It's been four months since one of the most anticipated PC games of this decade dropped back in May 2012. Despite breaking retail sales records—almost unheard of for a PC-only game—the Diablo III player base began tapering off as players reached Inferno and became bored with the lack of an end game. The game launched without PvP, one of the reasons why Diablo II multiplayer remained fun. Players also complained of the lack of good loot dropped, yet another motivator in keeping players engaged.
To address the various complaints that its fans had with the game, Blizzard promised various design patches, starting with patch 1.0.3, to tweak the game.
Blizzard's just about ready to unveil its next design patch, numbered 1.0.4. Diablo III Systems Designer Wyatt Cheng wrote a blog post on the official site previewing the enormous patch incoming. These are the following changes:
- To encourage co-op, Magic Find averaging will be removed from co-op multiplayer games. Loot drops will now be dependent on each player's individual Magic Find stat.
- Also to encourage co-op, the monster health multiplier has been changed from a 75/85/95/110% scaling upon each new player joining to a flat 75% increase overall. Essentially, new players entering the game will not astronomically increase the difficulty of the game.
- Normal monsters and Elite Packs (Champions and Rares) will no longer have a huge disparity in difficulty. Normal monsters will have a 5-10% increase in health, while Elite packs are having a 10-25% decrease in health. Do note that the increase in difficulty for monsters will come with a four times increase in chance that they'll drop a magic item.
- Fire Chain and Shielding affixes will be tweaked so that they are no longer quite as difficult to deal with
- Damage output of monsters will be reduced so that players won't be instantly killed.
- To better balance dual weapons and two-handed weapons, Blizzard is giving two-handed weapons a boost with better affixes.
- Clarity in skill affix descriptions will be coming too. For example, "Deals 75% weapon damage for 5 seconds" will be changed to "Deals 75% weapon damage over 5 seconds."
- Monsters' enrage timers and ability to heal back to full will be removed.
- High-end items will have their repair costs reduced by 25%
- New legendary weapons crafted and dropped after 1.0.4 is released will be much improved. This does not apply to existing legendary weapons
- Invulnerable Minions affix will be removed from the game.
Cheng also explained that sweeping changes were coming for each class. Diablo fans should expect skillsets to be heavily modified. Descriptions of each change will be coming in another blog post, since the changes are so massive.
There's still no sign of PvP yet. Then again, the existence of the auction house does make it a challenge for Blizzard to implement PvP in the first place. Maybe it's something we can expect for Patch 1.0.5?