Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Realbookwurm

d3 Diablo III Season Five Postmortem

4 posts in this topic

20187-diablo-iii-season-five-postmortem.

A look at the legacy of Season Five, and how it has shaped the game.

What will we think of when looking back at Season Five?

 

Another Season has come to pass in Sanctuary, and with it some pretty massive revelations. We saw a rise in certain playstyles, reactions from Devs, changes in Team Diablo, No-Boss runs, Banwave after Banwave, and even new ways to play the game.

 

So what is the lasting impact of Diablo Season Five?

 

Disclaimer: This post is purely the opinion of the author, Realbookwurm, and is intended to review from the broad community perspective what Season Five was like to many players. Many arguments here have subjective components, and as such should not be taken as fact. Your mileage or experience probably varied. 

 

Let us start with the bad, and work our way to the good stuff, since there is a lot more that Season Five has done to impact the game positively than negatively.

 

The Ugly

 

blizzcon2015diablopanel-2015-nov-7-106.j

  • Set Dungeons: While the concept is novel, the execution and reality did not meet the standards of the community by-and-large. Born as an attempt to give players a specific goal, something which Diablo often lacks, the idea was sound. Why not create a scenario where players can demonstrate mastery of a Set's mechanics, and even be rewarded in game for the their efforts? Well, the schism between great idea and the reality is probably most related to the actual objectives of the dungeons. Some set dungeons were quite easy to grasp and execute, the Immortal King's Dungeon for an example. Others suffered from mechanics that were unclear, counter-intuitive or just plain at the mercy of RNG. Firebird's Finery Dungeon asked players to die on purpose. Shadow's Mantle Dungeon gave an objective that failed players for consecutive hits on an enemy. Jade Harvester Dungeon gave you invisible enemies, and penalised you for not killing them. Wrath of the Wastes Dungeon put you in a Melee build and told you not to take ANY physical damage. The number of dungeons which seemed to nail it were small, and the ones that frustrated players seemed numerous.  

LlOhT.jpg

  • Power Creep: While this is always present, Season Five saw an unprecedented leap forward in the average player's experience. From people doubling their highest Greater Rift, to Paragons running into the thousands, the whole game now has a higher bar set. There were many reported situations of public groups that would kick people for "only being Paragon 800" or similar. Players in groups cleared Greater Rifts well past the 105 mark, while solo saw numbers in the 90s. Season 4 had not even saw the group move past 90, so seeing people now doing it alone has really driven this point home. 

paragon-3000.png

  • Paragon Disparity: This point is substantially tied to the previous issue, but deserves a special nod, as many player find themselves on one side of the divide or the other. The group meta saw legitimate players spanning well into several thousand paragons, and on the flip side any number of posts in r/Diablo's reddit detailing solo player journeys saw people hitting new highs in the hundreds. While many were not directly affected by this divide, the solo leaderboards closed in a stranglehold not from the Solo players themselves, but instead were mainly comprised of group players who then leveraged their superior paragons and gear in order to also dominate in this area. 

blizzcon-2014-diablo-iii-whats-next-pane

  • No-Boss Runs: This one was saved for last on this list, because it is a bridge between the two previous issues listed, and The Worst issue which is near the end of this editorial. While it was not a new idea, the prevalence of this phenomenon in Season Five had new levels of impact. The idea behind a No-Boss Runs is that players in a group (or even solo) run an extremely high greater rift level (usually higher than could actually be cleared) and play up until the rift guardian is spawned. Players then exit the game and make a new rift, repeating the procedure. The result is massive amounts of XP gained, lending handily to the paragon disparity. Since the rift guardian is usually the bulk of time spent in a rift, and nets significantly less experience per time spent comparative to the rest of the rift, this practice born of pragmatism characterized greater rift pushing this season. 

 

 

The Bad

 

maxresdefault.jpg

  • Lost Devs: This season saw the departure of many strongly talented figures from Team Diablo, and while some could potentially return, others are lost for good. How this will affect the game moving forward remains to be seen, but the figures lost were those who had direct and observable impact on the game as a whole.

diablo-3-clases.jpg

  • Class Diversity: In what always results in a continued struggle, Diablo's developers yet again took painstaking efforts in balancing, with a goal of roughly approximating all sets to be equal in terms of power. Once more, we saw a season ruled by flavor-of-the-month builds, and a particular class warping the entire group meta in around itself. While Season Four was the Year of the Monk, Season Five will forever be the Year of the Wizard. Like the Static Charge Monk of yester-season, the strength of the Energy Twister Wizard left an indelible mark on the group play of Diablo, and even caused a series of severely hard-hitting changes to several class and item mechanics. Health Globe spawning as a purposeful mechanic has all but been removed from the game, and the warp was so massive that even other classes had their skill mechanics changed thanks to the Wizard build in question.  

 

 

Mixed

 

blizzcon2015diablopanel-2015-nov-7-051.j

  • Buff UI: While this issue is actually part of larger change that has positively impacted the game, it also has some quirks that presented and still require a clean up. The changes to the Buff UI that came baked into Patch 2.4 are overall successful. Making the bar more concise, it grew in Season Five to be the tool of information it was also supposed to be, and no longer is quite the source of player focus it once was. While the goal of making players engage the game (not their buff bar) seems to have been achieved, the improvements have left some aspects seemingly unpolished. The two most common issues that now seem to arise in discussion are the lack of drop shadow on stack numbers, and the paragon point allocation button covering part of the bar itself. With some minor tweaks, these could be changed and really let the newly designed buff bar come into its own glory. Rightfully so, as it now is leagues ahead of its old counterpart! 

stashtabs.jpg

  • Stash Tab: While this might be a confusing place to find the stash tab, please read on as to why it finds a home here. Many players, myself included, were ecstatic about the inclusion of this reward. To me, the gaining of the extra space was massive, and let me fully devote a tab of stash to each class, as I am an alt-a-holic. I did not have any issue with the implementation, but the implementation was inline with how I play the game already. For many players, the implementation did not line up with their playstyle, or desired mode of play, and this is what lands the stash tab here. Like a billion dollars in the bank, it's great for those who have it, and not so much so for those who don't. I play seasons exclusively now in Diablo, and even quit during the interseason period to recharge and play other games. While Seasons are on, I religiously play each weekend with some friends, and manage to go far in, or complete the season journey. Getting the stash tab for me was merely a consequence. Now, my playstyle is not the only one. Many players don't play seasons. Others, are not as able or willing to devote the many hours needed to get to where I do. As a result, many groups found themselves left out, or struggling with a game (something we play for fun) to get what they felt was necessary to enjoy the game. This lack of fun for those players, well it's rough. I applaud the developers for setting a standard which players must achieve to be rewarded optional content in the game. Likewise, I see the strong argument from those who do not like being forced to play a game mode they do not enjoy in order to get access to something they want, and sometimes feel compulsion to gain. I am not sure what the right answer here is, and as such it remains in the murky waters of mixed. My only input is that I do think there is strong value in rewarding players for certain achievements. The term reward is defined as "a thing given in recognition of one's service, effort, or achievement." Perhaps the discussion should focus not on what is wrong, but what else can be opened as an avenue for others to also achieve. 

 

The Good

 

E2piv.png

  • Single Player XP: Wait, wasn't there something about paragon disparity earlier? Yes, but there is strong hope for solo players, and Season Five gave the most compelling evidence. While by season's close the gap was huge, the early reports of the season saw solo players hitting 70 in roughly the same time as partied groups. This was the first time this had occurred in season play without some form of XP exploit being used. The main driver behind this was the addition of bonus kill-streaks which had previously been seen in console versions. Additionally, changes were made to group dynamics and xp sharing. More changes are coming with Season Six, meaning the outlook for this aspect is high. Perhaps this issue will eventually see a form of parity between groups and solo players. Certainly, we are seeing that goal closer than further as of writing.

 

25frocx.jpg

 

  • Death's Breath: They're a distinct color now, making them much easier to distinguish. This optimizes time spent while farming, and is a seemingly small, yet huge-in-impact change that I have yet to see a complaint about. An all around victory. 

greyhollow-island-preview.jpg

  • New Zones: For those who saw the Diablo panel at Blizzcon this year, the amount of changes coming with 2.4 seemed impossibly large. Since Season Five is a child of Patch 2.4, the addition of new zones with the patch meant that many players saw these sights for the first time in season. From minor additions with the Library at Leoric's Manor, to the entire zone replete with new mobs, tiles and lore (Greyhollow Island) there is not a fair argument against these additions. Free is free, but quality additions for free are just gravy!

 

The Great

 

Empowered-rifts.jpg

 

  • Empowered Rifts/Caldesann's Despair: While Wyatt Cheng (@Candlesan on Twitter) might hide his despair of this change behind a weak anagram, finally having a viable and impactful gold sink enter the game has many of the Diablo 1% jumping for joy. With so much gold coming from regular farming of high torments, and trips to The Vault, the community saw gold inflation in the highest order. With so many sources of generation, and few sources of loss, the amount players had stashed away became looney (Canadian money jokes). The idea of slightly lessening the time needed to level gems, and thus getting to imbue gear with the new enchanting recipe in Kanai's Cube faster, all while making gold worthwhile again was a massive victory for Team Diablo. It addressed an issue in a creative, fun, and engaging way that had players wanting to play the game more. It also diversified to a greater extent what players did while playing at endgame, and I think it is easy to classify this as an example of creative game design which resulted in a victory. 

 

D5DNP6XRBJF11450310838542.jpg

 

  • Haedrig's Gift: The thorn in my side, (I played Invoker's Burden Crusader this Season) I have to admit that this feature was a success from the community perspective. I will freely admit that I was bent out of shape with the announcement of this feature, and still question its merit. However, I was shown how my opinion here is narrow, and needs broader context. As a gamer who loved the early adventure games such as Sierra's King's Quest line, or the amazing LucasArt's Monkey Island series, I lamented the inclusion of "free sets" as a softening up of gaming culture, and an attempt to cater to those who want things without working for them. I also still question if this sped up the progression of seasonal character too much, leading to faster burn-out or season completion. The second point I hold true to, the first, I was gravely mistaken on. While I can be crusty old gamer who complains about walking uphill to school both ways "back in my day," I also have my scope wrongly adjusted to those old games. Many old computer games are famously confusing and difficult at times, and often lead to out-of-the-box or just plain weird solutions. These games also could often be played, once you knew what to do, in a matter of hours. You might sink lots of time into solving the puzzles initially, but the actual game length is relatively short. Now, we have a whole genre of game with the word massive in its title. These are games where a player can take an hour just to make a character's appearance right if they so choose. In this wave of massive gameplay comes things like Diablo, which actually never end. Sure you can beat the game, but that's not the goal for most. Set dungeons still leave the stopping point role unfulfilled. Instead we continue to push hard, faster and further a group each season, and many players were not having fun anymore trying to keep up. Enter the Gift, and now player who might have never even owned a full set before are getting a chance to explore the game in new and exciting ways. This is obviously a positive, and something that is good for the health of the game. In practice my Softcore Crusader who received Invoker's Burden through the Gift, and my Hardcore Crusader who farmed the pieces had very little difference of experience. It was a small gap in time spent between their progression, several hours to be fair. My enjoyment was no less on my softcore crusader, and progression only felt slightly slower on my hardcore one. The upshot? It let players with limited time, or perhaps those who don't spend hours talking theorycraft on the forums to be able to get moving faster and enjoying themselves sooner. Thus, I have to concede this to the clear win category. 

3c8e565e70f9a96739964c22d5f42809-650-80.

  • Diablo Unannounced Project/Job Postings: While this isn't anything related with the Season, it did come to light during the season, and had a measurable effect on the community. The posting of various jobs to Blizzard's career page, and the mention in those posting about a "Diablo Unannounced Project" have many speculating. With the possibility of another Diablo III expansion, to another game set in the Diablo universe, to Diablo IV, the community is abuzz with theories. Only time will tell exactly what it is that Blizzard has up their sleeve, but many remain exceptionally excited for whatever that could be. More Diablo is always welcome.

16242-diablo-3-secret-cow-level-randomly

  • Kanai Event: Like the previous entry, this is more something that merely came to light during Season Five, and is not a direct product of it, but it certainly merits mention. The event consisted of a longstanding mystery of Kanai's Throne Room finally being revealed. Since the arrival of Ruins of Sescheron in Patch 2.3, there were cryptic in game clues and references to the "right time" in Kanai's Throne Room. The right time turned up in Season Five, with the Kanai's Stomping Ground event coming to life in March. This tribute is touching and tasteful on behalf of Blizzard, and is set to outlive this past season, by coming around each March. More can be read about the event and the person it honors here. 

blizzcon2015-2015-nov-7-055.jpg

  • Legacy of Nightmares/Invoker's Burden: These two sets might not share anything in mechanics, but what makes their birth in the Season 5 meta important is that both represent a paradigm shift in what makes a character powerful in Diablo. Firstly, let's examine Invokers. This set, also known as the Thorns Set, offers a look into a world where Crit Chance/Crit Damage stats and Sheet DPS are utterly irrelevant. This change was lauded by many long term pundits of the game, who often argued that Crit was a stat too crucial to DPS output. This new way of thinking about how you get your damaged threw convention out the window, and did so successfully. 97,786 is how much DPS when my Invoker Crusader cleared his first 70 Greater Rift, something I know because I immortalized it via screen capture.28rp37o.jpg With DPS figures ranging in the 2-3 million range for well-geared and high paragon toons, the idea that 97,786 could do anything of impact seemed astounding. It still is, if you think about Diablo convention to this point. This brings us to Legacy of Nightmares, another fly-in-the-face of conventional Diablo 3 Since the Loot 2.0 revamp, sets have been king of DPS. Some argue the lack of true diversity is gone in builds, something Vanilla had a surprising amount of in contrast. Few arguments could be mounted for anything but set based builds of late, and enter unique_ring_014_x1_demonhunter_male.pngThe Legacy of Nightmares . The "No-Set Set" gave rise to a new and exciting branch of gameplay that satisfied many of the prior complaints of too heavy reliance on set bonuses. While the issue is still not dead, after all Wizards couldn't seem to materialize a competitive build with LoN, it went on to dominate the solo leaderboards for classes like Crusader and Demon Hunter. I will state there is much work to be done here, but like Apollo 11, this was a "Giant Leap" for Diablo III. 

 

Now, the heart of article is revealed. We have made it this far, and now the rock bottom and the sky-high aspects of Season Five come to light. 

 

The Worst

 

o-TORNADO-facebook.jpg

  • A Support Meta/Single DPS Gameplay: This is probably not a twist(er) to those who played Season Five, as we saw a worrying trend that began in Season Four take a whole new level of notoriety in Season Five. In a game that is all about smacking skeletons until they collapse, a striking meta emerges where 75% of a Four-man group are not doing it. David Brevik (you know, the guy who envisioned Diablo and worked so hard to make the game a reality) stated fondly of working on the first Diablo "I clicked on the mouse, and the warrior walked over and smacked the skeleton down. And I was like, ‘Oh my god! ...That was awesome!'" Thus was born the Action Role Playing Game, or ARPG. This quote characterizes what makes the arpg so special, and for many what their first Diablo experience was like. With this in mind, consider a situation where only one out four in a party are doing the skeleton smacking. Change might be good, but such a dramatic shift away from what seems so core to the arpg and the Diablo experience is nearing criminal. The reaction from the developers behind the game seems to be in vein with my own take on the situation, as they have mobilized en masse to try and cull this type of gameplay. Even well-known community figures admit that they only partake in it because it is the most efficient, not because it's what they enjoy. It is how to climb the leaderboards, for better or worse. Worse, really. This will likely be the most remembered aspect of Season Five looking back. Actually, strike that. The most remembered thing about Season Five, the thing that will put it down in the history books as what went right is: 

 

The Win

 

terminator.jpg

  • Season Five saw the purge of the Botter, and humans attaining victory. An update to Blizzard's Warden, in conjunction with well timed and decisive waves, saw the leaderboards all but purified of those who chose to break the Terms of Service by utilizing suspect third party softwares. Whether you and Brother Chris played Diablo 24/7, or you used a software which rhymes with MurboMud, or maybe plotted your trips through Sanctuary using some GPS, you probably saw the boot. While not all elicit software users were burned by the righteous fires of the purge, a great chunk saw, and thus now fear the Light. Whatever this means moving forward, the message has been sent, and the result are clear for all to see: Play by the rules, or risk consequences. Exceptionally well played on Blizzard's part with timing and deployment, the banwave has many of the jaded questioning if perhaps there is much to be said about the game after all. Excellent work to Blizzard, and I personally hope that you keep this momentum you've gained. 

 

 

Conclusion:

 

Season Five has come and gone, and with it a new legacy was born. What the full effect is still remains to be seen, but we can assess some core principles in the immediate. What we know is that like any Season, there are going to be bad aspects, and those that make us remember exactly what has us logging in again and again and again. Season Five seemed to polarize the issues, making the extremes of the bad, as well as the good, more apparent than ever. In the end there more good than bad, and this should have all fans of the franchise reaching for that mouse.

 

Personally, I had a great time in Season Five, and I am looking forward to Season Six, which will begin as follows: 

  • North America: Friday, April 29 @ 5:00 p.m. PDT
  • Europe: Friday, April 29 @ 5:00 p.m. CEST
  • Asia: Friday, April 29 @ 5:00 p.m. KST

 

I want to thank readers, and now that I have said my piece, I open the comment box to all of you below. Do you agree or disagree with my take? Let me know! 

 

In the meantime, happy farming! 

Edited by Realbookwurm

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well written and interesting reading. I agree with you on most of your conclusions.

 

Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great article! I definitely agree with your points but I feel like you forgot to mention how upset many players got with the addition to insane skill damage on legendary items like The Gavel of Judgment or Tzo Krin's Gaze thus removing some creativity to changing builds up. In know Quin ranted a lot about how he did not like this. I was rather indifferent about the issue but I know from the forums that many people hated it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good stuff.  In reference to the extra stash tabs, I would call it bad if not ugly,  Of course, you've heard me gripe about this before. biggrin.png

 

You said that you come from a gaming culture that believes in working for rewards, so from that perspective, the seasonal cache tab reward is good.  For the most part, I agree.  The problem in this case is, lack of storage is such an issue in this game that offering a fix for it via a reward is ludicrous.  It's like they said, "Oh, your game crashes to the desktop every 30 minutes?  Do well enough in the next season and you can earn a fix for that!"  Seriously--if they said this, I'd consider it no more ridiculous than earning new stash tabs.  When part of the game is broken, don't ask me to "earn" a patch for it.

 

But I realize I'm on the extreme end of wanting storage.  I could easily put to use 10 times as much stash space.  So considering the normal players, ok, they want to offer the tabs as rewards.  They still messed it up, and here's why:

 

In-game rewards fall into two categories--cosmetic and useful.

 

Cosmetic: wings, transmorgs, pets, banners, etc.  It's perfectly ok to lock these things up to where the casual player simply can't get them.  No matter how cool I think those wings look, if I can't put in the time to get them, it doesn't hold back my game.

 

Useful: armor, weapons, skills, recipes, NPCs, maps, waypoints, stash tabs, etc., etc.  Anything effecting actual gameplay.  It is never ok to lock these things completely away from the casual player.  Non-casual players will earn these things a lot sooner and faster and more often, but the casual player will get there eventually.  They may go a really long time before they finally get to Cube a Furnace, but it will happen and be really cool when it does.

 

Extra Stash Tabs are useful items (very useful) that have been completely locked away from the casual player.  No matter how long I keep playing the game, an extra stash tab won't finally "drop" (because the Season expires before I can get there.)  Then they add insult to injury by locking them away from even some non-casual players by requiring a game mode they don't enjoy.  All this for something that should have been considered a fix--not a reward--in the first place.

 

/rant

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Similar Content

    • By Stan

      A small patch went live yesterday on PTR with bug fixes and changes to the functionality of Manald Heal and Illusory Boots.
      Below are changes brought with this patch. Information related to the previous build can be found here.
      Blizzard Entertainment (Source)
      Items
      Functionality Changes
      Manald Heal The number of procs generated by channeled skills while using this item has been reduced by 25% Illusory Boots Now allow the player to pass through enemies and the Waller affix when using Furious Charge, Whirlwind, Strafe and Tempest Rush. Bug Fixes
      Fixed an issue causing Elite enemies with the Juggernaut affix to incorrectly take normal damage from Slow Time when combined with Deslere’s Magnum Opus.
    • By Stan

      A new build went live with changes to Primal Ancient items. Now they are much more rare, drop with perfect stats and salvage into 15 Forgotten Souls.
      All Legendary and Ancient items have a chance to roll as Primal Ancient Primal Ancient items are much rarer than Legendaries or Ancient items and will always roll with perfect Ancient stats. They start dropping as soon as you reach Greater Rift 70 Solo (different gating applies to Hardcore, Seasonal & non-Seasonal Heroes) Primal Ancient items salvage into 15 Forgotten Souls According to a blue post, the Mystic will also yield only perfect rolls. Below, you can find all the changes that come with the latest build, full 2.5.0 patch notes are available here. Blizzard Entertainment (Source)
      PTR 2.5.0 Patch Notes: Build 43687
      Classes
      Bug Fixes
      Demon Hunter Impale Ricochet Fixed a bug where the second bounce granted by this rune would sometimes fail if enemies were packed tightly together. Adventure Mode
      Primal Ancient Items
      Legendary and Set items will now have a chance to roll as Primal Ancient These items are much more rare than Ancient items and have perfect Ancient-level stats on all affixes, including the item’s Legendary Power Note: Primal Ancients will only begin dropping after a character on the player’s account has reached Greater Rift 70 Solo There are separate unlocks for normal and Hardcore characters, as well as Seasonal and non-Seasonal characters The stats on these items will be tailored to the character class you are playing when the item first drops Primal Ancient items salvage into 15 Forgotten Souls Ancient Items Now salvage into 3 Forgotten Souls Class Specific Items Note: Existing items will not be affected by the following changes. Only new versions of the items will roll with the added Legendary power Demon Hunter Holy Point Shot Impale throws two additional knives Note: Each enemy can only be hit once per skill use Note: This change is still being tested and evaluated Bug Fixes The Legacy of Raekor Fixed a bug where the 6 piece bonus of this set would not buff Earthquake damage Greater Rifts Additionally, several quality of life changes have been made The frequency of several tilesets in Greater Rifts has been adjusted Caves, Keep Depths and Zoltun Kulle’s Archives will appear less often Stinging Winds, Festering Woods, Pandemonium, Tristram Cathedreal, Arreat Crater and Realm of the Banished will appear more often The Flooded Causeway and Westmarch locations will no longer appear on the first floor of Greater Rifts The number of Spear Throwing Goatmen and Skeleton Archers that appear in Greater Rifts has been reduced in certain enemy populations Bug Fixes Fixed an issue that caused a specific enemy population of Triune Cultists in Greater Rifts to spawn the wrong ratio of minions What do you think about these changes or Primal Ancient items in general?
    • By Stan

      Challenge Rifts are a different beast to master as opposed to Greater Rifts. Joe Shely talks more about how to keep the experience fresh and discusses Rift fishing.
      The main goal of changes to Greater Rifts was to reduce variation while keeping the play experience different at the same time.
      Blizzard Entertainment (Source)
      Hi all, Joe Shely here.
      I’d like to talk about our philosophy for the design changes we make that affect Greater Rifts and how we think about Rift “fishing.”
      When you are pushing Greater Rifts (either to improve your highest Greater Rift rank or to increase your maximum Legendary Gem rank), you start to encounter situations where you’re selecting a Rift that you may not be able to complete.
      Whether you can complete that Rift or not depends on three factors:
      Your character’s overall power, including how much main stat you have, your Critical Strike chance, etc. This is the largest factor and comes primarily from your gear. How well you execute your character’s build. For example, maximizing Focus and Restraint uptime, getting the most value out of each Convention of the Elements cycle, and so on. How well you adapt to the various challenges the dungeon throws at you. These include things like dungeon layout, number of branching paths, room size, enemy population type, and which Rift boss you encounter. In other words, Greater Rifts require some combination of three things: Power, Execution, and Adaptability.

      If we wanted to, we could make every Rift roll the same tile-set, layout, population, and boss. That would put all of the focus on execution. This can be fun in short bursts, and in fact Challenge Rifts do exactly this at a fixed power level. Each time a new Challenge Rift is introduced you’ll be presented with a new character and build to try. We plan to introduce new Challenge Rifts frequently to keep the experience fresh.
      Greater Rifts are a different beast.
      You spend a lot of time with the same character. That character’s power level doesn’t change very fast, especially in the late game when you’re running with a complete set of well-rolled items. And your execution—the buttons you’re pressing—doesn’t change very often. You improve over time and might try a new build, but overall this value is fairly static…so we need to look elsewhere to keep Greater Rifts fun to play again and again.
      This is where adaptability comes in. We design monsters, Rift Guardians, affixes, and dungeon layouts that throw a wide variety of challenges at you—within reason.
      Your experience should vary from one Rift to the next, but if it varies too much, it feels like whether you can complete a Rift is entirely out of your control. Our target with Rift changes has been to reduce that variation while keeping the play experience different from Rift to Rift.

      If you step into a Rift and see that the first floor is a cave, or the first population has a lot of Writhing Deceivers and you instantly know that Rift will be impossible to complete, then the cave tile-set or the monster probably needs tweaking.
      Along these lines, we reduced the average size of a Rift floor in Patch 2.4.3 to increase the number of floors you see in a given Rift, placing less emphasis on the tile-set or population of a given floor. We also made improvements where a specific monster or tile-set was out of line, like fixing big empty areas in the Heaven tile-set or making Writhing Deceivers emerge more quickly from hiding.
      Now, when you’re pushing the absolute limit of your character’s power and execution, there will inevitably come a point where you can only succeed if you get that perfect Rift. That’s a reality we aren’t trying to circumvent. But by setting the right balance between character power, execution, and adaptability in Greater Rifts, we can broadly improve the experience and raise the threshold at which everything has to go perfectly.
    • By Stan

      Diablo PTRs received a new build today with mostly set changes.
      Significant design changes are coming to Primal Ancient Legendaries in a future build.  Below are full patch notes with latest changes denoted by red.
      Blizzard Entertainment (Source)
      PTR 2.5.0 Patch Notes: Build 43508
      GENERAL
      New Feature: Armory
      Players may now save up to five different builds per character using the Armory This new feature can be found in the town hub within each Act Saving a build in the Armory will snapshot your character’s current gear, socketed gems, active and passive skills, and Kanai’s Cube powers Equipping a saved armory build will automatically swap items and gear between the character and stash New Feature: Crafting Mat Storage
      Starting with Patch 2.5.0, crafting materials picked up or obtained through salvaging will now appear in a separate storage tab, freeing up space in the shared stash This tab can be accessed through the Inventory window CLASSES
      Crusader
      Shield Glare The Divine Verdict rune has been updated to apply its secondary effect even if the target is immune to crowd control effects Barbarian
      Seismic Slam The Seismic Slam Rumble rune will now consume all remaining fury to increase the rune’s damage over time component by 15% weapon damage per point of fury spent ITEMS
      General
      Primal Ancient Items Legendary and Set items will now have a chance to roll as Primal Ancient These items are more rare than Ancient items and have increased stat ranges Legendary Items
      The following items have been adjusted
      Rimeheart Increased the chance to proc its Legendary item power on frozen targets from 10% to 20% Strongarm Bracers The damage bonus from this item is now applied when the knockback occurs rather than when the enemy lands The damage bonus duration has been increased to 6 seconds Class Specific Items
      The following class sets received changes Crusader Roland's Legacy (4) Set Bonus Damage bonus has been increased to 2500% (from 1250%) damage bonus on Sweep Attack and Shield Bash Monk Inna's Favor (6) Set Bonus Damage bonus for each Mystic Ally has been increased to 125% (from 100%) Witch Doctor Zunimassa’s Haunt (6) Set Bonus Damage bonus has been increased to 2500% (from 1500%) when enemies are hit by your mana spenders for 8 seconds Wizard Delsere’s Magnum Opus (2) Set Bonus Cooldown of Slow Time is reduced by 3 seconds (from 2) when casting Arcane Orb, Energy Twister, Explosive Blast, Magic Missile, Shock Pulse, Spectral Blade and Wave of Force (4) Set Bonus Damage reduction increased to 60% (from 50%) (6) Set Bonus Enemies take 3500% increased damage (from 2500%) while inside Slow Time The slow and damage bonuses persist on enemies for 5 seconds after they exit Slow Time 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 Demon Hunter Holy Point Shot Impale throws two additional knives Note: Each enemy can only be hit once per skill use The functionality of some items has changed The Barber
      This weapon is now a Ceremonial Knife instead of a Dagger, allowing it to roll the same damage as other Witch Doctor items The damage bonus to the final explosion of this item’s Legendary power has also been reintroduced With this change, the item’s Legendary power will also be updated in Kanai’s Cube for those who already extracted it Players will need to re-equip the power in the cube for the updated version to appear Manald Heal
      Wizard pets such as Hydras will now also proc the damage component of Manald Heal when attacking a target Note: This change will appear in an upcoming PTR patch ADVENTURE MODE
      Greater Rifts
      The requirement for participating in certain difficulty levels in public games has been changed from current Paragon Level to highest solo Greater Rift clear, as follows Torment I – VI: No Requirement Torment VII: Solo Greater Rift 30 Torment VIII: Solo Greater Rift 35 Torment IX: Solo Greater Rift 40 Torment X: Solo Greater Rift 45 Torment XI: Solo Greater Rift 50 Torment XII: Solo Greater Rift 55 Torment XIII: Solo Greater Rift 60 Note: This change only applies to players on PC / Mac Set Dungeons
      Unhallowed Essence The upper right tile for this dungeon has been replaced with one that affords more space for monster spawning as a quality of life improvement Armor of Akkhan The number of times Condemn must hit 10 or more enemies to complete the objective has been reduced from 12 to 10 Delsere’s Magnum Opus The required number of enemies players must hit at once with Slow Time has been reduced from 30 to 20, and the number of times they must be hit has increased from 3 to 4 Uliana’s Stratagem The minimum number of enemies players need to hit with a single Exploding Palm for the first Bonus Objective has been lowered from 21 to 15 and the number of times it must be performed has been changed from 3 to 4 Bounties
      Bonus Acts have been removed With this change, completing five bounties in any act will now grant you a Large Horadric Chest containing the same contents as the Horadric and Bonus Caches
    • By Stan

      Primal Ancient items spark controversy since their introduction and are dubbed a terrible and lazy design choice. The issue with the philosophy is that boosting stats isn't new content or gameplay what the Diablo developer team should be focusing on.
      A blue post talks about significant design changes coming to Primal Ancient items in a future (not the next) PTR Build.
      Nevalistis (Source)
      Loving the amount of thoughtful and constructive discourse on this topic. We knew introducing Primal Ancients would be somewhat controversial, because they are meant to be very rare, and we appreciate the time and effort you all have taken to testing them thus far. We're reading as many threads, watching as many videos, and listening to as many streams as possible to gather your thoughts and reflect on them. 

      There are definitely some good and valid concerns, and we are going to be making some significant design changes with Primal Ancients. These changes aren't set in stone and have some technical hurdles behind them, so they won't be making the next PTR patch, but a future one instead.
      Communication is key this early on in PTR. Are you checking all the primal related threads in the PTR feedback, or just this one?
      We're definitely looking at multiple threads, it's just much easier for us to pick a centralized location to converse.

      On a related note, it's easier on us if there's more of a centralized discussion, so while other threads likely won't go unnoticed, it's much easier for us to parse one thread on a topic than fifty.
      Let's hope they will be turned into something more impactful!