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New Diablo Job Postings

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As the theories for the future of the Diablo franchise increase in number and fans are starting to get demotivated, three new job opportunities in the Diablo team have appeared!

We have seen quite a few job listings for an unannounced Diablo project this year. Last week, the ad for the Game Director for this unannounced project disappeared, presumably with the man or woman for the job found. We also know that there is going to be a Diablo-related announcement this year on BlizzCon - but nothing else.

Now, there are a lot of theories about the future of Diablo. The most popular one is that we are getting a Diablo IV; Rhykker has made an extensive video about this. Recently, the idea of a Diablo II HD has started gaining ground. Other theories that have been heard is that the team is planning another expansion for Diablo III or a completely new and different game set in the Diablo universe. However, due to the lack of any updates so far, fans are slowly losing hope and lots of people believe that there will be no announcement.

This time, three new job postings were made. Specifically, Blizzard is looking for a Senior User Interface Designer, a Technical Artist and another User Interface Designer. What's different is that there is no mention of the "unannounced project", merely that they are looking for people to join the Diablo team. In fact, the third job listing even states that they are searching for a UI designer for "Diablo 3 and any future projects with the franchise".

To sum up, we are not going to repeat all the theories about the fate of the Diablo franchise. Regardless of what is announced on BlizzCon 2016, as I've said in another article, it will take a long time before we actually get our hands on a new Diablo game. So, we should just stop worrying and enjoy Reaper of Souls for now!

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    • By Starym
      Well this is a new one. It seems the comments to the balance blog posted yesterday sparked more explanations and clarifications than the blog itself had! Nevalistis has been hard at work addressing player's concerns related to the post over on reddit, with a staggering amount written, so let's get into it.
      Nevalistis talks about some things that definitely won't happen in D3, like a number squish and massive buffs to skills, as well as clarifies many issues talked about in the blog like high paragon balance and ye olde casual vs hardcore debate, a solo self found mode/leaderboard, the disappointing new Monk sets and a lot more.
      To begin we have concerns of balancing around the high-paragon crowd:
      Nevalistis (source)
      TIL my 1000 paragon levels are child’s play
      I wouldn't think of it that way. I generally average 600-800 a season before I stop to avoid burnout. But I do think the people who are regularly hitting 5000 paragon tend to forget that your or my accomplishments are more in line with the average player experiences.
      It's still important we make our changes based on both types of players. But I do think it's easy for players (like you or me) who average 800-1k per season to believe they can and should be performing the same as someone at 8000 or higher because the build they're referencing was created by someone at that level. That context is insanely important, but really easy to miss or forget.
      We do a lot of math to land somewhere in between so we can suit both audiences.
      In connection to the powerful and hardcore player vs more casual dilemma (because that one wasn't talked about to death the past 10-20 years), we have a discussion about just who the game should be catered to, with comparisons to sports and spectating them, which lead to a leaderboards discussion:
      Nevalistis (source)
      Praefationes You don’t balance things out in sports based on average performance why would you do so in a game. If you are not willing to put in the time that it requires to be the best you don’t deserve to be the best. And even if they did balance the game after the average player who today look at the leaderboards and say it isn’t worth it wouldn’t be thre either way. Because the players in the top put in 8 hour days the average player don’t.
      Sports, more often that not, are built specifically to be spectated.
      Some video games are also designed that way. But Diablo isn't one of them. We want the game to be compelling and fun for anyone who logs in to play, not just those who seek to compete while doing so.
      ...
      We actually added the leaderboard specifically because players specifically requested it—not because we designed around it. That's why its inclusion didn't happen until Reaper of Souls.
      Diablo (any Diablo) at its core is meant to be a game about killing demons and getting loot. Not about who does that the best, or fastest, or most efficient. That's a goal that players choose to create for themselves, which is satisfying in its own right, but not something we're trying to enforce on others as it's not for everyone.
      It's not about forcing the upper competitors down to the average. It's about making sure the base game (or the weights, in your analogy) is accessible at all to the person with a more average or moderate interest in the hobby. If the weights are only available in 100 lb. increments, there's a lot of people who aren't even going to try (my noodlely-armed self included).
      Next up we have demands of crazy buffs to skills because "screw it, it's the end of the game anyway":
      Nevalistis (source)
      Skills are a bit more finicky to balance and tinker with, whereas items are a lot safer from a design/quality risk perspective. It's really easy (and fast) to disable an errant item if something goes wrong. As I've discovered from tinkering in my own design projects, what's under the hood typically works a lot differently than you might initially anticipate.
      As for a "squish," that's probably not going to happen. To provide context, the amount of work that went into doing the squish for WoW was ENORMOUS and took an incredible amount of back-end retrofitting (over the course of more than a year) to accomplish so that it could be done again in the future. D3 doesn't have that luxury or even close to the same infrastructure, nor does doing so make a ton of sense when a new game is on the horizon. We want to make the most of what we have, but also have to recognize we have limitations (resource and otherwise) in how far we can go.
      Then it's on to the lackluster new Monk sets and the solo vs group XP dilemma:
      Nevalistis (source)
      Re your questions:
      Monk: It was less about the skills and more about the purpose it was intended to serve (though we also saw a lot of clamor for wanting a more usable Tempest Rush build). We wanted Monks to have a fun, fast way to farm while leveraging existing Legendaries that didn't see as much play (and needed a little boost themselves).
      This doesn't mean we're ignoring Monk forever. If we find other opportunities to improve existing builds or add in a few new unique powers, we will! It's important you stay active, constructive and vocal in your community (either on the Monk forums or r/d3monk ) if you want to see change.
      Solo v. 4-man XP: Not something we're specifically targeting at this time, but certainly something we've been aware of and have discussed. This is kind of a beefy topic with a lot of history, but I'll try:
      Many proposed solutions to solve this cause a lot of other issues, and we like those outcomes less than the current state. Introducing a new mode to separate out participants further segments the community (we already have four degrees of separation between Seasons and Hardcore mode; a new mode would, in theory, make 8). Reducing group bonuses discourages group play when our goal with the game from the start was always to encourage great, engaging (and yes, rewarding) multiplayer. Tipping solo too far in favor would just invert the problem, making solo farming more efficient to build for 4-man pushes.
      Additionally, this issue really only exists for players who are looking to min/max their experience and push to the top of the leaderboards. Even if we fixed this particular issue, that group of players would find the next most efficient method and swap to doing that. We've seen this happen before with Alkaizer runs and chest farming. By addressing that, chests overall have become less rewarding and you're no longer terribly excited if you find one.
      We don't want to fundamentally change this approach when it would likely cause a worse game experience for most players while shifting the problem to a new area for advanced/high-end players. It makes pursuing this issue an unappealing use of a limited pool of development resources, when that time could be better spent on broader QoL improvements or more Legendary powers for everyone to play with.
      TLDR: It's not an easy problem to solve, and it's realistically a problem only for a very small, high-end group of players.
      And a bit of a solo-self-found mode/leaderboard demand:
      Nevalistis (source)
      This is where this discussion has always gotten interesting for me.
      What currently stops someone who only wants to play alone from playing alone right now? Is it the leaderboards? The thing where you're actively playing against other people to compete? ? (Forgive me, I'm a little cheeky today.)
      The nature of competition means you aren't ever really playing alone, because you're still opting to measure your efforts against someone else's. If anything, the request is really for an SSF leaderboard rather than an actual mode. That's a wholly different request, and one that's difficult for different reasons (largely has to do with databases and long-term storage issues; I can't get into details, but there's a reason only the last several Seasons/Eras are tracked in-game).
      It also comes down to supply/demand and resource management (i.e., us choosing our battles). Fulfilling this request is one that would take a lot of time and a ton of resources, and we don't have data suggesting that a majority of players would want or use this feature. Most of our data suggest players want more content, more items to chase, and more Seasons (with more new rewards).
      Making the choice between the two, given limited resources, seems pretty evident.
      On the disabled comments section on the Diablo website:
      Nevalistis (source)
      Our comment section was disabled because it was tied to our old forum software, which was not GDPR compliant. This was communicated quite some time ago, but I'll continue adding the disclaimer to the bottom of posts because it's clear not everyone saw it.
      I'm happy to continue doing my best to engage in areas like reddit and our official forums on the post made today.
      Header image source.

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    • By Starym
      We finally got the huge balance blog we've been promised for a long time, and it is indeed massive. As you'd expect the blog goes into detail about how exactly the game is balanced and what the goals are, from the effects of paragon levels, the GR cap, seasonal buffs, etc. with many tables showcasing individual class performance in the greater rifts. There's also a big focus on explaining what the balance goal of the game is, aka is it focused around group or solo content, and they also touch on exploits in the game.
      It's a great read so here we go:
      Balance (source)
      Developer Insights is our blog where we reveal some of the processes and philosophies behind our updates and designs. We have a lot going on in the world of Sanctuary these days, so please note that the following entry comes from the Diablo III team. Enjoy!
      We’ve been working on multiple content patches for Diablo III, including Patch 2.6.7. which we released last November. This included two new class sets, one each for Crusader and Monk, and heavily revamped Whirlwind gameplay for the Barbarian. The result was shattering to the endgame meta—a result we were both ambitiously hoping for and pleased to see.
      However, our work is far from done! We’re now developing Patch 2.6.8 and want to provide context on the approach we’re taking to address class set balance in our future patches before unleashing you onto the PTR. Let’s dive right in!
      Table of Contents
      Paragon and Greater Rift Levels The Greater Rift 150 Cap Solo vs. Group Design ”Creative” Game Mechanics and Animations Paragon & Greater Rift Levels
      We look at a ton of data when it comes to balancing Diablo III. Data comes in many forms, including build guides, gameplay from your favorite streamers, and the leaderboards. Most importantly, we also track our own data internally, which allows us to see a lot more than just the top 1000 player clears for each category.
      None of that data should be taken in a vacuum; it all comes together to paint a much bigger, constantly shifting picture. Here are a couple things we consider:
      Individual performers and their Paragon Level Paragon level directly impacts a player’s long-term progress; it’s important that this is accounted for when comparing different points of data The intended design and in-practice functionality of each class set What does this set do best? Does it clear a lot of smaller monsters, or is it a good Rift Guardian killer? Does it serve a support role? Is it better in group play over solo? Does it need to be doing something different? And here are a couple things we specifically avoid when considering overall class balance:
      Seasonal buffs and their impact on overall power We want to design fun, engaging Seasonal buffs without worrying about how they might impact class balance Data from non-Seasonal players is especially helpful here Some buffs may be better or worse for different classes, but since Season effects are temporary, we’re okay with this Direct 1:1 class comparison While we want each class to perform similarly, it is still important that classes retain their unique class fantasy Each class should be able to accomplish similar goals, just in different ways When balancing, we need a point of reference to work around. The “ideal” class set performance for Diablo III is approximately Greater Rift 130, solo, and assumes the character has 5000 Paragon levels. That might sound high to some of you and low to others. If so, that’s good—it means we’ve landed in a middle ground that’s beneficial to the most players!
      Assuming a player is at 5000 Paragon, here’s where all the classes landed, on average, a few weeks into Patch 2.6.7 for non-Seasonal play, aggregated across player leaderboard data world-wide:
       
      Barbarian
      Crusader
      Demon Hunter
      Monk
      Necromancer
      Witch Doctor
      Wizard
      GR Avg.
      130
      138
      125
      130
      123
      130
      130
      From the data above we have a pretty good idea which classes are under or over performing.
      Just for fun, here’s a similar comparison during the same timeframe upscaled in Season (where many players hadn’t reached 5000+ paragon):
       
      Barbarian
      Crusader
      Demon Hunter
      Monk
      Necromancer
      Witch Doctor
      Wizard
      GR Avg.
      135
      136
      124
      134
      118
      120
      130
      It’s interesting to see which classes most likely benefit most from the Seasonal buff—it’s also evident which classes are probably not being played as much or pushed as hard as others.
      While this is our goal, we also recognize we aren’t always going to hit it perfectly. Like many games, Diablo III has a lot of mechanical details. A single change can ripple through many other parts of the game, so it’s important we’re mindful of what each change can affect. We also realize that, even with special care, it may take us a few tries to achieve our intended result. To account for this, we have a scale for error, based on how a class is performing above or below our guideline:
      +/- 1-2 Greater Rift Levels: Very close. Probably fine, when accounting for random elements (the perfect “fish”) or high player skill cap (excellent play and timing). +/- 3-4 Greater Rift Levels: The warning zone. We need to watch for buffs/nerfs in this area, but action may not yet be necessary. Time to keep an eye on it! +/- 5 or more Greater Rift Levels: Warrants significant change. At this range, it’s clear that something is over (or under) performing and needs to be addressed. Bear in mind this is aggregate data; the above tables only cover overall class performance rather than individual class set performance. Better performing builds may be equalizing out weaker ones when it comes to the broader picture. Because we make changes at the set and item level, we must additionally parse out data by build performance (whether it’s a class set or Legacy of Nightmares-based). The above method is meant to serve as an example of our general approach and informs us which classes most likely need more attention first.
      The Greater Rift 150 Cap
      An important note, especially for those of you who have been looking for this answer: we have no plans to increase the Greater Rift level cap beyond 150. As to why, the short answer is because it causes more problems than it solves.
      The long answer is that continuing to expand the end game through additional Greater Rift levels hasn’t been the healthiest approach for Diablo III. At this late stage of game development, we’d prefer to focus on making the current game the best, and most varied, experience it can possibly be. We hope to accomplish this by (1) continuing to add new builds and (2) improving existing builds that have fallen behind. Maintaining a cap, and even backing away from it a little, will allow us to focus on greater gameplay variety.
      Solo vs. Group Design
      A common misconception is that we balance solely around 4-man groups. While we certainly take it into account, group play is not our only focus because not all players enjoy playing in groups. We want to make sure that the content we’re designing can be enjoyed by the most players, so our design decisions should take both styles into account. If we were to design solely around one style of play, the other would be severely impacted (and likely a lot less fun).
      There is one notable exception to this. zDPS, or “zero Damage Per Second,” builds tend to only thrive in group play. The team debated for a long time as to whether this was a style we should encourage or actively avoid (or possibly even remove). Any Diablo game is, at its heart, about killing monsters and getting loot, so we considered heavily whether this gameplay fit the spirit of the game we had made.
      zDPS is a style of gameplay that some players like, but not all do. We ultimately decided that it’s good that there are unique ways to play the game, and we don’t want to take that fun away from those who enjoy it. However, we’re also not actively trying to create more zDPS builds. Our intent is to design new item powers and sets that either facilitate entirely new builds that can be used solo or in groups, or to give more item support to some of the most requested class skills. Inevitably, regardless of what we add, we know the community will find combinations we never anticipated—and we can’t wait to see how those play!
      “Creative” Game Mechanics and Animations
      There have been a handful of problematic gameplay styles that have emerged over time, largely due to creative use of snapshotting or taking advantage of the ability to cancel skill animations. This impedes our efforts at overall game balance, and it makes it very difficult for us to change skills or items without overly punishing the whole class when these tactics aren’t used. (We’re looking at you, Bazooka Wizard and Stutter Steppers.)
      We want to be able to address the balance issues these builds pose, but we also don’t want these classes to fall behind as a result of these changes. So how are we handling this? It’s admittedly going to be a game of whack-a-mole as we make fixes and other issues arise through player experimentation. Our first area of concern will be disabling animation cancellation on certain skills. The Crusader class is the most subject to this (though not alone) and we’ll ensure no class falls behind as a result of losing this “trick.” After we tackle this specific issue, we’ll continue to review and revisit areas of the game where similar mechanics are having a negative impact and act accordingly.
      Thank You for Reading; We’re Reading Too!
      If you’ve read everything, thank you for your attention and taking the time to look through our lens! There’s a ton of info here, and you might not agree with it all; that’s okay. We love to hear what you have to say, so please make sure you’re sharing your feedback in your Class forum, the General forum, or the PTR Feedback forum during our next testing phase. We love Diablo, and whether we’re reading global chat, hanging out on our favorite subreddits, or bantering with you through social media, we’re glad we get to share this journey with you.
      We hope this lends an inkling into where we’re going while our other game teams are hard at work on the future of Hell. Thank you for playing—we’re grateful to have you with us along the way!
      -The Diablo III Team-

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    • By Starym
      We have some news on Season 20 from Nevalistis, with the big blog about balance in D3 now and in the future coming out this week and the fact that it will be preceding the PTR. We also got a mean tease image with the new season PTR patch notes being written/edited!
      Balance Blog, S20 Notes (source)
      Got a few more tweaks to go. Remember, the balance blog will be coming out first (in part because that will let me handle all the other PTR preparations, but also because the context of that blog is important for the 2.6.8 PTR and beyond), so you’ll have that to look forward to… let’s say this week. ? And the S20 PTR tease:

       

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    • By Stan
      Raxx and his group managed to clear Greater Rift 150 in 3 minutes and 26 seconds and here is a video of their clear.
      The group was going for the Rank 1 time for 4-player and managed to get a good clear for the third place. The rift opens up with Festering Woods and bugs that award a lot of stacks. The second floor looked all but promising, so they decided to split up to do meteor showers at two different places on the map, and in the end, the guy who separated from the group was able to kill two Elites and they were able to spawn the guardian. Congratulations!
    • By Starym
      We have another milestone for Season 19 as we get our first HC GR 150 clear video! Ilovemf managed an EU first and what seems like a World 4th, with a US Necromancer and another Barbarian ahead of him, as well as a Crusader from Korea. The ending gets pretty explosive, but with 41 seconds left on the clock it's a pretty great clear.
      In case you're wondering why he pauses the game so often, it's to let the huge calculations from manually rending a whole lot of mobs play out, so they don't completely slow the game down. Congrats to Ilovemf and all the other brave souls pushing on Hardcore - just make sure you don't get to that 1000 killstreak or Uber Diablo will come get you (yes, he does indeed spawn on HC)!
      Source: r/diablo3.
       

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