two weeks they will have the item they are looking for. It also gives them the chance to try new stuff that they find in the meantime, hopefully leading to increased build diversity. Personally, I think we will have to wait until all legendaries / set items provide worthwhile unique effects to truly have build diversity.
  • Swapping items in Greater Rifts is blocked – The reason for this is for the same reason as Magic Find was removed. Because gear swapping isn’t fun and when everyone does it, it simply becomes an unpleasant mechanic that you have to do to keep up. So why not simply remove it entirely?
  • Introduction of a 6 piece bonus to vanilla sets – Many of the vanilla sets are not on par with the current 6 piece set bonuses and so should be brought up to be viable. The only set that all of them currently surpass is the almost entirely useless Firebird’s set (only reason to use it would be if you really want the 500 Int bonus and were going to use Firebird’s Eye for the % fire damage increase anyway).
  • Raiment of a Thousand Storms is currently the weakest set and more legendaries are planned to synergize with it.
  • All seasons will have legendaries that can be found during the season but then once the season ends they will become available in the normal Hardcore and Softcore game modes.
  • Legendary gems are being introduced in Patch 2.1 and will be able to drop at Greater Rift Floor 0. However, upgrade chance will be determined based on the level of Floor that has been completed. Legendary gems will no longer scale infinitely. Had infinite gem scaling been in place it would have required that the gem scale by such small amounts that the player would no longer feel the need to upgrade it, similar to Paragon levels where they are simply a byproduct of grinding rather than the goal. Hopefully more gems will be introduced as time passes otherwise it is likely that, that gameplay feature will become stale.
  • Hellfire Amulet– Looks absolutely amazing! With the guaranteed roll of a class passive it instantly the amulet best in slot. Though it will be hard as anything to roll a perfect one with needing all for primaries (% elemental damage, crit chance, crit damage, and primary stat) and then one of the four right passives it will be an RNGesus nightmare. Well, better get grinding for Infernal Machine keys.
  • You will now be able to transmog class set items and if you put an item onto a class that does not have access to that set item it will just not show on the player.

TL;DR

The devs talked about lots of stuff. No love for the wizard. See the full list of patch notes here and check out the recording above. Starting at midnight there will also be a 50% multiplicative gold buff through the weekend. Happy farming. Oh, and no release date as of yet but hopefully still before the end of the month.

What do you wish the devs would have touched on during their live session? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

About Matt Merlenbach

Matt Merlenbach is the founder of MetaGamr. He loves RPG's and fears no gazebo. Connect with him at the links below:

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