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Sweeping Changes to Greater Rift Group Meta in 2.4.1, PTR Patch Notes Soon

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Twisters and Globes are not the future of Diablo III, and the 2.4.1 PTR will show us that soon!

 

Diablo Community manager Kauza has made a fairly big post about the Season 5 meta, which to say, has not turned out how the team intended. They are talking specifically about the 3 and 4 man Greater Rift meta, which revolves around the Wizard supplying almost all of the group's damage through manipulating wizard_energytwister.pngEnergy Twister into stationary positions. The rest of the players are then tasked with herding mobs, keeping the Wizard alive and feeding them health globes, which in turn allows the Wizard free casts of ET through the wizard_passive_powerhungry.pngPower Hungry passive. This damage reaches phenomenal levels through the legendary affix baked into the 2.4 item, unique_sword_1h_107_x1_demonhunter_male.The Twisted Sword and the rune b.pngRaging Storm

 

While some might enjoy this high level of teamwork and coordination, most players consider it to be quite un-fun. Team Diablo has more than taken notice of this, and Kauza has addressed this in a large Blue post. The post covers 2.4.1 being the next patch, Taeguk changes we reported, the Greater Rift meta and how unhappy they are with it, and what their philosophy is on all the item and skill changes being made in order to alter this.

 

Later in the thread, there is also a brief mention that they are looking into making more of the Legendary Gems viable. This is great news, as currently there are around 6 or so that wind up in almost all viable endgame builds. Seems like the changes to Taeguk are to make it more niche, but clearly an auto-include within that niche. It would make more sense to have each gem be clearly tailored to a style of play, but only really work well within that style. Enforcer is a great example of this, making it into all pet-based builds, but clearly not making sense elsewhere. This change to Taeguk makes the gem an auto-include for channeling builds, and hopefully these philosophies will make their way into all the gems eventually. I'm looking at you unique_gem_009_x1_demonhunter_male.pngInvigorating Gemstone.

 

I've included the full collection of Blue posts from the thread below for ease of reference. 

 

Personally, I think the amount of change being made to target the specific meta seems too strong and probably too reactionary, but I am excited for the what rises in its place, and much more so to see the buffing of some of gems. Let us know what you think below! 

 

Blizzard Icon Kauza

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Community Manager

 

We’ve been hard at work on our next patch, which is going to bump us up to version 2.4.1. We’ll have our official PTR patch notes available soon, but we’d like to call out a few specific changes and talk about the philosophy that went into making them.

 

First, we’ve been looking at the prevalence of Barbarians in group play beyond Greater Rift 80 and how they’re being used. While many classes bring party-based buffs, the damage reduction of Ignore Pain – Mob Rule combined with Pride of Cassius is currently a clear outlier. As a result, we’re reducing the party benefit of Ignore Pain – Mob Rule from 50% to 25%. To ensure this doesn’t harm the overall viability of group play, we’re also reducing the damage of monsters at high Greater Rifts. This allows not only groups with Barbarians to remain near the same levels in terms of incoming damage, but it affords alternative group compositions greater survivability.

 

Next up, Wyatt had recently posted a bit about Taeguk. We are making some significant changes to Taeguk, as well as some other Legendary Gems.

 

First up, for Taeguk:

  • Taeguk will now only work for channeled powers
  • Taeguk will now stack more quickly, but also drop off more quickly. The maximum is now ten stacks, and you’ll now lose the stack after 1.5 seconds instead of 3 seconds
  • The Armor % component of Taeguk has been changed to 2% per stack

 

The idea here is that Taeguk will complement those moments when you’re channeling and need an extra boost. You probably won’t have Taeguk up all the time, but it won’t hurt as much when your stacks fall off as you’ll build them up much more quickly. And while the Armor % reduction will affect survivability, the reduced monster damage at higher Greater Rifts will help to balance this out. We’ll have much more to share soon on changes to other gems, which will help to make as many gems as possible work as reasonable substitutes for Taeguk.

 

Finally, we are changing both Twisted Sword and Solanium. What we’ve seen from group compositions is a playstyle based around Wizards spamming Energy Twister, while the group spams Health Globe generation. We’ve received a ton of feedback on these, and we agree completely that manipulation of the generation of health globes is not good for the game. Here’s what we’re changing:

  • Solanium is getting an internal cooldown (ICD) of 8 seconds
  • Twisted Sword is getting a cap at 5 Energy Twisters

This means a couple of things for users of these items. For Solanium users, you’ll still be able to generate additional health globes, but this removes any possibility of the current health globe spamming mechanics moving forward. For Twisted Sword users, Wizards who use the skill in the course of their normal playstyle shouldn’t see much of a change. However, the exponential scaling made possible by Energy Twister spamming won’t be possible anymore.

 

In short, you should be able to play support builds, and your Wizard should feel powerful. What we found with both of the above cases, though, is a negative effect on group dynamics and class playstyle. We’ll be taking all of your feedback during PTR to ensure we’ve hit our goals here. And, of course, thanks for all of your feedback on Patch 2.4.0. (Source)

Blizzard Icon Kazua

+ Show
The changes to Taeguk, Twisted Sword, and Solanium will be retroactive. (Source)

Blizzard Icon Kazua

+ Show
We're taking a look at some of the other Legendary gems as well to open up as many viable alternatives as we can. More on that soon! (Source)

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    • By Deadset
      Deadset gets his hands on Diablo: Immortal and an interview with the devs!
      With a world of mixed feelings surrounding the new Diablo announcement, our Diablo 3 guide writer, Deadset, got the chance to sit down with Wyatt Cheng and Joe Hsu for an interview, as well as spend time testing Diablo: Immortal. Check out what the developers had to say, as well as Deadset's thoughts on the announcement.
      Preface
      This past Blizzcon marks several ‘firsts’ for me. The first time I cross half the globe, from windy Eastern Europe to the unrelenting Californian sun. The first time I attend Blizzcon, a convention I have dreamed of since I was a child. And somehow, regrettably, the first time ever that I am scared to address the community, that I struggle to find answers and solace for the road ahead. Rest assured, I am no less disheartened and apprehensive than any of you by the news that the solitary confirmed Diablo project in sight is, indeed, a mobile game.
      I will not mince words: the timing, framing and setup for the Diablo: Immortal announcement was poor. There’s little more to add to this conversation that hasn’t already been said, memed about or depressed over, and from this point on I will simply try to address the new game itself.
      I was able to test the demo with extended, uninterrupted access. I had the chance to talk with developers both on and off the show floor, in interviews and community conversations. I pride myself in always delivering honest, factual and impartial information, colored only by my perception of good game design and love for Sanctuary. The things we all share in the hardcore Diablo community.
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      Impressions of the Game
      Gameplay 
      I hung out and spoke a lot with Rhykker during the convention and I will echo his overall sentiment in many regards - including the fact that Diablo: Immortal is quite possibly the best handling mobile game I have ever played (high bar, I know), with the most tactile and satisfying combat in its genre and medium. This is not surprising for a Blizzard title, and Diablo 3 has been widely regarded as having the best feeling combat among its competitors, but it’s still important to stress that the level of polish and excellence of control over the character that is signature for the company is not lost in the translation to mobile.
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      A large portion of the (demonstrated) game however is built with adapted Diablo 3 assets - an issue that is disappointingly danced around, and is very obvious if you have spent any significant time in Diablo 3 (however tastefully rearranged and retouched, you will recognize numerous structures, tilesets and monsters). References to future bosses like a “giant spider” (no doubt Queen Aranae’s cousin) or a “clone of Zoltun Kulle” (come on…) don’t help much to inspire the ‘new title’ feel. It’s all topped off with the inclusion of the exact cast of characters from Diablo 3 (albeit strangely missing the Witch Doctor), even though Immortal is supposedly situated closer to Diablo 2 lore-wise. Despite the above, I don’t really doubt technical and artistic skill is necessary for the assets’ translation to a mobile device, and it makes for an unbelievably polished, if disturbingly familiar graphical experience. In terms of artistic feel, you will like the game if you were satisfied with Diablo 3 visuals, and there is a pleasant darker tinge to everything - if not a complete reversion to a more grounded and gothic journey.
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      Interview on Diablo: Immortal
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      Interview with Wyatt Cheng and Joe Hsu
      + Show- Hide I think what surprised me the most is the announcement of a second ‘portable’ Diablo title, so close to the announcement and release of the Diablo 3 adaptation for Nintendo Switch. What inspired that?
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      Joe Hsu: We think about it as the same type of platform - we just want to bring more Diablo to the fans.
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      And skill customization is still part of the idea? Considering we had 5 fixed skills in the demo, and just 12 promised by the presentation.
      Wyatt Cheng: There is definitely going to be about 12 or more skills per class, and then you choose 5 of them for your current build. When we look at the way Diablo 3 (post-RoS) legendary items change the way certain skills worked, we feel like that was very similar in functionality to the way skill runes (introduced with vanilla D3) altered the way your skills function. It’s almost the same thing sometimes, like “Rend stacks twice” could easily be a legendary item or a rune power, because there was no clear definition of what was supposed to be one or the other. And while it’s still okay for us to have many systems and functions in the game, we want to ensure legendary items take the stage for changing how your skills work. Then, we’ll look at the supporting systems and what else they can do. 
      Joe Hsu: And besides supporting systems, we make sure that the feel of the game is very much Diablo - how it looks, how the action plays out. And then our lead artist Richie Marella spends a lot of time to make sure that the tone and the overall style fit within the Diablo universe. 
      We did mention that legendaries are meant to change the way you play, but how about the way you look? It was mentioned during the presentation, but when you equipped anything in the demo, it didn’t change the visuals of the character.
      Wyatt Cheng: Items will change the way your character looks, they just don’t in the demo. During the panel we showed some concept art for the gear progression, and we only have concept art to show right now because we don’t have all the art assets in place.
      Bringing it back to gameplay, how will Diablo: Immortal handle difficulties? We had the old school Normal to Nightmare to Hell progression in Diablo 2, and then in Diablo 3 we could adjust difficulty on the fly. Are we due for another change?
      Wyatt Cheng: I have to preface this by saying this is all work in progress, so this could change between now and release. But the way we’re currently thinking about the game, is because it is a shared online world, the difficulties - if we have too many - will fragment players away from each other, while we want players to run into each other within their server community. So we’re looking at a single difficulty for the level-up experience, and then possibly when you reach max level - and we haven’t decided on a max level yet either, but when you do reach the end - you then have an Adventure Mode-like system, where the whole game becomes max level for you as well. Difficulties past that, well - again, this is all in flux - we may be looking to leverage our instanced dungeons for that, as well as a few other endgame systems which are yet to be designed as well. 
      Are we looking at a mode split of Hardcore / Softcore and Seasonal / Non-Seasonal like in Diablo 3?
      Wyatt Cheng: I love hardcore, but for Diablo: Immortal - again, this is current thinking - we are not prepared to have it. We think mobile phones are totally ready for a top tier action RPG experience, but we’re not sure the mobile platform will be right for a hardcore experience. Blizzard has a strict policy that if your hardcore character dies, even if it’s due to the loss of internet connection, he stays dead. This is of course done to prevent cheating. That said, it is nice to be able to play with something at stake - and something that we did in RoS was to introduce the extra augmentation roll to the gem when you don’t die in a Greater Rift run, so this way you have an incentive to try avoiding death. We could look at systems that ratchet up what the stakes are, so that you care about not dying, without having to go all the way to hardcore. 
      On the topic of Seasons, we’re still figuring this out, but we’re thinking that over the long term, there are multiple ways to keep the game fresh. One is Seasons, for sure, but another is to grow the universe with live content updates. The latter is how we’re currently thinking about it; from the beginning, we’re planning to be able to expand the game with content updates over time. You can see World of Warcraft follows that model, and it’s just a different way of approaching that problem. And we have other ideas as well! These are just two. 
      We’ve talked about dungeons a little bit, and I want to expand on that. The demo had a very ‘fixed’ approach to its layout, monsters and composition. Is that temporary, or a conscious move from the randomized dungeons toward a more balanced, almost raid-like endgame activities?
      Wyatt Cheng: The demo is definitely very fixed. For the live game, the outdoor world will be fixed because we’re crafting a shared world that we want to feel like a familiar place. The monster spawns, chests, shrines and events will be random though, so there will be variance in the world even when the geometry is static. For the instanced dungeons, we’re still exploring our options. It’s kind of a trade-off, like you said we could create that ‘raid environment’ but even there we’re looking to have random events, randomly placed monsters. We are trying both fixed and random layouts right now internally, and we’ll see what we end up with.
      Those dungeons won’t run themselves though. Who will you be grouping up with in Diablo: Immortal? How much of the cooperative multiplayer vs. shared world MMO are we talking here?
      Joe Hsu: It is a mobile MMO. In public zones you might run into players that you know, or ones you don’t, but you can definitely make friends with them. Multiplayer is very much in the heart of Diablo: Immortal and we plan to bring all of Battle.net’s features into the game, so you can play with your friends, or talk to them when they’re not ingame. We plan to fully support the social aspect of the game.
      Speaking of “friendly” activity, will I be able to battle players in some way? Is PvP part of Diablo: Immortal?
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      Speaking of portability and the Switch version, a great feature of that is the suspend function that allows you to pause and resume anywhere. Is anything like that in store for Diablo: Immortal?
      Joe Hsu: We’re planning on different features that will accommodate the lengths of different play sessions. So if you have just 2 minutes, maybe you organize your stash or do a short quest; if you have 15, you call up your friends to do a dungeon and so on. It is a MMO though, so players will have to be aware of the time they can commit.
      Wyatt Cheng: I hate to draw too many comparisons to World of Warcraft, but we do look to all Blizzard games for inspiration. And in that game you can quit anytime, but you tend to hearth back to town and exit there. Similarly, in Diablo: Immortal you could quit at any point, but you might die to some monster attacking you. But if you town portal - we’re also thinking of picking the Westmarch waypoint from a map rather than using a portal, but that’s a technicality - that is a safe place to log off. But if you’re in the middle of an instanced dungeon with your friends, you should try to finish it - there will be no resuming from where you left off.
      Taking other very popular mobile games into account, I can’t not ask about your feelings on emulation? Will it be accounted for, actively pursued, or anything in between? And let’s not forget emulation will ease streaming the game quite a bit.
      Wyatt Cheng: I don’t think we’re gonna go out of our way to hunt down and ban people using an emulator, but I’m also a little apprehensive - and the reason I hesitate is because I don’t know if the game experience will be the best. Even if I map movement to keyboard keys, and then use my mouse to click and drag the abilities, I don’t know if that’s a more fun way to play. Comparing our control scheme for thumb movements to dragging the mouse, it seems like an uncomfortable way to play. While we wouldn’t stop it, I don’t know if people would like it that way - but that’s up to the individual player.
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      We talked a fair bit about mechanics, but story-wise the game is set to fill an important gap in Diablo history - the space between Diablo 2 and Diablo 3. Does a mobile device lend itself to storytelling of such scale and importance?
      Wyatt Cheng: It’s challenging for sure, but it’s not a new challenge. If you think about it, truthfully, even with Diablo on PC is a difficult game to tell a story, because people are skipping through most of it in clicking frenzy. We’re trying to employ a lot of these different techniques where you can maybe watch a short, nice cutscene the first time you enter a zone, and then you move on.
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      Is it possible for you to talk about the payment system of Diablo: Immortal?
      Joe Hsu: Right now we’re really focused on gameplay. At Blizzard our core value is gameplay first, so we want to figure that out and make sure the game is awesome, and then we’ll worry about everything else later. We’re not ready to talk about it this time.
      And of course, the most important question - will there be a cow level?
      Wyatt Cheng: We’ll see, still too early to say. (laughs) And of course, it goes without saying, we’d be keeping that a secret.
       
    • By Zadina
      Wyatt Cheng and Matthew Berger talked about the lore of Diablo Immortal and showcased some of its zones, instanced dungeons and of course its classes.
      Given the backlash the announcement of Diablo Immortal caused, the panel started with Wyatt Cheng repeating that they love their passionate community and that there are multiple Diablo projects in the works.
      Matthew Berger then proceeded to a rundown of the lore and timeline of the Diablo universe, highlighting some major characters. At the aftermath of the destruction of the Worldstone by Tyrael at the end of Diablo 2, in Diablo Immortal we learn that some corrupted fragments of the Worldstone have survived.
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      Shassar Sea

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      Kikuras Rapids

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      Forgotten Tower
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      Afterwards, we learned the story and saw some skills of the six Diablo Immortal classes.
      Barbarian
      Furious Charge: Makes use of touch controls by aiming skill Hammer of the Ancients Throw: Throw an enemy to another enemy. Necromancer
      Command Skeletons Corpse Lance Skeletal Spikes: Summons bones from the ground to impale enemies. Crusader
      Blessed Shield: Can be aimed, damages enemies on the way out and back in and whoever doesn't get killed, get gripped to melee range. Sweep Attack: Gain damage and range the longer you hold your thumb on the skill. Falling Sword: Adjusted to be a two stage ability, target a location drops a sword on a location. Then activating the ability a second time causes you to crash down from above. Can use other abilities in between first and second activation. Wizard
      Μeteor Ray of Frost: Two-step activation - start the channel and end it. Ice Crystal: Two-step ability. First, you place the crystal Then with the second activation or when its duration expires, the crystal explodes. Can combine it with Ray of Frost. Demon Hunter
      Daring Swing: Reposition yourself from one position of the battlefield to another, while shooting from an advantageous position Strafe Rain of Vengeance Monk
      Seven-Sided Strike Kick: You can use it off of walls to rebound off them and then hit enemies Imprisoned Fists: Punch the spirit out of an enemy A very brief Q&A followed. A couple of fans prefaced their questions by apologising for the other fans' negative reactions. Here are the answers:
      Too early to say if Mephisto is in Diablo Immortal. Some of the Prime Evils are returning faster than they should. They are currently looking at what itemisation will be like. Legendary powers will be present. They will also add socketing and other ways to upgrade/improve items. Haven't figured out business model. Gameplay first. Team thinks there is some middle ground between everything being soulbound and the auction house in regards to trading in Diablo Immortal. We will probably see the history of other classes (not just the Demon Hunters) in the game, since it covers a big time frame lore-wise.
    • By Starym
      Update:
      Blizzard have denied Kotaku's claims of the planed announcement and Schreier has removed his tweet, but still claims the video was made. Check out the full article on the matter here.
      __________________________________________________________________
      That's right, it seems Blizzard did indeed have a plan for the opening ceremony of this year's BlizzCon, and all the fallout from the Diablo Immortal announcement wasn't supposed to happen at all, they had it all planned out. According to Kotaku's Jason Schreier, based on info from "two people familiar with Blizzard’s plans" Immortal's announcement was intended to immediately be followed by the announcement of Diablo 4, which would have completely satisfied both the crowd at the convention, as well as the fans watching back home.
       
      So why was this cancelled at the last minute? Well, according to the same sources, the team wasn't ready to announce the game as it's undergone at least two iterations over the past years, with as many different game directors. And so the devs didn't want to announce anything because the game might change again before it's ready to see the light of day.
      Now the questions becomes will Blizzard change their already changed minds and announce D4 after all, especially after all the negative feedback and fan backlash to Immortal? Well, Diablo's community manager Brandy "Nevalistis" Camel tweeted this today:
      If you were in Blizzard's shoes right now, would you just go ahead and announce what everyone has been waiting for, despite the game not really being anywhere near completion, and already having changed so much with the likelihood of changing again?
      The (real) Lord of Terror almost showed up at BlizzCon and may show up soon yet!
    • By Starym
      It seems the Kotaku leak wasn't that solid, at least when it comes to the timing. Jason Schreier gave an update on the matter, saying Blizzard have disputed the claims of his sources that the announcement was supposed to happen at BlizzCon. However, he still stands by the fact the video was made, which suggests he's actually seen it, and he's apologized for the misinformation (and deleted his original tweet about the fact - but you can still see it in our article).
      This is actually extremely weird news, as it made so much more sense that Blizzard did actually know what they were doing when they planned to end the opening ceremony with a Diablo 4 video, but something happened which made them cancel it last minute. As it stands (if we're to believe Schreier), it seems a video was made, but was never planned to be shown at BlizzCon, meaning they did in fact think showing off Immortal as the final/big announcement of the opening ceremony was a good idea. That did not turn out to be the case.
    • By Stan
      Diablo: Immortal is the first mobile MMOARPG entry in the history of the Sanctuary, coming to iOS and Android. The story picks up where Diablo II: Lord of Destruction left off. Here's a look at the announcement and gameplay trailers.
      The official website is now up, allowing you to pre-register for the game.
      Cinematic Trailer
      Enter the world of Diablo Immortal, a new entry in the Diablo universe. Taking place between the events of Diablo II: Lord of Destruction and Diablo III, this mobile massively multiplayer online ARPG is a true Diablo hack-and-slash adventure, all in the palm of your hand.
      Gameplay Trailer
      Diablo is coming to mobile! The newly-announced title is coming to Android and iOS soon.