As promised, Blizzard came out with a detailed article on what will change in Diablo III as the next patches start raining. Tweak to Inferno, lowered crafting costs and buffed up legendaries are but of the few.
On average players have created 3 characters each
80% of characters are between levels 1 and 30
1.9% of characters have unlocked Inferno difficulty
54% of Hardcore players chose a female character
The majority of Hardcore deaths (35%) occur in Act I Normal
The most common level 60 build in the game is only used by 0.7% of level 60 characters of that class (not including Passive diversity)
The most used runes for each class at level 60 are Barbarian: Best Served Cold, Demon Hunter: Lingering Fog, Wizard: Mirror Skin, Monk: Peaceful Repose, Witch Doctor: Numbing Dart
Regarding the changes to Lingering Fog, Boon of Protection, and Force Armor: we determined these skills were simply more powerful than they should be, and we felt their impact on class balance and how each class was perceived warranted hotfixes as soon as we were able. However, we don't want you to be worried that a hotfix nerf is lurking around the corner every day. If a skill is strong, but isn't really breaking the game, we want you to have your fun. Part of the enjoyment of Diablo is finding those super-strong builds, and we want players to be excited to use something they discovered that feels overpowered. A good example of this is the monk Overawe rune, which many players have identified as being quite good. We agree it's good, but we don't think it's so far out of line that we're going to swoop in and hotfix it out of existence.
Inferno itself will see changes
Inferno is intended to be extremely difficult, but with some specific skills, a few classes were simply able to progress far more easily than intended. This made the classes, which were about where they were supposed to be, seem very underpowered. It also created the perception that the classes doing well were intended to rely on specific runes in all their builds, and the other classes were just broken. This is the opposite of what’s true. If any single skill or rune feels absolutely required to progress, it means that skill is working against our goal of encouraging build diversity -- and those “required” skills need to be corrected. We know these hotfixes snuck up on people, and it took us a day or so to communicate that they had gone live. However, our intent moving forward is that when there are circumstances where a hotfix is necessary, we’ll communicate changes that could impact your ability to play your class through ‘Upcoming Changes’ posts in the General forum. Ideally, we’ll let you know as soon as we even have the idea that we want to make that kind of change.
as the overflow of damage "spikiness" is one of the main areas to be adjusted with patch 1.0.3., as well as making more aggressive builds also viable instead of having the player to just rely on purely defensive skill sets.
We've also seen some people saying our intention with Inferno is just one-shot you to make it difficult. While damage is a bit spikier than we'd like, we're actually seeing a pretty significant number of people attempting Inferno without sufficient gear. There's a good chance that returning to the previous Act to farm upgrades will do the most to help you survive. That said, we’d like to shift some of the focus away from survival and more toward using a variety of offensive tactics to succeed. Survival will still be important, but finding ways to maximize your damage while staying alive is more exciting. We’re not particularly concerned with whether or not a boss is “beatable,” though it should feel epic and challenging to defeat it. We’re more concerned with ensuring that acquiring 5 stacks of Nephalem Valor and taking on as many Champions and Rares as you can remains the most challenging and rewarding way to play.
On itemization and crafting
, Blizzard had this to say
One problem we’ve seen -- and intend to correct quickly -- is players comparing high-level Magic (blue) items to lower-level Legendary items as “proof” of an imbalance. To help correct misconceptions of the actual stat budgets allocated to items, we’ll be exposing item levels (ilvl) of 60+ items in patch 1.0.3. Comparing an ilvl 63 blue to an ilvl 60 Legendary will hopefully make a bit more sense afterward. In addition, we’re planning to just straight-out buff Legendary items in a future patch, likely the PvP patch (1.1). These buffs will not be retroactive, and so they’ll only apply to new Legendary items found after the patch. In the long term, we’re looking at simply expanding the affix diversity and unique bonuses of Legendary items, and we’ll be able to share more details after the PvP patch.
Other areas of concern have been both the gem combination system and Blacksmith leveling and crafting costs. The intent, especially with the Blacksmith, is that he’s leveling with you, you’re able to use him as an alternate source for upgrades. Our design goal is that once you get to level 60, his recipes are actually good enough to help fill a character’s potential itemization gaps. To correct these issues, we’re looking to adjust the Blacksmith costs for training (gold and pages) and crafting from levels 1-59, and reduce the cost of combining gems so that it only requires two gems instead of three (up to Flawless Square). Both of these changes are scheduled for patch 1.0.3.
Even more game changes will come with the PvP patch (time frame for release not specified), even once not related to the PvP experience.