Stan

First Look: Patch 2.6.1

16 posts in this topic

FCRKX1QGKOT71507770059217.jpg

Patch 2.6.1 is just around the corner and we're taking a closer look at some of its highlights in terms of skills and itemization.

  • The main goal of Patch 2.6.1 is balance.
  • Many class sets have been revisited and updated.
    • Raekor & Uliana's Stratagem received numerical tweaks in power.
    • Wrath of the Wastes got a damage boost and the damage reduction from the 4P set bonus lasts an additional 3 seconds.
  • Blessed HammerBlessed HammerLimitlessLimitless has been redesigned, because it caused performance issues in high density areas.
  • Arcane OrbArcane OrbFrozen OrbFrozen Orb can now benefit from AudacityAudacity & Power HungryPower Hungry passives, because its range has been increased to 40 yards.
  • The vast majority of updates to Legendary items are number tweaks.

Blizzard plans to deploy the last Patch 2.6.1 build to PTR this Thursday.
- Update: Here are the probably final 2.6.1 patch notes.

Blizzard LogoBlizzard (Source)

The latest patch for Diablo III is on its way! Read on to learn more about incoming class set updates, skill changes, and balance passes coming in Patch 2.6.1.

Class Set Revisions

Following the release of the Necromancer, the theme of this patch is (appropriately) balance. We’ve taken a top-down look across all class performance in Greater Rifts, and made several changes to bring as many gameplay styles as close in line to each other as possible. Targeting the most popular or requested builds, we started with Class sets, and you can expect buffs coming your way no matter which hero is your favorite.

While some sets, like Legacy of Raekor or Uliana’s Strategem, have simply received numerical tweaks in power, others have had minor functionality tweaks that make a big difference. For example, if you’re a big fan of spinning to win, you should revisit the Wrath of the Wastes set. In addition to getting a boost in damage, the damage reduction provided by the 4-piece set bonus now lasts an additional 3 seconds, making plenty of room to toss out a Rend without feeling too vulnerable.

KF1WPJ8OQT5X1507770274458.gif

The Necromancer isn’t left out either; if you enjoy the bloody gameplay of Trag’Oul’s Avatar, the double-life cost from the 6-piece set bonus has been removed. Hardcore players may now feel a bit more comfortable experimenting with this set, enabling oodles of gore-tastic gameplay.  

382UMT5QUKIG1507770268221.gif

Skill Changes

While most of the incoming changes are focused on items, there were some skills that needed tweaks to improve their overall performance. Skills are the stage upon which balance is built, so we identified a number of them that would benefit from more careful tuning and improved in-game performance .

For example, Crusaders with a hankering for hammers will find that the Blessed Hammer (Limitless) rune has been redesigned. The additional projectiles were causing performance issues in high density areas, so we’ve compensated by increasing both the rune’s base damage as well as its area of effect.

CT6D8YA2VS5C1507770265817.gif

Other changes were more straightforward. We noticed, for example, that Arcane Orb (Frozen Orb) could not benefit from either the Power Hungry or Audacity passives due to its ideal explosion range. We’ve increased its range to 40 yards to make the intent of this skill’s synergies clearer.

FN6MLNZ9FU4F1507770222828.gif

Item Revisions

Like the changes made to class set items, we’ve targeted many Legendary items to help with tuning. The large majority of these are number tweaks, but keep an eye out for a few exceptions with broader updates!

BRCD6G9OGDR11507770216390.jpg

62QDZL77XYS01507770216400.jpg

B7PONA8WFK4X1507770223454.jpg

TCHBST0TZD4T1507770217151.jpg

DL76YMXLSS3M1507770216682.jpg

8HY21RLJRV631507770223128.jpg

0I9Y76VKUPL71507770216877.jpg

Patch 2.6.1 is well on its way and will make game play options more diverse than ever! What classic build are you looking forward to revisiting? Is there a play style you’ve always wanted to try that you plan on giving a whirl? Let us know in the comments below, or ask your questions about the upcoming patch. We’ll see you in Sanctuary!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/12/2017 at 3:29 PM, TwinkyBird said:

Any word on if u have to reroll new items? And what about 2.6.1 on ps4 release?

I haven't heard anything, but it seems likely we'll have to reroll for the new gear.  Isn't that the way it's always worked?

I'm wondering if on some of the gear, rerolling an Ancient to a regular 2.6.1 piece, if the 2.6.1 piece might still be better than the previous Ancient?  Maybe even better than a Primal Ancient.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, albabe said:

I haven't heard anything, but it seems likely we'll have to reroll for the new gear.  Isn't that the way it's always worked?

I'm wondering if on some of the gear, rerolling an Ancient to a regular 2.6.1 piece, if the 2.6.1 piece might still be better than the previous Ancient?  Maybe even better than a Primal Ancient.

It looks like we will. And yeah, most likely. With how insanely high some things have been buffed, even Primal Ancients will be useless compared to new high-rolled non-ancients.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Blainie said:

It looks like we will. And yeah, most likely. With how insanely high some things have been buffed, even Primal Ancients will be useless compared to new high-rolled non-ancients.

So, basically, in the meantime, we all need to do bazillions of Bounty Runs and stock-Up on a big pile of Cube Mats to reroll our Legendaries!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, albabe said:

So, basically, in the meantime, we all need to do bazillions of Bounty Runs and stock-Up on a big pile of Cube Mats to reroll our Legendaries!!!

Yeah, basically! Thankfully, I cleared what I needed this season and I'll just pick things up again next season, so no re-rolling for me :p

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/21/2017 at 1:34 AM, Blainie said:

Yeah, basically! Thankfully, I cleared what I needed this season and I'll just pick things up again next season, so no re-rolling for me :p

I don't play on the PC much - mostly my wife and I play on the PS4 at home and we don't do Seasons.  We got crap Internet where we live in SF.  We're in an area that is too far from the DSL Hubs so everyone uses Comcast.  I think Comcast is an awful company and has too many restrictions for D/L and U/L.  As an example, friends of mine that, like me, work for Marvel, DC, Darkhorse and Image Upload a lot of high-res artwork and they kept throttling them down to diddley - they explained that to them and they still throttled them.  So, no sense paying Comcast a bundle to basically give me dial-up... Yea, they suck big time.

 The problem is that w/out decent Internet it's virtually impossible to play with others, so doing Seasons alone would take forever, so we just play together .   So I've been just trying accumulate a bunch of Bounty Mats so we can reroll whatever items we need whenever the Patch is plugged-in.

I did mess around in the PTR 2.6.1 with my Yangs DH and it sure seems hella powerful but I didn't actually compare the 2.6.0 and the 2.6.1 Build.  Has anyone specifically done that?

I really hope they add a few Torment levels but I doubt they will since I've heard nothing at all about that.  And that might kill the game for us because with 2.6.1 it'll be too easy to do T13...  Neither of us are into unrelenting GR runs.   That is seriously boring for us.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, albabe said:

I did mess around in the PTR 2.6.1 with my Yangs DH and it sure seems hella powerful but I didn't actually compare the 2.6.0 and the 2.6.1 Build.  Has anyone specifically done that?

You're looking at clearing 85s easily solo with Yang's UE in 5-6 mins without amazing gear (not even full ancient, some Caldesann's around 60-80) in 2.6.1. Huge change from the previous T13 clear build.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/22/2017 at 9:09 AM, Blainie said:

You're looking at clearing 85s easily solo with Yang's UE in 5-6 mins without amazing gear (not even full ancient, some Caldesann's around 60-80) in 2.6.1. Huge change from the previous T13 clear build.

I just got the official Patch and I messed with my Yang's (sounds dirty to me) Build in 2.6.1.  I didn't realize it at first because on a Mac you can no longer Toggle in an out of the game to check your Gear against builds.  It's been this way for 2 patches now and Bliz doesn't seem to give a crap.  Pain in my arse.

Anyway - Used-up a bunch of Bounty Mats Upgrading to 2.6.1 Unhallowed gear until I realized that Our Old  Sets have the new Stats already applied to Our Old Existing Gear.

Do ya think all the Sets will have the 2.6.1 Stats already applied?

I wonder if it'll be this way on the Console?

And honestly... my Character is just too powerful for T13.  Kinda boring.

Edited by albabe

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

...and... it seems you can't roll a Legendary 2.6.0 into a 2.6.1.  To get the 2.6.1 Legendaries, you either need to Find them, or roll Yellows/Rares into Legendaries.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, albabe said:

...and... it seems you can't roll a Legendary 2.6.0 into a 2.6.1.  To get the 2.6.1 Legendaries, you either need to Find them, or roll Yellows/Rares into Legendaries.

That well and truly sucks. I was going to do some testing, but I might just wait for the new season to farm tbh. Really disappointed about this. Had every set prepared for each class in previous seasons for testing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Blainie said:

That well and truly sucks. I was going to do some testing, but I might just wait for the new season to farm tbh. Really disappointed about this. Had every set prepared for each class in previous seasons for testing.

Yea... sigh.  The "Good Thing" was that it was pretty easy to Farm and/or Upgrade a Yellow/Rare Yangs and Dead Man's.  And oddly, even though neither were Ancient, my stats on both were decent.  Maybe they "upped" the Drop/Stat Rate(?)

The other "Good Thing" was that the Set Stats were Automatically Changed/upgraded from my 2.6.0 to 2.6.1, so I didn't have to Farm or Upgrade those again... I hope.  (And I didn't lose my Caldesann’s on my Set Pieces!)

I wonder why Blizz didn't add a few Torment Levels?  Would it be that hard for a Programmer?  Since these 2.6.1 Builds/Characters are so Powerful, I can only assume that Blizz wants the End Game to be just redundant GR Runs.... boring.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

AND... it looks like the Legendaries that are in the Cube have their Stats Changed but no longer Assigned to the Cube Slot.  You seem to only have to reassign them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, albabe said:

I wonder why Blizz didn't add a few Torment Levels?  Would it be that hard for a Programmer?  Since these 2.6.1 Builds/Characters are so Powerful, I can only assume that Blizz wants the End Game to be just redundant GR Runs.... boring.

I would imagine it's because further Torment levels would make normal rifts basically useless - gold would be even more useless than it is now, gems would be infinite from vault runs, GR keys could be farmed in no time. They probably want to keep Torment levels low to keep players farming it. If you had up to T20, for example, you'd have like 5 keys dropping from every boss. It'd take too little time, I assume.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Blainie said:

I would imagine it's because further Torment levels would make normal rifts basically useless - gold would be even more useless than it is now, gems would be infinite from vault runs, GR keys could be farmed in no time. They probably want to keep Torment levels low to keep players farming it. If you had up to T20, for example, you'd have like 5 keys dropping from every boss. It'd take too little time, I assume.

You lost me.  Maybe I'm just too dim-witted here in terms of Game Dynamics.

Aren't "Normal Rifts" already useless?  And why would making something already "Useless" (Gold) more "Useless" be a problem?  It's already Useless, so who cares?

I don't know the numbers/math so I can only talk in Relatives (like my Aunt Sally).  With most of the Builds being so buffed, adding Torment levels wouldn't be a big deal, would it?  T13 with a 2.6.0 build should be a lot easier with a 2.6.1 build.  So a T16 would be around the same relative effort as a 2.6.0 in T13, no?

As for the rest of your statement, well, I'm still lost.

"And now for something completely different..." sorta.  You think this Old Twister build will be viable with the 2.6.1 Changes?  The Comment Section was Closed so I couldn't post this there.

https://www.icy-veins.com/d3/wizard-energy-twister-build-with-the-dmo-set-patch-2-4

Wand of Woh Wiz too?  I weally wike dat build.

https://www.icy-veins.com/d3/wizard-explosive-blast-farming-build-with-tal-rasha-set-patch-2-6-season-11

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, albabe said:

As for the rest of your statement, well, I'm still lost.

So, Blizzard main goal is to ensure we play the game for as long as possible, especially with them not really doing anything further in terms of content for Diablo for at least a year, we assume (no announcements at Blizzcon).

Let's say we have a Wiz player, and said Wiz player comfortably clears speed 100s with his group. He pushes into the 110+ rifts for progression and rarely ever touches normal rifts, other than to get GR keys.

Assuming the 3-drop from T13, he would need to do 100 rifts to get 300 keys at T13. Let's say each rift takes him 2 minutes, since he's pretty well geared. That's 200 minutes to gain 300 keys.

Now let's take the example of T16, which would, I assume, drop a guaranteed 4-keys per run. To get 300 keys, he would need to do only 75 runs. Given that his gear is still strong enough, the runs still take, on average, 2 minutes. That's 150 minutes to gain 300 keys.

We can work through this example for everything that drops in T-rifts, mats, Death's Breaths etc., and the key thing in Blizzard's eyes is that it's a reduction in played time for players. You have to spend less time farming, you have to spend less time playing overall and therefore you're likely to complete things faster. You'll be getting more mats and faster, which means you'll gear up faster, which likely means you'll burn out faster.

I think they won't add it purely because of this.

16 hours ago, albabe said:

"And now for something completely different..." sorta.  You think this Old Twister build will be viable with the 2.6.1 Changes?  The Comment Section was Closed so I couldn't post this there.

https://www.icy-veins.com/d3/wizard-energy-twister-build-with-the-dmo-set-patch-2-4

Wand of Woh Wiz too?  I weally wike dat build.

https://www.icy-veins.com/d3/wizard-explosive-blast-farming-build-with-tal-rasha-set-patch-2-6-season-11

I think Frozen Orb DMO will out-do Twister to be "the" DMO build. It'll probably be viable, yeah, but not the best.

Wand of Woh, definitely. It's great in 2.6.1.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

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

Create an account

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

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Similar Content

    • 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.
    • By Starym
      Update:
      Blizzard have denied Kotaku's claims of the planed announcement and Schreier has removed his tweet, but still claims the video was made. Check out the full article on the matter here.
      __________________________________________________________________
      That's right, it seems Blizzard did indeed have a plan for the opening ceremony of this year's BlizzCon, and all the fallout from the Diablo Immortal announcement wasn't supposed to happen at all, they had it all planned out. According to Kotaku's Jason Schreier, based on info from "two people familiar with Blizzard’s plans" Immortal's announcement was intended to immediately be followed by the announcement of Diablo 4, which would have completely satisfied both the crowd at the convention, as well as the fans watching back home.
       
      So why was this cancelled at the last minute? Well, according to the same sources, the team wasn't ready to announce the game as it's undergone at least two iterations over the past years, with as many different game directors. And so the devs didn't want to announce anything because the game might change again before it's ready to see the light of day.
      Now the questions becomes will Blizzard change their already changed minds and announce D4 after all, especially after all the negative feedback and fan backlash to Immortal? Well, Diablo's community manager Brandy "Nevalistis" Camel tweeted this today:
      If you were in Blizzard's shoes right now, would you just go ahead and announce what everyone has been waiting for, despite the game not really being anywhere near completion, and already having changed so much with the likelihood of changing again?
      The (real) Lord of Terror almost showed up at BlizzCon and may show up soon yet!
    • By Starym
      It seems the Kotaku leak wasn't that solid, at least when it comes to the timing. Jason Schreier gave an update on the matter, saying Blizzard have disputed the claims of his sources that the announcement was supposed to happen at BlizzCon. However, he still stands by the fact the video was made, which suggests he's actually seen it, and he's apologized for the misinformation (and deleted his original tweet about the fact - but you can still see it in our article).
      This is actually extremely weird news, as it made so much more sense that Blizzard did actually know what they were doing when they planned to end the opening ceremony with a Diablo 4 video, but something happened which made them cancel it last minute. As it stands (if we're to believe Schreier), it seems a video was made, but was never planned to be shown at BlizzCon, meaning they did in fact think showing off Immortal as the final/big announcement of the opening ceremony was a good idea. That did not turn out to be the case.
    • By Stan
      Diablo: Immortal is the first mobile MMOARPG entry in the history of the Sanctuary, coming to iOS and Android. The story picks up where Diablo II: Lord of Destruction left off. Here's a look at the announcement and gameplay trailers.
      The official website is now up, allowing you to pre-register for the game.
      Cinematic Trailer
      Enter the world of Diablo Immortal, a new entry in the Diablo universe. Taking place between the events of Diablo II: Lord of Destruction and Diablo III, this mobile massively multiplayer online ARPG is a true Diablo hack-and-slash adventure, all in the palm of your hand.
      Gameplay Trailer
      Diablo is coming to mobile! The newly-announced title is coming to Android and iOS soon.