Diablo 3 Podcast #184: Patch 2.3.1 & Witch Doctors
Patch 2.3.1 on the PTR made a lot of changes, especially to the Witch Doctor. Much discussion of that class, plus Reflects Damage changes, Kanai’s Cube tweaks, Paragon 2000 is broken, and more. Featuring Xanth, Empty1, and Flux. Click through for more details and segment starting times.

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Vote: Season Three Too Long?

Posted 4 Aug 2015 by at 13:13 GMT

news-seasons-featureWith Patch 2.3 deep into testing on the PTR, we’re not too far from the end of Season Three and the start of Season Four. Blizzard told us this season would go this long; way back in April, before Season Four even began, Wyatt Cheng spoke thusly:

We generally feel that Season 1 was on the long side, and that Season 2 was on the short side. We want to strike a balance between having enough points in time when we can all commence this journey together, but also allow enough time for characters to mature. Expect Season 3 to be at least 4 months long. Expect Season 3 to be at least 4 months long. While the exact end date is not yet known, we plan on once again giving 2 week’s notice before Season 3 ends.

Season Three began on May April 10th, and they haven’t given us that two week notice yet, so clearly it’s not ending on August 10th. And note that Wyatt didn’t say, “exactly four months,” and recently a CM confirmed that they were still on track to end S3 in August.

So basically we’re right on schedule. No worries, then? Of course not.

Memories being what they are online, you can’t hardly swing a dead cat these days without seeing someone ranting about how S3 is much too long, how S4 and DiabloWikiPatch 2.3 have been “delayed,” etc. Clearly it hasn’t been delayed but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t have been here sooner. So now we vote:

How do you feel about the length of Season Three?

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So what do you guys think? Will we ever see a Goldilocks season? Why does Bliz resist simply making Seasons 3 months, as everyone expected back when they announced them? And can there ever be a perfect length for a season, or are they always doomed to be either too long or too short, no matter how long or short they actually are?

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Wyatt Cheng Live Streaming Thursday

Posted 4 Aug 2015 by at 11:11 GMT

Wyatt Cheng

Wyatt Cheng

Blizzard’s semi-monthly Play Your Way Thursday event is going off later this week, and joining the players will be a content developer. Wyatt Cheng Live Streaming Thursday:

Here are the details:

  • What: Our final Play Your Way Thursday livestream
  • Where: http://www.twitch.tv/diablo
  • When: Thursday, August 6 @ 4:00 p.m. PT to 5:00 p.m. PT
  • Why: To carry on the Crusade and send off this stream format in style!
  • Join Nevalistis accompanied by Drothvader#1215, senior game designer Wyatt Cheng, and YouTube artist Rhykker! We’ll be tackling Nephalem and Greater Rifts on the PTR while we discuss our builds and what we’re looking forward to most in Patch 2.3.0. I’ll load up MicroWaveCat’s poll-winning “Haunting Spirits” Witch Doctor and we’ll see just how far we can push between all those beautiful orange and green beams.

    Note that they’ll be playing on the PTR, so hopefully we’ll get some conversation about DiabloWikiKanai’s Cube and other new DiabloWikiPatch 2.3 stuff.

    This isn’t a live interview, there’s always a bunch of chat going on during the livestream with the other CMs fielding questions and occasionally relaying them to the players. We haven’t had a new dev interview in months, and who knows if we will before Blizzcon in November, so if you’ve got question for Wyatt about why Season Three is so long, what’s going on with v2.3 on the PTR, why we didn’t get D3X2 at Gamescom, etc… here’s your chance.

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    Diablo Fan Art Watch #280: Encounters and More

    Posted 4 Aug 2015 by at 08:00 GMT

    Welcome all to the newest Diablo Fan Art Watch. This week we feature 7 more pieces of fan art.

    A few are showing off some really great battle shots, a group shot, a stylized Demon-hunter and an adorable Realmwalker in a style of Carbot Animations.

    Featuring artwork by MythicPhoenix, katoyo, XteveAbanto, Noel1482, KEKSE0719, VictorBang, and BOOM8293.

    Click the thumbnail to see a larger version of the image.

    If you enjoy Fan art and want to contribute to this growing community, please stop by the Fan Creations Forum. Many artists visit frequently, posting works in progress looking for feedback and conversation. You don’t have to be “arty” to join in. If you have any questions, comments or have some fan art related news on the web please send me a PM and I’ll get back to you. Also check out the wiki page for more art from the archives.

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    Path of Exile vs. Diablo 3: Mega-Comparison List

    Posted 3 Aug 2015 by at 20:11 GMT

    D3 vs. PoE: Conclusion.

    D3 vs. PoE: Conclusion.

    Gaming blog Requnix.com has posted a massive graphic with a point by point comparison between Path of Exile and Diablo 3. The author has been adding to the chart for a few months, including more and more content and updating it as the games are patched, so it’s comprehensive and fairly up to date.

    The chart ranks/compares virtually every aspect of the games, including:

  • Content: Storyline, Environment, Housing, etc.
  • Mechanics and Gameplay: Skills, death system, difficulty, learning curve, etc.
  • Economy: Trading, crafting, items, etc.
  • Community: Social, clans, parties, etc.
  • Technical: Graphics, sound, interface, bugs, etc.
  • I sniped out just the conclusion above for a sample image, but definitely look over the whole chart and see what you think. I’m very up for arguing some of the individual category scores in comments, and I bet some of you guys are also.

    So what do we think of the Path of Exile vs. Diablo 3: Mega-Comparison List, ranking PoE well ahead in the total points? I’m not here as a D3 fanboy to argue the points, though if someone wants to do that in comments, go for it. Back in 2010 I was lucky enough to be one of the first people ever to see and get some hands on time with PoE, playing their earliest demo on Chris’ laptop right in their SF hotel room when GGG was on their first ever media tour. So while I don’t currently play PoE and I prefer D3, I know a lot of players who like both games.

    If I have a major critique of the entire chart, it’s that every category gets the same 1-5 points. That’s handy for the comparison, but it’s not realistic in terms of what makes a game really worth playing. Imagine an ARPG with an amazing combat engine and great skills and characters and monsters, but with terrible housing/stash space, no achievements, and no social or clan support. Would you play that? I bet you would, and I bet most of you did, since that’s Diablo 2. Consider the converse; would anyone play a no-story, almost no-action game just because it had infinite housing and stash space? I’d say no, but someone would probably make a MineCraft joke.

    You see my point, though. Some comparison categories should be worth much more than just 5 points, since those are essential to a playable game, while a lot of other categories are just a nice side touch. And I think D3 does very well on most of the essential categories, while there’s definitely room for D3 improvement in terms of housing, clans, varied events, etc.

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    Tagged As: | Categories: Diablo 3, Fan Stuff, Path of Exile | 39 Comments

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    PTR Community Buff Returns

    Posted 1 Aug 2015 by at 03:33 GMT

    Cause meets effect...

    Cause meets effect…

    The Diablo 3 devs seem to be turning the Community Buff back on every weekend, and it’s live again on the PTR. Log in to enjoy massive buffs to the Legendary drop rate, along with triple EXP, double Shards and Goblins, and a general sense of despair as you cheat the system, and yet still can’t find any Ancient item upgrades.

    Or maybe that’s just me?

    PTR Community Buff Returns!

    The following buff is now active on the PTR:

  • 2000% Bonus Chance to find Legendaries
  • This buff was reactivated on July 31 at 5:00 p.m. PDT. Happy testing!

    The downside of the buff is increased traffic on the PTR, which likely means the return of queues (which were negligible all week). As always, it’s helpful to join a clan on the PTR so you can join games with guild mates. Our IncPTR DiiPTRis open to softcore and hardcore until we hit the 150/150 max cap, again.

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    Tagged As: | Categories: Blue Posts, Community Buffs, Diablo 3 PTR | 7 Comments

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    Blizzard Comments on the Crazy PTR Drop Rate

    Posted 31 Jul 2015 by at 22:48 GMT

    We’ve been posting about the crazy high legendary drop rate on the PTR since the last patch and Season 4 restarted. In the estimation of most players, drop rates for legendary items have been at least double or triple what they are on the Live realm, on all difficulty levels. I don’t think anyone would mind a bit of a stealth buff, but the drop rates have been so high that many players are worrying about the long term viability.

    PTR = 4x legendary items

    PTR = 4x legendary items

    One fan did some actual research, comparing T6 Rift runs on Live vs. PTR and posted his results in handy chart form. (Screenshot of the table to the right.) It was enough to get a Blue reply, albeit not a satisfying one.

    Blizzard Comments on the Crazy PTR Drop Rate:

    Can we have an official stance on the current greatly inflated drop rate without the 2000% bonus we have on the PTR?

    We are currently dropping more than 20 leg per T10 run, and killing a blue goblin with all its duplicates can yield as high as 15 leg. This cannot be intended and go live as it is, because there’s no way GR farming will be able to compete, and any semi casual player will be perfectly geared in a matter of weeks.
    Nevalistis: So! There is definitely something wonky going on here, and it’s taken a while for us to track down the issue. RNG can be tricky to test, as it takes a lot of data (and time) to reproduce.

    We’re working on resolving this issue, though I don’t have an ETA on the fix. Thank you all for the reports and thorough testing!

    Yes, yes, RNG. That said, I noticed legendary drop rates were at least double the Live rate in my very first play session with a brand new char on S4, and nothing I’ve seen in any game since had changed my mind. Everyone playing has noticed it; regular PTR clan chat is full of jokes about how Bliz turned off the +2000% buff since it wasn’t rewarding enough.

    Bigger philosophical debates about “how much is too much” in terms of leg drops, the PTR now clearly has a MUCH higher drop rate than you see in live, or than we saw during the first weeks of the v2.3 PTR, when the community buff was turned off. How the leg rate could triple (or more) in the last patch, and that change be unintentional, is the question I’d like to see answered.

    Update: Travis Day has confirmed that it was a bug and why it existed.

    Thank you all for the feedback and reports on this. We found the bug that was causing this and it is being addressed.

    The cause of the issue was the result of a different bug fix we did. The legendary chance of items was being run through the bonus calculations of Greater Rifts, everywhere.

    Well, at least now we know that Greater Rift drops get this big of a buff. Obviously they are buffed since only about 10 items drop from a Grift Guardian and above GR30 there are usually at least a few legendaries.

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    Bashiok Says Goodbye to Blizzard

    Posted 31 Jul 2015 by at 21:43 GMT

    Bashiok @ SDCC 2014.

    Bashiok and his mustache from SDCC 2014.

    Micah Whipple AKA DiabloWikiBashiok, the original Diablo 3 community manager, has posted a farewell notice to the Blizzard community. He’s leaving Blizzard to work elsewhere in the industry, and while he’s been back on the WoW CM team since 2012, many Diablo 3 fans still remember his time, from 2009-2012, as the lead D3 CM. Whether or not those are fond memories is open to debate, but here’s his farewell address.

    Bashiok Says Goodbye to Blizzard:

    I could pretty easily write a few thousand words right now, but I did my best to keep this brief.

    I began working at Blizzard way back in October of 2003, and every day of my experience here has been shared with you, the players, and content creators, artists, bloggers, AddOn authors, podcasters, streamers, forum trolls, and— man, anyone remember the old Off-Topic forum back in the day? That place was just absolutely cuckoo bananas.

    Anyway, Blizzard—and the community that surrounds it—has defined almost my entire adult life, and I am just so absolutely grateful to all of my friends here for having such an incredible and positive impact on who I am, and who I am yet to become. I don’t think I’ve had to make any decisions as difficult as the one to leave Blizzard, but a new opportunity has come my way, and I’ve decided to take it.

    While I think it’s all still sinking in, the other day I realized I actually get to be surprised by Blizzard announcements and releases again. Which, as a lifelong fan and rabid gamer it makes me giddy thinking about being able to sit in the audience at BlizzCon, watching a stream, or reading the newest blog posts, and seeing whatever’s in store next—for the first time.

    I’m looking forward to what’s next, and wishing you a life of joy, insatiable curiosity, and happy gaming.

    Definitely thankful,

    There’s a reason he says “thankful” in his closing, and if you don’t know it, feel lucky you weren’t here to live it. A quick googling will give you an idea, and if you click through you’ll get some more detail on that, plus what turned into a major article summarizing his time as a Diablo 3 community manager. If you’re knew or just want a trip down memory lane, this should enlighten you as to why so much of the community still harbors a grudge, or at least has a strong reaction to Bashiok’s name.

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    Immortal King Six Piece Set Buff Coming

    Posted 31 Jul 2015 by at 18:49 GMT

    Barbarian players have been complaining that the six piece bonus for the Immortal King’s set is lacking, especially compared to other Barb sets. Happily, Blizzard agrees and John Yang shared their plans to fix the problem, via BIGGAR NUMBARS!!11! in the next PTR patch.

    Immortal King Six Piece Set Buff Coming:

    We agree with the general sentiment here that Immortal King’s 6pc bonus needs an adjustment to perform more comparably to Wrath of the Wastes Whirlwind builds. Sets/builds performing more comparably with each other aligns with our general goal of build diversity, including at high-end play. In the next PTR patch you will see the following change:

    Immortal King’s Call

    • (6) Set Bonus

      • Increased damage bonus from 100% to 250%.

    Thanks for the continued testing and feedback.

    As it is, hardly anyone uses the six piece IK set, just the 4P paired with other stuffs. Perhaps that’ll change with this buff coming in? And yes, you’re free to point out that 6P buff was 500% during the last PTR testing, before Blizzard cruelly stole it away, tucking it into the Mortick’s Bracers before they buried them both at sea.

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    Tagged As: | Categories: Barbarian, Item Sets, John Yang | 5 Comments