A Month of Diablo: June 2012
In the beginning of the month, more posts about the then upcoming Patch 1.0.3 surfaced to shed more light on what the update strives to achieve. Prior to the patch, one of players’ biggest concerns was that melee classes could not progress as smoothly as ranged classes as Acts 2 and 3 mobs melted them before barbs and monks could close the gap and take a swing.
Three of the announced changes to the game made the melee players jump up in down and sing arias in encomium to Blizzard’s generosity. Those were 1) reduced damage and HP of mobs in acts 2-4 in Inferno; 2) reduced damage intake in co-op games; and 3) dumbing down the AI of pesky ranged mobs such as the wasps and lacuni huntresses in Act 2.
The result post-patch – the difficulty of Inferno is all what the stuck barbs and monks wished for. The gear check brick wall between acts was gone, transition was made seamless and even undergeared melees could progress without dying three feet away from city’s gates. It sounded wonderful but as you’ll see a few lines down the road, we asked ourselves was this really as great a decision as it was on paper.
Real money auction house. A devilish trident that Blizzard long craved to implement somewhere and have now rediscovered an appropriately named franchise that is to wield it.
At least that was what the evil tongues babbled from the day RMAH was announced till the day it launched, and after. We don’t know if Blizzard are evil and their cloak-and-dagger plan was to turn us all into gold farmers who work for company’s own prosperity but we do know that the RMAH had a smooth launch (compared at least to the fiasco from the first couple of weeks) and players are already making money out of it without zombifying and/or quitting their 9-to-5 jobs.
So it’s all alright, I guess? After all, if someone wants to buy my pixels for five mugs of beer, who am I to anathematize it?
We all suspected that Diablo III’s launch would make one or two people angry but in this case it was more of a one or two countries.
The first one was South Korea and the reason – the issue of malfunctioning servers which, due to lack of offline mode, made the game unplayable for many users and not just in Korea.
“Korea accounts for a large percentage of Blizzard’s total revenue, and considering how much domestic users contribute to the firm’s profit, its consumer services are severely disappointing,” IPCA (editor’s note – Internet and PC Culture Association) head Kim Chan-kuen told The Korea Times. “We are planning a class action lawsuit against Blizzard Korea, as users and PC room owners are suffering from constant server malfunctions and server check-ups for Diablo III while the company avoids responsibility.”
On June 19th, Blizzard agreed on refunding Diablo III copies to South Koreans if they meet a couple of conditions and apply within the indicated period.
Next on the line was the French "UFC Que Choisir" which received 1500 complaints within four days regarding the shaky servers of Diablo III. "UFC Que Choisir" asked Blizzard to provide a permanent solution to these problems and also pay damages to the gamers that have experienced troubles.
Finally, The Federation of German Consumer Organizations said that Blizzard is accountable for not clearly stating on the box that Diablo III requires internet at all times in order to be played. The company was given until July 15th to fix this, lest they have their game banned from the German market.
Just one day before Inferno got nerfed with Patch 1.0.3, Kripparrian and Krippi – a barbarian/wizard duo – achieved the world first Diablo Hardcore kill on Inferno. This happened 35 days after Diablo III’s launch and is a feat worthy of the records.
What is left for the Krip duo to do now? Last we heard from Kripparrian he said he would be doing a budget Inferno hardcore run so we might get something even more awesome to write about real soon. Clearing Inferno with 500K gold worth of gear? I can’t even beat softcore with that…
The first major patch for Diablo III arrived on June 21st with a sack full of game turning changes such as nerfed Inferno difficulty, adjusted drop rates, cheap artisans, new boss skills, bugged spells, expensive repairs and so on.
So far, the patch has been receiving quite a lot of praise. The top level players had already cleared everything that was to be cleared in the game and for the guys that were stuck in this act or the other this was an opportunity to make some progress.
Other characters, on the other hand, found the patch incredibly damaging. Glass cannon wizards, hunters and doctors saw their money disappear into the new gold sink. The increased attack speed nerf also put a stick in their wheels.
As of now, if one asks five different people about Patch 1.0.3 he/she might very well get seven different answers.
Did I already mention that not many people were too happy about the increased repair costs in 1.0.3? Because if the announcement of it brought just a minor frown on this or that face, having to actually experience the tolls made people articulate their aggravation in a louder tone. At some point, Bashiok had to jump in and defend this decision:
- "No one is going to like additional repair costs. I'm not sure how any feedback would be "Great, I really love paying more for repair costs." however, we have seen enough feedback and data to show that the ratio is pretty good as long as people aren't throwing their character's corpses against enemies. Death has meant nothing for a very long time now, and it's going to take some getting used to and just understanding that death is no longer something that just happens, it should be something you're really fighting to avoid, and potentially being smarter about tackling content you can actually tackle."
About 40 days after the launch of Diablo III, the high-achieving players began seeing the real problem of the game – complete and utter lack of endgame. When you’ve beaten everything that’s in the game, why would you feel obligated to farm for items?
Thus, two of the most well-known community figures Kripparrian and Athene each came out with a video with a handful of suggestions about how Blizzard can extend the life-cycle of Diablo III.
Improving the PvP experience, new levels of PvE grinding, what needs nerfing and why… It’s all there, just click the PLAY button.
Just at the end of the month we hunted down another interesting video by Nmitty which in 17 minutes gave Diablo’s players a concise yet very detailed guide on how to farm each act.
An absolutely must-watch video, especially for those out there who are very new to Inferno.
Our oven gave birth to two widely discussed articles during the last month. First, Devt had a swing at Patch 1.0.3 and analyzed why Blizzard’s original idea of Inferno sank into a swamp and was not taken well by the community. Was that a poor design decision by Blizzard? Devt seems to think so.
- “Blizzard's experiment of creating a super-hard, "proper" endgame has, to that extent, failed. It has failed to provide players with a reason to stay in Hell mode, as the current itemization favors item level over everything; aside from a very small amount of legendaries, there is simply no sub-60 gear worth using and thus farming. Since every player feels like they have to progress through Inferno, Blizzard has no other choice but to make it possible for them to do so, which further highlights the pointlessness of the other difficulties. Ironically enough, Inferno could have been fine the way they had intended it to be if they hadn't forced every single player into it; by making it the only thing worth your time once you hit 60, they left themselves no choice but to reduce the difficulty, thereby invalidating their own idea.”
Several days after the actual launch of 1.0.3, another author of GosuGamers came forth to give his opinion on how the new patch plays out. Nydra shares his experience (and frustration) about having to pay unearthly repair costs just to maintain his progress through a child's play Inferno, i.e. receiving a product devoid of all logic.
- "Dying one time had gotten me to a yellow durability and thus I was politely asked to pay over 20K in gold. Two hours of playtime and one death cost me 22,040 in game currency. Because, of course, it’s not just death you are paying for, it’s every single point of durability loss too and both of those have gone up 4-5 times in terms of cost. The game was blatantly stealing my money away just for playing it. With the actual Inferno challenge from before the patch irrevocably gone, it felt even more obscene. "