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d3 PTR Patch Notes:

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Build 41863 has been deployed to Public Test Realms. We're getting a new Legendary gem. Here are the complete Patch Notes with the latest changes highlighted in red.

Blizzard LogoBlizzard Entertainment


  • New Feature: 20th Anniversary Event
    • A mysterious group of Cultists is stirring up trouble! Hunt them down in Adventure Mode to uncover clues that reveal a portal into Tristram’s past, and rediscover the terrifying darkness that took hold of the town so many years ago…
    • This event is only available in January
      • Please note that the anniversary event features a pre-cursor event

      • This will start a few hours before the rest of the event is available on the PTR

  • Hardware Support
    • Support has been added for the Corsair Utility Engine (CUE) SDK and Razer peripherals
      • Supported backlit keyboards will respond to certain in-game situations like Legendary and Set item drops, characters leveling up, and more
      • Players will need to update their firmware for supported devices to use this feature
    • Added a 64-bit client as default for 64-bit Microsoft Windows operating systems
      • With this, players should see improvements to system performance and faster loading times
      • This change uses DirectX 11 natively, which brings support for normal maps, per pixel lighting and improved anti-aliasing options
      • The 32-bit client is still available as an option through the Launcher
    • Added a screen space ambient occlusion (SSAO) pixel shader option
    • Added a large cursor option
    • Improved support for 60Hz+ monitors
  • Bug Fixes
    • (PTR Only) Fixed a variety of issues causing client crashes, improving overall stability
    • (PTR Only) Fixed an issue preventing the SSAO feature from being disabled correctly
    • (PTR Only) Fixed an issue causing the gamma slider in the 64 bit client to work incorrectly


  • Barbarian
    • Overpower
      • Now has 3 charges
      • Cooldown per charge remains 12 seconds with a chance to be reduced slightly by critical strikes
  • Bug Fixes
    • Fixed an issue which caused Wave of Light to sometimes fail to deal damage when players were under the effect of Epiphany
    • Fixed a bug which prevented a Hydra from being spawned when two Mirror Images attempted to cast Summon Hydra at the same time
    • Fixed an issue which caused the active effect of Earth Ally and Fire Ally to not benefit from Attacks Per Second or +Mystic Ally damage
    • Fixed an issue which prevented the Archon version of Teleport from correctly incorporating the player’s attacks per second
    • (PTR Only) Fixed an issue that prevented Grenades from dealing Area Damage
    • (PTR Only) Fixed an issue that prevented Grenades from utilizing Life on Hit
    • (PTR Only) Fixed an issue which prevented critical strikes from correctly resetting the recharge time on Overpower


  • Legendary Items
    • Red Soulstone Shard
      • New Legendary Gem
        • Periodically struggle for control, unleashing a ring of Fire that inflicts 1000% 12,500% weapon damage to enemies it passes through
          • With the above change, the primary effect of the gem deals significantly more damage at the gem’s base level, but scales more slowly with additional levels
        • After gaining a level, your resource costs are removed and cooldowns on skills are reduced by 75% for 15 30 seconds (Requires Rank 25)
  • Class Specific Items
    • New items have been added to the game
      • Crusader
        • Armor of Akkhan
          • Talisman of Akkhan (Amulet)
            • Has been added as a 7th piece to Armor of Akkhan
            • The set’s current bonuses and powers remain the same
          • This amulet will always roll with Critical Hit Chance in addition to 3 other random affixes
    • Some existing class-specific Legendary items have been updated to include a unique Legendary power
      • Note: Existing items will not be affected by the following changes; only new versions of the items will roll with the added Legendary power
      • With the below changes, the minimum levels required to use these items have been adjusted to match the level at which their corresponding skills unlock
      • Barbarian
        • Saffron Wrap
          • The damage of your next Overpower is increased by 40-50% for each enemy hit, up to a maximum of 20 enemies
      • Crusader
        • Faithful Memory
          • Each enemy hit by Falling Sword increases the damage of Blessed Hammer by 50-60% for 10 seconds
      • Demon Hunter
        • Hellcat Waistguard
          • Grenades have a chance to bounce 3-5 times, dealing an additional 50% damage on each bounce
          • This bonus is increased to 800% on the final bounce
          • The following skills are affected by this power:
            • Cluster Arrow – Dazzling Arrow, Cluster Bombs, Loaded for Bear, and No Rune
            • Rain of Vengeance – Anathema
            • Strafe – Demolition
            • Rapid Fire – Bombardment
      • Monk
        • Rabid Strike
          • Spirit spenders that teleport you while Epiphany is active are also mimicked on a distant target for free
      • Witch Doctor
        • The Barber
          • Instead of dealing direct damage, your Spirit Barrage now accumulates on the target
          • When you stop channeling, it explodes dealing 225-250% of the accumulated damage to all enemies within 15 yards
      • Wizard
        • Manald Heal
          • Enemies stunned with Paralysis also take 3000-3500%13,000-14,000% weapon damage as Lightning
    • The functionality of some items has changed
      • Crusader
        • Defender of Westmarch
          • Can no longer summon a wolf more than once per second
          • Damage done by the wolf is increased for each block made during the interim
      • Witch Doctor
        • Jeram's Bracers
          • The minimum level for this item to drop has changed from 12 to 31 in order to match the level at which Wall of Death unlocks
  • Bug Fixes
    • Hellfire Amulet
      • Fixed an issue where Fetishes spawned by this item with the Fetish Sycophants passive would not reduce the cooldown of Big Bad Voodoo correctly when Starmetal Kukri was equipped
    • Illusory Boots
      • Will now properly allow Crusaders using Steed Charge to pass through walls
    • Pinto's Pride
      • Fixed a bug where the bonus Wave of Light damage from this item was not being calculated correctly
    • Flail of the Ascended
      • Now takes into account +Shield Bash affix bonuses in its damage
      • Damage stacks will now persist when changing gear and picking up items
    • The Barber
      • (PTR Only) Fixed an issue that was causing the explosion created by this item to fail if a large amount of damage was stored
    • Rabid Strike
      • (PTR Only) Fixed an issue preventing this item from correctly rolling 4 affixes
      • (PTR Only) Fixed an issue which prevented the mimics spawned by this item from inheriting the Lashing Tail Kick attack speed bonus from Rivera Dancers
      • (PTR Only) Fixed an issue preventing mimics spawned by this item from benefitting from Tzo Krin’s Gaze and Lashing Tail Kick: Hand of Ytar
    • Fixed an issue which sometimes caused cosmetic pets to be dismissed unintentionally, requiring the player to resummon them through the collections UI
    • Fixed a bug causing transmogrify options to not properly unlock sometimes when first acquiring an item which grants a new transmogrify option
    • Fixed a bug which caused the buff from the Legendary item Ahvarion, Spear of Lycander to end when changing floors in a Greater Rift
    • Fixed an issue which caused the Bones cosmetic pet to incorrectly produce sound when players interacted with some user interface elements
    • Fixed an issue which caused +Elemental damage bonuses on weapons to override the damage bonus granted to Ancient Spear by Skular’s Salvation and its elemental type
    • Fixed an issue which allowed Necrosis damage from the Helltooth Harness set to be reflected back by some enemies onto Witch Doctors using projectiles like Poison Dart
    • (PTR Only) Fixed an issue which caused the Soulstone Shard to trigger its special effect while players were in town
    • (PTR Only) Fixed an issue causing gem removal costs to be reduced to zero


  • Season Journey
    • The Destroyer and Guardian tiers of the Season Journey will no longer require players to augment an Ancient Legendary item using level 30 or higher and level 40 or higher Legendary gems, respectively
    • Along with this, the Conqueror tier now requires players to augment one Ancient Legendary item using a Legendary Gem at level 50 or higher
  • Bug Fixes
    • (PTR Only) Fixed an issue which caused text display issues with some Season Journey objectives


  • Bounties
    • The number of enemy kills required to complete the following Bounties has been reduced
      • Kill Aloysius
      • Kill Axegrave
      • Kill Bholen
      • Kill Captain Donn Adams
      • Kill The Crusher
  • Rifts
    • The Cesspools map has been adjusted
      • Enemy density and overall map size have been reduced
      • This area can now appear as the starting dungeon in Rifts and Greater Rifts
  • Greater Rifts
    • We have made a number of changes to improve the play experience of Greater Rifts
      • Monsters should now be more evenly distributed on each floor in Greater Rifts
      • The size of each floor in a Greater Rift is now more consistent
        • On average, a rift should take between two and four floors to clear
      • There is no longer an increased chance to see the same tile set when you venture down a floor in a Greater Rift
      • There is now a guaranteed area at the entrance of each floor with no monsters
        • This area is just large enough for ranged characters to maneuver
      • Several additional monster types can now appear as Champions and Elites
    • The stacking effect of the following is now cleared upon entering a Greater Rift
      • The items Lord Greenstone’s Fan, Fortress Ballista and Flail of the Ascended
      • The skills Arcane Dynamo and Mythic Rhythm
    • The gold reward and empower cost for Greater Rift 25 and above have been increased
      • The ratio between gold reward and empower cost remains about the same
  • Greed’s Realm
    • The portal to Greed’s Realm will now close 60 seconds after opening Greed’s chest
    • With this, players may now open multiple portals to the realm in a single game
  • Zones
    • The waypoint for Pandemonium Fortress Level 2 in Adventure Mode has been moved from the entrance to the midpoint of the level in order to provide quicker access to some bounties
      • With this change, bounties requiring you to kill unique enemies will only spawn these enemies in the first half of the dungeon, and all monsters on the map will contribute to bounty progress
  • Bug Fixes
    • Fixed an issue preventing the scene for Bounty: Research Problems from spawning
    • Fixed bugs that led to large open areas with no monsters in some rooms in Greater Rifts, which was especially common near the entrance to certain floors


  • Enemies
    • Quality of life improvements have been made to enemies
      • Several enemies that leap at the player can now be killed in mid-air, including Winged Assassins, Punishers, Lacuni Huntresses, and Burrowing Leapers
      • Several enemies that can become un-attackable, such as Sandsharks, Snakemen, and Rockworms now spend more time vulnerable. When these enemies do burrow or stealth, they no longer remain in this state for more than 3 seconds
      • In addition, emerging Rockworms now always show ground cracks to help attentive players avoid their initial attack
  • Enemy Affixes
    • Shielding
      • Will now be cancelled immediately if the shielded monster is the last remaining monster in a pack
    • Reflects Damage
      • Now fires a projectile instead of instantly dealing damage to the player
      • The warning duration for this affix has been reduced from 2 seconds to 1, and its active duration has been reduced from 6 seconds to 4
    • Electrified
      • Crawling lightning generated by this affix now pierces, allowing it to damage multiple targets in succession
      • With this, the damage caused by this affix has been reduced by about 35%
    • Juggernaut
      • New enemy affix
        • Juggernaut monsters are permanently immune to crowd control effects, but move more slowly than normal monsters
        • Only a rare Elite enemy can be a Juggernaut
    • Bug Fixes
      • Fixed an issue which caused Winged Assassins to sometimes travel across the ground instead of through the air when leaping
      • Fixed an issue which prevented Greater Rift Guardians from reliably teleporting to players when they spawned more than a few screens away
      • Fixed an issue which sometimes cause Rift Guardians to spawn in a location where they couldn’t be targeted


  • Belial
    • Now transitions more swiftly between his normal and larger version boss phases


  • Bug Fixes
    • Fixed the wording on the “Socket To Me” achievement to clarify that socketing only one gem is required


  • Dyes
    • Can now be accessed through a new tab at the Mystic
      • This includes Collector’s Edition dyes
    • With this change, dyes will no longer be sold by vendors
  • Bug Fixes
    • Fixed display and text issues with some skills and items
    • Fixed an issue causing keybind issues when the UI was hidden
    • Fixed a bug which caused Followers to sometimes become idle in combat
    • Fixed an issue which prevented Followers from being dismissed while they were incapacitated in battle
    • Fixed an issue which allowed pets and Followers to be attacked immediately after exiting a portal

PTR Only

  • PTR Only
    • PTR Bag of Fortune
      • Players on the PTR will now receive a special bag from normal Rift Guardians Djank M'iem, a vendor who appears in each town hub in Adventure Mode and Campaign Mode
      • This bag costs 300 Blood Shards and contains class-specific items that are being tested for the upcoming patch
      • This bag will always drop items which are specific to the class which opens it
      • In cases where the PTR bag contains a weapon, the bag will also drop a Flawless Emerald and a Ramaladni’s Gift


Patch 2.4.3 brings a graphics update. Seasons will also be available on consoles soon. The last patch notes can be found here.

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On 11/23/2016 at 1:17 PM, demonardvark said:

lol i like the red soulstone shard a lot, fun lore throwback

Yeah, it's also nice that it's not going to be some game-breaking gem tbh. Would suck just a little bit!

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      And then Diablo II came out and a coworker commented “You know, you show up every day and all you do is talk about Diablo and you know more about it than anyone else. Why aren’t you working there?” So, after six years in the industry, it hit me: “What am I doing? Why am I not working there? I can work there, right?” I quit the next day and I got a job at Blizzard North shortly after.
      Q: Do you remember the first thing you worked on when you joined the Diablo team?
      Julian Love: What I did was a bit more mundane in nature. We were working on a project that eventually became the engine for Diablo III. Back then you could model a character, but a bunch of steps needed to happen before you could get the character in the game so it could move around. You want to automate as much of it as possible, but back then that wasn’t an industry standard. Nobody had done it. So I worked on the process that lets you turn a polygon into a fully usable character. This process is still in use today; in fact, the Necromancer is being made using the same pipeline I built in 2002.
      Q: How did you get started on the team and in your current role?
      Julian Love: I started as a technical artist working on the D3 engine, and about six months in, I noticed people were doing special effects for their characters and—this is going to sound a bit strange—there was a character with a gun. Every time the gun was shot, a little puff of smoke would come out of the barrel. I saw the smoke come out and then shrink down to a point. As you know, smoke does not do that. What I discovered was, many people on the team did their own special effects but no one in particular was passionate about it. They just saw it as something else they had to do.
      I really love special effects, so much that at one point I considered working in the film industry. So I built some stuff, everyone loved it and so I said "Seriously, give all of that work to me. Hire someone else to do what I'm doing now and let me do ALL special effects. Nobody gets to do it but me!" because I loved it so much. 
      Q: What is your favorite Diablo item?
      Julian Love: Two items from Diablo II are my favorites. The first one is Ume's Lament. When I first played Diablo II, the Necromancer completely captured my attention. Playing Hardcore, you have a lot of opportunities to play the same class over and over. I made a few Necromancers and they were terrible. I had no idea what I was doing, so I decided I had to play something else. I picked a Paladin—which was also terrible—but I eventually killed Diablo, and he dropped Ume's Lament. I took it as a sign that I should go back and play more of the Necromancer now that I had a good item for it, so I did—and was much more successful.
      Years and years later when I was working at Blizzard North, I had taken a break from the game, so I started again on a fresh character. At that point I had played a lot of Diablo, so I was kind of unsure, like, "Am I going to dig this? Or am I really just done with it?" I walk out of town, the first monster I kill drops a Gull dagger, and just like that I was sucked back into the game again for at least another six months. It was great.
      Q: What classes are you playing currently? Do you play Hardcore or Softcore?
      Julian Love: Witch Doctor. The variety of builds you can create for Witch Doctor means I've been playing a lot of it. My second class is Monk; he's so fast and responsive it’s hard not to like, but then again, we built him like that. I always play Hardcore and I don't have any Softcore characters. I used to play Softcore exclusively and then I tried Hardcore out of curiosity. Clicking one box changed the whole game. Suddenly everything you do is scarier, and it was awesome. That was it for me. I couldn't go back to Softcore.
      Q: What’s it like working on the Diablo team? What do you do for fun?
      Julian Love: There's an old saying for games: "You can't make fun without having fun." I think if you could hear the giggling and laughing at the preposterousness of proposing "let's put over 100 skeletons on the screen for Army of the Dead" and the process of realizing that, you’d understand. No one thinks of these things in isolation, no one sits at their desk alone and comes up with an amazing idea that lights up the world; what happens is we get together and bounce things around and try to one-up each other, and be silly and comical, and propose the most absurd ideas. But it's also very safe to say those things, because there's a lot of trust. Others forgive me for saying something that sounds really off the wall, because they know the next ridiculous, seemingly undoable idea might come from them. Nobody judges the ideas during brainstorms and we let our creativity run wild. We trust that we're coming up with something crazy, but it's always to try and make the game as fun as it can be.
      Q: What do you think is the historical legacy of Diablo? What will people be reading about the series 10–20 years from now?
      Julian Love: Diablo takes a kind of experience—the fantasy RPG experience—and makes it accessible to everyone. At the time of Diablo’s release, that kind of experience came only to a certain kind of person, and only if you could delve deeply into all the systems, and all the complexities that came with them could you then enjoy the experience. Diablo made it accessible for the rest of us. I can say this with a lot of authority, because I have a relative who I'd say is the quintessential "anti-gamer." He's someone who thinks games are silly; a waste of time. When D3 came out, I convinced him to try it out. After giving him a little direction, he starts clicking, starts killing monsters, and he just lost himself in the game for three hours and had a delightful experience. To me, that's the magic of Diablo.
      Q: What‘s the one thing that would cause Diablo to no longer be Diablo if we removed it from the game?
      Julian Love: There's a good argument to be made for loot. But I think the important one is preserving the ability to play with one hand. Even though most players will use two hands pretty much all the time, the fact that you can play with just your mouse is crucial to the accessibility the series is known for. If I had to pick a close second, it would be the ability to beat the crap out of so many monsters. Monster-slaying is core to the experience, and if at some point you're not using your skills and items to beat demons into submission, it ceases to be a Diablo game.
      Q: Can you give us an example of something you’re really excited to have worked on?
      Julian Love: I always enjoy trying to figure out new things that will delight our players, and then see their delight when we present it to the world. When we were making the new Witch Doctor skill for Reaper of Souls—Piranhas—the original design was a bit vague, just some kind of summoned debuff, with maybe "some bugs" as a visual. I said, "we need a story here; besides, how will this be different from Locust Swarm? We need something else." You don't want to rehash ideas, and you don't want something that doesn’t fit the class fantasy, but instead something in between, familiar and still new and fresh. Using bugs wasn't good enough, but the idea of animals wasn't bad . . . so what about piranhas? The team latched on to that idea; it was easy to associate it with the Witch Doctor, so we made it. Seeing the reaction as people used that spell for the first time was delightful.
      Q: Can you talk about the Necromancer visuals and some of the skills we saw at BlizzCon?
      Julian Love: As soon as we decided we were doing the Necromancer, there were skills that made us all say "we can't have a Necromancer without this." Corpse Explosion was at the top of the list. Looking back at Diablo II, the graphics themselves didn't really do the skill justice; the corpses on the ground were iconic, but the notion and the concept of the skill carried it a lot further than visuals did. We have the opportunity to put a strong, clear visual on it, to ensure the skill will feel visceral and fit the fantasy.
      When you're working with something with a previous incarnation like this, it's like working with a clay statue that hasn't hardened yet. You're going to touch it and something will change; the question is how.
      For Army of the Dead, we knew we wanted a long cooldown, flashy spell, and I knew we needed a spell to show people how we were going to bring the Necromancer to the next level. We gave it a name from a skill which also exists in World of Warcraft, and people just assumed, "oh, okay, they're just going to copy-paste that." Then we got to show it at BlizzCon, and there were literally over one hundred skeletons on the screen. Is this a world record? It has to be. Seeing the reaction from the crowd at BlizzCon was really satisfying. I'm always looking forward to those moments.
      Those skills are very grounded and visceral, and that has a lot to do with the visual identity of the Necromancer, who was a very serious, sinister, dark class in Diablo II. We want to make sure we preserve that feeling.
      Q: What are some of the series’ most difficult and memorable bosses? Any tips?
      Julian Love: I worked on getting patch 1.10 out the door for Diablo II. I showed up, and they were testing Über Diablo, and the guy who was working on it says, “oh, you’re going to LOVE this! It’s almost unbeatable.” He fires up a character outfitted with all rare—yellow—gear, and goes, “look at how HARD this is!” I’m like “You’re kidding, right? Can you get my dual-wielding Barbarian from” A couple days later, I get on my Barbarian, and I say, “okay, watch this,” and I proceed to waste that incarnation of Über Diablo in like 10 seconds. I showed them they were not testing it right, and we started pulling characters from to test it, which ended up meaning a 3-month delay to the patch—sorry, everyone!—but in the end the boss was a lot more satisfying.
      Q: If you could go back in time and tell the developers of the original Diablo anything, what would it be?
      Julian Love: I really like those games for what they are, and it's difficult for me to be critical of anything they've done because that led us to what we have today. A lot of the time, “flaws” are the quirks that make you love a game even more. So, if I had to pick something, it would be a small annoyance; I’d tell them, "don't make gold take inventory space! Put it in its own counter instead" or something. Diablo II is even harder for me, as sometimes I hold it up as the perfect game, but I think if I had to pick something there, I'd say "if you want people to care about resistances, build up to that. Don't let players spend the entire first Act without encountering any poison damage, and then have Andariel wreck them because they had no idea they needed 75% poison resists."
      At the same time, these flaws give us stories to tell. The reason we can look back and laugh is because we all got killed by Andariel’s poison damage at one point or another.
      Q: Is it possible to kill Diablo for good?
      Julian Love: For good? I'm going to give you the smart guy, out-of-the-game-lore answer: you don't want to kill him for good. If we were ever going to make another game and put the Diablo name on it—and I think everyone wants that—we kind of want the Lord of Terror around so you can kill him in it, right? It's OK for an expansion to not have Diablo in it, but every new entry in the series is going to need our titular villain.
      Joe Shely, Senior Game Designer
      Q: How long have you been a Diablo fan?
      Joe Shely, Senior Game Designer: I've been a fan since the original Diablo. I played it back in high school and my mom yelled at me for not turning the computer off at bedtime—that spellbook wasn’t going to find itself. I also played tons of Diablo II in college; all those sleepless nights worked out for me, though, because now I get to work on Diablo! 
      Q: What is it about the Diablo series that appeals to you?
      Joe Shely: The original Diablo was all about getting to the bottom of the dungeon and fighting Diablo. It was a challenge just to make it down there alive and find out what's going on. You have to remember, back then you didn’t have the story that's been developed today, it was just "what is happening under this creepy church?" It was very mysterious and I found it compelling.
      In Diablo II, I had a Frost Sorceress and I would Frozen Orb everything; I wanted to get to level 99 and I wanted to beat Diablo on Hell difficulty. I liked putting my points into skills and overcharging skills with +skills on items, playing the item game to maximize my skills, and getting Uniques. I felt like I could always keep progressing my character, and I think that's a strength of Diablo—your character can always get stronger and take on new, harder challenges.
      Q: Do you remember the first thing you worked on when you joined the Diablo team?
      Joe Shely: I don't know if I can remember the exact thing, but I probably tuned something that frustrated me as a player. At one point, we had an issue with seeking projectiles that tracked the player being biased towards one direction. It was very good at tracking you in one direction, and very bad at tracking you in the other direction; I realized this playing on my Wizard, so I came in to work the next day and fixed it.
      Q: How did you get started on the team and in your current role?
      Joe Shely: I began working on Diablo III directly shortly after the original release. I came on to help with Reaper of Souls and got to do a bunch of work on monsters, bosses, systems, Adventure Mode, Greater Rift tuning, and more.
      Q: What is your favorite Diablo item?
      Joe Shely: I definitely like Cam's Rebuttal. It's not the strongest item—I think the strongest item I have on any character is probably an Ancient Yang's Recurve with really good rolls. In terms of pure power, it's a fantastic item, and I was super excited I got it. But when I look at some of the items that do really interesting things, I really like playing the Crusader and having a window of time where I've got another charge of Falling Sword I don't want to waste. There are conditions under which I won't use it, like if there's only one guy left. Sometimes I try to wait as long as possible before using that second charge to maximize the damage from the Firestarter Rune and Consecration.
      Q: What classes are you playing currently? Do you play Hardcore or Softcore?
      Joe Shely: Let’s see . . . I’ve got a Hardcore Wizard in Season 8 and a Demon Hunter non-Seasonal. I also have a Hardcore Crusader I haven’t played in a while, but he’s pretty fun too. I think I play Hardcore for the same reason as many of our players—the stakes are increased, your decisions matter in the combat sense. It’s certainly something I do when I want to sit and only play Diablo III, and really focus on that. I won’t try to do anything else while I’m playing my Hardcore character.
      Q: What’s it like working on the Diablo team? What do you do for fun?
      Joe Shely: The Diablo team is a great group to work for in many ways; it has its own culture, and it’s a culture that evolved around wanting the best for the game and trying to use our resources and the talent of the team to deliver awesome content for our players. At Blizzard, we have this very strong philosophy of supporting our games for years after their release, so that’s very much our focus on the team, looking at the game week-to-week, month-to-month to figure out what the game needs now, and what’s the best thing to deliver to our fans. I’m very proud of our team-wide brainstorms, where we get everyone in a room and we say “here’s the next piece of content we’re going to do,” like a new zone, and we discuss possibilities. “There are new monsters in this zone; what should they be?”
      We get a good sense of what we should do in brainstorms; for example, we’ll start with a rough overview of a new zone, like a cold, shrouded moor; there’s going to be some rocky terrain, and it’s misty . . . so what kind of monsters live there? We look at all those and figure out what can we do, and which ideas resonate most strongly with the team. The advantage of team brainstorming is, when it comes time to make the content, whether it’s modeling a creature, animating it, or adding powers, the people who are doing it know they had input into that feature, which makes everyone more passionate.
      Q: What do you think is the historical legacy of Diablo? What will people be reading about the series 10–20 years from now?
      Joe Shely: I would hope they would read about it and then go play some Diablo, in whatever form that may be, because I think the Diablo legacy is very much still being written. There’s this chase of slaying monsters and getting epic loot and being heroic, and that thread has tied the franchise together. I would expect to see more of that in the future.
      Q: What‘s the one thing that would cause Diablo to no longer be Diablo if we removed it from the game?
      Joe Shely: I think loot is the answer. Slaying monsters, getting epic loot, and using your epic loot to slay more monsters is the core loop of Diablo. You can see this all the way from Diablo I to Diablo III. Look at what spellbooks were in Diablo I; they were a form of epic loot that changed your gameplay. When you consider how legendaries have evolved in Diablo III, you can see how the items in Diablo III very much affect your gameplay in some of those same ways—they can make significant changes to your skills, how they're used, the visual effects of your skills, and gameplay mechanics in quite a similar way to how a spellbook would give you a completely new spell.
      Q: Can you give us an example of something you’re really excited to have worked on?
      Joe Shely: I’m excited about the changes coming to Greater Rifts in 2.4.3. We've reworked the way we spawn monsters in Greater Rifts, and the most obvious effect is that you're going to see a more consistent and, for some tiles, higher density of monsters—but it's really much more. We want the Greater Rift experience to be as varied as possible, and to have plenty of possibilities to be great. When you go down a floor, you should expect great monsters, surprising tiles, cool pylons, etc. The changes we've done in 2.4.3 are aimed at improving that experience. I think it's going to be a good change for our players.
      Q: Can you tell us a little about the Darkening of Tristram (Patch 2.4.3) and how the patch came to be?
      Joe Shely: I think one of the things we tried to capture with the anniversary event is this direct connection to the Soulstone and the evil of the Soulstone that ties the franchise together. I think the story of Malthael is a very interesting one; you get to meet the Angiris Council and learn about what's going on with these angels, but it's also nice to have an anchor or touchstone in the Red Soulstone, and that's why we wanted to bring it back for the anniversary event. That's also why we put the additional effort to get the D1 cinematic in there, and make a legendary gem you can put in your helm and really capture what I think was probably one of the most memorable events of Diablo 1—you end up impaling yourself.
      Q: What are some of the series’ most difficult and memorable bosses? Any tips?
      Joe Shely: The Baal fight in Diablo II: Lord of Destruction is pretty hard if you’re a ranged character. He slows you, and you have to deal with the tight constraints of the room. You’re being thrust directly into the fight. Looking at Diablo III, I think Malthael is a pretty tough boss: he’s got multiple phases, a lot of different mechanics, and there’s some stuff that can kill you if you’re not watching. His clouds can be quite dangerous; the adds he summons are some of the most dangerous monsters you’ll face out in the world, and then his ultimate lightning hands attack does extreme damage, so you really have to be on your toes.
      Q: If you could go back in time and tell the developers of the original Diablo anything, what would it be?
      Joe Shely: I think there would be a lot of back slapping. I’ve always wanted something to happen with the cow when you click on it, the one outside the entrance to the catacombs. Anything, really. I mean you click him, he moos at you, you think something’s gonna happen. I’d like to think we’ve corrected that in the later games, though.
      Editor’s note: We’re not sure what Joe is on about here. 
      Q: Is it possible to kill Diablo for good?
      Joe Shely: All I can say is, he hasn’t died yet, right? He’s not been permanently vanquished at this point. We’ll have to wait and see