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Realbookwurm

d3 Diablo III Season Five Postmortem

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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

 

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  • 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.  

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  • 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. 

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  • 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. 

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  • 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

 

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  • 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.

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  • 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

 

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  • 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! 

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  • 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

 

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  • 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.

 

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  • 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. 

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  • 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

 

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  • 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. 

 

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  • 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. 

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  • 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.

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  • 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. 

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  • 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

 

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  • 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

 

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  • 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

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

 

Thanks!

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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.

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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

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In addition, your movement speed is increased by 4-5% for 5 seconds. Maximum 5 stacks. Bone Ringer The damage bonus of Command Skeletons is increased by 25-30% each second while active Leger’s Disdain Grim Scythe deals an additional 7-10% damage for each point of essence it restores Iron Rose Attacking with Siphon Blood while at full life has a 15-25% 40-50% chance to cast a free Blood Nova The Johnstone Each corpse consumed in Land of the Dead increases your damage by 10% for 8-10 seconds after it ends Each corpse consumed in Land of the Dead grants a stack of Macabre Knowledge. Macabre Knowledge increases the damage of Corpse Lance and Corpse Explosion by 150-200% while outside Land of the Dead. Haunted Visions Simulacrum now drains 10-15% of your maximum life every second and lasts twice as long Wisdom of Kalan Increases the maximum number of Bone Armor stacks by 5 Bloodsong Mail While in Land of the Dead, Command Skeletons gains the effect of all runes and deals 100-125% increased damage Requiem Cereplate Devour restores an additional 75-100% Essence and Life. In addition, when Devour restores Essence or Life above your maximum, the excess is granted over 3 seconds Mask of Scarlet Death Revive consumes all corpses to raise a single minion that does an additional 125 – 150% damage per corpse Fate’s Vow After consuming 15-20 corpses you unleash a free Death Nova Army of the Dead gains the effect of the Unconventional Warfare rune Moribund Gauntlets Your Golem has a 10-15% chance to shed a corpse when it is hit by an enemy Your Golem sheds a corpse every second Grasps of Essence When an exploded corpse damages at least one enemy, your Corpse Explosion deals 75-100% increased damage for 6 seconds, stacking up to 5 times Golemskin Breaches Your Golem’s damage is increased by 100-125% and you take 25% 30% less damage while you are within 18 yards of it it is alive Defiler Cuisses Your Bone Spirit’s damage is increased by 75-100% for every second it is active Steuart’s Greaves You gain 40-50% increased movement speed for 2 seconds after using Blood Rush Bryner’s Journey Bone Spikes has a 10-15% 20-30% chance to cast a Bone Nova at the target location Dayntee’s Binding Decrepify gains an additional 20-30% damage reduction for attacks against you You gain an additional 40-50% damage reduction when there is an enemy afflicted by your Decrepify Razeth’s Volition Skeletal Mage gains the effect of the Gift of Death rune Circle of Nailuj's Evol You now raise an additional Skeletal Mage with each cast and they last an additional 2-4 seconds Prayer of Briggs Uncursed enemies are pulled to the target location when a curse is applied to them Krysbin’s Sentence Bone Spikes, Bone Spear and Bone Spirit deal 125-150% increased damage against enemies that are stunned, frozen, charmed, feared or blinded You deal 75-100% increased damage against slowed enemies or triple this bonus against enemies afflicted by any other type of control-impairing effect Lornelle’s Sunstone Your damage reduction is increased by 0.75-0.95% for every 1% Life you are missing Corpsewhisper Pauldrons Corpse Lance damage is increased by 15-20% 25-30% for 3 seconds each time you consume a corpse. Max 15 80 20 stacks Hellfire Amulet Necromancer passives have been added for this item Halcyon’s Ascent Added skills to this item for the Necromancer Class Sets Bones of Rathma (2) Set Bonus Your pets have a chance to reduce the cooldown of Army of the Dead by 1 second each time they deal damage (4) Set Bonus You gain 1% damage reduction for 5 seconds each time your pets deal damage. Max 50 stacks. (6) Set Bonus Each active Skeleton Mage increases the damage of your minions and Army of the Dead by 200% 250% Trag’Oul’s Avatar (2) Set Bonus Blood Rush gains the effect of every rune (4) Set Bonus While at full life, your healing from skills is added to your maximum life for 45 seconds. Up to 100% more. (6) Set Bonus Spending 10% life grants you a stack of Blood Cascade up to 50 times. Each stack of Blood Cascade increases the damage of life-spending attacks by 200% and also increases the life you lose by 10%. Using a skill to heal will consume a stack and heal for an additional 300%. Healing from skills consumes one stack regardless of how many targets are hit Command Skeletons: Dark Mending and Land of the Dead: Land of Plenty no longer consume stacks or receive increased healing Your Life-spending attacks deal 3300% increased damage but cost twice as much Life. Your healing from skills is increased by 100%. Grace of Inarius (2) Set Bonus Bone Armor’s damage is increased by 1000% (4) Set Bonus Bone Armor stacks are now refreshed. In addition, Bone Armor grants an additional 2% damage reduction per enemy hit (6) Set Bonus Bone Armor also activates a Bone Tornado damaging nearby enemies by 375% 750% weapon damage per second as Physical. Enemies hit by the tornado take 850% 2750% additional damage from the Necromancer’s abilities and minions Pestilence Master’s Shroud (2) Set Bonus Each corpse you consume fires a Corpse Lance corpse fragment at a nearby enemy, dealing 800% weapon damage (4) Set Bonus Each enemy hit by Bone Spear reduces your damage taken by 2% up to a maximum of 50%. Lasts 15 seconds. (6) Set Bonus Each corpse you consume grants you an Empowered Bone Spear charge that increases the damage of your next Bone Spear by 1000% 3000% This effect stacks up to 30 100 times Jairoan Jesseth Arms (2) Set Bonus Army of the Dead gains the effect of the Unconventional Warfare rune When the target of your Command Skeletons dies, your skeletons are automatically commanded to attack a nearby target While your skeletons are commanded to attack a target, all of your minions deal 400% increased damage Legendary Gems Zei’s Stone of Vengeance When a pet deals damage with this gem equipped, bonuses are now always granted from the player to the enemy hit instead of from the pet to the enemy Note: This change went into effect in a previous beta patch Bug Fixes Fixed an issue causing phylacteries to roll only the lowest possible damage value Fixed an issue which allowed non-Necromancer characters to equip Necromancer gear Fixed an issue which prevented damage stacks on Bone Ringer from being preserved if Command Skeletons was used again on the same target ADVENTURE MODE
      New Zones: The Moors & The Temple of the Firstborn The fog-enshrouded Moors and the darkened Temple of the Firstborn can be explored in Adventure Mode through a new waypoint on the Act 2 map. General (Beta Only) Made changes to reduce the occurrence of dead ends when floors in Rifts and Greater Rifts use the Temple of the Firstborn map. Set Dungeons The user interface has been updated to better explain tier completion requirements. With this, the basic completion tier must be finished within the given time limit. The time limit to complete a Set Dungeon has been increased to 5 minutes Necromancer Set Dungeons have been added to Adventure Mode Set dungeon monsters are now tracked on the mini-map when the dungeon begins All Basic Tier monster kill requirements have been lowered Bounties Four new Waypoints have appeared in Act IV. Each one has bounties to complete. These Realms of Fate are the unintended consequences of the battle between the nephalem and Diablo in the High Heavens (PTR Only) Several bounties in the Realms of Fate have had changes to their objectives, along with changes to the order of objective completion and bounty text Greater Rifts Players who die in solo Greater Rifts can now choose to immediately resurrect. When choosing this option, the time remaining on your death timer will be removed from the remaining Greater Rift time and your cooldowns will be advanced by the same amount. Bug Fixes Fixed an issue which sometimes prevented players from completing the “Clear the Forgotten Well” bounty ACHIEVEMENTS
      Terror In The Blood Now requires the player’s health to be at 10% or below instead of 9% or below Bug Fixes Fixed a bug causing the Stay Classy, Upper Class and Classic Collection achievements to not be awarded correctly for the four Necromancer sets Fixed a bug preventing the Terror in the Blood achievement from triggering once the criteria were met and Diablo was defeated Fixed an issue that was preventing the use of Command Skeletons from properly giving credit to the Skeleton Crew achievement when elites and champion packs were killed MONSTERS
      Skeleton Mage Has had its fire damage reduced slightly PTR ONLY
      D'jank Miem Players can exchange Blood Shards with this vendor for bags containing gear The cost per bag has been set to 500 200. Players will now be able to purchase bags containing new Legendary items in addition to the previous bags containing Set items
    • By Stan

      Necromancer Beta was updated with Patch v2.6.0.45634. Not so many changes are in this time. Blizzard reduced the likelihood of dead ends in Rifts & Greater Rifts floors using the Temple of the Firstborn map.
      NOTE: Red text indicates a change between the last and live patch notes.
      Blizzard (Source)
      Please note that participation in the Necromancer beta test will be by invitation to ensure focused feedback and a smooth testing experience. For details on how to participate, please see this blog.
      Installation and Play Instructions:
      To install and play the Necromancer beta test, please follow the instructions below:
      Step 1: If you were invited to the beta test, verify that your account has been granted a beta license in Blizzard Account Management.
      Step 2: Download and install the Blizzard launcher.
      Step 3: Once you have installed the Blizzard launcher, log in with your credentials and select Diablo III from the menu on the left-hand side.
      Step 4: On the Diablo III screen, there is a drop-down menu above the "Play" button (note that this may say "Install" if you do not have Diablo III currently installed). Select " Necromancer Beta Test" from this drop-down menu before proceeding.
      Step 5: You should now have the option to install and play the beta.
      Beta Character Copy:
      The option to copy your existing Diablo III characters from your live account to the beta will be available and can be done directly through the beta client.
      Step 1: Log into the beta client and create a level 1 character. After you're done, return to the main character screen.
      Step 2: Note the “PTR Copy” button at the top right of the Home Screen. (This button will not appear in-game until you have created a new level 1 character.)
      Step 3: Select your region.
      Step 4: Click "Copy." This will copy all characters on your account from the selected region.
      Step 5: You may be disconnected from the beta client.
      Step 6: Log back in. Your copied characters will be available for play.
      Please note that you can only copy characters from one gameplay region at a time. If you choose to copy characters from a different region, any previously copied beta characters will be lost.
      In addition, you can only copy characters over to your beta account once every 24 hours. Attempting to copy characters before this cooldown is up will result in an error.
      PTR PATCH 2.6.0 - v2.6.0.45634
      Below you'll find the preliminary notes for Patch 2.6.0, including the Necromancer beta. Please note that this isn't the final version and that some changes may not be documented or described in full detail.
      Please note that content availability during the beta will vary depending on testing needs.
      General
      New Feature: Challenge Rifts Explore new builds created by fellow players in a weekly static dungeon. You can access these through the main screen, similar to Adventure Mode and Campaign Mode. Note: New Challenge Rifts may be available more frequently during the beta. Classes
      New Class: Necromancer As a master of the dark arts, you wield the powers of life and death necessary to restore the Balance! Necromancers are powerful spell casters who lay waste to their enemies using curses and reanimation—along with an obedient cadre of pets. This new class employs a controlled gameplay style using the raw materials of life: blood and bone. Necromancer Skills Army of the Dead Base Rune Raise a massive skeletal army to pummel the targeted location dealing 3,000% 12,000% weapon damage in a 15 yard radius Frozen Army 3,600% 12,000% and they attack all enemies in a line Dead Storm Raise a storm of the dead that surround you damaging enemies for 2,000% 15,500% weapon damage over 5 seconds Unconventional Warfare Damage increased to 50,000% total weapon damage Catatonic Grasp Has been renamed to Blighted Grasp Has been redesigned Skeletal hands raise from the ground damaging enemies within 15 yards for 14,000% total weapon damage as Poison over 5 seconds Bone Armor Harvest of Anguish Now deals Cold damage instead of Physical Dislocation Now deals Poison damage instead of Physical Limited Immunity Now begins its cooldown once the immunity effect ends Command Skeletons The active ability for this skill now lasts until the target dies or you change the target of your command   Corpse Explosion Base Rune Target an area exploding all corpses within 11 yards dealing 150% 250% weapon damage to enemies within 20 yards Close Quarters Explodes corpses close to you, dealing 200% 325% weapon damage to enemies within 20 yards Corpse Lance Base Rune Target an enemy to summon projectiles from nearby corpses that cause 750% 900% weapon damage to the target Land of the Dead Base Rune All corpse skills can be used at will for 5 10 seconds Necromancer Passives Blood Is Power Has been redesigned After cumulatively losing 100% of your maximum Life, all ability cooldowns are reduced by 20%. This effect cannot reduce an ability’s cooldown more than once for each time that ability is used. Final Service When this passive successfully prevents death, the Necromancer is immune to incoming damage for 4 seconds This passive does not require active pets to prevent death and grant immunity Instead of immediately consuming all pets, this passive will grant 10% health per pet until the Necromancer is at 100% health Wizard Skills Mirror Image Simulacrum This rune has been renamed to "Hard Light" Bug Fixes Decay Golem Fixed an issue where Decay golem was not benefiting from the unlimited corpses granted by Land of the Dead Fixed a bug where the visuals for Army of the Dead: Unconventional Warfare were not being played Items
      General Scythes and Phylacteries are now sold by some of the vendors throughout the world Legendary Items Funeral Pick Siphon Blood drains blood from 2 additional targets Trag’oul’s Corroded Fang The Cursed Scythe rune for Grim Scythe now has a 100% chance to apply a curse Scythe of the Cycle Your Secondary skills deal 250-300% additional damage while Bone Armor is active but reduce the remaining duration of Bone Armor by 3 seconds Dreadgolem Spike Bone Spear now costs 40 Essence and deals 125-150% additional damage Bloodtide Blade Death Nova deals 125-150% increased damage for every enemy within 10 yards Reilena’s Shadowhook Bone Spikes generates an additional 2-4 Essence for each enemy hit Death’s Scythe Each different Poison skill you use increases the damage of your Poison skills by 75-100% for 15 seconds Spear of Jesseth Your Thorns is increased by 10-15% for every enemy afflicted by one of your curses Lost Time Your Cold skills reduce the movement speed of enemies by 30%. In addition, your movement speed is increased by 4-5% for 5 seconds. Maximum 5 stacks. Bone Ringer The damage bonus of Command Skeletons is increased by 25-30% each second while active Leger’s Disdain Grim Scythe deals an additional 7-10% damage for each point of essence it restores Iron Rose Attacking with Siphon Blood while at full life has a 15-25% chance to cast a free Blood Nova The Johnstone Each corpse consumed in Land of the Dead increases your damage by 10% for 8-10 seconds after it ends Haunted Visions Simulacrum now drains 10-15% of your maximum life every second and lasts twice as long Wisdom of Kalan Increases the maximum number of Bone Armor stacks by 5 Bloodsong Mail While in Land of the Dead, Command Skeletons gains the effect of all runes and deals 100-125% increased damage Requiem Cereplate When Devour restores Essence or Life above your maximum, the excess is granted over 3 seconds Mask of Scarlet Death Revive consumes all corpses to raise a single minion that does an additional 125 – 150% damage per corpse Fate’s Vow After consuming 15-20 corpses you unleash a free Death Nova Moribund Gauntlets Your Golem has a 10-15% chance to shed a corpse when it is hit by an enemy Grasps of Essence When an exploded corpse damages at least one enemy, your Corpse Explosion deals 75-100% increased damage for 6 seconds, stacking up to 5 times Golemskin Breaches Your Golem’s damage is increased by 100-125% and you take 25% less damage while you are within 18 yards of it Defiler Cuisses Your Bone Spirit’s damage is increased by 75-100% for every second it is active Steuart’s Greaves You gain 40-50% increased movement speed for 2 seconds after using Blood Rush Bryner’s Journey Bone Spikes has a 10-15% chance to cast a Bone Nova at the target location Dayntee’s Binding Decrepify gains an additional 20-30% damage reduction for attacks against you Razeth’s Volition Skeletal Mage gains the effect of the Gift of Death rune Circle of Nailuj You now raise an additional Skeletal Mage with each cast and they last an additional 2-4 seconds Prayer of Briggs Uncursed enemies are pulled to the target location when a curse is applied to them Krysbin’s Sentence Bone Spikes, Bone Spear and Bone Spirit deal 125-150% increased damage against enemies that are stunned, frozen, charmed, feared or blinded Lornelle’s Sunstone Your damage reduction is increased by 0.75-0.95% for every 1% Life you are missing Corpsewhisper Pauldrons Corpse Lance damage is increased by 15-20% for 3 seconds each time you consume a corpse. Max 15 80 stacks Hellfire Amulet Necromancer passives have been added for this item Halcyon’s Ascent Added skills to this item for the Necromancer Class Sets Bones of Rathma (2) Set Bonus Your pets have a chance to reduce the cooldown of Army of the Dead by 1 second each time they deal damage (4) Set Bonus You gain 1% damage reduction for 5 seconds each time your pets deal damage. Max 50 stacks. (6) Set Bonus Each active Skeleton Mage increases the damage of your minions and Army of the Dead by 200% Trag’Oul’s Avatar (2) Set Bonus Blood Rush gains the effect of every rune (4) Set Bonus While at full life, your healing from skills is added to your maximum life for 45 seconds. Up to 100% more. (6) Set Bonus Spending 10% life grants you a stack of Blood Cascade up to 50 times. Each stack of Blood Cascade increases the damage of life-spending attacks by 200% and also increases the life you lose by 10%. Using a skill to heal will consume a stack and heal for an additional 300%. Healing from skills consumes one stack regardless of how many targets are hit Command Skeletons: Dark Mending and Land of the Dead: Land of Plenty no longer consume stacks or receive increased healing Grace of Inarius (2) Set Bonus Bone Armor’s damage is increased by 1000% (4) Set Bonus Bone Armor stacks are now refreshed. In addition, Bone Armor grants an additional 2% damage reduction per enemy hit (6) Set Bonus Bone Armor also activates a Bone Tornado damaging nearby enemies by 375% weapon damage per second as Physical. Enemies hit by the tornado take 850% additional damage from the Necromancer’s abilities and minions Pestilence Master’s Shroud (2) Set Bonus Each corpse you consume fires a Corpse Lance corpse fragment at a nearby enemy, dealing 800% weapon damage (4) Set Bonus Each enemy hit by Bone Spear reduces your damage taken by 2% up to a maximum of 50%. Lasts 15 seconds. (6) Set Bonus Each corpse you consume grants you an Empowered Bone Spear charge that increases the damage of your next Bone Spear by 1000% Jairoan Arms (2) Set Bonus Army of the Dead gains the effect of the Unconventional Warfare rune Bug Fixes Fixed an issue causing phylacteries to roll only the lowest possible damage value Fixed an issue which allowed non-Necromancer characters to equip Necromancer gear Adventure Mode
      New Zones: The Moors & The Temple of the Firstborn The fog-enshrouded Moors and the darkened Temple of the Firstborn can be explored in Adventure Mode through a new waypoint on the Act 2 map. General (Beta Only) Made changes to reduce the occurrence of dead ends when floors in Rifts and Greater Rifts use the Temple of the Firstborn map. Set Dungeons The user interface has been updated to better explain tier completion requirements. With this, the basic completion tier must be finished within the given time limit. The time limit to complete a Set Dungeon has been increased to 5 minutes Necromancer Set Dungeons have been added to Adventure Mode Set dungeon monsters are now tracked on the mini-map when the dungeon begins All Basic Tier monster kill requirements have been lowered Bounties Four new Waypoints have appeared in Act IV. Each one has bounties to complete. These Realms of Fate are the unintended consequences of the battle between the nephalem and Diablo in the High Heavens. Greater Rifts Players who die in solo Greater Rifts can now choose to immediately resurrect. When choosing this option, the time remaining on your death timer will be removed from the remaining Greater Rift time and your cooldowns will be advanced by the same amount. Bug Fixes Fixed an issue which sometimes prevented players from completing the “Clear the Forgotten Well” bounty PTR Only
      D'jank Miem Players can exchange Blood Shards with this vendor for bags containing gear The cost per bag has been set to 500 200. Players will now be able to purchase bags containing new Legendary items in addition to the previous bags containing Set items
    • By Starym

       
      Welcome Vesalius, the first new Rift Boss in a long time! While it seemed he was entirely unique at first, it later turned out, as most Rift Bosses, that he was based off an Adventure Mode boss (Vidian from the Sanctum of Blood, a new area). Both bosses are giant Enslaved Nightmares, new models coming with the Necromancer pack and showing up now on the beta, so we can hope there will be even more new additions once it goes live.

      Streamer Zhanji first ran into the boss and his Necromancer's first encounter with Vesalius didn't go that great, considering the Frozen Pulse, Wormhole and Glowy Balls. So, let's take a look:
      Source: Troupster.com.
    • By Stan

      Necromancers have - as of the latest beta build - four different sets. In this preview, we're looking at their appearance and set bonuses. 
      Bones of Rathma (Bone / Pet)
      2P - Your pets have a chance to reduce the cooldown of Army of the Dead by 1 sec each time they deal damage. 4P - You gain 1% damage reduction each time your pets deal damage. Max 50 stacks. 6P - Each active Skeleton Mage increases the damage of your minions and Army of the Dead by 200%.
      Grace of Inarius (Saint)
      2P - Bone Armor's damage is increased by 1,000%. 4P - Bone Armor grants an additional 2% damage reduction per enemy hit. 6P - Bone Armor also activates a swirling tornado of bone, damaging nearby enemies for 375% weapon damage and increasing the damage they take from the Necromancer by 850%.
      Pestilence Master’s Shroud (Melee)
      2P - Each corpse you consume fires a Corpse Lance at a nearby enemy. 4P - Each enemy you hit with Bone Spear reduces your damage taken by 2%, up to a maximum of 50%. Lasts 15 seconds. 6P - Each corpse you consume grants you an Empowered Bone Spear charge that increases the damage of your next Bone Spear by 1,000%.
      Trag’Oul’s Avatar (Blood)
      2P - Blood Rush gains the effect of every rune. 4P - While at full Life, your healing from skills is added to your maximum Life for 45 seconds, up to 100% more. 6P - Spending 10% Life grants you a stack of Blood Cascade. Each stack of Blood Cascade increases the damage of Life-spending attacks by 200%, but also increases the Life you lose by 10%. Using a skill to heal will consume a stack and heal for 300% more.
    • By Stan

      A closer look at the new game mode, where you'll play someone else's build.
      The Challenge Rifts game mode is added to the game in Patch 2.6.0. Players don't need to purchase Rise of the Necromancer as Challenge Rifts are standard patch content that launches alongside the Necromancer DLC.
      The point is to race against the clock in a fixed Greater Rift with a unique character. You receive rewards if you beat the original timer. No customization is available, because the character comes with preset gear, Paragon level, Greater Rift difficulty and skills.

      If you beat the timer, you get a Challenge Rift Cache that contains Blood Shards, Bounty & Crafting materials.
      Gear, Kanai's Cube affixes, skills, runes and passives can be previewed under Hero details.

      If you enter the Challenge Hub, you can adjust spell positioning on your action bar and practise the build on either a Punisher for single-target damage (he's on the left side of the room) or Revenant Soldiers for AoE damage (located on the right).


      A mirror inside the room serves the same purpose as Hero details in the menu and displays information about the character's gear, skills, passives and runes.

      The timer begins when you click the Challenge Obelisk. Moving to Town (T) restarts the challenge and the cast isn't interrupted.