Developer Chronicles: Q/A Follow-up

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In December, Nevalistis did a live Q/A on Facebook with Senior Game Designer Joe Shely. Some follow-up questions were received for questions answered and after reading all feedback, the team decided to dig deeper into some of the topics.

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In December 2016, we had a short Facebook Live Q&A where we answered questions from players all around the globe. Some of these questions came from our social media or community forums, and they spanned many different interests.

We received some follow-up questions for a few answers we provided. After reading through your feedback, we’ve looked at the top three most discussed topics from that Q&A and dug into them a little deeper.

Question 1: Are we satisfied with the Paragon system and do we intend to make any changes to it?

We’re generally satisfied with the Paragon system. It accomplishes two main goals:

First, Paragon levels allow players to continue gaining experience after reaching level 70 and to devote that experience to offensive and defensive specialties for that character (for the first 800 levels). It is core to Diablo design philosophy that time played translates to character advancement, even if you don't get a new drop in a given play session. As your gear improves and item upgrades become less frequent, this becomes especially important. This is why Paragon is (essentially) uncapped. Even when you miss the 15-minute threshold on a Greater Rift, you're still rewarded with experience toward your next Paragon level. And each Paragon level earned makes that next rift just a little bit easier.

Second, Paragon experience is shared across all your characters in the same play mode, encouraging you to try all the different builds and play styles Diablo has to offer while progressing your current main character. This also allows for some progress to be maintained when a powerful Hardcore character dies, taking a little of the sting out of that loss.

We believe that the purpose of the Paragon system aligns well with the goals it’s accomplishing, so we have no plans to make further changes to the Paragon system at this time.

Question 2: Do we have any plans to create new systems to compete with Greater Rifts as end-game activities?

While we don’t have plans to add a new system that occupies the same design space as Greater Rifts, we do have some new features coming in the future that should offer alternative challenges or improve your existing gameplay experiences.

For players looking to compete on a completely level playing field, Challenge Rifts will offer new builds and layouts to master on a frequent basis. They support leaderboards, so you can compare your time with your friends and players across the region. Challenge Rifts will be coming to PC, Xbox One, and PS4, and we’ll have more information for you once this feature is closer to release.

We're also dedicated to improving the experience of Greater Rifts, as illustrated by the recent changes to density, tile sets, monsters, and populations (See the 2.4.3 Patch Notes for full details). Among the many changes, you will no longer encounter large areas devoid of monsters, get jumped by Elite packs at the entrance of a floor, or die to that Lacuni you killed in midair.

Question 3: Why is it that changes we make do not heavily impact the meta game? Do we have the meta game in mind when designing new items or powers?

Community Manager’s note: This question wasn’t explicitly asked in the FAQ, but it embodies a lot of the feedback questions we received after the Q&A.

When introducing new Legendary items such as The Barber or increasing the damage output of the Barbarian's Wrath of the Wastes set in a patch, our goal is to increase the variety of builds and play styles seeing use in the live game. If we simply buffed Wrath of the Wastes to outperform the other Barbarian sets, or left The Barber in the dominant place it occupied for much of the 2.4.3 PTR cycle , we would simply be creating a new dominant set or item that players would feel pressured to use.

By instead improving some of the lowest performing sets and introducing new legendary items, we aim to encourage new builds or rediscover the nuances of a classic set. This may or may not change the state of the meta; that decision is largely up to what the community decides is best—whether in practice, by theorycrafting, or some combination of the two. Our design choices aren’t made with the intention to determine the meta, and we strive to avoid making new additions feel too good to pass up.

As always, we’ll be observing these changes in the wild environment of the live game and making adjustments as needed in future patches.



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