Starym

Necromancer Beta Patch Notes: June 1st

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With the recent intro cinematics revealed and the new beta patch today, it's time to start getting slightly to very hyped for the release, or at least release date announcement for the Necromancer! We also got this comment at the end of the cinematics reveal post "Stay tuned, Sanctuary. More news is on the horizon!", which may mean nothing, but at this point we're grabbing onto any hint! Presumably they don't mean the Horizon Lunar Colony from Overwatch, but you never know with Blizzard...

Anyway, today's beta patch features a lot of skill changes and a few for passives and set bonuses changes, as well as the big change making Necro Golems and WD Gargantuas destroy breakables they walk over!

Blizzard LogoJune 1, 2.6.0.45897 (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.

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PTR PATCH 2.6.0 - v2.6.0.45897

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.

Table of Contents:

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.

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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
        • Weapon damage increased to 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
    • Bone Prison
      • Bone Spear, Bone Spikes and Bone Spirit have a 10% 30% chance to trap enemies in a Bone Prison for 3 seconds
    • Bone Spear
      • Base Rune
        • Summon a piercing bone projectile that causes 450% 500% weapon damage to all enemies it passes through
      • Blood Spear
        • Bone Spear turns into Blood Spear. Damage is increased to 518% 650% weapon damage at the cost of 10% health.
      • This skill should now more reliably hit targets, especially moving targets
    • Bone Spirit
      • Possession
        • Bone Spirit will now charm the target for 10 seconds at the cost of 10% 5% health
    • Command Golem
      • Ice Golem
        • Command the Golem to the targeted location where it freezes enemies for 3 seconds and increases their chance to be critically struck by 10% for 10 seconds
        • Command the Golem to launch an icy blast at the target location, freezing enemies for 3 seconds and increasing their chance to be critically struck by 10% for 10 seconds
      • The cooldown has been reduced from 60 to 45 seconds
    • Command Skeletons
      • Kill Command
        • Now commands your skeletons to explode, dealing 80% 215% weapon damage to enemies within 15 yards
      • The active ability for this skill now lasts until the target dies or you change the target of your command
      • Skeletons summoned after issuing the command will also attack the target
    • Corpse Explosion
      • Base Rune
        • Target an area exploding all corpses within 11 yards dealing 150% 250% 350% weapon damage to enemies within 20 yards
      • Close Quarters
        • Explodes corpses close to you, dealing 200% 325% weapon damage to enemies within 20 yards
      • Final Embrace
        • Corpses pull themselves towards the nearest enemy before exploding, but Corpse Explosion now costs 3% 2% life per corpse
    • Corpse Lance
      • Base Rune
        • Target an enemy to summon projectiles from nearby corpses that cause 750% 900% 1750% weapon damage to the target
      • Blood Lance
        • Spend 5% 2% of your total health to launch an additional lance from yourself towards the target that deals 250% weapon damage
      • The attack rate for all runes has been increased
    • Decrepify
      • Base Rune
        • A crippling curse that reduces the enemy units’ movement speed by 75% and reduces damage done by 20% 30% for 30 seconds
      • Wither
        • Damage reduction increased to 30% 40%, but no longer reduces movement speed
    • Land of the Dead
      • Base Rune
        • All corpse skills can be used at will for 5 10 seconds
    • Leech
      • Base Rune
        • Curse the target area. Cursed enemies have a chance to heal the attacker when they are struck for 1% 2% of their total health. Lasts 30 seconds.
      • Cursed Ground
        • Now curses the ground, healing you for 0.5% 1% of your maximum life every second for each enemy in the cursed area
    • Simulacrum
      • The health cost per use has been reduced from 50% to 25%
    • Skeletal Mage
      • Contamination
        • Raise a contaminated mage that channels an aura of decay for 175% 100% weapon damage for its duration.
  • Necromancer Passives
    • Blood for Blood
      • Picking up a health globe removes the health cost of the next Blood spell. This effect can stack up to 3 10 times.
    • 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.
    • Dark Reaping
      • While using a scythe gain 1% 2% Essence and Life per kill
    • 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
    • Rigor Mortis
      • Blight abilities also slow enemies by 30% and reduce their attack speed by 15% 30% for 5 seconds
    • Serration
      • Bone Spikes, Bone Spear and Bone Spirit deal 1% increased damage for every 2 yards between you, up to a maximum of 15% 20%
  • 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
      • Fixed an issue where damage bonuses from the player’s attack speed were not being applied to the Skeletal Archer and Contamination runes on Skeletal Mage
      • Fixed an issue that caused Siphon Blood to continue to deal damage to enemies when they were invisible or untargetable
      • Fixed a bug where Devour – Ruthless did not correctly restore 10 Essence per pet consumed
      • Fixed an issue which prevented Bone Spirit from properly detonating when cast directly in melee range of a target enemy

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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 and increases your damage against cursed enemies by 175-200%
    • 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 Maltorius’ Petrified Spike
      • Bone Spear now costs 40 Essence and deals 125-150% 375-450% additional damage
    • Bloodtide Blade
      • Death Nova deals 15-20% 20-30% increased damage for every enemy within 10 15 yards
        • Note: The previous damage range listed (125-150%) was incorrect
    • Reilena’s Shadowhook
      • Bone Spikes generates an additional 2-4 2-5 Essence for each enemy hit and grants 0.5% increased damage for every point of maximum Essence you have
    • Death’s Scythe Nayr’s Black Death
      • Each different Poison skill you use increases the damage of your Poison skills by 75-100% 50-65% for 15 seconds
    • Spear of Jesseth Jairo
      • 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% 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 15 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
    • Fixed an issue preventing Bloodsong Mail from correctly granting the Enforcer rune when Land of the Dead was active
    • Fixed an issue preventing the damage bonus from Krysbin’s Sentence to apply to pets

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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

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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
    • Fixed an issue that allowed the Curse Your Enthusiasm achievement to be incorrectly awarded to non-Necromancer characters

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MONSTERS

  • Skeleton Mage
    • Has had its fire damage reduced slightly

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QUALITY OF LIFE

  • Necromancer Golems and Witch Doctor Gargantuans will now destroy breakables they step on

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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

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Previous beta patch notes.

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"Necromancer Golems and Witch Doctor Gargantuans will now destroy breakables they step on"

 

I wonder if that includesDoors and stuff?  Not being able to Break Open Doors is a real pain for Helltooth Pet WD.

 

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20 minutes ago, albabe said:

"Necromancer Golems and Witch Doctor Gargantuans will now destroy breakables they step on"

 

I wonder if that includesDoors and stuff?  Not being able to Break Open Doors is a real pain for Helltooth Pet WD.

 

I do believe they are classed as breakables alongside pots and the like, so let's hope so!

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      To participate in the public test, you must have a Diablo III game license attached your Battle.net account in good standing (i.e. one that hasn't been suspended or banned). In addition, you will also need to download and install the Blizzard Battle.net desktop app if you have not already done so.
      Step 1: Create a PTR account. To create a PTR account, log in to Blizzard Battle.net Account Management and double-click on your Diablo III game license; this will bring you to the game management page. On this page, click "Create a PTR account.
      If you've participated in any previous Diablo III PTR, the "Create PTR account" button may not appear. This is because you've already created a PTR account and can therefore skip this step.
      Step 2: Once you have created a PTR account, installed the Blizzard Battle.net desktop, and logged in with your Blizzard Battle.net credentials, select "Diablo III" from the main menu on the left-hand side of the application.
      Step 3: On the Diablo III screen, there is a drop-down menu right above the "Play" button (note that this may say "Install" if you do not have Diablo III currently installed). Select "PTR: Diablo III" from this drop-down menu before proceeding.
      Step 4: You should now have the option to install and play the patch.
      The PTR is available in all supported languages, and accounts from all regions are eligible to participate.
      PTR Character Copy
      The option to copy your existing Diablo III characters from your live account to the PTR will be available and can be done directly through the PTR client. However, only one region per account can be copied at a time. So, if you choose to copy characters from your account in a different region, any previously copied PTR characters will be lost.
      Step 1: Log into the live game and then log out.
      Step 2: Log into PTR client and create a level 1 character. After you're done, return to the main character screen.
      Step 3: Click on the "PTR Copy" button located in the upper right-hand corner. (The PTR Copy button will not appear in-game until you have created a new level 1 character.)
      Step 4: Select your region.
      Step 5: Click "Copy." This will copy all characters on your account from the selected region.
      Step 6: You will be disconnected from the PTR client.
      Step 7: 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 PTR characters will be lost. In addition, you can only copy characters over to your PTR account once every 24 hours. Attempting to copy characters before this cooldown is up will result in an error.
      As this is a test server, please anticipate uneven game performance, and note that restarts and downtime may occur without warning. Thank you, and we look forward to your feedback!
      A new Diablo patch will hit test realms this week. Check out the official patch notes!
    • By positiv2
      This thread is for comments about our Divinity Conquest Guide.
    • By Deadset
      Deadset gets his hands on Diablo: Immortal and an interview with the devs!
      With a world of mixed feelings surrounding the new Diablo announcement, our Diablo 3 guide writer, Deadset, got the chance to sit down with Wyatt Cheng and Joe Hsu for an interview, as well as spend time testing Diablo: Immortal. Check out what the developers had to say, as well as Deadset's thoughts on the announcement.
      Preface
      This past Blizzcon marks several ‘firsts’ for me. The first time I cross half the globe, from windy Eastern Europe to the unrelenting Californian sun. The first time I attend Blizzcon, a convention I have dreamed of since I was a child. And somehow, regrettably, the first time ever that I am scared to address the community, that I struggle to find answers and solace for the road ahead. Rest assured, I am no less disheartened and apprehensive than any of you by the news that the solitary confirmed Diablo project in sight is, indeed, a mobile game.
      I will not mince words: the timing, framing and setup for the Diablo: Immortal announcement was poor. There’s little more to add to this conversation that hasn’t already been said, memed about or depressed over, and from this point on I will simply try to address the new game itself.
      I was able to test the demo with extended, uninterrupted access. I had the chance to talk with developers both on and off the show floor, in interviews and community conversations. I pride myself in always delivering honest, factual and impartial information, colored only by my perception of good game design and love for Sanctuary. The things we all share in the hardcore Diablo community.
      So let’s talk.
      Impressions of the Game
      Gameplay 
      I hung out and spoke a lot with Rhykker during the convention and I will echo his overall sentiment in many regards - including the fact that Diablo: Immortal is quite possibly the best handling mobile game I have ever played (high bar, I know), with the most tactile and satisfying combat in its genre and medium. This is not surprising for a Blizzard title, and Diablo 3 has been widely regarded as having the best feeling combat among its competitors, but it’s still important to stress that the level of polish and excellence of control over the character that is signature for the company is not lost in the translation to mobile.
      There is also a surprising amount of manual skill - both for an aRPG and a mobile game - that you can apply to your play, with multi-skill interactions and positioning interplay that is rare for the medium and indeed, the preceding titles in the series. There were demonstrations of the Wizard using the Ice Crystal to refract Ray of Frost onto multiple enemies, the Crusader’s Falling Sword turned into a two-step active ability that can be used to either engage or reposition, or the Monk’s Kick, the heir to Dashing Strike, that can be bounced off walls for multiple successive hits. While that is an undeniable positive and an evolution of Diablo 3’s handling, it was also pretty evident that developers are still getting the hang of mobile aiming, as some skills felt better than others (i.e. the Wizard’s Meteor has a rather tight targeting reticle that swept too quickly over the battlefield to reliably get a good hit in).

      The game is touted as a full-fledged Diablo MMO, with all the open world, constant live updates and content patches that will entail. Its pure multiplayer structure will require an internet connection and will not allow for immediate drop in-and-outs, though that wasn’t immediately obvious in the demo where you spend the ‘learning’ half of it solo. You will encounter up to 6 players in the questing environment, and up to 4 players in the instanced dungeons - and even though the latter can be soloed, they will remain tuned for a full party (and thus more challenging). There was a reassuring sense of difficulty to the demo, and even trash monsters inflicted a significant amount of damage that required attention and quick work with the health potion. The potion is handled in a Diablo 3-esque fashion - based on a 15-second cooldown, but with a heal over time as opposed to D3’s instant effect. Death was handled in a Softcore manner, with a very generous 5 second timer until respawn - though that might be adjusted in the final version of the game, as there was mention of up to 30 second penalty timer to encourage better play. As far as I could tell, Hardcore was off the table due to the relative instability of internet connections on mobile (see more on that in the interview below).
      Graphics
      The outrage over the UI structure being very similar to other Netease titles like ‘Crusader of Light’ and ‘Endless of God’ is understandable, but kinda overstated - most mobile MMOs and action RPGs use very similar controllers and interface (see Lineage, Darkness Rises, Alliance x Empire).

      A large portion of the (demonstrated) game however is built with adapted Diablo 3 assets - an issue that is disappointingly danced around, and is very obvious if you have spent any significant time in Diablo 3 (however tastefully rearranged and retouched, you will recognize numerous structures, tilesets and monsters). References to future bosses like a “giant spider” (no doubt Queen Aranae’s cousin) or a “clone of Zoltun Kulle” (come on…) don’t help much to inspire the ‘new title’ feel. It’s all topped off with the inclusion of the exact cast of characters from Diablo 3 (albeit strangely missing the Witch Doctor), even though Immortal is supposedly situated closer to Diablo 2 lore-wise. Despite the above, I don’t really doubt technical and artistic skill is necessary for the assets’ translation to a mobile device, and it makes for an unbelievably polished, if disturbingly familiar graphical experience. In terms of artistic feel, you will like the game if you were satisfied with Diablo 3 visuals, and there is a pleasant darker tinge to everything - if not a complete reversion to a more grounded and gothic journey.
      Oh, and blood is jarringly absent.
      The game was demonstrated on a Galaxy S9 and to give credit where it’s due, it blows my mind that such visuals are available on a mobile device. There were no lags, frame drops or technical issues that I can point out, though again - the 6-player open world was not active for the demonstration. Sadly there was no way for me to minimize the app or test it unplugged, so I could not tell the effect it had on the battery after extended 45 mins. - 1 hour of uninterrupted playtime.
      Misconceptions
      To finalize my impressions from the game and the numerous talks I’ve had with developers, I would quickly like to clear up some misconceptions that I see floating around as best I could:
      Lack of a resource system (mana or otherwise): This is still in the experimentation stage. Think of resource as a variable that enables the use of a skill, similarly to cooldowns and charges. Unlike say MOBA games, mana in aRPGs is usually a mechanic that the player works to overcome rather than play around. Currently charges replace mana as means of non-timer use of a skill that doesn’t clutter up the limited UI space.
      Team size and Blizzard to Netease ratio: This is a twofold misconception. First, there’s the concern that Blizzard have simply dumped the IP onto a Chinese company with very little involvement on their part. From talks with developers I get the sense this is not true at all, and the team size on the Blizzard side is at least comparable to the one from Netease. There’s also concern that Diablo developers working on the mobile title are taking up resources from the unannounced PC game, which I was told is not true. In fact, during various conversations devs have expressed genuine surprise at the growth rate of Blizzard as a company - which raises entirely new concerns, but team size for PC should not be affected by the mobile title.
      Claims of racism due to the elimination of the Witch Doctor: The Monk in Immortal is clearly dark skinned (both in cinematics and ingame), so that one is out, I believe. I will not make any claims to Chinese audiences' cultural preferences one way or the other. To be honest I simply think Witch Doctors never quite grabbed people as much as Necromancers, and it became even more obvious when the latter were added to the game. Two poison-heavy, curses-spreading, summon-reliant characters are a bit much for a single game, no matter how much they tried to spin the difference in D3.
      If you have any additional concerns or questions about the gameplay of Immortal specifically, I can try to answer - please don’t hesitate to list them below.
      Onto the interview!

      Interview on Diablo: Immortal
      I conducted this interview with Wyatt Cheng (lead designer) and Joe Hsu (senior producer) from the Diablo: Immortal team on the second day of BlizzCon, a few hours before the World Q&A panel. It reflects both the Future of Diablo panel information, as well as my own thoughts from playing the demo.
      Interview with Wyatt Cheng and Joe Hsu
      + Show- Hide I think what surprised me the most is the announcement of a second ‘portable’ Diablo title, so close to the announcement and release of the Diablo 3 adaptation for Nintendo Switch. What inspired that?
      Wyatt Cheng: The projects are being worked on by multiple teams, and so the Diablo 3 on Switch was started, and then we partnered with Iron Galaxy, and they worked on the Switch. One of the great things about having multiple projects in the pipe is that we can provide the Diablo community with more content. The timing wasn’t something that we strategically planned, honestly we’re just trying to bring everything to the community as quickly as we could - it’s just how long the development of these individual projects took.
      Joe Hsu: We think about it as the same type of platform - we just want to bring more Diablo to the fans.
      Wyatt Cheng: And of course, Diablo 3 on Switch is very substantially similar to the console and PC experience, whereas Diablo: Immortal is a brand new game. 
      Speaking from experience, the Switch version does indeed translate the Diablo 3 experience faithfully. What about the mobile experience though, how much Diablo is in there - skill trees, item choices, etc.?
      Wyatt Cheng: Unfortunately, not all of our systems are worked out yet. I think a big one players have been wondering about is the itemization system, since the items are a key part of the Diablo experience. We’re still working on that. Couple of things that are very important to us, 1) we want to ensure there is some depth for our core gamers to have something to sink their teeth into that isn’t over-simplified; and 2) we are going to have legendary powers. We really liked the way that the legendary powers changed the way that you play Diablo 3, and we’ll be looking to bring that to Diablo: Immortal as well.
      As for other systems, I think back to both Diablo 2 and Diablo 3 with regards to skills and endgame progression, what happens after you hit max level. We’re still working out the details on that, and we’ll be taking inspiration from all three entries in the series, but we may evolve some of those systems as well. 
      Just to make sure - considering the trimmed down skill system (12-ish) and (for the moment) the very bare-bones itemization that just bumps up defenses, health or damage, is it still reasonable to expect theorycrafting and a level of complexity to the game?
      Wyatt Cheng: Yes. Definitely. That’s what I was kind of alluding to earlier, saying that we still want there to be meaty systems in place. The itemization that we have now is mostly a placeholder, there to get the game to a playable state. Sort of ‘getting to the 20% mark’ - or as they call it in the Silicon Valley, MVP (minimum viable product). We wanted to work on killing monsters and making the combat feel fun first, but part of that is knowing that an item dropped to the ground and in our heads we imagine that this item feeds into a bigger game. Right now the itemization that you see in the demo is honestly exactly like it was really early in development, and currently we have a lot of designs on paper to what we want the itemization to be. And it’s pretty different from what is available in the demo today. 
      And skill customization is still part of the idea? Considering we had 5 fixed skills in the demo, and just 12 promised by the presentation.
      Wyatt Cheng: There is definitely going to be about 12 or more skills per class, and then you choose 5 of them for your current build. When we look at the way Diablo 3 (post-RoS) legendary items change the way certain skills worked, we feel like that was very similar in functionality to the way skill runes (introduced with vanilla D3) altered the way your skills function. It’s almost the same thing sometimes, like “Rend stacks twice” could easily be a legendary item or a rune power, because there was no clear definition of what was supposed to be one or the other. And while it’s still okay for us to have many systems and functions in the game, we want to ensure legendary items take the stage for changing how your skills work. Then, we’ll look at the supporting systems and what else they can do. 
      Joe Hsu: And besides supporting systems, we make sure that the feel of the game is very much Diablo - how it looks, how the action plays out. And then our lead artist Richie Marella spends a lot of time to make sure that the tone and the overall style fit within the Diablo universe. 
      We did mention that legendaries are meant to change the way you play, but how about the way you look? It was mentioned during the presentation, but when you equipped anything in the demo, it didn’t change the visuals of the character.
      Wyatt Cheng: Items will change the way your character looks, they just don’t in the demo. During the panel we showed some concept art for the gear progression, and we only have concept art to show right now because we don’t have all the art assets in place.
      Bringing it back to gameplay, how will Diablo: Immortal handle difficulties? We had the old school Normal to Nightmare to Hell progression in Diablo 2, and then in Diablo 3 we could adjust difficulty on the fly. Are we due for another change?
      Wyatt Cheng: I have to preface this by saying this is all work in progress, so this could change between now and release. But the way we’re currently thinking about the game, is because it is a shared online world, the difficulties - if we have too many - will fragment players away from each other, while we want players to run into each other within their server community. So we’re looking at a single difficulty for the level-up experience, and then possibly when you reach max level - and we haven’t decided on a max level yet either, but when you do reach the end - you then have an Adventure Mode-like system, where the whole game becomes max level for you as well. Difficulties past that, well - again, this is all in flux - we may be looking to leverage our instanced dungeons for that, as well as a few other endgame systems which are yet to be designed as well. 
      Are we looking at a mode split of Hardcore / Softcore and Seasonal / Non-Seasonal like in Diablo 3?
      Wyatt Cheng: I love hardcore, but for Diablo: Immortal - again, this is current thinking - we are not prepared to have it. We think mobile phones are totally ready for a top tier action RPG experience, but we’re not sure the mobile platform will be right for a hardcore experience. Blizzard has a strict policy that if your hardcore character dies, even if it’s due to the loss of internet connection, he stays dead. This is of course done to prevent cheating. That said, it is nice to be able to play with something at stake - and something that we did in RoS was to introduce the extra augmentation roll to the gem when you don’t die in a Greater Rift run, so this way you have an incentive to try avoiding death. We could look at systems that ratchet up what the stakes are, so that you care about not dying, without having to go all the way to hardcore. 
      On the topic of Seasons, we’re still figuring this out, but we’re thinking that over the long term, there are multiple ways to keep the game fresh. One is Seasons, for sure, but another is to grow the universe with live content updates. The latter is how we’re currently thinking about it; from the beginning, we’re planning to be able to expand the game with content updates over time. You can see World of Warcraft follows that model, and it’s just a different way of approaching that problem. And we have other ideas as well! These are just two. 
      We’ve talked about dungeons a little bit, and I want to expand on that. The demo had a very ‘fixed’ approach to its layout, monsters and composition. Is that temporary, or a conscious move from the randomized dungeons toward a more balanced, almost raid-like endgame activities?
      Wyatt Cheng: The demo is definitely very fixed. For the live game, the outdoor world will be fixed because we’re crafting a shared world that we want to feel like a familiar place. The monster spawns, chests, shrines and events will be random though, so there will be variance in the world even when the geometry is static. For the instanced dungeons, we’re still exploring our options. It’s kind of a trade-off, like you said we could create that ‘raid environment’ but even there we’re looking to have random events, randomly placed monsters. We are trying both fixed and random layouts right now internally, and we’ll see what we end up with.
      Those dungeons won’t run themselves though. Who will you be grouping up with in Diablo: Immortal? How much of the cooperative multiplayer vs. shared world MMO are we talking here?
      Joe Hsu: It is a mobile MMO. In public zones you might run into players that you know, or ones you don’t, but you can definitely make friends with them. Multiplayer is very much in the heart of Diablo: Immortal and we plan to bring all of Battle.net’s features into the game, so you can play with your friends, or talk to them when they’re not ingame. We plan to fully support the social aspect of the game.
      Speaking of “friendly” activity, will I be able to battle players in some way? Is PvP part of Diablo: Immortal?
      Wyatt Cheng: You’re not alone, a lot of players in the Diablo community are passionate about PvP and we’ve heard that for sure. We want the outdoor areas to be places where your interactions with players will be friendly and social, so when you see somebody out there you’re happy to see him. However we’re thinking about ways to introduce conflict between players. It’s really too early to say, a lot of experimentation to be done still. What I can say is that there’s many ways that people can have a confrontation without it needing to be a totally fair, MMR-based esport. That’s the extreme. I don’t think we wanna be that. 
      Speaking of portability and the Switch version, a great feature of that is the suspend function that allows you to pause and resume anywhere. Is anything like that in store for Diablo: Immortal?
      Joe Hsu: We’re planning on different features that will accommodate the lengths of different play sessions. So if you have just 2 minutes, maybe you organize your stash or do a short quest; if you have 15, you call up your friends to do a dungeon and so on. It is a MMO though, so players will have to be aware of the time they can commit.
      Wyatt Cheng: I hate to draw too many comparisons to World of Warcraft, but we do look to all Blizzard games for inspiration. And in that game you can quit anytime, but you tend to hearth back to town and exit there. Similarly, in Diablo: Immortal you could quit at any point, but you might die to some monster attacking you. But if you town portal - we’re also thinking of picking the Westmarch waypoint from a map rather than using a portal, but that’s a technicality - that is a safe place to log off. But if you’re in the middle of an instanced dungeon with your friends, you should try to finish it - there will be no resuming from where you left off.
      Taking other very popular mobile games into account, I can’t not ask about your feelings on emulation? Will it be accounted for, actively pursued, or anything in between? And let’s not forget emulation will ease streaming the game quite a bit.
      Wyatt Cheng: I don’t think we’re gonna go out of our way to hunt down and ban people using an emulator, but I’m also a little apprehensive - and the reason I hesitate is because I don’t know if the game experience will be the best. Even if I map movement to keyboard keys, and then use my mouse to click and drag the abilities, I don’t know if that’s a more fun way to play. Comparing our control scheme for thumb movements to dragging the mouse, it seems like an uncomfortable way to play. While we wouldn’t stop it, I don’t know if people would like it that way - but that’s up to the individual player.
      On the streaming side, I would like to explore ways for people to stream natively on their phone, because we definitely want to be able to embrace the streamer community. That’s an aspirational statement though, not a promise - just my feelings as a designer, ignoring engineering limitations.
      We talked a fair bit about mechanics, but story-wise the game is set to fill an important gap in Diablo history - the space between Diablo 2 and Diablo 3. Does a mobile device lend itself to storytelling of such scale and importance?
      Wyatt Cheng: It’s challenging for sure, but it’s not a new challenge. If you think about it, truthfully, even with Diablo on PC is a difficult game to tell a story, because people are skipping through most of it in clicking frenzy. We’re trying to employ a lot of these different techniques where you can maybe watch a short, nice cutscene the first time you enter a zone, and then you move on.
      Sometimes I think telling a story is both the questline but also the setting, and letting aspects of the world tell the story. So when you enter the Shassar Sea, and as you’re wandering through, all of sudden there’s demonic corruption spreading in the desert, which ties into your main questline to cleanse it. This way you start absorbing the story almost through osmosis. We’ll have story there for the people who want it, but we’re also cognizant that for many people the main goal is to get loot, so they can just focus on that, too.
      Is it possible for you to talk about the payment system of Diablo: Immortal?
      Joe Hsu: Right now we’re really focused on gameplay. At Blizzard our core value is gameplay first, so we want to figure that out and make sure the game is awesome, and then we’ll worry about everything else later. We’re not ready to talk about it this time.
      And of course, the most important question - will there be a cow level?
      Wyatt Cheng: We’ll see, still too early to say. (laughs) And of course, it goes without saying, we’d be keeping that a secret.
       
    • By Zadina
      Wyatt Cheng and Matthew Berger talked about the lore of Diablo Immortal and showcased some of its zones, instanced dungeons and of course its classes.
      Given the backlash the announcement of Diablo Immortal caused, the panel started with Wyatt Cheng repeating that they love their passionate community and that there are multiple Diablo projects in the works.
      Matthew Berger then proceeded to a rundown of the lore and timeline of the Diablo universe, highlighting some major characters. At the aftermath of the destruction of the Worldstone by Tyrael at the end of Diablo 2, in Diablo Immortal we learn that some corrupted fragments of the Worldstone have survived.
      Puris the Decimator, who was available at the BlizzCon demo, is one of the game's bad guys. The main antagonist is Skarn, the Herald of Terror and Diablo's lieutenant, who is trying to resurrect his master.


      Your allies include Valla the Demon Hunter, her master Josen, Jacob Staalek (he holds Eldruin while Tyrael is “dead”) and Deckard Cain.
      The devs then showcased some of Diablo Immortal's outdoor zones.
      Bilefen

      It's a swampy island, whose main town is Port Justinian. The Wizard Jin is at the Bilefen and the Kikuras Rapids dungeon is also located there. A Worldstone fragment is corrupting the whole area.
      Zoltun Kulle's Library

      The wizard has a number of caches throughout Sanctuary and this is one of them.  Another corrupted Worldstone fragment is here. The area is guarded by a curator, which is actually a copy of Zoltun Kulle who doesn't realise it's a copy.
      Shassar Sea

      Young Valla and her master Josen are trying to find a demon nest that has formed in the area.
      In Diablo Immortal, instanced dungeons are areas where monsters stay dead when you kill them and have unique mechanics that cannot be found in outdoor zones. Three dungeons were shown.
      Tomb of Fahir
      You must unlock seals to proceed through the dungeons. There's a Broodmother boss and a lot of arachnoids!
      Kikuras Rapids

      You ride a raft to access it. Wyatt Cheng described it as "a theme park water ride with monsters trying to kill you". There's a Fetid Patriarch boss.
      Forgotten Tower
      It's the same area as Act I from Diablo 2. The Forgotten Tower is the home of the Countess and you will find out that her cultists have managed to bring her back to life.
      Afterwards, we learned the story and saw some skills of the six Diablo Immortal classes.
      Barbarian
      Furious Charge: Makes use of touch controls by aiming skill Hammer of the Ancients Throw: Throw an enemy to another enemy. Necromancer
      Command Skeletons Corpse Lance Skeletal Spikes: Summons bones from the ground to impale enemies. Crusader
      Blessed Shield: Can be aimed, damages enemies on the way out and back in and whoever doesn't get killed, get gripped to melee range. Sweep Attack: Gain damage and range the longer you hold your thumb on the skill. Falling Sword: Adjusted to be a two stage ability, target a location drops a sword on a location. Then activating the ability a second time causes you to crash down from above. Can use other abilities in between first and second activation. Wizard
      Μeteor Ray of Frost: Two-step activation - start the channel and end it. Ice Crystal: Two-step ability. First, you place the crystal Then with the second activation or when its duration expires, the crystal explodes. Can combine it with Ray of Frost. Demon Hunter
      Daring Swing: Reposition yourself from one position of the battlefield to another, while shooting from an advantageous position Strafe Rain of Vengeance Monk
      Seven-Sided Strike Kick: You can use it off of walls to rebound off them and then hit enemies Imprisoned Fists: Punch the spirit out of an enemy A very brief Q&A followed. A couple of fans prefaced their questions by apologising for the other fans' negative reactions. Here are the answers:
      Too early to say if Mephisto is in Diablo Immortal. Some of the Prime Evils are returning faster than they should. They are currently looking at what itemisation will be like. Legendary powers will be present. They will also add socketing and other ways to upgrade/improve items. Haven't figured out business model. Gameplay first. Team thinks there is some middle ground between everything being soulbound and the auction house in regards to trading in Diablo Immortal. We will probably see the history of other classes (not just the Demon Hunters) in the game, since it covers a big time frame lore-wise.